Punch,  50 (1866), 43–44.

Dreams of the Two Emperors



Letter, Spoof

Relevant illustrations:



Government, Politics, Sanitation, Pollution, Public Health, Railways, Light, Technology, Cultural Geography

    The initial character of this spoof letter forms part of an illustration showing Emperor Napoleon III of France asleep over a large letter 'O'. The scene represented within the 'O' shows Napoleon's dream (which he communicated to Mr Punch) of 'autocratic metropolitan power for a short time in London'. The text reveals that Napoleon's plans include 'making a clean sweep' of major thoroughfares, tunnelling the city to divert traffic away from the thoroughfares, preventing railway engines from screaming 'in or within five miles of the Metropolis', removing the right to build 'bridges over the streets until they had invented some way of running trains on them without any noise', instituting 'new machinery for water supplies', hanging 'most of the Directors of Gas Companies', and lighting London. The illustration portrays various aspects of this dream and shows the envisioned technological improvements as labourers: for example, steam locomotives are navvies, and a set of bellows marked 'pneumatic rail' and gas lamps hold shovels. (43)

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