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Leopold (1835-1905) Prince of Hohenzollern
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Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his mother

Acknowledges receipt of the money she sent to him. Refers to his pleasant existence in Berlin, and states that he intends to go soon to Halle, then to Göttingen, and on to Heidelberg, and hopes to meet up with her in Switzerland about the middle of August. Discusses the war; believes that it might have been prevented 'if more trouble had been taken to prevent real misunderstanding on the French side'. States that, while not regarding him as a statesman, he believes in Ollivier's honesty. Does not believe that Benedetti's last request was intended as a provocation, and contends that the king of Prussia could have rejected it courteously. Claims that the 'guilt of the war rests with France', who 'claim supremacy in Europe: every other civilised nation claims only equal rights.' Hopes that the Prince of Hohenzollern 'will now retract his retraction', but thinks this unlikely. Refers to his mother's question as to 'the "good" of such a poem as [Rossetti's] "Jenny" ', and claims to not understand her meaning. Believes it to be 'a perfectly truthful delineation of common-place fact', and explains that 'the pathetic effect of the poem is intended to spring from it's [sic] fidelity to commonplace...' States that if her objection were on the grounds that the subject is too disagreeable, he would argue that the range of tragedy would be limited a good deal 'if one excluded all disagreeable subjects.' Is sorry to hear about Arthur, and asks if ' "this tyranny" throw[s] more work on the assistant masters'. With regard to his personal letters, states that there is perhaps one in a hundred of them that he would not like to be read by anyone else, because of the nature of the subject matter. Hopes that she does not mind sending them on to him.

Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his mother

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.

Letter from Mary Sidgwick to Henry Sidgwick

Encloses 'the only letter which is come' that morning [not included], and describes the printed circulars which arrived: a notice of a half-yearly general meeting of the Pro[ ]s of the Scottish Australian Investment Company, and a notice of Henry having been made a member of the London Library. Also encloses a letter from Miss Clough [not included].

Claims that they 'scarcely feel afraid now of the war which appeared to some imminent' the previous day, and states that '[a]s Prince Leopold's Papa won't let him accept the Spanish Throne surely France can find no other pretext for such wanton bloodshed.' Refers to the weather in Rugby.

Reports that she has as yet had no letter from William, and states that she doesn't think that Arthur is strong, and that Dr [George?] Burrows advises against his playing certain games, such a croquet. Remarks that he must be careful if he goes to Switzerland. Reports that Mrs Trevelyan is unable to come to Rugby due to the heat, and 'is obliged to go to the sea with Lady Trevelyan.' Adds that Mr Trevelyan is to arrive in Rugby the following Friday. States that in a fortnight's time they will 'be free'.

Believes that Arthur will leave England about 2 August, and announces that she is to go with Mrs [Anne?] and Miss [Isabella?] Thompson about 10 August, as Mr [Reginald?] Thompson 'must attend some Law Court in August'. Asks Henry to tell her as soon as he knows where he is going. Adds that she sent his two Dividends in a registered letter to Berlin.

Sidgwick, Mary (d 1879) mother of Henry Sidgwick