Item 69 - Letter from J.R. Seeley to Henry Sidgwick

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Letter from J.R. Seeley to Henry Sidgwick


  • 2 Jul [ ] (Creation)

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Claims to like Sidgwick's scheme very much. Refers to his strong views on the existing [Tripos] system. Admits that he finds himself unable conscientiously to recommend his clever pupils to go to Cambridge. Asks Sidgwick to let him see his pamphlet before he publishes it, and offers to write a short letter of approval. Explains that he does not wish to appear independently because he has no detailed plan in relation to the matter. Suggests that the Medal Examination should not be sacrificed to Verse Composition; that there should be an examination in high philology, '- in Cober, Ritschl, M[ ] etc, and examination which would require a man to know some German.' Claims that he would make the Craven turn more exclusively on Composition than it does, 'and perhaps publish a list of about a dozen names of men that had done well in the Craven Examination', which 'would be quite encouragement enough for verses - with the Camden and Medals.' Discusses the issue of morality in relation to philosophers and non-philosophers. Refers to systems of discipline, including Christianity. Remarks that 'Christ avoids all special rules...and throws the whole weight of his authority and example and that of the Church upon the one thing that is fundamental in morality, and that cannot pass away, namely Love.' States that he has discussed this at length in E[cce] H[omo], and does not understand how Sidgwick's philosopher 'emancipated from Nomos' affects him. Believes that 'the Christian is emancipated from Nomos in precisely the same way; he is not under Law but under grace; in other words he knows that there is only one Law which is to be obeyed for itself, viz. Love', and asserts that the temporary and transitory systems of which he speaks 'are very necessary...for everybody.'

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