An intriguing find in a very shabby set of “The life and letters of Charles Darwin”, edited by his son, Francis Darwin: a short letter from Thomas Henry Huxley, “Darwin’s bulldog”.
The volumes belonged to Lawson Tait, who seems to have asked Huxley for a copy of his obituary of Darwin, which is inserted in vol. 1 with the accompanying letter. The set came to Bradford in 1964. The Huxley connection makes them interesting artefacts so they are now part of Special Collections.
The volume containing the letter is now on show at International Darwin Conference at the University of Bradford 24-26 September 2009. The Conference is part of a programme of events celebrating Darwin’s links with Bradford. After finishing the writing of “On the Origin of Species”, the exhausted Darwin came to Ilkley to take the water cure. He sent out complimentary copies of this work and planned corrections for the second edition, the first already being oversubscribed and a reprint required.