The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.
§ 55. The Origin of Species
The publication of The Origin of Species naturally aroused immense opposition and heated controversy. But Darwin was no controversialist. Patient and entirely unresponsive under abuse, he was, at the same time, eager for criticism (knowing that it might advance the truth). His views offended, not only old-fashioned naturalists, but theologians and clerics. Huxley wrote shortly after Darwin’s death,
Darwin, also, was fortunate in his supporters, though some of the leading biologists of the time—conspicuous among them was Owen—rejected the new doctrine. In Hooker, on the botanical side, in Huxley, on the zoological side, and in Lyell, on the geological side, he found three of the ablest intellects of his country and of his century as champions. None of these agreed on all points with his leader; but all three gave a more than general adherence to his principles and a more than generous aid in promulgating his doctrine. Lyell was an older man, and his Principles of Geology had long been a classic. This book inspired students destined to become leaders in the revolution of thought which was taking place in the last half of the nineteenth century. One of these writes: