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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


St. Cavid Street.] DAVID HUME. 161 which a denomination was conferred upon the street in which his house is situated. ?Perhaps, if it be premised that a corresponding street at the other angle of St. Andrew Square is called St. Andrew Street-a natural enough circumstance with reference to the square, whose title was determined on the plan-it will appear likely that the choosing of ? St. David Street ? for that in which Hume?s house stood was not originally designed as a jest at his expense, though a second thought and whim of his friends might quickly give it that application? Burton, in his ?? Life of Hume,? relates that when the house was first inhabited by him, and when the street was as yet without a name-a very dubious story, as every street was named on the On Sunday the 25th of August, 1776, Hume died in his new house. On the manner of his death, after the beautiful picture which has been drawn of it by his friend, Adam?Smith, we need not enlarge. The coolness of his last moments, unexpected by many, was universally remarked at the time, and is still well known. He was buried in the place selected by himself, in the old burial-ground on the western slope of the Calton HilL A conflict between vague horror of his imputed opinions and respect for the individual who had passed a life so pure and irreproachable, created a great sensation among the populace of Edinburgh, and a vast concourse attended the body to the grave, which for some time was an object of curiosity to many Edinburgh. Adam Smith, Blair, and Ferguson, were within easy reach, and what remains of Hume?s correspondence with Sir Gilbert Elliot of Minto, Colonel Edmonstone, and Mrs. Cockburn, gives pleasant glimpses of his social surroundings, and enables us to understand his contentment with his absence from the more perturbed, if more brilliant, worlds of Paris and London. In 1775 his health began to fail, and it was evident that he would not long enjoy his new residence. In the spring of the following year his disorder, which appears to have been a hzniorrhage of the bowels, attained such a height that he knew it must be fatal, so he made his will, and wrote ? My Own Life,? the conclusion of which is one of the most cheerful and dignified leave-takings of life and all its concerns. wilderness, and may meditate undisturbedly upon the epitome of nature and man-the kingdoms of this world-spread out before him. Surely there is a fitness in the choice of this last resting-place by the philosopher and historian who saw so clearly that these two kingdoms form but one realm, governed by uniform laws, and based alike on impenetrable darkness and eternal silence; and faithful to the last to that profound veracity which was the secret of his philosophic greatness, he ordered that the simple Roman tomb which marks his grave should bear no inscription but, ?DAVID HUME. Born, 1711. Died, 1776.? Leavhg it to posterity to add the rest.? It is a curious fact, sometimes adverted to in Edinburgh, but which cannot be authenticated, according to the Book of Days, that in the room
Volume 3 Page 161
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