Punch,  12 (1847), 123.

Lord Palmerston's Consolations of Philosophy



Reportage, Drollery


Astronomy, Light, Invention, Public Health, Disease, Politics, Government

    Discusses the address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science by Foreign Secretary Henry J Temple (3rd Viscount Palmerston), who argued that the 'contemplation of the vastness of the universe was admirably calculated [...] to render us indifferent to sublunary woes'. Claims that Palmerston put his theory to practice since, having contemplated astronomical subjects, he ignored important foreign affairs. Adds that Palmerston suggested that the government employ the astronomer William Parsons (3rd Earl of Rosse) to ensure that the Irish, 'by the visual assurance that nebulae are astral agglomerations', sustain the 'loss of the potato'. Concludes with Palmerston's proposal to use a 'night telescope' in fever hospitals to prevent 'bodily anguish'.

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