Insists that the preliminary discussion of private legislation in Parliamentary committees 'ought to be public considering that the greater proportion of it relates to nothing less than the disposal of the surface of the planet for purposes either of locomotion, or of something connected with locomotion. In fact, the greater number of private bills relate to what is called Dockizing the water, or Gridironing the land; in other, and, it must be owned, less felicitous phraseology, to the making or regulating of docks or railways' (42). Additionally, 'measures for incorporating gas and water companies make up a not inconsiderable part of the business of private legislation', and often require 'evidence from experts,—engineers and chemists with specialities'. It is amusing, however, to 'hear how experts contradict each other about the qualities and quantities of water and gas, when their opportunities of information appear to be equal, as well as their reputations for ability'. Accordingly, 'it is not wonderful that hurried men of business should be apt to exclaim, not only that scientific witnesses are humbugs, but that science itself is humbug. The exclamation is, in fact, constantly made. Yet it would be just as fair if men of science (who, meanwhile, know better) were to say that arithmetic and engineering are humbug. For engineers and contractors for executing railway, gas, and water works will differ in their estimates quite as widely as chemists in their analyses'. (46)
Edward Holdsworth's attempts to teach the Reverend Ebenezer Holman and his earnest daughter Phillis the 'practical art of surveying and taking a level' using a 'theodolite' (in which the narrator, Paul Manning, is 'set to work to hold the chain') are interrupted by a sudden rainstorm which allows the debonair Holdsworth to speak privately with Phillis (52). Soon after, however, Holdsworth is summoned to London by 'Greathed the engineer' (about whom the narrator adds, 'Greathed was well known in those days; he is dead now, and his name half-forgotten'), who makes him 'a very advantageous proposal [...] to go out to Canada, and superintend the making of a [railway] line there' (56). Before departing, Holdsworth confesses his love for Phillis to her cousin Paul, who continues his engineering work on the branch line from Eltham to Hornby under a new superintendent who keeps up 'a strict discipline as to hours' which limits Paul's subsequent visits to his rural relations in Heathbridge (60). On one of these rare visits, Phillis is surprised at hearing that Paul has already received a letter from Holdsworth in Canada, and reflects that she 'thought he would be a month if he went in a sailing-vessel, or perhaps longer. I suppose he went in a steamer'. Her mother interjects, 'Old Obadiah Grimshaw was more than six weeks in getting to America'. (61)
Natural History, Breeding, Animal Behaviour, Anthropomorphism, Ancient Authorities, Medical Treatment, Homeopathy, Astrology, Nutrition
Defends the 'cruelly maligned ass' against the 'ribald jests launched at the luckless animal' throughout history and in nearly all cultures (70), and insists that it is, at the very least, superior to the 'pompous and conceited mule' which ought to be recognized as merely an 'undutiful, graceless hybrid' (74). In fact, 'FullerFuller, Thomas
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, of Worthies'Fuller, Thomas
1662. The History of the Worthies of England: Who for Parts and Learning
have been Eminent in the Several Counties. Together with an Historical
Narrative of the Native Commodities and Rarities in Each County, London:
CloseView the register entry >> celebrity, contends that mules are not creatures at all' (69). Asses, on the other hand, have long been known as creatures eminently serviceable to man. In the 'opinion of the learned Van HelmontHelmont, Johannes (Joan) Baptista van
DSB CloseView the register entry >>', for instance, 'asses milk contributes to longevity', and 'GauleGaule, John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> [...] in his Mag-Astromancers Posed and PuzzledGaule, John 1651.
Pus-Mantia the Mag-Astro-Mancer; or, The Magicall-Astrologicall-Diviner,
Posed and Puzzled, London: Joshua Kirton
CloseView the register entry >>, enumerates amongst the different kinds of divination "cephaleonomancy by brayling (sic) of an ass's head"', although the author remarks that such astrological lore is 'a matter into which we are not disposed to enter' (70). Observes that throughout history very few people have recognized 'the close resemblance of mankind to the innocent creature they then, and have since, persecuted so cruelly' (71). Additionally, the 'gentle docile ass, cleanly in his habits, cleanly in his diet, and destitute of all gluttonous propensities whatever' provides meat which is of far higher quality than that of the 'ill-mannered, grubbing, fetid pig, wallowing in filth and finding in filth his food' (72).
John 1829. Illustrations of the Geology of Yorkshire; or, A
Description of the Strata and Organic Remains of the Yorkshire Coast:
Accompanied by a Geological Map, Sections, and Plates of the Fossil Plants and
Animals, 2 vols, York: printed for the author [Vol. 2, London: J.
CloseView the register entry >>
After describing the beautiful scenery that abounds in Yorkshire, complains that many of the 'rivers are spoiled, so far as angling is concerned, by the reprehensible practices of the servants of the lead-mining companies', by which 'the waters of the river[s] are immediately changed from clearness like crystal to a murky leaden hue, and shortly afterwards the fish are drugged and stupefied, and half of them lie dead and floating on their backs' (84n.). Notes that the crumbling coastline of East Yorkshire is showing signs that 'the sea is stealthily but surely winning back its own', and that the county may become 'again, as geologists tell us it once was, the Vale of York, ocean covered, Creyke an island, and Black Hambleton a sea cliff, as Whitby is at this moment'. Indeed, 'nowhere are relics of the past to be found in greater richness or profusion than in Yorkshire', where at a 'period which in geological reckoning is of a very recent kind, the elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, hyæna, &c., must have prowled about in the valleys and on the mountains, since their bones, teeth, &c., are continually found deeply imbedded in certain strata'. In the 'celebrated Kirkdale cave [...] a discovery was made some years ago of a perfect treasure of these reliquiæ'. (86) Also goes on to describe the different races which predominate in the three Ridings of the county (Saxon in the North; Celtic in the West; Danish in the East), as well as the distinctive dialects which afford 'Irrefragable proof' of the 'early [...] habitation' of the Yorkshire Ridings (90).
Science Communication, Popularization, Environmentalism, Fear, Political Economy, Medical Practitioners, Status, Health, Commerce, Natural Law, Mechanics, Theory, Practice
Observes that as 'a general rule, the great bulk of the community regard the threats of scientific men with considerable equanimity. We are not much troubled at hearing of the approaching exhaustion of beds of coal, or of the fearful consequences which may be expected to follow if we neglect to restore to the soil the phosphates which we have taken from it'. Only a 'scientific doctrine' that is 'put so clearly, and rests upon facts of which the evidence is so readily accessible to unscientific persons [...] breaks through our equanimity, and raises a real feeling of uneasiness'. (97) The unfounded but extremely widespread fear provoked by political economists that the discovery of gold in North America and Australia would drastically reduce the value of the British economy shows the 'extreme difficulty of applying scientific theories to an actually existing state of facts' as well as the 'fundamental unsoundness of the common contrast between theory and practice' (109). Remarks that the 'unfailing' axiom that 'nobody gets anything for nothing [...] occupies exactly the same place in regard to laying out money as the maxim that you cannot cheat nature holds in mechanics' (108). Also notes that the interests of physicians are 'more affected by the general state of the nation' than most other occupations. After all, it is 'the rich patient who sends for the doctor, and though prosperity is usually healthy, it is much more watchful over its health, and much better able to pay for fortifications of it, than poverty. Dives has not so many sores as Lazarus, but he is an infinitely better customer to the physician' (103).
After hearing of Edward Holdsworth's marriage in Canada, Phillis Holman, who has been told by her cousin Paul Manning that Holdsworth loves her, falls into a depression which develops into 'a brain fever' that threatens to end her life (204). She partially recovers only after treatment from a number of doctors and the constant solicitude of her family and friends.
Suggests that 'congenital idiots, or others who from fits or any other cause have become idiotic', as well as 'those shallow, excitable, feeble-minded creatures who were in former days, and in certain secluded districts still are, known as half-witted ones, naturals, fools, Bedlam Toms, and the like' (211), generally deserve the 'recommendation to mercy' that is available to juries in criminal trials who find the defendant guilty (210). In 'idiotcy a man never knows, never can know, right from wrong, therefore he is intellectually unfree, and so far irresponsible'. Similarly, when the 'power of exercising choice in [...] volition is destroyed by brain disease' a man is rendered 'morally unfree'. Observes that the highly pertinent 'case of DoveDove, William
WBI CloseView the register entry >> (at York)', where the defendant's 'exceedingly feeble' intellect produced 'great doubts in the minds of thoughtful men as to the propriety of inflicting the capital punishment', will 'be in the memory of many of our readers'. (211)
Acknowledges that 'Few of us, after thirty, can boast of robust health' and that 'Whoso speaks on Health is sure of a large audience', although the current plethora of advice concerning such matters is largely vitiated by its lack of a 'rational basis' and 'its want of adaptation to the existing social arrangements' (219). Exercise, for example, must be 'understood in its physiological relations before it can be safely prescribed', and once 'Enlightened by physiology' we learn that inflexible injunctions to undertake arduous exercises after the labours of the working day 'may be very injurious' (219–20). Complains that the physical training regimes of athletes such as rowers and prize-fighters suffer from 'the utter want of a scientific basis' and are usually 'based on no intelligible principles'. They can therefore offer little guidance to improving the health of 'the general public' (220). In fact, such training, 'when unenlightened by Physiology', can be a 'most dangerous and delusive guide', and 'sacrifices a man to muscle, not less than the prize pig is sacrificed to fat' (221). This is seen most clearly in the case of the American pugilist John C HeenanHeenan, John Carmel ('The Benicia Boy')
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, whose 'forcing system' of training 'his powerful frame [...] may be compared with the cramming system applied to the mind' in its unhealthy over-stimulation of one particular function of the body (222). Readers are advised to eschew the 'absurdities [...] unworthy of notice' promoted by such training systems (224), and instead to 'remember that in exercise, as in diet, the grand rule is Moderation' (229). Sensible advice on the 'little understood' question of food and diet is given by the now-slender William BantingBanting, William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> 'preaching from the text of his own experience' in a 'pamphletBanting,
William 1863. Letter on Corpulence: Addressed to the Public,
[London]: printed by Harrison and Sons
CloseView the register entry >> which he distributes gratuitously, and which he might be induced perhaps to publish' (230–31). Comments that 'Without here opening the wide question of Teetotalism we may briefly state our opinion that the great objection against wine is its pleasantness, which is apt to lure us into drinking more than is needful'. The 'physician must decide' how much can be imbibed without impairing health. (225)
Mental Illness, Obstetrics, Gender, Religion, Medical Practitioners
Following the birth of her daughter, the Countess de Saverne falls into 'mental disquietude' (270), during which time 'the images and pictures which she had seen in the churches operated upon her fevered brain' and induce 'hallucinations' in which she is visited by Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian (who is 'beautiful, and covered with arrows' ), who encourage her to convert to Catholicism. She remains in this 'febrile condition, if not unconscious of her actions, at least not accountable for them', and wakes 'as out of a dream' only three months later 'having a dreadful recollection of the circumstances which had passed'. The eponymous narrator comments that 'Many physicians have told me how often after the birth of a child the brain of the mother will be affected'. The Countess's relations feel 'justly' that she is 'not yet quite restored to her reason' and continue to consult 'physicians' who are 'treated by the patient with scorn, laughter, insult sometimes; sometimes with tears and terror, according to her wayward mood'. None of the remedies 'prescribed' by them for her 'most puzzling [...] condition' have any success. (273) When the Countess flees to England she is treated by an 'apothecary' who can only 'shake his head' over her continuing 'sleeplessness' and 'constant fever' (282). The 'poor crazy lady' becomes convinced that she is the queen, and, while waving a carving knife, threatens to behead her English hosts, whom she regards as 'dukes and princes—I don't know what—poor soul' (283–84).
Compares the view that history is a narrative of 'hopeless corso ricorso, of rising and falling' with the conception of it as a story of 'gradual though laborious evolution', coming down decisively in favour of the latter. Draws an analogy between the fitful but steady progress of 'Humanity as a collective Life, of which nations are the organs, and individuals the units' and 'the development of an animal organism' in which 'some changes seem an apparent undoing of what has been effected—as when a mass of cells dissolve, or when a provisional organ disappears—but in a little while a higher form emerges'. (292) The 'history of our globe tells of a gradual progress towards higher, that is, more complex, life', and just as the growth of a new 'rich and varied vegetation' requires the 'decay of vegetable remains', so in the advance of 'the Race [...] towards completer life' the lives of everyone who has now passed away have 'enriched the world', and, no matter how modest they might have been, have helped 'modify successors' (292–93). Although 'much seems to perish, much is known to be immortal' in human life (292). Asserts that the 'true conception of Freedom as a sacred human right arose in modern times; its nursery was the Industrial Order'. Also affirms that 'just as the individual organism is made up of countless microscopic cells, each of which has its own independent life, is born, is developed, and dies, subserving by its life the general life of which it is an unit; in like manner Humanity is made up of countless individual lives, each independent, yet each subserving the general end'. It was, however, 'long before Biology was enabled to show that the organism was composed of countless cells', and 'Philosophy' has likewise only recently realized that 'individual existences made one collective life'. (296)
Disease, Medical Treatment, Futurism, Progress, Prognostication
Suggests that it 'seems not unreasonable to hope that gradually there will be no such thing as any one disease for which there is neither alleviation nor cure'. Although the 'high pressure of civilization draw[s] on the constitution and nervous force of man in a greater and more terrible excess', the 'effect of civilization is not only more disease, but more science to meet disease, and the poison and the antidote go hand in hand'. It is, however, 'hazardous to pronounce' whether the 'discovery of remedies will keep pace with the number and variety of maladies'. (307)
Engrossed in thoughts of Lady Dumbello, Plantagenet Palliser finds that 'Statistics were becoming dry to him, and love was very sweet. Statistics, he thought, might be made as enchanting as ever, if only they could be mingled with love' (312).
Complains that 'Science [...] has the bad character of being an alarmist; it is constantly prophesying terrible consequences', even though, as in the case of the future exhaustion of our coal supplies, the 'predictions concern our descendants rather than ourselves'. Philosophy, on the other hand, 'serenely relies on Science finding a substitute for coal when the coal is exhausted', for 'Heat having been declared to be merely a mode of Motion, some other means of getting the requisite motion will surely be found' (a footnote adds, '"Heat only a mode of Motion!" Such may be the dictum of Science; but Philosophy, jealous of accuracy in language, may not improperly ask, And pray, what is Motion a mode of? Surely it is the manifestation of Force, and Heat likewise is a manifestation of Force, most probably of the same Force, but assuredly not of Motion, otherwise it would be the manifestation of a manifestation' [334n.]). Another 'alarming state of things' is evident in 'the gradual degeneration of the race consequent upon a gradual exhaustion of our stock of phosphorous', which is 'sequestered from the earth, and never returns to it'. Already 'millions upon millions of pounds' have been 'drawn away from the primitive stock'. In the absence of phosphorus 'men and animals cannot exist; and without abundance of phosphorus they will be stunted and rickety'. (334) By 'constantly robbing the soil of precious material which has not been returned to it, as nature requires', we are ensuring the imminent degeneration of human stature as well as future 'national bankruptcy' (335). Proposes that only a 'judicious system of agriculture' can begin to restore this essential element to the soil 'by careful distribution of the sewage, and by using the bones as manure' (335–36). Indeed, the amount of phosphorus used up by man might be 'restored, if the sewage were skilfully distributed, and if our practice of burial did not annually hide away the enormous quantities stored up in man's bony structure', although it is 'not probable that men will give up the practice of burial'. It is, however, 'probable that the growing necessities of men will force them into something like a rational use of sewage', and the end which 'Science foresees' may be averted. (336)
Avers that the 'faculty of decorating articles of common use—especially those of textile fabric—fitly, by keeping the nature of their material in view, and putting the right sort of ornament in the right place, is one which seems the natural inheritance of most nations in their early and primitive state, and even long afterwards'. In the main, 'it is an instinctive ability, and, in its exercise, is the more valuable because it is instinctive'. (340) The 'New Zealander', for instance, can 'often carve a canoe-head, or whittle a battle-club, in a better style of ornament than any pupil in our schools of design' (339–40). Bemoans the 'unequal progress' of the 'various branches' of 'art manufacture', noting that 'Minton'sMinton, Herbert
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> plates and Hardman'sHardman, John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> locks and gas-fittings are not, indeed, yet within the reach of the million; still, those who can afford to pay for such ware may have it'. At the same time, the manufacture of 'upholstery seems in a state of stagnation'. (343)
Health, Pollution, Horticulture, Human Development, Descent
Comments that 'Some physiologists have gone so far as to declare that a family living continually in London would not prolong itself beyond three generations', and that despite the 'ease with which money procures [...] the diminution of painful disease', a 'constant canopy of burnt air and carbon-loaded cloud and human exhalation, a mixture and a medium through which the sun itself can hardly shine brightly [...] cannot be sufficient for creatures whose lungs are planned to bring fresh air to deteriorated blood, in order that that blood may take in the freshness and let the foulness go' (350). Speculates ironically that 'in accordance with the development theory, the ancient Pigbones family of Waltham may have once enjoyed their forestal rights on all fours, and chiefly with a view to the consumption of beech-mast and acorns, until, rising into a grandmother capable of setting store by an ancient manuscript book, they have culminated into a learned and painstaking historian to whom the present writer is very much indebted' (354).
The post-natal madness of the Countess de Saverne, who 'often rambled [...] and hummed snatches of tunes and little phrases of dialogue, which she may have heard', leads her to attempt to kill her infant daughter (who she calls 'That little brat who always cries') by leaving her in the incoming tide, but the child is rescued from the sea by the young Denis Duval (387–88). After her estranged husband is killed in a duel, the Countess becomes convinced that she will be burnt at the stake in retribution, and the 'idea seized upon her mind, and never left it' (390). Soon afterwards her 'illness ended as all our illnesses will end one day', and she is buried amidst an anti-Catholic riot (392). A few years later, presumably some time in the 1770s, Denis is taken to London and visits 'Montague HouseMontague House, Bloomsbury CloseView the register entry >>, where I saw stuffed camel-leopards, and all sorts of queer things from foreign countries' (404), as well as 'Kew GardensRoyal Botanical Gardens, Kew CloseView the register entry >> and the new Chinese pagoda her Majesty had put up' (405). Here he meets several members of the royal family.
Argues that it can 'without the slightest difficulty, be proved, and by undoubted statistics, that the middle and higher orders of Englishmen are now the most sober body of men in Europe', and that they are at last beginning to throw off their former 'reputation for intemperance' (480). Unfortunately, the 'darling vice of drinking' is still common with labouring men, and there remains a 'great [...] desire for stimulating drink among our working-classes' (483). Nevertheless, 'large numbers of the more intelligent working men are adopting temperance principles, not on account of any imaginary sin concealed in the beer they drink, but simply because they are better able to support excessive fatigue without it' (485–86). In a recent 'experiment in proof' in 'some brick-fields near Fulham', a 'gang of temperance men, drinking water or cold tea, challenged a gang of drinking men to a trial of strength' and made 'several thousand' more bricks than their opponents, thereby proving 'the advantages of temperance in a physiological point of view' (486). Also notes that because of 'the disgust which advocates of the Rev. Mr. Stiggins [a character in The Pickwick PapersDickens, Charles John
Huffam 1837. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, 2
vols, London: Chapman and Hall
CloseView the register entry >>] school of sobriety have occasioned in the minds of many, by their absurd denunciations of the most moderate use of stimulating drinks, the subject rarely obtains just consideration in the minds of the thinking public' (482).
Denis Duval, who is later to become an Admiral in the Royal Navy, explains that while he had trouble cramming 'crabbed Latin grammar into my puzzled brain' at school, he was 'more familiar' with 'arithmetic, logarithms, and mathematics' and ' took a pretty good place in our school with them, and ranked before many boys of greater age' (530). He also recounts, 'I was well advanced, too, in arithmetic and geometry; and Dampier'sDampier, William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>VoyagesDampier,
William 1697. A New Voyage Round the World: Describing
Particularly, the Isthmus of America, Several Coasts and Islands in the West
Indies, the Isles of Cape Verd, the Passage by Terra del Fuego, the South Sea
Coasts of Chili, Peru, and Mexico, London: James Knapton
CloseView the register entry >> were as much my delight as those of Sinbad or my friends Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday. I could pass a good examination in navigation and seamanship, and could give an account of the different sailings, working-tides, double-altitudes, and so forth' (528–29).
Medical Treatment, Nutrition, Monographs, Health, Machinery
Suggests that 'Miss NightingaleNightingale, Florence
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, in her little manual, Notes on NursingNightingale,
Florence 1859. Notes on Nursing: What it is, and What it is
Not, London: Harrison
CloseView the register entry >>, has laid down some very wise and profound, though simple, rules and suggestions with regard to the giving of food to the sick'. One of the proposals in 'that wise little book' is that by a 'kindly scheming' large amounts of food should be kept from the patient's bedside, who will then take a greater 'relish in eating' when smaller portions are provided. (555) By analogy, there is likewise a 'rarer, choicer zest in having one's holidays served up in little, soon-eaten platefuls' (558). Also recommends that 'employers' will be able to elicit 'better work' from 'those lighter hearts and refreshed bodies' produced by 'such pauses for the oiling of the machinery' (565).
Summarises the views adumbrated by Wilhelm H RiehlRiehl, Wilhelm Heinrich
WBI CloseView the register entry >> in Culturstudien aus drei JahrhundertenRiehl, Wilhelm
Heinrich 1859. Culturstudien aus drei Jahrhunderten,
Stuttgart: J. G. Cotta
CloseView the register entry >> regarding 'the increased value of time, as a thing to be paid for'. Riehl suggests that although 'Peasants and children have always plenty of time on their hands', as the 'world becomes older, more educated, and, let us add, more aristocratic in its requirements, time becomes more precious'. Indeed, according to Riehl, that 'expensive article, Time' means that we can 'live most cheaply where people have most time, since they are willing to give their costliest article, Time, almost for nothing'. (573)
Photography, Ancient Authorities, History of Science, Entomology, Meteorology
Advises that 'we cannot do better than take a mental photograph' of SocratesSocrates
CBD CloseView the register entry >> in order to 'understand how this great teacher stood in so unfortunate a relation to his epoch' (577). Also observes that while in modern times Socrates is revered as a great thinker, for his ancient contemporaries it was 'easier to laugh at him with AristophanesAristophanes
(c. 448–c. 388 BC)
CBD CloseView the register entry >> than admire him with XenophonXenophon
(c. 435–c. 354 BC)
CBD CloseView the register entry >>, when he explained or referred to such homely topics in natural or domestic science as the extraordinary buzz of the gnat, or extraordinary leap of the flea, compared with their size; [or] the intermediate action of the clouds, rather than the immediate action of Jupiter, in giving rain, or causing thunder and lightning' (580).
Contends that blindness is 'the greatest known privation' (603), and that at the present day there are 'thirty thousand blind men and women in Great Britain and Ireland, and nearly all of them are poor' (607). The blind are cursed with 'misplaced pity and tenderness', and we either 'shut them out of society, and keep them apart in charitable institutions, or we say "Go and beg"', both of which fail to recognize that the 'blind require a peculiar education' that can help bring out their particular talents and abilities and make them valuable contributors to society and the economy (605). Like 'the "blind bat", which has become a proverb', and which 'can feel the vibrations of the air' via the extremely delicate membrane that covers it's wings, blind people 'tell us that they have sensations of the objects near them' which may, at least in part, be 'attributed to a special development of the organs' (605–06). Relates the accounts of the lives of various successful blind people given in James Wilson'sWilson, James
WBI CloseView the register entry >>Biography of the BlindWilson, James
1821. Biography of the Blind: Including the Lives of All Those... Who Have
Distinguished Themselves as Poets, Philosophers, Artists, &c. &c... To
Which is Prefixed a Memoir of the Author, Belfast: Lyons
CloseView the register entry >>, including that of John GoughGough, John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, who 'was not only an excellent mathematician, but as a botanist and zoologist he was infallible' (606). Similarly, Henry MoyesMoyes, Henry
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> became 'the first blind lecturer on chemistry and optics, and next to SaundersonSaunderson (Sanderson), Nicholas
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, he affords the most striking example on record of "attainments in mathematics made without assistance from the eye"' and was 'entirely dependent on his own exertions, as a lecturer and man of science, for support'. Also quotes a blind French woman who declared that 'Geometry is the proper science for the blind, because no assistance is wanting to carry it to perfection; the geometrician passes almost all his life with his eyes shut'. (611) Gives a sympathetic account of the 'very interesting experiment' currently being conducted by the Association for Promoting the General Welfare of the BlindAssociation for Promoting the General Welfare of the Blind
CloseView the register entry >>, founded in London by Elizabeth M M GilbertGilbert, Elizabeth Margaretta Maria
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> (612), drawing particular attention to the 'very simple apparatus, invented by Mr. LevyLevy, William Hanks
WBI CloseView the register entry >>' which enables the blind to both write and read using embossed characters (613).
Agriculture, Class, Education, Physiology, Natural History
Claims that the intellectual condition of the English landed gentry is as vigorous as that of any other group in society. Even the boorish country gentleman whose 'talk is full of bullocks' will be led to consider 'the various natural and artificial processes by which animal life is sustained and stimulated, and must embrace, of consequence, many of the most interesting problems in physiology'. Similarly, if 'his taste leads him to attend personally to his timber and young woods, or to the rearing of game, and the habits and haunts of vermin, he becomes a practical student of dendrology and natural history—studies which both exercise the taste and enlarge the mind'. (623)
Discusses how the paraphernalia of illegal East End boxing matches are couched euphemistically in scientific terms. Describes, for instance, 'a select party of [...] patrons whiling away the time [before a bout] with early beer and scientific conversation' (631). Notes that 'Mr. AdamsAdams, Edward
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, official inspector or superintendent of the ring-keepers' is 'in his private capacity styled "The Scientific Ned Adams", from the elegance of his performance in battle on the ribs and noses of some of England's proudest gladiators' (636). Also records of one pugilist: 'I have since seen [him] warmly mentioned in print, on the score of his scientific attainments. In the natural course of things, therefore, it may be assumed that he took a public-house; and, possibly, by this time has raised himself, by his merits, to such a social position, that it may be more becoming to observe a decent reticence with regard to his name. Let us call him Bill Blank' (628).
Reports that the lanes laid down in Devon are 'extremely ancient' and 'go back to Celtic times, or, beyond them, to that dim pre-historic antiquity, where even archaeology loses itself'. The almost entirely 'natural formation' of these 'aboriginal trackway[s]' by 'Violent rains [which] cut deep furrows in the road' also 'overthrows a theory which has before now found favour with ethnologists, and which would contrast the generous open-hearted Roman with the skulking Celt' according to the nature of the respective roads which they are supposed to have built. (744)