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Letter 4010

Huxley, T. H. to Darwin, C. R.

25 Feb 1863

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    Pleads guilty to both criticisms of "Miss Henrietta Minor Rhadamanthus Darwin" [see 3896] of points in his Lectures [to working men].


Jermyn St

Feby 25th 1863

My dear Darwin

Please to say to Miss Henrietta Minor Rhadamanthus Darwin that I plead guilty to the justice of both criticisms & throw myself on the mercy of the Court

As extenuating circumstances with respect to indictment No. 1. see prefatory notice.

Extenuating circumstance No 2: that I picked up `Atavism' in Pritchard years ago—and as it is a much more convenient word than `Hereditary transmission of variations' it slipped into equivalence in my mind—and I forgot all about the original limitation

But if these excuses should in your judgment tend to aggravate my offences suppress 'em, like a friend.

One may always hope more from a lady's tenderheartedness than from her sense of justice

Publisher has just sent to say that I must give him any corrections for second thousand of my booklet immediately—

Why did not Miss Etty send any critical remarks on that subject by the same post? I should be most immensely obliged for them

Ever | Yours faithy | T. H. Huxley

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 4010.f1
    See letter to T. H. Huxley, [before 25 February 1863]. The reference is to Henrietta (Etty) Emma Darwin. `Rhadamanthus' is a character from Greek mythology: a son of Zeus and Europa and one of the judges in the lower world. The term is used allusively to denote an `inflexible judge; a rigorous or severe master' (OED).
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    f2 4010.f2
    At Huxley's request, Robert Hardwicke, the publisher of Huxley's 1862 lectures to working men (T. H. Huxley 1863a), included a prefatory notice by Huxley explaining that while he had given Hardwicke's shorthand writer, J. Aldous Mays, permission to take lecture-notes with a view to publishing them, he had had `no leisure to revise the Lectures, or to make alterations in them, beyond the correction of any important error in a matter of fact'.
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    f3 4010.f3
    The reference has not been identified.
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    f4 4010.f4
    Huxley's Evidence as to man's place in nature (T. H. Huxley 1863b), was first published on 20 February 1863 by the London publishers Williams & Norgate; it sold quickly and a second printing was called for almost immediately. The publishers launched the second printing on 21 March 1863 (Publishers' Circular, 16 February 1863, p. 85, and 1 April 1863, p. 181; see also L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 201--2). CD sent his comments on T. H. Huxley 1863b in his letter to Huxley of 26 [February 1863].
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