Punch,  59 (1870), 92.

Thoughts of Great Men. (Now First Collected)  [6/6]



Extract, Spoof, Essay, Serial


Human Development, Breeding, Invention, Transport, Steam-power, Politics, Government, Publishing, Education, Class, Philosophy, Psychology, Metaphysics, Causation

    A series of unlikely extracts that comment on contemporary themes. The first, from Thomas R Malthus, praises the sight of a 'perambulator filled with healthy children!', judging it to be 'one of the most useful inventions of modern civilisation, and only third to the steam-engine and the patent feeding-bottle'. Another, from Benjamin Franklin, condemns liberty and the freedom of the press, preferring that 'printing ink had never been invented' than it should have been 'abused to disseminate, amongst the humbler sorts of men, those notions of equality, and that spirit of insubordination to constituted authority, which are the dangerous symptoms of this levelling age'. (92) An extract from George Berkeley ponders the origin of ideas, the analysis of which will need to be recorded, although the mill for producing the paper on which such records will be made has not yet been built. The extract also notes that 'If the mind of man were a tabula rasa [...] we could believe [..] in an endless succession of elastic causations [of thought] [...] but as it is we are left to grope on in the dim vaults of dusty speculation'. (93)

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]