Presents an example of how railway engineers should respond to questions from parliamentary committees. Responses are deliberately technical and designed to bamboozle the committee. For example, replying to a question about the sufficiency of a gradient, the engineer asserts that he would 'undertake to show in five minutes that a patent axle, working on a broad gauge and going consecutively in rotation after a double stuffing-box' would be sufficient.
Outlines the characteristics of the statesman John A RoebuckRoebuck, John Arthur
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> as if he were an animal described by Oliver GoldsmithGoldsmith, Oliver
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>. Included in the description is the observation that the Roebuck 'sheds its horns, and, indeed, it has been known to lose its head, particularly during the sitting of Parliament', and that 'though very easily subdued' it 'can never be thoroughly tamed'.
The narrator describes his 'views of the scenery' during a recent 'trip by railroad'. Complains that as soon as he saw anything that he wanted to draw, 'it was whisked away from our vision, and just as we had commenced foreshortening something thirty miles off, some fresh object was suddenly brought close up to the window of the carriage, to the exclusion of everything else that our eyes had been resting on'. Notes how his attempt to draw 'a beautiful bit of still life at about twenty miles from London' was thwarted by the rapidity of the train's motion. However, he describes his pictorial representation of pastoral and agricultural scenes. Goes on to recount the 'true artistic feeling' provoked by a journey through a railway tunnel, which included the sublime emotions caused by the noise and smoke of the train. Ends by likening sketching the 'unpromising' subjects of a railway journey to drawing 'sermons in stones'. The illustrations show various aspects of the journey.
Homeopathy, Medical Treatment, Charlatanry, Quackery
Reports on a meeting of the Homeopathic AssociationHomeopathic Association
CloseView the register entry >>. Holds that those who invest in homeopathy 'ought not to be trusted with property' and suggests that, were Punch to entertain such people, it would only give them an 'infinitesimal' amount of liquor and bring along 'strong men' armed with 'strait-waistcoats'.
Reports on various ways in which the electric telegraph could improve communication in the home. Concerned that many servants are ignorant of the electric telegraph, but observes how this spares the domestic stair carpet. Notes how the telegraph could allow restaurant-goers and people singing in pubs to proceed with their activities without being interrupted by the noise of staff shouting out orders. Adds that the telegraph will also allow communication between the lonesome toll-men on Waterloo BridgeWaterloo Bridge
CloseView the register entry >>.
Laments the transformation of the rural scene by the 'iron hand of the railway enterprise'. Following news that the Isle of Dogs is to be 'sold right out', recommends that it is 'taken as a colony for the pastorally-disposed population, where the shepherd might play variations on the flageolet to a flock of sheep' and Philis might 'go-a-milking'. The illustration shows several depressed-looking rustic figures leaving their abode, while in the distance a steam locomotive chugs towards the countryside.
Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Commerce, Government
Reports that medicine bottles 'have been shining with unwonted radiance' following the abandonment of the Home Secretary James R G Graham'sGraham, Sir James Robert George, 2nd
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> 'Physic and Surgery Bill'. Describes some of the ways in which practitioners expressed their joy, including transparencies showing 'Britannia shielding Medicine from the Home Secretary', and another depicting a 'Pure Surgeon' with 'the letters "£ s. d.", the real motto of the College of SurgeonsRoyal College of Surgeons
CloseView the register entry >>', behind him.
Shows a railway locomotive running into a crowd of people, many of whom worship it as a deity, whilst others offer it money. The locomotive bears the word 'speculation' and an imp holds onto its smokestack.
This introduces a parody of advertisements for railway schemes, including the 'Grand Pic-nic Junction and Great Ailmentary Canal Company', whose capital is 'two hundred thousand spoons' and whose object is to 'develope the resources of pic-nics to a greater extent than has ever yet been attempted'. Drawing an implicit analogy between picnics and railway travel, the advertisement boasts that the directors of the firm will 'lay down a line of plates' in Petersham Meadows with a 'cold collation at each of the grand termini, and sandwiches at all intermediate stations'. The firm intends to 'open a communication with Sandwich and Ham Common' and points out that it is 'trying experiments [...] on the best means of supplying the alimentary canal'.
Responds to David B Reid'sReid, David Boswell
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> experiments on the ventilation of the Houses of ParliamentHouses of Parliament
CloseView the register entry >> and his recommendation that the buildings should be subjected to a succession of blasts of air at various temperatures. Observes that the new heating system leaves members' feet cooking 'like potatoes over a steaming apparatus' and their heads freezing. Complains that while the system can be adjusted to suit one member's requirements, this setting may not suit others.
Laments the plight of silkworms that are 'kept shut in close, ill-aired cages' and work all day and night. They are 'continually dying off' from 'Consumption' and are commonly known as 'Needle-women'. Notes that needle-women work in atmospheres much more consumptive than 'the open air on a village green' and the author accordingly disputes the connection between consumption and cold weather.
Responds to plans for atmospheric railways and balloons carrying people 'from all the suburban places of amusement'. Notices the launch of BalloonBalloon or Aerostatic Magazine
Directory CloseView the register entry >>, a periodical which Punch suspects will only have a few readers. Agrees that it is an 'Age of Air', especially given the 'innumerable railway bubbles that are being continually blown off'.
Summarises the views of a 'distinguished metaphysician' on the 'Agricultural Mind', which possesses qualities of 'Consciousness, Perception, Conception, Imagination, Memory, and Judgement'. Contends that the agricultural mind is 'conscious of being in a predicament', perceives 'what it sees, but not what it does not see', and conceives 'external objects', but not 'how a labourer and his family can live upon seven shillings a week'. (97) Adds that it can imagine farm buildings but not 'fields ploughed by steam, or crops raised by electricity', and although its memory is short, it can remember when wheat was 'so much [...] a load'. It is also a 'good judge of horse-flesh' and grain but occasionally resorts to 'MOORE'SMoore, Francis
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>AlmanackVox Stellarum
Directory CloseView the register entry >>' for predicting the weather. An illustration, with the caption 'Professor Buckwheat Educing the Agricultural Mind', shows a figure lecturing to agricultural workers with an electrical machine. (98)
Punch contends that the great merit of Charles W Pasley'sPasley, Sir Charles William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> reports on railway accidents is that they are 'so very scientific that unlearned people can make neither head nor tail of them'. Offers a specimen report that it regards as similar to Pasley's. The report consists of highly technical, meaningless, and ultimately unhelpful explanations and suggestions. For example, it argues that 'It is a well-known fact in physics, that two solids coming into a state of cohesion with other, will leave no room between, and the pressure upon the bone of a man's leg would be at least one in nine, which would account for the fracture of the limb of one of the passengers'.
Illustration shows Robert PeelPeel, Sir Robert, 2nd Baronet
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> driving a steam locomotive labelled 'EXPEDIENCY', which is seen pulling a carriage marked with the words '£30,000' and 'Maynooth'—a reference to Peel's controversial bill to give this sum to the impoverished Roman Catholic seminary, Maynooth CollegeSt Patrick's College, Maynooth CloseView the register entry >>. The text regretfully announces the accident that happened to Peel's train, an accident caused by Peel's recklessness as a driver and the 'exceedingly crooked' line that he was following. Adds that had he not been driving Expediency, the accident might have been fatal, and that by 'keeping up the speed that he succeeded in keeping clear of the dead-weight [the Maynooth bill] at his back'.
Adulteration, Industry, Manufactories, Progress, Government
Sarcastically notes that 'adulteration [...] is a species of manufacturing skill which improves whatever it is employed upon'. Adds that the 'statutes against adulteration, being regarded as a check on the progress of science', are usually disregarded by British merchants.
Anatomy, Steamships, Engineering, Military Technology, War, Museums, Hospitals
Applauds the Admiralty'sAdmiralty
CloseView the register entry >> decision to investigate the 'rotten' state of the Royal NavyRoyal Navy
CloseView the register entry >> in general, and their steamships in particular. Announces the possibility of 'Professorships of Naval Morbid Anatomy' for improvement of warships, and 'Museums, for the preservation of diseased specimens' of ship parts. Hopes for 'Hospitals, for the application of the discoveries to be made by the dissection of the dead hull to the benefit of the living craft'.
Provides a specimen of a spelling-book for Edward, Prince of WalesEdward VII, King of Great Britain and Ireland and
of the British Dominions Beyond the Seas, Emperor of India
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, which justifies deer hunting and accordingly tries to propagate the 'tastes and habits' of Queen VictoriaVictoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Ireland, and Empress of India
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> and the Prince of Wales. It includes the lines: 'The Deer is a poor weak Brute, which it is good to Kill [....] It is a fine sport to see the Deer fall Dead in the Place'.
Reports that the unaccountable spell of wet weather forced James SouthSouth, James
DSB CloseView the register entry >> to improve his telescope and John F W HerschelHerschel, Sir John Frederick William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> to embark on a long and fruitless analysis of a nebula. Notes South's joy at learning of the opening of Vauxhall GardensRoyal Gardens, Vauxhall CloseView the register entry >> and summarises South's explanation of the link between the wet weather and the opening of the gardens. The explanation involves the vaporisation by gas lamps and fireworks of Thames water in the trees in Vauxhall Gardens. Believes South and Herschel are supporters of 'the Vauxhall nebulous theory'.
Describes a system of 'railway communication' and telegraphy used by George HudsonHudson, George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, the 'Railway King', in his London residence. His domestic railway connects the drawing-room with the pantry, a telegraph replaces bells and there are special trains for servants, children, women-servants, 'men at eleven', and the hall-porter.
Voices public desire for a whistle to be invented, which will allow one train to warn another of 'approaching danger', especially because death by railway accident is too high a price to pay for 'their whistle'.
Describes archaeologists as people who spend their time unrolling 'a mummy on account of the number of its coats and the length of time they have been worn'. Accordingly regards Holywell Street (the haunt of many old clothes' vendors) as a perfect site for the British Archaeological AssociationBritish Archaeological Association
CloseView the register entry >>. Notes, moreover, that it is a site where there are many barrows. Describes the activities of the association, including a lecture 'on the coat of a mail guard', the presentation of an essay comparing the 'Coptic Roll' with the 'French Roll', and an exhibition of ancient and modern shoes.
Punch, 9 (1845), 145.
The Baccometer; A New Invention, with some Description of the Working Model
Describes an invention for showing 'how far you have gone'. Consisting mostly of 'pumps, lamp-posts' and pieces of gutter, this 'complete index to conviviality' requires the user to watch 'the various phases in which common street objects present themselves to the vino-obnebulated [inebriated] imagination'. One example portrays 'the philosopher, whose duplicated vision on consulting the Bacchometer fills him with the idea that he is a quadruped provided with two latch-keys, may safely consider himself in a situation of 'How came you so?'.
Describes the treatment of 'black eyes' in potatoes as if they were the variety found in humans. Accordingly, describes farmers' use of 'Grimstone's Eye Snuff', and appends a letter from 'A Tatur', a potato who testifies to the beneficial effects of the same remedy.
Describes the 'Stag', the nickname for the 'railway ruminant', as if he were the animal of that name. Notes that the animal 'sheds a new branch directly there is any premium', and 'often causes great annoyance to the bulls and bears in the neighbourhood of the Stock ExchangeStock Exchange
CloseView the register entry >>'.
Responds to the appearance in London of 'an apple with the silver pips', a fruit which, according to Punch, 'really contained a shilling'. Takes the 'scientific liberty' of calling it 'Poma Cadiensis' and observes that it is of 'very quick growth', only five minutes being needed to produce 'a ripstone to the value of sixpence' but longer for the 'largest specimens'. Adds that the fruit will be 'invaluable at elections'.
The illustration is a map of England showing the profusion of railway lines that are expected to be completed within two years. The text warns that, although the country 'will never be in chains', it 'will soon be in irons'. Adds that although railways shorten journey time, 'we shall soon be unable to go anywhere without crossing the line'.
Shows a scene outside a dingy hovel. A shady figure dressed as a gentleman speaks to an elderly lady standing in a doorway, and introduces a man standing nearby as 'the young Gent. as takes my business', and points out that he is himself 'agoin' into the Railway-Director Line myself'.
Punch, 9 (1845), 175.
Preliminary Prospectus of the Grand Political Railway
Exploiting an implicit analogy between political movements and railway traffic, this advertisement, subtitled, 'Peel'sPeel, Sir Robert, 2nd Baronet
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> Line', offers 'a direct communication between the Whig and Tory termini'. Expects 'Corn' to cause 'a tremendous traffic on the Political Railway' and that the 'severe' gradients' may be overcome, thus preventing the 'ups and downs on the lines from being too sudden and precipitous'. Believes customers will be 'decidedly favourable to the proposed Railway' because it allows great changes in political points of view.
Believes that the only way of handling the insanity which has produced 'the variety of new, impracticable, and useless' railway schemes is to build a 'Asylum for Railway Lunatics'. The illustration depicts Punch's design for such a building—a white building from which emanate several railway lines.
Noting the difficulty of building a brake strong enough to 'stop a train suddenly', the writer expects that such an invention will soon appear and immediately stop the 'further progress' of the railway business.
The illustration and text represent the Prime Minister Robert PeelPeel, Sir Robert, 2nd Baronet
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> as a butterfly, who 'peels' into a 'monopolist caterpillar', and then into a grub. Likens Peel's political activities to the movements of a butterfly. For example, citing Georges L Leclerc, comte de BuffonBuffon, Georges-Louis Leclerc,
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, observes that when Peel 'designs to fly a considerable distance, it ascends and descends alternately, going sometime to the right, sometimes to the left, without any apparent reason'.
Railways, Transport, Time, Hunting, Class, Politics, Government, Environmentalism
The illustration shows a terrified equestrian fox-hunter being chased along a railway track by a steam locomotive displaying some of the attributes of 'Father Time'. The front of the machine sports long, grey whiskers, while the body of the locomotive is labelled 'Time' and sprouts wings. The spoof proceedings describe a meeting of 'country gentlemen' in a 'well-known hunting district', who discuss the likely effects fox-hunting of 'the lines of railway about to intersect the kingdom'. The chairman laments the 'railway map' of England appearing in 'the last number of the "Railway Guide"Bradshaw's Monthly Railway Guide
ODNB, s.v. Bradshaw, George CloseView the register entry >>' and the possibility that he and his fellow hunters will soon have nowhere to run. Sir Nimrod Snaffles attacks ParliamentHouses of Parliament
CloseView the register entry >> for the possibility that railways will destroy fox-hunting, and describes the difficulty of following the scent of a fox along a railway line on which a steam locomotive is running, and of the likely death of such a fox in a railway tunnel. Snaffles urges Parliament to stop 'further railway extension', a motion seconded by Whyte Corduroys, a statesman who dismisses the possibility of hunting 'by steam' and advises his friends to still enjoy their sport and to 'commence instantly hunting the railway Stag'.
Railways, Transport, Religious Authority, Accidents, Exhibitions, Architecture
Relishes news that several clergymen are among the directors of the 'proposed railways', suggesting that such individuals should travel on each train and 'be on the spot to administer consolation in the case of mortal casualty'. Points out that clergymen are forbidden by law to 'deal for gain and profit', and reminds 'certain Deans and Chapters' that they should remember these laws when displaying religious statues. This is a criticism of the authorities of Westminster AbbeyWestminster Abbey
CloseView the register entry >> for charging the public a 2d admission fee for inspecting the tombs and statues in the abbey.
Proposes a 'Railway Births, Deaths, and Marriages' column in newspapers to cope with the number of schemes that are launched, united, or which collapse. Would like to see information regarding the health of 'infants', the cause of 'deaths', and the amalgamation of interests.
Punch, 9 (1845), .
"Where Ignorance is Bliss, 'Tis Folly to be Wise!" (New Version)
Shows two male street urchins standing on a street corner. A nearby wall is strewn with advertisements for railway periodicals. One boy asks the other to explain 'a Panic', to which 'Jim' replies: 'Blow'd if I know; but there's Von to be seen in the City'.
Quackery, Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment
Responds to an outcry against quackery in the LancetLancet
Directory CloseView the register entry >> by noting that the quack is 'essential to the comfort' of many people and 'in fact, Physician of the Fools'. Urges that quacks should be prevented from calling themselves what they are not (medical men) and 'suffered' to call themselves what they are (quacks).
Criticises George C G F BerkeleyBerkeley, George Charles Grantley Fitzhardinge
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> for his harsh prosecution of two poachers. Considers that Berkeley 'looks upon the iniquity of a poacher with the same horror that a priest of old Egypt would have considered any offence committed on the animals sacred to his temple,—and for the same profound and touching reason'. Describes the difficulty of teaching the sin of hunting and the 'property of game' to 'rustics', and wonders whether Berkeley should have 'compassion for lower men, who cannot recognise sin in an act which [...] so shocks the moral sense of a sporting gentleman'.
Begins by describing the ubiquity of railway projects in London, including railways 'being carried along the streets of London supported on iron posts of the gas lamps'. Suggests that this warrants the establishment of a 'Railway Parliament', which will devote itself 'exclusively to Railway business'. Drawing an implicit analogy between political constituencies and lines, the author explains how each line would have two representatives in this parliament, and that representatives of the upper house would have such titles as 'the Marquis of the Central Terminus' and 'Baron Broad Gauge'. (212) Proceeds to complain about the disruption caused to London cab traffic by engineers calculating routes of proposed railway lines, and to the plethora of apparently useless lines in and around London. Explains that the new parliament would open with a procession, illustrated by a series of three 'frescoes by Punch's artist'. The illustrations show Mr Punch and his dog Toby leading a procession of railway statesmen, some of whom ride steam locomotives, which sport horses' heads and rear up like horses.
Reports that the Thames Tunnel CompanyThames Tunnel Company
CloseView the register entry >> is about to 'dispose of its shaft' and thinks that if all the 'shafts of ridicule' that were launched at the company were 'collected together' they would greatly profit shareholders.
Describes a scene in the author's coal cellar in which the author's dog has a railway engineer's leg 'clasped in its teeth'. A railway surveyor, who was calculating the cellar's 'facilities for a tunnel', has fallen into a water-butt while investigating the 'practicability of a cutting'. Warns 'all surveyors and engineers in England' of the dog.
Railways, Steamships, Engineering, Invention, Transport
Responds to a proposal to build a railway for conveying ships between the commercial and manufacturing towns of the north of England. With ships being carried overland, believes that the 'sea will become a superfluity, and a Company to bottle it off may be formed immediately'.
Responds to news of a scheme for raising 'the sea-water from Brighton to London by means of a pipe lying on the side of the London and Brighton RailwayLondon and Brighton Railway
CloseView the register entry >>'. Ridicules the scheme by pointing out that it will be impossible to distribute the sea-water to Londoners desiring a 'sea-water bath', and that only a quarter of a pint of the substance will be available per household.
Criticises John ConollyConolly, John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> for omitting the subject of 'Railway mania' from his 'Lectures on Insanity' at Hanwell Lunatic AsylumCounty Lunatic Asylum, Hanwell CloseView the register entry >>. Gives a detailed description of the causes, symptoms, and cure of the disease. Among the 'predisposing causes' are 'a sanguine and credulous disposition' and 'constitutional dislike to work', while the symptoms include 'wild talk' of 'Shares, Scrip, Premiums, and Grand Junctions', writing frantically for 'Shares in lines that are, and always will be, imaginary', and selling of one's property and business. Observes that 'Modern Science has mitigated the severities that formerly attended the treatment of mania' and suggests such treatments as confinement, 'cold lotions to the head', 'blistering', gagging and flogging.
Explains that Mr Punch, the chairman of the company, seeks to interest people in a railway. Boasts that the speed of the train will 'baffle the most determined parent, the best horse, and most honest and energetic postboys', and that, owing to its atmospheric nature, it will avoid all types of collision, especially those 'with the friends of the runaway heiress'. Adds that the trip to Gretna Green, formerly confined to the rich, will now be 'within the reach of the public at large'. Fears that the scheme might be ruined by the government's abolition of the 'privileges of Gretna Green'.
Reports on Professor Plodder's paper on the 'Anatomical Peculiarities of the Barrister's Tongue' presented at a 'medico-legal society'. Among the professor's findings are the tongue's 'unusual length' (a provision enabling the seizing of 'prey'), and its facility for 'circuitous and roundabout movements, so essential to the practice of pleading'. Proposes a nomenclature for the 'distinct muscles of large size' in barrister's tongues, a nomenclature satirizing barristers' disingenuous and obnoxious practices. These include the 'Suppressor Veri', a muscle enabling the barrister to suppress the truth 'at his convenience', and 'Patheticus Linguae', a muscle 'used in making clap-trap appeals to British juries'.
Railways, Commerce, Disease, Medical Treatment, Government
Implicitly likening the burgeoning potato disease to the railway mania, reports that the potato disease has spread to the 'Provincial Stock Exchanges' where the worse affected 'plants' (i.e. railway schemes) are those 'grown on chalk formation'. Explains that the 'rottenness commences with the Stags, and rapidly spreads to the Brokers' and that 'scarce one good scheme in ten can now be found'. Adds that the 'species called the "Director"' lacks the 'bottom to endure the very stormy weather we have had lately' and that 'shutting up [plants] in stone jugs' did not stop the progress of the disease. Recommends the appointment of government commissions to 'separate the good from the rotten stock', and that 'ports should be opened' to import 'honesty'
Pharmaceuticals, Analytical Chemistry, Public Health, Societies, Metallurgy
Reports on a conversazione at the 'Pharmaceutical Society'Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain
CloseView the register entry >> which witnessed such frivolous events as the exhibition of a 'soda-water jug' which sprayed water over the audience, the analysis of 'Knocker Metal', and an inquiry into 'the State of Health of the Inspectors of Police in the surrounding neighbourhood '.
Responding to news that the 'science of engineering' can be bought for 'six guineas', argues that few will miss this opportunity of gaining a qualification for a profession paying 'two or three guineas a day'. Mocks the principle of a railway surveyor's education as, 'Measuring for Fun, made Engineering in Earnest'.
Reports that surveyors are now affected by the railway 'panic' and are being forced to sell their 'scientific instruments'. Expects pawnbrokers to be besieged by 'engineers and surveyors' carrying theodolites and thinks it might be possible to sell to pawnbrokers 'pieces of wood' assembled to look like a scientific instrument.
Describes the havoc caused in his house when his son launched a 'dreadful little gimcrack'—a 'sort of compound of windmill and a humming top'. Concludes that 'the toy was constructed upon scientific principles' and while knowing 'nothing about "scientific"', believes the inventor 'had very loose principles'. The illustration shows the windmill and its base.
Following William Buckland'sBuckland, William
DSB CloseView the register entry >> 'elaborate paper' on the advantages of growing peas rather than potatoes, describes experiments disputing Buckland's claim that peas fortify the body's 'fibre and muscle', and supporting the energy-giving qualities of the potato. Ridicules Buckland's claims that eating beans and sucking pocket handkerchiefs can provide a substitute for the potato.
Chemistry, Instruments, Politics, Government, Gas Chemistry
Reports on the invention of an instrument for 'ascertaining, scientifically, the intensity of Parliamentary debates'. The instrument, consisting of a vessel of limewater, enables the conversion of the carbonic acid evolved by politicians into carbonate of lime. The latter will 'furnish a regular score against members'. Adds that since the absorption of carbonic acid purifies the air, the instrument will benefit the House of CommonsHouse of Commons
CloseView the register entry >>.
Reports on a discussion of the discovery, in Manchester, of 'a block of millstone-grit, with three foot-prints in it'. The discussion prompted several learned people to propose ridiculous theories of the origin of the prints including Dr Black, who ascribed them to 'a stout boy's highlow [laced boots]', and Mr James Heywood, who, following William BucklandBuckland, William
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, argued that they were made by 'a tortoise taking a stroll'. Punch hopes it can illuminate the problem by submitting to 'these gentlemen' a patch of mud containing an impression of a Wellington boot.
Reports on the case of an 'old lady' who slept for 'upwards of ten days'. Explains that whilst medical men were discussing the case, her condition was explained by the fact that she had been reading the soporific Morning HeraldMorning Herald and Daily Advertiser
CloseView the register entry >> for 'three successive months'.