Mirror of Literature,  11 (1828), 169–71.

Men and Candles



Extract, Miscellaneous, Drollery

Publications extracted:

Monthly Magazine


Scientific Practitioners, Chemistry, Death, Population, Political Economy

Institutions mentioned:

Select Committee on Emigration

    Reflects humorously on a report in The Times, 1 January 1828, that 'An able chemist and physician declares his conviction, that it would be possible to transmute dead bodies into candles' (169). Suggests that this would be a suitable alternative to emigration as a remedy for over-population, especially in Ireland. Considers some of the possible outcomes of the procedure, noting: 'It would be grievous for a president of a Royal Society to be crammed into a bottle, and placed in a back garret, to twinkle the hours away, until the tennant—some sans-culotte bricklayer's labourer—staggered home, and puffed the ex-president out. [...] Physicians and doctors would make but tolerable candles—they would always appear with "winding-sheets" in them. [...] We should not like to see [...] a modern Brummell light his cigar at a Dr. Franklin' (170).

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