Punch,  50 (1866), 160.

How We Kill Our Paupers





Class, Utilitarianism, Health, Disease, Industry, Hospitals, Government, Politics

    Discusses aspects of Ernest A Hart's 'account of the way in which the sick are nursed in London workhouses'. Presents evidence of poorly paid and overworked workhouse surgeons who have to attend large numbers of paupers suffering from 'acute diseases'. Compares the poor supply of surgeons to the poor supply of air from 'Bumbledom' to workhouses, noting that paupers in workhouse infirmaries breath the air contaminated with fumes from bone boilers and with dust. (The reference is to the parish beadle Bumble in Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist.) Insists this demonstrates that 'Bumbledom' cannot be trusted with 'the care of our sick poor', and notes the probable resistance to a society for improving workhouse infirmaries from 'all the empty-headed parrots who prate about the virtues of self-government' and criticise centralisation. Urges that 'no parrot' must 'dissuade us from our duty, even if we have to kick the Bumbles into space'.

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