Punch,  47 (1864), 257.

Forensic Medicine and Political Pathology



Essay, Drollery


Disease, Medical Treatment, Politics, Language

    Noting how 'Titles and truth separated many years ago by mutual consent', how 'Mottoes make no pretensions to veracity', and how 'many sciences [...] have long enjoyed' the 'privilege' of 'concealing in curious phraseology their cherished mysteries', the author presents extracts from 'two popular manuals' which describe various aspects of financial and political life as if they were medical symptoms. 'Rickets in Bankruptcy', for example, causes many 'stunted objects of legislative negligence' to crowd London's 'Superior Courts', whose 'natural flaccidity' can be 'aggravated' by being 'injudiciously puffed'. 'Cacoëthes loquendi—Maxillary Convulsions' refers to the 'irrespressible desire' of 'the youngest members of the legislative family' to 'get on his legs' and then to throw off a 'large amount of declamation'. The account warns that if 'long confined to the House of Commons' the patient may 'sink into a state of chronic boredom'. 'Tories' Nostalgia—Home-Office Sickness' refers to the Tory opposition's 'long involuntary absence' from government, and includes the tendency of 'The melancholy Member, separated from patronage and all he holds most dear', to 'sit for hours on a bench, gazing at a vacancy'.

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