Item 28 - Letter from J.B. Payne to Henry Sidgwick

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ADD.MS.c/95/28

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Letter from J.B. Payne to Henry Sidgwick

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  • 5–6 Feb 1865 (Creation)

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1 doc

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Reports that he received Sidgwick's note that morning. Fears that he has been in 'a fool's paradise of laziness and self-indulgence for years past.' Discusses human interaction, and expresses his happiness he feels at the sight of Sidgwick's writing. Refers to his work, and repeats that he has been 'intensely lazy and self-pleasing for years past'. Of the rest of his life he says 'everything is very nice', and declares it 'a great piece of luck' to be within reach of Sidgwick's brother [William?] and sister. Reports that he dined with them on Wednesday and Friday, and that the last time [Henry Weston?] Eve was there also. Relates that '[t]he boys came Thursday', and that he stayed in town a day longer than he intended to 'in order to spend an evening with Temple at Palgrave's.' Claims to have been very impressed by the former. Refers to his '[ ] personal influence at Rugby', and observes that he has 'an antique simplicity and directness about him'. Reports that Eve 'has brought himself to a state in which he can be perfectly unconscious and yet apparently devout the whole time.' Recounts that on week days they are about forty-five minutes in Chapel, and on Sundays about two hours, and claims that on the day of writing he took the Communion, but 'came away with a stronger conviction than ever that this pale reflection of the bloody rites of antiquity is quite out of date, and has no longer any meaning at all for a generation which is rapidly learning science and forgetting the meaning of the word sin.' Discusses his colleagues, including Fisher, Carr, Griffith, Penny, Stanwell, Spurling and Collet. Of Eve he says that '[i]t is absolutely a byword against him that he reads Miles.' Informs Sidgwick that the Modern School has been remodelled, and that he [Payne] is second Master in it, having now severed the last link that bound him to Classics. Declares that Sidgwick's brother-in-law [Edward White Benson] 'is more a ritualist' than he had thought, and that 'his whole [Wesen] reminds [him] a good deal of Kingsbury, in spite of the obvious differences.' Declares that he never believes a doctrine is dead because it ought to be, and that he agrees with Mill about the English Dictionary. Asks Sidgwick to remember him 'to the assembled brethren', and remember him in private very affectionately to Jackson. Would like the latter to write him 'a gossipy letter'. Claims to be very curious to see Jebb's article, and asks Sidgwick for another letter soon.

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