American Thought in Transition: The Impact of Evolutionary Naturalism, 1865-1900

By Paul F. Boiler Jr. | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
An Evolutionary View
of Society

In 1882, Herbert Spencer came to the United States for a seven-week visit.He was welcomed in New York City by Edward L. Youmans, editor of the Popular Science Monthly, did some sight-seeing in New York State, attended a scientific meeting in Montreal, went down to see Washington, and then made his way up to New England to examine Othniel P. Marsh's fossil collection at Yale and to meet Asa Gray and visit his friend John Fiske in Cambridge.It was an exhausting trip and Spencer, who was ailing at the time, regretted having made it; still, he was touched by the warmth and hospitality that greeted him everywhere he went.He later dedicated one of his books to his American admirers.

The climax of Spencer's well-publicized American tour was a banquet in his honor at Delmonico's in Manhattan on the eve of his return to England.The guest list was impressive; on hand for the occasion were, among others, lawyers David Dudley Field (with his brother, Cyrus, of Atlantic cable fame) and Chauncey Depew; publishers William H. Appleton, Henry Holt, Edwin L. Godkin, and Charles A. Dana; statesmen Carl Schurz and William M. Evarts; clergymen Lyman Abbott, Henry Ward Beecher, and Minot J. Savage; steel king Andrew Carnegie; paleontologist Othniel Marsh;

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