Item 39 - Letter from William Whewell

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Letter from William Whewell


  • 7 Jan. 1833 [1834] (Creation)

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4 pp.

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WW sends HJR a document of some customary payments owed to him from Trinity College - 'its being the last of such literary essays which you will receive from me'. All WW's duties keeping accounts have been passed on to somebody else. WW is pleased 'to hear a good account of your university [HJR was Professor of Divinity at Durham University]... I wish most heartily among other novelties you would some of you discover or write a system of morals which might take the place of Paley & Locke. Sedgwick [Adam Sedgwick] tells me he has sent you his sermon; when you read it you will see that he has declared war against both Paley & Locke. This puts them in a different footing in Cambridge from that on which they have hitherto been; for though opinions to the same effect were in very general circulation in the place, they were never I think clothed with anything like an authoritative expression before. The task of writing a system of ethics is certainly not easy, for it must not only be erected on sound principles, but so framed as to bear an advantageous comparison in its logic and execution with the best of other systems, for instance, with Paley's book - which is no easy condition. I am afraid, from what your Brit. Mag. says of Wardlaw's Christian Ethics, he has not solved this problem'.

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