Punch,  43 (1862), 32.

St Swithun and Science (To the Editor of the Tablet)



Letter, Spoof


Comparative Philology, Superstition, Meteorology, Religious Authority, Religion, Unbelief, Periodicals, Natural Theology, Observatories, Education, Government

    Ironically upholding the causal relationship between the weather on St Swithun's day and the succeeding forty days as a 'pious opinion', asks for the Tablet editor's opinions on an Athenaeum report containing the 'dangerous if not pernicious statement' that there is no meteorological evidence supporting this tradition. The author seeks to prove his piety by condemning the Royal Observatory, Greenwich—where such evidence was produced—as 'one of those pestilent institutions where the Book of Nature is read and interpreted under no condition of restraint or guidance by ecclesiastical authority'. Proceeds to condemn observers at Greenwich for publishing facts which 'ought never to have taken place' and points out that this contradiction of Catholic doctrine would 'be impossible under a system of Catholic teaching', a system being blocked by Henry J Temple (3rd Viscount Palmerston), the 'persecuting Premier'.

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