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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 31

Frof. Huxley in America

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Frof. Huxley in America.

The stay of Professor Thomas H. Huxley in this country has been necessarily brief. His engagement for a course of lectures before the Royal School of Mines requires his return to England by Oct. 1. But short as has been his stay with us, it has afforded several opportunities for hearing him—more, in fact, than were hoped for when the visit was first projected. It has also been of marked service to science in this country, by calling public attention to the value of our geological treasures. Soon after his arrival, Professor Huxley went to New Haven, and there spent several days in a careful examination and study of the fossils from the West, which have been obtained by Professor Marsh in expeditions already familiar to Tribune readers. These fossils have a peculiar value. They show that in past periods animals existed whose forms were intermediate between those already known. Not only are the gaps between species thus filled, but the new forms are found in the rocks in a regular order of progression. To Professor Huxley, a firm believer in and advocate of the theory of Evolution, these discoveries of Professor Marsh were of the highest interest. Nothing short of his own personal examination of the specimens would probably have satisfied so careful an observer as Professor Huxley. Having made that examination, he declares that "the reality very far exceeded his anticipation." He regards this new series of facts as establishing the theory of Evolution upon an impregnable basis. To make these facts public, and to display their importance as affording data for earth's history, were among the chief objects of his lectures in New York.

In person Professor Huxley is rather above the medium height; of large frame, but spare. He sloops slightly, as if habitually engaged in thought. His features are prominent, and bear an expression of energy in repose. His hair and whiskers are iron gray. He speaks without manuscript or notes of any kind, and never prepares the phraseology of his addresses in advance of their delivery. His manner of speaking Is quite simple and straightforward, with none of the gestures or arts of oratory. His delivery is slow and distinct, being the result of a hard and successful effort in the early part of his career to break off a previous habit of rapid speaking.