To T. H. Huxley 16 November 
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Huxley
Many thanks for your kind note & Lecture.1 The latter seems to me excellent—the best expose & classification of the higher objects of Natural History that I have ever read. It is really admirable. I like much your bit about the Roman school-boy.—2 I think you are a little too emphatic against reading, for how the deuce is a poor schoolmaster to learn anything except by reading & comparing with what he sees.3 Your remarks on absolute necessity of observation are capital. When my son was at Rugby4 there was a Botanical prize, which he won, by merely getting up Henslow’s Botany,5 & he never actually looked at a single flower!!
My daughter keeps in much the same state.
I had a letter today from R. Mc.Donnell of Dubline6 (I wonder whether he is the bearded man one sees at B. Assocn. if so I fear he is rash & wild) & he says owing to passage in my Book on Electric fishes he has been dissecting Rays, & believes he finds in same fish the homologues of both the anterior & posterior proper electric organs of fish: which, if true, seems to me an interesting fact.—7
By the way I hear that Agassiz is coming out in next Part of his Contributions, with heavy thunder against the Origin.8 On other hand, I hear from L. Horner9 that Dubois-Reymond10 expresses strong approbation. I suppose you have heard nothing more from Von Siebold;11 what a trump-card he would be on our side.
Owing to all the illness of my poor child & constant change of place I make no progress with my work.—
I shall be very curious to see the 1st nor. of the Review.— Long may you live as “a buttered angel”.
Ever yours most truly | C. Darwin
I suppose we shall have dear old Hooker back soon.—12
Thanks THH for his lecture ["On the study of zoology", Lay sermons, addresses and reviews (1870), pp. 104–31]. Best exposé and classification of the higher objects of natural history he has ever read. On reading and observation.
Henrietta’s lack of improvement.
R. McDonnell’s work on rays and electric organs of fishes.
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Huxley, T. H.
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 145)
- Physical description
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2986,” accessed on 23 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2986