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22 Jun, 2014 21:13:53 BST
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Will post to United Kingdom. Read item description or contact seller for postage options. | See details
Item location:
Isle of Skye, Scotland, United Kingdom


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Highland and Gaelic Books from Skye

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BOOK DESCRIPTION: 1st Edition, 2nd Issue - original endpapers, hardback. xiv, 157pp,publisher's adverts [2pp],

CONDITION: VERY GOOD+. Covers are in excellent condition, with minimal marking/wear.  Binding sound. Very little foxing.   Stamps and blind-stamps of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to title page and several other pages (I've photographed all the stamps I could find).  No foxing and no other ownership marks. A good, tight copy of Huxley's highly readable lectures (see notes and preface below).  This is a scarce Hardwicke printing.  The 1st issue appeared right at the end of 1862 and is dated thus on the title page.


Thomas Henry Huxley PC FRS (1825 –1895) was an English biologist (anatomist), known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection and was hugely important in popularising science in the late nineteenth century.

The present work was a key title in popularising Darwin's theory of natural selection and consists of the transcription of six lectures delivered to working men at the School of Mines, Jermyn Street, where Huxley was professor.  Though he never intended these lectures to be printed he gave an agent of Robert Hardwicke (J. A. Mays) permission to take them down in shorthand with a view to their circulation.  Huxley foolishly waived any right to payment and when Hardwicke had them published they sold like hotcakes - much to Huxley's surprise and irritation. In a letter to J. D. Hooker in January 1863, he wrote: "I never imagined the lectures as delivered would be worth bringing out at all, and I knew I had no time to work them out.  Now I lament I did not publish them myself and turn an honest penny by them as I suspect Hardwicke is doing.  He is advertising them everywhere, confound him."

Later the same month the geologist Charles Lyell wrote to Huxley: "I do grudge Hardwicke very much having not only the publisher's but the author's profits...I would lose no time in considering well what steps to take to rescue the copyright of the 3rd thousand"

The actual subject of the lectures had not been hard for Huxley to determine.  In a letter to Darwin on 10 October 1862 Huxley wrote: "I can't find anything to talk to the working men about this year but your book."

Charles Darwin himself appreciated the value of Huxley's lectures before he did, and was highly complimentary in his correspondence:

"They are simply perfect.  They ought to be largely advertised; but it is very good in me to say so, for I threw down No. IV with this reflection, 'What is the good of my writing a thundering big book, when everything is in this little green book so despicable for its size?'.  In the name of all that is good and bad I may as well shut up shop altogether."

Read the  preface (from later issues) and the contents below.

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— • —


I. The Present Condition of Organic Nature ...

II. The Past Condition of Organic Nature . . . .

III. The Method by which the Causes of the Present and Past Conditions of Organic Nature are to be Discovered. — The Origination of Living Beings . . .
IV. The Perpetuation of Living Beings, Hereditary Transmission and Variation

V. The Conditions of Existence as affecting the Perpetuation of Living Beings 

VI. A Critical Examination of the Position of Mr. Darwin's "Work, " On the Origin of Species," in relation to the complete Theory of the Causes of the Phenomena of Organic Nature


 The publication of Mr. Darwin's work on the "Origin of Species," whether we consider the importance of the questions it raises, the ability with which he treats them, the boldness and originality of his speculations, or the profound and universal interest which the book awakened, must be looked upon as marking an era in the progress of science. But while it called forth a due share of candid discussion and intelligent criticism, it has been vehemently and persistently assailed by many who understood nothing of its real character ; and the subject has hence been so overloaded with prejudice and perversion that unscientific people hardly know what to think or believe about it. In these circumstances, those who disencumber the subject of its difficulties, simplify its statements, relieve it of technicalities, and bring it so distinctly within the horizon of ordinary apprehension that persons of common sense may judge for themselves, perform an invaluable service. Such is the character of the present volume.

Prefixed to the English edition, is the following note from Professor Huxley : " Mr. J. Aldous Mays, who is taking shorthand notes of my ' Lectures to Working Men,' has asked me to allow him, on his own account, to print those notes for the use of my audience. I willingly accede to this request, on the understanding that a notice is prefixed to the effect that I have no leisure to revise the Lectures, or to make alterations in them, beyond the correction of any important error in a matter of fact."

The reader will not regret that the Lectures appear in this form. Taken from the lips of the distinguished naturalist, as he addressed an audience of ' Working Men,' they have a clearness, a directness, and a simplicity which belonged to the circumstances of their delivery. In this respect, the following Lectures are incomparable. Dealing with the most abstruse and fundamental questions of mind and organization, these subjects are nevertheless presented in so lucid and attractive a manner as to impress vividly the commonest imagination.

The gift of translating the high questions of science into popular forms of expression, without sacrificing accuracy and introducing error, is a very rare one among scientific men, but Professor Huxley possesses it in an eminent degree : his lectures are models of their class.

On 12-Sep-13 at 04:40:34 BST, seller added the following information:

On 05-Jan-14 at 04:26:13 GMT, seller added the following information:

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Highland and Gaelic Books from Skye
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