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Letter 6654

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

11 Mar 1869

    Summary Add

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    Nothing new in Lushington's letter. Two paragraphs are offensive – that THH sought to stir up Scotch Presbyterian prejudices against Comte at Edinburgh and that he had not read Comte.


Jermyn St

March 11th 1869

My dear Darwin

I ``know quite enough about Mr Vernon Lushington to have paid every attention to what he has to say'', even if you had not been his ambassador

I glanced over his letter when I returned home last night very tired with my two nights chairmanship at the Ethnological & the Geological Societies—

Most of it is fair enough, though, I must say not helping me to any novel considerations— Two paragraphs, however, contained opinions which Mr Lushington is at perfectly liberty to entertain; but not, I think, to express to me—

The one is, that I shaped what I had to say at Edinburgh with a view of stirring up the prejudices of the Scotch presbyterians (imagine how many presbyterians I had in my audience!) against Comte

The other, is the concluding paragraph, in which Mr Lushington recommends me to ``read Comte''—clearly implying, that I have criticized Comte without reading him—

You will know how far I am likely to have committed either of the immoralities thus laid to my charge—

At any rate, I do not think I care to enter into some direct relations with any one who so heedlessly & unjustifiably assumes me to be guilty of them— Therefore I shall content myself with acknowledging the receipt of Mr Lushington's letter through you

Yours very faithfully | T. H. Huxley

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 6654.f1
    See letter to T. H. Huxley, 10 March 1869 and n. 2. Lushington's letter has not been found.
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    f2 6654.f2
    The Ethnological Society of London met on 9 March 1869 (Journal of the Ethnological Society of London n.s. 1 (1868--9): ix). The Geological Society of London met on 10 March 1869 (Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 25 (1869): 235). Huxley was president of both societies in 1869.
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    f3 6654.f3
    The paper that appeared in the Fortnightly Review for 1 February 1869 (T. H. Huxley 1869a) was based on a talk that Huxley had given in Edinburgh on 8 November 1868 in which he criticised the philosophy of Auguste Comte (see letter to T. H. Huxley, 10 March 1869 and n. 2).
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