Punch,  49 (1865), 160.

Mr Carlyle on Progress

Fogy Jim


Letter, Spoof


Progress, Industry, Commerce, Pollution, Railways

    Addressed to 'Hobson Dobson, Esq., the Chairman of the Omnium Junction Railway Company', this letter discusses a passage in Carlyle 1858–65 in which Thomas Carlyle laments the noise and smells introduced into England by technological and commercial progress. Objects to Carlyle's criticism of what the author believes to be 'the development of the commercial and industrial resources, mechanical and material progress, of the British Empire'. Interprets Carlyle's attack on the 'Prosperities' that cover 'the at once creditably clean and comely face of England with mud-blotches' and 'miscellaneous squalors and horrors' as an attack on 'those extensive works' which 'constitute sources of such ample emolument to their proprietors', and insists that the pollution is less extensive than Carlyle insists. Tries to deflect Carlyle's complaint about the excessive noise of industry by suggesting that railways and 'any other means of procuring wealth' should not be sacrificed to 'considerations of a merely sentimental nature'. Concludes by attacking Carlyle's view of English manufactures as 'Shoddy' and his critique of mammon-worship.

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