Page:Some aspects of the Victorian age.djvu/22

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Mansel and Mill himself spilt Dead Seas of ink.[1] Even in my undergraduate days it was almost as obsolete as the Bangorian Controversy of the reign of Queen Anne; and it is only remembered now, if it is remembered at all, for Mill's famous declaration as to the conditions under which he, the most impeccable of mankind, was prepared to go to Hell. The protagonists of the Idealistic revolt, or reaction—whichever it is to be called—T. H. Green and Edward Caird, were both nurtured at Balliol in the days of Jowett's ascendency.

Jowett was the most unselfish and devoted of College tutors, and one of the rarest mixtures ever seen of worldly and unworldly wisdom. He was also a well furnished philosopher, and had made himself familiar, in the intervals of lecturing upon and translating the masterpieces of antiquity, with the successors of Kant—Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, and the rest. In the exploration of that difficult and dimly lighted territory, where it is often not easy to see the wood for the trees or the trees for the wood, he was, among Englishmen, one of the pioneers. It was not the kind of place to provide a permanent home for his fastidious and eclectic mind, and when Green, who had followed him, came back full of enthusiasm from his quest, Jowett 'avait déjà passé par là'. Green was a man of

  1. There is a lively summary of this business in a contemporary letter of that fine and subtle thinker, Henry Sidgwick. See 'Henry Sidgwick: A Memoir' (Macmillan, 1906), pp. 129-130. Sidgwick adds: 'John Grote is going to bring out a book. Rough Thoughts on something he calls it: they are sure to be rough, and sure to be thoughts.' This was J. Grote's 'Exploratio Philosophica' (1865): a most remarkable fragment.