Punch,  52 (1867), 81.

Botany for Fenian Boys



Reportage, Spoof

Relevant illustrations:



Politics, Zoology, Botany, Taxonomy, Narcotics, Mental Illness, Medical Treatment, Crime

    The initial letter of the article forms part of an illustration showing several Fenians as bats, sporting large black wings and their usual hats. The text describes a lecture given in Chester by 'Professor Vinegar', the geographical reference identifying this as a response to the recent (13 February) failed attempt by Fenians to seize Chester. The lecturer describes to his audience, who consist mainly of Fenians, the various species of a plant 'of the natural order Cannibinaceae'. He points out that this includes two genera, Cannabis and Humulus, and tells his audience that they are undoubtedly familiar with the latter genus, since its chief species is the hop plant. The lecturer then details the properties of Cannabis sativa or hemp, noting that it not only has narcotic properties when taken internally but, when 'twisted into rope' and applied externally, can be used to suppress 'those disorders in the body politic that come under the name of insurrection'. The application of a hemp ligature around the neck of the patient exercises 'a beneficial influence on others', he adds, and warns his audience that if they continue along their present 'road to rebellion', John Bull will hang some of them.

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