Clearly an allusion to the writer Francis B HeadHead, Sir Francis Bond, 1st Baronet
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>. Describes the 'head' in phrenological terms, stressing its highly developed faculties of vanity and self-esteem and its 'proportionately small' organs of 'facts and dates'. 'There is one organ that is extremely prononcé and forward, and as it is not an English organ, we lean to the belief that it must be a French one. For the want of a name, we will call it the Moniteur [probably an allusion to the French newspaper called the Moniteur UniverselGazette Nationale; ou, le Moniteur Universel
Journal Officiel de l'Empire Français
Journal Officiel de la République
BUCOP CloseView the register entry >>]'. The Moniteur is described as an organ 'so overlaid with matter, not of the healthiest description, that it has usurped the place of nearly all the intellectual faculties'.
Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners, Quackery
Discusses the use of Samuel T Coleridge'sColeridge, Samuel Taylor
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> term 'ultra-crepidated' to describe the tendency of people to 'make it their business to attend to everybody else's business but their own'. Regards an apothecary as an 'Ultra-crepidator' who causes mischief by 'going beyond the boundary of his pestle and mortar'.
Describes a meeting of Arctic whales which gathered to consider 'the probability of their speedy extinction' by the use of whalebone in the manufacture of crinoline dresses and spermaceti in the preparation of ointment. The whales are particularly hostile towards Empress EugénieEugénie, Empress of France
WBI CloseView the register entry >> of France for promoting crinoline.
Suggests making 'Twelthcakes' so that they 'illustrate the science of geology'. The cakes would be 'composed of strata resembling those of the earth except in their relation to the sense of taste'. Children would thus exchange cakes and geological concepts at the same time. Believes a 'geological' wedding cake would illustrate the union of husband and wife, 'the Intellectual and the Physical' respectively.
Medical Practitioners, Commerce, Quackery, Charlatanry, Commerce, Medical Treatment, Pharmaceuticals
Discusses an advertisement from a distinguished medical practitioner (whose name is anonymized by Punch as 'Mr. Newleaf') who describes his considerable medical training and, while confessing to frequent drunkenness, reassures his patients that 'he may now always be found at home sober'. Contrasts the honesty of this advertisement with 'most medical advertisements' and argues that since not even drunken quacks would confess to mendacity, Mr Newleaf need not fear being mistaken for a quack. Criticises other parts of his advertisement for smacking 'too much of the nature of mere puffs'. Concludes by noting Punch's policy towards medicines of 'Least taken, soonest mended'.
Responds to a Daily NewsDaily News
Directory CloseView the register entry >> article which reports that bright sunlight affected the eyesight of Emperor Napoleon IIINapoleon III, Emperor of France (originally
Louis Napoléon (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte))
CBD CloseView the register entry >> of France during his visit to Nice and prevented him from 'recognising his old political associates'. This response plays on the association of words such as brilliance and colour in the fields of light and politics: for example, it argues that the optical effect does not depend on the 'brilliant sun' of Italy, but on the 'sunshine of prosperity', and remembers a time when the 'colour blindness' of politicians was so acute that they could not see 'a man of any other party colour than their own'.
Hospitals, Patronage, Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners, Surgery
Upholding the importance of subscribing to hospitals, discusses the case of a London surgeon, Mr EdwardsEdwards, Mr (surgeon, of Gloucester
PU1/36/5/2 CloseView the register entry >>, who brought legal action against a gentleman named Mr Sharpe for failing to meet the costs of an operation on a man in his service. Explains that Sharpe wished he had sent his servant to St Mary's HospitalSt Mary's Hospital
CloseView the register entry >>, and describes the advantages of patronising a hospital rather than an individual medical practitioner.
Discusses an advertisement for a lotion which claims to soften the skin. Drawing attention to the plain language of the advertisement, argues that most British quack advertisers would have used more opaque and technical words to con readers into patronising his trade.
Homeopathy, Medical Treatment, Quackery, Proof, Mesmerism, Spiritualism, Charlatanry
Explains that in the letters which Mr Punch receives defending homeopathy, 'allopathist' is used to describe an opponent of homeopathy who seeks to cure 'unlike with unlike'. Points out that most medical practitioners attempt to remove 'impediments to the natural process of recovery' rather than treat diseases by asking patients to swallow 'specific medicines', which have only an indirect effect on the disease. Speculates on the possible allopathic status of the pills sold by Thomas HollowayHolloway, Thomas
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> and other advertising quacks, but suggests that 'the ordinary practice of physic' rests on the homeopathic principle of 'like cures like'. Argues that no cases of homeopathic cures are supported by 'scientific proof that infinitesimal globules produce any other than infinitesimal effects', and that 'immense clouds of cases' are needed to supply this proof. Questions whether quinine, a well-known 'remedy for ague', can, in infinitesimal doses, work on homeopathic principles. Concludes by attacking homeopaths, mesmerists, and spiritualists for failing to provide the 'experimentum crucis' for their claims and comparing themselves to the persecuted Galileo GalileiGalilei, Galileo
DSB CloseView the register entry >>.
Punch, 36 (1859), 90.
Mr Punch and the Talking Fish.—Authentic Narrative
Gives a number of reasons why 'the very best Sewing-Machine that a man can have is a Wife', most of which stress the efficiency, quietness, and industry of a woman seamstress when compared with the troublesome and noisy sewing machine which needs constant supervision. Identifies variations in human sewing machines, pointing out that the husband may be fortunate in picking a wife who 'seems to be never so happy as when the husband's linen is in hand'.
Discusses a recent lecture given by Richard OwenOwen, Richard
DSB CloseView the register entry >> at the Royal InstitutionRoyal Institution of Great Britain
CloseView the register entry >> (possibly Owen 1858–62Owen, Richard
1858–62. 'Summary of the Succession in Time and Geographical Distribution
of Recent and Fossil Mammals', Proceedings of the Royal Institution of Great
Britain, 3, 174–189
CloseView the register entry >>). Stresses Owen's mention of the discovery of the remains of a whale-like creature in middle Tertiary strata in America. Notes that the discovery was made by an American fossil-hunter, Mr CookeCooke, Mr (American fossil-hunter)
PU1/36/9/2 CloseView the register entry >>, whose skeleton of an immense fossil had been displayed by Phineas T BarnumBarnum, Phineas Taylor
CBD CloseView the register entry >> in London and which later proved to be composed of three mastodon skeletons. Adds that Owen had still urged Mr Cooke to continue his fossil-hunting activities despite the fact that he was 'a practitioner of humbug', and that the American fossil-hunter had continued to prove a 'pupil of BARNUM' because he built a skeleton of the sea serpent. Argues that although Barnum's exhibit of a fictional monster with an apparently convincing Greek name is 'genuine Humbug', the construction of a fictional animal 'out of the bones of several other real ones' is 'too coarse to be called humbug'.
Depicts a 'rather heavy Dragoon' who, while sitting on his horse, asks a 'Gifted Member' of a military staff college, what he should do. The 'Gifted Member' then rattles off a long list of the esoteric mathematical topics he has to study.
Noting that heraldic writers used to describe 'Men newly raised to honours' as 'sons of their works', wonders whether William G ArmstrongArmstrong, Sir William George, Baron
Armstrong of Cragside
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> (who has just been knighted) will 'take it as an offence to be styled "son of a gun"'.
Following a Morning PostMorning Post and Daily Advertising Pamphlet
CloseView the register entry >> report of David W Mitchell'sMitchell, David William
WBI CloseView the register entry >> new display of 'birds and beasts' for Emperor Napoleon IIINapoleon III, Emperor of France (originally
Louis Napoléon (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte))
CBD CloseView the register entry >> of France, anticipates the time when the emperor will be able to tame and cage 'the British Lion, the Russian Bear, and the Prussian and Austrian Vultures'. Developing the analogy between French politics and certain vicious animals, adds that the emperor wants to cage the 'Gallic Eagle' and that his collection will include 'Kites which the Imperial entourage is in the habit of flying, and the Buzzards who entrusted LOUIS NAPOLEON with the task of saving society'.
Engineers, Invention, Military Technology, Patronage, Heroism
Argues that 'an insane Shakesperian student' insists that William G Armstrong'sArmstrong, Sir William George, Baron
Armstrong of Cragside
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> knighthood is 'foreshadowed' in the Bard's lines, 'It is the sport to see the Engineer / Hoist with his own petard—'.
Discusses the advertisement of a 'Preston Quack' for cough lozenges that use the powers of 'concentrated sea air'. Thinks the advertiser must consider the public to be 'Gulls' to 'swallow this' and that those who do will probably suffer from 'sea-sickness'.
Noting that fish which apparently fell from the sky during a shower in Wales have been sent to Richard OwenOwen, Richard
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, discusses the comparative anatomist's recent lecture on fossil mammalia at the Royal InstitutionRoyal Institution of Great Britain
CloseView the register entry >>. Draws attention to Owen's observation of the huge quantities of fossils along the red crag of Norfolk, and concludes that this region must have been inhabited by a 'prodigious' number of 'wild beasts' which were 'very thick with each other'. Considers this notion of a 'large flock of huge and ferocious animals' to be as improbable as the fish which fell from the sky from what appears to be the moon or the stars. Concludes by seeking assurances that the 'fish-shower' is not a hoax, and points out that once this is believed then so will the powers of homeopathy.
Reflecting on William G Armstrong'sArmstrong, Sir William George, Baron
Armstrong of Cragside
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> long-range gun, and a 'Mr. Somebody's' invention of a machine for 'suffocating one's enemies with a black sulphurous smoke', imagines a report in The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >> of an Anglo-French battle in 1959 which includes such British inventions as a 'pocket' Armstrong gun capable of firing shot to 'two hundred and four miles, seventeen hundred times in one minute', 'seven-and-twenty double LeviathansSS Leviathan CloseView the register entry >>, built for the transport of troops [...] armed with the patent self-acting, self-loading, self-aiming, and self cleaning-gun', and a 'noxious smoke producing machine'.
Disputes the claim made by an 'American paper' that the 'inventions and discoveries' of the first half of the nineteenth century will be more important than those in the second half. While the first half witnessed such inventions as 'Punch, Steamers, railways and the electric telegraph', the second saw the production of 'Crinoline, all-round collars, peg-toptrousers' and other apparently insignificant innovations. Confident that the next forty years might see the birth of a 'genius' who will perform such feats as setting the Thames on fire.
Quackery, Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners, Disease, Commerce, Periodicals
Ridicules an advertisement in the North British AdvertiserNorth British Advertiser
BUCOP CloseView the register entry >> for James Greer'sGreer, James (purveyor of vegetable pills, of
PU1/35/1/7, PU1/36/12/4 CloseView the register entry >> miraculous pills, directed to ignorant Scotsmen. Notes that the treatment is supported by the case of William Shaw, who claimed that his debilitating and potentially fatal illnesses were cured by taking Greer's pills, but Punch considers Shaw's case to be 'emphysema, or windy swelling, of that species in which the patient assumes the character of a human puff'. Goes on to attack a Morning PostMorning Post and Daily Advertising Pamphlet
CloseView the register entry >> advertisement for Thomas Holloway'sHolloway, Thomas
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> pills and ointments. Agrees with the advertisement that the treatments are 'incomparable', but in the sense that 'medicines that cannot be compared to any that are good for anything', and argues that these medicines 'subjugate entirely without demanding of the patient the knowledge that he has even anything the matter with him'. (128) Notes the claim that 'no organ in the body can long resist the combined action of these remedies', but that neither can any organ resist the effect of 'prussic acid and arsenic'. Concludes by criticizing the Morning Post for providing an 'organ' for Thomas Holloway. (128–29)
Education, Homeopathy, Medical Treatment, Quackery, Disease, Physiology
Begins by noting that in response to a correspondent's invitation to study homeopathy, Mr Punch argued that the correspondent should study 'Anatomy, Physiology, and the nature of diseases' and thus appreciate that 'healing disease' by 'removing impediments out of nature's way' is 'ascertained science'. Upholding the principle that 'Infinitesimal Quantities produce Infinitesimal Effects', argues that 'bleeding and drenching' are far more effective than homeopathy, and that the 'certain number of diseases' which 'will get well if let alone' correspond to those cases claimed as victories for homeopathy. Concludes by asking whether homeopathy will cure such drastic medical conditions as a broken leg or cause such dramatic physiological effects as making an active gland secrete.
Discusses a report of a 'German savant' who calculated the number of hairs on the heads of four people. Notes that 'unless all the four heads were of the same size, it would be impossible to draw any conclusion, from the relative numbers of the hairs of each'.
Creationism, Freethought, Religious Authority, Politics
With the general election imminent, this report summarises the prospects of candidates for various constituencies. The candidate for Nag's Barstock, Sir Crucible Lute, is 'considered safe', although his paper delivered at the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of ScienceBritish Association for the Advancement of Science
CloseView the register entry >> expressing 'some doubt whether we had sufficiently studied the Mosaic account of Creation [...] has given great offence to the clergy', and led to Lute being called an atheist.
In a punning conflation of the use of heated instruments for hatching eggs and the adoption of telegraphy by news agencies, announces the invention, by 'MESSRS. REUTERReuter, Paul Julius Freiherr von
CBD CloseView the register entry >>, HAVASHavas, Charles
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, AND COMPANY', of a 'gigantic Eccaleobion'—an electrically powered machine that mass-produces 'ducks', especially the French 'canard' [i.e. hoax or false report].
Reflects on the days (notably during the Napoleonic Wars) when the British soldier had to fight with the 'Brown Bess'—'not a gun / For shooting to depend on', although its bayonet proved effective and its name 'struck terror'. Hopes that with the Enfield rifle, 'English Riflemen succeed / In place of English bowmen', and will protect 'Old England'. Wishes 'Good speed' to the invention.
In the second of two scenes comparing two families at breakfast, Mr Jones explains to his wife that auscultation 'is the method of distinguishing the states of health and disease by the study of the sounds produced by the organs in performing their functions'. He adds that the technique uses a stethoscope. (203)
Discusses a speech made by William G ArmstrongArmstrong, Sir William George, Baron
Armstrong of Cragside
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> at a banquet held in his honour. Notes that Armstrong explained the construction and capabilities of the Armstrong gun and proceeded to describe how, on being fired from his gun, his cast-iron lead coated shell produced fan-shaped explosions, scattering pieces of metal of different sizes and shapes. Punch thinks the shape and size of the explosion suggests that the weapon is meant to be used for killing 'those foreign vermin' that 'might attempt to make a descent on our coasts'. Proceeds to note Armstrong's distinction between shells that could strike distant targets in hundreds of places from those that underwent a more confined explosion and were suitable for 'breaching purposes'. Punch insists that, at a moderate range, the Armstrong gun can be used to destroy fleas but also the 'Glory-bug' in its appearance on its own or in swarms. Concludes by noting that with the 'Armstrong Insecticide', humans can fight insects on equal terms—mass destruction, and by wishing success to Armstrong's 'experimental researches' on bug destruction.
Announces that while Michel E ChevreulChevreul, Michel Eugène
DSB CloseView the register entry >> has been writing a work with the English title of The Laws of Contrast of Colour, and their Application to the Arts (see Chevreul 1857Chevreul, Michel
Eugène 1857. The Laws of Contrast of Colour: And their
Application to the Arts of Painting, Decoration of Buildings, Mosaic Work,
Tapestry and Carpet Weaving, Calico Printing, Dress, Paper Staining, Printing,
Illumination, Landscape and Flower Gardening, etc, trans. by John Spanton,
London: G. Routledge & Co.
CloseView the register entry >>), Mr Punch has been completing a similar work—'On the Contrast of Party Colours, and their Application to the Electioneering Arts'. Accordingly, Punch uses Chevreul's work to interpret recent political events: for example, following Chevreul's research on the 'instability' of grey dyes, Punch notes that Mr Punch agrees that there is a 'political "instability of the Greys"' (an allusion to the distinguished family of Liberal peers). Similiarly, following Chevreul's observation that all colours are composed of combinations of the three primary colours, Punch notes that 'the various shades' of party colour are made up from the primary 'colours' of Tory, Whig, and Radical, and that the principle of complementarity also applies to politics. Mr Punch gives a political interpretation to Chevreul's claim that prolonged observation of one colour increases one's sensitivity to the complementary colour, and that all objects will be tinted by this latter colour. On this basis, Mr Punch claims that 'he who looks on party colours with the eye of an observer "acquires an aptitude" for seeing of what shades they are composed, and may moreover see that any party politician is likely to be "influenced in his appreciation of all objects" by the colour of the party by which they are pursued'.
Laments the 'number of deaths that annually occur' among women wearing 'tight stays and thin shoes'. Adds that the 'Family Doctor has not two better friends in the world than the lady's Shoemaker and Corset-maker'.
Believes the war between France and Austria is being fought out with telegrams as well as by other means. Observes that 'the telegraph can boast of a far greater number of killed and wounded' since, 'by its irresistible agency, a whole army has been known to be destroyed in a minute'. Suggests that France and Austria fight their war in the telegraph office.