Item 52 - Letters from Henry Jackson to Leslie Stephen and Nora Sidgwick; notes by Henry Jackson and Nora Sidgwick

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Add.MS.b/71/52

Title

Letters from Henry Jackson to Leslie Stephen and Nora Sidgwick; notes by Henry Jackson and Nora Sidgwick

Date(s)

  • 1900-1904 (Creation)

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2 letters (one a copy letter); 6 gatherings of MS and typescript notes.

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(1839–1921)

Biographical history

Henry Jackson was born in 1839, the son of an eminent Sheffield surgeon of the same name. He attended Sheffield Collegiate School and Cheltenham College before entering Trinity College Cambridge in 1858. He graduated BA in 1862 as third Classic. He was elected a Fellow of Trinity in 1864 and became Assistant Tutor in 1866, Praelector in Ancient Philosophy in 1875 and Vice-Master in 1914. In 1906 he succeeded R. C. Jebb as Regius Professor of Greek. Jackson was a great reformer, both within the college and the university. Together with Henry Sidgwick and others he essentially established the Cambridge supervisory system by introducing it in the classical side at Trinity. Other disciplines and other colleges soon followed suit.

Jackson's area of study was Greek philosophy, but he did not publish greatly - editing book 5 of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and writing a series of pieces on Plato's later theory of ideas in the Journal of Philology. His greater achievement was in his lectures and his ability to train the next generation of classical scholars; his more eminent students included R. K. Gaye, Francis Cornford and R. G. Bury. He died in 1921.

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Typewritten copy of letter. Refers to 'some rough memoranda [included] about the share which Henry Sidgwick took in College and University business.' Adds that he is not writing anything 'with a view to its incorporation, solid, in [Stephen's] article', and that he is merely putting down a few facts, and that Stephen may use them how he wishes.

Memoranda including information on awards and scholarships, appointment and resignation as fellow, etc., taken from the Trinity College admissions book, the university calendar, the ' "Bursar's Minutes" '. Also contains Jackson's own recollections of Sidgwick, with reference to himself and others. Refers to Sidgwick's membership of the 'governing body' [of Trinity College], and his promotion of the abolition of tests in the University and his campaign for the repeal of all religious restrictions on the election and conditions of tenure of Fellows as then contained in the statutes.

Relates Sidgwick's' involvement in the campaign for women's education. Remarks, however, that he was not 'at first one of the active promoters' of the plan for examinations for women. States that the prime mover was F.W.H. Myers, 'inspired by Mrs Butler, and refers to a meeting held in London in December 1866 or 1867 to discuss the establishment of a private association to examine women, which Sidgwick did not attend. Claims that after the University had taken up the project and instituted the Higher Local Examination, and a demand arose for teaching in Cambridge to prepare women for it, Sidgwick 'threw himself with unexpected energy into the work of organizing lectures, and from that time forward his zeal for the cause never flagged.'

Refers to 'the abortive College statutes of 13 December 1872', in which Sidgwick had no part because he was not at the time a fellow; and to the Burn-Morgan memorial of 5 December 1872, which Sidgwick signed, and which specified 'four reforms which "would increase the educational efficiency of the University, and at the same time promote the advancement of science and learning." ' Claims that the matter was settled at his [Jackson's] rooms. States that Sidgwick was not a fellow when the existing codes of college statutes were made under the powers of the Commission of 1877-1881, but that in December 1879 and January 1880 he was 'one of a group of academic liberals who met at Trotter's rooms to discuss the Commissioners' tentative scheme of University and College legislation.' Relates that Sidgwick was nominated in 1882 by the Special Board for Moral Science to be its representative on the General Board of Studies, and that he supported the argument for the money derived from the colleges to be spent in the partial endowment of many posts, rather that in the complete endowment of a few.

Speaks of his admiration for Sidgwick during the debates on the duties of professors, and claims that, despite being a professor himself, Sidgwick took 'a large and generous view' of the work that they should be expected to do. Refers to his [Jackson's] regret at HS' departure from the General Board of Studies. Refers to Sidgwick's interest in the difficulties that the colleges faced in relation to the payment of taxes to the University, and claims that his scheme of relaxation failed 'by reason of its excessive subtlety and elaboration.' Refers to his membership of the Council of the Senate from 1890 to 1898, and states that he attended regularly, and took an active and lively part in discussion. Remarks that he seemed to him 'to have conservatized, and he had little sympathy with uneducated people.' States that he was 'a frequent, ready, and singularly effective speaker in our little parliament held in the Arts School', and adds that it would not have surprised him if he had stood for Parliament.

Refers to his fairness in regard to debates, and his impartial treatment of opposing views. Defends him against the charge that he ' "sat on the fence" ' on certain issues, and claims that he held very strongly the view that he took, but 'was apt to change his point of view.' In relation to Sidgwick's 'munificent benefactions to the University', states that he is continually grateful for the gift which brought Maitland back to the University. Concludes by saying that he does not know how to write about the years between 1862 and 1872, 'when his astonishing maturity made him potent among the younger Trinity men', and claims that during the previous summer he [Jackson] has been 'living perpetually in that time.'

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