David Hume, the most gregarious of philosophers (he was often referred to as “Good David”), often had Benjamin Franklin as a house guest when Ben was in England. Imagine being a dinner guest one of those evenings when Hume and Franklin were discussing philosophy and Adam Smith dropped over to show off his latest chapter in “The Wealth of Nations”.
Hume also provided a refuge for the foul wretch Jean-Jacques Rousseau when he had to flee the Continent. Rousseau, true to his vile nature however, responded to Hume’s benevolence with charges that Hume was part of a conspiracy to silence him. Hume was forced to publish his correspondence to refute Rousseau’s lies and the two men’s relationship ended in bitter acrimony [at least on Rousseau’s part].
The relationship between Rousseau and Hume has always for me symbolized the differences between the cold, inhuman rationality of the French enlightenment, which ended in revolutionary terror and tyranny, and the much more humane and generous Scottish enlightenment which contributed greatly to the Anglo-American tradition of liberal tolerance. [I mean “liberal” in its classic form]