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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > September 2017 > Engines of the Enlightenment

Engines of the Enlightenment

David Hume and Adam Smith were men of astonishing intellectual ambition, says Jesse Norman

The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought

by Dennis Rasmussen (Princeton, £24.95)

The date of 4th July 1776 has other claims to fame, of course. But while Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and their fellow revolutionaries were meeting in Philadelphia to publish the Declaration of Independence and launch a new nation, across the Atlantic a private gathering of even greater intellectual distinction was in progress.

David Hume was dying. Slipping away fast; so fast indeed that in February he told his great friend Adam Smith that he had “fallen five compleat stones.” Hume had installed himself some years before in the New Town in Edinburgh, in a house big enough “to display my great Talent for Cookery, the Science to which I intend to addict the remaining Years of my Life.” Now, knowing he was near his end, he had gathered Smith and a few other friends around him for one last dinner in company.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s September issue: Emily Andrews, Andrew Brown and Tom Clark assess what the reign of King Charles might look like. Andrews profiles Charles and questions whether he will be able to keep his opinions to himself. Andrew Brown look at the coronation—the world is a very different place now from when the last one took place. Tom Clark explains the results of our poll, conducted by ICM, into people’s view on Charles taking the throne—it turns out fewer people than ever before want the heir to become our monarch. Elsewhere in the issue Nick Cohen details his battle with the bottle and shows that Britain has a problem with drink that it doesn’t want to talk about, and Toni Morrison Also in this issue: Toni Morrison on America’s stubborn race divide, Brian Klaas on how Europe should deal with Trump and Jessica Abrahams explains everything you need to know about fourth wave feminism
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