Science and Religion Once More

New York Tribune (Sept. 18, 1876)

Prof. Huxley is to begin to-night a series of three lectures which are to embody substantially what he has to say on scientific matters during his present visit to America

There has been a disposition among some well-meaning but very injudicious clergymen, to protest against the considerations with which Prof. Huxley has been treated, and to denounce him as an enemy to religion. Such men are in themselves the worse foes to religion–as its bigots have been found to be in every age of its progress. Prof. Huxley will receive the attention due to an eminent man of science, whose candor and fearlessness are only equaled by his ability.

Meantime, we commend to dissatisfied zealous those golden words from one of the last addresses of Horace Greeley: "This, then, I apprehend is the proper work of the College: To appreciate and measure, and undistrustfully accept and commend, the gigantic strides which Physical Science is making in our day, yet be not swept away by them; to lend an attentive and unprejudiced ear to the bold speculations of our Darwins and Huxleys, wherein they seem almost to lay a confident finger on the very heart of the great mysteries of life, without fear that they will ever evict God from His universe, or restrict Him to some obscure corner thereof; to welcome all that is true and beneficent in the impetuous currents of modern thought, but not exaggerate their breadth and depth, nor accept their direction as authoritative and final, to proffer a genial and gracious hospitality to whatever is nobly new, yet hold fast and from time to time assert the grand old truths which are grounded in the nature of Man and his relationship to the universe, in the firm assurance that no discoveries in science, no advance in human knowledge can ever invalidate or even belittle the Golden Rule, and no conclusion of philosophy ever equal in importance that simple affirmation of the untaught Judaean peasant who long ago perceived and proclaimed that God is Love."

Professor Huxley's First Lecture

New York Tribune (Sept. 19, 1876)

The Comparative Value of Evidence –Human Testimony Fallible–The Whole Problem a Historical One–Three Theories–Milton Responsible for the "Biblical" Hypothesis–Weakness of Other Theories than Evolution

To say that a crowded audience greeted Prof. Thomas H. Huxley t Chickering Hall last night is to do injustice to the fact. The entrance was thronged at an early hour, and the only consolation of the people who were jammed together in front of the ticket office was that it was a highly respectable crush. Large numbers had evidently deferred the purchase of tickets until the last moment. The trouble was not ended when, after undergoing the last extremity of squeezing, the ticket office was reached and the purchase made. It was quite as difficult to get out from the crowd below as it was to get into it. Not a few agile gentlemen took the alternative of climbing up the sides of the stairs to join the happier throng that they had been long envying–the people that had bought their tickets in advance and had nothing to do but to ascend to the hall.

Within every seat that seemed to be taken before the lecture began and the few vacancies were filled in the first ten minutes afterward, and "wall-flowers" were packed standing behind the seats. The hall was full of familiar faces; of men eminent in the learned professors; of New York's best society.

Prof. Huxley in America

The Tribune September 23, 1876

[1] The stay of Prof. Thomas H. Huxley in this country has been necessarily brief. His engagement for a course of lectures before the Royal School of Mines requires his return to England by Oct. 1. But short as has been his stay with us, it has accorded several opportunities for hearing him–more, in fact, than were hoped for when the visit was first projected. It has also been of marked service to science in this country, by calling public attention to the value of our geological treasures. Soon after his arrival Prof. Huxley went to New Haven, and there spent several days in a careful examination and study of the fossils from the West, which have been obtained by Prof Marsh in expeditions already familiar to TRIBUNE readers. These fossils have a peculiar value. They show that in past periods animals existed whose forms were intermediate between those already known. Not only are the gaps between species thus filled, but the new forms are found in the rocks in a regular order of progression. To Prof. Huxley, a firm believer in and advocate of the theory of Evolution, these discoveries of Prof. Marsh were of the highest interest. Nothing short of his own personal examination of the specimens would probably have satisfied so careful an observer as Prof Huxley. Having made that examination, he declares that the reality very far exceeded his anticipation." He regards this new series of facts as establishing the theory of Evolution upon an impregnable basis. To make these facts public, and to display their importance as affording data for earth’s history, were among the chief objects of his lectures in New York.

Prof. Huxley was present during the Buffalo meeting of the American Association for the Ad-

vancement of Science, and shared in the hospitality which made that a memorable occasion, being himself the most prominent figure in that assembly of scientific workers. He shortly afterward visited Niagara Falls, where he made some valuable observations which he subsequently embodied in an address delivered at Nashville. At the opening of the Johns Hopkins University at Baltimore, Prof. Huxley gave an interesting and suggestive exposition of his views respecting the management and methods of such an institution–views of value on account of his experience in educational affairs. It will be noticed that in all the speeches and addresses made by Prof. Huxley in this country and given in full in this Extra, he has made topics that relate to America a specialty.

In person Prof. Huxley is rather above the medium highs; of large frame, but spare. He stoops slightly, as if habitually engaged in thought. His features are prominent and bear an expression of energy in repose. His hair and whiskers are iron gray. He speaks without manuscript or notes of any kind, and never prepares the phraseology of his addresses in advance of their delivery. His manner of speaking is quite simple and straightforward, with none of the gestures or arts of oratory. His delivery is slow and distinct, being the result of a hard and successful effort in the early part of his career to break off a previous habit of rapid speaking.

Clark Medal

T. H. H. honored by Clark Medal of
Royal Society of New South Wales 1876
Photograph by Lock and Whitfield
Huxley Archives


C. Blinderman & D. Joyce
Clark University