Hume Texts Online

Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects (1758, 1777)

prepared by Amyas Merivale and Peter Millican

Hume first published a set of Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects in 1753. It was a four-volume set containing (in this order) the Essays, Moral and Political, the first Enquiry, the second Enquiry, and the Political Discourses. In 1754 he published another edition of volume 4 (the Political Discourses), and in 1756 another edition of volume 2 (the first Enquiry). It is the next edition, in 1758, that is particularly interesting, however, since it is here that Hume renames and reorders his philosophical writings for the last time. A large single-volume set, this collection contained the Essays, Moral and Political and the Political Discourses, now renamed Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary parts 1 and 2, the first Enquiry (now called an enquiry, rather than philosophical essays), the Dissertation on the Passions, the second Enquiry, and the Natural History of Religion. Though subsequent editions of these Essays and Treatises were sometimes in two volumes, sometimes in four, the structure from this point onwards remained the same, right up to the posthumous 1777 edition, which Hume was working on until his death in 1776.

Display Options

By default, the edited version of the text is shown (see the notes on the Edited Versions). When displaying the edited text, check the “Show Changes” option to see the editorial interventions we have made. Deletions will appear with a line through them, and additions underlined; by hovering your mouse over the change, you will see a brief explanation of the edit. Our interventions are minimal, consisting mostly of changes sanctioned by Hume himself, together with corrections of just a few very obvious errors.

Alternatively, you can deselect the “Edited Version” option to see the original edition, a faithful reproduction of the copytext save for some systematic and insignificant changes intended to make the text easier to read and navigate (see the notes on the Original Editions). Note that this affects the text against which your search queries are tested as well, though the option can also be set on the Search page.

Page numbers from standard editions are shown alongside each paragraph. For paragraphs that range over more than one page, page breaks can be displayed in the text as a pipe symbol (|), by checking “Show Page Breaks”.