Item 23 - Letter from A. V. Dicey to Nora Sidgwick

Identity area

Reference code

Add. MS c/104/23


Letter from A. V. Dicey to Nora Sidgwick


  • 7 Nov. 1902 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 doc

Context area

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Discusses Henry Sidgwick's work The Development of European Polity, the proofs of which he has just finished reading; finds it more complete than he had though possible. There are many points in it that he would have liked to have discussed with Henry; for example, that he attaches far less weight to 'Seeley's speculations about the Government of England during the XVIIIth century' than Henry appears to do. Refers to Henry's thoughts about Switzerland; is certain that had he lived to complete the book he would have dealt with the issue of how 'in the Swiss cantons there never arose a tyrant....'

Now, since the substance of the book cannot be changed, he has little or nothing, as a critic, to say about it; says, however, how deeply the book impressed him with its value, and praises it as a work of historical speculation. It has been of real help to him in his attempt 'to trace the connection between Law and Opinion during the XIXth century'; gives further details, with reference to collectivism, individualism, socialism, Benthamism, despotism, the relations between Church and State, the development of constitutionalism in England and the emergence of the modern state, as well as the 'Factory Acts', the 'Tory Philanthropists', [J.S.] Mill, and [F.D.] Maurice. Is certain that there are many other people to whom the book will be helpful 'by the direction it gives to their thought and by the mode of thinking, which it encourages.'

Remarks on how sad it must be for Nora to have before her the constant feeling of how much more Henry could have done had he lived longer, but hopes that she can understand what a pleasure and comfort it is to his friends to have the book 'as such an exquisite memorial of him.' Is sending back the proofs separately. Will visit his cousin [Caroline Stephen] at 'The Porch' on Saturday 29 November, and is to spend Sunday there; asks Nora if she will be in Cambridge, as it would be a great pleasure for him if she could see him. Referring back to The Development of European Polity, remarks that he noticed that 'every now and then there were passages where the expression "on the one hand" and "on the other hand" seemed to [him] to have got a little confused', and suggests that 'two pieces from different lectures might have been joined together'. Regrets to say that his wife, who is at Tunbridge Wells, is not very well. Asks for Miss Fawcett's address in South Africa, as he wishes to send her a copy of the sixth edition of his book The Law of the Constitution, which is just coming out.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

    Script of material

      Language and script notes

      Physical characteristics and technical requirements

      Finding aids

      Allied materials area

      Existence and location of originals

      Existence and location of copies

      Related units of description

      Related descriptions

      Notes area

      Alternative identifier(s)

      Access points

      Subject access points

      Place access points

      Genre access points

      Description identifier

      Institution identifier

      Rules and/or conventions used


      Level of detail

      Dates of creation revision deletion




          Accession area