Miscellany Amongst Which We Have:
Women’s Rights (or complete lack of) – (often nonsense) Allusions to Scotland/Scots (and the odd insult) – Opium Trade – Smoking Youths – Parliamentary Randomness – Superstitions – Britain’s (perhaps not so) Illustrious Naval Fleet – Impending World-Ending Comet – Religion in Politics – Mockery of American English – General Derision Towards Natives of any Country not England – Immoral Wetnursing – Hair Dye – Highland Clearances – Dangerous Mormons? – Noisy Catholics? – Funeral Performers – Chloroform for Seasickness – Commendable Intolerance – Game Laws.
This was written by Protestant Englishmen apparently solely for Protestant Englishmen. They don’t care who they insult; religion, nationality, race, it’s all fair game, though I’ve omitted some of the worst as not being relevant or suitable enough for publication here.
St Norah. – ST. NORAH was a poor girl, and came to England to service. Sweet-tempered and gentle, she seemed to love every thing she spoke to. And she prayed to ST. PATRICK that he would give her a good gift that would make her not proud but useful: and ST. PATRICK, out of his own head, taught ST. NORAH how to boil a potato. A sad thing, and to be lamented, that the secret has come down to so few. – p.iii.
NATIONAL HUMILIATION. – Monday, the 22nd of June, is the anniversary of the imposition of the Income-Tax. Persons in the receipt, or no longer in the receipt, of precarious incomes, fast. – p.vi.
THE CONSERVATIVE CLUB. – The emblem of this orderly association is the policeman’s bludgeon. – p.vi.
NATIONAL INSTINCT. – The Salmon in Scotland are distinguished by one very singular characteristic. It is well known that every Scotch Salmon, imbibing the spirit of caution peculiar to the country, look twice always before it leaps. – January 3, 1857., p.3
The Good of the Garotte.
Two cabriolet drivers had adjourned from their stand to an adjoining tavern, for the purpose of partaking of a slightly stimulating refreshment. “I say, BILL,” exclaimed cabriolet-driver, No. 1., “this is a bad work, this ‘ere garrottin’.” – “Bad work!” responded cabriolet-driver, No. 2, “unkimmon good work, I finds it – all the timid old gents as used to walk ‘ome of a hevenin’, stead o’ that, now they stands a chance o’ bein’ grotted, takes a cab.” – p.3.
AT the meeting to promote, according to advertisement. “Legislative prohibition of Street Smoking,” held last week in the spacious Vestry Hall of St. Pancras; the fulminations were tremendous, even when compared with the oratorical artillery with which the assembled vestry usually batter the walls of that resonant edifice. Juvenile street smoking was gravely denounced, as the source of a torrect of drunkenness, crime, and Sabbath desecration, which will utterly overwhelm the country, unless it be damned and stemmed by legislative prohibition. The designs of Russia; Parliamentary, Income-Tax, Law and Ecclesiastical Reform; Bolgrad; Naples; Neufchâtel; the Metropolitan Board of Works; every public question; every social improvement and national interest, sinks and falls in the estimation of the British-anti-tobacco Society-for-promoting-legislative-prohibition-of-juvenile-street-smoking, before the overwhelming importance of preventing the peripatetic issue of tobacco-smoke from under caps and out of round jackets. Poison, bankruptcy, delirium (of all sorts besides tremens), suicide, and every other variety of destruction and death being staked on this question, no other subject ought, in the estimation of the orators, to take precedence of the juvenile-street-smoking question at the approaching assemblage of Parliament. The Russian, Italian, and United States questions; every sort of Reform, must wait.
And the solution of such trifles will have to wait foor a considerable time. If the great little-boy-street-smoking question be of primary importance, must not an efficient baby-perambulator-prevention measure, in justice to the pedestrian community of the metropolis, be pressed upon the consideration of Parliament? Are there not a hundred other evils that cry out in our streets for removal – a hundred trumpet-tongued nuisances proclaiming a deadly necessity for abatement?
VI. An Act to be intituled the Omnibus Passenger’s Regulation Act. 1. Any person weighing more than sixteen (imperial) stone refusing to pay double fare to be – when practicable – ejected from the vehicle, and debarred the benefits of the statute in that case made and provided in cases of assault and battery. 2. No person to bring into such public conveyance wet umbrellas, puppies, portmanteaus, or milliner’s waggons, under penalty of forfeiting the same.
VII. An Act (applicable only to that part of HER MAJESTY’s dominions called Scotland,) to constitute the use of the adjective “English” in any bond, warrant, quittance, or obligation, newspaper, book, or any other public document, petit treason. – p.9.
“Set a Thief to Catch a Thief.”, January 10, 1857, p.18.
Tewkesbury and Glasgow.
MR. HUMPHREY BROWN is about to vacate Tewkesbury. When may Glasgow count upon the same favour at the hands of MR. MACGREGOR? Or is it that Scotland is so fond of the term “British” in preference to “English,” that even a dirty tumble on a British Bank makes a Glasgow member all the sweeter for his seat? – p.20.
Scotland Again in Mourning.
SCOTLAND is again desired to “mourn” by a heart-broken editor, whose elastic feelings stretch as far back as EDWARD THE FIRST. That unprincipled individual created great havoc “upon the archives and insignia of the country!” It is a lately discovered fact – a fact over which CALEDONIA is desired to drop at least a tear – that when EDWARD arrived at Roxburgh Castle “he had with him whole hampers of public documents, state papers, charters, burgh seals, and such like, all of which he had ruthlessly plundered as his armies passed from place to place.” Armies generally prefer state plate to state papers; and would rather lift and drive whole flocks of living sheep, than go ever so little out of the way to search for sheep’s dead parchment, men-at-arms being rarely antiquarians; but it was otherwise with EDWARD THE FIRST’s myrmidons. They were ruffians with a taste; bullies and swash-bucklers incliners to the historical; and therefore burgh-seals of wax and lead were far more attractive in their enlightened eyes than salvers and tankards. “It might form a subject for the justice-to-Scotland men,” writes the Scotch patriot, “to institute inquiries as to what of these memorials survive.” It is impossible to conceive a nobler, a more useful application of northern intellect. “If part of them still exist,” continues the ardent champion of his country’s glory, haply remaining in lead and parchment, “it might be a question if their concession to the original owner should not be asked.” We earnestly hope that, at least a few fiery souls will work their way to England in search of the stolen goods; for there can be no doubt that the precious plunder somewhere enriches the great national fence kept by the Southron. The parchments and seals are, doubtless, hoarded somewhere with the original knee-buckles of the first MACALLUM BORE; and ought toi be carried back in solemn procession to the land of seedy cakes.
BULWER has just delivered himself of one of his best firework orations, as the new Lord Rector of Glasgow. He glowingly counselled the young students to go forth into the world “with the lion of Scotland in their hearts, and the white cross of ST. ANDREW” – we forget where. Now, what could be nobler knight-errantry for these young Scotch lions crossed with ST. ANDREW, than to sally forth in search of the papers, the charters,and the burgh-seals carried from Scotland by EDWARD THE FIRST, and hidden in the closets, the store-rooms (much of the parchment covering the mouths of pickle-jars,) and the strong boxes of the Southron? The history of any one sch knight duly attended by his SANCHO duly mounted, the faithful animal fed with the national thistle, would make a finer poem than the Faëry Queen, a more splendid prose epic than Don Quixotte. We make a present of the idea to PROFESSOR AYTOUN, who, should he condescend to adopt it, will fo equal justice to Scotland and himself. EDWARD THE FIRST has long enough had it all his own way; and it is quite right that, even at this late hour, Scotland should bring the freebooter to the scratch. – January 31, 1857., p.42.
‘MOURN, CALEDONIA, MOURN!’ – Conversing lately with a gentleman who has been making researches in the Border antiquities, our national feelings were aroused by his description of the havoc committed by the first Edward in his invasion of Scotland upon the archives and insignia of the country. When Edward arrived at Roxburgh Castle he had with him whole hampers of public documents, state papers, charters, burgh seals, and such like, all of which he had ruthlessly plundered as his armies passed from place to place. It might form a subject for the justice to Scotland men at this hour to institute inquiries as to what of these memorials survive. If part of them still exist, it might be a question if their concession to the original owner should not be asked. They can be very little valued where they are, and they would be preserved in Scotland as mementoes of her independence and struggle for national existence. – N. B. Mail. – ‘Dumfries and Galloway Standard and Advertiser’, January 28, 1857.
A Teacher’s Work for a Scullion’s Wages.
We should like to know what are the usual wages of an ordinary maid-of-all-work in Scotland? They must be what good housewives call very reasonable indeed, if those of extraordinary maids-of-all-work are not generally more unreasonable than those offered in the subjoined advertisement extracted from a Scotch newspaper:-
A TEACHER, for the Ladies’ Seminary, Portsoy, capable of Teaching English, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Grammar, Geography, History and Music, as well as Knitting and Plain and Ornamental Needle-work. The Teacher must have a Government Certificate of Merit, or be prepared to be examined by HER MAJESTY’s Inspector for such Certificate. Salary – Eight Guineas per Annum.
Immediate application, inclosing Testimonials, to be made either to the REV. P. MURRAY, or the REV. A. COOPER, Portsoy.
December 27, 1856.
Here are ten branches of knowledge to be taught, and a proposal to allow a remuneration for teaching them, at the rate of 16s. a-year each to the educational maid-of-all-work. Is “Ladies’ Seminary” an euphemism? Does the phrase really mean ragged school? Or is the above announcement to be considered as a piece of Scotch practical “wut,” put forth by some humorous party desirous of ridiculing the parsimony practised towards teachers at the establishment in question; a parsimony really extreme, but of which the terms stated are a jocose exaggeration? If not, is not there a mistake in the statement that a “Government Certificate of Merit” will be required of the teacher? Surely the document intended to be specified – under the idea that a certain plan has been pursued by Government with female equally with male convicts, and that a reformed lady-thief might be willing to accept any terms as a teacher – must be a Ticket-of-Leave. – February 7, 1857., p.54.
A New Literary Fund.
MR. PUNCH was pleased to read, in one of last week’s papers, that a Scottish Literary Fund, for the relief of distressed authors, is in course of formation. All honour to the promoters, and all success to the undertaking.
As it is in its infancy, and youth is liable to err, Mr. Punch can conceive the possibility of this Literary Fund falling into a few errors., and therefore he has thrown together some hints, which, if considered before the rules and regulations of the New Fund be finally settled, may render them more suited to their purpose, and the character of the proposed charity, than they might be if modelled upon other principles.
When a gentleman, who has pursued the most honourable of avocations, is compelled to apply for assistance, do not make it necessary for him to bring a number of witnesses to testify that he is not a liar.
Have some men on your board who are acquainted with the literary world, or who, if unacquainted with the applicant, can quietly ascertain who and what he is. Spare poverty the additional humiliation of going round to its acquaintances to glean testimonials.
You will, of course, feel it your duty to inquire minutely into the antecedents of every applicant, but if you should discover that twenty years earlier somebody gave him twenty pounds, let your official be authorised to relieve his immediate wants, while he is endeavouring to satisfy your natural desire to know what became of all that money.
As a rule, if he alleges that he is starving, assist him within a month or so from his application.
Of course, if you have any idea that anybody else has an intention of assisting him, save your own money. But be tolerably sure that such a thing has been at least talked about.
If he be recommended to you by other gentlemen of character, you may as well accept their testimony, and not insult them by prosecuting inquiries to ascertain whether they have told the truth.
Do not impose upon the poor man the expensive task of sending you copies of all the works he has ever published, but let his application be referred to somebody who is acquainted with literature, or can find out a book by the aid of the catalogue in your University library.
If these, and some other suggestions which occur to Mr. Punch, and which he will take another opportunity of offering, be regarded in the spirit in which they are made, SCOTLAND will have reason to be satisfied with her Literary Fund. – p.57.
Hieroglyphics for the Head.
THE Lady’s Newspaper contains the following description of a fancy head-dress called the Coiffure Egyptienne:-
“It is formed of two bandeaux of groseille-colour velvet, embroidered with gold, and on one side there is the lotus flower, and on the other a bow of groseille-colour ribbon, figured with hieroglyphics of gold.”
A lady had better be cautious how she wears this head-dress. Much progress has been made of late in the deciphering of Egyptian symbols. One would not like to wear an inscription in those characters in one’s cap without being sure about the translation of it – would one? My beauties, suppose one of you to be at a party, with this cap on her head, and there to meet some University man, whom she has reason to suspect of understanding everything. “Oho!” says he, “You sport hieroglyphics.” Then, with a suppressed grin, he asks, “Do you know what they mean?” “Oh, dear, no,” is her reply. – “Do you?” He answers in that tone of voice which a man assumes when he is telling you a story which he does not mean you to believe – “N-n-no.” She sees that he does know what her hieroglyphics mean, and also that it is something very stupid. Shes sits, or dances, upon thorns during the rest of the night, and is probably deprived of sleep all the next day. – p.58.
[Although daft, there are now websites devoted to mistranslations of all kinds of things. The funniest, and most permanent, being tattoos in arabic, oriental, or cyrillic.]
Punch’s Essence of Parliament.
FEB. 3RD, 1857. Tuesday. Parliament reassembled. HER MAJESTY was pleased to have Her own gracious reason for non-appearance, and LORD CHANCELLOR CRANWORTH read the Speech for Her. Its contents were as follows:-
Glad to see you.
Treaty of Paris settled.
Prussia v. Switzerland ditto, I hope.
Have cut BOMBA.
Central America will be all right.
Am sworn friends with the KING OF SIAM.
Have walked into the Persians.
Have pitched into the Chinese.
Estimates to be as economical as possible.
Law amendments to be proposed.
Currency question must come up.
People content. Trade flourishing.
– February 14, 1857., p.61.
A Court Almoner Extraordinary.
THE Royal Household Books of the Middle Ages contain entries of Expenses, among which are occasionally found items of this description – “Pd ye [þe] Divell viiid;” that is to say, paid somebody eightpence for personating the devil in a “mystery” or “morality:” the palace theatricals of the period. Eightpence does not seem a very handsome remuneration for playing the devil; but money was more valuable then than it is now; and perhaps the Lord Chamberlain, or Master of the Revels, or whoever it was that had to regulate the salaries of the actors, did verily give “ye Divell” his due. – p.62.
Another Insult to Scotland.
MR. EWART has already given notice that he intends to assimilate the law affecting capital punishments in Scotland with the law in England! The effect of this insolent measure will be to throw the whole monopoly of hanging into the hands of the Southron CALCRAFT! If this new insult fails to arouse all the might and ire of Scotland, why Scotland must be already dead, and hanging of no further use or interest to her. – February 21, 1857., p.79.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Notices of Motions.
Mr. W. Ewart – Capital Punishment (Scotland) – Bill to abolish the laws enacting or prescribing capital punishment in Scotland, to the same extent as it has been abolished by the law of England. – ‘Morning Post’, February 26, 1857.
Punch’s Essence of Parliament.
Wednesday. SIR JOHN PAKINGTON introduced an Education Bill. He described it as neither compulsory nor general, and nothing worse can be said against such a measure. But there is no immediate hope of the sort of legislation required, for two hostile parties unite to hinder it. The Church party, English and Scotch, will permit no education unless the priest prescribe it, and the Liberals insist upon being so liberal as to leave it to a parent to say whether his children shall be taught or not. The Bill is meritorious in intention, but will be of little avail. The wisdom of the Legislature prefers building gaols to building schools.
Friday. That furious ultra-radical, the EARL OF STANHOPE, made a proposal (and actually carried it) for giving more publicity to the proceedings of the Lords, especially by printing the names and numbers on divisions. Several of the inferior officers of the House fainted away at this abnegation [rejection] of dignity, and were so weak throughout the remainder of the brief sitting, as to be reduced to make tolerably civil answers to strangers. One of these officials actually used the word “Sir” in replying to a gentleman, a phenomenon not within the memory of the oldest habitué of the chamber. – February 28, 1857., p.83.
Why Ladies Cannot Sit in Parliament.
ONE of the pet grievances of those strong-minded women, who lose their time and temper, in talking of their “Rights,” is that by the law as it at present stands, ladies are not suffered to have seats in Parliament. Now, without being ungallant enough to show the absurdity of making a complaint of what they ought to feel rejoiced at, we will be content with simply proving that to comply with their demand would be at present quite impossible. Granting that a Female Parliament, or House of Ladies, were to meet, we need scarcely dwell upon the difficulty that there would be in stopping them from speaking all together: not how impossible the Speakeress would find it to proceed with public business, without enforcing some such order as that not more than six (say) should be on their legs at once. But it seems to us that were memberesses properly returned, it would still be quite preposterous for more than one in twenty of them to expect to have a seat, for the simple reason that, unless their numbers were extremely limited, it would be impossible to find a room to hold them. In their present state of Crinoline, ladies on an average require at least a dozen yards of sitting room a-piece; and were they to return as many members as the gentlemen, it has been estimated that the space which would be covered by above six hundred petticoats would considerably exceed a couple of acres. Such a room as this of course would have to be constructed specially; and until the present Houses are completed, it would be preposterous to vote supplies for new ones. It is probable, however, that by the time of the completion of the now erecting structures – that is to say by the end of the next [20th] century – the fashion will have changed, and the present blown-up petticoats have become exploded; in which case the erection of a Female House of Parliament would then be no more necessary than, we are so ungallant to think, it would be at this present. – March 7, 1857., p.99.
Latest from America.
THE understanding American politics is of course out of the question, and we should despise the braggart who affected to comprehend them. But a fact is a fact, and we therefore extract from a leading article in the New York Herald its very latest Summary of domestic affairs in the States.
“THE PRINCIPLE OF REGULAR NOMENCLATURE HAS RECEIVED A BLACK EYE FROM THE BOGUS DEMOCRACY OF THE OYSTER CELLARS.”
Without pretending to the faintest comprehension of the meaning of this statement, we publish it as the last news from America. What is the reason why, with this kind of slang accepted in society as an exposition of the politics of the States, our American relatives keep up the nonsense of alleging that the two countries speak one language? – March 21, 1857., p.118.
Scotch Law and Sunday.
IT is not true that every one of the minor Scotch judges is a Sabbatarian hypocrite. MR. JOHN MACLAURIN, the Sheriff Substitute of Argyllshire, has shown himself capable, in a Sunday case, of pronouncing a judgment unbiassed by fanaticism. This learned gentleman, according to the Daily Scotsman, has delivered “an interlocutor and note” in actions of damages, brought by two Glasgow spirit dealers, travellers by the Emperor steamer on a Sunday, against two hotel-keepers in Dunoon, for refusing them admittance to their hotels on that day, “in consequence, as the innkeepers stated, of their being ordered by the local justices to refuse admittance to all travellers by the Emperor steamer on Sunday, under pain of losing their licence.” MR. MACLAURIN’s sentence awarded the plaintiffs £1 damages and expenses. It now remains for the defendants to bring their action against the local justices in consequence of whose tyrannical menaces they have been subjected to pecuniary loss, for which, MR. MACLAURIN will no doubt decide, they ought to be indemnified by those stupid and sanctimonious fellows. – March 28, 1857., p.121.
The Alderman’s Own Book.
A BOOK has been largely advertised of late, under the interesting title of C|orpulency, professing to give directions for the self-cure of that deformity, by means of a peculiar system of diet. We presume that the peculiarity of this dietetic system consists in affording satisfaction to the cravings, and at the same time effecting a diminution of the protuberance of the stomach. The method of reducing corpulence by eating and drinking very much less than the appetite desires, has long been known to almost everybody, but, on account of its unpleasantness is practised by hardly anybody. That proposed in the book in question must have the recommendation of rendering self-cure practicable without self-denial. Probably the volume sells largely; but not much over the counter. Its sale, doubtless, takes place chiefly by post, the price being transmitted and received in postage stamps. What fat man – not to say what stout lady – would like to walk into a bookseller’s shop, and ask for a treatise on corpulency? The object of the inquiry would be obvious! The shopman would be so sure to swallow a laugh, if not smother it by clapping his hand on his mouth! The only manner of purchasing the book, in person, with any degree of face, would be for the customer fairly to disarm ridicule by tapping his stomach and simply saying, “MOORE’s book;” since the author is a MR. A. W. MOORE, and the gesture would be sufficient to indicate which MR. MOORE was meant, and what work by a MR. MOORE was wanted, It would quite preclude any such mistake as that of handing Lalla Rookh to the plethoric party, or presenting him with the Irish Melodies. To pretend to make that mistake, however, could the pretence be supported with sufficient gravity, would be a very politic artifice on the part of the bibliopole who might be desirous of seeing his flattered customer again. – p.123.
Mary Ann’s Notions.
“MY DEAR MR. PUNCH,
“I SHALL write you an exceedingly short letter to-day, because I know that at this moment there is no getting any of you to attend to anything except your politics, but when you are a little sober after your electioneering excitement, I shall have a good deal to say upon several things.
“But I cannot restrain myself from saying a few words about something which I have read this week, and which is much too sad and grave a thing to be made fun of, and indeed I should not write to you about it at all, only I know that you very often mean seriousness when you talk levity. I mean that poor dear heroic woman who died in the fire on Tuesday. Talk of soldiers, yes, I allow that they do very gallant things, and I have seen men’s cheeks flush, and their eyes sparkle, when they have been reading out aloud of some brave charge or rush into a breach. But then consider. They are drilled and trained to the work, they are led on by officers whom they trust, they have music that stirs them up to maddening pitch, and they have honour and glory before them – and above all, they are Men. But here was a poor woman, a young mother with a baby, her husband far away, her house in the middle of the night is wrapped in flames, and that poor thing, springing from her bed, and in all terror and agony of the hour, does something which to my mind is more heroic than the bravest deed that a soldier ever performed since men began to murder one another. I would rather copy the description out of the paper than trust myself to write it. The poor thing was the second wife of a person named RAYNER, he is a commercial traveller, and she was doing business as a milliner near Camberwell Gate. He had four children by the first wife, the eldest only eleven, and then two more, and then a poor little thing of three, and this wife became the mother to them, (and I am sure a good one) and had also a little baby of her own. Late at night a boy discovers the fire, and now I come to what I have written out from the newspaper:-
“He immediately gave the alarm to the female servants, two in number, as also to his mistress, who, in a frantic state, seized upon her own child, and infant in arms, and called upon the servants to save her child while she ran up-stairs to fetch the other children. The servants in their terror took the infant and escaped, leaving the door open; this caused the fire to spread from the shop to the passage, and to run up the staircase, thus cutting off all retreat.”
“I cannot bear to write out the rest, they heard all the five poor creatures crying and screaming, but nobody could help them, and no engines came until all was over. We won’t speak of that, but tell me whether the poor Step-mother, just providing for the safety of her own baby, and no more, and then rushing into the flames to rescue her husband’s children was not a noble thing.
“If a man had done such a deed we should have had a world of praise of his courage and devotion, and a memorial would have been erected to him, and his children provided for. But this poor brave thing was only a woman, and I suppose only doing her duty, and nobody will even ask what has become of the poor baby who was saved.
“Go on with your elections, and canting, and bribery. Who cares to hear about a martyr woman?
Government Lawyers on Smuggled Opium.
From the Solicitor-General.
“I have looked at the papers, but the idea of LORD SHAFTESBURY bothering about Opium at a time when the elections are coming on is too ridiculous. If I get in again, and am not elected SPEAKER, I will read the documents more attentively. IN the mean time it seems to me that laws opposed to our wants and habits are vicious. For example, everybody smokes cigars, and yet, in defiance of this fact, the fools of railway directors stick up notices that you are not to smoke in their carriages. Who thinks that he does wrong in violating such a ridiculous order? One “smuggles” one’s cigar, of course, in stopping at stations, because one would not get an unfortunate guard into a scrape by making it clear that he saw a breach of the foolish rules, but nobody has the least compunction in smoking, or enabling others to smoke. The same with Opium. There is no harm in Opium, in moderation, and the Chinese will have it; and I should think no more of giving a Chinese friend a pound of Opium, behind the backs of the officers, than I should of handing my cigar-case to a friend in a railway-carriage. I am afraid SHAFTESBURY, though a worthy man, is a bit of a fidgety milksop.
“J. A. STUART WORTLEY,
“Twisden Buildings, Temple.”
Only those who wish to see their children all confirmed balloonatics, will not agree with us that something must be done to check the mania for toy-balloons, which seems to be almost as catching as the measles. Every nursery we enter (and where is the well-regulated child of three years old that can exist without its weekly look at Punch) we find to be half full of those thin gutta percha soap-bubbles, which have been dignified by euphuists with the title of balloons. One can scarcely walk three yards in any public thoroughfare without having half-a-dozen of them flopped into one’s face, and one’s educated ear being annoyed by the remark that they are “puffickly armless, and hon’y tuppence heach.” Of their “armlessness,” however, we must say we have some doubt, seeing what a strong temptation they present to any scientific infant to try experiments by making them aërial machines. Having the feelings of a paterfamilias, we are not without some nervousness lest we may hear our nursemaid running down-stairs to her “missus” some fine morning, with the appalling intelligence that “Oh! if you please, Mem, ere’s MISS ARRIET ave bin a-blowed hout o’ winder, Mem:” and as we have little wish to see our rising generation flying off in this way, we think that while their present symptoms of balloonacy continue, we shall be justified in keeping them in more than usual restraint.
We have a great aversion to appear as an unnaturally “stern parent,” and our milk of human kindness fairly curdles at the thought that our offspring may regard us as the BOMBA of their nursery; but we really have some notion of our issuing an edict, forbidding any child of ours to play with a balloon, until we have devised the means to neutralise its elevating tendency. – April 18, 1857., p.153.
– April 25, 1857., p.164.
“Giving the Office.”
PUNCH has a notion that a very gigantic Job is in course of perpetration, and he proceeds to sound the alarm.
These Plans for the Government Offices.
It was originally announced that all the world might compete for the honour of laying out Downing Street and the vicinity.
Particulars were furnished to all the world, and Two Hundred and Fifty architects, British and Foreign, set to work and prepared costly plans, which have been sent in.
But this was done in the faith that Government was going to show fair play. The designs were to be exhibited to the public, in order that the best man might win.
Now it seems that the judgment is to be given without reference to the public.
And, we do not even know who are to be the Judges.
THIS WON’T DO.
Into whose hands do the authorities want to job and juggle the thing?
They can’t want it for SIR CHARLES TARRY, who is, or ought to be, busy with the unfinished Houses that were to cost £1,110,004, and have already cost £2,500,000.*
They can’t want it for the BARON MARROWFATTI, who had so recently the splendid haul for the Scutari monument, and who, besides, is not an architect.
They can’t want it for the man, whoever he was, who made the Trafalgar Square Fountains, because his remorse must long ago have consigned him to Hades.
They can’t want it for the designer of the Wellington Funeral Car – no man has, in one life, two such chances of committing a hideousness.
They can’t want it for LORD JOHN RUSSELL, though he is understood, in Ciceronian language, to have “tendered his high Offices” to the Government.
Now, for whom do they want it?
It is not a situation in one of the Houses of Parliament, to be given to a nobleman’s butler, or a local Judgeship, to be given to a patronised barrister, or a Commissionership to be given to a worn-out hack, or an Excise-place to be given to a loyal voter at the hustings, or a Consulship to be given to a bankrupt coal-merchant, or a Bishopric to be given to the cadet if a family that supports a Minister.
These are all matters of course, and no one would be impertinent enough to censure the natural disposition of small patronage.
But this Plan is the largest interference with London which has been devised since the Fire, and upon its character depends the question whether, for future generations, Westminster shall be a beauty or a blotch.
Job with your butlers and bishops and coal-merchants and consuls, but the Two Hundred and Fifty Plans must be judged fairly, and by men who are known to be trustworthy.
Punch demands the names of the Judges.
[This was still 13 years before they were completed.]
How to Weed Young Persons of Bad Habits.
THE Governing Council of the Canton of Berne, have just enacted that young men are to be prohibited from using tobacco, until they have been confirmed. MISS JONES approves highly of this enactment, although, she says, it may be open to the objection of turning the young men into “confirmed smokers.” But she dearly wishes that there was some such regulation in England to prevent young girls reading novels! She lays it down deliberately as her opinion, that, what smoking is to boys, novel-reading is to girls. It turns their brains, makes them giddy, and fills their heads with things that have no right to be there. In fact, she doubts whether a novel – full, as they generally are, of love, and weddings, and all such nonsense – is not far more pernicious to a young girl, who is scarcely out of her pinafore, than a penny pickwick is to a boy, on whose monkey back has not yet sprouted the tail-coat of manhood! Besides, the cigar is generally followed by a feeling of nausea; but the novel creates an artificial appetite, that, once raised, not all the circulating libraries in the neighbourhood can fully gratify. A whiskerless stripling can only smoke a certain quantity of tobacco; but the little chit of a girl, who has once contracted the evil habit of reading novels, will go on for hours and hours together, and will actually take the captivating volume to bed with her. She neglects her duties, becomes listless and moony, robs herself of her sleep, and believes that every cab, which stops at the door, conceals the faultless form of some enamoured ALPHONSO, who, long loving her in secret, has come to carry her off. MISS JONES concludes a brilliant anathema against the baneful practice by declaring that, if she could have her way, no young lady should see a novel until she was married, or until she had received two or three offers, when, it would be only fair to conclude, that her mind had become so far tutored in the school of the world as to be above the deleterious influence of such sickening rubbish! – p.168.
– May 2, 1857., p.171.
– May 9, 1857., p.182.
The Weavers, the Duke, and the Duchess.
THE North British Daily Mail tells a very pleasant story, very creditable to the DUKE OF ATHOLL, very honourable to certain weavers of Perth. It seems that some of these men last Midsummer visited the DUKE OF ATHOLL’s grounds; when the DUKE, with the courtesy of a true gentleman, attended his visitors through a part of the domain. The summer, autumn, and winter passed; and last week the weavers returned to Dunkeld House, bearing a present of table-linen to the Duchess; an acknowledgment of the Duke’s courtesy, a tribute of their own thankfulness. The weavers’ present consisted of “some superb specimens of table-linen, consisting of two dinner-cloths of the finest double damask, with napkins to suit, the patterns being wrought with the finest artistic skill.” All this speaks well for all parties: and when at Dunkeld House the table is covered with gold and silver, how very prettily will the magnificence of the Duke be set-off and contrasted by the simplicity of the weaver! Rank and wealth can have no surer support than when based upon such workmanship. Such a weavers’ table-cloth is made worthy of a Duke’s cloth of gold. – p.188.
Explosion of a Modern Miracle.
SOME few years ago the Roman Catholic newspapers and priesthood generally, gave out, and strove to persuade simpletons, that the VIRGIN MARY had appeared on the hill of La Salette, and had made a revelation to some peasant children. Notwithstanding that Mr. Punch analyzed this story and demonstrated its absurdity, its inventors succeeded in palming it upon multitudes of their co-religionists inclusive of the POPE himself. Accordingly the priests of the district wherein the trick was played, ran up a shrine, and formed a confraternity to work it – obtaining money under pretence of the sanctity of the spot. His infallible but hoaxed HOLINESS patronised the concern, and gave it his benediction, which appears not to have preserved it from exploding. The Univers puffed it; the Tablet endorsed the statements of the Univers.
The journal last named has, by perseverance in stating the marvellous thing which is not, involved itself in a quarrel with the Siècle, in consequence whereof, Le Siècle publishes an exposure of the Salette humbug. For this, society in indebted to an honest priest, one ABBÉ DÉLÉON, who discovered, and showed, that the alleged apparition of the VIRGIN was performed by a MADEMOISELLE LAMERLIÈRE, by the help of a milliner. The pretended VIRGIN, it will be recollected, began by talking good French to the little clowns to whom she showed herself, and then, finding that they did not understand her, spoke to them in their own patois – evidence of imposture duly pointed out at the time by Mr. Punch. MADLLE. LAMERLIÈRE brings an action against the abbé for false accusation, before the tribunals of Grenoble, loses her cause, and is condemned in costs. The unlucky plaintiff has appealed: but the fact that the discussions which took place at the trial are not allowed to be published, is sufficiently significant of the direction in which the Salette cat, now let out of the bag, is considered, by those capable of judging, to jump.
So much – Mr. Punch was about to say – for La Salette; but one thing more deserves to be stated, to end the story, like a squib, with a good bounce. The following holy “shave” was announced in 1851 on episcopal authority:-
“The waters of La Salette cure all the evils of the body, and convert the most wicked sinners, even if the smallest drop (against their will) can be got down their throats.”
Physic and divinity both entirely superceded by an infinitesimal dose of La Salette water! It is wonderful that the friars and Jesuists did not fear that the above quoted ultramontane and ultra-Hahnemannic “stretcher” would, if believed, prove rather too much to the believer. They must have as much faith in the gullibility of their dupes as the latter repose in the veracity of their deceivers. However, the priests tell, or at least imply, one truth respecting the water of La Salette. By their account sinners appear to have found it very difficult to swallow.
In quitting the subject of this alleged miracle, Mr. Punch begs to be allowed to express the hope that the world will not forget the really miraculous discernment evinced by himself nearly five years ago, in seeing through and elucidating that device of priestcraft. – May 16, 1857., p.199.
Punch’s Essence of Parliament.
Thursday. The proceedings in the Lords were strictly uninteresting, and had only the merit of being short. In the other house Woman’s Wrongs came up, and of course there was a good deal of laughter. SIR ERSKINE PERRY moved for leave to bring in a Bill to let married women have their own earnings. MR. HENRY DRUMMOND, who, malgré [despite] his occasional nonsense, is an English gentleman, supported the bill, and urged that greater facilities should be given for divorce. The ATTORNEY-GENERAL disapproved of the bill, and objected to placing the women of England in a “strong-minded position.” MR. BERESFORD HOPE, a very rich and refined gentleman, evinced his entire ignorance of the real grievance sought to be dealt with, and MR. MILNES delicately reminded him that he should not sneer at women, seeing that, according to the papers, the energy of a lady had mainly procured the election of her husband, the said MR. HOPE. The bill was read a first time. – May 23, 1857., p.201.
Probable Legal Accidents.
AT the Middlesex Sessions last week GEORGE CROSS, ex-policeman, cobbler, and thief, received as the reward of a long series of achievements in the latter capacity, a sentence of four years’ penal servitude; and the police report of the Times mentions that –
“It was stated that during the time the prisoner was in the Police force, he was very active in getting up cases, and many prisoners had been transported upon his evidence. He was known by the cognomen of JONATHAN WILD.”
The principle of setting a thief to catch a thief may be a judicious one for the end in view, but thieves are generally apt to catch whatever they can, and such a rascal as GEORGE COOK would be by no means unlikely to accuse innocent persons if it suited his purpose to do so. Of the many prisoners who have been transported on the evidence of this JONATHAN WILD THE LITTLE, we should like to know how many have been wrongfully condemned. Would it be too much trouble for SIR GEORGE GREY to make some inquiry on this point? He will perhaps find that several unfortunate persons, victims of MR. COOK’s evidence, are now undergoing punishment for having done nothing, for which crime his Home Secretaryship may then, if he will be so merciful, advise HER MAJESTY to grant thew miserable offenders a “free pardon.” – p.204.
Money and Marriage.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR’s new Divorce Bill maintains due homage to the majesty of the law and the profits of the lawyers. A man’s wife still remains to him his goods and chattels. If a man possess a beautiful picture, a magnificent piece of porceline, and either picture or pottery is maliciously damaged or fractured, the owner thereof has, of course, a remedy at law for the injury. He brings his suit, and is awarded in recompense so much money. Now the law as it is left by LORD CRANWORTH, leaves the wife of a man’s bosom in the condition, no higher and no lower, of the picture and the vase. If spotted or flawed she is to be paid for, and there an end. Very commercial, this; but not very complimentary to the dignity of human nature. But so it is. When a wife fails to be good, she is goods. – May 30, 1857., p.212.
Who Names the Navy?
NEXT to those momentous queries, “Do you bruise your oats yet?” and “Who’s to win the Derby?” we think of all the questions of the day, the one we most want answered is the one that heads this article? We rarely see a notice of an Admiralty ship-launch, without its “seriously inclining” us to write off to Bell’s Life or the Family Herald, and beg that those all-knowing ones who answer Correspondents will kindly tell us who is the Purveyor of Names for the Navy, or in other phrase, who acts as the Government godfather.
We are tempted to ask this, not from any wish to pry into the secrets of the State, but from sheer respect for the genius in question, and our unbounded admiration of his talent for misnomer, which so clearly proves his being the right man in the right place. What, for instance, can surpass the exquisite appropriateness of christening by such names as the Transit and the Urgent, ships in which transition was the last thing to be looked for, and which for urgent service therefore were quite sure to be selected. To an ordinary mind it might have seemed more suitable to call a spade a spade, and to have christened the Admiralty steam-tubs by such names as would have been suggestive of their characters. We, ourselves, perhaps, had we been entrusted with the sponsorship, might have chosen, as more applicable to our tugs of war, such appellations as the Snail, the Sloth, the Crazy, or the Cranky: taking it for granted that a ship built by the Government will not only turn out “Slow,” but “Sure” of breaking down, if not of breaking up. It might never have occurred to us to try a more sarcastic nomenclature, and indulge in pleasant fictions of an Urgent or a Transit; in the creditable hope that the unfitness of the name might be attractive of attention, before it was too late, to the unfitness of the vessel. We almost question though if sarcasm can be anyhow made sharp enough to penetrate the WOOD that there is in the Whitehall board; and as we never have much faith in any treatment but our own, we shall continue now and then to call the Admiralty names, until we find they have the sense to give their ships more fitting ones. – p.212.
A Jolly Gardener’s Garden.
THE Glasgow Mail contains a statement that an old gentleman, who cultivates a model farm in the neighbourhood of Govan, has been trying the experiment of irrigating garden plants with whiskey, successfully; though our Caledonian contemporary does not explain what is the nature of the alteration or improvement which has resulted in the cabbages and cauliflowers that have been treated with this new form of liquid manure. On the animal economy whiskey is apt to produce the effect of seediness; and perhaps it will also occasion a tendency to run to seed in the vegetable economy, if there can be any economy in vegetables, which, to denote a Scotch practice by an Irish form of expression, are watered with whiskey. If the plants have too much whiskey given them, perhaps they will not grow straight; the eyes of the potatoes may be affected; and all greens and other herbs may be seized with a shakiness of leaf, like that which is natural to the leaves of the asp, but which, in the case of the garden-stuff, the teetotallers will all concur in declaring to be delirium tremens. Possibly, one effect of whiskey upon vegetables will be that of preserving them; at any rate, that spirituous fluid may be expected to make them – if it does not keep them – fresh. – p.220.
[This is in fact not just Punch nonsense. The Glasgow Mail did in fact run this story which was then picked up by papers Britain-wide]
– June 6, 1857., p.223.
MADAME CORNICHON (née SIMPLE), after reading the accounts of the fire-proof dresses as lately tried with so much success by the Pompiers at Paris, ordered a gown, bonnet, veil, and an entire set of under-linen to be expressly made for her, and, upon being pressed for her reason for so strange an order, said, with the greatest naïveté, “Why the world, you know, is to be consumed by the Comet on the 13th of June, and I’;ve no idea of being burnt to death.” – p.230.
One Begins to be Uncomfortable.
THERE can now be no doubt that the expected Comet will annihilate all things. An Adelphi playbill announces the Green Bushes “for the Last Time.” This is conclusive. When a drama that was not for an age but for all time, stops, Time himself had better take himself by the forelock, and make his bow. – June 13, 1857., p.235.
“Name this Prince.”
An amiable and spirited young gentleman, Lord of the Isles and Knight of the Garter, but best known as the PRINCE OF WALES, is about to make a Continental tour. During his absence abroad, he is to be called BARON RENFREW, in order to avoid fuss and ostentation. This is all sensible enough. It is very disagreeable for a distinguished person to be bothered with people running after him and staring at him, and when Mr. Punch sent his eldest son abroad for improvement, he adopted a similar course. He did not want the lad followed by thousands, pointing at him, and bawling, “That’s PRINCE PUNCH! That’s the Heir of Fleet Street! That’s the son of the Emperor!” and so on, and he told the boy simply to call himself TOBY FEATHERCAP. The QUEEN is quite right, as usual.
But why is the Prince to be called RENFREW? why not call himself CORNWALL, or CHESTER, or CARRICK, or DUBLIN, seeing that all are as much his names as the Scotch one, and that each name is quite as pretty as RENFREW, and much more easily pronounced by foreigners? Why is he to go about as a young Scotchman? Is it to rectify the notions of the caricaturists on the Continent, as to the Scotch, whom they depict with violent check trowsers, and plumes of feathers bigger than those the tipsy mutes stick on hearses? Or is the title taken for the sake of extreme humility, and with the reasonable idea that nothing can be of much less importance than a Scotch baron. In either case we have nothing to say against the selection, but SIR ALBERT CORNWALL, or LORD EDWARD CHESTER, would have been, we will be judged by the young ladies, a more elegant travelling appellation. Perhaps, like the Prince in Lalla Rookh, the gallant K.G. is going to look round him for some Germanic pearl, one day to be set in an English coronet. Now LALLA never would call her royal lover by any name but FERAMORZ, under which he had first wooed her. RENFREW would not be a pretty or an easy name for the parting rosebuds of the PRINCESS OF WALES to lisp out. One of the Prince’s sisters should have thought of this for him. What is the use of a lot of girls in a family if they can’t attend to these matters – a fellah can’t think of everything. If it is not too late, we recommend the throwing over the Scotch name; and so we bid His Royal Highness farewell. wishing him a most pleasant sojourn by the Drachenfels, and tour through the Alps. – p.239.
[As a Scot you get used to your country being made out to be less than it is by the London press. The opinions expressed here are par for the course. I’m afraid to report not much has changed. The Catholics, Mormons, people of colour, &c., receive similar derogatory remarks throughout.]
Peter the Cruel.
IN a case heard at Guildhall the other day, a husband, named ALLEN, was charged with having punched his wife’s head, because she did not comply with his demand for a shilling. Her reason was a miserable one. She had not a shilling. Beaten, she applies for redress. SOLOMON SADDLER is on the Bench, and brayeth as follows:-
“SIR PETER LAURIE said: The new Act of Parliament for the protection of women has been carried out too far, and the hard-working and industrious man has frequently been punished with great severity, for a blow given to his wife in a moment of anger or provocation.”
Evidently, PETER’s mind is in his old shop. His exceedingly apropos remark (for “this is quite a different case, SIR PETER,” said the other Alderman) was prompted by a recollection of bye-gone times. In dealing with a wife (dicit [says] PETER), “there’s nothing like Leathering.“
Scotch “Chains and Slaverie.”
THE SCOTCH movement for the erection of a memorial to WALLACE continues, and is worthy of approbation. It is a little late in the day, perhaps, but we are not sure, however, that the monument proposed, amid great applause, at a recent Scotch meeting, is quite generous. A speaker suggested that the memorial should represent “HERCULES trampling on the tyranny of England, but bitten in the heel by the Scotch aristocracy.” This device was intended, and understood by the meeting, to tell two ways, and not only to symbolise the deeds of WALLACE himself, but also to satirise the enemies of the Rights of Scotland party in the present day. The cruel tyranny now exercised by England over Scotland is, assuredly, one of the greatest blots upon our history. England tears the Scotchman, shrieking, from his native earth, and drags him southward, strives (though rarely with success) to force him to speak English, and compels the innocent and disinterested creature to accept responsible and lucrative situations, the temptations of which finally debauch his mind from his original Arcadia, and prevent his caring to revisit the hallowed regions of Thistledom. We are far from seeking to palliate our guilt, and when Pharisaical persons reprobate the African slave-trade, and thank Providence that our hands are washed of it, we think of our Scotch slave-trade, and blush. But is it magnanimous, in the great nation north of Tweed, to erect a permanent record of such a system, especially at a time when England is desirous to abrogate it, and, conscious of the mental and literary beggary to which, as evidenced by Scottish speeches and writings, this southward drain has reduced Scotland, is almost uncourteously anxious that she should keep a few of her more intelligent children to herself, instead of leaving her feelings to be represented by such donkeys as the Rights of Scotland party? We trust that the statue question will be reconsidered, and we rather hope so, as there appears to be no great alacrity in subscribing the needful bawbees. – p.242.
[More on the Wallace Sword and the Monument in which it’s kept can be found here.]
Romance of the Highlands.
OUR old acquaintance, the Dumfries Courier, relates the following wonderful story:-
“CUNNING OF THE FOX. – A gentleman in the Highlands sends us the following note:- A gamekeeper on the estate near Lochawe, who had been annoyed by the depredation of foxes, discovered a kennel in a glen at the side of a small loch. While watching one evening for the appearance of the tenants, he observed a brace of wild ducks floating on the loch. In a little a fox was seen approaching the water side with cautious steps. On reaching it, he picked up a bunch of heather and placed it in his mouth, so as to cover his head; then slipping into the water, and immersing all but his nose, he floated slowly and quietly down to where the birds were quacking out delight in fancied security, seeing nothing near them but a bunch of weed. In due time, he neared the ducks, dropped the heather and substituted a bird, with which he returned to the loch side, and was making off to his young with the prize when—”
“Come, I say, now, nonsense!” will be the mental exclamation of nine hundred thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine of our million readers, on reaching this point of our Scotch contemporary’s transparent romance. The conclusion, however, of that tale is still more incredible than the part preceding; too incredible even for fiction. The fox, as above related, was making off to his young with the duck, when—
“The keeper, who had noted all his movements, closed them by the discharge of his double barrel.”
The idea of shooting a fox! As if any Briton, north or south, could be capable of such an act! The statement that a fox was the victim of such a monstrous atrocity, is a fitting clincher to the legend of his miraculous cunning. Country gentlemen need not waste their indignation on the anonymous Highland keeper. Reynard was shot with no double-barrel: by no more deadly projectile than the shaft of an editorial long bow. – June 20, 1857., p.243.
[This is interesting as we can go to YouTube and see multitudes of differing species attracting their prey in all kinds of incredibly intelligent ways, e.g., the bird that drops a wee bit of bread continuously into the water until a fish comes up for it, at which point it becomes the bird’s dinner. Also this was just at the end of the Highland Clearances so the idea that a keeper/factor would be capable of inhumanely throwing humans out their homes and off their land but not shoot an animal he considered to be a pest is ridiculous. Not to mention fox-hunting is really still a pastime of the English aristocracy they’re determined, at the moment, to end the laws against.]
Effects of the Comet’s Shock.
THE Great Comet struck the earth (which, with the moon, is as well as can be expected) precisely at half-past two o’clock on Sunday last. The shock and terror produced a most beneficial effect upon great numbers of persons, and among the instances in which the visitation caused the most satisfactory results, Mr. Punch has heard of the following:-
[Daft nonsense stories related ending with:-]
All the vendors of MORRISON’s pills burned their stock and hanged themselves, as did several Booksellers in Holywell Street.
Every good and sensible person, except Mr. Punch, took up the last number of that gentleman’s publication.
Mr. Punch began to write the number now in the hands of the reader. – p.244.
[Flying Notes from the Note-Book of the Grand Duke Constantine.]
(Taken à Vol d’Aigle during his four-and-twenty hours’ stay in England.)
Liberty of the Press. – The privilege of insulting one’s superiors with impunity.
Climate. – Smells of beer, fog, and licentiousness.
British Army. – Toy soldiers. One French soldier would lick three English, one Russian soldier would lick three French ditto. Vide Crimean campaign passim.
English Maidens. – Attenuated pieces of insipidity, averaging five and six feet long, with red hair, and noses to match. Can’t talk French.
Prime Minister. – The greatest slave in the world – the slave of the people. He fancies he rules the mob. Fool! it is the mob that rules him.
British Officer. – One who joins the army to enjoy his competency, and to prove his incompetency.
English Art. – The execution so terrible that, as at a military execution, every person, who is exposed to it, ought to have his eyes bandaged first.
British Navy. – Very pretty ornaments for the outside of Russian walls.
Sir Charles Napier. – I do not know whether, like PETER THE GREAT, he ever worked at Woolwich Dockyard, but certainly no one has ever done the Russian navy so much service since the days of our first CZAR. Scratch his dear old poll, and, I am sure, as NAPOLEON said of every Russian, you would find a Cossack underneath.
Portsmouth. – Not a bad position for a Russian Harbour.
The British Empire. – A nice little hunting ground some day for Russia to shoot over.
Public Opinion. – The depotism of the many.
Sir Robert Peel. – His hot blood wants cooling a little in a refrigerator like Siberia.
Reform. – The Toy that a statesman throws to the British public the moment it begins making a noise. It is perfectly harmless, and it is not of the slightest consequence how often it gets broken. The liberation of the Serfs in Russia – the Constitution in Spain – the Charter in Prussia – are all toys constructed upon the same hollow principle.
London. – A monster money-box – the largest, perhaps, in the world – but of no value beyond the money it contains. – p.245.
[There’s a lot of truth to be found in the last two (satirical) notes especially.]
Punch’s Essence of Parliament.
June 15th, Monday. LORD CAMPBELL, in further defiance of the LORD CHANCELLOR, who had asserted that no such measure was necessary, introduced a Bill for the putting an end to the sale of immoral publications. The process is to be the summary one employed in regard to Betting Houses, and it is to be hoped that the Magistrates, in enforcing it, will reverse the policy which they seem always to adopt with the betting-scoundrels, and, if there be a doubt, give the public, and not the notorious offender, the benefit of such doubt.
LORD CLANRICARDE brought a mass of complaint against the Indian Police, but as the DUKE OF ARGYLL said that there was no case made out, there is an end of the matter.
The Commons discussed the Jew Bill, more politely called the Oaths Bill, in committee. The Papist party, who assume to themselves the title of Liberal, began the battle by an attempt to get the Catholic oath included in the measure, notwithstanding that they had been warned by LORD PALMERSTON that they might injure the cause of the Jews by a demand to which the feeling of the country is adverse. The Commons made very short work with these persons, rejecting the proposition by 373 to 83. SIR FREDERICK THESIGER then charged, with all the forces of the Opposition, and was defeated, by 341 to 201, in his endeavour to make a Jew declare himself a Christian. Mr. Punch has too often protested against the shallow nonsense talked on both sides of the question to make it needful for him to say more than that, while recording the vote, he greatly despises most of the arguments used to promote and to hinder it, and especially the Jaunty Viscount’s mode of getting rid of principles by alleging that Parliament’s business is with politics, not religion. In life, a man who separates his religion from his politics is excessively likely to separate the theory from the practice of duty, even to the extent of separating his neighbour’s pocket-book and pocket. SIR JOHN PAKINGTON, hitherto an opponent of the Jewish claims, made a manly speech, in which he avowed his inability to persist in resisting them. MR. WALPOLE pointed out that if the Bill became law, a Jew could hold office (that of Chancellor for instance) which a Catholic could not. Now, here is a real grievance, worth LORD CRANWORTH’s weight in lead, for the Popish party. What! ISSACHAR BEN MOSES may keep the QUEEN’s conscience, and be raised to the peerage as BARON PHYLACTERY, and there is no such chance for PATRICK MAC SULLIVAN – no title of ROSARY-CUM-TWIDDLE. Shades of the hundreds of Catholic patriots who have died in their beds, look down upon their children, thus oppressed by the Saxon!
In the Commons, after some spirited complaints of the confusion of our Army Departments, to which the only answer seems to be, that the DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE and LORD PANMURE are on excellent terms, the eternal Map question came up. For seventy years have the authorities been mapping the kingdoms, first on the scale of an inch to a mile, then six inches, then twenty-six inches and three-quarters. This last was in Scotland, where the landowners made a job of it, getting perfect plans of their estates at the national expense. So much did the Lairds value this, that Mr. Punch knows of one who actually subscribed £1500 to get his part of the country mapped early. Well, a good map is a good thing, but the Scotch job was stopped tonight, and Government beaten by 10. In revenge, a Scotch Member tried to stop the English survey, but this ebullition in spite found only 22 supporters against 290 opponents. – June 27, 1857., p.256.
The Ladies’ Liquor Law.
A RATHER reasonable Liquor Law has been adopted in the state of New York. By this enactment, the drunken, and not the sober, portion of the community, are deprived of their beer and grog. On a complaint preferred by a wife that her husband is an habitual drunkard, magistrates and overseers, in towns and cities, are empowered to prohibit publicans from selling him any drink for six months, under penalty of fifty dollars for each offence. this seems all very well; but ought the charge of habitual drunkenness to be sustainable by the mere evidence of a wife? False accusation would, of course, be out of the question; but a wife – for ladies are commonly inexact in their definitions – could not perhaps be quite safely trusted to testify to the reality of that condition, commonly called the state of beer. Habitual drunkenness might be, in the opinion of many ladies, habitual indulgence in the cheerful glass, exceeding, in any measure, habitual indulgence in dress and display. The British Law’s provision, that in no case shall a wife give evidence against her husband, is perhaps most especially requisite in cases of alleged excess in fermented beverages. – p.258.
There is now an Index followed by Title Pages, a Preface, and a Reset of Page Nos.
– July 4, 1857., p.1.
How Estimates Grow!
THE estimate for the proposed expenditure of the Public Offices is £5,000,000. The sum originally proposed for building the Houses of Parliament was £250,000. According to MR. WISE, this sum has since grown into an outlay of not less than £2,500,000 – that is to say, a modest excess of precisely ten times the original estimate. Now, if the estimate for the Public Offices is to expand in the like moderate proportion, the ultimate outlay, far from being £5,000,000, will be some £50,000,000; and as the money goes, we may consider ourselves extremely lucky, if we get off as cheaply as that! Parliament is supposed to legislate for the million; and it must be for the million, for it is but too evident they take no care of the millions. – July 4, 1857., p. 2.
Imperfection of the Yankee Tongue.
THE New York Times, whilst glorying in the general inventive powers of Americans, deplores their national deficiency in the faculty of inventing names for places. “Brownsville,” “Tomkinsville,” “McGrawlersville,” are instanced by our New York contemporary as specimens of the inelegant and inexpressive designations which the pioneers of Yankee civilization are in the habit of allotting to newly founded towns and cities, whilst “Milwaukee” is described as ” a beautiful name.” There is certainly a difference between “Milwaukee,” and “Brownsville,” together with the congeneric “villes” of TOMKINS and McGRAWLER, but it is not so much the difference between beautiful and ugly, as a difference corresponding to that which exists, or may be conceived to exist, æsthetically, between the settlers, McGRAWLER, TOMKINS, and BROWN on the one hand, and the aboriginal BLACK HAWK on the other. The euphony of “Milwaukee” is very analogous to that of “Hokey Pokey.” There is a sort of native sweetness in the sound of either name; a sweetness savouring of natives who tattoo their cheeks, and paint their noses red and sky-blue. If the Americans want names of that sort for their new settlements, they might readily obtain them. To a sane adult it might not, perhaps, be a very becoming mental exercise to invent such denominations; but plenty of them might be procured from any nursery, the occupants of which are able to talk; or from any lunatic asylum whose inmates are not deaf and dumb. The invention of funny names like “Milwaukee,” would be an innocent amusement for infants, and a very suitable employment for the insane, serving in some degree to utilise those unfortunate beings.
Nothing is so easy as gibberish to anybody who will give his mind to it, provided that mind is undeveloped or disordered. It is strange that a people so fertile as our Transatlantic kinsmen in the production of odd words in general should be so slow as they appear to be at local nomenclature. How the nation that has added “catawampous,” “slockdologer,” “stampede,” and “bogus,” to the English dictionary can be at a loss for terms, racy of the soil, to apply to any portion of it, is difficult to conceive. Can it be a hard matter for those who call each other “hard-shells,” “soft-shells,” “hunkers,” “locofocos,” “border-ruffians,” and “barn-burners,” to call any number of places names? Even if they cannot by natural means accomplish the task of naming new locations, they might avail themselves of the assistance of spirit-tapping mediums, through whom, doubtless, they could get rapped out plenty of words that would answer the purpose at least as well as “Milwaukee” – words original as to orthography, and of unknown meaning. – p.7.
USEFUL lessons may in some cases be learned from the inferior creatures, but some of them set bad examples. The Cuckoo, for instance, sets an example which ought to be avoided, and not imitated, by mothers. The Cuckoo puts out its eggs to hatch, and consequently its young to rear, by another bird; and this conduct is copied, with a difference for the worse, by ladies who put their children out to wet-nurse, or who have them wet-nursed at all. The Monthly Paper of the London Society for the Protection of Young Females contains a few sensible “Words to Mothers,” of which the intention is to show in what manner the practice of wet-nursing interferes with the object of that Society. They briefly demonstrate that the practice in question is one of the causes of our greatest social evil. The writer makes the following emphatic remark:-
“I will point to the custom of hiring wet-nurses as a great evil in this direction, considering that a certain class of young women are generally preferred for that office. A barrier is thus removed which might have stayed their downfal. I mean the loss of character and service.”
The only proper persons for wet-nurses are young mothers who have lost their own infants. The number of these is sufficient to meet the natural demand for hired mothers. The demand that produces a greater supply produces a bad supply. If the hireling is a socially respectable person, her employment to nourish the child of another involves a wrong to her own. The baby of the wet-nurse is starved, as the young hedge-sparrow is thrown over. But there are other reasons why ladies should eschew cuckooism. The grub, or worm, which the hedge-sparrow administers to the young cuckoo is simple nutriment. Does not living milk impart something else? – may it not communicate moral and physical, or immoral and morbid, peculiarities? This consideration will perhaps induce all ladies who possibly can, to nurse their own babies, and all those who are unable, to make particularly sure of the health and purity of the rented breast. – p.10.
A Libel on the Sex.
WE see a book advertised under the scandalous title of “A WOMAN’s STORY.” Now it is a notorious fact that women never do tell Stories. They may tell “a fib” occasionally – but as for “a Story,” it’s a moral impossibility. The worst is, the Story must be a thumping big one, for we see by the advertisement that it fills 3 Vols. It pains us to say that NRS. S. C. HALL (the delinquent in question – and, without question, a very great delinquent) ought to be ashamed of herself! The libel on her own sex is so outrageous, that we cannot help saying, with the greatest indignation – “FIE!” – July 25, 1857., p.38.
The Fool’s Head of Hair.
FROM the advertising columns of a contemporary, we extract the following rather comic appeal to the vanity of simpletons:-
NO MORE GREEN, RED, OR PURPLE-DYED HAIR. – NOTICE. – Any Lady or Gentleman who has been so unfortunate as to have their hair dyed any of the above-named colours now so common, by the use of spurious imitations of ——’s TYRIAN LIQUID HAIR DYE, can have it restored, freeof charge, to a native brown or black to defy detection, by applying at his Subscription Hair-Cutting and Hair-Dyeing Rooms, — —. Hair and whiskers dyed on the most reasonable terms by an annual subscription. Price, per case, 5s. 6d., 8s., 12s., and 1 guinea.
We suspect that our friend, the proprietor of the “Tyrian liquid hair dye,” must have been induced to distinguish it with the splendid epithet connecting it with the city of Tyre, by the recommendation of some classical wag who wished to hoax him. If he had known with what colour Tyrian is synonymous, he would have called a dye intended to transmute that colour Anti-Tyrian. The imitations of a dye truly Tyrian can hardly be spurious if they really turn hair purple: and we cannot understand the kindness of the advertiser in offering gratuitous remedy to the victims of imposters who counterfeit his invention.
If it is a fact that green, red, and purple are now, in consequence of the use of hair-dyes common colours of human hair, it is a melancholy fact; for the contents of that head whose exterior has become discoloured by any artificial process, must be very scanty or very weak. In fact, we consider dyed hair to beone indication of softening of the brain, the consequence of inflammation of that organ. We regard the mere idea of using hair-dyes, as a symptom of incipient phrenitis, and advise all persons beginning to feel dissatisfied with the colour of their hair, to get their heads shaved. They will thus procure removal of the outer complaint and relief of the inner disorder at the same time.
Punch’s Essence of Parliament.
In the Commons, MR. ADDERLEY complained of the pestilential stench which comes every evening into every window of the river-front of the Houses of Parliament… – August 8, 1857., p.51.
The Straw Stirred in the Augean Stable.
On the same principle, we may hope there is, at length, some prospect of the Thames being purified, now that it is beginning to poison the House of Commons. MR. ADDERLEY, on Friday, inquired of the First Commissioner of Works, what was the meaning of the stink that pervaded the House whenever the windows on the river front were open – whether there was any power to enforce better trappings of the drains, or a removal of the deposits of bones and other refuse on the opposite bank – and so forth… – p.53.
[The “Great Stink” was a year from this article (July/August 1858) yet they were already complaining of the smell from the Thames.]
THE papers have been amusing themselves with giving the gaes of various animals. There are in the account, however, several omissions, which we beg to supply. The age of the British Lion is not given. This is an unpardonable oversight towards one, who has made so much noise in the world, and, more especially, as he has lived longer than all the other animals put together. The longest-lived animal, according to BUFFON, (we should like to know how he verified the age?) is the Elephant, who is said t live to the age of 100 years. Now, the British Lion is considerably older than that, and is now as young and as sprightly as ever. The way in which he is continually wagging his tail is a proof of this. He will doubtlessly live as long as BRITANNIA herself.
The British Lion’s precise age may be ascertained at the Herald’s College, where, on the payment of a small fee, you will doubtlessly be able to procure a certificate of his birth and baptism. The reader is recommended to make the trial.
There is the British Unicorn, too, who stands nearly in the same position as the Lion, and, perhaps, in the main, is quite as old.
There are other omissions, which we deplore. There is the Russian Bear, scarred and disfigured as he has been lately, and the French Eagle, and all sorts of Eagles, belonging to Prussia, Austria, and America, either with single or double, or as many heads as a bundle of asparagus. We ought to have been informed of their respective ages… – August 22, 1857., p.74.
– August 29, 1857., p.91.
DIRT CHEAP. – It is computed that the effective drainage of London would cost five millions. What are five millions, to be expended on drainage purposes, to the many millionaires of London who have drained the world of millions? – September 5, 1857., p.98.
[Punch apologises to the original artist of the painting that inspired this political cartoon. This depiction is with regards to the MPs.’ long hours in Parliament at the time. The kilted MP. in the picture has apparently been released from the duties of government for the day as his wife (Brittania) has handed the wigged lord a slip with “prorogation” on it which is the end of a Parliamentary session.
The original painting showed the release of a Jacobite Rebel from prison. It resides at the Tate Gallery.]
A Head and a Block.
BLACKSMITHS may be interested by the following advertisement, extracted from the Scotsman:-
WANTED, A PERSON who would endeavour to hammer into a Middle-Aged Man as much FRENCH as would carry him through Railways and Hotels in France. Hours of Teaching say from Half-past Nine to Half-past Ten, A.M., for Two Months. State terms. – Address, A. B. C., &c. &c.
A correspondent, who has sent us the above cutting, suggests, indeed, that to hammer anything into the head of a middle-aged Scotchman, a NASMYTH’s patent hammer would be necessary; and a NASMYTH is equal to some thousands of blacksmiths. No doubt the sons of Caledonia are from birth hardheaded, and by the time they have reached middle age, their heads have in general arrived at an equality with adamant in hardness, although inferior to it in density. The heads of these iron men for the most part may require a blacksmith at least to hammer an idea into them – especially the idea of a joke: but probably the head of A. B. C. (into which it perhaps took some beating to force the rudiments of learning expressed by those characters) may be of a softer material than iron – of a substance which would more naturally be operated on by the carpenter. – September 19, 1857., p.115.
[This poem isn’t accompanied by any passage or comment. If you’ve read any of the articles above that have anything to say on the Scots you might understand my astonishment at coming across a straight-up poem about the Clearances here.]
THE Mormons have invented a new Alphabet. They are to have a newspaper of their own, set up in type that they only can read. The Mormons are a separate type of people, and as such we see no harm in their having a separate type to themselves. On the contrary, we are rejoiced that the good honest type, which is generally used for the purposes of civilisation, will not be defiled by their foul fingers. In truth, we possessed no type that could have suited their base purposes. “Bourgeois,” for a set of dissolute reprobates that have not a good Bourgeois amongst them, would have been far too respectable. “Minion” would have been about the most congenial representative of a minion race like them. We fervently hope that the Mormon characters are such as cannot possibly be met with in any other part of the world – characters of so base a cast that no respectable printer would think of admitting them into his establishment. It should be with Englishmen a great source of congratulation, that a people, that has not a single thought in common with us, should have adopted a distinctive medium for giving shape to their thoughts on paper. It is a safeguard, for which wwe should be grateful, as there will be less danger of our simple-minded cooks and housemaids being, for the future, corrupted by their dangerous doctrines. – September 26, 1857., p.126.
Allegories on the Banks of the Tiber.
When the POPE returned to Rome the other day, a few of his subjects, probably his tradesmen, got up a demonstration in honour of the event. Among the various means which they resorted to, in order to celebrate the restoration of his Holiness to the bosom of his consistory, was the erection of triumphal arches, which were ornamented by allegorical paintings. The allegories in these works of art must have been particularly “headstrong,” so much so as to have been impracticable to any but the most inventive artist. Their subjects were “the Austrian Concordat,” “the Immaculate Conception,” and “the Establishment of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy in England.” We will not say that we cannot conceive how these transactions could have been allegorised, because we can, whatever difficulty everybody else may experience in so doing. “The Austrian Concordat” might have been typified by a picture of the EMPEROR OF AUSTRIA and the POPE himself, the former kneeling to the latter, and presenting him with half-a-crown. A representation of his Holiness, exhibiting a bran-new coin from his own mint, would have served to express “the Immaculate Conception,” and “the Establishment of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy in England” might have been most accurately symbolized by a portrait of CARDINAL WISEMAN as he appeared on the 5th of November, 1850, carried about the streets of London in effigy. – p.133.
Is the following story, told by the Inverness Courier, possible? –
ALARMING ACCIDENT. – A gamekeeper and shepherd at Donchaly, who were out shooting along with three English sportsmen upon the 18th ult., parted company with the gentlemen to drive the game towards a certain point agreed upon. Unhappily they made their appearance in a different place, and having been mistaken for game were fired upon. Five barrels were discharged at them, and the shots took effect in the face and hands of the keeper and shepherd. A messenger was immediately dispatched to Bonar Bridge for DR. MACKAY, who repaired to Donchaly without delay, and extracted all the grains of lead. It is fortunate that the shots were at 60 yards range. The invalids are now able to continue their work.
We strongly suspect that this is a Scotch joke; one of those jokes which extend over a whole anecdote, at every two or three words of which the narrator laughs, and all other Scotchmen present laugh also, and everybody else wonders why? Related with a Scotch accent in a Scotch circle, the above tale would no doubt be received with immense laughter. But it must be a romance. See what it involves. Three English sportsmen mistake two Scotchmen’s heads, at sixty yards, for a brace of grouse, and all three of them blaze away at the two heads with they imagine to be heads of game. The bodies must, at that rate, have been concealed by an intervening mound or hillock, so that the heads only were visible, and must, if they appeared like grouse, have appeared like grouse on the ground. To say that three English sportsmen fired a volley together at two grouse on the ground, is to libel the people of England, represented by the Three Tailors of Tooley Street. – p.134.
– October 3, 1857., p.141.
Forbes MacKenzie’s Failure.
AIR – “Roy’s Wife of Aldivalloch.“
DAFT FORBES MACKENZIE body,
Daft FORBES MACKENZIE body,
Wot ye how your Act has failed
To hinder Scots frae drinkin’ toddy?
They sit and guzzle mair the noo,
Auld man and gudewife, chiel and hizzie,
And mony mair hae gotten fou’
Sinsyne ye made yoursel’ sae bizzy.
Daft FORBES, &c.
Awa wi’ Yankee Law o’ Maine,
Invented bythat ither noddie,
And dinna fash us wi your ain,
Ye daft auld FORBES MACKENZIE body.
Daft FORBES, &c. – October 17, 1857., p.158.
[The Forbes MacKenzie Act (1853) regulated opening hours, &c. for public houses in Scotland.]
“Fast” the Day and Fast the Deed.
A CASE was heard before the Magistrates of Ross-shire in petty sessions on Thursday last, in which a gentleman, attired with the strictest decorum and wearing an episcopal hat of orthodox dimensions, was charged withbeing in the unlawful pursuit of game at Balmacarra on the Day of Humiliation. The elders of the kirk assembled in considerable numbers to watch the case, as it was reported among them that the gentleman in question was no less a personage than ARCHBISHOP CULLEN or CARDINAL WISEMAN, who had thus taken an opportunity of evincing his indifference to our Indian disasters and his sympathy with his serviceable friends the Sepoys of Bengal. This impression, however, was completely dispelled, and a visible shudder passed through the Court when the accused party, on being interrogated, modestly gave his name as “A. C. LONDON.”
The case at the first wore a very serious aspect, from the depositions of the persons who had watched the supposed delinquent. He was overheard talking to his attendant about “capital preserves” and the gold he had got by a former invasion of the same manor. He also made various remarks on “the heather” and “the birds being wild,” and was observed to be carefully searching the ground, as he told his attendant, for “the form of a hare.” The case in short looked very black until these expressions were partially explained; when it appeared that the “preserves” of which he had spoken consisted solely of Scotch Marmalade, which he had used with effect for “a cold he had caught on a former occasion in the same manner.” His mention of the heather and the birds being wild was interpreted into a remark that the weather was very mild, and instead of searching for the form of a hare, he was simply looking for the Form of Prayer, which he had inadvertently dropped while trying if he could repeat it.
On searching his person, what at first appeared to be a powder-flask nad a box of stamped gun-wads turned out to be a flask containing some sherry and water, and a box half emptied of medicinal lozenges. What appeared moreover to have been a gun and a shot-belt, were also explained in an equally innocent manner; and on a Magistrate asking, though it was not material, whether if he had actually been shooting, as supposed, it was in his power to produce a certificate if called upon, he at once exhibited a certificate from his medical adviser, who had ordered him to Scotland for the benefit of his health, which had been much shaken by his episcopal labours.
The Magistrates at once said they would not detain him further, and that he left the Court without a stain on his character; at the same time they highly complimented Mr. Punch, through whose vigilance the supposed trespasser had been brought before them. – p.160.
[For more on the role of gamekeepers, in the Scottish Highlands, I refer you to Donald McLeod’s ‘Gloomy Memories‘.]
Performers in “the Grave Scene.”
SOME “Funeral contractors” (that is the new term) advertise to “perform” funerals “with a due regard to the feelings of the bereaved, and the solemnity of the occasion.” The regard that is due is maily proportioned, we suppose, to the amount of ready money that is paid? They have different qualities of grief, you may be sure, according to the price you pay. For £2 10s., the regard is very small. For £5, the sighs are deep and audible. For £7 10s. the woe is profound, only properly controlled; but for £10, the despair bursts through all restraint, and the mourners water the ground, no doubt, with their tears. We wonder these black crocodiles do not openly advertise the sale of their lachrymæ? We dare say that the luxury would be every drop as expensive as early peas, or anything else that was forced. We wonder what is the market-price of “tears per pint?” – and we are, also, curious to know, whether these funeral pantomimists make up so small a quantity of mitigated grief as “one tear,” and what is the lowest price they charge for the same? We notice, in the same grinning advertisement, that “The Gothic State Hearse is used for every class funeral above £5.” It seems, then, that there are as many classes of funerals as there are of railway trains. there are, apparently, First Class, Second Class, and Third Class Funerals. We hope, for the sake of the poor, that there are no Parliamentary funerals that stop on their dreary way as often as a Parliamentary train. But who, we ask, could possibly forego the above inducement when offered at so contemptible a price? Is there anybody, in possession of so small a sum as £5, who would not gladly put it aside for the unutterable luxury of being buried in a “Gothic State Hearse!” Put another sovereign to it, and we should not be surprised if a “Gothic State Coachman” wasn’t, also, thrown in. – p.163.
– October 24, 1857., p.170.
The Camellia Breadalbanica.
NOW, dear LORD CHAMBERLAIN! Now, beloved BREADALBANE. Are you not a nice kind of Licencer of Plays? Come, come, no turning up the aristocratic nose at a subject so contemptible – the business is your business, and you are paid (excuse our vulgarity) singularly well for neglecting it. We insist upon being listened to.
“Not hear us. By your salary, but you shall!”
At a place called Rochester (somewhere in Kent, my Lord) the inhabitants were considered to be in so stupid and stagnating a state of virtue, that it was thought well to introduce among them a little vice, just to make them aware of their own perfection. So a humane theatrical manager announced a drama called the Lady of the Camellias. Your Lordship – although a Lord Chamberlain – must know, by this time, what the subject of such a piece is, for you certainly read the Times, and cannot forget the scathing denunciation righteously poured upon the opera of La Traviata. A drama founded on that opera must be still more offensive, because vocalists emit notes, not words, whereas the actor sends home the idea and language to every spectator. And it is again worse, because the ineffable abomination of M. DUMAS, fils, is thrust forward in the above title – Punch cannot even allude to what LORD BREADALBANE sanctions. Well, my Lord, some people in Rochester have heard of the character of the atrocity, and send a remonstrance to the Chamberlain’s office. MR. DONNE, your delegate, (a scholar and a gentleman, who discharges a thankless office to the satisfaction of all who have business with him) sends to Rochester for the piece, reads it, and to make what sort of a communication to the manager have you, LORD BREADALBANE, reduced that gentleman? This is it.
“I have examined the drama, entitled the Lady of the Camellias, and find it to correspond so nearly with the opera of La Traviata, WHICH HAS BEEN LICENSED BY THE LORD CHAMBERLAIN, that I shall not put any impediment in the way of your performing it at Rochester.”
Mr. Punch takes it, that blushing is not a CHAMBERLAIN’s accomplishment, or such a letter must make your Lordship’s face resemble Bardolph’s, as described by the Page, (characters by SHAKSPEARE, a dramatic author of other days, my Lord) “He called me, my Lord, through a red lattice, and I could discern no part of his face from the window; at last I spied his eyes.” – p.173.
[For an excellent letter (part 1) written to Lord Breadalbane with regards his sanction of the clearing of his lands of residents, taken from Donald McLeod’s ‘Gloomy Memories‘, go here. For scans of the Black Book of Taymouth (1855), a history of the Lords of Breadalbane go here.]
A Fresh-Water Navy.
THE Prussian Government has issued a proclamation, in which it humanely recommends all sailors employed in the Prussian Navy to take, before going to sea, five or six drops of chloroform, in a wineglassful of barley-water, as it is considered an admirable preventative against the horrors of sea-sickness. – p.174.
A Bit of Pig.
THE Siècle has been lately giving the details of a stupendous project for connecting England and France by means of a submarine tunnel. The projector of the scheme is a certain M. A. THOMÉ DE GAMOND. To an English ear this sounds very much like Gammon. – October 31, 1857., p.180.
– pp.183 & 184.
Keys of Mystery.
We have no wish to be thought of a Paul-Prying disposition, or desirous to protrude our nasal feature into secrets of the State, but we feel femininely curious to learn why the QUEEN can never travel in her own dominions, without having to pull up at every city that she comes to, and receive a bunch of keys from the hands of the authorities. At Aberdeen the other day, the chroniclers inform us:-
“A magnificent arch was erected at the boundary, and here the ceremony of presenting the keys of the City was performed: the LORD PROVOST, in a few loyal sentences, bidding HER MAJESTY welcome, and the QUEEN expressing gratification at being once more in the City of Aberdeen.”
Now, as far as the loyalty and welcome are concerned, we can see no cause to quarrel with this ceremony; but the presentation of the keys is now a meaningless absurdity, which we are quite sure could not have “gratified” HER MAJESTY. When cities had walls, and city keys had locks to them, there might have been some sense in handing them to royalty; but we regard the ceremony now as an effete superfluity, a piece of mere theatricalism which must annoy the QUEEN, and, indeed, is only fit for the Princess’s. Of course we shall be told that the custom is an “ancient” one, and that loyalty and homage are implied in the observance of it; but to modern minds these ancient customs are of questionable import, and partake rather more of nuisance than advantage.
It really seems ridiculous that in this boasted age of Progress the QUEEN should be arrested by these key-presenting Provosts, who seize on her like button-holders, with their small talk and inanities. It is time the royal road were cleared of these infesters, who do not hesitate to stop the QUEEN upon her own highway; and, presenting keys like pistols rob her of some golden minutes every time they catch her. Paying them attention is as bad as paying turnpikes, and the QUEEN should be relieved of all such taxeson her patience. Of course etiquette demands that she should “express her gratification” at these trials of her temper, but we believe that the QUEEN’s English of her speech is something different. Every time she has to stop to have some City keys presented to her, we can imagine HER MAJESTY saying to herself, “Don’t come stopping me, you tiresome men. Go away, do: and take away those Baubles!”
… – November 7, 1857., p.195.
Bigotry, Intolerance, and Fireworks.
WE have great pleasure in announcing that the observance of the Fifth of November was very general, and very signal this year. No less than 5,000 persons were employed in letting off fireworks on Tower-Hill. At Hammersmith – a place which is greatly infested with Roman aliens – numerous GUYS were paraded; among them there was a living reality on horseback; a gentleman who had got himself up in a style combining FAWKES with FALSTAFF. These displays of popular bigotry and intolerance are greatly to be commended; and they are very seasonable just now, when Popery is trying to enslave the Continent, and genteel Puseyites at home are slyly doing its work wherever they can; as, for instance, in a certain Review.
As saints, and thorough-going adherents to Exeter Hall, we rejoice in the demonstration which was made on Thursday last against the subjects of a foreign power, who are plotting, and scheming, and intriguing, and chanting through the nose, in the view of setting up their Italian Empire in HER MAJESTY’s dominions. May the British Public continue to burn the POPE annually in effigy, so long as there exists a British gander capable of allowing his goose to frequent the confessional! Squibs and crackers are not arguments exactly, but they are very good answers to dogmatic lies. They cannot hurt the feelings of our Catholic fellow-subjects, because we have no such ellows. What fellowship is there between the subjects of the QUEEN OF ENGLAND and those of the POPE OF ROME? – November 14, 1857., p.206.
[Bold text highlighted by myself. Though, these days, it’s politicians and popular figures who’ve made themselves infamous in some way who get turned into Guys and burned, in my youth, the Guy was generally believed to be a representation of Guy Fawkes himself we burned. The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was seen as a Catholic attempt on the life of the King and his ministers at Westminster, therefore, from that time until fairly recently it was an effigy of the Pope that was burned.]
A “Wessel” of Wrath.
THE exultation of the Editor of the Record at learning that the second attempt to launch the Great Ship had failed was perfectly ecstatic. The amiable religionist had specified his belief that the defeat of the first attempt, and the killing two of the workmen was a judgment of Providence upon the directors of the company for calling the ship Leviathan, a name which some interpreters of THE BOOK conceive to mean Satan, while others think it denotes something the Record considers a great deal worse, namely, the Church of Rome. The Record appears to believe that unless the name is changed, the vessel will, if launched, sink. The ill-success of the new attempt, on Thursday, the 19th, has confirmed our contemporary’s convictions. Yet, if the name of a ship is really of such awful import, what would the Record say to one who should set out on a missionary excursion, deliberately embarking on board a vessel named after two Pagan demigods, who, when on earth, were the foulest criminals, treacherous murder being one of their offences.
… – November 28, 1857., p.220.
Making Game of Justice.
… It afflicts us to confess that we are at length induced to doubt the wisdom of the Game Laws, and the justice of the Justices who are commissioned to dispense them. The case which has compelled us to forswear our old allegiance, and retire from the championship of both Game Laws and preservers, was brought the other day before the Court of Queen’s Bench, and is thus epitomised by the Daily News paper:-
“The defendant MR. BALLENY, a person of considerable property, and a Justice of the Peace for the County of Durham, had two men brought before him by a couple of policemen, charged with the destruction of a rabbit on his own property. Instead of at once declining, as an interested person, to act in the matter, MR. BALLENY convicted the delinquents in a severe penalty, ordered them in default of immediate payment to be handcuffed and sent to prison, and finally compromised the matter by liberating them on payment of a sovereign a-piece, which instead of handing over to the County fund, he put into his own pocket.”
For this trifling offence a criminal information was filed against the Magistrate, and a jury having found him guilty of corruption and extortion under colour of his office, he was sentenced by the Court to a year’s imprisonment and the payment of a fine of two hundred pounds. In delivering this sentence the Court, through the lips of MR. JUSTICE COLERIDGE, observed that –
“It was the boast of this country that the greater part of the administration of justice was carried on by the unpaid gentry,a s a part of the duty which belonged to them in respect of their property; and he (MR. JUSTICE COLERIDGE) fully concurred in what had been said by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL, that that duty was in general discharged with strict impartiality to high and low. On the one side there was power, and wealth, and learning, and on the other poverty, and ignorance, and distress; and considering those relative positions, when once a case of extortion was brought before the Court, it was impossible to regard it otherwise than as a crime of great magnitude, and to be visited with very severe punishment. In such a case it was the duty of the Court to deal out its sentences with equal severity, as it would do in the case of the lowest person in the country. Indeed, when the Court considered the advantage which was given to the educated over the uneducated, the offence of the former ought to be visited with greater severity than that of the latter.”
There was another little matter too that came out in the evidence, which the Court might have commented on with equal indignation: namely, that the Magistrate might not improbably have pocketed his two sovereigns, and escaped his punishment, had he not been so indiscreet as to attempt to tamper with the honour of policemen. MR. BALLENY, it appears, when receiving from the poachers the £2 for his rabbit (that being of course the market-price of the commodity in Durham) presented the two officers, who captured the delinquents, with the insufficient hushmoney of five shillings a-piece. Had there been nut one of them, the bribe might have succeeded; as it was, their honesty appeared the wiser policy, and their dual better nature prompted them to peach.
Another feature in the case which also should be noted was the fact, that the two sovereigns which MR. BALLENY extorted were actually subscribed by the friends of the two culprits, whom he, the greater culprit, sat in legal judgment over and threatened to lock up. The men pleaded poverty, and requested time to pay; but neither plea nor request would Justice, as personified by worthy MR. BALLENY, stoop in its unbending uprightness to listen to. Having the bandage of self-interest on its eyes, Justice could not see extenuation or excuse. So the men were kept in custody until the hat had been sent round for them, and their neighbours, from the pence they had been weeks perhaps in saving, had raised the pounds for payment of the Great Unpaid.
It was remarked by the Court, in its reviewal of the evidence, that –
“One of the men had said, and there was nothing to show that it was not true, that his whole offence consisted in his desire to shoot a valueless rabbit, which he wished to give as food to his sick wife.”
Rabbits valued by their owner at two sovereigns a-pice cannot well, we fancy, be looked upon as “valueless;” but the Court clearly held that there was some extenuation in the fact of a poor man seeking food for his sick wife, albeit in the Game preserves of his rich neighbours. Necessity, no doubt, is a rather loose logician; and the reasons for abstaining to procure his wife a dinner, will not be closely argued by a man who is in search of one. However much he be disposed to reverence the Game Laws, there are times when his hunger gets the better of his judgment, and when in the cravings of his nature he forgets the existence of an Act of Parliament. Even the best educated would find it hard to reason closely on an empty stomach; and where distress is backed by ignorance and sluggish mental faculties, the causes for abstaining from infringement of the law are still less likely, we opine, to prove sufficiently deterrent.
But however much we may approve the sternness of the sentence which was passed on MR. BALLENY, we cannot help regarding him in some sort as a martyr. It is an especially marked attribute of the Game Law that it touches nothing which it does not dishonour. MR. BALLENY’s injustice was no doubt mainly the result of the injustice of the law which he was called on to administer, and, in pocketing himself the fines which he imposed, he merely put in practice and reduced to personal application the principle – or what of it – on which the law is founded. The Game Law is entirely a one-sided institution. Of all protective ordinances it is the most selfish. Being instituted solely for the game-preservers’ benefit, the spirit of the act is to a surety carried out by their having the dispensing of it. Self-preservation is the first and strongest law of the preserver’s nature; and in dealing with a poacher over whom he sits in judgment, the only thing he thinks of is his own protection. From viewing the law solely as a personal convenience, by no great stretch of mental eyesight he gets to view the fines he has the power to impose, in the light of being personal indemnities for loss, and conceives, like MR. BALLENY, that he is authorised to pocket them.
But we must repeat, that we regard this sufferer in some sort as deserving of our sympathy. There must be made allowance for the strength of the temptation to which he was exposed, and for the demoralising influence of the law he was administering. The Judge who sentenced him commented sternly on the fact that he had sat in judgment as an interested person. “The policemen did wrong” said MR. JUSTICE COLERIDGE –
“In bringing before a Magistrate two persons charged with an offence on his own property; and the obvious course for the Magistrate was to have dismissed the officers with a rebuke, and have ordered them to take the poachers before some other and disinterested [unbiased] person.”
Yes, obviously this would have been the juster course: but in dealing with a poacher, pray where is a disinterested Justice to be found? As well expect a cabman to give you an unbiassed estimate of distance, as expect a country Magistrate to administer unbiassed justice in a game case. No matter whether the offence be committed on their own or another person’s property, preservers have a natural antipathy to poachers, and are leagued in common cause to compass their extermination. Wherever a bird falls or a rabbit is “picked up,” the legal preserver considers himself injured by the illegal destroyer, and having the law in his own hands, will not hold them from dispensing it. So long as England “boasts,” of its unpaid gentry Justices, so long will biassed sentences continue to be passed, and the temptation to wrong-doing such as MR. BALLENY’s exist. As the law is now administered, full preserves inevitably make full prisons. Peasants become goal-birds through the keeping up of pheasants: and what is sport to country gentlemen is moral death to numbers of their poorer neighbours. The Game Law being an ancient institution and of course regarded as a Bulwark of the State, it will be found, (as all these ancient ones die hard,) that there will be no easy work to make it a dead letter. But as anything that tends to bring it into disrepute also tends to bring us nearer to its annihilation, we think the country is indebted to the zeal of MR. BALLENY, whose overstepping of the law we regard as a right step in the direction to remove it. – December 5, 1857., pp.228-229.
Hookie’ Mac Walker’s Conscience.
OF all cases of “Conscience Money” ever recorded in the Times within our memory, the following is the most wonderful:-
“The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER acknowledges the remaining halves of Bank-notes amounting to £30, on account of unpaid Income Tax from ‘Highlander.'”
Fancy ROB ROY, if that worthy were still in existence, sending the Government a lot of money on account of unpaid Income-tax due upon black mail! It is not, perhaps, quite impossible to conceive ROB to have been capable of such a freak of romantic and inconsistent conscientiousness, but that DONALD of the present day could dream of paying any tax of any kind unnecessarily, is altogether incredible. Nobody in the world would be less likely to do such a thing than a Highlander, except a Lowlander.
Besides, there are hardly any Highlanders now, except deer; the dukes having driven almost all the men out of the glens. HER MAJESTY’s once celebrated stag, “Highlander,” if he has not been eaten by men or dogs, may have retired on a pension – but Income-tax would have been stopped out of that, as it is stopped out of the scanty dividends of poor young ladies, who are put to the greatest trouble if they attempt to get the undue deduction refunded. The announcement – with all respect for its Right Hon. Author – we conceive to be a facetious fiction, intended to joke Income-tax defaulters into paying up their arrears, by representing that act of reparation as having been performed even by a Scotchman. – p.234.
[Bold text highlighted by myself. This article states information the aristocracy had been trying very hard to keep quiet at the time. It was encouraged that people believed famine or a natural change in circumstances was to blame for the Highland Clearances, or even that it was God’s doing. But it was due to the authorisation given by landowners in Scotland to their factors that allowed them to burn & threaten victims out their homes from the end of the 18th century to the middle of the 19th. Full details of the Clearances, as stated previously, can be found here.]
– December 19, 1857., p.247.
“LOOKEE here, Sir. Here’s a rum story out o’ the Forres Gazette:-
“Venison. – We have had an abundant supply of deer in the new markets for the last month. MR. TURNBULL, game dealer, has had a weekly display of a dozen of these noble-looking animals, the hinder parts of which have been readily purchased for hams, at 6d. a pound; while the other portions of the carcase were quickly disposed of at 5d. We understand they were sent from the forests at Glenfiddich.”
“They must be preshus bad off for pigs, I should think, up there in Scotland, to be bliged to meak their hams out o’ deer. How much fat, I wonder, is there on them Scotch deer hams? I don’t suppose there’s no acorns nor beech-nuts in the Scotch vorrests, zo I dwooan’t know what med be the case thereaway; but this I’ll be bound vor – if there’s any deer left in the New Forest, and people hereabouts was to begin turnun of their hindquarters into hams, I warnd there’d zoon be a precious row tween they and the pigs as be turned out to ‘ood in the fall. The hogs ‘ood veel twas a ninterverance wi their vested rights, and what a gruntun and a squeakun we should head among um!
“Snoutbury, Hants, Dec. 1857.” – December 26, 1857., p.259.
[When ‘Punch’ wanted to get ridiculous they did so by publishing the article in the format of a letter sent by someone of a lesser class, as shown by the spelling which was in the style of how the imaginary correspondent would speak. The article quoted, however, is correct and was reiterated, after its publication in the ‘Forres Gazette’, by papers such as the ‘Dumfries and Galloway Standard’, ‘Windsor and Eton Express’, London’s ‘Morning Post’, and the Norwich Mercury, among others.
The reason for the “abundant supply of deer” was already given by ‘Punch’ in the 3rd article before this one (p.234), which is supported by the huge amount of information found in ‘Gloomy Memories‘.]