PHILOSOPHER AND HISTORIAN
David Hume, who has been described as the most acute thinker in Britain in the eighteenth century, was born in Edinburgh on May 7th 1711.
His intellectual powers were recognised with the publication of his Essays, Moral and Political in two volumes in 1741 and 1742. Employed as librarian to the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh, he wrote a six- volume History of England which was extremely popular and admired for its elegant and lucid style. It placed him in the first rank of historians.
In France in 1763, Hume found himself lionised in the salons of Paris, honoured by royalty and regarded as a leading figure of the Scottish Enlightenment.
Good natured, an engaging mix of simplicity and shrewdness, Hume was on friendly terms with virtually everyone. His free-thinking did, however, scandalise some: it is recorded that a devout old woman, having found the corpulent philosopher hopelessly stuck in some deep mud, agreed to extricate the great man only if he recited the Apostles' Creed and the Lord's Prayer.
Hume, who never married, had several homes in Edinburgh, the last of them in what is today St David Street. His tomb is in the Old Calton, Waterloo Place.