Adrian Desmond

Published On


Page Range

pp. 405–416


  • English

Print Length

12 pages

21. Secularism and Salvage

  • Adrian Desmond (author)
Saull, always a stabilizing force, helped the rump Owenites salvage what they could. And every year he would faithfully chair Robert Owen’s birthday celebrations in John Street. But in practical terms he gravitated to George Jacob Holyoake’s new “Utilitarian Society”, which met in the Mechanics’ Hall of Science. It touted a new “secularism”, and effectively took over the old Owenite branches and widened participation to embrace the liberal intelligentsia. Saull was now moving among this new constituency: men and women fascinated by the new dissolvent literature and anonymous pot-boiler Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. Here he met the young firebrand Robert Cooper, the Birmingham pen manufacturer Josiah Mason, that literary young blade G. H. Lewes, and “outside-of-out” preacher George Dawson.


Adrian Desmond


Adrian Desmond was educated at University College London and Harvard University, where he was Stephen Jay Gould's first history of science PhD student. He has two MSc's, one in history of science, another in vertebrate palaeontology, and a PhD for his work on radical Victorian evolutionists. For twenty years he was an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London. He is the multi-award-winning author of nine books, which include: The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs, Archetypes and Ancestors: Palaeontology in Victorian London 1850-1875, The Politics of Evolution: Morphology, Medicine, and Reform in Radical London, Darwin, Huxley: The Devil’s Disciple, Huxley: Evolution’s High Priest, Darwin’s Sacred Cause (with James Moore)