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HUXLEY


morphological; there is no necessary nexus between the two. Huxley, however, felt that he had at last a secure grip of evolution. He warned Darwin: “ I will stop at no point as long as clear reasoning will carry me further” (Life, i. 172). Owen, who had some evolutionary tendencies, was at first favourably disposed to Darwin's theory, and even claimed that he had to some extent anticipated it in his own writings. But Darwin, though he did not thrust it into the foreground, never fiinched from recognizing that man could not be excluded from his theory. “ Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history ” (Origin, ed. i. 488). Owen could not face the wrath of fashionable orthodoxy. In his Rede Lecture he endeavoured to save the position by asserting that man was clearly marked off from all other animals by the anatomical structure of his brain. This was actually inconsistent with known facts, and was effectually refuted by Huxley in various papers and lectures, summed up in 1863 in Man's Place in Nature. This “ monkey damnification ” of mankind was too much even for the “ veracity ” of Carlyle, who is said to have never forgiven it. Huxley had not the smallest respect for authority as a basis for belief, scientific or otherwise. He held that scientinc men were morally bound “ to try all things and hold fast to that which is good ” (Life, ii. 161). Called upon in 1862, in the absence of the president, to deliver the presidential address to the Geological Society, he disposed once for all of one of the principles accepted by geologists, that similar fossils in distinct regions indicated that the strata containing them were contemporary. All that could be concluded, he pointed out, was that the general order of succession was the same. In 1854 Huxley had refused the post of palaeontologist to the Geological Survey; but the fossils for which he then said that he “ did not care ” soon acquired importance in his eyes, as supplying evidence for the support of the evolutionary theory. The thirty-one years during which he occupied the chair of natural history at the School of Mines were largely occupied with palaeontological research. Numerous memoirs on fossil fishes established many far-reaching morphological facts. The study of fossil reptiles led to his demonstrating, in the course of lectures on birds, delivered at the College of Surgeons in 1867, the fundamental affinity of the two groups which he united under the title of Sauropsida. An incidental result of the same course was his proposed rearrangement of the zoological regions into which P. L. Sclater had divided the world in 1857. Huxley anticipated, to a large extent, the results at which botanists have since arrived: he proposed as primary divisions, Arctogaeato—to include the land areas of the northern hemisphere—and Notogaea for the remainder. Successive waves of life originated in and spread from the northern area, the survivors of the more ancient types finding successively a refuge in the south. Though Huxley had accepted the Darwinian theory as a working hypothesis, he never succeeded in firmly grasping it in detail. He thought “ evolution might conceivably have taken place without the development of groups possessing the characters of species ” (Essays, v. 41). His palaeontological researches ultimately led him to dispense with Darwin. In 1892 he wrote: “ The doctrine of evolution is no speculation, but a generalization of certain facts . . . classed by biologists under the heads of Embryology and of Palaeontology ” (Essays, v. 42). Earlier in 1881 he had asserted even more emphatically that if the hypothesis of evolution “ had not existed, the palaeontologist would have had to invent it ” (Essays, iv. 44).

From 1870 onwards he was more and more drawn away from scientific research by the claims of public duty. Some men yield the more readily to such demands, as their fulfilment is not unaccompanied by public esteem. But he felt, as he himself said of Joseph Priestley, “ that he was a man and a citizen before he was a philosopher, and that the duties of the two former positions are at least as imperative as those of the latter ” (Essays, iii. 13). From 1862 to 1884 he served on no less than ten Royal Commissions, dealing in every case with subjects of great importance, and in many with matters of the gravest moment to the community. He held and filled with invariable dignity and distinction more public positions than have perhaps ever fallen to the lot of a scientific man in England. From 1871 to 1880 he was a secretary of the Royal Society. From 1881 to 1885 he was president. For honours he cared little, though they were within his reach; it is said that he might have received a peerage. He accepted, however, in 1892, a Privy Councillorship, at once the most democratic and the most aristocratic honour accessible to an English citizen. In 1870 he was president of the British Association at Liverpool, and in the same year was elected a member of the newly constituted London School Board. He resigned the latter position in 1872, but in the brief period during which he acted, probably more than any man, he left his mark on the foundations of national elementary education. He made war on the scholastic methods which wearied the mind in merely taxing the memory; the children were to be prepared to take their place worthily in the community. Physical training was the basis; domestic economy, at any rate for girls, was insisted upon, and for all some development of the aesthetic sense by means of drawing and singing. Reading, writing and arithmetic were the indispensable tools for acquiring knowledge, and intellectual discipline was to be gained through the rudiments of physical science. He insisted on the teaching of the Bible partly as a great literary heritage, partly because he was “ seriously perplexed to know by what practical measures the religious feeling, which is the essential basis of conduct, was to be kept up, in the present utterly chaotic state of opinion in these matters, without its use ” (Essays, iii. 397). In 1872 the School of Mines was moved to South Kensington, and Huxley had, for the first time after eighteen years, those appliances for teaching beyond the lecture room, which to the lasting injury of the interests of biological science in Great Britain had been withheld from him by the short-sightedness of government. Huxley had only been able to bring his influence to bear upon his pupils by oral teaching, and had had no opportunity by personal intercourse in the laboratory of forming a school. He was now able to organize a system of instruction for classes of elementary teachers in the general principles of biology, which indirectly affected the teaching of the subject throughout the country.

The first symptoms of physical failure to meet the strain of the scientific and public duties demanded of him made some rest imperative, and he took a long holiday in Egypt. He still continued for some years to occupy himself mainly with vertebrate morphology. But he seemed to find more interest and the necessary mental stimulus to exertion in lectures, public addresses and more or less controversial writings. His health, which had for a time been fairly restored, completely broke down again in 1885. In 1890 he removed from London to Eastbourne, where after a painful illness he died on the 29th of June 1895.

The latter years of Huxley's life were mainly occupied with contributions to periodical literature on subjects connected with philosophy and theology. The effect produced by these on popular opinion was profound. This was partly due to his position as a man of science, partly to his obvious earnestness and sincerity, but in the main to his strenuous and attractive method of exposition. Such studies were not wholly new to him, as they had more or less engaged his thoughts from his earliest days. That his views exhibit some process of development and are not wholly consistent was, therefore, to be expected, and for this reason it is not easy to summarize them as a connected body of teaching. They may be found perhaps in their most systematic form in the volume on Hume published in 1879.

Huxley's general attitude to the problems of theology and philosophy was technically that of scepticism. “ I am," he wrote, “ too much of a sceptic to deny the possibility of anything ” (Life, ii. 127). “ Doubt is a beneficent demon " (Essays, ix. 56). He was anxious, nevertheless, to avoid the accusation of Pyrrhonism (Life, ii. 280), but the Agnosticism which he defined to express his position in 1869 suggests the Pyrrhonist Aphasia. The only approach to certainty which he admitted lay in the order of nature. “The conception of the constancy of the order of nature has become the dominant idea of modern thought . . . Whatever may be man's speculative doctrines, it is quite certain that every intelligent person guides his life and risks his fortune upon the belief that the order of nature is constant, and that the chain of natural causation is never broken." He adds, however, that “ it by no means necessarily follows that we are justified in expanding this generalization into the infinite past ” (Essays, iv. 47, 48). This was little more than a pious