Thomas Henry Huxley

   Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) was a noted English scientist. He was a native of Middlesex, England. He studied at Charing Cross Hospital and took his degree in medicine at the University of London. In 1846 he was admitted to the medical service of the British navy. In the following year he received an appointment as assistant surgeon on the Rattlesnake, then about to be sent out on a scientific cruise in Australian waters. Huxley was absent from London four years. He had unrivaled opportunity to collect specimens of marine animals. He sent home a number of scientific papers to the Linnaean and to the Royal Society. When he returned he found himself a famous man. He was permitted to retain his position with the salary, but without the duties, for three years. During this time he made ready the greater part of his first important work, The Oceanic Hydrozoa. Without going into the details of Huxley's life it may be said that the most desirable scientific positions in London were at his command. He never lacked for a professorship or an opportunity to lecture. Huxley was made a member of various scientific societies. In 1883 he was elected president of the Royal Society, the highest honor that could be paid to a scientific man. Huxley was the winner, also, of various prizes for scientific attainments. In 1892 Queen Victoria made him a member of her privy council. He was an ardent supporter of Darwin, and did much to popularize the theory of evolution. Both as a writer and a speaker, he commanded the best of English. His papers are excellent examples of what is known in literature as the scientific essay. They are not only scientific productions, but they are literature. One of the most celebrated volumes is Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature. Huxley was the author, also, of a number of college and school textbooks, including An Elementary Physiology, Elementary Biology, The Crayfish, etc.