An elderly gentleman explains the revolutions of the earth to his small son. The latter asks if France turns 'on its axis when it makes its revolutions' but the gentleman replies that it 'turns on its bayonets'.
Punch, 22 (1852), 14.
The Member for Bodmin the Greatest of Mathematicians
Describes a meeting to discuss the 'new Egyptian Railway', which was so well attended as to suggest the incalculable 'influence of the Railway, that mighty engine of intercourse'. This discussion represents the scepticism and fears felt by Arabs towards the railway. For example, one participant, Wobblegaw Effendi, exclaims 'Backallum' to the idea that George Stephenson'sStephenson, George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> invention can complete long land journeys in the matter of a few hours. Another participant, Bogaz Kissaleri, believes the railways to be 'the work of magicians' since, on entering them you were 'thrust into a box' where 'you sat on a seat harder than nether millstone, and then a scream of a demon was heard, and the box flew away of its own accord over the tops of the mountains, and into the deep bowels of the earth'.
Expresses disgust at a report in the Morning PostMorning Post and Daily Advertising Pamphlet
CloseView the register entry >> of a lecture by Lyon PlayfairPlayfair, Sir Lyon, 1st Baron Playfair of St
DSB CloseView the register entry >> in which the chemist claimed that fragrances are made from such disagreeable substances as 'the offal of the streets'. The author is even more shocked by Playfair's claim that plants and food develop from the remains of 'a past generation' of animal 'ancestors' and wishes 'such unpleasant secrets [...] had never been discovered'.
Announces that 'Fifty Years' UNINTERRUPTED HEALTH has been succeeded' by a litany of diseases 'after trying BOSH's good-for-nothing stuff, called the Health-restoring AMBROSIA OLYMPICA ALIMENT'. Appends testimonials from such 'equally well-known and respectable parties' as 'LORD REWITT DE QUOTIES'.
Homeopathy, Politics, Medical Treatment, Government
Shows Lord John RussellRussell, Lord John, 1st Earl Russell
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> (the Prime Minister) reminding John Bull that 'large doses of reform are bad for your constitution' and offering him 'a globule, or infinitesimal bill'.
Claims that 'an eminent Chemist of our acquaintance has, by the aid of a highly powerful Chemico-Mesmeric Analysing Apparatus' found the 'circulating medium' of Louis NapoleonNapoleon III, Emperor of France (originally
Louis Napoléon (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte))
CBD CloseView the register entry >> 'to consist almost wholly of sang froid'.
Responds to news of an inventor who proposes 'to teach children their letters through the medium of lozenges' and anticipates the 'wholesome effect' produced by 'conveying information in a medical form' and combining 'salubrity with science'.
Quackery, Homeopathy, Medical Treatment, Politics, Analogy
Argues that 'the system of politics now dominant in Europe conforms with marvellous regularity to the "Hygeian or Morisonian System" in medicine', a reference to James Morison'sMorison, James
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> quack remedies. Supports this by drawing analogies between the propositions in a hand-bill for Morison's system and features of European politics. For example, while Morison proposes that 'All diseases arise from impurity of the Blood, or, in other words, acrimonious humours lodged in the body', Punch notes that 'it is impossible to deny that "acrimonious humours"—very bad humours indeed—prevail in the body politic, everywhere to a very great extent'. Extending the analogy, desires the equivalent of the 'Vegetable Compound' which will cure the diseases of the European body politic.
Politics, Education, Physical Geography, Astronomy, Political Economy, Physiology, Medical Treatment, Quackery, Homeopathy, Geology
Argues against the hereditary principle as sufficient for admission to the House of LordsHouse of Lords
CloseView the register entry >>. Notes that 'nobody is a physician by birth', and argues that neither should a peer be able to 'practise his profession without examination'. Insists that a peer should learn such scientific subjects as 'the physiology of the Constitution which he will have to treat', medicine—so that 'he may understand the analogies of national and individual therapeutics'—and geology, so that he may 'acquire a philosophical idea of pedigree, by comparing the bones of his ancestors with those of the ichthyosaurus'.
Reports on Frederick Gray'sGray, Frederick
WBI CloseView the register entry >> invention of a compound that closely resembles human skin. Believes the invention 'will open a door to gross imposition' and anticipates the appearance of false hands and no end 'to the mending of faces'.
Invention, Technology, Adulteration, Public Health, Nutrition
Responding to an advertisement for a new machine for testing the 'genuineness of milk', insists that nobody is interested in testing 'that chalky article' and thinks it is 'Far better to swallow it [milk] with all its faults, than attempt to dive too deeply into its mysteries'.
Notes the ability of mesmerised subjects to 'see through walls and relate what is occurring at any distance', and warns Louis NapoleonNapoleon III, Emperor of France (originally
Louis Napoléon (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte))
CBD CloseView the register entry >> that the discussions of his senate and legislative assembly will be 'got at'.
Adulteration, Technology, Invention, Public Health, Nutrition, Charlatanry
Expresses approval that the progress of the 'milk-tester' into the 'milk-cans and milk-jugs of the metropolis' has broken the partnership between 'the cow and the pump', because it will prevent the cow 'exhausting all its resources on a dishonourable connection with a Pump' which has helped 'a system of fraud and trickery'.
Agrees with the proposal to erect a monument of James MorisonMorison, James
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> and supports this view with arguments that play on words associated with his medical trade. For instance, a monument should be erected 'Because Morison was one of the most remarkable pillers of society'. Suggests, by means of an illustration, that it should consist of a brass head stone resting on a brass disk marked '13 1/2 D'—possibly the cost of one of his celebrated pills.
Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners, Crime, Gender, Human Development
Responding to news of a severe sentence given to a man for 'an error in the administration of a remedy', thinks medical men should 'give up practice; because in their case an error in judgement' is inexcusable. Blames 'other parties'—undoubtedly patent medicine sellers—for causing 'ignorant females' to give poisonous substances to infants.
Notes Alfred S Taylor'sTaylor, Alfred Swaine
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> argument, in On PoisonsTaylor, Alfred
Swaine 1848. On Poisons in Relation to Medical Jurisprudence and
Medicine, London: John Churchill
CloseView the register entry >>, concerning the 'extraordinary' effect of some types of bread and fish on the human body. Links the 'mental alteration' of a thinly-veiled Chancellor of the Exchequer, Benjamin DisraeliDisraeli, Benjamin, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, to a consumption of these loaves and fishes. Believes that the effect of 'Treasury bread' and fish upon Disraeli's mind preaches to us 'the wonderful impartiality of nature'. Using Taylor, attributes Disraeli's recent 'irritation' to his consumption of oysters and periwinkles at Downing Street.
Description of the habits of the 'Protectionist Cuckoo' which alludes to the poor state of the protectionist cause. For example, the bird is described as 'one of the rarest of birds' whose 'whole family will soon fade from the eye of the Political Naturalist', and which is 'incapable of any high flight whatever'.
Public Health, Sanitation, Pollution, Disease, Commerce
A 'Humble Petition of the Metropolitan Water Companies' to ParliamentHouses of Parliament
CloseView the register entry >> that makes cynical digs at the profits made from consumers by the water companies, and upholds the shortcomings of such companies as virtues. For example, it urges 'That your Petitioners have supplied Water of a very superior quality; viz. Thames water, of a much more nutritious character than any soft water' owing to its enrichment by 'a large percentage of animal matter'. Other items on the petition are attacks on the refusal of metropolitan water companies to supply soft water constantly and at high pressure.
Discusses reports that strychnine has been used in the production of bitter ale and although the LancetLancet
Directory CloseView the register entry >> has 'made the public suspicious of nearly everything that is sold for food', believes 'Everything, however bad, has some redeeming quality'.
Homeopathy, Medical Practitioners, Education, Gender
Responding to news that in America nine women are studying homeopathy, hopes that nurses soothe babies with 'infinitesimal doses of 'Daffy and Dalby'—an allusion to Anthony Daffy's Daffy, Anthony
RLIN CloseView the register entry >>'Elixir Salutis' and Joseph Dalby'sDalby, Joseph
WBI CloseView the register entry >> work on the medicinal qualities of cinnabar and musk (see Daffy 1673Daffy, Anthony
1673. Elixir Salutis: The Choise Drink of Health, or, Health-Bringing Drink
... a Secret Far Beyond any Medicament yet Known, London: T.
CloseView the register entry >> and Dalby 1762Dalby, Joseph
1762. The Virtues of Cinnabar and Musk, Against the Bite of a Mad Dog,
Illustrated, in a Letter to Sir George Cobb, Baronet, with a Word or Two
Concerning Dr. Henry Bracken's Newly Discovered Specifick, of Near
Eighteen-Hundred Years Standing, Being a Sufficient Refutation of the Flimsy
Arguments Advanced by this Celebrated Writer, in a Learned Rant on the Virtues
of Goose-Grease [...] Birmingham: John Baskerville
CloseView the register entry >>).
Pharmaceuticals, Medical Treatment, Crime, Mental Illness, Phrenology, Education, Human Development
Notes the strange cure for epilepsy prescribed by George BateBate, George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> in his PharmacopeiaBate, George 1688.
Pharmacopeia Bateana, in qua octingenta circiter pharmaca, pleruq; Omnia
è praxi G. Batei [...] Excertpa, ordine alphabetico coreise exhibibentur
[...] Accessit orthotonia edicorum observata: Annexa item est [...] tabula
posologica dosibus pharmacorum [...] expeditius computandis acconmodata [...]
Cura Ja. Shipton, 3 pts, London: Sam. Smith
CloseView the register entry >> but points out that physicians of Bates' day 'practised according to the science of the period'. Comparing medical practitioners to lawyers, notes that 'judges and magistrates' only 'administer punishments [...] conformably to the rules of the faculty' but regards this as a reason for criticising a sentence without attacking the judge. Objects strongly to a judge's decision to flog a ten year-old child for theft, and thinks education rather than flagellation is the proper way of removing the child's 'constitutional propensity to steal'. Discusses the phrenologists' claims regarding the faculty of 'acquisitiveness' and points out that illustrations of this can be seen in the London shop of Cornelius DonovanDonovan, Cornelius
DNBS CloseView the register entry >>, the phrenologist.
Written 'By a Scottish Philosopher who has tried them all', these rules play on stereotypes of Scottish people and include such injunctions as 'Never eat anything but oatmeal', and 'Walk fifteen miles regularly every day'.
Announces that 'communication with the other world' is 'an established fact' in America and presents a newspaper report of two mediums who produced libellous 'sundry communications' from the spirit of a gentleman who patronised them. Concludes that the 'miscalled Rappers' are 'clearly not worth a rap'.
Reports on experiments to test whether a Minie rifle, a weapon designed to fire balls to 'the distance whereat the marksman can see', can fire balls to a greater distance once it is fitted with a telescopic sight.
Explains the practice of electro-biology and electro-biologists' ability to make people 'the victims of the most extraordinary delusions'. Responding to an advertisement in The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >> for a 'CLASS for INSTRUCTION in this SCIENCE', concludes that electro-biology is less a science than an art for extracting money from people whose 'pecuniary substance' dominates their 'cerebral development'. Deplores the fact that entire assemblies of people can fall under the sway of the electro-biologist and regards this demonstration of the 'gullible portion of the human species' to be 'psychologically interesting'.
Notes that one of the speakers at the meeting was 'DOCTOR BECCAFICO (the great homeopathist)' who 'practised medicine upon the principles of the immortal HAHNEMANNHahnemann, Christian Friedrich Samuel
DSB CloseView the register entry >>'.
Argues that, while 'it may be desirable that a physician's prescription should sometimes be written in ciphers and contractions unintelligible to the patient', there is no reason for butchers' bills to be illegible.
Surprised that electro-biology has not been adopted by politicians to make John Bull 'swallow whatever the Minister should desire to force down the throat of the victim'. Points out that the 'great advantage of electro-biology over common-place Mesmerism' is that it can be performed while the patient is awake—a state that John Bull is in for most of the time. Notes that electrobiologized patients apparently find it difficult to get rid of an object that they have stared at for a long time; the author believes that this is the situation with regard to John Bull (the patient) and income tax (the object). The illustration shows the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Benjamin DisraeliDisraeli, Benjamin, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> (standing), as the electrobiological 'Professor' who, while pointing to a lump of sugar (marked 'Income Tax') in the hands of a transfixed John Bull, exclaims, 'There, Sir That's a Lump of Sugar—You Can't Move it, Sir; I Defy You to Get Rid of It'.
Responds to news of the introduction into England of a 'Diurnal Reflector, which is intended to invest dark places with the light of day'. Notes that the instrument was banned from Paris where newspapers are suppressed for trying to illuminate the dark operations of the French government. Suggests the instruments are used to illuminate the 'dark doings' of the Court of ChanceryCourt of Chancery
CloseView the register entry >>.
Argues that electrobiology is not novel since the landlords of taverns have long used similar practices: when dealing with complaints about the quality of wine, they invite customers to focus on the 'bees wing' in the glass and expatiate on the history of the wine to convince customers that what they have is 'an excellent glass of port'.