He is said (see Morley, Rousseau, ii. 284) to have corrected the proofs of the remarkable essay in which Robert Wallace anticipated Malthus, and replied to Hume's ‘Populousness of Ancient Nations.’ He certainly paid a graceful compliment in later editions to his assailant. He induced Millar to publish Skelton's ‘Deism Revealed,’ directed against himself. ‘I had fixed a resolution,’ he says, ' which I inflexibly maintained, never to reply to anybody; and not being very irascible in my temper, I have easily kept myself clear of all literary squabbles.' He showed irascibility, indeed, on occasion (see e.g. his quarrel with Lord Elibank, Burton, ii, 252-60), but had sufficient self-control to keep it in order. He concludes his autobiography by saying that his friends had never been obliged to vindicate his character or conduct. Considering the antipathy aroused by his opinions, it must be admitted that few men of comparable literary rank have been less seriously blamed.
It is needless to give any exposition of Hume's philosophy, which is discussed in every history of metaphysics. Following Locke and Berkeley, he endeavoured to introduce the ' experimental method of reasoning into moral subjects,' and in the attempt to reduce all reasoning to a product of ' experience ' omitted, according to his critics, the intellectual element presupposed in experience, and thus reached a thoroughgoing scepticism. The elaborate essay by Thomas Hill Green [q. v.] , prefixed to the `Works,' sets forth this criticism in minute detail, justified in his opinion by the fact that Hume's exposition of empiricism still remained the fullest statement of the doctrine. The philosophies of Kant, of Reid, and of the English empiricist spring in great part from Hume either by way of reaction or continuation. Hume also produced a great effect by his writings on political economy, which influenced Adam Smith ; by his writings on ethics, which influenced Bentham, who says (Works, i. 268 n) 'that the scales first fell from his eyes on reading the third part of the Treatise;' and by his writings on theology, in which may be found much that was adopted by Comte. The argument against miracles is still often discussed, but his wider speculations on theology are equally noticeable. He may be regarded as the acutest thinker in Great Britain of the eighteenth century, and the most qualified interpreter of its intellectual tendencies.
Hume's writings are: 1. 'A Treatise of Human Nature; being an Attempt to introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects,' vols. i. and ii. in 1739, vol. iii. 1740; republished in 1817, and at Oxford, edited by Mr. Selbywith an excellent index, in 1888. 2. `Essays, Moral and Political,' vol. i. 1741, 2nd edit. 1742; vol.ii. 1742; `third edition, by David Hume, Esq., corrected with additions,' Edinburgh, 1 vol. 8vo, 1748, when three additional essays, completing the former, were also published separately. 3. 'Philosophical Essays concerning Human Understanding, by the author of " Essays, Moral and Political,"' London, 1748, 1 vol. 8vo (now very rare); 2nd edit., with corrections and additions by Mr. Hume, author of `Essays, Moral and Political,' London, 1751. An edition dated 1750, described in `Notes and Queries,' 6th ser. xii. 90, is apparently an early form of the 1751 edition. 4. ' An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, by David Hume, Esq.,' London, 1751. 5. 'Political Discourses, by David Hume, Esq.,' Edinburgh (two editions), 1752. 6. `Four Dissertations,' London, 1757 (see above for contents. A copy in the Advocates' Library at Edinburgh, with a title-page supposed to be in Hume's handwriting, shows that it originally contained the two essays on ' Suicide ' and the ' Immortality of the Soul,' the first of which has been cut out. See, for full details, Mr. Grose's ' History of the Editions' in Hume's `Philosophical Works,' iii. 62-72). 7. `Two Essays,' London, 1777, which were reprinted in `Essays on Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul, ascribed to David Hume, Esq. Never before published. With Remarks, intended as an Antidote to the Poison contained in these Performances, by the Editor. To which is added Two Letters on Suicide, from Rousseau's "Eloisa,"' London, 1783. 8. `Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, by David Hume, Esq.,' 1779.
In 1753-4 appeared ' Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects,' in 4 vols. 8vo, London and Edinburgh, including the previously published works except the `Treatise.' In a second edition, in 1758, the `Four Dissertations' were introduced, and the `Philosophical Essays concerning Human Understanding' were now called `An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding.' Other editions followed in 1760 (4 vols. 12mo), 1764 (2 vols. 8vo), 1768 (2 vols. 4to), with portrait by Donaldson, 1770 (4 vols. 8vo), carefully revised; an edition of 1772 is mentioned in Hume's 'Letters,' by G. B. Hill, p. 252, and in 1777 the posthumous edition in 2 vols. 8vo. Many editions have appeared since. For various additions, omissions, and rearrangements, see Mr. Grose's `History of Editions,' pp. 42-5, 72, 73, &c. His `Philosophical Works ' were published at Edinburgh