T. H. Huxley
Letters and Diary 1883

March 12, 1883

[To Unknown]

I have not read the writings for which Mr. Foote was prosecuted. But, unless their nature has been grossly misrepresented, I cannot say that I feel disposed to intervene on his behalf.

I am ready to go to great lengths in defence of freedom of discussion, but I decline to admit that rightful freedom is attacked, when a man is prevented from coarsely and brutally insulting his neighbours' honest beliefs.

I would rather make an effort to get legal penalties inflicted with equal rigour on some of the anti-scientific blasphemers–who are quite as coarse and unmannerly in their attacks on opinions worthy of all respect as Mr. Foote can possibly have been.

April 1883

[To Michael Foster]

The Egyptian exploration society is wholly archæological–at least from the cut of it I have no doubt it is so–and they want all their money to find out the pawnbrokers' shops which Israel kept in Pithom and Rameses–and then went off with the pledges.

This is the real reason why Pharaoh and his host pursued them; and then Moses and Aaron bribed the post-boys to take out the linch-pins.

That is the real story of the Exodus–as detailed in a recently discovered papyrus which neither Brugsch nor Maspero have as yet got hold of.

Four Daughters


Huxley Archives

April 12, 1883

[To Ethel (Babs)]

Dearest Pabelunza–I was quite overcome to-day to find that you had vanished without a parting embrace to your "faded but fascinating" parent. I clean forgot you were goint to leave this peaceful village for the whirl of Gloucester dissipation this morning–and the traces of weeping on your visage, which should have reminded me of our imminent parting, were absent.

My dear, I should like to have given you some good counsel. You are but a simple village maiden–don't be taken by the appearance of anybody. Consult your father–inclosing photograph and measurement (in inches)–in any case of difficulty.

Also give my love to the matron your sister, and tell her to look sharp after you. Treat her with more respect than you do your venerable P.–whose life will be gloom hidden by a film of heartless jests till you return.

Item.–Kisses to Ria and Co.– Your desolated Pater.

July 10, 1883

My dear Spencer–What an agreeable surprise your letter has been. I have been expecting the most awful scolding for taking more work, and behold as sweetly congratulatory an epistle as a man could wish.

Three weeks ago I swore by all my gods that I would not take the offer at any price, but I suppose the infusion of Theism was too homœopathic for the oath to bind.

Go on sleeping, my dear friend. If you are so amiable with three nights, what will you be with three weeks?

What a shame no rain is sent you. You will be speaking about Providence as I heard of a Yankee doing the other day–"Wal, sir, I guess he's good; but he's careless."

I think there is a good deal in that view of the government of the world–Ever yours very faithfully,

T. H. Huxley.

July 18, 1883

[To Michael Foster]

It is very unlucky for me that I signed the memorial requesting the Council of University College to reconsider their decision about Mrs. Besant and Miss Bradlaugh when I was quite innocent of my possibility of holding the P.R.S.

I must go to the meeting of members to-day and define my position in the matter with more care, under the circumstances.

Mrs. Besant was a student in my teacher's class here last year, and a very well-conducted lady-like person; but I have never been able to get hold of the "Fruits of Philosophy," and do not know to what doctrine she has committed herself.

They seem to have excluded Miss Bradlaugh simply on the noscitur a sociis principle.

It will need all the dexterity I possess to stand up for the principle of religious and philosophical freedom, without giving other people a hold for saying I have identified myself with Bradlaugh.

Letters of 1882
Letters of 1884

Letter Index



1.   THH Publications
2.   Victorian Commentary
3.   20th Century Commentary

1.   Letter Index
2.   Illustration Index

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