[Thomas Henry Huxley's first defence of Darwinism.] Printed article titled: 'Time and Life: Mr. Darwin's "Origin of Species." | By Professor Huxley, F.R.S.'

Author: 
T. H. Huxley [Thomas Henry Huxley]; Charles Darwin; Darwinism; Darwinian controversy; Origin of Species
Publication details: 
[Seven-page article (pp.142-148), extracted from Macmillan's Magazine, London, December 1859 (vol. 1).]
£150.00
SKU: 22580

A highly influential article, in which the man who would be nicknamed 'Darwin's Bulldog' fires his opening salvo in the Darwinian controversy. (The article would be followed by a letter to The Times, 26 December 1859.) The seven page article (pp.142-148) is on four leaves, 8vo, extracted from a copy of the December 1859 number of 'Macmillan's Magazine'. Disbound and loose. In good condition, on lightly aged and stained paper. On p.146 Huxley informs us that the preceding part of the article contains 'the substance of a lecture delivered before the Royal Institution of Great Britain many months ago, and of course long before the appearance of the remarkable work on the "Origin of Species," just published by Mr. Darwin, who arrives at very similar conclusions.' In what follows he attempts 'to point out in a few words, in fact, what, as I gather from the perusal of the book, his doctrines really are, and on what sort of basis they rest'. Huxley states that 'it has long been my privilege to enjoy Mr. Darwin's friendship, and to profit by corresponding with him, and by, to some extent, becoming acquainted with the workings of his singularly original and well-stored mind'. He also writes: 'No one will be better satisfied than I to see Mr. Darwin's book refuted, if any person be competent to perform that feat; but I would suggest that refutation is retarded, not aided, by mere sarcastic misrepresentation.' He concludes the article: 'If it can be proved that the process of natural selection, operating upon any species, can give rise to varieties of species so different from one another that none of our tests will distinguish them from true species, Mr. Darwin's hypothesis of the origin of species will take its place among the established theories of science, be its consequences whatever they may. If, on the other hand, Mr. Darwin has erred, either in fact or in reasoning, his fellow-workers will soon find out the weak points in his doctrines, and their extinction by some nearer approximation to the truth will exemplify his own principle of natural selection. | In either case the question is one to be settled only by the painstaking, truth-loving investigation of skilled naturalists. It is the duty of the general public to await the result in patience; and, above all things, to discourage, as they would any other crimes, the attempt to enlist the prejudices of the ignorant, or the uncharitableness of the bigoted, on either side of the controversy.'