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Victorian Scientific NaturalismCommunity, Identity, Continuity$
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Bernard Lightman and Gowan Dawson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226109503

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226109640.001.0001

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Huxley and the Devonshire Commission

Huxley and the Devonshire Commission

(p.101) 4 Huxley and the Devonshire Commission
Victorian Scientific Naturalism

Bernard Lightman

University of Chicago Press

The Devonshire Commission was created to evaluate the state of science, and to determine whether or not it should become a national priority. It met from 14 June 1870, until 12 May 1874. This chapter discusses T. H. Huxley's role on the Devonshire Commission. By analyzing the questions that Huxley put to the various witnesses before the Commission, as well as the evidence he gave, it is possible to discern what Huxley hoped to accomplish. Huxley's main concerns were the research grant to the Royal Society, the fate of the Royal School of Mines, defending his friend Hooker from the imperialist aims of Richard Owen, and the establishment of a national system of scientific education that began in elementary schools. An assessment of Huxley's role on the Devonshire Commission reveals what, for him, constituted the main priorities of scientific naturalism in the early 1870’s.

Keywords:   T. H. Huxley, Devonshire Commission, Royal School of Mines, scientific education, Richard Owen, Joseph Hooker, Royal Society

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