David Hume, Adam Smith, and William Hamilton of Bangour: A Misattribution
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Waldmann, F. (2018). David Hume, Adam Smith, and William Hamilton of Bangour: A Misattribution. Notes and Queries, 65 (3), 304-306. https://doi.org/10.1093/notesj/gjy092
National Library of Scotland, MS 23159.7 is a thirty-two line poem in the hand of David Hume (1711–76), the philosopher. The poem is conserved within a collection of manuscripts devised to the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1838 by Hume’s nephew David Hume the Younger (1757–1838) ― the son of John Home of Ninewells (1709–86), Hume’s brother. The systematic description of this collection was first undertaken by J. Y. T. Greig and Harold Beynon in a Calendar of Hume MSS. in the possession of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1932); their work built upon John Hill Burton’s two-volume Life of David Hume (1846), which had made elaborate use of Hume the Younger’s bequest. In Burton’s Life, MS 23159.7 is described as a poem by Hume himself. A comprehensive review of Burton’s Life in the Gentleman’s Magazine agreed with the attribution and printed the poem in its entirety, as ‘a favourable specimen’ of Hume’s ‘poetical powers’. Greig and Beynon’s Calendar accepted the same attribution implicitly, and my own book, Further letters of David Hume (2014), echoes their judgement en passant. The poem, however, is by William Hamilton of Bangour (1704–54), the Jacobite; it first appeared in Hamilton’s Poems on several occasions (1760), with the titular opening phrase ‘Go! Plaintive sounds’, and it subsequently featured in numerous collections of British verse prior to 1846.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/notesj/gjy092
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/287810