David Hume letter to William Roberston

Page of handwritten letter

Letter from David Hume to historian William Robertson, 1 December 1763.


Edinburgh-born David Hume's international fame was so great that he could have lived anywhere that his  sometimes controversial views were tolerated.

During the 1760s he chose to live in Paris, and those years were perhaps the happiest of his life. 

He wrote to William Robertson:

'It is probable that this place will long be my home. I feel little inclination to the factious barbarians of London.'

He describes the royal princes fawning on him at Versailles.

'I eat nothing but ambrosia, drink nothing but nectar, breathe nothing but incense, and tread on nothing but flowers'.

[NLS reference: MS.3942]

This letter featured in the David Hume display at the National Library of Scotland from 5 May to 28 June 2011.

Speak me