HUME, David (1711-1776). Autograph letter signed ('David Hume') to [John Roebuck], Edinburgh, 24 December 1760; 1¼ pages, 4to (inlaid).
HUME SPEAKS SURPRISINGLY WARMLY OF CHRISTMAS. Hume has passed on Roebuck's scruples about entering into a business deal involving the transportation of coal from Kinnaird to Carron, and now communicates the arguments of the other party, Mr Cunningham, that the road in question is toll-free: 'For that Road was declard a high Way by the Justices of Peace upon Mr. Dundas's own Application', and warns Roebuck that a rival, Dundas is keen to take his place in the deal, suggesting that 'Dundas certainly proposes to make Profits by the Bargain; which he cannot do but at your expense. Cunningham begd of me to write to you again on this head ... However, I beg leave to propose my Opinion, that whatever Bargain you make with Cunningham, he or his Pupil shoud run both the Hazard & Expence of defending the Road against Dundas: for it would be hard on you to make a Purchase, which should turn out nothing to your Benefit ...'. He sends his 'Compliments to Mrs Roebuck & your brother' and wishes them all 'a good ['merry' crossed through] Christmas, and recommend it to you all, as a Christian duty to celebrate that great Festival of Redemption from Sin & Perdition, by good warm Fires, wholsome Fare, cheerful Liquor, and merry Conversation.'
John Roebuck studied medicine at Edinburgh University where 'he became intimate with Hume, Robertson and their circle' (DNB). He became interested in the application of chemical knowledge to industrial practices, giving 'a considerable stimulus to the industries of Birmingham' before opening a sulphur works with leaden chambers at Prestonpans (1749). At the beginning of 1760 he founded the great Carron iron foundery in Stirlingshire, at first using large quantities of charcoal, but rapidly introducing the much cheaper pit coal. Not in either Grieg's or Klibansky and Mossner's edition of the letters.