Part 40/1-2 - Letter from Henry Sidgwick to A. J. Patterson, with letter from James Bryce to Sidgwick

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ADD.MS.c/98/40/1-2

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Letter from Henry Sidgwick to A. J. Patterson, with letter from James Bryce to Sidgwick

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  • 23–24 Jul 1894 (Creation)

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2 letters with envelope.

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(1838–1900)

Biographical history

Henry Sidgwick was born in Skipton, Yorkshire in 1838, the son of the Revd William Sidgwick, headmaster of Skipton Grammar School, and Mary Crofts. He attended Rugby School, where his cousin, the future Archbishop of Canterbury, Edward White Benson was a master. Thence he entered Trinity in 1855 where he was elected to a scholarship in 1855. He gained University honours by becoming Bell Scholar in 1856 and Craven Scholar in 1857. In 1859 he was 33rd Wrangler, Senior Classic and 1st Chancellor's Medallist. He became a Fellow of Trinity in that year also.

Although Sidgwick gained a University lectureship in classics, his thoughts began to turn to philosophy, perhaps influenced by his membership of the Grote Club. At the same time he also threw himself into the cause of University and College reform, forming a powerful alliance with Henry Jackson. In the few years after the death of Whewell in 1866, the party of reform were able to achieve a number of their goals, but the religious tests on Fellowships of Trinity still remained, and Sidgwick felt duty-bound to resign his Fellowship in 1869 on grounds of conscience.

In the same year Sidgwick exchanged his lectureship in Classics for one in Moral Sciences and strove to help develop a school of philosophy in Cambridge. In 1875, Trinity appointed him Praelector in Moral and Political Philosophy and in 1885 he was elected Knightbridge Professor of Moral Philosophy and re-elected to his Trinity Fellowship. He held the chair until 1900.

Sidgwick was a strong supporter of the education of women and served at times both on the governing bodies of Newnham and Girton; his wife Eleanor (née Balfour), whom he married in 1876, was Vice-President of Newnham. He died in 1900.

Sidgwick's major publications were Methods of Ethics (1874), Principles of Political Economy (1883), and Elements of Politics (1891)

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Letter from Sidgwick to Patterson, referring to an enclosed letter [from James Bryce, see below], which will show Patterson that 'the article on Civil Marriage on Hungary is launched on its course'. Reports that he tried to have it published in the Pall Mall Gazette, but the sub-editor wrote to him 'that it was too "ancient history" for a daily newspaper.' States that on closer inspection Sidgwick perceived that 'it proclaimed a triumph of the "Liberal Party" in Hungary', from which he inferred that it was 'not really suited to a Conservative organ, and so handed it on to Bryce'. Perceives that 'a division of labour is desirable in placing [Patterson's] article before an English public', States that 'those that relate to the claims of nationalities are likely to suit a Conservative taste, but those that relate to the claims of religious denominations must be allotted to Liberal editors.' Hopes that Patterson is in better health.

Letter from Bryce to Sidgwick, stating that the Speaker will insert Patterson's article next week. Hopes that the latter's health is, 'if no better, at any rate no worse'.

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