Hume, David (1560?-1630?) (DNB00)

From Wikisource
 
Jump to: navigation, search
For works with similar titles, see David Hume.

HUME, DAVID (1560?–1630?), controversialist, historian, and poet, born about 1560, was the second son of Sir David Hume or Home, seventh baron of Wedderburn, Berwickshire. Receiving preliminary training at Dunbar public school, he seems to have entered St. Andrews University in 1578, and after a course of study there to have gone to the continent. From France he proceeded to Geneva, intending to go to Italy, but he was recalled by the serious illness of his elder brother. He returned about 1581. On the recovery of his brother, Hume for a time continued to manage his affairs, but in 1583 he was residing as private secretary with his relative, Archibald Douglas, eighth earl of Angus [q.v.], who was ordered, after James withdrew his confidence from the Ruthven lords, to remain in the north of Scotland. During the exile of the Ruthven party at Newcastle, Hume was in London, ostensibly studying, but actively interesting himself in Angus and his cause. The lords returned to Scotland in 1585, and between that date and 1588, when Angus died, Hume supported his patron's policy in a series of letters (preserved in the ‘History of the Houses of Douglas and Angus’) on the doctrine of obedience to princes. A discussion of a sermon on the same theme by the Rev. John Craig (1512?–1600) [q. v.] is the subject of an elaborate ‘Conference betwixt the Erle of Angus and Mr. David Hume,’ which is printed in Calderwood's ‘History of the Kirk of Scotland.’ He was probably in France again in 1593. According to the ‘True Travels’ of Captain John Smith, governor of Virginia (chap. i.), Smith about that year grew ‘acquainted (at Paris) with one Master David Hume, who, making some use of Smith's purse, gave Smith letters to his friends in Scotland to preferre him to King James.’ His authorship of French tracts and the publication of his Latin works at Paris imply that he maintained close relations with France.

In middle life Hume seems to have devoted himself to literature on his property of Gowkscroft in Berwickshire, which he renamed Godscroft, and thence styled himself Theagrius when he figured as a Latin poet. In 1605 a work on the union of the kingdoms, by Robert Pont, a clergyman, suggested his treatise, ‘De Unione Insulæ Britanniæ.’ Of this he published only the first part, ‘Tractatus I.’ (London, 1605), but the second part is in the collections of Sibbald and Wodrow. Akin to the question of union was that of the relative values of episcopacy and presbytery, and Hume showed himself a spirited and persistent polemic in discussing the theme, first with Law, bishop of Orkney (afterwards archbishop of Glasgow), from 1608 to 1611, and secondly, in 1613, with Cowper, bishop of Galloway (Calderwood, History of the Kirk of Scotland, vols. vi. and vii., Wodrow Society's ed.) He was also responsible about the same time for ‘De Episcopatu, May 1, 1609, Patricio Simsono.’

His sense of the historical importance of his house led to Hume's ‘History of the House of Wedderburn, written by a Son of the Family, in the year 1611.’ Beginning with David, the first laird of Wedderburn, about the end of the fourteenth century, this work closes with an account of Hume's own early career in connection with that of his elder brother, to whom, along with the Earl of Home, it is dedicated. It is a curious and ingenious eulogy. It remained in manuscript till 1839, when it was printed by the Abbotsford Club. A more imposing family history is Hume's ‘History of the House and Race of Douglas and Angus,’ printed at Edinburgh in 1644 by Evan Tyler, the king's printer. The title-pages of the earlier copies vary, some having no date, others being dated 1648, while others still have the title, ‘A Generall History of Scotland, together with a particular History of the Houses of Douglas and Angus.’ The confusion is due to the difficulties of Hume's daughter, Anna Hume [q.v.], in getting the work published, owing to the opposition of William Douglas, eleventh earl of Angus, who resented the use which Hume had made of some of the materials supplied him from the family archives. Hume is thought to have finished the history between 1625 and 1630, the year (it is conjectured) of his death. In the preface to the edition of T. W. and T. Ruddimans, 1743, it is pointed out that ‘the first editor’ had been very inefficient, leaving to the new editor the task of recovering the text by scrupulous examination of the author's manuscript. The work begins with Sholto Douglas, conqueror of Donald Bane, and concludes with Archibald Douglas, eighth earl of Angus (1555–1588) [q.v.], who is eulogised in a Latin ode and numerous elegiacs. Another manuscript history of the family, now at Hamilton Palace, brings the record close to the death of William Douglas, tenth earl [q.v.], in 1611, and is ascribed to that earl. The tenth earl's son, William Douglas, eleventh earl, afterwards first marquis of Douglas [q.v.], is said to have threatened its publication in order that Hume's work might be superseded, but owing to the good offices of Drummond of Hawthornden the threat came to nothing.

Hume's other prose writings of importance are his unpublished attack on Camden for his depreciatory view of Scotland, written in 1617—‘Cambdenia; id est, Examen nonnullorum a Gulielmo Cambreno in “Britannia,”’ &c.—and a work dedicated to Charles I (Paris, 1626), entitled ‘Apologia Basilica; seu Machiavelli Ingenium Examinatum, in libro quem inscripsit Princeps.’ A notice in the ‘Biographie Universelle’ likewise credits him with an attempt, suggested by James I, to reconcile Dumoulin and Tilenus on the subject of justification, and also with ‘Le contr' Assassin; ou Reponse à l'Apologie des Jesuites’ (1612), and ‘L'Assassinat du Roi; ou Maximes du Vieil de la Montagne pratiquées en la personne de défunt Henri le Grand’ (1617).

Hume wrote Latin poems when very young, and received the commendation of George Buchanan. His ‘Daphn-Amaryllis’ was produced at the age of fourteen. His ‘Lusus Poetici’ (1605) were ultimately incorporated in Arthur Johnston's ‘Deliciæ Poetarum Scotorum.’ When Prince Henry died Hume wrote a memorial tribute entitled ‘Henrici Principis Justa,’ and in 1617 he welcomed the king back to Scotland in his ‘Regi suo Gratulatio.’ As a poet Hume is fresh and vigorous, displaying intimate knowledge of the best Latin models. His Latin poems were twice issued in Paris, in 1632 and 1639 (Michel, Les Écossais en France, ii. 290), the second time with additions under the care of his son James, and with the title: ‘Davidis Humii Wedderburnensis Poemata Omnia. Accessere ad finem Unio Britannica et Prœlium ad Lipsiam soluta oratione.’ His daughter Anna and son James (fl. 1639) are separately noticed.

[Works mentioned in text, especially Introd. to the Abbotsford Club vol.; Register of the Scottish Privy Council; Irving's Scotish Poetry; Chambers's Eminent Scotsmen; Sir William Fraser's Douglas Book.]

T. B.