Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley — Volume 1 eBook

Leonard Huxley
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 472 pages of information about Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley — Volume 1.
most important of all, Edward Forbes was likely before long, to leave his post at the Museum of Practical Geology, and he had already been spoken to by the authorities about filling it.  This was worth some 200 pounds sterling a year, while he calculated to make about 250 pounds sterling by his pen alone.] “Therefore it would be absurd to go hunting for chemical birds in the bush when I have such in the hand.”

CHAPTER 1.7.

1851-1853.

[Several letters dating from 1851 to 1853 help to fill up the outlines of Huxley’s life during those three years of struggle.  There is a description of the British Association meeting at Ipswich in 1851] ("Forbes advises me to go down to the meeting of the British Association this year and make myself notorious somehow or other.  Thank Heaven I have impudence enough to lecture the savans of Europe if necessary.  Can you imagine me holding forth?” [June 6, 1851.]), with the traditional touch of gaiety to enliven the gravity of its proceedings, and the unconventional jollity of the Red Lion Club (a dining-club of members of the Association), whose palmy days were those under the inspiration of the genial and gifted Forbes.  This was the meeting at which Huxley first began his alliance with Tyndall, with whom he travelled down from town, although he does not mention his name in this letter.  With Hooker he had already made acquaintance; and from this time forwards the three were closely bound together by personal regard as well as by similarity of aims and interests.

Then follow his sketch of the English scientific world as he found it in 1851, given in his letter to W. Macleay; several letters to his sister; the description of his first lecture at the Royal Institution, which, though successful on the whole, was very different in manner and delivery from the clear and even flow of his later style, with the voice not loud but distinct, the utterance never hurried beyond the point of immediate comprehension, but carrying the attention of the audience with it, eager to the end.  Two letters of warning and remonstrance against the habits of lecturing in a colloquial tone, suitable to a knot of students gathered round his table, but not to a large audience—­of running his words, especially technical terms, together—­of pouring out new and unfamiliar matter at breakneck speed, were addressed to him—­one by a “working man” of his Monday evening audience at Jermyn Street in 1855, the other, undated, by Mr. Jodrell, a frequenter of the Royal Institution, and afterwards founder of the Jodrell Lectureships at University College, London, and other benefactions to science, and these he kept by him as a perpetual reminder, labelled “Good Advice.”  How much can be done by the frank acceptance of criticism and by careful practice is shown by the difference between the feelings of the later audiences who flocked to his lectures, and those of the members of an Institute in St. John’s Wood, who, as he often used to tell, after hearing him in his early days, petitioned “not to have that young man again.”]

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Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley — Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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