Infomotions, Inc.Thomas Henry Huxley; A Sketch Of His Life And Work / Mitchell, P. Chalmers (Peter Chalmers), 1864-1945

Author: Mitchell, P. Chalmers (Peter Chalmers), 1864-1945
Title: Thomas Henry Huxley; A Sketch Of His Life And Work
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Title: Thomas Henry Huxley; A Sketch Of His Life And Work

Author: P. Chalmers Mitchell

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Leaders in Science










The Knickerbocker Press





The Knickerbocker Press, New York


This volume is in no sense an intimate or authorised biography of
Huxley. It is simply an outline of the external features of his life
and an account of his contributions to biology, to educational and
social problems, and to philosophy and metaphysics. In preparing it, I
have been indebted to his own Autobiography, to the obituary notice
written by Sir Michael Foster for the Royal Society of London, to a
sketch of him by Professor Howes, his successor at the Royal College
of Science, and to his published works. The latter consist of many
well-known separate volumes which are familiar to all zooelogists, and
of a vast number of memoirs and essays scattered in various scientific
and general publications. The general Essays were collected into nine
volumes, revised by himself in the later years of his life, and
published by Messrs. Macmillan. The Scientific Memoirs, thanks to the
generous enterprise of the same publishing firm, with which he was so
long associated, and to the pious labours of Sir Michael Foster and
Professor Ray Lankester, are in process of reissue in the form of four
volumes, two of which have now appeared. These will contain all his
important contributions to science, with the exception of a large
separate treatise on the _Oceanic Hydrozoa_ published by the Ray
Society in 1859. There is also announced a formal Biography, prepared
by his son, so that future admirers or students of Huxley's work will
be in an exceptionally favourable position.

LONDON, 1900.


Leaders in Science


PREFACE                                                 iii


FROM SCHOOL TO LIFE-WORK                                  1

    Birth--Parentage--School-days--Choice of Medical
    Profession--Charing Cross Hospital--End of Medical
    Studies--Admission to Naval Medical Service.


THE VOYAGE OF THE RATTLESNAKE                            13

    The Objects of the Voyage--The Route--The Naturalist and the
    Surgeon--Collecting and Dredging--Stay in Sydney--Adventures with
    the Natives--Comparison with Darwin's Voyage on the _Beagle_.


FLOATING CREATURES OF THE SEA                            30

    The Nature of Floating Life--Memoir on Medusae Accepted by the
    Royal Society--Old and New Ideas of the Animal Kingdom--What
    Huxley Discovered in Medusae--His Comparison of them with
    Vertebrate Embryos


EARLY DAYS IN LONDON                                       46

    Scientific Work as Unattached Ship-Surgeon--Introduction to
    London Scientific Society--Translating, Receiving, and
    Lecturing--Ascidians--Molluscs and the Archetype--Criticism of
    Pre-Darwinian Evolution--Appointment to Geological Survey.


CREATURES OF THE PAST                                      67

    Beginning Palaeontological Work--Fossil Amphibia and
    Reptilia--Ancestry of Birds--Ancestry of the Horse--Imperfect
    European Series Completed by Marsh's American Fossils--Meaning of
    Geological Contemporaneity--Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism
    Compared with Evolution in Geology--Age of the Earth--Intermediate
    and Linear Types.


HUXLEY AND DARWIN                                          89

    Early Ideas on Evolution--Erasmus Darwin--Lamarck--Herbert
    Spencer--Difference between Evolution and Natural
    Selection--Huxley's Preparation for Evolution--The Novelty of
    Natural Selection--The Advantage of Natural Selection as a Working
    Hypothesis--Huxley's Unchanged Position with regard to Evolution
    and Natural Selection from 1860 to 1894.


THE BATTLE FOR EVOLUTION                                  110

    Huxley's Prevision of the Battle--The Causes of the Battle--The
    _Times_ Review--Sir Richard Owen attacks Darwinism in the
    _Edinburgh Review_--Bishop Wilberforce attacks in the _Quarterly
    Review_--Huxley's Scathing Replies--The British Association
    Debates at Oxford--Huxley and Wilberforce--Resume of Huxley's
    Exact Position with Regard to Evolution and to Natural Selection.


VERTEBRATE ANATOMY                                        128

    The Theory of the Vertebrate Skull--Goethe, Oken, Cuvier, and
    Owen--Huxley Defends Goethe--His own Contributions to the
    Theory--The Classification of Birds--Huxley Treats them as
    "Extinct Animals"--Geographical Distribution--Sclater's
    Regions--Huxley's Suggestions.


MAN AND THE APES                                          144

    Objections to Zooelogical Discussion of Man's Place--Owen's
    Prudence--Huxley's Determination to Speak out--Account of his
    Treatment of _Man's Place in Nature_--Additions Made by More
    Recent Work.


SCIENCE AS A BRANCH OF EDUCATION                           167

    Science-Teaching Fifty Years Ago--Huxley's Insistence on
    Reform--Science Primers--Physiography--Elementary Physiology--_The
    Crayfish_--Manuals of Anatomy--Modern Microscopical
    Methods--Practical Work in Biological Teaching--Invention of the
    Type System--Science in Medical Education--Science and Culture.


GENERAL PROBLEMS OF EDUCATION                             188

    Establishment of Compulsory Education in England--The Religious
    Controversy--Huxley Advocates the Bible without Theology--His
    Compromise on the "Cowper-Temple" Clause--Influence of the New
    Criticism--Science and Art Instruction--Training of
    Teachers--University Education--The Baltimore Address--Technical
    Education--So-called "Applied Science"--National Systems of
    Education as "Capacity-Catchers."


CITIZEN, ORATOR, AND ESSAYIST                             204

    Huxley's Activity in Public Affairs--Official in Scientific
    Societies--Royal Commissions--Vivisection--Characteristics of his
    Public Speaking--His Method of Exposition--His
    Essays--Vocabulary--Phrase-Making--His Style Essentially One of


THE OPPONENT OF MATERIALISM                               218

    Science and Metaphysics--Berkeley, Hume, and Hobbes--Existence of
    Matter and Mind--Descartes's Contribution--Materialism and
    Idealism--Criticism of Materialism--Berkeley's Idealism--Criticism
    of Idealism--Empirical Idealism--Materialism as opposed to
    Supernaturalism--Mind and Brain--Origin of Life--Teleology,
    Chance, and the Argument from Design.


FREEDOM OF THOUGHT                                        232

    Authority and Knowledge in Science--The Duty of Doubt--Authority
    and Individual Judgment in Religion--The Protestant Position--Sir
    Charles Lyell and the Deluge--Infallibility--The Church and
    Science--Morality and Dogma--Civil and Religious
    Liberty--Agnosticism and Clericalism--Meaning of
    Agnosticism--Knowledge and Evidence--The Method of Agnosticism.


THE BIBLE AND MIRACLES                                    245

    Why Huxley Came to Write about the Bible--A _Magna Charta_ of the
    Poor--The Theological Use of the Bible--The Doctrine of Biblical
    Infallibility--The Bible and Science--The Three Hypotheses of the
    Earth's History--Changes in the Past Proved--The Creation
    Hypothesis--Gladstone on Genesis--Genesis not a Record of
    Fact--The Hypothesis of Evolution--The New Testament--Theory of
    Inspiration--Reliance on the Miraculous--The Continuity of Nature
    no _a priori_ Argument against Miracles---Possibilities and
    Impossibilities--Miracles a Question of Evidence--Praise of the


ETHICS OF THE COSMOS                                      261

    Conduct and Metaphysics--Conventional and Critical Minds--Good
    and Evil--Huxley's Last Appearance at Oxford--The Ethical Process
    and the Cosmic Process--Man's Intervention--The Cosmic Process
    Evil--Ancient Reconciliations--Modern Acceptance of the
    Difficulties--Criticism of Huxley's Pessimism--Man and his Ethical
    Aspirations Part of the Cosmos.


CLOSING DAYS AND SUMMARY                                  275

    Huxley's Life in London--Decennial
    Periods--Ill-health--Retirement to Eastbourne--Death--Personal
    Appearance--Methods of Work--Personal Characteristics--An Inspirer
    of Others--His Influence in Science--A Naturalist by Vocation--His

INDEX                                                     287


THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY--_From a photograph by
  London Stereoscopic Company                    Frontispiece_

THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY, 1857--_Reproduced by
  permission from "Natural Science," vol. vii.,
  No. 42_                                               64

SIR JOSEPH DALTON HOOKER--_From a photograph
  by Elliott and Fry, London_                           98

CHARLES DARWIN--_From the painting by Hon.
  John Collier in the National Portrait Gallery_       146

SIR CHARLES LYELL--_From a photograph by London
  Stereoscopic Company_                                236

  by permission from "Natural
  Science," vol. vii., No. 46._                        276


This list is offered, not as a bibliography in the technical sense,
but as an indication of the sources in which the vast majority of
Huxley's scientific and general work may be consulted most

_The Scientific Memoirs of Thomas Henry Huxley_. Edited by Professor
Sir Michael Foster and Professor E. Ray Lankester; in four volumes.
London, Macmillan & Co.; New York, D. Appleton.

     This magnificent collection is intended to contain all Huxley's
     original scientific papers, brought together from the multitude
     of scientific periodicals in which they appeared, with
     reproductions of the original illustrations. The only exception
     is the monograph on _Oceanic Hydrozoa_. The first volume appeared
     in 1898; the second in 1899, and the others are to follow

_Collected Essays by T.H. Huxley_; nine volumes of the Eversley
Series. Macmillan & Co. London, 1893-95.

     This set, edited by Huxley himself, contains the more important
     of his more general contributions to science and his literary,
     philosophical, and political and critical essays. Each volume has
     a preface specially written, and the first volume contains his

_The Oceanic Hydrozoa_; a description of the Calycophoridae and
Physophoridae observed during the Voyage of H.M.S. _Rattlesnake_ in the
years 1846-50, with a general introduction. Ray Society. London, 1859.

_Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature_. Williams & Norgate. London,

_On our Knowledge of the Causes of Organic Phenomena_; being Six
Lectures to Working Men. Hardwicke. London, 1863.

_Lectures on the Elements of Comparative Anatomy_. On the
Classification of Animals and the Vertebrate Skull. Churchill & Sons.
London, 1864.

_An Elementary Atlas of Comparative Osteology_. In twelve plates.
Williams & Norgate. London, 1864.

_Lessons in Elementary Physiology_. Macmillan & Co. London, 1866.

_An Introduction to the Classification of Animals_. Churchill. London,

_A Manual of the Anatomy of Vertebrated Animals_. Churchill. London,

_A Course of Practical Instruction in Elementary Biology_, assisted by
H.N. Martin. Macmillan. London, 1875.

_A Manual of the Anatomy of Invertebrated Animals_. Churchill. London,

_Lay Sermons, Essays, and Reviews_. Macmillan. London, 1877.

_American Addresses, with a Lecture on the Study of Biology_.
Macmillan. London, 1877.

_Physiography, an Introduction to the Study of Zooelogy_. International
Scientific Series. Kegan Paul. London, 1880.

_Introductory Primer_. Science Primers. Macmillan. London, 1880.

_The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin_. Edited by his son, Francis
Darwin. Volume II., with Chapter V. by Professor Huxley on the
Reception of the _Origin of Species_. John Murray. London, 1887.

_Life of Richard Owen_. By his grandson. With an Essay on Owen's
Position in Anatomical Science, by T.H. Huxley. John Murray. London,




     Birth--Parentage--School-days--Choice of Medical
     Profession--Charing Cross Hospital--End of Medical
     Studies--Admission to Naval Medical Service.

Some men are born to greatness: even before their arrival in the world
their future is marked out for them. All the advantages that wealth
and the experience of friends can bring attend their growth to
manhood, and their success almost loses its interest because of the
ease with which it is attained. Few of the leaders of science were in
such a position: many of them, such as Priestley, Davy, Faraday, John
Hunter, and Linnaeus were of humble parentage, and received the poorest
education: most of them, like Huxley himself, have come from parents
who were able to do little more for their children than set them out
into life along the ordinary educational avenues. In Huxley's boyhood
at least a comfortable income was necessary for this: in every
civilised country nowadays, state endowments, or private endowments,
are ready to help every capable boy, as far as Huxley was helped, and
in his progress from boyhood to supreme distinction, there is nothing
that cannot be emulated by every boy at school to-day. The minds of
human beings when they are born into the world are as naked as their
bodies; it matters not if parents, grandparents, and remoter ancestors
were unlettered or had the wisdom of all the ages, the new mind has to
build up its own wisdom from the beginning. We cannot even say with
certainty that children inherit mental aptitudes and capacities from
their parents; for as tall sons may come from short parents or
beautiful daughters from ugly parents, so we may find in the
capacities of the parents no traces of the future greatness of their
children. None the less it is interesting to learn what we can about
the parents of great men; and Huxley tells us that he thinks himself
to have inherited many characters of his body and mind from his

Thomas Henry Huxley was born on the 4th of May, 1825, at Ealing, then
a little country village, now united to London as a great suburb. He
was the seventh child of George Huxley, who was second master at the
school of Dr. Nicholson at Ealing. In these days private schools of
varying character were very numerous in England, and this
establishment seems to have been of high-class character, for Cardinal
Newman and many other distinguished men received part of their
education there. His mother, whose maiden name was Rachel Withers,
was, he tells us himself:[A]

     "A slender brunette of an emotional and energetic temperament,
     and possessed of the most piercing black eyes I ever saw in a
     woman's head. With no more education than other women of the
     middle classes in her day, she had an excellent mental capacity.
     Her most distinguishing characteristic, however, was rapidity of
     thought. If one ventured to suggest she had not taken much time
     to arrive at any conclusion, she would say, 'I cannot help it.
     Things flash across me.' That peculiarity has been passed on to
     me in full strength: it has often stood me in good stead: it has
     sometimes played me sad tricks, and it has always been a danger.
     But, after all, if my time were to come over again there is
     nothing I would less willingly part with than my inheritance of
     'mother wit.'"

From his father he thinks that he inherited little except an inborn
capacity for drawing, "a hot temper, and that amount of tenacity of
purpose which unfriendly observers sometimes call obstinacy." As it
happened, this natural gift for drawing proved of the greatest service
to him throughout his career. It is imperative that every investigator
of the anatomy of plants and animals should be able to sketch his
observations, and there is no greater aid to seeing things as they are
than the continuous attempt to reproduce them by pencil or brush.

Huxley was christened Thomas Henry, and he was unaware why these names
were chosen, but he humorously records the curious chance that his
parents should have chosen for him the "name of that particular
apostle with whom he had always felt most sympathy."

Of his childhood little is recorded. He remembers being vain of his
curls, and his mother's expressed regret that he soon lost the beauty
of early childhood. He attended for some time the school at Ealing
with which his father was associated, but he has little to say for the
training he received there. He writes:

     "My regular school training was of the briefest, perhaps
     fortunately: for, though my way of life has made me acquainted
     with all sorts and conditions of men, from the highest to the
     lowest, I deliberately affirm that the society I fell into at
     school was the worst I have ever known. We boys were average lads
     with much the same inherent capacity for good and evil as any
     others; but the people who were set over us cared about as much
     for our intellectual and moral welfare as if they were
     baby-farmers. We were left to the operation of the struggle for
     existence among ourselves, and bullying was the least of the ill
     practices current among us. Almost the only cheerful reminiscence
     in connection with the place which arises in my mind is that of a
     battle which I had with one of my class-mates, who had bullied me
     until I could stand it no longer. I was a very slight lad, but
     there was a wild-cat element in me which, when roused, made up
     for my lack of weight, and I licked my adversary effectually.
     However, one of my first experiences of the extremely rough and
     ready nature of justice, as exhibited by the course of things in
     general, arose out of the fact that _I_--the victor--had a black
     eye, while he--the vanquished--had none, so that I got into
     disgrace and he did not. One of the greatest shocks I ever
     received in my life was to be told, a dozen years afterwards by
     the groom who brought me my horse in a stable-yard in Sydney,
     that he was my quondam antagonist. He had a long story of family
     misfortune to account for his position--but at that time it was
     necessary to deal very cautiously with mysterious strangers in
     New South Wales, and on enquiry I found that the unfortunate
     young man had not only been 'sent out,' but had undergone more
     than one colonial conviction."

Huxley was soon removed from school and continued his own education
for several years, by reading of the most desultory sort. His special
inclinations were towards mechanical problems, and had he been able to
follow his own wishes there is little doubt but that he would have
entered on the profession of an engineer. It is probable that there
was a great deal more in his wishes than the familiar inclination of a
clever boy to engineering. All through the pursuit of anatomy, which
was the chief business of his life, it was the structure of animals,
the different modifications of great ground-plans which they
presented, that interested him. But the opportunity for engineering
did not present itself, and at an exceedingly early age he began to
study medicine. Two brothers-in-law were doctors, and this accidental
fact probably determined his choice. In these days the study of
medicine did not begin as now with a general and scientific education,
but the young medical student was apprenticed to a doctor engaged in
practice. He was supposed to learn the compounding of drugs in the
dispensary attached to the doctor's consulting-room; to be taught the
dressing of wounds and the superficial details of the medical craft
while he pursued his studies in anatomy under the direction of the
doctor. Huxley's master was his brother-in-law, Dr. Salt, a London
practitioner, and he began his work when only twelve or thirteen years
of age. In this system everything depended upon the superior; under
the careful guidance of a conscientious and able man it was possible
for an apt pupil to learn a great deal of science and to become an
expert in the treatment of disease. Huxley, however, had only a short
experience of this kind of training. He was taken by some senior
student friends to a post-mortem examination, and although then, as
all through his life, he was most sensitive to the disagreeable side
of anatomical pursuits, on this occasion he gratified his curiosity
too ardently. He did not cut himself, but in some way poisonous matter
from the body affected him, and he fell into so bad a state of health
that he had to be sent into the country to recruit. He lived for some
time at a farmhouse in Warwickshire with friends of his father and
slowly recovered health. From that time, however, all through his
life, he suffered periodically from prostrating dyspepsia. After some
months devoted to promiscuous reading he resumed his work under his
brother-in-law in London. He confesses that he was far from a model

     "I worked extremely hard when it pleased me, and when it did
     not,--which was a frequent case,--I was extremely idle (unless
     making caricatures of one's pastors and masters is to be called a
     branch of industry), or else wasted my energies in wrong
     directions. I read everything I could lay hands upon, including
     novels, and took up all sorts of pursuits to drop them again
     quite speedily."

It is almost certain, however, that Huxley underestimated the value of
this time. He stored his mind with both literature and science, and
laid the foundation of the extremely varied intellectual interests
which afterwards proved to him of so much value. It is certain, also,
that during this time he acquired a fair knowledge of French and
German. It would be difficult to exaggerate the value to him of this
addition to his weapons for attacking knowledge. To do the best work
in any scientific pursuit it is necessary to freshen one's own mind by
contact with the ideas and results of other workers. As these workers
are scattered over different countries it is necessary to transcend
the confusion of Babel and read what they write in their own tongues.
When Huxley was young, the great reputation of Cuvier overshadowed
English anatomy, and English anatomists did little more than seek in
nature what Cuvier had taught them to find. In Germany other men and
other ideas were to be found. Johannes Mueller and Von Baer were
attacking the problems of nature in a spirit that was entirely
different, and Huxley, by combining what he was taught in England with
what he learned from German methods, came to his own investigations
with a wider mind. But his conquest of French and German brought with
it advantages in addition to these technical gains. There is no reason
to believe that he troubled himself with grammatical details and with
the study of these languages as subjects in themselves. He acquired
them simply to discover the new ideas concealed in them, and he by no
means confined himself to the reading of foreign books on the subjects
of his own studies. He read French and German poetry, literature, and
philosophy, and so came to have a knowledge of the ideas of those
outside his own race on all the great problems that interest mankind.
A good deal has been written as to the narrowing tendency of
scientific pursuits, but with Huxley, as with all the scientific men
the present writer has known, the mechanical necessity of learning to
read other languages has brought with it that wide intellectual
sympathy which is the beginning of all culture and which is not
infrequently missed by those who have devoted themselves to many
grammars and a single literature. The old proverb, "Whatever is worth
doing is worth doing well," has only value when "well" is properly
interpreted. Although the science of language is as great as any
science, it is not the science of language, but the practical
interpretation of it, that is of value to most people, and there is
much to be said for the method of anatomists like Huxley, who passed
lightly over grammatical _minutiae_ and went straight with a dictionary
to the reading of each new tongue.

After a short period of apprenticeship, or sometimes during the
course of it, the young medical students "walked" a hospital. This
consisted in attending the demonstrations of the physicians and
surgeons in the wards of the hospital and in pursuing anatomical,
chemical, and physiological study in the medical school attached to
the hospital. A large fee was charged for the complete course, but at
many of the hospitals there were entrance scholarships which relieved
those who gained them of all cost. In 1842 Huxley and his elder
brother, James, applied for such free scholarships at Charing Cross
Hospital. There is no record in the books of the hospital as to what
persons supported the application. The entry in the minutes for
September 6, 1842, states that

     "Applications from the following gentlemen (including the two
     sons of Mr. George Huxley, late senior assistant master in Ealing
     School), were laid before the meeting, and their testimonials
     being approved of, it was decided that those gentlemen should be
     admitted as free scholars, if their classical attainments should
     be found upon examination to be satisfactory."

It appears that the two Huxleys were able to satisfy the probably
unexacting demands of the classical examiners, for they began their
hospital work in October of the same year.

Those who know the magnificent laboratories and lecture-rooms which
have grown up in connection with the larger London hospitals must have
difficulty in realising the humble arrangements for teaching students
in the early forties. What endowments there were--and Charing Cross
was never a richly endowed hospital--were devoted entirely to the
hospital as opposed to the teaching school. There were no separate
buildings for anatomy, physiology, and so forth. At Charing Cross the
dissecting-room was in a cellar under the hospital, and subjects like
chemistry, botany, physiology, and so forth were crowded into
inconvenient side rooms. The teachers were not specialists, devoting
their whole attention to particular branches of science, but were
doctors engaged in practice, who, in addition to their private duties
and their work at the hospital, each undertook to lecture upon a
special scientific subject. Huxley came specially under the influence
of Mr. Wharton Jones, who had begun to teach physiology at the
hospital a year before. Mr. Jones throughout his life was engaged in
professional work, his specialty being ophthalmic surgery, but he was
a devoted student of anatomy and physiology, and made several
classical contributions to scientific knowledge, his best-known
discoveries relating to blood corpuscles and to the nature of the
mammalian egg-cell. But perhaps his greatest claim to fame is that it
was he who first imbued Huxley with a love for anatomical science and
with a knowledge of the methods of investigation. At the end of his
first session, in 1843, Huxley received the first prize in the senior
physiology class, while his brother got a "good conduct" prize. Of
Wharton Jones Huxley writes:

     "The extent and precision of his knowledge impressed me greatly,
     and the severe exactness of his method of lecturing was quite to
     my taste. I do not know that I have ever felt so much respect for
     anybody as a teacher before or since. I worked hard to obtain his
     approbation, and he was extremely kind and helpful to the
     youngster who, I am afraid, took up more of his time than he had
     any right to do. It was he who suggested the publication of my
     first scientific paper--a very little one--in the _Medical
     Gazette_ of 1845, and most kindly corrected the literary faults
     which abounded in it short as it was. For at that time, and for
     many years afterwards, I detested the trouble of writing and
     would take no pains over it."

This little paper, although Huxley deprecates it, was remarkable as
the work of so young an investigator. In it he demonstrated the
existence of a hitherto unrecognised layer in the inner root-sheath of
hairs, a layer that has been known since as Huxley's layer.

There is no record in the minutes of the hospital school that Huxley
gained any other school prizes. His name reappears only in formal
applications at the beginning of each session for the renewal of his
free scholarship. In this respect he is in marked contrast to his
fellow-student, afterwards Sir Joseph Fayrer, who appears to have
taken almost every prize open to him. On the other hand, his
attainments in anatomy and physiology brought him distinction in a
wider field than the hospital school, for he obtained, in the
"honours" division of the first examination for the degree of Bachelor
of Medicine at the University of London, the second place with a
medal. And it is certain that he was far from neglecting his strictly
professional work, although, no doubt, he devoted much time to reading
and research in pure science, for in the winter of 1845-46, having
completed his course at the hospital, he was prepared to offer himself
at the examination for the membership of the Royal College of
Surgeons; but, being as yet under twenty-one years of age, could not
be admitted as a candidate.

It was now time for Huxley definitely to enter on his profession. He
would have preferred to continue his investigations in London and to
wait for the chance of a teaching post in physiology, but it was
necessary to earn a living. One of those whom he consulted was his
fellow-student, Joseph Fayrer, who, hailing from Bermuda, knew
something of those who go down to the sea in ships. He advised Huxley
to write to Sir William Burnett, at that time Director-General for the
medical service of the navy, for an appointment.

     "I thought this rather a strong thing to do," says Huxley in his
     autobiography, "as Sir William was personally unknown to me; but
     my cheery friend would not listen to my scruples, so I went to my
     lodgings and wrote the best letter I could devise. A few days
     afterwards I received the usual official circular of
     acknowledgement, but at the bottom was written an instruction to
     call at Somerset House on such a day. I thought that looked like
     business, so, at the appointed time I called and sent in my card,
     while I waited in Sir William's ante-room. He was a tall,
     shrewd-looking old gentleman, with a broad Scotch accent--and I
     think I see him now as he entered with my card in his hand. The
     first thing he did was to return it with the frugal reminder that
     I should probably find it useful on some other occasion. The
     second was to ask whether I was an Irishman. I suppose the air of
     modesty about my appeal must have struck him. I satisfied the
     Director-General that I was English to the backbone, and he made
     some enquiries as to my student career, finally desiring me to
     hold myself ready for examination. Having passed this, I was in
     Her Majesty's service, and entered on the books of Nelson's old
     ship, the _Victory_, for duty at Haslar Hospital, about a couple
     of months after I made my application."

About the same time he passed the examination of the Royal College of
Surgeons and so became a fully qualified medical man. Haslar Hospital
was the chief naval hospital to which invalided sailors were sent.
There was a considerable staff of young surgeons, as navy surgeons
were usually sent for a term to work in the hospital before being
gazetted to a ship in commission. In connection with the hospital,
there was a museum of natural history containing a collection of
considerable importance slowly gathered from the gifts of sailors and
officers. The museum curator was an enthusiastic naturalist, and
Huxley must have had the opportunity of extending his knowledge of at
least the external characters of many forms of life hitherto unknown
to him. A few years later, the curator of the museum, with the help of
two of Huxley's successors, published a _Manual of Natural History for
the Use of Travellers_, and it is certain that Huxley at least did not
lose at Haslar any of the enthusiasm for zooelogy with which he had
been inspired at the Charing Cross Hospital. The chief of the hospital
was Sir John Richardson, an excellent naturalist, and well known as an
arctic explorer. He seems to have recognised the peculiar ability of
his young assistant, and although he was a silent, reserved man, who
seldom encouraged his assistants by talking to them, he made several
attempts to obtain a suitable post for Huxley. Such a post was that of
surgeon to H.M.S. _Rattlesnake_, then about to start under the command
of Captain Owen Stanley for surveying work in the Torres Straits.
Captain Stanley had expressed a wish for a surgeon who knew something
of science, and, on the recommendation of Sir John Richardson,
obtained the post for Huxley. There was, however, to be a special
naturalist attached to the expedition, but Huxley had the opportunity
he wanted. After a brief stay of seven months at the Haslar Hospital
he left it for his ship, and thus definitely entered on his work in
the world.


[Footnote A: This and many other details in this chapter are taken
from an autobiographical sketch in the first volume of Huxley's
collected essays published by Macmillan, London, 1894.]



     The Objects of the Voyage--The Route--The Naturalist and the
     Surgeon--Collecting and Dredging--Stay in Sydney--Adventures with
     the Natives--Comparison with Darwin's Voyage on the _Beagle_.

Her Majesty's ship the _Rattlesnake_, one of the old class of 28-gun
ships, sailed from Plymouth for the Torres Straits and the Australian
seas on December 12, 1846. Her commander was Captain Owen Stanley, a
young but distinguished officer, the son of the Bishop of Norwich and
a brother of Dean Stanley, who afterwards played so great a part in
the social and religious history of England. She carried a complement
of 180 officers and men, and was attended by the _Bramble_ and the
_Castlereagh_, two small vessels of light draught, whose purpose was
to precede her in shallow waters. The young colonies of Australia were
developing commerce with the mother country, and the business of the
_Rattlesnake_ was to survey the waters round about the Torres Straits,
that the passage towards India on the homeward trip might be made
safer. Incidentally the vessel was to land a treasure of L50,000 at
the Cape of Good Hope, and another of L15,000 at the Mauritius. The
Admiralty Commissioners left full powers to Captain Stanley to carry
out the details of his mission according to his own judgment, but he
was solemnly warned upon two points. Many very unfortunate casualties
had occurred when sailors came in contact with the little-known
savages of the southern seas, and the Admiralty instructed him as

     "In stretching off from the Barrier Reefs to the eastward, in
     order to explore the safety of the sea intervening between them
     and Louisiade and New Guinea, you will have occasion to approach
     these shores, in which case you must constantly be on your guard
     against the treacherous disposition of their inhabitants. All
     barter for refreshments must be conducted under the eye of an
     officer, and every pains be taken to avoid giving any just cause
     of offence to their prejudices, especially with respect to their

The second warning concerned grave international matters. European
politics were in the unsettled condition which, after the illusive
international courtesies of the Great Exhibition of 1851, ended in the
Crimean War, and it was feared that in the event of hostilities
breaking out, the zeal of the officers for their country might tempt
them to transcend their peaceful occupation. The instructions with
regard to this ran as follows:

     "In the event of this country being involved in hostilities
     during your absence, you will take care never to be surprised;
     but you are to refrain from any act of aggression towards the
     vessels or settlements of any nation with which we may be at war,
     as expeditions employed on behalf of discovery and science have
     always been considered by all civilised communities as acting
     under a general safeguard."

The great scientific expeditions sent out in recent times by the
governments of Britain, Germany, and the United States, were fitted
with every convenience for the staff of naturalists, and the luxuries
and comforts of civilisation attended them round the world. The late
Professor Mosely, for instance, who was a naturalist on the English
_Challenger_ expedition, told the present writer of a pleasant way in
which a peculiarity of the deep sea was made to pay toll to the
comfort of those on board ship. The great ocean depths all over the
world, under the burning skies of the tropics, or below the arctic
ice-fields, are extremely cold, the water at the bottom always being
only a few degrees above freezing point. When the dredge brought up a
sample of the abysmal mud at a convenient time, it was used to ice the
wine for the officers' mess. There was, however, no cooled champagne
for Huxley.

     "Life on board Her Majesty's ships in those days," he writes,
     "was a very different affair from what it is now, and ours was
     exceptionally rough, as we were often many months without
     receiving letters or seeing any civilised people but ourselves.
     In exchange, we had the interest of being about the latest
     voyagers, I suppose, to whom it could be possible to meet with
     people who knew nothing of fire-arms--as we did on the south
     coast of New Guinea--and of making acquaintances with a variety
     of interesting savage and semi-civilised people. But apart from
     experience of this kind, and the opportunities offered for
     scientific work, to me personally the cruise was extremely
     valuable. It was good for me to live under sharp discipline; to
     be down on the realities of existence by living on bare
     necessities; to find out how extremely well worth living life
     seemed to be when one woke up from a night's rest on a soft plank
     with the sky for canopy, and cocoa and weevilly biscuit the sole
     prospect for breakfast; and more especially to learn to work for
     the sake of what I got for myself out of it, even if it all went
     to the bottom and I myself along with it. My brother officers
     were as good fellows as sailors ought to be, and generally are,
     but naturally they neither knew nor cared anything about my
     pursuits, nor understood why I should be so zealous in pursuit
     of the objects which my friends the middies christened 'Buffons,'
     after the title conspicuous on a volume of the _Suites a Buffon_
     which stood on my shelf in the chart-room."

Huxley was only the surgeon on board the _Rattlesnake_, and his
pursuit of natural history was his own affair. There was a special
naturalist appointed to the expedition, no doubt chosen because four
years earlier, as assistant to Professor Jukes, he had been attached
as naturalist to the expedition of the _Fly_ in the same waters. His
name was John MacGillivray, and he was the son of an exceedingly able
naturalist whose reputation has been overshadowed by the greater names
of the middle century. William MacGillivray, the father, sometime
professor at the University of Aberdeen, was one of those driven by an
almost instinctive desire to the study of nature. In his youth, when
he was a poor lad, desiring to see as much as possible of his native
land, and above all to visit the great museums and libraries of the
south, he walked from Aberdeen to London with no luggage but a copy of
Smith's _Flora Britannica_. He was an ardent botanist, a collector of
insects and molluscs, and one of the pioneers in the anatomy of birds.
There are many curious allusions in his writings which seem to shew
that he too was beginning to doubt the fixity of species, and to guess
at the struggle for existence and survival of the fittest which the
great Darwin was the first to make a part of the knowledge of the
world. It must be confessed that his son John, the companion of
Huxley, had little of his father's ability. He was three years older
than Huxley, and broke off his medical course at the University of
Edinburgh to sail in the _Fly_. After the return of the _Rattlesnake_,
he was appointed in 1852 as naturalist to H.M.S. _Herald_, then
starting under Captain Denham for surveying work round the shores of
South America. He left that ship at Sydney, and after many years'
wandering about the southern seas, accounts of which he communicated
from time to time to Sydney newspapers, he died in 1867. He was a
zealous collector of plants and animals, but apparently cared little
for the study of his captures, either in life, in relation to their
surroundings, like Darwin, or for the structure of their bodies, like
Huxley. The somewhat unpleasing nature of his regard for animals
appears in the following story which he himself tells:

     "While at dinner off Darnley Island near the Torres Straits, news
     was brought that Dzum was under the stern in a canoe, shouting
     out loudly for Dzoka (MacGillivray's native name), and, on going
     up I found that he had brought off the barit, which after a deal
     of trouble I struck a bargain for and obtained. It was a very
     fine specimen of Cuscus Maculatus, quite tame and kept in a large
     cage of split bamboo. Dzum seemed very unwilling to part with the
     animal, and repeatedly enjoined me to take great care of it and
     feed it well, which to please him I promised to do, although I
     valued it merely for its skin, and was resolved to kill it for
     that purpose at my first convenience."

On the other hand, MacGillivray paid great attention to native
languages, and collected vocabularies of some value. To him was
entrusted the task of writing an account of the voyage, and it is from
his rather dull pages, brightened by illustrations from Huxley's
sketches, that the incidents of the voyage are taken. The references
to Huxley in the narrative are slight, and seem to shew that no great
intimacy existed between the two young men, the one a naturalist by
profession, the other as yet a surgeon, but more devoted to natural
history than the naturalist. Such references as occur relate to
Huxley's constant occupations on shore, sketching natives and their
dwellings, and his apparatus on board for trawling, dredging, and

The voyage out was uneventful. The ship touched at Madeira and at Rio
de Janeiro, and then crossed the South Atlantic to Simon's Town at the
Cape of Good Hope, where the first quantity of treasure was to be
landed. There they found the colony distressed by the long continuance
of the Kaffir war. Prices for everything were extortionate, and the
colonists had no mind for any affairs than their own, so after a short
stay the voyagers were glad to set out for the Mauritius. That island,
although in the possession of Britain, still retained a strong impress
of its French occupation, and the travellers were interested by the
mixture of population inhabiting it.[B]

     "Passing through the closely packed lines of shipping, and
     landing as a stranger at Port Louis, perhaps the first thing to
     engage attention is the strange mixture of
     nations,--representatives, he might at first be inclined to
     imagine, of half the countries of the earth. He stares at a
     coolie from Madras with a breech-cloth and a soldier's jacket, or
     a stately bearded Moor striking a bargain with a Parsee merchant.
     A Chinaman with two bundles slung on a bamboo hurries past,
     jostling a group of young Creole exquisites smoking their
     cheroots at a corner, and talking of last night's Norma, or the
     programme of the evening's performance at the Hippodrome in the
     Champ de Mars. His eye next catches a couple of sailors reeling
     out of a grogshop, to the amusement of a group of laughing
     negresses, in white muslin dresses of the latest Parisian
     fashion, contrasting strongly with a modestly attired Cingalese
     woman, and an Indian ayah with her young charge. Amidst all this,
     the French language prevails; and everything more or less
     pertains of the French character, and an Englishman can scarcely
     believe that he is in one of the colonies of his own country."

From Mauritius they proceeded to the English-looking colony of
Tasmania, and after a few days set out for Sydney, arriving there on
July 16th. The surveying officers had tedious work to do there, and
Huxley stayed in Sydney for three months. Then, and in the course of
three other prolonged stays in that town during the expedition, Huxley
entered into the society of the town and became a general favourite.
He is still remembered there, and the accompanying illustration[C] is
a copy of an original sketch of himself, now in the possession of an
Australian lady. He drew it on the fly-leaf of a volume of Lytton's
poems and presented it on her birthday to the little daughter of a
friend. At Sydney, too, he met and gained the love of the lady, then
Miss Henrietta A. Heathorn, who afterwards became his wife.

On October 11th the _Rattlesnake_ sailed northwards to begin the real
work of the expedition. The great island of New Guinea, lying to the
north of Australia, is separated from it only by the comparatively
narrow Torres Straits. Through these lies the natural route for the
commerce between Australia and the Northern Hemisphere. The eastward
prolongation of New Guinea, and the coast of Queensland, enclose
between them a great tropical sea which gradually converges to the
Straits. The waters are very tempestuous, and the navigation is made
more dangerous by the thousands of coral islands and coral reefs that
stud the ocean. Following the shoreline of Queensland, at a distance
of from ten to one hundred and fifty miles, and stretching for twelve
hundred and fifty miles, is the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, one
of the wonders of the world. The shelving floor of the ocean rises
nearly to the surface along this line, and vast colonies of coral
building creatures have formed their reefs up to the water's edge
along the ridge. The turbulent waves scouring over this living mass
have carved and moulded it into millions of fantastic islands,
sometimes heaping detached masses of dead debris high above the
surface of the water. At low tide the most wonderful fields of the
animal flowers of the sea are exposed. Some of them form branching
systems of hard skeletons like stony trees, the soft, brightly
coloured animals dotted over the stems like buds. Others form solid
masses; others, again, rounded skull like boulders, or elevations like
toadstools. The colours of the skeletons and the animals are vivid
scarlets and purples and greens. Sea anemones, shell-fish, and
starfish of the most vivid hues are as abundant as the corals.
Brilliant fish dart through the blossoms of the marine gardens, and
sea birds scream and wheel in the air. The whole region is a paradise
for the naturalist. Along the seaward side of the reef the great ocean
surges and thunders perpetually. Between it and the shore the quiet
channel glows under the tropical skies. It was amid such scenes as
these that the _Rattlesnake_ moved for nearly four years in the slow
work of taking soundings, fixing the exact position of channels
through the outer reef by slow triangular measurements, and generally
preparing for the safety of the commerce of all nations. The ship went
first up to Port Curtis in Brisbane; then fetched back to Sydney. Its
next trip was south to the strait between Tasmania and Australia,
then back to Sydney; then again along the Barrier Reef right up to the
Torres Straits. After work there, it returned again to Sydney, and
then set out for the Louisiade Archipelago, which stretches through
the coral sea south-eastward from New Guinea; then again to the
Australian shores of the Torres Straits, and finally arrived in Sydney
in March, 1850, where the Captain suddenly died, and the ship was
ordered to return to England.

Throughout the voyage MacGillivray and Huxley busied themselves with
collecting animals on sea and on shore. MacGillivray seems to have
taken for his share of the spoil chiefly such animals as provided
shells or skins or skeletons suitable for handing over to museums.
Huxley occupied himself incessantly with dissecting tools and with the
microscope, with results to be described in a later chapter. The
better equipped expeditions of modern times were provided with
elaborate appliances for bringing up samples of living creatures from
all depths of the floor of the ocean, and with complicated towing nets
for securing the floating creatures of the surface of the seas. The
_Rattlesnake_ naturalists had to content themselves with simple
apparatus devised by themselves. At an early period of the voyage
attempts were made to take deep soundings, but no bottom was reached
at a depth of two thousand four hundred fathoms, and their later work
was confined to surface animals or to inshore dredging in shallow
waters. They began near Rio.

     "None of the ship's boats could be spared, so I [MacGillivray]
     hired one pulled by four negro slaves who, although strong,
     active fellows, had great objections to straining their backs at
     the oar, when the dredge was down. No sieve having been
     supplied, we were obliged to sift the contents of the dredge
     through our hands--a tedious and superficial mode of examination.
     Two days after, Mr. Huxley and I set to work in Botafogo Bay,
     provided with a wire-gauze meat-cover and a curious machine for
     cleaning rice; these answered capitally as substitutes for
     sieves, and enabled us, by a thorough examination of the contents
     of the dredge, to detect some forty-five species of Mollusca and
     Radiata, some of which were new to science."

By "new to science" MacGillivray meant no more than that the
particular genera and species had not been captured before. Huxley, by
his anatomical work, showed many of the most familiar creatures in a
light "new to science," by revealing their true structure and

     "Among the acquisitions," MacGillivray goes on, "I may mention a
     new species of Amphioxus, a genus of small fishes exhibiting more
     anomalies than any other known to Ichthyologists, and the lowest
     organisation found in the class. It somewhat resembles the
     sand-eels of Britain in habits, like them moving with
     extraordinary rapidity through the sand. By dint of bribery and
     ridicule we had at length managed to get our boatmen to work
     tolerably well, and when we were alike well-roasted by the sun
     and repeatedly drenched, besides being tired out and hungry, they
     had become quite submissive, and exchanged their grumbling for

The towing net repeatedly produced a rich harvest. It was constructed
by themselves, and consisted of a bag of the bunting used for flags,
two feet deep, the mouth being sewn round a wooden hoop fourteen
inches in diameter; three pieces of cord, a foot and a half long, were
secured to the hoop at equal intervals and had their ends tied
together. This net was towed behind the ship by a stout cord. The
water passed through the meshes of the cloth and left behind in the
pocket any small floating animals.

Excursions ashore to the little savage islands or to the mainland were
a source of constant interest, and it cannot be doubted that the
acquaintance Huxley thus gained with many of the very low savages of
Australia and New Guinea prepared his mind for the revolutionary
doctrine of descent which he embraced a few years later. At the
present time, there are probably very few parts of earth where there
are yet to be found savages unaltered by civilisation. Some of the low
races with which Huxley came in contact are now extinct. All the
survivors have come in contact with white races, and their habits and
customs have been altered. Before long the total extinction of these
lower races is to be expected, and there will then be left an enormous
gap between the lower animals and the dominant, aggressive, yellow and
white races which are spreading over the earth and making the lower
races perish before them, as the smaller but more cunning European rat
has exterminated the native brown rat of Australia. In their various
excursions upon the Australian mainland they had no trouble of any
kind with the natives. These were at first suspicious of the doings of
the white men, and their total ignorance of the use of firearms
tempted them to rashness; but a few friendly gifts, and the exercise
of tact in negotiating exchanges with them, made all the encounters
pass off pleasantly. On the other hand, in the Louisiade Archipelago
where the savages were of a higher type, difficulties constantly
occurred. On one occasion, in a bay on the south side of Joannet
Island the party was attacked.

     "In the grey of the morning the look-outs reported the approach
     of three canoes with about ten men in each. On two or three
     persons shewing themselves in the bow of the pinnace, in front of
     the rain awning, the natives ceased paddling, as if baulked in
     their design of surprising the large boat; but, after a short
     consultation, they came alongside in their usual noisy manner.
     After a stay of about five minutes only they pushed off to the
     galley, and some more sham bartering was attempted, but they had
     nothing to give in exchange for the wares they so much coveted.
     In a short time the rudeness and overbearing insolence of the
     natives had risen to a pitch which left no doubt of their hostile
     intentions. The anchor was got up, when some of the blacks seized
     the painter, and others, in trying to capsize the boat, brought
     the gunwale down to the water's edge, at the same time grappling
     with the men to pull them out, and dragging the galley inshore
     towards the shoal-water. The bowman, with the anchor in his hand,
     was struck on the head with a stone-headed axe. The blow was
     repeated, but fortunately took effect only on the wash-streak.
     Another of the crew was struck at with a similar weapon, but
     warded off the blow, although held fast by one arm, when, just as
     the savage was making another stroke, Lieutenant Dayman, who up
     till now had exercised the utmost forbearance, fired at him with
     a musket. The man did not drop, although wounded in the thigh.
     But even this, unquestionably their first experience of firearms,
     did not intimidate the natives, one of whom, standing on a block
     of coral, threw a spear which passed across the breast of one of
     the boat's crew and lodged in the bend of one arm, opening a
     vein. They raised a loud shout when the spear was seen to take
     effect, and threw several others which missed. Lieutenant
     Simpson, who had been watching what was going on, then fired from
     the pinnace with buckshot and struck them, when, finding that the
     large boat, though at anchor, could assist the smaller one, the
     canoes were paddled inshore in great haste and confusion. Some
     more musket shots were fired, and the galley went in chase
     endeavouring to turn the canoes, so as to bring them under fire
     of the pinnace's twelve-pounder howitzer, which was speedily
     mounted and fired. The shot either struck one of the canoes or
     went within a few inches of the mark, on which the natives
     instantly jumped overboard into the shallow water, making for the
     mangroves, which they succeeded in reaching, dragging their
     canoes with them. Two rounds of grape-shot crashing through the
     branches dispersed the party, but afterwards they moved two of
     the canoes out of sight. The remaining one was brought out after
     breakfast by the galley under cover of the pinnace, and was towed
     off to some distance. The paddles having been taken out and the
     spears broken and left in her, she was let go to drift down
     toward a village whence the attacking party were supposed to have
     come. Some blood in this canoe, although not the one most aimed
     at, showed that the firing had not been ineffective. This act of
     deliberate treachery was perpetrated by persons who had always
     been well treated by us, for several of the natives present were
     recognised as having been alongside the ship in Coral Haven.
     This, their first act of positive hostility, affords, I think,
     conclusive evidence of the savage disposition of the natives of
     this part of the Louisiade Archipelago when incited by the hope
     of plunder, and shews that no confidence should ever be reposed
     in them, unless, perhaps in the presence of a numerically
     superior force, or in the close vicinity of a ship. At the same
     time, the boldness of these savages in attacking, with thirty men
     in three canoes, two boats known to contain at least twenty
     persons--even in the hopes of taking them by surprise--and in not
     being at once driven off upon feeling the novel and deadly
     effects of firearms, shews no little amount of bravery."

On their last visit to Cape York, in the extreme north of Australia,
the party had the remarkable experience of rescuing a white woman from
captivity among the natives.

     "In the afternoon some of our people on shore were surprised to
     see a young white woman come up to claim their protection from a
     party of natives from whom she had recently made her escape, and
     who she thought would otherwise bring her back. Of course she
     received every attention, and was taken on board the ship by the
     first boat, when she told her story which is briefly as follows:
     Her name is Barbara Thomson. She was born at Aberdeen in
     Scotland, and, along with her parents, emigrated to New South
     Wales. About four years and a half ago she left Moreton Bay with
     her husband in a small cutter, called the _America_, of which he
     was the owner, for the purpose of picking up some of the oil from
     the wreck of a whaler, lost on the Bampton shoal, to which place
     one of her late crew undertook to guide them; their ultimate
     intention was to go on to Port Essington. The man who acted as
     pilot was unable to find the wreck, and after much quarreling on
     board in consequence, and the loss of two men by drowning and of
     another who was left on a small uninhabited island, they made
     their way up to the Torres Straits, where, during a gale of wind
     their vessel struck upon a reef on the eastern Prince of Wales
     Island. The two remaining men were lost in attempting to swim on
     shore through the surf, but the woman was afterwards rescued by a
     party of natives on a turtling excursion, who, when the gale
     subsided, swam on board and supported her on shore between two of
     their number. One of these blacks, Boroto by name, took
     possession of the woman as his share of the plunder; she was
     compelled to live with him, but was well treated by all the men,
     although many of the women, jealous of the attention shewn her,
     for a long time evinced anything but kindness. A curious
     circumstance secured for her the protection of one of the
     principal men of the tribe. This person, acting upon the belief,
     universal throughout Australia and the islands of the Torres
     Strait, so far as hitherto known, that white people are the
     ghosts of the aborigines, fancied that in the stranger he
     recognised a long-lost daughter, and at once admitted her into
     the relationship which he thought had formerly subsisted between
     them. She was immediately acknowledged by the whole tribe as one
     of themselves, thus securing an extensive connection in relatives
     of all denominations. The headquarters of the tribe being on an
     island which all vessels passing through the Torres Strait from
     the eastward must approach within two or three miles, she had the
     mortification of seeing from twenty to thirty or more ships go
     through every summer without anchoring in the neighbourhood, so
     as to afford the slightest opportunity of making her escape. Last
     year she heard of our two vessels being at Cape York, only twenty
     miles distant from some of the tribe who had communicated with us
     and had been well treated, but they would not take her over and
     watched her even more narrowly than before. On our second and
     present visit, however, which the Cape York people immediately
     announced by smoke signals to their friends, she was successful
     in persuading some of her more immediate friends to bring her
     across to the mainland within a short distance of where the
     vessels lay. The blacks were credulous enough to believe that as
     she had been so long with them and had been so well treated, she
     did not intend to leave them,--only 'she felt a strong desire to
     see the white people once more and shake hands with them': adding
     that she would be certain to purchase some axes, knives, tobacco,
     and other much-prized articles."

Although the external adventures of the _Rattlesnake_ party were less
varied and exciting than might have been expected in a voyage of four
years in the tropic seas and among barbarian tribes, the mental
adventures through which Huxley passed in the time must have been of
the most surprising kind. It was a four-years' course in the great
university of nature, and when he had finished it he was no longer a
mere student, capricious and unsettled in his mental tastes and
inclinations, but had set his face steadily towards his future
life-work. It is interesting to compare the importance in Huxley's
life of the _Rattlesnake_ voyage with the importance in Darwin's life
of the voyage on the _Beagle_ undertaken some fifteen years earlier.
Huxley, when he started, was a young surgeon with a taste of a vague
kind for dissecting and for drawing the peculiarities of structure of
different animals revealed by the knife and the microscope. Day after
day, month after month, year after year, in the abundant leisure his
slight professional duties left him, he dissected and drew, dissected
and drew, animal after animal, as he got them from the dredge or
tow-net, or from the surface of the coral reefs. He was not in any
sense of the word a collecting naturalist. The identification and
naming of species interested him little. What he cared for was, he
tells us, "the architectural and engineering part of the business: the
working out of the wonderful unity of plan in the thousands and
thousands of divers living constructions, and the modifications of
similar apparatuses to serve different ends." And so, on the
_Rattlesnake_, and in his work in continuation of the _Rattlesnake_
investigations,--which occupied most of his time for a few years after
his return to London,--there was gradually growing up in his mind a
dim conception of the animal kingdom as a group of creatures, not
built on half a dozen or more separate plans or types, each
unconnected with the other, but as a varied set of modifications of a
single type.

When Darwin set out on the _Beagle_, unlike Huxley, he was an
enthusiastic collecting naturalist. He had wandered from county to
county in England adding new specimens to his collections of
butterflies and beetles. As the _Beagle_ went round the world visiting
remote islands, far from land in the centre of the waters,
archipelagoes of islands crowding together, islands hugging the shore
of continents, and the great continents of the old and new worlds, he
continued to collect and to classify. Gradually the resemblances and
differences between the creatures inhabiting different parts of the
earth began to strike him as exhibiting an orderly plan. He saw that
under apparently the same conditions of food and temperature and
moisture, in different parts of the world the genera and species were
different, and that they were most alike in regions between which
there was the most recent chance of migrations having taken place. In
the quietness of England, while Huxley was on the _Rattlesnake_,
Darwin was slowly working towards the explanation of all he had seen:
towards the conception that animals and plants had spread slowly from
common centres, becoming more and more different from each other as
they spread. He realised on his voyage that species had come into
existence by descent with modification, and before long he was to
publish to the world in the _Origin of Species_ a vast and convincing
bulk of evidence as to the actual fact of a common descent for all the
different existing organisms, and, in his theory of natural selection,
a reasonable explanation of how the fact of evolution had come about.
Darwin's greatest ally in bringing the new idea before the world was
Huxley, and Huxley was teaching himself the absolute unity of the
living world. The two men were dissimilar in tastes and temperament,
and they were at work on quite different sides of nature. When the
time came, Huxley, with his commanding knowledge of the structure of
animals, was ready to support Darwin and to illustrate and amplify his
arguments by a thousand anatomical proofs. It is a curious and
dramatic coincidence to realise that both men learned their very
different lessons under very similar circumstances in the tropical
seas of the Southern Hemisphere.


[Footnote B: _Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. "Rattlesnake_," by
John MacGillivray, F.R.G.S. 2 vols. T.W. Boone, London, 1852.]

[Footnote C: This sketch was reproduced and described in _Natural
Science_, vol. vii., p. 381, and is now reproduced here by the
courtesy of the proprietors.]



     The Nature of Floating Life--Memoir on Medusae Accepted by the
     Royal Society--Old and New Ideas of the Animal Kingdom--What
     Huxley Discovered in Medusae--His Comparison of them with
     Vertebrate Embryos.

As the _Rattlesnake_ sailed through the tropical seas Huxley came in
contact with the very peculiar and interesting inhabitants of the
surface of the sea, known now to naturalists as pelagic life or
"plankton." Although a poet has spoken of the "unvintageable sea," all
parts of the ocean surface teem with life. Sometimes, as in high
latitudes, the cold is so great that only the simplest microscopic
forms are able to maintain existence. In the tropics, animals and
plants are abundant, and sometimes by their numbers colour great areas
of water; or, as in the drift of the Gulf Stream, make a tangle of
animal and plant life through which a boat travels only with
difficulty. The basis of the food supply of this vast and hungry
floating life is, as on land, vegetable life; for plants are the only
creatures capable of building up food from the gases of the air and
the simple chemical salts found dissolved in water. Occasionally, in
shallow or warm seas, marine floating plants, large and visible like
the sea-weeds of the coast, form the floating masses known as Sargasso
seas; more often the plants are minute, microscopic specks visible
only when a drop of water is placed under the microscope, but
occurring in incredible numbers, and, like the green vegetation of the
earth, forming the ultimate food-supply of all the living things
around them. Innumerable animals, great and small, live on the plants
or upon their fellows, and, however far he may be from land, the
naturalist has always abundant material got by his daily use of the
tow-net. This drifting population floats at the mercy of the waves.
Most of the animals are delicate, transparent creatures, their
transparency helping to protect them from the attacks of hungry
fellows. Nerves, muscles, skin, and the organs generally are clear,
pale, and hardly visible. Such structures as the liver, the
reproductive organs, and the stomach, which cannot easily become
transparent, are grouped together into small knots, coloured brown
like little masses of sea-weed. Other floating creatures are vividly
coloured, but the hues are bright blues and greens closely similar to
the sparkling tints of sea-water in sunlight. The different members of
this marine flotsam frequently rise and fall periodically: some of
them sinking by day to escape the light, others rising only by day;
others, again, appearing on the surface in spring, keeping deep down
in winter. Perhaps the majority of them are phosphorescent, sometimes
shining by their own light, sometimes borrowing a glory from
innumerable phosphorescent bacteria with which they are infested.
Nearly every class of the animal kingdom contributes members to this
strange population. The young forms of many fish, as for instance of
conger, flying gurnards, and some flatfish, are pelagic and have
colourless blood, and pale, transparent, gelatinous or cartilaginous
skeletons. The tadpole-like stages of the sea-squirts, which in adult
life are to be found attached to rocks like weeds, drift about in the
surface waters until their time comes for settling down in life. Many
other Ascidians pass their whole life as pelagic creatures. A few
molluscs, many kinds of worms, echinoderms, and their allies, crab and
lobster-like creatures in innumerable different stages of development,
are to be found there, while unnumbered polyps and jelly-fish are
always present. It would be difficult to imagine a better training for
the naturalist than to spend years, as Huxley did, working at this
varied assortment of living creatures. Huxley declared that the
difficulties of examining such flimsy creatures had been exaggerated.

     "At least, with a good light and a good microscope, with the ship
     tolerably steady, I never failed in procuring all the information
     I required. The great matter is to obtain a good successive
     supply of specimens, as the more delicate oceanic species are
     usually unfit for examination within a few hours after they are

Day after day, as the _Rattlesnake_ crept from island to island,
Huxley examined the animals brought up by his tow-net. He made endless
dissections, and gradually accumulated a large portfolio of drawings.
Much of the time he passed at Sydney was spent in libraries and
museums, comparing his own observations with the recorded observations
of earlier workers, and receiving from the combination of his own work
and the work of others new ideas for his future investigations. It was
all entirely a labour of love; it lay outside the professional duties
by which he made his living, and for a long time it seemed as if he
was not even to gain reputation by the discoveries he knew himself to
be making. He writes in his autobiography:

     "During the four years of our absence, I sent home communication
     after communication to the 'Linnaean' Society, with the same
     result as that obtained by Noah when he sent the raven out of his
     ark. Tired at last of hearing nothing about them, I determined to
     do or die, and in 1849 I drew up a more elaborate paper and
     forwarded it to the Royal Society. This was my dove, if I had
     only known it; but owing to the movements of the ship I heard
     nothing of that either until my return to England in the latter
     end of the year 1850, when I found that it was printed and
     published, and that a huge packet of separate copies awaited me.
     When I hear some of my young friends complain of want of sympathy
     and encouragement, I am inclined to think that my naval life was
     not the least valuable part of my education."

This first successful paper was a memoir _On the Anatomy and the
Affinities of the Family of Medusae_, and was sent at Captain Stanley's
suggestion to that officer's father, the Bishop of Norwich, who
communicated it to the Royal Society. It is a curious circumstance
that Huxley, who afterwards met with so virulent opposition from
bishops, owed his first public success to one of them. Professor Sir
Michael Foster writes of this period in Huxley's life:

     "The career of many a successful man has shewn that obstacles
     often prove the mother of endeavour, and never was this lesson
     clearer than in the case of Huxley. Working amidst a host of
     difficulties, in want of room, in want of light, seeking to
     unravel the intricacies of minute structure with a microscope
     lashed to secure steadiness, cramped within a tiny cabin, jostled
     by the tumult of a crowded ship's life, with the scantiest supply
     of books of reference, with no one at hand of whom he could take
     counsel on the problems opening up before him, he gathered for
     himself during these four years a large mass of accurate,
     important, and in most cases novel, observations and illustrated
     them with skilful, pertinent drawings. Even his intellectual
     solitude had its good effects: it drove him to ponder over the
     new facts which came before him, and all his observations were
     made alive with scientific thought."

Afterwards, in England, he received the Royal Medal of the Royal
Society for this memoir on Medusae, sharing this supreme distinction of
scientific England with men so illustrious as Joule, the discoverer of
the relation between force and heat, Stokes, the great investigator of
optical physics, and Humboldt, the traveller, all of whom received
medals in the same year. In making the presentation to Huxley, the
Earl of Rosse, then President of the Royal Society, declared:

     "In those papers you have for the first time fully developed
     their structure (that of the Medusae), and laid the foundation of
     a rational theory for their classification. In your second paper,
     on the anatomy of Salpa and Pyrosoma, the phenomena have received
     the most ingenious and elaborate elucidations, and have given
     rise to a process of reasoning, the results of which can scarcely
     yet be anticipated, but must bear in a very important degree upon
     some of the most abstruse points of what may be called
     transcendental physiology."

Many reasons make it difficult for us to realise, now, the singular
novelty and importance of Huxley's memoir on the Medusae. The first is
a reason which often prevents great discoveries in almost every
subject from receiving in after years their due respect. The years
that have passed since 1850 have seen not only the most amazing
progress in our knowledge of comparative anatomy, but almost a
revolution in the methods of studying it. Huxley's work has been
incorporated in the very body of science. A large number of later
investigators have advanced upon the lines he laid down; and just as
the superstructures of a great building conceal the foundations, so
later anatomical work, although it has only amplified and extended
Huxley's discoveries, has made them seem less striking to the modern
reader. The present writer, for instance, learned all that he knows of
anatomy in the last ten years, and until he turned to it for the
purpose of this volume he had never referred to Huxley's original
paper. When he did so, he found from beginning to end nothing that was
new to him, nothing that was strange: all the ideas in the memoir had
passed into the currency of knowledge and he had been taught them as
fundamental facts. It was only when he turned to the text-books of
anatomy and natural history current in Huxley's time that he was able
to realise how the conclusions of the young ship-surgeon struck the
Fellows and President of the Royal Society as luminous and
revolutionary ideas.

In the first half of the century, a conception of the animal kingdom
prevailed which was entirely different from our modern ideas. We know
now that all animals are bound together by the bond of a common
descent, and we seek in anatomy a clue to the degrees of relationship
existing among the different animals we know. We regard the animal
kingdom as a thicket of branches all springing from a common root.
Some of these spring straight up from the common root unconnected with
their fellows. Others branch repeatedly, and all the branches of the
same stem have features in common. What we see in the living world is
only the surface of the thicket, the tops of the twigs; and it is by
examination of the structure of this surface that we reconstruct in
imagination the whole system of branches, and know that certain twigs,
from their likeness, meet each other a little way down; that others
are connected only very deep down, and that others, again, spring
free almost from the beginning. The fossils of beds of rock of
different geological ages give us incomplete views of the surface of
the thicket of life, as it was in earlier times. These views we have
of the past aspects of the animal kingdom are always much more
incomplete than our knowledge of the existing aspect; partly because
many animals, from the softness of their bodies, have left either no
fossil remains at all, or only very imperfect casts of the external
surfaces of their bodies; and partly because the turning of any animal
into a fossil, and its subsequent discovery by a geologist, are
occasional accidents; but, although the evidence is much less perfect
than we could wish, there is enough of it to convince anatomists that
existing animals are all in definite blood-relationship to each other,
and to make them, in the investigation of any new animal, study its
anatomy with the definite view of finding out its place in the family
tree of the living world.

When Huxley made his first discoveries, entirely different ideas
prevailed. The animal kingdom was supposed to offer a series of types,
of moulds, into which the Creator at the beginning of the world had
cast the substance of life. These types were independent of each
other, and had been so since the beginning of things. Anatomists were
concerned chiefly with systematic work, with detecting and recording
the slight differences that existed among the numbers of animals
grouped around each type. No attempt was made to see connection
between type and type, for where these had been separately created
there was nothing to connect them except possibly some idea in the
mind of the Creator. This apparently barren attitude to nature was
stronger in men's minds because it had inspired the colossal
achievements of Cuvier, a genius who, under whatever misconceptions he
had worked, would have added greatly to knowledge. As we have seen in
the first chapter, Huxley, through Wharton Jones, and through his own
reading, had been brought under the more modern German thought of
Johannes Mueller and Von Baer. He had learned to study the problems of
living nature in the spirit of a physicist making investigations into
dead nature. In the anatomy of animals, as in the structure of rocks
and crystals, there were to be sought out "laws of growth" and shaping
and moulding influences which accounted for the form of the
structures. To use the technical term, he was a morphologist: one who
studied the architecture of animals not merely in a spirit of admiring
wonder, but with the definite idea of finding out the guiding
principles which had determined these shapes.

Not only was the prevailing method of investigation faulty, but actual
knowledge of a large part of the animal kingdom was extremely limited.
In the minds of most zooelogists the animal kingdom was divided into
two great groups: the vertebrates and invertebrates. The vertebrate,
or back-boned, animals were well known; comparatively speaking they
are all built upon the type of man; and human anatomists, who indeed
made up the greater number of all anatomists, using their exact
knowledge of the human body, had studied many other vertebrates with
minute care, and, from man to fishes, had arranged living vertebrates
very much in the modern order. But the invertebrates were a vague and
ill-assorted heap of animals. It was not recognised that among them
there were many series of different grades of ascending complexity,
and there was no well-known form to serve as a standard of comparison
for all the others in the fashion that the body of man served as a
standard of comparison for all vertebrates. Here and there, a few
salient types such as insects and snails had been picked out, but
knowledge of them helped but little with a great many of the
invertebrates. The great Linnaeus had divided the animal kingdom into
four groups of vertebrates: mammals, birds, reptiles, and fishes, but
for the invertebrates he had done no more than to pick out the insects
as one group and to call everything else "Vermes" or worms. The
insects included all creatures possessed of an external skeleton or
hard skin divided into jointed segments, and included forms so
different as insects, spiders, crabs, and lobsters. But Vermes
included all the members of the animal kingdom that were neither
vertebrates nor insects. Cuvier advanced a little. He got rid of the
comprehensive title Vermes--the label of the rubbish-heap of
zooelogists. He divided animals into four great subkingdoms:
Vertebrates, Mollusca, Articulata, Radiata. These names, however, only
covered very superficial resemblances among the animals designated by
them. The word _Mollusca_ only meant that the creatures grouped
together had soft bodies, unsupported by internal or external
articulated skeletons; and this character, or, rather, absence of
character, was applied alike to many totally dissimilar creatures. The
term _Articulata_ included not only Linnaeus's insects but a number of
soft-skinned, apparently jointed, worm-like animals such as the leech
and earthworm. Lastly, the name _Radiata_ meant no more than that the
organs of the creatures so designated were more or less disposed
around a centre, as the sepals and petals of a flower are grouped
around the central pistil; and it included animals so different as
the starfish and sea-anemones and Medusae. The names used in the
classification were not only loosely applied but were based on the
most superficial observation, and took no account of the intimate
structures of the tissues and organs of the animals. With slight
modifications, due to individual taste or special knowledge of small
groups, later writers had followed Linnaeus and Cuvier.

It was with a view of the animal kingdom not much clearer than this
that Huxley began his work on the Medusae of the tropic seas. He began
to study them no doubt simply because they were among the most
abundant of the animals that could be obtained from the ship. He made
endless dissections and drawings, and, above all, studied their minute
anatomy with the microscope. They were all placed among Cuvier's
_Radiata_, but, as Huxley said in the first line of his memoir:

     "Perhaps no class of animals has been investigated with so little
     satisfactory and comprehensive result, and this not for the want
     of patience and ability on the part of the observers, but rather
     because they have contented themselves with stating matters of
     detail concerning particular genera and species, instead of
     giving broad and general views of the whole class, considered as
     organised upon a given type, and inquiring into its relations
     with other families."

He found that fully developed Medusae consisted each of a disc with
tentacles and vesicular bodies at the margins, a stomach, and canals
proceeding from it, and generative organs. He traced this simple
common structure through the complications and modifications in which
it appeared in the different groups of Medusae, in all this work
bringing out the prevailing features of the anatomy in contrast to
the individual peculiarities. He shewed that microscopically all the
complicated systems of canals and organs were composed of two
"foundation-membranes," two thin webs of cells, one of which formed
the outermost layer of the body, while the inner formed the lining of
the stomach and canals in the thinner parts of the body, such as the
edges of the umbrella-like disc, and towards the ends of the
tentacles. These thin webs formed practically all the body. In the
thicker parts there was interposed between them an almost
structureless layer of jelly, placed like padding between the lining
and the cloth of a coat. He shewed that blood-vessels and blood were
absent, in which he has been confirmed by all other observers. He
declared more doubtfully against the existence of a special nervous
system, and it was not until long after, when the methods of
microscopic investigation were much more perfect, that the delicate
nerve-cells and nerve-fibres, which we now know to exist, were

Having thus shewn the peculiar organisation of the group he turned to
seek out its allies among other families. The Medusae consisted
essentially of two membranes inclosing a variously shaped cavity
inasmuch as all its organs were so composed. The generative organs
were external, being variously developed processes of the two
membranes. The peculiar organs called thread-cells--poisoned darts by
the discharge of which prey could be paralysed--were universally
present. What other families presented these peculiarities?

There are to be found abundantly in sea-water, and less frequently in
fresh water, innumerable forms of animal life called Zooephytes or
animal plants because they occur as encrusting masses like lichens, or
branched forests like moss, on the surface of stones and shells. A
common habit gave this set of creatures their common name; but,
although they were grouped together, there was no greater affinity
among them than there is racial affinity among people who clothe
themselves for an evening party in the same conventional dress. Huxley
examined a large number of these, and picked out from them two great
families of polyps, the Hydroid and Sertularian polyps, which each
consist of colonies of creatures very much like the little fresh-water
hydra. He shewed that the tubular body of these and the ring of
tentacles surrounding the mouth were composed of the same two
foundation-membranes of which all the organs of Medusae are composed.
He found in them the poisoned arrows or thread-cells of the Medusae,
and the same external position of the reproductive organs. And,
lastly, he separated from all other creatures, and associated with his
new group, some of the strangest and most beautiful animals of the
tropic seas, known to science as the Physophoridae and the Diphyidae.
The best-known of these is the "Portuguese man-of-war," the body of
which consists of a large pear-shaped vesicle which floats on the
water like a bladder. From the lower part of this depend into the
water large and small nutritive branches, each ending in a mouth
surrounded by a circle of waving tentacles armed with batteries of
thread-cells, while another set of hanging protrusions bear the
grape-like reproductive organs. On the upper surface of the bladder is
fixed a purple sail of the most brilliant colour, by which the
floating creature is blown through the water. When the weather is
rough, the bladder empties, and the creature sinks down into the quiet
water below the waves, to rise again when the storm is over. This,
and its equally wonderful allies, Huxley showed to be a complicated
colony of hydra-like creatures, each part being composed of two
membranes, and therefore essentially similar to Medusae. Thus, by a
great piece of constructive work, an assemblage of animals was
gathered into a new group and shewn to be organised upon one simple
and uniform plan, and, even in the most complex and aberrant forms,
reducible to the same type. The group, and Huxley's conception of its
structure, are now absolutely accepted by anatomists, and have made
one of the corner-stones of our modern idea of the arrangement of the
animal kingdom. With the exception of sponges, concerning the exact
relations of which there is still dispute, and of a few sets of
parasitic and possibly degenerate creatures, all animals, the bodies
of which are multicellular, from the simple fresh-water hydra up to
man, are divided into two great groups. The structure of the simpler
of these groups is exactly what Huxley found to be of importance in
the Medusae. The body wall, from which all the organs protrude,
consists merely of a web of cells arranged in two sheets or membranes,
and the single cavity consists of a central stomach, surrounded by
these membranes, the cavity remaining simple or giving rise to a
number of branching canals. The members of this great division of the
animal kingdom are the creatures which Huxley selected and placed
together, with the addition of the sea-anemones and the medusa-like
Ctenophora, which, indeed, he mentioned in his memoir as being related
to the others, but reserved fuller consideration for a future
occasion. This group is now called the Coelenterata, the name
implying that the creatures are simply hollow stomachs, and it is
contrasted in the strongest way with the group Coelomata, in which
are placed all the higher animals, from the simplest worm up to man;
animals in which, in addition to the two foundation-membranes of the
Coelenterata, there is a third foundation-membrane, and in which, in
addition to the simple stomach cavity with its offshoots, there is a
true body-cavity or coelome, and usually a set of spaces and
channels containing a blood-fluid. The older method of naming groups
of animals after some obvious superficial character lingered on for
some years in text-books and treatises, but in this memoir the young
ship-surgeon had replaced it by the modern scientific method of
grouping animals together only because of real identity of structure.

There is yet left to be noticed perhaps the most wonderful of all the
ideas in this first memoir by Huxley. In the course of describing the
two foundation membranes of the Medusae he remarks:

     "It is curious to remark, that throughout, the outer and inner
     membranes appear to bear the same physiological relation to one
     another as do the serous and mucous layers of the germ: the outer
     becoming developed into the muscular system, and giving rise to
     the organs of offence and defence: the inner on the other hand
     appearing to be more closely subservient to the purposes of
     nutrition and generation."

In the whole range of science it would be difficult to select an
utterance more prophetic of future knowledge than these few words.
Huxley had been reading the investigations of Von Baer into the early
development of back-boned animals. He had learned from them the great
generalisation, that the younger stages of these animals resemble one
another more closely than the adult stages, and that in an early stage
in the development of all these animals the beginning of the embryo
consists of two layers of cells, in fact of two foundation-membranes,
one forming specially the wall of the future digestive canal, the
other forming the most external portion of the future animal. In these
days nothing could have seemed a remoter or more unlikely comparison
than one instituted between Medusae and the embryonic stages of
back-boned animals. But Huxley made it, not allowing the evidence
brought before his reason to be swamped by preconceived ideas. At the
time he did no more than to make the comparison. It was much later
that the full importance of it became known, when more extended work
on the embryology of vertebrates and of the different groups of the
invertebrates had made it plain that the two foundation-membranes of
Huxley occur in all animals from the Medusae up to man. In the group of
Coelenterata the organisation remains throughout life as nothing
more than a folding in and folding out of these membranes. The early
stages of all the higher animals similarly consist of complications of
the two membranes; but later on there is added to them a third
membrane. Thus the group that Huxley gathered together comprises those
animals that as adults remain in a condition of development which is
passed through in the embryonic life of all higher animals. The
immense importance of this conclusion becomes plain, and the
conclusion itself seems obvious, when seen in the light of the
doctrine of descent. The group of Coelenterata represents a
surviving, older condition in the evolution of animals. Huxley
himself, when on the _Rattlesnake_, regarded evolution only as a vague
metaphysical dream, and he made the comparison which has been
described without any afterthought of what it implied. In this we have
the earliest authentic instance of the peculiar integrity of mind
which was so characteristic of him in his dealings with philosophy and
tradition. He never allowed any weight of authority or any apparent
disturbance of existing ideas to alter the conclusions to which his
reason led him. This intellectual courage made him fitted to be the
leader in the battle for evolution and against traditional thought,
and we shall find again and again in consideration of his work that it
was the keynote of his life.



     Scientific Work as Unattached Ship-Surgeon--Introduction to
     London Scientific Society--Translating, Reviewing, and
     Lecturing--Ascidians--Molluscs and the Archetype--Criticism of
     Pre-Darwinian Evolution--Appointment to Geological Survey.

The _Rattlesnake_ was paid off at Chatham on November 9, 1850. In the
natural course of events Huxley would have been appointed before long
to active service upon another ship. But he had no intention of
relapsing into the position of a mere navy doctor; he had accumulated
sufficient scientific material to keep him employed on scientific
investigation for years, and so he applied to the Admiralty to "be
borne on the books" of H.M.S. _Fisgard_ at Woolwich,--that is to say,
to be appointed assistant-surgeon to the ship "for particular
service," so that he should not be compelled to live on board, but
might remain in town, and, with free access to libraries and museums,
work up the observations he had made on the _Rattlesnake_ into serious
and substantial contributions to science. His request was granted,
largely by the aid of his old chief, Sir W. Burnett, who continued to
take the most useful interest in the young man he had originally
nominated to the service. In a letter to him Huxley described the
investigations which he desired to continue as being chiefly those on
"the anatomy of certain Gasteropod and Pteropod Mollusca, of Firola
and Atlantis, of Salpa and Pyrosoma, of two new Ascidians, namely,
Appendicularia and Doliolum, of Sagitta and certain Annelids, of the
auditory and circulatory organs of certain transparent Crustacea, and
of the Medusae and Polyps." His request was granted, and for the next
three years Huxley lived in London with his brother, on the exiguous
income of an assistant-surgeon, and devoted himself to research. He
became almost at once of the first rank among English anatomists. The
result of the paper on Medusae in the _Transactions of the Royal
Society_ was that he was elected a Fellow of the Society on June 5,
1851, and a year later received a Royal Medal of the Society. He made
many warm friendships both among the older and the younger generations
of scientific men. In his obituary notice of Huxley, Sir Michael
Foster wrote:

     "By Edward Forbes, in whose nature there was much that was akin
     to his own, and with whom he had some acquaintance before his
     voyage, he was at once greeted as a comrade, and with Joseph
     Dalton Hooker, to whom he was drawn at the very first by their
     common experience as navy surgeons, he began an attachment which,
     strengthened by like biological aspirations, grew closer as their
     lives went on. In the first year after his return, in the autumn
     of 1851, he made the acquaintance of John Tyndall at the meeting
     of the British Association at Ipswich, and the three, Hooker,
     Huxley, and Tyndall, finding how much in common were all their
     scientific views and desires, formed then and there a triple
     scientific alliance."

Repeated efforts were made by these three, and by more influential
friends, to induce the Admiralty to contribute to the expense of
publishing Huxley's scientific results, as they had given a pledge to
encourage officers who had done scientific work. These efforts lasted
unavailingly for nearly three years, and then, as Huxley says: "The
Admiralty, getting tired, I suppose, cut short the discussion by
ordering me to join a ship, which thing I declined to do, and, as
Rastignac, in the _Pere Goriot_, says to Paris, I said to London, _a
nous deux_." This light phrase conceals a courageous and momentous
decision. He was absolutely without private resources, and having
abandoned his professional work he had no salary of any kind. For a
year or so he supported himself by writing reviews and popular
scientific articles, striving all the time not only to gain his bread
but to continue his scientific work and make it known to the public.
He desired to get a professorship of physiology or of comparative
anatomy, and as vacancies occurred he applied, but unsuccessfully. At
the same time, he tells us, he and his friend, John Tyndall, were

     "candidates, he for the Chair of Physics, and I for that of
     Natural History in the University of Toronto, which, fortunately,
     as it turned out, would not look at either of us. I say
     fortunately, not from any lack of respect for the University of
     Toronto; but because I soon made up my mind that London was the
     place for me, and hence I have steadily declined the inducements
     to leave it which have at various times been offered."

In these early years in London Huxley's work was most varied. A large
number of anonymous articles by him appeared in the _Literary
Gazette_, and in other periodicals. He assisted to remove the insular
narrowness from English scientific work by translating many foreign
memoirs. With the collaboration of Mr. Henfrey, he edited a series of
scientific memoirs, all of which were translated from foreign
languages, and many by his own pen. With the assistance of Mr. George
Busk he made a translation of Koelliker's _Histology_, a great treatise
on microscopic anatomy which played a large part in the development of
the modern English schools of anatomy and physiology. He made some
valuable contributions to Todd and Bowman's _Cyclopaedia of Anatomy_,
an elaborate publication now nearly forgotten and practically
superseded, but which was the standard anatomical work of the middle
of this century. He was unable to progress rapidly with his work upon
oceanic Medusae, as he was uncertain how to have it published; the
Admiralty refused to assist, and it was too lengthy for publication in
the volumes of the learned Societies. As a matter of fact, he did not
publish it until 1858, when it appeared as a separate memoir. To the
_Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science_ and to the _Transactions
of the Royal and Linnaean Societies_ he contributed a large number of
memoirs dealing with the microscopic anatomy and relationships of
invertebrates, and, lastly, he gave a series of addresses at the Royal
Institution, which had been founded as a means by which leading men of
science might give accounts of their work to London society. Abstracts
of these lectures are published in the early volumes of the
_Proceedings of the Royal Institution_ and are interesting as shewing
the kinds of zooelogical subjects which were attracting the attention
of Huxley and which he considered of sufficient interest and
importance to bring to the notice of the general public. The first of
these lectures, and probably the first given in public by Huxley,
occurred on April 30, 1852, and was entitled "Animal Individuality."
The problem as to what is meant by an individual had been raised in
his mind by consideration of many of the forms of marine life,
notably compound structures like the Portuguese man-of-war, and
creatures like the salps, which form floating chains often many yards
in length. He explained that the word _individual_ covers at least
three quite different kinds of conceptions. There is, first, what he
described as arbitrary individuality, an individuality which is given
by the mind of the observer and does not actually exist in the thing
considered. Thus a landscape is in a sense an individual thing, but
only so far as it is a particular part of the surface of the earth,
isolated for the time in the mind of the person looking at it. If the
observer shift his position, the range of the landscape alters and
becomes something else. Next there are material, or practically
accidental individual things, such as crystals or pieces of stone;
and, lastly, there are living individuals which, as he pointed out,
were cycles. All living things are born into the world, grow up, and
die, and it was to the cycle of life, from the egg to the adult which
produces eggs, that he gave the name individual. In a simple animal
like Hydra there is no difficulty in accepting this plain definition
of individuality; but Huxley went on to compare with Hydra a compound
creature like the Portuguese man-of-war, which really is composed of a
colony of Hydra-like creatures, the different members of the colony
being more or less altered to serve different functions. All these
have come from the branching of a single simple creature produced from
an egg, and to the whole colony Huxley gave the name of zooelogical
individual. The salps give a still wider interpretation to this view
of individuality. The original salp produced from the egg gives rise
to many salps, which may either remain attached in a chain, or,
breaking away from one another, may live separately. Huxley extended
the use of the word _individual_ so as to include as a single
zooelogical individual the whole set of creatures cohering in chains or
breaking apart, which had been produced by budding from the product of
a single egg-cell. This subtle analysis of ideas delighted and
interested his contemporaries, and the train of logical examination of
what is meant by individuality has persisted to the present time. Like
all other zooelogical ideas, this has been considerably altered by the
conception of evolution. Zooelogists no longer attempt to stretch
logical conceptions until they fit enormous and different parts of the
living world. They recognise that the living world, because it is
alive, is constantly changing, and that living things pass through
different stages or kinds of individuality in the course of their
lives. A single egg-cell is one kind, perhaps the simplest kind, of
zooelogical individual; when it has grown up into a simple polyp it has
passed into a second grade of individuality; when, by budding, the
polyp has become branched, a third grade is reached, and when the
branches have become different, in obedience to the different purposes
which they are to serve in the whole compound creature, a still
further grade is reached. Huxley's attempt to find a meaning for
individuality that would apply equally to a single simple creature, to
a compound creature, and to the large number of separate creatures,
all developed by budding from one creature, is a striking instance of
his singular capacity for bringing apparently dissimilar facts into
harmony, by finding out the common underlying principle, and, although
we no longer accept this particular conclusion, we cannot fail to
notice in it the peculiar powers of his mind.

A second and even more interesting Royal Institution lecture dealt
with the "Identity of Structure in Animals and Plants." At the present
time every educated person knows that the life of animals and plants
alike depends on the fact that their bodies are composed of a living
material called protoplasm, a material which is identical in every
important respect in both kingdoms of the living world. In the early
fifties, scientific opinion was by no means clear on this matter, and
certainly public opinion was most vague. Huxley discussed what was
meant by organisation, and shewed that in every essential respect
plants and animals alike were organised beings. Then he went on to
explain the cellular theory of Schwann, which was then a novelty to a
general audience. Schwann, in studying the microscopic structure of
plants, noticed that their bodies were made up of little cases with
firm walls; these he called _cells_, and declared that the whole body
of the plant was composed of cells. As the walls of these cells were
the most obvious and visible feature, it was supposed that they were
the most essential part of the structure, and there was some
difficulty in applying the cellular theory to the bodies of animals,
as in most cases there are no easily visible cell-walls in animal
tissues. As the result of his own observation, and from his reading of
the work of others, Huxley laid down in the clearest way what is now
accepted by everyone--that the presence of walls is of minor
importance, and that it is the slimy contents of the cells, what is
called "protoplasm," that is the important element. He declared that
the protoplasm of animals was identical with the protoplasm of plants,
and that plants were "animals confined in wooden cases." He agreed
with Schwann that the cell, using the term to imply the contents
rather than the wall, was of fundamental importance, and was the unit
of structure of the whole world of life. On the other hand, he
declared that it could not be looked at as the unit of function: he
denied that the powers and properties of a living body were simply the
sum of the powers and properties of the single cells. In this opinion
he was not followed by physiologists until quite recently. For many
years physiologists held that cells were units of function just as
much as they are units of structure; but in the last ten years there
has been a strong return to the opinion of Huxley.

In 1851 two very important memoirs were published in the _Transactions
of the Royal Society_, which contained the results of Huxley's
observations of the interesting animals known as "tunicates." The
first of these papers begins as follows:

     "The Salpae, those strange gelatinous animals, through masses of
     which the voyager in the great ocean sometimes sails day after
     day, have been the subject of a great controversy since the time
     of the publication of the celebrated work of Chamisso, _De
     Animalibus Quibusdam e Classe Vermium Linnaeana_. In this work
     there were set forth, for the first time, the singular phenomena
     presented by the reproductive processes of these
     animals,--phenomena so strange, and so utterly unlike anything
     then known to occur in the whole province of zooelogy, that
     Chamisso's admirably clear and truthful account was received with
     almost as much distrust as if he had announced the existence of a
     veritable Peter Schlemihl."

According to Chamisso, salps appeared in two forms: solitary forms,
and forms in which a number of salps are united into a long chain.
Each salp of the aggregate form contains within it an embryo receiving
nutrition from the mother by a connection similar to the placenta by
which the embryo of a mammal receives nourishment from the blood of
the mother. These embryos grow up into the solitary form, and the
solitary form gives rise to a long chain of the aggregate form which
developes in the interior of the body. Chamisso compared this progress
to the development of insects. "Supposing," he said, "caterpillars did
not bodily change into butterflies, but by a process of sexual
breeding produced young which grew into the ordinary adults, and that
these adults, as indeed they do, gave rise to caterpillars by sexual
reproduction, then there would be a true alternation of generations."
The first generation would give rise to a second generation totally
unlike itself, and this second generation would reproduce, not its
kind, but the first generation; such an alternation of generations he
stated to occur among the salps. Huxley had an excellent opportunity
to study this question at Cape York in November, 1849. "For a time the
sea was absolutely crowded with Salpae, in all stages of growth, and of
size very convenient for examination." He was able to verify the
general truth of Chamisso's statement. The aggregate form of Salpa
always gives rise to the solitary salps, and the solitary salps always
give rise to chains of the aggregate salps. But the process of
reproduction he shewed to be quite different in the two cases. The
solitary salp produces in its interior a little stolon or diverticulum
which contains an outgrowth from the circulatory system, and this
stolon gradually becomes pinched off into the members of the chain of
the aggregate form. The salps of the aggregate form are therefore
merely buds from the solitary form, and are not produced in the
ordinary way, by sexual generation. On the other hand, each salp of
the chain has within it a true egg-cell. This is fertilised by a male
cell, and within the body of the parent, nourished by the blood of the
parent, grows up into the solitary form. There is then an alternation
of generations, but there are not two sexual generations. The sexual
generation of chain salps gives rise to forms which reproduce by buds.
From this conclusion, with which all later observers have agreed,
Huxley went on to his theory of individuality. Different names had
been given to the two forms, but Huxley declared that neither form was
a true zooelogical individual; they were only parts of individuals or
organs, and the true individual was the complete cycle involving both

In addition to determining the interesting method of reproduction,
Huxley made an elaborate investigation of the structure of Salpa. On
one occasion only the _Rattlesnake_ came across a quantity of an
allied Ascidian, Pyrosoma, which had received its name from its

     "The sky was clear but moonless, and the sea calm; and a more
     beautiful sight can hardly be imagined than that presented from
     the deck of the ship as she drifted, hour after hour, through
     this shoal of miniature pillars of fire gleaming out of the dark
     sea, with an ever-waning, ever brightening, soft bluish light, as
     far as the eye could reach on every side. The Pyrosomata floated
     deep, and it was only with difficulty that some were procured for
     examination and placed in a bucketful of sea-water. The
     phosphorescence was intermittent, periods of darkness alternating
     with periods of brilliancy. The light commenced in one spot,
     apparently on the surface of one of the zooeids, and gradually
     spread from this as a centre in all directions; then the whole
     was lighted up: it remained brilliant for a few seconds, and then
     gradually faded and died away, until the whole mass was dark
     again. Friction at any point induces the light at that point, and
     from thence the phosphorescence spreads over the whole, while the
     creature is quite freshly taken; afterwards, the illumination
     arising from friction is only local."

Dealing with these creatures in the broad anatomical spirit with which
he had studied the Medusae, Huxley shewed the typical structure
manifested in the different forms, and that was common to them and the
Ascidians or sea-squirts of the seashore. In a second paper on
"Appendicularia and Doliolum" he made further contributions to our
knowledge of these interesting creatures. Appendicularia is a curious
little Ascidian, differing from all the others in its possession of a
tail. Earlier observers had obtained it on various parts of the ocean
surface, but had failed entirely to detect its relationship to the
ordinary Ascidians. Chamisso got it near Behring's Straits and thought
that it was more nearly allied to "Venus's Girdle," a Coelenterate.
Mertens, another distinguished zooelogist, had declared that "the
relation of this animal with the Pteropods (a peculiar group of
molluscs) is unmistakable"; while Mueller, a prince among German
anatomists, confessed that "he did not know in what division of the
animal kingdom to place this creature." Huxley shewed that it
possessed all the characteristic features of the Ascidians, the same
arrangement of organs, the same kind of nervous system, a respiratory
chamber formed from the fore part of the alimentary canal, and a
peculiar organ running along the pharynx which Huxley called the
endostyle and which is one of the most striking peculiarities of the
whole group. The real nature of the tail was Huxley's most striking
discovery. He pointed out that ordinary Ascidians begin life as tiny
tadpole-like creatures which swim freely by the aid of a long caudal
appendage; and that while these better-known Ascidians lose their
tails when they settle down into adult life, the Appendiculariae are
Ascidians which retain this larval structure throughout life. Von Baer
had shown that in the great natural groups of higher animals some
forms occur which typify, in their adult condition, the larval state
of the higher forms of the group. Thus, among the amphibia, frogs have
tails in the larval or tadpole condition; but newts throughout life
remain in the larval or tailed condition. Appendicularia he considered
to be the lowest form of the Ascidians, and to typify in its adult
condition the larval stages of the higher Ascidians.

By this remarkable investigation of the structure of the group of
Ascidians, and display of the various grades of organisation, Huxley
paved the way for one of the great modern advances in knowledge. When,
later on, the idea of evolution was accepted, and zooelogists began
hunting out the pedigree of the back-boned animals, it was discovered
that Ascidians were modern representatives of an important stage in
the ancestry of vertebrate animals, and, therefore, of man himself.
There are few more interesting chapters in genealogical zooelogy than
those which reveal the relationship between Amphioxus and fish on the
one hand, and Ascidians on the other; for fish are vertebrates, and
Ascidians, on the old view, are lowly invertebrates. The details of
these relationships have been made known to us by the brilliant
investigations of several Germans, by Kowalevsky, a Russian, by the
Englishmen Ray Lankester and Willey, and by several Americans and
Frenchmen. But behind the work of all these lies the pioneer work of
Huxley, who first gathered the group of Ascidians together, and in a
series of masterly investigations described its typical structure.

Huxley's next great piece of work was embodied in a memoir published
in the _Transactions of the Royal Society_ in 1853, and which remains
to the present day a model of luminous description and far-reaching
ideas. It was a treatise on the structure of the great group of
molluscs, and displays in a striking fashion his method of handling
anatomical facts, and deducing from them the great underlying
principles of construction. The shell-fish with which he dealt
specially were those distinguished as cephalous, because, unlike
creatures such as the oyster and mussel, they had something readily
comparable with the head of vertebrates. He began by pointing out what
problems he hoped to solve. The anatomy of many of the cephalous
molluscs was known, but the relation of structures present in one to
structures present in another group had not been settled.

     "It is not settled whether the back of a cuttle-fish answers to
     the dorsal or ventral surface of a gasteropod. It is not decided
     whether the arms and funnels of the one have or have not their
     homologues in the other. The dorsal integument of a Doris and the
     cloak of a whelk are both called 'mantle,' without any evidence
     to show that they are really homologous. Nor do very much more
     definite notions seem to have prevailed with regard to the
     archetypal molluscous form, and the mode in which (if such an
     archetype exist) it becomes modified in the different secondary

He had taken from the surface of the sea a number of transparent
shell-fish, and had been able to study the structure and arrangement
of their organs "by simple inspection, without so much as disturbing a
single beat of their hearts." From knowledge gained in this fashion,
and from ordinary dissection of a number of common snails,
cephalopods, and pteropods, he was able to describe in a very complete
way the anatomical structure of cephalous molluscs. The next natural
step, he stated, would have been to describe the embryonic development
of the organs of these different creatures in order that a true
knowledge might be gained of what were the homologous or really
corresponding parts in each. Having had no opportunity to make such
embryological studies for himself, he fell back on numerous accounts
of development by Koelliker, Van Beneden, Gegenbauer, and others, and
so gradually arrived at a conception of what he called the "archetype"
of the cephalous molluscs. As the word _archetype_ was borrowed from
old metaphysical ideas dating back to the time of Plato, he took care
to state that what he meant by it was no more than a form embodying
all that could be affirmed equally respecting every single kind of
cephalous mollusc, and by no means an "idea" upon which it could be
supposed that animal forms had been modelled. He described this
archetype, and showed the condition of the different systems of organs
which it could be supposed to possess, and how these organs were
modified in the different existing groups. This archetypal mollusc of
Huxley's was a creature with a bilaterally symmetrical head and body.
On the ventral side of the body it possessed a peculiar locomotor
appendage, the so-called foot, and the dorsal surface of the body
secreted a shell. Its nervous system consisted of three pairs of
ganglia or brains, one pair in the head, one in the foot, and a third
in the viscera. He shewed how the widely different groups of cephalous
molluscs could be conceived as modifications of this structure, and
extended the conception so as to cover all other molluscs.

Quite apart from the anatomical value of this paper, and although all
technical details have been omitted here, it is necessary to say that
merely as a series of intricate anatomical descriptions and
comparisons, this memoir was one of the most valuable of any that
Huxley wrote. The working out of the theory of the archetype is
peculiarly interesting to compare with modern conceptions. To those of
us who began biological work after the idea of evolution had been
impressed upon anatomical work, it is very difficult to follow
Huxley's papers without reading into them evolutionary ideas. In the
article upon Mollusca, written for the ninth edition of the
_Encyclopaedia Britannica_, by Professor Ray Lankester, the same device
of an archetypal or, as Lankester calls it, a schematic mollusc, is
employed in order to explain the relations of the different structures
found in different groups of molluscs to one another. Lankester's
schematic mollusc differs from Huxley's archetypal mollusc only as a
finished modern piece of mechanism, the final result of years of
experiment, differs from the original invention. The method of
comparing the schematic mollusc with the different divergent forms in
different groups is identical, and yet, while the ideas of Darwin are
accepted in every line of Lankester's work, Huxley was writing six
years before the publication of _The Origin of Species_. There was
growing up in Huxley's mind, partly from his own attempts to arrange
the anatomical facts he discovered in an intelligible series, the idea
that within a group the divergencies of structure to be found had come
about by the modification of an original type. Not only did he
conceive of such an evolution as the only possible explanation of the
facts, but he definitely used the word _evolution_ to convey his
ideas. On the other hand, he was firmly convinced that such evolution
was confined within the great groups. For each group there was a
typical structure, and modifications by defect or excess of the parts
of the definite archetype gave rise to the different members of the
group. Moreover, he confined this evolution in the strictest possible
way to each group; he did not believe that what was called
anamorphosis--the transition of a lower type into a higher type--ever
occurred. To use his own words:

     "If, however, all Cephalous Mollusca, _i.e._, all Cephalopoda,
     Gasteropoda, and Lamellibranchiata, be only modifications by
     excess or defect of the parts of a definite archetype, then, I
     think, it follows as a necessary consequence, that no
     anamorphosis takes place in this group. There is no progression
     from a lower to a higher type, but merely a more or less complete
     evolution of one type. It may indeed be a matter of very grave
     consideration whether true anamorphosis ever occurs in the whole
     animal kingdom. If it do, then the doctrine that every natural
     group is organised after a definite archetype, a doctrine which
     seems to me as important for zooelogy as the theory of definite
     proportions for chemistry, must be given up."

It is of great historical interest to notice how closely actual
consideration of the facts of the animal kingdom took zooelogists to an
idea of evolution, and yet how far they were from it as we hold it
now. It is fashionable at the present time to attempt to depreciate
the immense change introduced by Darwin into zooelogical speculation,
and the method employed is largely partial quotation, or reference to
the kind of ideas found in papers such as this memoir by Huxley. The
comparison between the types of the great groups and the combining
proportions of the chemical elements shows clearly that Huxley
regarded the structural plans of the great groups as properties
necessary and inherent in these groups, just as the property of a
chemical element to combine with another chemical substance only in a
fixed proportion is necessary and inherent in the existing conception
of it. There was no glimmer of the idea that these types were not
inherent, but merely historical results of a long and slow series of
changes produced by the interaction of the varied conditions of life
and the intrinsic qualities of living material.

In two lectures delivered at the Royal Institution in 1854 and 1855,
the one on "The Common Plan of Animal Forms," the other on "The
Zooelogical Arguments Adduced in Favour of the Progressive Development
of Animal Life in Time," show, so far as the published abstracts go,
the same condition of mind. The idea of progressive development of all
life from common forms was not unknown to Huxley and his
contemporaries, but was rejected by them. In the first of these two
lectures he took four great groups of animals, the Vertebrates, the
Articulata, the Mollusca, and the Radiata, and explained what was the
archetype of each. He shewed the distinctiveness of each plan of
structure, and then discussed the relations of the ideas suggested by
Von Baer to these archetypes. He stated explicitly that while the
adult forms were quite unlike one another, there were traces of a
common plan to be derived from a study of their embryonic development.
Such a trace of a common plan he had himself suggested when he
compared the foundation-membranes of the Medusae with the first
foundation-membranes of vertebrate embryos. This was going a long way
towards modern ideas; but he stopped short, and gave no hint that he
believed in the possibility of the development of one plan from a
lower or simpler plan. The second lecture dealt with the kind of ideas
which were crystallised in the popular but striking work of Chambers,
entitled _Vestiges of Creation_. Chambers attacked the theological
view that all animals and plants had been created at the beginning of
the world, and maintained that geological evidence showed the
occurrence of a progressive development of animal life. Huxley, like
all zooelogists and geologists who knew anything of the occurrence of
fossils in the rocks of past ages, agreed with the general truth of
the conception that a progressive development had occurred which
showed that the species now existing were represented in the oldest
rocks by species now extinct. But the examples he brought forward were
all limited to evolution within the great groups, and did not affect
his idea that archetypes were fixed and did not pass into each other.
Moreover, he summed up strongly against the suggestion that there was
any parallel between the succession of life in the past and the forms
assumed by modern animals in their embryological development. So far
as the present writer is able to judge from study of the literature of
this period, the possibility of evolution was present in an active
form in the minds of Huxley and of his contemporaries, and in an
extraordinary way they brought together evidence which afterwards
became of firstrate importance; but the idea in its modern sense was
rejected by them.

In 1854 Huxley's uncomfortable period of probation came to an end.
Edward Forbes, who held the posts of Palaeontologist to the Geological
Survey, and Lecturer on General Natural History at the Metropolitan
School of Science Applied to Mining and the Arts, vacated these on his
appointment to the Chair of Natural History in the University of
Edinburgh, and Sir H. De La Beche, the then Director-General of the
Geological Survey, offered both the posts to Huxley--who in June and
July of that year had given lectures at the school in place of Forbes.
Huxley says himself:

     "I refused the former point-blank, and accepted the latter only
     provisionally, telling Sir Henry that I did not care for fossils,
     and that I should give up natural history as soon as I could get
     a physiological post. But I held the office for thirty-one years,
     and a large part of my work has been palaeontological."

The salary of the post of Lecturer on Natural History was scanty, but
De La Beche, who evidently recognised Huxley's genius, and was anxious
to have him attached even against his will to palaeontological work,
created a place for him as Naturalist to the Geological Survey, by
which a more suitable income was found for him. His official duties
were at first in the Geological Museum of the Survey, but were
distinguished from those of the special Palaeontologist, Mr. Harvey.
His income was now assured, and for the rest of his life, until
towards its close, when he retired to Eastbourne, he lived the
ordinary life of a professional man of science in London. He was now
able to marry, and on July 21, 1855, he was married to a lady whom he
had met in Sydney in 1847, and whom he had not seen since the
_Rattlesnake_ left Sydney finally in the beginning of May, 1850.

During the years 1856, 1857, and 1858, he held the post of Fullerian
Professor of Physiology in the Royal Institution, choosing as the
title of his first two courses of lectures Physiology and Comparative
Anatomy, as he still cherished the idea of being in the first place a

[Illustration: THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY, 1857 Reproduced by permission from
_Natural Science_, vol. vii., No. 42]

     "Moreover," writes Professor Michael Foster, "like most other
     young professional men of science, he had to eke out his not too
     ample income by labours undertaken chiefly for their pecuniary
     reward. He acted as examiner, conducting for instance, during the
     years 1856 to 1863, and again 1865 to 1870, the examinations in
     physiology and comparative anatomy at the University of London,
     making even an examination paper feel the influence of the new
     spirit in biology; and among his examinees at that time there was
     at least one who, knowing Huxley's writings, but his writings
     only, looked forward to the _viva voce_ test, not as a trial but
     as an occasion of delight. He wrote almost incessantly for all
     editors who were prepared to give adequate pay to a pen able to
     deal with scientific themes in a manner at once exact and
     popular, incisive and correct. During this period he was
     gradually passing from his first anatomical love, the structure
     of the Invertebrates, to Vertebrate work, and although he
     continued to take a deep interest in the course of the progress
     of research in that group of animals, the publication of his
     great work on oceanic hydrozoa by the Ray Society was the last
     piece of important work he wrote upon any anatomical subject
     apart from vertebrates. His work in connection with the
     Geological Survey naturally attracted his attention most closely
     to vertebrates, and, towards the close of the fifties, he was led
     to make a special study of vertebrate embryology, a subject which
     the investigations of Koelliker and others in Germany were
     bringing into prominence. The first result of this new direction
     of his enquiries was embodied in a Croonian Lecture delivered in
     1858 'On the Theory of the Vertebrate Skull.' Sir Richard Owen,
     who was at that time the leading vertebrate anatomist in England,
     had given his support to an extremely complicated view of the
     skull as being formed of a series of expanded vertebrae moulded
     together. The theory was really a legacy from an old German
     school of which the chief members were Goethe, the poet, and
     Oken, a naturalist, who was more of a metaphysical philosopher
     than of a morphologist. Huxley pointed out the futility of
     attempting to regard the skull as a series of segments, and of
     supporting this view by trusting to superficial resemblances and
     abstract reasoning, when there was a definite method by which the
     actual building up of the skull might be followed. Following the
     lines laid down by Rathke, another of the great Germans from
     whose investigations he was always so willing to find
     corroboration and assistance in his own labours, he traced the
     actual development of the skull in the individual. He shewed
     that the foundations of the skull and of the backbone were laid
     down in a fashion quite different, and that it was impossible to
     regard both skull and backbone as modifications of a common type
     laid down right along the axis of the body. The spinal column and
     the skull start from the same primitive condition, whence they
     immediately begin to diverge. It may be true to say that there is
     a primitive identity of structure between the spinal or vertebral
     column and the skull; but it is no more true that the adult skull
     is a modified vertebral column than it would be to affirm that
     the vertebral column is a modified skull."

Since this famous lecture, a number of distinguished anatomists have
studied the development of the skull more fully; but they have not
departed from the methods of investigation laid down by Huxley, and
their conclusions have differed only in greater elaboration of detail
from the broad lines laid down by him. Apart from its direct
scientific value, this lecture was of importance as marking the place
to which Huxley had attained in the scientific world. Two years later,
it is true, the London _Times_, referring to a famous debate at a
meeting of the British Association at Oxford, spoke of him as "a Mr.
Huxley"; but in the scientific world he was accepted as the leader of
the younger anatomists, and as one at least capable of rivalling Owen,
who was then at the height of his fame. The Croonian Lecture was in a
sense a deliberate challenge to Owen, and in these days before Darwin,
to challenge Owen was to claim equality with the greatest name in
anatomical science.



     Beginning Palaeontological Work--Fossil Amphibia and
     Reptilia--Ancestry of Birds--Ancestry of the Horse--Imperfect
     European Series Completed by Marsh's American Fossils--Meaning of
     Geological Contemporaneity--Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism
     Compared with Evolution in Geology--Age of the
     Earth--Intermediate and Linear Types.

Although Huxley took a post connected with Geology only because it was
the most convenient opening for him, it was not long before he became
deeply interested not only in the fossils, which at first he despised,
but in the general problems of geology. He began by co-operation with
Mr. Salter in the determination of fossils for the Geological Survey.
The mere work of defining genera and species and naming and describing
new species appealed very little to him. He had none of the
collector's passion for new species; his interest in a creature being
not whether or no it was new to science, but what general problems of
biology its structure helped to elucidate. While he assisted in the
routine work of determining the zooelogical position of the fossils
sent in to the museum by the Survey, he carried investigations much
farther than the duties of the post required when interesting
zooelogical problems arose. His earliest notes were written in
association with his colleague, and consisted of technical
descriptions of some small fossils from the Downton Sandstones which
were supposed to be fish-shields. The peculiarities of structure
presented by these aroused his interest, and he began an elaborate
series of investigations upon palaeozoic fishes in general. Earlier
zooelogists, such as the great Agassiz, had devoted most of their
attention to careful and exact description of the different fossil
fishes with which they became acquainted. Huxley at once began to
investigate the relations that existed among the different kinds of
structure exhibited in the different fish. He laid down the lines upon
which future work has been conducted, and, precisely as he did in the
case of molluscs, he started future investigators upon lines of
research the ends of which have not yet been reached. His work upon
_Devonian Fishes_, published in 1861, threw an entirely new light upon
the affinities of these creatures, and still remains a standard work.

He made a similar, although less important, series of investigations
upon some of the great extinct Crustacea; but, perhaps, his most
important palaeontological work was done later, after he had been
convinced by Darwin of the fact of evolution. In 1855 he had expressed
the opinion that the study of fossils was hopeless if one sought in it
confirmation of the doctrine of evolution; but five-and-twenty years'
continuous work completely reversed his opinion, and in 1881,
addressing the British Association at York he declared that "if
zooelogists and embryologists had not put forward the theory, it would
have been necessary for palaeontologists to invent it." In three
special groups of animals his study of fossils enabled him to assist
in bridging over the gaps between surviving groups of creatures by
study of creatures long extinct. He began to study the structure of
the Labyrinthodonts, a group of extinct monsters which received their
name from the peculiar structure of their teeth. He published
elaborate descriptions of Anthracosaurus from the coal-measures of
Northumberland, of Loxomma from the lower carboniferous of Scotland,
and of several small forms from the coal-measures of Kilkenny, in
Ireland, as well as describing skulls from Africa and a number of
fragmentary bones from different localities. But in all this work it
was the morphology of the creatures that interested him, and the light
which their structure threw upon the structure of each other and of
their nearest allies. He shewed that these monsters stood on the
borderland between fishes, amphibia, and reptiles, and he added much
to our knowledge of the true structure of these great groups. Next, he
turned to the extinct reptiles of the Mesozoic age. It was generally
believed that the Pterodactyls, or flying reptiles, were the nearest
allies of birds, but Huxley insisted that the resemblances between the
wings were simply such superficial resemblances as necessarily exist
in organs adapted to the same purpose. About the same time, Cope in
America, and Phillips and Huxley, in England, from study of the bones
of the Dinosaurs, another great group of extinct reptiles, declared
that these were the nearest in structure to birds. In association with
the upright posture, the ilium or great haunch-bone of birds extends
far forwards in front of the articulation of the thigh-bone, so that
the pelvis in this region has a T-shape, the ilium forming the
cross-bar of the T, and the femur or thigh-bone the downward limb.
Huxley shewed that a large number of the Dinosaurs had this and other
peculiarities of the bird's pelvis, and separated these into a group
which he called the "Ornithoscelida," seeing in them the closest
representatives of the probable reptilian ancestors of birds. While
further work and the discovery of a still greater number of extinct
reptiles has made it less probable that these were the actual
ancestors of birds, Huxley's work in this, as in the many other cases
we have shown, proved not only of great value in itself, but led to a
continually increasing series of investigations by others. It is not
always the pioneer that makes the greatest discoveries in a new
country, but the work of the pioneer makes possible and easier the
more assured discoveries of his followers.

A third great piece of palaeontological investigation with which the
name of Huxley will always be associated, is the most familiar of all
the instances taken from fossils in support of the evolution of
animals. This famous case is the pedigree of the horse. In 1870, in an
address delivered to the Geological Society of London, Huxley had
shewn that there was a series of animals leading backwards from the
modern horse to a more generalised creature called Anchitherium, and
found in the rocks of the Miocene period. He suggested that there
were, no doubt, similar fossils leading still further backwards
towards the common mammalian type of animal, with five fingers and
five toes, and went the length of suggesting one or two fossils which
might stand in the direct line of ancestry. But in 1876 he visited
America, and had the opportunity of consulting the marvellous series
of fossils which Professor Marsh had collected from American Tertiary
beds. Professor Marsh allowed him the freest use of his materials and
of his conclusions, and the credit of the final result is to be
shared at least equally between Marsh and Huxley. The final result was
a demonstrative proof of the possible course of evolution of the
horse, given in a lecture delivered by Huxley in New York on Sept. 22,
1876, and illustrated by drawings from specimens in Marsh's
collection. The matter of the lecture has become so important a part
of all descriptive writing on evolution, and the treatment is so
characteristic of Huxley's brilliant exposition, that it is worth
while to make some rather long quotations from it. The lecture was
published in the New York papers, and afterwards with other matter
formed a volume of _American Addresses_, published by Macmillan, in

     "In most quadrupeds, as in ourselves, the forearm contains
     distinct bones called the radius and the ulna. The corresponding
     region in the horse seems at first to possess but one bone.
     Careful observation, however, enables us to distinguish in this
     bone a part which clearly answers to the upper end of the ulna.
     This is closely united with the chief mass of the bone which
     represents the radius, and runs out into a slender shaft which
     may be traced for some distance downwards on the back of the
     radius, and then in most cases thins out and vanishes. It takes
     still more trouble to make sure of what is nevertheless the fact,
     that a small part of the lower end of the bone of the horse's
     forearm, which is only distinct in a very young foal, is really
     the lower extremity of the ulna.

      "What is commonly called the knee of a horse is its wrist. The
     'cannon bone' answers to the middle bone of the five metacarpal
     bones which support the palm of the hand in ourselves. The
     'pastern,' 'coronary,' and 'coffin' bones of veterinarians answer
     to the joints of our middle fingers, while the hoof is simply a
     greatly enlarged and thickened nail. But, if what lies below the
     horse's 'knee' thus corresponds to the middle finger in
     ourselves, what has become of the four other fingers or digits?
     We find in the places of the second and fourth digits only two
     slender splint-like bones, about two-thirds as long as the cannon
     bone, which gradually taper to their lower ends and bear no
     finger joints, or, as they are termed, phalanges. Sometimes small
     bony or gristly nodules are to be found at the bases of these two
     metacarpal splints, and it is probable that these represent
     rudiments of the first and fifth digits. Thus the part of the
     horse's skeleton which corresponds with that of the human hand
     contains one overgrown middle digit, and at least two imperfect
     lateral digits; and these answer, respectively, to the third, the
     second, and the fourth digits in man.

      "Corresponding modifications are found in the hind limb. In
     ourselves, and in most quadrupeds, the leg contains two distinct
     bones, a large bone, the tibia, and a smaller and more slender
     bone, the fibula. But, in the horse, the fibula seems, at first,
     to be reduced to its upper end; a short slender bone united with
     the tibia and ending in a point below occupying its place.
     Examination of the lower end of a young foal's shin-bone,
     however, shews a distinct portion of osseous matter, which is the
     lower end of the fibula; so that the apparently single lower end
     of the shin-bone is really made up of the coalesced ends of the
     tibia and fibula, just as the apparently single lower end of the
     fore-arm bone is composed of the coalesced radius and ulna.

      "The heel of the horse is the part commonly known as the hock;
     the hinder cannon bone answers to the middle metatarsal bone of
     the human foot, the pastern, coronary, and coffin bones, to the
     middle-toe bones; the hind hoof to the nail, as in the fore foot.
     And, as in the fore foot, there are merely two splints to
     represent the second and fourth toes. Sometimes a rudiment of a
     fifth toe appears to be traceable."

Having in the same fashion described the highly complicated and
peculiar structure of the teeth of modern horses, Huxley proceeded:

     "To anyone who is acquainted with the morphology of vertebrated
     animals, these characteristic structures of the horse show that
     it deviates widely from the general structure of mammals; and
     that the horse type is, in many respects, an extreme modification
     of the general mammalian plan. The least modified mammals, in
     fact, have the radius and ulna, the tibia and fibula, distinct
     and separate. They have five distinct and complete digits on each
     foot, and no one of these digits is very much larger than the
     rest. Moreover, in the least modified mammals, the total number
     of the teeth is very generally forty-four, while in the horse the
     usual number is forty, and, in the absence of the canines, it may
     be reduced to thirty-six; the incisor teeth are devoid of the
     fold seen in those of the horse; the grinders regularly diminish
     in size from the middle of the series to its front end; while
     their crowns are short, early attain their full length, and
     exhibit simple ridges or tubercles, in place of the complex
     foldings of the horse's grinders.

      "Hence the general principles of the hypothesis of evolution
     lead to the conclusion that the horse must have been derived from
     some quadruped which possessed five complete digits on each foot;
     which had the bones of the forearm and of the leg complete and
     separate; and which possessed forty-four teeth, among which the
     crown of the incisors and grinders had a simple structure; while
     the latter gradually increased in size from before backwards, at
     any rate in the anterior part of the series, and had short

      "And if the horse had been thus evolved, and the remains of the
     different stages of its evolution have been preserved, they ought
     to present us with a series of forms in which the number of the
     digits becomes reduced; the bones of the forearm and leg
     gradually take on the equine condition; and the form and
     arrangement of the teeth successively approximate to those which
     obtain in existing horses.

      "Let us turn to the facts and see how far they fulfill these
     requirements of the doctrine of evolution.

      "In Europe abundant remains of horses are found in the
     Quaternary and later Tertiary strata as far as the Pliocene
     formation. But these horses, which are so common in the
     cave-deposits and in the gravel of Europe, are in all essential
     respects like existing horses, and that is true of all the horses
     of the later part of the Pliocene epoch. But, in the deposits
     which belong to the earlier Pliocene, and later Miocene epochs,
     and which occur in Britain, in France, in Germany, in Greece, in
     India, we find animals which are extremely like horses--which in
     fact are so similar to horses, that you may follow descriptions
     given in works upon the anatomy of the horse, upon the skeletons
     of these animals--but which differ in some important particulars.
     For example, the structure of their fore and hind limbs is
     somewhat different. The bones, which, in the horse are
     represented by two long splints, imperfect below, are as long as
     the middle metacarpal and metatarsal bones; and, attached to the
     extremity of each, is a digit with three joints of the same
     general character as those of the middle digit, only very much
     smaller. These small digits are so disposed that they could have
     had but very little functional importance, and they must have
     been rather of the nature of the dew-claws, such as are to be
     found in many ruminant animals. The _Hipparion_, as the extinct
     European three-toed horse is called, in fact presents a foot
     similar to that of the American _Protohippus_ except that in
     _Hipparion_ the smaller digits are situated further back, and are
     of smaller proportional size than in the _Protohippus_.

      "The ulna is slightly more distinct than in the horse; and the
     whole length of it, as a very slender shaft, intimately united
     with the radius, is completely traceable. The fibula appears to
     be in the same condition as in the horse. The teeth of the
     _Hipparion_ are essentially similar to those of the horse, but
     the pattern of the grinders is in some respects a little more
     complex, and there is a depression on the face of the skull in
     front of the orbit, which is not seen in existing horses.

      "In the earlier Miocene and perhaps in the Eocene deposits of
     some parts of Europe, another distinct animal has been
     discovered, which Cuvier, who first described some fragments of
     it, considered to be a _Palaeotherium_, but as further discoveries
     threw new light on its structure, it was recognised as a distinct
     genus, under the name of _Anchitherium_.

      "In its general characters the skeleton of _Anchitherium_ is
     very similar to that of the horse, in fact Lartet and De
     Blainville called it _Palaeotherium equinum_ or _Hippoides_; and
     De Cristol, in 1847, said that it differed from _Hipparion_ in
     little more than the characters of the teeth, and gave it the
     name of _Hipparitherium_. Each foot possesses three complete
     toes: while the lateral toes are much larger in proportion to the
     middle toe than in _Hipparion_, and doubtless rested on the
     ground in ordinary locomotion. The ulna is complete and quite
     distinct from the radius, although firmly united with the latter.
     The fibula seems also to have been complete; its lower end,
     though intimately united with that of the tibia, is clearly
     united with that of the latter bone. There are forty-four teeth;
     the incisors have no strong pit. The canines seem to have been
     well developed in both sexes. The first of the seven grinders,
     which, as I have said, is frequently absent, and, when it does
     exist, is small in the horse, is a good-sized and permanent
     tooth, while the grinder which follows it is but little larger
     than the hinder ones. The crowns of the grinders are short, and,
     although the fundamental pattern of the horse-tooth is
     discernible, the front and back ridges are less curved, the
     accessory pillars are wanting, and the valleys, much shallower,
     are not filled up with cement."

Then, after describing his early efforts to trace the descent of the
horse from European fossils, Huxley goes on to relate the new light
thrown on the matter from the American discoveries of Professor Marsh:

     "You are all aware that, when your country was first discovered
     by Europeans, there were no traces of the existence of the horse
     in any part of the American continent. The accounts of the
     conquest of Mexico dwell on the astonishment of the natives of
     that country when they first became acquainted with that
     astounding phenomenon, a man seated upon a horse. Nevertheless,
     the investigations of American geologists have proved that the
     remains of horses occur in the most superficial deposits of both
     North and South America, just as they do in Europe. Therefore,
     for some reason or other,--no feasible suggestion on that
     subject, so far as I know, has been made,--the horse must have
     died out on this continent at some period preceding the discovery
     of America. Of late years there has been discovered in your
     Western territories that marvellous accumulation of deposits,
     admirably adapted for the preservation of organic remains, to
     which I referred the other evening, and which furnishes us with a
     consecutive series of records of the fauna of the older half of
     the Tertiary epoch, for which we have no parallel in Europe. The
     researches of Leidy and others have shewn that forms allied to
     the _Hipparion_ and the _Anchitherium_ are to be found among
     these remains. Rut it is only recently that the admirably
     conceived and most thoroughly and patiently worked-out
     investigations of Professor Marsh have given us a just idea of
     the vast fossil wealth and of the scientific importance of these
     deposits. I have had the advantage of glancing over the
     collections in Yale Museum; and I can truly say that, so far as
     my knowledge extends, there is no collection from any one region
     and series of strata comparable, for extent, or for care with
     which the remains have been got together, or for their scientific
     importance, to the series of fossils which he has deposited
     there. This vast collection has yielded evidence bearing on the
     question of the pedigree of the horse of the most striking
     character. It tends to show that we must look to America rather
     than to Europe for the original seat of the equine series; and
     that the archaic forms and successive modifications of the
     horse's ancestry are far better preserved here than in Europe.

      "Professor Marsh's kindness has enabled me to put before you a
     diagram, every figure of which is an actual representation of
     some specimen which is to be seen at Yale at this present time.

      "The succession of forms which he has brought together carries
     us from the top to the bottom of the Tertiaries. Firstly, there
     is the true horse. Next we have the American Pliocene form of the
     horse (_Pliohippus_): in the conformation of its limbs it
     presents some very slight deviations from the ordinary horse, and
     the crowns of the grinding teeth are shorter. Then comes the
     _Protohippus_, which represents the European _Hipparion_, having
     one large digit and two small ones on each foot, and the general
     characters of the forearm and leg to which I have referred. But
     it is more valuable than the European _Hipparion_ for the reason
     that it is devoid of some of the peculiarities of that
     form--peculiarities which tend to show that the European
     _Hipparion_ is rather a member of a collateral branch than a form
     in the direct line of succession. Next, in the backward order in
     time, is the _Miohippus_, which corresponds pretty nearly with
     the _Anchitherium_ of Europe. It presents three complete
     toes--one large median and two smaller lateral ones: and there
     is a rudiment of that digit which answers to the little finger of
     the human race.

      "The European pedigree of the horse stops here; in the America
     Tertiaries, on the contrary, the series of ancestral equine forms
     is continued into the Eocene formations. An older Miocene form,
     called _Mesohippus_, has three toes in front, with a large
     splint-like rudiment representing the little finger; and three
     toes behind. The radius and ulna, the tibia and fibula, are
     distinct, and the short crowned molar teeth are _Anchitherioid_
     in pattern.

      "But the most important discovery of all is the _Orohippus_
     which comes from the Eocene formation, and is the oldest member
     of the equine series yet known. Here we find four complete toes
     on the front limb, three toes on the hind limb, a well-developed
     ulna, a well-developed fibula, and short-crowned grinders of a
     simple pattern.

      "Thus, thanks to these important researches, it has become
     evident that, so far as our present knowledge extends, the
     history of the horse type is exactly and precisely that which
     could have been predicted from a knowledge of the principles of
     evolution; and the knowledge we now possess justifies us
     completely in the anticipation that, when the still lower Eocene
     deposits, and those which belong to the Cretaceous period have
     yielded up their remains of ancestral equine animals, we shall
     find, first, a form with four complete toes and a rudiment of the
     innermost or first digit in front, with probably a rudiment of
     the fifth digit in the hind foot; while, in the older forms, the
     series of digits will be more and more complete until we come to
     the five-toed animals, in which, if the doctrine of evolution is
     well founded, the whole series must have taken its origin."

Just as Huxley was successful, when only the ancestry to Miocene times
was known, in predicting the discovery of older forms in the older
Miocene and upper Eocene, so his prediction of older Eocene forms
carrying the chain back to five-toed creatures proved correct. One of
the new links was indeed discovered before his lecture had passed
through the press, and he was able to add in a footnote some details
of the structure of the four-toed Eohippus from the lower Eocene
beds. Further discoveries have connected these with the five-toed
ancestors of the Tapirs, and there is the strongest reason to suppose
that we now know as nearly as possible the line of ancestry of the
horse back to the primitive forms common to all the higher mammals. It
would, of course, be beyond possibility of proof that the exact
fossils described were the actual ancestors of the horse; but that
they are exceedingly close allies of these, and that among them some
actual ancestors exist cannot reasonably be doubted.

Although he had embarked upon geological work with some distaste,
Huxley became very closely associated with it as years went on, and
indeed, about the seventies, had abandoned his intention to devote
himself specially to physiology, and declared himself to be in the
first place a palaeontologist. In 1876 he had accomplished so much that
the Geological Society gave him its chief distinction, awarding him
the Wollaston Medal in recognition of his services to geological
science. He acted as Secretary to the Geological Society from 1859 to
1862, and he was President from 1868 to 1870. In 1862, the President
being incapacitated, Huxley delivered as Deputy-President the
Presidential Address. This address is famous in the history of
geology, because for the first time it stated clearly and in permanent
form a doctrine now taken as a first principle in all geological
text-books. A large part of geology is the attempt to read the past
history of the earth from the evidence given by the successive strata
of rocks that form its crust.

     "It is mathematically certain that, in any given vertical linear
     section of an undisturbed series of sedimentary deposits, the bed
     which lies lowest is the oldest. In many other vertical linear
     sections of the same series, of course corresponding beds will
     occur in a similar order."

It is of the utmost importance to determine whether or no the same
series occurring vertically in the same order in different parts of
the earth were deposited at the same time. To explain the problem,
Huxley took the following concrete example:

     "The Lias of England and the Lias of Germany, the Cretaceous
     rocks of Britain and the Cretaceous rocks of Southern India, are
     termed by geologists 'Contemporaneous' formations; but whenever
     any thoughtful geologist is asked whether he means to say that
     they were deposited at the same time, he says, 'No, only within
     the same great epoch.' And if, in pursuing the enquiry, he is
     asked what may be the approximate value in time of a 'great
     epoch'--whether it means a hundred years, or a thousand, or a
     million, or ten million years--his reply is, 'I cannot tell.'"

Most of the standard writers on palaeontology had assumed that the
presence in two beds at different parts of the world of the same
fossils implied that the beds were contemporaneous, that they had been
formed at the same time. Huxley pointed out that the fact of identical
fossils being present was, on the whole, evidence against the beds
having been formed at the same time. Even some of the older writers
who believed in species having been created at definite places at
definite times had seen that time must have been required for sets of
animals to wander from the places in which they had come into
existence. The newer theory of evolution was equally opposed to the
notion of the appearance of similar animals at the same time on
far-distant parts of the earth. For such reasons he proposed to reject
the use of the word _Contemporaneous_ as applied to rockbeds in
different localities which contained the same fossils, and to replace
it by the word _Homotaxial_, which meant no more than that the beds
occupied corresponding places in the geological history of the earth.
Huxley did not pretend that these arguments were entirely original:
they represented the drift of the best geological opinion, and he
seized hold of them and set them down as permanent geological truths.

In 1869, in a Presidential Address to the Geological Society, Huxley
took up one of the burning questions of the day. In the early part of
the century, the discoveries of geologists had been the occasion of
great distress to those good people who clung to a literal
interpretation of everything in the Bible. Long before the doctrine of
evolution and the descent of man from lower animals had taken practical
shape, there had been a battle royal between geologists who declared
that the earth was many million years old, and had been inhabited at
least by animals and plants for enormous periods, and those who clung to
the traditional chronology which placed the date of creation only a few
thousand years from now. The continued progress of geology, and the
sturdy championship of it by men like Sedgwick, Chalmers, and Buckland,
who were at the same time reputable theologians and distinguished men of
science, had decided the battle in favour of the conclusions of science,
and it was accepted generally that the earth was almost indefinitely
old. At the same time, another and more strictly scientific dispute had
been in progress. The older school of geologists, looking on the face of
the world, and seeing it scarred by mighty fissures, displaying huge
distortions of the beds in the crust, had argued that geological change
had taken place by a series of mighty catastrophes. The tremendous
results which they saw seemed to them only possible on the theory that
unusual and gigantic displays of force had caused them. On the other
hand, Hutton and Lyell attempted to find adequate explanation of the
greatest changes in the slow forces which may be seen in operation at
the present time. Slow movements of upheaval and depression, amounting
at most to an inch or two in a century, may be shown to be actually in
existence now, and such slow changes acting for very many centuries
would account for the raising of continents above the sea, so that old
sea-bottoms became the surface of the land, and for the depression of
land areas so that new sedimentary rocks might be deposited upon them.
They shewed how air and water slowly crumbled away the hardest rocks,
and how rivers deepened their beds steadily but excessively slowly; and
they held that while great catastrophic changes might occasionally have
occurred, there was ample evidence of the present operation of forces
which, granted sufficient time for their operation, would have made the
crust of the earth such as it is. This doctrine of _Uniformitarianism_,
of the action of similar forces in the past and present history of the
earth, had almost completely triumphed over the older catastrophic
views. As Huxley put it, the school of catastrophe put no limit to the
violence of forces which had operated; the uniformitarians put no limit
to the length of time during which forces had operated.

     "Catastrophism has insisted upon the existence of a practically
     unlimited bank of force, on which the theorist might draw; and it
     has cherished the idea of development of the earth from a state
     in which its form, and the forces which it exerted, were very
     different from those which we now know.

      "Uniformitarianism, on the other hand, has with equal justice
     insisted upon a practically unlimited bank of time, ready to
     discount any quantity of hypothetical paper. It has kept before
     our eyes the power of the infinitely little, time being granted,
     and has compelled us to exhaust known causes before flying to the

But there was a third influence at work in geology, an influence which
may best be described in Huxley's own words:

     "I shall not make what I have to say on this head clear unless I
     diverge, or seem to diverge, for a while, from the direct path of
     my discourse so far as to explain what I take to be the scope of
     geology itself. I conceive geology to be the history of the
     earth, in precisely the same sense as biology is the history of
     living beings; and I trust you will not think that I am
     overpowered by the influence of a dominant pursuit if I say that
     I trace a close analogy between these two histories.

      "If I study a living being, under what heads does the knowledge
     I obtain fall? I can learn its structure, or what we call its
     Anatomy; and its development, or the series of changes it passes
     through to acquire its complete structure. Then I find that the
     living being has certain powers resulting from its own
     activities, and the interaction of these with the activities of
     other things--the knowledge of which is Physiology. Beyond this,
     the living being has a position in space and time, which is its
     Distribution. All these form the body of ascertainable facts
     which constitute the _status quo_ of the living creature. But
     these facts have their causes; and the ascertainment of these
     causes is the doctrine of AEtiology.

      "If we consider what is knowable about the earth, we shall find
     that such earth-knowledge--if I may so translate the word
     geology--falls into the same categories.

      "What is termed stratigraphical geology is neither more nor less
     than the anatomy of the earth; and the history of the succession
     of the formations is a history of the succession of such
     anatomies, or corresponds with development, as distinct from

      "The internal heat of the earth, the elevation and depression of
     its crust, its belching forth of vapours, ashes, and lava, are
     its activities, in as strict a sense as are warmth and the
     movements and products of respiration the activities of an
     animal. The phenomena of the seasons, of the trade-winds, of the
     Gulf Stream, are as much the results of the reaction between
     these inner activities and outward forces, as are the budding of
     the leaves in spring, and their falling in autumn the effects of
     the interaction between the organisation of a plant and the solar
     light and heat. And, as the study of the activities of the living
     being is called its physiology, so are these phenomena the
     subject matter of an analogous telluric physiology, to which we
     sometimes give the name of meteorology; sometimes of physical
     geography, sometimes that of geology. Again, the earth has a
     place in space and time, and relations to other bodies in both
     these respects, which constitute its distribution. This subject
     is usually left to the astronomer; but a knowledge of its broad
     outlines seems to me to be an essential constituent of the stock
     of geological ideas.

      "All that can be ascertained concerning the structure,
     succession of conditions, actions, and position in space of the
     earth, is the matter of its natural history. But, as in Biology,
     there remains the matter of reasoning from these facts to their
     causes, which is just as much science as the other, and indeed
     more; and this constitutes geological aetiology.

      "Having regard to this general scheme of geological knowledge
     and thought, it is obvious that geological speculation may be, so
     to speak, anatomical and developmental speculation, so far as it
     relates to points of stratigraphical arrangement which are out of
     reach of direct observation; or, it may be physiological
     speculation so far as it relates to undetermined problems
     relative to the activities of the earth; or, it may be
     distributional speculation, if it deals with modifications of the
     earth's place in space; or, finally, it will be aetiological
     speculation if it attempts to deduce the history of the world, as
     a whole, from the known properties of the matter of the earth, in
     the conditions in which the earth has been placed."

Huxley then proceeded to shew that uniformitarianism and catastrophism
had neglected this last and most important branch of geology, the
attempt to trace the interaction of causes which had brought the world
into its present condition. He gave a striking display of the wide
knowledge of his reading by going back to the foundation of this branch
of modern science, and giving a masterly account of the then
little-known treatise of Immanuel Kant, who in 1775 had written _An
Attempt to Account for the Constitutional and Mechanical Origin of the
Universe upon Newtonian Principles_. Next he declared that evolution
embraced all that was sound in both catastrophism and uniformitarianism
while rejecting the arbitrary limits and assumptions of both.

Finally he came to the great question to which these observations upon
the existing schools of geology had led. The most distinguished
physicist of the age, then Sir William Thomson, now Lord Kelvin, and
Huxley's immediate successor in the Presidential Chair of the Royal
Society, had stated that the English school of geology had assumed an
impossible age for the earth. By physical reasonings, Thomson stated
that he was able to prove "That the existing state of things on the
earth--all geological history showing continuity of life--must be
limited within some such period of time as one hundred million years."
This pronouncement had been received with acclamation by those who
feared the geological and biological sciences, as a sign of internal
dissensions within the house of science. Huxley, then, as all through
the latter part of his life, at once constituted himself the champion
of science, and, taking Thomson's arguments one by one, shewed by a
series of masterly deductions from known facts that there was a great
deal to be said for the other side, and that physicists were as little
certain as geologists could be of the exact duration of time that had
elapsed since the dawn of life. His plea for more time since the
cooling of the globe than physicists were willing to allow remains one
of the classics of geological literature. But he carried the question
much farther. The inference which was widely drawn by the enemies of
evolution from the arguments of Sir William Thomson was that if
geologists had overestimated the age of the cooled earth there was not
time for the evolution of animals and plants to have taken place.
Huxley pointed out a fact which should be quite obvious, but which
even yet is frequently neglected. The evidence for the gradual
appearance of life in the past history of the earth depends simply on
the fact that the successive forms of life appear in successive
strata, and the length of time taken for these changes simply depends
upon the length of time which was taken up by the formation of the
strata. Our only reason for supposing the evolution of life, made
plain by fossil records, to have taken place very slowly is that
geologists have stated that the deposition of the strata took place
very slowly. Whether these strata were deposited slowly or less
slowly, we know that the forms of life changed at the same rate.

     "Biology takes her time from geology. The only reason we have for
     believing in the slow rate of change in living forms is the fact
     that they persist through a series of deposits which, geology
     informs us, have taken a long while to make. If the geological
     clock is wrong, all the naturalist will have to do is to modify
     his notion of the rapidity of change accordingly; and I venture
     to point out that, when we are told that the limitation of the
     period during which living beings have inhabited this planet to
     one, two, or three hundred million years requires a complete
     revolution in geological speculation, the _onus probandi_ rests
     on the maker of the assertion, who brings forward not a shadow of
     evidence in its support."

Perhaps, although this is now an old controversy, it is worth while
to recall that the keenness of Huxley's language was not directed
against Sir William Thomson, between whom and Huxley there was no more
than the desire to argue out an interesting scientific question upon
which their conclusions differed, but between Huxley and those
outsiders who were always ready to turn any dubious question in
science into an argument discrediting the general conclusions of

The last time that Huxley occupied the Presidential Chair of the
Geological Society was in 1870, and he occupied his Presidential
address by a review of the "old judgments" which he had given in the
course of his first address in 1862. The address was entitled
"Palaeontology and Evolution," and the most important part of it was a
complete withdrawal of the fears he had expressed that geology would
not supply definite evidence of the transformation of species.
Important discoveries had come thick and fast; and, at least in the
case of the higher vertebrates, he declared that, however one might
"sift and criticise them," they left a clear balance in favour of the
doctrine of the evolution of living forms one from another. But, with
his usual critical spirit, examining arguments that bore against a
conclusion for which he hoped almost more stringently than arguments
apparently favourable to what he expected to be true, Huxley made an
important distinction, the value of which becomes more and more
apparent as time goes on. In the first flush of enthusiasm for
Darwinism, zooelogists and palaeontologists allowed their zeal to outrun
discretion in the formation of family trees. They examined large
series of living or extinct creatures, and so soon as they found
gradations of structure present, they arranged their specimens in a
linear series, from the simplest to the most complex, and declared
that the arrangement was a representation of the family tree. The fact
that the line of descent apparently could have followed along the
direction they suggested they were inclined to take as evidence that
it had so followed. Huxley made the most careful distinction between
what he called intermediate types and types with a right to be placed
in linear order,

     Every fossil which takes an intermediate place between forms of
     life already known may be said, so far as it is intermediate, to
     be evidence in favour of evolution, inasmuch as it shews a
     possible road by which evolution may have taken place. But the
     mere discovery of such a form does not, in itself, prove that
     evolution took place by and through it, nor does it constitute
     more than a presumptive evidence in favour of evolution in
     general. The fact that _Anoplotheridae_ are intermediate between
     pigs and ruminants does not tell us whether the ruminants have
     come from the pigs or the pigs from the ruminants, or both from
     _Anoplotheridae_, or whether pigs, ruminants, and _Anoplotheridae_;
     alike may not have diverged from some common stock.

A familiar instance will make the point at issue plain. Everyone knows
that in many respects, in the structure of the skeleton, and the curve
of the backbone, and in the development of the brain, the man-like
monkeys, the gorilla and its allies, are intermediate between man and
the lower monkeys. In the early days of evolution it was assumed
frequently that the gorilla, etc., were therefore to be regarded as
ancestors of man, and they appear as such in more than one well-known
treatise on evolutionary biology. We now know that it is exceedingly
probable that the gorilla and its allies, although truly intermediate
types, and truly shewing a possible path of evolution from the brute
to man, are not the actual ancestors of man, but cousins, descendants
like man from some more or less remote common ancestor. And the
tendency of recent advances in knowledge is more and more to throw
stress on the value of Huxley's distinction, and to minimise confusion
between "intermediate" and truly ancestral types.



     Early Ideas on Evolution--Erasmus Darwin--Lamarck--Herbert
     Spencer--Difference between Evolution and Natural
     Selection--Huxley's Preparation for Evolution--The Novelty of
     Natural Selection--The Advantage of Natural Selection as a
     Working Hypothesis--Huxley's Unchanged Position with regard to
     Evolution and Natural Selection from 1860 to 1894.

From our attempt to place together as much as possible of Huxley's
geological work in the last chapter, it followed that we anticipated
much that falls properly within this chapter. The year 1859, the date
of publication of _The Origin of Species_, is a momentous date in the
history of this century, as it was the year in which there was given
to the world a theory that not only revolutionised scientific opinion,
but altered the trend of almost every branch of thought. To understand
this great change, and the part played in it by Huxley, it is
necessary to be quite clear as to what Darwin did. In the first place,
he did not invent evolution. The idea that all the varied structures
in the world, the divergent forms of rocks and minerals and crystals,
the innumerable trees and herbs that cover the face of the earth like
a mantle, and all the animal host of creatures great and small that
dwell on the land or dart through the air or people the waters,--that
all these had arisen by natural laws from a primitive unformed
material was known to the Greeks, was developed by the Romans, and
even received the approval of early Christian Fathers, who wrote long
before the idea had been invented that the naive legends of the Old
Testament were an authoritative and literal account of the origin of
the world. After a long interval, in which scientific thought was
stifled by theological dogmatism, the theory of evolution,
particularly in its application to animals, began to reappear, long
before Darwin published _The Origin of Species_. Buffon, the great
French naturalist, and Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of Charles, had
expressed in the clearest way the possibility that species had not
been created independently, but had arisen from other species. Lamarck
had worked out a theory of descent in the fullest detail, and regarded
it as the foundation of the whole science of biology. He taught that
the beginning of life consisted only of the simplest and lowest plants
and animals; that the more complex animals and plants arose from
these, and that even man himself had come from ape-like mammals. He
held that the course of development of the earth and of all the
creatures upon it was a slow and continuous change, uninterrupted by
violent revolutions. He summed up the causes of organic evolution in
the following propositions[D]:

      "1. Life tends by its inherent forces to increase the volume of
     each living body and of all its parts up to a limit determined by
     its own needs.

      "2. New wants in animals give rise to new movements which
     produce organs.

      "3. The development of these organs is in proportion to their

      "4. New developments are transmitted to offspring."

He supported especially the last two propositions by a series of
examples as to the effects of use and disuse; and the most famous of
these, the theory that giraffes had produced their long necks by
continually stretching up towards the trees on which they fed, is well
known to everyone. However, the ingenious speculations of Lamarck were
unsupported by a sufficient range of actual knowledge of anatomy, and
lacked experimental proof. He entirely failed to convince his
contemporaries; and Darwin himself, in a letter to Lyell, declared
that he had gained nothing from two readings of Lamarck's book. There
can be little doubt but that several Continental writers, in
particular Haeckel, have exaggerated Lamarck's services to the
development of the idea of evolution. On the other hand, Lyell,
although he strongly opposed the ideas of Lamarck and some curious
notions of progressional creation due to the great Agassiz, had
prepared the way for Darwin by his advocacy of natural causes and slow
changes in opposition to the catastrophic and miraculous views in
vogue. Above all, Herbert Spencer had argued most strenuously in
favour of evolution. Thus, in an important passage quoted by Mr. Clodd
from the _Leader_ of March 20, 1852, Spencer had written as follows:

     "Those who cavalierly reject the theory of evolution, as not
     adequately supported by facts, seem quite to forget that their
     own theory is not supported by facts at all. Like the majority of
     men who are born to a given belief, they demand the most rigorous
     proof of any adverse belief, but assume that their own needs
     none. Here we find, scattered over the globe, vegetable and
     animal organisms numbering, of the one kind (according to
     Humboldt) some 320,000 species, and of the other, some 2,000,000
     species (see Carpenter); and if to these we add the numbers of
     animal and vegetable species that have become extinct, we may
     safely estimate the number of species that have existed, and are
     existing, on the earth, at no less than ten millions. Well, which
     is the most rational theory about these ten millions of species?
     Is it most likely that there have been ten millions of special
     creations; or is it most likely that by continual modifications,
     due to change of circumstances, ten millions of varieties have
     been produced, as varieties are being produced still?... Even
     could the supporters of the development hypothesis merely shew
     that the origination of species by the process of modification is
     conceivable, they would be in a better position than their
     opponents. But they can do much more than this. They can shew
     that the process of modification has effected, and is effecting,
     decided changes in all organisms subject to modifying
     influences.... They can shew that in successive generations these
     changes continue, until ultimately the new conditions become the
     natural ones. They can shew that in cultivated plants,
     domesticated animals, and in the several races of men, such
     alterations have taken place. They can show that the degrees of
     difference so produced are often, as in dogs, greater than those
     on which distinctions of species have been founded. They can
     shew, too, that the changes daily taking place in ourselves--the
     facility that attends long practice, and the loss of aptitude
     that begins when practice ceases,--the strengthening of the
     passions habitually gratified, and the weakening of those
     habitually curbed,--the development of every faculty, bodily,
     moral, intellectual, according to the use made of it--are all
     explicable on this principle. And thus they can shew that
     throughout all organic nature there is at work a modifying
     influence of the kind they assign as the cause of these specific
     differences; an influence which, though slow in its action, does,
     in time, if the circumstances demand it, produce marked
     changes--an influence which, to all appearance, would produce in
     the millions of years, and under the great varieties of condition
     which geological records imply, any amount of change."

These and many other instances which might be brought together from
the published writings of the half-century before the publication of
the _Origin_, show conclusively that the idea of evolution was far
from new, and that all through the first part of this century
dissatisfaction with the doctrine of the fixity of species and of
their miraculous creation was growing. The great contribution of
Darwin was this: First, by his theory of natural selection, he brought
together the known facts of variation, of struggle for existence, and
of adaptation to varying conditions, in such a way that they provided
men with a rational and known cause, a cause the operation of which
could be seen, for the origin of species by means of preservation of
favoured races. Next, as to the origin of species, he brought together
not only proofs of the actual operation of natural selection, but a
body of evidence in favour of the fact of evolution that was, beyond
all comparison, more striking than had been adduced by any earlier
philosophical or biological writer. He convinced naturalists that
evolution was by far the most probable way in which the living world
had come to be what it is, and he made them turn to examination of the
animal and vegetable kingdoms with a lively hope that the past history
of the living world was not an insoluble problem. Darwin's doctrine
brought a new life into biological study, and the result of the
incomparably greater bulk of investigation that followed the year 1859
was a continual increase of evidence in favour of the probability of
evolution, until now the whole scientific world, and the majority of
those who are unscientific, are content to accept evolution as the
only reasonable explanation of the living world. It is well to
remember that while Darwin, by bringing forward the theory of struggle
for existence and resulting survival of the fittest, was the actual
cause of the present assured position of evolution as a first
principle of science, it by no means follows that the survival of the
fittest has become similarly a first principle of science. At cross
roads a traveller may choose the right path from a quite
unsatisfactory reason. Darwin himself, in the act of bringing forward
his own theory of natural selection, admitted the possibility of the
co-operation of many other agencies in evolution, and at various times
during the course of his life he was inclined to attach, now more now
less, importance to these additional agencies. Huxley, as we shall
soon come to see, never wavered in his adhesion to the facts of
evolution after 1859; but, from first to last, regarded natural
selection as only the most probable cause of the occurrence of
evolution. Other naturalists, of whom the best-known are Weismann in
Germany, Ray Lankester in England, and W.K. Brooks in America, have
come to attach a continually increasing importance to the purely
Darwinian factor of natural selection; while others again, such as
Herbert Spencer in England, and the late Professor Cope and a large
American school, have advocated more and more strongly the importance
of what may be called the Lamarckian factors of evolution,--the
inherited effects of increased or diminished use of organs, the direct
influence of the environment, and so forth. From the fact that Darwin
has persuaded the world of the truth of evolution, evolution is often
called Darwinism; and in this historically just though scientifically
inaccurate sense of the term, Huxley was a strict Darwinian, a
Darwinian of the Darwinians. From the facts that, although natural
selection had been formulated by several writers before Darwin, and
had been simultaneously elaborated by Wallace and Darwin, the _Origin
of Species_ was the foundation of the modern acceptation of evolution,
and natural selection was the key-note of the origin of species,
natural selection may be called Darwinism with both historical and
scientific accuracy; and in this sense of the term Huxley was a
Darwinian; a convinced but free-thinking and broad-minded Darwinian,
who was far from persuaded that his tenet had a monopoly of truth, and
who delighted in shewing the distinctions between what seemed to him
probable and what was proved, and in absorbing from other doctrines
whatever he thought worthy to be absorbed. The present writer has
thought it so important to distinguish between these two sides of the
word _Darwinism_, that for the sake of clearness he has stated what he
believes to be the truth of Huxley's relation to Darwin before
beginning detailed exposition of it.

In consideration of Huxley's position before 1859, the most
interesting feature of his zooelogical work is the gradual preparation
that it was making in his mind for the doctrine of the _Origin_. He
was like an engineer boring a tunnel through a mountain, but ignorant
of how near he was to the pleasant valley on the other side; and,
above all, ignorant how rapidly he was being met by a much more mighty
excavation from the other side. To use what is perhaps a more exact
simile: he was like a child with half the pieces of a puzzle-map,
slowly linking them together as far as they would fit, and quite
ignorant that presently the remaining half would suddenly be given
him, and with almost no trouble would at once fit into the gaps he had
necessarily left, and transform a meaningless pattern into a perfect
and intelligible whole. Let us consider some of these map pieces. The
ultimate picture was the conception of the whole world of life, past
and present, as a single family tree growing up from the simplest
possible roots, and gradually spreading out first into the two main
branches of animals and plants, and then into the endless series of
complicated ramifications that make up living and extinct animals and
plants. Huxley was piecing together the scattered fragments, and
gradually learning to see here and there whole branches, as yet
separate at their lower ends, but in themselves shapely, and showing a
general resemblance to one another in the gradual progression from
simple to complex. The greatest of these branches that he had pieced
together was the group of Medusae and their allies, now known as
Coelenterates. He had formed similar branches for the Molluscs and
minor branches for the Salps and Ascidians, and, in his general
lectures on the whole animal kingdom, he had shadowed out the broad
arrangement of the main divisions, or, as he called them, _types_. He
had seen in each particular branch the clearest evidence of the laws
of growth which had directed its development, and had realised that
these laws of growth, consisting of gradual modifications of common
typical structures, were identical in the different branches. He had
taken clear hold of Von Baer's conception that the younger stages of
different types were more alike than the adult stages, and here and
there he had made comparisons between the younger stages or simplest
forms of his different branches, and had shown that, without
completely realising it, he was ready for the idea that just as the
separate pieces could be arranged to form orderly branches, so the
separate branches might come to be arranged as a single tree. And
finally, in his lectures on "Protoplasm and Cells," and on the
"Common Structure of the Animal and Plant Kingdoms," he had reached
the conclusion that the two main divisions of the living world were
formed of the same stuff, displayed in identical fashion the
elementary functions of life, and were creatures of the same order.
But, notwithstanding this close approach to modern conceptions, he was
not an evolutionist. When, in public, he expressed deliberate
convictions, these convictions were against the general idea of
evolution, until very shortly before 1859. In this opposition he was
supported partly by the critical scepticism of his mind, which in all
things made him singularly unwilling to accept any theories of any
kind, but chiefly from the fact that the books of the two chief
supporters of evolutionary conceptions impressed him very
unfavourably. Huxley writes:

     "I had studied Lamarck attentively, and I had read the _Vestiges_
     with due care; but neither of them afforded me any good ground
     for changing my negative and critical attitude. As for the
     _Vestiges_, I confess that the book simply irritated me by the
     prodigious ignorance and thoroughly unscientific habit of mind
     manifested by the writer. If it had any influence on me at all,
     it set me against evolution; and the only review I ever have
     qualms of conscience about, on the ground of needless savagery is
     one I wrote on the _Vestiges_ while under that influence. With
     respect to the _Philosophie Zoologique_, it is no reproach to
     Lamarck to say that the discussion of the species question in
     that work, whatever might be said for it in 1809, was miserably
     below the level of the knowledge of half a century later. In that
     interval of time, the elucidation of the structure of the lower
     animals and plants had given rise to wholly new conceptions of
     their relations; histology and embryology, in the modern sense,
     had been created; physiology had been reconstituted; the facts of
     distribution, geological and geographical, had been prodigiously
     multiplied and reduced to order. To any biologist whose studies
     had carried him beyond mere species-mongering, in 1850 one-half
     of Lamarck's arguments were obsolete, and the other half
     erroneous or defective, in virtue of omitting to deal with the
     various classes of evidence which had been brought to light since
     his time. Moreover his one suggestion as to the cause of the
     gradual modification of species--effort excited by change of
     conditions--was, on the face of it, inapplicable to the whole
     vegetable world. I do not think that any impartial judge who
     reads the _Philosophie Zoologique_ now, and who afterwards takes
     up Lyell's trenchant and effective criticism (published as far
     back as 1830) will be disposed to allot to Lamarck a much higher
     place in the establishment of biological evolution than that
     which Bacon assigns to himself in relation to physical science
     generally--_buccinator tantum_".

On the other hand, Huxley's friendship with Darwin and with Lyell
began to make him less certain about the fixity of species. He tells
us that during his first interview with Darwin, which occurred soon
after his return from the _Rattlesnake_, he

     "expressed his belief in the sharpness of the lines of
     demarcation between natural groups and in the absence of
     transitional forms, with all the confidence of youth and
     imperfect knowledge. I was not aware at that time that he had
     been many years brooding over the species question; and the
     humorous smile which accompanied his gentle answer, that such was
     not altogether his view, long haunted and puzzled me."

An elaborate study of Lyell's works helped largely in destroying this
youthful confidence, and a letter written by Lyell and quoted by
Huxley in the chapter he communicated to Darwin's _Life and Letters_,
states that in April, 1856, "when Huxley, Hooker, and Wollaston were
at Darwin's last week they (all four of them) ran a tilt against
species; further I believe, than they are prepared to go." Another
quotation from Huxley's essay on _The Reception of the Origin of
Species_ will make it plain beyond all doubt that he was not a
Darwinian before Darwin.


     "Thus, looking hack into the past, it seems to me that my own
     position of critical expectancy was just and reasonable, and must
     have been taken up, on the same grounds, by many other persons.
     If Agassiz had told me that the forms of life which had
     successively tenanted the globe were the incarnations of
     successive thoughts of the Deity; and that He had wiped out one
     set of these embodiments by an appalling geological catastrophe
     as soon as His ideas took a more advanced shape, I found myself
     not only unable to admit the accuracy of the deductions from the
     facts of palaeontology, upon which this astounding hypothesis was
     founded, but I had to confess my want of means of testing the
     correctness of his explanation of them. And besides that, I could
     by no means see what the explanation explained. Neither did it
     help me to be told by an eminent anatomist that species had
     succeeded one another in time, in virtue of a 'continuously
     operative creational law'. That seemed to me to be no more than
     saying that species had succeeded one another in the form of a
     vote-catching resolution, with 'law' to please the man of science
     and 'creational' to draw the orthodox. So I took refuge in that
     _thaetige Skepsis_ which Goethe has so well defined; and,
     reversing the apostolic precept to be all things to all men, I
     usually defended the tenability of the received doctrines when I
     had to do with the transmutationists, and stood up for the
     possibility of transmutation among the orthodox--thereby, no
     doubt, increasing an already current, but quite undeserved,
     reputation for needless combativeness."

What transformed Huxley's views and the views of his contemporaries
who accepted Darwinism was not so much the evidence in favour of
evolution contained in the _Origin_, as the illuminating doctrine of
natural selection which for the first time supplied naturalists with a
reasonable explanation of how evolution might have come about, both in
the animal and vegetable kingdoms. As soon as this reason was
provided them, they turned to the store of facts within their own
knowledge, and rapidly arranged the evidence which had been lurking
only partly visible in favour of the fact of evolution. It cannot be
disputed that here and there earlier writers than Darwin and Wallace
had suggested the possibility of natural selection acting upon
existing variations so as to cause survival of the fittest.
MacGillivray, the Scots naturalist, and the father of Huxley's
companion on the _Rattlesnake_, had published suggestions which came
exceedingly near to Darwin's theory. In 1831 Mr. Patrick Matthew had
published a work on _Naval Architecture and Timber_, and in it had
stated the essential principle of the Darwinian doctrine of struggle
and survival. Still earlier, in 1813, a Dr. W.C. Wells, in a paper to
the Royal Society on "A White Female, Part of whose Skin Resembles
that of a Negro," had, as Darwin himself freely admitted, distinctly
recognised the principle of natural selection--but applied it only to
the races of man, and to certain characters alone. Finally, long
before either of these, Aristotle himself had written, in _Physics_,
ii., 8: "Why are not the things which seem the result of design,
merely spontaneous variations, which, being useful, have been
preserved, while others are continually eliminated as unsuitable?"
None of these foreshadowings were supported by lengthy evidence, nor
worked out into an elaborate theory; and it was not until Darwin had
done this that we can say the birth of natural selection really took
place. Huxley writes:

     "The suggestion that new species may result from the selective
     action of external conditions upon the variations from their
     specific type which individuals present,--and which we call
     'spontaneous,' because we are ignorant of their causation,--is
     as wholly unknown to the historian of scientific ideas as it was
     to biological specialists before 1858."

But that suggestion is the central idea of the origin of species, and
contains the quintessence of Darwinism.

Some weeks before the _Origin_ was published, Darwin wrote to Huxley,
sending him a copy of the work, and asking him for the names of
eminent foreigners to whom it should be sent. In the course of his
letter he wrote: "I shall be intensely curious to hear what effect the
book produces on you," and it was clear that he had no very confident
expectation of a favourable opinion. Huxley replied the day before the
_Origin_ was published, saying that he had finished the volume, and
stating that it had completely convinced him of the fact of evolution,
and that he fully accepted natural selection as a "true cause for the
production of species." Darwin, in a letter to Wallace, telling of his
doubts and fears concerning the reception of his book, had added the
postscript: "I think I told you before that Hooker is a complete
convert. If I can convert Huxley, I shall be content." When he
received Huxley's letter he replied at once:

     "Like a good Catholic who has received extreme unction, I can now
     sing _Nunc Dimittis_. I should have been more than contented with
     one quarter of what you have said. Exactly fifteen months ago,
     when I first put pen to paper for this volume, I had awful
     misgivings, and thought perhaps I had deluded myself, like so
     many have done; and I then fixed in my mind three judges, on
     whose decision I determined mentally to abide. The judges were
     Lyell, Hooker, and yourself. It was this which made me so
     excessively anxious for your verdict. I am now contented, and can
     sing my _Nunc Dimittis_."

The effect of the new theory on Huxley's mind has been expressed most
fully and clearly by himself:

     "I imagine that most of my contemporaries who thought seriously
     about the matter were very much in my own state of mind--inclined
     to say to Mosaists and Evolutionists, 'a plague on both your
     houses!' and disposed to turn aside from an interminable and
     apparently fruitless discussion to labour in the fertile fields
     of ascertainable fact. And I may, therefore, further suppose that
     the publication of the Darwin and Wallace papers in 1858, and
     still more that of the _Origin_ in 1859, had the effect upon them
     of that of a flash of light which, to a man who has lost himself
     in a dark night, suddenly reveals a road which, whether it takes
     him straight home or not, certainly goes his way. That which we
     were looking for and could not find, was a hypothesis respecting
     the origin of known organic forms, which assumed the operation of
     no causes but such as could be proved to be actually at work. We
     wanted, not to pin our faith to that or any other speculation,
     but to get hold of clear and definite conceptions which could be
     brought face to face with facts and have their validity tested.
     The _Origin_ provided us with the working hypothesis we sought.
     Moreover, it did us the immense service of freeing us for ever
     from the dilemma--refuse to accept the creation hypothesis, and
     what have you to propose that can be accepted by any cautious
     reasoner? In 1857 I had no answer ready, and I do not think that
     anyone else had. A year later, we reproached ourselves with
     dulness for being perplexed by such an enquiry. My reflection,
     when I first made myself master of the central idea of the
     _Origin_ was, 'how exceedingly stupid not to have thought of
     that.' I suppose that Columbus's companions said much the same
     when he made the egg to stand on end. The facts of variability,
     of the struggle for existence, of adaptation to conditions, were
     notorious enough; but none of us had suspected that the road to
     the heart of the species problem lay through them, until Darwin
     and Wallace dispelled the darkness, and the beacon-fire of the
     _Origin_ guided the benighted.

      "Whether the particular shape which the doctrine of evolution,
     as applied to the organic world, took in Darwin's hands, would
     prove to be final or not, was, to me, a matter of indifference.
     In my earliest criticisms of the _Origin_ I ventured to point out
     that its logical foundation was insecure so long as experiments
     in selective breeding had not produced varieties which were more
     or less infertile; and that insecurity remains up to the present
     time. But, with any and every critical doubt which my sceptical
     ingenuity could suggest, the Darwinian hypothesis remained
     incomparably more probable than the creation hypothesis. And if
     we had none of us been able to discern the paramount significance
     of some of the most patent and notorious of natural facts, until
     they were, so to speak, thrust under our noses, what force
     remained in the dilemma--creation or nothing? It was obvious
     that, hereafter, the probability would be immensely greater that
     the links of natural causation were hidden from our purblind
     eyes, than that natural causation should be unable to produce all
     the phenomena of nature. The only rational course for those who
     had no other object than the attainment of truth, was to accept
     'Darwinism' as a working hypothesis, and see what could be made
     of it. Either it would prove its capacity to elucidate the fact
     of organic life, or it would break down under the strain. This
     was surely the dictate of common sense, and for once common-sense
     carried the day. The result has been that complete _volte-face_
     of the whole scientific world which must seem so surprising to
     the present generation. I do not mean to say that all the leaders
     of biological science have avowed themselves Darwinians; but I do
     not think that there is a single zooelogist, or botanist, or
     palaeontologist, among the multitude of active workers of this
     generation, who is other than an evolutionist profoundly
     influenced by Darwin's views. Whatever may be the ultimate fate
     of the particular theory put forth by Darwin, I venture to affirm
     that, so far as my knowledge goes, all the ingenuity and all the
     learning of hostile critics has not enabled them to adduce a
     solitary fact of which it can be said that it is irreconcilable
     with the Darwinian theory. In the prodigious variety and
     complexity of organic nature, there are multitudes of phenomena
     which are not deducible from any generalisation we have yet
     reached. But the same may be said of every other class of natural
     objects. I believe that astronomers cannot yet get the moon's
     motions into perfect accordance with the theory of gravitation."

These quotations make plain the historical fact that Huxley was
convinced of evolution because Darwin, by his theory of natural
selection, brought forward an actual cause that could be seen in
operation, and that was competent to produce new species. As soon as the
"flash of light" came, it revealed to Huxley the vast store of evidence
that he had unconsciously accumulated, and it set him at once to work
collecting more evidence. If we bear in mind the distinction between
evolution and natural selection, the well-known subsequent history of
the relations between Huxley and what was known popularly as Darwinism
becomes clear and intelligible. From first to last he accepted
evolution; from first to last he accepted natural selection as by far
the most reasonable hypothesis that had been brought forward, and as
infinitely more in accordance with the observed facts of nature than any
theory of the immediate action of supernatural creative power. As time
went on, and the influence of Darwin's theory made evolution acceptable
to a wider and wider range of people, until it passed into the common
knowledge of the world, that confusion of which we have spoken arose
between evolution and Darwin's particular theory. And as knowledge grew,
and the number of biologists increased in the striking fashion of this
last half-century, while the evidence for evolution continued to
increase with an unexpected rapidity, every detail of the purely
Darwinian theory became more and more subjected to rigid scrutiny. Most
educated people, unless their education has been largely in an
experimental science, find difficulty in understanding the relation in
the minds of naturalists between "authority" and "knowledge." We do not
_know_, for instance, that the structure of the Medusae consists
essentially of two foundation-membranes, because Huxley, one of the
greatest authorities in anatomy that the world has seen, told us that it
was so. We know it because, Huxley having told us that it was so, we are
able at any time with a microscope and dissecting needles to observe the
fact for ourselves. It is true, that unless we are making a special
study of the Medusae we do not repeat the observation in the case of so
many different forms of Medusae as Huxley studied; but it is part of our
training to observe for ourselves in a sufficient number of cases to
test the correspondence between statement and fact before we accept the
generalisation of any authority. And we learn, or at least have the
opportunity of learning, in the whole habit of our lives as naturalists,
to distinguish carefully between knowledge of which personal observation
is an essential part, and opinion or belief which may or may not be
based upon authority, but which in any case is devoid of the
corroboration of personal observation. When a piece of new anatomical or
physiological work is published in a technical journal, it is read by a
large number of anatomists and physiologists, and if the work is
apparently of an important kind, bearing on the general problems that
even specialists have to follow, they all at once set to work in their
laboratories to make corroborative dissections or experiments, and it is
part of every modern account of a biological discovery to tell exactly
the methods by which results were got, in order that this process of
corroboration may be set about easily. The question as to whether or no
natural selection were the sole or chief cause, or indeed a cause at
all, of evolution is not yet, and perhaps never will be, a matter of
knowledge in the scientific sense. At the most, we can see for ourselves
only that selection does bring about changes at least as great as the
differences between natural species. The evidence for this we have
before our eyes, if we choose to see, on a stock farm; in the breeding
yards of any keeper of "fancy" animals; or in the nursery gardens of any
florist. So far, Huxley accepted the Darwinian principle as a definite
contribution to knowledge; and so far the whole body of biologists has
followed him. Beyond this the truth of the Darwinian principle is a
matter of inference or judgment; of balancing probabilities and
improbabilities. In multitude of counsellors there is said to be wisdom,
and what we learn from the counsellors of biology all over the world is
that some maintain that natural selection is the only probable agency in
effecting evolution, and that it is competent to account for all the
changes which we know to have taken place; others hold that its probable
influence has been over-rated; and others, again, think that it has been
one of the many causes that have brought about the kaleidoscopic variety
of organic nature. Huxley remained to the last among those who
distinguished in the clearest way between natural selection as an
exceedingly ingenious and probable hypothesis, and a proved cause; and
he was always careful, especially when he was writing for or speaking in
the presence of those who like himself accepted the fact of evolution as
proven, to distinguish between this provisional hypothesis as to how
evolution had come about, and definite knowledge that it had come about
in this way. Two passages from Huxley's writings, one written in 1860 in
the _Westminster Review_, and the second written in 1893, in the preface
to the volume of his collected essays which contained a reprint of the
_Westminster_ article, will make plain the continuity of Huxley's

     "There is no fault to be found with Mr. Darwin's method, then;
     but it is another question whether he has fulfilled all the
     conditions imposed by that method. Is it satisfactorily proved,
     in fact, that species may be originated by selection? That there
     is such a thing as natural selection? That none of the phenomena
     exhibited by species are inconsistent with the origin of species
     in this way? If these questions can be answered in the
     affirmative, Mr. Darwin's view steps out of the rank of
     hypotheses into those of proved theories; but, so long as the
     evidence at present adduced falls short of enforcing that
     affirmation, so long, to our minds, must the new doctrine be
     content to remain among the former--an extremely valuable, and in
     the highest degree probable, doctrine; indeed, the only extant
     hypothesis which is worth anything in a scientific point of view;
     but still a hypothesis, and not yet the theory of species.

      "After much consideration, and assuredly with no bias against
     Mr. Darwin's views, it is our clear conviction that, as the
     evidence stands, it is not absolutely proven that a group of
     animals having all the characters exhibited by species in nature,
     has ever been originated by selection, whether natural or
     artificial. Groups having the morphological character of species,
     distinct and permanent races, in fact, have been so produced over
     and over again; but there is no positive evidence at present that
     any group of animals has, by variation and selective breeding,
     given rise to another group which was in the least degree
     infertile with the first. Mr. Darwin is perfectly aware of this
     weak point, and brings forward a multitude of ingenious and
     important arguments to diminish the force of the objection. We
     admit the value of these arguments to the fullest extent; nay, we
     will go so far as to express our belief that experiments,
     conducted by a skilful physiologist, would very probably obtain
     the desired production of mutually more or less infertile breeds
     from a common stock in a comparatively few years; but still, as
     the case stands at present, this little 'rift within the lute' is
     not to be disguised or overlooked."--(_Westminster Review_,

      "We should leave a very wrong impression on the reader's mind if
     we permitted him to suppose that the value of Darwin's work
     depends wholly on the ultimate justification of the theoretical
     views which it contains. On the contrary, if they were disproved
     to-morrow, the book would still be the best of its kind--the most
     compendious statement of well-sifted facts bearing on the
     doctrine of species that has ever appeared. The chapters on
     variation, on the struggle for existence, on instinct, on
     hybridism, on the imperfection of the geological record, on
     geographical distribution, have not only no equals, but, so far
     as our knowledge goes, no competitors, within the range of
     biological literature. And viewed as a whole, we do not believe
     that, since the publication of Von Baer's _Researches on
     Development_, thirty years ago, any work has appeared calculated
     to exert so large an influence, not only on the future of
     biology, but in extending the domination of science over regions
     of thought into which she has, as yet, hardly

      "Those who take the trouble to read the essays published in 1859
     and 1860, will, I think, do me the justice to admit that my zeal
     to secure fair play for Mr. Darwin did not drive me into the
     position of a mere advocate; and that, while doing justice to the
     greatness of the argument, I did not fail to indicate its weak
     points. I have never seen any reason for departing from the
     position which I took up in these two essays; and the assertion
     which I sometimes meet with nowadays that I have 'recanted' or
     changed my opinions about Mr. Darwin's views is quite
     unintelligible to me.

      "As I have said in the seventh essay, the fact of evolution is
     to my mind sufficiently evidenced by palaeontology; and I remain
     of the opinion expressed in the second, that until selective
     breeding is definitely proved to give rise to varieties infertile
     with one another, the logical foundation of the theory of natural
     selection is quite incomplete. We still remain very much in the
     dark about the causes of variation; the apparent inheritance of
     acquired characters in some cases; and the struggle for existence
     within the organism, which probably lies at the bottom of both
     these phenomena."--(1893, _Preface_.)

Finally, when he was awarded the Darwin Medal of the Royal Society, on
November 30, 1894, in the course of an address at the anniversary
dinner of the Society, he said, as reported in the _Times_ next day:

     "I am as much convinced now as I was thirty-four years ago that
     the theory propounded by Mr. Darwin, I mean that which he
     propounded--not that which has been reported to be his by too
     many ill-instructed, both friends and foes--has never yet been
     shewn to be inconsistent with any positive observations, and if I
     may use a phrase which I know has been objected to, and which I
     use in a totally different sense from that in which it was first
     proposed by its first propounder, I do believe that on all
     grounds of pure science it 'holds the field' as the only
     hypothesis at present before us which has a sound scientific
     foundation.... I am sincerely of opinion that the views which
     were propounded by Mr. Darwin thirty-four years ago may be
     understood hereafter as constituting an epoch in the intellectual
     history of the human race. They will modify the whole system of
     our thought and opinion, our most intimate convictions. But I do
     not know, I do not think anybody knows, whether the particular
     views he held will be hereafter fortified by the experience of
     the ages which come after us.... Whether the particular form in
     which he has put before us the Darwinian doctrines may be such as
     to be destined to survive or not, is more, I venture to think,
     than anybody is capable at this present moment of saying."

Further details of Huxley's relation to natural selection may be
gained from an interesting chapter in Professor Poulton's volume on
_Charles Darwin_ (Cassell and Co., London, 1896).


[Footnote D: See E. Clodd's _Pioneers of Evolution_, London, 1897, and
Osborn's _From the Greeks to Darwin_, New York, 1896.]



     Huxley's Prevision of the Battle--The Causes of the Battle--The
     _Times_ Review--Sir Richard Owen attacks Darwinism in the
     _Edinburgh Review_--Bishop Wilberforce attacks in the _Quarterly
     Review_--Huxley's Scathing Replies--The British Association
     Debates at Oxford--Huxley and Wilberforce--Resume of Huxley's
     Exact Position with Regard to Evolution and to Natural Selection.

When Huxley wrote thanking Darwin for the first copy of the _Origin_,
he warned him of the annoyance and abuse he might expect from those
whose opinions were too suddenly disturbed by the new exposition of
evolution, and assured him of the strongest personal support:

     "I trust you will not allow yourself to be in any way disgusted
     or annoyed by the considerable abuse and misrepresentation which,
     unless I greatly mistake, is in store for you. Depend upon it,
     you have earned the lasting gratitude of all thoughtful men; and
     as to the curs which will bark and yelp, you must recollect that
     some of your friends, at any rate, are endowed with an amount of
     combativeness which (though you have often and justly rebuked it)
     may stand you in good stead.

      "I am sharpening my claws and beak in readiness."

Huxley was absolutely right in his prediction as to the magnitude of
the prejudices to be overcome before evolution became accepted, and
for the next thirty years of his life he was the leader in the battle
for Darwinism. It was natural that the new views, especially in their
extension to man himself, should arouse the keenest opposition. To
those of the present generation, who have grown up in an atmosphere
impregnated by the doctrine of descent, the position of the world in
1860 seems "older than a tale written in any book." As we have tried
to shew in the preceding chapter, biological science was partially
prepared; the mutability of species and the orderly succession of
organic life were in the air. But the application of the doctrine to
man came as a greater shock to civilised sentiment than would have
occurred a century earlier. It came as a disaster even to the clearest
and calmest intellects, for it seemed to drag down to the dirt the
nobility of man. Out of the fierce flame of the French Revolution,
there had come purged and clean the conception of man as an individual
and soul. As this century advanced, the conception of the dignity and
worth of each individual man, rich or poor, bond or free, had spread
more and more widely, bearing as its fruit the emancipation of slaves,
the spread of political freedom, the amelioration of the conditions of
the dregs of humanity, the right of all to education, the possibility
of universal peace based on the brotherhood of man; and all that was
best in philosophy and in political practice seemed bound up with a
lofty view of the unit of mankind. Carlyle himself, to whom many of
the freest and noblest spirits in Europe were beginning to look as to
an inspired prophet, could see in it nothing but a "monkey
damnification of mankind." The dogmatic world saw in it nothing but a
deliberate and malicious assault upon religion. The Church of England
in particular was beginning to recover from a long period of almost
incredible supineness, and there was arising a large body of clergy
full of faith and zeal and good works, but quite unacquainted with
science, who frankly regarded Darwin as Antichrist, and Huxley and
Tyndall as emissaries of the devil. Against evolutionists there was
left unused no weapon that ignorant prejudice could find, whether that
prejudice was inspired by a lofty zeal for what it conceived to be the
highest interests of humanity, or by a crafty policy which saw in the
new doctrine a blow to the coming renewed supremacy of the Church. To
us, now, it may seem that Huxley had "sharpened his beak and claws"
with the spirit of a gladiator rather than with that of the mere
defender of a scientific doctrine; but a very short study of
contemporary literature will convince anyone that for a time the
defenders of evolution had to defend not only what they knew to be
scientific truth, but their personal and private reputation. The new
doctrine, like perhaps all the great doctrines that have come into the
world, brought not peace but a sword, and had to be defended by the
sword. Darwin had not the kind of disposition nor the particular
faculties necessary for a deadly contest of this kind; he was
interested indeed above all things in convincing a few leading
naturalists of the truth of his opinions; but, that done, he would
have been contented to continue his own work quietly, in absolute
carelessness as to what the world in general thought of him. Huxley,
on the other hand, was incapable of restraining himself from
propagating what he knew to be the truth; his reforming missionary
spirit was not content simply with self-defence; it drove him to be a
bishop _in partibus infidelium_.

By a curious and interesting accident, Huxley had the opportunity of
beginning his propagandism by writing the first great review of _The
Origin of Species_ in the _Times_, at that period without question the
leading journal in the world. Huxley's own account of this happy
chance is given in _Darwin's Life and Letters_, vol. ii.

     "The _Origin_ was sent to Mr. Lucas, one of the staff of the
     _Times_ writers at that day, in what I suppose was the ordinary
     course of business. Mr. Lucas, though an excellent journalist,
     and at a later period editor of _Once a Week_, was as innocent of
     any knowledge of science as a babe, and bewailed himself to an
     acquaintance on having to deal with such a book, whereupon he was
     recommended to ask me to get him out of his difficulty, and he
     applied to me accordingly, explaining, however, that it would be
     necessary for him formally to adopt anything I might be disposed
     to write, by prefacing it with two or three paragraphs of his

      "I was too anxious to seize on the opportunity thus offered of
     giving the book a fair chance with the multitudinous readers of
     the _Times_ to make any difficulty about conditions; and being
     then very full of the subject, I wrote the article faster, I
     think, than I ever wrote anything in my life, and sent it to Mr.
     Lucas, who duly prefixed his opening sentences. When the article
     appeared, there was much speculation as to its authorship. The
     secret leaked out in time, as all secrets will, but not by my
     aid; and then I used to derive a good deal of innocent amusement
     from the vehement assertions of some of my more acute friends,
     that they knew it was mine from the first paragraph." "As the
     _Times_ some years since referred to my connection with the
     review, I suppose there will be no breach of confidence in the
     publication of this little history."

This review was one of the few favourable notices, and naturally it
delighted Darwin greatly. He wrote to Hooker about it: "Have you seen
the splendid essay and notice of my book in the _Times_? I cannot
avoid a strong suspicion that it is by Huxley; but I have never heard
that he wrote in the _Times_. It will do grand service." On the same
day, writing to Huxley himself, he said of the review:

     "It included an eulogium of me which quite touched me, although I
     am not vain enough to think it all deserved. The author is a
     literary man and a German scholar. He has read my book
     attentively; but, what is very remarkable, it seems that he is a
     profound naturalist. He knows my barnacle book and appreciates it
     too highly. Lastly, he writes and thinks with quite uncommon
     force and clearness; and, what is even still rarer, his writing
     is seasoned with most pleasant wit. We all laughed heartily over
     some of the sentences.... Who can it be? Certainly I should have
     said that there was only one man in England who could have
     written this essay, and that you were the man; but I suppose that
     I am wrong, and that there is some hidden genius of great
     calibre; for how could you influence Jupiter Olympus and make him
     give you three and a half columns to pure science? The old fogies
     will think the world will come to an end. Well, whoever the man
     is, he has done great service to the cause."

The essay in the _Times_ was followed shortly afterwards by a "Friday
Evening Discourse" in 1860 on "Species, Races, and their Origin," in
which Huxley, addressing a cultivated audience, laid the whole weight
of his brilliant scientific reputation on the side of evolution. Next,
in April, 1860, he published a long article in the _Westminster
Review_, then a leading organ of advanced opinion, on _The Origin of
Species_, some quotations from which article were made in the last
chapter. Apart from its strong support of the doctrine of evolution,
its whole-hearted praise of Darwin's achievements, and the clear way
in which, while it showed the value of natural selection as the only
satisfactory hypothesis in the field, it gave reasons for regarding it
strictly as an hypothesis, the review is specially interesting as a
contrast to reviews which appeared about the same time in the
_Edinburgh Review_ and in the _Quarterly_. Both these were not only
exceedingly unfavourable, but were written in a spirit of personal
abuse singularly unworthy of their authors and still more of their
subject. The review in the _Edinburgh_ had come as a particularly
great shock to Darwin, Huxley, and their friends. Sir Richard Owen, in
many ways, was at that time the most distinguished anatomist in
England. He had been an ardent follower of Cuvier, and in England had
carried on the palaeontological work of the great Frenchman. He was a
personal friend of the court, a well-known man in the best society,
and in many ways a worthy upholder of the best traditions of science.
In the particular matter of species, he was known to be by no means a
firm supporter of the orthodox views. When Darwin's paper was read at
the Linnaean Society, and afterwards when the _Origin_ was published,
the verdict of Owen was looked to with the greatest interest by the
general public. For a time he wavered, and even expressed himself of
the opinion that he had already in his published works included a
considerable portion of Darwin's views. But two things seemed to have
influenced him: First, Wilberforce, the Bishop of Oxford, and Sedgwick
and Whewell, the two best-known men at Cambridge, urged him to stamp
once for all, as he only could do, upon this "new and pernicious
doctrine." Secondly, combined with his great abilities, he had the
keenest personal interest in his own position as the leader of English
science, and had no particular friendship for men or for views that
seemed likely to threaten his own supreme position. In a very short
time he changed from being neutral, with a tendency in favour of the
new views, to being a bitter opponent of them. In scientific societies
and in London generally, naturally enough he constantly came across
the younger scientific men, such as Huxley and Hooker, who had
declared for Darwin, and he made the irretrievable mistake of for a
time attempting to disguise his opposition while he was writing the
most bitter of all the articles against Darwinism. That appeared in
the _Edinburgh Review_ in April, 1860, and the range of knowledge it
displayed, and the form of arguments employed, naturally enough
betrayed the secret of its authorship, although Owen for very long
attempted to conceal his connection with it. Darwin, who had the most
unusual generosity towards his opponents, found this review too much
for him. Writing to Lyell soon after its publication, he said:

     "I have just read the _Edinburgh_, which, without doubt is by
     ----. It is extremely malignant, clever, and, I fear, will be
     very damaging. He is atrociously severe on Huxley's lecture, and
     very bitter against Hooker. So we three _enjoyed_ it together.
     Not that I really enjoyed it, for it made me uncomfortable for
     one night; but I have quite got over it to-day. It requires much
     study to appreciate all the bitter spite of many of the remarks
     against me; indeed I did not discover all myself. It scandalously
     misrepresents many parts. He misquotes some passages, altering
     words within inverted commas.... It is painful to be hated in the
     intense degree with which ---- hates me."

As Owen was still alive when this letter was published in _Darwin's
Life_, the authorship of the review was not actually mentioned; but it
is necessary to mention it, as it justifies the sternness with which
Huxley exposed Owen on an occasion shortly to be described. The review
in the _Quarterly_ was written by Wilberforce, the Bishop of Oxford,
in July, 1860, and almost at once the authorship of it became known
to Darwin's friends. In connection with this, Huxley wrote in 1887, in
_Darwin's Life and Letters_:

     "I doubt if there was any man then living who had a better right
     (than Darwin) to expect that anything he might choose to say on
     such a question as the Origin of Species would be listened to
     with profound attention, and discussed with respect. And there
     was certainly no man whose personal character should have
     afforded a better safeguard against attacks, instinct with
     malignity and spiced with shameless impertinences. Yet such was
     the portion of one of the kindest and truest men that it was ever
     my good fortune to know; and years had to pass away before
     misrepresentation, ridicule, and denunciation ceased to be the
     most notable constituents of the majority of the multitudinous
     criticisms of his work which poured from the press. I am loth to
     rake up any of these ancient scandals from their well-deserved
     oblivion; but I must make good a statement which may seem
     overcharged to the present generation, and there is no _piece
     justificative_ more apt for the purpose or more worthy of such
     dishonour than the article in the _Quarterly Review_ for July,
     1860. Since Lord Brougham assailed Dr. Young, the world has seen
     no such specimen of the insolence of a shallow pretender to a
     Master in Science as this remarkable production, in which one of
     the most exact of observers, most cautious of reasoners, and most
     candid of expositors, of this or any other age, is held up to
     scorn as a 'flighty' person who endeavours to 'prop up his
     utterly rotten fabric of guess and speculation,' and whose 'mode
     of dealing with nature' is reprobated as 'utterly dishonourable
     to natural science.' And all this high and mighty talk, which
     would have been indecent in one of Mr. Darwin's equals, proceeds
     from a writer whose want of intelligence, or of conscience, or of
     both, is so great, that, by way of an objection to Mr. Darwin's
     views, he can ask, 'Is it credible that all favourable varieties
     of turnips are tending to become men'; who is so ignorant of
     palaeontology that he can talk of the 'flowers and fruits' of the
     plants of the carboniferous epoch; of comparative anatomy, that
     he can gravely affirm the poison apparatus of venomous snakes to
     be 'entirely separate from the ordinary laws of animal life, and
     peculiar to themselves'; of the rudiments of physiology, that he
     can ask, 'what advantage of life could alter the shape of the
     corpuscles into which the blood can be evaporated?' Nor does the
     reviewer fail to flavour this outpouring of incapacity with a
     little stimulation of the _odium theologicum_. Some inkling of
     the history of the conflicts between astronomy, geology, and
     theology leads him to keep a retreat open by the proviso that he
     cannot 'consent to test the truth of Natural Science by the Word
     of Revelation,' but for all that he devotes pages to the
     exposition of his conviction that Mr. Darwin's theory
     'contradicts the revealed relation of the creation to its
     Creator,' and is 'inconsistent with the fulness of His glory.'"

In a footnote to this passage, Huxley wrote that he was not aware when
writing these lines that the authorship of the article had been avowed
publicly. He adds, however:

     "Confession unaccompanied by penitence, however, affords no
     ground for mitigation of judgment; and the kindliness with which
     Mr. Darwin speaks of his assailant, Bishop Wilberforce, is so
     striking an exemplification of his singular gentleness and
     modesty, that it rather increases one's indignation against the
     presumption of his critic."

As a matter of fact Wilberforce was a man of no particular information
in letters or in philosophy, and his knowledge of science was of the
vaguest: a little natural history picked up from Gosse, the naturalist
of the seashore, in the course of a few days' casual acquaintance at
the seaside, and some pieces of anatomical facts with which he was
provided, it is supposed, by Owen, for the purposes of the review. But
he bore a great name, and misused a great position; he was a man of
facile intelligence, smooth, crafty, and popular, and in this case he
was convinced that he was doing the best possible for the great
interests of religion by authoritatively denouncing a man whose
character he was incapable of realising, and on whose work he was
incompetent to pronounce an opinion. Against an enemy of this kind,
Huxley was implacable and relentless. He was constitutionally
incapable of tolerating pretentious ignorance, and he had realised
from the first that there could be no question of giving and taking
quarter from persons who were more concerned to suppress doctrines
they conceived to be dangerous than to examine into their truth. On
the other hand, much as Huxley disliked Owen's devious ways, and
although in after life there occurred many and severe differences of
opinion between Huxley and Owen, Huxley had a sincere respect for much
of Owen's anatomical and palaeontological work, and when, in 1894,
Owen's _Life_ was published, one of the most interesting parts of it
was a long, fair, and appreciative review by Huxley of Owen's
contributions to knowledge.

The middle of 1860, however, was not a time for Huxley, in his
capacity as Darwin's chief defender, to make truce with the enemy. In
England a certain number of well-known scientific men had given a
general support to Darwinism. From France, Germany, and America there
had come some support and a good deal of cold criticism, but most
people were simmering with disturbed emotions. The newspapers and the
reviews were full of the new subject; political speeches and sermons
were filled with allusions to it. Wherever educated people talked the
conversation came round to the question of evolution. Were animals and
plants the results of special creations, or were they, including man,
the result of the gradual transformations of a few simple primitive
types evolving under the stress of some such force as Darwin's natural
selection? To many people it seemed to be a choice between a world
with God and a world without God; and the accredited defenders of
religion gathered every force of argument, of misrepresentation,
conscious and unconscious, of respectability, and of prejudice to
crush once for all the obnoxious doctrine and its obnoxious
supporters. In the autumn of that year it fell that the meeting of the
British Association, then coming into prominence as the annual
parliament of the sciences, was to be held at Oxford. It was
inevitable that evolution should be debated formally and informally in
the sessions of the Association, and it must have seemed to the
orthodox that there, in that beautiful city, its air vibrant with
tinkling calls to faith, its halls and libraries crowded with the
devout and the learned, its history and traditions alike calling on
all to defend the old fair piety, in such an uncongenial air, the
supporters of evolution must be overwhelmed. Almost the whole weight
of the attack had to be resisted by Huxley. In the various sectional
meetings he had combat after combat with professors and clerics. Of
these dialectic fights the most notable were one with Owen on the
anatomical structure of the brain, and another with Wilberforce upon
the general question of evolution. Owen contended that there were
anatomical differences not merely of degree but of kind between the
brain of man and the brain of the highest ape, and his remarks were
accepted by the audience as a complete and authoritative blow to the
theory of descent. Huxley at once met Owen with a direct and flat
contradiction, and pledged his reputation to justify his contradiction
with all due detail on a further occasion. As a matter of fact, he did
justify the contradiction, and no anatomist would now dream of
attempting the support of the proposition rashly made by Owen; but,
at the time, the position of Owen and the sympathies of the audience
took away much of their effect from Huxley's words. Two days later,
Wilberforce, in a scene of considerable excitement, made a long,
eloquent, and declamatory speech against evolution and against Huxley.
From the incomplete reports of the debate that were published, it is
difficult to gain a very clear idea of the Bishop's speech; but it is
certain that it was eloquent and facile, and that it appealed strongly
to the religious prejudices of the majority of the audience. He ended
by a gibe which, under ordinary circumstances, might have passed
simply as the rude humour of a popular orator, but which in that
electric atmosphere stung Huxley into a retort that has become
historical. He asked Huxley whether he was related by his
grandfather's or grandmother's side to an ape. Huxley replied:

     I asserted, and I repeat, that a man has no reason to be ashamed
     of having an ape for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor
     whom I should feel shame in recalling, it would be a _man_, a man
     of restless and versatile intellect, who, not content with an
     equivocal success in his own sphere of activity, plunges into
     scientific questions with which he has no real acquaintance, only
     to obscure them by an aimless rhetoric, and distract the
     attention of his hearers from the real point at issue by eloquent
     digressions, and skilled appeals to religious prejudice.

An eye-witness has told the present writer that Huxley's speech
produced little effect at the time. In the minds of those of the
audience best qualified to weigh biological arguments, there was
little doubt but that he had refuted Owen, and simply dispelled the
vaporous effusions of the Bishop; but the majority of the audience
retained the old convictions. The combat was removed to a wider
tribunal. From that time forwards Huxley, by a series of essays,
addresses, and investigations, continued almost to the end of his
life, tried to convince, and succeeded in convincing, the intellectual
world. At the risk of wearying by repetition we shall again insist
upon the side of Darwinism that Huxley fought for and triumphed for.

Long before the time of Darwin and Huxley, almost at the beginning of
recorded thought, philosophers busied themselves with the wonderful
diversity of the living world and with speculations as to how it had
assumed its present form. From the earliest times to this century,
theories as to the living world fell into one or other of two main
groups. The key-note of one group was the fixity of species: the
belief that from their first appearance species were separate,
independent entities, one never springing from another, new species
never arising by the modification in different directions of
descendants of already existing species. The key-note of the other
group of theories was the idea of progressive change: that animals and
plants as they passed along the stream of time were continually being
moulded by the forces surrounding them, and that the farther back the
mind could go in imagination the fewer and simpler species would be;
until, in the first beginning, all the existing diverse kinds of
living creatures would converge to a single point. It may be that, on
the whole, the idea of fixity prevailed more among thinkers with a
religious bias; but for the most part the theories were debated
independently of the tenets of any faith, Christian or other. There
were sceptical defenders of fixity and religious upholders of
evolution. However, in Christian countries, from the time of the
Reformation onwards, a change in this neutrality of religion to
theories of the living world took place. As Pascal prophesied,
Protestantism rejected the idea of an infallible Church in favour of
the idea of an infallible book, and, because it happened that this
book included an early legend of the origin of the world in a form
apparently incompatible with evolution, Protestantism and, to a lesser
and secondary extent, Catholicism, assumed the position that there was
no place for evolution in a Christian philosophy. At the end of last
century, and up to the middle of this century, the problem was not
raised in any acute form. The chief anatomists and botanists were
occupied with the investigation and discovery of facts, and, in an
ordinary way, without taking any particular trouble about it, accepted
more or less loosely the idea that species were fixed. Now and then an
evolutionist propounded his views; but, as a rule, he supported them
with a knowledge of facts very much inferior to that possessed by the
more orthodox school. Then came Herbert Spencer, reasserting evolution
in the old broad spirit, not merely in its application to species, but
as the guiding principle of the whole universe from the integrations
of nebulae into systems of suns and planets to the transformations of
chemical bodies. Before his marvellous generalisations had time to
grip biologists, there came Darwin; and Darwin brought two things:
first, a re-statement of the fact of evolution as applied to the
living world, supported by an enormous body of evidence, new and old,
presented with incomparably greater force, clearness, patience, and
knowledge than had ever been seen before; and, second, the exposition
of the principle of natural selection as a mechanism which might have
caused, and probably did cause, evolution.

Huxley, as has been shewn, like many other anatomists, was ready for
the general principle of evolution. In fact, so far as it concerned
the great independent types which he believed to exist among animals,
he was more than prepared for it. Let us take a single definite
example of his position. In his work on the Medusae, he had shewn how a
large number of creatures, at first sight diverse, were really
modifications of a single great type, and he used language which, now
that all zooelogists accept evolution in the fullest way, requires no
change to be understood:

     "What has now been advanced will, perhaps, be deemed evidence
     sufficient to demonstrate,--first, that the organs of these
     various families are traceable back to the same point in the way
     of development; or, secondly, when this cannot be done, that they
     are connected by natural gradations with organs which are so
     traceable; in which case, according to the principles advanced in
     57, the various organs are homologous, and the families have a
     real affinity to one another and should form one group.... It
     appears, then, that these five families are by no means so
     distinct as has hitherto been supposed, but that they are members
     of one great group, organised upon one simple and uniform plan,
     and, even in their most complex and aberrant forms, reducible to
     the same type. And I may add, finally, that on this theory it is
     by no means difficult to account for the remarkable forms
     presented by the Medusae in their young state. The Medusae are the
     most perfect, the most individualised animals of the series, and
     it is only in accordance with what very generally obtains in the
     animal kingdom, if, in their early condition, they approximate
     towards the simplest forms of the group to which they belong."

Such words, written before 1849, only differ from those that would
have been written by a convinced evolutionist by a hair's breadth. But
Huxley was not an evolutionist then: it was Darwin's work, containing
a new exposition of evolution and the new principle of natural
selection, that convinced him, not of natural selection but of
evolution. At Oxford, in 1860, it was for evolution, and not for
natural selection, that he spoke; and throughout his life afterwards,
as he expressed it, it was this "ancient doctrine of evolution,
rehabilitated and placed upon a sound scientific foundation, since,
and in consequence of, the publication of _The Origin of Species_,"
that furnished him with the chief inspiration of his work. The clear
accuracy of his original judgment upon Darwin's work has been
abundantly justified by subsequent history. Since 1859 the case for
evolution has become stronger and stronger until it can no longer be
regarded as one of two possible hypotheses in the field, but as the
only view credible to those who have even a moderate acquaintance with
the facts. In 1894, thirty years after the famous meeting at Oxford,
the British Association again met in that historic town. The
President, Lord Salisbury, a devout Churchman and with a notably
critical intellect, declared of Darwin:

     "He has, as a matter of fact, disposed of the doctrine of the
     immutability of species.... Few now are found to doubt that
     animals separated by differences far exceeding those that
     distinguish what we know as species have yet descended from
     common ancestors."

Huxley, in replying to the address, used the following words:

     "As he noted in the Presidential Address to which they had just
     listened with such well deserved interest, he found it stated, on
     what was then and at this time the highest authority for them,
     that as a matter of fact the doctrine of the immutability of
     species was disposed of and gone. He found that few were now
     found to doubt that animals separated by differences far
     exceeding those which they knew as species were yet descended
     from a common ancestry. Those were their propositions; those were
     the fundamental principles of the doctrine of evolution."

On the other hand, Huxley all through his life, while holding that
natural selection was by far the most probable hypothesis as to the
mode in which evolution had come about, maintained that it was only a
hypothesis, and, unlike evolution, not a proved fact. In 1863, in a
course of lectures to workingmen, he declared:

     "I really believe that the alternative is either Darwinism or
     nothing, for I do not know of any rational conception or theory
     of the organic universe which has any scientific position at all
     beside Mr. Darwin's.... But you must recollect that when I say I
     think it is either Mr. Darwin's hypothesis or nothing; that
     either we must take his view, or look upon the whole of organic
     nature as an enigma, the meaning of which is wholly hidden from
     us; you must understand that I mean that I accept it
     provisionally, in exactly the same way as I accept any other

In 1878 he wrote:

     "How far natural selection suffices for the production of species
     remains to be seen. Few can doubt that, if not the whole cause,
     it is a very important factor in that operation; and that it must
     play a great part in the sorting out of varieties into those
     which are transitory and those which are permanent."

The difficulty in accepting natural selection as more than a
hypothesis is simply that we have no experimental knowledge of its
being able to produce the mutual infertility which is so striking a
character of species. This difficulty is, in the first place, the
difficulty of proving a negative. It might be possible to prove that
its operation actually does produce species; it will always be
impossible to prove that, in the past, natural selection, and no other
known or unknown agency or combination of agencies, had a share in
the process. All naturalists are now agreed that, as a matter of
historical fact, it was the propounding of natural selection by Darwin
that led to the acceptance of evolution, to the fact that evolution
"takes its place alongside of those accepted truths which must be
reckoned with by philosophers of all schools." The difficulty as to
natural selection still exists, and there is no better way to express
it than in Huxley's words, written in the early sixties:

     "But, for all this, our acceptance of the Darwinian hypothesis
     must be provisional so long as one link in the chain of evidence
     is wanting; and, so long as all the animals and plants certainly
     produced by selective breeding from a common stock are fertile
     with one another, that link will be wanting; for, so long,
     selective breeding will not be proved to be competent to do all
     that is required of it to produce natural species.... I adopt Mr.
     Darwin's hypothesis, therefore, subject to the production of
     proof that physiological species may be produced by selective
     breeding; just as a physical philosopher may accept the
     undulatory theory of light, subject to the proof of the existence
     of the hypothetical ether; or as the chemist adopts the atomic
     theory, subject to the proof of the existence of atoms; and for
     exactly the same reasons, namely, that it has an immense amount
     of _prima facie_ probability; that it is the only means at
     present within reach of reducing the chaos of observed facts to
     order; and, lastly, that it is the most powerful instrument of
     investigation which has been presented to the naturalists since
     the invention of the natural system of classification, and the
     commencement of the systematic study of embryology."--_Man's
     Place in Nature_, p. 149.[E]


[Footnote E: Further details on the subject of this chapter may be
obtained in Clodd's excellent volume, _Pioneers of Evolution_, where
an account of the history of the idea of evolution from the earliest
times is given; and in Poulton's _Charles Darwin and the Theory of
Natural Selection_, where there is a particularly valuable chapter
upon Huxley's relation to Darwinism.]



     The Theory of the Vertebrate Skull--Goethe, Oken, Cuvier, and
     Owen--Huxley Defends Goethe--His Own Contributions to the
     Theory--The Classification of Birds--Huxley Treats them as
     "Extinct Animals"--Geographical Distribution--Sclater's
     Regions--Huxley's Suggestions.

We have seen that some of the most important of the contributions made
by Huxley to zooelogical knowledge were in the field of the lower
animals, especially of those marine forms for the study of which he
had so great opportunities on the _Rattlesnake_. A great bulk of his
zooelogical work, however, related to the group of back-boned animals.
These, by their natural affinities and anatomical structure, are more
closely related to man, and, as Huxley began his scientific work as a
medical student, the groundwork of all his knowledge was study of the
anatomy and physiology of man. Moreover, throughout the greater part
of his working life, he had more to do with the extinct forms of life.
The vertebrate animals, from the great facility for preservation which
their hard skeleton presents, as well as from the extremely important
anatomical characters of the skeleton, bulk more largely in the study
of palaeontology than does any other group. In each of the great
groups of vertebrate animals, in fishes, amphibia, reptiles, birds,
and mammals, Huxley did important work. Much of this is embodied in
his treatise on _Vertebrate Anatomy_, but to some particular parts of
it special attention may now be directed, as much because these serve
as excellent examples of his method of work as because of their
intrinsic importance.

The skull is the most striking feature in the skeleton of vertebrate
animals, and to the theory and structure of the vertebrate skull
Huxley paid special attention, and his views and summary of the views
of others form the basis of our modern knowledge. This work was put
before the public in the course of a series of lectures on Comparative
Anatomy given in 1863, while Huxley was Hunterian Professor at the
Royal College of Surgeons, and the beginnings of it were contained in
a Croonian lecture to the Royal Society in 1858.

The theory of the skull which held the field was known as the
vertebral theory. The great bulk of the nervous system of vertebrate
animals consists of a mass of tissue lying along the dorsal line of
the body and enclosed in a cartilaginous or bony sheath. The nerve
tissue is the brain and spinal cord; the sheath is the skull in front
and the vertebral column along the greater part of the length of the
animal. The brain may be taken simply as an anterior portion of the
nerve mass, corresponding in a general way to an expansion of the
spinal cord in the region of the anterior limbs and an expansion in
the region of the hind limbs, the latter indeed having recently been
shown in some extinct creatures to surpass the brain in size. In a
similar simple fashion the skull may be taken as an expanded anterior
part of the vertebral column, serving as an expanded box for the
brain, just as in the regions of the pectoral and pelvic expansions
of the cord there are similar expansions of the surrounding bony case.
We know now, from greater knowledge of its embryological development,
that the brain contains structures quite peculiar to itself, and
differs from the spinal cord in kind as well as in size; but, at the
same time, when the vertebral theory of the skull was inaugurated,
embryological knowledge and the importance of its relation to
anatomical structure were less considered. What Huxley did was to show
that the skull, in its mode of origin and real nature, was not merely
an expanded portion of the vertebral column, but that it differed from
it in kind.

The hypothesis of the vertebral structure of the skull was due both to
Goethe, the great German poet, and Oken, a most able but somewhat
mystic German anatomist. An attempt had been made by a well-known
English anatomist to cast on Goethe the stigma of having tried to rob
Oken of the credit for this theory. Huxley set that matter finally at
rest, disproving and repelling with indignation the unworthy
suggestion. Oken gave out his theory in 1807, and described how it had
been first suggested to his mind by the accident of picking up a dried
and battered sheep's skull, in which the apparent vertebral structure
was very obvious, as, indeed, anyone may see at a glance. It was in
1820, long after the theory had been made current, that the poet first
publicly narrated that in a similar way he had long before come to the
same conclusion; but Huxley was able to show that, although announcing
it later, Goethe had in reality anticipated the anatomist. A passage
occurs in a letter to a friend, of a date in 1790, which admits of no
doubt. "By the oddest happy chance, my servant picked up a bit of an
animal's skull in the Jews' cemetery at Venice, and, by way of a
joke, held it out to me as if he were offering me a Jew's skull. I
have made a great step in the formation of animals." It is an
interesting trait in Huxley's character, to find him zealous in
defence of the reputation of a great man, even although that man had
been dead more than half a century; but it may be added that his just
zeal was at least stimulated by the fact that the maligner of Goethe
was Owen, the conduct of whom, with regard to Darwin and Huxley,
Huxley had had just reason for resenting.

The theory, then, which had dropped stillborn from Goethe, but which
Oken developed, was simply that the skull consisted of a series of
expanded vertebrae. Each vertebra consists of a basal piece or centrum,
the anterior and posterior faces of which are closely applied to the
face of an adjoining vertebra, and of a bony arch or ring which
encloses and protects the nervous cord. Oken supposed that there were
four such vertebrae in the skull, the centra being firmly fused and the
arches expanded to form the dome of the skull. Quite correctly, he
divided the skull into four regions, corresponding to what he called
an ear vertebra, at the back, through which the auditory nerves
passed; a jaw vertebra, in the sphenoidal region, through which the
nerves to the jaws passed; an eye vertebra in front, pierced by the
optic nerves, and again in front a nose vertebra, the existence of
which he doubted at first. Quite rightly, he discriminated between the
ordinary bones of the skull and the special structures surrounding the
inner ear which he declared to be additions derived from another
source. So far it cannot be doubted that the vertebral theory made a
distinct advance in our knowledge of the skull. It was to a certain
extent, however, thrown into disrepute by various fantastic theories
with which Oken surrounded it. Later on, Cuvier removed from it these
wilder excrescences, and amplified the basis of observation upon which
the underlying theory of the unity of type of the skull throughout the
vertebrates was based. Cuvier, however, came to reject the theory,
except so far as it applied to the posterior or occipital segment of
the skull. Later on, Owen resuscitated the theory, first throwing
doubt on the merit of Goethe, and then suggesting that Oken, instead
of relying on the observed facts, had deduced the whole theory from
his own imagination. Owen, although he made no new contribution to
fact or theory in this matter, practically claimed the whole credit of
it as a scientific hypothesis.

When Huxley took up the subject, the position was that the vertebral
theory was in full possession of the field, under the auspices of
Owen. Huxley began afresh from observed facts. The first object of his
investigation was to settle once for all the question as to whether
the skulls of all vertebrates were essentially modifications of the
same type. He took in succession the skulls of man, sheep, bird,
turtle, and carp, and showed that in all these there were to be
distinguished the same four basi-cranial regions: the basi-occipital,
basi-sphenoid, pre-sphenoid, and ethmoid. These were essentially
identical with the centra of the four vertebrae of Oken. Similarly, he
showed the composition of the lateral and dorsal walls, proving the
essential identity of the structures involved and of their relations
to the nerve exits in the great types he had chosen. In the series of
lectures delivered before the College of Surgeons, he extended his
observations to a much larger series of vertebrates, and substantially
laid down the main lines of our knowledge of the skull. In two
important respects his statements were not merely a codification of
existing knowledge, but an important extension of it. He distinguished
the different modes in which the jaws may be suspended to the skull,
and established for these different kinds of suspensoria the names
which have ever since been employed. He proved clearly what had been
suggested by Oken, that the region of the ear is a lateral addition to
the skull, and he distinguished in it three bones, his names for which
have since become the common property of anatomists. Finally, he made
it plain beyond any possible doubt that the skulls of all vertebrates
were built upon a common plan.

Having established the facts, he proceeded to enquire into the theory.
There was now a new method for investigating such problems, the method
of embryology, which, practically, had not been available to Oken, and
of which neither Cuvier nor Owen had made proper use. By putting
together the investigations of a number of embryologists, by adding to
these himself, and, lastly, by interpreting the facts which his
investigations into comparative anatomy had brought to light, he
shewed that the vertebral theory could not be maintained. He shewed,
by these methods, that, though both skull and vertebral column are
segmented, the one and the other, after an early stage, are fashioned
on lines so different as to exclude the possibility of regarding the
details of each as mere modifications of a common type. "The spinal
column and the skull start from the same primitive condition, whence
they immediately begin to diverge." "It may be true to say that there
is a primitive identity of structure between the spinal or vertebral
column and the skull; but it is no more true that the adult skull is
a modified vertebral column than it would be to affirm that the
vertebral column is a modified skull." Taking the embryological facts,
he shewed that the skull arose out of elements quite different from
those of the vertebral column. The notochord alone is common to both.
The skull is built up of longitudinal cartilaginous pieces, now known
as the "parachordals" and "trabeculae," of sense capsules enclosing the
nose and ear, and of various roofing bones. In the historical
development of the skull three grades become apparent; a primitive
stage, as seen in Amphioxus, where there is nothing but a fibrous
investment of the nervous structures; a cartilaginous grade, as seen
in the skate or shark, where the skull is formed of cartilage, very
imperfectly hardened by earthy deposits; a bony stage, seen in most of
the higher animals. He shewed that in actual development of the higher
animals these historical grades are repeated, the skull being at first
a mere membranous or fibrous investment of the developing nervous
masses, then becoming cartilaginous, and, lastly, bony. He made some
important prophetic remarks as to the probable importance that future
embryological work would give to the distinction between cartilage and
membrane bones--a prophecy that has been more than fully realised by
the investigations of Hertwig and of others. Our present knowledge of
the skull differs from Huxley's conception practically only in a
fuller knowledge of details. We know now that throughout the series
there is a primitive set of structures common to all animals higher in
the scale than Amphioxus, and forming the base and lateral walls of
the skull. This is termed the Chondrocraninm, because it is laid down
in cartilage; it is composed of the separate elements which Huxley
indicated, and, in different animals, as Huxley suggested, the exact
limits of the ossification of the primitive cartilages differ in
extent, but occur in homologous situations. This primitive skull is
roofed over by a series of membrane bones which have no connection in
origin with the other portions of the skull, and which have no
representative in the vertebral column, but which are the direct
descendants of the bony scales clothing the external skin in
cartilaginous fishes. In one respect only was Huxley erroneous. Partly
by inadvertence, and partly because the minute details of vertebrate
embryology became really familiar to zooelogists only after the
elaborate work of Balfour of Cambridge, Huxley, in his account of the
formation of the first beginnings of the skeleton in the embryo, made
confusion between the walls of the primitive groove, which, in
reality, give rise to the nervous structures, and those embryonic
tissues which form the skeletal system.

The next great piece of work which we may take as typical of Huxley's
contributions to vertebrate anatomy, is his classical study on the
classification of birds. The great group of birds contains a larger
number of species than is known in any other group of vertebrates,
and, in this vast assemblage of forms there is strikingly little
anatomical difference. The ostrich and the humming-bird might perhaps
be taken as types of the extremest differences to be found, and yet,
although these differ in size, plumage, adaptations, habits, mode of
life, and almost everything that can separate living things, the two
conform so closely to the common type of bird structure that knowledge
of the anatomy of one would be a sufficient guide, down to minute
details, for dissection of the other. None the less, there are
hundreds of thousands of species of birds between these two types. It
is not surprising that to reduce this vast assemblage of similar
creatures to an ordered system of classification has proved one of the
most difficult tasks attempted by zooelogists. Before Huxley, it had
been attempted by a number of distinguished zooelogists; but, for the
most part, these had relied too much on merely external characters and
on superficial modifications in obvious relation to habits. When
Huxley, in the course of a set of lectures on Comparative Anatomy, was
about to approach the subject of birds he was asked by a zooelogist how
he proposed to treat them. "I intend," he replied, "to treat them as
extinct animals." By that he meant that it was his purpose to make a
prolonged study of their skeletal structures the basis of his
grouping, following the lines which Cuvier, Owen, and he himself had
pursued so successfully in the case of the fossil remains of
vertebrates. The result was that this first systematic study of even
one set of the anatomical characters of the group completely reformed
the method by which all subsequent workers have tried to grapple with
the problem; ornithology was raised from a process akin to
stamp-collecting to a reasoned scientific study. The immediate
practical results were equally important. He was able to shew that
among the innumerable known forms there were three grades of
structure. The lowest had already been recognised and named by
Haeckel; it consisted of the Saururae, or reptile-like, birds, and
contained a single fossil form, Archaeopteryx, distinguished from all
living birds by the presence of a hand-like wing in which the
metacarpal bones were well developed and freely movable, and by the
possession of a long lizard-like tail actually exceeding in length
the remainder of the spinal column. The next group of Ratites,
although it contained only the Ostrich, Rhea, Emu, Cassowary, and
Apteryx, he shewed to be equivalent in anatomical coherence to the
third great group of Carinates, which includes the vast majority of
living birds. In his arrangement of the latter group, he laid most
stress on the characters of the bony structures which form the palate,
and by this simple means was able to lay down clearly at least the
main lines of a natural classification of the group.

Huxley's work upon birds, like his work in many other branches of
anatomy, has been so overlaid by the investigations of subsequent
zooelogists that it is easy to overlook its importance. His employment
of the skeleton as the basis of classification was succeeded by the
work of others who made a similar use of the muscular anatomy, of the
intestinal canal, of the windpipe, of the tendons of the feet, and
many other structures which display anatomical modifications in
different birds. The modern student finds that all these new sets of
facts are much greater in bulk than the work of Huxley, and it is easy
for him to remain in ignorance that they were all suggested and
inspired by the method which Huxley employed. He finds that further
research has supplanted some of Huxley's conclusions, and it is easy
for him to remain in ignorance that the conclusions themselves
suggested the investigations which have modified them. Huxley's
anatomical work was essentially living and stimulating, and too often
it has become lost to sight simply because of the vast superstructures
of new facts to which it gave rise.

Closely associated with vertebrate anatomy is the subject of
geographical distribution. In 1857 the study of this important
department of zooelogy was placed on a scientific basis, practically
for the first time, by a memoir on the geographical distribution of
birds published in the _Journal_ of the Linnaean Society of London. It
was known in a general way that different kinds of creatures were
found in different parts of the world, but little attempt had been
made to map out the world into regions characterised by their animal
and vegetable inhabitants, as the political divisions of the world are
characterised by their different governments and policies. Mr.
Sclater, who two years later became secretary of the Zooelogical
Society of London, in his memoir introduced the subject in the
following words:

     "It is a well-known and universally acknowledged fact that we can
     choose two portions of the globe of which the respective fauna
     and flora shall be so different that we should not be far wrong
     in supposing them to have been the result of distinct creations.
     Assuming, then, that there are, or may be, more areas of creation
     than one, the question naturally arises how many of them are
     there, and what are their respective extents and boundaries; or,
     in other words, what are the most natural primary ontological
     divisions of the earth's surface?"

Mr. Sclater's answer was that there are six great regions;
Neotropical, Nearctic, Palaearctic, Ethiopian, Indian, and Australian,
and his answer, with minor alterations and the addition of a great
wealth of detail, has been accepted by zooelogy.

Two years later, however, Darwin gave a new meaning and a new
importance to Sclater's work, by the new interpretation he caused to
be placed on the words "centres of creation." Sclater's facts and
areas remained the same; Darwin rejected the idea of separate
creations in the older sense of the words, and laid stress on the
impossibility of accounting for the resemblances within a region and
for the differences between regions by climatic differences and so
forth. He raised the questions of modes of dispersal and of barriers
to dispersal, of similarities due to common descent, and of the
modifying results produced by isolation. He gave, in fact, a theory of
the "creations" which Mr. Sclater had shewn to be a probable
assumption. It was in the nature of things that Huxley should make a
contribution to a set of problems so novel and of so much importance
to zooelogy. In 1868, in the course of a memoir on the anatomy of the
gallinaceous birds and their allies, he made a useful attempt, nearly
the first of its kind, to correlate anatomical facts with geographical
distribution. Having shewn the diverging lines of anatomical structure
that existed in the group of creatures he had been considering, he
went on to shew that there was a definite relation between the
varieties of structure and the different positions on the surface of
the globe occupied at the present time by the creatures in question.
He made, in fact, the geographical position a necessary part of the
whole idea of a species or of a group, and so introduced a conception
which has become a permanent part of zooelogical science.

With regard to the number and limits of the zooelogical regions into
which the world may be divided, Huxley raised a number of problems
which have not yet reached a full solution. Mr. Sclater had divided
the world into six great regions: the Nearctic, including the
continent of North America, with an overlap into what is called South
America by geographers; the Palaearctic, comprising Europe and the
greater part of Asia; the Oriental, containing certain southern
portions of Asia, such as India south of the Himalayas and many of the
adjacent islands; the Ethiopian, including Africa, except north of
the Sahara, and Madagascar; the Australian, containing Australia and
New Zealand and some of the more southeastern of the islands of Malay;
the Neotropical, including South America. Huxley first called
attention to certain noteworthy resemblances between the Neotropical
and the Australian regions of Sclater, and held that a primary
division of the world was into _Arctogaea_, comprising the great land
masses of the Northern Hemisphere with a part of their extension
across the equator, and _Notogaea_, which contained Australia but not
New Zealand and South America. Although this acute suggestion has not
been generally accepted as a modification of Mr. Sclater's scheme, it
called attention in a striking fashion to some very remarkable
features in the distribution of animals. Subsequent writers have
considerably extended Huxley's conception of the similarities to be
found among the more southern land areas. They have pointed out that
the most striking idea of the distribution of land and water on the
surface of the globe is to be got by considering the globe alternately
from one pole and from the other. In the south, a clump of ice-bound
land, well within the Antarctic Circle, surrounds the pole. All else
is a wide domain of ocean broken only where tapering and isolated
tongues of land, South America, the Cape, Australia, lean down from
the great land masses of the north. On the other hand, all the great
land masses expand in the Northern Hemisphere, and shoulder one
another round the North Pole. America is separated from Asia only by
the shallowest and narrowest of straits; an elevation of a few fathoms
would unite Greenland with Europe. Science points definitely to some
part of the great northern land area as the centre of life for at
least the larger terrestrial forms of life. We know that these arose
successively, primitive birds like the ostriches being older than
higher forms like the parrots and singing birds; the pouched
marsupials preceding the antelopes and the lion; the lemurs coming
before the man-like apes. Each wave of life spread over the whole area
producing after its kind; then, pressing round the northern land area,
it met a thousand different conditions of environment, different
foods, enemies, and climates, and broke up into different genera and
species. But there was never a wave of life that was not followed by
another wave. In the struggle for existence between the newer and the
older forms, the older forms were gradually driven southwards towards
the diverging fringes of the land masses. The vanquished left behind
them on the field of battle only their bones, to become fossils.
Sometimes succeeding waves swept along to the extreme limits of the
land, and many early types were utterly destroyed. But others found
sanctuary in the ends of the South, and such survivors of older and
earlier types of life cause a similarity between the southern lands
that Huxley called Notogaea, although the extent of his region must be

Recently, however, there has been a recurrence to Huxley's suggested
union of South America and Australia, based on new evidence of a
direct kind, quite different from that which had just been given.
Various groups of naturalists have stated that there are similarities
between the invertebrate inhabitants of Australia and of South America
of a kind which makes the existence of a direct land connection in the
Southern Hemisphere extremely probable. Moreover, Ameghino has
recently described some marsupial fossils from South America which, he
states, belong to the Australian group of Dasyuridae, and Oldfield
Thomas has described a new mammal from South America which is unlike
the opossums of America and like the diprotodonts of Australia. So
that, while the general opinion has been against Huxley's division,
Notogaea, in the strict meaning which he gave to it, there has recently
been an opinion growing in its favour.

Huxley also made minor alterations in Mr. Sclater's scheme by forming
an additional circumpolar region for the Northern Hemisphere, and by
elevating New Zealand into a separate region, distinct from Australia.
On these points there is a balance of opinion against his views.

Before leaving the subject of Huxley's contributions to vertebrate
anatomy, the actual details of which would occupy far too much space,
it is necessary to mention the great importance to zooelogy of the new
terms and new ideas he introduced into classification. His mind was,
above all things, orderly and comprehensive, and while, in innumerable
minute points, from the structure of the palate of birds to the
structure of the roots of human hair (actually the subject of Huxley's
first published contribution to scientific knowledge), he added to the
number of known facts, he did even more important work in
co-ordinating and grouping together the known body of facts. To him
are due not only the names, but the idea, that the mammalian animals
fall into three grades of ascending complexity of organisation: the
reptile-like Prototheria, which lay large eggs, and which have many
other reptilian characters; the Metatheria, or marsupial animals; the
Eutheria, or higher animals, which include all the common animals from
the mole or rabbit up to man. In a similar fashion, he grouped the
vertebrates into three divisions, and named them: Ichthyopsida, which
include the fish and Amphibia, creatures in which the aquatic habit
dominates the life history and the anatomical structure; Sauropsida,
including birds and reptiles, on the close connection between which he
threw so much light; Mammalia.



     Objections to Zooelogical Discussion of Man's Place--Owen's
     Prudence--Huxley's Determination to Speak out--Account of his
     Treatment of _Man's Place in Nature_--Additions Made by More
     Recent Work.

Even before the publication of _The Origin of Species_ there was a
considerable nervousness in the minds of the more orthodox as to
discussions on the position of the human species in zooelogical
classification. Men of the broadest minds, such as Lyell, who himself
had suffered considerably from outside interference with the
scientific right to publish scientific conclusions, was strongly
opposed to anything that seemed to tend towards breaking down the
barrier between man and the lower creatures. Sir William Lawrence, a
very distinguished and able man, had been criticised with the greatest
severity, and had been nearly ostracised, for a very mild little book
_On Man_; and Huxley tells us that the electors to the Chair of a
Scotch University had refused to invite a distinguished man, to whom
the post would have been acceptable, because he had advocated the view
that there were several species of man. The court political leaders,
and society generally, resented strongly anything that seemed at all
likely to disturb the somewhat narrow orthodoxy prevalent in those
times; and, as there were comparatively few posts open to scientific
men, and comparatively greater chances of posts being made for men of
talent and ability who adhered to the respectable traditions, those
who tampered with so serious a question as the place of man were
likely to burn their fingers severely. However, the difficulties of
discussing these problems were much greater immediately after 1859.
One of the most surprising things in the history of this century is
the sudden intensity of the opposition of the public, particularly the
respectable and religious public, to zooelogical writing upon man,
immediately after the publication of the _Origin_. Before that time
anatomists did not necessarily hesitate to point out the close
resemblance between the anatomy of man and that of the higher apes,
and the difficulties anatomists had in making anatomical distinction
of value between them. Thus Professor Owen, who, as a writer, was
rather unusually nervous about expressing facts to which any objection
might be raised by those outside the strictly scientific world, had
written the following paragraph in the course of an essay on the
characters of the class Mammalia, published, in 1857, in the _Journal
of the Proceedings of the Linnaean Society_:

     "Not being able to appreciate or conceive of the distinction
     between the psychical phenomena of a chimpanzee and of a
     Boschisman or of an Aztec, with arrested brain-growth, as being
     of a nature so essential as to preclude a comparison between
     them, or as being other than a difference of degree, I cannot
     shut my eyes to the significance of that all-pervading similitude
     of structure--every tooth, every bone, strictly homologous--which
     makes the determination of the difference between _Homo_ and
     _Pithecus_ the anatomist's difficulty."

It is true, he went on to explain his belief in the existence of
certain characters in the brain which seemed to him to justify the
separation of man in a different group from that in which the apes
were placed; but it is certain that he regretted having said anything
which seemed to support the Darwinian view; and, two years later, when
the opposition to Darwin was in its acutest stage, Owen withdrew his
words. His "Reade Lecture," delivered in the University of Cambridge,
was in all respects a reprint of the essay from which we have just
quoted, but the apparently dangerous words were omitted. More than
that, the points insisted on in the essay as being sufficient for the
purpose of separating man in zooelogical classification were elevated
into a reason against descent. Although Huxley, in several addresses
and publications, disproved the existence of the alleged differences,
and although Sir William Flower gave an actual demonstration shewing
the essential identity of the brain of man and of the apes in the
matter in question, Owen never admitted his error.

[Illustration: CHARLES DARWIN
From the painting by Hon. John Collier in the National Portrait

It is not surprising that, if an anatomist so distinguished and acute
as was Owen allowed his judgment to be completely overborne by the
storm of prejudice against Darwinism, those who were not anatomists
should have held up to ridicule all idea of comparison between man and
the apes. In _The Origin of Species_ itself, no elaborate attempt had
been made to set forth the anatomical arguments in favour of or
against a community of descent for man and the apes. But it was made
sufficiently plain, and the public laid hold of the point eagerly,
that the doctrine of descent was not meant to exclude man from the
field of its operation. Huxley, in the course of his ordinary work as
Professor of Biology, had, among many other subjects, naturally
turned his attention to the anatomy and classification of the
higher animals. When Owen's essay appeared, he found that he was
unable to agree with many of the conclusions contained in it, and had
set about a renewed investigation of the matter. Thus it happened
that, when the question became prominent, in 1860, Huxley was ready
with material contributions to it. He believed, moreover, that, as
Darwin was not specially acquainted with the anatomy and development
of vertebrates, there was an opportunity for doing a real service to
the cause of evolution. Accordingly, in 1860, he took for the subject
of a series of lectures to workingmen the "Relation of Man to the
Lower Animals," and, in 1862, expanded the lectures into a volume
called _Man's Place in Nature_. When it was ready, he was prepared to
say with a good conscience that his conclusions "had not been formed
hastily or enunciated crudely."

     "I thought," he wrote in the preface to the 1894 edition, "I had
     earned the right to publish them, and even fancied I might be
     thanked, rather than reproved, for so doing. However, in my
     anxiety to promulgate nothing erroneous, I asked a highly
     competent anatomist and very good friend of mine to look through
     my proofs, and, if he could, point out any errors of fact. I was
     well pleased when he returned them without any criticism on that
     score; but my satisfaction was speedily dashed by the very
     earnest warning, as to the consequences of publication, which my
     friend's interest in my welfare led him to give; but, as I have
     confessed elsewhere, when I was a young man there was just a
     little--a mere _soupcon_--in my composition of that tenacity of
     purpose which has another name, and I felt sure that all the evil
     things prophesied would not be so painful to me as the giving up
     of that which I had resolved to do, upon grounds which I
     conceived to be right. So the book came out, and I must do my
     friend the justice to say that his forecast was completely
     justified. The Boreas of criticism blew his hardest blasts of
     misrepresentation and ridicule for some years; and I was even as
     one of the wicked. Indeed, it surprises me, at times, to think
     how anyone who had sunk so low could have emerged into, at any
     rate, relative respectability."

Further, in the same preface, Huxley strongly advises others to
imitate his action in this matter. There are now, and no doubt there
always will be, truths "plainly obvious and generally denied." Whoever
attacks the current ideas is certain, unless human nature changes
greatly, to encounter a bitter opposition, and there will always be
those among his friends who recommend him to temper truth by prudence.
Huxley's advice is different:

     "If there is a young man of the present generation who has taken
     as much trouble as I did to assure himself that they are truths,
     let him come out with them, without troubling his head about the
     barking of the dogs of St. Ernulphus. _Veritas praevalebit_--some
     day; and, even if she does not prevail in his time, he himself
     will be all the better and wiser for having tried to help her.
     And let him recollect that such great reward is full payment for
     all his labour and pains."

Although they were written so long ago, the lectures on "Man's Place
in Nature" are still the best existing treatise on the subject, and we
shall give an outline of them, mentioning the chief points in which
further work has been done. Information concerning the man-like apes
was scattered in very different places, in the grave records of
scientific societies, in the letters of travellers and missionaries,
in the reports of the zooelogical societies which had been in
possession of living specimens. The facts had to be sifted out from a
great mass of verbiage and unfounded statement. With a characteristic
desire for historical accuracy, more usual in a man of letters than in
an anatomist, Huxley began with a study of classical and mediaeval
legends of the existence of pigmies and man-like creatures; but, while
recognising that legends of satyrs and fauns were presages of the
discovery of man-like apes, he was unable to find any actual record
earlier than that contained in Pigafetta's _Description of the Kingdom
of Congo_, drawn up from the notes of a Portuguese sailor and
published in 1598. The descriptions and figures in this work
apparently referred to chimpanzees. From this date onwards he traces
the literature of the animals in question, and then proceeds to give
an account of them.

There are four distinct kinds of man-like apes: in Eastern Asia the
Orangs and the Gibbons (although some later writers differ from Huxley
in removing the Gibbons from the group of anthropoids); in Western
Africa, the Chimpanzees and the Gorillas. All these have certain
characters in common. They are inhabitants of the old world; they all
have the same number of teeth as man, possessing four incisors, two
canines, four premolars, and six true molars in each jaw, in the adult
condition, while the milk dentition, as in man, consists of twenty
teeth,--four incisors, two canines, and four molars in each jaw. Since
Huxley wrote, a large bulk of additional work upon teeth has been
published, and we now know that man and the anthropoid apes display
the same kind of degenerative specialisation in their jaws. Simpler
and older forms of mammals had a much larger number of teeth, and
these differed among themselves more than the teeth of the higher
forms. In the Anthropoids and Man, the jaws are proportionately
shorter and less heavy than in simpler forms, and, in correspondence
with this, the number of the teeth has become reduced, while the teeth
themselves tend to form a more even row. The canine or eye-teeth are
relatively smaller in the gorilla than in primitive mammals; they are
still smaller in the lower races of man; while in ordinary civilised
man they do not project above the others. The shortening of the jaw is
still proceeding, and, although in lower races of man the last molar
or wisdom tooth is almost as large as the molars in front of it, in
the higher races the wisdom tooth is much smaller and frequently does
not develop at all, or begins to decay very soon after its appearance.
If the process of extinction of lower races were to proceed much
further, so that civilised white races became the only human
inhabitants of the earth, then the gap between the Anthropoids and Man
would be wider than it now is; man would be characterised by the
presence of one tooth less than the anthropoids, just as the
anthropoids and some lower monkeys are characterised by having one
tooth less than monkeys still lower.

In all, the nostrils have a narrow partition and look downwards as in
man. The arms are always longer than the legs, the difference being
greatest in the orang and least in the chimpanzee. We know now that in
the lower races of man, the arms are proportionately longer than in
higher races, and it has recently been shewn that, although there is a
general proportion between the length of the long bones and the height
of the whole body in man, so that the height may be calculated with an
average error from these bones, yet the probable error is greater when
the calculation is made from the arms than when it is made from the
legs. In fact, the length of arm as compared to the length of leg and
to whole height is a more variable feature in man than the length of

In all the anthropoids, the forelimbs end in hands with longer or
shorter thumbs, and the great toe, always smaller than in man, is far
more movable and can be opposed like a thumb to the other toes. Since
Huxley wrote, a considerable amount of evidence has been collected
shewing that partial opposability of the toe in man is not uncommon,
and that there is evidence as to a tendency to increase of length of
the great toe within historical times. None of the great apes have
tails, and none of them have the cheek pouches common among lower

Huxley then gives an account of the natural history of these animals,
an account which still remains the best in literature. He sums up the
habits of the Asiatic forms as follows:

1. They may readily move along the ground in the erect, or semi-erect
position, and without direct support from the arms.

2. They may possess an extremely loud voice, so loud as to be readily
heard one or two miles.

3. They may be capable of great viciousness and violence when
irritated; and this is especially true of adult males.

4. They may build a nest to sleep in.

He finds the same general characters in the case of the gorilla and
chimpanzee, but in their case there was not quite so reliable evidence
upon which to go.

Although, since Huxley wrote, there has been much greater opportunity
of studying anthropoid apes, both in confinement and in their native
haunts, there is not much to add to his account. Some little time ago,
the world was interested by the assertion of a clever American that he
had discovered a kind of language used by the higher apes, and that he
was able to communicate with them. Mr. Garnier, the person in
question, declared his intention of going out to tropical Africa and
establishing himself in a strong cage in the forests inhabited by
gorillas and chimpanzees, in the hope that, impelled by curiosity,
they would look upon him as we look on monkeys in a zooelogical garden,
and that he would thus be able to make his knowledge and records of
monkey language more perfect. As a matter of fact he went to Africa,
and on his return published a volume which aroused the indignation of
naturalists. There was internal evidence that he had gone no further
than the garden of a coast station, and his pretended account of the
habits of monkeys as they lived in their native haunts contained
nothing that was not already known. There is no doubt but that the
anthropoid apes, like many other animals, use modulations of their
voice to express emotional states; that, in fact, they have love-cries
and cries of warning, of alarm, and of pleasure; but there is not the
smallest evidence to suppose that in the case of the anthropoids these
cries approach more nearly to speech than the cries of any other of
the higher mammals.

Since Huxley's volume was published, a large amount of information has
been published by Darwin, Romanes, and others upon the mental
capacities of anthropoids kept in confinement, and the result of this
has been to prove that the anthropoids, in especial the chimpanzees,
possess mental powers more akin to those of man than are to be found
in the most intelligent of the quadrupeds. We may cite some instances
of these higher powers. Vosmaern had a tame female orang-outang that
was able to untie the most intricate knot with fingers or teeth, and
took such pleasure in doing it that she regularly untied the shoes of
those who came near her. The female chimpanzee called Sally, that
lived for many years in the Zooelogical Society's Gardens in London,
was taught by its keeper and by Romanes an interesting variety of
"tricks" involving at least the rudiments of what may be called human
intelligence. Among other feats, it would pick up from the floor and
present to the keeper or to a visitor, a stated number of straws up to
five. Many monkeys seem nearly purely destructive in their dealings
with objects within their reach; but Leutemann tells of an
orang-outang which "tried to put to its proper use whatever was given
to him. To my great surprise he attempted to put on a pair of gloves.
He supported himself on a light walking cane and, when it bent under
him, made ridiculous motions to right it again." Brehm tells of a

     "After eating, he at once begins to clean up. He holds a stick of
     wood in front of him, or puts his hands in his master's slippers,
     and slides about the room, then takes a cloth and scrubs the
     floor. Scouring, sweeping, and dusting are his favourite
     occupations; and, when he once gets hold of the cloth, he never
     wants to give it up."

Falkenstein has given a detailed description of a gorilla which was
remarkable for his delicacy in eating.

     "He would take a cup or glass with the greatest care, using both
     hands to carry it to his mouth, and setting it down so carefully
     that I do not remember having lost a single piece of crockery
     through him, though we had never tried to teach him the use of
     such vessels, wishing to bring him to Europe as nearly in his
     natural condition as possible."

These and a multitude of similar observations which have been made
since Huxley wrote are typical of the increase of our knowledge on the
habits and capacities of the anthropoid apes. They all serve to show
that in them the instinct for experimental investigation of
everything with which they are surrounded, and their imitative
faculties are peculiarly great. The importance of this, from the point
of view of Huxley's argument, is great. The difference between the
instincts of the lower animals and the intelligence of man is that
instincts are to a large extent fixed and mechanical. The proper
performance of an instinct demands the presence of exactly the right
external conditions for its accomplishment. In the absence of these
conditions, the call to perform the instinctive action is equally
great, and results in useless performances. In many of the higher
animals these elaborate instincts are more general in their character,
and are supplemented by a considerable but varying aptitude for
modification of instinctive action to suit varieties of surrounding
circumstances. As this intelligence becomes more and more developed,
the blind, mechanical instinct becomes weaker. A large number of
instances might be given of such instincts modified by dawning
intelligence. The chief factors in producing the change are, as has
been shewn by Professor Groos, the possession of a general instinct to
imitate and to experiment, and the existence of a period of youth in
which the young creature may practise these instincts, and so prepare
itself for the more serious purposes of adult life. The anthropoid
apes seem to possess these experimental instincts to an extent much
greater than that observed in any other class of animals, and, as they
have a long period of youth, they have the opportunity of putting them
into practice to the fullest possible extent.

From the natural history of the anthropoid apes, Huxley passed to
consideration of their relation to man, prefacing his observations
with a passage defending the utility of the enquiry, a passage
necessary enough in these days of prejudice, but now chiefly with
historical interest:

     "It will be admitted that some knowledge of man's position in the
     animate world is an indispensable preliminary to the proper
     understanding of his relations to the universe; and this again
     resolves itself in the long run into an enquiry into the nature
     and the closeness of the ties which connect him with those
     singular creatures whose history has been sketched in the
     preceding pages.

      "The importance of such an enquiry is, indeed, intuitively
     manifest. Brought face to face with these blurred copies of
     himself, the least thoughtful of men is conscious of a certain
     shock; due perhaps not so much to disgust at the aspect of what
     looks like an insulting caricature, as to the awakening of a
     sudden and profound mistrust of time-honoured theories and
     strongly rooted prejudices regarding his own position in nature,
     and his relations to the underworld of life; while that which
     remains a dim suspicion for the unthinking, becomes a vast
     argument, fraught with the deepest consequences, for all who are
     acquainted with the recent progress of the anatomical and
     physiological sciences."

Huxley then proceeded to elaborate the argument from development for
the essential identity of man and the apes. This argument has now
become more or less familiar to us all, as it has gained additional
support from recent extension of embryological knowledge, and as it
has been used in every work on evolution since Huxley first laid
stress on it. The adult forms of animals are much more complex than
their embryonic stages, and the series of changes passed through in
attaining the adult condition make up the embryological history of the
animal. Huxley took the embryology of the dog as an example of the
process in the higher animals generally, and as it had been worked out
in detail by a set of investigators. The dog, like all vertebrate
animals, begins its existence as an egg; and this body is just as much
an egg as that of a fowl, although, in the case of the dog, there is
not the accumulation of nutritive material which bloats the egg of the
hen into its enormous size. Since Huxley wrote, it has been shewn
clearly that among the mammalian animals there has been a gradual
reduction in the size of the egg. The ancestors of the mammals laid
large eggs, like those of birds or reptiles; and there still exist two
strange mammalian creatures, the Ornithorhynchus and Echidna of
Australia, which lay large, reptilian-like eggs. The ancestors of most
living mammalia acquired the habit of retaining the eggs within the
body until they were hatched; and, as a result of this, certain
structures which grow out from the embryo while it is still within the
egg and become applied to the inner wall of the porous shell for the
purpose of obtaining air, got their supply of oxygen, not from the
outer air, but from the blood-vessels of the maternal tissues. When
this connection (called the placenta) between embryo and mother
through the egg-shell became more perfect, not only oxygen but
food-material was obtained from the blood-vessels of the mother; and,
in consequence, it became unnecessary for the eggs to be provided with
a large supply of food-yolk. Among existing marsupial animals, which,
on the whole, represent a lower type of mammalian structure than
ordinary mammals, there is more food-yolk than in ordinary mammals,
and less food-yolk than in the two egg-laying mammals. In the ordinary
mammals, such as the rabbit, dog, monkey, and man, there is
practically no yolk whatever deposited in the egg; the egg is of
minute size, and the embryo obtains most of its food from the maternal

The small egg of the mammal divides into a number of cells, which form
a hollow sphere; on the upper surface of this the development of
organs begins with the formation of a depression which indicates the
future middle line of the animal, and is, in fact, the beginning of
the nervous system. Under this is formed a straight rod of gelatinous
material, the foundation of the vertebral column, and the body of the
embryo is gradually pinched off from the surface of the hollow sphere.
After tracing the details of this process, Huxley proceeded as

     "The history of the development of any other vertebrate animal,
     lizard, snake, frog or fish, tells the same story. There is
     always, to begin with, an egg, having the same essential
     structure as that of the dog; the yolk of that egg always
     undergoes division, or segmentation, as it is often called; the
     ultimate products of that segmentation constitute the building
     materials for the body of the young animal; and this is built up
     round a primitive groove, in the floor of which a notochord is
     developed. Furthermore, there is a period in which the young of
     all these animals resemble one another, not merely in outward
     form, but in all essentials of structure, so closely, that the
     differences between them are inconsiderable, while in their
     subsequent course they diverge more and more widely from one
     another. And it is a general law, that, the more closely any
     animals resemble one another in adult structure, the longer and
     the more intimately do their embryos resemble one another; so
     that, for example, the embryos of a snake and of a lizard remain
     like one another longer than do those of a snake and of a bird;
     and the embryos of a dog and of a cat remain like one another for
     a far longer period than do those of a dog and a bird; or of a
     dog and an opossum; or even than those of a dog and a monkey."

This general rule, that the longer the paths of embryonic development
of two animals keep identical the more nearly the two animals are
related, when Huxley wrote, was founded on a much smaller number of
facts than now are known. Since 1860 an enormous bulk of embryological
investigation has been published, and the total result has been to
confirm Huxley's position in the fullest possible way. A certain
number of exceptions have been found, but these exceptions are so
obviously special adaptations to special circumstances that their
existence only makes the general truth of the proposition more clear.
The most common kind of exception occurs when two closely related
animals live under very different conditions. For instance, many
marine animals have close allies that in comparatively recent times
have taken to live in fresh water. The conditions of life in fresh
water are very different, especially for delicate creatures
susceptible to rapid changes of temperature, or unable to withstand
strong currents. Thus most of the allies of the fresh-water crayfish,
which live in the sea, lay eggs from which there are soon hatched
minute, almost transparent larvae, exceedingly unlike the adult. In the
comparatively equable temperature of sea-water, and in the usual
absence of strong currents, these small larvae, as Huxley shewed later
in his volume on the _Crayfish_, live a free life, obtaining their own
food, and by a series of slow transformations gradually acquire the
adult form. In fresh water, however, the delicate larvae would be
unable to live, and the mode of development is different. The series
of slow transformations is condensed, and takes place almost entirely
inside the egg-shell; so that, when hatching occurs, the young
crayfish is exceedingly like the adult. Apart from such special cases,
it is true that the study of development affords a clear test of
closeness of structural affinity.

Huxley then proceeds to discuss the development of man.

     "Is he something apart? Does he originate in a totally different
     way from dog, bird, frog, and fish, thus justifying those who
     assert him to have no place in nature, and no real affinity with
     the lower world of animal life? Or does he originate in a similar
     germ, pass through the same slow and gradually progressive
     modifications, depend on the same contrivances for protection and
     nutrition, and finally enter the world by the help of the same
     mechanism? The reply is not doubtful for a moment, and has not
     been doubtful any time these thirty years. Without question, the
     mode of origin, and the early stages of the development of man
     are identical with those of animals immediately below him in the
     scale; without doubt, in these respects, he is far nearer the
     apes than the apes are to the dog."

Then, on lines with which, by continuous repetition and expansion by
authors subsequent to him, we have now become familiar, Huxley
compared, stage by stage, the development of man with that of other
animals, and shewed, first, its essential similarity, and then that in
every case where it departed from the development of the dog it
resembled more closely the development of the ape. He went on to
review the anatomy of man:

     "Thus, identical in the physical processes by which he
     originates,--identical, in the early stages of his
     formation--identical in the mode of his nutrition before and
     after birth, with the animals which lie immediately below him in
     the scale,--Man, if his adult and perfect structure be compared
     with theirs exhibits, as might be expected, a marvellous likeness
     of organisation. He resembles them as they resemble one
     another--he differs from, them as they differ from one another.
     And, though these differences cannot be weighed and measured,
     their value may be readily estimated; the scale or standard of
     judgment, touching that value, being afforded and expressed by
     the system of classification of animals now current among

Having explained the general system of zooelogical classification, he
tried to dispel preliminary prejudice by inducing his readers or
bearers to take an outside view of themselves.

     "Let us endeavour for a moment to disconnect our thinking selves
     from the mask of humanity; let us imagine ourselves scientific
     Saturnians, if you will, fairly acquainted with such animals as
     now inhabit the earth, and employed in discussing the relations
     they bear to a new and singular 'erect and featherless biped,'
     which some enterprising traveller, overcoming the difficulties of
     space and gravitation, has brought from that distant planet for
     our inspection, well preserved, may be, in a cask of rum. We
     should all, at once, agree upon placing him among the mammalian
     vertebrates; and his lower jaw, his molars, and his brain, would
     leave no room for doubting the systematic position of the new
     genus among those mammals whose young are nourished during
     gestation by means of a placenta, or what are called the
     placental mammals.

      "Further, the most superficial study would at once convince us
     that, among the orders of placental mammals, neither the whales,
     nor the hoofed creatures, nor the sloths and ant-eaters, nor the
     carnivorous cats, dogs, and bears, still less the rodent rats and
     rabbits, or the insectivorous moles and hedgehogs, or the bats,
     could claim our _Homo_ as one of themselves.

      "There would remain, then, but one order for comparison, that of
     the apes (using that word in its broadest sense), and the
     question for discussion would narrow itself to this--Is Man so
     different from any of these apes that he must form an order by
     himself? Or does he differ less from them than they differ from
     one another,--and hence must take his place in the same order
     with them?

      "Being happily free from all real or imaginary personal interest
     in the results of the enquiry thus set afoot, we should proceed
     to weigh the arguments on one side and on the other, with as much
     judicial calmness as if the question related to a new opossum.
     We should endeavour to ascertain, without seeking either to
     magnify or diminish them, all the characters by which our new
     mammal differed from the apes; and if we found that these were of
     less structural value than those which distinguish certain
     members of the ape order from others universally admitted to be
     of the same order, we should undoubtedly place the newly
     discovered tellurian genus with them."

In pursuit of this method, and taking the gorilla as the type for
immediate comparison with man, he passed in review the various
anatomical structures, shewing that in every case man did not differ
more from the gorilla than that differed from other anthropoids. We
shall take a few examples of his method and results, reminding our
readers, however, that Huxley carried his comparisons into every
important part of the anatomical structure.

There is no part of the skeleton so characteristically human as the
bones which form the pelvis, or bony girdle of the hips. The expanded
haunch-bones form a basin-like structure which affords support to the
soft internal viscera during the habitually upright position, and
gives space for the attachment of the very large muscles which help
man to assume and support that attitude. In the gorilla this region
differs considerably from that in man. The haunch-bones are narrower
and much shallower, so that they do not form so convenient a
supporting basin; they have much less surface for the attachment of
muscles. The gibbon, however, differs more vastly from the gorilla
than that differs from man. The haunch-bones are flat and narrow, and
totally devoid of any basin-like formation; the passage through the
pelvis is long and narrow, and the ischia have outwardly curved
prominences, which, in life, are coated by callosities on which the
animal habitually rests, and which are coarse, corn-like patches of
skin wholly absent in the gorilla, in the chimpanzee, in the orang,
and in man.

In the characters of the hands, the feet, and the brain, certain real
or supposed structural distinctions between man and the apes had been
relied upon.

     "Man has been defined as the only animal possessed of two hands
     terminating his fore-limbs, and of two feet terminating his
     hind-limbs, while it has been said that all the apes possess four
     hands; and he has been affirmed to differ fundamentally from all
     the apes in the characters of his brain, which alone, it has been
     strangely asserted and reasserted, exhibits the structures known
     to anatomists as the posterior lobe, the posterior cornu of the
     lateral ventricle, and the hippocampus minor.

      "That the former proposition should have gained general
     acceptance is not surprising--indeed, at first sight, appearances
     are much in its favour; but, as for the second, one can only
     admire the surpassing courage of its enunciator, seeing that it
     is an innovation which is not only opposed to generally and
     justly accepted doctrines, but which is directly negatived by the
     testimony of all original enquirers who have specially
     investigated the matter; and that it has neither been, nor can
     be, supported by a single anatomical preparation. It would, in
     fact, be unworthy of serious refutation except for the general
     and natural belief that deliberate and reiterated assertions must
     have some foundation."

The last remarks referred, of course, to the statements of Owen, which
had made a great impression at the time and the result of which still
lingers in some of the worse-informed treatises attacking evolution.
Huxley gave a lucid account of the general structure and arrangement
of the brain in the vertebrate series, explaining the well-known fact
that from fish up to man the general ground-plan of the brain is
identical, but that there is a progressive increase in the complexity
and in the size of some parts compared with others. Next, he showed
that, so far from its being possible to erect any barrier in the
structure of the brain between man and the apes, there exists among
the mammals an almost complete series of gradations from brains a
little higher than that of the rabbit to brains a little lower than
that of man. He laid great stress on

     "the remarkable circumstance that though, so far as our present
     knowledge extends, there _is_ one structural break in the series
     of forms of simian brains, this hiatus does not lie between man
     and the man-like apes, but between the lower and the lowest
     simians; or, in other words, between the old-and new-world apes
     and monkeys, and the lemurs. Every lemur which has yet been
     examined, in fact, has its cerebellum partially visible from
     above, and its posterior lobe, with the contained posterior cornu
     and hippocampus minor, more or less rudimentary. Every marmoset,
     American monkey, old-world monkey, baboon, or man-like ape, on
     the contrary, has its cerebellum entirely hidden, posteriorly, by
     the cerebral lobes, and possesses a large posterior cornu, with a
     well-developed hippocampus minor." ... "So far from the posterior
     lobe, the posterior cornu, and the hippocampus minor being
     structures peculiar to, and characteristic of man, as they have
     over and over again been asserted to be, even after the
     publication of the clearest demonstration of the reverse, it is
     precisely these structures which are the most marked cerebral
     characters common to man with the apes. They are among the most
     distinctly simian peculiarities which the human organism
     exhibits." ... "Man differs from the chimpanzee or the orang, so
     far as cerebral structure goes, less than these do from the
     monkeys, and the difference between the brains of the chimpanzee
     and of man is almost insignificant, when compared with that
     between the chimpanzee brain and that of a lemur."

Although Huxley found no structural differences between the brains of
man and of anthropoid apes, he was careful to lay great stress on the
important difference in size and weight. A full-grown gorilla is
nearly twice as heavy as a European woman, and yet the heaviest known
gorilla brain probably does not exceed twenty ounces in weight, while
healthy adult human brains probably never weigh less than thirty-one
or thirty-two ounces. This difference is not of systematic importance;
for cranial capacities shew that relatively and absolutely there is a
greater difference in brain-weight between the lowest and highest
human beings than there is between the highest ape and the lowest
human being.

In dealing with the suggestion that man differs from the apes in being
bimanous, while the apes are quadrumanous, Huxley first explained and
discussed what the exact differences between hands and feet are. He
shewed that in man the foot is absolutely distinguished from the hand
by three structural points, although the two organs are similar in
general ground-plan. These structural points are:

1. The arrangement of the tarsal bones.

2. The possession of a short flexor and short extensor muscle of the

3. The possession of a muscle named _peronaeus longus_.

Then he described the foot of the gorilla, and shewed that although it
was superficially hand-like, it possessed all the structural
characters that distinguish a foot from a hand. Tracing the structure
of the foot downwards through the series of anthropoids and monkeys,
he established clearly that, while important differences existed in
nearly every single creature, the differences between the gorilla and
man were not greater than those between the gorilla and other
anthropoids, and less than between the gorilla and lower monkeys.

This wonderful series of lectures ranks very high among the important
works of Huxley. It is true that a considerable proportion of the work
was not absolutely original, but it had all been specially verified by
him. It was a task undertaken with the greatest courage, and with a
care equal to the courage; and it settled conclusively for all time
the impossibility of making between man and the anthropoids any
anatomical barriers greater than those which exist between the
different although closely related members of any of the other family
groups in the animal kingdom. The advance of knowledge has only added
to the details of Huxley's argument; it has not made any
reconstruction of it necessary. A writer on the same subject to-day
would to all certainty make use of the same general methods. The chief
differences, perhaps, that would be made are two: First, greater
stress would be laid on the distinction, first made by Huxley himself,
between intermediate and linear types. (See p. 87). To use the popular
phrase, a great deal of water has passed under the bridges since the
separation of man from the ape-like progenitors common to him and to
the existing anthropoids. It has already been pointed out that the
gradual extinction of lower races of man is widening the apparent gap
between existing man and existing apes; and evidence accumulates that
many still more primitive and more ape-like races of man than the
lowest existing savages have disappeared from the surface of the
earth. Moreover, we know that existing anthropoids are the degenerate
and scattered remnants of what was once a much more widely spread and
more important group. We have some reason for believing the contrary,
and no reason for believing that the surviving anthropoids represent
the most man-like apes that have lived.

The second great point in which a modern writer would amend Huxley's
statement of the case is more purely anatomical. One result of
Darwin's work has been that anatomists attend much more closely to the
slight variations of anatomical structure to be found among
individuals of the same species. A comparison between an individual
human body and the body of an individual gorilla is not now considered
sufficient. The comparison must be made between the results of
dissection of a very large number of men and of a very large number of
gorillas. The anatomy of a type is not the anatomy of an individual;
it is a kind of central point around which there oscillate the
variations presented by the individuals belonging to the type. So far
as this newer method has been applied, it has been found that the
variations of the gorilla type frequently, in the case of individual
organs, overlap the variations of the human type, and that the
structure of man differs from the structure of any anthropoid type
only in that the abstract central point of its variations is slightly
different from the abstract central point of the variations presented
by individual orangs, gorillas, and chimpanzees.



     Science-Teaching Fifty Years Ago--Huxley's Insistence on
     Reform--Science Primers--Physiography--Elementary
     Physiology--_The Crayfish_--Manuals of Anatomy--Modern
     Microscopical Methods--Practical Work in Biological
     Teaching--Invention of the Type System--Science in Medical
     Education--Science and Culture.

Less than half a century ago, there was practically no generally
diffused knowledge of even the elements of science and practically no
provision for teaching it. Medical students, in the course of their
professional education, received some small instruction in botany,
chemistry, and physiology; in the greater universities of England and
the Continent there were not in all a dozen professorships of science
apart from special branches of medicine; in the Scottish universities
there were one or two dreamy chairs of "Natural and Civil History,"
the occupiers of which were supposed to dispense instruction in half a
dozen sciences. There was no scientific teaching at the public
schools; there were practically no books available for beginners in
science, and even the idea of guides to laboratory work had not been
invented. Huxley, addressing in 1854 a particularly select audience in
St. Martin's Hall, London, spoke to them of the

     "utter ignorance as to the simplest laws of their own animal
     life, which prevails among even the most highly educated persons
     in this country." "I am addressing," he said, "I imagine, an
     audience of cultivated persons; and yet I dare venture to assert
     that, with the exception of those of my hearers who may chance to
     have received a medical education, there is not one who could
     tell me what is the meaning and use of an act which he performs a
     score of times every minute, and whose suspension would involve
     his immediate death:--I mean the act of breathing--or who could
     state in precise terms why it is that a confined atmosphere is
     injurious to health."

The power to express the precise meaning of even a common
physiological act is probably not yet possessed by all educated
people: but no one can doubt that there is now a very generally
diffused knowledge of and interest in the ordinary processes of living
bodies. It is almost impossible for any of us to escape some amount of
scientific education at school, at college, from lectures, or from
books. Certainly those of us who have a natural inclination towards
knowledge of that kind can hardly fail to have the opportunity of
acquiring it. Every library abounds in elementary and advanced
scientific books; every university and many schools have their
lectures and laboratories for science, and there is scientific
teaching involved in every educational curriculum. To attempt a
complete account of how this radical change in the attitude of the
world to science has come about would be to attempt to write the
history of European civilisation in the last half-century. A thousand
causes have been contributory; but among these causes two have been of
extraordinary importance--an idea and a man. The idea is the
conception of organic evolution, and the man was Huxley. The idea of
evolution clothed the dead bones of anatomy with a fair and living
flesh, and the new body left the dusty corners of museums to pervade
the world, arousing the attention and interest of all. A large part of
the prodigious mental activities of Huxley was devoted to compelling
the world to take an interest in biological science. Had his life-work
been no more than this side of it, it would have been of commanding
importance. A mere enumeration of the modes in which he assisted in
arousing attention to science among all classes would fill many pages.
Almost before he was settled in London, in the lecture from which we
quoted at the beginning of this chapter he urged the "educational
value of the natural history sciences." In 1869 in a speech in
Liverpool; in 1870 at University College, London; in 1874 as his
Rectorial address in the University of Aberdeen; in 1876 at the
opening ceremonial of the Johns Hopkins University at Baltimore; in
the same year at South Kensington; in 1877 in a separate essay; in
1881 in an address to the International Medical Congress: at these
different times and addressing different and important audiences he
continued to urge the absolute necessity of a knowledge of nature. A
well-known and eloquent passage from an address on "a liberal
education" delivered to working men in 1868 contains the gist of his
reiterated argument:

     "Suppose it were perfectly certain that the life and fortune of
     every one of us would, one day or other, depend on his winning or
     losing a game of chess, don't you think that we should all
     consider it to be a primary duty to learn at least the names and
     the moves of the pieces; to have a notion of a gambit, and a keen
     eye for all the means of giving and getting out of check? Do you
     not think that we should look with a disapprobation amounting to
     scorn upon the father who allowed his son, or the state which
     allowed its members, to grow up without knowing a pawn from a

     Yet it is a very plain and elementary truth, that the life, the
     fortune, and the happiness of every one of us, and more or less
     of those who are connected with us, do depend upon our knowing
     something of the rules of a game infinitely more difficult and
     complicated than chess. It is a game which has been played for
     untold ages, every man and woman of us being one of the two
     players in a game of his or her own. The chess-board is the
     world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of
     the game are what we call the laws of nature. The player on the
     other side is hidden from us. We know that his play is always
     fair, just, and patient. But also we know, to our cost, that he
     never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for
     ignorance. To the man who plays well, the highest stakes are
     paid, with that sort of overflowing generosity with which the
     strong shows delight in strength, and one who plays ill is
     checkmated--without haste, but without remorse."

Huxley wished that this scientific education should begin at an early
period of every child's training. In 1869 he wrote:

     "Let every child be instructed in those general views of the
     phaenomena of nature for which we have no exact English name. The
     nearest approximation to a name for what I mean which we possess
     is physical geography; the Germans have a better, 'Erdkunde'
     (earth knowledge or geology in its etymological sense), that is
     to say, a general knowledge of the earth, and what is on it and
     in it and about it. If anyone who has experience of the ways of
     young children will call to mind their questions, he will find
     that so far as they can be put in any scientific category, they
     will come under this head of 'Erdkunde.' The child asks, 'What is
     the moon, and why does it shine?' 'What is this water, and where
     does it run?' 'What is the wind?' 'What makes these waves in the
     sea?' 'Where does this animal live, and what is the use of that
     plant?' And if not snubbed and stunted by being told not to ask
     foolish questions, there is no limit to the intellectual craving
     of a young child; nor any bounds to the slow but solid accretion
     of knowledge and development of the thinking faculty in this way.
     To all such questions, answers which are necessarily incomplete,
     though true as far as they go, may be given by any teacher whose
     ideas represent real knowledge and not mere book learning: and a
     panoramic view of nature, accompanied by a strong infusion of the
     scientific habit of mind, may thus be placed within the reach of
     every child of nine or ten."

In 1880 Huxley, in association with Professor Roscoe, the chemist, and
Professor Balfour Stewart, the physicist, took a great practical step
toward securing the widest possible extension of elementary knowledge
in science. They became general editors, for the English publishing
house of Macmillan, of a series of "Science Primers." These were
written in simple language, suitable for those with no preliminary
knowledge of science, but were the work of the chief authorities in
the leading branches of science. They were published at what was then
the phenomenally cheap price of a shilling, and they sold in almost
incredible numbers. Huxley himself wrote the introductory volume to
this great series of tracts, taking for his subject the simplest and
most natural phenomena of the world and the simplest chains of cause
and effect that can be observed around us. The keynote of the little
book was that knowledge of nature could be gained only by observation
and experiment, and that for these the ordinary things in the world
around us provided ample material. A few years later he wrote a more
advanced volume on the same subject. He had now found an English name
for the German _Erdkunde_, and his book on _Physiography_ was simply
an account of the leading things and forces of nature. A traveller
set down in a foreign land will at once get into difficulties unless
he has provided himself with a guide to the geography, the manners and
customs, and the regulations of the country in which he finds himself.
Huxley's aim was to provide a similar guide to nature; an outline of
elementary knowledge of the world into which we all come as strangers.
He wrote of force and energy, of the forms of water, of heat and cold,
of the atmosphere, of winds and tides and weather, and of the main
features of the lives of plants and animals. There was nothing new in
what he wrote; he simply took from the chief sciences their leading
principles and elementary facts, and set them forth in plain and
simple language so that all could read and understand. The novelty was
that an attempt should be made to bring these facts within the reach
of all. The idea proved extremely infectious; in Europe and America,
in many languages and by many authors, Huxley's main lines were
followed, with the result that a new branch of education, and almost
of science, was created.

The body of man and the processes of life, in the earlier part of the
century, were almost as unknown to most people as were the structure of
the earth and the great processes of nature. What was known of human
anatomy and physiology was contained in ponderous treatises, written in
difficult and technical language suitable only for students of medicine
and doctors. It was thought to be not only unnecessary but slightly
coarse for those not in the profession to know anything of the viscera
of digestion, circulation, and so forth. Huxley laid low this great
superstition by his _Elementary Lessons in Physiology_, a little volume
first published in 1866, which ran through many editions. In it he wrote
primarily for teachers and learners in boys' and girls' schools, and
selected from the great bulk of knowledge and opinion called human
physiology only the important and well-established truths. So successful
was he in his selection that, notwithstanding the immense increase in
knowledge since he wrote, the book still remains an adequate and useful
elementary treatise, and by this time must have given their main
knowledge of the human body to hundreds and thousands of readers who
otherwise would have remained ignorant.

The books of which we have been writing were addressed to the general
public, but, in addition, Huxley wrote several, of which three are
specially important, for those students who devote themselves
specially to anatomy. _The Crayfish_, his famous volume in the
International Scientific Series, has been called by Professor Howes,
the assistant and successor of Huxley at the Royal College of Science,
"probably the best biological treatise ever written." Many naturalists
have written elaborate monographs on single animals: Lyonet worked for
years on the willow caterpillar, Strauss Durckheim devoted an even
minuter attention to the common cockchafer, and the great Bojanus
investigated almost every fibre in the structure of the tortoise. The
volumes produced by these anatomists were valuable and memorable, and
occupy an honoured place in the library of science, but Huxley's aim
was wider and greater. He showed how careful study of one of the
commonest and most insignificant of animals leads, step by step, from
every-day knowledge to the widest generalisations and the most
difficult problems of zooelogy. He made study of a single creature an
introduction to a whole science, and taught students to regard any
form of life not merely as a highly complicated and deeply interesting
anatomical study, but as a creature that is only one out of an
innumerable host of living things, every fibre in its body, every
rhythm in its functions proclaiming the degree and nature of its
relationship to other animals. R. Louis Stevenson, writing of his
native town, tried to give "a vision of Edinburgh, not as you see her,
in the midst of a little neighbourhood, but as a boss upon the round
world, with all Europe and the deep sea for her surroundings. For
every place is a centre to the earth, whence highways radiate, or
ships set sail for foreign ports; the limit of a parish is not more
imaginary than the frontier of an empire." It is this wider sweep,
this attempt to see and to teach not merely the facts about things but
the relations of these facts to the similar facts in other things,
that makes the difference between the new knowledge and the old. The
questions to be asked and answered are not merely, What are the
structures in this animal? but, How and why do they come to be what
they are? Huxley was a ruthless enemy of the books and teachers which
or who made the mere acquisition of details of knowledge their chief

     "I remember," he wrote, "in my youth there were detestable books
     which ought to have been burned by the hands of the common
     hangman, for they contained questions and answers to be learned
     by heart, of this sort, 'What is a horse? The horse is termed
     _Equus caballus_; belongs to the class Mammalia; order,
     Pachydermata; family, Solidungula.' Was any human being the wiser
     for learning that magic formula? Was he not more foolish inasmuch
     as he was deluded into taking words for knowledge?"

Huxley himself admitted his difficulty in remembering apparently
meaningless facts, and occasionally aided his memory by inventing for
them a humorous significance. Professor Howes relates a story of this
kind. While examining the papers of candidates for some examination,
Huxley came across one in which the mitral or bicuspid valve of the
heart was erroneously described as being placed in the right cavity.
"Poor little beggar," said Huxley; "I never could get them myself
until I reflected that a bishop could never be in the right." This
insistence on the uselessness of formal knowledge applied only to
those who were being taught or who were learning from books or
lectures. Of the value and discipline of knowledge of facts gained at
first hand from objects themselves either in original investigation or
with the aid of books, Huxley had the highest possible opinion. By
such a method of work alone he believed it possible to distinguish
what we believe on authority from what we have convinced ourselves to
be true, and, as we shall see later, he regarded it as the most
important duty of a man to have acquired the habit of classifying the
mass of ideas in his brain into those which he knew and those which he
thought to be true from having read or heard or imagined them.

The two other of the three great treatises for anatomical students are
the _Manual of the Anatomy of Vertebrated Animals_, published in 1871,
and the _Manual of the Anatomy of Invertebrated Animals_, published in
1877. Of these two volumes it is sufficient to say that they formed
the chief introduction to the study of animal zooelogy for many years,
and that a large number of the best-known zooelogists of the end of
this century received from them their first instruction in the
science. As text-books they have been superseded lately by larger
volumes in which there is found more space for some of the recent
advances in knowledge, especially comparative embryology, and the more
intricate knowledge of the structure of the soft parts of marine
invertebrates made possible by the newer and more successful methods
of preserving delicate tissues. Just before Huxley ceased his regular
work as a teacher at the Royal College of Science, there arrived a
series of marine embryos, beautifully preserved and prepared for
microscopic work by the zooelogists at the International Zooelogical
Station at Naples. Huxley is reported to have exclaimed at their
beauty, and to have said: "You young men cannot realise your
advantages; you have brought to you for study at your leisure in
London, creatures that I had to lash my microscope to the mast to get
a glimpse of." Huxley's books were written for students with fewer
advantages, and, naturally, laid more stress on the harder skeletal
parts and such structures as could be more easily preserved; but with
this inevitable limitation they still serve as luminous and
comprehensive guides to the subjects of which they treat. There is no
doubt but that if he had been a younger man when the new technical
methods made their appearance, he would have adopted them and their
results in his volumes. One of the first great pieces of work which
utilised methods more like those now used in all laboratories than
those employed during the greater part of Huxley's life as a teacher
was the classical investigation by Van Beneden into the changes in the
egg of Ascaris which accompany the process of fertilisation. When
Huxley read the memoir he exclaimed, "All this by the use of glacial
acetic acid--is it possible!" At once, Professor Howes relates, he
repeated the whole investigation himself, and, when satisfied,
declared that the "history of the histological investigation of the
future would be the history of its methods." Not only have the
chemical substances used in preparing tissues for examination greatly
increased since Huxley's time as an active worker, but a very
important method of investigation has come into general use. In
Huxley's time tissues or animals too large or too opaque to be
examined microscopically as whole structures were either teased by
needles or were cut with a razor by hand into comparatively thick
slices. The process of cutting, however practised the operator, was
tedious and uncertain, and it was almost impossible to cut a piece of
tissue into a series of thin slices without losing or destroying
considerable portions. Microtomes, with various accessory mechanical
appliances, have now been invented, and by means of these not only are
slices of great tenuity made with ease, but there is little difficulty
in cutting the most delicate organism into a ribbon of consecutive
slices. Such new methods have made almost a revolution in the study of
zooelogy, particularly of the lower forms of life and of the embryonic
stages of higher animals, and books written before these methods
became common have naturally been superseded.

Huxley did far more for the teaching of science than the preparation
of books, however useful these were. He was the practical inventor of
the laboratory system of teaching zooelogical science, and all over the
world the methods invented by him have been adopted in university
laboratories and technical schools. He had always declared that since
zooelogy was a physical science, the method of studying it must needs
be analogous to that which is followed in other physical sciences. If
a man wishes to be a chemist, it is necessary not only that he should
read chemical books and attend chemical lectures, but that he should
actually perform the fundamental experiments in the laboratory for
himself, and thus learn exactly what the words which he reads in his
books and hears from his teachers, mean. "If you want a man to be a
tea-merchant, you don't tell him to read books about China or about
tea, but you put him into a tea-merchant's office where he has the
handling, the smelling, and the tasting of tea. Without the sort of
knowledge which can be gained only in this practical way, his exploits
as a tea-merchant will soon come to a bankrupt termination." The great
and obvious difficulty in the practical teaching of biology appeared
to be the immense number of different kinds of animals and plants in
existence. A human life would not suffice for the examination of a
hundredth part of these. Huxley met the difficulty by the "type"

     "There are certainly more than 100,000 species of insects, and
     yet anyone who knows one insect, if a properly chosen one, will
     be able to have a fair conception of the structure of the whole.
     I do not mean to say he will know that structure thoroughly, or
     as well as is desirable that he should know it; but he will have
     enough real knowledge to enable him to understand what he reads,
     to have genuine images in his mind of these structures which
     become so variously modified in all the forms of insects he has
     not seen. In fact, there are such things as types of form among
     animals and vegetables, and for the purpose of getting a definite
     knowledge of what constitutes the leading modifications of animal
     and plant life, it is not needful to examine more than a
     comparatively small number of animals and plants."

The type system in itself was not absolutely new. Rolleston, the
Linacre professor at Oxford, in his _Forms of Animal Life_ had
devised the method of teaching comparative anatomy by the study of a
graded series of animals. But his method depended on the existence of
a series of dissections and preparations made by a skilled craftsman;
the tradition of teaching by authority instead of by investigation was
maintained, although the authority of books and lectures was aided by
museum specimens in glass bottles, the actual basis of the book being
a series of dissections prepared by Mr. Charles Robertson, Rolleston's
laboratory assistant, for the great International Exhibition of 1861.
The authorities of Huxley's students were to be found in nature
itself. The green scum from the nearest gutter, a handful of weed from
a pond, a bean-plant, some fresh-water mud, a frog, and a pigeon were
the ultimate authorities of his course. His students were taught how
to observe them, and how to draw and record their observations.
However familiar the objects, each student had to verify every fact
afresh for himself. The business of the teacher was explanation of the
methods of verification, insistence on the accomplishment of
verification. It was a training in the immemorial attitude of the
scientific mind, codified by Huxley and made an integral part in
national education.

As a matter of fact it was comparatively late in his life as a teacher
that Huxley had complete opportunity for putting into practice his
scheme for the laboratory teaching of biology. In 1854 there was no
laboratory attached to the Natural History Department of the School of
Mines. Lectures alone were given, and the only opportunity the student
had of any practical acquaintance with the facts was in a short
interview with the professor at the lecture table after the lecture.
This condition continued practically to 1872. But a few years before
that Huxley and his colleagues got up a kind of pronunciamento
deploring the existing state of affairs. In his evidence before the
Royal Commission of 1870 Huxley said: "There is a complete want in the
School of Mines, as it now exists, of any means of teaching several of
the subjects practically. For example, I am set there to teach natural
history without a biological laboratory and without the means of
shewing a single dissection." Against strong internal opposition and
at considerable pecuniary loss Huxley and some of his colleagues
succeeded, in 1872, in getting the School of Mines transferred to
South Kensington, where it became the Royal College of Science. For
the first course of instruction given in the new buildings, Huxley
obtained the aid of Prof. M. Foster, Prof. Rutherford, and Prof. Ray
Lankester. The laboratory course originated by Huxley and shaped by
him with these three distinguished assistants became the model of the
regular courses given subsequently, and, with various slight
modifications, has since been adopted almost universally. Later on,
Huxley described it as follows:

     "I lecture to a class of students daily for about four months and
     a half, and my class have, of course, their text-books; but the
     essential part of the whole teaching, and that which I regard as
     really the most important part of it, is a laboratory for
     practical work, which is simply a room with all the appliances
     needed for ordinary dissection. We have tables properly arranged
     in regard to light, microscopes and dissecting instruments, and
     we work through the structure of a certain number of plants and
     animals. As, for example, among the plants we take the
     yeast-plant, a Protococcus, a common mould, a Chara, a fern, and
     some flowering plant; among animals we examine such things as an
     Amoeba, a Vorticella, and a fresh-water polyp. We dissect a
     starfish, an earthworm, a snail, a squid, and a fresh-water
     mussel. We examine a lobster and a crayfish, and a black beetle.
     We go on to a common skate, a codfish, a frog, a tortoise, a
     pigeon, and a rabbit, and that takes us about all the time we
     have to give. The purpose of this course is not to make skilled
     dissectors, but to give every student a clear and definite
     conception, by means of sense images, of the characteristic
     structure of each of the leading modifications of the animal
     kingdom; and that is perfectly possible by going no further than
     the length of that list of forms which I have enumerated. If a
     man knows the structure of the animals I have mentioned, he has a
     clear and exact, however limited apprehension of the essential
     features of the organization of all those great divisions of the
     animal and vegetable kingdoms to which the forms I have mentioned
     severally belong. And it then becomes possible to him to read
     with profit; because every time he meets with the name of a
     structure, he has a definite image in his mind of what the name
     means in the particular creature he is reading about, and
     therefore the reading is not mere reading. It is not mere
     repetition of words; but every term employed in the description,
     we will say of a horse, or of an elephant, will call up the image
     of the things he had seen in the rabbit, and he is able to form a
     distinct conception of that which he has not seen, as a
     modification of that which he has seen."

Huxley himself was originally a medical man; all through his life he
was chiefly interested in the biological sciences which underlie a
scientific practice of medicine, and as teacher and examiner he had
much to do with the shaping of medical education in London. Acting in
various public capacities, as a member of commissions dealing with
medical education, or as a witness before them, in magazine articles
and in public speeches he made many contributions to the problems to
be faced in medical education. Some of these related to the conditions
peculiar to medical training in London. In the greatest city of the
world there was during Huxley's life and there is still nothing
comparable with the great universities of Europe and America, of
Scotland and Ireland. Some dozen hospitals, supported partly by
endowments, partly by charities, attempt each to maintain a complete,
independent medical school. As the requirements of medical education
in staff, laboratories, and general equipment has advanced, these
hospitals have made heroic efforts to advance with them.
Notwithstanding the zeal and public spirit of the staff and managers
of the hospitals, this want of system has naturally resulted in a
multiplication of inefficient institutions and a number of makeshift
arrangements. Huxley repeatedly urged the concentration of all this
diffuse effort into a few centres, but this inevitable reform has not
yet become possible.

A second important consideration, and one that has a much wider
application, relates to the kind of person by whom the scientific
sides of medical teaching should be given. Primitively, all the
instruction to medical students was given by those actually engaged in
the practice of medicine. Huxley was strongly of the opinion that the
teachers of anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and so forth, should be
specialists devoted to these subjects for life, and not merely
surgeons and physicians who engaged in teaching until their practice
grew sufficiently to monopolise their attention.

     "I get every year," he said, "the elaborate reports of Henle and
     Meissner--volumes of I suppose 400 pages altogether--and they
     consist merely of abstracts of the memoirs and works which have
     been written on Anatomy and Physiology--only abstracts of them.
     How is a man to keep up his acquaintance with all that is doing
     in the physiological world--in a world advancing with enormous
     strides every day and every hour--if he has to be distracted with
     the cares of practice?"

There would always be found men, he declared, who would make the
choice between the wealth which may come by successful practice and a
modest competency, when that modest competency was to be combined with
a scientific career and the means of advancing knowledge. It was to
those who made the latter choice that he would entrust the teaching of
the sciences underlying medicine; partly because from the mere
mechanical reason of time these men would be better able to keep pace
with the most recent advances in knowledge, and partly because their
teaching would be stimulated by their own work in advancing knowledge.
In this great matter the world is rapidly advancing towards the
standard of Huxley; as each new appointment is made it becomes more
and more probable that the man chosen will be a teacher and
investigator rather than a practitioner.

In another general question of the politics of medical education
Huxley took a strong line, and the tendency of change is toward his
view. One of the first results of the awakening of medical education
in the middle of this century was a tendency to throw an almost
intolerable burden of new subjects upon the medical student. In the
revolt from the old apprenticeship system, in which the student, from
the very first, gave his chief attention to practice, and was left
almost to himself to pick up a scanty knowledge of the principles and
theories underlying his profession, the pendulum swung too far the
other way, and there was almost no branch of the biological and
physical sciences in which he was not expected to go through a severe
training. On the old system the greater part of his time was spent in
the wards of the hospital; on the new system it was only at an
advanced stage of his career that he entered the wards at all, a
great part of his time and energy being spent in the purely scientific
teaching of the medical college. Huxley, although he had largely aided
in the overthrow of the happy-go-lucky older system, of which Mr. Bob
Sawyer was no exaggerated type, was equally severe on the reckless
extensions of the new system. "If I were a despot," he said, "I would
cut down the theoretical branches to a very considerable extent." He
would discard comparative anatomy and botany, materia medica, and
chemistry and physics, except as applied to physiology, from the
medical student's course. At first sight, this seems a hard saying,
but it is to be remembered that at that time the normal curriculum of
a medical student lasted only four years, a space of time barely
sufficient for the necessary minimum of purely medical and surgical
work. Huxley's view was that chemistry and physics, botany and
zooelogy, should be part of the general education, not of the special
medical education; he wished students to spend one or two years after
their ordinary career at school in work on these elementary scientific
subjects, and then to begin their medical course free from the burden
of extra-professional subjects. With certain limits due to the
different local conditions in different teaching centres Huxley's
system is being adopted. In most cases the authorities in medical
education are unable to leave the whole responsibility of the
elementary education in science to the schools from which medical
students come, as the conditions under which scientific subjects are
still taught in schools leave much to be desired. The average length
of the medical curriculum has been extended and the elementary
scientific subjects are taken first, sometimes at the medical
colleges, sometimes in the scientific departments of universities.
The interesting general point of view is that Huxley, although himself
a biologist and teacher of biology, took too broad an outlook on the
general policy of education to insist upon his own subject to the
detriment of the precise practical objects of the training of medical

In the days of Huxley's greatest activity, while by the natural force
of events and by his special efforts science was becoming more and
more recognised as a necessary and important branch of general
education, the cry was raised against it that scientific education was
not capable of giving what is called culture. A scientific man was
regarded as a mere scientific specialist, and science was considered
to have no place in, and in fact to be an enemy of, "liberal
education." In 1880, at Birmingham, Huxley attacked this view in a
speech delivered at the opening of the Mason College. Sir Josiah
Mason, the benevolent founder of that great institution, had made it
one of the conditions of the foundation that the College should make
no provision for "mere literary instruction and education." This gave
Huxley a text for raising the whole question of the relation of
science to culture. He declared that he held very strongly by two

     "The first is, that neither the discipline nor the subject matter
     of classical education is of such direct value to the student of
     physical science as to justify the expenditure of valuable time
     on either; and the second is, that for the purpose of attaining
     real culture, an exclusively scientific education is at least as
     effectual as an exclusively literary education."

He quoted from Matthew Arnold, then in the zenith of his fame as a
chief apostle of culture, and shewed that there were two propositions
involved in the "literary" view of culture. The first was that a
"criticism of life" was the essence of culture; the second, that
literature contained the materials which sufficed for the construction
of such a criticism. With the first proposition he had no dispute,
taking the view that culture was something quite different from
learning or technical skill. "It implies the possession of an ideal,
and the habit of critically estimating the value of things by
comparison with a theoretic standard. Perfect culture should supply a
complete theory of life, based upon a clear knowledge alike of its
possibilities and its limitations." Against the second proposition he
urged in the first place that it was self-evident that after having
learned all that Greek, Roman, and Eastern antiquity have thought and
said, and all that modern literature has to tell us, it was still
necessary to have a deeper foundation for criticism of life. An
acquaintance with what physical science had done, particularly in
later years, was as necessary to criticism of life as any of the
literary materials. Next, following the biological habit of examining
anything by studying its development, he shewed how the connection
between "culture" and study of classical literature had come into
existence. For many centuries Latin grammar, with logic and rhetoric,
studied through Latin, were the fundamentals of education. A liberal
education was possible only through study of the language in which all
or nearly all the materials for it were written. With the changes
produced by the Renascence there came a battle between Latin and
Greek, and Greek came to be part of a liberal education. Later on,
there came a similar battle between the classical and modern
languages, and now the modern languages have included and absorbed
all the necessary material for knowledge and criticism. Those who
cling to classics as the basis of culture and education are clinging
to old weapons long after these have ceased to be effective, simply
because at one time in history only these weapons were available in
the struggle for knowledge.



     Establishment of Compulsory Education in England--The Religious
     Controversy--Huxley Advocates the Bible without Theology--His
     Compromise on the "Cowper-Temple" Clause--Influence of the New
     Criticism--Science and Art Instruction--Training of
     Teachers--University Education--The Baltimore Address--Technical
     Education--So-called "Applied Science"--National Systems of
     Education as "Capacity-Catchers."

In the last chapter, the special relation of Huxley to scientific
education was described, and, naturally enough, it is in special
connection with scientific education that his influence is best known.
But he was keenly interested in all the larger problems of general,
university, and technical education, and he played a great part in
shaping the lines upon which these problems have been solved in

In the years immediately before 1870, all England was wrestling with
the great problem of elementary education, in the arrangements for
which it was far behind not only the leading European countries but
even its sister-kingdom, Scotland. In 1870 there came into operation
an Act of Parliament for the regulation of elementary education under
the supervision of locally elected school boards. Hitherto elementary
education had been controlled by the Established Church, and by other
denominational religious bodies, and the quality and quantity of the
instruction provided, for financial and various other reasons, had
been extremely unsatisfactory. But a long and furious battle had raged
around the religious question; elementary education was now to be
national, compulsory, and universal; where religious bodies maintained
schools that complied with certain fixed standards of efficiency,
attendance of children at these was to be regarded as satisfactory,
and in addition to the ordinary subjects, such theological and
religious teaching as the supporting bodies chose might be added. But
in the schools for all and sundry, under the control of boards
representing the whole population, and deriving that part of their
income represented by the subscriptions of the religious bodies in the
denominational schools from public rates, levied on the whole
population, was any definite creed to be inculcated? The extreme
Church party, perhaps naturally, held that the creed established by
law in the land should be taught in these new schools; extreme
supporters of other creeds, and a majority of ordinary people of all
creeds or of no creeds, objected to a new establishment of a sectarian
doctrine, even though that sectarian doctrine were the doctrine of the
national religion. The final result of the dispute as codified in the
Act of Parliament was what was known as the Cowper-Temple Clause: "No
religious catechism or religious formulary which is distinctive of any
particular denomination shall be taught in the school." The actual
value of any clause, however it may appear to be a fair compromise,
depends on the spirit in which it is practically interpreted, and no
sooner had the Act been passed than the battle was renewed again over
the interpretation of the clause. Many of the Church controversialists
held that the liberal or more advanced party intended to exclude all
reference to the Bible or to religion, on the plea that some sect
could be found to which the most attenuated expression of religion
would appear to be against the plain meaning of the clause, and
Huxley, who had been in the forefront of the controversy, and who was
a candidate for the first London School Board, was decried as an enemy
of the Bible and of all religion and morality because he had expressed
what he called a secular interpretation of the clause. In an article
published in the _Contemporary Review_ immediately after the election,
Huxley explained precisely what he took the clause to mean, and,
afterwards, at all events during the existence of the Board to which
he was elected, succeeded in carrying out his intentions in the main.

His first general point was to deprecate the action of those
extremists of both sides who tried to make the education of children a
mere battle-ground of religious dogmas. He then laid down what he
conceived to be the lines of most general utility upon which, under
the provisions of the Act, the education of children should be
conducted. In the foreground he placed physical training and drill, as
of supreme importance to young children, especially in the case of the
poor children of large towns.

     "All the conditions of the lives of such are unfavourable to
     their physical well-being. They are badly lodged, badly housed,
     badly fed, and live from one year's end to another in bad air,
     without a chance of a change. They have no play-grounds; they
     amuse themselves with marbles and chuck-farthing, instead of
     cricket and hare-and-hounds; and if it were not for the
     wonderful instinct which leads all poor children of tender years
     to throw themselves under the feet of cab-horses whenever they
     can, I know not how they would learn to use their limbs with

This, humanitarianism as it was, was not the mere emotional sentiment
of the typical humanitarian; he went on to give the soundest practical
reasons for physical development.

     "Whatever doubts people may entertain about the efficacy of
     natural selection, there can be none about artificial selection;
     and the breeder who should attempt to make, or keep up, a fine
     stock of pigs, or sheep, under the conditions to which the
     children of the poor are exposed, would be the laughing stock
     even of the bucolic mind. Parliament has already done something
     in this direction by declining to be an accomplice in the
     asphyxiation of school children. It refuses to make any grant to
     a school in which the cubical contents of the school-room are
     inadequate to allow of proper respiration."

He wished to see physical training put on the same system.

The second great point upon which he laid stress was the necessity of
providing training in domestic economy, cookery, and other household
accomplishments, for poor girls. These demands of Huxley seem simple
and obvious, now that by his efforts and the efforts of others they
have been accomplished, but in England, even thirty years ago, it
required more than an ordinary prevision and boldness to insist upon

Huxley passed next to the burning question of the time. He treated it
in the broadest and least sectarian spirit.

     "The boys and girls for whose education the School Boards have to
     provide, have not merely to discharge domestic duties, but each
     of them is a member of a social and political organisation of
     great complexity, and has, in future life, to fit himself into
     that organisation, or be crushed by it. To this end it is surely
     needful, not only that they should be made acquainted with the
     elementary laws of conduct, but that their affections should be
     trained, so as to love with all their hearts that conduct which
     tends to the attainment of the highest good for themselves and
     their fellow-men, and to hate with all their hearts that opposite
     course of action which is fraught with evil."

He then proceeded to point out the distinction between the affection
which is called religion, and the science which is called theology,
and, without entering into the question as to whether the latter were
or were not a true science, he insisted on the danger of a confusion
between the two.

     "We are divided into two parties--the advocates of so-called
     'religious' teaching on the one hand, and those of so-called
     'secular' teaching on the other. And both parties seem to me to
     be not only hopelessly wrong, but in such a position that if
     either succeeded completely, it would discover, before many years
     were over, that it had made a great mistake and done serious evil
     to the cause of education. For, leaving aside the more far-seeing
     minority on either side, what the religious party is crying for
     is mere theology, under the name of religion; while the
     secularists have unwisely and wrongfully admitted the assumption
     of their opponents, and demand the abolition of all religious
     teaching, when they only want to be free of theology--burning
     your ship to get rid of the cockroaches." ... "If I were
     compelled to choose for one of my own children, between a school
     in which real religious instruction is given, and one without it,
     I should prefer the former, even though the child might have to
     take a good deal of theology with it. Nine-tenths of a dose of
     bark is mere half-rotten wood; but one swallows it for the sake
     of the particles of quinine, the beneficial effect of which may
     be weakened, but is not destroyed, by the wooden dilution, unless
     in the case of a few exceptionally tender stomachs. Hence, when
     the great mass of the English people declare that they want to
     have the children in the elementary schools taught the Bible, and
     when it is plain from the terms of the Act, the debates in and
     out of Parliament, and especially the emphatic declarations of
     the Vice-President of the Council that it was intended that such
     Bible-teaching should be permitted, unless good cause for
     prohibiting it could be shewn, I do not see what reason there is
     for opposing that wish."

He went on to explain that, although he had always been strongly in
favour of secular education, by that term he meant only education
without theology, and he praised the English Bible in language as
noble as has ever been applied to it by the most ardent of

     "The Pagan moralists lack life and colour, and even the noble
     Stoic, Marcus Antoninus, is too high and refined for an ordinary
     child. Take the Bible as a whole; make the severest deductions
     which fair criticism can dictate for shortcomings and positive
     errors; eliminate, as a sensible lay-teacher would do, if left to
     himself, all that is not desirable for children to occupy
     themselves with; and there still remains in this old literature a
     vast residuum of moral beauty and grandeur. And then consider the
     great historical fact that, for three centuries, this book has
     been woven into the life of all that is best and noblest in
     English history; that it has become the national epic of Britain,
     and is as familiar to noble and simple, from Land's End to
     John-o'-Groat's House, as Dante and Tasso once were to the
     Italians; that it is written in the noblest and purest English,
     and abounds in exquisite beauties of mere literary form; and,
     finally, that it forbids the veriest hind who never left his
     village to be ignorant of the existence of other countries and
     other civilisations, and of a great past, stretching back to the
     furthest limits of the oldest nations in the world. By the study
     of what other book could children be so much humanised and made
     to feel that each figure in that vast historical procession
     fills, like themselves, but a momentary space in the interval
     between two eternities; and earns the blessings and the curses of
     all time, according to its effort to do good and hate evil, even
     as they also are earning their payment for their work."

Lastly, he laid down the lines of the general education to be given.
He pointed out that already in the existing schools a very
considerable burden of work was imposed on the children in the form of
catechism, lists of the kings of Israel, geography of Palestine, and
that when these fantastic modes of education had been eliminated there
was plenty of time and energy to be employed. The instruction in
physical training was more than half play; that in the domestic
subjects had an engrossing interest of its own. He proposed, first,
the necessary discipline in the means for acquiring knowledge, the
tools for employing it, that is to say, reading, writing, and
arithmetic. After that, he believed that a certain amount of
knowledge, of intellectual discipline, and of artistic training should
be conveyed in the elementary schools, and for these purposes he
proposed to teach some rudiments of physical science, drawing, and

In most respects the progress of primary education in England has been
a continuous progress along these lines suggested by Huxley, and he
may be regarded as in this fashion one of the great shapers of the
destinies of his race, for nothing can have a bearing more important
on the character and fate of a race than the manner of training
provided for the masses of individuals composing it. It is only in the
matter of the religious instruction that the course of events has been
widely different from the neutral exposition of the Bible as suggested
by him. In 1870 a great majority of the people of England who
reflected upon the matter at all, and all those who accepted current
ideas without reflection, accepted the Bible as an inspired, direct,
and simple authority on all great matters of faith and morality.
Therefore, when Huxley, as by far the most important man among those
who advocated a secular education, was an advocate and not in the
least an opponent of Bible teaching, they were well content to let the
matter rest. There were, it is true, a certain number of zealots who
entered the boards with the avowed purpose, on the one hand, of
getting as much dogmatic teaching and interpretation added as it might
be possible to smuggle in, and, on the other, to reduce the simplest
Bible teaching to a minimum. But the vast majority of persons were out
of sympathy with these fanaticisms. Since 1870, however, a gradual
change has occurred in the attitude of the majority to the Bible in
England. The growth of the new criticism and of knowledge of it has
produced the result that now only a small minority of reflecting
people in England accept the Bible in the old simple way; the majority
thinks that it requires interpretation and explanation by the
authority of the Church. And so a new battle over dogma has begun;
moderate Church people no longer accept the compromise of Huxley, but
strive for an interpretation which must be dogmatic, and there is a
new dispute as to what may be regarded as undenominational religion.
When a majority of reasonable persons accepted Huxley's suggestions of
simple Bible teaching they did so not because they believed, as he
did, that the Bible was simply great literature, great tradition, and
great morality, but because they believed it to be direct, inspired
authority. It is a curious coincidence that Huxley himself did so much
to spread knowledge of the new criticism, and that a first result of
this diffusion was to overthrow the compromise arranged largely by his
influence, and which for many years provided a middle way in which
sensible persons avoided the extremes of theological and
anti-theological zealots.

Early in the course of his career as a member of the London School
Board, Huxley crystallised his views as to the general policy of
education in a phrase which perhaps has done more than any other
phrase ever invented to bring home to men's minds the ideal of a
national system of education. "I conceive it to be our duty," he said,
"to make a ladder from the gutter to the university along which any
child may climb." We have seen the nature of his views as to the
lowest rungs of this ladder; we may now turn to his work and views as
to the higher stages. He expressed these views in occasional speeches
and articles, and he had many important opportunities in aiding to
carry them into actual practice. He was a member of a number of
important Royal Commissions: Commission on the Royal College of
Science for Ireland, 1866; Commission on Science and Art Instruction
in Ireland, 1868; Royal Commission on Scientific Instruction and the
Advancement of Science, 1870-75; Royal Commission to enquire into the
Universities of Scotland, 1876-78; Royal Commission on the Medical
Acts, 1881-82. From the beginning, he was closely associated with the
Science and Art Department, the operations of which threw a web of
education, intermediate between primary and university education, all
over Britain. A number of the teachers under that department were
trained by him, and as examiner to the department he took the greatest
care to reduce to a minimum the evils necessarily attendant on the
mode of payment by results. A certain number of teachers made it
their chief effort to secure the largest possible number of grants.
Huxley regarded these as poachers of the worst kind, and did all he
could to foil them. He did all he could to promote systematic
practical instruction in the classes, and to aid teachers who desired
to learn their business more thoroughly. He insisted again and again
upon the popular nature of the classes; their great advantage was that
they were accessible to all who chose to avail themselves of them
after working hours, and that they brought the means of instruction to
the doors of the factories and workshops. The subjects which he
considered of most importance were foreign languages, drawing, and
elementary sciences, and he wished them to be used first of all by
those who were handicraftsmen and who therefore left the elementary
schools at the age of thirteen or fourteen.

In a lecture given at the formal opening of the Johns Hopkins
University at Baltimore in 1876, and in a Rectorial address to the
University of Aberdeen two years earlier, Huxley laid down the general
lines of university education as he conceived it. He began by
supposing that a good primary education had already been received.

     "Such an education should enable an average boy of fifteen or
     sixteen to read and write his own language with ease and
     accuracy, and with a sense of literary excellence derived from
     the study of our classic writers; to have a general acquaintance
     with the history of his own country and with the great laws of
     social existence; to have acquired the rudiments of the physical
     and psychological sciences, and a fair knowledge of elementary
     arithmetic and geometry. He should have obtained an acquaintance
     with logic rather by example than by precept; while the
     acquirement of the elements of music and drawing should have been
     a pleasure rather than work."

He had not much to say for secondary or intermediate education, partly
because at that time, in England at least, the secondary schools were
in a hopeless state of incapacity, and differed from primary schools
not only in their greater expense, their adaptation to the
class-spirit which demanded the separation of the boys of the upper
and middle classes from those in the lower ranks of society, but
chiefly in the futility of the education given at the majority of
them. But where intermediate schools did exist, he demanded that they
should keep on the same wide track of general knowledge, not
sacrificing one branch of knowledge for another. He held that the
elementary instruction to which he had referred embraced all the real
kinds of knowledge and mental activity possible to man. The university
could add no new fields of mental activity, no new departments of
knowledge. What it could do was to intensify and specialise the
instruction in each department.

     "Thus literature and philology, represented in the elementary
     school by English alone, in the university will extend over the
     ancient and modern languages. History, which like charity, best
     begins at home, but, like charity, should not end there, will
     ramify into anthropology, archaeology, political history, and
     geography, with the history of the growth of the human mind and
     of its products, in the shape of philosophy, science, and art,
     and the university will present to the student libraries, museums
     of antiquities, collections of coins, and the like, which will
     efficiently subserve these studies. Instruction in the elements
     of political economy, a most essential but hitherto sadly
     neglected part of elementary education, will develop in the
     university into political economy, sociology, and law. Physical
     science will have its great divisions, of physical geography,
     with geology and astronomy; physics; chemistry and biology;
     represented not merely by professors and their lectures, but by
     laboratories in which the students, under guidance of
     demonstrators, will work out facts for themselves and come into
     that direct contact with reality which constitutes the
     fundamental distinction of scientific education. Mathematics will
     soar into its highest regions; while the high peaks of philosophy
     may be scaled by those whose aptitude for abstract thought has
     been awakened by elementary logic. Finally, schools of pictorial
     and plastic art, of architecture, and of music will offer a
     thorough discipline in the principles and practice of art to
     those in whom lies nascent the rare faculty of aesthetic
     representation, or the still rarer powers of creative genius."

Early in the seventies the problems connected with what is called
technical education became prominent in the minds of the most
far-seeing of this nation. It became plain that England was not
advancing with the same strides as some other nations in arts and
manufactures, and the most obvious difference between England and the
rivals whose advance was causing anxiety lay in her deficiency in
education. Science or knowledge of nature lies at the root of all the
arts and manufactures, and it was our relation to scientific teaching
and research that required investigation. Naturally enough, Huxley
took the keenest interest in this question and made large
contributions to its solution, contributions which have not yet been
put completely into operation. He insisted most strongly upon a point
that we as a nation have not yet completely grasped. There is no
difference between applied science and any other kind of science. The
chemistry of manufactures, the physics of industrial machinery, the
biology of agriculture and of fisheries, are not different from other
chemistries and physics and biologies. They are merely special cases
of the application of the same general fund of knowledge, and the same
general principles of investigation. Huxley wished that the term
"applied science" had never been invented, or that it could be
destroyed. A man cannot study the chemistry of dyeing or make advances
in it unless he be a thoroughly trained chemist in the full sense of
the word. More than that, many of the greatest discoveries, using the
word "great" as applied to commercial advantage rather than to
abstract progress in knowledge, have been made by those who were
pursuing research for its own sake rather than for any immediate
commercial advantage to be derived from it. Hence he regarded it of
vital importance, from the mere point of view of the prosperity of the
country, that there should be a sufficiently large number of
scientific men provided with the means for research in the shape of
income and appliances. The most immediately utilitarian fashion for
the nation to encourage science, was to encourage science in its
highest and most advanced aspects. This meant the endowment of
research and the support of universities and other institutions in
which research might be conducted, and Huxley strove unceasingly for
the benefit of all such great organisations. One of the last public
occasions of his life was his appearance as leader of a deputation to
urge upon the government the formation of a real university in London
which should unite the scattered institutions of that great city and
promote the highest spheres of the pursuit of knowledge. He held the
view, strongly, that a useful combination was to be made by uniting
the functions of teaching and investigation. A teacher taught better
when his mind was kept fresh by the advances he himself was making,
and an investigator, by having a moderate amount of teaching to do,
gained from the need of forcing his mind from time to time to take
broad surveys of the whole field a part of which he was engaged in
tilling. The first great object, then, in promoting science so as to
reap the most direct national advantage from it, was to encourage
science in its highest and widest forms. It cannot be said that
England has yet learned this lesson. The number of institutions in
Germany where advanced investigation is continuously pursued is
absolutely and relatively greater than the number in England.

The second part of technical education is that to which general
attention is more commonly given. It consists of the kind of training
to be given to the great army of workers in the country. In regard to
this, as in regard to research work, Huxley insisted on the absence of
distinction between technical or applied science and science without
such a limiting prefix. So far as technical instruction meant definite
teaching of a handicraft, he believed that it could be learned
satisfactorily only in the workshop itself.

     "The workshop is the only real school for a handicraft. The
     education which precedes that of the workshop should be entirely
     devoted to the strengthening of the body, the elevation of the
     moral faculties, and the cultivation of the intelligence; and,
     especially, to the imbuing of the mind with a broad and clear
     view of the laws of that natural world with the components of
     which the handicraftsman will have to deal. And, the earlier the
     period of life at which the handicraftsman has to enter into the
     actual practice of his craft, the more important is it that he
     should devote the precious hours of preliminary education to
     things of the mind, which have no direct and immediate bearing on
     his branch of industry, though they lie at the foundation of all
     the realities."

He compared his own handicraft as an anatomist with the handicrafts of
artisans, and declared that the kind of preliminary training he would
choose for himself or for his pupils was precisely the training he
would provide for them. He did not wish that one who proposed to be a
biologist should learn dissection during his school-days; that would
come later, and, in the meantime, broader and deeper foundations had
to be laid. These were the ordinary subjects of a liberal education:
physical training, drawing, and a little music, French and German, the
ordinary English subjects, and the elements of physical science.
Against such costly schemes of education for the whole population of a
nation, many objections have been urged. Of these, perhaps the chief
is that the majority of human beings even in the most civilised
country are not capable of profiting by or taking an interest in, or
certainly of advancing far in, most subjects. Huxley met such
objections in a spirit of the widest statesmanship. There were two
reasons for making the general education of all what he called a
liberal education. The first was that, even in a liberal education
such as he advocated, no subject was pursued beyond the broad
elementary stages, and that during the early years of life, while the
framework and the character were forming, it was of first-rate
importance not to stunt either by lack of material. The second great
principle was that until any individual had had the opportunity, it
was impossible to say whether or no he would profit much or little,
and the gain to the whole nation by not missing any of those who were
born with unusual natural capacity was more than worth the cost of
affording opportunities to all.

     "The great mass of mankind have neither the liking, nor the
     aptitude, for either literary or scientific or artistic pursuits;
     nor, indeed, for excellence of any sort. Their ambition is to go
     through life with moderate exertion and a fair share of ease,
     doing common things in a common way. And a great blessing and
     comfort it is that the majority of men are of this mind; for the
     majority of things to be done are common things, and are quite
     well enough done when commonly done. The great end of life is not
     knowledge but action. What men need is as much knowledge as they
     can assimilate and organise into a basis for action; give them
     more and it may become injurious. One knows people who are as
     heavy and stupid from undigested learning as others are from
     over-fulness of meat and drink. But a small percentage of the
     population is born with that most excellent quality, a desire for
     excellence, or with special aptitude of some sort or another....
     Now, the most important object of all educational schemes is to
     catch these exceptional people, and turn them to account for the
     good of society. No man can say where they will crop up; like
     their opposites, the fools and the knaves, they appear sometimes
     in the palace, and sometimes in the hovel; but the great thing to
     be aimed at, I was almost going to say, the most important end of
     all social arrangements, is to keep these glorious sports of
     Nature from being either corrupted by luxury or starved by
     poverty, and to put them into the position in which they can do
     the work for which they are specially fitted.... I weigh my words
     when I say that if the nation could purchase a potential Watt or
     Davy or Faraday, at the cost of a hundred thousand pounds down,
     he would be dirt cheap at the money."

The beginning and end of the whole matter was that a national system
of education was above all things a "capacity-catcher," designed to
secure against the loss of the incalculable advantages to be gained by
cultivating the best genius born in the land.



     Huxley's Activity in Public Affairs--Official in Scientific
     Societies--Royal Commissions--Vivisection--Characteristics of his
     Public Speaking--His Method of Exposition--His
     Essays--Vocabulary--Phrase-Making--His Style Essentially one of

A great body of fine work in science and literature has been produced
by persons who may be described as typically academic. Such persons
confine their interest in life within the boundaries of their own
immediate pursuits; they are absorbed so completely by their
avocations that the hurly-burly of the world seems needlessly
distracting and a little vulgar. No doubt the thoughts of those who
cry out most loudly against disturbance by the intruding claims of the
world are, for the most part, hardly worth disturbing; the attitude to
extrinsic things of those who are absorbed by their work is aped not
infrequently by those who are absorbed only in themselves. None the
less it is important to recognise that a genuine aversion from affairs
is characteristic of many fine original investigators, and it is on
such persons that the idea of the simple and childlike nature of
philosophers, a simplicity often reaching real incapacity for the
affairs of life, is based. There was no trace of this natural
isolation in the character of Huxley. He was not only a serious
student of science but a keen and zealous citizen, eagerly conscious
of the great social and political movements around him, with the full
sense that he was a man living in society with other men and that
there was a business of life as well as a business of the laboratory.
We have seen with what zeal he brought his trained intelligence to
bear not only on his own province of scientific education, but on the
wider problems of general education, and yet the time he gave to these
was only a small part of that which he spared from abstract science
for affairs. In scientific institutions as in others, there is always
a considerable amount of business, involving the management of men and
the management of money, and Huxley's readiness and aptitude led to
his being largely occupied with these. For many years he was Dean of
the Royal College of Science at South Kensington, and for a
considerable time he served the Geological Society and the Royal
Society as secretary. In all these posts, Huxley displayed great
capacity as a leader of men and as a manager of affairs, and
contributed largely to the successful working of the institutions
which he served.

In England, when troublesome questions press and seem to call for new
legislation, it frequently happens that the collection and sifting of
evidence preliminary to legislation is a task for which the methods
and routine of Parliament are unsuitable. The Queen, acting through
her responsible advisers, appoints a Royal Commission, consisting of a
small body of men, to which is entrusted the preliminary task of
collecting and weighing evidence, or of making recommendations on
evidence already collected. To such honourable posts Huxley was
repeatedly called. He served on the following Commissions: 1. Royal
Commission on the Operation of Acts relating to Trawling for Herrings
on the Coast of Scotland, 1862. 2. Royal Commission to Enquire into
the Sea Fisheries of the United Kingdom, 1864-65. 3. Commission on the
Royal College of Science for Ireland, 1866. 4. Commission on Science
and Art Instruction in Ireland, 1868. 5. Royal Commission on the
Administration and Operation of the Contagious Diseases Acts, 1870-71.
6. Royal Commission on Scientific Instruction and the Advancement of
Science, 1870-75. 7. Royal Commission on the Practice of Subjecting
Live Animals to Experiments for Scientific Purposes, 1876. 8. Royal
Commission to Enquire into the Universities of Scotland, 1876-78. 9.
Royal Commission on the Medical Acts, 1881-82. 10. Royal Commission on
Trawl, Net, and Beam-Trawl Fishing, 1884. This is a great record for
any man, especially for one in whose life work of this kind was
outside his habitual occupation. It was no doubt in special
recognition of the important services given his country by such work,
as well as in general recognition of his distinction in science, that
he was sworn a member of Her Majesty's Privy Council, so attaining a
distinction more coveted than the peerage.

The voluminous reports of the Commissions shew that Huxley, very far
from being a silent member of them, took a large part in framing the
questions which served to direct witnesses into useful lines, and that
his clear and orderly habit of thought proved as useful in the
elucidation of these subjects as they were in matters of scientific
research. For the most part, the problems brought before the
Commissions have lost their interest for readers of later years, but
there are matters still unsettled on which the opinions of Huxley as
expressed then remain useful. The Commission of 1876, for instance,
dealt with vivisection, a matter on which the conscience of the
ordinary man is not yet at rest. Although Huxley was intensely
interested in the problems of physiology, and although at one time he
hoped to devote his life to them, fortune directed otherwise, and the
investigations for which he is famed did not in any way involve the
kind of experiments known as vivisection. The greater part of his work
was upon the remains of creatures dead for thousands of years or upon
the lifeless skeletons of modern forms. On the other hand, he was
keenly interested in the progress of physiological science, he had
personal acquaintance with most of the distinguished workers in
physiology of his time at home and abroad, and from this knowledge of
their character and aspirations he was well able to judge of the
wholesale and reckless accusations brought against them. He was a man
full of the finest humanity, with an unusual devotion to animals as
pets, and with knowledge of the degrees of pain involved in
experimenting on living creatures. He insisted strongly on the
necessity of limiting or abolishing pain, wherever it was possible; he
agreed that any experiments which involved pain should not be
permitted for the purpose of demonstrating known elementary facts.
But, from his knowledge of the incalculable benefits which had been
gained from experimental research, and from his confidence in those
who conducted it, he declined to give support to the misguided
fanatics who desired to make such experimental research a penal
offence, even when conducted by the most skilled experts for the
highest purposes.

Huxley contributed his share to the great questions which agitated
the public not only by service on Commissions, but by delivering a
large number of public addresses and writing a large number of essays
on topics of special interest. Much of his work on scientific,
educational, and general subjects took its first shape in the form of
addresses given to some public audience. University audiences in
England, Scotland, and America were familiar to him, and from time to
time he addressed large gatherings of a mixed character. But probably
his favourite audience was composed of working men, and he had the
greatest respect for the intelligence and sympathy of hearers who like
himself passed the greater portion of their time in hard work.
Professor Howes, his pupil, friend, and successor, writes of him:

     "He gave workmen of his best. The substance of _Man's Place in
     Nature_, one of the most successful and popular of his writings,
     and of his _Crayfish_, perhaps the most perfect zooelogical
     treatise ever published, was first communicated to them. In one
     of the last communications I had with him, I asked his views as
     to the desirability of discontinuing the workmen's lectures at
     Jermyn Street, since the development of workmen's colleges and
     institutes was regarded by some as rendering their continuance
     unnecessary. He replied, almost with indignation, 'With our
     central situation and resources we ought to be in a position to
     give the workmen that which they cannot get elsewhere,' adding
     that he would deeply deplore any such discontinuance."

Huxley had no natural facility for speech. He tells us that at first
he disliked it, and that he had a firm conviction that he would break
down every time he opened his mouth. The only two possible faults of a
public speaker which he believed himself to be without, were "talking
at random and indulging in rhetoric." With practice, he lost this
earlier hesitancy, and before long became known as one of the finest
speakers of his time. Certain natural gifts aided him; his well-set
figure and strong features, of which the piercing eyes and firm,
trap-like mouth were the most striking, riveted attention, while his
voice had a wide range and was beautifully modulated. But it was above
all things the matter and not the manner of his speech that commanded
success. He cared little or nothing for the impression he might
make--everything for the ideas which he wished to convey. He was
concerned only to set forth these ideas in their clear and logical
order, convinced in his own mind that, were the facts as he knew them
placed before the minds of his hearers, only one possible result could
follow. The facts had convinced him: they must equally convince any
honest and intelligent person placed in possession of them. He had not
the smallest intention of overbearing by authority or of swaying by
skilfully aroused emotion. Such weapons of the orator seemed to him
dishonest in the speaker and most perilous to the audience. For him,
speaking on any subject was merely a branch of scientific exposition;
when emotion was to be roused or enthusiasm to be kindled the
inspiration was to come from the facts and not from the orator. The
arts he allowed himself were those common to all forms of exposition;
he would explain a novel set of ideas by comparison with simpler ideas
obvious to all his listeners; and he sought to arrest attention or to
drive home a conclusion by some brilliant phrase that bit into the
memory. These two arts, the art of the phrase-maker and the art of
explaining by vivacious and simple comparison, he brought to a high
perfection. The fundamental method of his exposition was simply the
method of comparative anatomy, the result of a habit of thinking which
makes it impossible to have any set of ideas brought into the mind
without an immediate, almost unconscious, overhauling of the memory
for any other ideas at all congruous. In a strict scientific
exposition Huxley would choose from the multitude of possible
comparisons that most simple and most intelligible to his audience;
when in a lighter vein, he gave play to a natural humour in his
choice. Instances of his method of exposition by comparison abound in
his published addresses. Let us take one or two. In the course of an
address to a large mixed audience so early in his public career as
1854, in making plain to them the proposition, somewhat novel for
those days, that the natural history sciences had an educational
value, he explained that the faculties employed in that subject were
simply those of the common sense of every-day life.

     "The vast results obtained by Science are won by no mystical
     faculties, by no mental processes other than those which are
     practised by every one of us, in the humblest and meanest affairs
     of life. A detective policeman discovers a burglar from the marks
     made by his shoe, by a mental process identical with that by
     which Cuvier restored the extinct animals of Montmartre from
     fragments of their bones. Nor does that process of induction and
     deduction by which a lady, finding a stain of a peculiar kind on
     her dress, concludes that somebody has upset the inkstand
     thereon, differ in any way, in kind, from that by which Adams and
     Leverrier discovered a new planet."

In one of his addresses to working men on _Man's Place in Nature_ he
shewed that from time to time in the history of the world average
persons of the human race have accepted some kind of answer to the
insoluble riddles of existence, but that from time to time the race
has outgrown the current answers, ceasing to take comfort from them.

     "In a well-worn metaphor a parallel is drawn between the life of
     man and the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly; but
     the comparison may be more just as well as more novel, if for its
     former term we take the mental progress of the race. History
     shews that the human mind, fed by constant accessions of
     knowledge, periodically grows too large for its theoretical
     coverings, and bursts them asunder to appear in new habiliments,
     as the feeding and growing grub, at intervals, casts its too
     narrow skin and assumes another, itself but temporary. Truly, the
     imago state of man seems to be terribly distant, but every moult
     is a step gained, and of such there have been many."

As another instance, the following from his address on a "Liberal
Education" may be taken. He had been discussing the intellectual
advantage to be derived from classical studies, and had been
comparing, to the disadvantage of the latter, the intellectual
discipline which might be got from a study of fossils with the
discipline claimed by the ordinary experts upon education to be the
results of classical training. He wished to anticipate the obvious
objection to his argument: that the subject-matter of palaeontology had
no direct bearing on human interests and emotions, while the classical
authors were rich in the finest humanity.

     "But it will be said that I forget the beauty and the human
     interest, which appertain to classical studies. To this I reply
     that it is only a very strong man who can appreciate the charms
     of landscape as he is toiling up a steep hill, along a bad road.
     What with short-windedness, stones, nits, and a pervading sense
     of the wisdom of rest and be thankful, most of us have little
     enough sense of the beautiful under these circumstances. The
     ordinary schoolboy is precisely in this case. He finds Parnassus
     uncommonly steep, and there is no chance of his having much time
     or inclination to look about him till he gets to the top. And
     nine times out of ten he does not get to the top."

The last example we shall take comes from a speech made after dinner
at a much later period of his life. The occasion was a complimentary
dinner to the editor of the English scientific periodical _Nature_,
which had been for long the leading semi-popular journal of English
science. Huxley, in proposing the health of the editor, declared that
he did not quite know how to say what he wanted to say, but that he
would explain by a story.

     "A poor woman," he said, "was brought into one of our hospitals
     in a shockingly battered condition. When her wounds had been
     cleaned and sewn, and when the care of the surgeons had restored
     her to comparative comfort, someone said to her, 'I am afraid
     your husband has been knocking you about.' 'What!' she said, 'my
     Jim bash me? no it worn't by him; he's always been more like a
     friend to me than a husband.' That," went on Huxley, "is what I
     wish to say about our guest of to-night. In all our intercourse
     with him he has been more like a friend to us than an editor."

It is impossible to make a real distinction between the essays and the
addresses of Huxley. Many of the most important of his addresses, as
for instance his Romanes lecture on "Evolution and Ethics," were
written and printed before he delivered them; most of them were
carefully prepared, and revised and printed after delivery. It is
therefore not remarkable to find a close resemblance in matter and
manner between what was originally spoken and what was published
without a _viva voce_ delivery. Everything that may be said of the one
set applies with an equal fitness to the other set. There are many
who assert with confidence that Huxley is one of the great masters of
English, and although an examination of this opinion involves
discussion of the elusive quality termed "style," it is necessary to
attempt it.

In that totality which consists of an essay or of a printed address,
and of which we are, most of us, ready to discuss the style, there are
at least three separable elements, each contributing after its kind to
the effect on our minds. When the general effect is to throw us into a
state of pleasure, it is our habit to qualify the style with an
adjective of praise, selecting the adjective according to the degree
of restraint or of enthusiasm with which we are accustomed to express
our emotions; when the general effect is to throw us into a condition
of boredom or of distaste, we make a corresponding choice of
appropriate adjectives. When we wish to be specially critical we pass
a little way beyond an empirical judgment by pleasure or annoyance and
take into account the degree of harmony between matter and manner. In
such a frame of mind we discount the pleasure obtained from verbal
quips, if these occur in a grave exposition, or that received from
solemn and stately harmonies of language if these be employed on
insignificant trifles. In a condition of unusual critical exaltation
we may even admit an excellence of language and phrasing though these
have as their contents ideas which we dislike, or press towards
conclusions from which we dissent. But if we desire to make an exact
appreciation of literary style, it is requisite to examine separately
the three elements which contribute to the effect produced on us by
any written work. These three elements are the words or raw materials
employed, the building of words into sentences and of sentences into
paragraphs, which may be designated as the architectural work, and,
finally, the ideas conveyed, that is to say, the actual object of the

Huxley was a wide and omnivorous reader, and so had an unusually large
fund of words at his disposal. His writings abound with quotations and
allusions taken from the best English authors, and he had a profound
and practical belief in the advantage to be gained from the reading of
English. "If a man," he wrote, "cannot get literary culture out of his
Bible, and Chaucer, and Shakespeare, and Milton, and Hobbes, and
Bishop Berkeley, to mention only a few of our illustrious writers--I
say, if he cannot get it out of these writers, he cannot get it out of
anything." He had at least a fair knowledge of Greek in the original,
and a very wide acquaintance with Greek phrasing and Greek ideas
derived from a study of Greek authors in English versions. He had an
unusual knowledge of Latin, both of the classical writers and of the
early Church fathers and mediaeval writers on science and metaphysics.
French and German, the two foreign languages which are a necessary
part of the mental equipment of an English-speaking man of science,
were familiar to him. Finally, he had of necessity the wide and varied
vocabulary of the natural and technical sciences at his disposal. From
these varied sources, Huxley had a fund of words, a store of the raw
material for expressing ideas, very much greater and more varied than
that in the possession of most writers. You will find in his writings
abundant and omnipresent evidence of the enormous wealth of verbal
material ready for the ideas he wished to set forth: a Greek phrase, a
German phrase, a Latin or French phrase, or a group of words borrowed
from one of our own great writers always seemed to await his wish.
General Booth's scheme for elevating the masses by cymbals and dogma
was "corybantic Christianity"; to explain what he thought was the
Catholic attitude to the doctrine of evolution, he said it would have
been called _damnabilis_ by Father Suarez, and that he would have
meant "not that it was to be damned, but that it was an active
principle capable of damning." Huxley was like a builder who did not
limit himself while he was constructing a house to the ordinary
materials from the most convenient local quarry, but who collected
endlessly from all the quarries and brickfields of the world, and
brought to his heaps curiously wrought stones taken from a thousand
old buildings. The swift choice from such a varied material gave an
ease and appearance of natural growth to his work; it produced many
surprising and delightful combinations, and it never sacrificed
convenience of expression to exigencies of the materials for
expression. On the other hand, Huxley lacked the sedulous concern for
words themselves as things valuable and delightful; the delight of the
craftsman in his tools; the dainty and respectful tribute paid to the
words themselves; in fine, he took little pleasure in words themselves
and used them as counters rather than as coins. Careful reflection and
examination will make it plain that the pleasure to be got from
Huxley's style is not due in any large measure to his choice and
handling of words. There is no evidence that he deliberately and
fastidiously preferred one word to another, that he took delight in
the savour of individual words, in the placing of plain words in a
context to make them sparkle, in the avoidance of some, in the
deliberate preference of other words,--in fact, in all the conscious
tricks and graces that distinguish the lover of words from their mere

A close examination discovers a similar absence from Huxley's work of
the second contributory to the total effect produced by written words.
Anything that may be said about absence of artistry in the use of
words, may be said as to absence of artistry in building of the words
into sentences, of the sentences into paragraphs and pages. In the
first place, actual infelicities of sentence-building are frequent.
Clause is piled on clause, qualifying phrases are interpolated, the
easy devices of dashes and repetitions are employed wherever
convenience suggests them. It is striking to find how infrequent is
the occurrence of passages marked in any way by sonorous rhythm or by
the charm of a measured proportion. The purple passages themselves,
those which linger in the memory and to which the reader turns back,
linger by their sense and not by their sound. For indeed the truth of
the matter is that Huxley's style was a style of ideas and not of
words and sentences. The more closely you analyse his pages the more
certainly you find that the secret of the effect produced on you lies
in the gradual development of the precise and logical ideas he wished
to convey, in the brilliant accumulation of argument upon argument, in
the logical subordination of details to the whole, in fact, in the
arts of the convinced, positive, and logical thinker, who knew exactly
what he meant you to know and who set about telling you it with the
least possible concern for the words he used or for the sentences into
which he formed his words. The ideas and their ordering are the root
and the branches, the beginning and the end of his style. To put it
in another way: it would be extremely easy to translate any of
Huxley's writings into French or German, and they would lose extremely
little of the personal flavour of their author. The present writer has
just been reading French translations of Huxley's _Physiography_ and
_Crayfish_, made at different times by different translators. At first
reading it seems almost miraculous how identically the effect produced
by the original is reproduced by the French rendering, but the secret
is really no secret at all. Huxley produced his effects by the
ordering of his ideas and not by the ordering of his words. From the
technical point of view of literary craftsmanship, he cannot be
assigned a high place; he is one of our great English writers, but he
is not a great writer of English.



     Science and Metaphysics--Berkeley, Hume, and Hobbes--Existence of
     Matter and Mind--Descartes's Contribution--Materialism and
     Idealism--Criticism of Materialism--Berkeley's
     Idealism--Criticism of Idealism--Empirical Idealism--Materialism
     as opposed to Supernaturalism--Mind and Brain--Origin of
     Life--Teleology, Chance, and the Argument from Design.

The prosecution of independent thinking in any branch of knowledge
leads to the ultimate problems of philosophy. The mathematician cannot
ponder over the meaning of his figures, the chemist that of his
reactions, the biologist that of his tissues and cells, the
psychologist that of sensations and conceptions, without being tempted
from the comparatively secure ground of observations and the
arrangement of observations into the perilous regions of metaphysics.
Most scientific men return quickly, repelled and perhaps a little
scared by the baffling confusion of that windy region of thought where
no rules of logic seem incontrovertible, no conclusions tenable, and
no discussions profitable. Huxley, however, not only entered into
metaphysical questions with enthusiasm, but gave a great deal of time
to the study of some of the great metaphysical writers. His views are
to be found scattered through very many of his ordinary scientific
writings, but are specially set forth in a volume on _Hume_, which he
wrote for Mr. John Morley's series, _English Men of Letters_, and in
essays on Berkeley and on Descartes, all of which are republished in
the _Collected Essays_. He contrived to preserve, in the most
abstrusely philosophical of these writings, a simplicity and clarity
which, although they have not commended him to professional
metaphysicians, make his attitude to the problems of metaphysics
extremely intelligible. The greatest barrier and cause of confusion to
the novice in metaphysics is that the writings of most of the great
authorities are overburdened by their great knowledge of the history
of philosophy. Huxley, in a characteristic piece of "parting advice"
in the preface to his work on Hume attacked this confusion between the
history of a subject and the subject itself.

     "If it is your desire," he wrote, "to discourse fluently and
     learnedly about philosophical questions, begin with the Ionians
     and work steadily through to the latest new speculative treatise.
     If you have a good memory and a fair knowledge of Greek, Latin,
     French, and German, three or four years spent in this way should
     enable you to attain your object. If, on the contrary, you are
     animated by the much rarer desire for real knowledge; if you want
     to get a clear conception of the deepest problems set before the
     intellect of man, there is no need, so far as I can see, for you
     to go beyond the limits of the English tongue. Indeed, if you are
     pressed for time, three English authors will suffice, namely,
     Berkeley, Hume, and Hobbes."

The first and perhaps the greatest problem in metaphysics can be put
very shortly. What is the reality behind the apparent universe of
matter and mind we see around us? Or, rather, what do we know of that
reality? To the uninitiated in philosophical thinking it seems
sufficiently plain that there are two entities, body and soul in man,
matter and mind in the whole universe; and various types of
intelligent dogmatists, ranging from the sturdy if somewhat stupid
shrewdness of Dr. Johnson to the agile casuistry of Catholic
metaphysicians, have supported this simple verdict of "common sense."
Trouble begins, however, with any attempt to analyse the relations
between what we call "matter" and what we call "mind." It appears, for
instance, that what we call matter we only know in terms of mind. In
an essay on Descartes's _Discourse on Method_, Huxley explains this by
simple examples.

     "I take up a marble and I find it to be a red, round, hard,
     single body. We call the redness, the roundness, the hardness and
     the singleness, 'qualities' of the marble; and it sounds, at
     first, the height of absurdity to say that all these qualities
     are modes of our own consciousness, which cannot even be
     conceived to exist in the marble. But consider the redness, to
     begin with. How does the sensation of redness arise? The waves of
     a certain very attenuated matter, the particles of which are
     vibrating with vast rapidity, but with very different velocities,
     strike upon the marble, and those which vibrate with one
     particular velocity are thrown off from its surface in all
     directions. The optical apparatus of the eye gathers some of
     these together, and gives them such a course that they impinge
     upon the surface of the retina, which is a singularly delicate
     apparatus connected with the terminations of the fibres of the
     optic nerve. The impulses of the attenuated matter, or ether,
     affect this apparatus and the fibres of the optic nerve in a
     certain way; and the change in the fibres of the optic nerve
     produces yet other changes in the brain; and these, in some
     fashion unknown to us, give rise to the feeling, or
     consciousness, of redness. If the marble could remain unchanged,
     and either the vibrations of the ether, or the nature of the
     retina, could be altered, the marble would seem not red, but some
     other colour. There are many people who are what are called
     colour-blind, being unable to distinguish one colour from
     another. Such an one might declare our marble to be green; and
     he would be quite as right in saying that it is green as we are
     in declaring it to be red. But then, as the marble itself cannot
     be both green and red, at the same time, this shews that the
     quality redness must be in our consciousness and not in the

In similar fashion he shewed that the hardness, roundness, and even
the singleness of the marble were, so far as we know, states of our
consciousness and not in the marble. The argument is capable of
application to all that we call matter, and it thus appears, on
analysis, that what we know of matter is simply a series of states of
our consciousness, or mind. In similar fashion, it turns out that what
we call mind is, so far as practical experience goes, always
associated with and dependent on what we call matter. We have no
direct knowledge of thinking without a brain, or of consciousness
without a body. Alterations and changes in matter, as for instance in
the tissues and nutrition of the body, are, so far as our experience
goes, inseparably associated with mental operations. In the animal
kingdom we see the development of the mind creeping slowly after the
development of the material nervous system, until, in man, the most
complex mind and most complex consciousness of which we have knowledge
accompany the most complex body and brain.

Two great rival solutions to this fundamental problem are Materialism
and Idealism. Materialism supposes that what we call matter is the
real substance of the universe, and that mind is merely one of the
forms of its activity. The advance of physical science has done much
to make the materialistic hypothesis more plausible. When matter was
believed to be inert, the mere vehicle or theatre of forces,
materialism remained a singularly crude and unsatisfying position. But
now that science has shewn all that we call matter--the most solid
metals and the most attenuated vapours, the most stable and resisting
inorganic bodies, and the unstable tissues of living bodies--to be
alike in restless, orderly motion, to be, in fact, motion itself and
not the thing moved, to be changeable but indestructible, passing
through phases but eternal, there seems less difficulty in assuming it
to be the ultimate reality, and mind and consciousness to be its most
highly specialised qualities. Huxley, while stating this view plainly
enough, refused to accept it as a legitimate conclusion from the

     "For anything that may be proved to the contrary, there may be a
     real something which is the cause of all our impressions; that
     sensations, though not likenesses, are symbols of that something;
     and that the part of that something, which we call the nervous
     system, is an apparatus for supplying us with a sort of algebra
     of fact, based on these symbols. A brain may be the machinery by
     which the material universe becomes conscious of itself. But it
     is important to notice that, even if this conception of the
     uuiverse and of the relation of consciousness to its other
     components should be true, we should, nevertheless, be still
     bound by the limits of thought, still unable to refute the
     arguments of pure idealism. The more completely the materialistic
     position is admitted, the easier it is to show that the
     idealistic position is unassailable, if the idealist confines
     himself within the limits of positive knowledge."

However we attempt to form what philosophers call "ejects," to imagine
that what is really in our consciousness is really the world outside
ourselves, these ejects remain mere phenomena of our minds. Matter
itself and its changes may, in the long run, be but modes of motion,
but "our knowledge of motion is nothing but that of a change in the
place and order of our sensations; just as our knowledge of matter is
restricted to those feelings of which we assume it to be the cause."
Huxley's exact position in regard to materialism is most plain in his
expositions of the writings of Berkeley, with whom began in England
the greatest movement towards an idealistic philosophy.

     "Berkeley faced the problem boldly. He said to the materialists:
     'You tell me that all the phenomena of nature are resolvable into
     matter and its affections. I assent to your statement, and now I
     put to you the further question, What is matter? In answering
     this question you shall be bound by your own conditions; and I
     demand, in the terms of the Cartesian axiom, that you in turn
     give your assent only to such conclusions as are perfectly clear
     and obvious.'"

Huxley then goes on to state the general lines of the arguments by
which Berkeley arrived at the apparently paradoxical conclusion "that
all the choir of heaven and furniture of the earth--in a word, all
those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world," have an
existence only so far as they are in a perceiving mind. And he
proceeds at length to explain the immense importance of the truths
underlying Berkeley's position.

     "The key to all philosophy lies in the clear apprehension of
     Berkeley's problem--which is neither more nor less than one of
     the shapes of the greatest of all questions, 'What are the limits
     of our faculties?' And it is worth any amount of trouble to
     comprehend the exact nature of the argument by which Berkeley
     arrived at his results, and to know by one's own knowledge the
     great truth which he discovered--that the honest and rigorous
     following up of the argument which leads us to materialism
     inevitably carries us beyond it."

Huxley, however, while he opposed a materialistic explanation of the
universe with the strength of exposition and acute reasoning at his
disposal, did not pass directly into the other camp and become a pure

     "Granting the premisses," he wrote, "I do not see any escape from
     Berkeley's conclusion, that the substance of matter is a
     metaphysical unknown quantity, of the existence of which there is
     no proof. What Berkeley does not seem to have so clearly
     perceived is that the non-existence of a substance of mind is
     equally arguable; and that the result of the impartial
     application of his reasonings is the reduction of the all to
     co-existences and sequences of phenomena, beneath and beyond
     which there is nothing cognoscible."

Hume had written: "What we call a mind is nothing but a heap or
collection of different perceptions, united together by certain
relations, and supposed, though falsely, to be endowed with a perfect
simplicity and identity." Here was mind rejected for the same negative
reasons as matter, and Huxley was as ready to point out that while we
can know nothing of the

     "substance of the thinking thing, we go beyond legitimate
     reasoning if we therefore deny its existence." ... "Hume may be
     right or wrong, but the most he or anyone else can prove in
     favour of his conclusions is, that we know nothing more of the
     mind than that it is a series of perceptions. Whether there is
     something in the mind that lies beyond the reach of observation,
     or whether perceptions themselves are the products of something
     which can be observed and which is not mind, are questions which
     can in no wise be settled by direct observation."

In another passage he writes:

     "To sum up. If the materialist affirms that the universe and all
     its phenomena are resolvable into matter and motion, Berkeley
     replies, True; but what you call matter and motion are known to
     us only as forms of consciousness; their being is to be conceived
     or known; and the existence of a state of consciousness, apart
     from a thinking mind, is a contradiction in terms. I conceive
     that this reasoning is irrefragable. And therefore, if I were
     obliged to choose between absolute materialism and absolute
     idealism, I should feel compelled to accept the latter
     alternative. Indeed, upon this point Locke does, practically, go
     as far in the direction of idealism as Berkeley, when he admits
     that the 'simple ideas which we receive from sensation and
     reflection are the boundaries of our thoughts, beyond which the
     mind, whatever efforts it would make, is not able to advance one

Locke went further, and Huxley agreed with him. He declared that the
mind cannot "make any discoveries when it would pry into the nature
and hidden cause of these ideas." We must, in fact, definitely reject
what we know as matter as the absolute reality of the universe, for it
becomes very plain that what we call matter we know merely as
affections of our own consciousness. In a sense, then, so far as it is
opposed to materialism, idealism, according to Huxley, must be the
philosophical position of a scientific man. But the idealism is not
the absolute idealism of Berkeley, as we have no logical right to deny
or to affirm the existence of absolute matter or of absolute mind. The
real truth of the philosophy of science lies in a separation between
metaphysical theory and actual pursuits. In ultimate philosophical
theory it is impossible to rest content with a plain natural
conception of the universe. When any conception of matter, or of its
affections, is pushed as far as analysis can take us, what we know
resolves itself into affections of mind, into what without
metaphysical finesse may be called ideas. But this empirical idealism
must be taken positively as being merely the limits of our knowledge,
and it must carry with it neither an undue exaltation of mind nor an
undue depreciation of matter.

     "The Platonic philosophy is probably the grandest example of the
     unscientific use of the imagination extant; and it would be hard
     to estimate the amount of detriment to clear thinking effected,
     directly and indirectly, by the theory of ideas, on the one hand,
     and by the unfortunate doctrine of the baseness of matter, on the

Materialism was dismissed by Huxley as being an inadequate
philosophical explanation of the universe, and as being based on a
logical delusion. There remains, however, a practical application of
the word in which the conceptions it involves are almost an inevitable
part of science, and which was strenuously urged by Huxley. In the
earlier days of the world and of science almost all the phenomena of
nature were regarded as random or wilful displays of living
intelligence. The earth itself and the sun, the moon, and the stars
were endowed with life; legions of unseen intelligences ruled the
operations of nature, and although these might be bribed or
threatened, pleased or made angry, their actions were regarded as
beyond prediction or control. The procession of the seasons, the
routine of day and night, the placid appeasement of the rains, the
devastating roar of storms, the shining of the rainbow, the bubbling
of springs, the terrors of famine and pestilence; all these--the
varying environment which makes or mars human life--were regarded as
inevitable and capricious. The whole progress of physical science has
been attended with a gradual elimination of these supernatural
agencies and with a continual replacement of them by conceptions of
physical sequence.

     "In singular contrast with natural knowledge, the acquaintance of
     mankind with the supernatural appears the more exact, and the
     influence of supernatural doctrine on conduct the greater, the
     further we go back in time and the lower the stage of
     civilisation submitted to investigation. Historically, indeed,
     there would seem to be an inverse relation between supernatural
     and natural knowledge. As the latter has widened, gained in
     precision and trustworthiness, so has the former shrunk, grown
     vague and questionable; as the one has more and more filled the
     sphere of action, so has the other retreated into the region of
     meditation, or vanished behind the screen of mere verbal
     recognition. Whether this difference of the fortunes of
     Naturalism and Supernaturalism is an indication of the progress,
     or of the regress of humanity, of a fall from or an advance
     towards the higher life, is a matter of opinion. The point to
     which I wish to direct attention is that the difference exists
     and is making itself felt. Men are growing seriously alive to the
     fact that the historical evolution of humanity, which is
     generally, and I venture to think, not unreasonably, regarded as
     progress, has been and is being accompanied by a co-ordinate
     elimination of the supernatural from its originally large
     occupation of men's thought."

Every stage in this long process, every new attempt to place physical
phenomena in a chain of direct causation has been denounced as
dangerous and degrading materialism, and in this sense Huxley was not
only an adherent but one of the foremost champions of materialism. As
everyone knows, some of the greatest advances in this process of
co-ordinating physical phenomena were made during Huxley's life; and
his vigorous onslaughts on those who tried to thwart all attempts at
material explanations in favour of unknown agencies made him specially
open to abusive criticism. The battle was almost invariably between
those who had not special knowledge and those in possession of it, and
it occurred in practically the whole field of science, but
particularly in the biological sciences. A single example will serve
to shew what is meant by materialism in this sense and the attitude of
Huxley to it. The study of the human mind naturally has attracted the
attention of thinkers almost since the beginning of philosophy, but
until this century, with a few crude exceptions, it has been conducted
entirely apart from anatomy and physiology. Advances in these physical
sciences, however, have changed that, and the modern psychologist has
to begin by being a physiologist and anatomist.

     "Surely no one who is cognisant of the facts of the case,
     nowadays, doubts that the roots of psychology lie in the
     physiology of the nervous system. What we call the operations of
     the mind are the functions of the brain, and the materials of
     consciousness are products of cerebral activity. Cabanis may have
     made use of crude and misleading phraseology when he said that
     the brain secretes thought as the liver secretes bile; but the
     conception which that much-abused phrase embodies is,
     nevertheless, far more consistent with fact than the popular
     notion that the mind is a metaphysical entity seated in the head,
     but as independent of the brain as a telegraph operator is of his
     instrument. It is hardly necessary to point out that the doctrine
     just laid down is what is commonly called materialism. I am not
     sure that the adjective 'crass,' which appears to have a special
     charm for rhetorical sciolists, would not be applied to it. But
     it is, nevertheless, true that the doctrine contains nothing
     inconsistent with the purest idealism."

The whole doctrine of evolution is similarly a materialistic account
of natural phenomena, in the popular and not the philosophical meaning
of the term. But even within this popular meaning, it is extremely
necessary to have an exact conception of the limits within which
Huxley was materialistic. Take for instance the question of the origin
of life. It would be one of the greatest achievements of physical
science could it shew that life was not inco-ordinate with non-living
physical phenomena, but was a special case of them. Huxley knew that
this advance had not yet been made.

     "It may be that, by-and-by, philosophers will discover some
     higher laws of which the facts of life are particular cases--very
     possibly they will find out some bond between physico-chemical
     phenomena on the one hand, and vital phenomena on the other. At
     present, however, we assuredly know of none; and I think we shall
     exercise a wise humility in confessing that, for us at least,
     this successive assumption of different states (external
     conditions remaining the same)--this spontaneity of action--if I
     may use a term which implies more than I would be answerable
     for--which constitutes so vast and plain a practical distinction
     between living bodies and those which do not live, is an ultimate
     fact; indicating as such, the existence of a broad line of
     demarcation between the subject matter of biological and of all
     other science."

In another passage he wrote:

     "Looking back through the prodigious vista of the past I find no
     record of the commencement of life, and therefore I am devoid of
     any means of forming a definite conclusion as to the conditions
     of its appearance. Belief, in the scientific sense of the word,
     is a serious matter, and needs strong foundations. To say,
     therefore, in the admitted absence of evidence, that I have any
     belief as to the mode in which the existing forms of life have
     originated, would be using words in a wrong sense. But
     expectation is permissible where belief is not; and if it were
     given me to look beyond the abyss of geologically recorded time
     to the still more remote period when the earth was passing
     through physical and chemical conditions which it can no more see
     again than a man can recall his infancy, I should expect to be a
     witness of the evolution of living protoplasm from non-living
     matter. I should expect to see it appear under forms of great
     simplicity, endowed, like existing fungi, with the power of
     determining the formation of new protoplasm from such matters as
     ammonium carbonates, oxalates, and tartrates, alkaline and earthy
     phosphates, and water, without the aid of light. That is the
     expectation to which analogical reasoning leads me, but I beg you
     once more to recollect that I have no right to call my opinion
     anything but an act of philosophical faith."

Since these words were written the reasons for Huxley's "philosophic
faith" have been strengthened by later discoveries, and perhaps a
majority of biologists would take the view that except for practical
purposes there is no sound reason for placing living and inorganic
aggregations of matter in totally different categories. But even if
the main outline of the theory of evolution were proved beyond the
possibility of doubt, if we could trace existing plants and animals
backwards with the accuracy of a genealogist and find that they had
been developed, under purely physical "laws" from a few simple forms,
and if we could understand exactly how these few simple forms of
living matter took origin from non-living matter, we would not, if we
followed Huxley, be able to rest in a purely materialistic position.
As he, in different words, repeatedly said:

     "It is very desirable to remember that evolution is not an
     explanation of the cosmos, but merely a generalised statement of
     the method and results of that process. And, further, that, if
     there is any proof that the cosmic process was set going by any
     agent, then that agent will be the creator of it and of all its
     products, although supernatural intervention may remain strictly
     excluded from its further course."

The doctrine of evolution was, for him, no attempt to reinstate the
"old pagan goddess, Chance." Darwin had again and again explained, and
Huxley again and again had called attention to the explanation, that
when words like "chance" and "spontaneous" were used, no more was
intended to be implied than an ignorance of the causes. In the true
sense of the word "chance" did not exist for Huxley and Darwin. So far
as all scientific and common experience goes, every event is connected
with foregoing events in an orderly and inevitable chain of
sequences,--a chain that could have been predicted or predetermined
by any sufficient intelligence. Moreover, Huxley did not believe that
Darwin's views, rightly interpreted, "abolished teleology and
eviscerated the argument from design." They only abolished that crude
expression of teleology which supposed all structures among animals
and plants to have been created in their present forms for their
present purposes. Under the stimulus given to biology by the doctrine
of evolution that science has progressed far beyond conceptions so
rudely mechanical. We know that behind each existing structure there
is a long history of change; of change not only in form and
appearance, but also in function. In the development of living
organisms to-day, as they grow up into tree or animal from seed or
egg, we can trace the record of these changes of form; in some cases
we can follow the actual change of function. But in a wider sense
there is no incongruity between evolution and teleology.

     "There is a wider teleology," Huxley wrote, "which is not touched
     by the doctrine of evolution, but is actually based on the
     fundamental proposition of evolution. This proposition is that
     the whole world, living and not living, is the result of the
     mutual interaction, according to definite laws, of the forces
     possessed by the molecules of which the primitive nebulosity of
     the universe was composed. That acute champion of teleology,
     Paley, saw no difficulty in admitting that the 'production of
     things' may be the result of mechanical dispositions fixed
     beforehand by intelligent appointment and kept in action by a
     power at the centre."



     Authority and Knowledge in Science--The Duty of Doubt--Authority
     and Individual Judgment in Religion--The Protestant Position--Sir
     Charles Lyell and the Deluge--Infallibility--The Church and
     Science--Morality and Dogma--Civil and Religious
     Liberty--Agnosticism and Clericalism--Meaning of
     Agnosticism--Knowledge and Evidence--The Method of Agnosticism.

In the practice of modern law-courts, a witness rarely is allowed to
offer as evidence any statement for which he himself is not the direct
authority. What he himself saw or heard or did with regard to the
matter at issue--these, and not what others told him they had seen or
heard or done, are the limits within which he is allowed to be a
competent witness. As a matter of fact, in the business of life we
have to act differently. A large proportion of our opinions, beliefs,
and reasons for conduct must come to us on the authority of others. We
have no direct experience of the past; of the present we can see
little and only the little immediately surrounding us. In a multitude
of affairs we have to act on authority, to accept from books or from
persons what we have not ourselves the opportunity of knowing. It
would seem, then, to be a primary duty to learn to distinguish in our
minds those matters which we know directly from those matters which we
have accepted on trust; and, secondly, to learn and to apply the best
modes of choosing the good and of rejecting the bad authorities. The
work of the scientific man is a lifelong exercise of these primary
duties. From the first moment he begins to observe living things or to
dissect their dead frameworks, to mix chemical substances, to make
experiments with magnets and wires, he begins to build, and as long as
he continues to work he continues to build for himself a body of
first-hand knowledge. But, however he work arduously or through long
years, he can visit only the smallest portion of the field of nature
in which he is working. It is necessary for him to employ the work of
others, submitting, from time to time such accepted work to the tests
suggested by his own observations. He learns to regard in a different
light all knowledge taken on the authority of others; to distrust it a
little until he has learned to weigh its general credibility by his
own standards, and its particular credibility by subjecting portions
of it to his own tests; to distrust it still more when even small
portions fail to answer his tests, and to reject it altogether when
the percentage of detected error is large. He learns, in fact, what
Huxley called the duty of doubt.

This duty has not been universally accepted. In the history of
Christian civilisation (and a parallel series of events might be
portrayed from the history of other civilisations), many great
institutions and very many great and good men have condemned and
feared the habit and attitude of doubt in all its forms. Certain
doctrines believed to be of supreme importance to mankind were held to
rest on authority independent of, and perhaps not susceptible to, the
kind of testing employed in science. Around these doctrines there
grew, in time, a body of traditions, customs, new dogmas, and
fantasies; and the duty of belief in the first was extended to cover
the whole system, the central jewel as well as the accretions and
encrustations of time. The domain of religious authority was extended
to the whole field of human thought and of human action, and the more
unreasonable the dominion became, the more strenuously was the duty of
belief urged. The Protestant Reformation was one of the great stages
in the conflict for freedom against the universal tyranny that had
arisen, but the reformers very naturally retained a considerable
portion of the bias against which they had fought. In Protestant
countries, in the first half of this century, the duty of belief in
the Protestant doctrines, traditions, philosophy, history, and
attitude to science reigned supreme, and all weapons, from legitimate
argument to abusive invective and social ostracism, were employed
against those who acted in accordance with the duty of doubt.
Allegations of "unsoundness" or of "free thinking" became barriers to
success in life, and those against whom they were made became lowered
in the esteem of their fellows.

At the present time, when the advance of science and of civilisation
has almost won the battle for freedom of thought, it is difficult to
realise the strength of the forces against which Huxley and many
others had to fight. Huxley himself said with perfect justice: "I
hardly know of a great physical truth whose universal reception has
not been preceded by an epoch in which most estimable persons have
maintained that the phenomena investigated were directly dependent on
the Divine Will, and that the attempt to investigate them was not
only futile but blasphemous." As a particular instance of this he
cited some episodes in the history of geological science.

     "At the present time, it is difficult to persuade serious
     scientific enquirers to occupy themselves, in any way, with the
     Noachian Deluge. They look at you with a smile and a shrug, and
     say they have more important matters to attend to than mere
     antiquarianism. But it was not so in my youth. At that time
     geologists and biologists could hardly follow to the end any path
     of enquiry without finding the way blocked by Noah and his ark,
     or by the first chapter of Genesis; and it was a serious matter,
     in this country at any rate, for a man to be suspected of
     doubting the literal truth of the Diluvial or any other
     Pentateuchal history. The fiftieth anniversary of the foundation
     of the Geological Club (in 1824) was, if I remember rightly, the
     last occasion on which the late Sir Charles Lyell spoke to even
     so small a public as the members of that body. Our veteran leader
     lighted up once more; and, referring to the difficulties which
     beset his early efforts to create a rational science of geology,
     spoke, with his wonted clearness and vigour, of the social
     ostracism which pursued him after the publication of the
     _Principles of Geology_, in 1830, on account of the obvious
     tendency of that noble work to discredit the Pentateuchal
     accounts of the Creation and the Deluge. If my younger
     contemporaries find this hard to believe, I may refer them to a
     grave book _On the Doctrine of the Deluge_, published eight years
     later, and dedicated by the author to his father, the then
     Archbishop of York. The first chapter refers to the treatment of
     the 'Mosaic Deluge,' by Dr. Buckland and Mr. Lyell, in the
     following terms: 'Their respect for revealed religion has
     prevented them from arraying themselves openly against the
     Scriptural account of it--much less do they deny its truth--but
     they are in a great hurry to escape from the consideration of it,
     and evidently concur in the opinion of Linnaeus, that no proofs
     whatever of the Deluge are to be discovered in the structure of
     the earth.' And after an attempt to reply to some of Lyell's
     arguments, which it would be cruel to reproduce, the writer
     continues:--'When, therefore, upon such slender grounds, it is
     determined, in answer to those who insist on its universality,
     that the Mosaic Deluge must be considered a preternatural event,
     far beyond the reach of philosophical enquiry; not only as to the
     causes employed to produce it, but as to the effects most likely
     to result from it; that determination wears an aspect of
     scepticism, which, however much soever it may be unintentional in
     the mind of the writer, yet cannot but produce an evil impression
     on those who are already predisposed to carp and cavil at the
     evidence of Revelation.'"

The great evil of authority was its tendency to erect itself into some
form of infallibility of universal application. When, for a time, the
geological victory was won, and the supporters of authority had
comforted themselves with reconciliations, there arose the much
greater and more serious opposition between authority and the
conceptions involved in evolution. Huxley, as we have seen in an
earlier chapter, found that all the old weapons of authority were
resumed with a renewed assurance, and his advocacy of the duty of
doubt became not merely the defence of a great principle but a means
of self-defence. The conception of infallible authority had been
transferred by Protestants from the Church to the Bible, and against
this Huxley strove with all his might. It is convenient to reserve a
full treatment of Huxley's attitude to the Bible for a separate
chapter, but at this point a quotation will shew his general view.

[Illustration: SIR CHARLES LYELL]

     "The truth is that the pretension to infallibility, by whomsoever
     made, has done endless mischief; with impartial malignity it has
     proved a curse, alike to those who have made it and those who
     have accepted it; and its most baneful shape is book
     infallibility. For sacerdotal corporations and schools of
     philosophy are able, under due compulsion of opinion, to retreat
     from positions that have become untenable; while the dead hand of
     a book sets and stiffens, amidst texts and formulae, until it
     becomes a mere petrifaction, fit only for that function of
     stumbling-block, which it so admirably performs. Wherever
     bibliolatry has prevailed, bigotry and cruelty have accompanied
     it. It lies at the root of the deep-seated, sometimes disguised,
     but never absent, antagonism of all varieties of ecclesiasticism
     to the freedom of thought and to the spirit of scientific

Moreover, Presbyter is but Priest writ large, and the Protestant
clergy were the leaders in denunciation of every person and every
branch of investigation or of thought in any way connected with
evolution. Huxley was no respecter of persons, and, following the
example of Darwin, he was ready to study carefully any arguments for
or against any scientific doctrines by whomsoever or howsoever brought
forward. The right of criticism and duty of doubt, which he insisted
on for himself, he was extremely willing to extend to others, and, as
a matter of fact he was on terms of intimate friendship with some of
his most distinguished clerical opponents. But to an extent which it
is almost impossible now to realise, the clergy generally abused their
legitimate position and authority, and demanded or assumed a right to
give authoritative opinions on questions which did not come within
their domain. It was the old attempt of the Church to make its
authority felt in all departments of thought and of action, and the
attempt was made in the traditional fashion. Questions of fact were
associated with questions of morality, and those who held one view as
to the meaning and implication of certain facts were denounced as
wicked. Huxley at once carried the war into the enemy's own country:

     "And, seeing how large a share of this clamour is raised by the
     clergy of one denomination or another, may I say, in conclusion,
     that it really would be well if ecclesiastical persons would
     reflect that ordination, whatever deep-seated graces it may
     confer, has never been observed to be followed by any visible
     increase in the learning or the logic of its subject. Making a
     man a Bishop, or entrusting him with the office of ministering to
     even the largest of Presbyterian congregations, or setting him up
     to lecture to a church congress, really does not in the smallest
     degree augment such title to respect as his opinions may
     intrinsically possess. And when such a man presumes on an
     authority, which was conferred on him for other purposes, to sit
     in judgment on matters his incompetence to deal with which is
     patent, it is permissible to ignore his sacerdotal pretensions,
     and to tell him, as one would tell a mere, common, unconsecrated
     layman: that it is not necessary for any man to occupy himself
     with problems of this kind unless he so choose; life is filled
     full enough with the performance of its ordinary and obvious
     duties. But that, if a man elect to become a judge of these grave
     questions; still more if he assume the responsibility of
     attaching praise or blame to his fellow-men for the conclusions
     at which they arrive touching them, he will commit a sin more
     grievous than most breaches of the decalogue, unless he avoid a
     lazy reliance upon the information that is gathered by prejudice
     and filtered through passion, unless he go back to the prime
     sources of knowledge--the facts of Nature, and the thoughts of
     those wise men who for generations past have been her best

In the campaign for absolute freedom of thought, for the duty of not
believing anything except on sufficient evidence, Huxley was
frequently met by an argument of superficial strength, and which no
doubt was in the minds of many of his clerical opponents. In the minds
of a majority of people, it was said, and particularly of slightly
educated people, the reasons for right conduct and the distinctions
between right and wrong are firmly associated with the Bible and with
religion. If you allow doubts as to the absolute veracity of the
Bible, or as to the supernatural origin of religion to reach such
persons, you run a grave risk that they will reflect the uncertainty
on the canons of morality. In taking from them what you believe to be
false, inevitably you will unsettle their ideas on moral questions
although you might be in full agreement as to these moral questions.
Huxley refused to accept the asserted association between morality and
particular metaphysical or religious doctrines.

     "Many ingenious persons now appear to consider that the
     incompatibility of pantheism, of materialism, and of any doubt
     about the immortality of the soul, with religion and morality is
     to be held as an axiomatic truth. I confess that I have a certain
     difficulty in accepting this dogma. For the Stoics were
     notoriously materialists and pantheists of the most extreme
     character; and while no strict Stoic believed in the eternal
     duration of the individual soul, some even denied its persistence
     after death. Yet it is equally certain, that, of all gentile
     philosophies, Stoicism exhibits the highest ethical development,
     is animated by the most religious spirit, and has exerted the
     profoundest influence upon the moral and religious development
     not merely of the best men among the Romans, but among the
     moderns down to our own day."

He held the view now generally taken by students of the history of
man, that standards of conduct and religious beliefs arose in separate
ways and developed independently, and that it was only comparatively
recently that "religion took morality under its protection." But he
met the argument in a still more direct fashion by rejecting entirely
the possibility or advisability of founding any system of ethics upon
a false basis.

     "It is very clear to me," he wrote, "that, as Beelzebub is not
     to be cast out by Beelzebub, so morality is not to be established
     by immorality. It is, we are told, the special peculiarity of the
     devil that he was a liar from the beginning. If we set out in
     life with pretending to know that which we do not know; with
     professing to accept for proof evidence which we are well aware
     is inadequate; with wilfully shutting our eyes and our ears to
     facts which militate against this or that comfortable hypothesis;
     we are assuredly doing our best to deserve the same character."

Freedom of thought meant for Huxley all that is best in liberalism
applied to life. In an essay on Joseph Priestley, he described the
condition of affairs in England last century, when scientific
investigation and all forms of independent thinking laboured under the
most heavy restrictions that could be imposed by dominant
ecclesiastical and civil prejudice. He pointed out the astounding
changes between these times and the times of to-day.

     "If we ask," he wrote, "what is the deeper meaning of all these
     vast changes, there can be but one reply. They mean that reason
     has asserted and exercised her primacy over all the provinces of
     human activity; that ecclesiastical authority has been relegated
     to its proper place; that the good of the governed has been
     finally recognised as the end of government, and the complete
     responsibility of governors to the people as its means; and that
     the dependence of natural phenomena in general on the laws of
     action of what we call matter has become an axiom."

The common ground of those who advocate the duty of belief and those
who insist on the duty of doubt is clear. Both are agreed as to the
necessity of accepting whatever has sufficient evidence to support it;
both agree that there is room for doubt though not necessarily for
rejection in cases where the evidence is contaminated or insufficient.
It is in the application that the difference lies. The scientific
theologian admits the agnostic principle, however widely his results
may differ from those reached by the majority of agnostics. "But, as
between agnosticism and ecclesiasticism, or, as our neighbours across
the Channel call it, clericalism, there can be neither peace nor
truce. The cleric asserts that it is morally wrong not to believe
certain propositions, whatever the results of a strict scientific
investigation of the evidence of these propositions. He tells us that
"religious error is, in itself, of an immoral nature" (Newman). It
necessarily follows that, for him, the attainment of faith, not the
ascertainment of truth, is the highest aim of mental life."

Huxley helped largely in the modern movement which has made it
impossible to blame people for doubt, and this was what he strove for
most strenuously. Freedom of thought, like freedom of the Press, by no
means implies that what is free must necessarily be good. In both
cases there may be a rank growth of weeds, nurtured in vicious
imagination, and finding a ready market with the credulous mob. For
the detection and rejection of these, the critical method of science
serves as well as it does against the loftier errors supported by

It was on Descartes and on Hume that Huxley founded the precise form
in which he urged the duty of doubt, and his exact words are worth

     "It was in 1619, while meditating in solitary winter quarters,
     that Descartes (being about the same age as Hume when he wrote
     the _Treatise on Human Nature_) made that famous resolution, to
     "take nothing for truth without clear knowledge that it is such,"
     the great practical effect of which is the sanctification of
     doubt; the recognition that the profession of belief in
     propositions, of the truth of which there is no sufficient
     evidence, is immoral; the discrowning of authority as such; the
     repudiation of the confusion, beloved of sophists of all sorts,
     between free assent and merely piously gagged dissent, and the
     admission of the obligation to reconsider even one's own axioms
     on due demand."

This was the healthy and active scepticism which took no direct
pleasure in doubting, but used doubt only as a means of making
knowledge doubly secure, and which prevented false ideas being
bolstered up by privilege or by tyranny.

     "The development of exact natural knowledge in all its vast
     range, from physics to history and criticism, is the consequence
     of the working out, in this province, of the resolution to take
     nothing for truth without clear knowledge that it is such; to
     consider all beliefs open to criticism; to regard the value of
     authority as neither greater nor less than as much as it can
     prove itself to be worth. The modern spirit is not the spirit
     'which always denies,' delighting only in destruction; still less
     is it that which builds castles in the air rather than not
     construct; it is the spirit which works and will work 'without
     haste and without rest,' gathering harvest after harvest of truth
     into its barns and devouring error with unquenchable fire."

It is a special weakness of the modern human race to love inventing
descriptive names by which particular modes of thought may be
classified and labelled. In order to meet this demand, Huxley invented
the word _agnosticism_, to serve as a label for his own attitude. The
word rapidly became popular, and attempts were made to read into it
far more than its inventor implied. For him it was no definite body of
doctrine, no creed in any positive sense. It merely expressed the
attitude he assumed towards all problems on which he regarded the
evidence as insufficient. It was a habit of mind rather than a series
of opinions or beliefs; an intellectual weapon and not materials on
which to exercise the intellect.

Hume had written that "the justest and most plausible objection
against a considerable part of metaphysics was that they are not
properly a science, but arise either from the fruitless efforts of
human vanity, which would penetrate into subjects utterly inaccessible
to the human understanding, or from the craft of popular
superstitions, which, being unable to defend themselves on fair
ground, raise these entangling brambles to cover and protect them." In
these considerations he found reason not for leaving superstition in
possession of its ground, but for making a bold and arduous attack
upon it in its haunts. The great difficulty in the way of carrying the
war into the enemy's own camp was that in those days so-called science
was itself cumbered with many illogical and metaphysical ideas, and
for the first time in the present century the great advances of
physical science, and, in particular, the renewed life poured by
Darwin into the doctrine of evolution, made it possible to bring a new
series of exact arguments against hazy metaphysical dogmas. The
militant side of agnosticism was directed against the camp of
superstition and armed with the new weapons of exact science. Its
stern refusal of belief without adequate evidence was a challenge to
all the supporters of the sanguine philosophy which replaces proof by
assured and emphatic statement and restatement. It is possible,
although rare, for those who hold a positive belief upon evidence,
howsoever insufficient, to leave their doubting neighbours in peace,
and these neighbours, assured in their own beliefs, equally positive
and perhaps equally unfounded, may return the lazy tolerance. But the
agnostic position is at once a reproof and a challenge to all who do
not hold it. Perhaps no one has ever put the agnostic attitude more
clearly than Kant when he wrote that "the greatest and perhaps sole
use of all philosophy of pure reason, is, after all, merely negative,
since it serves, not as an organ on (for the enlargement of
knowledge), but as a discipline for its delimitation: and instead of
discovering truth has only the modest merit of preventing error." It
is precisely because it is addressed against error that agnosticism
brings not peace but a sword; precisely because, instead of adding to
the beliefs of the world, it seeks to examine them and perhaps by the
examination to diminish them, that it aroused passionate resentment.
In this respect it stands entirely separate and apart from any other
similar term, as all these implied a definite acceptance or rejection
of some definite propositions. Agnosticism means none of these things.
Huxley said of it:

     "Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed but a method, the essence
     of which lies in a rigorous application of a single principle.
     That principle is of great antiquity; it is as old as Socrates;
     as old as the writer who said, 'Try all things, hold fast by that
     which is good'; it is the foundation of the Reformation, which
     simply illustrated the axiom that every man should be able to
     give reason for the faith that is in him; it is the great
     principle of Descartes; it is the fundamental axiom of modern
     science. Positively the principle may be expressed: In matters of
     the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you,
     without regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In
     matters of the intellect, do not pretend that conclusions are
     certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable. That I take
     to be the agnostic faith, which, if a man keep whole and
     undefiled, he shall not be ashamed to look the universe in the
     face, whatever the future may have in store for him."



     Why Huxley Came to Write about the Bible--A _Magna Charta_ of the
     Poor--The Theological Use of the Bible--The Doctrine of Biblical
     Infallibility--The Bible and Science--The Three Hypotheses of the
     Earth's History--Changes in the Past Proved--The Creation
     Hypothesis--Gladstone on Genesis--Genesis not a Record of
     Fact--The Hypothesis of Evolution--The New Testament--Theory of
     Inspiration--Reliance on the Miraculous--The Continuity of Nature
     no _a priori_ Argument against Miracles--Possibilities and
     Impossibilities--Miracles a Question of Evidence--Praise of the

Huxley was by training and habit of mind a naturalist, busy with
dissections and drawings, pursuing his branch of science for itself
and with no concern as to its possible relation to philosophical
speculation or religious dogma. It is possible that, had his life been
passed under different conditions, his intellectual activities might
have been spent entirely on his scientific work. As it was, he became
almost more widely known as a hostile critic of accepted religious
doctrine than as a man of science. Many causes contributed to this
effect, but the chief reason was the contemporary attitude of the
churches to Darwinism. He tells us as a matter of fact that in 1850,
nine years before the appearance of _The Origin of Species_, he had
"long done with the Pentateuchal cosmogony which had been impressed on
his childish understanding as divine truth." In the chapter he
contributed to the _Life of Darwin_ he wrote that in his opinion "the
doctrine of evolution does not even come into contact with theism,
considered as a philosophical doctrine." The reason of his general
attitude to the Bible was simply that his application to it of the
agnostic method led him to the view that there was not sufficient
evidence for the pretensions assigned to it; the reason of his coming
forward as a public and active champion of his views in this matter
was partly to make a counter attack on the enemies of science, and
partly his innate respect for the propagation of truth. He had the
inevitable respect of an Englishman for the English Bible as one of
the greatest books in our language, and we have seen how he had
advocated its adoption in schools. He had the veneration for its
ethical contents common to the best thinkers of all ages since it came
into existence, and few writers have ever employed loftier or more
direct language to express their respect and admiration. As a
venerator of freedom and of liberty he regarded the Bible as the
greatest text-book of freedom.

     "Throughout the history of the Western world," he wrote, "the
     Scriptures, Jewish and Christian, have been the great instigators
     of revolt against the worse forms of clerical and political
     despotism. The Bible has been the _Magna Charta_ of the poor and
     of the oppressed; down to modern times no State has had a
     constitution in which the interests of the people are so largely
     taken into account, in which the duties, so much more than the
     privileges, of rulers are insisted upon, as that drawn up for
     Israel in Deuteronomy and in Leviticus; nowhere is the
     fundamental truth that the welfare of the State, in the long
     run, depends on the uprightness of the citizen so strongly laid
     down. Assuredly the Bible talks no trash about the rights of man;
     but it insists on the equality of duties, on the liberty to bring
     about that righteousness which is somewhat different from
     struggling for 'rights'; on the fraternity of taking thought for
     one's neighbour as for oneself."

It was not against the Bible but against the applications made of it
and implications read into it that he strove.

     "In this nineteenth century, as at the dawn of modern physical
     science, the cosmogony of the semi-barbarous Hebrew is the
     incubus of the philosopher and the opprobrium of the orthodox.
     Who shall number the patient and earnest seekers after truth,
     from the days of Galileo until now, whose lives have been
     embittered and their good name blasted by the mistaken zeal of
     Bibliolaters? Who shall count the host of weaker men whose sense
     of truth has been destroyed in the effort to harmonise
     impossibilities--whose life has been wasted in the attempt to
     force the generous new wine of science into the old bottles of
     Judaism, compelled by the outcry of the same strong party? It is
     true that if philosophers have suffered, their cause has been
     amply avenged. Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of
     every science as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules;
     and history records that whenever science and orthodoxy have been
     fairly opposed, the latter has been forced to retire from the
     lists, bleeding and crushed, if not annihilated; scotched, if not
     slain. But orthodoxy is the Bourbon of the world of thought. It
     learns not, neither can it forget; and though, at present,
     bewildered and afraid to move, it is as willing as ever to insist
     that the first chapter of Genesis contains the beginning and the
     end of sound science; and to visit, with such petty thunderbolts
     as its half-paralysed hands can hurl, those who refuse to degrade
     Nature to the level of primitive Judaism."

These words were written in 1860 and events have moved rapidly since
Huxley wrote them. There is now practically no religious body
containing a proportion of educated persons which does not allow
within it a very wide range of opinion as to the inspiration of the
Scriptures, the Biblical account of the Creation, the miraculous
events of the Old Testament and the recorded miracles of the New.
Within the last few months, Dr. St. George Mivart, a distinguished
Catholic zooelogist and long an opponent of Huxley, has declared that
within the Catholic Church itself a number of educated persons are
prepared to accept most of Huxley's positions, as well as views more
extremely iconoclastic than any advanced by Huxley. Although Dr.
Mivart's outspoken words have called down on him the official thunders
of Rome, it is an open secret that many good Catholics think this
attempted exclusion of modern knowledge to be fraught with grave
danger to the Church. In these matters the Protestant churches have
advanced much farther.

It was very different when Huxley wrote. The first and gravest
difficulty placed in the way of science was the asserted infallibility
of the Scriptures. In Catholic theology, at least until late in this
century, the general tendency has been to regard the Bible rather as a
quarry for doctrine than as a direct means of grace. The theory of
religion rested on two pillars: the inspired Scriptures containing the
necessary information and the inspired Church to interpret the
Scriptures. Protestant theology had rejected the infallible
inspiration of the Church, and, in consequence, had thrown a greater
burden on the Scriptures. The Scriptures became the Word of God,
verbally and literally true; in its extreme form this doctrine
reverted almost to the ancient Rabbinical maxim that even the vowel
points and accents were of divine origin. In practice, if not in
theory, the halo was extended to cover even the marginal chronology,
then a familiar feature in the editions of the English Bible. The
present writer, even so lately as in 1888 was reproved with violence
by a clergyman of considerable education and position for expressing a
doubt as to the accuracy of these dates. Obviously there was no common
measure between a church holding such views and advancing science. War
was inevitable, until one side or the other should give way.

Huxley conducted the attack in a series of controversies extending
over many years, and in which his opponents were well-known laymen
such as Mr. Gladstone, Dr. St. George Mivart, the Duke of Argyll, and
many clerical dignitaries of different denominations. The most
important of his contributions to these controversies, as well as
several isolated essays and addresses, have been collected in two
volumes, _Science and the Hebrew Tradition_, and _Science and the
Christian Tradition_.

The first stage in the controversy, and the stage most immediately
pressing, was to shew that the Bible was misleading and inaccurate as
a record of scientific fact, and that therefore it could not be
brought forward as evidence against scientific doctrines supported by
scientific evidence. The vital matter in this was the account given in
Genesis of the origin of the world. If that disappeared then the whole
ground was gained; science would be left free in its own sphere.

In a lecture on Evolution, delivered in 1876, Huxley began by
discussing the possibilities as to the past history of nature. He
believed that there were only three hypotheses which had been
entertained or which well could be entertained respecting this
history. The first was to assume that phenomena of nature similar to
those exhibited by the world at present had always existed; in fact
that the universe had existed from all eternity in what might be
termed, broadly, its present condition. The second hypothesis was that
the present condition of things had had only a limited duration, and
that, at some period of the past, what we now know came into existence
without any relation of natural causation to an antecedent state. The
third hypothesis also assumed that the present condition of things had
had a limited duration, but it supposed that that condition had been
derived by natural processes from an antecedent condition, the
hypothesis attempting to set no limits to the series of changes.

In a certain sense, the first hypothesis recalls the doctrine of
uniformitarianism, which Hutton and Lyell had shaped from a rational
interpretation of the present conditions of nature. But, although it
is no longer necessary to imagine the past history of the earth as a
series of gigantic catastrophes, yet the whole record of science is
against the supposition that anything like the existing state of
nature has had an eternal duration. The record of fossils shews that
the living population of the earth has been entirely different at
different epochs. Geological history shews that, whether these changes
have come about by swift catastrophes, or by slow, enduring movements,
the surface of the globe, its distribution into land and water, the
character of these areas and the conditions of climate to which they
have been subjected have passed through changes on a colossal scale.
Moreover, if we look from this earth to the universe of stars and suns
and planets, we see everywhere evidence of unceasing change. If we use
scientific observation and reason, if we employ on the problem the
only means we possess for attempting its solution, we cannot accept
the hypothesis that the present condition of nature has been eternal.

     "So far as that limited revelation of the nature of things, which
     we call scientific knowledge, has yet gone, it tends, with
     constantly increasing emphasis, to the belief that, not merely
     the world of plants, but that of animals; not merely living
     things but the whole fabric of the earth; not merely our planet
     but the whole solar system, not merely our star and its
     satellites, but the millions of similar bodies which bear witness
     to the order which pervades boundless space and has endured
     through boundless time, are all working out their predestined
     courses of evolution."

The second hypothesis is familiar to us in the sacred records of many
religious and in the Hebrew Scriptures. Most of these have a
fundamental similarity, inasmuch as they offer pictures in which the
mode and order of creation are given in the minutest detail and with
the simplest kind of anthropomorphism; in which the Creator is
represented with familiar human characteristics. But these general
considerations, so obvious now that we have learned to read the Bible
narrative without passion or prejudice, were not plain to the early
opponents of evolution, and it was necessary, step by step, to shew
not only that the narrative in Genesis could not be reconciled with
known facts if it were accepted in its literal meaning, but that the
most strained interpretation of the language failed to bring it into
accordance with scientific truth. Mr. Gladstone was the latest and
most vigorous of those who attempted to reconcile Genesis with modern
knowledge, and in his controversy with Huxley he brought to bear all
the resources of an acute intellect trained by long practice in the
devices of argument and inspired by a lofty if mistaken enthusiasm. In
the course of his argument he wrote:

      "But the question is not here of a lofty poem, or a skilfully
     constructed narrative; it is whether natural science, in the
     patient exercise of its high calling to examine facts, finds that
     the works of God cry out against what we have fondly believed to
     be His word and tell another tale; or whether, in this nineteenth
     century of Christian progress, it substantially echoes back the
     majestic sound, which, before it existed as a pursuit, went forth
     into all lands.

      First, looking largely at the latter portion of the narrative,
     which describes the creation of living organisms, and waiving
     details, on some of which (as in v. 24) the Septuagint seems to
     vary from the Hebrew, there is a grand fourfold division, set
     forth in an orderly succession of times as follows: on the fifth
         1. The water-population.
         2. The air-population,
      and, on the sixth day,
         3. The land-population of animals.
         4. The land-population consummated in man.

      Now this same fourfold order is understood to have been so
     affirmed in our time by natural science, that it may be taken as
     a demonstrated conclusion and established fact."

The defence itself shewed that already a large part of the original
position had been abandoned. The literal meaning and belief in
detailed accuracy were given up and Mr. Gladstone sought to establish
only a general correspondence between the Biblical narrative and the
results of science. But even in that form Huxley shewed the defence to
be untenable.

     "I can meet the statement in the last paragraph of the above
     citation," he replied, "with nothing but a direct negative. If I
     know anything at all about the results attained by the natural
     science of our time, it is a 'demonstrated conclusion and
     established fact' that the fourfold order given by Mr. Gladstone
     is not that in which the evidence at our disposal tends to shew
     that the water, air, and land populations of our globe made their

With the most voluminous detail, he proceeds to shew that there is no
possible relation between the order implied by the narrative and the
order as revealed by science. Let us sum up, by two quotations, the
result of the whole controversy. First, the literal meaning is

     "The question whether the earth and the immediate progenitors of
     its present living population were made in six natural days or
     not is no longer one on which two opinions can be held. The fact
     that it did not come so into being stands upon as sound a basis
     as any fact of history whatever. It is not true that existing
     plants and animals came into being within three days of the
     creation of the earth out of nothing, for it is certain that
     innumerable generations of other plants and animals lived upon
     the earth before its present population. And when, Sunday after
     Sunday, men who profess to be our instructors in righteousness
     read out the statement, 'In six days the Lord made heaven and
     earth, the sea, and all that in them is,' in innumerable
     churches, they are either propagating what they may easily know,
     and, therefore, are bound to know, to be falsities; or, if they
     use the words in some non-natural sense, they fall below the
     moral standard of the much abused Jesuit."

The attenuated meaning equally must be given up.

     "Even if they (the reconcilers) now allow that the words 'the
     evening and the morning' have not the least reference to a
     natural day, but mean a period of any number of millions of years
     that may be necessary; even if they are driven to admit that the
     word 'creation,' which so many millions of pious Jews and
     Christians have held, and still hold, to mean a sudden act of the
     Deity, signifies a process of gradual evolution of one species
     from another, extending through immeasurable time; even if they
     are willing to grant that the asserted coincidence of the order
     of nature with the 'fourfold order' ascribed to Genesis is an
     obvious error instead of an established truth, they are surely
     prepared to make a last stand upon the conception which underlies
     the whole, and which constitutes the essence of Mr. Gladstone's
     'fourfold division, set forth in an orderly succession of times.'
     It is that the animal species which compose the water-population,
     the air-population, and the land-population, respectively,
     originated during three distinct and successive periods of time,
     and only during these periods of time.... But even this
     sublimated essence of the Pentateuchal doctrine remains as
     discordant with natural science as ever."

There remains the third, or evolutionary hypothesis regarding the
origin of the existing order of nature. As Huxley held it, it was
rigidly limited within the possibilities afforded by the agnostic
attitude. With regard to the real nature, the origin and destiny of
the whole universe, there was not sufficient evidence before the human
mind, if indeed the human mind were capable of receiving such
evidence, to come to any conclusion. For the rest, for the actual
condition of the earth itself, science was gradually accumulating
overwhelming evidence in favour of a continuous evolution, under
natural agencies, from the beginning of life to the existing forms of
animals and plants, and the actual origin of life from inorganic
matter under similarly natural agencies was becoming more and more a
legitimate inference.

Huxley's relation to the New Testament may be summed up in few words.
It was simply that there was not sufficient evidence for ascribing to
it the supernatural sanction demanded for it by dogmatic theology.

     "From the dawn of scientific Biblical criticism until the present
     day, the evidence against the long-cherished notion that the
     three synoptic gospels are the work of three independent authors,
     each prompted by Divine inspiration, has steadily accumulated,
     until, at the present time, there is no visible escape from the
     conclusion that each of the three is a compilation consisting of
     a groundwork common to all three--the three-fold tradition; and
     of a superstructure consisting, firstly, of matter common to it
     with one of the others, and, secondly, of matter common to each."

Again:--"There is no proof, nothing more than a fair presumption, that
any one of the gospels existed, in the state in which we find it in
the authorised version of the Bible, before the second century, or, in
other words, sixty or seventy years after the events recorded." These
considerations with slight differences in details are now practically
admitted among the abler apologists, with the result that, as Huxley
claimed, the New Testament, like the Old, must be treated as
literature rather than as Dogma. As Literature everyone has the right
to examine the contents critically, and, considering the importance
attributed to the contents, the right becomes a duty. No doubt, had
Huxley not lived there would have been others equally ready and
equally able to gain the battle for freedom of thought in its special
application to the claim of the Bible to stand in the way of the
advance of scientific knowledge; but as it is, it cannot be denied
that the existing prevalence of liberal views, inside and outside the
churches, on the nature and interpretation of the Scriptures is
largely due to him.

After the question of inspiration, the most striking feature of the
Bible is its appeal to miracles and the miraculous element. It is now
necessary to examine the position assumed by Huxley towards these. Two
great _a priori_ difficulties have been brought against accepting any
record of miracles as true. The first of these is very simple,
depending on the history of all times and peoples. It is that the
human race has shewn itself universally credulous in this matter. It
has cried "Wolf!" so readily, so honestly, and on so many occasions
that the cry has ceased to carry conviction with it. Every religion
has its series of miraculous events; every savage tribe and every
uneducated race has its miracle-workers implicitly accepted. In
mediaeval and modern Europe up to our own times, miracles have been so
constantly recorded on testimony of such undoubted integrity that we
must either believe that miracles can be performed by numberless
persons with no other claim to special regard, or that it is
singularly easy to get false but honest evidence regarding them.
Huxley supported the latter alternative strongly, and held the view
that to believe in any particular miracles would require evidence very
much more direct and very much stronger than would be necessary in the
case of inherently probable events.

The second _a priori_ objection to the credibility of miracles has
been urged more strongly, but was not accepted by Huxley. It is that
miracles are inherently incredible inasmuch as they are "violations of
the order of nature." Hume, attacking miracles, had made this
objection the chief ground of his argument. Huxley paid a logical
respect, at least as great, to the continuity of nature.

     "When the experience of generation after generation is recorded,
     and a single book tells us more than Methuselah could have
     learned, had he spent every waking hour of his thousand years in
     learning; when apparent disorders are found to be only the
     recurrent pulses of a slow-working order, and the wonder of a
     year becomes the commonplace of a century; when repeated and
     minute examination never reveals a break in the chain of causes
     and effects; and the whole edifice of practical life is built
     upon our faith in its continuity; the belief that that chain has
     never been broken and will never be broken, becomes one of the
     strongest and most justifiable of human convictions. And it must
     be admitted to be a reasonable request, if we ask those who would
     have us put faith in the actual occurrence of interruptions of
     that order, to produce evidence in favour of their view, not only
     equal, but superior, in weight, to that which leads us to adopt

But out of the mouth of Hume himself he declared against making the
recorded experience of man, however lengthy and impressive, a
necessary ground for rejecting the possibility of the miraculous. Hume
had said, "Whatever is intelligible and can be distinctly conceived
implies no contradiction, and can never be proved false by any
demonstration, argument, or reasoning, _a priori_." This or the like
applies to most of the recorded miracles. Huxley was extremely careful
not to assert that they were incredible merely because they might
involve conditions outside our existing experience. It is a vulgar
mistake, for which science certainly gives no warrant, to assert that
things are impossible because they contradict our experience. In such
a sense many of the most common modern conveniences of life would have
seemed impossible a century ago. To travel with safety sixty miles an
hour, to talk through the telephone with a friend an hundred miles
away, to receive intelligible messages across the Atlantic by a cable,
and, still more, to communicate by wireless telegraphy would have
seemed impossible until recently. At the present time, the conversion
of a baser metal into gold would be called impossible by everyone with
a little knowledge of elementary chemistry. This last example leads
admirably to a right understanding of the scientific view of
impossibility. The older alchemists, partly from ignorance and partly
from credulity, believed absolutely in the possibility of transmuting
the metals. The advance of chemical science led to definite
conceptions of the differences between compounds and elementary
bodies, and of the independence of these elements. The methods and
reasoning of the alchemists became absurd, and no one would attempt
seriously to transmute the metals on their lines. These advances,
however, do not give us the right to assume that the elements are
absolutely independent, and that transmutation is therefore
impossible. Some of the most recent progress in chemistry has opened
up the suggestion that the elements themselves are different
combinations of a common substance. Huxley applied this particular
argument to the miracle at the marriage of Cana.

     "You are quite mistaken in supposing that anybody who is
     acquainted with the possibilities of physical science will
     undertake categorically to deny that water may be turned into
     wine. Many very competent judges are inclined to think that the
     bodies which we have hitherto regarded as elementary are really
     composite arrangements of the particles of a uniform primitive
     matter. Supposing that view to be correct, there would be no more
     theoretical difficulty about turning water into alcohol, ethereal
     and colouring matters, than there is, at this present moment, any
     practical difficulty in working other such miracles; as when we
     turn sugar into alcohol, carbonic acid, glycerine, and succinic
     acid; or transmute gas-refuse into perfumes rarer than musk and
     dyes richer than Tyrian purple."

Unless we make the unscientific and preposterous assumption that our
present knowledge of nature and of natural forces is absolute and
complete, it is unscientific and illogical to declare at once that any
supposed events could not have happened merely because they seem to
have contradicted so-called natural laws.

     "Strictly speaking," Huxley wrote, "I am unaware of anything that
     has a right to the title of an 'impossibility' except a
     contradiction in terms. There are impossibilities logical, but
     none natural. A 'round square,' a 'present past,' 'two parallel
     lines that intersect,' are impossibilities, because the ideas
     denoted by the predicates, round, present, intersect, are
     contradictory of the ideas denoted by the subjects, square, past,
     parallel. But walking on water, or turning water into wine, or
     procreation without male intervention, or raising the dead, are
     plainly not impossibilities in this sense."

The whole matter turns on the question of sufficient evidence.

     "Hume's arguments resolve themselves into a simple statement of
     the dictates of common sense which may be expressed in this
     canon: the more a statement of fact conflicts with previous
     experience, the more complete must be the evidence which is to
     justify us in believing it."

Again, expressing the same idea in different words, he wrote:

     "Nobody can presume to say what the order of nature must be; all
     that the widest experience (even if it extended over all past
     time and through all space) that events had happened in a certain
     way could justify, would be a proportionately strong expectation
     that events will go on so happening, and the demand for a
     proportional strength of evidence in favour of any assertion that
     they had happened otherwise. It is this weighty consideration,
     the truth of which everyone who is capable of logical thought
     must surely admit, which knocks the bottom out of all _a priori_
     objections either to ordinary 'miracles' or to the efficacy of
     prayer, in so far as the latter implies the miraculous
     intervention of a higher power. No one is entitled to say, _a
     priori_, that prayer for some change in the ordinary course of
     nature cannot possibly avail."

It was a question of evidence, and not only did the evidence not
convince Huxley, but the thaumaturgic nature of the Biblical miracles
provided him with additional reason for refusing to attach any
extrinsic value to the contents of the book.

On the other hand, although he declined to accept the Bible as a
miraculous and authentic revelation, again and again he expressed
himself in the strongest terms as to its value to mankind, and as to
the impossibility of any scientific advance diminishing in any way
whatsoever that value.

     "The antagonism between religion and science, about which we hear
     so much, appears to me to be purely factitious--fabricated, on
     the one hand, by shortsighted religious people who confound a
     certain branch of science, theology, with religion; and, on the
     other, by equally shortsighted scientific people who forget that
     science takes for its province only that which is susceptible of
     clear intellectual comprehension; and that, outside the
     boundaries of that province, they must be content with
     imagination, with hope, and with ignorance."

And again;

     "In the eighth century B.C., in the heart of a world of
     idolatrous polytheists, the Hebrew prophets put forth a
     conception of religion which appears to me to be as wonderful an
     inspiration of genius as the art of Pheidias or the science of
     Aristotle. 'And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do
     justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?' If
     any so-called religion takes away from this great saying of
     Micah, I think it wantonly mutilates, while if it adds thereto, I
     think it obscures, the perfect ideal of religion."



     Conduct and Metaphysics--Conventional and Critical Minds--Good
     and Evil--Huxley's Last Appearance at Oxford--The Ethical Process
     and the Cosmic Process--Man's Intervention--The Cosmic Process
     Evil--Ancient Reconciliations--Modern Acceptance of the
     Difficulties--Criticism of Huxley's Pessimism--Man and his
     Ethical Aspirations Part of the Cosmos.

We have seen that Huxley refused to acquiesce in the current orthodox
doctrine that our systems of morality rested on a special revelation,
miraculous in its origin, and vouched for by the recorded miracles of
its Founder, or by those entrusted by the Founder with miraculous
power. He supported the view that, historically and actually, there is
no necessary connection between religion and morality. The one is an
attempt, in his opinion always unsuccessful, to lift the veil from the
unseen, to know the unknowable; the other is simply the code that
social man, through the ages, has elaborated for his own guidance, and
proved by his own experience. So far as the conduct of life goes, the
morality of one who accepts the agnostic position with regard to
revelation and the unseen universe differs in no respect from the code
taken under the protection of the modern forms of religion. As John
Morley, in his _Essay on Voltaire_ wrote of such a person:

     "There are new solutions for him, if the old have fallen dumb. If
     he no longer believe death to be a stroke from the sword of God's
     justice, but the leaden footfall of an inflexible law of matter,
     the humility of his awe is deepened, and the tenderness of his
     pity made holier, that creatures who can love so much should have
     their days so shut round with a wall of darkness. The purifying
     anguish of remorse will be stronger, not weaker, when he has
     trained himself to look upon every wrong in thought, every duty
     omitted from act, each infringement of the inner spiritual law
     which humanity is constantly perfecting for its own guidance and
     advantage, less as a breach of the decrees of an unseen tribunal
     than as an ungrateful infection weakening and corrupting the
     future of his brothers."

But there are wider questions than the immediate problems of conduct. A
certain type of mind finds it almost impossible not to attempt ethical
judgments on the whole universe, not to speculate whether the Cosmos, as
we can imagine it from the part of it within the cognisance of man,
offers a spectacle of moral or immoral or of non-moral significance. In
the old times of Greece and in the modern world many have been devoid of
the taste for argument on such subjects. Those who are uninterested in
these abstract discussions are rarely in opposition to the mode of faith
surrounding them, as to reject the doctrines held by the majority of
one's friends and associates implies either a disagreeable disposition
or an unusual interest in ultimate problems; they are usually orthodox
according to their environment--Stoics, Epicureans, Jews, Episcopalians,
Catholics, Quakers, Methodists, Mormons, Mohammedans, Buddhists, or
whatever may be the prevailing dogma around them. The attitude of
indifference to moral philosophy has practically no relation to what may
be considered good or bad moral conduct; those characterised by it live
above or below or round about their own moral standards in a fashion as
variable as that of moral philosophers. Many of the saints, ancient and
modern, have been notorious instances; question them as to their faith
or as to the logical foundation of their renunciations and they will
tell you in simple honesty or make it plain by their answers that they
have no head for logic, that they cannot argue, but only know and feel
their position to be true. In addition to the saints, many of the best
and most of the pleasant people in the world are of this type.

The type strongly in contrast with the foregoing is found in persons
of a more strenuous, perhaps more admirable but less agreeable
character. The savour of acerbity may be a natural attribute of the
critical character, and it is certainly not lessened where moral
philosophy is the subject-matter of the criticism. The continual
search after solutions of problems that may be insoluble at least
makes the seekers excellent judges of wrong solutions. Like Luther and
Loyola and Kant, they may be able to satisfy themselves, or, like
Huxley, they may remain in doubt, but in either case they are
excellent critics of the solutions of others. They are the firebrands
of faith or of negation; they are possessed by an intellectual fury
that will not let them cease from propagandising. They must go through
the world as missionaries; and the missionary spirit is dual, one side
zealous to proclaim the new, the other equally zealous to denounce the
old. But theirs is the great work, "to burn old falsehood bare," to
tear away the incrustations of time which people have come to accept
as the thing itself, and in their track new and lively truth springs
up, as fresh green follows the devastations of fire.

To most of us it seems of sufficient importance and of sufficient
difficulty to make our decisions in the little eddies of good and evil
that form as the world-stream breaks round our individual lives.
Huxley strove to interpret the world-stream itself, to translate its
movements into the ethical language of man. As knowledge of the forces
and movements of the Cosmos has increased so has our general
conception been intensified, our conception of it as a wondrous
display of power and grandeur and superhuman fixity of order. But are
the forces of the Cosmos good or evil? Are we, and the Cosmos of which
we are a part, the sport of changeable and capricious deities, the
pawns in a game of the gods, as some of the Greeks held; or of a power
drunkenly malicious, as Heine once cynically suggested; or a
battle-ground for a force of good and a force of evil as in so many
Eastern religions? Are we dominated by pure evil, as some dark creeds
have held, or by pure good, as the religion of the Western world
teaches? And if we are dominated by pure evil, whence come good and
the idea of good, or, if by pure good, whence evil and the idea of

Huxley's interest in these great problems appears and reappears
throughout his published writings, but his views are most clearly and
systematically exposed in his "Romanes" lecture on "Evolution and
Ethics" delivered and published at Oxford in 1894, and afterwards
republished with a prefatory essay in the last volume of his
_Collected Essays_. Not long before his death, Professor Romanes, who
had come to live in Oxford, founded a University lectureship, the
purpose of which was that once a year a distinguished man should
address the University on a subject neither religious nor political.
Mr. Gladstone was the first lecturer, and, at the suggestion of the
founder, Huxley was chosen as the second. For years he had been taking
a special interest in both religion and politics, and he was not a
little embarrassed by the restrictions imposed by the terms of the
foundation, for he determined to make ethical science the subject of
his address, and

     "ethical science is, on all sides, so entangled with religion and
     politics, that the lecturer who essays to touch the former
     without coming in contact with either of the latter, needs all
     the dexterity of an egg-dancer, and may even discover that his
     sense of clearness and his sense of propriety come into conflict,
     by no means to the advantage of the former."

As Huxley, on that great occasion, ascended the rostrum in the
Sheldonian theatre, very white and frail in his scarlet doctor's
robes, there must have been present in his mind memories of the
occasion, four-and-thirty years before, when he first addressed an
audience in the University of Oxford. Then he was a young man, almost
unknown, rising to lead what seemed a forlorn hope for an idea utterly
repugnant to most of his hearers. Now, and largely by his own efforts,
the idea had become an inseparable part of human thought, and Huxley
himself was the guest to whom the whole University was doing honour.
Graduates from all parts of England had come to hear what, it was
feared, might be his last public speech, and practically every member
of the University who could gain admission was present. The press of
the world attended to report his words as if they were those of a
great political leader, about to decide the fate of nations. Although
his voice had lost much of its old sonorous reach, and although the
old clear rhythms were occasionally broken by hesitancies, the magic
of his personality oriented to him every face.

It is a curious and striking circumstance, a circumstance fully
recognised by Huxley himself, that in this exposition of his ethical
conception of the Cosmos he reconstructed, on the lines of his
evolutionary philosophy one of the oldest and most widespread
theories, a theory again and again reached by men of different
civilisations and epochs. Manes, the Persian, from whose name the word
"Manicheism" has been coined to denote his doctrine, taught in perhaps
the most explicit fashion that the Cosmos was the battle-ground of two
contending powers,--Ahriman, the principle of evil, and Ormuzd, the
principle of good. This doctrine in some form or other is implicit in
most of the greater religions, some of which have assumed an ultimate
triumph for the principle of good, while others have left the issue
doubtful. The Ahriman of Huxley, the principle of evil, is what he
termed the cosmic process, that great play of forces, by which, in a
ruthless struggle for existence, the fittest (by which is meant the
most suited to the surrounding conditions and not necessarily the
ethically best) have survived at the expense of the less fit. The
Ormuzd, the principle of good, is what Huxley called the Ethical
process, the process by which sentient, intelligent, and moral man has
striven to replace the "old ape and tiger methods" of the cosmic
process, by methods in which justice and mercy, sacrifice and
consideration for others have a part.

To explain clearly the distinction he made between the ethical and
cosmic processes. Huxley, in the prefatory essay ("Prolegomena")
published in the volume with his Romanes lecture, developed the
analogy of a cultivated garden reclaimed from surrounding wild nature.
He described how the countryside, visible from his windows at
Eastbourne, had certainly been in a "state of nature" about two
thousand years ago when Caesar had set foot in Britain and had made the
Roman camps, the remains of which still mark the chalk downs of

     "Except, it may be, by raising a few sepulchral mounds, such as
     those which still, here and there, break the flowing contours of
     the Downs, man's hands had made no mark upon it; and the thin
     veil of vegetation which overspread the broad-backed heights and
     the shelving sides of the coombs was unaffected by his industry.
     The native grasses and weeds, the scattered patches of gorse,
     contended with one another for possession of the scanty surface
     soil; they fought against the droughts of summer, the frosts of
     winter, and the furious gales, which swept with unbroken force,
     now from the Atlantic, and now from the North Sea, at all times
     of the year; they filled up, as they best might, the gaps made in
     their ranks by all sorts of overground and underground ravagers.
     One year with another, an average population, the floating
     balance of the unceasing struggle for existence among the
     indigenous plants, maintained itself. It is as little to be
     doubted that an essentially similar state of nature prevailed in
     this region for many thousand years before the coming of Caesar;
     and there is no assignable reason for denying that it might
     continue to exist through an equally prolonged futurity except
     for the intervention of man."

This present state of nature, he explained, is only a fleeting phase
of a process that has gone on for millions of years. Under the thin
layer of soil are the chalk cliffs, hundreds of feet thick and
witnesses of the entirely different phases of the struggle that went
on while the cliffs were being formed at the bottom of the chalk sea,
when the vegetation of the nearest land was as different from the
existing vegetation as that is different from the trees and flowers of
an African forest.

     "Before the deposition of the chalk, a vastly longer period
     elapsed, throughout which it is easy to follow the traces of the
     same process of ceaseless modification and of the same
     internecine struggle for existence of living things; and when we
     can go no further back, it is not because there is any reason to
     think we have reached the beginning, but because the trail of the
     most ancient life remains hidden or has become obliterated."

The state of nature, then, is a fleeting and impermanent process.

     "That which endures is not one or other association of living
     forms, but the process of which the Cosmos is the product and of
     which these are among the transitory expressions. And in the
     living world, one of the most characteristic features of this
     cosmic process is the struggle for existence, the competition of
     each with all, the result of which is the selection, that is to
     say, the survival of those forms which, on the whole, are best
     adapted to the conditions which at any period obtain; and which
     are, therefore, in that respect, and only in that respect, the
     fittest. The acme reached by the cosmic process in the vegetation
     of the Downs is seen in the turf with its weeds and gorse. Under
     the conditions, they have come out of the struggle victorious;
     and, by surviving, have proved that they are the fittest to

For three or four years, the state of nature in a small portion of the
Downs surrounding Huxley's house had been put an end to by the
intervention of man.

     "The patch was cut off from the rest by a wall; within the area
     thus protected the native vegetation was, as far as possible,
     extirpated, while a colony of strange plants was imported and set
     down in its place. In short, it was made into a garden. This
     artificially treated area presents an aspect extraordinarily
     different from that of so much of the land as still remains in
     the state of nature outside the wall. Trees, shrubs and herbs,
     many of them appertaining to the state of nature in remote parts
     of the globe, abound and flourish. Moreover, considerable
     quantities of vegetables, fruit, and flowers are produced, of
     kinds which neither now exist nor have ever existed except under
     conditions such as obtain in the garden and which therefore are
     as much works of the art of man as the frames and glass-houses in
     which some of them are raised. That the 'state of art' thus
     created in the state of nature by man, is sustained by and
     dependent on him, would at once become apparent if the watchful
     supervision of the gardener were withdrawn, and the antagonistic
     influences of the general cosmic process were no longer
     sedulously warded off, or counteracted."

He proceeds to describe how, under such circumstances, the artificial
barriers would decay, and the delicate inhabitants of the garden would
perish under the assaults of animal and vegetable foes. External
forces would reassert themselves and wild nature would resume its
sway. While, in a sense, he had strenuously advocated the unity of all
nature, he found in it two rivals: the artificial products of sentient
man and the forces and products of wild nature. These two he believed
to be in inevitable opposition and to represent the good and the evil
forces of the world.

In the dim ages of the past, the forces that have gone to the making
of man have been part of the cosmic process. In the endless and
wonderful series of kaleidoscopic changes by which, under the
operation of natural laws, the body, habits, and the character of man
have been elaborated slowly from the natal dust, there is the widest
field for the operation of the most acute intelligence to study and
trace the stages in the process. But if intellectual delight in
studying the process be left out of account, a serious question at
once appears. In the higher stages of evolution the cosmic forces,
ceasing to act merely on insentient matter, have operated on sentient
beings, and in so doing have given rise to the mystery of pain and
suffering. When the less fit of chemical combinations or even of the
lower forms of life perished in the struggle, we may regard the
process with the unemotional eye of pure intelligence. But "pain, the
baleful product of evolution, increases in quantity and in intensity
with advancing stages of animal organisation, until it attains its
highest level in man." And so it comes about that the cosmic process
produces evil, sorrow, and suffering. Consideration of the cosmic
process leads up against the mystery of evil.

Huxley argued that the various philosophies and civilisations of the
past had led by different paths to a similar conclusion. The primitive
ethical codes of man were not unlike the compacts of a wolf-pack, the
understanding to refrain from mutual attack during the chase of a
common prey. Conceptions of this kind became arranged in codes and
invested with supernatural sanction. But in Hindustan and Ionia alike,
material prosperity, no doubt partly the result of the accepted codes,
produced culture of the intellect and culture of the pleasures. With
these came the "beneficent demon, doubt, whose name is legion and who
dwells amongst the tombs of old faiths." The doubting intellect,
acting on the codes, produced the conception of justice-in-itself, of
merit as divorced from the effect of action on others, the abstract
idea of goodness.

The old philosopher, turning from this new conception to the Cosmos,
found that incompatible with goodness. Suffering and sorrow, sunshine
and rain, were distributed independently of merit. With Greek and
Semite and Indian the conscience of man revolted against the moral
indifference of nature. Instead of bringing in a verdict of guilty,
they attempted reconciliation in various ways. Indian speculation
invented or elaborated the theory of transmigration, in which the
Karma or soul-character passed from individual to individual, the
algebraic sums of happiness in the whole chain being proportional to
merit. The Stoics were metaphysicians and imagined an immanent,
omnipotent, and infinitely beneficent First Cause. Evil was
incompatible with this, and so they held, against experience, that
either it did not exist, or that it was inflicted for our benefit or
due to our fault. In one fashion or another, all the great systems of
thought had recognised the antagonism and had attempted some
explanation of it. Huxley's view was that the modern world with its
new philosophy was only retreading the toil-worn paths of the old.
Scientific optimism was being replaced by a frank pessimism. Cosmic
evolution might be accountable for both good and evil, but knowledge
of it provided no better reason for choice of the good than did
earlier speculation. The cosmic process was not only non-moral but
immoral; goodness did not lead to success in it, and laws and moral
precepts could only be addressed to the curbing of it.

In a sense these conclusions of Huxley seemed to lead to absolute
pessimism, but he offered some mitigating considerations. Society
remains subject to the cosmic process, but the less as civilisation
advances and ethical man is the more ready to combat it. The history
of civilisation shows that we have some hope of this, for "when
physiology, psychology, ethics, and political science, now befogged by
crude anticipations and futile analogies, have emerged from their
childhood, they may work as much change on human affairs as the
earlier-ripened physical sciences wrought on material progress." And
so, remembering that the evil cosmic nature in us has the foothold of
millions of years, and never hoping to abandon sorrow and pain, we may
yet, in the manhood of our race, accept our destiny, and, with clear
and steady eyes, address ourselves to the task of living, that we and
others may live better.

These gloomy views come from Huxley with such weight and authority
that even in a sketch of his life and opinions it may be noticed that
they do not seem necessary deductions from the evolutionary conception
of the world. The first count adduced against the cosmic process is
its connection with suffering. It may be doubted, so far as the animal
world is concerned, if Huxley has not exaggerated the gravity of this.
The two greatest contributors to the modern conception of evolution
are not in agreement with him. Alfred Russel Wallace wrote:

     "On the whole, then, we conclude that the popular idea of the
     struggle for existence entailing misery and pain on the animal
     world is the very reverse of the truth. What it really brings
     about is the maximum of life and of the enjoyment of life with
     the minimum of suffering and pain. Given the necessity of death
     and reproduction--and without those there could have been no
     progressive development of the animal world--and it is difficult
     even to imagine a system by which a greater balance of happiness
     could have been secured."

This view was evidently that also of Darwin himself, who thus
concluded his chapter on the struggle for existence: "When we reflect
on this struggle, we may console ourselves with the full belief that
the war of nature is not incessant, that no fear is felt, that death
is generally prompt, and that the vigorous, the healthy, and the happy
survive and multiply." As for man himself, though it be true that in
him the consummation of pain is reached, still this is no isolated
fact of far-reaching ethical importance. It is in direct dependence on
the increased physical and mental development of man, and these are
equally necessary for and equally susceptible to increased pleasure
and increased happiness. It is not necessary to regard the cosmic
process as evil. Even when man, in various ages, had elaborated the
conception of abstract goodness, and had endeavoured to make his
justice a doling out of reward and punishment according to merit, it
was not inevitable to bring in a verdict of guilty against the Cosmos.
It is quite true that, in all the ages, man has seen the sun shine on
the unjust as on the just. But it is an easy reflection that the world
could not turn round on individual merit, and if few are so guilty as
to deserve the agonies of grief that may come to all, still fewer
deserve some of the simpler and more common joys of life. The
conception that was implicit in the disciplines of the older
philosophies is still open to the philosophy of evolution. Behind it,
as behind the "self-hypnotised catalepsy of the devotee of Brahma,"
the Buddhist aspirations to Nirvana, the _apatheia_ of the Stoics,
there may lie a recognition of the worthlessness of the individual: an
equable acceptation of one's self as part of a process: a triumph of
intelligence over selfishness. Finally, behind the sharp division made
between man and the Cosmos, there still lurks one of the oldest and
most enduring fallacies of the world, a fallacy that Huxley himself
spent a great part of his intellectual life in discovering and
routing. The fallacy is the conception of the Cosmos as something
separate and apart from man, as something through which he, however
briefly, passes. Thus Omar sang:

    "Myself, when young, did eagerly frequent
    Doctor and saint, and heard great argument
      About it and about: but evermore
    Came out by the same door where in I went.

    "With them the seed of wisdom did I sow,
    And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow;
      And this was all the Harvest that I reaped--
    'I came like Water, and like Wind I go.'

    "Into this Universe, and _Why_ not knowing
    Nor _Whence_, like water willy-nilly flowing;
      And out of it, like Wind along the Waste
    I know not _Whither_, willy-nilly blowing."

But, the more profoundly does the conception of evolution lay hold of
human thought, the more inevitable it becomes to recognise that man
and all that is best in man--his aspirations, ideas, virtues, and
practical and abstract justice and goodness--are just as much the
product of the cosmic process and part of the Cosmos as the most
sinister results of the struggle for existence.



     Huxley's Life in London--Decennial
     Periods--Ill-health--Retirement to Eastbourne--Death--Personal
     Appearance--Methods of Work--Personal Characteristics--An
     Inspirer of Others--His Influence in Science--A Naturalist by
     Vocation--His Aspirations.

Huxley's life followed the quiet and even tenor of that of a
professional man of science and letters. The great adventure in it was
his youthful voyage on the _Rattlesnake_. That over, and his choice
made in favour of science as against medicine, he settled down in
London. He married happily and shared in the common joys and sorrows
of domestic life. Advancement came to him steadily, and, although he
was never rich, after the first few years of life in London, his
income was always adequate to his moderate needs. For the greater part
of his working life, he lived actually in London, in the ordinary
style and with the ordinary social enjoyments of a professional man.
His duties in connection with the Royal College of Science and with
the Geological Survey were not arduous but constant; his time was
fully occupied with these, with his scientific and literary work, with
the business of scientific societies, with the occasional obligations
of royal commissions, public boards, and lecturing engagements. The
quiet routine of his life was diversified by many visits to provincial
towns to deliver lectures or addresses, by meetings of the British
Association, by holidays in Switzerland, during which, with Tyndall,
he made special studies of the phenomena of glaciation, and in the
usual Continental resorts, and by several trips to America.

In a rough-and-ready fashion, Huxley's active life may be broken into
a set of decennial periods, each with tolerably distinctive
characters. The first period, roughly from 1850 to 1860, was almost
purely scientific. It was occupied by his voyage, by his transition to
science as a career, his researches into the invertebrate forms of
life, the beginning of his palaeontological investigations, and a
comparatively small amount of lecturing and literary work. The second
decennium still found him employed chiefly in research, vertebrate and
extinct forms absorbing most of his attention. He was occupied
actively with teaching, but the dominant feature of the decennium was
his assumption of the Darwinian doctrines. In connection with these
latter, his literary and lecturing work increased greatly, and the
side issues of what was, in itself, purely a scientific controversy
began to lead him into metaphysical and religious studies. The third
period, from 1870 to 1880, was considerably different in character. He
had become the most prominent man in biological science in England, at
a time when biological science was attracting a quite unusual amount
of scientific and public attention. Public honours and public duties,
some of them scientific, others general, began to crowd upon him, and
the time at his disposal for the quiet labours of investigation
became rapidly more limited within this period. He was secretary of
the Royal Society, a member of the London School Board, president of
the British Association, Lord Rector at several universities, member
of many royal commissions, government inspector of fisheries,
president of the Geological Society. In this multitude of duties it
was natural that the bulk of strictly scientific output was limited,
but, on the other hand, his literary output was much larger. Between
1880 and 1890 he had reached the full maturity of a splendid
reputation, and honours and duties pressed thick upon him. For part of
the time he was president of the Royal Society, the most distinguished
position to which a scientific man in England can attain, and he was
held by the general public at least in as high esteem as by his
scientific contemporaries. A small amount of original scientific work
still appeared from his pen, but he was occupied chiefly with more
general contributions to thought.

Reproduced by permission from _Natural Science_, vol. vii., No. 46]

Throughout his life, Huxley had never been robust. From his youth
upwards he had been troubled by dyspepsia with its usual accompaniment
of occasional fits of severe mental and physical depression. In 1872
he was compelled to take a long holiday in Egypt, and, although he
returned to resume full labour, it is doubtful if from that time
onwards he recovered even the strength normal to him. In 1885, his
ill-health became grave; in the following years he had two attacks of
pleurisy, and symptoms of cardiac mischief became pressing. He
gradually withdrew from his official posts, and, in 1890, retired to
Eastbourne, where he had built himself a house on the Downs. The more
healthy conditions and the comparative leisure he permitted himself
had a good effect, and he was able to write some of his most
brilliant essays and to make a few public appearances: at Oxford in
1893, when he delivered the Romanes lecture; at the meeting of the
British Association in 1894, when he spoke on the vote of thanks to
the President, the Marquis of Salisbury; at the Royal Society in the
same year when he received the recently established "Darwin Medal."
Early in the spring of 1895, he had a prostrating attack of influenza,
and from that time until his death on June 29, 1895, he was an
invalid. He was buried in the Marylebone cemetery at Finchley, to the
north of London.

Huxley was of middle stature and rather slender build. His face, as
Professor Ray Lankester described it, was "grave, black-browed, and
fiercely earnest." His hair, plentiful and worn rather long, was black
until in old age it became silvery white. He wore short side whiskers,
but shaved the rest of his face, leaving fully exposed an obstinate
chin, and mobile lips, grim and resolute in repose, but capable of
relaxation into a smile of almost feminine charm.

He was a very hard worker and took little exercise. Professor Howes
describes a typical day as occupied by lecture and laboratory work at
the College of Science until his hurried luncheon; then a cab-drive to
the Home Office for his work as Inspector of Fisheries; then a cab
home for an hour's work before dinner, and the evening after dinner
spent in literary work or scientific reading. While at work, his whole
attention was engrossed, and he disliked being disturbed. This
abstraction of his attention is illustrated humorously by a story told
by one of his demonstrators. Huxley was engaged in the investigations
required for his book on the Crayfish, and his demonstrator came in to
ask a question about a codfish. "Codfish?" said Huxley; "that's a
vertebrate, isn't it? Ask me in a fortnight and I'll consider it."
While at work he smoked almost continuously, and from time to time he
took a little relaxation, for the strains of a fiddle were
occasionally heard from his room. Indeed he was devoted to music,
regarding it as one of the highest of the aesthetic pleasures. He tells
us himself:

     "When I was a boy, I was very fond of music, and I am so now; and
     it so happened that I had the opportunity of hearing much good
     music. Among other things, I had abundant opportunities of
     hearing that great old master, Sebastian Bach. I remember
     perfectly well--although I knew nothing about music then, and, I
     may add, know nothing whatever about it now--the intense
     satisfaction and delight which I had in listening, by the hour
     together, to Bach's fugues. It is a pleasure which remains with
     me, I am glad to think; but, of late years, I have tried to find
     out the why and wherefore, and it has often occurred to me that
     the pleasure derived from musical compositions of this kind is
     essentially of the same nature as that which is derived from
     pursuits which are commonly regarded as purely intellectual. I
     mean, that the source of pleasure is exactly the same as in most
     of my problems in morphology--that you have the theme in one of
     the old masters' works followed out in all its endless
     variations, always appearing and always reminding you of unity in

He had a hot temper, and did not readily brook opposition, especially
when that seemed to him to be the result of stupidity or of prejudice
rather than of reason, and his own reason was of a very clear,
decided, and exact order. He had little sympathy with vacillation of
any kind, whether it arose from mere infirmity of purpose or from the
temperament which delights in balancing opposing considerations. He
said on one occasion:

     "A great lawyer-statesman and philosopher of a former age--I mean
     Francis Bacon--said that truth came out of error much more
     rapidly than out of confusion. There is a wonderful truth in that
     saying. Next to being right in this world, the best of all things
     is to be clearly and definitely wrong, because you will come out
     somewhere. If you go buzzing about between right and wrong,
     vibrating and fluctuating, you come out nowhere; but if you are
     absolutely and thoroughly and persistently wrong, you must, some
     of these days, have the extreme good fortune of knocking your
     head against a fact, and that sets you all straight again. So I
     will not trouble myself as to whether I may be right or wrong in
     what I am about to say, but at any rate I hope to be clear and
     definite; and then you will be able to judge for yourselves
     whether, in following out the train of thought I have to
     introduce, you knock your heads against facts or not."

The particular suggestions to which these remarks were the
characteristic introduction related to definite problems of education,
that is to say, to questions upon which some action was urgent. It was
in all cases of life, in science or affairs, that Huxley was resolute
for clear ideas and definite courses of conduct. As a matter of fact,
no one ever took greater care to satisfy himself as best he could as
to what was right and what was wrong; but where action rather than
reflection was needed, then his principle was to act, and to know
definitely and clearly why you acted and for what you acted. In
matters of opinion, on the other hand, he was all for not coming to a
definite opinion when the facts obtainable did not justify such an
opinion. In thought, agnosticism, the refusal to accept any ideas or
principles except on sufficient evidence; in action, positivism, to
act promptly in definite and known directions for definite and known
objects: these were his principles.

Another aspect of the same trait of character, he shewed in an address
to medical students at a distribution of prizes. After congratulating
the victors he confessed to "an undercurrent of sympathy for those who
have not been successful, for those valiant knights who have been
overthrown in their tourney, and have not made their appearance in
public." After recounting an early failure of his own, he proceeded:

     "I said to myself, 'Never mind; what's the next thing to be
     done?' And I found that policy of 'never minding' and going on to
     the next thing to be done, to be the most important of all
     policies in the conduct of practical life. It does not matter how
     many tumbles you have in this life, so long as you do not get
     dirty when you tumble; it is only the people who have to stop to
     be washed and made clean, who must necessarily lose the race. You
     learn that which is of inestimable importance--that there are a
     great many people in the world who are just as clever as you are.
     You learn to put your trust, by and by, in an economy and
     frugality of the exercise of your powers both moral and
     intellectual; and you very soon find out, if you have not found
     it out before, that patience and tenacity of purpose are worth
     more than twice their weight of cleverness."

All Huxley's work was marked by a quality which may be called
conscientiousness or thoroughness. Looking through his memoirs,
written many years ago, the subjects of which have since been handled
and rehandled by other writers with new knowledge and with new methods
at their disposal, one is struck that all the observations he made
have stood their ground. With new facts new generalisations have often
been reached, and some of the positions occupied by Huxley have been
turned. But what he saw and described had not to be redescribed; the
citations he made from the older authorities were always so chosen as
to contain the exact gist of the writers. These qualities, admirable
in scientific work, became at once admirable and terrible in his
controversial writings. His own exactness made him ruthless in
exposing any inexactness in his adversaries, and there were few
disputants who left an argument with Huxley in an undamaged condition.
The consciousness which he had of his own careful methods, added to a
natural pugnacity, gave him an intellectual courage of a very high
order. As he knew himself to have made sure of his premisses, he did
not care whither his conclusions might lead him, against whatsoever
established doctrine or accepted axiom.

There was, however, a strong spice of natural combativeness in his
nature, the direct result of his native and highly trained critical
faculty. He tells us that in the pre-Darwinian days he was accustomed
to defend the fixity of species in the company of evolutionists and in
the presence of the orthodox to attack the same doctrine. Later in
life, when evolution had become fashionable, and the principles of
Darwinism were being elevated into a new dogmatism, he was as ready to
criticise the loose adherents of his own views as he had been to
expose the weakness of the conventional dogmatists.

Perhaps the most striking feature of Huxley's work as a whole was its
infectious nature. His vigorous and decided personality was reflected
on all the subjects to which he gave attention, and in the same
fashion as his presence infected persons with a personal enthusiasm so
his writings stimulated readers to efforts along the same lines. His
great influence is clear in the number and distinction of the
biologists who came under his personal care, and in the great army of
writers and thinkers who have been inspired by his views and methods
on general questions. His position as an actual contributor to science
has to a certain extent been lost sight of for two reasons. In the
first place, his effect on the world as an expositor of the scientific
method in its general application to life has overshadowed his exact
work; in the second place, his exact work itself has been partly lost
sight of in the new discoveries and advances to which it gave rise. It
is therefore necessary to reiterate that, apart from all his other
successes, he had made for himself an extremely distinguished position
in the annals of exact science. Sir Michael Foster and Prof. Ray
Lankester, in their preface to the collected edition of his scientific
memoirs, make a just claim for him. These memoirs, they wrote, show
that, "apart from the influence exerted by his popular writings, the
progress of biology during the present century was largely due to
labours of his of which the general public knew nothing, and that he
was in some respects the most original and most fertile in discovery
of all his fellow workers in the same branch of science."

There can be little question that it was no accident that determined
the direction of Huxley's career. He was a naturalist by inborn
vocation. The contrast between a natural bent and an acquired habit of
life was well seen in the case of Huxley and Macgillivray, his
companion on the _Rattlesnake_. The former was appointed as a surgeon,
and it was no part of his duties to busy himself with the creatures of
the sea; and yet his observations on them made a series of real
contributions to biological science and laid the sure foundation of a
world-wide and enduring reputation. The latter was the son of a
naturalist, a naturalist by profession, and appointed to the
expedition as its official naturalist; and yet he made only a few
observations and a limited collection of curiosities, and even his
exiguous place in the annals of zooelogy is the accidental result of
his companionship with Huxley. The special natural endowments which
Huxley brought to the study of zooelogy were, in the first place, a
faculty for the patient and assiduous observation of facts; in the
second, a swift power of discriminating between the essential and the
accessory among facts; in the third, the constructive ability to
arrange these essentials in wide generalisations which we call laws or
principles and which, within the limits necessarily set by inductive
principles, are the starting-point for new deductions. These were the
faculties which he brought to his science, but there were added to
them two personal characteristics without which they would not have
taken him far. They were impelled by a driving force which
distinguishes the successful man from the muddler and without which
the finest mental powers are as useless as a complicated machine
disconnected from its driving-wheel. They were directed by a lofty and
disinterested enthusiasm, without which the most talented man is a
mere self-seeker, useless or dangerous to society. The faculties and
qualities which made Huxley great as a zooelogist were practically
those which he applied to the general questions of biological theory,
to the problems of education and of society, and to philosophy and
metaphysics. A comparison between his sane and forcible handling of
questions that lay outside the special province to which the greater
part of his life was devoted, with the dubious and involved treatment
given such questions by the professional politicians to whom the
English races tend to entrust their destinies, is a useful comment on
that value of science as discipline to which Huxley so strenuously
called attention.

There can be no better way of ending this sketch of Huxley's life and
work than by quoting his own account of the objects to which he had
devoted himself consciously. These were:

     "To promote the increase of natural knowledge and to forward the
     application of scientific methods of investigation to all the
     problems of life to the best of my ability, in the conviction
     which has grown with my growth and strengthened with my strength,
     that there is no alleviation for the sufferings of mankind except
     veracity of thought and of action, and the resolute facing of the
     world as it is when the garment of make-believe by which pious
     hands have hidden its uglier features is stripped off.

      "It is with this intent that I have subordinated any reasonable
     or unreasonable ambition for scientific fame which I may have
     permitted myself to entertain to other ends; to the
     popularisation of science; to the development and organisation of
     scientific education; to the endless series of battles and
     skirmishes over evolution; and to untiring opposition to that
     ecclesiastical spirit, that clericalism, which in England, as
     everywhere else, and to whatever denomination it may belong, is
     the deadly enemy of science.

      "In striving for the attainment of these objects, I have been
     but one among many, and I shall be well content to be remembered,
     or even not remembered, as such. Circumstances, among which I am
     proud to reckon the devoted kindness of many friends, have led to
     my occupation of various prominent positions, among which the
     presidency of the Royal Society is the highest. It would be mock
     modesty on my part, with these and other scientific honours which
     have been bestowed upon me, to pretend that I have not succeeded
     in the career which I have followed, rather because I was driven
     into it than of my own free will; but I am afraid I should not
     count even these things as marks of success if I could not hope
     that I had not somewhat helped that movement of opinion which has
     been called the New Reformation."



Adams, 209

Admiralty, 14, 48, 49

Agassiz, 68, 91, 99

Age of the earth, 84, 85

Agnosticism, 239, 241-243, 279

Ahriman, 265

Alchemists, 256, 257

Alternation of generations, 53, 54

Ameghino, 141

America, 70

American addresses, 71

American fossils, 75

American monkeys, 163

Amphibia, 143

Amphioxus, 22, 134

Anatomy of man and ape, 161

Anchitherium, 70, 74, 76

Animal kingdom, old views of, 35

Animals and plants, 97

Anthracosaurus, 69

Anthropomorphism, 250

Anthropoid apes, 149-153

"Ape and Tiger" methods, 265

Appendicularia, 56, 57

Apprenticeship in medicine, 183

Archaeopteryx, 136

Archetype of molluscs, 58, 59, 61

Archetype of Vertebrata, Articulata, and Radiata, 62

Arctogoea, 140

Argyll, Duke of, 248

Aristotle, 100, 259

Arnold, Matthew, 185

Articulata of Cuvier, 38

Ascaris, egg of, 176

Ascidians, 55-57, 96

Australia and South America, land connection, 141

Authority, 175, 231, 232, 241

Authority and investigation, 179

Authority and knowledge, 104, 105

Axioms, 240


Bach, Sebastian, 278

Balfour, F.M., 135

Barrier Reef of Australia, 20

Basi-cranium of vertebrates, 132

_Beagle_, voyage of, 28

Beelzebub, 238

Belief, duty of, 238, 239

Belief, nature of scientific, 228

Beneden, van, 59, 176

Berkeley, Bishop, 218, 221, 224

Berkeley, quotation from, 221

Bible, 189, 192, 194, 213, 235, 237, 244, 245, 247, 248, 250, 253, 254, 259

Bible and geology, 80

Bibliolatry, 235, 246

Bimana, 164

Biology and medical education, 184

Birds, ancestry of, 69

Birds, classification of, 135

Birmingham, 185

Bishop, 175

Bishop Berkeley, 218, 221, 224

Bishop of Norwich, 33

Bishop of Oxford, _see_ Wilberforce

Boards for elementary education, 188

Bojanus, 173

Bones of horse, 71, 72

Bones, cartilage, and membrane, 134

Books, value of, 175

Booth, "General," 213

Bourbon, 246

Brahma, 272

Brain of man and apes, 120, 145, 146, 162, 163

Brain and mind, 220, 221

Brain-weights, 164

Breathing, 168

Breeding, selective, 127

Brehm, 153

British Association, 68, 120, 125, 274

Brooks, Professor W.K., 94

Buckland, Professor, 80, 234

Buddhists, 1, 272

Buffon, 15, 90

Burnett, Sir William, 11, 46

Busk, George, 49


Cabanis, 228

Caesar, 265

Cana, miracle at, 257

Cape York, 25

Carinates, 137

Carlyle, Thomas, 111

Cartesian axiom, 222

Cartilage bones, 134

Cartilaginous skulls, 134

Catastrophism in geology, 80, 249

Catholicism, 123, 214, 247

Cells, 52, 53

Cephalous molluscs, 58, 59

Chalk, 266

_Challenger_ expedition, 15

Chalmers, Dr. Thomas, 80

Chambers, R., 62

Chamisso, 53, 56

Chance, 229

Change in universe, 249

Charing Cross Hospital, 8, 9

Chaucer, 213

Chemistry and alchemy, 257

Chess, life compared with, 169

Children, education of, 189

Chimpanzees, 149, 163

Chondrocranium, 134

Christianity and evolution, 122

Christian civilisation and authority, 232

Chronology of the Bible, 247

Church of England, 111, 112

Church, the, and science, 236

Classical education, 185, 210

Classification of birds, 135

Classification by Cuvier, 38

Classification by Linnaeus, 38

Classification of mammals, 142

Classification of man, 146

Classification by old authors, 37

Classification of vertebrates, 143

Clergy as critics of science, 236

Clericalism, 239, 284

Clodd, E., 90, 127

Coelenterata, 42, 96

Coelomata, 43, 44

Commissions, royal, 195, 204

Common sense and metaphysics, 218

Common sense and science, 209

Conduct and religion, 261

Congo, 149

Conscience, 269

Conscientiousness, 280

Consciousness, 220, 224

Contemporaneity, geological, 79

Continuity of nature, 255

Cookery in schools, 190

Cope, Professor, 69, 94

Corals of Barrier Reef, 20

"Corybantic Christianity," 215

Cosmic process, 268, 270, 271

Cosmogony of the Hebrews, 244, 246

Cosmos, 229, 263, 265, 267, 272

Cowper-Temple Clause, 188

Crayfish, 158, 173, 277

Creation, 139, 246, 252

Creator, the, 250

Credibility of authority, 232

Criticism, Biblical, 194

Criticism of life, 185

Croonian lectures, 65, 129

Ctenophora, 42

Culture and science, 185, 186

Curriculum of medical education, 184

Cuttle-fish, 58

Cuvier, 6, 38, 115, 132, 133, 136, 209, 211


Darwin, Charles, 27-29, 60, 61, 68, chapters viii. and ix., 138, 147,
166, 229, 242

Darwin medal, 108

Darwin, voyage of, 27, 28

Darwin, Erasmus, 90

Darwinism, 103, 104, 106, 123

Darwinism, Huxley's late and early opinions on, 106-109

Darwinism and Lamarckism, 94

"Days" of creation, 251, 252

De la Beche, Sir Henry, 63, 64

Deluge, the, 235

Descartes, 219, 240, 243

Design, argument from, 230

Despotism and the Bible, 245

Devonian fishes, 68

Deuteronomy, 245

Dinosaurs and the ancestry of birds, 69

Diprotodonts, 142

Dissection in laboratories, 181

Divine will and science, 233

_Doctrine of the Deluge_, 235

Dogma and literature in the Bible, 254

Doliolum, 56

Domestic economy, 190

Doubt, duty of, 232, 239, 269

Drawing for children, 193

Dredging, 22

Drill for children, 189

Durckheim, Strauss, 173


Earth, age of, 84, 85

Eastbourne, 277

Ecclesiasticism, 235, 239

Echidna, 156

Economy, domestic, 190

Edinburgh, 174

_Edinburgh Review_, 115, 116

Education, classical, 185, 210

Education of children, 170

Education, elementary, 187, 188

Education, general, 184

Education, liberal, 169, 186, 210

Education, medical, 181

Education and religion, 188

Education, scientific, 168

Education of teachers, 195

Education, university, 195

Eggs of Mammalia, 156

Egypt, 276

Ejects, 221

Elementary education, 188

Elementary lessons in physiology, 172

Embryology and zooelogy, 177

Embryology of brain and skull, 130-133
Embryology of Mammals, 156, 157

Embryology of man, 159

Embryos, marine, 176

Embryos of vertebrates, 157

Endostyle of Ascidians, 56

England in eighteenth century, 239

English Bible, 245

English men of letters, 218

English philosophers, 218

Eohippus, 78

_Erdkunde_, 170, 171

Error, 243

Established church and Education, 189

Ether, 219

Ethics and evolution, 263

Ethical process, 265

Eutheria, 142

Evidence, limitations of, 231

Evidence for miraculous, 258

Evil, 268, 269, 271

Evolution, 60, 62, 63, 108, 110, 122, 168, 248

Evolution and Christianity, 122

Evolution of Cosmos, 250-253

Evolution not an explanation of Cosmos, 229

Evolution and Darwinism, 94

Evolution before Darwin, 91, 93, 100

Evolution, Darwin's contribution to, 93, 104

Evolution and ethics, 263

Evolution of horse, 73

Evolution and natural selection, 124-127

Evolution and pain, 268

Evolution, philosophy of, 272

Evolution and palaeontology, 86, 87

Evolution and Theism, 244

Evolutionist, 281

Exposition, Huxley's method of, 208


Faith, agnostic, 243

Falkenstein, 153

Fayrer, Sir Joseph, 10, 11

Feet of anthropoids, 164

Fertility of artificial breeds, 127

Fiddle, 278

_Fisgard_, H.M.S., 46

Fish, fossil, 68

Fisheries, Inspector of, 277

Flower, Sir William, 146

Forbes, Edward, 47, 63

Foreign languages, 196, 213

_Forms of Animal Life_, 178

Fossils, 67, 68

Fossils, chronological arrangement of, 87

Fossils and evolution, 87

Foundation membranes of Medusae, 40-43

Foster, Sir Michael, 47, 64, 180, 283

Freedom of the Press, 240

Freedom of thought, 231, 233

French, 213

French Revolution, 111

French translations, 216

Fullerian Professor, 64

Function, changes in, 230


Galileo, 247

Gallinaceous birds, 139

Gambit, 169

Game of life, 170

Garden, as an instance of interference with cosmic process, 267

Garnier, 151

Gasteropoda, 58

Gegenbauer, 59

Genesis, 234, 248, 250, 251, 252

Geographical distribution, 137-141

Geological addresses, 79, 80

Geological club, 234
Geological contemporaneity, 79

Geological history, 249

Geological Society of London, 70, 78, 80, 86

Geological time, 84, 85

Geology and the Bible, 80

Geology and catastrophism, 80, 81

Geology compared with biology, 82

Geology, history of, 234

German, 213

Gibbons, 149

Girls, education of, 190

Glacial acetic acid, 176

Gladstone, W.E., 248, 250, 251, 263

Goethe, 99, 130, 132

Goethe, quotations from, 130

Gold, transmutation of, 256

Goodness, 269, 273

Gorilla, 87, 149, 161

Gospels, 254

Gosse, P.H., 118

Government, 239

Greek, 213;
  in education, 186

Greek ethics, 269

Groos, Prof., 154


Haeckel, Prof. E., 91, 136

Hands of Anthropoids, 164

Haslar Hospital, 11, 12

Heathorn, Miss H.A., 19

Hebrew Cosmogony, 246

Hebrew Morality, 259

Hebrew Scriptures, 250

Heine, 261

Henle and Meissner, reports of, 182

Hercules, 246

Hertwig, 134

Hindustan, 269

Hipparion, 74-76

Hippocampus minor, 162, 163

Histological methods, 177

Hobbes, 218

Home office, 277

Homo, classification of, 160

Homology in organs of Medusae, 123

Homotaxis in geology, 80

Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton, 47, 98, 101

Horse, 68-78, 174

Hospitals in London, 181

Howes, Professor G.B., 173, 174, 207, 277

Humboldt, 92

Hume, David, 217, 218, 223, 240, 255, 256

Hume, David, quotations from, 223, 241, 256

Humour, 209

Hunterian Professor, 129

Hutton, James, 81, 249

Huxley, birth, 2;
  parents, 2, 3;
  school, 4;
  apprenticed to medicine, 5;
  enters Charing Cross Hospital, 8;
  first original paper, 9;
  graduates at London University, 10;
  becomes M.R.C.S., 11;
  appointed to Haslar Hospital, 11;
  appointed to _Rattlesnake_, 12;
  meets his future wife at Sydney, 19;
  first paper to Royal Society, 33;
  Royal medals, 34;
  becomes F.R.S., 47;
  leaves naval service, 48;
  appointed to Geological Survey and School of Mines, 63;
  becomes Fullerian Professor, 64;
  marriage, 64;
  examiner, 65;
  Croonian lecturer, 66;
  visits America, 70;
  becomes Secretary and President of Geological Society, 78;
  accepts Darwinism, 101;
  receives Darwin medal, 108;
  becomes Hunterian Professor,129;
  starts laboratory courses at South Kensington, 180;
  becomes candidate for London School Board, 189;
  serves on Royal Commissions,196, 204;
  becomes member of Her Majesty's Privy Council, 205;
  marriage, 274;
  ill-health and retirement, 276;
  death, 277;
  personal appearance, 277

Huxley's layer in root-sheath of hairs, 10

Hydra, 50

Hypothesis as to History of Nature, 248, 249


Ichthyopsida, 143

Idealism, 220, 224

Ideals and culture, 186

Indian speculation, 269

Individuality of animals, 49, 50, 51, 52, 55

Infallibility, 123, 236

Inspiration, 246, 247, 253, 254

Instincts, 154

Intellect, 243

Intermediate and linear types, 87

_International Scientific Series_, 173

_Invertebrata, Manual of_, 175

Ionia, 169

Israel, 245


Jermyn Street lectures to working men, 207

Johnson, Samuel, 219

Judaism and science, 246

Justice, 265, 269, 271, 273


Kant, 84, 242, 262

Karma, 269

Kelvin, Lord, 84

Knowledge and authority, 104, 105

Koelliker, 49, 59

Kowalevsky, 57


Laboratory work, 177, 179, 180

Labyrinthodonts, 69

Lamarck, 90, 91, 97

Lamarckism and Darwinism, 94, 97

Languages, modern, 6, 7

Lankester, Professor E. Ray, 57, 60, 94, 180, 277, 282

Larvae, 158

Latin, 186, 213

Law-courts and evidence, 231

Lawrence, Sir W., 144

Lectures at the School of Mines, 180

Lemurs, 163

Leutemann, 153

Leverrier, 209

Leviticus, 245

Liberal education, 228

Life, origin of, 227, 228

Limbs of Man and Gorilla, 162

Linear and intermediate types, 87

Linnaean Society of London, 33, 49, 115, 138, 145

Linnaeus, 38, 234

Literary culture, 186

_Literary Gazette_, 48

Literary style, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215

Literature, the Bible as, 254

Liverpool, 169

Living bodies, nature of, 228

Locke, 224

Lockyer, Sir Norman, 211

London, medical education in, 181

London, school board of, 189

Loyola, 262

Loxomma, 69

Lucas, Mr., 113

Luther, 262

Lyell, Sir Charles, 81, 91, 98, 144, 234, 249

Lyonet, 173


MacGillivray, John, 16, 17, 282

MacGillivray, William, 16, 100

Macmillan and Co., 171

Magna Charta, the Bible as, 245

Mammalia, classification of, 142

Man and the Apes, 155

Man, classification of, 146

Man and Gorilla, 161

Man, origin of, 144

_Man and the Apes_, 165

_Man's Place in Nature_, 147, 148

Manes and Manicheism, 265

Mantle of molluscs, 58

_Manual of the Anatomy of Invertebrated Animals_, 175

_Manual of the Anatomy of Vertebrated Animals_, 175

Marine embryos, 176

Marmosets, 163

Marriage, 19, 274

Marsh, Professor, 70-78

Marsupials, 141

Mason, Sir Josiah, 185

Materialism, 217, 220, 222, 225, 227

Matter and ideas, 224

Matter, nature of, 219-221

Matthew, Patrick, 100

Mauritius, 18

Medical education, 167, 181, 184

Medical students, 181, 279

Medusae, 33, 39, 40, 41, 42, 96, 123

Membrane bones, 134

Mental capacity of apes, 152

Mercy, 265

Mertens, 56

Mesohippus, 77

Metals, transmutation of, 257

Metaphysics, 241

Metaphysics and science, 217

Metatheria, 142

Methods in histology, 177

Microscope, 32, 176

Microtomes, 177

Milton, 213

Mind and body, 220

Mind, growth of, 210

Miohippus, 76

Miracles, 246, 254-259

Missionary spirit, 262

Mitral valve, 175

Mivart, Dr. St. George, 246-248

Modern spirit, 241

Modification of species, 92

Mollusca, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 96

Morality and religion, 237, 238

Morality of Stoics, 238

Morley, John, 217, 260

Mosaic Deluge, 235

Moseley, Professor H.N., 15

Mucous layer of germ, 43

Mueller, Johannes, 6, 37, 56

Music, 278


Naples, International Zooelogical Station at, 176

Naturalism, 226

Natural selection, 94, 99, 100, 103, 105, 124-127

Nature, continuity of, 255

Nature, history of, 248

Nature, state of, 266

_Nature_, 211

_Naval Architecture and Timber_, 100

Nebular hypothesis, 230

Newman, Cardinal, 240

New Testament, 253, 254

Nirvana, 272

Noah's Deluge, 235

Notochord, 134

Notogoea, 140


Oken, 130, 132, 133

Old Testament, 90

Omar, 272

Optimism, 270

Orangs, 149

Order of nature, 255, 258

Organic _versus_ Inorganic, 229

Organon, 242

Origin of species, 89, 95, 101, 102, 110

_Origin of Species_, reviews of, 113, 114, 115, 146

Ormuzd, 265

Ornithology, 136

Ornithorhynchus, 156

Ornithoscelida, 69

Orohippus, 77

Orthodoxy, 246

Owen, Sir Richard, 65, 66, 115, 118-121, 131, 133, 136, 145, 146, 162

Oxford, 120, 125, 263, 264

Oxford, Bishop of, _see_ Wilberforce


Pain, 268, 270, 271

Palaeontology and evolution, 68, 86

Palaeotherium, 74

Paley, 230

Pascal, 122

Payment of teachers by results, 195

Pelagic life, 30, 31

Pelvis of man and gorilla, 161

Pentateuch, 234, 244

Pessimism, 270

Phillips, Professor, 69

_Philosophic Zooelogique_, 97, 98

Philosophy, Huxley's advice on, 218

Phosphorescence, 55

Physical education, 189

Physical geography, 170

_Physics_ of Aristotle, 100

_Physiography_, 171

Physiology, 172

Pigafetta, 149

Pigmies, 149

_Pioneers of Evolution_, 127

Plankton, 30, 31

Plato's Archetypes, 59

Plato's philosophy, 224

Pliohippus, 76

"Portuguese man-of-war," 41, 50

Possibilities in logic, 258

Poulton, Professor E.B., 109, 127

Prayer, efficacy of, 258

Priestley, Joseph, 239

Primers of science, 171

Primitive groove, 135

_Principles of Geology_, 234

Professional education, 183

Protestantism, 123, 233, 235, 236

Protestant churches and knowledge, 247

Protestants and the Bible, 247

Protohippus, 74

Protoplasm, 52, 228

Prototheria, 142

Psychology, 227

Pterodactyls, 69

Pteropods, 56

Pyrosoma, 55


_Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science_, 49

_Quarterly Review_, 115, 116, 117


Rabbinical maxim of inspiration, 247

Radiata of Cuvier, 38

Rathke, 65

Ratites, 137

_Rattlesnake_, H.M.S., 13, 20, 21, 46, 282

Reade lecture, 146

Reason, age of, 239

Reformation, New, 284

Reformation, Protestant, 122, 233

Religion in education, 188, 191

Religion and morality, 237, 238

Religion and science, 120, 259

Religion, teaching, 191

Results, payment by, 195

Retina and light, 219

Revelation, 260

Revolution, French, 111

Richardson, Sir John, 12

Rights of man, 245

Robertson, Charles, 179

Rolleston, Professor, 152, 153, 266

Romanes, Professor, 152, 153, 263

Romanes lecture, 263

Rome, 247

Roscoe, Professor, 171

Rosse, Earl of, 34

Royal College of Science, 176, 180, 204, 274, 277

Royal College of Surgeons, 11, 129, 132

Royal Commissions, 204, 274

Royal Institution, 49, 52, 62, 64

Royal Society, 33, 34, 47, 49, 53, 58, 108, 129, 276

Rutherford, Professor, 180


Salisbury, Marquis of, 125

"Sally," the chimpanzee, 153

Salps, 50, 53, 54, 55, 96

Salt, Dr., 5

Sauropsida, 143

Saururae, 136

Savages, 23, 24, 165

Sawyer, Bob, 184

Scepticism, 240

Schematic mollusc, 60

School boards, 188, 189

School of Mines, 180

Schwann, 52

Science and Art Department, 195

Science and culture, 185

Science and Judaism, 246

Science and medical education, 184

Science and metaphysics, 217

Science and religion, 259

_Science and the Christian Tradition_, 248

_Science and the Hebrew Tradition_, 248

Science primers, 171

Scientific education, 168

Sclater, P.L., 138, 139, 142

Scottish universities, 167

Scriptures, 246

Section-cutting, 177

Secular education, 191, 194

Sedgwick, Professor Adam, 80, 115

Segmentation of eggs, 157

Segmentation of skull, 133

Selection and education, 190

Selective breeding, 103

Semite, ethics of, 269

Septuagint, 251

Serous layer of germ, 43

Sheldonian theatre, 264

Singing for children, 193

_Skepsis, thaetige_, of Goethe, 99

Skull of vertebrates, 65, 129, 130, 131, 132

Socrates, 243

Southern hemisphere, former land in, 141

Speaking, public, 208

Species, 92, 98, 106, 107, 108, 125, 126, 127

Specialists as teachers, 182

Spencer, Herbert, 91, 94, 123

Sponges, 42

Spontaneity of living matter, 228

Stanley, Captain Owen, 12, 13

State of nature, 266

Stevenson, R.L., quotation from, 174

Stewart, Professor Balfour, 171

Stoic morality, 192, 238

Stoics, 238, 269, 272

Struggle for existence, 93, 94, 95, 104, 266, 267, 271

Style, analysis of, 211, 212

Suarez, Father, 214

Substance of mind and matter, 223

Supernaturalism, 226

Superstition, 242

Survival of the fittest, 93, 94, 104

Suspensoria of jaws, 133

Switzerland, 275

Sydney, 19, 32

Synoptic Gospels, 254


Tapirs, 78

Teachers, education of, 195

Teeth of anthropoids, 149

Teeth of the horse, 73

Teleology, 230

Temper, 278

Theism and evolution, 244

Theology, 259

Theology in education, 191

Theoretical work in medical education, 184

Thomas, Oldfield, 142

Thomson, Sir W., now Lord Kelvin, _q.v._

Thread-cells of Medusae, 41

Time required for evolution, 84, 85

_Times_, the London, 66, 108, 113

Todd and Bowman's _Cyclopaedia of Anatomy_, 49

Toronto, University of, 48

Tow-net material, 31

Transmigration, 269

Transmutation of species, 99

_Treatise on Human Nature_, 240

Tree of evolution, 35

Tyndall, Professor John, 47, 48, 275

Types, 36, 96, 166

Types for laboratory dissection, 178, 180, 181

Types, intermediate and linear, 165


Uniformitarianism in geology, 81, 240

University education, 195

University of London, 65

University of Toronto, 48


Variation in anatomy, 166

Verification, method of, 179

Vertebrae, structure of, 131

Vertebral theory of the skull, 129-132

Vertebrata, 128

Vertebrata, ancestors of, 57

Vertebrata, classification of, 43

Vertebrata, embryos of, 157

_Vestiges of Creation_, 63, 97

Vivisection, 205

Voltaire, 260

Von Baer, 37, 43, 62, 96

Voyage of _Beagle_, 28

Voyage of _Challenger_, 15

Voyage of _Rattlesnake_, 20, 21


Wallace, Alfred Russel, 95, 101, 271

Weight of brains, 164

Weismann, Professor A., 94

Wells, W.C., 100

_Westminster Review_, 107, 114

Wharton Jones, Dr., 9, 37

Whewell, 115

Wilberforce, Samuel, Bishop of Oxford, 115, 116, 117, 118, 120, 121

Willey, Arthur, 57

Wine miracle at Cana, 257

Wollaston, 98

Words, use of, 213, 214

Workmen, lectures to, 207


York, Archbishop of, 234


Zooelogical Society, 138

Zooelogical science and laboratories, 177

Zooelogist, Huxley as a, 283

Zooelogy, 173

Zooephytes, 40

The Story of the Nations.

Messrs. G.P. Putnam's Sons take pleasure in announcing that they have
in course of publication, in co-operation with Mr. T. Fisher Unwin, of
London, a series of historical studies, intended to present in a
graphic manner the stories of the different nations that have attained
prominence in history.

In the story form the current of each national life is distinctly
indicated, and its picturesque and noteworthy periods and episodes are
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as well as to universal history.

It is the plan of the writers of the different volumes to enter into
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they actually lived, labored, and struggled--as they studied and
wrote, and as they amused themselves. In carrying out this plan, the
myths, with which the history of all lands begins, will not be
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actual history, so far as the labors of the accepted historical
authorities have resulted in definite conclusions.

The subjects of the different volumes have been planned to cover
connecting and, as far as possible, consecutive epochs or periods, so
that the set when completed will present in a comprehensive narrative
the chief events in the great STORY OF THE NATIONS; but it
is, of course, not always practicable to issue the several volumes in
their chronological order.


The "Stories" are printed in good readable type, and in handsome 12mo
form. They are adequately illustrated and furnished with maps and
indexes. Price per vol., cloth, $1.50; half morocco, gilt top, $1.75.

The following are now ready:

GREECE. Prof. Jas. A. Harrison.
ROME. Arthur Gilman.
THE JEWS. Prof. James K. Hosmer.
CHALDEA. Z.A. Ragozin.
GERMANY. S. Baring-Gould.
NORWAY. Hjalmar H. Boyesen.
SPAIN. Rev. E.E. and Susan Hale.
HUNGARY. Prof. A. Vambery.
CARTHAGE. Prof. Alfred J. Church.
THE SARACENS. Arthur Gilman.
THE MOORS IN SPAIN. Stanley Lane-Poole.
THE NORMANS. Sarah Orne Jewett.
PERSIA. S.G.W. Benjamin.
ANCIENT EGYPT. Prof. Geo. Rawlinson.
ASSYRIA. Z.A. Ragozin.
THE GOTHS. Henry Bradley.
IRELAND. Hon. Emily Lawless.
TURKEY. Stanley Lane-Poole.
MEDIAEVAL FRANCE. Prof. Gustave Masson.
HOLLAND. Prof. J. Thorold Rogers.
MEXICO. Susan Hale.
PHOENICIA. Geo. Rawlinson.
THE HANSA TOWNS. Helen Zimmern.
EARLY BRITAIN. Prof. Alfred J. Church.
RUSSIA. W.R. Morfill.
SCOTLAND. John Mackintosh.
SWITZERLAND. R. Stead and Mrs. A. Hug.
PORTUGAL. H. Morse-Stephens.
SICILY. E.A. Freeman.
POLAND. W.R. Morfill.
PARTHIA. Geo. Rawlinson.
JAPAN. David Murray.
AUSTRALASIA. Greville Tregarthen.
VENICE. Alethea Wiel.
THE CRUSADES. T.S. Archer and C.L. Kingsford.
VEDIC INDIA. Z.A. Ragozin.
BOHEMIA. C.E. Maurice.
CANADA. J.G. Bourinot.
THE BALKAN STATES. William Miller.
THE FRANKS. Lewis Sergeant.
  Sidney Whitman.
CHINA. Robt. K. Douglass.
MODERN SPAIN. Major Martin A.S. Hume.
MODERN ITALY. Pietro Orsi.
THE THIRTEEN COLONIES. Helen A. Smith. Two vols.

Other volumes in preparation are:

THE UNITED STATES, 1775-1897. Prof. A.C. McLaughlin. Two vols.
BUDDHIST INDIA. Prof. T.W. Rhys-Davids.
MOHAMMEDAN INDIA. Stanley Lane-Poole.

Heroes of the Nations.




A series of biographical studies of the lives and work of a number of
representative historical characters about whom have gathered the
great traditions of the Nations to which they belonged, and who have
been accepted, in many instances, as types of the several National
ideals. With the life of each typical character will be presented a
picture of the National conditions surrounding him during his career.

The narratives are the work of writers who are recognized authorities
on their several subjects, and, while thoroughly trustworthy as
history, will present picturesque and dramatic "stories" of the Men
and of the events connected with them.

To the Life of each "Hero" will be given one duodecimo volume,
handsomely printed in large type, provided with maps and adequately
illustrated according to the special requirements of the several
subjects. The volumes will be sold separately as follows:

Large 12^o, cloth extra              $1 50
Half morocco, uncut edges, gilt top   1 75


A series of biographical studies of the lives and work of certain
representative historical characters, about whom have gathered the
great traditions of the Nations to which they belonged, and who have
been accepted, in many instances, as types of the several National

The volumes will be sold separately as follows: cloth extra, $1.50;
half leather, uncut edges, gilt top, $1.75.

The following are now ready:

NELSON. By W. Clark Russell.
PERICLES. By Evelyn Abbott.
THEODORIC THE GOTH. By Thomas Hodgkin.
JULIUS CAESAR. By W. Warde Fowler.
WYCLIF. By Lewis Sergeant.
NAPOLEON. By W. O'Connor Morris.
CICERO. By J.L. Strachan-Davidson.
LOUIS XIV. By Arthur Hassall.
CHARLES XII. By R. Nisbet Bain.
LORENZO DE' MEDICI. By Edward Armstrong.
JEANNE D'ARC. By Mrs. Oliphant.
ROBERT THE BRUCE. By Sir Herbert Maxwell.
HANNIBAL. By W. O'Connor Morris.
ULYSSES S. GRANT. By William Conant Church.
ROBERT E. LEE. By Henry Alexander White.
THE CID CAMPEADOR. By H. Butler Clarke.
SALADIN. By Stanley Lane-Poole.
BISMARCK. By J.W. Headlam.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT. By Benjamin I. Wheeler.
OLIVER CROMWELL. By Charles Firth.
RICHELIEU. By James B. Perkins.
DANIEL O'CONNELL. By Robert Dunlop.
SAINT LOUIS (Louis IX., of France). By Frederick Perry.
LORD CHATHAM. By Walford Davis Green.

Other volumes in preparation are:

MOLTKE. By Spencer Wilkinson.
JUDAS MACCABAEUS. By Israel Abrahams.
HENRY V. By Charles L. Kingsford.
SOBIESKI. By F.A. Pollard.
JUSTINIAN. By Edward Jenks.


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