Punch,  57 (1869), 157.

Circular to Poor Law Guardians

S Pancras


Letter, Spoof


Animal Husbandry, Disease, Nutrition, Utilitarianism, Human Development, Health, Nutrition, Morality

    Signed by the saint after whom a notorious London workhouse is named (St Pancras Poor Law Union Workhouse), this letter reminds poor-law guardians of the foot and mouth epidemic which is 'now raging' among 'milch cows and feeding stock', an epidemic that has raised the price of dairy of milk, cheese and butter. He also reminds the guardians that the 'papers' may have informed them that the cruelty inflicted on cattle 'during their conveyance both by sea and land carriage' probably aggravates cattle plague and foot and mouth disease. Proceeds to tell them that the quantity of meat which they can provide for their inmates 'amounts to a very few' ounces, but asks them that 'If we were heathens' or cannibals we should be 'almost as anxious about the medical treatment of our sick poor as we are about that of our diseased cattle'. This implies that, since guardians are not heathens, they should take even better care of sick paupers than animals.

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