Thomas Henry Huxley an Ernst Haeckel, London, 7. Juni 1865
The Royal School of Mines | Jermyn S. June 7th | London 1865
My dear Sir
Many thanks for your letter and for the welcome present of your portrait, which I shall value greatly, and in exchange for which I enclose my own. Indeed I have delayed writing to you in order to be able to send the last “new and improves” edition of myself.
I wish it were in my power to help you to any such appointment as that you wish for. || But I do not think our Government is likely to send out any scientific expedition to the south seas – There is a talk about a new Artic expedition but I doubt if it will come to much – and even if it should be organized I could not recommend you throwing yourself away in an undertaking which promises more frost-bites than anything else to a naturalist –
In truth, though I have felt and can still feel the attraction of foreign travel in all its strength – I would counsel you to stop at home, and as Goethe says, find your America here. || There are plenty of people who can observe and whose places, if they are expended fever or shipwreck, can be well enough filled up – But there are very few who can grapple with the higher problems of science as you have done and are doing, and we cannot afford to lose you. It is the organization of knowledge rather than its increase which is wanted just now. And I think you can help in this great undertaking better in Germany than in New Zealand.
Darwin has been very ill for more than a year past – so ill, in fact, that his recovery was at one time doubtful – But he contrives to work in spite of fate and I hope that before long we shall have a new book from him.
By way of consolation I sent him || an extract from you letter touching the progress of his views.
I am glad that you did not think my critique of Kölliker too severe. He is an old friend of mine and I desired to be as gentle as possible – while performing the unpleasant duty of showing how thoroughly he had misunderstood the question.
I shall look with great interest for your promised book. Lately I have been busy with Ethnological questions and I fear I shall not altogether please your able friend Prof. Schleicher in some remarks I have had to make upon the supposed value of philological evidence.
May we hope to see you at the meeting of the British Association at Birmingham? It would give many, and especially myself, much pleasure to become personally acquainted with you. –
Ever yours faithfully,
T. H. Huxley.