Item 236 - Letter from Henry Sidgwick to F.W.H. Myers

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Letter from Henry Sidgwick to F.W.H. Myers


  • 16 Jun [1872] (Creation)

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Reports that Myers' letter gave him 'a mixture of pleasure and pain'; is 'hopeful of being something positive in the Universe', but this is 'something very unsmooth and unrotund, adapted for very peculiar functions'. Complains that he feels more and more unlike his own ideal, and perhaps 'acquiesce[s] more and more in [his] own limitations'; still, his 'aspirations are the best thing' in him, and has so far 'unmixed joy in Myers's 'sympathy'.

In relation to his 'Domestic troubles' [note by Myers explains that this is a reference to his scheme for female education; 'his harem at Cambridge'], confesses that they gave him 'more amusement than anything else'. States that he regards the 'female-educational movement as being in the phase of tentatives and experiments', and thinks that they may do it 'as much good by failing in an intelligent and cheerful manner as by succeeding'. Did not intend to blame Miss C[lough]. but rather his 'own want of tact'; though the 'storm is now blown over' Miss Clough has 'real reason to complain of [him] as unsympathetic'. She saw that he was 'partly amused by it' which he thinks 'hurt her': '[t]he Scheme is her life at present, and it is so little a piece of [his].' Refers also to Miss Venn, who has been 'simply delightful' in relation to 'the Suspicion affecting [his] character'.

Announces that he goes to the seaside - probably Broadstairs - after the Cambridge Examination, for about a fortnight, after which he shall return to Cambridge. States that he shall see Myers on 12 July if possible. Inquires about 'the [S]ecretary for C.A.E.', and declares that his cousin would be delighted to go. Also asks Myers to tell his mother that he [Sidgwick] made a speech advocating her views in relation to arithmetic on their Syndicate, and that it was agreed 'to divide the paper into two parts: one of which is to be pass and the other honours'.

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Part transcription in Sidgwick, Arthur, and Sidgwick, E. M, 'Henry Sidgwick'. London: Macmillan, 1906, p 267-268.

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