Thomas Huxley (1825-1895)

Image: Statue of Charles Darwin in the Natural History Museum, London. The statue was created from Portland stone by Sir Joseph Boehm and was unveiled on 9 June 1885.

From Wikipedia:

“Thomas Henry Huxley PC FRS HonFRSE FLS was an English biologist and anthropologist specialising in comparative anatomy. He is known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his advocacy of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Huxley was born in Ealing, which was then a village in Middlesex.

He himself said “I am Darwin’s bulldog”. While the second half of Darwin’s life was lived mainly within his family, the younger combative Huxley operated mainly out in the world at large. A letter from Huxley to Ernst Haeckel (2 November 1871) states: “The dogs have been snapping at [Darwin’s] heels too much of late.” At Oxford and Cambridge Universities, “Bulldog” was and still is student slang for a university policeman, whose job was to corral errant students and maintain their moral rectitude.

The Water Babies, a fairy tale for a land baby, by Charles Kingsley, was serialised in Macmillan’s Magazine 1862–63, published in book form, with additions, in 1863. Kingsley had been among the first to give a favourable review to Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, having “long since… learnt to disbelieve the dogma of the permanence of species”, and the story includes a satire on the reaction to Darwin’s theory, with the main scientific participants appearing, including Richard Owen and Huxley. In 1892 Thomas Henry Huxley’s five-year-old grandson *Julian saw the 1881 illustration by Edward Linley Sambourne of Huxley and Richard Owen inspecting a “water baby” and wrote his grandfather a letter asking:

Dear Grandpater—Have you seen a Waterbaby? Did you put it in a bottle? Did it wonder if it could get out? Could I see it some day?—Your loving Julian.

Huxley wrote back:

My dear Julian—I could never make sure about that Water Baby… My friend who wrote the story of the Water Baby was a very kind man and very clever. Perhaps he thought I could see as much in the water as he did—There are some people who see a great deal and some who see very little in the same things.

When you grow up I dare say you will be one of the great-deal seers, and see things more wonderful than the Water Babies where other folks can see nothing.

Huxley was a pallbearer at the funeral of Charles Darwin on 26 April 1882.

Finally, in 1895, he died of a heart attack (after contracting influenza and pneumonia), and was buried in North London at St Marylebone, in a small family plot. No invitations were sent out, but two hundred people turned up for the ceremony; they included Joseph Dalton Hooker, William Henry Flower, Mulford B. Foster, Edwin Lankester, Joseph Lister and, apparently, Henry James.”

*”Julian Huxley (1887-1975), evolutionary biologist, eugenicist, and internationalist, came from the Huxley family on his father’s side and the Arnold family on his mother’s. His great-grandfather was Thomas Arnold of Rugby School, his great-uncle Matthew Arnold, and his aunt Mrs Humphrey Ward. His father was writer and editor Leonard Huxley. His grandfather Thomas Huxley took him to visit J. D. Hooker at Kew.

Huxley’s mother was Julia Arnold (1862-1908), a graduate of Somerville College, Oxford, who had gained a First in English Literature there in 1882. Julia and Leonard married in 1885 and they had four children: Margaret (1899-1981), the novelist Aldous, Trevenen and Julian.”

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