T. H. Huxley
Letters and Diary 1871

February 20, 1871

My dear Darwin–Best thanks for your new book [The Descent of Man], a copy of which If ind awaiting me this morning. But I wish you would not bring your books out when I am so busy with all sorts of things. You know I can't show my face anywhere in society without having read them–and I consider it too bad.

No doubt, too, it is full of suggestions just like that I have hit upon by chance at p. 212 of vol. i., which connects the periodicity of vital phenomena with antecedent conditions.

Fancy lunacy, %c., coming out of the primary fact that one's nth ancestor lived between tide-marks! I declare it's the grandest suggestion I have heard of for an age.

I have been working like a horse for the last fortnight, with the fag end of influenza hanging about me–and I am improving under the process, which shows what a good tonic work is.

I shall try if I can't pick out from "Sexual Selection" some practical hint for the improvement of gutter-babies, and bring in a resolution thereupon at the School Board.–Ever yours faithfully,

T. H. Huxley.

July 7, 1871

26 Abbey Place

My dear Dohrn–I have received your packet, and I will take care that your Report is duly preented to the Association. But the "Happy Family" in general, and myself in particular, are very sorry to cannot come to Scotland. We had begun to count upon it, and the children are immeasurably disgusted with the Insects which will not lay their eggs at the right time.

You have become acclimatised to my bad behaviour in the matter of correspondence, so I shall not apologise for being in arrear. I have been frightfully hard-worked with two Royal Commissions and the School Board all sitting at once, but I am none the worse, and things are getting into shape–which is a satisfaction for one's trouble. I look forward hopefully towards getting back to my ordinary work next year.

Your penultimate letter was very interesting to me, but the glimpses into your new views which it affords are very tantalising–and I want more. What you say about the development of the Amnion in your last letter still more nearly brought "Donner und Blitz!" to my lips–and I shall look out anxiously for your new facts. Lankester tells me you have been giving lectures on your views. I wish I had been there to hear.

He is helping me as Demonstrator in a course of instruction in Biology which I am giving to Schoolmasters–with the view of converting them into scientific missionaries to convert the Christian Heathen of these islands to the true faith.

I am afraid that the English microscope turned out to be by no means worth the money and trouble you bestowed upon it. But the glory of such an optical Sadowa should count for something! I wish that you would get your Jena man to supply me with one of his best objectives if the price is not ruinous–I should like to compare it with my 1/2 in. of Ross.

All our children but Jessie have the whooping-cough–Pertussis–I don't know your German name for it–It is distressing enough for them, but, I think, still worse for their mother. However, there are no serious symptoms, and I hope the change of air will set them right.

They all join with me in best wishes and regrets that you are not coming. Won't you change your mind? We start on July 31st.–Ever yours faithfully, T. H. Huxley.

Letters of 1872
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Gratitude and Permissions

C. Blinderman & D. Joyce
Clark University

§ 1. THH: His Mark
§ 2. Voyage of the Rattlesnake
§ 3. A Sort of Firm
§ 4. Darwin's Bulldog
§ 5. Hidden Bond: Evolution
§ 6. Frankensteinosaurus
§ 7. Bobbing Angels: Human Evolution
§ 8. Matter of Life: Protoplasm
§ 9. Medusa
§ 10. Liberal Education
§ 11. Scientific Education
§ 12. Unity in Diversity
§ 13. Agnosticism
§ 14. New Reformation
§ 15. Verbal Delusions: The Bible
§ 16. Miltonic Hypothesis: Genesis
§ 17. Extremely Wonderful Events: Resurrection and Demons
§ 18. Emancipation: Gender and Race
§ 19. Aryans et al.: Ethnology
§ 20. The Good of Mankind
§ 21.  Jungle Versus Garden