Punch,  57 (1869), 92.

Naval Inconstancy

Tom Trunnion


Letter, Spoof


Military Technology, Steamships, Gender, Nationalism

    Written from the perspective of a somewhat illiterate sailor, this discusses the decision of the lords of the Admiralty to reject the HMS Favourite (a screw armour-plated corvette) in favour of the HMS Inconstant. Comparing the vessels to female dancing partners, the author notes that the Inconstant 'is a lively young craft' with a 'thin waist', and is not surprised that the lords of the Admiralty preferred it. Proceeds to discuss the coal-powered 'Revolvers', and believes 'smoke jacks' will revolutionise 'marrytime warfare' as much as the 'Spinning Jenny' has revolutionised cloth production. In a postscript he anticipates that Britannia will rule the waves with a 'rod of iron' rather than her 'black-lead pencil'.

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