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Record 12926

Reading Experience:

'I am highly indebted to you for Hume. I like his essays better than any thing I have read these many days. He has prejudices, he does maintain errors - but he defends his positions, with so much ingenuity, that one would be almost sorry to see him dislodged. His Essays on "Superstition & Enthusiasm", on "the Dignity & meanness of Human Nature" and several others, are in my opinion admirable both in matter & manner: - particularly the first where his conclusions might be verified by instances, with which we are all acquainted. The manner, indeed, of all is excellent: - the highest & most difficult effect of art - the appearance of its absence - appears throughout. But many of his opinions are not to be adopted - How odd does it look for instance to refer all the modifications of "National character", to the influence of moral causes. Might it not be asserted with some plausibility, that even those which he denominates moral causes, originate from physical circumstances? Whence but from the perpetual contemplation of his dreary glaciers & rugged glens - from his dismal broodings in his long & almost solitary nights, has the Scandinavian conceived his ferocious Odin, & his horrid "spectres of the deep"? Compare this with the copper-castles and celestial gardens of the Arabian - and we must admit that physical causes have an influence on man. I read "the Epicurean," "the Stoic," "the Platonist" & "the Sceptic" under some disadvantage. They are perhaps rather clumsily executed - and the idea of David Hume declaiming, nay of David Hum[e] making love appears not less grotesque than would that of ad ? -oc [covered by seal: d]ancing a French cotillon. As a whole however [I am de]lig[hted w]ith the book, and if you can want it, I shall mo[reover] give it a second perusal.'
Century: 1800-1849
Date: Between 1 Jan 1815 and 24 May 1815
Country: Scotland
Time: n/a
Place: city: Annan
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Thomas Carlyle
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 4 Dec 1795
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: teacher, later man of letters
Religion: Christian
Country of origin: Scotland
Country of experience: Scotland
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: David Hume
Title: Essays Moral, Political and Literary
Genre: Essays / Criticism, Politics, Philosophy
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: borrowed (other)
borrowed from Mitchell


Source Information:

Record ID: 12926  
Source - Print  
  Author: n/a
  Editor: Charles Richard Sanders
  Title: The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle
  Place of Publication: Durham, NC
  Date of Publication: 1970
  Vol: I
  Page: 47-8
  Additional comments: Letter to Robert Mitchell

Citation: Charles Richard Sanders (ed.), The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle (Durham, NC, 1970), I, p. 47-8,, accessed: 01 June 2023

Additional comments:



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)