[TO THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."]
Sin,—In the article on "President Huxley," which appeared in the Spectator of August 28th, the following passage occurs :—" So strong was the opposition that the Council [of the British Association], who had nominated Mr. Huxley, appear to have given way, and to have informally requested Lord Stanley to accept the
Presidency for 1870." This statement, I beg leave to say, has no foundation whatever in fact. The Council decided to nominate Mr. Huxley at a meeting held in London last May, and they never reconsidered their decision. Lord Stanley's name was incidentally mentioned at the first meeting of the General Committee at Exeter by Mr. Webster, who is not on the Council, but is a strong advocate of the more frequent selection of a president from the ranks of men of local influence and political, rather than purely scientific, distinction.
Sir Stafford Northeote, when proposing, at a subsequent meet- ing of the same committee, that Mr. Huxley should be the next president, expressed not merely his own, but likewise Lord Stanley's dissent from Mr. Webster's views. He, moreover, stated that Lord Stanley would certainly have declined the presidency, had it been offered to him. Sir Stafford Northeete's motion, I may add, was seconded by Sir John Lubbock, and carried with- out any division.
Trusting you will kindly correct the misapprehensions to which your article has given rise, I am, Sir, &c., [Still, it is quite clear that Sir S. Northcote sounded Lord Stanley, and quite natural that we should believe, particularly after reading his speech reported in the Times, that he had the Council's tacit consent. That the whole proceeding was informal we carefully mentioned, and we are delighted to find that it was also irregular,—that no one had authority to address Lord Stanley on the subject.—En. Spectator.]