Punch, 34 (1858), 251.
Accident to a Government Train
Railways, Accidents, Government, Politics, Engineering
Report of a railway accident at Slough, the site of a famous banquet at which Benjamin Disraeli described the political controversy sparked by the warning of the president of the East India Company Board of Control, Edward Law (1st Earl Ellenborough), to the governor-general of India, Charles J Canning (1st Viscount Canning), that his proclamation confiscating lands in the Oudh province of India threatened to stir up another rebellion. In this report, 'Bendizzy' (Disraeli) is portrayed as a engine driver whose hasty control of the 'Parliamentary train' called 'Reasoning' caused the accident. The report plays on the similarity between the terms used to describe a railway accident and those used to describe a politician whose train of argument has 'got off the line of truth'. For example, it notes that the 'train [...] was started without notice of the signal "Caution", and was not sufficiently ballasted with facts', and 'just before the break-down, Bendizzy was "rather going it", and some expressed a hint that he would burst his boiler'. Criticises the zealous and shortsighted 'driving' style of Bendizzy, pointing out that 'this hap-hazard style of driving may be all very well for reckless Opposition work; but it clearly will not do for a Government train, which of course must be kept going at the regular pace'.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005-07
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