Item 143 - Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his mother

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Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his mother


  • 30 Jul 1870 (Creation)

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Reports that he has got her letter, and regrets that it is not more definite. Asks her to send her next one to Post Restante Göttingen. Announces that he will be in Halle until the following Thursday. States that his studies have not been as profitable as he had hoped, due in part to lack of energy, and also to the nature of the subject of German philosophy. Has 'almost determined to return to Cambridge at the end of August', because of the war. Reports that it has been very exciting in Berlin, and that its citizens are in a state of indignation, because 'they believe utterly in the justice of their cause'. Claims that their indignation 'renders them quite blind to the French view of the case, and finds vent in needlessly coarse expressions of hatred towards Louis Napoleon and his wife.' Explains that the empress is supposed to have wanted the Prince of Hohenzollern to marry a relative of hers, and to have been infuriated by his refusing to pledge himself thereto.'

Reports that there is bad feeling in Germany against England 'for "sham neutrality".' Believes the conduct of the English government to be 'shortsightedly timid: if it be true that cartridges are openly sent to France by Birmingham firms.' States that 'there is something cowardly in Granville's extreme anxiety not to offend France, and to keep the balance of praise and blame even', and remarks that Prussia 'did not do her utmost to prevent the war which France did her utmost to provoke.' Does not see why the war should stop his mother's tour, considering Switzerland's neutral status. Allows that there might be some difficulty 'in getting by the Eastern line to Bâle', but does not suppose there will be even any difficulty in getting by Dijon to Geneva or Neuchâtel. Informs her that he has a corn under his big toe, which will affect his walking.

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Part transcription in Sidgwick, Arthur, and Sidgwick, E. M, 'Henry Sidgwick'. London: Macmillan, 1906, p 233-234.

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