More 19th-century caricatures with Tyndall

To add to my post about 19th-Century Caricature Prints with Tyndall, here are three more (all from Puck magazine) I have come across, two from the website Cartooning Evolution, 1861-1925, and the first one I saw on eBay (a reader of my Darwin blog emailed me a high quality scan of it but asked not to share it publicly):


Reason against Unreason, pitting luminous Men of Science (Darwin, Huxley, Tyndall, Spencer, etc.) against Supernaturalism, Fanaticism, Bigotry, and the Bible



June 3, 1885, "Mr. Beecher is Trying to Bridge the Chasm between the Old Orthodoxy and Science with his Little Series of 'Evolution Sermons.'"



March 14, 1883, "An Appalling Attempt to Muzzle the Watch-Dog of Science: 'The Society for the Suppression of Blasphemous Literature proposes to get up cases against Huxley and Tyndall, Herbert Spencer and others who, by their writings have sown widespread unbelief and, in some cases rank athiesm.' -- Tel. London, March 5, 1883."



Published in: on October 15, 2010 at 9:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Library book sale finds

At two recent library book sales I have come across some Tyndall books. First, I found Hours of Exercise in the Alps (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1896), a collection of writings about mountaineering. Second, as I scanned through the titles on the spines of old books at another sale, the word science caught my eye, then I saw fragments, then the name Tyndall. Thus, I now own a copy of the second volume of Tyndall’s Fragments of Science (New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1905), which contains articles and lectures regarding religion, prayer, Darwin, evolution, his Belfast Address, and spontaneous generation.

Book sales are so much fun!

Published in: on October 12, 2010 at 9:08 pm  Comments (4)  
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Tyndall on Darwin

I had a chance to look at Thomas Glick’s new book, What about Darwin?: All Species of Opinion from Scientists, Sages, Friends, and Enemies Who Met, Read, and Discussed the Naturalist Who Changed the World, at a Barnes & Noble in Seattle a little over a week ago.

Seattle Barnes & Noble - Thomas Glick's "What about Darwin?"

There is one entry for John Tyndall:

Seattle Barnes & Noble - Tyndall on Darwin

Here’s the text, which comes from Tyndall’s famous Belfast Address:

Mr. Darwin shirks no difficulty; and, saturated as the subject was with his own thought, he must have known better than his critics the weakness as well as the strength of his theory. This of course would be of little avail [43/44] were his object a temporary dialectic victory instead of the establishment of a truth which he means to be everlasting. But he takes no pains to disguise the weakness he has discerned; nay, he takes every pains to bring it into the strongest light. His vast resources enable him to cope with objections started by himself and others, so as to leave the final impression upon the reader’s mind that, if they be not completely answered, they certainly are not fatal. Their negative force being thus destroyed, you are free to be influenced by the vast positive mass of evidence he is able to bring before you. This largeness of knowledge and readiness of resource render Mr. Darwin the most terrible of antagonists. Accomplished naturalists have levelled heavy and sustained criticisms against him—not always with the view of fairly weighing his theory, but with the express intention of exposing its weak points only. This does not irritate him. He treats every objection with a soberness and thoroughness which even Bishop Butler might be proud to imitate, surrounding each fact with its appropriate detail, placing it in its proper relations, and usually giving it a significance which, as long as it was kept isolated, failed to appear. This is done without a trace of ill-temper. He moves over the subject with the passionless strength of a glacier; and the grinding of the rocks is not always without a counterpart in the logical pulverization of the objector.

Published in: on October 4, 2010 at 8:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The efficient defender of a fellow scientific man”

I am near finishing my professional paper (not a thesis) for my masters degree, titled “‘The efficient defender of a fellow scientific man’: John Tyndall, Darwin, and Preaching Pure Science in America.” Let me know if you’d like to read a draft, but  it still has some problems to work out.

Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 7:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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London Trip – Royal Institution

I am in London right now, on a research trip to the archives of the Royal Institution, for Tyndall material, and at Kew on Thursday for J.D. Hooker material. Today I held in my hand a letter from Darwin to Tyndall that was inserted into one of Tyndall’s journals, the subject being of a biological nature. I am specifically looking for references to Darwin/evolution in Tyndall’s journals, notes, etc. Today I found some. Hopefully more tomorrow and Wednesday. Snapped a bunch of pictures of various exhibits, portraits, and areas of the Royal Institution. Enjoy!

John Tyndall, Royal Institution of Great Britain

John Tyndall, Royal Institution of Great Britain

Wednesday night I plan to see Creation at a theatre near my lodgings (which is the home of Darwin groupie Karen, who has been an online friend and whom I met on my trip to Cambridge in July). Friday I spend my day at the Natural History Museum and Darwin Centre (George Beccaloni wants to show me some of the Wallace Collection), and Saturday down to Downe to see Darwin’s home and laboratory for four decades. Sunday I fly home.

If only my bag (and my clothes) could get delivered to me, because it wasn’t at Heathrow when I got there. I am tired of wearing what I wore on Saturday.

Published in: on October 26, 2009 at 6:21 pm  Comments (4)  
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19th-Century Caricature Prints with Tyndall

Earlier this month I went to Cambridge, England for a conference (here is a series of posts on my Darwin blog about the trip). I took in as many of the Darwin exhibits around the university, including “Darwin’s Microscope” at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science. The exhibit was more than just the microscope, for on display were numerous Darwin/evolution objects from the museum’s collection as well as a vast amount of contemporary Darwin memorabilia (photos from the exhibit here).  Here I want to point out two pieces in the exhibit that deal with Tyndall.

First, a late nineteenth-century caricature print published by E. Appleyard, London:

Our national church the aegis of liberty, equality, and fraternity

"Our national church the aegis of liberty, equality, and fraternity"

A close-up of a portion of the left side:

Darwin, Huxley, and Tyndall

Darwin, Huxley, and Tyndall

Tyndall holds the banner of “Science” while Darwin recruits younger men of science (Huxley, Tyndall) to his cause, the “dawning of an intellectual era” states the print at bottom right (“This way to daylight, my sons,” Darwin says, with a reference to Genesis 27:2: “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death.” The top right of the print gives reference to Genesis 27:11: “Behold, my brother is a hairy man and I am a smooth man”). A key at the bottom of the print lists four representatives of science (Darwin, Huxley, Tyndall, and Colenso).


UPDATE: I have since learned that this caricature was released as two versions. Looking again at this photo of Darwin memorabilia in the same exhibit,

Whipple Museum of the History of Science, University of Cambridge

Whipple Museum of the History of Science, University of Cambridge

I noticed that the caricature was in the magazine article on the left, but slightly different:

"Our national church the aegis of liberty, equality, and fraternity"

"Our national church the aegis of liberty, equality, and fraternity"

I tracked down the article, which is “America’s Difficulty with Darwin” by historian Thomas Dixon in History Today (February 2009, pp. 22-8). Dixon told me that the later caricature is described (p. 131) and reproduced (pp. 132-3) in Paul White’s Thomas Huxley: Making the Man of Science (2003) and both are described (pp. 380-1) in Janet Browne’s Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (2002). Here is what White has to say about it:

As one broadsheet produced in the early 1880s [1882] indicates, the claims of learned men, including members of Parliament, to be the best representatives of England’s people could become the subject of derision. As the Church parties pull in different directions beneath the dome, Roman Catholics, Dissenters, Freethinkers, and Secularists stake out different terrain outside. In the upper left corner, John Tyndall and Herbert Spencer accompany Huxley toward the dawn of Darwinism and Protoplasm (?).

Dixon provides in a footnote that “a different version of this broadsheet, printed ten years earlier, is reproduced in Desmond 1998.” That dates the version I saw as 1872. Darwin published The Descent of Man in 1871, and in the earlier version of the caricature Darwin is portrayed as a monkey. Browne, in her article “Darwin in Caricature: A Study in the Popularisation and Dissemination of Evolution” (Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 145, No. 4, Dec. 2001, pp. 496-509; PDF), wrote:

With publication of the Descent of Man in 1871, followed by
Expression of the Emotions in 1872, Darwin himself entered the cartoons,
usually as the ape itself. His personal facial attributes, such as
his beard, the great dome of his skull, and the beetling eyebrows, were
already relatively familiar to the public from the Vanity Fair chromolithograph
and photographic images reproduced in the Illustrated
London News and elsewhere.20 Such recognition was unusual at a time
when mass publicity was only in its infancy, even more so for a scientist.
Nevertheless, Darwin’s facial features were heavily emphasised
in every caricature around the time of the Descent of Man and the
Expression of the Emotions.
With publication of the Descent of Man in 1871, followed by Expression of the Emotions in 1872, Darwin himself entered the cartoons, usually as the ape itself. His personal facial attributes, such as his beard, the great dome of his skull, and the beetling eyebrows, were already relatively familiar to the public from the Vanity Fair chromolithograph and photographic images reproduced in the Illustrated London News and elsewhere. Such recognition was unusual at a time when mass publicity was only in its infancy, even more so for a scientist. Nevertheless, Darwin’s facial features were heavily emphasised in every caricature around the time of the Descent of Man and the Expression of the Emotions. (p. 506)
And this is how Browne describes, in much more detail, both caricatures in The Power of Place:
Darwin also made an appearance as a minor character in a vast satirical broadsheet published under the name “Ion” in London in 1873 (with another version following afterwards in 1883). This satire was attributed (probably correctly) to clever, mild-mannered George Holyoake, the leading radical secularist of the period… Holyoake had dedicated his life to creating a secular alternative to the established British church… The broadsheet linked ecclesiastical dissent with descent. It was titled Our National Church and provided an all-embracing critique on the fragmenting religious beliefs of the nation, depicting rival sects of Broad Church, Low Church, High Church, Dissenters, “No Church,” Catholicism, and Science. Up in a corner it included three priests of scientific naturalism, Darwin, Huxley, and John Tyndall. This complex picture primarily played on James Martineau’s widely publicised attempts during the 1870s to unite all clergymen under the single umbrella of a “national” church, and evolutionary theory was merely one of several perceived threats to the theological establishment. The print showed the dome of St. Paul’s Catherdral as a giant umbrella unable to shelter religious traditionalists from the stormy winds of doctrinal unrest. Nonconformists pull the chocks away, atheists rant in a corner, Catholic converts follow a signpost “To Rome,” and neither the broad churchmen not the low churchmen can handle the dome’s straining guyropes in the gale. A donkey rudely calls, “Let us bray.” It was fair comment, said the radical divine Moncure Daniel Conway. Huxley, Tyndall, and the renegade clergyman Bishop Colenso push upwards towards the apish figure of Darwin on a hillside, who calls, “This way to daylight, my sons.” The tightly packed text informed readers that over the horizon lay the dawn of an intellectual era which would dispel “the chilling influence of the church.” The second version, usually printed in red and black, was revised to emphasize the evolutionary point. This later version showed an ape carrying the flag of Darwinism, followed by a trail of well-known agnostic philosophers and dissenting clergymen, including Spencer (“Philosophy”), Conway (“We must move on”), Huxley, and Tyndall (“Science”), all aiming for a plinth in which stood Darwin’s bust surrounded by a cloud of “Protoplasm.” Both versions of the print were in Darwin’s personal collection, although it is not known how many others were printed and distributed, or to whom. The artist, whoever he was, considered Darwin and his theory an integral part of the secular, highly politicised world coming into being around him.
So, the first caricature (White says [1872], Browne says 1873), and the second (White says 1882, Browne says 1883), are well known to historians of science (both versions are on The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online as well: 1st/2nd). Darn, I thought I was seeing something untouched by historians, not knowing that it is featured in two books that sit on my shelves. But they will still be useful to me for the paper I will write concerning Tyndall and Darwin, which work on really begins this fall semester.

Second, an 1883 caricature print published by Maclure & MacDonald, Lith, London:

A Versatile Vivisected View of the Monkey House (from the Zoological Gardens)

A Versatile Vivisected View of the Monkey House (from the Zoological Gardens)

A close up of the left side shows Tyndall holding I know not, Joseph Dalton Hooker possibly examining a plant, Thomas Henry Huxley comparing the anatomy of his hand to that of a fish’s fin, and Sir Richard Owen seemingly jealous of Huxley:

Tyndall, Hooker, Huxley, and Owen

Tyndall, Hooker, Huxley, and Owen

All four are designated as F[ellows of the] R[oyal] S[ociety], but I don’t know what GL stands for. [UPDATE: Bill Ashworth suggests that FRGSL stands for Fellow of the Royal Geological Society of London. That makes sense!]

Has anyone seen these caricatures before?

Published in: on July 22, 2009 at 12:25 pm  Comments (10)  
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The New Scriptures According to Tyndall, Darwin, Etc.

I found this in the Times and Register of March 26, 1892, but I’ve seen it in other periodicals from at least 1875, one year after Tyndall’s call for the authority of science and materialism – his address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Belfast:




PRIMARILY, the Unknowable, moved upon cosmos, and evolved protoplasm.

2. And protoplasm was inorganic and indifferentiated, containing all things in potential energy; and a spirit of evolution moved upon the fluid mass.

3. And the Unknowable said, Let atoms attract; and their contact begat light, heat and electricity.

4. And the Unconditional differentiated the atoms, each after its kind, and their combinations begat rock, air and water.

5. And there went out a spirit of evolution from the Unconditioned, and, working in protoplasm by accretion and absorption, produced the organic cell.

6. And cell by nutrition, evolved by primordial germ, and germ developed protogene, and protogene begat eozoön, and eozoön begat monad, and monad begat animalcule.

7. And animalcule begat ephemera; then began creeping things to multiply on the face of the earth.

8. And earthy atom in vegetable protoplasm begat the molecule, and thence came all grass and every herb in the earth.

9. And animalculæ in the water evolved fins, tails, claws and scales; and in the air, wings and beaks; and on the land there sprouted such organs as were necessary, as played upon by the environment.

10. And by accretion and absorption came the radiata and mollusca, and mollusca begat articulata, and articulata begat vertebrata.

11. Now these are the generations of the higher vertebrata, in the cosmic period that the Unknowable evoluted the bipedal mammalia.

12. And every man of the earth, while he was yet a monkey, and the horse, while he was a hipparion, and the hipparion, before he was an oredon.

13. Out of the ascidian came the amphibian and begat the pentadactyle, and the pentadactyle by inheritance and selection produced the hylobate, from which are the simiadæ in all their tribe.

14. And out of the simiadæ the lemur prevailed above his fellows and produced the platyrrhine monkey.

15. And the platyrrhine begat the catarrhine, and the catarrhine monkey begat the anthropoid ape, and the ape begat the longimanous ourang, and the ourang begat the chimpanzee, and the chimpanzee evoluted the what-is-it.

16. And the what-is-it went into the land of Nod and took him a wife of the longimanous gibbons.

17. And in the process of the cosmic period were born unto them and their children the anthropomorphic primordial types.

18. The homunculus, the prognathus, the troglodytes, the autochthon, the terragen – these are the generations of primeval man.

19. And primeval man was naked and not ashamed, but lived in quadrumanous innocence, and struggled mightily to harmonize with the environment.

20. And by inheritance and natural selection did he progress from the stable and homogeneous to the complex and heterogeneous; for the weakest died, and the strongest grew and multiplied.

21. And man grew a thumb, for that he had need of it, and developed capacities for prey.

22. For behold, the swiftes men caught the most animals, and the swifest animals got away from the most men; wherefore, the slow animals were eaten, and the slow men starved to death.

23. And as types were differentiated, the weaker types continually disappeared.

24. And the earth was filled with violence; for man strove with man and tribe with tribe, whereby they killed off the weak and foolish, and secured the survival of the fittest.


Crossposted at The Dispersal of Darwin.

Published in: on December 6, 2008 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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