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Dear Sir

I am entirely of your Opinion: Your Offer to Baillie Hamilton[1] is very reasonable, & ought to have been receiv’d with Thankfulness, not Peevishness.[2] He is a very honest Man, & far from being interested:[3] But he is passionate & even wrong headed to a great Degree. He has made it sufficiently appear in his Conduct of this whole Affair.[4] I think the London Booksellers have had a sufficient Triumph over him; when [a] Book, which was much expected & was calculated to be popular, has had so small a Sale [on] his hands. To make the Triumph more compleat, I wish you wou’d take what remains into your hands, & dispose of it in a few Months. I beg of you to think again seriously of that Matter. If you will return to your former Offer, I will engage to make it effectual or if the Baillie refuses to comply, I wou’d rather make out the Difference from my own Pocket: So much do I desire to have the Affair under my ^your^ Management.[5] You need have no Correspondence with him. Write to me, & I shall manage the Matter.[6]

The second Volume ^of my History^ I can easily find a way of conveying to you, when finishd & corrected, & fairly copy’d.[7] Perhaps I may be in London myself about that time.[8] I have always said to all my Acquaintaince that if the first Volume bore a little of a Tory Aspect, the second wou’d probably be as grateful to the opposite Party. The two first Princes of the House of Stuart were certainly more excusable than the two second. page: 2The Constitution was in their time very ambiguous & undetermin’d, & their Parliaments were, in many respects, refractory & obstinate: But Charles the 2d knew, that he had succeeded to a very limited Monarchy: His [illeg.] long Parliament was indulgent to him, & even consisted almost entirely of Royalists; yet he coud not be quiet, nor contented with a legal Authority. I need not mention the Oppressions ^in Scotland^ nor the absurd Conduct of K. James the 2d. These are obvious and glaring Points. Upon the whole, I wish the two Volumes had been publishd together. Neither one Party nor the other, woud, in that Case, have [illeg.] had the least Pretext of reproaching me with Partiality.[9]

I shall give no farther Umbrage to the Godly: Tho’ I am far from thinking, that my Liberties on that head have been the real Cause of checking the Sale of the first Volume: They might afford a Pretext for decrying it to who those who were resolv’d on other Accounts to lay hold of Pretexts.

Pray tell Dr Birch,[10] if you have Occasion to see him, that his Story of the Warrant for Lord Loudon’s Execution,[11] tho’ at first I thought it highly improbable, appears to me at present a great deal more likely.[12] I find the same Story in Scotstarvat’s Staggering State, which was publishd here a few Months ago.[13] The same Story, coming from different Canals,[14] without any dependance on each other, bears a strong Air of Probability. I have spoke to Duke Hamilton,[15] who says, that I shall be very welcome to peruse all his Papers. page: 3I shall take the first Opportunity of going to the bottom of that Affair; & if I find any Confirmation of the Suspicion, will be sure to inform Dr Birch. I own it is the strongest Instance of any which History affords of K. Charles’s arbitrary Principles.

I have [illeg.] made a Trial ^on Plutarch^ & find that I take Pleasure in it, but cannot yet form so just a Notion of the time & pains, which it will require, as to tell you what Sum of Money I wou’d think an Equivalent.[16] But I shall be sure to inform you as soon. ^as I come to a Resolution^ The Notes requisite will not be numerous; not so many as in the former Edition. I think so bulky a Book ought to be swelld as little as possible; & nothing added but what is absolutely requisite. The little Trial I have made me convinces me that the Undertaking will require [illeg.] time. My manner of composing is slow; & I have great Difficulty to satisfy myself. I am

Dear Sir
Your most obedient Servant

David Hume

12 of April.

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David Hume 12 April 1755
abt Standing to my 1st offer
& several other things
answd 19th
Translation of

AHRC Millar Project