Mr. Huxley informs me that you are thinking of bringing out his work also. I am glad to hear this, for it is an extremely able production. Indeed, there are parts of it which in point of writing power have scarcely ever been excelled. . . .
Good-by, my dear sir; accept my best thanks for the trouble you have taken in my behalf, and believe me
|Most sincerely yours,|
The book appeared in the summer of 1863, two years after that on the Glaciers, and, although dealing with a difficult subject, was received with equal favor and appreciation. These two works gave their author a high reputation in America as a popular expositor of science, and created an eager demand for his later writings, nearly all of which have been republished by the same house, and have been widely read. Meanwhile Tyndall's success as an experimenter and his gifts as a popular lecturer had come to the knowledge of many Americans, and the result was a great desire on the part of our more intelligent classes to see and hear the man. This found expression in frequent solicitations to lecture in the United States, among others Mr. John Amory Lowell sending him an urgent invitation to come over and deliver the Lowell lectures in Boston. But it was not until some years later, on the receipt of a request signed by twenty-five names "distinguished in science, in literature, and in administrative position," that, yielding to his democratic sympathies and his ardor in the diffusion of science. Prof. Tyndall finally consented to come.
The first letter in which I find any mention of his coming to America is dated December 24, 1869. I give it entire:
Your last letter made me smile. I know you imagine me to be a screw in money matters, and therefore you thought it would please me to know that I should be well paid for that short scrap from Macmillan. Well, if you feel an interest in the matter you may ask my friends whether I am a screw or not. Sometimes I certainly wish to put the screw upon publishers; for they sometimes need it much. Let mo say now that you may do just what you please with any article of mine, and feel not a thought on the money side of it, as far as I am concerned.
I am trying very hard on a boy's book on optics. Ostensibly for boys, but equally for teachers; for boys thus far do not know how to learn and teachers do not know how to teach. I am so treating the subject that boys and teachers may make the experiments for themselves. My aim is to teach them both to experiment and to reason upon experiment. I suppose a boy to be alongside, and that we are working together. I try to overcome the apathy and the repugnance arising from awkwardness in the first stages of experiment. I speak, therefore, not only to the boy's brain, but to his blood—stirring him to action.
I had a fall with ugly consequences in the Alps this year. One morning, after allowing a mountain cascade to tumble over me, I was returning across