Part 54 - Letter from Henry Sidgwick to E.M. Young

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Add. MS c/98/54

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Letter from Henry Sidgwick to E.M. Young

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  • 28 [Feb 1862?] (Creation)

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Reports that he only heard a week ago that Young 'had found it advisable (and also feasible) to degrade.' Claims that he was very glad to hear the news, since even if he had been able 'to go in by "making an effort" ', it would have been a very unsatisfactory [culmination] to three years work. Sympathises with him that he will have to work a year more at the old curriculum. Hopes that he is progressing. Reports that he met Cowell in London on Saturday, and he was wondering whether Young would go abroad with him.

Recounts that he found Arthur [Sidgwick] 'only just able to work' when he arrived in Cambridge on Saturday, as he had played fives, which brought on his irregular circulation. Believes that 'it is just about an even chance whether he gets the Craven or not'. Reports that they were quite surprised at having the senior after all in Trinity. Hopes that Barker will conform, and states that Jebb was in good spirits and reading hard. Recounts that [Richard Shilleto?] 'reports favourably of his freshness', but is not very strong in health.

Refers to the fact that Young was at Eton with [Smijth?] Windham, and asks if he thinks he is 'MAD, or only mad.' Declares that 'Wilson is convinced he was a lunatic', but every other Eton man Sidgwick has seen states the idea to be ludicrous.

Relates a conversation he had while dining at Merton College, Oxford. States that he thinks the speeches, especially Coleridge's 'disgraceful'. Wishes that he were at Oxford, because 'they are always having exciting controversies which keep them alive.' Relates that Jowett and his foes divide the [attention] of the common rooms with Mansel and Goldwin Smith. Reports that he has just read 'G. S.' "Rational Religion" ', which, he claims, 'seems smashing', but over-controversial. States that '[p]eople consider Mansel's chance of a bishopric as lessened.' Remarks that in his view the tutors at Oxford work harder and the men less than those at Cambridge. Asks Young whether he read W.S. Clarke's Latin Oration.

Reports that he went up to Cambridge 'to have a quiet study of Auguste Comte', with whose he has rather less sympathy than before. States that he 'tried to fancy being a Positivist and adoring Guttemberg [sic], the inventor of printing, but...found the conception impossible.' Intends to go up [to Cambridge] on Saturday. States that he thinks better of Horace than most men; discerns in his works 'a good deal of a peculiar fresh humour that [ ]', but sees that it is calculated to disgust many men, and wishes Trevelyan could know it.

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Add.MS.c.95/20: letter from Young to Henry Sidgwick, 25 Feb [1962], probably in reply to this letter.

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