23 JUNE 1894, Page 14



[To THE EDITOR OF Till " SPECTATOR."] Sza,—I venture to inclose a letter from the late Master of Balliol to myself, and I think it may have considerable interest for the readers of the Spectator. From boyhood I had conceived, like multitudes of others, an enthusiastic admiration for Professor Jowett, and having written an article upon him for a provincial paper in my Oxford days, I ventured to send him a copy, together with a letter asking advice about the reading of heterodox books. I was far too modest to anticipate that the great man would condescend to take any notice of my communication, especially as I was not a member of his college, and as also sundry undergraduates had enlarged to me upon the Master's tendency to snub- his worshippers ; but at any rate I was agreeably surprised to to receive in a few days the accompanying characteristic "DEAR SIR,—I have to thank you for your kind letter and the. article which you were so good as to send me ; but will you forgive me if I tell you the truth; I have not read the latter; for I never read anything relating to myself. I believe that greater freedom of thought in religion is necessary, if religious truth is not to be lost in falsehood. I do not think it always an immediate good, for it may cause too great disturtance to our minds and separate us too much from others. Truth is always good in itself, but whether- it is good for us depends upon how far we can combine it with greater purity and disinterestedness of life and with greater practical interests. Criticism prevents the world falling into. superstition, but it does not supply any principle of action. I make these remarks generally, and not with reference to your circumstances, with which I am unacquainted. I have no doubt that you spoke of me much better than I deserved, for which. many thanks.—Believe me, dear Sir, yours truly, Oxford, January 18th, 1880. B. Jow-Err."