Part 13/1-2 - Letter from Henry Sidgwick to A.J. Patterson

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Add. MS c/98/13/1-2


Letter from Henry Sidgwick to A.J. Patterson


  • 9 Apr 1887 (Creation)

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1 doc

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Explains the delay in replying to Patterson's letter as being due to 'a difficulty about finding appropriate topics of Consolation - suitable to the unfortunate situation, private and public, which [his] letter depicts.' States that the prevailing idea [in England] is that there is to be no war; and 'that Russia is to have her way in Bulgaria...' Believes that Patterson's colleagues 'will be spared the necessity of going into military quarters', and reports that now 'there appear to be the first mutterings of another scare about Affghanistan [sic].' In relation to Patterson's private troubles, i.e., the small size of his class, states that at Oxford and Cambridge they 'are beginning to consider that it is rather in a Professor's favour if he only gets a small class: it is a sign that his loyalty to his subject is too strong to allow him to degrade it by popularizing it.' In relation to his other problem, i.e., the length of time his lectures take and the fact that he has been called upon to lecture on English literature, to which task he feels himself inadequate, Sidgwick charges Patterson with being 'the laziest of men', but someone who, when he makes up his mind to do some work, 'is very exacting in its thoroughness'. Asks if he would like 'an opportunity of getting out of [his] position'. Reports that in England they 'are keeping her Majesty's jubilee in a rather unjubilant frame of mind.' Refers to the state of things in Ireland in negative terms, and to Gladstone, who is 'agitating for Parnell with the reckless impetuosity of his [in every sense] green old age'. Admits to being doubtful about his brother-in-law's [A.J. Balfour] prospects in relation to coercion, the failure of which will cause his career to be a failure. Predicts that if it succeeds 'the "left wing" of the patriots are likely to dynamite him.' Asks Patterson to send some more news of himself. Tells him that Mrs Sidgwick send her kind remembrances. With envelope. (2 docs)

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