Sanitation, Pollution, Disease, Public Health, Government
Shows various aspects of London's burgeoning sanitation problems: Father Thames pouring dirty water into his river, smoke-belching factories lining the river, Thames vessel passengers holding their noses, sewer inspectors gauging the filth, and the dead cats and other animals floating in the depths of the river.
Points out that the 'Cockney's Sportsman's game-list' includes a bird called the 'chaffinch' which Carl LinnaeusLinnaeus (or von Linné), Carl
DSB CloseView the register entry >> called the 'Fingilla cœlebs' because in Swedish winters, 'the females migrate, and leave the males bachelors'.
Challenges the claim of 'archaeologians' to have determined the Roman provenance of a wall. Describes other events in what was evidently a meeting of archaeologists. These include the presentation of 'some fragments of coarse pottery [...] which somebody turned into a handle for a long argument'. The illustrations show the supposed Roman remains—broken pieces of pottery.
Shows a corpulent 'Old Lady' standing in a railway station, reading a notice about insurance against railway accidents. She is so shocked to read the costs for insuring against injuries to limbs, that she throws her parasol and other belongings in the air. The caption explains that she had just decided to 'travel, just for once, by one "of those new fangled railways", and the first thing she beholds on arriving at the station' was the notice about accidents.
Reports that the right to connect England and France by a submarine telegraph has been conceded and anticipates the rapid exchange of gossip between the countries. Gives examples of the kinds of conversations expected on the telegraph.
Describes the Hampton Court HospitalHampton Court Hospital
CloseView the register entry >> as an institution, funded by involuntary contributions, for 'decayed members' of the aristocracy. Reports allegations that the Hospital could admit patients who have 'done the state some service'.
Reporting a lecture by Mr DartDart, Mr
PU1/18/3/3 CloseView the register entry >> on 'the philosophy of a candle', urges that this subject, though ancient, will 'bring to light some curious phenomena, as to how many times one pound of candles, which, by the ordinary rules of duration, will not fit into two candlesticks, may be found to go easily into one grease-pot'.
Reports that following an attack of 'stitch in the side' suffered by the 'MARQUESS OF FOUR-HUNDRED-THOUSAND', 'medical assistance was summoned' and the 'intelligence of the physician–intelligence, it must be confessed, extra-professional' discovered that the cause lay in the patient's coat.
Depicts a 'medical student' and a 'Consulting Surgeon' in the latter's office. The student accepts the surgeon's praise for his examination success but complains that he does not get much practice and is at home to take calls.
Challenges the railway authorities' decision to reject ingenious ideas regarding railway signalling and declare, 'that a break is a sufficient means of communication between the guard and the engine driver'.
Lamenting the Royal Navy'sRoyal Navy
CloseView the register entry >> abolition of grog, the subject of the poem, Jack, is 'blister'd and bled', fed 'washy slops', and treated with physic', but complains that drinking physic is 'nothing like grog'.
Medical Practitioners, Railways, Class, Human Development
Written in a style to represent an inferior literary skill, relates the story of a doctor and his friend and their meeting with a woman who gave them her child and subsequently vanished. Later in the story the doctor is ordered by its mother to return the baby to Devon. The doctor goes to a judge to decide what to do with the child, but leaves refusing to deposit the child in the workhouse. Contrasts the cruelty of the mother to the kindness of the doctor.
Descriptions of some alleged new birds that turn out to be political types. These include the 'Colymbus Arcticus', a 'disagreeable bird' whose 'blackness of the throat is attributed by political naturalists to a sort of black slimy matter generated in the bird itself, and discharged from the mouth'.
Prefers leaving the conquest of the North Pole 'in the hands of others' and is content with the Arctic display at Burford's PanoramaBurford's Panorama, Leicester Square CloseView the register entry >>. Speculates on how Robert BurfordBurford, Robert
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> depicted the aurora borealis in his Panorama, but adds that observing the actual phenomenon means sustaining very cold temperatures and is boring. Describes the 'streets, and lanes, and courts, and squares' of the Arctic and the dangers associated with the geography of this region. Praises the authenticity of Burford's depiction of the Arctic landscapes and expects the Panorama to be a 'Magnetic Pole' in the summer.
Shows two floors of a building: on the bottom floor, a man is woken by a counterweight crashing through his ceiling, an object which is attached to a clock in the room of the 'mechanical genius' above.
Reports on the dire financial state of the Thames TunnelThames Tunnel
CloseView the register entry >> and notes that the decline in tolls is due to cholera, which has 'acted as a sort of general accountant employed in balancing all matters of profit and loss'.
Asks the 'Gods of Hades' to 'have mercy on a sinner' for having endured 'Six weeks of squares and triangles' and become 'but a beginner'. Complains that 'These cosine thetas to the nth / Will drive me crazy soon [...] And bring me home the Spoon'. Wishes he was 'a bold Bargee' with 'MILLER'SMiller, William Hallowes
DSB CloseView the register entry >> hydrostatic lore', or a 'Gyp' [university servant] with no worries about mathematics.
Medical Practitioners, War, Scientific Practitioners, Engineers, Heroism, Status, Nationalism, Government, Politics
Notes the heroic battlefield work of military surgeons but points out that they are no more honoured than London hospital surgeons. Argues that the English, 'in the serenity of our greatness, rarely vouchsafe to acknowledge the existence of people of science'. Describes the paucity of scientific practitioners in the Court and Government and the fact that military victors are honoured by the state more than Robert StephensonStephenson, Robert
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, whose Britannia BridgeBritannia Bridge, Menai Straits CloseView the register entry >> was of 'incalculable' utility. Continues to contrast the ways military warriors and surgeons are honoured.
Shows a couple on a coast line looking out to the sea. The man points to the horizon and asks the woman if she can see a distant steamer. The woman, who looks at two seagulls on the sea with a telescope, replies, 'Oh, distinctly! There are two'.
Anticipates the proceedings of an inquest into the death of a seaman at the hands of assistant surgeon, Cooper Slice M.D. Includes testimony of Slice's superior, Dr Slash, who produces evidence against Slice. Slice explains his incompetence by complaining that he could not develop his knowledge of anatomy while living in the midshipman's berth. The 'PRESIDENT of the COLLEGE of SURGEONSRoyal College of Surgeons
CloseView the register entry >>' upholds the importance of constant medical study and the jury decides that the seaman died of a haemorrhage and attributes Slice's ignorance to poor working conditions.
Reports the discovery by 'the distinguished chemist', Mr Punch, of 'an antidote to arsenic' in the form of a parliamentary bill 'limiting the operation of Burial Clubs to paying for the funerals of their deceased members'.
Shows Mr Punch and a moustached figure (possibly Prince AlbertAlbert [Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha],
prince consort, consort of Queen Victoria
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>) inspecting some grim images of industry: four large bell jars, each of which contains a figure in the midst of his or her trade. The figures are 'An Industrious Needlewoman', 'A Labourer Aged 75', 'A Distressed Shoemaker', and 'A Sweater'.
Links common parliamentary events to processes explained by natural philosophy. For example, it notes the 'EVOLUTION OF HEAT' that follows when 'anybody comes into collision with [the statesman] Lord BroughamBrougham, Henry Peter, 1st Baron Brougham and
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>'.
Homeopathy, Chemistry, Nutrition, Medical Treatment
Responding to a Morning ChronicleMorning Chronicle
CloseView the register entry >> report on 'homeopathic hospital dinners', suggests that the portions of food served on these occasions were minute. Noting the medicinal qualities of trace substances found in meat, concludes that meals contain 'a deal of medicine'.
Reports on gold-diggers' disappointment that gold is 'merely a crust over the soil' and their castigation of 'Nature, for having condescended to use the electrotype process, instead of making the ground one solid mass' of gold.
Believing that 'no one will ever understand a Railway Timetable, unless he has learnt it in his early youth', advises the teaching of railway arithmetic. Lists suitable questions for such an exercise, all of which poke fun at the lateness and danger of trains.
Disease, Government, Politics, Sanitation, Public Health, Commerce
Imagines the existence of 'the MEMBER for HEALTH' who seeks to remove Smithfield MarketSmithfield Market
CloseView the register entry >>, and 'the MEMBER for FILTH' who would 'defend vested interests through thick and thin' and who would be supported by 'the MEMBER for PESTILENCE'.
Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Quackery, Pharmaceuticals
Responds to an advertisement for the recipe for a medicine to treat 'a disease of great suffering' that has been 'laying dormant' owing to the 'death of the medical gentleman' who made a 'large practice' out of it. Taking this to imply that it is the disease and not the recipe that has been lying dormant, suggests that the disease will be revived by the successor to the 'medical gentleman'.
Thinks that the 'analysation' of society into its component parts would be 'a process too vast for the resources of the chemist'. Using an implict comparison of humans and chemical substances, points out that 'combinations of various qualities and properties' which would normally be 'antagonistic', can 'amalgamate' in the opera house. Believes Her Majesty's TheatreHer Majesty's Theatre
CloseView the register entry >>, where the 'laws of political chemistry are suspended', witnessed such eirenic chemical processes as the 'correction of Protectionist Acidity' and the fusion of 'Whig Oil with Radical Vinegar'. Regards opera boxes as 'little laboratories [...] for the formation of other unions of a still more delicate kind', including 'Maternal Alchemy, the art of match-making'. Gives a 'manual of maternal chemistry' for those wishing to practice this latter art, which includes advice on the best oils to use for 'capillary attraction' and the claim that the person to be selected for the union must be 'solvent', because an 'insolvent' cannot 'liquidate'. Advice also includes the discreet use of the retort in matrimonial 'as in other chemistry', and the study of 'the theory of refraction and reflection' to ensure that rays of light from the countenance do not fall on a dense body.
Following news that machinery will be displayed at the Great ExhibitionGreat Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations (1851)
CloseView the register entry >>, suggests showing the British solider as an example of a 'rough-going machine'.
Describes the activities of 'the first dinner of the United Undertakers' Protection Society' founded to oppose the Metropolitan Interments Bill. One participant, Mr Shrowdall, criticises the 'Report of the Board of Health on a general scheme for extramural sepulture' and for linking 'emanations from the dead' to disease.
Describes the 'wonders [...] revealed in a drop of London water through the Molecular Magnifier, illuminated by the Intellectual Electric Light'. Likens the practice of preparing to view the drop to mesmerism and notes the 'whole universes instinct with life, or life in death' revealed by the 'Molecular Magnifier', an instrument whose powers stump the revelations of the American seer, Andrew J DavisDavis, Andrew Jackson
WBI CloseView the register entry >> (189). Text and illustration reveal some of the gruesome objects to be seen in the water drop, including 'aldermen', a 'water bailiff', an 'undertaker', 'Gorgon-lobsters', and 'dire chimeras of turtle' (188–89). The text reveals the fierce competition among these monstrosities for 'atomic garbage'. Noting the theory that 'all organisations are multiples of themselves' suggests that water from wells must contain such individuals as aldermen (189).
Reports that one astronomer, a representative of the 'police of the skies', has announced the existence of a new comet. Explains the claim that the comet has no tail as the result of some 'violent [...] meteorological disturbances' and suggests calling the object 'Comet Spencer'.
Reports on a picture at the Royal Academy of ArtsRoyal Academy of Arts
CloseView the register entry >> showing 'illustrations of the scrofulous or strumous diathesis', a condition resulting in 'emaciated bodies', 'shrunken legs', and 'tumid ancles'. Praises the attention to the details of morbid anatomy exhibited in the painting and suggests that it is fit for the 'demonstration room'. Suggests that the artist might be employed when conventional forms of preserving specimens fail. Notes that the figures are 'revolting' to the 'non-professional beholder' and are 'examples of the consequences of transgressing the laws of health'.
Sanitation, Public Health, Disease, Physiological Chemistry
Instructs his executor to bury him far from churchyards near 'a narrow and crowded site' and to let him decompose far from 'living men's habitations'. Wants none of his 'chemical emanations' to 'injure a soul or offend a nose', but requests 'freshly smelling' flowers to adorn his tomb.
Heat, Instruments, Agriculture, Politics, Political Economy
Describes the operation of a 'newly-invented Agricultural Pocket Thermometer' which indicates the extent of the 'loyalty of the agricultural Protectionist'. The instrument is calibrated in terms of the price of corn, fify-six degrees representing the point at which 'farmers' loyalty boils'.
Discusses the Royal College of SurgeonsRoyal College of Surgeons
CloseView the register entry >>, which appointed some fellows by examination and others because they were favoured by the college's council. Reports on attacks made on the council for this apparently 'unjust and arbitrary conduct' and the council's attempt to gain a government charter for the appointment of fellows without examination. Reports opposition to this move from 'Fellows by Examination', Thomas WakleyWakley, Thomas
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, and others, but asks why 'young fellows submit to an examination, if the partial requisition of it was an injustice'. Seeks to console these fellows by reminding them of the security and dignity of their qualification.
Argues that John L McAdamMcAdam, John Loudon
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> 'is the great enemy of the barricades', since Parisian boulevards are being macadamised to stop stones being used to aid a future revolutionary movement.
Notes the continued shining of the sun, moon, and stars despite the death of the Emperor of China, a figure believed to have a 'close relationship' with all celestial bodes. Expected that the constellations would have marked his death more sorrowfully.
Notes that 'Ornithology, has been running about for ages with a pinch of salt of research between its fingers, to place on the tails of the feathered community'. Upholds the interest of all parts of the bird and takes the bird 'in hand as if it were a member of our civilised community'. Begins its description of 'the whole race of social birds, from the hawk downwards to the duck', with an account of the nightingale, which is a thinly-veiled portrait of Jenny LindLind-Goldschmidt (née Lind),
Johanna Maria ('Jenny')
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>.
Describes arrival of the hippopotamus at the Zoological SocietyZoological Society of London —Gardens
CloseView the register entry >>GardensZoological Society of London —Gardens
CloseView the register entry >>. Notes that its liquid intake consists of 'the usual wash of chalk, pump water, brains and other ingredients' that constitute London milk and that the animal displays 'extreme sensibility' and pines for its Arab keeper. Thinks that the animal, owing to its 'tendency to blubber', should be given the natural historical classification of 'Mammy-sick-alia'. The illustrations show people clamouring to see the hippopotamus.