Edinburgh 16 of August 1770


It has been the Maxim of all legislators and Judges from Solon to Sherriff Cockburn to pardon the Criminals who confess and discover their Accomplices; and I doubt but you and all the Ladies at Dean will follow so clement and equitable a Maxim. You must know then that two pretended Gentleman(of which one was Mr Nairne with the demur and sanctify'd Look, a very suspicious Circumstance) travelling yesterday in a Chaise to Melville, one of them offers a Shilling to pay the Toll: The Bar-keeper scruples the Piece: On Examination, it is found to be one of my Lord Chief Baron's Counters: The Pockets of the Felon are searchd, and are found to contain five more, which he had plainly purloind from your House. Mr Nairn however and his Companion, a great fat man, are not immediatly put in Arrest; but dreading the Rigors of Justice, Mr Nairne's Companion is contented to give up the stolen Goods, which are sent by the Bearer: He protests that he has neither drunk nor embezzled any of them. He pleads hard for Mercy; but is very willing, that Mr Nairne shoud be hang'd by way of an Example. He is even willing to bear false Witness against him, which must be allowd very commendable and meritorious, and seems fully to entitle him to a Pardon. Thus you see the Danger/
of admitting Thieves and Pick-pockets and Sharpers to game with you. If the chief Baron winks at such Enormities, I assure you I will not, during my Administration. I even prohibit all of you from going to Chappel for fear of meeting there with Mr Nairne: As to his Companion, he does not commonly haunt that place so much, which is a much better Sign of him; as your hypocritical Thief is commonly the most irreclaimable. I am Madam with great Regard

Your most obedient and most humble Servant
David Hume

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