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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Herbert Spencer   26 April 1873

Athenæum Club | Pall Mall

26 April 73

Dear Darwin

I rejoice with you that our plot has succeeded so well—beyond expectation indeed.1

One thing I think remains to be done. Huxley talks of taking a long holiday “in the summer”. I think he must not be allowed to postpone taking it. He must go away at once, and to that end we ought to put pressure on Foster.2

I have just been to see Tyndall3 about it and he agrees in my proposal to write and ask your opinion.

We might send a joint letter to Foster (which you would write) giving emphatic expression to our opinion on the matter; and judging from what Farrer4 said when I saw him, there will probably be no difficulty.

ever yours truly | Herbert Spencer


Spencer was one of the friends who had organised the subscription for Thomas Henry Huxley (see letter to William Spottiswoode, [8 April 1873]).
Michael Foster had succeeded Huxley as Fullerian Professor of physiology at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in 1869 and had been recommended by Huxley in 1870 for the newly created praelectorship in physiology at Cambridge (ODNB). In his letter of 26 April 1873, Huxley had mentioned giving up a course of lectures planned for the summer, but noted he still had to fulfil other obligations. Spencer evidently hoped that Foster could be persuaded to stand in for Huxley in some capacity. Huxley began his holiday in the summer, travelling to the Auvergne in France on 2 July 1873 (L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 391).
John Tyndall.
Thomas Henry Farrer.


ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Wants to use CD’s support to put pressure on Michael Foster to enable Huxley to take an immediate holiday.

Letter details

Letter no.
Herbert Spencer
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Athenaeum Club
Source of text
DAR 177: 232
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8883,” accessed on 28 February 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21