Huxley Family - Thomas Henry Huxley

Thomas Henry Huxley

Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–1895) was an English biologist, known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his defence of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Mostly a self-educated man, he had an extraordinary influence on the British educated public. He was instrumental in developing scientific education in Britain, and opposed those Christian leaders who tried to stifle scientific debate. He was a member of eight Royal Commissions and two other commissions. A noted unbeliever, he used the term "agnostic" to describe his attitude to theism.

Though Huxley was a great comparative anatomist and invertebrate zoologist, perhaps his most notable scientific achievement was his work on human evolution. Starting in 1858, Huxley gave lectures and published papers which analysed the zoological position of man. The best were collected in a landmark work: Evidence as to Man's place in nature (1863). This contained two themes: first, humans are related to the great apes, and second, the species has evolved in a similar manner to all other forms of life. These were ideas which the careful and cautious Darwin had only hinted at in The Origin of Species, but with which Huxley was in full agreement.

In 1855, he married Henrietta Anne Heathorn (1825–1915), an English émigrée whom he had met in Sydney. They had five daughters and three sons:

  • Noel Huxley (1856–1860), died aged 4.
  • Jessie Oriana Huxley (1856–1927), married architect Fred Waller in 1877.
  • Marian Huxley (1859–1887) married artist John Collier in 1879.
  • Leonard Huxley (1860–1933), married Julia Arnold.
  • Rachel Huxley (1862–1934) married civil engineer Alfred Eckersley in 1884.
  • Henrietta (Nettie) Huxley (1863–1940), married Harold Roller, travelled Europe as a singer.
  • Henry Huxley (1865–1946), became a fashionable general practitioner in London.
  • Ethel Huxley (1866–1941) married artist John Collier (widower of sister) in 1889.

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Famous quotes by thomas henry huxley:

    In science, as in art, and, as I believe, in every other sphere of human activity, there may be wisdom in a multitude of counsellors, but it is only in one or two of them.
    Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–95)

    In the world of letters, learning and knowledge are one, and books are the source of both; whereas in science, as in life, learning and knowledge are distinct, and the study of things, and not of books, is the source of the latter.
    Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–95)