You have a brilliant field before you, and a start such that no one is likely to catch you. Sit deliberately down over against the city, conquer it and make it your own, and don’t be wasting powder in knocking down odd bastions with random shells.
I write jestingly, but I really am very much in earnest. Come and have a talk on the matter as soon as you can, for I should send in my report. You will find me in Jermyn Street, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday mornings, Thursday afternoon, but not Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon. Send a line to say when you will come.
Ever yours faithfully,
[Besides his Fullerian lectures on Ethnology at the Royal Institution this year, Huxley published in February 1866 a paper in the “Natural History Review,” on the “Prehistoric Remains of Caithness,” based upon a quantity of remains found the previous autumn at Keiss. This, and the article on the “Neanderthal Skull” in the “Natural History Review” for 1864, attracted some notice among foreign anthropologists. Dr. H. Welcker writes about them; Dr. A. Ecker wants the “Prehistoric Remains” for his new “Archiv fur Anthropologie”; the Societe d’Anthropologie de Paris elects him a Foreign Associate.
He was asked by Dr. Fayrer to assist in a great scheme he had proposed to the Asiatic Society (Comp. Chapter 22 ad init. and Appendix 1.), to gather men of every tribe from India, the Malayan Peninsula, Persia, Arabia, the Indian Archipelago, etc., for anthropological purposes. It was well received by the Council of the Society and by the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal; anything Huxley could say in its favour would be of great weight. Would he come out as Dr. Fayrer’s guest?
Unable to go to Calcutta, he sent the following letter:—]
Jermyn Street, London, June 14, 1866.
My dear Fayrer,
I lose no time in replying to your second letter, and my first business is to apologise for not having answered the first, but it reached me in the thick of my lectures, and like a great many other things which ought to have been done I put off replying to a more convenient season. I have been terribly hard worked this year, and thought I was going to break down a few weeks ago but luckily I have pulled through.
I heartily wish that there were the smallest chance of my being able to accept your kind invitation and take part in your great scheme at Calcutta. But it is impossible for me to leave England for more than six weeks or two months, and that only in the autumn, a time of year when I imagine Calcutta is not likely to be the scene of anything but cholera patients.
As to your plan itself, I think it a most grand and useful one if it can be properly carried out. But you do things on so grand a scale in India that I suppose all the practical difficulties which suggest themselves to me may be overcome.