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HUXLEY

directly by F. W. Robertson and F. D. Maurice, gradually approached more and more to those of the Church of England, which he ultimately joined. His interest in theology was profound, and he brought to it a spirituality of outlook and an aptitude for metaphysical inquiry and exposition which added a singular attraction to his writings. In 1861 he joined Meredith Townsend as joint-editor and part proprietor of the Spectator, then a well-known liberal weekly, which, however, was not remunerative from the business point of view. Hutton took charge of the literary side of the paper, and by degrees his own articles became and remained up to the last one of the best-known features of serious and thoughtful English journalism. The S pectator, which gradually became a prosperous property, was his pulpit, in which unwearyingly he gave expression to his views, particularly on literary, religious and philosophical subjects, in opposition to the agnostic and rationalistic opinions then current in intellectual circles, as popularized by Huxley. A man of fearless honesty, quick and catholic sympathies, broad culture, and many friends in intellectual and religious circles, he became one of the most influential journalists of the day, his fine character and conscience earning universal respect and confidence. He was an original member of the Metaphysical Society (1869). He was an anti-vivisectionist, and a member of the royal commission (1875) on that subject. In 1858 he had married Eliza Roscoe, a cousin of his first wife; she died early in 1897, and Hutton's own death followed on the 9th of September of the same year.

Among his other publications may be mentioned Essays, Theological and Literary (1871; revised 1888), and Criticism: on Cantemporary Thought and Thinkers (1894); and his opinions may be studied co mpendiously in the selections from his Spectator articles published in 1899 under the title of Aspects of Religious and Scientijic Thought.


HUXLEY, THOMAS HENRY (1825–1895), English biologist, was born on the 4th of May 1825 at Ealing, where his father, George Huxley, was senior assistant-master in the school of Dr Nicholas. This was an establishment of repute, and is at any rate remarkable for having produced two men with so little in common in after life as Huxley and Cardinal Newman. The cardinal's brother, Francis William, had been “captain” of the school in 1821. Huxley was a seventh child (as his father had also been), and the youngest who survived infancy. Of Huxley's ancestry no more is ascertainable than in the ease of' most middle-class families. He himself thought it sprang from the Cheshire Huxleys of Huxley Hall. Different branches migrated south, one, now extinct, reaching London, where its members were apparently engaged in commerce. They established themselves for four generations at Wyre Hall, near Edmonton, and one was knighted by Charles II. Huxley describes his paternal race as “ mainly Iberian mongrels, with a good dash of Norman and a little Saxon.”[1] From his father he thought he derived little except a quick temper and the artistic faculty which proved of great service to him and reappeared in an even more striking degree in his daughter, the Hon. Mrs Collier. “ Mentally and physically,” he wrote, “ I am a piece of my mother.” Her maiden name was Rachel Withers. “ She came of Wiltshire people,” he adds, and describes her as “ a typical example of the Iberian variety.” He tells us that “ her most distinguishing characteristic was rapidity of thought. . . That peculiarity has been passed on to me in full strength ” (Essays, i. 4). One of the not least striking facts in Huxley's life is that of education in the formal sense he received none. “ I had two years of a pandemonium of a school (between eight and ten), and after that neither help nor sympathy in any intellectual direction till I reached manhood” (Life, ii. 145). After the death of Dr Nicholas the Ealing school broke up, and Huxley's father returned about 1835 to his native town, Coventry, where he had obtained a small appointment. Huxley was left to his own devices; few histories of boyhood could offer any parallel. At twelve he was sitting up in bed to read Hutton's Geology. His great desire was to be a mechanical engineer; it ended in his devotion to “ the mechanical engineering of living machines.” His curiosity in this direction was nearly fatal; a post-mortem he was taken to between thirteen and fourteen was followed by an illness which seems to have been the starting point of the ill-health which pursued him all through life. At fifteen he devoured Sir William Hamilton's Logic, and thus acquired the taste for metaphysics, which he cultivated to the end. At seventeen he came under the influence of Thomas Carlyle's writings. Fifty years later he wrote: “ To make things clear and get rid of cant and shows of all sorts. This was the lesson I learnt from Carlyle's books when I was a boy, and it has stuck by me all my life ” (Life, ii. 268). Incidentally they led him to begin to learn German; he had already acquired French. At seventeen Huxley, with his elder brother James, commenced regular medical studies at Charing Cross Hospital, where they had both obtained scholarships. He studied under Wharton Jones, a physiologist who never seems to have attained the reputation he deserved. Huxley said of him: “ I do not know that I ever felt so much respect for a teacher before or since ” (Life, i. 20). At twenty he passed his first M.B. examination at the University of London, winning the gold medal for anatomy and physiology; W. H. Ransom, the well-known Nottingham physician, obtaining the exhibition. In 1845 he published, at the suggestion of Wharton Jones, his first scientific paper, demonstrating the existence of a hitherto unrecognized layer in the inner sheath of hairs, a layer that has been known since as “ Huxley's layer.”

Something had to be done for a livelihood, and at the suggestion of a fellow-student, Mr (afterwards Sir Joseph) Fayrer, he applied for an appointment in the navy. He passed the necessary examination, and at the same time obtained the qualification of the Royal College of Surgeons. He was “ entered on the books of Nelson's old ship, the ' Victory,' for duty at Haslar Hospital.” Its chief, Sir John Richardson, who was a well-known Arctic explorer and naturalist, recognized Huxley's ability, and procured for him the post of surgeon to H.M.S. “ Rattlesnake,” about to start for surveying work in Torres Strait. The commander, Captain Owen Stanley, was a son of the bishop of Norwich and brother of Dean Stanley, and wished for an officer with some scientific knowledge. Besides Huxley the “ Rattlesnake ” also carried a naturalist by profession, John Macgillivray, who, however, beyond a dull narrative of the expedition, accomplished nothing. The “ Rattlesnake ” left England on the 3rd of December 1846, and was ordered home after the lamented death of Captain Stanley at Sydney, to be paid off at Chatham on the 9th of November 1850. The tropical seas teem with delicate surface-life, and to the study of this Huxley devoted himself with unremitting devotion. At that time no known methods existed by which it could be preserved for study in museums at home. He gathered a magnificent harvest in the almost unreaped field, and the conclusions he drew from it were the beginning of the revolution in zoological science which he lived to see accomplished.

Baron Cuvier (1769–1832), whose classification still held its ground, had divided the animal kingdom into four great embranchements. Each of these corresponded to an independent archetype, of which the “ idea ” had existed in the mind of the Creator. There was no other connexion between these classes, and the “ ideas ” which animated them were, as far as one can see, arbitrary. Cuvier's groups, Without their theoretical basis, were accepted by K. E. von Baer (1792–1876). The “ idea ” of the group, or archetype, admitted of endless variation within it; but this was subordinate to essential conformity with the archetype, and hence Cuvier deduced the important principle of the “ correlation of parts,” of which he made such conspicuous use in palaeontological reconstruction. Meanwhile the “ Naturphilosophen,” with J. W. Goethe (1749–1832) and L. Oken (1779–1851), had in effect grasped the underlying principle of correlation, and so far anticipated evolution by asserting the possibility of deriving specialized from simpler structures. Though they were still hampered by idealistic conceptions, they established morphology. Cuvier's four great

groups were Vertebrata, Mollusca, Articulata and Radiata.

  1. Nature, lxiii. 127.