Volume 3 of “Hume’s great History of England the theme of which is liberty, above all English constitutional development from the Anglo-Saxon period to the Revolution of 1688. This Liberty Fund edition is based on the edition of 1778, the last to contain corrections by Hume.
Popularity of the new king — His ministers — Punishment of Empson and Dudley — King’s marriage — Foreign affairs — Julius II. — League of Cambray — War with France — Expedition to Fontarabia — Deceit of Ferdinand — Return of the English — Leo X. — A parliament — War with Scotland — Wolsey minister — His character — Invasion of France — Battle of Guinegate — Battle of Flouden — Peace with France
THE DEATH OF HENRY VII. had been attended with as open and visible joy among the people as decency would permit; and the accession and coronation of his son, Henry VIII. spread universally a declared and unfeigned satisfaction. Instead of a monarch, jealous, severe, and avaricious, who, in proportion as he advanced in years, was sinking still deeper in those unpopular vices; a young prince of eighteen had succeeded to the throne, who, even in the eyes of men of sense, gave promising hopes of his future conduct, much more in those of the people, always enchanted with novelty, youth and royal dignity. The beauty and vigour of his person, accompanied with dexterity in every manly exercise, was farther adorned with a blooming and ruddy countenance, with a lively air, with the appearance of spirit and activity in all his demeanour.l His father, in order to remove him from the knowledge of public business, had hitherto occupied him entirely in the pursuits of literature; and the proficiency which he made, gave no bad prognostic of his parts and capacity. Even the vices of vehemence, ardour, and impatience, to which he was subject, and which afterwards degenerated into tyranny, were considered only as faults, incident to unguarded youth, which would be corrected, when time had brought him to greater moderation and maturity. And as the contending titles of York and Lancaster were now at last fully united in his person, men justly expected from a prince, obnoxious to no party, that impartiality of administration, which had long been unknown in England.
The most important philosopher ever to write in English, David Hume (1711-1776) — the last of the great triumvirate of “British empiricists” — was also well-known in his own time as an historian and essayist. A master stylist in any genre, Hume's major philosophical works — A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-1740), the Enquiries concerning Human Understanding (1748) and concerning the Principles of Morals (1751), as well as the posthumously published Dialogues concerning Natural Religion (1779) — remain widely and deeply influential. Although many of Hume's contemporaries denounced his writings as works of scepticism and atheism, his influence is evident in the moral philosophy and economic writings of his close friend Adam Smith. Hume also awakened Immanuel Kant from his “dogmatic slumbers” and “caused the scales to fall” from Jeremy Bentham's eyes. Charles Darwin counted Hume as a central influence, as did “Darwin's bulldog,” Thomas Henry Huxley. The diverse directions in which these writers took what they gleaned from reading Hume reflect not only the richness of their sources but also the wide range of his empiricism. Today, philosophers recognize Hume as a precursor of contemporary cognitive science, as well as one of the most thoroughgoing exponents of philosophical naturalism.