Announces the imminent arrival of the 'REV. GLENDOWER S. FIBBS', an American 'WIZARD' whose powers include proving 'the REALITY OF SORCERY and MAGIC by the OCULAR DEMONSTRATION' and who is accompanied by a 'WITCH' who can demonstrate the 'power of SORCERY over the elements' and her ability to transform herself into various animals.
Subtitled 'On His Astonishment at the Extent of Popular Delusion which has been Disclosed by "Table-Turning"' (see Faraday 1853Faraday,
Michael 1853. 'On Table-Turning', The Times, 30 June 1853, p.
CloseView the register entry >>), this poem is evidently a response to Michael Faraday'sFaraday, Michael
DSB CloseView the register entry >> attack on public credulity, as evidenced by the craze for table-turning. Wonders why 'simple Mr. Faraday', despite his skill at 'touching chemic laws and powers' has only just noticed how many 'dunces' and incompetent observers there are in the world. Considers him an 'unsophisticated sage' for thinking that this was an age of 'enlightenment' when 'Weak Superstition' was dead. Laments the fact that 'simple Mr. Faraday' is apparently unaware of the public's belief in the claims of 'Yankee' mediums and in homeopathy, and his apparent assumption that the 'days of DR. DEEDee, John
DSB CloseView the register entry >>' were past. Attacks 'Men of learning, who [...] should know better' for testifying to various miraculous events and explains that Faraday has not 'tried' experiments on 'Society's weak side' because he is 'all Philosopher and nothing of a Quack'.
Noting reports of parties being given 'for the purpose of trying the hat-moving experiment', questions the use of such events given the fact that hats are normally 'moved' at parties or 'operated upon'.
Mesmerism, Electricity, Spiritualism, Hunting, Cultural Geography, Race, Exhibitions, Ethnography
Putatively written by a black author, the poem dismisses the interest in 'magnetic attraction, / Electro-biology, media' and 'Rapping for Spirits', but appreciates Roualeyn G G Cumming'sCumming, Roualeyn George Gordon-
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> display at Hyde Park CornerHyde Park Corner
CloseView the register entry >> of skins of animals from around the world. Notes how fashionable society is entertained there by 'Kafirs from Borioboola' who act out 'Their business of marriage, and murder, and war', rituals 'which, of course, we abhorr'. Insists that the highlight of the exhibition is meeting the visitors and admiring their babies. Explains the ease of finding a white baby ('for a pet') in 'the back courts of St Giles' but there is a 'penchant' for black babies 'roused' by Uncle Tom's CabinStowe, Harriet
Beecher 1852. Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly,
Boston: John P. Jewett & Company; Cleveland, Ohio: Jewett, Proctor &
CloseView the register entry >>. Comparing white and black babies, insists that the latter 'could never have vices / Like those which degrade us in civilised life', and notes the extinction of savages by 'Civilisation'.
Subtitle explains that the poem shows 'how the Round Table moved of its own accord, and of the terrible Adventure of the Rapping Spirits, and how SIR LANCELOT took upon him the quest of a medium'. Goes on to describe how the ladies of King Arthur's court were 'rapt in admiration' of 'Rapping Spirits' in case there was '"something wicked" mingled with a sport so dear' and notes that the sages argue '[a]gainst reason' about 'ideo-motor systems, motive wills, and vital force'. Describes how the Round Table began to rotate and dragged with it the knights and their ladies, with King Arthur sitting in the middle of the 'great Cartesian whirlwind'. (58) Later in the poem 'the ghost of [...] MERLIN' communicates by spirit-rapping and 'LINETTE' is described as 'the damsel Sauvage' who held '"mesmeriques séances" every afternoon at four'. 'Dame LYONS', a medium in King Arthur's court, explains how she had 'with her quick clairvoyant spirit seen the merry scene' involving the table and warns that 'media' cannot explain the 'mystic raps [...] for a fee'. (59) Illustration shows the Round Table in full flight, with King Arthur in the centre and his knights and ladies being dragged around the circumference.
Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Commerce, Class
Addressed to 'The Right Hon. the House of CommonsHouse of Commons
CloseView the register entry >>', the petition claims that the signatories are all 'medical professionals' who make their living from selling treatments to the sick, that they are 'deeply interested in the condition of the poor', that they oppose the Sunday-opening of the Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace
CloseView the register entry >>, and that the expansion of parks threatens to reduce the number of working-class patients and thus business.
Responds to the death (in 1849) of the nobleman, Mason G Stratford (5th Earl of Aldborough)Stratford, Mason Gerard, 5th Earl of Aldborough
Cokayne 1910-59 CloseView the register entry >>, who was a notorious patron of 'certain pills'. Includes a poem, 'Wanted, a Nobleman!' which seeks a nobleman who is ready to claim that a 'Popular Pill' cured him of his myriad diseases and surpassed the efforts of a litany of orthodox medical practitioners.
Photography, Superstition, Military Technology, Progress
Shows an old lady standing in front of a photographer, whose head is covered by the cloth at the back of his photographic camera. The old lady who, as the caption indicates, is 'not used to these new-fangled notions' (of photography), confuses the camera with a gun and urges the photographer not to shoot.
Quackery, Medical Treatment, Heterodoxy, Boundary Formation
Believes that the 'novel' system of medicine called 'Coffinism' is 'very appropriate' and applicable to 'all manner of therapeutical schemes which deviate from true medical science'. Coffinism is an allusion to the alternative medical practice of Albert I CoffinCoffin, Albert Isaiah
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>.
Pollution, Public Health, Manufactories, Analytical Chemistry
Response to the Smoke Nuisance Bill. The illustration shows six typical smoke-producers (including a chimney sweep, a naval captain, and a butcher) who wear chimneys, funnels, or other structures for channeling smoke. During the proceedings of the 'Smoke Makers', 'MR. LONGSHAFT' insists that the 'Smoke Bill was at variance with the constitution of England' because it restricted the freedom of carbon. Adds that he has sent samples of smoke to a 'German chemist' who certified that they contained substances which could be used in antiseptics, tonics, and perfumes.
Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Politics
Following the worsening relations between Russia and Turkey, this poem likens the diplomatic efforts of statesmen to avert conflict to doctors administering 'the paper-pill' to 'a dying nation [Turkey]'. Observes that while the 'diplomatic doctors' disagree over the best course of treatment and treat Turkey with 'replies', the patient finally dies.
Punch, 25 (1853), 116.
The English Hippopotamus, at the Zoological Gardens, to the French Ditto, at the "Jardin des Plantes"
Reports on Professor Glimm who, at the recent meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of ScienceBritish Association for the Advancement of Science
CloseView the register entry >>, outlined his plans for rearranging the signs of the zodiac 'in accordance with the spirit of the age'. His plans include retiring Sagittarius on the grounds that his 'mode of conducting the chase' is obsolete, and that his duties should be taken up by 'shooting stars'.
Discusses a Cambridge ChronicleCambridge Chronicle
Directory CloseView the register entry >> advertisement for a footman 'which' can undertake gardening. Believes this is a request for a 'Garden Engine—endowed with intellectual faculties' and wonders how 'such a domestic could have been constructed'. Considers the extent to which Alfred Smee'sSmee, Alfred
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> connection between electrical action and thought could account for the machine. Suggests that 'the mysterious agency concerned in Table Turning' is 'the animating principle'.
Written from the perspective of 'King Cholera', describes his westward journey from Russia, his anticipation of the hoards of victims, and the places where he will flourish, including the 'foetid dens', 'alleys where the sun ne'er smiled', 'yards, whose heaps of dust and bone / Breathe poison all around'. Notes that his favourite 'perfumes', 'music', and 'lieges' are 'oozing gas from opened trench', 'slow death-bell's muffled tones', and vestrymen respectively.
Written from the perspective of 'VESTED RIGHT'. Observes: 'On Boards of Health I glide by stealth'. Describes his enjoyment of the repulsive locations in his kingdom, including Smithfield MarketSmithfield Market
CloseView the register entry >>, where 'odours [are] flung from [...] dung', and the graveyards which keep him in pocket.
Disease, Health, Pollution, Homeopathy, Medical Treatment
Following the homeopathic principle of 'like cures like', suggests that 'seleniureted hydrogen', a trace gas found in the air, will provide an antidote to the chief cause of cholera—sulphuretted hydrogen.
Responds to news of the invention of a 'Lunarium', an instrument allowing close inspection of the lunar surface and determination of its age. Regards this interest in the age of a body which is 'a lady' to be 'impertinent'.
Reports on a banquet held to commemorate an 'extensive bone-boiling and horse-slaughtering concern' in Southwark. Wryly observes that the food was 'decorated with chloride of lime' and notes how, during a toast to himself, the senior partner in the concern upheld the 'salubrity' of the odours given off by his business, and bade 'Success to Sulphuretted Hydrogen and Ammonia'.
Reports on a meeting of rabbits at the Zoological Society GardensZoological Society of London —Gardens
CloseView the register entry >>, at which the chair upholds the need for rabbits to cultivate 'a deeper trust and wider confidence in the animal world about them'. The meeting ends abruptly owing to the chair being attacked by a boa constrictor.
Written from the perspective of the hippopotamus at the Zoological Society GardensZoological Society of London —Gardens
CloseView the register entry >>, complains about the public's 'inconstant' interest in him and their preference for 'a nasty' American anteater. Explains that he put up with people's ignorance of his existence but will not accept competition from the anteater. Compares himself favourably with his competitor and wishes he could 'make myself a Fellow [...] Of this Zoological SocietyZoological Society of London
CloseView the register entry >>' to send the anteater 'back to his Ants, / Or to my French rival at the Jardin des PlantesJardin des Plantes, Paris CloseView the register entry >>'. The illustration shows black figures running away from a giant anteater wearing zoo-keeper's clothes.
Medical Treatment, Disease, Religious Authority, Medical Practitioners, Supernaturalism, Homeopathy
Criticises a claim made by a clergyman in The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >> that a mixture of charcoal, brandy, and opium offers a cure for cholera. The author urges the clergyman to 'confine himself to pointing the way to Heaven' and, noting that the 'gift of healing' has 'ceased to be supernaturally imparted', invites clergymen to gain medical expertise in hospitals. Warns divines who practise homeopathy to 'stick to theological mysticism'.
Public Health, Disease, Death, Chemistry, Religion, Religious Authority, Supernaturalism
Responding to the evidence of the Bishop of London (Charles J BlomfieldBlomfield, Charles James
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>) given before the House of LordsHouse of Lords
CloseView the register entry >> committee on the Great Extramural Cemetery Bill, imagines that 'chemists—who are ghost-seers—for ghost and gas "are all one reckonings, save the phrase is a little variations"'—would see the bishop 'praying [...] against pestilence with the cause of it steaming up all around him in the shape of sulphuretted hydrogen' from corpses.
Despite having had miserable experiences being shaved, expresses reservations about a 'shaving machine'. The author is particularly alarmed by the fact that the customer has to sit amidst cylinders to which are fixed 'a forest of blades'.
Describes the benefits of the 'warm climate' produced by Mr JeffreysJeffreys, Mr
PU1/25/19/3 CloseView the register entry >> 'Respirator', but points out that people who wear this apparatus look so terrifying that they would frighten away burglars. Illustrations show this latter contingency, and a family sleeping whilst wearing their respirators.
Chemistry, Crime, Race, Cultural Geography, Commerce
Discusses a report in the New York Journal of CommerceNew York Journal of Commerce
RLIN CloseView the register entry >> concerning a scheme for marking the noses of white convicts with black dye. Believes that if 'Chemistry [...] could afford' a 'cosmetic' for leaving a white mark on black convicts' noses, 'it would emancipate several millions of persons in America' who could 'obtain their freedom as easily as insolvent debtors' if they could whitewash themselves.
Disease, Religion, Supernaturalism, Religious Authority, Sanitation, Nutrition, Public Health
In the first verse, members of the Presbytery of EdinburghChurch of Scotland—Presbytery of Edinburgh
CloseView the register entry >> ask the Home Secretary Henry J Temple (3rd Viscount Palmerston)Temple, Henry John, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> to 'fix a day / Whereon all men may fast and pray' for the end of the cholera epidemic. In the following verses Palmerston explains to the presbyters his strategies by which 'Miserable Sinners' can deal with the disease. He agrees that they should 'Bow down [...] to ask for grace', but urges them to 'use brush and limewash pail'. They may fast, but should 'feed those for want who fail'. He also identifies 'Plagues' as evils from God rather than the Devil, and that 'he that breaks [God's law] must endure / The penalty which works the cure'.
Public Health, Nutrition, Disease, Religious Authority, Religion, Supernaturalism
Written to represent an author of limited literary ability, describes the death of her children from asthma but believes this was due to 'bad hare in our place' rather than her own asthmatic condition (which she denies having). Ridicules the proposal to 'ave a day of fastin [...] as a purwentive to the colleher' and points out that while fasting may be a 'Christian hact', she and her family 'hace been a fastin hever so laon an donte feel no better Christens for that'.
'Adapted by a late President', the song describes his favourite geological regions and features including 'the west, / For there Silurian beds abound', the 'trilobites in the Bala bed', and the 'Auld, Auld Red' where there is 'mony a fish [...] Wi' heteorcercal tail'.
Describes reactions on earth and in the heavens to John R Hind'sHind, John Russell
DSB CloseView the register entry >> discovery of 'another new planet'. These include 'SATURN'S' relief at the discovery of more of his 'children' (the asteroids between Mars and Jupiter) whom he had not devoured. Details the proceedings of a meeting of various constellations, nebulae, and planets to 'consider the best means of expressing their gratitude' to Hind. The meeting resolved to christen the 'newly discovered sidereal bodies [...] HIND's Night Lights'.
Public Health, Sanitation, Class, Disease, Anatomy
Discusses the problem of rehousing the inhabitants of slums. Agrees with the proposal to put them in 'Model Lodging Houses' but insists that such a term is patronising to the lower classes and does not respect the fact that they have the 'same number of members' and the 'same passions and feelings' as the higher classes.
Punch, 25 (1853), 224.
St Cross Stingo, Otherwise Known as Guildford Demi X Ale
Religion, Class, Railways, Travel, Steam-power, Religious Authority
Responding to a proposal to establish churches for the ragged, suggests the possibility of churches for first, second, and third-class members of society (in line with railway travel). Accordingly, envisions the adoption of 'steam-organs' and 'the substitution of locomotives for clergymen'.
Spiritualism, Religion, Religious Authority, Superstition, Proof
Rejecting Robert W Dibdin'sDibdin, Robert William
WBI CloseView the register entry >> allegations (published as Dibdin 1853Dibdin, Robert W. 1853.
Table-Turning: A Lecture by the Rev. R. W. Dibdin Delivered in the Music
Hall, Stone St., on Tuesday Evening, November the 8th, 1853, London: W. H.
CloseView the register entry >>) that PunchPunch
Directory CloseView the register entry >> is an enemy of 'true piety', insists that it 'holds religion [...] inviolate' and that 'religion is not, in all people, allied with superstition, or with cant and hypocrisy'. Upholding his right to ridicule 'delusions [...] preached beneath the cover of religion', refuses to quote the blasphemous remarks that Dibdin solicited from the Devil via table-turning. Having been invited to 'admit the infallibility of MR. DIBDIN's sense as well as his good faith', points to the 'opposing testimony of FaradayFaraday, Michael
DSB CloseView the register entry >>' regarding table-turning (an allusion to Faraday 1853Faraday,
Michael 1853. 'On Table-Turning', The Times, 30 June 1853, p.
CloseView the register entry >>) and that 'there has been no one satisfactory exhibition of the wonder in public'. Notes Dibdin's attack on Faraday's 'spiritual attainments'. Reports that Punch's own table-turning trials proved that the table-turners were responsible for the effect and goes on to ridicule the idea of 'evil spirit' emanating from table-turners' fingers.
Discusses an advertisement in which the 'Practical Phrenologist' Mrs HamiltonHamilton, Mrs
Cooter 1989 CloseView the register entry >> announces her performances of 'Phrenology illustrated by Music'. Elaborates on the connections between music and phrenology, including the remark that 'HandelHändel, Georg Friedrich
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> [...] displayed the organ of Veneration in his Oratorios'. Recognising the difficulties of illustrating 'the whole of Phrenology by Music in one evening', advises Mrs Hamilton to do it by means of a symphony of thirty-five movements, each one consisting of music carefully chosen to represent a phrenological organ ('Self-esteem', for instance, 'would blow its own trumpet'). Contends that Mrs Hamilton's lecture 'on living heads from the audience' will be more suitable than arias on 'anatomical and physiological facts'.
Discusses the attempt by the Zoological Society GardensZoological Society of London —Gardens
CloseView the register entry >> to attract more visitors by displaying such 'Star' exhibits as the hippopotamus and 'a whole forest-full of humming birds'. Insists that the 'Star-system' will not be 'so ruinous here as at most places of entertainment', since these stars are not paid except for board and lodging. Details the appearance and behaviour of the latest attraction at the gardens: the giant anteater. The illustration shows a man entering the gardens offering 'some new laid Ants' Eggs for the Mummy-Cough-Ague Jewbeater', a reference to the Latin name of anteater, Myrmecophaga jubata.
The narrator describes his 'experience in the practise [sic] of Spirit Rapping in connection with the Tables' and wryly points out that the 'Satanic agency' possesses cheap furniture, as shown by its tendency to groan and split its sides. Unlike the 'Clerical Table Turners', who 'seem to imagine that the Satanic agency is confined to a particular kind of furniture', believes it can inhabit a wide range of domestic hardware.
Following the 'progress' made towards the 'humane treatment of insane persons' notes that inmates now perform the indoor work in lunatic asylums and that the directors of Hanwell Lunatic AsylumCounty Lunatic Asylum, Hanwell CloseView the register entry >> have employed inmates in kitchens. Includes some appropriate recipes from the system of 'insane cookery' practised by inmates.
Discusses Mr Sommer'sSommer, Mr
PU1/25/27/3 CloseView the register entry >> claim that his 'Sommerphone' musical instrument is strongly affected by severe weather. Anticipates the possibility that musical instruments, as well as singers, will be complaining of colds.