Punch,  46 (1864), 151.

Hard Labour in Store

Abel Handy


Letter, Spoof


Force, Energy, Palaeontology, Steam-power, Work, Physiology, Political Economy, Nutrition

    Acknowledges Mr Punch's knowledge of the 'Conservation of Force' and the notion that the solar force is 'conserved in the Coal Fields', which are the remains of 'pre-Adamite tree-ferns' that 'extracted and appropriated' the carbon from the atmosphere. Goes on to acknowledge Mr Punch's awareness of the fact that coal permits the 'light and heat' of the sun to be 'reproduced' but stresses the warnings of 'scientific men' about the exhaustion of coalfields. Upholds the need to 'economise force' and, comparing the stomachs of convicts to the furnaces of steam-engines, argues in favour of exploiting the 'muscular exertions of every convict' which is currently only being wasted 'on the prison air'. Suggests that convicts should be 'employed in pumping atmospheric air into iron cylinders furnished with valves', the 'force put into the convicts in the form of meat and vegetables' being stored in a measurable quantity of 'compressed air', itself being used to supply 'motive power'. Suggests the possibility of other ways of 'bottling convict labour'.

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