[William Paley, philosopher and utilitarian, creationist author of 'Natural Theology'.] Autograph Letter Signed ('W Paley') to T. Harrison, regarding Thomas Paley's living of Aldrington in Sussex; 'Mansell's being a bishop'; and Louth, Lincolnshire.

William Paley (1743-1805), philosopher and utilitarian, creationist author of 'Natural Theology' [Thomas Paley; Magdalene College, Cambridge]
Publication details: 
Temple [London]; 17 June 1801.
SKU: 21648

The subject of the present letter, Thomas Paley, was certainly related to William Paley, but they were not brothers, as Paley had none. The reason for the lack of information about Thomas Paley is his disgrace. In 1806, five years after the present letter was written, Thomas Paley, a senior fellow and tutor at Magdalene, was forbidden to reside at the college (while still retaining his stipend), being guilty of 'highly offensive and injurious conduct providing a dangerous example to juniors' in ways 'which from delicacy cannot be specified' (see Cunich, 'History of Magdalene College'). He retained the living of Aldrington in Sussex, which had only two parishioners, and a church which had fallen down. The present item is 2pp, 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged, with thin strip of paper from mount adhering to reverse of second leaf, which is addressed by Paley to 'T. Harrison Esqre. | 5. Gray's Inn Square'. Folded twice. The letter begins: 'Dear Harrison, | At the time when Thos. Paley was presented to the living of Aldrington (in Sussex, the living he has got from Mag. Coll.) he resided at Louth Lincolnshire – of which he was Curate. I understood, when I saw him in London about a month since that he had taken another curacy in the neighbourhood of Louth to which he was about to remove immediately, but I do not know the name of the latter place, nor whether he has removed to it or not. Aldrington has neither Church, house, nor parishioner, & your conclusion is according to the fact that he does not mean to reside there. | As to Mansell's being a bishop, how could such a fellow miss? | Yours truly | W Paley'. From the distinguished autograph collection of the psychiatrist Richard Alfred Hunter (1923-1981), whose collection of 7000 works relating to psychiatry is now in Cambridge University Library. Hunter and his mother Ida Macalpine had a particular interest in the illness of King George III, and their book 'George III and the Mad Business' (1969) suggested the diagnosis of porphyria popularised by Alan Bennett in his play 'The Madness of George III'.