Hume; Walpole; autobiography; philosophical liberalism
David Hume portrayed Sir Robert Walpole, a Liberal considered as the first British Prime Minister. In the form of an essay entitled "A Character of Sir Robert Walpole", the 13-line -description was published in January 1742 when Walpole resigned the following month.
"A Character of Sir Robert Walpole" (1742), in Essays
Moral, Political and Literary (Liberty Fund ed.), 574-576.
[...] Hume himself defined the text as a in the advertisement to this volume of essays he wrote footnote Even the very title of the essay might indicate its irrelevance within the collection as it was one of the eight essays which title did not begin with . as if it was a fact rather than an analysis. Yet, this description allowed Hume to implicitly reveal his own character and to give the essay an autobiographical nature, hence an essential nature. [...]
[...] He depicted Walpole as a good-natured man who was able, constant, and moderate and a good friend (p.575-6); qualities Hume implicitly presented as basis and/or catalysts for betterment and selfachievement through the very example of Walpole. This implicit aspect was strengthened by the use of oppositions: “ability/not genius; good natured/not virtuous; constant/not magnanimous; moderate/not equitable; virtue/vice” (p.575-6). In this way, Hume also showed that the possibility of self-achievement was within anyone's reach as the qualities mentioned were not high if not divine principles such as virtue, magnanimity and equity. [...]
[...] Furthermore, Hume also presented himself in the advertisement as a model of good-nature, constancy and moderation among other things: “That great man [ . ] upon the decline, I am inclin'd to think more favourably of him/ correct my mistakes” (footnote The role of the advertisement was to influence the reading and the understanding of this essay although Hume addresses the “impartial reader” (footnote It also seemed that insofar as readers might not have had read the advertisement, the footnote Hume added clearly defined his mindset and per se displayed his model as well as it completed the content of the essay (footnote All in all, Character of Sir Robert Walpole” appeared as an autobiographical hint, which the elaboration was more sophisticated than the one of Hume's own autobiography. [...]
[...] 18th century Autobiography: Hume, David, Character of Sir Robert Walpole” (1742), in Essays Moral, Political and Literary (Liberty Fund ed.), 574-576. David Hume portrayed Sir Robert Walpole, a Liberal considered as the first British Prime Minister. In the form of an essay entitled Character of Sir Robert Walpole”, the 13-line -description was published in January 1742 when Walpole resigned the following month. Paradoxically, the brevity of the essay conveyed both an anecdotal and essential nature. Though, the publication of this essay in the form of footnotes between 1748 and 1768 and its disappearance afterwards reinforced the anecdotal nature of this portrait of a major British politician. [...]
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