Hume set out to bridge the gap between the learned world of the academy and the marketplace of polite society. This collection draws largely on his "Essays Moral, Political and Literary". He charts many contemporary issues, from the state of civil society to the development of political economy. From "Of Essay Writing" to "Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences", Hume embraces a wide range of social, cultural, political, demographic and historical concerns. With the scope typical of the Scottish Enlightenment, he charts the state of civil society, manners, morals and taste, and the development of political economy in the mid-18th century. These essays represent not only those areas where Hume's arguments are revealingly typical of his day, but also where he is innovative in a period already famous for its great thinkers. Stephen Copley, who with Andrew Edgar has compiled and written an introduction to this collection, is the author of "Literature and the Social Order in Eighteenth-Century Britain" and has edited Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations".