Item 55 - Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his sister Mary "Minnie" Benson

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Add. MS c/100/55


Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his sister Mary "Minnie" Benson


  • [26 Mar 1881] (Creation)

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Asks whether Arthur [Benson] is coming up to Cambridge for the Trinity Scholarship Exam, and states that he and Nora shall be delighted to take him in at Newnham College. Announces that they shall be staying up until the end of Easter week 'and can offer him a selection among about 35 eligible apartments.'

Says that she should write and congratulate him 'on the distinctions which the Learned World is conferring' on him: the University of Glasgow is to make him an L.L.D. 'about April 29th', and that Trinity College has just decided to make him an Honorary Fellow. He and Nora are well; the North Hall [at Newnham] 'is apparently prosperous'; Nora 'is rather overworked but cheerful'; and he is 'putting through the press a book on the Theory of Political Economy.'

Refers to 'the triumph of the 24th of February', and claims that he 'shall never forget the astonishment with which [he] realised that the Senate House was full of about 400 M.A.s and that...they were all going to vote on the right side [in favour of the education of women at Cambridge]' with 'the Enemy' only about thirty in number States that he does not feel elated by the proceedings, as he claims 'a natural aversion to responsibility', and does 'not underestimate the difficulties and perils of the future'.

Reports that Arthur and Charlotte [Sidgwick] have both been over that term, but separately, the latter having come with Margaret Arnold, 'who has been performing at a concert with Joachim.' Mentions that 'her young man [Hugh Frank Newall] wants a post as scientific-mathematical master in some school', and tells Minnie to suggest him if she hears of such a post. States that all was well at Oxford when they last heard news from there; that William is fairly well, and that the alarm about Nevil is over. Asks for news from Minnie, including 'the last particular of Church work. Sends his love to all. Adds that [Thomas Edward] Brown's poems Fo'c's'le Yarns are out. Suggests that she buys them, or persuades her friends to buy them.

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Part transcription in Sidgwick, Arthur, and Sidgwick, E. M, 'Henry Sidgwick'. London: Macmillan, 1906, p 351-352.

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