Philosophy & Ideas

Brother Hume on the Continent

David Hume was secretary, and finally chargé, at the British embassy in Paris from 1763 to 1766, and from his own account, enjoyed his time there. Although socially inept, he was pleasant, a bon viveur and wildly popular. He was in his element restoring Franco-British cordiality in the wake of the Seven Years’ War, which also gave England the whip hand in commerce. He came to value the “great number of sensible, knowing and polite companions with which the city abounds above all places in the universe”. Voltaire, who read Hume’s books, returned the compliment, calling him “Frère Hume”. Life…

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