Medical Practitioners, Quackery, Physiognomy, Descent
Guiding Tito Melema through the busy streets of fifteenth-century Florence, Nello the barber reflects on a 'druggist's shop [...] that pretends to rival mine', commenting, 'what sort of inspiration, I beseech you, can be got from the scent of nauseous vegetable decoctions?—to say nothing of the fact that you no sooner pass the threshold than you see a doctor of physic, like a gigantic spider, disguised in fur and scarlet, waiting for his prey; or even see him blocking up the doorway seated on a bony hack, inspecting saliva [...]. Besides, your druggist, who herborises and decocts, is a man of prejudices: he has poisoned people according to a system, and is obliged to stand up for his system to justify the consequences'. In the skilful hands of a barber, however, 'by diligent shaving, the nether region of your face may preserve its human outline, instead of presenting no distinction from the physiognomy of a bearded owl or a barbary ape'. (27)
Commends the French system of outdoor poor relief and considers the important role played by 'the "hospices" and hospitals' which house the infirm old and deserted children (45). Observes that French medical men 'rarely accept a salary, for it is, when granted, so small (never exceeding 12l. per annum) that they prefer acting gratuitously; while their unpaid exertions in favour of the poor naturally recommend them to the notice of the affluent, who can afford to pay, and often procure for them the Cross of the Legion of Honour' (46–47).
Claims that it is well known that 'the whole race of poets, artists, romancers, novelists—all close their eyes to see' (65), and even 'the pretences of clairvoyants, however much disproved, tell in the same direction' (64). However, not even 'among the most extravagant romancers or spasmodic poets, is the effect of looking with the eyes closed so evident as in the scientific interpretation of nature' (65). In astronomy, for instance, the 'explanation of the elliptic orbit by gravity is possible only by looking away from, refusing to be influenced by, the obvious appearance—setting free the mind, as it were, by closing the outward sense' (65–66). Similarly, the principle of perpetual motion, 'the highest truth in science', can be apprehended only by 'tracing in imagination' forces which, in the experience of our senses, seem to be 'lost, dissipated, and no more to be found'. With our eyes shut each force 'stretches out in to the boundless universe which taxes our imagination still in vain'. (66) The ability to reject 'the natural dictates of sense [...] permeates all science' and 'distinguishes alike the discoverer and inventor'. In particular, it allows science's 'proudest names' to 'recognize obstacles that never have appeared, and calculate on elements which the field of vision does not include'. After all, any new 'truth is ever the improbable', and 'the innovator is one who affirms or acts against appearances; and truth, with us, has been but a series of innovations'. (67) Makes reference to Michael Faraday'sFaraday, Michael
DSB CloseView the register entry >> assertion in a recently reprinted lecture [delivered at the Royal InstitutionRoyal Institution of Great Britain
CloseView the register entry >> in May 1854] that 'in experimenting, we must fix in our minds "clear ideas of the physically possible and impossible"', and defends it against the criticism of 'an eminent mathematician' [i.e. Augustus De MorganDe Morgan, Augustus
DSB CloseView the register entry >>] who implies that 'we should determine beforehand what events can happen' (68). Concludes that the 'two faculties' of sense and intellect must 'co-operate in science', but always 'the sense is that which must be subordinate' (69).
Progress, Railways, Telegraphy, Zoological Gardens, Museums, Government
The huge metropolis of London is uniquely interesting to a foreign visitor as it is the only 'city crossed from end to end by railways, under-ground or above-ground, and by a nervous system (so to speak) of electric telegraphs' (75). Notes that several 'museums of science or of the useful arts exist in London, such as the Zoological GardensZoological Society of London —Gardens
CloseView the register entry >>', and suggests that a 'characteristic feature of some of these institutions is that they have been set up and are still maintained without State intervention'. While 'in France, our Jardin des PlantesJardin des Plantes, Paris CloseView the register entry >> and our Museums are public', in London there is no such 'generous management' and the foreign visitor to the city must get used to 'paying at the doors for admission'. (79)
Begins by assuring readers that there is 'no intention of competing with the critical journals, either in fullness of information or in elaborateness of criticism. Our object is, with the aid of "eminent hands", to touch lightly, yet firmly, on the chief topics of the day; to indicate the quality of the most notable works, and to record the glories of scientific progress' (103). Complains that in the latest volume of Thomas Carlyle'sCarlyle, Thomas
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>Frederick the GreatCarlyle,
Thomas 1858–65. History of Friedrich II of Prussia, called
Frederick the Great, 6 vols, London: Chapman & Hall
CloseView the register entry >>, the 'serious labour of science [is] treated as if it were the paltriest of futilities' instead of being 'a very noble effort' (108). Reports that 'Professor RoscoeRoscoe, Sir Henry Enfield
DSB CloseView the register entry >> has been delighting the audience at the Royal InstitutionRoyal Institution of Great Britain
CloseView the register entry >> by a course of lectures on the most thrilling discovery of modern times—namely, the spectrum analysis'. The 'discovery of a process by which man can accurately ascertain the composition of the atmosphere of the sun and the stars' is 'thrilling to the imagination' and 'resemble[s] the marvels of the conjuror', but it will also be 'eminently useful' as a 'most delicate method of chemical analysis'. (109) In the artificial spectrum, a 'new and potent Instrument of research is thus placed at the service of science. No imagination can prefigure its mighty results' (112). Making one of the 'long stride[s]' and 'contrasts' of which 'the progress of science is full', Lewes goes on to defend the close study of tadpoles, which, although they are 'unimposing; trivial beasts, to be found in every roadside pond', yields 'infinitely more valuable material than the study of elephants'. Indeed, the tadpole 'is the naturalist's friend. The Royal SocietyRoyal Society of London
CloseView the register entry >> welcomes him, cherishes him, encourages "memoirs" about him, and is ready to-morrow, if need be, to make a "lion" of him'. Also records some of Lewes's own experiments on the development of tadpoles under various conditions which support the findings of John HigginbottomHigginbottom, John
WBI CloseView the register entry >>. While the 'observant agricultural mind has long convinced itself that the moon, with her changes, brings change of weather', the 'philosophic mind' too is slowly becoming convinced of the truth of this (114), although the matter 'must still be considered sub judice' (115). Remarks that it is 'pleasant to find a scientific truth hidden under a popular prejudice' (114). Suggests in the section on art that by being too concerned with the technical effect of a painting, we 'presently find ourselves in the dread state of the unfortunates, who look for ten minutes on a bit of metal for the purposes of an electro-biological lecturer' (116).
Entomology, Ancient Authorities, Physiology, Morality
The scholars Bartolommeo Scala and Politian conduct a learned and pedantic squabble in their 'letters, which were the literary periodicals of the fifteenth century'. Fastidiously correcting each other's Latin epigrams on 'the culex (an insect well known at the revival of learning)', they are both equally unaware that all their conceits are 'unhappily founded partly on the zoological mistake that the flea, like the gnat, was born from the waters'. (159) At this time, however, 'for [...] the damp origin of the flea, there was the authority of VirgilVirgil (Publius Vergilius Maro)
CBD CloseView the register entry >> himself, who had called it the "alumnus of the waters"' (160). Once Tito Melema has made a conscious decision not to seek out his adoptive father Baldassare Calvo, his amoral instincts will in future be made habitual by the physiological channels etched in his mind by his earlier behaviour; 'the little rills of selfishness [...] united and made a channel, so that they could never again meet with the same resistance' (177) [see Shuttleworth 1984Shuttleworth, Sally 1984. George Eliot and
Nineteenth-Century Science: The Make-Believe of a Beginning, Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press
CloseView the register entry >>; 108].
Relates the impudent successes against Union ships enjoyed during the early part of the American Civil War by a Southern 'steam war-vessel' (191). The ship's blockade-running progress across the Atlantic is halted finally only by its 'boilers being completely worn out' (205).
Suggests that in climbing the Alps 'a telescope will be wanted, especially if new routes are to be tried', and advises that 'there is probably nothing better than one of Cary'sCary, William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> little pocket telescopes' (209).
Grenville Woolcomb's resentful lawyer Mr. Bradgate complains to Philip Firmin that 'to be bullied by a fellow who might be a black footman, or ought to be a crossing sweeper! It's monstrous!', but is told, 'Don't speak ill of a man and a brother [...] Woolcomb can't help his complexion' (231). Nevertheless, in the election campaign for a rotten borough which is won by Woolcomb's beery patronage, Philip and his cohorts display a derogatory 'placard, on which a most undeniable likeness of Mr. Woolcomb was designed: who was made to say, "VOTE FOR ME! AM I NOT A MAN AND A BRUDDER?"' (236). However, the 'tawny Woolcomb [is] the fairy' who, at the completion of the narrative, unearths from an 'old postchaise' the will which finally confirms Philip as Lord Ringwood's heir (238).
Imperialism, Telegraphy, Botany, Natural Imperialism, War
Warns that in times of 'public agitation or alarm, rail and telegraph are not to be always depended upon'. Indeed, 'Governing by telegram is by no means safe or advisable. The wire is too thin to bear the whole weight of India. It is an invaluable auxiliary, but an untrustworthy chief'. (242) In considering how, for any Governor-General of India, 'there comes troubles and rumours of war [...] instead of the peaceful reign he was promised', the author sketches a typical scenario in which a 'native potentate takes umbrage at the botanical excursions of a scientific British official in the next province, and forbids any more invasions of his territory on any pretence whatever. The angry botanist seeks at once to extirpate the barbarians, and collects his forces, "awaiting his Excellency's pleasure"' (249).
Gives a brief account of an imaginary meeting of metropolitan high society at which 'literary lions, artistic celebrities, famous lecturers upon science, distinguished inventors in mechanics, discoverers of planets' all 'talk to one another, exchange ideas, or criticise some new invention, or drink tea' (269–70). In a room 'fitted up with all kinds of curious, interesting, and instructive objects', a 'traveller is expounding, with the aid of a plan of the bones, and a full-length portrait of the creature in a complete state, the manners, customs, and personal appearance of the very latest discovery in natural history', while portraits of 'the last thing out in the way of pre-Adamite monsters are also to be seen, being a portion of one toe, in a fossil state, of a new species of megatherium—very rare'. There are also 'microscopes through which you may gaze at the wondrous beauties to be seen in the foot of a frog', and there is 'an electric battery in one corner of the room, at which ladies and gentlemen may be shocked as much as they like'. (269) The full glory of the conversazione is depicted in a detailed pull-out engraving (facing 269).
Although it is 'obvious to every one that this is not the fitting place to open a discussion on the great problems of Philosophy and Religion', the '"Survey", superficial as it is, must include at least the mention of a work so lofty in aim and so remarkable in execution as the System of Synthetic Philosophy, which Mr. Herbert SpencerSpencer, Herbert
DSB CloseView the register entry >> is issuing to subscribers, in quarterly instalments, and of which the first volume, containing First PrinciplesSpencer,
Herbert 1862. First Principles, London: Williams and
CloseView the register entry >>, is now complete'. The book, 'we may as well warn our readers, will be found satisfactory by very few orthodox thinkers', and Spencer's style of writing is often 'monotonous'. However, 'in spite of all dissidence respecting the conclusions, the serious reader will applaud the profound earnestness' and the 'immense scientific knowledge' of Spencer's work. (273) Reports the findings of Marie J P FlourensFlourens, Marie-Jean-Pierre
DSB CloseView the register entry >> on the importance of the mother's milk for the growth of osseous tissues in children. Indeed, the 'organism by its marvellous chemistry transmutes the most various substances of food into the few organic compounds, assimilating them, as we say, so that the herbage of the meadow is converted into bone' (277–78). Suggests that when Alfred Tennyson'sTennyson, Alfred, 1st Baron Tennyson
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> Ulysses states, 'I am a part of all that I have met', he might 'with equal truth, though with less dignity have said—"I am a part of all that I have ate"'.
Lewes also recounts his own observations from March 1861 on some 'sticklebacks [...] obtained from one of the duckponds in our Zoological GardensZoological Society of London —Gardens
CloseView the register entry >>', which seemed to show the existence of a type of parasitic mollusc ('Anodonta') that had 'hitherto never been found living on or in the bodies of other animals'. He recalls how, 'Not finding any notice of such a fact in the books on our shelves, we applied to Professor HuxleyHuxley, Thomas Henry
DSB CloseView the register entry >>', who directed Lewes to the similar observations of William HoughtonHoughton, William
WBI CloseView the register entry >> and other naturalists. There are, nevertheless, 'still obscurities' on which Lewes's observations of the parasites differ from those of these other naturalists. (278)
In a discussion of the novelist's art, the narrator asserts, 'Madmen, you know, see visions, hold conversations with, even draw the likeness of, people invisible to you and me. Is this making of people out of fancy madness? and are novel-writers at all entitled to strait-waistcoats?' (283). Observes that often when writing, it 'seems as if an occult Power was moving the pen'; a character 'does or says something, and I ask, how the Dickens did he come to think of that'. Also claims that 'the imagination foretells things'. (287) In the 'novel of PendennisThackeray, William
Makepeace 1850. The History of Pendennis: His Fortunes and
Misfortunes, his Friends and his Greatest Enemy, 2 vols, London: Bradbury
CloseView the register entry >>, written ten years ago, there is an account of a certain Costigan, whom I had invented (as I suppose authors invent their personages out of scraps, heel-taps, odds and ends of characters). I was smoking in a tavern parlour one night—and this Costigan came into the room alive—the very man:—the most remarkable resemblance of the printed sketches of the man, of the rude drawings in which I had depicted him. [...] How had I come to know him, to divine him? Nothing shall convince me that I have not seen that man in the world of spirits. In the world of spirits and water I know I did: but that is a mere quibble of words. [...] I had had cognizance of him before somehow' (287–88). Considers as well that they 'used to call the good Sir WalterScott, Sir Walter, 1st Baronet
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> the "wizard of the North". What if some writer should appear who can write so enchantingly that he shall be able to call into actual life the people whom he invents? What if Mignon, and Margaret, and Goetz von Berlichingen are alive now (though I don't say they are visible), and Dugald Dalgetty and Ivanhoe were to step in at the open window by the little garden yonder?' (288).
Tito Melema's deliberations on his responsibilities to his adoptive father Baldassare Calvo end with his mind being 'destitute of that dread which has been erroneously decried as if it were nothing higher than a man's animal care for his own skin: that awe of the Divine Nemesis which was felt by religious pagans, and, though it took a more positive form under Christianity, is still felt by the mass of mankind simply as a vague fear at anything which is called wrong-doing. Such terror of the unseen is so far above mere sensual cowardice that it will annihilate that cowardice: it is the initial recognition of a moral law restraining desire'. The 'guardianship' of fear may eventually 'become needless; but only when all outward law has become needless—only when duty and love have united in one stream and made a common force'. Tito, however, was 'nurtured in contempt for the tales of priests', and is now 'too cultured and sceptical' and 'in erudite familiarity with disputes concerning the chief good, which had after all, he considered, left it a matter of taste'. (291) Later, after learning that his beloved Romola is to enter San Marco to tend her dying brother (who he fears will disclose his betrayal of Calvo), Tito finds himself 'at one of those lawless moments which come to us all if we have no guide but desire, and the pathway where desire leads us seems suddenly closed; he was ready to follow any beckoning that offered him an immediate purpose' (307). Tito subsequently makes a sham marriage with the peasant girl Tessa, but 'the love which formed one web with all his worldly hopes [...] the love that was identified with his larger self—was not to be banished from his consciousness' (318).
Contends that at a time when 'highly-coloured statements of the results of the new French researches [into the nature of alcohol] are being somewhat disingenuously placed before the lay public, there should not be a total silence on the part of those members of the [medical] profession' who have not 'become the obsequious mouthpieces of the teetotal party' (329). Impugns the 'imperfect chemical or physiological experiments' (329) of 'our chemical anti-alcoholists' who seek to show that alcohol is not a food, but rather a poison or medicine which depresses the nervous system (328). In obtaining their so-called 'proofs' these men follow 'such an eminently unscientific procedure as the attempt to estimate the amount of a substance present by the tinge of colour given to the reagent, and guessed by the eye!' (327), but like 'many physiologists [they] strangely overlook a set of facts [...] viz. the frequent instances which are to be met with, among regular dram-drinkers, of almost total abstinence, for years together, from any food except alcohol and water' (323). While the 'effect of long-continued habits of alcoholic excess upon the general health of the body [...] may be summed up in brief by one word—Degeneration' (322), it is nonetheless true that alcohol is still a food, although it is a 'bad and insufficient food' on its own (323). Moreover, for the 'labouring man [...] who drinks, in ordinary times, two pints of beer per diem', his 'beer is itself a nutriment' and it contributes to his ability to perform his labour (325). The 'newly-made teetotal convert' may warn of 'the "slavery" of alcohol' (325), but on the beneficial effects of moderate drinking 'the instinct of common sense overpowers the influence of even a chemist's obstinate theorizing tendency' (327).
One aspect of the 'remarkable difference between ancient and modern trials' (362) is that in the modern system all the 'different little facts are carefully put together in their proper places, and proved by the appropriate evidence; and if scientific questions arise (as often happens), a law-court becomes a sort of lecture-room. This system, no doubt, has its inconveniences, but it affords, on the whole, the most perfect system of administering justice which has yet been devised in any part of the world' (363).
Engineers, Military Technology, Invention, Class, Status
Captain Bernard Dale has the immense advantage of 'being known to all his compeers as the nephew of an earl, and as the heir to a property of three thousand a year' (371–72). He has, however, also 'obtained a commission' as 'an officer in the corps of Engineers' (371), and 'in his profession had been equally fortunate'. Indeed, by 'industry, by a small but wakeful intelligence, and by some aid from patronage, he had got on till he had almost achieved the reputation of talent. His name had become known among scientific experimentalists, not as that of one who had himself invented a cannon or an antidote to a cannon, but as of a man understanding in cannons and well fitted to look at those invented by others; who would honestly test this or that antidote'. (372)
Health, Medical Treatment, Natural Law, Positivism, Human Species, Descent, Comparative Anatomy, Darwinism, Evolution, Physiology, Astronomy, Spectroscopy, Magnetism, Industrial Chemistry
In the section on Art penned by Lewes, he notes that Julius Althaus'sAlthaus, Julius
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>The Spas of EuropeAlthaus,
Julius 1862. The Spas of Europe, London: Trübner and
CloseView the register entry >> is 'not a guide book', but rather 'an elaborate compilation of all the scientific knowledge hitherto gained respecting the nature and composition of the several waters, and of all that is known (or supposed, we might more rigorously say) respecting their physiological action, and their uses in various maladies' (401). A 'philosophical work [...] published anonymously under the title' An Inquiry into the Theory of History, with Special Reference to the Principles of the Positive Philosophy[Adam, William]
1862. An Inquiry into the Theories of History: With Special Reference to the
Principles of the Positive Philosophy, London: Allen
CloseView the register entry >> [written by William AdamAdam, William
WBI CloseView the register entry >>] is 'devoted to a guerrilla warfare with Auguste ComteComte, Isidore Auguste Marie François Xavier
DSB CloseView the register entry >> and the positive school generally; and the stronghold from which all [its] sorties are made is the position that the anti-theistic positivism of Comte is not thoroughly positive, that in affirming law and denying a lawgiver, Comte sins against the principles of true positivism'. This criticism is 'sometimes just, sometimes ingenious, but not unfrequently, on cardinal points, inconsiderate and superficial'. (401–02) In the Science section written by Herschel, he reports that 'Sir Charles Lyell'sLyell, Sir Charles, 1st Baronet
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>workLyell, Charles
1863. The Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man: With Remarks on
Theories of the Origin of Species by Variation, London: John Murray
CloseView the register entry >>' on the 'deeply-interesting, and therefore hotly-contested, questions mooted in scientific circles' as to the 'antiquity of our race' is 'awaited with impatience'. Also notes that recent 'discoveries of human remains' seem to make clear the 'pre-historic existence of man', and adds that these early skulls 'strongly resemble the gorilla in a character always insisted on, and justly, as distinguishing the apes from man'. Considers whether 'the human species is making a step on Darwinian principles, towards the acquirement of some new organs, for which preparations are commencing (and which may land us in the ten or hundred thousandth future generation in the possession of wings)'. (403) After all, in the Transactions of the Imperial Academy of St. Petersburg[Novi] Commentarii Academiae Scientiarum Imperialis Petropolitanae
[Nova] Acta Academiae Scientiarum Imperialis Petropolitanae
Mémoires de l'Académie Impériale des Sciences de St. Pétersbourg
Scholarly Societies Project CloseView the register entry >>Wenzel GruberGruber, Wenzel
WBI CloseView the register entry >> has recorded 'cases [...] of the presence, in the human subject, of supernumerary muscles of the chest', which 'must evidently impart material additional strength to the inward contraction of the shoulders' (403–04). Refers to the work of Georg MeissnerMeissner, Georg
DSB CloseView the register entry >> and Leopold AuerbachAuerbach, Leopold
WBI CloseView the register entry >> on the submucosal 'plexus of nerves and ganglia' of the intestinal wall, and the 'opposition' with which this 'discovery' has been 'stoutly contested' (404). Reports on Giovan B Donati'sDonati, Giovan Battista
DSB CloseView the register entry >> attempts to form 'a spectrum of the light of a star [...] by means of the great burning lens in the Florentine MuseumFlorence. observatory
CloseView the register entry >> [...]—the same which served the academicians under Cosmo III.Medici, Cosimo III
WBI CloseView the register entry >>'. The results which he has thereby obtained, however, are 'scarcely compatible' with the fine dark spectral lines observed previously by Joseph FraunhoferFraunhofer, Joseph
DSB CloseView the register entry >> (406). Herschel recommends that 'from our own experience, we should hardly assent to' many of Donati's findings, and advises that it is 'highly desirable that such very material points of discrepancy between such authorities should be cleared up without delay' (406). Complains at the waste of the fatty parts of eggs caused by the need for 'the albumen consumed by the calico manufacturers', and commends the news that 'French chemists have set about manufacturing soap from the yolk, by the action of alkalis on its fatty matters' (408).
Quackery, Medical Practitioners, Boundary Formation, Surgery, Status, Astrology, Ancient Authorities
Nello the barber denigrates Maestro Tacco, a pompous 'doctor from Padua', as a 'toad-faced quack fingering quattrini, or bagging a pigeon in exchange for his pills and powders'. Nello insists that Tacco 'vends his own secret medicines, so he keeps away from the doors of the speziali (druggists)', and has made the piazza into 'a resort for asthmas and squalling bambini'. (445) While being shaved, Tacco is insulted by Nello's facetious suggestion that 'It is fitting that a great medicus like you [...] should be shaved by the same razor that has shaved the illustrious Antonio BenivieniBenivieni, Antonio
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, the greatest master of the chirurgic art'. He replies indignantly, 'The chirurgic art! [...] Is it your Florentine fashion to put the masters of the science of medicine on a level with men who do carpentry on broken limbs, and sew up wounds like tailors, and carve away excresences as a butcher trims meat. Via! A manual art, such as any artificer might learn, and which has been practised by simple barbers like yourself—on a level with the noble science of HippocratesHippocrates of Cos
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, GalenGalen
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, and AvicennaIbn Sina, Abu Ali Al-Husayn Ibn Abdal-Lah (also
known as Avicenna)
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, which penetrates into the occult influences of the stars, and plants and gems!—a science locked up from the vulgar!' (446–47). To this Nello responds hypocritically, 'I never thought of placing them on a level: I know your science comes next to the miracles of the Holy Church for mystery. But there, you see, is the pity of it [...] your high science is sealed from the profane and the vulgar, and you become an object of envy and slander' (447).
Details how 'a long, low, black, rakish-looking steamer, rejoicing in the sovereign name of Victoria', and with 'the Confederate flag flying', broke the Northern blockade of the Louisiana coastal ports. Although the Victoria is 'an old wooden boat' with a 'very inflammable [...] engine-room', she was able to outwit the North's faster and better-equipped steamships. (472) Cunningly, 'moonless nights' were 'chosen for running the blockade', and in the ship's engine-room 'Anthracite coal, which makes no smoke and no sparks, was substituted for the soft, which produces both' (474).
Aware that 'anything may be proved by statistics' and that an 'abundance of "cases" [...] can always be cited to prove the most contradictory propositions', Lewes attempts to sort through the different opinions on 'the influence of railway-travel' of 'alarmists' and 'optimists', by whom 'science is invoked to prove, on mechanical, chemical, and physiological principles, that this travel is terribly injurious,—and perfectly innocuous' (480). The railway's 'advantages are too obvious and too immense' for any 'conjectural' evils to really concern the travelling public, and even 'the terrors of railway accidents' will not have much effect, 'especially now that experience has shown that the accidents are insignificant compared with those which occurred in the "good old days of coaching"' (481). Reflecting that 'Hating town, as the writer of these lines hates it, and loving the quiet and the sky of the country as he loves them, he is among the last to undervalue the increase of pleasurable sensations derived from quitting the capital to spend a few hours by the sea-side, or in the stillness of a country villa', Lewes nevertheless casts doubt on the almost 'universal belief in the sanitary advantages of "sleeping out of town"', and instead suggests that for the railway 'season-ticket holder' the 'advantage derived from sleeping out of town' is not 'equivalent, or superior, to the disadvantages of the transit' (482). Unlike many of the medical contributors to the recently published report on The Influence of Railway Travelling on Public HealthAnon. 1862a. The Influence of Railway Travelling on
Public Health. From the 'Lancet', London: Hardwicke
CloseView the register entry >>, Lewes does not consider railway travel to be particularly hazardous, but he still insists that the 'special evils of the rail are—the cold draughts, the dust and smoke, the dizzy rapidity of passing objects, the grinding, rattling, screaming, and whistling', and 'If you live at Brighton you cannot pass daily to and fro except at such a price' (488). According to William W CooperCooper, William White
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, moreover, 'reading in railways is productive of injurious effects on the eyes. Not only are the cheap papers and books, which form the bulk of railway literature, badly printed, but even when paper and type are of the best, there is always an incessant strain on the muscles of the eye in the effort to follow the shaking page; and this effort produces head-ache or dizziness in many persons' (489).
As a frequent visitor to these shores, the author observes that since the melodious days of '"merry England" [...] you have become an industrious, laborious people [...] the locomotive rattles on your rails, the steam-engine pants in your factories, the steam-hammer clangs; so when I see the people on a Saturday night pouring forth from these workshops [...] I fully understand that song has left them' (514–15). Also notes that the 'chemist' father of the famous Norwegian musician Ole B BullBull, Ole Bornemann
CBD CloseView the register entry >> was 'a pupil of the celebrated chemist, TrommsdorffTrommsdorff, Johann Bartholomäus
DSB CloseView the register entry >>' (515).
Reports that 'our most charming and plausible generalizations', such as the 'universally-admitted theory of a regular balance between the processes of animal and vegetable life', are continually being proved by the 'progress of science' to be 'at fault'. Experiments performed by the 'eminent chemist' Jean B J D BoussingaultBoussingault, Jean Baptiste Joseph
DSB CloseView the register entry >> have shown the 'error' of Nicolas T de Saussure'sSaussure, Nicolas-Théodore de
DSB CloseView the register entry >> observation that after decomposing the carbonic acid that they received from the air 'plants in sunlight [...] gave out the oxygen; thus purifying the atmosphere, and rendering it breathable by animals'. After repeating 'Saussure's investigations on the more accurate methods of our day', Bousingault found that, as well as oxygen, an oxide of carbon is also 'exhaled like so much indigestible food'. (545) This experimental 'discovery', moreover, 'perfectly [...] tallies with familiar experience. Every one knows the oppressive and even dangerous influence of plants in a closed room—especially the bed-room'. Carbonic acid itself, the presence of which in the animal body will 'lower, and finally suspend, the vital activity', may 'be reckoned among the anæsthetic agents', and 'not only is it to be ranked beside ether and chloroform in potency, but above them in utility, since it is the most harmless of all anæsthetics'. (546) Notes that after 'having for many years enjoyed an almost uncontested approval from physiologists and chemists [...] Liebig'sLiebig, Justus von
DSB CloseView the register entry >> theory of food is now becoming less and less accepted among real investigators; that is to say, among men who, loyal to fact, are able to resist the seduction of a facile formula which seems to explain the mystery, but really leaves it untouched'. This 'brilliant but delusive generalization', which holds that animals require nitrogenous food 'to build up the fabric' and non-nitrogenous food to 'keep up the temperature of their bodies', has been refuted by a 'long array of facts and arguments' (547), to which William S SavorySavory, Sir William Scovell, 1st Baronet
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> has recently added. In fact, 'Liebig's theory was not founded on any precise investigations, but was simply a deduction from certain chemical premises, supported by random facts drawn from the reports of travellers [...] and such like sources', and, as such, it cannot stand up to any 'rigorous scrutiny'. The 'beautiful' stereoscopic plates of the moon produced by Warren De La RueDe La Rue, Warren
DSB CloseView the register entry >> have revealed an 'apparent anomaly of figure' which suggests that the shape of the moon's 'surface [...] is not that of a perfect sphere, alike throughout'. (548) The stereoscopes have been subjected to 'careful and rigorous microscopic measurement', and they seem to support Peter A Hansen'sHansen, Peter Andreas
DSB CloseView the register entry >> observation of 'an elongation of the lunar axis in the direction of the earth', which 'would fully account for the total absence both of air and of water on the side of the moon turned towards us, and would be quite compatible with the abundant existence of both, and of a habitable hemisphere on the other side' (548–49). Comments that the 'mathematical theory of the subject [...] is very simple [...] and one of no small interest', but adds in parentheses '(though for obvious reasons we cannot here enter into it)'. Gives a brief account of the work of 'Russian geodesists' who have 'established the existence of a local deviation to the extraordinary amount of nineteen seconds within a very short distance' of Moscow that cannot be explained by the existence of anything 'deserving the name of a mountain in the neighbourhood'. Notes the remarkable appearance of 'a third comet within four years', although the 'present visitor', while 'a fine and conspicuous object', cannot compete with 'its great predecessors of 1858 and 1861'. (550)
Notes that 'as in the tree that bears a myriad of blossoms, each single bud with its fruit is dependent on the primary circulation of the sap, so the fortunes of Tito and Romola were dependent on certain grand political and social conditions' (577). Later, Tito experiences 'that inexorable law of human souls, that we prepare ourselves for sudden deeds by the reiterated choice of good or evil that gradually determines character' (590).
Aware that the 'popular arguments for and against the use of tobacco are even more unsatisfactory than are the common disputes about alcohol', Anstie proposes to avoid 'moral hysterics' and instead 'consider calmly the purely physiological aspect of the question, apart from right and wrong'. Although the 'AnacreonAnacreon
(c. 570–c. 475
CBD CloseView the register entry >> and the CruikshankCruikshank, George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> of tobacco have yet to make their appearance', it seems that 'the latter rôle will soon be filled' by certain medical practitioners. (605) Indeed, the 'scientific men of the anti-tobacco party have paraded to the gaze of the public [...] many horrifying descriptions' of the adverse effects of smoking. The afflictions described, however, are, as the observations of Joseph H S BeauBeau, Joseph Honoré Simon
WBI CloseView the register entry >> have shown, 'clearly the result of excess—of immoderately large doses' of tobacco, and 'have nothing whatever to do with the effects of tobacco taken by moderate snuffers or smokers'. In fact, when taken in moderation, tobacco has 'a very decided stimulant effect upon the system', which is 'an integral part of the physiological action of tobacco' and is 'not followed by any unhealthy depressive reaction'. (607) The prevalent medical 'theory that tobacco is in all doses a merely stupefying and depressing agent, is contradicted by the most commonplace facts'. We do not, for instance, 'think of Sir Walter RaleghRalegh (or Raleigh), Sir Walter
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, the arch-fumigator himself, as a particularly listless or inactive individual', and during the 'severest exertions' of the 'agricultural labourer' one can see these 'clodhoppers smoking most vigorously'. (608) It is absurd to speak of people who consume tobacco in moderation as 'the subjects of a "slavery"', for the 'feeling of masterless irrepressible craving for any narcotic is invariably the result of nervous exhaustion' induced by a 'poison [...] which enfeebles the nervous system', and most 'smokers never in their lives experience any such sensation' (609–10). The common argument that 'the practice of smoking, leads to excessive drinking' is refuted if we 'look at the men at the universities', where 'excessive smoking is carried to a pitch that would make the hair of any anti-tobacconal stand on end with horror; and yet the instances of habitual alcoholic excess are very few, and are becoming, me teste, still fewer' (614).
Observes that the 'traveller will of course visit Leyden, with its universityUniversity of Leiden
CloseView the register entry >> and wonderful collection of stuffed birds. There are miles of birds, brought from all countries,—except, indeed, from England. I have always observed that in such collections the creatures of the British Isles find no place. Why should there not be there at Leyden the Anser Anglicanus Michaeliensis? I believe that that valuable bird has been excluded in jealousy of English prowess' (622).
Discusses whether cotton grown in India might 'fill up the hiatus caused by the cessation of the supply of cotton from America' (661). Begins by reminding the reader that it was with 'cotton derived from India that WyattWyatt, John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, PaulPaul, Lewis
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, ArkwrightArkwright, Sir Richard
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, HargreavesHargreaves, James
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, and CromptonCrompton, Samuel
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> first produced those yarns with the machinery they severally invented or perfected, which rendered success so complete as to banish from the minds of British manufacturers all fear of the competition of Indian goods' (654). Details how, while indigenous growers have 'left their plants to the care of Providence alone', agricultural innovations which 'materially aided nature' and were devised by 'an English gentleman [...] despatched to Nagpore by a mercantile firm', successfully produced a crop of Indian cotton 'in every respect equal to the best New Orleans'. Furthermore, from 'the seeds of these plants he selected the most promising, and sowing them the second year, and attending the plants grown therefrom with similar care, he had the satisfaction of seeing his efforts crowned with the utmost success'. (658)
Adolphus Crosbie, an ambitious government clerk, reflects that 'if his destiny intended to give him a wife out of this family, he should prefer the owner of Allington and nephew of Lord de Guest as a brother-in-law to a village doctor,—as he took upon himself, in his pride, to call Dr. Croft' (683).
Describes the 'moth-like weakness, ignorance, and blindness' of Joseph Cradell (788–89), and suggests that, like the lovelorn Cradell, when 'the unfortunate moth in his semi-blindness whisks himself and his wings within the flame of the candle, and finds himself mutilated and tortured, he even then will not take the lesson, but returns again and again until he is destroyed' (788). Later, Lily Dale tells Adolphus Crosbie that in the six weeks since they met, 'I've left off being a grub, and begun to be a butterfly [...] my real position in the world,—that for which I would fain hope that I was created,—opened to me only when I knew you' (794).
A lonely father of the bride reflects on the question 'what are realities? When my son-in-law took Margaret home, no doubt he fancied he had got a reality; but I believe her existence to him, as a fact, altogether depends upon the existence of the Idea of her in his mind. That is what the metaphysicians would say. The young man feels that he possesses her, because he hears her say now and then, "Dear Jack, I am yours", and because he sees her every day sitting at his fireside. But eyes and ears are mere mechanical apparatus; the impression they convey is the thing: and if the impression remains, it matters little whether it was made an hour or a year ago, I suppose. [...] Now my mind is possessed with a hundred such conceptions, as vivid as if they were only an hour old, but mellower, deeper: conceptions of Margaret mine. And so I hope I have satisfied myself on philosophical principles that I have not really lost my daughter at all'. Upon these principles, moreover, the 'baby-daughter' that Margaret once was still 'remains mine'. (807) She 'lies in my arms (why not? sense is only the vehicle of sensation)' (808).
After suggesting that books are 'the flowers of winter' (842), Lewes concedes that they are 'not all beautiful [...]. Sometimes an unsuspected thorn pricks to anger; sometimes an odour, stronger, but not sweeter, than that of the rose, excites repugnance. What thorns, what odour, will be felt in Bishop Colenso'sColenso, John William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> book [The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua Critically ExaminedColenso, John
William 1862–79. The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua
Critically Examined, 7 parts, London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts,
CloseView the register entry >>], which "everybody" is handling and sniffing, it is not for us to say. We pass it by' (843). Reports that the 'natural history of the sea has received no more important or attractive contribution than in Dr. Wallich'sWallich, George Charles
DSB CloseView the register entry >>North Atlantic Sea BedWallich, George
Charles 1862. The North-Atlantic Sea-Bed: Comprising a Diary of
the Voyage on Board H. M. S. Bulldog, in 1860; and Observations on the Presence
of Animal Life, and the Formation and Nature of Organic Deposits, at Great
Depths in the Ocean, London: John Van Voorst
CloseView the register entry >>, the first part of which has just appeared' [no more were published]. The book 'sets beyond a doubt a point which ought never to have been raised into a doubt, had biologists been more familiar with physics—namely, the existence of animal life at enormous depths in spite of the enormous pressure'. (852) In the Science section, Herschel observes, 'Instead of the marked opposition which may still be read in popular handbooks, thrown into the form of tabulated contrasts, we have learned that the physical, chemical, and physiological characters, by which the plant and the animal are supposed to be separated, are unequivocally characteristic of both' (854). Indeed, Ferdinand J Cohn'sCohn, Ferdinand Julius
DSB CloseView the register entry >> 'recent discovery [...] of a contractile tissue in plants identical in properties with the muscular tissues of animals, adds one more striking fact to the accumulated evidence of identity between the vegetal and animal organizations' (853–54). What Cohn's work has shown is that 'in at least one portion of a plant—the stamen of the Centaurea—there exists a tissue which presides over the phenomena of contractility' (854). Relates how a 'writer of the highest authority has forwarded to us his doubts' as to Jean B L Foucault'sFoucault, Jean Bernard Léon
DSB CloseView the register entry >> method of calculating the 'distance of the sun from the earth' by 'the velocity of light'. However, as Foucault's ally Jacques BabinetBabinet, Jacques
DSB CloseView the register entry >> affirms, 'the received distance of the sun will have to be in some degree reduced, in conformity with, though not to the full extent of, the reduced result derived from working back through the medium of aberration, from M. Foucault's velocity of light'. The Russian government has determined to 'examine, in conjunction with Messers. DevilleDeville, Henri Étienne Sainte-Claire
DSB CloseView the register entry >> and DebrayDebray, Henri Jules
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, the physical properties of platinum prepared by the simple fusion of the native metal without previous separation of the iridium and rhodium', with 'a view, perhaps, to the revival' of the only 'coinage of platina [which] has ever been in circulation'. (856)