Punch, 28 (1855), 144, 147.
The Queen's Visit to the Crimean Imbeciles
Medical Treatment, War, Government, Politics, Hospitals, Mental Illness, Nutrition, Charlatanry
Reports on Queen Victoria's alleged visit to the 'Crimean Imbeciles', 'unfortunates' who inhabit many 'public offices' but especially the Army Medical Department. Describes one 'serious case' attended by the Queen—Andrew Smith, who 'labours under the general paralysis of the active powers' and who has been 'shattered' after intense criticism from John A Roebuck's select committee, The Times, and the General Board of Health. Notes that Smith's 'imbecility has taken the form of a fixed idea, that the hospitals at Scutari are all they ought to be'. Goes on to describe the next 'imbecile' attended by the Queen, Dr Menzies, who was 'quite incapable of comprehending his own duties, or the value of money—especially in comparison with human life'. (144) On visiting the 'Imbeciles of the Commisariat', the Queen observed aged 'sufferers' who were quite incapable of 'feeding the Army'. The 'Commander-in-Chief' of the Army, Henry Hardinge (1st Viscount Hardinge), has a 'ward to himself'. His 'memory for recent events has long been utterly gone' and he complains that the clocks with which he plays are 'too fast'. Finally, the Queen visited Royal Navy officers Edward Boxer and Capt. Christie, whose language was 'foul and offensive'. Concludes by noting the Queen's 'entire dissatisfaction with all the arrangements in relation to the War up to the present time'.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005-07
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