Attempts to analyse the 'stable variety of the human mind', now that Lord George BentinckBentinck, Lord George (William George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> (a horse-racing fanatic) had 'brought it to celebrity'. Punning on the word 'stable', describes the powers of 'Perception, Conception, Memory, Imagination, and Judgement' in terms connoting horse racing. For example, argues that 'Perception' is 'confined' to the horse's harnesses, 'and to those weaknesses in the human character that constitute the dupe or flat'. Adds that 'Memory of a stable mind is strong' with regard to such events as 'bets placed a long time ago', but fails regarding bets 'wherin its possessor has lost his wager'. Considers the stable mind to have no power of 'Imagination'—'no appreciation whatever of the sublime or the beautiful'. Adds that the stable mind 'displays very strongly' the power of 'Association'—a tendency 'to keep company with grooms and jockeys'.
Reports that a Dennis Smith of Dublin has patented a carriage driven by horses from both ends, a design inspired by steamboats that have rudders at both ends. Adds that Septimus Sharpe has patented an omnibus that can act as a watering-cart. The illustrations depict these ridiculous inventions.
Written in the style of a 'Hampshur' farmer, glad to see at the Newcastle 'meetun' of the Royal Agricultural SocietyRoyal Agricultural Society of England
CloseView the register entry >> that 'volks set to work a cultivatun the soil so as to make as much as they can grow upon 't'. Taken aback 'to read about all the noo implements for farmun as was show'd there', such as 'Nar-weegun Harrers' and 'Pattent Haxuls'. Suspects that such machines will 'drive labourers out of employ', but supposes 't'will all be right in the end'. Regards his boots as far better 'clod-crushers' and 'corn-crushers' than machines purporting to do the same tasks. The illustration shows a rustic grinding corn in a pestle and mortar.
In defining 'machinery', notes that 'Man is sometimes called a machine' and a coach-horse 'a valuable machiner'. Infers that 'the brute is considered well-adapted to draw a bathing-machine at a watering-place'.
Reports proposal to provide 'safety dress' for passengers on the Eastern Counties RailwayEastern Counties Railway Company
CloseView the register entry >>, a costume consisting of a heavily padded suit covering the whole body. Suggests that 'false calves' be sold to passengers.
Reports on the poor condition of the Hyde Park Clock and notes that during the night, an 'eruption breaks out all over the face, which exhibits such confusion that even the celebrated physiognomist LAVATERLavater, Johann Kaspar
CBD CloseView the register entry >> would be puzzled to read its expression'.
Entomology, Superstition, Religion, Religious Authority, Government, Prognostication
Noting recent reports of 'an immense cloud of butterflies' that was 'seen somewhere upon the coast' and which threatened to devour crops. Denies that Punch is superstitious, but suspects that the fear of an 'untoward event' emanating from the cloud prompted a new parliamentary bill to create 'no less than nineteen new bishops'.
Announces the construction of an omnibus which allows tired passengers 'to retire to separate apartments at the top of the 'bus, where the operations of shaving, hair-cutting, &c, &c, may be carried on, so that no time will be lost even during the entire obstruction of the thoroughfare'. Discusses solutions to the problem of cutting facial and bodily hair on an omnibus, and adds that 'letter writing' and 'refreshment' rooms and a 'circulating library' will be included. The illustration depicts the proposed omnibus.
Claims that 'persons, especially fine ladies' who, following their 'over-refined and luxurious' lifestyle, suffer from 'Nervousness', will find their complaint cured by 'six weeks' residence in a Workhouse'.
Reports on the description by statesman Henry P Brougham (1st Baron Brougham and Vaux)Brougham, Henry Peter, 1st Baron Brougham and
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> of the seasonal 'Legislative Cholera', a disease that Brougham believes causes a swelling and the death of 'bills', but which Punch regards as a 'violent delirium' causing statesmen to have an 'inordinate craving' for grouse shooting. Notes that one solution to the problem is to fence in Hampstead Heath and stock it with 'grouse of all descriptions'.
Discusses complaints that it has received from disgruntled passengers forced to travel in third-class railway carriages. Describes the excessively cramped and dangerous conditions inside such carriages.
Suggests that a commission into London's sanitary condition publish a report containing several observations. These include the susceptibility of Londoners to 'a species of disorder termed Podagra, or Gout', the link between 'taking into the stomach too ample allowances of animal and other substances' and 'civic diseases', and the fact that the 'Lord Mayor's dinner alone gives occasion, annually, for the services of some hundreds of doctors'. The report concludes by recommending that Londoners 'limit their supplies of food and drink'.
The illustration depicts a vastly overcrowded Thames steamship. The text notes that people are choosing to travel by river rather than by road and complains that 'steam-boats have been piled up like pecks of broad beans'. Expresses the suspicion that 'the Commissioners of SewersCity of London Commissioners of Sewers
CloseView the register entry >>, and the Paving Boards, are in league with the proprietors of the BeeBee, steamship CloseView the register entry >> [a popular steamship], which is gathering honey in pennyworths'. Notes the steering difficulties faced by the captains of such overcrowded vessels.
Convinced by arguments put forward by a 'Committee appointed to inquire into the state of Westminster BridgeWestminster Bridge
CloseView the register entry >>' that the bridge should be pulled down. Arguments include the fact that the bridge's 'foundation is giving way', that it is 'blocked up every other month', and that 'if it is not pulled down, it will either fall in, or else be carried away'.
Shows an impoverished mother and daughter in a doctor's surgery where the doctor makes the signally unhelpful suggestion that the mother feed her daughter on expensive foods and take her to the seaside and the spa town of Baden-Baden.
Another cynical response to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster AbbeyWestminster Abbey
CloseView the register entry >> that charges the public a fee (2d.) for visiting the abbey's tombs, statues, and other exhibits. The illustration shows a small steam-locomotive dragging several carriages on a line laid inside the abbey. Several people stand on the carriages in order to gain a better view of the exhibits. A clergyman stands at the end of the last carriage, shouting a commentary on the exhibits through a trumpet. The text explains that by reducing the admission fee, the dean and chapter have resolved to increase the number of visitors. Announces that an abbey railway system has been proposed which takes visitors on regular trips.
Describes a scheme for solving the congestion problems on London's thoroughfares: passenger-carrying vehicles suspended from 'strong lines of rope', strung between such lofty constructions as the monument on Fish Street Hill and Nelson's Column. The illustration depicts two such aerial carriages.
Complains that 'Father Thames' can no longer stand the 'burden' of the 'poor and dilapidated old pile'—Westminster BridgeWestminster Bridge
CloseView the register entry >>—and that the cost of 'doctor's bills' for the bridge would have 'supported the whole family of metropolitan bridges in respectability'. The illustration and text portray the problems of navigating steamships through the only arch on the bridge that is large enough to take vessels.
Shows a 'Professional' medical man outside a consulting room informing a portly 'Old Lady' of her symptoms. The description is ridiculously technical and leads to the doctor warning the woman that her symptoms 'might have ended in delirium tremens, or even premature elephantiasis'.
Aggrieved to learn that, despite a costly 'scientific commission to discover the true causes of the potato evil', the disease lies in the heart of man—the granting of money to the impoverished Roman Catholic seminary, Maynooth CollegeSt Patrick's College, Maynooth CloseView the register entry >>. Adds that 'scientific men—with the blindness of all speculative wisdom (whence the blink-eyed owl is the pet bird of Miss MINERVA)—prescribed lime and alum washing, and in an unknown tongue preached fifty impossible remedies to the wondering peasant', whereas 'the repeal of the Maynooth Grant would have stayed the disease at once'.
Responding to news that a 'certain professor would produce the bottled smell of lightning', suggests that 'thunderbolts' can likewise be tamed so that 'timid people may fasten their bedroom doors with them'.
Buckman 1847, Buckman, James
1847. 'Notice of the Discovery of a new Species of Hypanthrocrinite in the
Upper Silurian Strata', Report of the Sixteenth Meeting of the British
Association for the Advancement of Science; Held at Southampton in September
1846, Notes and Abstracts of Communications to the Sections,
CloseView the register entry >>Grove 1847, Grove, William
Robert 1847. 'On the Development of Water into its Constituent Gases
by Heat', Report of the Sixteenth Meeting of the British Association for the
Advancement of Science; Held at Southampton in September 1846, Notes and
Abstracts of Communications to the Sections, 48–49
CloseView the register entry >>Knowles 1847Knowles, Edward R
J 1847. 'Extraordinary Appearance in the Flame of a common mould
candle', Report of the Sixteenth Meeting of the British Association for the
Advancement of Science; Held at Southampton in September 1846, Notes and
Abstracts of Communications to the Sections, 49
CloseView the register entry >>
Reports that his friend 'Panwhiski' criticized the telescope of William Parsons (3rd Earl of Rosse)Parsons, William, 3rd Earl of Rosse
DSB CloseView the register entry >> for only allowing 'you to see a few hundred miles farther' and more of the same type of astronomical body. Believes snobs are like stars because 'the more you gaze upon those luminaries, the more you behold—now nebulously congregated—now faintly distinguishable—now brightly defined—until they twinkle off in endless blazes, and fade into immeasurable darkness'. Believes that one day some 'telescopic philosopher' or 'Snobonomer' will 'find the laws of the great science which we are now merely playing with'.
Shows a medical practitioner questioning a female patient in his surgery. Having learnt that his pills have not improved her condition, he suggests shaving her head and having his pupil put a seton on the back of her neck.
Reports that the British Association for the Advancement of ScienceBritish Association for the Advancement of Science
CloseView the register entry >> has decided to admit ladies, including Mrs Gamp, as members. Mrs Gamp's dubious scientific credentials include, in archaeology, her 'productions of several huge columns, of great antiquity' and, in geology, her discovery of 'fragments of the primary deposits in railway advertisements'.
Describes a proposal to construct an underground railway, a scheme designed to relieve 'overcrowded thoroughfares' and the 'overcrowded pocket'. Reports that no 'serious engineering difficulties' are anticipated and that the tunnel will exploit, by arrangement, private 'coal cellars', 'kitchens', and 'coal holes'. Notes the need for co-operation from 'gas and water companies' and the possibility of using the principal pipe belonging to the waterworks. Suggests that the trains could easily run in sewers because their wheels would raise the locomotive and carriages above the water level. Encourages those 'disposed to sink a little capital' to 'bury it under the Metropolis in the manner proposed'. The illustration shows a 'prophetic view' of trains running in a tunnel, itself curved under an subterranean sewer.
Discussing proposals to establish a refreshment room on trains, suggests that the engine boiler 'be supplied with soup instead of plain water', and explains that the steam produced from soup would 'have much greater force' than that from water vapour. Adds that the Eastern CountiesEastern Counties Railway Company
CloseView the register entry >> train will have 'a Mechanics' Institute for the third class' and lectures on anatomy.
Reports on suggestions that the 'Speaking Automaton' be combined with the electric telegraph. Describes how this proposal would improve 'communications made from station to station' and ticket selling. Adds that the bland tones of the machine would be refreshing after the blunt manner of railway officials, and that the machine would enable George HudsonHudson, George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> to conduct business from home.
Argues that the reason why the 'Electric Telegraph makes no progress in France' is because 'it can be worked in all weather, and at a moment's notice', unlike the 'wooden telegraph', a communication technique widely adopted in France, which has the 'superiority of being stopped suddenly' by clouds and darkness. Explains that eminent Frenchmen, such as Adolphe ThiersThiers, Louis Adolphe (Adolphe)
CBD CloseView the register entry >> and King Louis-PhillipeLouis-Phillipe, King of the French
CBD CloseView the register entry >>, appreciate these advantages because they would rather not have the means of 'communicating in a direct line with the Bourse'.
Depicts a scene in a shop in which a bald shopkeeper reassures a customer that the substance he is recommending is 'warranted to produce a crop of curls on the baldest head within four-and-twenty hours'.
Offers a set of observations of a recent meteor to the astronomical correspondent of the Morning HeraldMorning Herald and Daily Advertiser
CloseView the register entry >>, who desires such information, possibly to support a 'celestial theory'. The reports are absurdly crude and illustrate witnesses' confusion about the comet and other bright objects in the sky. For example, 'CABMAN, JIM DOWNY [...] saw somfin blueish, then reddish, up in the 'eavens, but thought it vas the fireworks at Wauxhall [Vauxhall]Royal Gardens, Vauxhall CloseView the register entry >> [...]. They cum out of the chimbley of the Helephant and Castle, and vent he doesn't know where'.
Noting Spain's 'alarming conditions', suggests that the country be attended by 'state physicians' and that health bulletins be issued. Gives examples of the latter. For instance, '6 A.M. Spain has passed a tolerable night, but is slightly troubled with symptoms of commotion this morning'.
Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Domestic Economy, Surgery
Discusses an advertisement in The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >> from a young man offering his services as a groom and medical practitioner. Presumes that the request for skills in the 'routine of surgery' includes such adulterous acts as 'rolling bread up into pills'. Suggests that medical professionals, 'for the sake of appearances' and public confidence, should conceal any 'unions of occupation' they may have.
A bulletin describing the condition of an enormous statue of Arthur Wellesley (1st Duke of Wellington)Wellesley, Arthur, 1st Duke of Wellington
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> as if it were a patient. For example, the bulletin for Thursday begins by observing that the 'DUKE has passed the night in the most dreadful suspense. His rest was broken by one of the deal boards that supported him having given way. The symptoms got worse about six, and at nine they had reached the climax, when it was expected the DUKE would break down, and be fearfully prostrate'.
The character, 'Miss Emily', tells the narrator that she instructs her female pupils in 'Elocution, Geography and Astronomy, and the Use of Globes, Algebra', adding that her algebra lessons only extend as far as 'quadratic equations' because 'a poor ignorant female [...] cannot be expected to know everything'. Considers the subjects of 'Botany, Geology, and Mineralogy' to be 'amusements'.
Reports that although 'Nature has behaved very amiably to the aeronauts throughout the season', she 'threw a damp' upon the 'intimacy' between 'earth and air', and caused a thunder-storm during an attempted balloon ascent from Cremorne GardensCremorne Gardens
CloseView the register entry >>, the site of several spectacular balloon ascents. The illustration shows a hot air balloon and its passengers suffering a torrential rain storm.
Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Periodicals
Shows Mrs Gamp, the fictional editor of Punch's enemy, the Tory Morning HeraldMorning Herald and Daily Advertiser
CloseView the register entry >>, having her pulse taken by Dr Punch, who tells his patient that her weakness and languidness is due to 'poor circulation'. Mrs Gamp replies that she wishes she had her doctor's 'health and spirits'.
The spoof letter writer, South (an allusion to James SouthSouth, James
DSB CloseView the register entry >>), reports 'an extraordinary appearance on the face of the moon' which he judges to be 'the longitude of the Duke [of Wellington]'sWellesley, Arthur, 1st Duke of Wellington
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> face in his statue at Hyde Park Corner, acting on the latitude of the moon's diameter'. Wants this obstruction to his astronomical observations to be removed. The illustration shows South's view of statue through his telescope.
Describes the behaviour of the actor, John P HarleyHarley, John Pritt
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, as if he were a celestial object. For example, reports that this 'planet [...] gave out a few corruscations' and shortly afterwards 'the little dog-star or Barker [a fellow actor]' commenced 'a series of twinkles'. The illustration shows an hirsute figure standing in a theatre box holding binoculars.
Complains that Christian F Schönbein'sSchönbein, Christian Friedrich
DSB CloseView the register entry >> invention of gun cotton will spawn imitators who claim priority over the original invention. Cynically suggests that people will be claiming that nothing is 'more obvious for loading guns than balls of cotton'.
Complains that the electric telegraph 'prevents the course of true love from running smooth', because it extinguishes 'runaway matches by rail'. Adds that the 'fair sex' want to create a 'Parliamentary Bill removing elopements out of the jurisdiction of the telegraph'.
Responds to news that electric telegraphs are to be laid under London's streets. Presumes that an 'undertone' will be used on such an invention, but is concerned about the effect of the 'whole population' wanting to 'talk' at once via the telegraph, and the arrangements for preventing messages going to the wrong people. Thinks 'no female' should be 'allowed to monopolise the use of the subterranean tongue for longer than ten minutes'.
Explains a new project for 'pulling the public along a railway by means of Indian Rubber'. The scheme involves attaching a giant 'elastic band' to the 'horse or carriage to be pulled'. Believes travellers will be 'nicely drawn in' by the tremendous force produced by elongated caoutchouc, much as the public will be 'drawn in' if they finance the project.
Presentation of a paper to the 'New London Archaeological InstituteRoyal Archaeological Institute
CloseView the register entry >>' on the old city of London. Reports that officers of the institute 'have been compelled to assign conjectural characters and destinations to the several buildings and works discovered [...] belonging to a 'bygone and barbarous race'. Conclusions include the attribution of remains of a 'low and singularly unsightly range of building' containing paintings 'crowded together in low close rooms', to the National GalleryNational Gallery
CloseView the register entry >>.
Reports on a dispute in the 'scientific world' between Urbain J J LeverrierLe Verrier, Urbain Jean Joseph
DSB CloseView the register entry >> and John Couch AdamsAdams, John Couch
DSB CloseView the register entry >> over the discovery of 'the new Planet'—Neptune. Regrets that the original 'finder' was not able to mark the planet 'with his initials, or take some course to prove his right to the article'. Rubbishes Adams's claim that 'the press of other occupations' prevented him from publicising his earlier observations of the planet. Believes that new planets cannot be 'overlooked' so readily and that Adams has not treated them with the 'respect' they deserve.
Reports on various 'meteorological' phenomena of decidedly terrestrial origin. For example, a 'shower of half-pence' was caused by a 'lady letting her reticule fall over the banisters of St Paul's [Cathedral]St Paul's Cathedral
CloseView the register entry >>'.
Proposes a new 'Shop-Ledge Line', a railway consisting of vehicles running along street ledges, which have been constructed at the same height. Explains that each vehicle will be fitted with 'a sort of telescopic axletree', enabling it to move through thoroughfares of different width. Believes that the project will 'cause relief to the overcrowded streets' and explains that the cost will be 'moderate' and only requires shareholders to adjust their window ledges to the level of their next-door neighbours'.
Believes the report that Richard OwenOwen, Richard
DSB CloseView the register entry >> 'examined the remains of at least four thousand elephants' is an 'exaggeration', because not even the 'most active of Custom House officers' can 'get through an examination of their trunks in the time which it is alleged has been all that PROFESSOR OWEN devoted to the elephants themselves'.
Written by a pig on behalf of a cow who seeks to 'vindicate the rights of my order'. Does not object to his lot (he can, for example, 'look upon a horse-radish with dry eyes though full well knowing that some day we shall come together' on a dinner plate). Resents the fact that his generation of cows, unlike his ancestors, are killed at Smithfield MarketSmithfield Market
CloseView the register entry >> without having first enjoyed a 'leisurely stare at London shops and London people'. Promises that unless he's allowed to perform such acts as sauntering across Bridge Street and killing 'one or two of the lowest orders', he will have his revenge. Determined to 'cut up precious lean' despite the way people have fed him.
Shows a boudoir in which a maidservant tells her employer, a portly and elderly lady, that her bath is ready. The maid points to the new steam bath, which can only accommodate a small person. The elderly lady insists that she 'can't get into such a bit of a thing as that'.
Suggests a mechanism for allowing passengers to escape 'from an omnibus blockade in Fleet Street'. Consists of 'a sort of elastic ladder' that 'on the touching of a spring' would 'rise from the top of the omnibus to the second floor windows of the houses on either side of a street'. The illustration shows passengers climbing such ladders.
Railways, Public Health, Telegraphy, Engineering, Medical Practitioners, Commerce, Gender, Crime, Class
Responding to news that the French government has published rules and regulations for French railways, suggests a similar publication for the British lines. The rules poke fun at the disagreeable aspects of second- and third-class railway travel, including the darkness, dampness, coldness, and overcrowding of carriages, the presence of cattle, the high risk of crimes against and injury to passengers, and the poor profits reaped by shareholders. For example, rule 'I' stipulates that 'Every Passenger in the second and third class is to be allowed to carry a dark lantern', while rule 'IV' states that 'Cattle are to be separated from the passengers as much as possible, as it has been found, from experiments, that men and oxen do not mix sociably together'.
Reports that the most is being made of the 'Grand Ecclesiastical Exhibition Station, better known as St Paul's CathedralSt Paul's Cathedral
CloseView the register entry >>', by installing a camera obscura into its roof. The illustration shows a tower marked 'Camera Obscura Admission Sixpence' covering the dome of St. Paul's.
Suggests subjects to be included in the book. These include 'The Irritability of the Nervous System Characteristic of the Housewife on Washing Days' and 'The Evaporation of Tea and Sugar in Open Cupboards'.
Psychology, Railways, Mental Illness, Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Pharmaceuticals
Reports on a 'poor stoker' who reacts to the green, white, and red lights displayed outside surgeons' doors as if they were the similarly coloured lights on locomotives. Stoker asks if surgeons' lights are designed to frighten people to death, entrap 'a stray customer', or reflect the fact that surgeons and chemists are 'compelled, by an Act of Parliament, to burn signals outside their shops to warn people of their danger'. Punch doubts the latter claim since it would mean that 'every life-pill concotor and lawyer in the kingdom' would be forced to burn red lights over his door.
Speculates that if the 'Electric Telegraph' is extended 'to every house', it would have such consequences as enabling 'doctors to consult with his patients without leaving his friends', and allowing members of 'polite circles' to respond quickly to party invitations. Believes the 'Electric Telegraph for the million' will turn the General Post OfficeGeneral Post Office
CloseView the register entry >> into a 'sinecure' since 'all letter-writing would be henceforth nothing more than a dead letter'.
Written by 'a true English farmer', who notes that 'we must all study science, we husbandmen', and confesses not to understand the 'new fangled inventions we now take in hand'. Recalling the time when 'the stable would yield / Whatsoever was needful to fatten the land', he observes that 'chemistry now into tillage we lugs' and can hardly believe that he is using guano and gypsum 'for manure' and 'Draughts and potions, / Washes, lotions, / Pills and Powders, to doctor the crops'. Expects the 'wisacres' will resort to the 'old plan of farming' and 'Drop reliance / On their science'.
Attributes his transformation from being a melancholy and ascetic to a high-spirited individual to experiencing the 'Cold Brandy-and-Water Cure', provided at Malvern —an allusion to the celebrated hydropathic clinic in that locality. Treatment includes consuming large quantities and bathing in 'brandy-and-water', gorging 'every sort of relishing flesh and fish', playing billiards, and other indulgencies. (243) Describes his practitioner, Dr Squillson, who urges his patients to think of nothing but 'Cold Brandy-and-Water'. On leaving Malvern, he successfully continues the treatment in his own house and proudly confesses that he's been 'three times fined at Bow Street, for persisting in the cure'. (244)
Hopes that with the electric telegraph coming into 'general use', there will be an end to celebrities having to sign 'young ladies' albums and curiosity-collectors' portfolios'. Worries that 'the next demand on genius' will be sending photographic portraits to unknown admirers.
Suggests that the electric telegraph can allow husbands and wives to communicate even though they may not be 'upon "speaking terms"'. Believes the telegraph will facilitate 'reconciliations' owing to the fact that telegraphic messages are bereft of irritating tones of voice. Suggests codes for such questions as, 'When do you mean to get out of your ill-humour?'. The illustration depicts a married couple communicating across a long dining table via the electric telegraph.
Punch, 11 (1846), 253.
A Song to be sung at all Agricultural Associations
Identifies the 'lights of Agricultural Societies / Who plough by means untold of, / Use manures that land makes gold of', and 'Who the future think and see big, / In the light of DR LIEBIGLiebig, Justus von
DSB CloseView the register entry >>'.
Reports on astronomers' claim that the planet Jupiter will soon be holding 'a sort of reunion of all his moons'. Describes the conjunction of the moons as if it were a party. For example, claims that Jupiter will be appearing in 'all his belts' and that the 'opposite motions of the first and second satellites [...] will prevent the pleasing assembly from being of very long duration'.