Reports on the recent meeting of the association at Manchester, an allusion to the British Association for the Advancement of ScienceBritish Association for the Advancement of Science
CloseView the register entry >> meeting. Includes discussion of the president's announcement that the association is to be re-housed in a building in Richmond Park, an observatory converted into a 'cow-house'. Reports on the proceedings of various sections. Papers in the physics section included Professor Woodenhead on 'the Blue-pill taken in connection with the Black-draught' and papers on the 'Distribution of Light, which included a very interesting episode on the Window-tax'. Dr Dulltone's contribution to Section B included his paper on a clock's pendulum 'as affected by the playfulness of a kitten'. In other sections, Mr Professor Blowhisnose contrasted the 'chain of the Alps' to 'St. Paul's chain', Professor Sorrytwaddle spoke on a 'large quantity' of cabbage, while the statesmen Charles de L W SibthorpSibthorp, Charles de Laet Waldo
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> and George F MuntzMuntz, George Frederick
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> presented alarming cases of the 'enlargement of the whiskers'. The association discusses the possibility of holding its next meeting in 'Hockley-in-the-Hole'.
A satire on the British Association for the Advancement of ScienceBritish Association for the Advancement of Science
CloseView the register entry >>. Reports that the association is 'still brandishing the torch of science in the eyes of a flabbergasted world'. Reports on the association's discussion of costs for 'watching' and 'repairing' the 'meteorometer' and refers calculation of expenses to 'Mathematical Section D'. Subjects discussed include the association's payment for 'coloured drawings of sectional cuttings' and the question of whether William WhewellWhewell, William
DSB CloseView the register entry >> had cut himself off from the association and thus 'cut all sections at once' and achieved a 'sectional cutting'. Reports on the association's excursion to a local coal-hole. Events include Professor Slowcoach's paper on the 'ordinary hinge as applied to common doors'. Members of the association record the 'curious' and repeated 'phenomenon' of a round opening appearing in the roof accompanied by a voice shouting 'Be-low'. Discussion of a 'large black heap' subsequently formed on floor.
Reports on a case presented to the 'Association for the Encouragement of Mesmeric Mummery' that Dr Collyer (probably an allusion to Robert H CollyersCollyers, Robert H
Cooter 1989 CloseView the register entry >>) had entranced a female patient and removed one of her teeth without causing her any pain. Reports on Professor Quizemall's study of an individual who, on 'emerging from a public-house', was 'evidently under a strong mesmeric influence' because he oscillated 'from side to side'. After the individual collapsed on the pavement a policeman 'made a few passes with a thick staff over the shins of the patient, with the view most probably of disengaging the mesmeric matter'. Quizemall notes that the patient had unknowingly 'lost several sovereigns' whilst under the mesmeric influence.
Possibly an allusion to the Agricultural AssociationAgricultural Association
CloseView the register entry >>. Begins by noting the 'gratifying' result of a recent meeting of the association. Notes that one of the objects of the association is the 'invention of implements of agriculture; the decision on different soils, and the cultivation of cattle', and notes that the 'Secretary' presented a machine for 'extracting butter from butterflies'. The rest of the spoof proceedings ridicule the apparently misguided and fruitless activities of the association. The members, for example, cannot distinguish between a 'natural' and a cooked potato; the 'Cultivation of Cattle Section' sees a bull tossing some wine glasses off a table; a member discussed the possibility of 'bringing up a flea entirely by hand'. The proceedings also describe the 'Great Blue-bottle Show', a paper on the 'Civilisation of Wasps, with a view to inducing them to regulate the use of their stings upon equitable principles', and the display of a 'patent harrow' on which a 'well-dressed member' fell.
Astronomy, Observatories, Scientific Practitioners, Time, Invention
Claims that John FlamsteedFlamsteed, John
DSB CloseView the register entry >> built the Royal Observatory, GreenwichRoyal Observatory, Greenwich CloseView the register entry >>, for 'watching the rise of the celestial bodies' but it is now 'principally used at fair-time for observing the fall of the terrestrial ones, in their declination down the Hill'. Adds that the 'diverting game of Fixing the Meridian is played there daily by the professors', a game in which a ball is pulled to the top of a pole and then allowed to drop. Notes that astronomers enjoy watching the 'apogee and perigee of the swings, the revolutions of the cock-horses on their spheres, and the total eclipse of the booths at eleven o'clock'.
Robins seeks investors for 'one of those Splendid Inventions' which he ranks alongside the 'STEAM ENGINE AND THE INVENTION OF PRINTING'. Much of the advertisement touts the originality of the invention and explains how it can make 'AN AMPLE FORTUNE!' for its proprietor. For example, he notes that the invention will make the owner happier than 'our ancestor [...] in the GARDEN OF EDEN' and promises that it will generate a yearly income of £20,000. After much puffery, we learn that the invention is a mangle owned by a Mrs Jane Jones and which, despite serious mechanical defects, is 'safely pronounced to be PERFECTION'. Robins believes that his invention would have been the subject of great 'ADMIRABLE PAINTINGS & UNRIVALLED SCULPTURE' had it existed in the days of Antonio A da CorreggioCorreggio, Antonio Allegri da
CBD CloseView the register entry >> and MichelangeloMichelangelo (Michelagniolo di Lodovico Buonarotti)
CBD CloseView the register entry >>.
Reports that James A Stuart-Wortley (1st Baron Wharncliffe)Stuart-Wortley, James Archibald, (formerly
James Archibald Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie) 1st Baron Wharncliffe
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> 'begs to inform cabinet ministers, poor-law guardians, and others, who are subject to the importunities of distressed manufacturers, hungry paupers, or poor relations' that he's become the proprietor and vendor of an ear-plug that allows the wearer to 'hear or understand only as much as he pleases'.
The stethoscope recalls being purchased by Dr Hammer Roses, who used him to examine 'a sweet and delicate young girl' and discovered 'a peculiar murmur not mentioned either by LaennecLaennec,
DSB CloseView the register entry >>' or James HopeHope, James
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>. Wants to name the murmur. Recalls being applied to 'an old miserly stock-jobber' suffering from an 'inability to withdraw his hands from his pockets', and subsequently heard a fine specimen of 'Metallic tinkling' in the patient's side.
Mr Punch announces his system of 'artificial memory' or 'Mnemonics for the Many'. This hinges on 'associating facts with sensations' and typically involves inflicting pain on oneself until the information to be committed to memory or a task to be undertaken has been accomplished. Examples include the following: to remind a student that the library at Alexandria was burnt in 47 BC he should 'thrust a large needle, as far as he can, into any inconvenient part of his person'; to remind oneself to visit the doctor and ask him to examine your child, 'button a few stinging-nettles up into your breeches next to the skin'. Argues that his system involves so few sensations 'of the pleasing class' because 'the paths to learning must be strewn with thorns—not flowers'. Notes that like Isaac Newton'sNewton, Sir Isaac
DSB CloseView the register entry >> discovery of gravitation, his discovery occurred after an object struck his head. Notes that his system is applicable to lower animals as well as humans.
Believes agricultural chemistry is a science that will 'eventually take the lead of all others' and gives three examples of its accomplishments. Each case makes common horticultural operations appear to be complex surgical and chemical operations. For example, it claims that the failure of potatoes to appear above the soil in a city garden 'was evidently a surgical and not a chemical case'. This induced the authors to 'resort to the spade', which eventually allowed them to get to 'the root of the disease' and find 'a small piece of potatoe, which was found to be in exactly the same condition as when it was first planted'. Subsequently the authors 'ordered magnesia for the ground, and left the rest to nature, which we have often found materially to aid our efforts'.
Notes the continuing spread and resilience of the 'bribery fever'. Reports that 'copious bleeding and open exposure of unhealthy parts' have been recommended, while the only effective treatment for the most diseased members is 'towelling', 'flagellation', and confinement. Adds that people who pass 'too rapidly from one temperature to another' have been attacked by 'arrogance', an inflammation causing the sufferer to develop an elevated head and shoulders, and an expression of 'indolence and disdain'. The disorder, it concludes, ends in 'bleeding at the nose'.
Electrochemistry, Medical Treatment, Engineering, Dynamics, Mechanics, Education, Mathematics, Physics
A 'Professor' at King's College, LondonKing's College, London CloseView the register entry >> supplied Punch with a list of examination questions on medicine, civil engineering, general literature, and science. Many questions connect students' academic pursuits with their notorious drinking habits. For example, 'Explain the theory of the galvanic current formed by half-and-half [a mixture of two malt liquors, commonly ale and porter] in its original pewter and the lips of the imbiber thereof', 'Given the initial velocity (V) of a fresh man, and the constant increment (f) of half-and-half [a, to find the velocity at the end of term (t)', and 'Explain the meaning of a "vicious circle", and state what portion of one is formed by the Regent-street Quadrant'.
Public Health, Medical Treatment, Hydropathy, Pollution, Health, Microscopy
Reports on arguments proposed by representatives of the brewing trade to suppress the human and animal consumption of water—a substance that, as the 'Chairman' argues, daily makes 'frightful ravages' on the British constitution. One member, Malton Hops, proposes to inoculate the public with 'rabid hydrophobia' and attacks hydropathists. (150) Mr Brandyblossom notes the 'many venomous animals' that swam into 'mans stomach with every draught of water he swallowed' and caused madness. Seeks to display the 'reptiles' of the water with his solar microscope and proposes that 'well-tried soakers' give public lectures using this instrument, thereby stopping the 'deluge'. (151)
Medical Practitioners, Education, Lecturing, Disease
Continues story of Joseph Muff [see Anon, 'Curiosities of Medical Experience. No. 6—How Jack Randle got on During Mr Muff's Absence', Punch, 2 (1842), 207]. Begins with a description of Dr Wurzel's lecture to medical students in which the lecturer insisted that medicine was a 'harassing profession' and that he and his colleagues were actuated 'solely by love of their noble calling'. Describes Joseph Muff's address to the same students. Muff asks students to forget everything Wurzel has said and offers them what he considers to be the knowledge needed to pass the examinations of the Apothecaries HallWorshipful Society of Apothecaries of London—Apothecaries' Hall
CloseView the register entry >> and medical colleges. This knowledge includes very little relating to the technical aspects of medicine. Rather, Muff encourages his students to adopt a 'grave demeanour', 'to learn the most abstruse names of the most uncommon diseases; by the display of which you will flabbergaster other practitioners', to 'leave vulgar, common-place affairs, like measles, hooping-cough, croup, and colic, to monthly nurses and small apothecaries', to depreciate the efforts of 'brother practitioners'.
Medical Practitioners, Botany, Education, Lecturing, Medical Treatment
Continues the description of Joseph Muff's popular lectures at 'his own medical school'. In this lecture, Muff alludes to lectures on botany offered by the Society of ApothecariesWorshipful Society of Apothecaries of London
CloseView the register entry >>. Defending the high place of botany in medical study, he argues, for example, the importance of 'thoroughly understanding the physiology of a stinging-nettle in a case of fracture of the skull', and the need to know the Latin name for a buttercup when attending a cholera victim (162–63). The author of the article considers botanical lecturers to be 'scientific Jack-in-the-green'. Thinks a man must have very few friends if he agrees with botanical lecturers that the vegetable world provides an 'inexhaustible fund of scientific and gratifying amusement' (163). Notes that students might develop botanical interests by visiting lecturers conversing in the 'Bells' pub in Putney.
Notes that Muff enjoyed far larger audiences than fellow professors. Describes the pranks of Jack Randall, a student of Muff's, whose activities included proposing to set Samuel Cooper'sCooper, Samuel
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>Surgical Dictionary Cooper, Samuel
1809. A Dictionary of Practical Surgery, London: John Murray
CloseView the register entry >> to music, and stealing a dead monkey to make a skeleton for the Museum of Comparative AnatomyMuseum of Comparative Anatomy
CloseView the register entry >>. In a lecture to his students, Muff considers 'lessons in practical chemistry' valuable, if only because they enable one to observe such phenomena as the 'evaporation of nothing from watch-glasses on hot sand'. Instructs his audience on how, after passing their examinations, they should puff themselves to 'insure a good practice'. Concludes by advising them to 'never get off your beer'. (176)
Suggests that, following Georges Cuvier'sCuvier, Georges
DSB CloseView the register entry >> system, lawyers' clerks can be classified as vertebrata, articulata, mollusca, and radiata: their 'strong backbone[s]' make them vertebrata, their possession of bones on the outside and their extraordinary softness suggests they are 'mollusca', and their tendency to feed on steam from a cook's shop indicates that they are 'radiata'.
Describes the typical October locations of a range of insects including moths, spiders, flies, and butterflies. For example, notes that 'the common moth is now to be met with in muffs and tippets that have been laid by for the winter' and 'flies have quitted the kitchens, and gone to Brighton for the benefit of the sea-air'. Advises the entomologist to 'secure his grubs for the winter' and expects he will 'eventually obtain his desert'.
Medical Practitioners, Education, Physiology, Lecturing, Periodicals
Continues the story of Jack Randall who, in a letter to PunchPunch
Directory CloseView the register entry >>, fails to appreciate how a surgeon or apothecary could benefit from knowledge of the 'reflex nervous function'. Argues that young students will perform better if they dress more fashionably and will better understand the action of muscles from buying 'single-sticks' and boxing-gloves than from attending lectures and reading books. Describes his dubious activities (including a trade in medical artefacts), his opposition to a proposed medical society, and students' plagiarism. Notes young medical practitioners' anger with Punch's portrayal of medical students.
Details a proposal to construct a railway from England to China that will pass through 'THE CENTRE OF THE GLOBE' to avoid the expense of purchasing land and the opposition of hostile nations. Stresses that Sinko Shaft, the engineer for the project, has dismissed speculation that the earth is a 'mere crust' and that its centre consists of soft soil intersected by rocks containing 'precious metals and jewels'. Adds that the train will stop under Mount Vesuvius to gather 'coals and lava, or Cyclops', and under the Mediterranean, to obtain 'a supply of water'. Believes the project will create a passage for the people who, following earthquakes in Europe, live beneath the earth.
Medical Practitioners, Education, Vaccination, Dissection
Describes the early career of Simpson Briggs, the porter of the hospital at which Joseph Muff and Jack Randle were taught, and who was as familiar as the bust of John HunterHunter, John
DSB CloseView the register entry >>. Describes medical professors' unsuccessful attempts to attract students and their subsequent retirement. Notes that one lecturer opened a dispensary in London offering 'vaccination direct from the cow, advice gratis, and shilling tooth-drawing'. Describes Briggs's attempts to learn dissection. He became a house-pupil to a 'grinder' who 'allowed pipes and half-and-half [a mixture of two malt liquors, commonly ale and porter] during his examinations', gave classes in pubs, and 'knew all the "catch questions" of the Apothecaries' HallWorshipful Society of Apothecaries of London—Apothecaries' Hall
CloseView the register entry >>'.
Considers medical students to be people who 'cannot in general afford very fine feelings, and are only conscious of the existence of nerves in the extremities that come under their hands for dissection'.
Responds to the question, raised in a 'paper' by Prof. ParringtonParrington, Prof.
PU1/3/22/2 CloseView the register entry >> (possibly an inaccurate reference to Charles F PartingtonPartington, Charles Frederick
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>), of the mysterious disappearance of the 'twenty millions of pins' daily manufactured in England. Notes that were all these pins to be recovered there would be enough to build the projected foot-bridge at Hungerford Market and a huge 'Victoria's Pin' rivalling Cleopatra's Needle at Alexandria.
Scientific Practitioners, Physics, Discovery, Serendipity, Gravity, History of Science
Argues that Isaac NewtonNewton, Sir Isaac
DSB CloseView the register entry >> would never have 'made his grand discovery' without being drunk. Believes that as Newton sat in his orchard he saw an apple fall and was struck with the 'nascent idea'. He then 'called for another bottle,—and then for another; and when the philosopher had pondered upon the apple, had worked his analogies, and had drunk a third bottle,—he was convinced, that not only had the apple spun as it fell, but that the whole world turned round'. Advises his son to 'get drunk' to 'prove the centre of gravity'.
Mesmerism, Animal Magnetism, Surgery, Medical Treatment
Responds to news that a man 'under the influence of Mesmerism' had his leg unknowingly amputated. Believes that the Animals' Friend SocietyAnimals' Friend Society
CloseView the register entry >> should accordingly urge butchers to magnetise their animals before killing them, and that mesmerism should be used in killing fleas.
Reports on the cost of using the telescope in Leicester Square: 'the Stars are lumped into pennyworths, and the Great Bear is divided into halfpenny lots, while the Constellations are all to be viewed according to their importance and magnitude'. Reports that the telegraph at the AdmiraltyAdmiralty
CloseView the register entry >> 'works occasionally throughout the year' and that attempts to make it form a 'z' are considered 'highly successful'.
Announces that in 1843 there will be thirteen new moons 'but it has not yet been discovered what to do with the old ones'. Adds other droll information about the moon including the claim that the crescent moon can be seen 'either in Mornington or Burton'.
Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners, Heterodoxy, Quackery, Education, Pharmaceuticals, Homeopathy
Mr Punch's spoof entry for the £30 Morisonian Prize for the 'best essay on the Medical Liberty of the Subject', recently advertised by the proprietors of James Morison'sMorison, James
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> pills. The essay opens by claiming that medicine will rise, 'in spite of priestcraft and oppression', to spread its 'refulgent beams' over the world. Believes the medical faculty will not 'quell the spirit of medical dissent' and that the 'College of PhysiciansRoyal College of Physicians
CloseView the register entry >> shall meet in mortal shock the College of HealthBritish College of Health
CloseView the register entry >>'—the grandiose name for Morison's premises in Euston Road. Asks why medical men are allowed to delude the public when 'the universal medicine [...] cures all diseases'. This medicine is revealed to be a 'vegetable pill' which is resisted by the faculty and whose efficacy Mr Punch seeks to prove with 'three millions of well-authenticated cases'. Supports claims that the producers of the pill, the 'Hygeists' at the College of Health, are being persecuted by the faculty, adding that the 'very existence of the medical profession' is a 'virtual persecution of the medical dissenter'. Suggests that the College of Health 'ought exclusively to be allowed to practise medicine' and to exert sole control over medical examinations. Insists that the expensive medical education was intended to keep the medical profession 'respectable', while examinations prevented the profession from subscribing to 'erroneous doctrines' such as 'Universal Pills'. Argues that the 'medical liberty of the subject' is the 'overthrow of all medical institutions, and the establishment of the College of Health in their place', and that the 'Universal Vegetable Pill' is the 'only real medicine'. Asserts that 'every medical system except medical dissent, is quackery', and that 'all those who question our creed are wilfully blind, perverse and obstinate'.
Believing that the 'dissemination of useful knowledge' promotes morality, seeks to contribute to the public good by exploring the subjects of 'water' and 'tin'. A long series of droll observations on water include the fact that 'it is found in large quantities in long hollows or channels in the earth, denominated rivers, which communicate with a great hole or cavity, commonly called sea', and that 'water, in combination with soap [...], has strong abstergent properties, a truth [...] not so universally acted on as it ought to be'. Concludes with droll observations on the provenance, nature and production of tin. For example, notes that tin is retrieved from the bed of the Bosphorus by Christian captives who return tin in wicker baskets and have their pockets 'carefully searched' in case they fraudulently conceal the metal about them. Invites philosophers who might regard the article as 'a tissue of nonsense' to reflect 'that the progress of discovery renders that which is one day science, stuff the next; and, that knowledge is equally useful morally, whether real or imaginary, provided people know no better'.