Punch,  45 (1863), 102–03.

Uncertainty of Foreign Intelligence

True Briton


Letter, Spoof


Belief, Reasoning, Vulcanology, Meteorology, Nationalism, Cultural Geography, Superstition

    Opens by informing Mr Punch of the virtues of dismissing 'anything whatever that is extraordinary', arguing that the large number of occasions on which 'you are right' will 'gain [you] the credit for good sense', while a mistake will be put down to mere 'error on the side of judgment'. Insists that, since earthquakes do not occur in England, they do not occur elsewhere either; thus, he denies the plausibility of Mount Vesuvius and of reports of 'tremendous hail-storms and thunder-storms' in foreign countries. Ridicules as a 'fudge' a report in the Courier du Bas Rhin describing a shower of enormous hailstones, and considers 'all foreigners' to be 'natives' who are 'eaten up with credulity and abandoned to delusion', which can 'infect even British travellers'. Denies the actual magnitude of the American Civil War and the Polish insurrection, and concludes with another reflection on the untrustworthiness of 'Foreigners'.

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