Item 38 - Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his mother

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Add. MS c/99/38


Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his mother


  • [mid-Sep] 1864 (Creation)

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1 doc

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[Sent from Göttingen):- Explains that he cannot go home; when his three months abroad are over he must pay a visit to [Kegan] Paul at the end of the vacation. Promises that she will see lots of him when he does go home. Reports that his progress in Arabic is slower than he had hoped. Has no doubt that Arthur will be happy. Hopes that it will not take her too long to get her new house. Imagines that she will see G[raham] D[akyns] before this letter reaches her. Refers to their exploration of the Harz region. Reports that his health is generally good.

Apart from Dakyns, has not seen any other 'friend or acquaintance', which he is generally satisfied with as he 'hate[s] to carry England about with [him] everywhere'. Declares his fondness for Göttingen, and for the simplicity of German life; imagines his mother suggesting that this is 'as a change... and to add zest to the luxuries of Cambridge', and half-agrees, but says that if forced out of England it would be only a 'half-banishment' if he had Germany to go to. Does not want this, though, as he values 'the English freedom of action as high, if not higher, than the German freedom of thought' and says that in England they have more 'real liberality' than in Germany. Excludes the 'half-educated Englishman whom the daily papers are written to suit' from this, and says he sometimes thinks that kind of man 'the most conceited idiot on the face of the earth'.

Refers to his mother's request for stamps, and informs her that the youngest Miss Benfey is a stamp-collector and has given to him thirty-seven stamps of the different German states. He would like his mother to procure and send the three different kinds of envelope stamps.

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Part transcription in Sidgwick, Arthur, and Sidgwick, E. M, 'Henry Sidgwick'. London: Macmillan, 1906, pp 115-116.

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