Reports on archaeologists' exhaustion of areas to explore. Relates that one of the 'Archaelogians' has 'taken refuge' in nursery rhymes. Suggests that a loftier theme for archaeology is the '"shoe" lived in by the "old woman" of antiquity' and a 'survey of the ground on which it was supposed to have stood'. Also suggests studying the physiology of the 'house of nursery lore' and the 'fracture of JACK's crown'.
Reports on a scheme to found a model hospital in principal British and Irish towns for treating all diseases and 'any person or persons convicted of labouring under any kind or form of malady'. Cynically points out that youths with mild diseases will mix with individuals suffering from fatal afflictions and then be judged fit to mingle in society. Implies that this scheme will be totally ineffective in mitigating disease.
Hydropathy, Medical Treatment, Hygiene, Public Health
Observes that hydropathy 'is being received as a science of the first water, and it has been allowed to find its way into several domestic establishments'. Agrees that water and soap can compete with 'pharmacy' but protests against the abuse of water, the 'substitution of the bath itself for the Bath chair', and the 'watering of the patient with a watering pot' (practices that are illustrated in the accompanying cut). Thinks the patient may be 'as great a pump as the machine by which he allows himself to be played upon'.
Punch, 17 (1849), 39.
Idolatry and Superstition in England in the Nineteenth Century
Begins by lamenting the fact that 'in this age of science and intelligence, and in our own enlightened country', George HudsonHudson, George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> should have been worshipped as somebody who 'exercised unlimited power over all railway matters, and could render any line that he took under his tutelage a source of indefinite emolument to his votaries'. Criticises the amount of money that people poured 'into his temple'—i.e. how much money they invested in his dubious railway schemes. Continuing the analogy between Hudson and a pagan idol, explains how the 'golden visions' (i.e. hopes of profit) and money of the 'idolaters' were dispelled, and how the idolaters then destroyed the idol, conducting themselves 'exactly like certain savages, who, when accustomed to offer all sorts of indignation to their gods, before which previously they had prostrated themselves in the most abject abasement'.
Reports on a proposal by the City of London Commssioners of SewersCity of London Commissioners of Sewers
CloseView the register entry >> to build an 'immense tunnel' under London to determine the kind of clay under houses. Anticipates problems including the likelihood of London falling into the earth and ending up like Lisbon and Pompeii.
Noting the electrical conducting powers of bodies containing water, believes the people who stood up during a storm behind an omnibus must have been 'the greatest Conductors of electricity in the world' since they were completely soaked.
Public Health, Sanitation, Medical Practitioners, Commerce, Class
Argues that the 'aristocratic houses' in Belgravia are resting on hotbeds of 'pestilential vapours' produced by 'defective sewers'. Identifying himself as an apothecary, the writer complains that his trade in selling substances to his high-class customers will be threatened by the removal of the 'effluvia' from the sewers. Demands compensation 'if the filth I live upon be removed'.
Psychiatry, Mental Illness, Sanitation, Public Health, Disease
An allusion to the work of John ConollyConolly, John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, records that 'One got in at HanwellCounty Lunatic Asylum, Hanwell CloseView the register entry >>, who seemed to be a Physician, and mighty pretty Discourse with him touching the Manner of treating Madmen and Lunatics, which is now by gentle Management, and is a great Improvement on the old Plan of Chains and the Whip'. Also records the 'Foulness of London for Want of fit Drainage' and its tendency to breed cholera and typhus.
Describes responses to and explanations of the recent 'fall of Red Rain'. Expects that it will soon rain shellfish and fish, but links the recent shower to 'that notorious wet blanket Old SWITHIN'. Sympathises with the person who records rainfall for The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >>.
Pollution, Sanitation, Public Health, Analytical Chemistry, Publishing, Industry
Asks the publisher John MurrayMurray, John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> to publish a 'Hand-book to the Thames' and argues that a 'glance' at the establishments along the banks of the river would 'at once' reveal the contents of the water and 'render any closer analysis superfluous'. Urges the Sanitary Commissioners to go deeper into the problem of Thames water. The illustrations show the disagreeable features of the banks of the Thames, including a cemetry, bone boilers, gas works, and a sewer.
Natural History, Human Species, Universities, Education
Describes characteristics of the Oxford spider, 'Class Sanguisugae', 'Order, Insidiatores', and 'Variety, Haberdasher', a thinly-veiled reference to a creditor. Notes that the spider seeks undergraduates and waits until they are mature before it fixes its 'fangs in their vitals'.
Notes that Police Commissioners may need to issue regulations to curb the 'present ballooning mania', especially that propagated by Charles GreenGreen, Charles
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> and his family. Complains about being struck by the 'sand thrown out by occupants of a balloon car'. (69)
Advertises a 'new Telescopic Spy-Glass', possessing powers that can penetrate everything except 'deal boards' and enabled a letter which Queen VictoriaVictoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Ireland, and Empress of India
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> was 'reading in her yacht to be read at the further end of Kingstown harbour'.
Concerns a meeting of medical men convened by Mr Punch to treat the measles 'epidemic' in his nursery. Participants, whose surnames are such medical terms as 'Slab', 'Grinder', 'Squills', and 'Pulv', discuss various cases of measles, their explanations and treatments.
Punch's suggestions for essay subjects suitable for submission to the Peace Congress prize essay competition. Subjects include the sensations of being struck by a bullet and having the object surgically removed, and of having a knee crushed by a cannonball and subsequent amputation of the limb.
Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners, Quackery, Nomenclature, Expertise
Defending 'medical science', attacks 'one of our contemporaries' for using sloppy 'medical phraseology' in describing the case of a woman whose bad cold was allegedly cured by the application of Thomas Holloway'sHolloway, Thomas
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> ointment. Denies the authenticity of the claim that a 'medical gentlemen' of St Bartholomew's HospitalSt Bartholomew's Hospital
CloseView the register entry >> judged that the woman had only a short time to live, and protests 'against statements tending to recommend' Holloway's medicine.
Describes the problems associated with 'Portable Soup', which was dropped 'though promising, like most new inventions'. Announces 'Portable Milk', a solidified material that contains the 'equivalent of six gallons of fluid milk', but is sceptical of the invention, calling a halt to the rage for '"Portable" This, That, and Everything'.
Upholds the fact that 'Science has given us the baby-jumper' but suggests constructing 'something in the shape of coops' for containing young children 'when they are "out with nurse", and she happens to have something better—or worse—to do than look after them'. The illustration depicts several children inside small baskets on the seaside, with their guardian sitting nearby.
Discusses a portable steam engine on wheels for agricultural purposes displayed at the Dublin Agricultural Show. Observes that the sums of money that were once awarded to servants for their service will now be 'transferred to the steam engine'. Wonders where landlords are going to find a steam engine that will work 'half so long' as a human.
Medical Treatment, Pharmaceuticals, Narcotics, Quackery
Set in the shop of 'MR. UPAS, Chemist and Druggist', shows Upas serving a widow 'Threepenn'orth of Laudanum' and a 'Little Girl' asking Upas's assistant 'Bottles' for 'as much Arsenic as you can for twopence-halfpenny, to kill rats'. Bottles proceeds deal with other customers who want his advice on the best type of poison to take. The scene concludes with Bottles remarking on the trade that undertakers will gain from his 'good morning's work'.
Medical Treatment, Pharmaceuticals, Quackery, Commerce
Shows a male figure, 'a Duly Qualified Chemist', in his shop responding to a young child who, from behind the counter, asks: 'Will you be so good as to fill this bottle again with Lodnum, and let mother have another pound and a half of Arsenic for the rats!'.
Medical Practitioners, Commerce, Morality, Invention
Analyses an advertisement from a person seeking employment as an assistant to an 'amiable' country medical practitioner, puffing himself with such attributes as 'gentlemanly', 'wakeful to a fault', and somebody who 'looks upon large salaries as a snare'. Denies that wakefulness can be carried to a fault unless it includes a propensity to jump up in the middle of the night, and walk about the house in the peculiar "costume of the period"'. Rejects the claim that medical assistants might be ensnared by money.
Describes the opening of the 'premises' of 'Messrs. Plague, Pestilence, & Co.' in London, for supplying 'first-class Epidemics'. Its 'works' comprise 'Intra-mural Burying Grounds' from which it supplies 'Poisonous Gases', a 'System of Sewers', and 'A Noble Plant of the most approved Nuisances, situated in densely peopled neighbourhoods'.
Addressing himself to the 'Public', Mr Punch laments the want of 'lucrative medical situations'. Argues that medical practitioners can only become wealthy by gaining 'a large private practice' and by 'composing fashionable nerves, ministering to petty ailments, and humouring the caprices of the sickly and silly', not 'fanning the feeble flame of life, by soothing mortal agony'. Links the lack of 'medical talent' to the fact that success in the 'dishonoured' medical 'profession [...] can be obtained only by means that are contemptible'. Urges the public to seek a profession followed by 'men of sense and ability'.
Describing the fatal diseases surrounding London's crowded graveyards, observes that 'in this revolting place are laid [...] Hands, by whose grasp contagion was conveyed, / As sure as electricity by wire'. Notes that these graveyards 'Full many a gas of direst power unclean' and 'Full many a poison, born to kill unseen / And spread its rankness in the neighbouring air'. Adds that 'Some district Surgeon, that with dauntless breast / The epidemic 'mongst the poor withstood, / Some brave, humane Physician here may rest'.
Death, Disease, Sanitation, Public Health, Microscopy, Morality
Subtitled 'The London Clay', it describes, in purple prose, the 'hot war' raging between London's living and the corpses buried in the metropolis's clay. Discusses the associated health and moral problems of burying London's dead. Notes the 'unconscious particles' given off by graveyards that are 'fighting millions strong in the domestic atmosphere of the breathing man'. Points out that the 'miasma' emitted by corpses may not be perceived 'by the aid of the best microscope', their 'worst evil' being their invisibility.
Implicitly responding to the 'telegraphic' capture of the fleeing murderer, John TawellTawell, John
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, holds that the electric telegraph 'can no longer be described in the words of HoraceHorace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus)
CBD CloseView the register entry >> "Pede poenna claudo"'. The illustration shows a line of telegraph posts that are transformed into running policemen, the first of which extends its 'arms' or wires to catch a fleeing criminal.
Promotes Mr Punch's 'ANTI-PARTIALITY PILLS' for preventing favouritism in naval tribunals, 'TINCTURE OF JUSTICE' for 'equalising the severity with which' the offending officers are treated, and an 'ELIXIR OF COMMON SENSE' for improving perception of the merits of a case. Describes a case of injustice in a court martial that warrants the need for such remedies.
Describes a mask with a gutta-percha pipe that could be worn in urban areas 'for enabling the wearer to breathe the upper and purer currents of air'. The illustration shows a figure wearing a mask to which is attached a long vertical pipe.
Public Health, Disease, Hygeine, Sanitation, Nutrition
Subtitled 'A Constitutional Dialogue between Jones and Brown', the latter attributes his defiance of disease to the fact that he and his family wash themselves 'each morn', have had their home 'Scrubb'd sweet and clean', have repaired a drain, and spent their money on 'goof nutritious diet'.
Medical Treatment, Mesmerism, Quackery, Medical Practitioners, Electricity, Mesmerism, Morality
Laments the 'random nature of the shots that science has been taking' against cholera, including 'electricity and mesmerism, brandy and catechu'. Lamenting the sacrificial use of patients, criticises the Royal College of PhysiciansRoyal College of Physicians
CloseView the register entry >> for stating that practitioners should persevere with a treatment on a patient until he is satisfied that it is either 'beneficial or deleterious'.
Responding to the recent interest shown in the 'science of Agriculture' by the statesman Henry P Brougham (1st Baron Brougham and Vaux)Brougham, Henry Peter, 1st Baron Brougham and
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, and his penchant for dancing, suggests that he 'will perhaps render the more graceful subservient to the more useful pursuit' and expects to find him inventing an agricultural ballet 'to be danced in wooden shoes'.
Disease, Public Health, Sanitation, Pollution, Medical Treatment
Detailed description of the dirty, odorous, and disease-ridden state of the author's street in Bloomsbury. Lamenting the dire condition of his 'triple-tenanted' rooms in Bloomsbury, observes that his 'walls shake with all they see of sickness, crime, and care: / While Vestrymen and Guardians, Health Boards, and Boards of Sewers, / Are wrangling round my wretchedness about their several cures'. Desperately seeks various sanitary measures to stop his 'helpless, hopeless inmates' succumbing to the 'red plague'.
Punch, 17 (1849), 140.
The Old Churchwarden's Complaint against Sanitary Reform
Public Health, Sanitation, Politics, Government, Expertise, Scientific Practitioners, Medical Practitioners
Inveighing against 'sanitary reform', complains about the cost of mending drains and attacks the 'scientific asses' for preaching about 'their poisonous gases, making havoc 'mongst the habitations of the lower classes'. Places no reliance on 'sulphuretted hydrogen' as the cause of disease or the connection ''twixt uncleanness and infection', by pointing to the example of his great-uncle who has spent his long life 'beside an open sewer'. Points out that the pig enjoys the combination of 'dirt and filth' and that the insides of pigs and humans are similar.
Responding to Andrew Ure'sUre, Andrew
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> evidence for the adulteration of tobacco by sugar, suggests that 'cigars are only lollipops in disguise' and that the 'tobacco warehouse' is a large-scale 'sweet-shop'. Believes this evidence explains the smoking habits of the 'Rising Generation'.
Discusses the 'miscellaneous' schemes proposed in newspapers for disinfecting 'premises or persons'. Discusses the problems of using lime, and discusses an idea to use smoke as a disinfectant. The illustration shows a contented man sitting on a rooftop surrounded by smoking objects such as chimneys and his pipe.
Reports on news of a 'young lady' who, in a mesmeric state, discerned several pictures in the Vernon GalleryVernon Gallery, Pall Mall CloseView the register entry >>. Punch regards this as 'the most extraordinary instance of clairvoyance' because it establishes that 'there ARE PICTURES IN THE VERNON GALLERY!'
Manufactories, Public Health, Pollution, Chemistry, Education, Environmentalism
Sympathises with 'the proprietors of gunpowder-mills, alkali, and other chemical works generating noxious gases' for being forced to relocate their works out of town and to pay for the damage they have caused to the environment. Observes that removing a chemical works near the home would prevent one way in which 'the study of Chemistry might be much advanced'.
Responding to a proposal to 'embrace' the whole of the country with sewers, insists that Scotland 'must sweeten herself first' and warns that the 'slightest agitation' might result in the whole nation falling into sewers and of the possibility of gunpowder being placed in them.
Railways, Commerce, Government, Superstition, Physiognomy, Politics, Government
Parodying the words of 'Remember, remember, the fifth of November', this laments the fact that George HudsonHudson, George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, 'Mammon's GUY god-son', sits in the House of CommonsHouse of Commons
CloseView the register entry >>. Emphasises Hudson's 'crafty and cock sure' 'dealings in stock', his responsibility for bankrupt railway companies, and the fact that in his 'face bluff and burly was a mask' that 'physiognomists saw' meant 'a mere man of straw'. Ends by stressing that his credit is 'Rotten' and by suggesting that 'all that he's good for's squib-firing and smash'.
Following Anon, 'Our Guy', Punch, 17 (1849), 186, this shows an effigy of George HudsonHudson, George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> being paraded through a street, along one side of which is a wall on which are stuck advertisements for railway schemes. The 'Guy' is carried on horizontal poles by two men who have stags' antlers growing from their ears—a reference the financially-dubious railway 'stags'.
Announces James Wyld'sWyld, James, the younger
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> new 'Map of the North Pole' and discusses his indefatigable zeal for mapping. Expects Wyld would favour science 'with a "carte du pays" of the interior of the earth' which would enable people to travel between opposite sides of the globe. Discusses possible modes of transport for such journeys and expresses confidence that these would ruin railways. Concludes by describing Wyld's map of the Court of ChanceryCourt of Chancery
CloseView the register entry >> and by remarking that his brain consists of 'two hemispheres' which are 'printed, varnished, and glazed, exactly like a pair of globes'.
Medical Treatment, Invention, Sanitation, Instruments, Government, Politics
Touts 'the Organic Olifactor', an instrument which, after being attached to the nose, remedies the 'loss of smell' and enables 'Common Councilmen' to distinguish 'putrefactive odours' from the 'perfume of SmithfieldSmithfield Market
CloseView the register entry >>'.
Medical Practitioners, Disease, Cell Biology, Epidemiology, Theory
Remarking on the short lifetime of theories proposed to explain the cholera, the author discusses the Royal College of Physicians'Royal College of Physicians
CloseView the register entry >> rejection of Frederick Brittan'sBrittan, Frederick
COPAC CloseView the register entry >> hypothesis. Details five arguments put forward against the hypothesis, each of which pokes fun at medical practitioners and practices. For example, 'The alleged irregular cells, which were supposed to be peculiar to the disease, have been found to have no necessary connection with it, and the irregular cells have been disposed of as regular sells to the doctor who thought he had found important facts enclosed in them'.
Reports on a Daily NewsDaily News
Directory CloseView the register entry >> article discussing the dangers of low railway bridges for third-class railway passengers. Laments that the 'chances of safety on a railway, should be abridged by an undue abridgement in the height of the bridges' and intends to appeal to the 'Court of Arches' to satisfy the public's desire. The illustration shows third-class railway carriage passengers ducking down as they go under a low bridge.
Describes the new 'Fog-Glasses' which apparently enables the wearer to see through thick London fog. Wishes to test the invention by attempting to read an inscription placed inside a tureen of soup. Promises to promote the invention if it proves successful and speculates on the possibility of adapting it to see through obscure 'political' atmospheres. Illustrations depict a horse wearing the 'Fog-Glasses', an omnibus conductor using a telescope to see through fog, and omnibus-men wearing metallic head-pieces, presumably to enhance their vision.
Calls on all 'who say "Pooh" to the plain's of petitioners' to listen to John SimonSimon, Sir John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, their 'own health inspector', who lectures on the 'various nastiness' hidden in the 'Best governed city of Europe'. Expatiates on the other reasons why London's mortality is 'twice what its numbers should be', including 'acres of cess-pool', poisonous gases emanating from graveyards, slaughter shops, and the Thames, 'a huge drainpool'.
Disease, Public Health, Class, Medical Treatment, Artisans
Describes the spread of the 'Plague' across Britain. Notes that Britannia tried in vain to stop the 'pestilence' and that 'Medicine, helpless, groped and guessed, and tried all arts to save'. Britannia subsequently had a 'vision' which revealed Mammon-worship, the contrast between the 'palaces' and the places 'where wretches slunk to die', and the dire conditions experienced by artisans. Describes the spread of 'Death' across the country and notes 'Death's claim that 'my stronghold's still in every ditch and drain'.
Disease, Public Health, Medical Practitioners, Exhibitions
Among its suggestions for the 'Lord Mayor's Show Up' are 'Two Health Inspectors to clear the way', 'Six Union Doctors', 'Sulphuretted Hydrogen', 'Carbonic Acid', 'Fevers in uniform', and 'Filth in every form'.
Reports on George Gale'sGale, George Burcher
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> proposal to search for the explorer John FranklinFranklin, Sir John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> in a balloon. Playing on the obvious meteorological connotations of the name 'Gale', the author imagines Gale suffering sub-zero temperatures and a balloon 'congealed into a flying iceberg' as he conducts his search. The illustration shows an airborne balloon covered with snow and with a smoking funnel poking out of the basket.
Responds to the government's proposal to start a 'mechanical Tax-gatherer' which 'won't take an answer and will not be affected by the abuse' that tax collectors experience. Thinks this suggests the possibility of a 'Mechanical Cat' that will catch mice but not consume human food. The illustration shows this latter invention.
Addressing himself to Cornelius DonovanDonovan, Cornelius
DNBS CloseView the register entry >>, the proprietor of a London phrenology shop, suggests that if he wishes 'to exemplify the truth of phrenology' he should display the heads of 'notorious swindlers side by side with certain railway directors'. Adds that his faith in phrenology would 'vanish' if such a display shows any distinction between these types of heads.
Reports on an invention for 'enabling anybody to scream in a fog, and to be heard on all sides at six miles' distance'. Warns that the instrument does not indicate the distance of the sound and contemplates the effect of alarming 'a whole neighbourhood for six miles round' to prevent a collision between cabs.
Dicusses news that 'songs and pieces of music' have been carried across the United States via the electric telegraph. Points out that the invention will enable popular vocalists to increase their salaries, and will allow shareholders to sing out for their dividends. Hopes the telegraph will also 'restore harmony to the railway world [...] which has lately been acting by no means in concert'. The illustration shows a woman enjoying music via the telegraph from such musical venues as Hanover Square.
Physics, Gravity, Mechanics, Amusement, Light, Natural Law
Apologising for differing from Isaac NewtonNewton, Sir Isaac
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, the author denies 'the universality of his rule as to the earth's attraction' owing to the fact that there are many 'spots of the earth' that 'possess no attraction whatever'. Gives examples of such spots, including the Vauxhall GardensRoyal Gardens, Vauxhall CloseView the register entry >> when '4000 of the additional 5000 lamps' have been extinguished by wind or rain.
Applauds the French President for distinguishing 'that wonderful conqueror of the impossible—Robert StephensonStephenson, Robert
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, and adds that Stephenson's 'iron triumph will live when the triumphs of round shot shall have ended'.
Having complete satisfaction with Isaac Newton'sNewton, Sir Isaac
DSB CloseView the register entry >> laws of light, the author expresses surprise at an advertisement claiming a 'Revolution in Light'. Thinks the window tax should be repealed to free the operation of such laws.
Punch, 17 (1849), 245 .
How Does a Railway Look Under a Committee of Investigation?
Detailed account of the sharp decline in interest in the railway business which opens by remarking that, compared with its buoyant state twelve months earlier, the railway 'has scarcely a smiling feature left', with 'rusty [...] hard and deeply sunken' lines 'as unpleasant to contemplate as the Railway Share List'. Describes the initial mania for railway shares but observes that the railway includes such depressing sights as 'Telegraphic Signs' that 'droop pointedly to "Danger"', engines which are 'put on a half-allowance of coals', and railway offices pervaded by 'An unwholesome silence'. Describes the fraudulent means devised by railway office workers to balance their accounts, and the fear felt by clerks and directors on being hauled before a committee of investigation.