Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 9.djvu/648

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

assigned for the desire to hear Prof. Huxley, as he never experiments. His chosen department of science is one of the most difficult, and the questions he discusses are profound. Undoubtedly in the great movement of thought in this age Prof. Huxley's topics are prominent, and many agencies have conspired to give them wide public interest; but we have to reckon Huxley's genius as one among the potent forces that in recent years have determined this course of public thought. Thus far we on this side know him only as a writer, and his remarkable powers in this respect are so well understood that nothing need be said about them here. But his accomplishments as a lecturer are quite equal to those displayed in his books. Said a distinguished English scientist the other day, who had come over as a Centennial juror: "And so Huxley is to be with you, and is going to lecture. Well, those w T ho hear him will have a treat, for as a scientific lecturer he is un-equaled. Next to John Bright I regard Huxley as the best orator in England; at any rate, in exposition, in elucidating a complex subject before a popular audience, we have no man to compare with him." Prof. Huxley's manner as a speaker is very quiet, and by those who like the vehement and demonstrative style it would be considered tame, but his discourse is clear, finished, deliberate, and strong. Nor, is it necessary that he should have a learned auditory to appreciate and enjoy his addresses. His command of his subject, of language and illustration, is so complete that he adapts himself with rare facility to the mental condition of his hearers. One of the most successful efforts we ever witnessed upon the platform was a lecture on physical geography given by Huxley to the working-men of London who filled to its last corner the large lecture-room of the Jermyn Street School of Mines. We had heard him before on ethnology at one of the "Friday evenings" of the Royal Institution before the élite of scientific London. It was an admirable discourse, and was listened to with the keenest attention and a lively pleasure, though how much of its success might be due to the cultivated character of the assemblage it was not then easy to say. But his Jermyn Street audience consisted of unlettered, hard-handed working-men, and yet there was not one among them that did not follow the speaker understandingly and with evidently as great enjoyment as the most cultured listeners. Prof. Huxley will be sure to please his American audiences, and, considering how much good he might do us, it is unfortunate that he cannot stay longer and speak in our chief cities. In the short course of lectures which he has consented to deliver in New York he will take up a subject which has long occupied him, upon which he is an authority, and which is certain to be treated in a manner that will gratify all who have the good fortune to listen to him. We announced last month that the lectures will take place on the 18th, 20th, and 22d of September, and that those desiring to secure seats could do so by registering their applications with D. Appleton & Co. The seats have been rapidly taken, and, as there is only a certain number of them, we must again remind those whom it may concern that when they are all bespoken no more can be had for love or money.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

The American Cyclopædia: A Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge. Edited by George Ripley and Charles A. Dana. 16 vols., 13,314 pages. Price (cloth), $80.

This Cyclopædia, the first edition of which was completed in 1863, having proved its adaptation to the general wants by a very extensive sale, has now undergone complete revision, and, while preserving its