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

By Adrian Desmond | Go to book overview

6
The Eighth Circle of Hell

IT WAS A TIME of trysts. These were 'fairy days' for Nettie, when midshipman Sharpe 'was Mercury to me and Hal', carrying notes and arranging rendezvous. The ship's arrival in Sydney on 9 March 1848 had given them another seven weeks' grace.

Hal caught up with the gossip. He heard about the three clergymen who had deserted to Rome, leaving Nettie's church unattended. Distant Sydney was shadowing Oxford, as the Tractarians moved to more ritualistic Catholic practice. 'How very dreadful', she exclaimed, sharing his dislike of anything 'Romish'. 'I cannot imagine any sensible person turning Catholic, it is repugnant to common sense'.

Huxley could never escape the whirl of religion. 'What wonderful and beautiful sights have already met your view', his mother exclaimed, 'there is something so fresh and refreshing in your letters, so unlike the worldliness and care of everyday life'. She hoped that his chance 'to contemplate the wonders of Nature' away from the Church-haters and Chartists would fortify him, hoped:

that whilst your mind is young & free to judge of the God of Nature by his Works and Providences, you may also find an inward witness to strengthen those same convictions e're you return to the Land of your Birth, and mix again, as you 'must do,' with the Scoffer and the Unbeliever. I say 'must do,' because they seem to me to stalk about more arrogantly than ever. May God bless you my dear Tom, for he alone can keep you from such Adversaries. 1 *

-86-

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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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