Punch,  39 (1860), 39.

Effects of the Recent Eclipse



Reportage, Spoof


Astronomy, Observation, Amateurism, Politics, Magnetism, Narcotics, Meteorology

    Considering Punch the 'first scientific journal of the day', presents the 'fullest, truest, and the most particular account' of the recent solar eclipse, exploiting the observations of its 'sharpest-eyed' contributors. Laments the fact that it received written reports of the eclipse from a drunkard and that the documents contained information that could have been obtained without the reporter and his 'scientific co-labourers' venturing to Greenwich. However, notes that the reports will 'show the future Herschel' some of the 'strange effects' accompanying the eclipse which were not reported in 'any other journal'. Presents five spoof reports of these effects. These include reports by Smith, who linked the eclipse to politicians being 'in the dark' about the war with China and William E Gladstone's 'Spirit-Tax', by Tittle, who stated that the 'marked magnetic variation' during the eclipse caused a 'deviation' in the object of affection of 'several single gentlemen', and by Walker, who related that Mr Swizzler announced how much beer he had drunk on being 'urged by a scientific friend to make a note of what "precipitation of moisture" accompanied the Eclipse'.

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