An extensive summary of Anon, 'The American Horse-Tamer', Punch, 34 (1858), 59, an article describing the system of an 'American gentleman, RAREY [John S RareyRarey, John Solomon
WBI CloseView the register entry >>]' for 'breaking and subduing horses'. Explains how Rarey accomplished this feat by techniques which included 'close observation of the horse, his disposition and of the motives which work within the recesses of the equine breast'. Stresses that Rarey's largely successful system does not involve any cruelty to the animal, 'instruments or drugs'.
Describes the discovery of some bats in the west of England which have been trained to carry letters between lovers, and repeats the claim of Rev. Henry WalsinghamWalsingham, Rev. Henry
PU1/34/1x/3 CloseView the register entry >> that the bats are intelligent enough to gauge the appropriate moment to fly around his church.
'Bisect the modern bells and find the real woman'.
Punch, 34 (1858), [x].
Recreations in Natural History
Regular Feature, Notes, Drollery
Animal Behaviour, Physiology, Light
Describes a salamander, domesticated by the Bachuela Indians, which emits light from round spots, and, unlike most lizards, can prove the 'allegation of the philosopher that the Salamander could resist the action of the fire'.
Animal Behaviour, Monstrosities, Animal Development
Describes a report of five kittens who, having been tossed into a pond in Lincolnshire, were later found to have been raised by a carp to be amphibious. Adds that the young carp have learnt how to mew and that the developed cats stalked a water rat.
Punch, 34 (1858), [xi].
Medical Practitioners, Commerce, Class
'Continue to underpay the Workhouse Doctor, and then you will probably render his situation a sinecure'.
Requests a nurse 'to superintend the nursing of a line of Omnibuses, which are intefering with the business of an Opposition Company'. The duties of the nurse include taking customers away from rival firms and using verbal abuse to deter passengers from riding on the more comfortable vehicles of the rival firm.
Crime, Disease, Medical Practitioners, Commerce, Quackery, Charlatanry
Describes the case of John E StephensStephens, John Edward
WBI The Times, 2 December
1857, p. 11f
CloseView the register entry >>, a former ArmyArmy
CloseView the register entry >> surgeon and manager of the failed London and Eastern Banking CorporationLondon and Eastern Banking Corporation
CloseView the register entry >>, who failed in his attempt to secure the adjournment of a bankruptcy charge against him on medical grounds, as he was unable to produce a medical certificate to confirm his 'nervous suffering'. Points out that Stephens was not allowed to certify his own illness and suggests that he should have escaped the bankruptcy charges by disguising himself. Expecting similar cases of bankrupts who claim to suffer from 'malades imaginaires'. Suggests an 'opening for the Faculty of Quacks, who will not be deterred by any squeamishness of conscience from furnishing false evidence to support a patient's plea for the adjournment of his case'. Presents a fictional advertisement from a 'RETIRED PHYSICIAN' offering to supply medical certificates to those facing trial. It boasts that 'The Physicians, having mastered the slang of the profession, can couch his statements in such highly scientific verbiage, that he will warrant that their genuineness will always pass unquestioned'.
Medical Treatment, Pharmaceuticals, Quackery, Amusement, Display
Describes the Christmas tree on display at the Apothecaries' HallWorshipful Society of Apothecaries of London—Apothecaries' Hall
CloseView the register entry >>. The tree is decorated with illuminated 'chemists' bottles and doctor's lamps', as well as 'vials of the most fashionable medicines', but only 'a few patent medicines'.
Referring to the case of John E StephensStephens, John Edward
WBI The Times, 2 December
1857, p. 11f
CloseView the register entry >> (see Anon, 'A Good Opening for Quacks', Punch, 34 (1858), 7) suggests the possibility of an increase in 'a certain class of nervous ailments and disorders' caused by 'free living on other people's money'. Describes how patients suffering from this condition become confused and unable to answer questions. Despite his own medical training, Stephens could not relieve his nervous disorder and resorted to travelling to the cooler climate of Scotland. Describes how the 'keen' environment of the north caused him to loose his breath, a condition from which he suffered when confined in court. Proceeds to describe the case of 'those interesting invalids, poor MESSRS. CAMERON and WAUGH', who sought to alleviate their nervous disorders by 'Living in retirement at some continental watering-place'. The references are to Hugh I CameronCameron, Hugh Innes
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, the fraudulent general manager of the failed Royal British BankRoyal British Bank
CloseView the register entry >>, and William P WaughWaugh, William Petrie
Taylor 2005 CloseView the register entry >>, director of Stephens's London and Eastern Banking CompanyLondon and Eastern Banking Corporation
CloseView the register entry >>. Punch clearly believes that such medical complaints are bogus and that 'victims' escape to foreign climes to avoid publicity. Returning to the case of Stephens, Punch thinks that the case will involve 'an attack of the criminal law fever' and a 'smartish touch of the collarer'.
The caption reads 'Our Manchester Friend tries his hand at "Spinning" for Jack'. The illustration shows a man (a representative of the Manchester school of economics) fishing with a line that is being fed off a spinning jenny, on the treadle of which he rests his foot.
Describes a proposal by a correspondent in The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >> to replace the foul liquid of the SerpentineSerpentine, lake, Hyde Park CloseView the register entry >> with fresh salt water from Brighton. Questions why 'chemical science' cannot stop the Serpentine turning into a 'cesspool' 'by a combination of its resources with the scheme of the Artesian well'. Believes the 'sanitary revolution' may be 'made with rose-water', so that the Serpentine could be 'imbued' with perfumes. In the meantime, suggests that the 'superior classes' and the 'British Public' would benefit from fresh water being conveyed into the lake, and thinks 'any philosophical propounder of a plan for the replacement of the Serpentine slush by salt-water, would quietly accept the advice to describe his invention to the Marines'.
Boasts that had Isambard K BrunelBrunel, Isambard Kingdom
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> called on the services of Mr Punch, the SS LeviathanSS Leviathan CloseView the register entry >> would have been launched 'without the slightest difficulty'. Appends a sample of spoof letters from the more than 1500 which Mr Punch claims to have received on the subject. Tom Tug accuses Brunel of knowing 'nothing about anything and suggests launching the iron ship using 'ten large magnets, to be prepared under DR. FARADAY'sFaraday, Michael
DSB CloseView the register entry >> direction'. Bladdery Pop suggests attaching 500,000 children's balloons to the vessel, thus lifting it into the air. Salmo Ferrex suggests tying the ship to 'These scoundrel Sepoys' who could be whipped into dragging the ship into the water. Tycho Brahe recommends sending an electric current through the metal vessel and thus forcing it to jump into motion. Abraham Lincoln suggests using the power of recoil from fifty cannons fixed in the ship, whilst Nicholas Flam Wiseman recalls the historical example of an ancient Roman vessel which was moved when a 'Vestal Virgin tied her girdle' to it. 'The Editor of the RecordRecord
Directory CloseView the register entry >>' thinks that the only way to solve the problem is to remove the satanic name of the ship and to invite some 'really sincere and pious men' to hold services on the ship. Dunn Brown recommends consulting the shipowner and fraudulent director of the failed Royal British BankRoyal British Bank
CloseView the register entry >>, Humphrey BrownBrown, Humphrey
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, since he contrived to have ships in 'two places at once'. John Russell thinks that the ship will move in obedience to a House of CommonsHouse of Commons
CloseView the register entry >> resolution. Finally, Willjabber Frikel promises to put the ship in water by 'his little magics'.
Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Pharmaceuticals, Reading, Periodicals
Advertisement from a 'RETIRED PHYSICIAN' who has discovered a cure for a host of 'real and imaginary' ailments. This cure turns out to be Punch, which has 'wonderful restorative and brain-healing qualities' and has cured the advertiser's daughter. He has 'prescribed the remedy to countless myriads of sufferers in all parts of the world, and he has never failed in making them completely healthy in their minds'. Heartily recommends this 'recipe'.
Geology, Religious Authority, Religion, Superstition
Describes the contest between the earthquake and priests at Naples, both of which are trying to be 'the more shocking'. Notes from a correspondent's report in The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >> that priests and their flocks flogged themselves with ropes in chastisement for their sins, but observes that 'the earthquake had the advantage of the priests in shaking, even to overthrow, the monuments, at least, of their superstition'. One of these monuments is a Madonna 'who had granted some special favours during the earthquakes'.
Discusses a report in The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >> of the arrival in Southampton docks of a shipment, addressed to Dr Schwarz of Germany (possibly anthropolgist Eduard SchwarzSchwarz, Eduard
WBI CloseView the register entry >>), of natural history specimens including 'the head of negro preserved in brandy in a jar'. Notes that a trick was played on custom officials who evidently tasted the 'spirituous liquor' in which these gruesome specimens were preserved. Henceforth, the officials will have to 'assure themselves that the brandy in which alleged anatomical preparations are imported, really contains those objects of medical science'.
Describes the interpretation by some 'savages' of a mysterious iron structure cast on an African shore. Notes that they thought it might be the 'ribs of some monster LeviathanSS Leviathan CloseView the register entry >>' but that it turned out to be 'the mangled remains of a lady's Crinoline'.
Punch, 34 (1858), 49.
Statistics on Smoking. From Our Own Tobacco-Stopper
Narcotics, Controversy, Medical Treatment, Health, Disease
Noting the continuation of the 'Tobacco Controversy', provides a spoof summary of an unpublished report by a 'Committee of tobacco-stoppers', which sought evidence from 1500 smokers on whether smoking was harmful and what counted as 'excessive'. The survey found that most smokers think excessive smoking is an impossibility, that politicians take tobacco to stop the 'narcoticism' of their parliamentary speeches, and that medical students only smoke 'medicinally' and think that it provides a 'fumigant protective from infection'. It was also judged a remedy for bronchitis and only one gentleman had injured himself through smoking—by smoking 'underneath the blankets of his bed'.
Announcing the publication of a new 'Railway Guide', the writer hopes the work will contain information on 'how long each train will be detained behind its time on the journey' and likely places and times of collision. Also hopes it will include a 'Railway Pronouncing Dictionary', which will help passengers to understand guards and porters and to 'get out at the right station'.
Describes 'La Crinoline de Leviathan', a new petticoat whose size, sluggish properties, difficulty of launching, and ability to attract crowds of sightseers, are clearly modelled on the SS LeviathanSS Leviathan CloseView the register entry >>, the giant ship which was finally launched on 31 January 1858.
Discusses the observation of the 'Great Sea Serpent' by a 'British navigator'. Asks 'Where, if there is a serpent of the deep [...] Can that extraordinary reptile keep', especially since, as 'an amphibious creature', he 'can't be always swimming in the sea'. Paraphrasing a line from William Shakespeare'sShakespeare, William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>Macbeth, wonders whether the serpent is not 'a false creation, / Proceeding from the grog-oppressed brain', but notes that those who saw it 'say they saw him plain, / Without the customary duplication'. Satisfied that the beast is 'a long way out at sea; / For nowhere else that monster doth appear', and can only 'conjecture' over whether 'a Sea Serpent does or does not swim'.
Announces the 'doom of the SS LeviathanSS Leviathan CloseView the register entry >>' and expects that the ship 'must be lost, or broken up, or other way swept off from the face of the waters'. Implicitly (but not seriously) agreeing with the Record'sRecord
Directory CloseView the register entry >> view that the ship's satanic name had determined its ugly fate, observes that Isambard K BrunelBrunel, Isambard Kingdom
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> was 'misguided' to try to launch the ship on a Sunday. Grieves over the ship's fate but thinks that soon 'not an atom of the ill-starred ship will be distinguishable'. Adds that the Record had already begun writing a leader on the disaster and notes the horror of Record readers at news of the ship's Sunday launch.
Responding to the French reaction to a recent attempt to assassinate Emperor Napoleon IIINapoleon III, Emperor of France (originally
Louis Napoléon (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte))
CBD CloseView the register entry >>, reports that an 'imperial decree has just appeared in Paris for the creation of the five great military commands, whose duties are to extend over the preservation of order, and the annihilation of liberty, in the British Empire'. Asserts that the five military divisions will cover Leicester Square, Soho, Birmingham, Guernsey, and Jersey, and that they will communicate with the Ministry of Police in Paris by telegraph.
Disease, Sanitation, Cultural Geography, Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Politics
Describes a spoof legal case in which 'CHARLES LOUIS NAPOLEON' (i.e. Emperor Napoleon IIINapoleon III, Emperor of France (originally
Louis Napoléon (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte))
CBD CloseView the register entry >>) accuses 'MR. JOHN BULL, a keeper of a Common Lodging House, much frequented by foreigners' (i.e. England), with 'various offences under the Common Lodging Houses Act'. Mr Punch, the 'Magistrate', cross-examines Napoleon about his claim that the landlord had neglected to tell the police about 'dangerous cases of contagious or epidemic disorder', and that he had been attacked by 'La Fièvre Rouge'. Napoleon later reveals that he is a medical practitioner who has specialised in the 'treatment of this very disorder' and describes how he sought to treat the disease with blood-letting, change of air, administering cayenne, and preventing 'mental exertion'. At the end of the trial the magistrate concludes that 'there was no proof that the defendant knew of the existence of the alleged cases of the very serious disorder deposed to by the principal witness' and that he was 'not bound to inform the police of suspected cases'.
Responding to news of the publication of 'Dietary Self Cure of Corpulency' (probably a reference to one of the editions of Moore 1856Moore, Alfred
William . Corpulency; i.e. Fat or Embonpoint in Excess.
Letters to the Medical Times, by A. W. Moore, Explaining Briefly His Newly
Discovered Diet System to Reduce Weight and Benefit the Health, London:
printed for the author
CloseView the register entry >>) , predicts that it will contain suggestions such as a diet of 'biscuits and water', or of things which one particularly hates. Notes Charles J H Dickens'sDickens, Charles John Huffam
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> remark that 'breakfast off a cigar' would preserve the figure, advice that it recommends to 'a young swell who is anxious lest he should become swollen'.
Monstrosities, Supernaturalism, Spiritualism, Natural Law
Reports on the observation of a sea serpent off Saint Helena, which seems to be a favourite location for the monster. Speculates that 'if there is any truth in the theory of the transmigration of the souls', then the sea serpent's soul will haunt the vicinity of Saint Helena. Notes that 'the age of prodigies and portents is fast reviving', with the publication of a work entitled 'Spirit Drawings' (possibly a reference to Wilkinson 1858Wilkinson, Walter
Meacock 1858. Spirit Drawings: A Personal Narrative, London:
Chapman & Hall
CloseView the register entry >>). Goes on to discuss the frontispiece of a work entitled 'Spirit Manifestations' (possibly a reference to Dods 1854Dods, John Bovee
. Spirit Manifestations Examined and Explained: Judge Edmonds Refuted;
or, An Exposition of the Involuntary Powers and Instincts of the Human
Mind, New York: De Witt & Davenport
CloseView the register entry >>) and again suggests that this signals the revival of more ghostly portents. Returning to the subject of the sea serpent, claims that it is the spirit of Emperor Napoleon INapoleon I, Emperor of France
CBD CloseView the register entry >> of France, who seeks to deliver a message which no British seaman can understand. Speculates that the reason why the spirit flounders in the Atlantic Ocean instead of coming to the English Channel to speak to his nephew, Emperor Napoleon IIINapoleon III, Emperor of France (originally
Louis Napoléon (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte))
CBD CloseView the register entry >>, is because 'the laws of spiritualism do not allow that channel of communication'.
Discusses one of the 'drollest mistakes' made by the electric telegraph—a misspelt name. Suggests that 'the wire which creates nicknames may coin new phrases, and the British vocabulary may be indefinitely augmented by the blunders of the Electric Telegraph'.
Believes that the amount of sugar and water 'which are daily swallowed in conjunction' at French cafes, 'would respectively suffice to freight and float the lately launched Britannic Ship, LeviathanSS Leviathan CloseView the register entry >>'.
Music, Crime, Mental Illness, Health, Medical Practitioners, Disease
Reports Mr Punch's delight at news of a meeting to suppress street noise and his appointment of a committee to take evidence in support of that cause. The fictitious evidence includes that from Mrs Materfamilias, who links the near death of her child and her 'nervous fever' to Italian organists, and adds that her husband 'caught inflammation of the chest by going after a policeman one night, who refused to act'. Another witness, Dr Febrifuge, connects the 'protracted sufferings of many of his patients to their inability to procure repose' caused by howling at night.
The writer is alarmed by the complaint made by Mr VanceVance, Mr
PU1/34/10/2 CloseView the register entry >> at the half-yearly meeting of the Eastern Counties Railway CompanyEastern Counties Railway Company
CloseView the register entry >> concerning the extensive compensation payments it made to passengers injured on its lines. Noting the assurance of Horatio LowLow, Horatio (Chairman of the board of directors
of the Eastern Counties Railway Company)
PU1/34/10/2 CloseView the register entry >>, chairman of the board of directors, that the matter was being given the 'most serious' attention, points out that the 'best method of saving fracture-money' would be to 'organize the arrangements of his dangerous railway rather better'. Adds that his thrift should 'consist in the reduction in casualties involving liabilities for funereal baked meats and similar matters, such as surgeons' fees, splints and bandages'. Thinks that Low should have silenced 'such indiscreet complaints' as those made by Vance if he wanted to run his firm without caring for passengers.
Religious Authority, Scientific Practitioners, Education, Expertise, Class, Religion
Responding to a UniversTribune Catholique, La
Univers (Religiuex, Politique, Philosophique, Scientifique et
Nationale CloseView the register entry >> list of the number of aristocrats 'converted to Popery in England', questions the implication that aristocratic titles 'involve theological intuitions' and argues that if significant numbers of individuals from the various scientific, medical, and intellectual professions had converted this 'would have been somewhat more to the purpose'.
Punch, 34 (1858), 113.
Specimen of a Select and Comprehensive Cyclopaedia of the Most Profound Knowledge, Compiled by Punch and Judy, for the Express use of Adults Only
Mathematics, Ancient Authorities, Instruments, Mesmerism
In defining 'A', observes that it 'denotes a universal affirmative proposition, such as Manchester and Meanness are synonyms', 'an unknown quantity' in algebra, and points out that 'Amongst the Romans A signified 5000, amongst the Greeks number 1, so absurdly vague were those puerile people of antiquity in their ideas'. Under 'ABACUS', observes that it was 'a table used by ancient mathematicians, covered with dust or sand on which they drew figures with their fingers' and 'an instrument for facilitating operations by means of counters, but so complicated that we prefer sending the reader down to Oxford or Regent Street' where shop windows demonstrate the principle. Adds that 'Abacus Pythagoricus is a table of numbers ready cast up to facilitate working in arithmetic', which has now been 'rigorously excluded from schools'. In defining 'ABADIR', notes that it was the 'name of the stone which SATURN swallowed under the absurd supposition that it was his own little boy JUPITER', an explanation which Punch belives only electro-biology can explain.
Religious Authority, Railways, Medical Practitioners
Discusses a report in The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >> of a failed attempt by Sabbatarians to stop Sunday trains on a Scottish railway line. Notes that Sabbatarians have also failed to stop 'medical men and relatives to be procured on Sundays at the bed of sickness or death'.
In an apparent reference to a new Anglo-French row, hopes that the 'learned zoologists' can 'find out the reason' why 'the [British] Lion hates Chanticleer's strain' [the crowing of the French Cock], and notes that 'it is a curious fact in zoology / That the growl of the Lion so works on the Cock, / That it sets his a crowing: and neither's apology / Addressed to the other, can soften the shock'.
Referring to the capture of two English engineers in Naples by King Ferdinand IIFerdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies
CBD CloseView the register entry >> of the Two Sicilies, suggests blowing up 'that pig-headed potentate with a few "amiable words"' and then 'a little amiable gunpowder', which is unprecedented in solving 'engineering difficulties'.
Mental Illness, Disease, Cultural Geography, Travel, Politics
A response to the decision by the French government to change its passport system so 'as practically to exclude the majority of British travellers from France'. Explains this move as a reaction to 'liberty-fever', a 'moral plague', which Englishmen communicate 'to most foreigners with whom they come in contact'. It is 'attended with a kind of mental exaltation in which the patient seems to talk and act rationally' but 'in the opinion of the state-doctors' suffers from a 'dangerous delirium'.
Punch, 34 (1858), 125.
The Eclipse at Turnham Green (From our Special Reporter.)
Illustrates the domestic and meteorological troubles which the author faced in his attempt to observe the solar eclipse of 15 March. Notes that by the time he had blackened a glass pane for observing the eclipse, clouds blocked the view, but later is convinced that an 'increasing greyness' is due to the eclipse. Attempts to identify the species of bird in his garden which sings in 'utter disregard of the Eclipse'—animal behaviour which contradicts his expectations. When the sky lightens, he discards his smoked-glass screen and walks out into the rain.
Punch, 34 (1858), 131.
On the Singular Electrifying Qualities of Plaice, and the Cure of its Benumbing Effects
Natural History, Zoology, Animal Behaviour, Mental Illness, Physiology, Politics, Human Development
A report on a paper presented to the 'Natural History Section' of the British Association for the Advancement of ScienceBritish Association for the Advancement of Science
CloseView the register entry >> opens with a description of Alexander von HumboldtHumboldt, Alexander von (Friedrich Wilhelm
Heinrich Alexander von)
DSB CloseView the register entry >> and John Hunter'sHunter, John
DSB CloseView the register entry >> work on the Gymnotus electricus (electric eel), and a reminder that the 'unscientific' can see it at the Royal Polytechnic InstitutionRoyal Polytechnic Institution
CloseView the register entry >>. With his familiar juxtaposition of esoteric scientific terms and social commentary, Mr Punch presents his detailed researches supporting that claim that the 'power of producing torpidity' is exhibited by 'the second, or Subbrachial group of the Malacopterygii' which includes sole, founder, turbot, and plaice. Describes the effects on humans of eating these particular species of fish: sole seems to produce a shock and a tendency to escape from the room, while the common flounder affects the muscles and nerves of speech and accordingly ruins after-dinner speeches. More potent, however, is the plaice, which according to Mr Punch's experiments on the effects of the fish on the statesman Ralph Bernal OsborneBernal Osborne, Ralph
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, has the immediate effect of causing 'a visible indisposition to exertion'. Osborne's movements are 'evidently done [...] in a cataleptic state', and his 'faculties became benumbed', his 'promises and pledges' forgotten, and other characteristics lost. After fellow statesmen removed the plaice, Osborne was seen to regain his powers of 'vivacity, sting, and readiness', and is now so fully recovered that nobody would think he was once a 'dull, dead, silent, and apparently insensible man'. Mr Punch submits that the plaice must rank higher than the Gymnotus electricus for its electrical powers.
Depicts a young boy, his aunt and sisters relaxing in a drawing room. The boy reads a newspaper report of the recent eclipse and its apparently 'extraordinary effect upon the inferior animals', and tells his aunt and the 'girls' that he would have 'have you and the girls look out for squalls'.
Noting the anticipated effects of the eclipse on animals, draws attention to the 'ample evidence' from correspondents in support of this claim (notably the cessation of bird song during the eclipse). However, seeks to remedy the fact that 'no mention had been made in any scientific journal of the ecliptical effects upon the London brute creation'. Offers a series of spoof reports from such individuals as 'an amateur astronomer' and 'a highly scientific gentleman', whose observations of the extraordinary behaviour of domestic animals appears to have only a tenuous connection with the eclipse. For example, Mr Spoone of Islington claimed that 'at half-past twelve o'clock one of his canary birds suddenly stopped singing, and continued silent for ten minutes. It is, however, doubtful if the observation can be considered of much value, inasmuch as MASTER SPOONE chanced to give the bird a lump of sugar at the time, and this might have occasioned the effect which was remarked'. The first letter of the article, 'O', is a woodcut in the shape of an eclipsed sun, which in the adjacent illustration is being observed through a tabletop telescope by a crouching figure. A clown looks through the other end of the instrument.
Religious Authority, Physiology, Natural Law, Government
Protests that the new bill for legalising marriage with a deceased wife's sister is a physiological rather than a theological question. Insisting that 'what is physiologically right is theologically right also', the writer argues that ParliamentHouses of Parliament
CloseView the register entry >> should be a 'theological assembly' and 'ought to legislate on the foundation of natural laws', but claims that he will warmly oppose natural laws and other 'mandates' coming from this authority.
Describes one of the 'Optical Phenomena attending the Eclipse'—the discovery of several hundred black eyes caused by the 'injudicious' use of smoked-glass plates to observe the celestial event. Recounts the experience of Mr Swipey, who sought to carry out George B Airy'sAiry, Sir George Biddell
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> suggestion that 'elevated' persons should 'remark the changes of appearance of surrounding objects': he became 'elevated' (drunk) and noted that the eclipse made all objects 'look double'. Following Airy's suggestion to gauge the sun's luminosity using a candle, 'a gentleman at Peckham' singed off part of his right eyebrow, which can be seen 'without the aid of any instrument'.
Informs Mr Punch of his interest in the letters of George B AiryAiry, Sir George Biddell
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, John R HindHind, John Russell
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, and the secretary of the Photographic Society of LondonPhotographic Society of London
CloseView the register entry >> (William CrookesCrookes, Sir William
DSB ODNB CloseView the register entry >>) on the solar eclipse. Noting his favourable geographical location for observing the event, presents his observations bearing upon the outbreak of spots on the sun's face. Using his 'travelling DOLLONDDollond, John
DSB CloseView the register entry >>' placed in his coach-house, he projected an image of the sun onto paper and then a collodion plate. Reports that shortly after the contact of the solar and lunar images, he 'saw a dark object stealing over' the sun's upper rim, a monstrous animal which, as the illustration of the collodion plate shows, was evidently a spider on the telescope lens. Reckons that this casts into shade other solar phenomena, including 'red flames, crowns of glory, dark projections from the rim of the moon's shadow, BAILEY'sBaily, Francis
DSB CloseView the register entry >> beads'. Convinced by the genuineness and importance of his observation, speculates that it might give 'foundation' to 'the wild Norse legend of the dragon that is one day to devour the Sun and Moon'. Finally, he noticed a spider hanging from the end of his telescope and, identifying himself as a disappointed 'student of nature', crushes the insect.
Discusses a report in the Bristol TimesBristol Times
Felix Farley's Bristol Journal
Daily Bristol Times and Mirror
Bristol Times and Mirror
Directory CloseView the register entry >> of a remedy for preventing smallpox scars that involves bathing the marks in tripe-liquor. Struck by the fact that tripe is derived from the same quadruped from which smallpox vaccinations are produced, suggests that the 'internal use' of tripe might also stop smallpox. Recommends that anybody 'apprehensive of catching small-pox' should try this experiment.
Compares and contrasts the government's India Bill with organic chemistry. On the one hand, the bill is like organic chemistry, in that 'it is a complicated matter', although the jumble of matter in organic compounds can be disentangled while that in the bill cannot. On the other hand, the bill is unlike organic chemistry, because the former is 'the work of a Ministry of simple Conservatives', while the latter is 'a product of the Chemistry of the Compound Radicals'.
Following a report in The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >>, discusses the fact that the amount of compensation payments paid out by railway companies in the event of an accident is proportional to the pecuniary circumstances of the victim. Suggests that this makes railway companies protect the rich rather than the poor traveller, but urges that the payment should be 'no respecter of persons'. Goes on to suggest that 'mutilations ought to be rated in some measure according to the marketable value of the member or the feature spoiled'.
Discusses the confusion of one of its rural correspondents over the use of 'limbs' in descriptions of the sun and moon. While accepting that the sun and moon have 'eyes, nose, and mouth', as shown on pub signs, he thinks those who assert that the celestial bodies have limbs 'have not [...] a leg to stand on'.
Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Quackery, Human Development
Features a song by a family doctor, who examines a child's tongue, and thinks the 'world is but a gilded Pill, / The breeze of fame a sweetened draught'. He adds that when the pills fail you, 'You'll know what hollow spells you've quaffed', and urges the child to call on him whenever 'darkest visions near thee blend'. (154)
Punch, 34 (1858), 162.
Lord Rosse's Prediction of Excessive Political Heat
Discusses rumours spreading around the various clubs that William Parsons (3rd Earl of Rosse)Parsons, William, 3rd Earl of Rosse
DSB CloseView the register entry >> has predicted that the approaching parliamentary session 'would be about one of the hottest ever known' (a reference to Rosse's prediction of a hot season). In contradiction to these rumours, the writer presents a communication allegedly from Rosse, who denies the truth of the statement imputed to him and claims, 'by the testimony of his Telescope, which enables him to look into the middle of several weeks to come, that the session of 1858 will be about one of the mildest known for years'.
Medical Treatment, Disease, Politics, Government, Quackery, Reading
Offers the Prime Minister, Edward G G S Stanley (14th Earl of Derby)Stanley, Edward George Geoffrey Smith, 14th
Earl of Derby
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, some political advice which is given as if Punch were a political physician administering medicine to the English constitution. Advises Derby to change his principles by taking 'a course of alternative medicine', notably 'some strong purgatives to drive out by degrees all his party prejudices'. Thinks his political demise can be averted by several means, including swallowing 'a Reform pill without waiting till next session', because 'Unless taken quite in time, a tonic will prove useless'. Goes on to advise the 'weak' premier to take a 'good strong dose of Punch', which contains no 'quackism' and is 'In all political diseases [...] the only sure corrective'.
Responding to an article in The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >> describing the discovery of a gigantic fungus in a Doncaster tunnel, suggests that the plant is probably 'good to eat'. Noting the incredible growth rate, appearance, and strength of the fungus, and other edible fungi, recommends this specimen to the Lord Mayor of London, Robert W CardenCarden, Sir Robert Walter, 1st Baronet
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, for consumption at a civic feast. Suggests trying the fungi on pigs before alderman, lest the latter grow 'excrescences' from their noses as a result.
Describes an invention for protecting the ear against 'the intolerable irritation and distraction occasioned by the Italian organ-grinders'. This consists of a u-shaped piece of wood to which is attached two adjustable screws that fit inside the ear. Suggests likely customers for this invention and an alternative strategy against the street musicians—a noisy dog whose howl overpowers the music.
Animal Behaviour, Amusement, Education, Animal Development
Shows a old horseman gesturing towards his horse who obediently brings him his hat. The caption reads: 'Old Mr. B. found out that the oil of Rhodium system is all nonsense, and has been initiated by Mr Rarey. Whenever he gets split, and loses his hat [...], he just says to his horse, "Fetch it, Old Boy!" and the thing is done!'. This is a reference to John S Rarey'sRarey, John Solomon
WBI CloseView the register entry >> system of taming horses.
Discusses an American invention of a 'mechanical curl-paper' which allows for the production of systematically arranged hair ringlets, and which Punch regards as 'a great improvement'. Wishes to see a patent taken out for an invention that 'would enable ladies to put their bonnets on in less than five minutes', an invention that Punch expects every husband would purchase.
Discussing the benefits of ragged playgrounds, as opposed to ragged schools, argues that 'wholesome recreation' provided by such places is a 'vital necessity' for those bodies with 'immature and not yet ripened intellects'. Moreover, such playgrounds will enable the body to grow properly. Adds that 'wholesome play' has a beneficial effect on 'young morals', and so 'calls the judgement into play, while developing the muscles'.
Discusses a recent controversy in The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >> over the methods of launching gunboats: in particular, whether they should be kept afloat or hauled up on slips. Laments the idea of public money being used to finance these slipways.
Responding to an advertisement in a Birmingham paper from a female 'Clairvoyante' and 'Herbalist', asks whether clairvoyants can see through walls in houses of correction where they have been imprisoned. Goes on to discuss the experiences of a 'professor of Somnambulism', Adolphe DidierDidier, Adolphe
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, who offers his 'oracular consultations' to the fashionable readers of the Morning PostMorning Post and Daily Advertising Pamphlet
CloseView the register entry >>, and who claimed to have predicted the Derby winner during a mesmeric trance. Given that he was forced to publish a book on animal magnetism (Didier 1856Didier,
Adolphe 1856. Animal Magnetism and Somnambulism, London: T.
CloseView the register entry >>), Punch suspects that such powers benefit all but the 'owner'.
Discusses the chances of John S Rarey'sRarey, John Solomon
WBI CloseView the register entry >> system being used to tame a hippopotamus, as well as 'stablemen and horsebreakers [...] the very lowest order of the brute creation'. Since Rarey's system works on the affections, the author wonders whether it will succeed with these brutes who have no affections (judging by the cruel manner in which they treat horses). Advises John V S Townshend (Viscount Raynham)Townshend, John Villiers Stuart, 5th Marquess
Townshend (formerly styled 'Viscount Raynham')
Cokayne 1910-59 CloseView the register entry >> and the 'Cruelty-Preventers' to take up the matter, and, if this proves too slow, recommends the formation of an 'Equestrian Humane Society' for the 'abolition of horse torture'. Concludes by asking Rarey to 'try his hand at groom-taming'.
Discusses his use of John S Rarey'sRarey, John Solomon
WBI CloseView the register entry >> method of taming horses. Opens by describing how he prevented a groom from using brute force to tame a horse, instead inviting him to use Rarey's method. A crowd gathers which supports the narrator's rejection of the cruel methods of the groom, but cannot understand Rarey's system. The crowd is then convinced by the narrator's demonstration of Rarey's system, the narrator denying that the effect was connected with 'Electro-biology / Not any magic or mystery'. Finally, the author manages to convince the groom to use Rarey's method of 'Persuasion's gentle force'.
Vaccination, Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Heroism, Discovery, Politics, Disease
Challenges Thomas S Duncombe'sDuncombe, Thomas Slingsby
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> view that the new statue of Edward JennerJenner, Edward
DSB CloseView the register entry >> in Trafalgar Square is out of place among 'naval and military heroes', and that 'everybody' is disgusted by it. Deciding that Duncombe's remarks are not meant in jest but prompted by 'ignorance', explains why Jenner deserves a statue. Mr Punch's argument stresses how Jenner's 'discovery' has dramatically reduced cases of smallpox throughout Europe. (203) Supposing that Duncombe wishes to honour destroyers rather than preservers of the human race, suggests removing the Jenner statue to the Thames TunnelThames Tunnel
CloseView the register entry >> and putting 'Crimean generals and Chelsea commissioners' and the disreputable politician William CoxCox, William
Stenton 1976 CloseView the register entry >> on Trafalgar Square pedestals. Concludes by stressing that Jenner 'devoted his life to labour for the good of his kind'. (203–04)
The first illustration shows a portly gentleman, Mr Briggs, and other figures standing before a young horse in a stable. The caption explains that Briggs, 'having become an adept in the art of horse-taming, operates upon a colt he has bred himself, and which has never been broken,—'. The sentence continues 'With complete success' under the second illustration, which shows Mr Briggs standing proudly on the colt which now lies on the stable floor.
Discusses a LancetLancet
Directory CloseView the register entry >> advertisement from a medical practitioner who wishes to be introduced 'to the Daughter of a Medical Man, with a view to Marriage and Partnership'. While praising the heart of the advertiser, surmises that the 'boundless love [...] embraces the whole profession, as he in whose glowing breast it palpitates, seems prepared to fold in his arms the child of any member of that profession, and join her papa in practice'. Claiming to be able to 'divine' the character of the doctor from his advertisement, argues that he enjoys moonlight walks, poetry, tender music, and that he gets upset over his 'young and beautiful' consumptive patients.
Quackery, Health, Disease, Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners
Suggests a verse for quacks who advertise. The author of the poem opens by affirming his generally good state of health, but then describes how he had been afflicted by gout in the limbs, coughs in the chest, and 'dropsy and dyspepsia dire'. Concludes by explaining how doctors and surgeons failed to remedy his symptoms but that 'Professor GAMMON's pills' 'banished every pain'.
Quackery, Commerce, Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Government, Politics, Pollution, Public Health, Sanitation
Noting the second reading of William F Cowper'sCowper, William Francis, 1st Baron Mount-Temple
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> medical bill, Punch 'intends to move a clause empowering a Magistrate to order any Advertising Quack to be flogged, and branded with a Q', the only solution to 'the murderous system' of 'heartless traders'. Proceeding to report on the introduction of a poisons bill by Edward G G S Stanley (14th Earl of Derby)Stanley, Edward George Geoffrey Smith, 14th
Earl of Derby
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, complains that two million Londoners live over a 'far worse poison'—the Thames. Urges that the river should be cleansed, a sewage system installed, and chemists' shops attacked. (233)
Identifying him as the 'State Quack', this poem describes Benjamin Disraeli'sDisraeli, Benjamin, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> trumpeting of his political victories to his countrymen. Some of his boasts about his political powers are couched in medical terms: for example, he promises the country that 'we've medicines in store which will serve you far more than any that others could send you', including 'Tory-Whig mixtures, from Peelite prescriptions they're made up', 'Conservative Pills, that will cure all your ills', and 'the best antidotes for too liberal votes, which might bring on a low Radical fever'. Also boasts that he can perform a 'tax-amputation' and that he has a pill which will be called '"Poor Man's Friend", which will keep up his strength without eating'. (235)
Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Government, Politics, Homeopathy, Disease, Health
Laments the number of medical bills brought before ParliamentHouses of Parliament
CloseView the register entry >> and blames this on dissent among doctors. Discussing ways of generating unanimity, suggests that a homeopathic bill 'might do more good than a larger one such as would please the general practitioner' and be acceptable to the Royal College of PhysiciansRoyal College of Physicians
CloseView the register entry >>. Also suggests that 'the best Medical Bill would be 'one founded on the Chinese practice—"to pay the Doctor so long as you were well, and stop the payment the moment you fell ill"'.
Disease, Public Health, Taxonomy, Medical Practitioners, Cultural Geography, Engineering, Language, Sanitation
Discusses a proposal to channel sewer gases from the sewers through large columns on the streets and into the air above people's heads. Goes on to discuss the French origin and etymology of diphtheria, noting the 'slight mistake' that French physicians made in 'christening their little nosological stranger'. Focussing on the removal of the disease, suggests conveying noxious gases from sewers via 'elegant and graceful columns' or lampposts.
Discusses a report in the Morning PostMorning Post and Daily Advertising Pamphlet
CloseView the register entry >> concerning an 'impending moral and physical revolution about to result from Chemistry'—the possibility, enunciated in a recent lecture by Edward FranklandFrankland, Sir Edward
DNODNBB CloseView the register entry >>, of producing foods from their constituents. Boasts that Mr Punch had anticipated Frankland's claim in an article on 'Vegetable Mutton' in Punch's Pocket Book for 1855Punch's Pocket Book
Directory CloseView the register entry >>. Here, Mr Punch noted that although a galvanized mixture of water, charcoal, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen cannot produce food, 'the discovery of some agent yet more subtle than electricity may one of these days' enable the production of venison from 'air, water, and cinders'. Noting the Morning Post's claim that coal could be used to make bread, surmises that all food and other 'creature comforts' may be produced from coal.
Discusses news that New York shipbuilders are constructing 'a ship so tremendously long, that there is no part of the ocean sufficiently broad to enable it to turn'. Adds that the latter problem has been solved by having wheels at its American and English ends which will mean that passengers will simply be able to walk between the two countries. Notes that the ship will also boast cabstands, an omnibus, and shops.
Noting that sulphur cures a cutaneous affliction on the homeopathic principle that like cures like, suggests that the 'Lazzaroni of Naples' have been saved from this disease owing to the immense quantities of sulphur produced by the recent eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Report of a railway accident at Slough, the site of a famous banquet at which Benjamin DisraeliDisraeli, Benjamin, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> described the political controversy sparked by the warning of the president of the East India CompanyEast India Company
CloseView the register entry >> Board of Control, Edward Law (1st Earl Ellenborough)Law, Edward, 1st Earl of Ellenborough
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, to the governor-general of India, Charles J Canning (1st Viscount Canning)Canning, Charles John, Viscount Canning of
Kilbrahan, governor-general and first viceroy of India
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, that his proclamation confiscating lands in the Oudh province of India threatened to stir up another rebellion. In this report, 'BENDIZZY' (Disraeli) is portrayed as a engine driver whose hasty control of the 'Parliamentary train' called 'Reasoning' caused the accident. The report plays on the similarity between the terms used to describe a railway accident and those used to describe a politician whose train of argument has 'got off the line of truth'. For example, it notes that the 'train [...] was started without notice of the signal "Caution", and was not sufficiently ballasted with facts', and 'just before the break-down, BENDIZZY was "rather going it", and some expressed a hint that he would burst his boiler'. Criticises the zealous and shortsighted 'driving' style of Bendizzy, pointing out that 'this hap-hazard style of driving may be all very well for reckless Opposition work; but it clearly will not do for a Government train, which of course must be kept going at the regular pace'.