Punch,  53 (1867), 245.

"Educate! Educate!"



Essay, Drollery


Education, Politics, Government, Physical Geography, Astronomy, Natural History, Ornithology, Mathematics, Gender, Economic Geology, Archaeology

    Begins by distinguishing the 'carnivorous creatures' defined by Georges Cuvier, the 'graminivorous creatures' defined by Richard Owen, and the 'pecunivorous creatures' defined by 'Punchaeus'. Explains that one species of this genus is the 'Special Commissionerman' who is commissioned by Mr Punch to investigate 'the truth of certain allegations that have lately been made' concerning the 'mental destitution' of people 'whose incomes range from £100 to £100,000 a year' and to 'ascertain whether they are without the common necessaries of education'. Adds that Mr Punch has supplied each of the commissioners with a copy of Robert Lowe's 'Edinburgh address' in which the statesman criticised the antiquated educational programmes at English schools and universities (see PU1/53/21/6). Claims that this investigation produced 'an immense mass of matter' but presents five spoof cases that demonstrate the need for the 'Ministers of the Crown to introduce a scheme for the general and compulsory education rate in February next'. These include Cecil Augustus Hambleton, a forty year-old government worker whose grammar school education involved reading such works as Butler 1813 but who confesses to having remembered only a little classical, historical and geographical knowledge, including 'the geographical position of Epirus and the Symplegades' and the 'uses of the blowpipe'. Another case is Evelyn Allingham Etheredge, a twenty-seven year-old cavalry officer who appears to have forgotten most of his school knowledge of history and the classics. He '[i]s not certain whether the sun moves round the earth, or the earth round the sun', believes the Jacobins are 'fancy pigeons', and cannot 'cast up his tradesman's bills'. Similarly, Mabel Meredith Ashton, a twenty-year old governess, admits that she is 'not pressed by her partners for her views on the probable exhaustion of our coal-fields, and the nature of the implements found in the Drift'.

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