Item 33 - Letter from C.H. Pearson to Henry Sidgwick

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Add.MS.c/95/33

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Letter from C.H. Pearson to Henry Sidgwick

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  • 7 Sep [c 1874] (Creation)

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2 docs: letter and carte de visite photographic portrait.

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Apologises for leaving his letter so long unanswered, and explains that during the previous year he has had more than his full share of 'trouble and annoyances'; his wife's illness, his moving house to Melbourne, 'fires on the farm, and very unpleasant relations with the governing body of the University who have tried to evade their contract with [him] in every possible particular'. Discusses life in Australia. Of Melbourne he says that 'it is not equal to London, Paris, or Rome or perhaps even to Sydney.' Refers to the Australian good nature, which he presumes stems from the general prosperity of the country. Claims that the libraries are 'not as good as they should be', but that he can get any books he wants put in. Complains of the 'unparalleled dispersion of people in the suburbs'; he has to live in town to be near his work and is in 'the unfashionable quarter, close to the university', while 'friends generally live in the country at any distance from 3 miles to 10, and are not often accessible by railway.' Refers to the university students, of whom there are about one hundred and eighty. Observes that some 'young ladies' pass the Matriculation examination, 'but they have not yet presented themselves at lectures', and are still excluded from degrees. Reports that he has started a Debating Society.

Discusses local politics. Describes the Australian constitution as 'a ludicrous parody of the English; [the] House of Lords being a council of men with a property qualification chosen by electors with a property qualification, and indissoluble for 10 years, but with no real power except of obstruction. Refers to a recent discussion on the reform of the constitution, involving the Conservatives, the Ultra-Radicals, and the Liberals, during which 'the Premier fell ill, a new Ministry has been formed; and the whole question is adjourned till next year.' Hopes that the Second House will be abolished altogether soon. Refers to the other two questions being discussed: Protection and Assisted Emigration. Of the former, believes that there is no chance of getting rid of it; and in relation to the latter, would be interested to hear what Sidgwick and Fawcett think of it. Asks Sidgwick if he believes that Macmillan's Magazine would insert an article on Australia as 'a [home] for persons of moderate fortunes.' Discusses the advantages for English families who would come to live in Australia. Declares that he shall have finished his book for [Rivington] in another two months 'if all goes well'.

Complains that he gets no Cambridge news in Australia. Reads papers such as the Times, the Spectator, the Pall Mall [Gazette], 'and occasional Guardians.' Expresses regret at the death of [Crotch]. Professes to be 'very glad to read such flourishing accounts of the Ladies Lectures at Girton Hall', and expresses the desire to organise something similar in Melbourne. Asks Sidgwick to remember him to Miss Clough, and to find out when Miss [Bulley]'s School History of England is likely to appear, as Miss Thompson's text book does not seem to supply the want adequately. Asks him to remember him also to Mrs Luard, Mrs Venn, Aldis Wright 'and other friends.' With carte de visite portrait of Pearson.

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