Monday, July 16, 2007

Ruskin Refuses

Matt. P. Fraser, Esq.
President of the Conservative Club

Concerning the Lord Rectorship of Glasgow University

Brantwood, Coniston, Lancashire, 10th June, 1880.

My Dear Sir: I am greatly flattered by your letter, but there are two reasons why I can't stand--the first, that though I believe myself the stanchest Conservative in the British Islands, I hold some opinions, and must soon clearly utter them, concerning both lands and rents, which I fear the Conservative Club would be very far from sanctioning, and think Mr. Bright himself had been their safer choice. The second, that I am not in the least disposed myself to stand in any contest where it is possible that Mr. Bright might beat me.

Are there really no Scottish gentlemen of birth and learning from whom you could choose a Rector worthier than Mr. Bright? and better able than any Southron to rectify what might be oblique, or hold straight what wasn't yet so, in a Scottish University?

Might I ask the favor of the transmission of a copy of this letter to the Independent Club? It will save me the difficulty of repetition in other terms.--And believe me, my dear sir, always the club's and your faithful servant,

J. Ruskin

-from The Complete Works of John Ruskin (London: The Chesterfield Society, n.d.) vol. xxiii, p. 195 of Arrows of the Chase: Being a Collection of Scattered Letters.

No comments: