The Mary Hamilton Papers : Letter from William Napier (later 7th Lord Napier) to Mary Hamilton

Napier, William, 7th Lord

The Mary Hamilton Papers

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Letter from William Napier [later 7th Lord Napier] to Mary Hamilton, on the subject of philosophy. He thanks her for her definition of friendship but is unsure as to whether she is right in saying that it is ‘in the union of Soul & Body our Creator [who] has given the ascendancy in few cases to the former’. He believes that it is ‘ourselves that gives it to the latter’. That we are born with free will and are taught good from evil and ‘yet too often, if not always, we prefer the evils to the good as the pleasures of the body are instantaneous, those of the Soul at a distance, & not to be expected in this world’. So it is the individual who gives the ascendancy to the body. Napier continues on this subject before acknowledging that his letter is getting more serious that he had intended it to be and that if this letter got into others hands they would not believe that it was written to a young woman aged 18 and instead believe it written to ‘an old antiquarian of seventy at least’ or that he himself is very old and is in his ‘second childhood’.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Napier continues on the 7th Dragoons (see HAM/1/19/21) noting that their appearance in Hamilton’s town should furnish him with a long letter from a young lady although she may keep that part of her correspondence for her female friends. He admonishes Hamilton for sending him short letters in reply to his long ones.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dated at Canterbury.</p>

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