Gas Chemistry, Heat, Physics, Technology, Amusement, Gender
Discusses the design of ladies' dresses seen at the recent imperial
baptismal ball in Paris. Questions whether air tubes within dresses are
effective at keeping the wearer cool because 'Air is a bad conductor, and when
confined, arrests the passage of heat. Much caloric is generated during a
quadrille, and its escape would be opposed by the air-tubes'. Observes that
dresses may be lightened by distending them with hydrogen rather than
atmospheric air, but warns that since hydrogen is inflammable, this could have
Disease, Amusement, Sanitation, Public Health, Periodicals
Playing on the double-entendre of the word 'bill', discusses the pleasing
news that 'every play-bill' of the week has presented 'a clean bill of health',
with practically no cases of illness at any of the major London theatres.
Thanks the press for making the theatres properly ventilated and reports on the
healthy state of 'the Victoria' and 'the Surrey' on the 'other side of the
Crime, Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Mesmerism,
Charlatanry, Miracle, Commerce
Discusses a heated exchange between
John ElliotsonElliotson, John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>
Mr ClarksonClarkson, Mr (Old Bailey barrister)
PU1/31/2/2 CloseView the register entry >>,
Old BaileyOld Bailey Sessions Court
CloseView the register entry >> barrister,
during a manslaughter trial. In cross-examining Elliotson on the effect of
prolonged exposure to a shower-bath (which evidently played a part in the death
of the victim), Clarkson, in Punch's opinion, made an insulting allusion
to Elliotson's interest in mesmerism. Noting that Elliotson, 'in common with
many other men of science', believes in the reality of mesmeric phenomena,
argues that 'whether Mesmerism is a fact or a delusion, DR.
ELLIOTSON is, at any rate, a learned and skilful physician'.
Thinks ridiculing Elliotson on this subject is like mocking
John H NewmanNewman, John Henry
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> 'on
the subject of miracles'. Suggests that Clarkson knew that Elliotson
'sacrificed fees to scientific enthusiasm [mesmerism]' but probably believed
that anyone who sacrifices fees must be mad. Concludes by noting Elliotson's
able response to somebody of 'the calibre of the inferior classes'.
The 'Hint for a Photographer's Tent' shows a man wearing a very large hat,
from the rim of which hang jars of photographic chemicals. 'Our Photographer
invents a tent' shows the same figure completely hidden by a cylindrical
Medical Treatment, Health, Narcotics, Gender, Government,
Notes that 'A paternal Government [...] permits the anxious mother to
physic' sickly babies, and since the 'syrup is sanctified by a stamp [tax]',
the Chancellor of the Exchequer,
George C LewisLewis, Sir George Cornewall, 2nd Baronet
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>,
smiles every time a mother administers the medicine. Having likened men to
'mischievous, roaring babies' in the introduction, the author describes wives
in Bolton who administer certain substances to their 'inebriated' husbands and
one wife who 'accelerated the death' of her husband in this way and is now
'awaiting an inquiry'. Explains that the substances are called 'quietners' and
that wives 'were constant customers'. Urges the government and druggists to
'put out an external sign of their interior traffic'.
Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Human Development,
Discusses an advertisement placed by a lady for a physician who specialises
in treating stammering. Wonders why the lady with these qualities should want
to 'RECEIVE into her house one or two LITTLE GIRLS of the upper classes', and
suggests a possible connection between stammering and the aristocracy.
Discusses criticism by the Chancellor of the Exchequer,
George C LewisLewis, Sir George Cornewall, 2nd Baronet
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>,
of the literary examinations for the subordinate class of civil servants
employed in the
CloseView the register entry >> and other offices.
Suggests that 'Tide-waiters' might be expected to have knowledge of 'the theory
of tides', while excise men should know 'hydrostatics and chemistry'.
Quackery, Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Commerce,
Continues the series of proverbs and maxims that attack quackery and the
avarice and fraudulence of medical practitioners. For example, 'Those cases pay
the best in which there is nothing the matter with the patient'.
Quackery, Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners
List of proverbs and maxims that attack quackery and the avarice,
fraudulence, and incompetence of medical practitioners. For example, 'Wine
"Doctored" is only medicine in disguise' and 'A Doctor knows the human body as
a cabman knows a town—he is acquainted with all the great thoroughfares
and small turnings, he is intimate with all the principal edifices, but he
cannot tell you what is going on inside any one of them'.
Punch, 31 (1856), 44, 47.
Ye Ghosts of the Innocents. (A Ballad of Blackwall)
Discusses a letter to
The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >> in
which the correspondent describes the appearance in Walthamstow of a 'curious
specimen of natural history' which had been heard 'quacking similar to that of
a duck', but which turned out to be a duck-billed platypus. Thinks the
assumption that such a species quacks gives the report 'an air of quackery' and
suggests that the animal in question is a canard species of duck 'which is
believed in by nobody except a goose'.
Suffering from a wide range of common medical ailments, the spoof
letter-writer begs Mr Punch to tell him the location of 'those more salubrious
spots than Hastings, Brighton, the Isle of Wight, &c. alluded to by the
REGISTRAR-GENERAL'. Stresses that he wishes
to know such locations so that he does not have to renounce the 'delights of
the table', a habit which he recognises as a cause of illness.
Criticises the administration of
Henry J Temple (3rd
Viscount Palmerston)Temple, Henry John, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> for distributing the annual Civil List pension
of £1,200 to 'science, literature, and art', rather than military heroes
and their widows. Insists that 'The cockpit and the trench have dearer claims
on the annual bounty nationally voted for science, literature, and art'.
Subtitled 'Disgust of a gallant Crimean Hero on seeing a "negative proof" of
himself', shows a burly soldier pointing with disgust at a photographic
negative, whilst the photographer backs away from him nervously.
Responds to a
TimesNew York Times
BUCOP CloseView the register entry >> article reporting the 'earnest' commencement of an
Anglo-American electric telegraph. Hopes to receive 'all manner of
communications' from this telegraph, or that the telegraph 'may lie securely on
its ocean bed'.
Ornithology, Animal Behaviour, Superstition, Language
Discusses an advertisement for two birds that allegedly speak French and
English. Points out that 'talking birds have long ceased to be regarded as
impossible entities', but that a bird 'with pretensions to the rank of a
linguist is still looked on as a phenomenon'.
Technology, Progress, Telegraphy, Railways, Steam-power, Imperialism,
Archaeology, Ancient Authorities, Commerce
Ponders the 'daring' progress made by 'screw and the sail', 'our [telegraph]
wires overbearing', and 'our levelling rail'. Notes the cable 'That's to bind
North America fast to our shore' and that, 'thanks to
O'SHAUGHNESSYO'Shaughnessy, Sir William Brooke
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> [the
director-general of telegraphs in India] India is able / To change thought in
an hour from Madras to Lahore'. Describes how the 'steam-giant' has bound
Europe and is 'forsaking' the New World. Anticipates some of the exotic cargo
that will be transported down the proposed line to the Euphrates: instead of
'trucks with the freight of horn'd cattle', envisions 'Weekly cargoes of huge
wingèd bulls', and foresees that the Sphinx will no longer be able to
keep her 'secrets' in 'her bosom'. Concludes by warning that technological
progress and plundering the earth's precious metals will be in 'vain [...]
Unless reverence and love join to wipe off the soiling / Of toil from our
hearts, and of gain from our hands'.
Medical Treatment, Physiology, Light, Disease, Natural Law,
Criticises an advertisement for a treatment to produce brilliant eyes. Warns
that the substance paralyses the iris and that nature, who 'never made the iris
to have tricks of this kind played with her', would resent habitual use of this
treatment and cause bodily disease. Thinks foolish young ladies may try it 'for
the benefit of science', but thinks the female eye is bright enough 'without
recourse to belladonna'.
Exhibitions, Progress, Religion, Publishing, Railways, Telegraphy,
Having described the display showing the military exploits of King Nimroud
CloseView the register entry >>—a display ending in a 'tableau of a stormed city, in
which everybody is shooting, scalding, stabbing, slashing, and smashing
everybody'—notes that despite '3000 years of progress (including ever so
many religions, printing, railways, Bible societies, electric telegraphs, and
Punch), the most enlightened nations of the world have just been but
making material for another picture of exactly the same world'.
Regards a new commission appointed to judge Parisian plays as a 'dramatic
board of health, who have to wade through all the filth which accumulates in
the various moral cesspools—under the name of theatres—in the
course of a year'. Extends this analogy, noting, for example, that it is not
surprising that the British stage is 'vitiated when there is nothing but poison
in the source from which it is supplied [Paris]', and hoping to see 'a stream
of pure sentiment [...] running like a little current of disinfecting fluid
through the great dramatic sewers'.
A eulogy celebrating
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> return to England. Stresses the way in which 'Saint
FLORENCE' went out to the disease-ridden and war-torn Crimea
without any ceremony and therefore, like 'Most blessed things come silently,
and silently depart'. Notes that 'When titles, pensions, orders, with random
hand are showered / 'Tis well that [...] she still should walk undowered', for
there is no 'title like her own sweet name' or 'order like the halo by her good
deeds'. Upholds 'her graciousness to those whose road to death / Was dark and
doubtful', and praises the sweetness of her voice 'in the darkness when all
songs else are still'. Urges that she be left 'to the still comfort the saints
know that have striven', and contrasts the 'honours' that she will receive in
'heaven' to 'earthly honours'.
Subtitled 'A Plan Proposed to Render the Present Stuff and Immense Dress
Useful as Well as Ornamental (?)', shows a large circular railed platform
attached to a woman's dress. Two children look out from the dress, and play
with a hoop in the ring.
Palaeontology, Discovery, Taxonomy, Cultural Geography,
Responds to an article in the
BUCOP CloseView the register entry >> reporting the
discovery of a 'fossil ape'. Intrigued to note that the author boasts about the
claim that more fossil apes have been found in France than any other country,
but points out that 'the French scientific world' appears to have accepted one
François M A Voltaire'sVoltaire, François Marie Arouet de
DSB CloseView the register entry >>
quip that his countrymen combined 'the ape and the tiger in their disposition'.
Believes that 'monkeyism or apishness' are national characters.
An illustration of
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> which shows her wearing a band labelled 'Scutari' and
supporting a wounded soldier. Both figures stand on a plinth which is carved
with an engraving of the Christian parable of the good Samaritan.
Evidently written from the perspective of a yokel, laments the quality of
beer in the hot season, pointing out that while 'Of perwision of Natur' we
oftentimes hear, / The contrairy whereof is experienced in beer'. When his
friend from the 'Band o' Hope' explained that this state of affairs was
'Natur's design', he asks 'How is it as Natur' don't damidge Port wine' and
other drinks. Concludes with the observation that 'There's a many more matter
up there, over head, / As we never dreams of, and also down here, / And one on
'um is this disorder o'beer'.
Discusses the widespread belief that the lions had gone for ever from the
Surrey Zoological GardensSurrey Literary, Scientific and Zoological Institution—Gardens
CloseView the register entry >>, and
notes an exhibition of courageous and physically highly-developed lions that
will be unsurpassed—a display of the British soldiers of the Crimea.
Claims that on entering the 'German Court from the Byzantine', the visitor
will see an 'equestrian statue [...] of a knight in armour spearing a
Pterodactyle, or flying saurian'. Adds that the 'warrior is, of course, the
celebrated ST. GEORGE; the reptile the
equally celebrated dragon'. (91)
Pharmaceuticals, Narcotics, Medical Treatment, Domestic
Advertises 'Tasteful Designs for the Night Lights of Chemists and
Apothecaries' which comprise 'every variety of Death's-head and Cross-bones',
thus allowing distressed wives and inebriated husbands to find 'the means of
"quietness"' more easily.
Anatomy, Education, Gender, Lecturing, Amusement, Sex
Spoof advertisement from 'MRS. SEXTON, the Popular Lecturer to Ladies at
MuseumKahn's (Dr) Museum [of anatomy], Leicester Square CloseView the register entry >>', who announces her intention to open a 'summer class of
anatomy at the sea-side', where the principal novelty will be the use of
'living figures' rather than 'wax models' to demonstrate 'truths'. Announces:
'The first lecture will take place in the open air on the sands at Ramsgate,
and will be carried on during such time as the gentlemen remain in the sea,
Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Pharmaceuticals, Health,
List of maxims and proverbs that challenge the efficacy of medicines and the
methods of medical practitioners. For example: 'A man may have the
"constitution of a horse", but that's no reason why a Doctor should treat him
like an ass'.
Pharmaceuticals, Medical Treatment, Commerce, Medical
Discusses the attempt by the assistants of chemists and druggists to gain
the right to close the shops early and take a holiday on Sunday. Agreeing that
such practitioners should not 'be subjected to perpetual pestle-and-mortardom',
explains that the proposal is to free them from the 'atmosphere' of toxic
chemicals. Stresses that the need to cater to those who 'really' require
medicines after 8 p.m. and on Sundays has been met by the presence of somebody
on the premises. Concludes by explaining that long opening hours are
commercially unprofitable for chemists and druggists.
Chemistry, Lecturing, Medical Treatment, Gender, Physiology, Health,
A spoof report on Professor Snuffin's lecture concerning the 'peculiar
properties of salt as developed morally and physically in lady-visitors
generally to all marine abiding places'. The professor explained that saline
solution entering a woman confers 'upon the female system, a hardness and
rigidity of fibre, moral, and physical' that is not otherwise observed. Remarks
that this phenomenon explains why women sit 'inconveniently near to the waters
in the swimming time of the day'.
The fictional narrator describes his experiences of 'scaling the top-most
height of one of the summits of the mountain chain of houses in the
newly-discovered portion of the Rue de Rivoli'—a description which
emphasises the inappropriateness of describing an exploration of Parisian
landscape in the style of travel-writing. For example, it notes that this
region contains 'the luxuriant flora of the demi-monde, recently discovered by
the 'eminent naturalist,
DUMAS, filsDumas, Alexandre, fils
CBD CloseView the register entry >>'. During the ascent, the
narrator and his companions looked 'down through a gap' and discovered, 'at the
back of a mountain, an abyss, of a quadrangular form, at the bottom of which
[they] could see a faint glimmer of light, and curious sounds ascended', which
the narrator and his companion regarded as 'Neptunian rather than volcanic' in
origin, and were like 'water escaping from the waste-pipe of a cistern'. Later
the narrator and his companions met with an 'avalanche' of crinoline
(presumably from a washing line), 'vegetation' consisting of 'gerania and
fuschia', and the smell of boiled greens.
Punch, 31 (1856), 128.
[Advertisement] Do You Wish to Avoid Being Strangled?
Discusses an advertisement headed 'Prognostic Astronomy' in which
E ProcterProcter, E (astrologer), of 2 Waterloo Road,
PU1/31/15/1 CloseView the register entry >>, of '2,
Waterloo Road', offers predictions and boasts that he correctly predicted the
Napoleon IIINapoleon III, Emperor of France (originally
Louis Napoléon (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte))
CBD CloseView the register entry >>. Surprised to find the advertisement in a periodical
read by the 'superior' classes—the
PostMorning Post and Daily Advertising Pamphlet
CloseView the register entry >>. Believes there is 'enough folly and credulity in the
world of fashion to supply an astrological impostor with a remunerative number
of dupes', and insists that the appearance of the advertisement in this
publication shows 'Superstition in the Nineteenth Century', which is
'exemplified by rustics consulting witches'.
Race, Human Species, War, Morality, Religion, Crime,
Ironically apostrophizes slave-owners of the southern United States of
America concerning the question whether 'niggers' are 'Part of the family of
Man' or 'the kind of apes / Most like us in their ways and shapes'. Notes the
willingness of southern slave-owners to fight for the right to keep black
slaves like livestock, and asks whether slave-owners should eat their slaves
given that 'they are brutes'. Ironically asserts that the confidence of
slave-owners has shaken his faith in the black races being human: notes that
slave-owners must know that, if their slaves were human, they would be spurning
the 'eternal laws' of justice in their treatment of them, and asserts: 'You to
that fiat, then, appeal, / By which o'er animals Man rules: / Or else you must
be wretched fools'. Concludes with the conundrum: 'Unless our consciences
deceive, / And all is false that we believe, / And no eternal laws exist, / And
Wisdom is an Atheist'.
Phrenology, Commerce, Human Species, Providence, Morality
Noting the public's need for a more satisfactory means of gauging the
trustworthiness of bankers, announces the formation of the 'Phrenological
Banking Company' whose directors will 'consist of individuals whose Heads are
highly developed in the moral and intellectual regions'. Adds that casts of the
bankers' heads will be displayed next to those of criminals to emphasise the
trustworthy phrenological features of the bankers. Interprets the notorious
baldness of bankers to be 'a provision of Nature' for helping determine the
virtues of somebody to whom one is entrusting large sums of money.
Health, Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Quackery,
List of maxims and proverbs that criticise medical treatments, 'medical
botany', and the competition between quacks and genuine medical practitioners.
For example: 'One Physician is better than two, but three are fatal', and,
since 'Wise Persons [...] go to a Physician' and 'fools go to a Quack [...,]
the large disproportion between the two classes explains why so many Quacks
make their fortune while many a clever physician starves'.
Cruelty, Animal Behaviour, Crime, Cultural Geography
The fictional narrator introduces himself to Mr Punch as Bil Burn 'which
wollpd is donkey wot woodent go an was ad up afor the beke and Fine in
consekwens'. Describes the punishments received by his friends for cruelty to
animals and laments the fact that the situation was not more like that in
France, where the 'HEMPERERNapoleon III, Emperor of France (originally
Louis Napoléon (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte))
CBD CloseView the register entry >> and
HEMPERESS [...] ave been setin the Good Hexampel to their
Subjiz' by attending 'that trewly rashanal and improvin Specktackle a Spannish
bul Fite'. Having pointed out that both bulls and horses were killed after this
spectacle, complains that 'in this onappy Kuntry u carnt wopp one Hoss evern to
make im go without been Punisht for Cruelty', and wants Mr Punch to urge the
Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to AnimalsSociety for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
CloseView the register entry >> to 'not go on no longer a going of
it the way they do'. Warns that the punishment for cruelty to animals threatens
Attacks the ways in which astrologers have 'come out in their Almanacs in
October', notably the fact that 'They will commit themselves to very little'
and that 'they let out their prophecies furtively, and then walk off hastily',
like 'thieves in the street'. Explains, however, that the approach of
Robert C Smith
('Raphael')Smith, Robert Cross ('Raphael')
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> has apparently changed greatly since the days when he
'encountered the baton of Mr. Punch': now his 'stars are all in a
muddle, they "afflict one another", and "rush to combination"'. Thinks
Raphael's predictions are 'very sad' and supports this claim with the flimsy
evidence of the alleged 'fulfilment' of prophecies concerning affairs of state
and a murder. Takes this opportunity to inveigh against 'an astrologer of no
Mr HarrisonHarrison, Mr (astrologer, of Leeds)
PU1/31/17/1 CloseView the register entry >> of Leeds.
Objects to Raphael's prophecy that in July 'A distinguished lady suffers severe
affliction', but responds with: 'What do our readers think the glorious orbs of
Heaven stooped from their majesty' to fulfil 'this augury' of
Victoria'sVictoria, Princess Royal, German Empress, consort of Frederick III
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> sleeve catching fire. Takes even more offence at
Raphael's prediction that
Victoria'sVictoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Ireland, and Empress of India
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> reign is nearly over. Regards this as 'brutal and wanton
insolence' from an 'offensive quack'. Believes that the question of how far
Raphael has 'committed the offence of "Imagining" the death of the Sovereign,
COCKBURNCockburn, Sir Alexander James Edmund
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> [the Lord Chief Justice of England] must
decide', but wishes to see the astrologer whipped and sentenced to 'three
months of hard labour' for 'dirty liberties' and selling 'trash by outraging
decency and feeling'.
Discusses the excitement caused among the 'fair sex' by an advertisement in
The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >> for
a 'Creosoting Plant'. Speculates on the botanical classification, the
creosote-production mechanism, flowering characteristics, and odour of the
plant. Imagines that the advertiser must have been 'Driven almost frantic' by
questions regarding the plant's characteristics.
Discussing novelty in theatres, observes that '"novelty, is after all, the
true secret of public attraction", as the guinea pig at the
GardensZoological Society of London —Gardens
CloseView the register entry >> with a new farrow every moon, squeaks contemptuously of the
lioness with a single cub in "months and years"'.
Punch, 31 (1856), 170.
My Balloon! A Serenade. To a Fashionable Young Lady
Aeronautics, Travel, Astronomy, Extra-Terrestrial Life
Urges his 'dearest' to dress so that with her skirt 'inflated' with 'gas
from the Works', they can 'fly to the Moon'. Observes that the lunar trip
cannot happen owing to the absence of 'atmospheric air' on the moon and warns
that on attempting to go there 'we soon, / Should be smothered without
respiration'. Ponders the question 'How breathes the Man in the Moon', and
supposes that he must live under a different 'state of things'.
Transport, Invention, Public Health, Progress, Exhibitions
Expresses boredom at newspaper reports of the imminent arrival of a new
omnibus and treats as 'pure fiction' the report of an exhibition of a new
omnibus at Stoke Newington—an omnibus that is claimed to be of
considerable length and breadth, to have extensive passenger space and decent
ventilation, and to be extremely 'light' and 'springy'. Denies having faith in
any 'improvement in our old constitutional 'bus' and tries to find reasons for
retaining the older invention.
Describing the sudorific powers of various substances and the sweating
endured by medical students during qualifying examinations, discusses the case
of the statesman
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, who became so doubtful about his commitment to teetotalism
that 'the perspiration burst out of him like a flood'. Surmises that his
abstinence and excessive sweating have combined to prevent him from dying from
a 'dangerous illness' or fear.
Narcotics, Politics, Government, Medical Treatment,
Introduces a table listing various poisons, their modes of action,
antidotes, tests, locations, and the colours of their precipitates. The poisons
in question, however, are not chemical substances but habits that Punch
considers pernicious to government. They comprise 'ROUTINE',
'FALSEHOOD', and 'HYPOCRISY', and their modes
of action and antidotes are described as if they were medical complaints. For
example, routine 'Stagnates the blood and generally carries off half its
victims', and its antidote is cutting away 'all the clothing' and diminishing
'the bulk of the Offices by purging in the most speedy manner'.
Punch, 31 (1856), 198.
Jones Has an Excellent View of the Sea Serpent on His Voyage from the
Isle of Dogs to Hungerford Pier
Discusses the cross-examination of an astronomer who sent a message about
the 'Revolution' through the telegraph, but who was later recognized as
referring to an eclipse of the moon. The illustration shows two frogs observing
an eclipse, one of which uses a pair of binoculars.
Reports on the 'discovery' of a 'new fact in psychology', which is 'that
noise produces a beneficial action upon a criminal in proportion to the
turpitude of his offence'. Notes that certain City tradesmen are selling
imported Chinese gongs to ward off burglars and other criminals. Suggests other
implications of this psychological 'fact' including the use of 'pretty
Malthusian gongs' in a ballroom 'to prevent young ladies from stealing
Accidents, Railways, Government, Medical Practitioners, Surgery,
Responds to news that the Russian government is enforcing the rule that
every railway train must carry a surgeon. Thinks the British government should
be as 'despotic' as the Russian regime and should therefore subject railroads
to an 'iron rule' regarding safety. Observes that while English trains run
faster and are larger than those in Russia, railway company directors would not
dream of providing a surgeon. Noting the high cost of hiring surgeons on
railways, ponders the alternative solutions which include 'increasing the
securities to public safety' and 'greater punctuality'.
Subtitled 'From the Times Newspaper, Nov. 9th, A.D. 2256', this article
explores the changes in London scenery at a time of the fall of the great bell
Big BenBig Ben
CloseView the register entry >>—an allusion
to contemporary problems with the bell. New features include a 'galvanic
railway across the lucid and sparkling Thames', the existence of 'NIGHTINGALENightingale, Florence
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> College', a
'great electric globe' which answers 'so much better than the moon', and
steam-powered policemen. The illustrations show what a steam-powered policeman
and steam-powered military vessels might be like in 1897.
Discusses the rise in demand for dogs owing to the prevalence of garotte
robberies and the fact that the 'dog is a far more eligible street-companion by
night than a revolver or a bowie-knife'. Reports on the prices fetched by
various breeds of dog, notably the bull terrier which boasts an 'immense power
of jaw, and obstinate retentiveness of bite'.
Following reports of clerks embezzling their employer's money, anticipates
the prosecution of the clerk of the weather (i.e. the imaginary functionary
supposed to control the weather) for such crimes as 'skimming the Milky Way'
and 'transferring some of the brightest stars from the firmament'.
Religion, Commerce, Disease, Pathology, Religious Authority,
Charlatanry, Health, Nutrition
The pseudonym alludes to the controversial divine
William H HaleHale, William Hale
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>,
while the reference to 'pluracy'—a conflation of 'pleurisy' and
'pluralism'—is a reference to the fact that, while master of
Charterhouse, Hale retained the rich living of St Giles, Cripplegate. The essay
represents 'pluracy' as 'an affection of the lining of the chest which much
resembles bank note-paper in consistency', and describes the related disorders
of avarice and selfishness. Regards 'greediness' and 'slothfulness' as the
principal 'predisposing causes' of the disease, which is itself further
manifested as a 'continual gaping for the good things of this world', including
'several parishes'. Describes the gross effects of slothfulness in 'pluracy'
including obesity, immobility, and the inability to practice what one preaches.
Suggests that the cure for the disease is 'an entire reform of the corrupt
system'—notably bleeding and a low diet. The illustration show Hale
consuming churches and cathedrals.
Describes the alarming frequency of accidents and collisions on railway
lines, and the large number of newspaper articles on this subject. Noting that
accidents have now been linked to the high speed of trains, discusses the fact
that locomotives on the
Eastern Counties RailwayEastern Counties Railway Company
CloseView the register entry >>
travel at a speed that 'barely exceeds that of an average donkey's gallop', and
might be raced against such animals. Adds that trains on this railway 'are at
present no less slow than sure of breaking down' and provide ample
opportunities for 'trains of thought'.
Phrenology, Human Development, Animal Behaviour, Morality,
Discusses the trial of
Ernest M Vane-TempestVane-Tempest (formerly Vane), Lord
Burke's Peerage CloseView the register entry >>, who spat in a cavalry officer's face.
Observes that 'Phrenologists' shop-windows are full of casts of heads of
gentlemen of that class—unfortunate gentlemen whose animal propensities
irresistably preponderate over their moral sentiments'. Believes that such
people were either 'born with imperfect organisation, or their education has
been neglected', but argues that an 'endeavour should be made to soften those
natures which too nearly resemble the natures of ferocious animals and to
develope in their minds the germs of humanity'. The illustration shows a wild
boar dressing itself before a mirror in an antiquated military costume.
Discusses a report in
The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >>
describing the use of sulphur in the cure of 'Vine Disease'. Observes that the
solution shows the meeting of 'human and vegetable nosology', but thinks that
diseased vines should consequently be labelled as such.
Questions the non-appearance of a comet 'seen, or supposed to have been
seen, in Ireland'. Suggests that the 'terrible catastrophes which are almost
daily occurring require a comet', but observes that if there is a comet then it
has brought the 'ill-wind' associated with Italian opera singing.
Set in a 'handsome Mansion in a Fashionable Square', presents a dialogue
between a 'Medical Man' and a 'Stranger in Black' who is interested in the
'Eau de Jouvence' he sells. Noting that the potion claims to be able to
cure a range of cosmetic and mortal complaints and to extend lifespan, the
'Stranger in Black' identifies himself as an undertaker interested in sharing
thirty-five percent of the profits with the medical practitioner.
Discusses a proposed extension of the
Hammersmith and City
RailwayHammersmith and City Railway Company
CloseView the register entry >> across the Thames to 'the grand agricultural and
manufacturing district of Wandsworth'. Draws attention to the 'serious, but not
perhaps insurmountable engineering difficulty' of laying the line across the
Great Western Road, which will involve obstructing omnibus traffic and
constructing a long cutting or tunnel. Suggests that the Hammersmith firm lay
its lines direct from Hammersmith to Bank, 'a policy obviously suggested by the
impossibility experienced by the wayfarer of finding a place in any
Hammersmith-bound Hammersmith 'bus between the hours of 4 and 8
A.M.'. Concludes by noting that the only obstruction to the
scheme is funds and invites 'all persons anxious to invest their capital' to do
so in this scheme.
Surgery, Industry, Hospitals, Cultural Geography, Race
Discusses an attempt by the secretary of the
Needlewomen's SocietySociety for the Relief of Sick and Distressed Needlewomen
CloseView the register entry >> to avoid bringing some 'unreal distress into
unnecessary notice' in a legal case. Reveals that the case concerns the failure
of an operation, conducted in an ophthalmic hospital, to remove the eyes of a
dressmaker. Believing that no operation to remove eyes can ever be anything
other than a 'failure', wonders whether the operation was conducted in a
Dublin-based hospital—a possible reference to the stereotype of the Irish
as mentally deficient.
Noting the use by 'a certain minority of English fools' of the prefix
'anti-' to denounce 'Almost every good thing that Englishmen in general enjoy',
discusses 'a confederacy of simpletons'—the
British Anti-Tobacco SocietyBritish Anti-Tobacco Society
CloseView the register entry >>.
Criticises the society for publishing works promoting legislation against
juvenile smoking, legislation that Punch thinks is a severe way of
dealing with the problem. Punch is more sympathetic to the technique of
'persuasion' which the journal thinks is embodied in a work entitled 'Smoke
Not: a Prize Essay'. Condemns some promoters of 'anti-' causes for being
'bigoted', 'illiberal', and possessing other undesirable characteristics, and
thinks that the success of 'Anti-Fermented Liquor' and 'Anti-Animal-Food
fanatics' would 'reduce us to vegetables and slops'.
This account of a cattle show in London notes the display of an 'artificial
mother', an invention which appeared to 'have been meant for a calf', and
'perfectly harrowing [...] instruments for torturing the earth'.
Reporting the 'brutal attack' on 'the African explorer',
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, claims that his attacker told him a riddle concerning
the similarity between the name of an African lake (Ngami) and that of a female
fowl hanging up a fortnight in the heat ('Hen gamey').
Exploration, Cultural Geography, Ethnology, Gender
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> return from Africa after sixteen years, laments that
some of the tribes upon which Livingstone 'reports favourably' have now fallen
into 'frightful barbarism', namely, 'the men are entirely under the control of
Punch, 31 (1856), 253.
Crinolineomania. Treated Pathologically by Dr Punch
Amusement, Medical Treatment, Disease, Pathology, Reason, Gender,
Mental Illness, Psychology
A thinly-veiled response to the rising fashion for wearing crinoline, this
essay treats interest in this material as if it were a medical complaint.
Identifying 'crinolineomania' as 'essentially a female complaint' and a
'widely-spreading' disease, describes Dr Punch's claim that the disease
originated in Paris and was then spread to England by milliners. Dr Punch also
links the speed of transmission to the tendency of the female intellect 'to
imitation', and goes on to describe how the disease leads to bodily
'excrescences' that change in colour. Adds that 'Like other insane people, the
crinolineomaniac is difficult to approach' and disrupts 'domestic comfort'
which leads to divorce. Concludes with Dr Punch's recommendations for thwarting
the spread of the disease, which include isolating the 'patient' from such
'exciting causes' as 'illustrated books of fashion' and, noting that the
crinolineomaniacs are deaf to reason but not 'blind to ridicule', getting them
'laughed out of their insanity'.
Noting the 'great perils' that
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> must have encountered, suggests that these would be
'much exceeded' by the dangers of exploring the southern states of America.
Observes that in Central Africa he was known to 'belong to the tribe that loves
the black man', but that this appellation would 'draw on' attacks from