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Item 179 - David Hume Catalog 443 (Dec 2014)

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Minimum Bid: $500.00
Sold Price: $15,943.38 (includes buyer's premium)


Tremendously influential philosopher (1711–1776) considered one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy. Incredibly rare ALS, one page, 6.5 x 8.25, November 24, 1763. Letter to his translator Madame Belot. In full: “You have prevented me in the Request I intended to propose, after our literary Connexions shall be over; Which, however, will not, I hope, be soon; I should be sorry to have had so much Acquaintance with a Person of your Merit; and not to continue, and rather to increase than diminish our Friendship. As Friday is the first day you can be at Leisure to see me, I shall wait upon you in the Afternoon, and bring with me all the Sheets corrected that you committed to me. The Corrections are few & not very material. If the Press come upon us too hastily in the first Volume, we can give the Printers these corrected Sheets of the second Volume, which will be food for them during some time.” Reverse of second integral page bears an address panel in Hume’s hand, along with much of the original wax seal. Letter has also been professionally cleaned and backed. Several well-done professional repairs and aforementioned cleaning, otherwise fine condition.

While Hume is best remembered for his masterful philosophical works, during his lifetime he achieved his greatest literary fame as a historian. His massive History of England, which took fifteen years to write and ran over a million words, was published in six volumes between 1754 and 1762, and traced the events from the Invasion of Julius Ceasar to the Revolution of 1688. A best seller in its day, the History made Hume a wealthy and celebrated author. After the first two published volumes were translated into French in 1760 by the Abbe Prevost, Hume took up residence in Paris, where he met Madame Belot, who received a pension from the Court to translate English. The two worked together on the translations of the volumes on the Tudors and the Plantagenets, and despite her poor abilities (which became a heavy focus of criticism), the volumes sold well in France. Discussing work on his most successful writings, this is an absolutely extraordinary letter from the influential philosopher. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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