Huxley: From Devil's Disciple to Evolution's High Priest

By Adrian Desmond | Go to book overview

16
Reslaying the Slain

Cook had got up some chops ... for me in wonderful style last night, when I went home after my Lecture. Said Lecture let me inform you was very good - Lyell came & was rather astounded at the magnitude & attentiveness of the audience.

Huxley stayed in town, polishing his 'Rifle & Bayonet' and honing his intellect. These Thursday nights in March 1861 saw the Tory nightmare realized as he taught the great unwashed of their gorilla ancestry.

The fliers for his new course brought the artisan élite in droves. Lyell, preparing his Antiquity of Man, squeezed incongruously among the carters and was astonished.

'My working men stick by me wonderfully', Hal cheered Nettie at Downe. 'By next Friday morning they will all be convinced that they are monkeys'. The cloth-caps needed no persuading. For decades their gutter presses had proclaimed man's bestial origin. By now the Reasoner was arming infidels with facts on fossils and flints to counter 'Theological Theories of the Origin of Man'. Its running mate, the National Reformer, was shattering the 'man and beast' dichotomy. Huxley was riding a crest. The pauper presses were devouring the Origin as they had the Vestiges and French Revolutionary tracts before it. All were grist to their mill. Red Lamarckians saw the 'divine origin of man' as a supernatural sanction to keep 'the masses in the mud'. Of course they rallied to any professor who would connect man to the 'under-world of life'. 1

These flaming atheists had a biting cynicism; 'life is nothing and

-292-

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Huxley: From Devil's Disciple to Evolution's High Priest
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Also by Adrian Desmond *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • The Apostle Paul of the New Teaching xiii
  • Part One - The Devil's Disciple *
  • 1825-1846 Dreaming My Own Dreams *
  • 1 - Philosophy Can Bake No Bread 3
  • 2 - Son of the Scalpel 18
  • 3 - The Surgeon's Mate 36
  • 1846-1850 the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea *
  • 4 - Men-Of-War 53
  • 5 - An Ark of Promise 66
  • 6 - The Eighth Circle of Hell 86
  • 7 - Sepulchral Painted Savages 111
  • 8 - Homesick Heroes 129
  • 1850-1858 Lost in the Wilderness *
  • 9 - The Scientific Sadducee 149
  • 10 - The Season of Despair 172
  • 11 - The Jihad Begins 195
  • 12 - The Nature of the Beast 216
  • 13 - Empires of the Deep Past 231
  • 1858-1865 the New Luther *
  • 14 - The Eve of a New Reformation 251
  • 15 - Buttered Angels & Bellowing Apes 266
  • 16 - Reslaying the Slain 292
  • 17 - Man's Place 312
  • 1865-1870 the Scientific Swell *
  • 18 - Birds, Dinosaurs & Booming Guns 339
  • 19 - Eyeing the Prize 361
  • Part Two - Evolution's High Priest *
  • 1870-1884 Marketing the 'New Nature' *
  • 20 - The Gun in the Liberal Armoury 385
  • 21 - From the City of the Dead to the City of Science 411
  • 22 - Automatons 433
  • 23 - The American Dream 463
  • 24 - A Touch of the Whip 483
  • 25 - A Person of Respectability 495
  • 26 - The Scientific Woolsack 507
  • 1885-1895 the Old Lion *
  • 27 - Polishing off the G.O.M 537
  • 28 - Christ Was No Christian 562
  • 29 - Combating the Cosmos 583
  • 30 - Fighting Unto Death 600
  • Afterword *
  • Abbreviations 645
  • Notes 648
  • Bibliography 751
  • Index 783
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