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Title: Mr. Punch's History of Modern England, Vol. I (of 4).—1841-1857
Author: Graves, Charles L. (Charles Larcom), 1856-1944
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mr. Punch's History of Modern England, Vol. I (of 4).—1841-1857" ***

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MR. PUNCH'S HISTORY OF MODERN ENGLAND


Transcriber's Note: Minor typographical errors have been corrected
without note. Irregularities and inconsistencies in the text have
been retained as printed. Words printed in italics are noted with
underscores: _italics_.


[Illustration: THE RECONCILIATION:

OR, AS IT OUGHT TO BE

Reproduced from the cartoon in _Punch_, 15th March, 1845.]



MR. PUNCH'S HISTORY OF MODERN ENGLAND

By

CHARLES L. GRAVES

IN FOUR VOLUMES

VOL. I.--1841-1857

  CASSELL AND COMPANY, LTD
  London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne
  1921

_Published by arrangement with the Proprietors of "Punch"_



PREFACE


The title of this work indicates at once its main source and its
limitations. The files of _Punch_ have been generally admitted to be a
valuable mine of information on the manners, customs, and fashions of
the Victorian age, and of the wealth of material thus provided liberal
use has been made. But it must not be forgotten that _Punch_ has always
been a London paper, and that in so far as English life is reflected in
his pages, London always comes first, though in this volume, and
especially during the "Hungry 'Forties," Lancashire comes a very good
second. For pictures of provincial society--such, for example, as that
given in _Cranford_ or in the novels of Trollope--or of life in
Edinburgh or Dublin, the chronicler of Victorian England must look
outside _Punch_. The "country cousin" is not forgotten, but for the most
part comes into view when he is on a visit to London, not when he is on
his native heath. Yet even with these deductions the amount of material
is embarrassingly rich. And this is due not only to the multiplicity of
subjects treated, but to the manner in which they were discussed. Of
_Punch_, in his early days at any rate, the criticism recently applied
to Victorian writers in general by a writer in _Blackwood_ holds good:
"They had a great deal to say, and they said it sometimes in too loud a
voice. Such was their virtue, to which their vice was akin. Their vice
was the vice of rhetoric. They fell to the temptation of many words.
They wrote too often as the tub-thumper speaks, without much
self-criticism and with a too fervent desire to be heard immediately and
at all costs." In the 'forties _Punch_ doubled the rôles of jester and
political pamphleteer, and in the latter capacity indulged in a great
deal of vehement partisan rhetoric. The loudest, the most passionate and
moving as well as the least judicial of his spokesmen was Douglas
Jerrold. The choice of dividing lines between periods must always be
somewhat artificial, but I was confirmed in my decision to end the first
volume with the year of the Indian Mutiny by the fact that it coincided
with the death of Douglas Jerrold, who from 1841 to 1857 had, more than
any other writer, been responsible for the Radical and humanitarian
views expressed in _Punch_.

My task would have been greatly simplified by the exclusion of politics
altogether. But to do that would have involved the neglect of what is,
after all, perhaps the most interesting and in many ways the most
honourable phase of _Punch's_ history, his championship of the poor and
oppressed, and his efforts to bridge the gap between the "Two
Nations"--the phrase which was used and justified in the finest passage
of Disraeli's _Sybil_, and which I have chosen as the title for the
first part of the present volume. To write a Social History of England
at any time without reference to the political background would be
difficult; it is practically impossible in a chronicle based on _Punch_
in the 'forties and 'fifties. In the second part I have endeavoured to
redress the balance. Here one recognizes the advantages of _Punch's_
London outlook in dealing with the Court and fashion and the acute
contrasts furnished between Mayfair on the one hand and the suburbs and
slums on the other.

No attempt has been made to represent _Punch_ as infallible whether as a
recorder, a critic, or a prophet. He was often wrong, unjust, and even
cruel--notably in his view of Peel and Lincoln, and in his conduct of
the "No Popery" crusade--though he seldom failed to make amends, even to
the extent of standing in a white sheet over Lincoln's grave. But the
majority of these confessions took the form of posthumous tributes. As
for the gradual cooling of _Punch's_ democratic ardour, that may be
attributed partly to the removal or remedying of abuses by legislation
and the education of public opinion; partly to the fact that newspapers
follow the rule of individuals, and tend to become more moderate as they
grow older. The great value of _Punch_ resides in the fact that it
provides us with a history of the Victorians _written by themselves_.
This is no guarantee of the accuracy of the facts recorded. We have had
painful proof in recent years that contemporary evidence, when based on
hearsay, even though written down red-hot in a diary, is, to put it
mildly, incapable of corroboration. But, as reflecting the nature and
mood of the writer, contemporary evidence is always interesting. My aim
has been to supply a critical commentary, and, where possible, to verify
or correct the statements or judgments recorded in _Punch_.
Acknowledgments of the various authorities consulted will be found in
the footnotes, but I should like to express my special indebtedness to
the _Dictionary of National Biography_; to the _New English Dictionary_;
to _The Political History of England_, by Sir Sidney Low and Mr. Lloyd
Sanders; to Mr. C.R. Fay's _Life and Labour in the Nineteenth Century_;
and, where the inner or domestic history of the paper is concerned, to
Mr. M. H. Spielmann's _History of Punch_.

The work of preparing this volume has been greatly lightened by the
encouragement and practical help of Mr. Philip Agnew, the managing
director, and Mr. Heather, the secretary, of Messrs. Bradbury, Agnew and
Co.; by Miss Berry's transcription of extracts; and, above all, by the
research, the advice and suggestions of Miss M. R. Walpole, the
assistant librarian of the Athenæum Club.

CHARLES L. GRAVES.


_A complete Index will be found in the Fourth Volume._


CONTENTS


PART I

THE TWO NATIONS


_PUNCH_ AND THE PEOPLE

CHARTISM

MACHINERY AND MONEY-MAKING

EDUCATION

RELIGIOUS CONTROVERSY

FROM PEACE TO WAR


ENTR'ACTE

LONDON IN THE MID-NINETEENTH CENTURY


PART II

THE SOCIAL FABRIC

THE COURT

THE OLD NOBILITY

SOCIETY-EXCLUSIVE, GENTEEL, AND SHABBY GENTEEL

THE LIBERAL PROFESSIONS

WOMEN IN THE 'FORTIES AND 'FIFTIES

FASHION IN DRESS

THE DRAMA, OPERA, MUSIC, AND THE FINE ARTS

PERSONALITIES



PART I


THE TWO NATIONS



MR. PUNCH'S HISTORY OF MODERN ENGLAND



_PUNCH_ AND THE PEOPLE

    O! fair and fresh the early spring
      Her budding wreath displays,
    To all the wide earth promising
      The joy of harvest days;
    Yet many a waste of wavy gold
      Hath bent above the dead;
    Then let the living share it too--
      Give us our daily bread.

    Of old a nation's cry shook down
      The sword-defying wall,
    And ours may reach the mercy-seat,
      Though not the lordly hall.
    God of the Corn! shall man restrain
      Thy blessings freely shed?
    O! look upon the isles at last--
      Give us our daily bread.

[Sidenote: _The Founders of "Punch"_]

It is fitting that a chronicle of social life in England in the
Victorian age, drawn in its essentials from the pages of _Punch_, should
begin with the People. For _Punch_ began as a radical and democratic
paper, a resolute champion of the poor, the desolate and the oppressed,
and the early volumes abound in evidences of the miseries of the "Hungry
'Forties" and in burning pleas for their removal. The strange mixture of
jocularity with intense earnestness which confronts us on every page
was due to the characters and antecedents of the men who founded and
wrote for the paper at its outset. Of at least three of them it might be
said that they were humanitarians first and humorists afterwards. Henry
Mayhew, one of the originators and for a short time joint-editor, was
"the first to strike out the line of philanthropic journalism which
takes the poor of London as its theme," and in his articles in the
_Morning Chronicle_ and his elaborate work on _London Labour and the
London Poor_, which occupied him intermittently for the best part of
twenty years, showed himself a true forerunner of Charles Booth. His
versatility was amazing. The writer of the obituary notice of him in the
_Athenæum_ observes that "it would not be difficult to show him as a
scientific writer, a writer of semi-religious biography, and an
outrageous joker at one and the same time." Another member of the
original staff was Gilbert à Beckett, who crowded an extraordinary
amount of work into his short life as leader-writer on _The Times_,
comic journalist, dramatist, Poor Law Commissioner and Metropolitan
Magistrate. It was à Beckett's report on the scandal connected with the
Andover Union--pronounced by the Home Secretary, Buller, to be one of
the best ever presented to Parliament--that led to important alterations
in the Statute book, and secured for him, at the age of thirty-eight,
his appointment as Metropolitan Police Magistrate. Thackeray's
references to "à Beckett the beak" are frequent and affectionate, and on
his death in 1856 a noble tribute was paid him in the pages of the
journal he had served from its opening number. "As a magistrate, Gilbert
à Beckett, by his wise, calm, humane administration of the law, gave a
daily rebuke to a too ready belief that the faithful exercise of the
highest and gravest social duties is incompatible with the sportiveness
of literary genius." These words were penned by Douglas Jerrold, who
died within a year of his friend, and was the most ardent and
impassioned humanitarian of the three. By the irony of fate Jerrold is
chiefly remembered for his sledge-hammer retorts: the industrious and
ingenious playwright is little more than a name; the brilliant publicist
and reformer, the friend and associate of Chartists, the life-long
champion of the underdog is forgotten. Gilbert à Beckett and Henry
Mayhew had both been at Westminster. Their people were well-to-do.
Douglas Jerrold had known both poverty and privation, and his education
was largely acquired in a printer's office. His brief service in the
Navy was long enough to make him a strenuous advocate of the claims of
the lower deck to more humane treatment. He did not believe that harsh
discipline and flogging were necessary to the efficiency of either
Service. As a boy he had seen something of the human wreckage of war,
and the spectacle had cured him for ever of any illusions as to
militarism. But his distrust of Emperors, Dictators and the "King
business" generally--always excepting Constitutional Monarchy--was so
pronounced that any interference on their part was enough to convert him
into a Jingo. How far he was from being a pacificist may be judged from
the temper of _Punch_ in the Crimean War, its advocacy of ruthlessness
as the best means of shortening the hostilities, and its bitter
criticism of Lord Aberdeen and Mr. Gladstone, and above all of Cobden
and Bright, for their alleged pro-Russian sympathies. In the 'forties
Cobden and Bright were the leaders of that group of "middle-class men of
enthusiasm and practical sagacity" which directed the Free Trade
movement, and they had been supported by _Punch_ in the campaign against
the Corn Laws. Douglas Jerrold was the spear-head of _Punch's_ attacks
on Protection, Bumbledom, unreformed Corporations, Cant and Snobbery,
the cruelty, the inequality, the expense and the delays of the Law. He
might be described as being violently and vituperatively on the side of
the angels. The freedom of his invective, notably in the articles signed
"Q," is beyond belief. Compared with his handling of ducal landlords,
the most drastic criticisms of Mr. Lloyd George in his earlier days are
as water to wine. At all costs Jerrold was determined that the Tory dogs
should not have the best of it.

[Illustration: THE POOR MAN'S FRIEND

(The Hungry 'Forties)]

Biographies of the _Punch_ staff do not fall within the scope of this
chronicle, but some knowledge of the record and the temperament of the
men who gave the paper its peculiar quality for many years is essential
to a proper understanding of its influence on public opinion. They were
humorous men, but they could be terribly in earnest, and they had
abundant excuse for their seriousness. They could not forgive the Duke
of Wellington when on August 24, 1841, he declared that England was "the
only country in which the poor man, if only sober and industrious, was
quite certain of acquiring a competency." They regarded it as "a
heartless insult thrown in the idle teeth of famishing thousands, the
ghosts of the victims of the Corn Laws.... If rags and starvation put up
their prayer to the present Ministry, what must be the answer delivered
by the Duke of Wellington? 'Ye are drunken and lazy!'" A few days later
Mr. Fielden, M.P., moved "that the distress of the working people at the
present time is so great throughout the country, but particularly in the
manufacturing districts, that it is the duty of this House to make
instant inquiry into the cause and extent of such distress, and devise
means to remedy it; and at all events to vote no supply of money until
such inquiry be made." The motion was negatived by 149 to 41, and a Tory
morning paper complacently observed that "there has been for the last
few days a smile on the face of every well-dressed gentleman, and of
every well-to-do artisan, who wend their way along the streets of this
vast metropolis. It is caused by the Opposition exhibition of Friday
night in the House of Commons." The comment on this "spiteful
imbecility" is not to be wondered at: "Toryism believes only in the
well-dressed and the well-to-do. Purple and fine linen are the
instrumental parts of her religion. Her faith is in glossy raiment and a
full belly." The Home Secretary stated in reply to a question, about a
year later, that the keepers of St. James's Park were particularly
ordered "not to admit persons who wore fustian jackets," an order which
prompted _Punch_ to remark that in Merry England "labour was ignominy,
and your only man the man with white hands and filbert nails." A writer
in the _Examiner_ so recently as 1861 could remember the time when the
sentries in St. James's Park used, at the point of the bayonet,
according to their orders, to dismount women from their pattens, and
make them trudge on with them in their hands. It is an old story; as
old as the days of Ahasuerus, when "no one might enter the King's gate
clothed with sackcloth." _Punch_ never wearied of bringing home to his
readers these abrupt contrasts of wealth and poverty. The people were
crying for bread and Parliament had been occupied in carrying the
Ventilation of the House Bill and the Royal Kitchen Garden Bill. The
amount voted for the Royal Stables at Windsor was considerably more than
three times what was obtained from Parliament for the education of the
poor. _The Times_ of December 2, 1841, quoted from the _Sporting
Magazine_ an account of the accommodation provided for the Prince
Consort's beagles and Her Majesty's dogs--sleeping beds, compartments
paved with asphalt, dry and clean, with roomy and healthy green yards;
and boiling and distemper houses detached from the other portions of the
building--and bracketed with it the sworn evidence of the late matron
and medical attendant at the Sevenoaks Union. The lying-in ward was
small and always looked dirty. "There had been six women there at one
time: two were confined in one bed. It was impossible entirely to shut
out the infection. I have known fifteen children sleep in two beds." Six
young girls, inmates of the Lambeth workhouse, were charged about the
same time with breaking several panes of glass. In their defence they
complained that they had been treated worse in the workhouse than they
would be in prison, and said that it was to cause their committal to the
latter place they broke the windows. Strange reading this in a comic
journal, yet paralleled by similar extracts week after week and month
after month. The birth of the Prince of Wales was chronicled in the same
issue of the daily papers which contained the "luscious history" of the
Lord Mayor's dinner:--

    Oh, men of Paisley--good folks of Bolton--what promise for ye is
    here! Turkeys, capons, sirloins, asparagus, pheasants, pineapples,
    Savoy cakes, Chantilly baskets, mince-pies, preserved ginger,
    brandy cherries, a thousand luscious cakes that "the sense aches
    at!" What are all these gifts of plenty but a glad promise that in
    the time of the "sweetest young prince," on the birthday of that
    Prince just vouchsafed to us, all England will be a large Lord
    Mayor's table!

[Sidenote: _Fleshpots and Famine_]

When the question of the title of the next King was discussed, _Punch_
boldly suggested Lazarus:--

    Let Henry the Fifth have his Agincourt; let him, in history, sit
    upon a throne of Frenchmen's skulls; our LAZARUS THE FIRST shall
    heal the wounds of wretchedness--shall gather bloodless laurels in
    the hospital and workhouse--his ermine and purple shall make
    fellowship with rags of linsey-wolsey--he shall be a king enthroned
    and worshipped in the hearts of the indigent!

    LAZARUS THE FIRST! There is hope in the very sound for the
    wretched! There is Christian comfort to all men in the very
    syllables! By giving such a name to the greatest king of the earth,
    there is a shadowing forth and a promise of glorification to the
    beggars in eternity. Poverty and sores are anointed--tatters are
    invested with regality--man in his most abject and hopeless
    condition is shown his rightful equality with the bravest of the
    earth--royalty and beggary meet and embrace each other in the
    embrace of fraternity.

    O ye thousands famished in cellars! O ye multitudes with hunger and
    cold biting with "dragon's tooth" your very vitals! shout, if you
    can find breath enough, "Long live Lazarus!"

In those days there was a "Pauper's Corner" in _Punch_, in which the cry
of the people found frequent and touching utterance. We have quoted from
"The Prayer of the People" as a heading to this chapter. Another short
poem deserves to be rescued from these old files, and added to the
lyrics inspired by the Anti-Corn Law movement:--

    Disease and want are sitting by my hearth--
      The world hath left me nothing of its good!
    The land hath not been stricken by a dearth,
      And yet I am alone and wanting food.
    The sparrow on the housetops o'er the earth
      Doth find its sustenance, and surely HE
    Who gave the mighty universe its birth
      Would never love the wild bird more than me.

_Punch_ had no illusions as to the genuineness of the Chartist movement,
as may be gathered from his comments on the presentation of the Great
Petition in 1842. There might, he owned, be dangerous demagogues who
offered evil counsel, but the Chartists themselves had a degree of
intelligence, a power of concentration, a knowledge of the details of
public business, heretofore unknown to great popular combinations of
dissentients:--

    There are among the Chartists hard-headed logicians--men keenly
    alive to their sufferings, and what is more, soundly schooled as to
    the causes of them. We grant that their petition presented to
    Parliament contained many follies, very many extravagances--that it
    prayed for what the timidity of poverty will call revolutionary
    measures; but is it not an axiom in politics, that to get even a
    little it is necessary to ask a great deal?

    We only call upon Toryism, or Whiggism either, each to show us its
    army of 3,000,000 of spotless politicians. But we contend that the
    Chartists are foully maligned when they are branded as thieves and
    spoilers. It is an old cry that property has its rights; it has
    been added--and well added--that property has also its duties. To
    these let us subjoin--property has also its cowardice.

Inquiries and investigations into the condition of agricultural
labourers and of artisans were already bringing to light many
disquieting facts. The physical destitution and spiritual forlornness of
the workers in the Midlands were painfully illustrated in the evidence
of Mr. Horne on the condition of the operatives of Wolverhampton:--

    I have entered the houses and hovels of journeymen locksmiths and
    keymakers indiscriminately and unexpectedly, and seen the utmost
    destitution; no furniture in the room below but a broken board for
    a table, and a piece of plank laid across bricks for a seat; with
    the wife hungry--almost crying with hunger--and in rags, _yet the
    floor was perfectly clean_. I have gone upstairs, and seen a bed on
    the floor of a room seven feet long by six feet high at one side,
    but slanting down to nothing, like a wedge, where a husband, his
    wife and three children slept, and with no other article in the
    room of any kind whatever except the bed.... William
    Benton--"Thinks that's his name; can't spell it rightly. Age, don't
    know justly--mother says he's turned eighteen. Can't read or write;
    can tell some of his letters. Goes to a Sunday school sometimes. Is
    of the Baptist school religion, _whatever that is_. Never heard of
    Moses; never heard of St. Paul. Has heard of Christ; knows who
    Jesus Christ was--he was Adam. Doesn't care much about going to
    school if he could...."

    You will find poor girls who have never sung or danced; never seen
    a dance; never read a book that made them laugh; never seen a
    violet or a primrose or other flowers; and others whose only idea
    of a green field was derived from _having been stung by a nettle_.

[Sidenote: _The Song of the Shirt_]

The Commission which had been engaged in learning the exact conditions
of all the women and children employed in agriculture in England
suggested to _Punch_ an imaginary report of an inquiry into the state of
the aristocracy, and the moral condition, employment, health, diet,
etc., of the residents in Belgrave Square, most of the ladies examined
being overworked by violent dancing in overheated rooms. Sweating in the
cheap clothes trade was already attracting the notice of reformers, and
_Punch_ was on the warpath when a Jew slop-seller prosecuted a poor
widow with two children for pawning articles which she had to make up
for him. She got 7d. a pair for making up trousers, and earned 7s. a
week. It was this episode, exposed in the verses "Moses and Co.," which
paved the way for Hood's immortal "Song of the Shirt," the greatest
poem, the most noble contribution that ever appeared in the pages of
Punch. It was printed in the Christmas number of 1843, and dwarfed all
the other contributions to insignificance:--

THE SONG OF THE SHIRT

    With fingers weary and worn,
      With eyelids heavy and red,
    A woman sat in unwomanly rags,
      Plying her needle and thread--
    Stitch! stitch! stitch!
      In poverty, hunger and dirt,
    And still with a voice of dolorous pitch
      She sang the "Song of the Shirt."

    "Work! work! work!
      While the cock is crowing aloof!
    And work--work--work,
      Till the stars shine through the roof!
    It's O! to be a slave
      Along with the barbarous Turk,
    Where woman has never a soul to save,
      If this is Christian work!

    "Work--work--work
      Till the brain begins to swim;
    Work--work--work
      Till the eyes are heavy and dim!
    Seam and gusset and band,
      Band and gusset and seam,
    Till over the buttons I fall asleep,
      And sew them on in a dream!

    "O men, with sisters dear!
      O men, with mothers and wives!
    It is not linen you're wearing out,
      But human creatures' lives!
    Stitch--stitch--stitch,
      In poverty, hunger and dirt,
    Sewing at once, with a double thread,
      A shroud as well as a shirt.

    "But why do I talk of Death,
      That phantom of grisly bone?
    I hardly fear his terrible shape,
      It seems so like my own--
      It seems so like my own,
      Because of the fasts I keep;
    Oh God, that bread should be so dear,
      And flesh and blood so cheap!

    "Work--work--work!
      My labour never flags;
    And what are its wages? A bed of straw,
      A crust of bread--and rags.
    That shatter'd roof--and this naked floor--
      A table--a broken chair--
    And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank
    For sometimes falling there!

    "Work--work--work!
      From weary chime to chime,
    Work--work--work--
      As prisoners work for crime!
    Band and gusset and seam,
      Seam and gusset and band,
    Till the heart is sick and the brain benumb'd,
      As well as the weary hand.

    "Work--work--work
      In the dull December light,
    And work--work--work
      When the weather is warm and bright;
    While underneath the eaves
      The brooding swallows cling
    As if to show me their sunny backs
      And twit me with the spring.

    "Oh! but to breathe the breath
      Of the cowslip and primrose sweet--
    With the sky above my head,
      And the grass beneath my feet;
    For only one short hour
      To feel as I used to feel,
    Before I knew the woes of want
      And the walk that costs a meal!

    "Oh, but for one short hour!
      A respite however brief;
    No blessed leisure for love or hope,
      But only time for grief!
    A little weeping would ease my heart,
      But in their briny bed
    My tears must stop, for every drop
     Hinders needle and thread!"

    With fingers weary and worn,
      With eyelids heavy and red,
    A woman sat in unwomanly rags
      Plying her needle and thread--
    Stitch! stitch! stitch!
      In poverty, hunger and dirt,
    And still with a voice of dolorous pitch,
      Would that its tone could reach the rich!
    She sang this "Song of the Shirt."

[Sidenote: _Sir Robert Peel and Hood_]

[Illustration: PIN MONEY]

[Illustration: NEEDLE MONEY]

The story of "The Song of the Shirt" is well told by Mr. M. H. Spielmann
in his _History of "Punch"._ Mark Lemon proved himself a great editor
by deciding to publish the poem against the expressed opinions of his
colleagues, who thought it unsuitable for a comic journal, and also by
his omitting the one weak verse in the original MS. Strange to say, the
poem does not appear in the index. The sequel may be found in Peel's
correspondence, and does honour to a statesman who, while he lived,
received scant justice from _Punch_. Though the impact of Hood's burning
verses on public opinion was immense and abiding, Hood himself a year
later was dying in penury, of consumption. On November 16, 1844, Peel
wrote him a letter expressing admiration for his work, and offering him
a pension. "I am not conferring a private obligation upon you, but am
fulfilling the intentions of the Legislature, which has placed at the
disposal of the Crown a certain sum (miserable indeed in amount) in
recognition of public claims on the bounty of the Crown." All he asked
in return was that Hood would give him the opportunity of making his
personal acquaintance. That was impossible owing to the state of Hood's
health. Mrs. Hood wrote on January 14, 1845, to beg for prompt
assistance: Hood was dangerously ill and creditors were pressing. Peel
sent the £100 at once, and on February 17 Hood wrote to thank him "with
all the sincerity of a dying man" and to bid him a respectful farewell.
He could write no more, though he had wished to write one more paper.
Then follow these memorable words, even more needed now than they were
seventy-five years ago:--

    Certain classes, at the poles of society, are already too far
    asunder. It should be the duty of our writers to draw them nearer
    by kindly attraction, not to aggravate existing repulsions and
    place a wider moral gulf between rich and poor, with hate on one
    side and fear on the other. But I am too weak for this task, the
    last I had set myself. It is death that stops my pen, you see, not
    a pension. God bless you, sir, and prosper all your measures for
    the benefit of my beloved country.

Hood died on May 3, 1845, and was buried in Kensal Green, but more than
seven years later no tombstone marked his resting-place, and _Punch_ was
moved to ask:--

    If marble mark the soldier-statesman's grave,
      If monuments adorn his place of sleep
    Whose hand struck off the fetters from the slave,
      And his who sought out woe in dungeons deep,

    Did _he_ not fight for Toil's sad sons and daughters?
      Was not _his_ voice loud for the worker's right?
    Was _he_ not potent to arrest the slaughters
      Of Capital and Labour's desperate fight?

Eventually a tombstone was erected, bearing the words: "He sang the Song
of the Shirt," but the pension continued to his widow lapsed on her
death a year later. A sum of £800, collected by public subscription, was
all that was available for the children, Lord John Russell, then
Premier, having found himself unable to extend the pension for their
benefit, at a time when, as _Punch_ reminded him, the Duchess of
Inverness, widow of the Duke of Sussex, was drawing a pension of £1,000
a year. "The Song of the Shirt" rang through the land, but it did not
end the hardships of the sweated sempstress. Within a year _Punch_ was
moved to indignation by the story of Esther Pierce, paid 6d. for
embroidering eighty blossoms on a silk shawl, and charged with pawning
the goods of her employer. In 1848, under the heading "The Cheap Shirt
Market," we read of a woman prosecuted on a similar charge, who was paid
2s. 6d. a dozen for making up shirts, or 2½d. apiece, and on these
earnings supported herself, two children and a husband out of work. As
late as 1859 the sweated shirt makers were still receiving only 4s. 6d.
a dozen. No wonder is it that when the movement in favour of cottage
gardens was frowned upon in some quarters on the ground that flowers
here were "out of place," _Punch_ retorted with the bitter jibe: "What
has the labourer to do with stocks but sit in them?"

[Sidenote: _The Duke of Norfolk's Panacea_]

No wonder again that a legal pillory of harsh sentences was a constant
feature of his pages in the 'forties and 'fifties. A humane magistrate
who refused in 1845 to hear a charge of wood-stealing from a hedge
brought against a man earning 7s. a week--the common rate at the time
for agricultural labourers--stated from the Bench that he knew of good
hands in Warwickshire who were earning only 3s. and 3s. 10d. a week.
Meat was a luxury: only the elders got bacon: the children potatoes and
salt: bread was 10d. a loaf. Yet this was the time when the Duke of
Norfolk seriously proposed that the poor should eke out their meagre
fare by the use of curry powder,[1] a suggestion that recalls the
historic comment of the French lady, shortly before the Revolution, on
hearing that the peasantry had no bread, "Then why don't they eat cake?"
_Punch_ dealt faithfully with this ducal _gaffe_ under the heading, "A
Real Blessing to Landlords":--

    The genuine Anti-Appetitive Curry Powder, strongly recommended by
    the Duke of Norfolk, is the labourer's only true substitute for
    bread and meat. It possesses the singular property of deluding the
    empty stomach into a sense of fullness, and is calculated to
    relieve those distressing symptoms of vacuity which result from
    living on seven shillings a week. It may be warranted to supersede
    potatoes and bacon; containing in fact, in itself, the essence of
    gammon; and one pinch dissolved in a tumbler of hot water is equal
    to a pot of beer. Landed proprietors, not wishing to reduce their
    rents, will find this preparation admirably calculated to reconcile
    labourers with their present rate of wages by enabling them almost
    entirely to dispense with food. Sold in pots, at from one shilling.
    Agricultural societies supplied.

    N.B.--A liberal allowance on taking a quantity.

[Footnote 1: For the actual speech of the Duke see the _Examiner_ for
1845, p. 786.]

In these years the Dukes were constantly in _Mr. Punch's_ pillory; the
Duke of Marlborough for his harsh treatment of his tenantry in
connection with the Woodstock Election in 1844; the Duke of Buckingham
for prosecuting a rat-catcher, who was fined 18s. or fourteen days for
killing a leveret as big as a kitten, and about the same time for
prosecuting a poacher for damaging a fence to the amount of one penny;
the Duke of Sutherland, in the same year again, for the arbitrary rules
enforced on his estate, the whole county being parcelled out into
sheep-walks, which suggested to _Punch_ that he should be dignified with
the Order of Mutton; the Duke of Richmond for apparently imagining that
agricultural troubles could be settled by the simple process of drinking
the health of the British labourer; the Duke of Atholl for closing Glen
Tilt. Even the Great Duke himself was not immune from criticism and
censure. He had done a great work in the past, but he was out of touch
with the times and lacking in sympathy with the people. His words
reflected his iron temperament: they were like tenpenny nails. In 1845
_Punch_ made bold to suggest that the time for his going to grass had
arrived:--

    _The Times_ says "he is the leader of the aristocracy." Let him go
    and lead the Dukes. He is fit for that, but not any longer for
    governing us.... The old Duke should no longer block up the great
    thoroughfare of civilisation--he should be quietly and respectfully
    eliminated. For the future, let us have him and admire him--in
    history.

[Sidenote: _Harsh Sentences on Children_]

Harsh sentences on juvenile delinquents and plebeian offenders under the
Game Laws and Sunday Trading Act, the harrying of vagrants, the
treatment of destitution as a crime, are a constant spur to _Punch's_
reforming zeal. The hard cases quoted from _The Times_ and many
provincial papers include the flogging of a boy for accidentally killing
a leveret; the trial of a starving woman for the crime of stealing a
faggot worth a penny; the prosecution of two children, aged six and
twelve, for picking two handfuls of peas while walking in a field
through which there was a path, and the sending of the elder boy to gaol
for fourteen days in default of payment of a fine of 6d. and 13s. costs;
a sentence of six months' imprisonment for stealing a crab worth 1s.
6d.; the fining of a man 5s. by his vicar because his child, aged nine,
had sold a halfpenny worth of sweets to another child on Sunday--which
reminds _Punch_ of Herod and the Innocents. In 1841 Lord Brougham, in
Parliament, during a discussion on prison discipline, stated that a man
"had been confined ten weeks, having been fined 1s., with 14s. costs,
because he was absent one Sunday from church." Then in 1846 we have the
case of a woman charged with "exciting charity," though she had not
solicited alms. As late as 1859 we read of a child of nine in Essex,
sent to prison for fourteen days and whipped for stealing ½lb. of
butter. Small wonder is it that _Punch_ was a fervent and convinced
anti-Sabbatarian, or that he wrote in 1846: "The State does not trouble
itself much with education in this country, but the most usual schools
for the young and destitute are the prisons." The alternatives of fine
or imprisonment heightened the evil, for while the poor delinquent went
to gaol the well-to-do offender escaped. Brutal assaults on women were
punished by a lenient fine, which the bully could generally pay;
fraudulent tradesmen were not deterred from repeating their offences by
a money penalty which they could easily afford; it was only the
penniless pilferer who was sure of prison. In 1844 we find _Punch_
tracing incendiarism in Suffolk to the greed of the farmers in keeping
wages down, and publishing Leech's famous cartoon "The Home of the Rick
Burner." _Facit indignatio versum_: here is the picture of "The Fine Old
English Gentleman of the Present Time"--in the middle of the Hungry
'Forties:--

    I'll sing you a fine old song, improved by a modern pate,
    Of a fine Old English Gentleman, who owns a large estate,
    But pays the labourers on it a very shabby rate.
    Some seven shillings each a week for early work and late,
      Gives this fine Old English Gentleman, one of the present time.

       *       *       *       *       *

    In winter's cold, when poor and old for some assistance call,
    And come to beg a trifle at the portals of his hall,
    He refers them to the workhouse, that stands open wide for all;
    For this is how the parish great relieve the parish small,
      Like this fine Old English Gentleman, one of the present time.

Here is the portrait of the pauper:--

    Houseless, famish'd, desp'rate man,
      A ragged wretch am I!
    And how, and when, and where I can,
      I feed, and lodge, and lie.
    And I must to the workhouse go,
      _If_ better may not be;
    Ay, _if_, indeed! The workhouse! No!
      The gaol--the gaol for me.

       *       *       *       *       *

    There shall I get the larger crust,
      The warmer house-room there;
    And choose a prison since I must,
      I'll choose it for its fare.
    The dog will snatch the biggest bone,
      So much the wiser he:
    Call me a dog--the name I'll own--
      The gaol--the gaol for me.

The horror of the "Union" inspired some of the most moving pages in
Dickens' "Our Mutual Friend" some twenty years later. How deep and well
justified it was in the 'forties may be gathered from the scandal of the
Andover Union workhouse in '45, the habitual underfeeding of paupers,
and the frequent inquests at which verdicts of "natural death" were
returned on victims of neglect and even cruelty. The opposition to the
humane proposal to establish a lending library at the Greenwich
workhouse, following the example of Wandsworth, moved _Punch_ to
indignant irony: "Food for a pauper's mind, indeed! It is quite enough
to have to find food for his body." In 1851 an inquiry into the
management of a workhouse near Leeds revealed that the inmates were fed
at a trough, six at a time. In 1857 the workhouse children at Bath were
not allowed to see the pantomime _Jack and the Beanstalk_. Owing to the
intervention of the Guardians, headed by a clergyman, the children were
actually stopped at the door of the theatre. But in "Dust from a
Bath-brick" _Punch_ dusted the jackets of the Guardians in his best
style. Again and again we find him protesting against the regulation of
the new Poor Law which separated man and wife directly they entered the
workhouse. For professional mendicants he had no sympathy. Witness the
ironical lines on "The Jolly London Beggars":--

    A fig for honest occupation,
      Beggary's an easier trade;
    Industry is mere starvation,
      Mendicancy's better paid.

[Sidenote: _Bigamy or Divorce?_]

In the long campaign for the reform of the Marriage Laws _Punch_ never
ceased to reiterate his conviction that cheap divorce was a better
remedy than the punishment of the brutal husband. Yet when Mr. Justice
Maule delivered his historic judgment in 1845, _Punch_ hardly rendered
justice to that masterpiece of fruitful irony:--

WAGGERY OF THE BENCH

    One Thomas Rollins, as poor as beggary, was arraigned as a
    bigamist. His first wife had left him and become no better than one
    of the wicked. Whereupon Rollins took another helpmate; and, for
    such violation of the law, found himself face to face with Justice
    Maule, who, as it will appear, happened to be in one of his
    pleasantest humours. He told the culprit, and we doubt not with a
    gravity of face worthy of the original _Billy Lackaday_, "that the
    law was the same for him as it was for a rich man, and was _equally
    open for him_, through its aid, to afford relief." In the like way
    that turbot and champagne are the same to Lazarus as to Dives; if
    Lazarus could only buy the taste of them. Beggar and rich man have
    both the same papillary organs--a dignifying truth for the outcast
    wanting a dinner! However, the droll Judge continued his
    pleasantry:

    "He (Rollins) _should have brought an action_ against the man who
    was living in the way stated with his wife, and _he should have
    obtained damages_, and then _should have gone to the Ecclesiastical
    Court_ and obtained a divorce, which would have done what seemed to
    have been done already, _and then he should have gone to the House
    of Lords_, and, proving all his case and the preliminary
    proceedings, _have obtained a full and complete divorce_; after
    which he might, if he liked it, have married again."

There is a delicious vein of humour in this. It smacks of the grave,
earnest fun of Swift. How the jest increases in volume as we follow the
pauper from court to court--tarry with him awhile in the House of
Lords--and finally see him "married again." And then the Judge, in a
sustained spirit of drollery, observes:

    "The prisoner _might perhaps object to this_, that he had not the
    money to pay the expenses, which would amount to about £500 or
    £600--_perhaps he had not so many pence_--but this did not exempt
    him from paying the penalty for committing a felony, of which he
    had been convicted."

Of course not. Therefore Thomas Rollins is in effect not punished for
marrying a second wife, but for the turpitude of wanting "about £500 or
£600," by means of which he might have rid himself of his first spouse.
In England the bonds of Hymen are only to be cut with a golden axe.
Assuredly there needs a slight alteration in the marriage service. "Whom
God hath joined, let no man put asunder," should be followed by these
words, "_Unless paid about £500 or £600 to separate them_."

_Punch_, we are afraid, was inclined, in those days at any rate, to
resent any attempt to usurp his functions as a public ironist, even by
those who were fighting on the same side as himself. Anyhow, he omitted
to mention that the judge sentenced Rollins to one day's imprisonment.
But later references to this famous judgment made it clear that _Punch_
recognized that the judge's irony was deliberate and animated by a
sincere desire for reform, not by mere irresponsible "waggery."

Against the Game Laws and their administration _Punch_ waged a
continuous war. Squires were condemned for the damage done to land by
game kept up for the profit of the landlord, hares being fed at the
expense of the tenant farmer. John Bull worshipped rank and money, and
amongst his idols were hares, pheasants and partridges, with his "bold
peasantry" as their constant victims.

[Sidenote: _The Model Labourer_]

The Hon. Grantley Fitzhardinge Berkeley, M.P., who published a pamphlet
in 1845 defending the drastic treatment of poachers, was very roughly
handled for his calm assertion of the sacred rights of game; but perhaps
the most effective comment on the inequalities of life on the land is to
be found in the ironical portrait of "The Model Labourer" in the summer
of 1848:--

    He supports a large family upon the smallest wages. He works from
    twelve to fourteen hours a day. He rises early to dig in what he
    calls his garden. He prefers his fireside to the alehouse, and has
    only one pipe when he gets home, and then to bed. He attends church
    regularly, with a clean smock frock and face, on Sundays, and waits
    outside, when service is over, to pull his hair to his landlord,
    or, in his absence, pays the same reverence to the steward. Beer
    and he are perfect strangers, rarely meeting, except at Christmas
    or harvest time; and as for spirits, he only knows them, like meat,
    by name. He does not care for skittles. He never loses a day's work
    by attending political meetings. Newspapers do not make him
    discontented, for the simple reason that he cannot read. He
    believes strongly in the fact of his belonging to the "Finest
    Peasantry." He sends his children to school somehow, and gives them
    the best boots and education he can. He attributes all blights, bad
    seasons, failures, losses, accidents to the repeal of the Corn
    Laws. He won't look at a hare, and imagines, in his respect for
    rabbits, that Jack Sheppard was a poacher. He whitewashes his
    cottage once a year. He is punctual with his rent, and somehow, by
    some rare secret best known by his wages, he is never ill. He knows
    absolutely nothing beyond the affairs of his parish, and does not
    trouble himself greatly about them. If he has a vote, it is his
    landlord's, of course. He joins in the cry of "Protection,"
    wondering what it means, and puts his X most innocently to any
    farmer's petition. He subscribes a penny a week to a Burial
    Society. He erects triumphal arches, fills up a group of happy
    tenants, shouts, sings, dances--any mockery or absurdity, to please
    his master. He has an incurable horror of the Union, and his
    greatest pride is to starve sooner than to solicit parish relief.
    His children are taught the same creed. He prefers living with his
    wife to being separated from her. His only amusement is the Annual
    Agricultural Fat-and-Tallow Show; his greatest happiness if his
    master's pig, which he has fattened, gets the prize. He struggles
    on, existing rather than living, infinitely worse fed than the
    beasts he gets up for the exhibitions--much less cared about than
    the soil he cultivates; toiling without hope, spring, summer,
    autumn and winter, his wages never higher--frequently less--and
    perhaps after thirty years' unceasing labour, if he has been all
    that time with the same landlord, he gets the munificent reward of
    six-and-twopence, accompanied, it is true, with a warm eulogium on
    his virtues by the President (a real Lord) for having brought up
    ten children and several pigs upon five shillings a week. This is
    the MODEL LABOURER, whose end of life is honourably fulfilled if he
    is able, after a whole life's sowing for another, to reap a coffin
    for himself to be buried in!

This is not an imaginary portrait, though some of the touches are
heightened by the artist. As for the vote, a good illustration is to be
found in the advertisement of the sale of the Earl of Ducie's domain in
1843, quoted by _Punch_ on page 14 of Vol. v., including "the entire
village of Nymphfield, wherein are 66 houses and the Ducie Arms, with
political influence extending over 1,200 honest yeomen." As for the
exhibitions, with their rewards and prizes for the virtuous and
industrious poor, _Punch_ was lavish of sarcasm at the expense of this
parsimonious and condescending benevolence, when the prizes represented
a miserable percentage on the profits which the recipients had earned
for their masters by special zeal. So we find him suggesting a prize of
£1 to the labourer who had lived the longest number of years on the
shortest commons, and during the same period Leech's cartoon of a show
where the prize pig is awarded £3 3s. and the prize peasant £2 2s. When
baby shows were introduced in the next decade, Lord Palmerston was drawn
with his prize agricultural baby, holding up a wizened old labourer with
the label "Prize, 30s. Labourer all his life and never wanted to improve
his condition." _Punch's_ democratic distrust of Lords and Ladies
Bountiful was no doubt in part the cause of his hostility to the Young
England movement. From his account of the matter one might gather that
Disraeli identified himself with, if he did not actually originate, the
fashion of giving prizes to the working classes. Lord John Manners fell
an easy prey to "the Democritus of Fleet Street" (as the _Daily
Telegraph_ called _Punch_ in later years), when in "England's Trust and
other Poems" was penned the memorable _cri de coeur_:--

    Though I could bear to view our crowded towns
    Sink into hamlets or unpeopled downs;
    Let wealth and commerce, laws and learning die,
    But leave us still our old nobility.

[Sidenote: _Lord Shaftesbury_]

But "Young England" practised better than its poet preached. For proof
one need only turn to the history of the reform of the Factory Acts
which _Punch_ unflinchingly supported, while rendering scant justice to
the man who started this "great campaign against the oppression of the
industrial poor" and carried it to a successful conclusion, or to some
of those who lent him most valuable assistance. Of Lord Ashley,
afterwards the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, it has been said that if
there is a Seventh Heaven he is there. But he was a Tory, who had
opposed the Reform Bill of 1832, though he supported Catholic
Emancipation and resigned his seat for Dorset in 1846 in the belief that
the continuance of the Corn Laws was impracticable; he was an
aristocrat; he held pronounced Evangelical views and was a convinced
Sabbatarian. On all these grounds he was held suspect by _Punch_. Yet as
early as 1833 Lord Ashley was mainly instrumental in securing the
passage of a Factory Act, the scope of which was narrowed by the
hostility of Whigs, manufacturing capitalists and doctrinaire Radicals.
In 1840 he got a Commission appointed, whose report, published in 1842,
shocked the conscience of the nation and led to the introduction of a
Bill excluding women and children from mines. In the next phase of this
humane campaign, when Sir James Graham introduced a Government Bill to
regulate labour in factories, Disraeli and the "Young England" group
supported Ashley throughout against the refusal of the Government to
concede the ten-hour limit. But the Government, supported by Bright and
most of the Radical Free Traders, threw all its weight into the scale of
the millowners, carried the day against Ashley, "Young England" and most
of the official Whigs, and until 1847 the labour of boys from 13 to 18
years of age, and of girls and women to 21, stood at twelve hours a
day. The Act of 1847, which limited the hours of work for women and
children to ten hours, was imperfectly drafted, and the interpretation
placed upon it by the Courts enabled manufacturers to evade its
provisions. In 1850 the Government offered a compromise implying a
10½ hour day, which was reluctantly accepted by Lord Ashley. But
Disraeli supported Lord John Manners in protesting against this
compromise. As his biographers do well to remind us, he condemned it as
a breach of faith with the overworked population: the honour of
Parliament was concerned in not taking advantage of a legal flaw. The
Government again carried the day, but only for the moment; the objects
of its critics have long since been more than obtained. Disraeli's
speech on this occasion was "instinct with the spirit of _Sybil_"--his
finest and best constructed novel. _Sybil_ was published in 1845, and
though in its essentials exhibiting a remarkable convergence with the
aims of _Punch_, was never mentioned by him at the time. Disraeli was a
Jew. Now _Punch_ consistently supported the removal of Jewish
disabilities as an act of justice, and when rebuking the Exeter Hall
philanthropists for thinking that charity must begin abroad, and for
neglecting the starving sempstress for the apostate Jew, Chinese,
Hottentots, etc., gave them this excellent advice: "Ye who would convert
the Jews, first copy the Jews' great virtue; first take care of your own
poor; feed and clothe them, and then, if you will, with the superfluity
make converts of the Hebrews." But _Punch_ was no lover of Jews, and
least of all of Disraeli. He soon recognized his abilities as a great
Parliamentary gladiator; he admitted his courage and tenacity. In the
main, however, _Punch_ regarded him at this stage of his career as a
brilliant but undesirable alien, a flamboyant charlatan, an
untrustworthy and insincere patron of the agricultural interest. Yet
_Sybil_ in its pictures of the inequalities and miseries of the social
and industrial system then prevailing, was conceived and executed
largely in the spirit of Hood's deathbed letter to Peel. Disraeli was
never more "on the side of the angels" than when he wrote the dialogue
between Egremont and the stranger. The stranger, after observing that
while Christianity teaches us to love our neighbours as ourselves,
modern society acknowledges no neighbour, adds that society, still in
its infancy, is beginning to feel its way. Egremont replies:--

[Sidenote: _The Two Nations_]

    "Well, Society may be in its infancy; but, say what you like, our
    Queen reigns over the greatest nation that ever existed." "Which
    nation?" asked the younger stranger; "for she reigns over two." The
    stranger paused. Egremont was silent, but looked inquiringly.
    "Yes," resumed the younger stranger after a moment's interval, "two
    nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who
    are as ignorant of each other's habits, thoughts and feelings as if
    they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different
    planets; who are formed by a different breeding, and fed by a
    different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not
    governed by the same laws." "You speak of," said Egremont
    hesitatingly,--"THE RICH AND THE POOR."

Disraeli's sumptuous upholstery, which Thackeray was so fond of
burlesquing, is occasionally apparent in _Sybil_, though one must not
forget his own explanation: "I write in irony, and they call it
bombast." For the rest the pictures of life in the agricultural and
industrial districts, the squalid wretchedness of cellar and hovel, the
evils of the truck system and the "tommy-shop" were never more luridly
painted by any Chartist writer than by Disraeli in _Sybil_. The details
are not exaggerated; they are borne out by sober historians such as S.
R. Gardiner in describing the conditions in Manchester, Bethnal Green
and Dorsetshire. Disraeli's inability to reproduce the speech of
artisans or peasants correctly is a negligible matter. He never made a
systematic tour in the slums as Lord Ashley did in preparation for his
campaign on behalf of Ragged Schools; he was not a literary realist; but
here he was in touch with realities, and we have his own word for it
that he wrote from personal observation. The heroes of the book are all
on the side of reform; Gerard, the people's leader; St. Lys, the
humanitarian parson; Egremont, an aristocrat converted from indifference
by contact with the poor; and the martyrs are the victims of the
existing system, agricultural labourers on 8s. a week and starving
hand-loom weavers. Disraeli has no use for the Lord Marneys and de
Mowbrays who complacently acquiesced in the serfdom of the slaves in
smock-frocks or even denied that they were badly off. They were not a
real aristocracy, a "corporation of the best and bravest," in Carlyle's
phrase. But for reasons already given _Punch_ was not prepared to accept
Disraeli as an ally. He was too useful as a butt for satire and
ridicule, and his oriental personality was antipathetic to _Punch's_
eminently British mind. Moreover, in justice to _Punch_ it must be
admitted that there were real divergences. Disraeli opposed the repeal
of the Corn Laws, though he lived to describe Protection as dead and
damned. The readjustment of the "Two Nations" which, as a leader of the
"Young England" movement, he proposed for the remedy and removal of the
distress and tumult and anger of the Hungry 'Forties, involved in his
view the strengthening of the Sovereign and the maintenance of the
leadership of the aristocracy. They were to be awakened to their
responsibilities and duties, but not shorn of their rights and
privileges. _Punch_ was a thoroughgoing Free Trader and Corn Law
Repealer, a believer in measures rather than men, an unsparing critic of
Kings and Courts, and whenever he saw an aristocratic head, inclined to
hit it. "Young England" only served as a target for satire; _Punch_
refused to recognize the genuine idealism by which the best of the group
were animated. But, as one of their defenders has admitted, they were
not a real Party, and were concerned with principles rather than
specific measures of reform. Idealism which stopped short of immediate
action did not appeal to _Punch_. Though often a petulant and intolerant
critic, he was always on the look out for practical evidences of reform,
legislative, administrative or philanthropic. In 1842 he hailed the
decision to close the Fleet Prison, and when it was about to be
demolished, wrote in 1845: "Truly there _are_ sermons in stones, and if
Beelzebub wanted to preach on the folly, cruelty, ignorance and
wickedness of men towards men, even he could not hit upon a more
suggestive text than is written--written in tears--on every stone of the
Fleet Prison." Of the efforts to bring justice within the reach of the
poor he was an impassioned advocate from the very first. When a police
magistrate expressed views of which he disapproved he did not hesitate
to describe him as "an insufferably ignorant, and therefore insolent,
magisterial cur"! That was in 1841. Four years later _Punch_
vociferously applauds a courageous magistrate who committed a
"gentleman" to the House of Correction for a brutal assault, and
welcomes a revolt against harsh sentences in the action of the Recorder
at the Central Criminal Court, who in 1847 refused to send a boy of
twelve to prison for stealing £4 12s. from his master "because if he
went to prison he might become an expert thief."

[Sidenote: _A Plot Against Prisons_]

In the year 1853 _Punch_ discussed at length, under the title of "A Plot
against Prisons," and in the ironical vein which frequently exposed him
to misconception by his prosaic readers, "a dangerous conspiracy
organized for the purpose of defrauding the gallows and the hulks," and
initiated by one of the noblest of many noble Quaker philanthropists:--

    The originator of the plot is one Joseph Sturge, who has founded an
    establishment, called the Reformatory Institution, in Birmingham,
    and placed it under the superintendence of another man named Ellis,
    who formerly presided over a similar concern in London, being a
    place of resort for young thieves, where they were inveigled, and
    seduced into the abandonment of their dishonest calling. To this
    end no pains were spared to render the paths of virtue seductive,
    by blending as much amusement as possible with the particular
    branch of industry the lads were instructed in. The man Ellis,
    their enticer from the line of turpitude, is a shoemaker. He says
    in his evidence, reported by the House of Commons:

    "I used to go and sit with them for two or three hours a day, and I
    used to tell them that they might, by governing their tongues,
    their tempers and their appetites, and governing themselves
    generally, be much more happy if they would put themselves in
    harmony with the laws of their own physical nature; and I showed
    them how wrong it was to break the social laws that bind society
    together, and also the laws of God, and so forth. I considered that
    my conversation with them for two or three hours had had a great
    effect; and I provided them with wholesome food, and I gave them
    clothes to wear, and I surrounded them with as many comforts as I
    possibly could."

    The Birmingham Institution, under the same management, has also
    succeeded to such an extent that it is in contemplation to
    establish another there on a larger scale; which, no doubt, will
    most seriously tend to impair the utility of those magnificent
    edifices, our gaols and bridewells, which everywhere afford such
    vast but by no means empty accommodation. A meeting has been held,
    Lord Calthorpe in the chair, to carry out the desired object, which
    will tend to throw so many turnkeys out of employment, and to which
    all persons are asked to subscribe who desire to rob Jack Ketch of
    his livelihood, and the Government of convict labour, by
    substituting prevention for cure--superseding prison discipline by
    reformation.

[Sidenote: _High Life Below Stairs_]

[Illustration: SERVANTGALISM

COOK: "Well, to be sure, Mum! Last place I were in Missis always knocked
at the door afore she come into the kitchen!!"]

[Illustration: COACHMAN: "Why--what's the matter, John Thomas?"

FOOTMAN: "Matter enuff! Here's the marchioness bin and giv me notice
because I don't match Joseph, an' I must go, unless I can get my fat
down in a week!"]

The relations of masters, mistresses and servants is a never ending
theme in the pages of _Punch_. His attitude was governed by the broad
principles that the labourer was worthy of his hire, and that those who
offered inadequate wages must expect neither character nor efficiency.
But he draws a clear distinction between the domestic slave and the
flunkey, holding that snobbery in employers was the chief cause of its
prevalence amongst highly paid servants. _Punch_ was the champion of the
"slavey"--immortalized in Dickens's "Marchioness"--even of the
much-maligned charwoman; the relentless critic of Jeames, his plush and
powder and calves. As early as 1847 we find him supporting a reversal of
the old régime: the mistress must be approved by the servant, and
furnish a satisfactory character. The plea is not surprising, when
advertisements for a kitchen-maid, "wages £3 a year," appeared in a
fashionable paper and earned _Punch's_ satire. Contrariwise, he never
spares the arrogance of "servantgalism" the assumption of "my lady the
housemaid." In this spirit _Punch_ makes game of a school for servants
at Bristol, where lessons on the pianoforte were given, but if servant
girls and nurses were neglectful of their duties and their infant
charges, mistresses were equally to blame for their indolence and
disregard of parental responsibilities. But the keenest arrows in
_Punch's_ quiver were reserved for "Jeames." He quotes from the columns
of _The Times_ the advertisements of a footman, "tall, handsome, with
broad shoulders and extensive calves," who "prefers Belgravia or the
North Side of the Park," while a little later on another of this type
insists on "six months a year in town, and if in an unfashionable
neighbourhood, five guineas extra salary." If I refrain from quoting
from Thackeray's constant variations on this theme in the pages of
_Punch_, it is only because they are so familiar to readers of his
collected works. The etiquette of flunkeydom was peculiar. These
gorgeous and pampered menials had their grievances; they were "expected
to sit in church in a position from which the clergyman could neither be
seen nor heard," as _Punch_ put it in 1851. Liveried servants were not
allowed in Rawstorne Street Chapel, Brompton, in 1846, and a protest was
made in the Press that at St. George's, Hanover Square, "the real
aristocracy of the land are separated from their liveried domestics by a
mere oak panelling." But in this war on flunkeyism "Jeames" was not the
real enemy; it was rather the genius of snobbery which _Punch_
impersonated in "Jenkins" of the _Morning Post_ (or _Morning Plush_, as
he called it), whose fulsome and lyrical rhapsodies are held up to
ridicule in number after number. In this context two extracts may
suffice, from an account of the galaxy of rank and fashion at the Opera
which appeared in the _Morning Post_:

    It is, above all, necessary that the middle classes and the poor
    should see and feel that if the aristocracy has the monopoly of
    titles and the lion's share of the dignities and offices of the
    State, instead of hoarding, it nobly expends its revenues in those
    luxuries which emanate from the ingenuity and labour of the
    industrious.

And again--the italics and capitals are _Punch's_:--

    Ever since the Italian lyrical drama crossed the Alps in the suites
    of the tasteful Medicis, its vogue has daily increased, it has
    become a ruling passion--it is the quintessence of all civilized
    pleasures; and wherever its principal virtuosi hoist their
    standard, there for the time is the CAPITAL OF EUROPE, where the
    most illustrious, noble, elegant and tasteful members of society
    assemble.

    These _ornaments of society_ are in general absent at the too early
    opening of Her Majesty's Theatre; but on Saturday, as we surveyed
    the house previous to the overture, most of those who _constitute
    society_ in England--those whom we _respect, esteem or
    love_--rapidly filled the house.

    Every seat in every part of it was occupied, and if _those
    objectionable spectators were there_--those gentlemen of ambiguous
    gentility, the fashionable couriers, valets, _tailors_ and
    _shoemakers_, who obtain admission to the pit on the strength of
    knowing the measure of some actor or actress's foot--_they and
    their frowsy dames_ were so nailed _to their benches as not to
    offend the eye_.

These effusions, and others equally unbridled in their assertion of the
divinity of kings and coronets, prompted _Punch_ to adorn "Jenkins" with
the _alias_ of Lickspittleoff. It was not a nice name, but _Punch_ might
have retorted _tâchez de ne pas le mériter_.

[Sidenote: _The Underpaid Governess_]

From servants to governesses the transition in those days was only too
easy. _Punch's_ study of the advertisements in this branch of the "slave
market" began early, and let us hope to good purpose, though as I write
the comparative rates of remuneration for cooks and teachers are still
open to criticism. In the autumn of 1843, commenting on an advertisement
in _The Times_, in which "S. S." offered a salary of £2 a month to "a
morning daily governess of ladylike manners for three or four young
female pupils, capable of imparting a sound English education, with
French, music and singing, dancing and drawing, unassisted by masters,"
_Punch_ observes:--

    How very much would it surprise the race of S.S.'s; what a look of
    offended virtue would they put on were somebody to exclaim to them,
    "It is such as you who help to fill our streets, and throng the
    saloons of our theatres; it is such as you who make the Magdalen
    indispensable." We have recently read the statistics of insanity,
    and have found governesses to be in a frightful disproportion to
    other educated classes. Can this be wondered at when we read such
    offers as those of S.S.?

[Illustration: Thomas gives warning because his master has given up
reading prayers, and he can't bemean himself by "sayin' 'Amen' to a
governess."]

The terms of £2 a month were, however, liberal compared with those
offered by other employers. An assistant in a ladies' school was
expected to teach English, French and music for £1 a quarter, while not
at all infrequently the offer of board and lodging was regarded as an
excuse for dispensing with a salary altogether. In dealing with the
problem of these "Sisters of Misery," _Punch_ waxes ironical on the
results of their improvidence:--

    If in the course of ten years, with a salary of, let us say, twenty
    pounds a year, out of which she has only to buy clothes fit to keep
    company with the children, the governess has not saved a
    sufficiency for her declining age, it is but too painful to know
    that she must have been a very profuse, improvident person. And
    yet, I fear me, there are lamentable instances of such
    indiscretion. I myself, at this moment, know a spendthrift creature
    who, as I have heard, in her prime--that is, for the ten
    years--lived in one family. Two of her pupils are now countesses.
    Well, she had saved next to nothing, and when discharged she sank
    lower and lower as a daily governess, and at length absolutely
    taught French, Italian, and the harp to the daughters of small
    tradesmen at eighteenpence a lesson. In time she, of course, got
    too old for this. She now lives somewhere at Camberwell, and though
    sand-blind, keeps a sixpenny school for little boys and girls of
    the lower orders. With this, and the profits on her cakes, she
    continues to eke out a miserable existence--a sad example, if they
    would only be warned, to improvident governesses.

[Sidenote: _A Real Dotheboys Hall_]

_Punch's_ attentive study of the curiosities of literature in
advertisements relating to education continued for many years. A batch
of them extracted from _The Times_ appears in the issue of August 14,
1853, and pillories the meanness of ladies who wished to secure
governesses without salaries, or, as an alternative, to turn their
houses into boarding schools and get assistants without paying for them.
Already, some three weeks earlier, _Punch_ had quoted from _The Times_
the advertisement of an academy for young gentlemen near Richmond, in
Yorkshire, where youths were "boarded, furnished with books, and
instructed in whatever their future prospects might require for twenty
and twenty-two guineas a year. No vacations unless desired." On this
"Dotheboys Hall" in real life _Punch_ observes that while such a price
for a year's food for mind and body is a miracle of cheapness, "the age
of miracles has passed, and especially--after the publication of
_Nicholas Nickleby_--of such miracles as this." Yet an advertisement of
a school in Essex on almost precisely similar lines survived for at
least forty years after _Punch's_ protest, as the present writer can
testify. Nor were the claims of the underpaid official forgotten. In his
"Penny Post Medal" _Punch_ endeavoured to illustrate the triumph of
Rowland Hill, and waxed lyrical over his achievement, indignant over his
treatment:--

    Beautiful, much more beautiful, to the eye of the philosopher
    _Punch_, is the red coat of the Postman with his bundle of penny
    missives than the scarlet coat of the Life Guardsman! For the
    Postman is the soldier of peace--the humanizing, benevolent
    distributor of records of hopes, affections, tenderest
    associations. He is the philanthropic go-between--the cheap and
    constant communicant betwixt man and man.

[Illustration: ROWLAND HILL'S TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO ST.
MARTIN'S-LE-GRAND]

[Sidenote: _Rowland Hill's Reward_]

    In the Penny Post Medal _Punch_ has endeavoured to show the triumph
    of Rowland Hill--no Greek or Roman triumph e'er so great--carried
    in well-earned glory into the Post-office, Saint Martin's-le-Grand.
    If the beholder have any imagination, he will hear huzzaing
    shouts--he will hear all the street-door knockers of the kingdom
    for that moment instinct with joyous life, loudly knock, knock,
    knocking in thundering accord. Such is the triumph of Rowland Hill.

    Turn we to the Obverse. It shows an old story; old as the
    ingratitude of man--old as the Old Serpent. Sir Robert Peel, the
    Tory Minister, no sooner gets into place than, in reward for the
    services of Mr. Rowland Hill, he turns him from the Post Office!
    or as it is allegorically shown, he, as Britannia, presents him
    with--the sack.

    After this, a subscription is set afoot to which Sir Robert, with
    Magdalen penitence, subscribes ten pounds! Ten Pounds! It must be
    owned a very small plaister to heal so cruel a cut!

[Illustration: BRITANNIA PRESENTING ROWLAND HILL WITH THE SACK]

But these beneficent "red-coated genii" were "cruelly ill-paid" for long
and arduous labour. "His walk in life is frequently such a walk that it
is a wonder he has a leg to stand upon; for he travels some twenty or
thirty miles a day, to the equal wear and tear of body and sole. For
this his salary is a guinea a week." Accordingly, when in 1848 Post
Office robberies were frequent, _Punch_, without excusing theft,
regarded it as the natural result of this miserable pittance.
Under-payment has always been a great incentive to dishonesty, and in
1848 we have _Punch's_ assurance that the postmen were the worst paid of
all Government employees.

The long fight for early closing, for the Saturday half-holiday, and for
reasonable Sunday recreation, found unflinching support in _Punch_ from
his earliest years. He did not, it is true, profess a burning sympathy
with the bank clerks in 1842 when they were agitating for a closure at 4
instead of 5 p.m., but he was wholeheartedly on the side of the shop
assistants, especially in the linendrapers' and milliners'
establishments. One of his earliest incursions into this controversy
took the form of a report of an imaginary meeting of duchesses at
Almack's, at which resolutions were passed deprecating, in a contrite
spirit, the overworking of milliners' assistants, and establishing an
association to persuade dressmakers to reduce the hours of work to eight
a day, abolish Sunday work, afford reasonable time to execute orders,
provide medical advice and change of air for the sick, and start a fund
to carry out these aims (May 27, 1843). These aims have long been
realized in all well-conducted shops, but they were something like
counsels of perfection in the year of "The Song of the Shirt." But
_Punch's_ irony at the expense of inconsiderate shoppers in "Beauty and
Business _versus_ Early Shops," and "Directions to Ladies for Shopping,"
not only tilts at femininity's little ways, but shows that human nature
has not materially changed in the last seventy-five years. _Punch_ was
moved by the hardships of dressmakers and shop-girls, whom he compared
to convicts: "hard labour" was no worse than theirs. He frankly
advocated the boycotting of a money-grubbing hosier in Cheapside, who
kept his shop open until nine or ten o'clock, though all the other
hosiers in that thoroughfare had for two years closed theirs at
eight--for that was as far as early closing had reached in the 'fifties.
But _Punch_ was always a moderate reformer, very far from being a
revolutionary, and he condemned with great asperity an attempt to launch
an experiment mildly foreshadowing modern syndicalism:--

[Sidenote: _Syndicalism in the 'Forties_]

    Notwithstanding our desire to aid the assistant drapers in any
    reasonable movement, we cannot encourage them in the foolery which,
    according to a prospectus of the Metropolitan Assistant Drapers'
    Company, they seem to contemplate. They are coolly asking the
    public for £150,000 in 15,000 shares of ten pounds each, to start a
    model establishment, in which the assistants shall be their own
    masters, choose their own work, take their own time, and seize
    "every opportunity for indulging in all healthy pursuits and
    reasonable enjoyments." The prospectus then goes on to state, that
    the assistants will become "free and happy, as they should be." If
    a linendraper's shop is to be turned into a state of "freedom and
    happiness" all day long, it may suit the shop-boys well enough, but
    it will not be quite so agreeable to the customers.

Holding it to be his duty "to smash humbug of every description,"
_Punch_, after an examination of the financial proposals of the "free
and happy" linendrapers, pronounces them guilty of very gross humbug in
putting forward their prospectus. The control of industry by the workers
formed no part of his schemes for bettering their condition.

[Illustration: A View in Hyde Park, showing the proposed site for the
Exhibition of Industry.]

[Illustration: SPECIMEN OF MR PUNCH'S INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITION OF 1850 (TO
BE IMPROVED IN 1851)]

In the period under review Sunday was, speaking broadly, the only
holiday of the working classes. _Punch's_ views on their recreations,
therefore, were necessarily governed by his views on Sunday observance,
Sunday trading and Sabbatarianism generally. Let it be noted at the
outset that he was no advocate of the Continental Sunday: he was all for
keeping Sunday quiet, even dull. But against any legal or other
restrictions, which thwarted poor people's innocent enjoyment and
recreation, he ranged himself as an uncompromising adversary. As we have
seen, he indignantly resented the fining of boys for playing cricket, or
children for selling sweets, on Sunday. He supported the opening of
museums and picture galleries on Sundays as early as August, 1842, and,
in recording the defeat of the motion in the Commons, ends his comments
on "The Pharisees' Sunday" with the remark: "The Museum and the National
Gallery are, for the present, closed on Sundays; so for a time there are
left for the people--the Eagle Tavern and the Red House at Battersea."
_Punch_ vehemently assailed the snobbery which sought to exclude working
men and poor children from the parks. He welcomed the opening of the
Zoological Gardens to the public in 1848 at a low charge, without a
"Fellow's order," _plus_ a shilling. But of all the movements which
inspired him with hope for the future, none offered brighter prospects
than the great Exhibition of 1851. It was Douglas Jerrold who coined the
name of the "Crystal Palace." _Punch_ had some misgivings as to the
encroachment of the buildings on public amenities and rights, and warmly
espoused the cause of Ann Hicks, whose family for 118 years had held
possession of an apple stall in Hyde Park. Her grandfather, it was
alleged, had saved George II from drowning in the Serpentine! The stall
was removed and Ann Hicks allowed five shillings a week for one year,
but, largely owing to _Punch's_ intervention, was assisted to emigrate
to Australia. And _Punch_ was indignant at the suggested exclusion of
the public on the opening day, May 1, 1851, for fear of annoying the
Royal family. But these misgivings were happily removed, and the opening
of the Exhibition marked a turning point in the long campaign of
criticism, frank to the verge of discourtesy and indecorum, sometimes
justified, but often malicious, which _Punch_ had conducted against
the Court in general and the Prince Consort in particular. He made the
_amende_ handsomely in his "own report of the opening of the great
Exhibition":--

    At length a cheer without, and a flourish of trumpets within,
    announce the arrival of the Queen--and the Prince, who, by the idea
    of this Exhibition, has given to Royal Consortship a new glory, or,
    rather, has rendered for ever illustrious, in his own case, a
    position too often vibrating between the mischievous and the
    insignificant. Prince Albert has done a great service to humanity,
    and earned imperishable fame for himself by an idea, the greatness
    of which, instead of becoming less, will appear still greater as it
    recedes from us.... Beyond comparison, the most gratifying incident
    of the day was the promenade of the Queen and Prince, holding by
    the hand their two eldest children, through the whole of the lower
    range of the building. It was a magnificent lesson for
    foreigners--and especially for the Prussian princes, who cannot
    stir abroad without an armed escort--to see how securely and
    confidently a young female Sovereign and her family could walk in
    the closest possible contact, near enough to be touched by almost
    everyone, with five-and-twenty thousand people, selected from no
    class, and requiring only the sum of forty-two shillings as a
    qualification for the nearest proximity with royalty. Here was a
    splendid example of that real freedom on the one hand, and perfect
    security on the other, which are the result of our constitutional
    monarchy, and which all the despotism and republicanism of the
    world cannot obtain elsewhere, let them go on as long as they may,
    executing each other in the name of order, or cutting each other's
    throats in the name of liberty.

    The only blot, as we thought, upon the whole proceedings were the
    unnatural and crab-like movements of one of our wealthiest peers,
    the Marquess of Westminster, and his fellow-official, the Lord
    Chamberlain, whose part in the pageant consisted of the difficult,
    but not very dignified, feat of walking backwards during the
    progress of the procession. We hope the time is not far distant
    when, among the other sensible arrangements of the present reign, a
    wealthy nobleman may be released from the humiliation of having to
    perform before the Sovereign and the public a series of awkward
    evolutions, which not all the skill of the posture-master can
    redeem from the absurdity attaching to the contortions of the
    mountebank.

_Punch_ could not resist having a dig at the aristocrat courtiers, but
he had nothing but praise for the Queen and the Prince Consort, and
especially for their practice of visiting the Exhibition on the
"shilling days." As he put it in the lines "Victoria Felix",:--

    Heaven's duteous sunshine waits upon her going,
      And with it blends a sunshine brighter still--
    The loyal love of a great people, knowing
    That building up is better than o'erthrowing;
      That freedom lies in taming of self-will.

_Punch's_ loyalty to the Sovereign, however, did not cause him to forget
the workers. He suggests to Prince Albert that a dinner should be given
to the workmen who erected the building. As for Paxton, the architect,
_Punch_ agreed with the _Examiner_ that a knighthood was not a
sufficient reward for his services, and suggested that he should be
given a share of the profits. But _Punch_ was from the first concerned
with the future of the building; with the possibilities of transforming
it into a permanent People's Palace. So when Paxton asked "What is to
become of the Crystal Palace?" and answered his own question by saying
"Let the Crystal Palace become a winter park under glass," with rare
flowers and plants and a colossal aviary, _Punch_ voted the suggestion
of the Crystal Magician "delightful and practicable," for, as he notes,
on the testimony of "the princely Devonshire, Mr. Paxton never failed in
anything he undertook." Nay, _Punch_ went so far as to depict, in a
cartoon, John Bull contemplating the marvels of the winter garden. The
scheme lapsed, and in the spring of 1852 _Punch_ was indignant at the
imminent sale of the Crystal Palace, and lavish of gibes at the "nobs
and snobs" who despised the masses:--

THE PEOPLE AND THEIR PALACE

    The People! I weally am sick of the wawd:
    The People is ugly, unpleasant, absawd;
    Wha-evaw they go, it is always the case,
    They are shaw to destwoy all the chawm of the place.

    They are all vewy well in their own pwopa spheeaw,
    A long distance off; but I don't like them neeaw;
    The slams is the place faw a popula show;
    Don't encouwage the People to spoil Wotten Wow.

    It is odd that the Duke of Awgyll could pasue
    So eccentric a cawse, and Lad Shaftesbuwy too,
    As to twy and pwesawve the Glass House on its site,
    Faw no weason on awth but the People's delight.

The Queen, in an excellent parody of "The May Queen," is credited with
the desire to keep up the Palace; _Punch_ threw all his weight on the
side of Paxton in his efforts to defeat the obstructives, and when, in
June, 1852, the move to Sydenham was finally decided on, he prophesied a
great future for that favoured suburb. The "christening" took place in
August, and furnished _Punch_ with an opportunity for answering the
reproach that "the English don't know how to amuse themselves":--

    The great cause of Peace had every fitting honour paid to it on
    Thursday last at Sydenham. In its train followed some of the
    greatest celebrities of the day, all children of the people, who
    had come to assist at the christening of their new Palace. The Arts
    and Sciences, of course, were there, and gave the cause their
    blessing, until such time when they could give it something, if not
    more pure, at least more tangible. Literature, too, was there, and
    promised to devote its best pen to the service of the new
    principle, and Trade and Commerce had already sent off their ships
    to collect treasure to pour into the lap of their beautiful, but
    too long neglected child, as soon as the Palace was in a fit state
    to receive them. And the Poor advanced, and, opening their hearts,
    gave the cause their best wishes--and these were deposited with the
    coins of the realm, and are to form the foundation of the new
    building. Never was Palace begun upon so strong a foundation
    before!

    If only half the promises are fulfilled that were made at its
    christening, this Palace of the People will be the grandest palace
    ever constructed. And, in truth, it should be so! The people have
    built palaces sufficiently for others; it is but proper now they
    built one for themselves.

    And when it is built it will be time enough to inquire if
    Englishmen know how to amuse themselves. They have had hitherto so
    few opportunities of learning, that it is ungracious to ask at
    present. In the meantime we wish them every enjoyment in their new
    playground at Sydenham. It will be the most beautiful playground in
    the world.

[Sidenote: _Sabbatarian Solicitude_]

    _Punch's_ generous anticipations, in part illusory, were mingled
    with wrath against militant Sabbatarians, over-zealous for the
    souls of their fellow-creatures. A deputation, headed by the
    Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of London and Winchester, and
    the Earl of Shaftesbury, lost no time in waiting on Lord Derby, in
    order to urge upon the Prime Minister "the expediency of adopting
    measures to prevent the Crystal Palace, or its grounds, being
    opened to the public on Sundays." _Punch_ is bitterly sarcastic
    against this condescending solicitude on the part of peers and
    prelates for the spiritual welfare of the vulgar cockneys, snips,
    snobs, mechanics, shopmen, and their womenkind; creatures that not
    only consume tea and shrimps, periwinkles, and ginger-beer, but
    also smoke pipes and penny Pickwicks! The people must feel
    flattered that they are thus, sympathized with by the superior
    classes; only perhaps they would rather the sympathy were shown
    otherwise than by excluding them from pure air and enjoyment--in
    great tenderness for their immortal part, but with small
    consideration for their perishable lungs.

But the attack was not solely based on religious grounds. The _Morning
Herald_ scented revolution in the proposal, and _Punch_ was moved to
address an ironical warning to the Home Secretary:--

    A word in your ear, Mr. Walpole. There is treason, hydra-headed
    treason hatching. Now, we are not joking. Were we inclined to be
    droll, we would not cast our jokes before certain Home Secretaries.
    Hush! This way. In a corner, if you please.

    Do you ever see the _Morning Herald_? We thought so. Somehow, you
    look as if you did. Still, we have brought a copy. Here it is. A
    leader on the treasonous atrocities contemplated by the traitorous
    projectors of the Crystal Palace in Penge Park! We will read
    you--when we can get a good mouthful of breath--a few of the lines:
    the dreadful lines. You see, the Palace is to be open on Sundays
    after one o'clock. In that fact the _Herald_ sees revolution,
    anarchy, and perhaps--a future republic with John Cromwell Bright
    in Buckingham Palace! Listen:

    "'Go to mass on the Sabbath morning' is the Church of Rome's
    command; 'then go to the park, the ball, or the theatre.' That is
    the Sabbath of Paris, of Munich, of Vienna, and, we are sorry to
    say, of Berlin also. And, as _one natural result_, a single month,
    in 1848, saw the Sovereigns of Paris, of Vienna, of Munich, and of
    Berlin _fugitives before their rebellious subjects_. The people of
    England remained untouched by this sudden madness; they were loyal
    to their Queen, _because_ they feared their God!"

    You will perceive, Right Honourable Sir, that had the Palace
    existed in Penge Park in 1848, the British Throne would have gone
    to bits like a smashed decanter. The Queen has only continued to
    reign _because_ there has been no People's Palace!

    We see, Sir, you are moved, but let us go on.

    "The Crystal Palace will be the main engine for introducing the
    Continental Sabbath among us. The people may go to church, it will
    be said, and _then_ they may go down to Sydenham and enjoy a walk
    in the Crystal Palace, and what harm can _that_ do? Just all the
    harm in the world. Open and naked profaneness would shock most
    persons, but this mixture of religion and dissipation will ruin
    myriads!"

_Punch_, on the contrary, believed that, in spite of the fulminations of
Exeter Hall, the Crystal Palace, with its art treasures, and the setting
provided by the wonder-working Paxton, would become the People's Sunday
School, and a monster extinguisher of gin palaces. So we find him
printing a mock protest from publicans against the desecration of the
Sabbath by the proposed opening of the Crystal Palace after morning
service.

_Punch's_ views on temperance were eminently moderate. It is true that
in one of his early numbers he had depicted, in the cartoons of "The Gin
Drop" and "The Water Drop," the horrors of drunkenness in the vein of
Cruickshank; true also that he expressed admiration for the crusade of
Father Mathew. He condemned excess, but he was no enemy of conviviality.
Indeed he was up in arms against those who sought to "rob a poor man of
his beer." In his view the best antidotes to intemperance were to be
found in recreation and education, and in using Sunday to promote those
ends. He severely criticised in the autumn of 1845 the provisions of the
new Beer Bill, which prevented excursionists from obtaining needful
refreshment at an inn, not only at unreasonable, but at reasonable
hours, and protested against the closing of these hospitable portals
against them on Sunday, "and perhaps very soon on every other day, if
gentlemen, who can go to clubs, as well as to church, being blest with
affluence, and, therefore, belonging to the better classes, continue to
legislate in their present spirit for himself (the excursionist) and the
rest of the worse--that is the worse off."

[Sidenote: _Punch at the Palace_]

Meanwhile the Crystal Palace had been opened by the Queen on Saturday,
June 10, 1854. _Punch_ describes the imaginary visit which he paid a few
days earlier to inspect the building and, by special command of the
Queen, to report as to its probable readiness for her reception on the
opening day. After being conducted through the building by Sir Joseph
Paxton, he explained that it was not his intention to be present at the
inaugural ceremony:--

    He was the godfather of the edifice, having originally invented and
    conferred upon it the title of the Crystal Palace; but he should
    leave to his friend the Archbishop the entire solemnities of the
    day, including an announcement which Dr. Sumner had most kindly
    undertaken to make, namely, that at the special instance of the
    Queen, arrangements would be at once effected for opening the
    Palace on Sundays.

Fact is tempered with fancy in this account, as well as in his
optimistic report of the meeting of Crystal Palace shareholders; it
characterizes, too, the series of humorous handbooks to the Crystal
Palace, which appeared in the pages of _Punch_ in the following months.
But we find in the remarks put into the mouth of Mr. Laing, the
chairman, a very good summary of his own views:--

    On reflection it had been thought better that men, under the
    crystal roof, should temperately refresh themselves--all mutually
    sustaining one another even by their own self-respect of the
    decencies of life, there and then in their own Crystal Palace--than
    that, turned away hungering and athirst, they should be absorbed in
    the holes and corners of surrounding public-houses.

The subsequent history of the Crystal Palace hardly fulfilled _Punch's_
sanguine expectations of its future as a great people's playground and
school. Intermittently it fulfilled this function, but as an educational
institution it served the needs of the suburban residents rather than
those of the great public; its entertainments were in the main supported
by the patronage of the middle and well-to-do classes. As years went on
the Crystal Palace, owing to its distance from London, suffered
seriously from the competition of the series of exhibitions at Earl's
Court. Yet one who is old enough, as the present writer is, to remember
visits in his school days in the early 'seventies--recurrent Handel
festivals from the days when Costa was conductor and Patti was in her
golden prime; flower and dog and cat shows; the glory of the
rhododendron shrubberies; pantomimes and firework displays; and, above
all, the admirable Saturday concerts, which drew musical London for some
forty years--such a one, and there must be many like him, will always
look back on the Crystal Palace with grateful affection, and hold in
reverence the names of Paxton and Ferguson, George Grove and August
Manns, and many other good men and true who laboured to realize
_Punch's_ ideal.



CHARTISM


[Sidenote: _The Fight for Cheap Bread_]

[Illustration: NOT SO VERY UNREASONABLE! EH?

JOHN: "My Mistress says she hopes you won't call a meeting of her
creditors; but if you will leave your Bill in the usual way, it shall be
properly attended to."]

We have seen that _Punch_ did not belittle the Chartist movement, but
admitted the evils, political, social, and economic, out of which it
sprang. So did some of the leaders of the Young England group (see
_Sybil_), but _Punch_ ridiculed their remedies. He was out of touch
alike with Whigs, Tories, and Churchmen, especially the Tractarians, who
denounced the men who tempted the people to rail against their rulers
and superiors.

_Punch_, too, did a good deal in this line. But
while he recognized the sincerity and earnestness of Chartism, he
distrusted the methods of the extremists, and his distrust was largely
justified by the history of the movement. The cleavage between the
advocates of moral and physical force showed itself from the very
beginning, and the fiasco of 1848 was largely due to the fact that the
leading spirits of Chartism had already declared themselves against it,
or actually withdrawn from the movement. Of the famous Six Points of the
People's Charter of 1838, three have been conceded--No Property
Qualifications, Vote by Ballot, and Payment of Members--and we have come
very near the realization of Universal Suffrage and Equal
Representation. The demand for Annual Parliaments alone remains
unsatisfied. Yet Lovett, who drafted the Charter, and was imprisoned in
1839 with other Chartist leaders after the riots in Birmingham, emerged
from gaol more than ever an advocate of moral force, joined Sturge in
his efforts to reconcile the Chartists and the middle class reformers,
and after 1842 took no further part in the Chartist movement. In the
years of riots and fires and strikes and starvation that followed the
rejection of the second National Petition in 1842, the leaders were,
with few exceptions, engulfed in a tide which they were unable to
control. Feargus O'Connor was one of the exceptions, but his success in
inducing the Chartists to repudiate the Corn Law Repeal agitation, and
the disastrous failure of his agrarian scheme at Watford, alienated many
of the old Chartists. Ebenezer Elliott, the Corn Law rhymer, withdrew
from the movement, which he had actively supported, in order to devote
all his energies to the repeal of the hated "bread tax," and happily
lived long enough to see it abolished. _Punch_, who had pronounced its
dirge in February, 1849, with the legend "obiit. February 1, 1849, aged
34," was heart and soul with the Corn Law rhymer. Repeal of the Corn
Laws was the deepest principle in his early life, and he was too angry
to do justice to Peel, denouncing him as a "political eel"; an infringer
of Dickens's copyright in Pecksniff; attacking his policy of "wait
awhile," much as later critics attacked the policy of "wait and see";
and even when Peel's conversion was complete, refusing to acknowledge
any virtue in it. When _Punch_ was bracketed with Peel as an opponent of
the Corn Laws he indignantly repudiated the association: _he_ at least
had never turned his coat. One cannot help feeling that remorse must
have mingled with admiration in his posthumous tributes to the statesman
"who gave the people bread." But there were no prickings of conscience
in the welcome extended by him in 1850 to the proposal (realized in
1854) to erect a statue to Ebenezer Elliott at Sheffield:--

    The true-tempered men of Sheffield are about to do a new honour to
    themselves by honouring the memory of Ebenezer Elliott, the man
    whose wise pen drew up the indictment against that public robber,
    Corn Law: and never was indictment better drawn for conviction,
    though a rare success attended the novel deed, for it was only
    worded with common words, the words themselves hot and glowing with
    hate of wrong. Elliott struck from his subject--as the blacksmith
    strikes from the red iron--sparkles[2] of burning light; and where
    they fell they consumed. His homely indignation was sublimed by the
    intensity of his honesty: if his words were homely, they were made
    resistless by the inexorable purpose that uttered them. But the man
    had the true heart and soul of the poet, and could love the simple
    and beautiful as passionately as he denounced the selfish and the
    mean.

    The Corn-Law Rhymes did greatest service. They were the earliest
    utterances of a people contending with a sense of inarticulate
    suffering. They supplied the words; they gave a voice and meaning
    to the labouring heart, and the true poet vindicated his fine
    mission by making his spirit pass into the spirit of the many.

    Time rolled on and Corn Law was condemned. The indictment drawn by
    the poet was the draft afterwards improved; but Ebenezer Elliott
    was the first drawer; and honoured be the men of Sheffield who seek
    to do monumental homage to their patriotic poet! We have plenty of
    modern statues to the sword, it is full time we had one to the pen.

[Footnote 2: Elliott himself said: "My feelings have been hammered until
they have become _cold_--short, and are apt to snap and fly off in
sarcasms" (D.N.B. xvii., 267).]

Meanwhile the Chartist movement, weakened by defections and dissensions,
and by the dissipation of its energies on a mixed programme, which
antagonized all classes, damped by the constant rains which fell at
every meeting and drenched the fires of revolution, was marching
steadily to disintegration. _Punch's_ distrust of the professional
agitator is expressed in a bitter portrait published in the spring of
1848:--

THE MODEL AGITATOR

[Sidenote: _The Professional Agitator_]

    The only thing he flatters is the mob. Nothing is too sweet for
    them; every word is a lump of sugar. He flatters their faults,
    feeds their prejudices with the coarsest stimulants, and paints,
    for their amusement, the blackest things white. He is madly cheered
    in consequence. In time he grows into an idol. But cheers do not
    pay, however loud. The most prolonged applause will not buy a
    mutton chop. The hat is carried round, the pennies rain into it,
    and the Agitator pours them into his patriotic pocket. It is
    suddenly discovered that he has made some tremendous sacrifice for
    the people. The public sympathy is first raised, then a
    testimonial, then a subscription. He is grateful, and promises the
    Millennium. The trade begins to answer, and he fairly opens shop as
    a Licensed Agitator. He hires several journeymen with good lungs,
    and sends agents--patriotic bagmen--round the country to sell his
    praises and insults, the former for himself, and the latter for
    everybody else. Every paper that speaks the truth of him is
    publicly hooted at; everybody who opposes him is pelted with the
    hardest words selected from the Slang Dictionary. A good grievance
    is started, and hunted everywhere. People join in the cry, the
    Agitator leading off and shouting the loudest. The grievance is
    run off its legs; but another and another soon follows, till there
    is a regular pack of them. The country is in a continual ferment,
    and at last rises. Riots ensue; but the Model Agitator is the last
    person to suffer from them. He excites the people to arm themselves
    for the worst; but begs they will use no weapons. His talk is
    incendiary, his advice nothing but gunpowder, and yet he hopes no
    explosion will take place. He is an arsenal wishing to pass for a
    chapel or a baby-linen warehouse. He is all peace, all love, and
    yet his hearers grow furious as they listen to him, and rush out to
    burn ricks and shoot landlords. He is always putting his head on
    the block. Properly speaking he is beheaded once a quarter.

    A monster meeting is his great joy, to be damped only by the rain
    [the great open-air meetings of the Chartists were uniformly
    unfortunate in their weather] or the police. He glories in a
    prosecution. He likes to be prosecuted. He asks for it; shrieks out
    to the Government, "Why don't you prosecute me?" and cries and gets
    quite mad if they will not do it. The favour at length is granted.
    He is thrown into prison and gets fat upon it; for from that moment
    he is a martyr, and paid as one, accordingly.

    The Model Agitator accumulates a handsome fortune, which he
    bequeathes to his sons, with the following advice, which is a rich
    legacy of itself: "If you wish to succeed as an Agitator, you must
    buy your patriotism in the cheapest market and sell it in the
    dearest."

[Illustration: PUNCH'S MONUMENT TO PEEL]

The monster demonstration of 1848, as a recent writer[3] puts it, "was
the funeral of Chartism with the Duke of Wellington as the Master of
Ceremonies." Hopes of a general rising had been kindled by the
revolution in Paris, but they were not fulfilled. The _annus mirabilis_
which set thrones rocking on the Continent and toppled down that of
Louis Philippe passed in the main peacefully in England. Feargus
O'Connor's monster procession and petition on April 10 ended in fiasco,
largely owing to the precautions taken by the Duke of Wellington as
Commander-in-Chief--the swearing in of 170,000 special constables
(including Louis Napoleon!) and his wise decision to keep the troops as
far as possible out of sight. It is right to record the fact that
_Punch_ was not moved by these events to desert his "left-centre"
position; that he advocated amnesty rather than reprisals. In September,
1849, he published his special "Chartist Petition to the Queen's Most
Excellent Majesty":--

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY--

    WHEREAS Death, the great Gaol-Deliverer, has by Cholera set free
    from Westminster Prison, Joseph Williams and Alexander Sharpe,
    foolish men, foolishly preaching the Charter, by means of pike and
    blunderbuss--

    _Punch_ humbly prays that your Majesty will, in this season of
    political tranquillity, and of grave moral chastisement, give
    orders for the release of certain misguided men, it is hoped better
    instructed for the future--and thereupon pardon and set free
    William Vernon, Ernest Jones, Little Cuffey, and other such
    offenders, now made harmless by the common sense and common loyalty
    of the English people.

    And your Petitioner will ever Print and Pray--

  PUNCH.

[Footnote 3: C. R. Fay in "Life and Labour in the Nineteenth Century,"
p. 166.]

[Illustration: SPECIAL'S WIFE: "Contrary to regulations, indeed!
Fiddlesticks! I must insist, Frederick, upon your taking this hot
brandy-and-water. I shall be having you laid up next, and not fit for
anything."]

[Sidenote: "_Little Cuffey_"]

Ernest Jones was the young poet, a recent recruit of Feargus O'Connor,
and Cuffey was the fiery little tailor for whom _Punch_ always had a
soft corner in his heart. When Sir George Grey announced that Cuffey had
been included in the list of deported prisoners, amnestied on the
declaration of peace after the Crimean War, _Punch_ expressed his
satisfaction at the release of the "resolute, fire-eating but withal
frank-hearted and honest goose-hero of Chartism." But of much greater
importance and significance is the striking poem printed in the issue of
June 16, 1849, which may be taken as the best condensed summary of
_Punch's_ political and social creed in a time of transition. The
occasion was a speech of Lord John Russell in the House, declining to
entertain proposals for an extension of the franchise. Lord John, it may
be recalled, was nicknamed "Finality Jack" for saying in a debate on the
Address in 1837 that it was impossible for him to take part in further
measures of electoral reform. _Punch_ held that the collapse of the
physical force movement, so far from prompting a lethargic acquiescence
in the existing régime, ought to stir men of good will to further
efforts in order to remove legitimate grounds of discontent:--

THE TENTH OF APRIL TO LORD JOHN RUSSELL

    My name, Lord John, is pleasant on many a noble tongue;
    I've been bepuffed, bespeechified, bedined, bedrunk, besung;
    Conservatism, Finality, Laissez-Faire and Statu Quo,
    Are glad to shake hands with "the Tenth," till very proud I grow.

    At home, abroad, inside and out, you think you read me true,
    But when did ever Whig know man's or people's heart all through?
    I _am_ all that you style me, when your praise on me you pour;
    All that, my Lord, but take my word, with that I'm something more.

    I read your speech, the other night, when Hume, my stout old friend,
    Asked of the House, as you did once, the suffrage to extend.
    'Twas the use you then made of my name that hath these lines begot--
    Hear what the Tenth of April is, and hear what it is not.

    I am the friend of Order, but Statu Quo I loathe,
    The Law I heed, but still would weed, and trim and guide its growth;
    Finality, your present love, unlovely is to me;
    That "what is, is," proves not, I wis, that what is, ought to be.

    "Content" you think I was, and so, noways for change athirst,
    Content men are with second best, in preference to worst:
    Content to hold up half a truth, when all truth shakes to fall;
    Content with what gives half a loaf, against no bread at all!

    But yet no ways content, Lord John, to see some things I see,
    As a laughing House of Commons, and a helpless Ministry,
    A nation little taught, a Church under-and overpaid,
    And prone Respectability in Mammon-service laid.

    Great towns o'erbrimming with their scum, great stews of plague
      and sin;
    Toil that should proudly bear itself, in grossness sunk and gin;
    Crime stored away to ripen in settlement and gaol;
    The rich for wealth, the poor for want, alike forpined and pale.

    Then think, my Lord, and you, his friends, who deem those overbold,
    That bid you move along the paths you entered on of old,
    Think how delay may order with anarchy combine,
    And to disaffection's vinegar turn loyalty's strong wine.

    Mistake me not for what I'm not, know me for what I am,
    The nursing mother of Reform, not Revolution's dam;
    Mine is the spirit that erst reared our England's throne on law,
    That never bore a lie it knew, or blinked a truth it saw.

    Nations or men, we may not rest--look round on Europe's thrones
    Shattered or shaken--hearken to her convulsive groans--
    Ere you fool us with Finality, of all bad pleas the worst,
    Think 'tis _the Tenth_ of April you invoke, and not _the First_.

[Sidenote: _Reform or Revolution?_]

This may not be great poetry, but it is and remains sound political
philosophy, and an apologia for Chartism as interpreted by the saner and
nobler spirits who took part in the movement, endeavoured to control it,
and were in some instances engulfed in it. The Rebecca Riots in South
Wales in 1842-3 are little more than a name to most of the present
generation. Few of those who connect them vaguely with resentment
against the Turnpike Laws know that the name arose from the
proclamations issued in the name of Rebecca, in allusion to the verse in
_Genesis_ (xxiv. 60) in which it is promised to the wife of Isaac that
her seed shall possess "the gate of her enemies." Six years later there
were still 160 turnpikes in and about London, and _Punch_ declared that
Rebecca was needed to sweep them away. "We laugh at the French for their
passports; they may with equal justice laugh at us for our turnpikes. At
all events the passports cost very little, whereas you cannot go three
miles out of London without dipping your hand into your pocket two or
three times."

Emigration at this time was hailed by many, including _Punch_, as a
remedy for existing discontent with conditions, and in the cartoon "Here
and There," and the verses "Know'st Thou the Land where the Kangaroos
Bound?" _Punch_ gives a roseate picture of Australia, "deficient in
mouths, overburdened with meat," and urges John Bull to help his paupers
to go thither and live in plenty at high wages. A little time later the
Female Emigration Scheme, started by Sidney Herbert and other practical
philanthropists, furnished _Punch_ with a text for his oft-repeated
sermon on the Two Nations. The writer was one of those who witnessed the
departure of a party of thirty-eight women from Fenchurch Street station
for Gravesend, and thence to Australia, and after describing the group,
their homely appearance and dress and manners, continues in a vein of
self-reproach:--

    What a confession it is that we have almost all been obliged to
    make! A clear and earnest-minded writer gets a commission from the
    _Morning Chronicle_ newspaper, and reports upon the state of our
    poor in London; he goes amongst labouring people and poor of all
    kinds--and brings back what? A picture of London life so wonderful,
    so awful, so piteous and pathetic, so exciting and terrible, that
    readers of romances own they never read anything like to it; and
    that the griefs, struggles, strange adventures here depicted exceed
    anything that any of us could imagine. Yes; and these wonders and
    terrors have been lying by your door and mine ever since we had a
    door of our own. We had but to go a hundred yards off and see, for
    ourselves, but we never did. Don't we pay poor-rates, and are they
    not heavy enough in the name of patience? Very true; and we have
    our own private pensioners, and give away some of our superfluity
    very likely. You are not unkind; not ungenerous. But of such
    wondrous and complicated misery as this you confess you had no
    idea. No. How should you? You and I--we are of the upper classes;
    we have had hitherto no community with the poor. We never speak a
    word to the servant who waits on us for twenty years; we condescend
    to employ a tradesman, keeping him at a proper distance--mind, of
    course, at a proper distance; we laugh at his young men if they
    dance, jig and amuse themselves like their betters, and call them
    counter-jumpers, snobs, and what not; of his workmen we know
    nothing--how pitilessly they are ground down, how they live and
    die, here close by us at the backs of our houses; until some poet
    like Hood wakes and sings that dreadful _Song of the Shirt_; some
    prophet like Carlyle rises up and denounces woe; some clear-sighted
    energetic man like the writer of the _Chronicle_ travels into the
    poor man's country for us, and comes back with his tale of terror
    and wonder.

    Awful, awful poor man's country! The bell rings and then
    eight-and-thirty women bid adieu to it, rescued from it (as a few
    more thousands will be) by some kind people who are interested in
    their behalf. It is a solemn moment indeed--for those who (with
    the few thousands who will follow them) are leaving this country
    and escaping from the question between rich and poor; and what for
    those who remain? But, at least, those who go will remember that in
    their misery here they found gentle hearts to love and pity them,
    and generous hands to give them succour, and will plant in the new
    country their grateful tradition of the old. May Heaven's good
    mercy speed them.

Emigration was one of the contributory influences which helped to end
the hunger of the Hungry 'Forties. The repeal of the Corn Laws was a far
more powerful factor in the revival of prosperity, and the efforts of
Protection to raise its diminished head met with consistent derision
from _Punch_, who gloried in the statistics of increasing trade. But he
was no Benthamite, and one may search his files in vain for any
recognition of the salutary results of the new Poor Law. The famous
report of 1834 was drawn up by men who were largely inspired by the
doctrines of Bentham and Malthus, and their scientific principles were
repugnant to _Punch_. There is really not much to choose between his
criticisms and the hostility of the Chartists to the workhouses or
"Bastilles" of the new system. In his zeal for pillorying instances of
harsh administration he overlooked the real improvement effected in the
Act of 1834 in the rural districts. But the new Poor Law, though it was
followed by an immediate local re-absorption on a sounder economic basis
of agricultural labour and a migration of the surplus elsewhither, was
not the sole cause of this improvement.[4] The demand for labour in the
rapidly expanding industries of railway construction and coal mining was
an even more potent instrument of relief. Coal, on which both industries
equally depended and depend, may be now a tyrant, but it was in a sense
the good genius of the 'forties, though the high prices paid in London
owing to extortionate tolls caused _Punch_ to denounce him as "Cruel
King Coal" from the point of view of the poor consumer.

[Footnote 4: See C. R. Fay, "Life and Labour in the Nineteenth Century,"
p. 204.]

[Sidenote: _The Beginning of Better Times_]

The threat of revolution passed, but the diffusion of prosperity brought
with it, as it always does, further demands for increased wages. The
year 1853 was so notable for strikes that _Punch_, who had already
applauded poor needlewomen for adopting this course, and suggested it to
poor curates, felt obliged to register his protest:--

    Really John Bull may almost be described as a maniac with lucid
    intervals. A few years ago it was the railway mania--a very
    dangerous frenzy....The mania now prevailing is one which, if not
    attended to, may perhaps prove troublesome. This is the striking
    mania. Everybody is striking. The other day it was the cabmen; now
    it is the dockyard labourers; the policemen, even, have struck and
    thrown down their staves. Our mechanics have so far become
    machines, that, like clocks, as clocks ought to be, they are all
    striking together. Should this mania spread, we shall have striking
    become what might be called the order, but that it will be the
    disorder, of the day. In short, almost everybody will strike except
    the threshers, the smiths and the pugilists. With all this striking
    though, we had better take care that we are not floored.

As for the efficacy of the strike-weapon in general, _Punch's_ view is
summed up in the remark which he puts into the mouth of a working man's
wife as early as 1853, "Wot good did strikes ever do the pore?"



MACHINERY AND MONEY-MAKING


In the 'thirties and 'forties the triumphs of applied science and
invention had already begun to exert an immediate and far-reaching
influence on national prosperity and the economics of industrialism. The
views on the new order expressed in _Punch_ reflect, with certain
variations, the enlightened moderation of the class of which he was the
spokesman. The coming of the age of steam and machinery is welcomed, or
accepted, with a tempered optimism. He approaches the subject mainly as
a critic or a satirist zealous for reform. But on two notable occasions
he assumes the rôle of philosopher and prophet. The first was in
January, 1842, _à propos_ of a remark made by Sir Robert Peel that
increased demand for manufactures would only increase machine-power:--

    Machinery, in its progress, has doubtless been the origin of
    terrible calamity; it has made the strong man so much live lumber.
    But as we cannot go back, and must go on, it is for statesmen and
    philosophers to prepare for the crisis as surely coming as the
    morning light. How, when machinery is multiplied--as it will be--a
    thousandfold? How, when tens of thousand-thousand hands are made
    idle by the ingenuity of the human mind? How, when, comparatively
    speaking, there shall be _no_ labour for man? Will the multitude
    lie down and, unrepining, die? We think not--we are sure not. Then
    will rise--and already we hear the murmur--a cry, a shout for an
    adjustment of interests; a shout that, hard as it is, will strike
    upon the heart of Mammon, and make the spoiler tremble.

    We put this question to Sir Robert Peel: if all labour done by man
    were suddenly performed by machine power, and that power in the
    possession of some thousand individuals--what would be the cry of
    the rest of the race? Would not the shout be, "Share, share"?

    The steam-engine, despite of themselves, must and will carry
    statesmen back to first principles. As it is, machinery is a fiend
    to the poor; the time will come when it will be a beneficent angel.

[Illustration: Proposed lines....

RAILWAY MAP OF ENGLAND (A PROPHECY)]

[Sidenote: _The Impudence of Steam_]

On the second occasion, in May, 1844, the note struck in the last
sentence is sounded more hopefully. In a fantasy entitled "The May Day
of Steam," the writer notes the passing of the old May Day and
foreshadows Labour's appropriation of that festival; and a speech is put
into the mouth of a working man prophesying the ultimate unmitigated
good of invention, though its first operation created great inequality
and caused misery to the hand-worker. But for the most part _Punch_ is
concerned with the dangers and discomforts of the new method of
locomotion and the wild speculation to which it gave rise. Railway
directors were to him anathema. In his first volume _Punch_ sturdily
declares that "the best thing to do for poor Earth to protect her Would
be to hang daily a railway director," and of his many railway cartoons
perhaps the most effective is that which represents a director sitting
on the front buffers of an engine as the best remedy for collisions. The
"Impudence of Steam" is satirized in some prophetic verses, one couplet
of which is still often quoted:--

    "Ease her, stop her!"
    "Any gentleman for Joppa?"
    "'Mascus, 'Mascus?" "Tickets, please, sir."
    "Tyre or Sidon?" "Stop her, ease her!"
    "Jerusalem, 'lem, 'lem!" "Shur! Shur!"
    "Do you go on to Egypt, sir?"
    "Captain, is this the land of Pharaoh?"
    "Now look alive there! Who's for Cairo?"
    "Back her!" "Stand clear, I say, old file!"
    "What gent or lady's for the Nile,"
    "Or Pyramids?" "Thebes! Thebes! Sir!" "Steady!"
    "Now, where's that party for Engedi?"

    Pilgrims holy, Red Cross Knights,
      Had ye e'er the least idea,
    Even in your wildest flights,
      Of a steam trip to Judea?
    What next marvel Time will show
      It is difficult to say,
    "'Bus," perchance, to Jericho,
      "Only sixpence all the way."
    Cabs in Solyma may fly;
      'Tis a not unlikely tale:
    And from Dan the tourist hie
      Unto Beersheba by "rail."

But the miseries and discomforts of railway travelling are dwelt on far
more frequently than its prospective delights. The first-class alone was
endurable, and that was grossly overcharged: the rest had to put up with
overcrowding, discomfort, draughts, hard seats, smoke, dust and dirt.
Third-class passengers were negligible and contemptible folk; neither
punctuality nor civility was to be expected.

In 1845 the railway mania becomes acute--a "universal epidemic." George
Hudson, the Railway King, looms large in the public eye; and _Punch_
expresses his dissatisfaction with M.P.s for dabbling in speculation
which they have themselves the opportunity of unduly favouring.
Burlesques of various railway projects--centrifugal and
atmospheric--abound. _Punch_ ridicules the idea of a railway in the Isle
of Wight as unnecessary and calculated to spoil the "Garden of England."
The menace to the rural and pastoral amenities of the countryside moves
him to eloquent protest. The sufferings of M.P.s before Railway
Committees are set forth in the parody of Tennyson's "Mariana in the
Moated Grange"; the golden harvest reaped by expert engineering
witnesses is resentfully acknowledged; "Jeames" has not escaped the
infection and appears frequently as speculator, "stag," and dupe. The
Battle of the Gauges had been joined, and _Punch_ asserts that the
largest entry in the "railway returns" was that recording the
casualties. The Unicorn in the Royal Arms is explained as the "Stag" of
railway speculation, and a design of a railway lunatic asylum is
submitted as the most appropriate terminus for many of the new schemes.
The protests of fox-hunters, noted by _Punch_, recall the verses of the
Cheshire poet:--

    Let the steam pot
    Hiss till it's hot,
    But give me the speed of the Tantivy Trot.

[Illustration: THE RAILWAY JUGGERNAUT OF 1845]

The mania was not confined to men: _Punch_ satirizes the ladies who were
"stagging it" under the heading "A Doe in the City," and suggests a
Joint Stock Railway Workhouse as the natural and fitting end of all
these operations. This idea is further developed in "Jaques in Capel
Court," a parody which begins:--

    All the world are stags!
    Yea, all the men and women merely jobbers--

and after enumerating the various phases of the mania, concludes:--

    Last scene of all,
    That ends this sad but common history,
    Is Union pauperism and oakum-picking:
    Sans beer, sans beef, sans tea, sans everything.

Railway titles, a railway peerage and Parliament are foreshadowed, with
King Hudson, "the monarch of all they 'survey,'" installed in his palace
at Hampton Court. The relations of John Bull--on whom "the sweet
simplicity of the three per cents." had begun to pall--with humbugging
promoters is hit off in the stanza:--

    Said John, "Your plan my mind contents,
    I'm sick and tired of Three per Cents.;
    And don't get enough by my paltry rents"--
    So he got hooked in by the railway "gents."

[Illustration: KING HUDSON'S LEVÉE]

[Sidenote: _Rules for Railways_]

In his anti-Puseyite zeal _Punch_ mendaciously declares that a railway
from Oxford to Rome has been projected with the Pope's approval. In
fact, any stick was good enough to beat the speculators with. "Locksley
Hall" is parodied as "Capel Court," and the rush to deposit plans at the
Board of Trade, when special trains were chartered by rival promoters,
is described in humorous detail in a _Punch_ ballad. Padded suits are
suggested in 1846 as a protection against railway accidents, but the
best summary--with all its exaggerations--of the discomforts of railway
travelling in the mid 'forties is to be found in the "Rules and
Regulations for Railways":--

    The French Government has published a royal _ordonnance_, fixing
    the regulations that are henceforward to be observed by all railway
    companies in working their lines. As it is a pity these things
    should be better managed in France, we publish a set of regulations
    for English railways. Lord John Russell is welcome to them, if he
    likes.

    Every passenger in the second or third class is to be allowed to
    carry a dark lantern, or a penny candle, or a safety lamp, into the
    train with him, as the directors have kept the public in the dark
    quite long enough.

    No train is to travel slower than an omnibus, let the excursion be
    ever so cheap, or the occasion ever so joyful.

    Cattle are to be separated from the passengers as much as possible,
    as it has been found, from experiments, that men and oxen do not
    mix sociably together.

    No stoppage at a railway station is to exceed half an hour.

    No railway dividend is to exceed 100 per cent., and no bonus to be
    divided oftener than once a month.

    No fare is to be raised more than at the rate of a pound a week.

    No third-class carriage is to contain more than a foot deep of
    water in wet weather, but, to prevent accidents, corks and swimming
    belts should always be kept in open carriages.

    The ladies' carriages are to be waited upon by female policemen.

    Every tunnel must be illuminated with one candle at least.

    Never less than five minutes are to be allowed for dinner or
    refreshment.[5]

    One director must always travel with every train, only he is to be
    allowed the option of choosing his seat, either in the second or
    third class--whichever of the two he prefers.

    Hospitals are to be built at every terminus, and a surgeon to be in
    attendance at every station.

    There must be some communication between every carriage and the
    stoker, or the guard, either by a bell, or a speaking tube, or a
    portable electric telegraph, so that the passengers may have some
    means of giving information when their carriage is off the line, or
    falling over an embankment, or a maniac or a horse has broken
    loose.

There is sense as well as absurdity in this list. "Smoking saloons" are
noted as a novelty on the Eastern Counties Railway during the year 1846,
but in the same year to _Punch_ belongs the credit of suggesting
refreshment cars, and indulging in a pictorial forecast of underground
railways.

[Footnote 5: _Punch_ was especially wroth with the "3 minutes for
scalding soup" at Wolverton and Swindon.]

[Illustration: A PROPHETIC VIEW OF THE SUBTERRANEAN RAILWAYS]

The proposal that drums and trombones should be mounted on the engine as
a means of signalling cannot be taken seriously. Railway libraries on
the L. & N.W.R. are noted as a novelty in 1849. But by that year the
temper of the speculating public had changed, and _Punch_ is a faithful
index of the cold fit which had followed the disillusionment of the
over-sanguine investor. The lure of El Dorado now beckoned from the New
World, and the railway madness gave way to the mining insanity. The
papers were full of complaints from discontented shareholders. The
Battle of the Gauges continued, but Hudson is already spoken of in
_Punch_ as a discrowned sovereign, threatened with disestablishment at
Madame Tussaud's. For a while _Punch_ was inclined to extend to him a
certain amount of sympathy in his downfall, and in "Two Pictures" he
draws a contrast between mammon worship and the onslaught on mammon's
high priest by his greedy and discontented worshippers. But the mood of
compassion soon changes to resentment in the bitter adaptation of
Cowper's poem, _The Loss of the Royal George_:--

    Toll for a knave!
      A knave whose day is o'er!
    All sunk--with those who gave
      Their cash, till they'd no more!

       *       *       *       *       *

    The _Royal George_ is gone,
      His iron rule is o'er--
    And he and his directors
      Shall break the lines no more!

[Sidenote: _King Hudson's Downfall_]

In the same vein are the proposals that Hudson should be the chief "Guy"
on November 5, and be appointed governor of a convict settlement on the
Isle of Dogs. Simultaneously improvements are noted in the quickening of
the transit to Paris, the increase of excursions, and the beginning of
_voyages de luxe_.

But the note of complaint and dissatisfaction prevails. The discomfort,
danger, unpunctuality and discourtesy endured by railway passengers are
rubbed in with wearisome reiteration. In 1852 _Punch_ ironically
comments on the patience of the British public, "content to travel in
railway pens, like sheep to the slaughter, injured, deluded, derided,
only bleating in return," and concludes his summary of recent protests
from correspondents of _The Times_ with the remark:--

    Railway accidents, railway frauds, railway impertinence are the
    staple of our daily newspaper-reading. Railway chairmen and
    directors are descending to the knavery, extortion, impudence, and
    brutality from which cabmen are rising in the scale of manners and
    morals. And, as aforesaid, the British public stands all this with
    passive mournfulness, quiet endurance, meek, inactive
    expostulation.

[Illustration: RAILWAY UNDERTAKING

TOUTER: "Going by this train, Sir?"

PASSENGER: "'M? Eh? Yes."

TOUTER: "Allow me, then, to give you one of my cards, Sir."]

The directors of the L. & N.W.R. are severely criticised for overworking
their engine drivers, _à propos_ of a well-authenticated case of a man
who had been on duty for thirty hours without relief or opportunity to
rest. "If dividends demand economy, and economy necessitates the
employment of one man to do the work of six, the only thing to be done
for public safety is to get a man with an iron constitution," and
_Punch_ accordingly suggests that the directors should provide
themselves with engine drivers entirely composed of that metal.
Complaints of dangerous railways continue to the end of the period under
review, and in 1856 _Punch_ is still of opinion that we might take a
leaf out of the book of the Russians, who carry surgeons on their
trains. Undertakers he had already suggested as a part of the normal
equipment of expresses.

[Sidenote: _"Bradshaw: A Mystery"_]

A witty bishop once scandalized his hearers by bracketing _Bradshaw_
with the Bible as an indispensable book. Bradshaw's _Railway Time
Tables_ were first issued in 1839; the monthly guide dates from
December, 1841; it was not, however, until 1856 that _Punch_ began to
realize the elements of comedy underlying that austere document, and
utilized them in a little play called _Bradshaw: A Mystery_, describing
the separation, adventures and ultimate reunion of two harassed lovers.
Love may laugh at locksmiths, but _Bradshaw_ is another matter. Here is
the happy ending of this romantic libel:--

      _Leonora._ Oh, don't talk of _Bradshaw_!
    _Bradshaw_ has nearly maddened me.
    _Orlando_. And me.
    He talks of trains arriving that ne'er start;
    Of trains that seem to start, and ne'er arrive;
    Of junctions where no union is effected;
    Of coaches meeting trains that never come;
    Of trains to catch a coach that never goes;
    Of trains that start after they have arrived;
    Of trains arriving long before they leave.
    He bids us "see" some page that can't be found;
    Or if 'tis found, it speaks of spots remote
    From those we seek to reach! By _Bradshaw's_ aid
    You've tried to get to London--I attempted
    To get to Liverpool--and here we are,
    At Chester--'Tis a junction--I'm content
    Our union--at this junction--to cement.
    And let us hope, nor you nor I again
    May be attacked with _Bradshaw_ on the brain.
      _Leonora._ I'm happy now! My husband!
      _Orlando._ Ah, my bride!
    Henceforth take me--not _Bradshaw_--for your guide.
                    _The curtain falls._

"Orlando's" speech is a good summary of the humours of _Bradshaw_ as
analysed in _Punch's_ "Comic Guide" some years later.

From steam to electricity the transition is obvious. _Punch_ notes the
adoption of the "Electro-Magnetic Telegraph" by the Great Western
Railway in the summer of 1844. In 1845 we read of an electric gun to
fire 1,000 balls a minute. The laying of a submarine cable from Dover to
Calais is discussed in 1846, but was not realized till five years
afterwards, when _Punch_ hailed the completion of the scheme as a new
link between the two countries and celebrated it in a cartoon and a
sonnet.

Already the influence of electricity on international relations had been
foreshadowed, and in the same year in which Palmerston repudiated
responsibility for the welcome of Kossuth in England _Punch_ rudely
described his message as "electric lying." The days of "wireless
diplomacy" in the old sense of the epithet were passing, to the
embarrassment of representatives who were within immediate hail of the
central Government. Soon we begin to hear complaints of the new service
on the score of delays and excessive charges, and when an earthquake
shock was felt "for the first time" in Ireland in the winter of 1852,
_Punch_ notes that a writer in the _Limerick Chronicle_ attributed it to
the atmospheric influence of the electric telegraph! Electricity as an
illuminant elicited an optimistic if somewhat previous eulogy in 1849;
and cooking by electricity is foreshadowed in 1857. The laying of the
transatlantic cable is welcomed long before it was an accomplished fact,
but _Punch's_ compliments had a sting in their tail when he wrote the
following lines:--

AMERICAN JOURNALISM IN A NEW LINE

    It is much to be hoped that the telegraph wire,
    About to be laid down, will not form a lyre,
    On which to strike discord 'twixt the old world and new;
    Though scarce can we hope all its messages true,
    For then t'other side would have nothing to do.

_Punch's_ interest in aeronautics dates from his earliest infancy,
though his mixture of prophecy and satire is rather confusing. Designs
of aerial steamships abound in his columns; and one of them is not too
bad an anticipation of the aeroplane.

[Illustration: AERIAL STEAM CARRIAGE]

[Sidenote: _Aviation Forecasts_]

In 1845 there was actually a periodical called _The Balloon_, though
_Punch_ is jocular at the expense of its very limited _clientèle_.
Still, though the number of aeronauts was few, their enterprise
attracted a great deal of attention, and Green, who made 526 ascents
between 1821 and 1852, including his famous trip from Vauxhall to
Weilburg in Nassau, is frequently mentioned. _Punch_, to his credit,
inveighed vehemently against the senseless inhumanity of aeronautic
acrobats who made a practice of taking up animals with them. He was less
fortunate in his dogmatic pronouncement in 1851 that the balloon was a
"perfectly useless invention," and in his scornful dismissal, four years
later, of the suggestion that it might be useful in warfare:--

    Everybody, including, of course, all the nobodies, would seem to
    have some peculiar plan for finishing off the war in a successful
    and expeditious manner. The last place we should look for the means
    of carrying on hostilities with vigour is up in the air; but,
    nevertheless, an aeronaut has "stepped in" upon the public with a
    suggestion that balloons are the means required for the siege of
    Sebastopol and the smashing of Cronstadt. If this theory is
    correct, Lord Raglan ought at once to be superseded by the "veteran
    Green" or the "intrepid" Mrs. Graham.

    One of the "intrepids," who has gained a high position by his
    balloon, has published a dialogue between himself and a general,
    who is, of course, represented as soon beating a retreat in an
    argument against the employment of balloons in battle. The aeronaut
    proposes to hover in his balloon over the enemy's position, and
    take observations of what is passing, but he forgets that a passing
    shot might happen to catch his eye in a rather disagreeable manner.
    The aeronaut undertakes not only to observe, but to make himself
    the subject of observation by a series of signals, through the
    medium of which he proposes to point out the movements of the
    enemy. This is to be effected by an apparatus which, as it would of
    course be at the mercy of the wind, would be blown about in all
    directions possibly, except that which it ought to take, and thus
    the signals would be converted into signal failures. The aeronaut
    also proposes using his balloon for "destructive purposes," by
    taking up some shells, which should be "light to lift but terrible
    to fall," and so arranged as to avoid the fate of Captain Warner's
    invention, "whose balloon," we are told by the aeronaut himself,
    "went off in an opposite direction to what he had intended."

    "And by what means," answers the general, "would you let off your
    missiles?"

    "Either by fuses," answers the aeronaut, "a liberating trigger, or
    an electric communication, or by _another contrivance_ which you
    must excuse me, general, for not mentioning, as I hold it _a
    secret_."

    This "_secret_" will probably be kept to all eternity, and, at all
    events, until it is revealed we must be excused for refusing to
    call on Lord Aberdeen to adopt balloons for warfare, or to blow up
    the Commander-in-Chief literally sky high, till he makes the air
    the basis of military operations.

Some enthusiasts certainly laid themselves open to ridicule. In 1849 a
certain J. Browne advertised a "balloon railway to California" as both
"safe and cheap." Captain Warner, again, ruled himself out of court by
his refusal to explain the secret of his alleged inventions--the
long-range torpedo and the bomb-dropping balloon--to the committee
appointed to report thereon until he had been assured of the payment of
£200,000 for each. Still, he cannot be denied the credit, such as it is,
of having foreshadowed two of the deadliest and most destructive engines
of modern warfare. _Punch_ at first lent Warner a certain measure of
support, until careful inquiry had shown him to be both untrustworthy
and intractable.

[Illustration: EFFECT OF THE SUBMARINE TELEGRAPH; OR, PEACE AND GOOD
WILL BETWEEN ENGLAND AND FRANCE]

[Illustration: Ye Wild Goose Chase after Ye Golden Calfe.

THE GOLD CRAZE IN 1849]

The railway "boom" had stimulated that first infirmity of ignoble
minds--the desire to "get rich quick"--and cupidity, balked of its
expectations, turned eagerly towards the goldfields to satisfy its
longings. In 1849 California was the Mecca of the gold craze, and there
is hardly a number of _Punch_ in this year which does not refer to the
stampede from Europe to the diggings--"the wild-goose chase after the
golden calf," as he called it. It was a gold fever in more senses than
one, since the diggers suffered terribly from disease, which led to the
cynical suggestion that convicts should be sent there, as they were not
likely to return. Cobden, still in high favour with _Punch_ as the
apostle of national economy, was busy preaching Peace, Retrenchment and
Reform, but his efforts were powerless to stem the tide of speculation.

In 1850 we find a reference to the glut of bullion at the Bank, a state
of affairs long strangely unfamiliar. In 1851 the opening of the
goldfields in Australia diverted the stream of speculative emigration
from California to the antipodes, and this new phase of the _auri sacra
fames_ does not escape _Punch's_ notice, though no mention is made of
the curious fact that amongst those who were lured to the diggings was
Lord Robert Cecil, afterwards Marquess of Salisbury. Alongside of the
evidences of the great expansion of commerce and national prosperity we
find frequent references to the growth of gambling. In 1852 _Punch's_
pages abound in allusions, in text and illustrations, to the betting
mania--to gulls and pigeons and sharks. "Profiteering" was rampant in
the Crimean War, and _Punch_ is eloquent in his denunciation of the
contractors who supplied shoddy equipment and bad guns. And the
aftermath of the war included, besides other familiar sources of
discontent, "defalcations, embezzlements and other cases of gross and
enormous dishonesty." It was a time of speculation and peculation, of
bank smashes and absconding directors--those of the Royal British Bank
coming in for special execration. The fraudulent banker is singled out
by _Punch_ as the arch-rogue and thief who excited the envy of the
burglar, since the banker stole more and escaped unpunished. The
brothers Sadleir are specially selected for dishonourable mention in
1856, but John Sadleir, M.P. for Carlow and an ex-Lord of the Treasury,
who was the original of Mr. Merdle in _Little Dorrit_, and was described
in _The Times_ after his death as a "national calamity," only escaped
punishment by suicide.

[Sidenote: _Novelties and Anticipations_]

As we survey the various new inventions, novel devices and anticipations
mentioned in the pages of _Punch_, we are tempted to exclaim, in the
hackneyed phrase, that there is nothing new under the sun. A
"Glaciarium" with artificial ice is noted in the autumn of 1843.
"Euphonia," or the speaking machine, invented and exhibited by Professor
Faber at the Egyptian Hall in 1846, was an automaton, and can hardly be
regarded as a lineal ancestor of the gramophone. The "patent mile-index
cab" in 1847, on the other hand, was a genuine harbinger of the taxi,
but the time was not ripe for its general adoption. _Punch's_ account of
"Talking by Telegraph," in the autumn of 1848, is no more than a piece
of intelligent anticipation. The telephone voice, however, is happily
hit off in the remark that "we have heard of a singer's voice being
rather wiry at times; but there will be something very trying in the
perpetual twang of the new mode of small talk that is recommended to
us," a comment of 1848. The beneficent side of the discovery of
anæsthetics is lightly passed over in _Punch's_ earlier references to
this revolution in surgery in 1847, which suggest its application to
politicians or its use by hen-pecked husbands. Here only ether is
mentioned, but the "blessings of chloroform" are discussed a few months
later in the same jocular spirit. Incubators, the sewing machine and
phonetic spelling are among the wonders of the wonderful year of 1848.
Pitman and the "Fonetik Nuz" furnish _Punch_ with food for mirth in
1849; the claims of the discoverer of "Xyloidine," a new motive power to
take the place of steam, are treated with frivolous scepticism more
justifiable than that shown by _Punch_ towards ironclads in 1850. In
1851 the novelties included "Electro-biology," _i.e._ hypnotism;
shoeblacks; electric clocks; false legs,[6] invented by Palmer, an
American; and the supply of tea to the Navy. "Noiseless wheels" in 1853
suggest the advent of the age of rubber; but Robert W. Thomson had taken
out his patent for india-rubber tyres in 1845. Steam ploughs, gas-stoves
for cooking and central heating for houses followed in rapid succession
in 1853 and 1854. _Punch's_ ironical suggestions in the latter year for
the comfort and convenience of Cockney travellers in the ascent of
Snowdon are only one of many instances where the mocking fancy of one
generation becomes the fact of its successor.

The "new pillar boxes" must be added to the features of 1854; their
colour harmonized with the red coats then worn by the postmen; while the
scheme to propel mail bags through tubes by atmospheric pressure was put
forward as early as 1855. Massage appears as the new "movement cure" by
kneading and pressing, vide _Punch_, 1856, but he, however, was not
solely interested in beneficent inventions. Lord Dundonald's famous
"secret war plan," originally proposed in 1811, and rejected by a secret
Committee presided over by the Duke of York, who pronounced it
"infallible, irresistible, but inhuman," was revived after the
inventor's readmission to the British Navy, and urged on the Admiralty
and Government during the Crimean War. It was again rejected on the
score of its inhumanity, though _Punch_ welcomed the plan, without
knowing exactly what it was, and besought the Government to cast away
scruples and use _anything_ against such an enemy as Russia. Whatever
may have been "Dundonald's plan" was never divulged, it remained a
nameless mystery. The new nomenclature evolved by the triumphs of
applied science in humaner directions led to a good deal of controversy,
notably over the introduction of the word "telegram" as a substitute for
"telegraphic despatch." The shorter form was first officially used in
1855 (see the _Panmure Papers_) by Lord Clarendon, but scholars and men
of letters protested vigorously against this Yankee barbarism. Shilleto,
the famous Cambridge scholar, suggested "telegrapheme." He did not want
it, but it was at least properly constructed on Greek analogies. Oxford,
as _Punch_ notices in 1857, supported the modern form, and here for
once, at any rate, abandoned her traditional espousal of lost causes.

[Footnote 6: Henry Heather Bigg (1826-81), the surgical instrument
maker, who made the substitutes for the lost limbs of soldiers in the
Crimean War, is mentioned in 1856 (Vol. xxx., p. 28).]

[Sidenote: _Telegram or Telegrapheme?_]

In general, _Punch_, as a moderate reformer, deals impartially with the
contending claims of science and the classical curriculum. He believed
in the liberalizing influence of the humanities, while he denounced
academic arrogance, pedantry and exclusiveness. He might be described as
a mitigated modernist in these years, in which he advocated the
popularization of science by means of Institutes and similar centres of
enlightenment, and welcomed new inventions--while reserving to himself
the right to burlesque their possibilities, and to ridicule the
pretensions of pompous professors and futile philosophers. He was at one
with those rationalists who waged war on superstition and credulity, but
he realized better than they did how deeply entrenched the enemy was in
high places, and how mistaken was the view that the victory was already
won. The friendly lines which he addressed to Faraday in 1853 are mere
halting doggerel, but they are worth recalling, if only for their sound
doctrine, which is as much needed to-day as it was sixty-seven years
ago:--

    Oh, Mr. Faraday, simple Mr. Faraday!
      Did you of enlightenment consider this an age?
    Bless your simplicity, deep in electricity,
      But in social matters, unsophisticated sage!
    Weak superstition dead; knocked safely on the head,
      Long since buried deeper than the bed of the Red Sea,
    Did you not fondly fancy? Did you think that necromancy
      Practised now at the expense of any fool could be?

    Oh, Mr. Faraday, simple Mr. Faraday!
      Persons not uneducated--very highly dressed--
    Fine folks as peer and peeress, go and fee a Yankee seeress,
      To evoke their dead relations' Spirits from their rest.
    Also seek cunning men, feigning by mesmeric ken,
      Missing property to trace and indicate the thief,
    Cure ailments, give predictions: all of these enormous fictions
      Are, among our higher classes, matters of belief.

    Oh, Mr. Faraday, simple Mr. Faraday!
      Guided by the steady light which mighty Bacon lit,
    You naturally stare, seeing that so many are
      Following whither fraudulent Jack-with-the-lanterns flit.
    Of scientific lore though you have an ample store,
      Gotten by experiments, in one respect you lack;
    Society's weak side, whereupon you none have tried,
      Being all philosopher and nothing of a quack.



EDUCATION


Education in the 'forties was the Cinderella of the Legislature.
Parliament, it is true, spent laborious hours in discussing the theory
of education, but in debating the principle overlooked the practice.
Money was doled out in homoeopathic doses. In 1841 the sum of £10,000
was voted for the education of the people in the same session in which
£70,000 was voted for the Royal Stables at Windsor, a contrast which
_Punch_ had not forgotten five years later. The direct connexion between
ignorance and crime was constantly forced on the attention of humane
magistrates. When the Lord Mayor of London, in January, 1846, declared
that "society was responsible for the contamination to which poor
children were subjected," and that there was no calamity, to his way of
thinking, "comparable to that which sprang from the bringing up of youth
in habits and practices of idleness and vice," _Punch_ found himself in
the unfamiliar position of being called upon to eulogize a functionary
who as a rule never gave him a chance. "Juvenile delinquents," he points
out, were "as much reared for Newgate as many of the beautiful babies,
taking their morning airings in the parks, are reared for hereditary
legislators." In another graphically brusque passage describing the
transportation for life of four lads aged from 18 to 21, we read "they
were brought up as brutes, and society reaps the terrible fruits of
their rearing." Hullah's music classes for the people at Exeter Hall in
1842 were excellent in their way, but the solace of song was a doubtful
boon in the Hungry 'Forties, and though _Punch_ supported the
establishment of schools of cookery throughout the kingdom, the supply
of things to cook was more urgently needed. The years rolled on, the
Corn Laws were repealed, and prosperity revived, but illiteracy
remained, and it was due in the country districts, in _Punch's_ view, to
the fact that "contending zealots cannot agree with what theological
mysteries they shall leaven the common information which the
schoolmaster is to impart to the country bumpkin."

[Illustration: THE EDUCATIONAL QUESTION]

[Sidenote: _Abysmal Ignorance_]

In 1850 the following dialogue was given in _The Times_ police report of
Wednesday, January 9, and quoted in _Punch_:--

    George Ruby, a boy aged 14, was put into the box to be sworn, and
    the Testament was put into his hand. He looked quite astonished
    upon taking hold of the book.

    _Ald. Humphrey._ Well, do you know what you are about? Do you know
    what an oath is?

    _Boy._ No.

    _Ald. H._ Do you know what a Testament is?

    _Boy._ No.

    _Ald. H._ Can you read?

    _Boy._ No.

    _Ald._ H. Do you ever say your prayers?

    _Boy._ No, never.

    _Ald. H._ Do you know what prayers are?

    _Boy._ No.

    _Ald. H._ Do you know what God is?

    _Boy._ No.

    _Ald H._ Do you know what the devil is?

    _Boy._ I've heard of the devil, but I don't know him.

    _Ald. H._ What do you know, my poor boy?

    _Boy._ I knows how to sweep the crossing.

    _Ald. H._ And that's all?

    _Boy._ That's all. I sweeps the crossing.

    The Alderman said he, of course, could not take the evidence of a
    creature who knew nothing whatever of the obligation to tell the
    truth.

It was to cope with this sort of destitution that the Ragged Schools
movement had been started several years before. From the first _Punch_
lent it his hearty support, though in his first notice, in 1846, he was
unable to resist the opportunity of combining his approval with a dig at
the aristocracy:--

    WHAT RAGGED SCHOOLS MAY COME TO

    It is with peculiar satisfaction that we view the establishment of
    Ragged Schools in various parts of the Metropolis. We speak
    advisedly when we describe our satisfaction as peculiar. For it is
    not merely that we are rejoiced at the idea of a number of youthful
    mendicants being prevented from becoming thieves and pickpockets,
    taught to earn an honest livelihood, and rescued from vice and
    misery through the instrumentality of these seminaries. No; our
    views are much higher than such plebeian considerations as these,
    and they also extend far beyond the present time. We have an eye to
    the benefit of our posterity and to that of the superior classes
    generally.

    When we consider that Eton was established for the reception of
    poor and indigent scholars, and that Winchester and most of our
    other public schools were, at their first foundation, charities, we
    may not unreasonably indulge the hope that the Ragged Schools,
    originally, like them, destined for the instruction of the
    tag-rag-and-bobtail, may ultimately become gratuitous institutions
    for the education of the children of the aristocracy.

Yet it was an aristocrat of the "old nobility" who started and devoted
his best energies to the furtherance of the Ragged Schools movement, as
all the world knows. His name is not even mentioned here, and when it is
mentioned in these years is too often coupled with tasteless gibes at
Lord Shaftesbury's proclivities and Sabbatarianism. _Punch_ could not
forgive Lord Shaftesbury for his association with Exeter Hall (which to
_Punch_ meant fireside philanthropy and Jellybyism) and his support of
laws which enabled magistrates to fine boys fifteen shillings or a
fortnight's wages each for playing cricket on Sunday. Sir Robert Peel
had to die before _Punch_ did him justice. Lord Shaftesbury was more
fortunate, for thirty years before he died _Punch_ made the _amende_ in
"The Earl King, or the Earl of Shaftesbury and the Juvenile Mendicant."

[Sidenote: _The Distressed Author_]

"The greater the employment of the primer, the less the need of the
'cat'" is an aphorism which sums up the creed of the humanitarian
reformers of the 'forties and 'fifties. The "ladder of learning" was not
yet planted in the modern sense, and efforts to ascend from the lower to
the upper rungs were frowned upon by those in authority. At a meeting of
the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in June,
1849, a clerical speaker ridiculed the questions, set in an examination
paper for National School teachers, which presupposed a knowledge of the
works of Shakespeare, Milton, Adam Smith, Johnson and Scott, and of the
Life of Mrs. Fry. Learning was at a discount; authors of note, with few
exceptions--such as Thackeray and Macaulay--were generally impecunious,
and sometimes on the border-land of destitution. Douglas Jerrold had a
life-long struggle to keep his head above water, for all his industry.
There were no royalties in those days, and for _Black-Eyed Susan_, which
brought tens of thousands of pounds to theatrical lessees and popular
actors, he received from first to last the sum of £60. _Punch_ was the
constant champion of the distressed author fallen on evil days, such as
Joseph Haydn of the _Dictionary of Dates_, who was granted a Civil List
pension of £25 a year just three weeks before his death in January,
1856, or old Joseph Guy, "the man of many books, the ever-green
'Spelling Book' among the number." One of the finest (but posthumous)
tributes to Sir Robert Peel was on the occasion of the Literary Fund
dinner in 1856, when a sum of £100 was sent from the proceeds of the
first portion of the _Peel Papers_:--

[Illustration: NEWSVENDOR: "Now, my man, what is it?"

BOY: "I vonts a nillustrated newspaper with a norrid murder and a
likeness in it."]

    From the tomb of Sir Robert speaks the spirit that, when in the
    flesh and baited by the dogs of party [not to mention the bitter
    satire of _Punch_ himself], still beneficently thought of the wants
    of spasmodic Haydn; still, by sympathy in word and act, smoothed
    the dying pillow of poor Tom Hood.

The respect and admiration with which George Stephenson and Joseph
Paxton were invariably treated was largely due to the fact that they
were self-taught men. And when Joseph Hume died in 1855, _Punch_, who
had so often chaffed him for his love of figures and returns, while
applauding his attack on "gold lace" and extravagance, paid fitting
homage to the perseverance which enabled him to fight his way up from
poverty and obscurity, to his rugged honesty, his hard-won triumphs, and
his honourable participation in all victories over wrong in Church and
State. An alarming ignorance, however, was not monopolized by the lower
orders. In his scheme for the reform of the House of Lords _Punch_
suggests that peers should only be admitted to the Upper House after an
examination in the three R's, history, geography and political economy.
Geography even in our own enlightened days remains a stumbling-block to
Ministers, even Prime Ministers. Disraeli's ignorance of arithmetic on
the occasion of his appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the
Derby Cabinet is a frequent source of ribaldry in _Punch_, who suggested
the establishment of an infants' school for the new Cabinet. So recently
as the eve of the twentieth century a Chancellor of the Exchequer was
reported to have been so ignorant of decimals that he asked what was
meant by those "damned dots."

[Sidenote: _The Education Bill of 1856_]

Reverting to elementary education, we can find no better commentary on
its progress in the mid 'fifties than two extracts from _Punch's_
"Essence of Parliament" in the spring of 1856:--

    _Thursday_, March 6th. In the Commons, Lord John Russell moved a
    series of resolutions on the subject of Education, and afterwards
    withdrew them. What they were, therefore, does not seem to be a
    matter of any very overwhelming interest, especially as he
    threatens them again on the 10th of April. His plan, however,
    comprised a sort of timid notion of a rate not to be altogether
    voluntary; but the fact, disclosed by the census of 1851, that of
    four millions of our children, between five and fifteen years of
    age, two millions are proved to be on no school list at all, while
    a great mass of the other two millions are receiving the most
    miserable tuition, did not excite either Lord John, or our Blessed
    House of Representatives, into an indignant declaration that the
    children _should_ be taught, that the nation should pay for their
    teaching, and that the parents who hindered or neglected the work
    should be punished. On the contrary, they chattered and talked
    commonplace, and complimented one another, and an old Dissenting
    Attorney called Hadfield[7] said that the people were taught as
    well as any other people, which he proved from the fact that they
    wrote and posted a great many letters; and he opposed all further
    interference. Having thus got rid of the Education of the Poor, the
    House went on to the Education of the Rich, and had a discussion on
    the Oxford Reforms, but it also ended in nothing.

    _Thursday_, April 10th. The House of Commons was occupied during
    this night and the next with discussing Lord John Russell's
    Education resolutions. They were opposed, of course, by
    representatives of the Church, of Dissent, and of the Manchester
    school: the first think that their religion only should be taught
    by the State; the second that their religion only should be taught,
    but not by the State; and the third that no religion should be
    taught at all. It is needless to say that Government has no
    practical views on the subject, but like all half-hearted people
    contrived to get the worst in the fray.

[Footnote 7: _Punch_ is unjust to George Hadfield, member for Sheffield
from 1852 to 1874, a prominent Congregationalist and advanced Liberal
who took an active part in forming the Anti-Corn Law League and rendered
valuable assistance in the House in promoting legal reform.]

[Illustration: AWFUL EXAMPLE OF INFANT PRECOCITY.

PRODIGY: "Mamma! Look dere, dere Papa!"]

In July, 1856, at the end of the session, the Education Bill for England
and Scotland figured in the "Massacre of the Innocents," sixteen in all.
As a set-off the Cambridge University Bill introduced some useful
reforms, though it failed to secure the admission of Dissenters; and a
Minister for Education was created under the title of Vice-President of
the Committee of the Council of Education. But _Punch_, in these years
at any rate, had no love for the older universities. He regarded them,
and especially Oxford, as the strongholds of mediævalism, obscurantism,
and all the "isms" against which he was always tilting in Church and
State; and he seldom failed to satirize the opposition of academic
authorities to inquiry and reform. The romance of "the home of lost
causes" made no appeal to his practical mind. Yet of classical
scholarship and the classical curriculum he was a loyal supporter.
Classical allusions, quotations and parallels abound in his pages: he
even printed translations in doggerel Greek by Dr. Kenealy. But the
education of the masses was his prime concern, and after the fiasco of
1856 Parliament remained inactive for nearly six years--until the
notable measure, establishing the principle of "payment by results," was
introduced by Lowe in 1862. In this context it may be noted that as
early as 1848 _Punch_ avowed his belief in the value of making lessons
interesting to children:--

    The reason why school books are so dreary to the child is because
    they are full of subjects he has no sympathy with. Children's books
    should be written for children. The child may be father to the man,
    but that is no reason why he should be treated with literature
    which is only fit for a father.... If battles are to be fought
    before children they should be fought with tin soldiers.... Study
    should be made into a good romp, learning turned into a game, and
    children then could run into the schoolroom with the same eagerness
    they rush now into the playground.

[Sidenote: _A Child's Letter to Hans Anderson_]

[Illustration: HOMAGE TO HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN]

Here we have a crude anticipation of the Montessori system, around which
so much controversy rages to-day. _Punch_ has always been a lover of
children, gentle and simple, but at the same time a faithful critic of
the _enfant terrible_ and of juvenile precocity. One of the most
delightful letters that ever appeared in his pages was the genuine
epistle from a little girl printed in the issue of January 10, 1857:--

    "MY DEAR MR. PUNCH,

    "we Hope you are Quite well and i wish you many Happy returns of
    Christmas and i hope you will Excuse me riting to You but mamma Says
    you allways are Fond of little people so i Hope you will Excuse as
    me and charley read in the illusterated London [_News_] that Mr.
    Hans Christian anderson is Coming to spend His Hollidays in England
    And We shold like to see Him becase he as Made us All so Happy with
    is Betiful storys the ugly duck the Top and the ball the snow Quen
    the Red shoes the Storks little ida the Constant tinsoldier great
    claws and Little Claws the darning Neddle and All the rest of Them
    and it says in the illustat [_several attempts, a smear, and the
    spelling evaded_] Paper the children shold Meet him in the
    Crys-pallace and we shold Like to Go and tell him how much We Love
    him for his betiful stores do you know the tinder box and tommelise
    and charley liks the wild Swans best but i Hope you will Excuse bad
    riting and i Am

    "Yours affectionate

    "NELLY.

    charley says i Have not put in wat We ment if you please Will you
    put In  punch wat everybody is to Do to let Mr. hans Ansen know how
    Glad we are He is Coming."

We hope that Hans Andersen--who, by the way, as a writer of fairy
stories is regarded with disfavour by Madame Montessori--saw this
letter. On the relations of parents and children generally, two of
_Punch's_ aphorisms are not without their bearing on present-day
conditions. In the year 1844 the _Comic Blackstone_ reads: "Children owe
their parents support; but this is a mutual obligation, for they must
support each other, though we sometimes hear them declaring each other
wholly insupportable." And the other, under the heading "The World's
Nursery," runs: "The spoilt children of the present age rarely turn out
the great men of the next." It should be added, as some readers will
remember, that in neither of the decades under review were the children
of the poor in any danger of being spoiled.



RELIGIOUS CONTROVERSY


_Punch's_ efforts on behalf of Sunday recreation, already alluded to,
exposed him to a great deal of hostile criticism. In 1854 the _English
Journal of Education_ declared that _Punch_ was not suitable reading for
Sunday: it was "worse than useless literature." But _Punch_ gave as good
as he got. When the _Record_ attacked the Queen for having a band at
Windsor on Sunday, and alluded to Nero fiddling while Rome burned,
_Punch_ unblushingly called the editor "a brimstone-faced _Mawworm_."[8]
The question of the opening of the British Museum and National Gallery
on Sunday came up again in 1855 on the motion of Sir Joshua Walmsley,
but was defeated by 235 to 48 votes, to _Punch's_ great disgust. He
advises constituencies to watch closely the conduct of the triumphant
Sabbatarians. "If one of the 235 saints who opposed the resolution of
Sir Joshua Walmsley has his boots cleaned on Sunday, or takes a drive,
or eats a warm dinner, unless by medical order, he is a humbug and a
hypocrite, and unworthy of the suffrages of free and independent
electors." A year later the anti-Sabbatarians resumed their attack, and
in his "Essence of Parliament," distilled by Shirley Brooks, _Punch_
summarizes the debate:--

    The debate to-night was brief, and chiefly left to men of small
    calibre. The principal exceptions were Lord Stanley, who manfully
    stood out as an Anti-Sabbatarian; Mr. Napier, who saw "poison" in
    seeing pictures on Sunday; Mr. Heywood, who denied the truth of the
    Jewish history of the Creation, but described the Sabbath as a
    divine ordinance to be kept as a day of rejoicing; and Lord
    Palmerston, who thought there would be no harm in opening these
    exhibitions, but that there would be much if the House acted in
    defiance of the opinions which had been expressed against doing so.
    This eminently House-of-Commons logic and morality was too suited
    to the audience not to be successful. On division, 376--add four
    who were "shut out" and say 380--gentlemen in comfortable
    circumstances, most of them with carriages and country houses,
    decided, against 48 opponents, that the only holiday Mammon has
    left to the poor man shall not be better spent than in a squalid
    house, a dirty drinking-yard, or a debauching public-house.

[Footnote 8: Mawworm was an eighteenth-century forerunner of Chadband in
Bickerstaffe's play _The Hypocrite_.]

This Parliamentary opportunism, to which Palmerston adhered in the
matter of Sunday bands in the parks, was one of the qualities which
_Punch_ liked least in "the judicious bottle-holder," as he loved to
call Palmerston. In the controversy which raged round this question
throughout the year _Punch_ gladly recognized the enlightened zeal of
Sir Benjamin Hall, the Member for Marylebone and Commissioner of Works.
For a while the bands played in the parks on Sundays, and _Punch_
celebrated the concession, which had been sanctioned by Palmerston, in
an "Ode to Sir Benjamin Hall."

But the boon was short-lived. "The Sunday Band, Hall's grant," was
"abolished by the influence of Cant," and on May 19 Palmerston, while
retaining his personal opinion as to the propriety of having Sunday
music in the parks, stated that such "representations" had been made to
him that he had felt it his duty to give way. The Sabbatarians were
jubilant, as may be gathered from _Punch's_ reference to the _Record_ in
his issue of August 16:--

    We doubt very much whether we can any longer conscientiously call
    the _Record_ our serious contemporary. That doubt is suggested by
    the following passage occurring in one of its leading articles:--

    "We are taught to expect the blessing of God on the conduct of our
    affairs when we act in accordance with the divine will; and it
    almost seems as if Lord Palmerston acquired new strength from the
    moment when he agreed to put down the Sunday bands. The attempt to
    make Government responsible for the loss of Kars was defeated by a
    great majority, and the subsequent attempt to censure Lord
    Clarendon on account of the American dispute was defeated by a
    majority still more overwhelming."

    We can conceive a person devoid of all veracity and conscience,
    writing in a great hurry to a set of imbecile fanatics,
    perpetrating such stuff and nonsense as the above, but we cannot
    well conceive any other person guilty thereof.

[Sidenote: Goldsmith Bowdlerized]

[Illustration: SUNDAY MUSIC AS CANT WOULD HAVE IT]

_Punch_ could not see harm in music on any day, and he printed a
charming "petition" from the song-birds of Kensington to Sir Benjamin
Hall, expressing their apprehension of an order forbidding them to sing
on Sundays. But then, as now, there were moralists who saw not good but
evil in everything. In the same year of 1856 the Government issued an
edition of Goldsmith's "Deserted Village" for the use of schools, and
the lines:--

    The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
    For talking age and whisp'ring lovers made--

were amended by the substitution of "youthful converse" for "whisp'ring
lovers." Assuming the character and style of Dr. Johnson, _Punch_
castigates this "pseudo-purifier of Goldsmith" in round terms. "Sir, he
is a noisome fellow, Sir, he is a male prude and a hypocrite. Sir, he
is a dunce."

_Punch's_ hostility to Exeter Hall, which has undergone structural and
other vicissitudes even more remarkable than those of the Crystal
Palace, was originally based on what may be called its foreign policy,
which he regarded as indistinguishable from the worst form of
Jellybyism. This is how he described Exeter Hall in 1842:--

    It is at the Hall that the fireside philanthropist, the good and
    easy man, for whom life has been one long lounge on a velvet
    sofa--it is there that he displays his practical benevolence,
    talking for hours on the glory of shipping white pastors to Africa
    to baptise the negro; or, if the climate will not have it so, to
    die there. And it is from the Hall that the good and pious, having
    voted a supply of religion to the black, depart for their own
    comfortable homes, having, to their exceeding content, indicated
    their Christianity by paying a pound, singing a hymn, and--taking
    care of themselves.

In 1846, in "A word on the May meetings" (June 6), he appeals to the
Exeter Hall people to drop their foreign philanthropy and educate the
poor at home--multiply ragged schools by ten thousand, and aid in the
housing movement, social reform, the establishment of baths and
wash-houses. As a matter of fact, many of the Exeter Hall people, with
Lord Shaftesbury at their head, took an active part in these movements,
but _Punch_ could not forgive them for their rigid insistence on Sunday
observance, and labelled them indiscriminately as Pharisees, Pecksniffs
and Chadbands.

His hostile criticisms of the Church, especially the bishops and
archbishops, were equally uncomplimentary but better founded. As _The
Times_ wrote in 1847: "The chief practical difficulty of the Church of
England is how to engage and secure the affections of the poor." _Punch_
re-echoed the sentiment (October 16, 1847), adding the sarcastic
comment: "Bishops, with tens of thousands a year, cry 'Hear, hear!'" But
he overlooked the fact that one of the remedies advocated by "Young
England" for existing evils was the reorganization of the Church--to
make it the friend, comforter and protector of the people. "Young
England," however, was an aristocratic movement, and its leaders were
almost as great _bêtes noires_ to _Punch_ as Dr. Sumner, the Archbishop
of Canterbury (commonly regarded as the incarnation of Cant), "Soapy
Sam" (Wilberforce), "Henry of Exeter" (Dr. Phillpotts), and Blomfield,
the Bishop of London.

[Illustration: SERIOUS FLUNKEY: "I should require, Madam, forty pounds a
year, two suits of clothes, two 'ats, meat and hale three times a day,
and piety hindispensable."]

[Sidenote: _Clerical Bugbears_]

The wealth, the obscurantism, and the Olympian detachment of the great
prince bishops were a constant source of exasperation and comment.
_Punch_ was a supporter of cheap divorce. He preferred this reform to
the Bill for flogging wife-beaters, and securing the right of the wife
to keep part of her earnings when separated from a bad husband. The
Parliamentary records of the middle 'fifties are full of debates on the
subject, but one extract from _Punch's_ "Essence of Parliament" may
suffice to illustrate his _nolo episcopari_ attitude:--

    _Thursday_, June 26th. The Divorce Bill came to the Lords from
    their Select Committee, and Lord Lyndhurst most ably explained its
    present character. What is proposed is this. A new Tribunal for
    deciding upon matrimonial causes. That a divorced woman who
    acquires property shall have it for herself. That she may sue, in
    actions, as a single woman. That a wife shall be placed somewhat
    more upon a footing with a husband as regards the obtaining
    divorce. That in all cases of a husband's infidelity (accompanied
    with cruelty), in certain still worse cases, and in those of
    bigamy, a woman shall be entitled to ask divorce. Lord Lansdowne
    gave eloquent support to the Bill. The Bishop of Oxford (_Mr.
    Punch_ does not misrepresent him, for the Church's stalwart friend,
    the _Standard_, manifests indignant surprise at his Lordship's
    speech) objected to the proposed increased facility of divorce.
    "The lower classes did not demand the _privilegia_ afforded to the
    higher and wealthier classes." The Bishop of St. David's thought
    with Dr. Wilberforce. Lord Campbell, in reply, cited Mr. Justice
    Maule's scorching irony, when a poor man, whose wife had robbed him
    and absconded, had sought to provide his children with a mother,
    and had committed bigamy. The Bishop of Oxford contrived to carry a
    postponement of the next stage of the Bill, which he means to
    "amend." Let the Lords protect the Women of England against the
    Priests.

It may be added that _Punch_ was also a supporter of marriage with a
deceased wife's sister, and that here again he found considerable scope
for the display of his anti-episcopal animus. When Lord St. Germans'
Bill was defeated in the Lords on April 25, 1856, _Punch_ notes that the
result was chiefly due to "four priests"--the Bishops of Oxford, Cashel,
St. David's and Exeter--and applauds Lord Albemarle, one of the heroes
of Waterloo, for his "courageous condemnation of clerical intolerance."
Lord Albemarle, in the course of his speech, made bold to say that "the
opinions generally expressed by ladies on this subject were attributable
to the ignorance of their spiritual advisers, and to the undue reverence
for the Common Prayer-book." _Punch's_ own reasons for supporting the
change included the ironical argument that a widower debarred from
relief, when he remarries takes on a _second_ mother-in-law.

[Illustration: AFFECTIONATE HUSBAND: "Come, Polly--if I _am_ a little
irritable, it's over in a minute."]

[Sidenote: _Destitute Clergy_]

But _Punch's_ chief objection to the bishops was that they emphasized in
the most glaring way the contrasts which existed in what was at once the
wealthiest and the poorest of Churches. If the Church was out of touch
with the lay poor, she was even more open to criticism for her neglect
of her own poor clergy. The scandal of the ragged curates had attracted
_Punch's_ attention in the 'forties. On September 19, 1846, he referred
to the recent death, "raving mad, in penury and destitution," of the
Rev. Mr. Kaye, of St. Pancras. A return, procured by the energetic
inquisitiveness of Joseph Hume at the close of 1847, revealed the fact
that the total number of assistant curates to incumbents resident on
their benefices amounted in 1846 to 2,642, and the number licensed to
2,094. Of these 1,192 received stipends _under_ £100 a year, and as many
as 173 _less_ than £50 a year. But the most bitter comment on this
modern clerical instance of Dives and Lazarus is to be found in an
article in 1856 on "Bishops and Curates":--

    A curate--"an Agueish curate"--wishes to know of _The Times_ if
    curates in general "may look forward for some provision when age
    and disease have incapacitated them from further labours?" There is
    disaffection, insolence, in the very question. This curate for
    twenty years folded the sheep of two curacies. "They were separated
    by a hedgerow," and the pastor was "exposed to the pestilential
    atmosphere of Essex Marshes." And the curate sums up the case of
    bishop and curate as below:--

    "To a bishop who has had his labours sweetened by all that life can
    give of comfort, luxury, and highest dignity--a palace and £6,000
    per annum.

    "To a curate who, for thirty years, shall have done his devoir
    before God and man, till broken with miasmatic fever, or voiceless
    from excess of oral exertion, he is obliged to confess his
    inability to be any longer faithful in his calling--the workhouse."

    And is it not well that it should be so? A curate on £100 a year,
    and shaking with a marsh ague, shaking, and praying, and teaching
    the while, is still a lively representative of the ancient
    Christian, is still a living extract from the New Testament. Now a
    bishop, with £22,000 per annum, and, if shaking, shaking with the
    fat of the land, is, as far as our reading goes, not to be found in
    the volume to which we have reverently alluded.

It should be explained that on July 10 in the same year a Bill had been
introduced in the Lords enabling the Bishops of London and Durham to
resign, and making provision for them:--

    The annual income of Dr. Blomfield is £10,000 a year, and he has
    enjoyed it for twenty-eight years, having previously had four years
    at Chester with £1,000 a year; total receipt, £284,000. And the
    annual income of Dr. Maltby is £24,000, and he has enjoyed it for
    twenty years, having previously had five years at Chichester with
    £4,000 a year; total receipt, £500,000.

The "Prince Bishops," with their princely revenues, have long since
departed: nowadays no one charges bishops with indolent opulence. The
scandal of the poor curates and underpaid country clergymen still
remains, but the disparity is not so great. The best paid prelates find
it hard to make both ends meet or to make provision for their families.
Some of them even publish balance-sheets of their receipts and
expenditure.

[Sidenote: _Punch and "No Popery"_]

In the domain of doctrine and religious controversy _Punch's_ record is
somewhat chequered. He was equally antipathetic to High Church and Low
Church. We have seen what he thought of Exeter Hall. But Pusey and his
followers stirred him to even greater wrath. He called the Puseyites
"Brummagem Papists." He saw no beauty or dignity in an advanced ritual,
but only an absurd and wicked "playing at religion." So when the famous
Papal Brief was published in the autumn of 1850, constituting a Roman
Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales in place of the Vicars
Apostolic, followed up by the pastoral from the newly appointed Cardinal
Wiseman welcoming the restoration of England to the communion of the
Roman Church, _Punch's_ indignation knew no bounds; he became the most
violent champion of English Protestantism. In earlier days he had
welcomed the Liberal political views which Pius IX had expressed in the
opening stages of the _Risorgimento_ movement in Italy, and had printed
a laudatory set of verses, headed "A Health to the Pope," in the issue
of February 20, 1847, in which he had congratulated Pio Nono on his
masculine wisdom, courage, and reforming zeal. His severest censures
were reserved for the sectarian zealots at home. "Everybody knows that
the great obstacle to popular education is the agreement of sects, on
the one hand, that it is necessary to teach orthodoxy, together with
secular knowledge, and their inability, on the other, to agree what doxy
is ortho-."

Early in 1850, when the friends of Church Education met at Willis's
Rooms to discuss and protest against the Government's Education Bill, he
declared himself a decided opponent of "National Education upon strictly
Church principles," which, as interpreted by some of the speakers, were
"indistinguishable from those of the heretic-burners of the
Inquisition." The cleavage between the various schools, and the narrow
bigotry of all, moved him to an impassioned appeal in which the Gorham
case, and the secession of Newman, are brought in to reinforce his plea
for toleration:--

    O Gentlemen! O Servants of the poor dear Church of England, while
    you are boxing and brawling within the sanctuary, why send forth
    these absurd emissaries to curse the people outside? They don't
    mind your comminations, they are only jeering at your battles....
    The people in this country _will_ learn to read and write; they
    will not let the parsons set their sums and point out their
    lessons, or meddle in all their business of life. And as for your
    outcries about infidelity and atheism, they will laugh at you (as
    long as they keep their temper) and mind you no more than Mumbo
    Jumbo.

Sound doctrine this, but it was all forgotten in the frenzy of the "No
Popery" movement a few months later. _Punch_, in a poem on "Consolation
amid Controversy," gives thanks that the days of persecution are past:--

    We've now some sharpish mutual slanging,
    But, Heaven be thanked, there is no hanging!
    No axe, no chopping-block, no drawing,
    But only just a little jawing.

       *       *       *       *       *

    There's no Jack Ketch his business plying,
    People beheading, throttling, frying.
    _Punch_, and he says it without boasting,
    Does all the cutting up and roasting.

As a matter of fact, the whole of Volume xix. is dominated by the one
subject. The "cutting up and roasting" of the Pope and Cardinal Wiseman,
of Passionists and Puseyites, is conducted on every other page. The
Pope's message was "the greatest bull ever known." In "Pontifical News"
we have a series of imaginary appointments, including a Papal Lord
Chancellor, miracles and conversions, winding up with the announcement
that the Palace of Bedlam will be proposed as the residence of the new
Primate of England. Simultaneously, burlesque rival claims are put
forward on behalf of other creeds--Mohammedan, Buddhist and Brahmin.

[Illustration: THE THIN END OF THE WEDGE

Daring Attempt to Break Into a Church]

[Sidenote: _Cardinal Wiseman_]

On November 4 Lord John Russell, then Prime Minister, addressed a letter
to the Bishop of Durham, in which, without pronouncing definitely
whether the law had been transgressed, he vigorously condemned the Papal
claims as "inconsistent with the Queen's supremacy, the rights of our
bishops and clergy, and with the spiritual independence of the nation as
asserted even in Roman Catholic times." Lord John confessed, however,
that he was less alarmed by any aggression of a foreign sovereign than
by the practices of "clergymen of our own Church, who have been most
forward in leading their flocks, step by step, to the verge of the
precipice." In conclusion he relied with confidence on the people of
England, feeling sure that the great mass of a nation "which looked with
contempt on the mummeries of superstition" would be faithful to "the
glorious principles and the immortal martyrs of the Reformation."
_Punch_ lost no time in improving on this text, and in the number of
November 16 his "No Popery" campaign reached a climax in "A Short Way
with the Pope's Puppets." _Punch_ had no desire, he declares, to bring
back the days of the hurdle, the halter, the axe and the
quartering-knife. But if a Roman Catholic Pope-appointed Cardinal called
upon the City of Westminster to do him, in the name of Rome, all
spiritual obedience, he would "immediately seize such Cardinal, try him
for high treason, and on conviction send him, in convict gray, to the
Antipodes." Yet the lines just quoted on "Consolation amid Controversy"
appeared a month later, while the anti-Papal crusade was still raging
its way through _Punch's_ columns! The acrimony displayed with pen and
pencil was deplorable. In extenuation it can only be pleaded that
_Punch_ was following the lead of the Premier, and not misinterpreting
the sentiments of a very large section of the community as exhibited in
addresses to the Crown, county meetings and other demonstrations.
Cardinal Wiseman's conciliatory statement, in which he maintained that
the proposed change had been adopted "for the more regular
administration of the Roman Catholic Church of England, and only at the
request of English communicants," left _Punch_ cold and derisive. He
suggests that as a counterblast to the Pope the Queen should be prayed
to create Mazzini President of Rome. In the "Bull" fight of London, in
"Fashions Papal and Puseyite," in the comparison between aggressive
Papists and Cuffey, the transported Chartist--very much to the advantage
of the latter--in satiric comments on Romanist interpretation of
history, in repulsive caricatures of slinking, intrusive priests,
_Punch_ continued to heap odium and ridicule on the Papal claims. He was
more than a little wrathful with the _Morning Chronicle_ for asserting
that in the "No Popery" crusade "the tide of opinion is already turned."
But the _Morning Chronicle_ was not far out, and it is noteworthy that
from this point onwards _Punch's_ attacks were chiefly directed against
Puseyites and Ritualists--such as Mr. Bennett, the vicar of St.
Barnabas, Pimlico--and Tractarians, of whom he wrote:--

    Rome, Rome, sweet sweet Rome,
    For all us Tractarians, there's no place like Rome.

Cardinal Wiseman did not "take it lying down," but retaliated vigorously
on _Punch_ in the _Dublin Review_, denouncing his opponent as once
facetious, but now old, drivelling, and malignant, "down to his old
street occupation of playing the hangman," and ironically complimented
him on the concession, in his letter to Lord John Russell, of commuting
the capital punishment of offending Roman Catholic bishops to mere
transportation for life. _Punch_ promptly hit back, but he did not get
the better of the exchange. Wiseman was a skilful controversialist; he
was also an extremely accomplished and learned man, a considerable
Orientalist, and much in request as a lecturer on social, artistic and
literary topics. Of this side of the Cardinal there is no trace in
_Punch's_ pages, least of all in the cartoons and portraits, in which he
is represented as a man of gross, plebeian and repulsive appearance. If,
as is generally believed, Wiseman was the original of Browning's Bishop
Blougram, the poet took him more seriously. Browning's portrait is
certainly not flattering, but he put into the bishop's mouth a saying
which probably represented the Cardinal's view of _Punch_ accurately in
the verse:--

    You, for example, clever to a fault,
    The rough and ready man, who write apace,
    Read somewhat seldomer, think perhaps even less.

Public opinion was divided and unexpected convergences were
revealed--illustrated, to take only one instance, by _Punch's_ satirical
picture of John Bright embracing Wiseman. But in the heat of the
controversy _Punch_ showed refreshing signs of good sense and good
feeling, and sternly rebukes the precursors of the "Kensitites," who
made a vulgar demonstration, in which the ringleader masqueraded as a
mock Pope outside Wiseman's house. "To play the fool about the street on
behalf of Protestantism can only discredit it." Still, the Pope and
Wiseman remained the targets of _Punch's_ obloquy for several years.
Oxford he regarded as "the halfway house to Rome." Indeed, one is
tempted to sum up his views in an adaptation of an old rhyme:--

    Roman dictation is my vexation;
      Oxford is just as bad;
    Papal aggression is my obsession,
      And Pusey drives me mad.

In "Roman Candles in Hampshire" we find him attacking Keble's ritual at
Hursley. This was in February, 1852, and when the _Tablet_ attributed
the riots and loss of life at Stockport to the Government's proclamation
"against processions, vestments, and the free exercise of the Catholic
religion," charged the Ministers responsible with planning murder, and
described the Queen's speech as "a vile and hypocritical document,"
_Punch_ replied to the editor that "we, the mass of Englishmen, look
upon your viperine expectorations with simple antipathy and disgust." A
bitter cartoon on the interference of Irish priests at elections
followed up this exchange of opinions; not more bitter, however, than
the repeated onslaughts on Canon Moore, the Anglican pluralist registrar
of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, who drew £13,000 a year,
according to _Punch_, yet doing nothing to earn it. The controversy died
down during the Crimean War, and then, four years elapsing, the Clapham
Evangelicals are rebuked for the "profane vulgarity and sanctified
slang" of their campaign against the Redemptionist Fathers.

[Sidenote: _A More Tolerant Spirit_]

[Illustration: THE PET PARSON]

For the rest of the period under review in this volume _Punch_ shows a
slightly more tolerant spirit to Papists. Exeter Hall and the bigots who
strove for a renewal of the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland, which they
considered had been imperilled by the Maynooth Grant, are frequently
rebuked for this intolerance; and he went so far as to say, _à propos_
of the persistent activities of the United Kingdom Alliance, that, "Of
all Popery, that which threatens to 'rob a poor man of his beer' is the
most objectionable and most atrociously subversive of the liberty of the
British subject." The sting of the remark was not lessened by the fact
that the honorary secretary of the Alliance in question was a Mr.
Samuel Pope, and _Punch_, unable to resist a pun, observes that there is
"one important difference between this present Papal aggression and that
of this time six years. There was at least one Wiseman engaged in the
former, whereas the parties to the latter are all of them fools." At the
close of the year we come across the first mention of Spurgeon--by no
means complimentary. _Punch_, who suggests him as a fit model for Madame
Tussaud, who "makes dolls of our idols," regarded the Nonconformist
preacher, already famous at the age of twenty-three, as a mere
self-advertising jocular charlatan, a "sacred creature at thousands of
tea-tables," a "dealer in brimstone with plenty of treacle." _Punch_, as
will be seen, had no liking for the "pets of the pulpit," whose
portraits were even more in evidence at the print-sellers' shops than
those of favourite actors. The "histrionic pulpit" was "worse than the
stage at its worst," and he admonishes Spurgeon to dispense with these
aids to popularity.

To resume and sum up, the outlook on Church and State of a very large
body of public opinion, from that of the Liberal Prime Minister to the
man in the street, is reflected in the pages of _Punch_. Where doctrinal
controversies are concerned we find a complete accordance with the
sentiments of "Hang Theology" Rogers, the late rector of Bishopsgate. We
find a complete inability to appreciate a bishop such as "Henry of
Exeter," who was prepared to spend--and lose--scores of thousands of
pounds in litigation to establish his views on baptismal regeneration.
We find continuous onslaughts on Pluralism, Sinecurism, Mediævalism,
Sectarianism, and, above all, Sabbatarianism. _Punch_ made no effort to
disguise his satisfaction when the "Exeter Hallites," as a result of
their campaign against the Maynooth Grant, were landed in serious
financial troubles, and appealed for relief to discharge their debts.
"How," he asks, "can people have the conscience to ask for charity of
others who have so little of it themselves?"

[Illustration: THE POLITICAL TOPSY

"I 'spects nobody can't do nothin' with me."--_Vide Uncle Tom's Cabin._]

On April 26 of this same year of 1845 _Punch_ castigated the violence of
the Duke of Newcastle, Colonel Sibthorp, Plumptre and other opponents of
the Maynooth Grant Bill, notably a certain Sir Culling Eardley Smith,
who declared that "the British Lion was now aroused and would not rest
again until he had devoured every atom of Popery," and that he knew of
"at least twelve men in Parliament who would die on the floor of the
House sooner than that the Bill should pass into law." If _Punch_ showed
himself almost as violent, if not as ridiculous as this Protestant
gladiator, let it be remembered that, as a convinced believer in the
British Constitution and the principles of the Reformation, he regarded
the Papal claims as an attempt to set up an _imperium in imperio_.
Catholic emancipation he firmly supported, but this was another matter.
His misgivings were unfounded, but there is no reason to doubt his
honesty or that of those who felt as he did. It was part of the same
insularity, often prompted by a sound instinct, which led him to look
with disfavour on foreigners and foreign ways as likely, if encouraged,
to denationalize the British fibre. To this we may also attribute his
early distrust and suspicion of Disraeli. Nor was it to be wondered at,
in view of the admissions of his biographers:--

    The fundamental fact about Disraeli was that he was a Jew. He
    accepted Christianity, but he accepted it as the highest
    development of Judaism. He had inherited from his father a profound
    interest in English history, literature, society and tradition,
    which his own reading and experience had deepened. But he seemed
    throughout his life never to be quite of the nation which he loved,
    served and governed; always to be a little detached when in the act
    of leading; always to be the spectator, almost the critic, as well
    as the principal performer. "No Englishman," writes Greenwood,
    "could approach Disraeli without some immediate consciousness that
    he was in the presence of a foreigner."[9]

Now _Punch_ was intensely English; he saw no need for "Oriental mystery"
in politics, and considered Disraeli's adoption by the country gentlemen
as little short of an unholy alliance. Dizzy's flamboyant and exotic
tastes were a constant source of offence. Nothing better illustrates
this habit of mind, which was by no means peculiar to _Punch_, than the
part played by the paper during the 'forties and 'fifties in the long
and chequered movement in favour of removing Jewish disabilities. A
manly desire to give the Jews fair play was tempered by strong
prejudice. As we have seen, _Punch_ frankly admitted the Jews' great
virtue, their care for their poor, and held it up as an example to the
"Exeter Hallites," who thought that charity must begin abroad. At the
same time he held the Jews largely responsible for the worst side of the
cheap clothing trade, witness his bitter verses on "Moses & Co." in
1844.

[Footnote 9: _Life of Disraeli_ (Monypenny and Buckle), Vol. vi., p.
635.]

[Sidenote: _Punch and the Jews_]

_Punch's_ jests at the expense of the Jews were not always so excusable
as in the case of Messrs. Moses and "Sholomansh"; they were sometimes
purely malicious, as when a design for a monument to Disraeli at
Shrewsbury took the form of a column of discarded hats; or, again, when
the announcement that the University of Oxford intended to confer on him
the honorary degree of D.C.L., _Punch_ was prompted to remark that the
initials stood for "Deuced Clever Levite." The strange passage in
Disraeli's "Life of Lord George Bentinck," foreshadowing the rôle of
world revolutionaries assigned to the Jews in the recent much discussed
Jewish Protocol, did not escape _Punch's_ notice, and his comment is
characteristic:--

    Well! The Jews, it seems, are conscious of their ill-treatment.
    _They_ join Secret Societies. _They_ (for the evils complained of
    by the Barbarians have nothing to do with it; their leaders are
    nobodies) topple over thrones with delight. Bless us, what a
    picture! And what does it suggest? Now we know why Shadrach is a
    Sheriff's Officer! "_All is race._" What a picture of cool
    malignity is this! Shadrach taps us on the shoulder with a fiendish
    luxury, and exults in dragging off the Northern Barbarian. He
    luxuriates in locking up the Frank in a sponging-house; he charges
    him for the "Semitic Element," and sticks it on to the chop and
    sherry.

Was _Punch_ an anti-Semite? The answer is to be found in his unwavering,
if not always very courteous or respectful, support of Baron Rothschild
in his eleven years' struggle to enter the House of Commons.

Baron Rothschild's anomalous position and his persistence in demanding
relief recalled to _Punch_ Martin Luther's saying of the Jews: "They
sit as on a wheelbarrow, without a country, a people, or a Government."
This, adds _Punch_, was said 350 years ago, and the Jew is on the
wheelbarrow still.

[Illustration: A GENTLEMAN IN DIFFICULTIES

LORD JOHN: "It's impossible for our House to let you have that little
matter now. But you can have a Bill payable next Session, if you like."]

[Sidenote: _Jewish Disabilities_]

Rothschild, elected as Whig Member for the City of London, and
re-elected in 1852, 1854, and twice in 1857, was still refused
permission to take part in the privileges of the House, though allowed
to sit below the Bar, and remain there when notice was taken of
strangers. In all, _nine_ Bills giving the Jews relief had been passed
by the Commons since 1830 and rejected by the Lords, before the tenth,
and last, introduced by Lord John Russell in 1858, led to a compromise
under which each House was enabled to determine the form in which the
oath should be taken by its members. On July 26, 1858, Baron
Rothschild's "barrow" was removed, and he was permitted to swear the
oath of allegiance in the Jewish form and take his seat. To Lord John
Russell belonged the chief credit for carrying through this reform and
abating a crying scandal, but undoubtedly _Punch_ lent him valuable
free-lance help throughout.



FROM PEACE TO WAR


In the 'forties _Punch_, as we have already noted, stood in with "the
group of middle-class men of enthusiasm and sagacity" whose leaders in
Parliament were Cobden and Bright. Their views were from the first
strongly anti-militaristic, and were shared up to a certain point by
_Punch_. In his early years he was, with some reserves, distinctly
pacificist. If by 1854 he was a whole-hearted supporter of the Crimean
War, it was not due to any change of _personnel_. The gentle Doyle
resigned because of _Punch's_ "No Popery" campaign. Thackeray severed
his connexion with the paper because of its attacks on Palmerston, the
Prince Consort and Louis Napoleon. But the men who dominated the policy
of _Punch_ in his ultra-humanitarian days remained when he was most
bellicose. Leech, who drew the "Home of the Rick-burner," was
responsible for "General Février" and the Crimean and Mutiny cartoons.
Mark Lemon was still editor, Douglas Jerrold and Gilbert à Beckett were
his right hand men and most voluminous contributors. It was a
conversion, if you like, but it was not dictated by expediency, nor did
it involve a sacrifice of conviction or a desertion of the cause of the
underdog. It was partly due to a John Bullish resentment of anything
savouring of foreign aggression or intervention. Along with all his
criticisms of Palmerston's Parliamentary opportunism, _Punch_ gave "the
judicious bottle-holder" credit for keeping us out of wars by his
stiffness. _Punch_ supported Cobden and Bright in the battle over the
Corn Laws, but distrusted and thoroughly disapproved of the attitude of
the Manchester School towards the reform of the conditions of
Labour--witness his "Few words with John Bright" over the Factory Act of
1847. Above all, he could not stomach the over-candid friend who
invariably sided against his country.

[Illustration: "GENERAL FÉVRIER" TURNED TRAITOR

"Russia has two Generals in whom she can confide--Generals Janvier and
Février."--_Speech of the late Emperor of Russia._]

With this much by way of preface we may note that the anti-militaristic
tirades of these early years are mainly directed against the needless
pomp and pageantry, expense and extravagance of the services. _Punch's_
campaign against duelling is another matter, and here at least he never
recanted his detestation of "the law of the pistol." He did not spare
even the Duke of Wellington, but made sarcastic reference to his meeting
with Lord Winchilsea in 1843, and in his cartoon represented the
principals wearing frock-coats and fool's caps. There is an indignant
letter to Peel the following March, when that statesman refused to bring
in a Bill against duelling, or to reprimand the Irish Attorney-General
for challenging in open court the opposing counsel in the O'Connell
trial; and when Peel further declined to grant a pension to the widow of
Colonel Fawcett, a distinguished officer who lost his life in a duel,
this refusal prompted a famous cartoon a fortnight later, accompanied by
this vitriolic comment:--

    If a statue be ever erected to the living honour or the memory of
    Sir Robert Peel, the artist will wholly fail in his illustration of
    the true greatness of the statesman unless he deck the bronze with
    widow's cap and weepers. In the long and sinuous career of the
    noble baronet, we know of nothing equal to his denial of a pension
    to Mrs. Fawcett, and, almost in the same week, his speech in favour
    of the "laws of honour" as they exist. In one hand does the Prime
    Minister hold the scales of justice, and in the other a
    duelling-pistol!

_Punch's_ remedy for the evasion of the law was to let the principals go
free, but to hang the seconds without hesitation.

[Illustration: THE LAW OF THE PISTOL.]

[Sidenote: _Punch as Pacifist_]

The choice of the Army as a profession is discussed in one of the series
named "The Complete Letter-writer," which appeared in 1844. Mr. Benjamin
Allpeace, guardian to young Arthur Baytwig, pronounces against it as a
gilded fraud. At best soldiers are evils of the earth, and the pomp and
pageantry of war mere gimcrackery. The reality is "misery and anguish,
blood and tears." This was the year in which the Prince de Joinville,
Louis Philippe's third son, after bombarding Tangier and occupying
Mogador, made himself notorious by his bellicose pamphleteering; but
_Punch_ was equally severe on Lord Maidstone for his patriotic rhymes in
the _Morning Post_, and on the warlike philanthropists of Exeter Hall,
who were much exercised by the Prince's ill-will towards Great Britain.
_Punch_, prohibited in France not for the first or last time for his
comments on French politics, ridiculed the Chauvinists on both sides
with impartial satire, and published a "Woman's Plea for Peace with
France" on the ground of our debt to that country in wine, fashion, the
ballet, Jullien (the popular musician and conductor resident in London,
who would have to flee in case of war), and cosmetics. Later on, in the
same year, we come across "Entente Cordiale" cartoons, in which _Punch_
assumes the rôle of the pacificator of Europe, and a letter to French
editors protesting against the notion that John Bull is a plotter.
_Punch_ had already given a half serious support to Captain Warner, the
eccentric inventor, who professed to have invented a long-range
invisible shell to blow up ships at a distance, hailing it as a means of
ending war, and developed the argument further in a curious article on
the "Science of Warfare," _à propos_ of the benevolent object of some
inventors at Fulham. Their aim, it seems, was to put an end to war by
making it so truly terrific that, as in the classic example of the
Kilkenny cats, it would terminate its own existence by its very
ferocity. Thus do we find in the mid 'forties a foreshadowing of the
sinister uses of applied science and a justification of the doctrine of
"frightfulness." In 1845, in connexion with the intended reorganization
or calling out of the Militia, we find the first of many satirical
references to the famous Brook Green Volunteer--Brook Green being "one
of the bolts of the great Gate of London," as Hammersmith was the key to
the metropolis on the western side. _Punch_ at this time was a bitter
critic of the methods of recruiting, and his anti-militaristic zeal
reached a climax in a protest against the advertisements used at
Birmingham and elsewhere, in which he calls the recruiting sergeant "the
clown in the bloody pantomime of glory." He had already fallen foul of
Sir Charles Napier for his defence of the "cat" in 1844. The issue of
August 15, 1846, contains a personal appeal to the Queen to abolish
flogging in the Army. Here is the last stanza of "Lines on the Lash: to
the Queen":--

    Let thy queenly voice be heard--
      Who shall dare to disobey?--
    It but costs thy Royal word,
      And the lash is cast away.
    With thyself it rests to scour
      From our arms the loathsome stain;
    Then of mercy show thy power,
      And immortal be thy reign!

This may not be great poetry, but doggerel verse can be simple and
passionate. The appeal was not granted until 1881.

[Illustration: A SILLY TRICK

JOHN BULL: "Come, come, you foolish fellow; you don't suppose I'm to be
frightened by such a turnip as that!"]

[Sidenote: _The Invasion Scare_]

In 1848 the French invasion scare was in full swing, but _Punch_
maintained an attitude of satirical scepticism. Impetus was lent to the
alarm by the letter of Lord Ellesmere to _The Times_, and by the letter
of the Duke of Wellington. These were welcomed by _Punch_ as a
letting-off of alarmist steam. "Folks who feared an invasion, authorized
by Lord Ellesmere and the Duke of Wellington, have said their say, have
contributed their quota to absurdity, and, satisfied with the effect,
may now rest content for life." In the same vein the suggestion of the
formation of a National Guard who should train and practise shooting on
Sundays provokes sarcastic comment on this new form of "Sunday balls."
The enrolment of Special Constables, as a precaution against the
violence of the "physical force" extremists among the Chartists, is a
frequent theme of comment generally jocular and unsympathetic.

England's immunity from the general upheaval made for optimism. Cobden
in 1848 and 1849 was still in favour with _Punch_ as the "cleverest Cob"
in England and the apostle of "Peace, Retrenchment, and Reform." His
Arbitration Motion in the latter year met with _Punch's_ cordial
approval:--

    PEACE AND WAR IN PARLIAMENT

    Mr. Cobden took a businesslike view of the question, and by the
    practicability of his notions obtained the expressed
    goodwill--could more be expected?--of the Prime Minister and the
    Foreign Secretary. For ourselves, we entirely accord with the
    position of Mr. Cobden, and have a most cheerful faith in the
    ultimate prosperity of his doctrines, for they are mingling
    themselves with the best thoughts of the people, who are every day
    more and more assured that whatever may be the cause of war, they
    are the first sacrificed for it; it is they who pay the cost. Just
    as the sheep is stripped of his skin for the noisy barbarous drum,
    to beat the lie of glory, so are the people stripped to pay for the
    music.

    The romance of one era is the reality of the next. The Arbitration
    Question has taken root, and will grow and spread. They show a
    cedar in the gardens at Paris--a cedar of hugest girth and widest
    shape--that, some century ago, was brought from Lebanon in the cap
    of a traveller. The olive twig, planted by Mr. Cobden in
    Westminster, will flourish despite the blighting wit of mess-rooms,
    and rise and spread into a tree that shall offer shade and security
    to all nations.

In a similar vein is the welcome extended to the Peace Congress in
Paris:--

    THE PARLIAMENT OF PEACE IN PARIS

    Anyway, the cause of peace has been reverently preached, and
    reverently listened to, in the warlike city of Paris. Within a walk
    of the tomb of the great peace-breaker--who turned kingdoms into
    graves, and whose miserable purple was dyed in the heart's blood of
    human freedom--even there peace has been worshipped. Napoleon in
    his violet robe--beset with golden bees--the bees that, as in the
    lion of the olden day, swarmed in carcases--Napoleon, with his
    Pope-blessed crown clipping his homicidal brain, is, after all, a
    portentous, glistering evil--contrasted with our Quaker friend
    [Joseph Sturge], who, risen in the Hall of St. Cecilia, condemns
    aggressive war as an abomination, a nuisance that it behoves man,
    in this season of his soul's progress, with all his heart and all
    his mind, to denounce and renounce as un-Christian, vile, and
    brutifying. The drab against the purple; and, in our small
    thoughts, the drab, so preaching, carries it.

So, again, _Punch_ breaks a lance in defence of the Peace Congress in
the year 1850 at Frankfort. What if it were inspired by visionary aims?
All great reformers, idealists and benefactors--Harvey, Jenner,
Stephenson--had been ridiculed by unthinking and unimaginative
critics:--

    TO THE LAUGHERS

    The Peace Congress is a capital joke. It's so obvious a subject for
    fun that we haven't thought it worth while to waste a laugh on it.
    All manner of pens have been poking the public in the ribs about
    it--paper pellets of all colours and weights have been slung at
    it--arrows from all quivers have been emptied on its vulnerable
    sides.

    "Preach Peace to the World!" The poor noodles! "Inculcate the
    supremacy of right over might!" Ineffable milk-and-water spoonies!
    "Hold out to nations brotherhood for warfare, the award of justice
    instead of the bayonet!" The white-faced, lily-livered prigs!

    "Why, it's the merest Utopianism," says the _Economist_.

    "It's neither more nor less than Christianity," sneers the
    _Statist_; "Trade is the peace-maker," says the Doctor of the
    Manchester School; "Diplomacy keeps the world quiet," jocularly
    declares the Red-tapist; "Peace indeed, the designing democrat!"
    growls the Absolutist; "Peace, with a bloated Aristocracy still
    rampant!" snarls the Red Republican. And they all drown in a chorus
    of contemptuous laughter the pleading voices of the poor Peace
    Congressists in the Church of St. Paul.

    But there are some voices which refuse to join in this chorus. And
    there are some, too, of the wise and the great who can discern in
    this gathering of friends of peace, this little Babel of various
    tongues, this tiny congress of many races, a thing in no way to be
    ridiculed any more than the acorn is to be ridiculed when Science
    declares that its heart contains the Oak.

The pacificist note had already been sounded when the Duke of Wellington
publicly declared in 1849 that it was time ignorance should cease in the
Army, on which _Punch_ remarked "When the aforesaid ignorance ceases,
how long will the British Army last?" And in the same year, while
condemning the Government for refusing to pay for enlarging the National
Gallery, he protested against the Naval Estimates as past a joke "when
£158,000 might be spent on a frigate including her total loss at sea."
On naval matters _Punch_ foretold many things, but he did not foresee
the advent or predict the cost of the super-Dreadnought. Indeed, if the
truth be told, he was extremely sceptical as to the efficiency of
ironclads at all. They were "ferreous freaks": vessels "made in
foundries were sure to founder." He is on safer ground altogether when
he assails with great spirit and caustic irony the refusal of the
Admiralty in 1850 to admit naval surgeons to the wardroom, and
proclaimed in vehement accents that he was "made positively ill" by the
arguments of those who opposed Captain Boldero's proposals. The status
and dignity of Army and Navy doctors and surgeons were near to his
heart, and he scornfully resented the view that while "glory may be
written on a drum head, it is not to be put down on lint."

The turning point at which _Punch's_ pacificist zeal began to cool was
reached in 1849, and the change grew out of a generous sympathy with
Italy and Hungary. The repeated warnings addressed by Palmerston to
Austria, the independent action which so often embarrassed his
colleagues and annoyed his Sovereign, and his support of Turkey in
refusing to surrender Kossuth (though he subsequently repudiated any
responsibility for his welcome in England), were warmly praised by
_Punch_, who welcomed his declaration as a "bugle note." In 1850 _Punch_
waxed humorous at the expense of Sir Francis Head, who wrote a book in
which he demonstrated that 150,000 Frenchmen could invade London with
the greatest ease. The _coup d'ètat_ of 1851, and suspicion of the aims
of Louis Napoleon, whom _Punch_ described as a "perjured homicide,"
converted him into a supporter of rifle clubs as "patriotic and
needful." The Russell Cabinet fell over the Local Militia Bill,
Palmerston carrying an amendment which omitted the word "local" from the
title of the Bill, so as to make the Militia generally available as an
Army Reserve. Palmerston had already resigned, or been dismissed, for
exceeding his functions as Foreign Minister by expressing his private
approval of the policy of Louis Napoleon, but in spite of this _Punch_
regretted the loss of the strong man of the Cabinet. The year 1852
opened in gloom and misgiving, faithfully reflected in the lines on
"Retrospect and Prospect: or 1851 and 1852," with their picture of the
anxious vigil of England.

[Illustration: THERE'S ALWAYS SOMETHING

"I'm very sorry, Palmerston, that you cannot agree with your
fellow-servants; but as I don't feel inclined to part with John, you
must go, of course."]

"Defence not defiance" is the keynote of the appeal, "Speak, Mr.
Cobden!" but it foreshadowed a cleavage which was soon to develop into
bitter antagonism:--

    Armaments useless our money to spend on,
      Certainly we should be acting like geese;
    _But_ have we any sure ground to depend on,
      In trusting our neighbours will leave us at peace?
                                  Speak, Mr. Cobden!

The services of Volunteer Rifle Corps were accepted by the Government,
and _Punch_ (who was extremely satirical at the expense of the Oxford
University authorities for discouraging the O.U.R.C.) can fairly claim
to have been the inventor of _camouflage_ on the strength of the
following suggestions as to equipment. Under the heading of "Safety
Uniforms" the reader finds:--

    In accordance with the practical suggestions of several
    distinguished military officers, and others, care has been taken to
    provide a great variety of patterns and uniforms, the colours of
    which, assimilating to every conceivable shade of surrounding
    objects, cause the wearer to present as indistinct a mark as
    possible to the enemy's aim. Besides the neutral greys
    corresponding to the mixed colours of the heath, and the brown
    mixture identical with the colour of the mud, samples have been
    manufactured of slate-colour and brick-dust red, calculated for
    house-top service amongst the chimney pots, of bright green with
    mother-of-pearl and gilt buttons intermingled, adapted for field
    fighting in case of an invasion occurring at the time of the
    daisies and buttercups, of straw colour for a harvest or stubble
    brigade, and of snowy white, which would be a suitable tint if we
    were to be attacked simultaneously by the foe and the frost. A
    splendid pattern has also been made of cloth of gold and silver,
    the dazzling effect of which under a glare of sunshine, in the
    midst of a Turneresque landscape, would be such as utterly to
    bewilder the aim of the most expert marksman. All these wonderful
    uniforms, warranted incapable of being hit, besides a regulation
    rifle guaranteed never to miss, to be had at Messrs. Punch and
    Co.'s, Army Clothiers, 85, Fleet Street, where every species of
    Gentlemanlike Dressing is supplied to those requiring a superior
    article and good cut.

[Sidenote: _Death of "The Duke"_]

The challenge to Cobden to declare himself soon gave place to direct
attacks on the pacificists, and the death of the Duke of Wellington gave
_Punch_ a fresh text on which to expound the doctrine of preparation.

RENDERING UP THE SWORD

    Our Arthur sleeps--our Arthur is not dead.
      Excalibar shall yet leap from the sheath,
    Should e'er invading foot this England tread--
      Upstirring, then, his marble tomb beneath.

    Our Wellington's undying fire shall burn
      Through all our veins--until the foeman say,
    "Behold, their Arthur doth to life return!"
      And awestruck from the onset shrink away.

Moreover, _Punch_ defends the martial pageantry at the Duke's funeral at
this juncture on the ground that it served to show to "Continental
despots and bigots with what enthusiasm we yet honour military heroism;
that if we have abjured the life of strife, we have not renounced the
spirit of valour."

[Illustration: ABERDEEN SMOKING THE PIPE OF PEACE]

[Illustration: ITINERANT NEWSMAN, No. 1: "I say, Bill, what are you
givin' 'em?"

DITTO, No. 2: "Grand Massacre of the French, and Terrible Slaughter of
the British Troops."]

[Sidenote: _Outbreak of War_]

Throughout 1852 and 1853 there is a steady _crescendo_ of hostility in
the references to Cobden, Bright and the Quaker pacificists. In this,
both pen and pencil are wielded with aim and purpose, as evidenced in
the cartoon "No danger," and the verses in "Ephraim Smug." In the
Russo-Turkish quarrel _Punch's_ long and consistent distrust--to put it
mildly--of the Tsar Nicholas was the governing factor which determined
him to espouse the side of the Porte, inspired his cartoons "Turkey in
Danger" and "Paws off, Bruin," and, most astonishing of all, reconciled
him, though most reluctantly, to the alliance with his _bête noire_, the
Emperor Napoleon III. For when war came in the spring of 1854 the
predictions and misgivings of alarmists and prophets were falsified, and
Great Britain was arrayed not against but on the side of France. In the
interval dividing the outbreak of hostilities between Russia and Turkey
from Great Britain's declaration of war on March 28, 1854, _Punch_ threw
all his weight into the balance with the War party in the Cabinet, and
bitterly resented the alleged pro-Russian sympathies of Lord Aberdeen.
These are hinted at in the cartoon in which the Prime Minister is shown
with the British Lion saying "I must let him go," and are unmistakably
indicated in the charges against Lord Aberdeen of blacking the Tsar's
boots, and prosecuting the war in a dilatory and half-hearted way. The
Manchester School and the "Pilgrimage to Russia" of the deputation from
the Society of Friends to carry to the Tsar their protest against the
war are severely handled. On the other hand belief in the righteousness
of our cause did not blind _Punch_ to the negligence and worse of those
charged with the conduct of military operations and the equipment of our
forces. He regrets the typical English attitude, in regard to
preparations, that the whole thing was "rather a bore." The need of
organized efficiency is preached in every number, and, above all, the
debt of honour owed by the nation to the rank and file of our fighting
men and to their dependents. Quite early in the war we find this
excellent plea on behalf of "The girls they leave behind them":--

    It is to be hoped that "A Naval Officer," writing in _The Times_,
    will not vainly have called attention to the position in which the
    wives of soldiers will be placed by the departure of their husbands
    on foreign service for the defence of Europe and mankind against
    the enemy Nicholas. As to the soldier's pay, he half starves upon
    it himself, and after his semi-starvation there remains not the
    value of a crumb to be handed over to his wife and perhaps
    children. The girl--and, maybe, the little girls and boys--left by
    him have surely a claim superior to that of the mate and progeny of
    the lazy clown and the sottish and improvident mechanic. It is just
    that relief should be dealt out to them with no parochial hand, but
    with a palm a little wider open than that of the relieving officer,
    and in a spirit of consideration somewhat more kindly than the
    beadle's.

The "Soldier's Dream" of the kind lady who came to visit his wife and
children is an appeal to translate the vision into reality. And there
were other grievances. The breakdown of the postal service to the seat
of war and the injustice of making the recipients pay 2s. for each
letter are shown up in "Dead Letters from the Baltic."

[Sidenote: _Song of the Nightingale_]

[Illustration: WOUNDED SOLDIERS AND NIGHTINGALES]

But this was a minor matter compared with the grievous scandal of the
hospitals, disclosed by William Russell, the fearless correspondent of
_The Times_, and ultimately remedied by the exertions of Sidney Herbert
and, above all, of Florence Nightingale. This had moved the country
deeply, and the indignation was not easily allayed. Florence
Nightingale's services are repeatedly referred to. She was _Punch's_
chief heroine in these years, from the day of her first mention and the
publication of "The Nightingale's Song":--

THE NIGHTINGALE'S SONG TO THE SICK SOLDIER

    Listen, soldier, to the tale of the tender Nightingale,
      'Tis a charm that soon will ease your wounds so cruel,
    Singing medicine for your pain, in a sympathizing strain,
      With a jug, jug, jug of lemonade or gruel.

    Singing bandages and lint, salve and cerate without stint,
      Singing plenty both of liniment and lotion,
    And your mixtures pushed about, and the pills for you served out,
      With alacrity and promptitude of motion.

    Singing light and gentle hands, and a nurse who understands
      How to manage every sort of application,
    From a poultice to a leech; whom you haven't got to teach
      The way to make a poppy fomentation.

    Singing pillows for you smoothed, smart and ache and anguish soothed,
      By the readiness of feminine invention;
    Singing fever's thirst allayed, and the bed you've tumbled made,
      With a careful and considerate attention.

    Singing succour to the brave, and a rescue from the grave,
      Hear the Nightingale that's come to the Crimea,
    'Tis a Nightingale as strong in her heart as in her song,
      To carry out so gallant an idea.

This is only one of a whole series of poems--notably one written at the
time of her dangerous illness in May, 1855--inspired by the "Lady of the
Lamp," who did not forget, on her side, to acknowledge that the wounded
common soldiers had behaved "like gentlemen and Christians to their
nurses." Her saintship is secure, in spite of the adroit disparagement
of modern iconoclasts; and the verdict of the common soldier was happily
expressed by a private at a dinner given to Crimean troops by the people
of Folkestone and Hythe in 1856: "We cannot forget Miss Nightingale--nor
can we forget mismanagement."

[Illustration: "Well, Jack, here's good news from home. We're to have a
medal."

"That's very kind. Maybe one of these days we'll have a coat to stick it
on."]

[Sidenote: _Familiar Grievances_]

Florence Nightingale was not forgotten by the nation; the Queen sent her
an autograph letter of thanks and a brooch, but no official recognition
was bestowed upon her by the British Government until 1907, when she was
given the Order of Merit. As for William Russell, _Punch_ laboured in
season and out of season to secure some public acknowledgment of his
humanity and courage, but the debt remained unpaid for forty years, and
was then liquidated by a mere knighthood. The Crimean War was not a
great war, judged by modern standards, but it assuredly was not a
picnic, and it abounded in prospective plagiarism. Note, for example,
the complaint of the treatment of the "Jolly Russian prisoners," in the
winter of 1854:--

    How jolly the prisoner, who gets for his pay,
    From his captor's own purse seven shillings a day!
    And that's how we pension our officer-foes,
    For which we shall certainly pay through the nose.

    The nation that prisoners so handsomely pays
    The wages of postmen will probably raise,
    And doubtless provide on a grand scale for all
    The children and wives of our soldiers who fall.

Note again the criticisms of official reticence about individual acts of
bravery in the lines "The Unmentioned Brave: Song by a Commanding
Officer," early in 1855:--

    Oh! no, we never mention them,
      Their names must not be heard,
    My hand Routine forbids to trace
      Of their exploits one word.
    Most glorious though their deeds may be,
      To say it I regret,
    When they expect a word from me,
      They find that I forget.

    You say that they are happy now,
      The bravest of the brave,
    A "special" pen recording how
      Mere Grenadiers behave.
    Of "special" pens I disapprove,
      An inconvenient set,
    Who oftentimes the veil remove,
      And print what we forget.

The charges of incompetence in the conduct of the war and of greed among
those who made profit out of it have a painfully familiar ring.
Generals, beginning with Lord Hardinge, were too old; or they were
"blundering cavalrymen." Heroism was kept severely in its place or
inadequately rewarded, as when a drummer-boy, who had shown conspicuous
gallantry at the battle of the Alma, was given £5 by the Prince Consort;
or, again, when a gallant sergeant was given a silk handkerchief hemmed
by the Queen. Why, asks _Punch_, was he not made an ensign? Of a review
of wounded soldiers by the Queen he observes that it would have been
more gracious if she had gone to the hospital instead of having the
invalids brought up to the palace to be inspected. In the same vein is
the dialogue, "Honour to the Brave":--

    _Flunkey_ (reads): "Yesterday thirty of the Invalids from the
    Crimea were inspected ... many of the gallant fellows were
    dreadfully mutilated at the Alma and Inkerman....After the
    inspection ten of the Guards were regaled in the Servants' Hall."

    _Flunkey_ (loq.): "Regaled in the Servants' 'All! Eh? Well, I don't
    think they've any call to grumble about not bein' 'Honoured
    Sufficient!'"

[Illustration: A DISTRESSED AGRICULTURIST

LANDLORD: "Well, Mr. Springwheat, according to the papers, there seems
to be a probability of a cessation of hostilities."

TENANT (who strongly approves of war prices): "Goodness gracious! Why,
you don't mean to say there's any DANGER OF PEACE?"]

[Sidenote: _Combatants and Non-Combatants_]

The navvies who volunteered for service in the Crimea are not forgotten
by _Punch_. When cheers are raised for the fighting men and their
commanders,

    As loud a cheer give, England, to the Navvies' gallant band,
    Who have gone to lend our warriors a stalwart helping hand.
    These to their work with shovel and crowbar as true will stand
    As those to theirs with bayonet, with rifle and with brand.

The Charge of the Light Brigade[10] prompts Leech's picture of "A Trump
Card(igan)"; but, rather than with the officers, _Punch_, throughout the
war, was more concerned with the rank and file, and with instances of
unfair differentiation between officers and men, notably in regard to
the sale of promotions and the grants of leave, satirized in the
cartoon, "The New Game of Follow my Leader," in which a very diminutive
bugler, advancing in front of a long file of soldiers, addresses the
commander-in-chief: "Please, General, may me and these other chaps have
leave to go home on urgent _Private_ affairs?"

The efforts of the Peace Party are a constant source of derisive
criticism, as in the bitter stanzas, "Mr. Gladstone's Peace Song." Even
more bitter is the onslaught in the year 1856 on John Bright:--

    Merrily danced the Quaker Bright,
      And merrily danced that Quaker,
    When he heard that Kars was in hopeless plight,
      And Mouravieff meant to take her.
    He said he knew it was wrong to fight,
      He'd help nor Devil nor Baker,
    But to see that the battle was going right,
      O! merrily danced the Quaker.

[Footnote 10: _Punch_ welcomed Tennyson's famous poem, which originally
appeared in the _Examiner_, but could not agree with the view expressed
in "Maud" that war is better than peace, though he held that it might be
the only way--as at the moment--to secure it.]

[Illustration: THE BRITISH LION SMELLS A RAT]

[Sidenote: _Paying the Bill_]

The article in which we read that "Wholesale slaughter and devastation,
when you are driven to it, is the only economy of slaughter and
devastation," is a definitely frank espousal of the doctrine of
"frightfulness." Cobden and Bright, "our calico friends," are
mercilessly assailed in every number; Cobden in particular for his
pamphlet, "What next, and next?" and for his servility to America. Peace
came at the end of March, 1856, with its aftermath of criticism,
dissatisfaction, discontent with the Peace terms, and fierce comments on
generals and contractors, mismanagement and neglect of men and horses,
and on the failure of the navy. Already the Sebastopol Blue Book had
appeared--a painful document with "delay," "want of----" and
"unaccountable neglect" appearing on every page. The discussion of the
Peace Treaty in Parliament prompts _Punch_ to mitigated "joy and
satisfaction" over what he calls "Walewski's Treaty of Peace"; to praise
Lord Malmesbury--no favourite of his; to describe Lord Aberdeen as
crawling out "like an old slug, now that the war-storm is over," to
express his general approbation, tempered by his "preposterous love of
Russia"; and to condemn Disraeli, the leader of the Opposition, for his
ignominious silence in the Commons. The speeches by Lord Panmure in the
Lords, and Lord Palmerston in the Commons, in moving the votes of thanks
to our soldiers, sailors, marines, militia, and Foreign Legion, and
those of the Leaders of the Opposition, who seconded them, were
appropriate, but fell short of the merits of the theme. "Certain
figures, given on official authority, tell the whole story of the two
years' war with grim succinctness. We have lost 22,467 men, of whom but
3,532 died in battle or from wounds." Nothing is new: in emphasizing the
demand that Russia must be made to pay the bill, and declaring that her
attempts to evade the Treaty must be rigorously dealt with, _Punch_
strikes a note all too familiar in the last two years and a half. His
general attitude is summed up in the lines on "Rejoicings for Peace":--

    Thank Heaven the War is ended!
      That is the general voice,
    But let us feign no splendid
      Endeavours to rejoice.
    To cease from lamentation
      We may contrive--but--pooh!
    Can't rise to exultation,
      And cock-a-doodle-doo!

    We can't pass now direct from grief to laughter,
      Like supernumeraries on the stage,
      To smiling happiness from settled rage;
    We look before and after.
    Before, to all those skeletons and corses
    Of gallant men and noble horses;
      After--though sordid the consideration--
    Unto a certain bill to pay,
    Which we shall have for many a day,
      By unrepealable taxation.

    Yet never fought we in a better cause,
      Nor conquered yet a nobler peace.
    We stood in battle for the eternal laws;
      'Twas an affair of high Police,
    Our arms enforced a great arrest of State;
    And now remains--the Rate.

Friction with America over the dismissal of our Minister at Washington
led to a remarkably frank open letter to President Pierce, of which the
gist is: "Let us fight by all means if you will have it, but think what
it means"; wholesome advice. On the other hand the temper of the
Manchester Pacificists, who had taken to disparaging Sardinia and the
cause of Italian liberty, _à propos_ of the advance of a million pounds
to Sardinia, prompted the invidious suggestion: "They possibly fear lest
a blow struck anywhere for freedom should cause the countermand of a
trade offer." _Punch_, in these days no longer Pacificist, hailed Sidney
Herbert's Bill for improving the education of officers in the Army, and
establishing a board to examine for commissions and promotions; but he
was more enthusiastic over Sir Joseph Paxton's proposed inquiry into the
barracks system, quoting with approval his remark that, while every
prisoner in our gaols costs us £150 a year, "the soldier was the
worst-lodged person in the Queen's Dominions."

Post-war parallels multiply at this period, the year 1856--in the
recrudescence of crime and burglaries, and the garrotting scare; in
wholesale criticism of Lord Palmerston. There is an excellent burlesque
in the shape of an imaginary article from the _Morning Herald_ on the
execution of Palmerston on Tower Hill. Immediately after exulting over
"Pam's" downfall, the writer passes to a fulsome adulation of the dead.
Here, as so often time has proved, _Punch_ was a prophet as well as a
critic. Other familiar grounds for discontent are to be found in the
Peace terms and undue leniency to Russia; in friction with France;
wholesale speculation and peculation; unnecessary Parliamentary
expenditure; and complaints of high prices, which, by the way, induced
_Punch_ to suggest abstinence as the best means of bringing down the
price of sugar and butter. The return of the Guards is fitly honoured in
July, and "The Nightingale's Return" in August:--

    Most blessed things come silently, and silently depart;
    Noiseless steals spring-time on the year, and comfort on the heart;
    And still, and light, and gentle, like a dew, the rain must be,
    To quicken seed in furrow and blossom upon tree.

    So she, our sweet Saint Florence, modest, and still, and calm,
    With no parade of martyr's cross, no pomp of martyr's palm,
    To the place of plague and famine, foulness, and wounds and pain,
    Went out upon her gracious toil, and so returns again.

    When titles, pensions, orders, with random hand are showered,
    'Tis well that, save with blessings, she still should walk undowered.
    What title like her own sweet name, with the music all its own?
    What order like the halo by her good deeds round her thrown?

[Sidenote: _Incapable Commanders_]

Lord Hardinge, the commander-in-chief, had been denounced as "the apex
of incapacity," but _Punch_ spoke kindly of that gallant old hero of the
Peninsula on his resignation. He was "all bravery and kindness except
when opposed to Court influence, and then he could neither snub great
people nor stand up for the interests of the Army." With this statement
we may bracket a useful _obiter dictum_ on appointments generally: "Too
much ability is demanded for the small places, and for the large places
generally too little." No confidence is shown in the "whitewashing
report" of the Chelsea Board of Inquiry into the charges brought against
Lord Lucan, Lord Cardigan, and others. The Board was packed with
"aristocratic officers," and its report is described as "a Chelsea
Hospital salve for curing the reputations of Lucan, Cardigan, and Co."

Evidently _Punch_ is in good satirical form, for he follows this sally a
month later with an indignant article on the appointment of an earl's
son, aged twelve, to be a Royal Page at £200 a year for four years, with
a grant of £500 as outfit, and a lieutenancy in the Guards without
purchase; and the simultaneous offer of a commission as ensign in a
marching regiment to a heroic sergeant-major, aged forty, without money
to purchase it. A bad case of "ragging" in the Guards comes in for
severe castigation, and the dismissal of the offenders from the service
is welcomed as a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, while he was
a stern critic of extravagant and ill-conditioned officers, _Punch_
recognized the need of decent pay, and appealed for aid from the State
to remedy the long-borne grievance. Amid the discordant chorus of
criticism and discontent which arose on the conclusion of Peace, happier
notes are sounded in the references to the initiation, on a
comprehensive basis, of the Order of Valour. The principle adopted in
its bestowal is set forth in the lines which appeared in the issue of
February 23, 1856:--

    Till now the stars and garters
      Were for birth or fortune's son,
    And as oft in snug home-quarters
      As in fields of fight were won.
    But at length a star arises,
      Which as glorious will shine
    On Smith's red serge vest as upon the breast
      Of Smyth's scarlet superfine.

    Too long mere food for powder
      We've deemed our rank and file,
    Now higher hopes and prouder
      Upon the soldier smile.
    And if no Marshal's bâton
      Private Smith in his knapsack bears,
    At least in the War, the chance of the star
      With his General he shares.

The first distribution of the "V.C." by the Queen was not made until
June 26, 1857, and in the same vein, but with greater dignity _Punch_
strove to render justice to the occasion:--

THE STAR OF VALOUR

Distributed by the Queen's Own Hand. June 26, 1857.

    The fount of Honour, sealed till now
      To all save claims of rank and birth,
    Makes green the laurel on the brow
      Ennobled but by soldier's worth.

    Of these the bravest and the best
      Who 'scaped the chance of shot and sword,
    England doth, by her Queen, invest
      With Valour's Cross--their great reward!

    Marking her sense of something still,
      A central nobleness, that lies
    Deeper than rank which royal will,
      Or birth, or chance, or wealth supplies.

    Knighthood that girds all valiant hearts,
      Knighthood that crowns each fearless brow;
    That knighthood this bronze cross imparts--
      Let Fleece, and Bath, and Garter bow!

[Sidenote: _The Victoria Cross_]

The plainness of the cross aroused critical comment, to which expression
was lent in the epigram, which has not lost its point yet:--

    Here's Valour's Cross, my men; 'twill serve,
      Though rather ugly--take it,
    John Bull a medal can deserve,
      But can't contrive to make it.

But the very simplicity of the bronze cross has lent it distinction.
_Punch_ was on safer ground when he urged that doctors and firemen were
well qualified to receive it; the Albert Medal, in recognition of acts
of gallantry in saving life performed by anyone whatever, was not
instituted till 1866. _Punch's_ democratic bias is also agreeably shown
in his plea on behalf of the artisans and artificers employed at the
dockyards and arsenals, whose labours shortened the war, but who were
thrown out of work on its conclusion. In answer to their petition for
help to emigrate, it was intimated to them that the Government would
help them if they would help themselves. The delay of the Government in
fulfilling their side of the bargain, when the men had complied with
this condition, gives occasion for a piece of sarcastic criticism on
State parsimony. And in this context we may note the charming poem on
Mother Seacole, the brave old sutler in the Crimea, beloved of all
soldiers, who had fallen on evil days, but was relieved by public
subscription, largely due to the appeal in _Punch's_ columns. Lastly,
and to sum up this review, we may note the shrewd common sense of the
timely article setting forth the pros and cons of Army Purchase, in
which the writer emphasizes the need of a higher standard of brains and
ability. Under the existing tradition, the abolition of purchase would
probably mean promotion by influence--an equally vicious system. To
alter the way of getting a commission was of no avail unless you altered
the thing itself. Efficiency was not incompatible with purchase, but it
was incompatible with "taking care of Dowb"--not the only reference in
_Punch_ to the historic telegram of Lord Panmure to Lord Raglan on
behalf of his protégé and relative, Captain Dowbiggin.



ENTR'ACTE



LONDON IN THE MID-NINETEENTH CENTURY


The survey of London, as set forth in the pages of _Punch_ seventy and
eighty years ago, undoubtedly ministers to our complacency. Much that
was picturesque has vanished, but the improvements in the state of the
streets, in lighting, communications, and, above all, sanitation, cannot
be easily overstated. In the early 'forties three methods of paving the
streets were employed: stones, Macadam, and wood; and according to
_Punch_ they were all bad. The stones caused jolting, Macadam was muddy,
while wood pavement, which was only partially used in a few favoured
localities--the Poultry and Lombard Street--was a constant source of
danger by reason of its slipperiness. The spectacle, so familiar in
recent years, of horses skating on all four feet down inclines is
noticed in the year 1849. Hansom, the architect, had taken out the
patent for his safety carriage in 1834, and that strange vehicle, which
Disraeli celebrated as "the Gondola of London," and which is now
relegated to the position of a curiosity or a relic, was fully
established in a popularity which lasted for half a century or more. To
those like the present writer who have been in a hansom when one wheel
came off, or the horse's belly-band broke, or who have been propelled
against the glass when the horse came down, the wonder is that it lasted
so long. Yet, on a fine day, it was a pleasing, if precarious, vehicle,
and inspired an exiled poet in the 'eighties to say that he would "give
a monarch's ransom for a Piccadilly hansom." The old four-wheeler or
"growler" still lingers and emerges during strikes of taxi-drivers, but
_Punch_, though he found the cabman swathed in capes a fertile theme for
his pencil, in general regarded him as a rapacious and extortionate old
bandit, and his cab a squalid and insanitary means of transit. The
one-day cab strike in 1853 grew out of the new Act fixing the fare at
6d. a mile. Under the new police regulations, whenever a dispute as to
mileage occurred, both parties could deposit five shillings and have the
matter decided by a magistrate. In one instance the cabman, not having
five shillings, lost his case and was fined. A good deal of public
sympathy, fostered by the _Examiner_, was enlisted on behalf of the
cabman, but _Punch_ was rigidly on the side of the public as against the
proprietors of dirty cabs, miserable horses, and their abusive and
rapacious drivers. The stringency of the regulations may be gathered
from the lines on "A Civil Cabman's Sauce," based on a paragraph which
appeared in _The Times_. A cabman had been sentenced by the Lord Mayor
to twenty shillings or fourteen days for refusing to take a fare because
he wanted his tea. The cabman had suggested that the fare might also
require that refreshment. At this period, it may be also noted, cabmen
were not allowed to smoke when on their stands. Towards its close an
improvement in the cab service is acknowledged, but many years were to
elapse before the institution of cab-shelters. As for the rapacity of
cabmen, it was as water compared with wine when judged by the standard
of taxi-drivers.

[Illustration: CABMAN IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE TAKEN THE WRONG
TURNING--THAT'S ALL]

[Sidenote: _The Ancient Omnibus_]

[Illustration: AMY (to Rose): "Good gracious, Rose, I'm afraid from the
way the man talks that he is intoxicated!"

CABBY (impressively): "Beg pardon, Miss! N-n-not (hic)
intossi--intossi-cated (hic)--itsh only shlight 'ped-ped-pediment in
speesh, Miss!"]

Turning next to the 'buses, some of us are old enough to remember their
dim interiors, the smell of damp, sodden straw on the floors, and the
perilous ascent to the roof by what was little better than a rope
ladder. Still, we own to a sneaking regret for the old 'bus driver; to
sit next him on the box-seat was a liberal education in the repartee of
the road. The "knife-board," as the low partition against which outside
passengers sat back to back was called, does not appear until after
1852. The slow speed of travel by 'bus is a constant source of satire; a
journey to the remoter suburbs, if _Punch_ is to be believed, took
almost as long as it now takes to go to Exeter. Yet, with familiar
inconsistency, he constantly rebukes the 'busmen for racing, especially
on the route from Putney to St. Paul's. The miseries of the crowded
interior, what with dogs, bundles, bird-cages, and wet umbrellas, are
vividly described, and it was not until 1849 that fixed fares were
introduced. Up till then the sum was left to the caprice of the
conductor, or "cad." Competition brought improvement in the shape of a
superior type of "saloon" 'bus, and towards the end of this period
complaints against cabs and 'buses died down somewhat; but in comfort,
cleanliness, and speed, the difference between the public vehicles of
1857 and 1920 is immense. About the former year the reader will find a
good description in "The Fine Old English Omnibus," of its discomforts,
stuffiness and perils and the disagreeable qualities of the "cad" and
driver. In one respect only, London was better served--on its waterway.
The Thames passenger steamers were a great feature of the time. Not that
they were above criticism; collisions were frequent, overloading was
habitual, the conduct of the passengers was not above reproach, and in
general the service was condemned as both risky and inefficient, and
ranked along with smallpox and railroads as a remedy for
over-population.

[Illustration: FEMALE 'BUSES (A Prophecy)]

From vehicles one passes by a natural transition to those who were
charged with the regulation of traffic, though its masterly control by
the police had not yet been developed to the point at which it has
frequently elicited the admiration of foreign visitors. The new
policemen, who had been embodied under the Metropolitan Police Act of
1829, when Peel was Home Secretary, were no special favourites of
_Punch_ in his early years, and his opinion of their efficiency may be
gauged by his greeting the threat of their strike with the remark that
he did not think it would make much difference. Their relations with
cooks--a fruitful source of satire--began to be a theme of ridicule in
the late 'forties, and inspired in _Punch_ "The Loves of the New
Police," recounting the tragedy of a constable who forfeited his post
owing to a fatal weakness for chops and stout.

[Sidenote: _The New Police Force_]

[Illustration: THE POLICE]

We have spoken already of the postmen; for their dress in 1844 students
of official costume may be referred to the picture overleaf.

As for lighting, gas was already in general, though by no means
universal, use. The gasless condition of Kensington is bewailed in 1844;
the bad lighting of Eaton Square in 1849. The use of electricity was
foreshadowed, but that was all. For domestic purposes the commonest
illuminant was "camphine," an oil distilled from turpentine. Miss Mulock
in _The Ogilvies_ speaks of it as being always either "too dull or too
bright," and _Punch_ is not enthusiastic as to its virtues. The agility
of the street lamp-lighter lent point to a proverb which has become
obsolete under modern conditions, for the lamp-lighter has no longer
need to climb and never runs. In 1844 _Punch_ speaks of the Lucifer
having replaced the Congreve--or "Congry" as it was vulgarly
called--friction match; but the change of name was later, according to
Mayhew and Charles Knight, who speaks of the penny box of Lucifer
matches as "a triumph of science."

[Illustration: SIR JAMES GRAHAM HOLDS A REVIEW OF THE LONDON POSTMEN]

[Sidenote: _Municipal Apathy_]

The linking-up of central with outlying London had hardly begun in the
'forties. Many of the nearer suburbs were then practically detached
villages. Kensington was reached by a dark, badly-laid country road from
Knightsbridge, where, till 1846, carters used to stop at the Half-way
House, a little roadside inn, for their half-pint of porter and bit of
bread and cheese. The isolation of Brook Green, Islington, Battersea
Fields, even Chelsea, when a little allowance has been made for satiric
license, was a real thing. Lord Ebury shot snipe in Pimlico in the
'twenties; and they probably frequented its swamps as late as the year
1840. What are now parks or residential quarters were then waste spaces
or open fields. The "Pontine Marshes" of Shepherd's Bush, as _Punch_
called them, have long been drained and covered with houses. But there
were wildernesses even in central London, notably Leicester Square and
Lincoln's Inn Fields. The "dead seclusion" and unkempt appearance of
Leicester Square was a standing reproach to Londoners. As for the _terra
incognita_ of Lincoln's Inn Fields, "the Metropolitan Bush," it only
differed from Leicester Square because it was "invisible to the naked
eye." The dirt and confusion and cruelty to animals which reigned in the
region of Smithfield market, and are the subject of reiterated protests
in _Punch_, belong to an unregretted past. _Punch_ was a great Londoner.
We talk of people being house-proud; he was city-proud, and it irked him
to see historic squares and public places neglected or disfigured. For
years and years his complaints go up against the interminable delays in
the erection and completion of the Nelson memorial in Trafalgar Square,
the lions that lingered, the fountains that would not play. They begin
in 1844; in 1845 he calls Trafalgar Square "England's Folly," and eleven
years later we read:--

    In England, the growth of buildings, like that of its institutions,
    is exceedingly slow, if sure. Years are taken over a building that
    on the Continent would be run up in almost as many months. A
    celebrated German statistician has sent us the following incredible
    particulars:

    To erect a Simple Column            It takes in England 12 years.
    Ditto, with Lions, everything
      complete                             "          "     24   "
    To build a Common Bridge               "          "     15   "
    Ditto a Suspension Bridge              "          "     25   "
    Ditto Houses of Parliament              A trifle under 100   "

    With statues, the same authority proceeds to say, they have a
    curious plan. They erect the pedestal first, and then leave it in
    one of their most public places to be ready for the statue of some
    celebrated man, when they have caught one. Thus, in Trafalgar
    Square, they have a pedestal that has been waiting for years. It is
    supposed to be for the COMING MAN, but apparently he is in no hurry
    to make his appearance.

"Britannia," _Punch_ makes the remark, is assuredly "a great deal
happier in her heroes than in her efforts to perpetuate their memory."
And six years later he adds: "We cannot make a statue that is not
ridiculous ourselves, nor, although we invite foreign competition, is it
likely that we shall get any other kind of statue made." In the same
spirit of national self-criticism the following lines appear in 1851 on
"The Nation and Its Monuments":--

    The National Gallery holds its place
      In Trafalgar's noble Square,
    And being a national disgrace,
      Will remain for ever there.

    The Duke on the Arch was raised, in spite
      Of all that the world could say;
    And because he stands on an awkward site,
      We, of course, shall let him stay.

    The Palace of Glass is so much admired,
      Both in Country and in Town,
    That its maintenance is by all desired:
      So we mean to pull it down.

[Sidenote: _London Changes and Improvements_]

In 1852 _Punch_ gives a list of things indefinitely postponed, in which
we find the completion of Nelson's pillar; the catalogue of the British
Museum Library--_Punch_ was no admirer of Panizzi, the librarian; the
Reform of the City Corporations; the completion of the new Houses of
Parliament; an omnibus that will carry a person quicker than he can
walk; good water; cheap gas; perfect sewerage; and unadulterated milk.
The campaign against Barry, the architect of the new Houses of
Parliament, was conducted with a good deal of acrimony. _Punch_ began by
objecting to the cost, then to Barry's "long sleep," and later on to the
expensive experiments in ventilation, and the darkness of the reporters'
gallery. Nor was he less impatient over the delays in the completion of
the Hungerford Suspension Bridge and the new Westminster Bridge--begun
in 1854, eight years after the old bridge had been closed as dangerous,
and opened in 1860. The future of the derelict Marble Arch moved him to
frequent and caustic comment before its removal from outside Buckingham
Palace to its present site in 1850. As early as 1853 there was talk of
removing Temple Bar, but this was not done till 1878. And the mention of
Buckingham Palace recalls the fact that in 1857, when it was proposed to
cut a carriage road through St. James's Park, there was no public road
past the palace. The pelicans, which delight us to-day on their
sadly-diminished lake, date back to the time of Charles II, who received
a gift of these birds from the Tsar of Muscovy.

The record of new buildings, constructions, monuments, and
"improvements" kept by _Punch_ is not complete, but it serves to
illustrate the changes between mid-Victorian and Georgian London. The
Thames Tunnel, Brunel's pioneer work in the long series of subterranean
engineering achievements which have transformed the under-crust of
London, was opened in August, 1843, and on October 28, 1844, the Queen
opened the new Royal Exchange amid civic junketings which caused "Q"
(Douglas Jerrold) to deplore the absence of the sons of labour from a
hollow pageant in which only merchant princes were represented. The
reference to the two tall buildings at Albert Gate seems to indicate an
apprehension even in those early days of the coming of skyscrapers, of
which Queen Anne's Mansions are still the sole realization. Thackeray
has a humorous poem on "The Pimlico Pavilion", which refers to the
pavilion in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, a summer house with a
central octagon room. In view of _Punch's_ persistent attacks on the
Court for neglecting native talent, it should be recorded that the task
of filling the eight lunettes below the cornice with frescoes was
entrusted to eight British artists, including Stanfield, Landseer, and
Maclise, and that the subjects were all suggested by passages from
Milton's _Comus_. On Wyatt's unfortunate colossal statue of the Duke of
Wellington, erected opposite Apsley House in 1846, and replaced by
Boehm's smaller equestrian statue in 1883, _Punch_ heaped unstinted
ridicule with pen and pencil. Nor was he less hostile in his criticisms
on the "hideous models" submitted for the proposed memorial to the Iron
Duke, when these designs were exhibited in 1857, describing them as
"Nemesis in Plaster of Paris," and representing the French Ambassador
as telegraphing to his Government: "Waterloo is avenged."

The New Billingsgate buildings merely serve as an excuse for some
jocular remarks on their supposed humanizing influence on the
Billingsgate dialect.

But a good deal of space is devoted to Big Ben, his name and note (E
natural), and the vicissitudes which attended his hanging in the Clock
Tower. Of the references which abound in 1856, perhaps the most notable
is the suggestion that the clapper should be named Gladstone, "as,
without doubt, his is the loudest tongue in Parliament". The
announcement in 1857 that a crack had been discovered in Big Ben led to
an epigram in disparagement of Mr. Gladstone's rival, so _Punch_ was
able to have it both ways:--

    Big Ben is cracked, we needs must own;
      Small Ben is sane, past disputation;
    Yet we should like to know whose tone
      Is most offensive to the nation.

[Sidenote: _The Filthy Thames_]

The late Mr. Henry Jephson, L.C.C., published in 1907 an exhaustive work
on "The Sanitary Evolution of London." He quotes Dickens's terrible
description of one of the old intramural churchyards, but makes no
mention of _Punch's_ services in the cause of London sanitation. They
certainly deserved and deserve recognition, for he spared no effort to
bring home to a wider public than that reached by Blue Books and Reports
the intimate and deadly connexion between dirt and disease. As early as
the year 1842 we find in his pages this gruesome but unexaggerated
pen-picture of the Thames and its tributaries:--

    Vauxhall contributes lime, Lambeth pours forth a rich amalgam from
    the yards of knackers and bone-grinders, Horseferry liberally gives
    up all its dead dogs, Westminster empties its treasures into the
    mighty stream by means of a common sewer of uncommon dimensions,
    the Fleet-ditch bears in its inky current the concentrated essences
    of Clerkenwell, Field-lane, Smithfield, Cowcross--and is, by means
    of its innumerable branches, augmented by the potent ingredients
    of St. Giles's, Somers-town, Barbican, St. Luke's, and the
    surrounding districts. The fluids of the Whitechapel
    slaughter-houses call in their transit through the Minories for the
    contributions of Houndsditch, Ratcliff Highway, Bevis Marks, and
    Goodman's Fields, and thus richly laden pour their delicious slime
    into the Thames by means of the Tower-ditch. Finally, the Surrey
    side yields the refuse of tar-works and tan-yards, and it is
    allowed by all, that the people of Deptford, Woolwich, and those
    situated in the lower course of the stream, get the Thames water
    (which here sustains six different characters) in the highest
    perfection.

[Illustration: THE "SILENT HIGHWAY"-MAN]

The cartoon, The "Silent Highway"-Man, was published in 1858, but it is,
perhaps, the best of the many pictorial comments on the above text. The
noisome state of the Serpentine--"a lake of mere manure"--constantly
affronted _Punch's_ sensitive nose. Insanitary Smithfield and squalid
Covent Garden elicit dishonourable mention from the early 'forties
onward. But it was in 1849, the year of the cholera and typhus
visitation, that his crusade against London filth--"Plague, Pestilence
and Co."--began in earnest. The evil is traced to the triple source of
bad drainage, overcrowded intramural burial grounds, and the unchecked
pollution of the river. _Punch_ salutes Mr. G. A. Walker, the author of
"Gatherings from Graveyards," as a public benefactor for his zeal in
endeavouring to secure the abolition of intramural interments, and tilts
savagely at obstructive Boards of Guardians, vestry clerks, and
extortionate undertakers, who profited by the maintenance of the abuse.
He gives us an "Elegy written in a London Churchyard," on a victim of an
epidemic brought on by preventable dirt; he exhibits "the water that
John drinks"; he represents Hamlet soliloquizing in a London graveyard;
and in 1849 he suggests the revision of street nomenclature in
accordance with official acquiescence in the then existing dominion of
dirt.

Though by no means an enthusiastic admirer of the Duke of Wellington,
_Punch_ confesses that he would like to see him appointed Sanitary
Dictator. The Thames, with its "acres of cesspool," is likened to "a
fetid Dead Sea." Yet _Punch_ refused to lay the blame at the door of
Lord John Russell or the Government, who were held guilty by the
_Morning Herald_ for the twelve thousand deaths from cholera in London.
The real criminals were to be found elsewhere. The ravages of typhus and
cholera in 1849 have been surpassed in recent years by those of
influenza, but the toll was heavy, and heaviest among the poor:--

    For three sad months Britannia mourned her children night and day,
    For three sad months she strove in vain the pestilence to stay;
    Medicine, helpless, groped and guessed, and tried all arts to save,
    But the dead carried with them their secret to the grave.

    Death sat at the gaunt weaver's side, the while he plied the loom;
    Death turned the wasting grinder's wheel, as he earn'd his bread and
      doom;
    Death, by the wan shirtmaker, plied the fingers to the bone;
    Death rocked the infant's cradle, and with opium hushed its moan.

[Illustration: THE POOR CHILD'S NURSE]

[Sidenote: _King Cholera's Friends_]

The Metropolitan Internments Bill, introduced in 1850, was a much-needed
reform, and furnished _Punch_ with an occasion for free-spoken
denunciation of "King Cholera's friends," Boards of Guardians, and other
obstructives who "laugh to scorn doctors and drains, and uphold the
great cause of dirt." His method of dealing with the offenders is
generally direct: sometimes it takes the form of extravagant irony, as
in the "account of my travels in search of self-government":--

    What is it to _me_ that fever is never absent from these
    places--that infants do not rear, and men die before their
    time--that sickness engenders pauperism--that filth breeds
    depression, and depression drives to drink? What do you mean by
    telling me that cholera slew in Rotherhithe its 205 victims in
    every 10,000, in St. Olave's its 181, in St. Saviour's its 153, in
    Lambeth its 120, while in the Strand it carried off only 35, in
    Kensington 33, in Marylebone 17, and in Hampstead 8, out of the
    same number? Still, British landlords did what they liked with
    their own, and self-government is unimpaired. The satellites and
    slaves of an encroaching centralization are kept at arm's length,
    and if they have succeeded in putting down sewers, at least we have
    triumphed in not laying our house-drains into 'em.

    It is with pride, therefore, I repeat, that whatever may be the
    case in the country (where I regret to see the hateful Public
    Health Act seems to be extending its ravages), in London we are
    still enjoying the enormous, the invaluable privileges of
    self-government, and that if Epidemic Cholera should visit us
    again, we may confidently show him to his old haunts in 1832 and
    1849, and so convince him that, in this free country, _he_, too, is
    at liberty "TO DO WHAT HE LIKES WITH HIS OWN."

[Illustration: THE END OF GOG AND MAGOG; OR, THINGS VERY BAD IN THE
CITY]

_Punch_ naturally applauded the Bill brought in by Sir George Grey, in
1856, to reform the Corporations of London, but would have preferred a
more drastic measure, and warned the unrepentant City Fathers of the
dangers of refusing to accept the liberal terms offered them.

[Sidenote: _London's Vanished Glories_]

Among the features of vanishing and now vanished London, the Fleet
Prison has already been noticed. It passed "unwept, unhonoured, and
unsung," save in the ironical valediction pronounced by _Punch_ on the
occasion of the sale of the materials of the prison in 1846. Holywell
Street, swept away by recent improvements, was still reckoned as one of
London's lions, though a dingy one at best. The glories of Vauxhall
Gardens were expiring, and the Colosseum in Regent's Park, which, with
its Panorama of London, statues, works of dubious art and Swiss scenery,
was a precursor of the Earl's Court Exhibitions, had fallen on evil
days, and was sold in 1843 by the famous George Robins, the "Cicero of
auctioneers." For the splendour of Astley's Circus in the 'forties,
_Punch_ forms a useful commentary on the delightful mock ballads of _Bon
Gaultier_. Gomersal, the famous equestrian impersonator of Napoleon, was
going strong in 1844. His retirement to a hostelry at Hull in 1849 is
attributed by _Punch_ to disgust at the failure of Imperialism.
Widdecomb, the illustrious ring-master, and the subject of many of
_Punch's_ pleasantries, earned the distinction of a mention by Browning,
who refers to him as resembling Tom Moore, with his "painted cheeks and
sham moustache," and he finds a niche in the Pantheon of the D.N.B.
Astley's is the mere shadow of a name to the present generation, and
only elderly Londoners can recall the delights of the Polytechnic as a
place more of entertainment than instruction, with the tank and diving
bell and electrifying apparatus, dear to mid-Victorian schoolboys in
their Christmas holidays. These are duly chronicled by _Punch_ along
with the attractions of Rosherville Gardens, then presided over by Baron
Nathan, one of the irregular _impresario_ peers who do not appear in
"Debrett," of whom the last representative was Lord George Sanger. Baron
Nathan catered for a mixed audience, but as a director of dances he
appealed to a fashionable _clientèle_. When Burnand wrote the libretto
of _Cox and Box_ in 1866, Rosherville was the paradise of the City
clerk, witness Cox's song,

    My aged employer, his whole physiognomy
    Shining with soap like a star in astronomy,
    Said "Mr. Cox, you'll oblige me and honour me
    If you will take this as your holiday!"
    Then visions of Brighton and back and of Rosherville--
    Feeling the rain put on my mackintosh I vill, etc.

Brighton already justified its title of "London-on-Sea," and the volume
of excursion traffic had begun to provoke complaints from the residents
as likely to impair the amenities of the place. These complaints the
democratic _Punch_ denounced as snobbish; and he speaks of Brighton in
1841 as the home of half-pay officers with dyed whiskers. Later on,
however, he takes a somewhat different view in his realistic pictures of
the Semitic invaders.

[Sidenote: _Burlington Arcadia_]

The Pantheon in Oxford Street, where in its first phase as a theatre
Miss Stephens, afterwards Countess of Essex, made her _début_ on the
stage, had since 1834 been reconstructed as a bazaar and picture
gallery. _Punch_ describes it in 1842 as a Zoo and National Gallery
combined, with its conservatory, aviary, statues, and pictures. It was a
pleasant cut for idlers in wet weather from Oxford Street to Marlborough
Street. But its glories were but a pale reflex of the days when the
building excited Walpole's enthusiasm, and Gibbon was a regular
attendant of its "splendid and elegant" masquerades. After various
vicissitudes the Pantheon was closed in 1867, and is now a wine
warehouse. The Lowther Arcade, from the Strand to King William Street,
was consecrated to the sale of toys. The present writer can remember it
in the 'seventies, with stout and bearded shopmen blowing on tin
trumpets and spinning tops for the allurement of passers by. It has
disappeared, but the Burlington Arcade remains. Under the heading of
"The Haunts of the Regent Street Idler," _Punch_ gives a detailed
account of its attractions in 1842:--

    The covered passage through which the overland journey from
    Burlington Gardens to Piccadilly is generally performed so abounds
    in objects of amusement to the lounger that, in point of cheap
    happiness, it becomes a perfect Burlington Arcadia. He can pass a
    whole afternoon therein, with the additional comfortable feeling
    of security from any unexpected shower. First of all he makes a
    regular inspection of every article in Delaporte's windows--from
    Gavarni's _Charivari_ sketches, which have been there as far as the
    memory of the oldest lounger can reach, to the droll _Diableries_,
    and the _Dames et Seigneurs de la Cour du Moyen Age_, who rushed
    into publicity at the first whisper of the Queen's Fancy Ball. Then
    he listens to the dulcet notes of an accordion, which is
    perpetually playing in this favoured thoroughfare, whilst he
    saunters on to the fancy stationer's, and criticizes the
    water-colour albumified views of Venice and Constantinople, all
    neutral tint and burnt sienna; or falls in love with the
    impassioned head of La Esmeralda, and regrets such symmetrical
    young ladies do not dance about the streets at the present day; his
    attention only being withdrawn from the beautiful gipsy by two
    portraits of mortal angels in _very_ low dresses, one of whom is
    asleep at one corner of the window, and the second combing her hair
    at the other. He peers into all the artificial flower shops, to see
    what hidden divinities are therein concealed by the bowers of
    tinted gauze and tinsel; and having admired the languishing ladies
    and very nice gentlemen in the hairdressers' windows, finally loses
    himself in an earthly paradise of painted snuff-boxes, parasols,
    popular music and perfumery, together with certain articles of
    ladies' dress, like dolls' pillows in convulsions, the display of
    which has always struck us as being a profane revelation of the
    arcana pertaining to the toilet of a beauty.

Covent Garden Theatre, as we know it, was not opened till May, 1858. Of
its predecessors on the same site two were destroyed by fire, one in
1808, and the next in May, 1856, after a somewhat orgiastic _bal masqué_
organized by Anderson, "the Wizard of the North," Gye's tenant at the
time. This, by the way, was the third theatre burned down during
Anderson's engagements, and the disaster led to a picture in _Punch_
representing Mario, the famous tenor, mourning amid the ruins of the
scenes of his many triumphs--an ingenious adaptation of the episode of
Marius sitting as a refugee amid the ruins of Carthage. _Punch_ was no
lover of _bals masqués_, reckoning them among the things which they
manage better abroad. Nor was he a friendly critic of Madame Tussaud,
modestly housed at the Bazaar in Baker Street until the erection of the
present building in 1884. _Punch_ owned that admission to her show was a
test of popularity, but he condemned the Chamber of Horrors as
ministering to the cult of monstrosity, and compared Madame Tussaud in
1849--the year before her death--to the witches who made wax models of
those whom they wished to injure.

[Illustration: THE HAPPY FAMILY]

Chelsea buns are still with us, though it is declared in _London Past
and Present_ that the tradition of making them is lost; the "Original
Bun House," at the bottom of Jews' Row, was taken down in 1839, but its
memories linger in the early volumes of _Punch_. There is a good series
entitled "The Gratuitous Exhibitions of London," one of which, "The
Happy Family," lasted for forty years later. The present writer well
remembers in his schoolboy days the wire safe on wheels, stationed at
the corner of Trafalgar Square, near Hampton's shop, containing cats,
mice, pigeons, rabbits, and small birds, very much as in _Punch's_
picture. The nearest survival is the cage of fortune-telling birds one
sees now and again. A charge of twopence was made for admission to St.
Paul's Churchyard, and this was a non-gratuitous exhibition which
_Punch_ bitterly resented, even to the extent of comparing it with
Wombwell's Menagerie. The occasional raids of the aristocracy on
Cremorne Gardens--which stood a little west of Battersea Bridge--have
been described elsewhere. The gardens, which competed with Vauxhall as a
scene for dancing, fireworks and various exhibitions--"The Siege of
Gibraltar" was pyrotechnically reproduced in 1851--were not closed till
1877, soon after which date the house, built by the Earl of Huntingdon,
and occupied as a private house by Lord Cremorne in the Regency, was
pulled down and the grounds built over.

[Sidenote: _The Dominion of Din_]

_Punch_ had a friendly feeling for the London street arab, whose sayings
so often enliven his pages, and calls him the "small olive-branch of the
great unwashed." But he was somewhat impatient of the tyranny of the
tip-cat, battledore and shuttlecock, hopscotch and all street games
which imperilled the safety of the elderly foot passenger. Professional
mendicants he regarded with abhorrence, and waged unceasing war on
Italian organ-grinders as an insolent and irremovable nuisance, as well
as on German bands and all who maintained the dominion of unnecessary
din. He would gladly have seen all street-cries abolished: the "elfin
note of the milkman" had no charm for him. Here perhaps the
sensitiveness and sufferings of John Leech were responsible for his
antipathy. Mark Lemon wrote a letter to Mr. M. T. Bass, M.P., who
brought in a Bill to regulate street music, in which he traced Leech's
fatal illness to the disturbance of his nervous system by "the continual
visitation of street bands and organ-grinders." Those readers who take
an interest in the evolution of musical taste may be interested to know
that in 1856 the popular tunes on the street organs were "The
Ratcatcher's Daughter," "Annie Laurie," the serenade from Verdi's
"Trovatore" and "The Red, White and Blue," a selection admirably
representative of sport, sentiment, the prevalent Italianation of opera,
and patriotism.

[Illustration: TASTE

SHOP GIRL (who had been expected to procure Tennyson's "Miller's
Daughter"): "No, Miss! We've not got the Miller's, but here's the
'Ratcatcher's Daughter,' just published!"]

[Sidenote: _Beadles, Broadsheets and Advertisements_]

The Zoological Gardens had been opened in 1828 and were already a most
popular resort; the hippopotamus at one time almost rivalling "General"
Tom Thumb as the most run-after celebrity. "Good David Mitchell," who
was secretary to the Zoological Society from 1847 to 1859, was a prime
favourite with _Punch_, and is never mentioned without a friendly word.
But of all officials concerned with the administration of London none
stood higher in his esteem than Sir Benjamin Hall, M.P. for Marylebone
from 1837 to 1859, when he was created Lord Llandovery, President of the
Board of Health in 1854, and Chief Commissioner of Works from 1855 to
1858. "Ben Hall's" services in adding to the amenities of the parks and
introducing bands on Sundays were celebrated by _Punch_ in prose and
verse. It was he who brought in a Bill for the sorely needed better
management of the Metropolis in March, 1855, and _Punch_ more than once
applauded him for castigating the follies of the Central Metropolitan
Board, whose vagaries in suggesting names for streets roused _Punch's_
special ire in 1856. A nomenclator like the late Sir Laurence Gomme, who
combined official authority with a fine historical sense, only emerges
once in a century. Among the minor officials of the time beadles were
conspicuous. _Punch_ devotes a special article to those of the
Burlington and Lowther Arcades, the Quadrant and the British Museum, but
these gorgeous uniformed functionaries, splendid in scarlet and gold,
are now only memories of the elderly or the aged. Gone, too, are the
broadsheets, "dying speeches" and ballads of Catnach, the Seven Dials
bookseller; gone also are the "mock auctions" which were held in the
Strand up to the war. London had no picture-palaces in the 'forties and
'fifties, but there was an abundance of panoramas, which _Punch_ noted
as a reaction against the cult of dwarfs. The fogs cannot have been
worse than those which prevailed for nearly a week one winter at the
close of the 'nineties, but the smoke nuisance was perhaps more acute
because entirely unregulated. _Punch_ defended the intermission of
postal deliveries on Sunday, on the ground that it promoted the blessed
dullness of that day, and here at least the chronicler has no change to
record. On the growth of the great modern art of advertising _Punch_ is
a most instructive commentator. As early as December, 1842, he printed
an essay on its theory and practice in which the following passage
occurs:--

    The _Kentish Herald_ lately contained the following notice:
    "Ranelagh Gardens, Margate--last night of Mount Vesuvius, in
    consequence of an engagement with the Patagonians." This is
    tragical enough; but _The Times_ outdoes it in horror by informing
    us that "The Nunhead Cemetery is now open for _general_ interment";
    and immediately afterwards comes an advertisement of "The London
    General Mourning Warehouse, Oxford Street"; and then, to crown all,
    Mr. Simpson, of Long Acre, declares himself ready to make
    "Distresses in Town and Country, so as to give general
    satisfaction."

In 1847 _Punch_ recurs to the subject in a spirit foreshadowing the
activities of that excellent society which of late years has striven to
restrain the excesses of the advertiser:--

    Advertisements are spreading all over England--they have crept
    under the bridges--have planted themselves right in the middle of
    the Thames--have usurped the greatest thoroughfares--and are now
    just on the point of invading the omnibuses. Advertising is
    certainly the great vehicle for the age. Go where you will, you are
    stopped by a monster cart running over with advertisements, or are
    nearly knocked down by an advertising house put upon wheels, which
    calls upon you, when too late, not to forget "Number One." These
    vehicles, one would think, were more than enough to satisfy the
    most greedy lover of advertisements, but it seems that there is
    such an extraordinary run for them that omnibuses are to be lined
    and stuffed with nothing else.

We have long acquiesced in this invasion of the sanctity of the omnibus.
It is the desecration of the countryside that chiefly disgusts the
fastidious of to-day.



PART II

THE SOCIAL FABRIC



THE COURT


At the time of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, Caran d'Ache,
the famous French artist--perhaps the greatest genius in his peculiar
_genre_ that our age has produced--published a wonderful design in which
the parallel histories of France and Great Britain, during our Queen's
reign, were summed up at a glance with masterly insight. Great Britain
was represented by one person under two aspects: Queen Victoria as a
girl and as an old woman; France by a long procession of figures: King,
Prince President, Emperor, and the series of Presidents of the Republic.
The stability of England and the fluctuations of France could not have
been pictorially symbolized with greater point. The Victorian age is
rightly named, for Queen Victoria in her virtues, her prejudices and
limitations was, in many ways, its most commanding figure, and the
personal devotion and respect she inspired in men differing so widely in
temperament and outlook as Melbourne and O'Connell, Peel and Russell,
Disraeli, Lord Salisbury and Lord Roberts, to mention no others, counted
for much in securing the country against the violent upheavals from
which our nearest neighbour suffered. Yet, when the wave of sentiment
created by the romantic conditions under which a girl of eighteen was
summoned to wear a crown had died down, the light that beat upon the
throne was far from genial; it was often fierce. The controversy over
the Ladies of the Bedchamber threatened to drag the Crown into the arena
of party politics. The contention of the Tories was, in the main, sound
and constitutional--that these appointments should not be made or
maintained in such a way as to expose the Sovereign to influences
hostile to the Government in power; and the Queen cannot be acquitted of
a certain obstinacy in the assertion of her rights. But the cry that
the Tories were forcing her hand was vigorously taken up, and strange
cross currents of feeling were developed, O'Connell's passionate
outburst of loyalty being the strangest of all. It was one of the
ironies of circumstance that, in the early years of her reign, the
Queen's relations with Whig Ministers--always excepting Lord
Palmerston--were far more cordial than with the Tories. Yet this was no
guarantee for the popularity of the Court, and only those who are
familiar with the history of the time can appreciate how unpopular it
was. The middle-class element were not enamoured of the Whigs, but
whatever they thought of the influence exerted by Lord Melbourne as the
Queen's Mentor, they were not prepared to recognize any improvement
when, on his retirement, the post was informally, but none the less
effectually, filled by a German prince. The Queen's marriage was one of
affection rather than policy, and Prince Albert had many excellent
qualities. He was a highly educated, in some ways even a learned man; he
was industrious, and his private character was without stain. It was not
in human nature to expect that he should entirely efface himself in
affairs of State; but he played the game better than he was given credit
for, and on at least one occasion his intervention was quite contrary to
that ascribed to him. At the same time he was lacking in charm and
geniality; his manner was stiff, his conversation academic and
occasionally _gauche_. His notions of sport were not those of an English
sportsman, and he had a passion for devising new military uniforms. To
put it bluntly, he was a foreigner, and the chief ground of the
unpopularity of the Court was that it gave an unfair preference to
everything foreign--language, art, music, letters--and consistently
declined to encourage native talent. Satiric references to the royal
patronage of foreigners begin in _Punch's_ first volume. "Ride-a-cock
horse" is turned into a florid Italian _cavatina_, and the words
translated into Italian--"Su Gallo-Cavallo a Banburi Croce"--for the
benefit of the nurse of the Princess Royal, Mrs. Ratsey, referred to as
"a lady equally anxious with ourselves to instil into the infant mind an
utter contempt for anything English." This sets the keynote to a series
of complaints which re-echo over many years. For the moment we may turn
to _Punch's_ extraordinarily frank comments, cast in the form of a
burlesque of the ultra-loyal press, on the rapid growth of the royal
nursery, _à propos_ of the birth of the Prince of Wales:--

THE LORD MAYOR AND THE QUEEN

By the Correspondent of the _Observer_

    The interesting condition of Her Majesty is a source of the most
    agonizing suspense to the Lord Mayors of London and Dublin, who, if
    a Prince of Wales is not born before their period of office
    expires, will lose the chance of being created baronets.

    According to rumour, the baby--we beg pardon, the scion of the
    House of Brunswick--was to have been born--we must apologize again,
    we should say was to have been added, to the illustrious stock of
    the reigning family of Great Britain--some day last month, and of
    course the present Lord Mayors had comfortably made up their minds
    that they should be entitled to the dignity it is customary to
    confer on such occasions as that which the nation now ardently
    anticipates. But here we are at the beginning of November, and no
    Prince of Wales. We have reason to know that the Lord Mayor of
    London has not slept a wink since Saturday, and his lady has not
    smiled, according to an authority on which we are accustomed to
    rely, since Thursday fortnight. Some say it is done on purpose,
    because the present official is a Tory; and others insinuate that
    the Prince of Wales is postponed in order that there may be an
    opportunity of making Daniel O'Connell a baronet. Others suggest
    that there will be twins presented to the nation, one on the night
    of November 8, the other on the morning of the 9th, so as to
    conciliate both parties; but we are not disposed at present to
    pronounce a decided opinion on this part of the question. We know
    that politics have been carried most indelicately into the very
    heart of the Royal Household.[11] But we hope, for the honour of
    all parties, that the confinement of the Queen is not to be made a
    matter of political arrangement.

[Sidenote: _Ultra-Loyalty Burlesqued_]

[Footnote 11: The imbroglio of the Ladies of the Bedchamber had been
settled in 1840. But Scribe's _Verre d'Eau_, under the title of _The
Maid of Honour_, with the real incident turned into farce, had been
adapted to the English stage and produced at the Adelphi.]

This is followed up in the next issue by an equally audacious comment
from the same fictitious correspondent:--


THE BIRTH OF THE PRINCE OF WALES

(By the _Observer's_ own Correspondent)

    It will be seen that we were not premature in announcing the
    probability of the birth of a Prince of Wales; and though it was
    impossible that anyone should be able to speak with certainty, our
    positive tone upon the occasion serves to show the exclusive nature
    of all our intelligence. We are enabled now to state that the
    Prince will immediately take, indeed he has already taken, the
    title of the _Prince of Wales_, which it is generally understood he
    will enjoy--at least if a child so young can be said to enjoy
    anything of the kind--until an event shall happen which we hope
    will be postponed for a very protracted period. The Prince of
    Wales, should he survive his mother, will ascend the throne; but
    whether he will be George the Fifth, Albert the First, Henry the
    Ninth, Charles the Third, or Anything the Nothingth, depends upon
    circumstances we are not at liberty to allude to _at present_, nor
    do we think we shall be enabled to do so in a second edition.

    Our suggestion last week, that the royal birth should take place on
    Lord Mayor's Day, has, we are happy to see, been partially attended
    to; but we regret that the whole hog has not been gone, by twins
    having been presented to the anxious nation, so that there might
    have been a baronetcy each for the outgoing and incoming Lord
    Mayors of London and Dublin.

[Illustration: A ROYAL NURSERY RHYME FOR 1860

    "There was a Royal Lady who lived in a shoe,
    She had so many children she didn't know what to do."]

This vein is further developed in burlesque bulletins of the progress of
the infant Prince. _Punch's_ serious views as to the Prince's future are
to be found in his "Pæan to the Princelet" and its sequel, inspired by
the Royal Christening in February, 1842:--

_PUNCH_ AND THE PRINCELET

       *       *       *       *       *

    The little Prince _must_ love the poor,
      And he will heed the cry
    Of the pauper mother, when she finds
      Her infant's fountains dry.
    He'll fill the cruse, and bruise the ear,
      To make those founts o'erflow,
    For they have vow'd our little Prince
      No "vanities" shall know.
    And we will rattle our little bell,
    And laugh, and dance, and sing as well--
        Roo-too-tooit! Shallaballa!
        Life to the Prince! Fallallalla!

    And death's dark bones will then become
      Like iv'ry pure and white!
    His blood-dyed robe will moulder off,
      And his garments be as light;
    For man will slaughter man no more
      For wrong begot by wrongs,
    For our little Prince will say--"To me
      Nor life nor death belongs."
    So we will rattle our little bell,
    And laugh, and dance, and sing as well--
        Roo-too-tooit! Shallaballa!
        Life to the Prince! Fallallalla!

But while taking the Prince's future very seriously, _Punch_ could not
emulate those writers in the Press who, with goose-quill in hand, could
not approach the ordinary trials from which even Royal infants are not
exempt, save on their knees:--

    It has been announced to the public, through the medium of the
    Press, that a most important epoch has arrived in the life of the
    Prince of Wales. It is a strange fact, that this "important epoch"
    has not been noted in the biography of any previous Prince of
    Wales; for we look in vain through the pages of Hume and Smollett,
    Rapin, Lingard, Miss Julia Corner, and indeed every other corner
    within our reach, without being able to ascertain when Edward the
    Black Prince was driven from the breast to the bottle. The Heir
    Apparent to the English throne has, we are told, been lately
    subjected to this frightful vicissitude; and though his Royal
    Highness is said to have borne it tolerably well, it will appear
    that while he took to the pap-spoon with princely fortitude, there
    was something of the infant perceptible in his mode of first
    receiving it.

When another Princess was born in 1843, we read that "there were some
apprehensions that the nasal organ of the Heir Apparent might be
affected by the birth of a younger sister, but we are happy to say that
there are no symptoms of a derangement of the Prince's proboscis at
present," also that Donizetti had been requested to arrange a series of
concertos for the penny trumpet, and had sent to the Prince one on the
noble theme of "This little pig went to market" to the Italian words:--

    Questo piccolo porco
      E andato al mercato.
    Questo piccolo porco
      E a casa restato.
    Questo piccolo porco
      Ha avuto del rosbief per pranza.
    Questo piccolo porco
      Niente ebbe nel sua stanza.

These familiar jocularities, redeemed by their general good humour from
the charge of disrespect, are harmless compared with the sustained
campaign of ridicule directed against Prince Albert as tailor and
sportsman. German sovereigns and princes have always been great on
uniforms, and Prince Albert undoubtedly suffered severely from this
hereditary failing. A concise biography in the _Almanack_ for 1842
states that he was born on August 26, 1819, and afterwards invented "a
shocking bad hat for the British Infantry, but England refused to put
her Foot in it." From this time onward the attacks are constant and
malicious. The Prince's bell-shaped hat repeatedly figures in cartoons.
He "bresents his gompliments" to Herzog Jenkins (of the _Morning Post_),
for whom he has "gomposed a dugal goronet."

[Sidenote: _Prince Albert as Tailor_]

In the following year there is a cartoon representing the Prince in his
sartorial studio surrounded by designs and models; the following comment
is associated with the cartoon:--

    Ever since the accession of Prince Albert to the Royal Husbandship
    of these realms, he has devoted the energies of his mind and the
    ingenuity of his hands to the manufacture of infantry caps, cavalry
    trousers, and regulation sabretaches. One of his first measures was
    to transmogrify the pantaloons of the Eleventh Hussars; and as the
    regiment alluded to is Prince Albert's Own, His Royal Highness may
    do as he likes with his own, and no one could complain of his
    bedizening the legs of the unfortunate Eleventh with scarlet cloth
    and gold door-leather. When, however, the Prince, throwing the
    whole of his energies into a hat, proposed to encase the heads of
    the British soldiery in a machine which seemed a decided cross
    between a muff, a coal scuttle, and a slop pail, then _Punch_ was
    compelled to interfere, for the honour of the English army. The
    result has been that the headgear has been summarily withdrawn by
    an order from the War Office, and the manufacture of more of the
    Albert hat has been absolutely prohibited.

[Illustration: THE TAILOR'S GOOSE--THE TERROR OF THE ARMY]

[Sidenote: _Prince Albert as Sportsman_]

The campaign reached its height in 1845 when _Punch_ was given an
irresistible opportunity on the occasion of the Prince being entertained
by the Merchant Tailors. The Prince, _Punch_ averred, was a born tailor,
the Prince of Tailors, the true British tailor. He sought to make the
British Army invincible by rendering them so comical that, by coming
rapidly on the enemy, they might convulse him with laughter and paralyse
his defence. He had fraternized with the Goose of Great Britain, and
might sit cross-legged in the eyes of posterity. After this outburst of
derision _Punch_ gave the Prince a rest as tailor, but took up the
running--or baiting--with renewed energy against his sportmanship.
_Punch_, it may be noted, was not an unmitigated admirer of field
sports; he denounced otter hunting as cruel, and more than once
protested against officers and others who rode their horses to death for
a wager. It was part of the humanitarianism which impelled him to
support the abolition of capital punishment, though here his argument
was based on the view that death was a release for the murderer, who was
more effectually punished by being kept in life-long penance for his
crime. _Punch_ was never an enemy of fox hunting. Doubtless the
influence of Leech counted for something. But the organized slaughter of
game filled him with disgust, and the exploits of the Prince in the
Highlands in the autumn of 1842 prompted the first of many tirades.

The pheasant battues at Drayton, when the Queen and Prince Albert were
the guests of Sir Robert Peel, are treated in the same spirit, and the
Ballad of Windsor Chase, with its grotesque illustration of fat beagles
and obese hares, the Prince on horseback, and the Queen in her pony
phaeton, carries on the satire in this fashion:--

    Six hares alive were taken out
      Each in its canvas sack;
    And five as dead as mutton, in
      The same were carried back.

The battue of hares at Stowe during the Prince's visit to the Duke of
Buckingham in January, 1845, is the subject of another derisive ballad
modelled on _John Gilpin_, and of a cartoon showing the Prince shooting
down the tame quarry point-blank from an easy chair. The grand climax to
this raillery, however, was reached during the Royal visit to Germany in
September, when the stag hunt at Gotha was scarified with pen and
pencil. In two parallel cartoons of "Court Pastimes" are contrasted the
bear-baiting under Elizabeth with the butchery of stags under Victoria;
and the hand of Thackeray is unmistakable in the "Sonnick, sejested by
Prince Halbert gratiously killing the Staggs at Sacks-Cobug-Gothy":--

    Some forty Ed of sleak and hantlered dear
      In Cobug (where such hanimmles abound)
    Were shot, as by the nusepapers I hear,
      By Halbert Usband of the British Crownd.
    Britannia's Queen let fall the purly tear;
      Seeing them butchered in their silvn prisns;
    Igspecially, when the keepers, standing round,
      Came up and cut their pretty hinnocent whizns.
    Suppose, instead of this pore Germing sport,
      This Saxn wenison which he shoots and baggs,
    Our Prins should take a turn in Capel Court
      And make a massyker of English Staggs.[12]
    Pore Staggs of Hengland! Were the Untsman at you,
      What avoc he _would_ make and what a trimenjus battu!

    JEAMS.

[Footnote 12: In reference to the then prevalent mania for railway
speculation.]

[Illustration: ELIZABETH]

[Sidenote: _Stag Slaughter at Gotha_]

[Illustration: VICTORIA]

Even more lacerating is the use made in the same number of the comment
of a loyal eye-witness quoted by the _Standard_:--

TEARS AT GOTHA

    The _Standard_ gives the following extract of a letter from Gotha
    to a gentleman in London:--

    "This (the deer killing) was very shocking. The Queen wept _I saw
    large tears in her eyes_: and Her Majesty tells me that she with
    difficulty kept the chair during what followed. When the Queen saw
    the otter hunt in Scotland, the pity that she _naturally felt_ at
    the death of the animal was _counterbalanced by a knowledge of his
    propensities_, so that it is almost as meritorious _to destroy an
    otter as it is a snake_; but this was a totally different case; nor
    is Her Majesty yet recovered. _For the Prince_, the deer were too
    numerous, and _must_ be killed. _This_ was the German method; and
    no doubt the reigning Duke will distribute them to his people, who
    will thank Prince Albert for providing them venison."

[Illustration: THE MOMENTOUS QUESTION

"Tell me, oh tell me, dearest Albert, have _you_ any Railway Shares?"]

This incident marked the high-water level of _Punch's_
anti-Albertianism--at any rate, in the domain of sport; we find an
address of condolence to the Prince on the conclusion of the shooting
season a year and a half later, but, in the main, the criticisms of the
Royal Consort henceforth are founded on other grounds of
dissatisfaction. What infuriated _Punch_ even more than the ineptitudes
of the Court was the fulsome adulation of the _Lickspittle-offs_ of the
Press, who were prepared, not only to defend, but to eulogize them. "The
amount of good that Royalty can effect in this country is astonishing,"
_Punch_ frankly admits, while caustically adding: "only less astonishing
than that which it has yet to do." But between a generous acknowledgment
of what could be done by royal example (as, for instance, its
discouragement of gambling) and the "insanity of loyalty," there was an
immense gulf, and _Punch_ was never weary of gibbeting those writers in
and out of the Press who thought they "could best oppose the questioning
spirit of the time--questioning, as it does, the 'divinity' that hedges
the throne--by adopting the worse than foolish adulation of a bygone
age." Assuredly, the absolute _reductio ad absurdum_ of this
courtiership was reached when the Queen was extolled for behaving as any
reasonable woman would:--

    The excessively loyal man has the ugliest manner of paying a
    compliment. He evidently takes his king or queen as a carved log
    dropped from the skies, or he would not marvel as he does when the
    aforesaid image shows any touch of life or human sympathy. If his
    idol perform the commonest act of social courtesy, he roars--"what
    condescension!" If it display the influence of affections, he
    screams--"a miracle!" Her Majesty, on her arrival at Windsor from
    Scotland, has her babies immediately brought to her: whereupon,
    says _The Atlas_--"The woman and the mother _for a moment_
    proclaimed the supremacy of nature over the etiquette of a court,
    and the _splendour of a diadem_!"

    What very ill-breeding on the part of "nature"--but then, we
    presume, she is such a stranger at courts! Was there no Gold Stick
    in Waiting to show the baggage to the door?

The same offender is brought to book in the following issue for
deprecating royal excursions by railway:--

    _The Atlas_ thus sermonizes upon Royalty "by the rail":--

    "We are aware that every precaution is taken by the directors and
    managers of the Great Western Railway, when Her Majesty makes use
    of a special train, and we are not less acquainted with the courage
    and absence of all fear from the mind of the Queen. But a long
    regency in this country would be so fearful and tremendous an evil,
    that we cannot but desire, in common with many others, that these
    royal railway excursions should be, if possible, either wholly
    abandoned or only occasionally resorted to."

    There is danger by the railway; and therefore, says _The Atlas_,
    the Queen should be only "occasionally" exposed to it. Say the
    chances against accident are as nineteen to twenty, shall the Queen
    "take a chance"? "Yes," says loyalty, "the Queen may _occasionally_
    take a chance!"

_Punch_, as the accompanying cartoon shows, refused to take a serious
view of railways where Royalty was concerned, and went to the length of
maliciously insinuating that Prince Albert, wearying of his rose-leaf
fetters, had been indulging in a "flutter" on the Stock Exchange.

[Sidenote: _Syncophancy Rebuked_]

Criticism of the Court on the one hand and obsequious toadyism on the
other were much more pronounced eighty years ago. The later vice is well
rebuked in the fictitious Royal Proclamation issued in connexion with
the Queen's visit to Scotland in the autumn of 1844. It will be noticed
that here, as on so many occasions, _Punch_ adopted the device of
assuming that the exalted personages adulated resented the adulation:--

    Her Majesty has just issued a Proclamation, of which _Punch_ has
    been favoured with an early copy.

    WHEREAS, on each and every of Our Royal Movements, it has been, and
    is the custom of sundry weakly-disposed persons known as "our own
    correspondents," "our private correspondents," and others, to
    write, and cause to be printed, absurd and foolish language,
    touching Ourself, Our Royal Consort, and Beloved Babies--it is Our
    Will and Pleasure that such foolish practices (tending as they
    really do to bring Royalty into contempt) shall be discontinued;
    and that from henceforth, all vain, silly, and sycophantic verbiage
    shall cease, and good, straightforward, simple English be used in
    all descriptions of all progresses made by Ourself, our Royal
    Consort, and Our Dearly Beloved Children. And FURTHERMORE, it shall
    be permitted to Our Royal Self to wear a white shawl, or a black
    shawl, without any idle talk being passed upon the same. AND
    FURTHER, Our Beloved Consort shall, whenever it shall so please
    him, "change his round hat for a naval cap with a gold band,"
    without calling for the special notice of the Newspapers, AND
    FURTHER, That Our Beloved Child, the Princess Royal, shall be
    permitted to walk "hand in hand" with her Royal Father, without
    exciting such marked demonstrations of wonderment at the
    familiarity, as have been made known to Me by the public Press.

    BE IT KNOWN, That the Queen of England is not the Grand Lama; and
    FURTHER BE IT REMEMBERED that Englishmen should not emulate the
    vain idolatry of speech familiar in the mouths of Eastern bondmen.

  VICTORIA REGINA.

  Given at Blair Athol,
  September 16, 1844.

In this context should be noted the constant criticisms of the _Court
Circular_--the ironical suggestions that it should be published in
French or Italian,[13] and the castigation, under the heading "Genteel
Christianity," of the announcement of the confirmation of the "juvenile
nobility and gentry" by the Bishop of London in the Chapel Royal, St.
James's.

[Footnote 13: ... "Buckingham Palace, where, it is said, if a person
puts a question in English he is asked in German or French what he
means."]

Five years later we come across a truly delightful suggestion, prompted
by the vacancy in the Laureateship, for the employment of the new
occupant of the post:--

     ... The chief difficulty we see about the office, is the fact of
    there being nothing to do in it. The virtues of our Queen are of
    too matter-of-fact a sort, and of too everyday occurrence, to be
    the subject of mere holiday odes, or, indeed, of fiction in any
    shape. If any duties are to be attached to the Laureateship, we
    would propose that they should consist of the task of giving a
    poetical turn to that otherwise very dull and uninteresting affair,
    the _Court Circular_, which fills the somewhat contemptible duty of
    Paul Pry in constant attendance on what ought to be the domestic
    privacy of royalty. As an illustration of what we mean, we give the
    following specimen:--

    This morning at an early hour,
      In Osborne's peaceful grounds,
    The Queen and Prince--'spite of a shower--
      Took their accustomed rounds.
    With them, to bear them company,
      Prince Leiningen he went,
    And with the other royal three,
      The Duchess, eke, of Kent.

    His Royal Highness Prince of Wales
      Went forth to take the air;
    The Princess Royal, too, ne'er fails
      His exercise to share.
    On the young members of the flock
      Was tenderest care bestowed,
    For two long hours by the clock
      They walked--they ran--they rode.

    Calmly away the hours wear
      In Osborne's tranquil shade,
    And to the dinner-party there
      Was no addition made.
    Judge-Advocate Sir D. Dundas
      Having returned to town,
    The Royal family circle has
      Settled serenely down.

It is not too much to assume that _Punch's_ ridicule assisted in
eliminating some, at least, of these excrescences on the official record
of life at Court.

We may pass over the chaff of Prince Albert as a farmer, and of his
prize pigs and oxen. The bestowal of the D.C.L. degree at Cambridge in
October, 1843, is treated with acidulated satire, and in his imaginary
speech in dog-latin the Prince presents the University with a new
academic cap (_novus pileus academicus_) of his own designing. A month
later the Prince's gratuitous distribution, through the clergy, of
Professor Buckland's pamphlet on the treatment of the potato--on the eve
of the Irish famine--is described as a mockery to hungry people, "but
then Princes are such wags," adds _Punch_. The much-canvassed
appointment of the Prince as Chancellor of Cambridge University in 1847
led to sardonic comment:--

    Nothing in England has been thought too good for the members of
    this happy family; but really it is rather too humiliating when we
    begin to express our doubts whether we can find anything, among the
    most venerable of our institutions, good enough to place at the
    feet of a Prince of Saxe-Gotha.

[Sidenote: The Prince of Bricklayers]

But though the compliment is left-handed, there are symptoms of a
friendlier tone in the parallel between Prince Hal (Henry V) and Prince
"Al." _Punch_, furthermore, congratulates the Prince on giving up the
hat-business, interesting himself in the welfare of the working classes,
and contributing by his speeches and subscriptions to the advancement of
social reform. A year later he is saluted as the Prince of
Bricklayers:--

    His Royal Highness is now always laying the foundation stone of
    some charitable institution or other.... The services of Her
    Majesty's Consort ought to be duly requited, and _Punch_, in order
    to reward him in kind, hereby spreads the mortar of approbation
    with the trowel of sincerity, upon a Prince who really appears to
    be coming out like a regular brick.

But, as we have noted elsewhere, it was the Exhibition of 1851 which,
more than anything else, tended to enhance the Prince's repute and
popularity. It was a great and fruitful idea--and the Prince was its
only begetter. The speech of the Prince Consort in explaining the
significance of the Exhibition as the realizing of the solidarity of the
world, Thackeray's May Day Ode, which appeared in _The Times_, and other
utterances in the Press show, as Professor Bury points out in _The Idea
of Progress_, that "the Exhibition was, at the time, optimistically
regarded not merely as a record of material achievement and technical
progress, but as a demonstration that humanity was at last on its way to
a better and happier state.... A vista was suggested, at the end of
which far-sighted people might think they discerned Tennyson's
'Federation of the World.'" _Punch_ never failed to give the Prince the
credit of initiating the scheme, and, after a little wavering, gave it
his enthusiastic support. The change in public opinion towards the
Prince is well reflected in the frank but friendly palinode which
appeared in the issue of November 26, 1853, as a result of the
suggestion made by City magnates to erect a statue to the Prince in Hyde
Park:--

PRINCE _PUNCH_ TO PRINCE ALBERT

    Illustrious and excellent brother,
      Don't consider me rude or unkind,
    If, as from one Prince to another,
      I give you a bit of my mind--
    And I do so with all the more roundness,
      As your conduct amongst us has shown
    A propriety, judgment and soundness
      Of taste, not surpassed by my own.

    You've respected John Bull's little oddities,
      Never trod on the old fellow's corns;
    Chose his pictures and statues--commodities
      Wherein his own blunders he mourns.
    And if you're a leetle more German
      In these than I'd have you--what is't
    Beyond what a critic may term an
      Educational bias or twist?

           *       *       *       *       *

    You have never pressed forward unbidden;
      When called on you've never shown shame,
    Not paraded, nor prudishly hidden
      Your person, your purse, or your name;
    You've lent no man occasion to call you
      Intruder, intriguer, or fool;
    Even I've not had often to haul you
      O'er the coals, or to take you to school.

    All this, my dear Prince, gives me boldness--
      Which, _au reste_, our positions allow--
    For a hint (which you'll not charge to coldness,
      After all I have written just now):
    Which is to put down certain flunkies,
      Who by flatt'ry your favour would earn,
    Pelting praise at your head, as at monkeys
      Tars throw stones--to get nuts in return.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Then silence your civic applauders,
      Lest better men cease from applause.
    He who tribute accepts of marauders,
      Is held to be pledged to their cause.
    Let no Corporate magnates of London
      An honour presume to award:
    Their own needs, till ill-doings be undone,
      Little honour to spare can afford!

[Sidenote: Prince Punch to Prince Albert]

A little later on, on the eve of the Crimean War, _Punch_ was evidently
impressed by the alleged interference of the Prince in high affairs of
State. The cartoon of January 7, 1854, represents the Prince skating on
thin ice marked "Foreign Affairs--Very Dangerous," and _Mr. Punch_
shouting to him; and in the same issue the lines "Hint and Hypothesis"
warn the Prince against shifting his tactics and adopting the _rôle_ of
an intriguer. These rumours were so persistent that Lord Aberdeen felt
it necessary to allude to them in the House of Lords at the opening of
the Session, declaring that not only was there no foundation for the
charge that the Prince had interfered with the Army or the Horse Guards,
but that he had declined the suggestion of the Duke of Wellington that
he should succeed him as Commander-in-Chief. His interest in the Army
was naturally keen, but it was general. That he was the adviser of the
Queen, in his capacity of husband and most intimate companion was beyond
all doubt, but Lord Aberdeen vigorously maintained that he had never
uttered a single Syllable in the Council which had not tended to the
honour, the interest, and the welfare of the country. Still suspicion
was not wholly appeased, and _Punch's_ references to the Prince during
the Crimean War were none too friendly. In 1855 he is credited with the
intention of heroically resigning his Field Marshal's bâton and pay, as
a "noble beginning of Military Reform," in response to the public cry
for the dismissal of "incompetent nobility." And at the end of the year
his desire to go to the Crimea is made the subject of ironic
remonstrance. As a matter of fact, the reader of to-day must be told,
the intention and the desire were both inventions of _Punch_, who was
playing his favourite game of attributing to exalted personages resolves
and actions which they never contemplated, but which he wanted them to
make or take, and which if they had taken, he would probably have
criticized as unnecessary and injudicious. Even more malicious was the
picture of _Punch_ regarding a portrait of the Prince, exhibited in the
Academy of 1857, in Field Marshal's uniform, and saying to himself,
"What sanguinary engagement can it be?" _Punch_ cannot be acquitted of
treating the Prince Consort--as he only now began to be generally
called--with less than justice in view of the difficult and delicate
position he occupied. The impression was given that the Prince wanted to
meddle in the conduct of the War, and that it was necessary to prevent
him from making himself a nuisance by going to the front. And mixed with
this was the impression, which these cartoons and comments prompted,
that the Prince was making a request which he knew would be refused;
that, in short, he was at once vain-glorious, insincere, and
self-protective. It was not the first time _Punch_ had been unjust to
the Prince: he had failed to recognize him as a powerful ally in the
campaign against duelling in 1843. In the main, however, it may be urged
that ridicule gave place to criticism in the latter years of the
Prince's life; but the revulsion of feeling in _Punch_--and the
public--did not set in until after his death. Like Peel, the Prince
Consort had to die before his services to the country were recognized.

[Illustration: THE GRASSHOPPERS' FEAST: A PROPHETIC VISION.

Queen Butterfly received by Lord Grasshopper--Monday, October 28, 1844.]

As the Prince Consort was, often without just grounds, the chief cause
of the unpopularity of the Court and the favourite target of satire, we
have given him priority in this survey. But, quite apart from the
influence which he exerted, or was supposed to exert, upon her, the
Queen was by no means exempt from direct censure, remonstrance, and
exceedingly frank criticism. In one respect, however, the Queen was
treated with invariable consideration. Even in his most democratic days
_Punch_ never caricatured the Sovereign. The portraits of the Queen are
always pleasant, even flattering. Witness the delightful picture of her
visit to the City in 1844. Though _Punch's_ pen was sharp his pencil was
kind, though at times extremely familiar, as in the prophetic cartoon
published under the heading, "A Royal Nursery Rhyme for 1860[14]":--

    There was a Royal Lady who lived in a shoe,
    She had so many children she didn't know what to do.

[Footnote 14: See Illustration.]

As early as the Christmas number of 1842 _Punch_ had given "the
arrangements for the next ten years of the Royal family," with the names
and titles of eleven princes and princesses! In the spring of 1843 he
comments, with mock sympathy, on the Queen's liability to income tax.
More serious is the charge, brought in his favourite oblique fashion,
against the Queen for the neglect of her duties.--

    TREASONOUS ATTACK ON HER MAJESTY

    _Punch_ has been greatly shocked by a very treasonable letter in
    the columns of _The Times_. Whether _Punch's_ friend, the Attorney
    General, has had the epistle handed over to him, and contemplates
    immediate proceedings against "C. H.," the traitorous writer,
    _Punch_ knows not; but after this information, the distinguished
    law-officer cannot plead ignorance of the evil, as an apology for
    future supineness. The letter purports to be a remonstrance to our
    sovereign lady, the Queen; in a measure, accusing Her Gracious
    Majesty of a certain degree of indifference towards the interests
    of London trade, of literature, the arts and sciences. The rebel
    writes as follows:--

    "Buckingham Palace is neither so agreeable nor salubrious a
    residence as Windsor, but neither is the crown so pleasant to wear
    as a bonnet. I trust it is not necessary to remind Queen Victoria
    that royalty, like property, has its _duties_ as well as its
    _rights_. One of these duties is to reside in the metropolis of the
    kingdom, the presence of the sovereign in the capital being
    essential on many occasions. I could enumerate other duties of the
    sovereign, such, for instance, as conferring fashion on public
    entertainments that deserve to be encouraged by attending such
    places of amusement, and countenancing science, literature and the
    arts, by honouring distinguished professors with marks of
    approbation; in which respect it is much to be regretted there is
    too much room for those remarks on the remissness of Her Majesty in
    these respects that are so frequently made in society. When we know
    how much discontent, engendered by widely spread and deeply-felt
    distress is expressed by persons not to be numbered among 'the
    lower classes,' it is not without alarm that the influence of these
    acts of omission on the part of Queen Victoria can be regarded; and
    it becomes the duty of every friend of the monarchy and the
    constitution to warn the Sovereign of the danger, not merely to her
    personal popularity, but to the feeling of loyalty to the throne,
    that is likely to accrue from such neglect."

In these years, and for a good many years to come, _Punch_ hunted in
couples with _The Times_.

[Sidenote: _Neglect of Native Talent_]

The neglect of native talent and the encouragement of foreign artists,
musicians, men of letters, is harped upon in number after number for
year after year. Here again the method is sometimes direct, sometimes
oblique, as in the fictitious list of people invited to the Court:
Dickens, Hood, Mrs. Somerville, and Maria Edgeworth. Another opportunity
was when it was announced that the Danish Royal family had attended the
funeral of Thorwaldsen in deep mourning, _Punch_ exclaims, "imagine for
a moment English Royalty in deep mourning for departed genius!" The
often-repeated visits of "General Tom Thumb" to Court in 1844 made him
very angry. At the second "command" performance the General "personated
Napoleon amid great mirth, and this was followed by a representation of
Grecian statues, after which he danced a nautical hornpipe, and sang
several of his favourite songs" in the presence, as _Punch_ notes, of
the Queen of the Belgians, daughter of Louis Philippe. But _Punch_ had
his revenge on this curious and deep-rooted interest of Royalty in
dwarfs--Queen Isabella of Spain had one permanently attached to her
staff--by indulging in a delightful speculation on the happy results
that would have ensued if George IV, like General Tom Thumb, had stopped
growing at the age of five months:--

    How much we should have been spared had George IV only weighed 15
    lbs. and stopped at 25 inches! How much would have been saved
    merely in tailors' bills, and how many pavilions for his dwarf
    majesty might have been built at a hundredth part of the cost that
    was swallowed by the royal folly at Brighton!

The Georges, it may be remarked, were no favourites of _Punch_, nor was
this to be wondered at when one recalls their treatment at the hands of
Thackeray, the least democratic member of the staff. _Punch_ considered
that Brummell was a better man than his "fat friend," and consigned the
latter to infamy in the following caustic epitaph, one of a series on
the Four Georges:--

GEORGIUS ULTIMUS

        He left an example for age and for youth
                      To avoid.
        He never acted well by Man or Woman,
      And was as false to his Mistress as to his Wife.
        He deserted his Friends and his Principles.
      He was so ignorant that he could scarcely spell;
        But he had some skill in cutting out Coats,
          And an undeniable Taste for Cookery.
    He built the Palaces of Brighton and of Buckingham,
        And for these Qualities and Proofs of Genius,
                  An admiring Aristocracy
    Christened him the "First Gentleman in Europe."
        Friends, respect the KING whose Statue is here,
        And the generous Aristocracy who admired him.

In the same year _Punch_, with malicious inventiveness, represented
Queen Victoria in the act of unveiling a great statue to Shakespeare on
Shakespeare Cliff, adding as her epitaph: "She rarely went to the
Italian Opera and she raised a statue to Shakespeare." In these
agilities _The Times_ again proved a useful ally, for in the same number
we find the following:--

HIGH TREASON

A traitor, who signs himself "Alpha," and writes in _The Times_, writes
thus:--

    "It is no use to conceal the fact--British high art _is hated at
    Court, and dreaded by the aristocracy_. They don't want it; they
    can't afford it; they think any art, which does not cultivate their
    vanity or domestic affections, can have no earthly use!"

    We trust that the writer of the above will be immediately committed
    to the Tower, there, in due season, to be brought to the block.

[Illustration: TRAINING SCHOOL FOR LADIES ABOUT TO APPEAR AT COURT]

It was a letter in _The Times_ that again prompted _Punch's_
remonstrance, in July, 1845, against the Queen's preference for French
milliners, and an historical contrast is rubbed in by the article on the
imaginary "Royal Poetry Books," or didactic poems, for the benefit of
the Royal infants, of which two specimens may be quoted:--

THE NEW SINGER OF ITALY

    There was a new Singer of Italy
    Who went through his part very prettily;
      "Mamma tinks him so fine,
      We must have him to dine!"
    Papa remarked slily and wittily.

THE OLD SINGER OF AVON

    There was an old Singer of Avon,
    Who, Aunty Bess thought, was a brave one;
      But Mamma doesn't care
      For this stupid swan's air,
    Any more than the croak of a raven.

[Sidenote: _Royal Visits and Visitors_]

[Illustration: CALYPSO MOURNING THE DEPARTURE OF ULYSSES

Calypso, Q----n V----a; Ulysses, K--g of the F----h.]

The Court was certainly not addicted to extravagance, but the Queen's
"bal poudré" in June is heavily ridiculed, largely, no doubt, because of
_Punch's_ frequently expressed conviction that the British never shone
as masqueraders. Cobden's speech in 1848, attacking highly-paid
sinecures in the Royal Household, is approved, but _Punch_ was no
advocate of parsimony. The new front of Buckingham Palace is severely
criticized in March, 1849: its only beauty is that of hiding the
remainder of the building like "a clean front put on to make the best of
an indifferent shirt." The "mountainous flunkeydom" at Royal levées is
a frequent incentive to ridicule with pen and pencil; _Punch_ is happy
in pillorying the _Morning Post_ for the use of the phrase, "the dense
mass of the nobility and gentry" at one of Lady Derby's receptions;
while he applauds the Queen for setting a good example by giving early
juvenile parties in the season of 1850. Her visits and visitors were
carefully scrutinized and freely criticized, beginning with the Royal
tour in Belgium and France in the autumn of 1843, when Queen Victoria is
represented as mesmerizing Louis Philippe with a Commercial Treaty.
_Punch_ was in frequent hot water with Louis Philippe--whom, by the way,
he once represented as Fagin--and the impending visit of the French
Sovereign, at the close of 1844, led to some plain talk on his folly in
proscribing and impounding _Punch_, followed up by a burlesque account
of his arrival at Portsmouth, with an ironical reference to the omission
of all literary men, painters, musicians, sculptors, etc., from the
invitations to meet him at Court. When the French King left, _Punch_
burlesqued the situation by representing the Queen as Calypso. _Punch_,
like the _Skibbereen Eagle_, always kept his eye on the Tsar of
Russia--and, indeed, upon all foreign potentates. The Tsar Nicholas
stood, to him, for all that was evil in "the King business." His attacks
began in 1842 and never ceased in the Tsar's lifetime. The visit to
England in the summer of 1844 was the signal for an explosion of bitter
hostility. Readers of _Punch_ are advised to carry every penny of the
largess he drops to the Polish Fund. They should be polite, but avoid
any approval of his looks or manners. The Tsar's misdeeds and acts of
harshness to Poles and Jews are minutely recalled. Queen Victoria is
shown in a cartoon offering Poland as a bun to Nicholas the Bear at the
Zoo. The Tsar's lavish presents are flouted and condemned. A design for
the 500-guinea cup he offered for Ascot is made a hideous memento of
savage repression. His subscription to the Polish Ball is compared to
the action of Claude Duval fiddling to his victims. The Tsar, in short,
was "good for Knout"; and John Bull was being led by the nose with a
diamond ring in it. Nor has _Punch_ a single good word to say for the
King of Prussia right from 1842 to 1857. His visit in the former year,
"to strengthen the cast of the Prince of Wales's christening," met with
anything but a friendly welcome. When he returned in the year 1844,
_Punch_ profoundly distrusted the King's humility when he visited
Newgate with Mrs. Fry and knelt and prayed in the female prisoners'
ward; and his suspicions were confirmed by his treatment of the refugee
Poles, who were handed back to the mercies of Tsar Nicholas. Throughout
the entire period the King of Prussia figures as "King Clicquot," from
his alleged fondness for the bottle. The King of Hanover comes off even
worse. Witness the truly amazing frankness of the comments on his visit
in June, 1843:--

TRIUMPHAL RETURN OF THE KING OF HANOVER

    The King of Hanover is once more among us. After a painful absence
    of six years--intensely painful to all parties--the monarch returns
    to the country of his birth, a country to which he will leave his
    name, as Wordsworth says of Wallace, "as a flower," odorous and
    perennial. He arrives here, it is said, to be present at the
    marriage of his niece, the Princess Augusta, with a German Prince,
    who is not only to take an English wife, but with her three
    thousand pounds per annum of English money; of money coined from
    the sweat of starving thousands; money to gild the shabby Court of
    Mecklenburg with new splendour. Sir Robert Peel has been, it is
    said, under a course of steel draughts, and other invigorating
    medicine, the better to fortify himself in his address to the
    Commons for the cash. Sir Robert, however, acutely alive to our
    fallen revenue, is still very nervous. It is reported that, on the
    evening when the demand upon the patience and the rags of John Bull
    was made, the Prime Minister blushed "for that night only."

            *       *       *       *       *

    Herein is the extreme value of the numberless scions of Royalty
    with which England is over-blessed. The Duke of Cumberland (we mean
    the King of Hanover) has £23,000 a year from the sweat of
    Englishmen. And does not his Highness, or his Kingship, whilst
    taking a salary, exercise a most salutary effect upon Britons? Does
    he not practically teach them the beauty of humility--of long
    suffering--of self-denying charity and benevolence? Why, he is a
    continual record of the liberality and magnanimity of Englishmen,
    who, if ever they fall into an excess of admiration for royalty,
    will owe the enthusiasm to such bright examples as the monarch of
    Hanover. In the East there are benevolent votaries who build
    expensive fabrics for the entertainment of the most noisome
    creatures. Englishmen are above such superstition; and in the very
    pride and height of their intelligence, allow £23,000 to the King
    of Hanover.

[Sidenote: Royal Parasites]

The wedding of the Princess Augusta, daughter of the Duke of Cambridge,
to the Prince of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, was the occasion of a wonderful
explosion in the _Morning Post_:--

    Jenkins was present at the ceremony. He was somehow smuggled into
    the Royal Chapel, and stood hidden in a corner, hidden by a huge
    _bouquet_, quite another Cupid among the roses. Let us, however,
    proceed to give the "feelings" of Jenkins, merely premising that
    we should very much like to see Jenkins, when he feels "proud,
    elated and deeply moved." He says:

    "We felt alternately proud, elated, and deeply moved during the
    ceremony as _in turn_ we cast a glance at the illustrious witnesses
    to the solemnity. There was our gracious Queen, beaming with youth
    and beauty, _through which is ever discernible the eagle glance_
    and the imposing air of command so well suited to her high station.
    Next to the Queen, the Royal Consort, _one of the handsomest
    Princes of the age_, in whom the spirit of youth is so remarkably
    tempered by the _judgment and wisdom of age_. The Queen Adelaide,
    living model of every Virtue which can adorn a Woman either in
    private life or on a throne."

    So far the _Morning Post_. What says (perhaps?) an equal authority,
    _The Times_?

    "The Queen Dowager was prevented from being present at the Ceremony
    in consequence of indisposition."

The old Duke Adolphus Frederick of Cambridge was another target of
never-ending ridicule. He was a great diner-out, and his fatuous
after-dinner speeches are cruelly parodied. He was also "the Duke who
thinks aloud," whether at the play or at the Chapel Royal:--

    A few Sundays ago, the Minister and the Duke proceeded as follows:

    _Minister._ From all evil and mischief; from sin, from the crafts
    of the devil----

    (_Duke._ To be sure; very proper--very proper.)

    _Minister._ From all sedition, conspiracy, and rebellion----

    (_Duke._ Certainly; very right--very right.)

    And thus Parson and Duke proceeded together almost to the end.
    However, the worthy clergyman had to offer a prayer for the sick.
    Proceeding in this pious task, he thus commenced:

    _Minister._ The prayers of this congregation are earnestly desired
    for----

    (_Duke._ No objection--no objection!)

[Sidenote: _A Royal Duke's Household_]

One certainly does not gather from _Punch's_ pages what was none the
less a fact, that the Duke was extremely popular, that he was charitable
and benevolent, and an enlightened patron of science and art, or that he
was emphatically recognized as "a connecting link between the throne and
the people."

On the Duke's death in 1850, _Punch_, with his usual vigour, attacked
the grant of £12,000 a year to his son, the late and last Duke of
Cambridge, at a time when the claims of Horatia (Nelson's daughter) and
Mrs. Waghorn, widow of the pioneer of the Overland Route, were
neglected. The immediate sequel led to further caustic remarks:--

FOUR EQUERRIES AND THREE CHAPLAINS

    What can a quiet, kind, manly, and simple gentleman, Prince though
    he be of the British Blood Royal, want at this present period of
    time with four Equerries and three parsons in the Gazette? Are
    these ceremonies nowadays useful and decorous, or absurd and
    pitiable; and likely to cause the scorn and laughter of men of
    sense? When the greatest and wisest Statesman in England [Sir
    Robert Peel] dying declares he will have no title for his sons,
    and, as it were, repudiates the Peerage as a part of the Protective
    system which must fall one day, as other Protective institutions
    have fallen--can't sensible people read the signs of the times and
    be quiet? When Lord John comes down to the House (with that pluck
    which his Lordship always shows when he has to meet an unpopular
    measure) and asks for an allowance, which the nation grudgingly
    grants to its pensioners--when the allowance is flung at his Royal
    Highness with a grumble, is it wise to come out the next day with a
    tail of four Equerries and three clergymen?

[Illustration: THE MODERN DAMOCLES]

Louis Napoleon stands apart from the other European sovereigns of the
mid-nineteenth century in virtue of his origin and his career. But he
ran the Tsar Nicholas close, if he did not equal him, as _Punch's_ pet
aversion. As early as 1849 his imperialistic ambitions led to the
hostile comment that "empire" meant _empirer_. The _Coup d'État_ was the
signal for the fiercest attacks on his policy of "homicide." His
matrimonial ventures prompted the ribald suggestion that the Emperor
Louis should marry Lola Montez! His persistent gagging of the Press in
France, and his attempts to subsidize or manipulate that in England, are
vehemently denounced. _Punch's_ attacks ceased during the Crimean War,
but it was a reluctant truce, and they broke out again after the Peace
was signed. Douglas Jerrold cordially detested the Emperor, and was
responsible for the hardest of the many hard things said against him in
_Punch_.

By a strange irony of fate it was Douglas Jerrold's own son, William
Blanchard Jerrold, who, working upon materials supplied him by the
Empress Eugénie, produced in the four volumes of his _Life of Napoleon
III_ the chief _apologia_ in English of the Second Empire.

But to return to the Queen and the English Royal Family. Amongst
_Punch's_ unconscious prophecies room must certainly be found for his
reference, in a satire of the Queen's speech when Peel was Premier, to
Her Majesty as "Victoria Windsor" nearly seventy-five years before the
surname was formally adopted by her grandson. The suggested statue to
Cromwell at the new Houses of Parliament gave rise to a long and heated
controversy in 1845 in which _Punch_ ranged himself militantly among the
partisans of the Protector. He published mock protests from various
sovereigns; he considered Cromwell's claim side by side with those of
the "Sexigamist" murderer Henry VIII and other kings, and printed a
burlesque design of his own, with a sneer at Pugin for his "determined
zeal in keeping up the bad drawing of the Middle Ages."

[Illustration: SHOULD CROMWELL HAVE A STATUE?]

The Queen's visit to Ireland in 1849 is treated in considerable detail,
and in an optimistic vein. _Punch_ never believed in the Repeal
Agitation or in Daniel O'Connell, whom he regarded as a trading patriot
and a self-seeking demagogue, contrasting him unfavourably with Father
Mathew. Nor had he any sympathy with "Young Ireland," or Thomas Davis,
or the romantic leaders of the movement of 1848; as for Smith O'Brien,
an immortality of ridicule was conferred on him in Thackeray's famous
ballad on "The Battle of Limerick." The terrible ravages of the potato
famine had evoked _Punch's_ sympathy; but his hopes of an enduring
reconciliation were small, and he quotes the tremendous saying of
Giraldus Cambrensis that Ireland would be pacified _vix paulò ante Diem
Judicii_--or only just before the Day of Judgment. Still, the Queen's
visit was hailed as of good omen, though _Punch_ reminds her that she
had only seen the bright side of the dark Rosaleen--palaces and not
cabins. "Let Erin _forget_ the days of old" is the burden of his song;
at least he refrained from quoting--if he ever knew of it--that other
terrible saying that "Ireland never forgets anything except the benefits
that she has received." The Queen's magnanimity and clemency to her
traducer Jasper Judge in the same year called forth a warm eulogium.
Judge was a thief and a spy, yet the Queen, on the petition of his wife,
paid the costs of her vilifier.

In 1849, also, _Punch_, evidently still in mellower mood, published an
enthusiastic tribute to the memory of the Dowager Queen Adelaide, who
died on December 2. _Punch_ specially refers to her generosity to Mrs.
Jordan, the mistress of William IV, when he was Duke of Clarence, and
the mother of ten of his children. "Let those who withhold their aid
from the daughter of Nelson, because the daughter of Lady Hamilton,
consider this and know that the best chastity is adorned by the largest
charity." Queen Adelaide had long outlived the unpopularity caused by
her supposed interference in politics at the time of the Reform
Agitation, and _Punch's_ homage was well deserved. It is a sign of the
times that _Punch_ begins to allude to the Queen as "our good Queen," or
more affectionately as "our little Queen," and this growth of her
popularity continues (with occasional setbacks) throughout the 'fifties.
At the close of 1852 _Punch_ ridicules as absurd the rumour of the
betrothal of the Princess Royal to Prince Frederick William of Prussia,
the Princess being only twelve years old. The report appeared in a
German paper, and proved true. _Punch's_ chief objection was
sentimental: "The age is past when Royalty respected its family at the
rate of live stock," and he could not believe that such a principle
would govern the Court, seeing that it was "adorned now at last with the
domestic graces." Besides, _Punch_ in the summer of 1844 had published
his own New Royal Marriage Act (suggested by _The Times's_ comment on
the late Duke of Sussex's love letters), which winds up: "Be it
therefore enacted that a member of the Royal Family shall be at liberty
to marry whom or how or when, where or anywhere, he or she likes or
pleases."

[Sidenote: _The Princess Royal's Betrothal_]

Scepticism of the report animates the set of verses published three
years later:--

ABSURD RUMOUR OF AN APPROACHING MARRIAGE IN THE HIGHEST LIFE

    They say that young Prussia our Princess will wed,
    Which shows that we can't believe half that is said.
    What? she marry the nephew of Clicquot the mean!
    The friend and ally of the foe of the Queen?

    Why, nothing keeps Clicquot from standing array'd
    Against her in arms, but his being afraid.
    His near kinsman the spouse of Her Majesty's child!
    Pooh!--the notion is monstrous, preposterous, wild.

    The Princess is--bless her!--scarce fifteen years old;
    One summer more even o'er _Dinah_ had roll'd.
    To marry so early she can't be inclined;
    A suitable _Villikins_ some day she'll find.

    Moreover, in her case, we know very well,
    There exist no "stern parients" her hand to compel,
    Affording the Laureate a theme for a lay,
    With a burden of "Teural lal leural li day."

Whether the German newspaper had been merely exercising "intelligent
anticipation" or not, the projected alliance was confirmed in 1856.
_Punch's_ comment on the Princess's dowry was unsympathetic, but the
betrothal was celebrated in verse at once ceremonial and friendly.
References to the Queen during the Crimean War are noticed elsewhere; we
may note, however, that when one "Raphael" published a Prophetic
Almanack in which he took liberties with the Queen's name, _Punch_
administered a severe castigation to the offender. _Punch_ did not like
his monopoly to be infringed.



THE OLD NOBILITY


Between the aristocracy as depicted in the pages of _Punch_ and in those
of the _Morning Post_ in the 'forties and 'fifties there is a wide gulf.
As we have seen, _Punch's_ admiration of the Duke of Wellington stopped
a long way this side of idolatry. Yet even when the Duke was criticized
most severely as a politician, the recognition of his greatness was not
denied. A good example is to be found in the cartoon of the "Giant and
the Dwarf," which was inspired by Napoleon's legacy to the subaltern
Cantillon, who was charged with an attempt to murder Wellington.
Wellington himself had been approached with a view to similar action
against Napoleon, and here was his reply:--

    "---- wishes to kill him; but I have told him that I shall
    remonstrate; I have likewise said that, as a private friend, I
    advised him to have nothing to do with so foul a transaction; and
    that he and I had acted too distinguished parts in these
    transactions to become executioners; and that I was determined
    that, if the sovereigns wished to put him to death, they should
    appoint an executioner, which would not be me."[15]

The cartoon is accompanied by this comment:--

    The Duke has made his political blunders and in his time talked
    political nonsense as well as his inferiors. Moreover he exhibits a
    defective sympathy with the people.... Nevertheless, contrasting
    Wellington's answer to the proposed death of the ex-Emperor with
    Napoleon's reward of the would-be assassin of the General (i.e.
    Wellington himself), need we ask which is the Giant and which is
    the Dwarf?

Other dukes cut a less dignified figure in the lean years which preceded
the repeal of the Corn Laws--whether as coal-owners, Protectionists, or
strict enforcers of the Game-Laws.

[Footnote 15: Colonel Garwood's selections from the Duke of Wellington's
Dispatches.]

[Illustration: HENRY MARQUESS OF WATERFORD: A NEW STATUE OF ACHILLES

Cast from Knockers taken in the vicinities of Sackville Street, Vigo
Lane, and Waterloo Place.]

The first hint of the long campaign against the Dukes of Bedford in
connexion with "Mud Salad Market" occurs in February, 1844. The Dukes of
Sutherland, Atholl, Norfolk and Buckingham all came under the lash. When
Lord William Lennox's plagiarisms from Hood and Scott in his novel _The
Tuft-hunter_ were exposed, _Punch_ printed this jingling epigram:--

    A Duke once declared--and most solemnly too--
    That whatever he liked with his own he would do;
    But the son of a Duke has gone farther, and shown
    He will do what he likes with what isn't his own!

[Sidenote: _Marquesses under the Microscope_]

And the marquesses came off even worse. The eccentric Marquess of
Waterford is celebrated for his knocker-hunting exploits in the very
first number. The Marquess of Hertford--the original of Thackeray's
Marquess of Steyne in _Vanity Fair_--is subjected to posthumous obloquy,
_à propos_ of the claim of his valet on his executors, who "were
compelled to bring the dead Marquess into Court, that the loathsome dead
may declare the greater loathsomeness of the living." The Marquess of
Londonderry came under the lash not merely as a rapacious coal-owner,
but as a bad writer: "the most noble but not the most grammatical
Marquess." So again we are informed respecting the Marquess of
Normanby's novels that "they have just declared a dividend of 2½d. in
the pound, which is being paid at all the butter shops." One has to wait
for nearly ten years for acknowledgment of virtue in the marquisate, but
then it is certainly handsome. The occasion was the entrance into power
of the Derby-Disraeli (or "Dilly-Dizzy") Cabinet:--

THE MARQUIS OF LANSDOWNE AND THE NEW MINISTRY

The first act of the Ministry in the House of Lords was done with
the worst of grace. The Marquis of Lansdowne took farewell of
office and of official life. And who was there, among the new men,
to do reverence to the unstudied yet touching ceremony? Nobody,
save the Earl of Malmesbury. _The Times_ says, and most truly:

    "A public life, which has literally embraced the first half of this
    century, and which last night was most gracefully concluded,
    deserved an ampler and richer tribute than our new Foreign
    Secretary seemed able to bestow."

Nothing could be colder, meaner, and certainly more foreign to the
heartiness of English generosity than the chip-chip phrases of Lord
Malmesbury. It is such men as the Marquis of Lansdowne who are the true
strength of the House of Lords. He is a true Englishman. In fifty years
of political life his name has never been mixed with aught mean or
jobbing. In the most tempestuous times, his voice has been heard amongst
the loudest for right. In days when to be a reformer was to take rank a
little above a fanatic and a public despoiler, the Marquis of Lansdowne
struck at rotten boroughs. He has ever been a patriot in the noblest
sense. And there was nobody but cold-mouthed Malmesbury to touch upon
his doings? So it is!

    Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back
    Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,
    A great-sized monster of ingratitudes:
    Those scraps are good deeds past.

But the political deeds of the Marquis of Lansdowne are written in the
history of his country. After the wear of fifty years, not one spot
rests upon his robes. His coronet borrows worth and lustre from the
true, manly, English brain that beats--(and in the serene happiness of
honoured age may it long continue to beat!)--beneath it.

[Sidenote: _Educating the House of Lords_]

[Illustration: APPROPRIATE

FIRST CITIZEN: "I say, Bill--I wonder what he calls hisself?"

SECOND DITTO: "Blowed if I know!--but I calls him a Bloated
Haristocrat."]

As for peers in general, _Punch's_ views may be gathered from his scheme
for the Reform of the House of Lords issued in the same year:--

    It is an indisputable truth that there can be no such being as a
    born legislator. As unquestionable is the fact that there may be a
    born ass.

    We are not proving that fact--only stating it--_pace_ your
    word-snapper on the look-out for a snap.

    But your born ass may be born to your legislator's office, and
    command a seat in the house of legislators by inheritance, as in
    not a few examples, wherein the coronet hides not the donkey's
    ears.

    The object of a Reform in the House of Lords should be to keep the
    asinines of the aristocracy out of it: so that the business of the
    country may be no more impeded by their braying, or harmed by their
    kicking.

    Nobody is a physician by birth. Even the seventh son of a seventh
    son must undergo an examination before he is allowed to prescribe a
    dose of physic for an old woman.

    But any eldest son, or other male relation, of a person of a
    certain order is chartered, as such, to physic the body corporate:
    which is absurd.

    Now, the Reform we propose for the House of Lords, is, not to admit
    any person, whose only claim to membership is that of having been
    born a Peer, to practise his profession without examination.

    Examine him in the Alphabet--there have been Peers who didn't know
    that. In reading, writing, and arithmetic: you already make a
    Lord--the Mayor of London--count hobnails. In history--for he is to
    help furnish materials for its next page. In geography, astronomy,
    and the use of the globes; which, being indispensable to ladies,
    are _a fortiori_ to be required of Lords. In political economy, the
    physiology of the Constitution which he will have to treat. In
    medicine, that he may understand the analogies of national and
    individual therapeutics; and also learn not to patronize
    homoeopaths and other quacks. In geology, that he may acquire a
    philosophical idea of pedigree, by comparing the bones of his
    ancestors with those of the ichthyosaurus, or the foundation of his
    house with the granite rocks. In the arts and sciences, generally,
    which it will be his business to promote, if he does his business.
    In literature, that he may cultivate it; at least, respect it, and
    stand up for the liberty of unlicensed printing, instead of
    insulting and calumniating the Press.

    This is our scheme of Peerage Reform, to which the principal
    objection we anticipate is, that it is impracticable, because it
    can't be done; and that, warned by the confusion and disorder that
    has resulted from change in foreign nations, we should shrink from
    touching a time-honoured institution; which is as much as to say,
    that because our neighbours have divided their carotid arteries, we
    had better not shave ourselves.

To "most noble fatuities," "Lord White Sticks," privileged gamblers,
extravagant guardsmen, pluralists (among whom the Greys and Elliots are
specially attacked), and their fulsome upholders in the Press, scant
mercy is shown. Some exceptions are made: Lord Mahon for his interest in
the drama and art; Lord Albemarle for his views on the Reform of the
Marriage Laws; Lord St. Leonards for cutting down Chancery pleadings and
all the "awful and costly machinery of word spinning" connected
therewith. With Lord Brougham, who was so long one of _Punch's_
favourite butts, we deal elsewhere. But neither he nor Sugden (Lord St.
Leonards) belonged to the "Old Nobility"; they were not ranked with the
"snobbish peers" who opposed the education of the masses or the
appointment of a Minister of Education, or wanted to keep poor children
out of the London parks, a topic referred to more than once.

Aristocratic nepotism is another favourite theme of satire: the classic
example being furnished by the famous telegram sent during the Crimean
War by Lord Panmure, when Secretary for War, to Lord Raglan: "Take care
of Dowb." "Dowb." was Captain Dowbiggin, a relative of Lord Panmure's.
Hence the epigram:--

CE N'EST QUE LE PREMIER PAS QUI COÛTE

    "The reform of our army," should Panmure ask, "how begin?"
    "By not taking," says _Punch_, "quite so much care of Dowbiggin."

With Bulwer Lytton a long feud was maintained, but it was not as a peer
but as a writer and a sophisticated snob that he earned the dislike of
_Punch_, who published (February 28, 1846) Tennyson's retort on his
traducer. In later years, however, a complete reconciliation took place.

[Sidenote: _Thackeray on Great Folks_]

_Punch_ saw no inherent virtue in peers or peerages. He welcomed the
bestowal of one on Macaulay; he applauded the decision of Peel's family
in declining the honour after his death. Mentions by name of noble
personages in his pages in this period are more often hostile than
friendly. He agreed with Tennyson that "kind hearts are more than
coronets," but he was far from maintaining that they were incompatible.
Thackeray, who, as we know, did not see eye to eye with Douglas Jerrold,
and found his constant anti-aristocratic invective tiresome, redressed
the balance, notably in "Mr. Brown's Letters to a Young Man about Town."
Discoursing on good women, in whose company you can't think evil, he
says you may find them in the suburbs and Mayfair, and, again:--

    The great comfort of the society of great folks is that they do not
    trouble themselves about your twopenny little person, as smaller
    persons do, but take you for what you are--a man kindly and
    good-natured, or witty and sarcastic, or learned and eloquent, or a
    good _raconteur_, or a very handsome man, or an excellent gourmand
    and judge of wine--or what not. Nobody sets you so quickly at your
    ease as a fine gentleman. I have seen more noise made about a
    Knight's lady than about the Duchess of Fitz-Battleaxe herself; and
    Lady Mountararat, whose family dates from the Deluge, enter and
    leave a room, with her daughters the lovely Ladies Eve and Lilith
    D'Arc, with much less pretension, and in much simpler capotes and
    what-do-you-call-'ems, than Lady de Mogins, or Mrs. Shindy, who
    quit an assembly in a whirlwind, with trumpets and alarums like a
    stage King and Queen.



SOCIETY--EXCLUSIVE, GENTEEL, AND SHABBY GENTEEL


For the manners and customs of High Life in the 'forties and 'fifties
_Punch_ cannot be regarded as a first-rate authority for the excellent
reason that, with the exception of Thackeray, none of the staff had the
_entrée_ to these exalted circles. They were busy, hard-worked, often
overworked, journalists and officials, and their recreations and
diversions did not bring them into intimate contact with the dwellers in
Mayfair or Belgravia. They kept a watchful eye upon the extravagances
and vagaries of High Life, but mainly as it revealed itself in its
public form or in politics. In the study of the Geology of Society,
which appeared in one of his earliest numbers, _Punch_ subdivides the
three main strata of Society--High Life, Middle Life, Low Life--into
various classes. The superior, or St. James's series, contains people
wearing coronets, related to coronets, expecting coronets. Thence we
pass to the Russell Square group, and the Clapham group, and thence to
the "inferior series" resident in Whitechapel and St. Giles, and it was
of these groups, especially the transitional, genteel and shabby
genteel, that _Punch_, in his earliest days, had most first-hand
knowledge.

[Sidenote: _Almack's_]

The exclusiveness of fashionable society cannot be better illustrated
than by the existence of such an institution as Almack's. It was nothing
less than a stroke of genius on the part of that shrewd Scot from
Galloway--Almack is said to have been an inversion of his real name,
MacCaul, though another account of his origin represents him as a
Yorkshire Quaker--who came to London as a valet to the Duke of Hamilton,
and, soon after starting Almack's Club, a fashionable resort for
aristocratic gamblers, afterwards merged in Brooks's, opened the famous
Assembly Rooms in King Street, St. James's, where, for more than
seventy-five years, weekly subscription balls were held during the
twelve weeks of the London season. Almack gave his name to the Assembly
Rooms, but the management was entirely vested in the hands of a
committee of lady patronesses of the highest rank and fashion, who
distributed the ten-guinea tickets. By the beginning of the nineteenth
century it was "the seventh heaven of the fashionable world to be
introduced to Almack's." Grantley Berkeley, who frequented the Assembly
Rooms in their golden prime, speaks of the committee as "a feminine
oligarchy, less in number, but equal in power to the Venetian Council of
Ten." They issued the tickets "for the gratification of the _crême de la
crême_ of Society, with a jealous watchfulness to prevent the intrusion
of the plebeian rich or the untitled vulgar; and they drew up a code of
laws, for the select who received invitations, which they, at least,
meant to be as unalterable as those of the Medes and Persians."[16]
Great care was taken that the supply of _débutantes_ should not exceed
the demand, and so many engagements were entered into to the
accompaniment of Collinet's band that Almack's was regarded as, perhaps,
the greatest matrimonial market of the aristocracy. The maximum
attendance recorded was seventeen hundred. Almack himself died in 1781,
bequeathing the Assembly Rooms to his niece, who married Willis, after
whom they were subsequently named. By 1840 their glory had largely
departed, but so serious a review as the _Quarterly_ wrote respectfully
of their decline: "The palmy days of exclusiveness are gone by in
England. Though it is obviously impossible to prevent any given number
of persons from congregating and re-establishing an oligarchy, we are
quite sure that the attempt would be ineffectual, and that the sense of
their importance would extend little beyond the set." Yet Almack's
lingered for several years. In its august precincts, which had welcomed
and sanctioned the waltz (originally condemned as an unseemly
exhibition), the ravages of the successor of the waltz and
quadrille--the polka--are described by _Punch_ (after Byron) in the
lament of the sentimental young lady at the close of the season of 1844.
The craze for dancing was not so widely diffused as in 1920, but to
judge from the "History, Symptoms, and Progress of the Polkamania," all
strata of Society were affected:--

[Footnote 16: _Vide_ Grantley Berkeley's _Recollections_.]

[Illustration: THE POLKA

1. My Polka before Six Lessons.

2. My Polka after Six Lessons.]

[Sidenote: _Polkamania_]

[Illustration: MANNERS AND CVSTOMS OF YE ENGLYSHE IN 1849

AN "AT HOME". YE POLKA.]

    That obstinate and tormenting disease, the Polkamania, is said to
    have originated in Bohemia; in consequence, we may presume from
    analogy, of the bite of some rabid insect like the Tarantula
    Spider, although the Polka Spider has not yet been described by
    entomologists; but, when discovered, it probably will be under the
    name of _Aranea Polkapoietica_. The Polkamania, after raging
    fiercely for some time in the principal cities of the Continent, at
    length made its appearance in London, having been imported by M.
    Jullien, who inoculated certain Countesses and others with its
    specific virus, which he is said to have obtained from a Bohemian
    nobleman. The form of its eruption was at first circular,
    corresponding to the circles of fashion; but it has now extended to
    the whole body of society, including its lowest members. Its chief
    symptoms are extraordinary convulsions and wild gesticulations of
    the limbs, with frequent stampings on the floor, and rotatory
    movements of the body, such as accompany lesions of the
    _cerebellum_. That part is said by Gall to be the organ of
    amativeness; and the Polka delirium, in several instances, has
    terminated in love-madness. This form of mania, in the female
    subject, displays itself, partly, in a passion for fantastic
    finery; as fur trimmings, red, green and yellow boots, and other
    strange bedizenments. Articles of dress, indeed, seem capable of
    propagating the contagion; for there are Polka Pelisses and Polka
    Tunics; now, it was but the other day that we met with some Polka
    Wafers, so that the Polkamania seems communicable by all sorts of
    things that put it into people's heads. In this respect it
    obviously resembles the Plague; but not in this respect only; for,
    go where you will, you are sure to be plagued with it. After
    committing the greatest ravages in London itself, it attacked the
    suburbs, whence it quickly spread to remote districts, and there is
    now not a hamlet in Great Britain which it does not infest more or
    less. Its chief victims are the young and giddy; but as yet it has
    not been known to prove fatal, although many, ourselves included,
    have complained of having been bored to death by it. No cure has as
    yet been proposed for Polkamania; but perhaps an antidote,
    corresponding to vaccination, in the shape of some new jig or other
    variety of the caper, may prove effectual: yet, after all, it may
    be doubted if the remedy would not be worse than the disease.

Very little change would be needed to fit the above to the Jazzmania of
to-day. The polka had a long innings. When the 'forties opened, the
waltz and the quadrille were firmly entrenched in fashionable favour.
The waltz, as we write, shows signs of rearing its diminished head, but
the quadrille, in those days a most elaborate business with a variety of
figures--La Pastorale, L'Été, La Trénitz, La Poule, etc.--is dead beyond
redemption. But the polka mania raged with little abatement for a good
ten years.[17] In 1844, amongst other advertisements of teachers of the
art of dancing, was that of a young lady who had been instructed by a
Bohemian nobleman. In spite of much ridicule and many appeals (in which
Thackeray joined) for the suppression of the pest, the malady was
described as still acute in the dog-days of 1856, and, in more subdued
phases, lasted for another fifty years. The mazurka also came into vogue
in the mid-'forties, but was never a serious rival to the polka in its
prime. It was an age of famous professional dancers--Taglioni (who gave
her name to an overcoat), Fanny Ellsler, Cerito, and Grisi, the cousin
of the _prima-donna_; but though there were schools of dancing, and
_Thés dansants_, which _Punch_ heavily ridiculed, and though the
fashionables occasionally secured the exclusive use of the lawns at
Cremorne, there was no competition between amateurs and professionals,
as in modern times. The latter were left the monopoly of the higher
flights of the art. Besides the polka, the accomplishments of the young
lady of fashion were mainly decorative. If they did not toil or spin, at
least they occupied themselves with fancy knitting, crochet, and the
practice of Poonah painting--an early and crude imitation of Oriental
art, so popular that the advertisements of instructors in "Indian Poonah
painting" figure in the newspapers and directories of the time. The
fashionable pets were spaniels, macaws, and Persian cats. The prevailing
tastes in art and letters in fashionable or genteel society are
(allowing for a little exaggeration) not badly hit off in a paper on the
Natural History of Courtship, giving hints for the nice conduct of
conversation at a social gathering:--

[Footnote 17: A correspondent wrote to _The Times_ in 1846 complaining
that at Ramsgate "the ladies dance polkas in their bathing dresses," and
suggesting a stricter supervision of the proprieties by policemen.]

[Sidenote: _Modish Futilities_]

    It hath been wisely ordained, wherever two individuals of opposite
    sexes are standing side by side, that during the pauses of "the
    figure," or otherwise, the gentleman shall ask the lady if she be
    fond of dancing; the reply will be, "Yes, very," for it is known to
    be an unvarying rule that all young ladies are fond of dancing.
    That, therefore, affords no clue, nor indeed much subject for
    converse; hence another question succeeds, "Are you fond of music?"
    Answer, without exception, "Yes"--general rule as before; but when
    the rejoinder comes, "What instrument do you play?" although the
    reply in that case always made and provided is "the piano," yet the
    mention of a few composers' names will soon inform you of the kind
    of musical taste the fair one possesses. If she admire Herz, you
    will know she belongs to the thunder-and-lightning school of "fine
    players"; therefore, breathe not the names of Mozart, Beethoven, or
    Cramer. Should she own to singing, and call Mercadante "grand" or
    Donizetti "exquisite," do not mention Weber or Schubert, but say a
    word or two for Alexander Lee.[18]

    It will frequently occur that (always excepting the first two
    queries) a young lady will answer your questions with
    indifference--almost contempt--in the belief that you are a very
    commonplace soulless person. She has, you will find, a tinge of
    romance in her character; therefore, lose not a moment in plunging
    over head-and-ears into a talk about poetry. Should Byron or
    Wordsworth fail, try T. K. Hervey, or Barry Cornwall, but Moore is
    most strongly recommended. If you think you can trust yourself to
    do a little poetry on your own account, dash it slightly with
    meta-physics. Wherever you discover a tinge of blueism or romance,
    the mixture of "the moon," "the stars," and "the human mind," with
    common conversation is highly efficacious. When the latter
    predominates in the damsel, an effective parting speech may be
    quoted from _Romeo and Juliet_, which will bring in a reflection
    upon the short duration of the happiness you have enjoyed, and the
    quotation:

    "I never knew a young gazelle," etc.

[Sidenote: _"Finishing" a Daughter_]

This was written in _Punch_ in July, 1842, but there is not much
difference in the estimate of the feminine intellect given ten years
later:--

    HOW TO "FINISH" A DAUGHTER

    1. Be always telling her how pretty she is.

    2. Instil into her mind a proper love of dress.

    3. Accustom her to so much pleasure that she is never happy at
    home.

    4. Allow her to read nothing but novels.

    5. Teach her all the accomplishments, but none of the utilities of
    life.

    6. Keep her in the darkest ignorance of the mysteries of
    house-keeping.

    7. Initiate her into the principle that it is vulgar to do anything
    for herself.

    8. To strengthen the latter belief, let her have a lady's maid.

    9. And lastly, having given her such an education, marry her to a
    clerk in the Treasury upon £75 a year, or to an ensign who is going
    out to India.

    If, with the above careful training, your daughter is not finished,
    you may be sure it is no fault of yours, and you must look upon her
    escape as nothing short of a miracle.

[Footnote 18: George Alexander Lee (1802-51), son of a London publican
and pugilist, "tiger" to Lord Barrymore, and subsequently tenor singer,
music seller, lessee of Drury Lane, composer and music director at the
Strand and Olympic Theatres. Among his many songs and ballads, popular
in their day, were "Away, Away to the Mountain's Brow," "The Macgregor's
Gathering," and "Come where the Aspens Quiver."]

[Illustration: SPORTING MAN (loquitur): "I say, Charles, that's a
promising little filly along o' that bay-haired woman who's talking to
the black-cob-looking man."]

The "higher education" of women was not discussed in these days of
Keepsakes and Books of Beauty, though, as we have seen, the official
recognition of learned women and authoresses--Mrs. Somerville and Maria
Edgeworth--was supported by _Punch_. In his "Letters to a Young Man
about Town," Thackeray frequently insists on the refining influence of
good women in Society, but intellectual ladies met with little
encouragement from his pen or pencil; he liked to see women at dinners,
regretted their early departure, and suggested that the custom of the
gentlemen remaining behind might be modified if not abolished; "the only
substitute for them or consolation for the want of them is smoking."

_Punch_ castigates the caprice of flirts, while admitting their
fascination. He ridicules the imaginary ailments of fashionable women
exhausted by gaiety; but he waxes bitterly indignant over "the Old
Bailey ladies" who obtained access to the chapel at Newgate to listen to
the "condemned sermon" in the presence of a convicted murderer, or
scrambled for seats at the trials of notorious malefactors. The only
excuse for this odious curiosity was that their menfolk set the women
the worst possible example. Executions were public, and were freely
patronized by the nobility and gentry. The most powerful of the
_Ingoldsby Legends_ deals with this ugly phase of early Victorian
manners, and can be verified from the pages of _Punch_, who tells us
how, on the occasion of an execution in June, 1842:--

    All the houses opposite to the prison (Old Bailey) had been let to
    sight-seeking lovers at an enormous price, and, in several
    instances, the whole of the casements were taken out and raised
    seats erected for their accommodation. In one case a noble lord was
    pointed out to the reporter as having been a spectator at the last
    four or five executions: his price for his seat was said to be
    fifteen pounds.

The "Model Fast Lady" liked champagne, but the charge of indulgence in
the pleasures of the table is never brought against women of fashion.
Their extravagance in dress is often rebuked; but lovely woman, if left
to herself, in the 'forties and 'fifties, was probably content to
subsist (as according to R. L. Stevenson she subsisted forty or fifty
years later) mainly on tea and cake. Women were not exempt from the
accusation of snobbery: sarcastic comment is prompted by the letter of a
correspondent to the _Morning Post_, who wrote to describe how, as the
result of a railway accident, she, "a young lady of some birth, was
placed in a cornfield and had to wait six hours."

[Sidenote: _Verrey and Gunter_]

[Illustration: Manners and Cvstoms of ye Englyshe

A FASHIONABLE CLUB--FOUR O'CLOCK P.M.]

The brunt, however, of the social satire was borne by the men. Gluttony
was ever a male vice, and _Punch_ is constantly running a tilt against
civic gourmands and turtle-guzzling aldermen. But his censure was not
confined to the gross orgies of the City Fathers at a time when cholera
and typhus were rampant. "Everybody lives as if he had three or four
thousand a year," is his dictum, which he follows up by pleading for
more simple and frequent dinners, the entertainment of poor friends and
relations--more hospitality and less show. The "nobility and gentry" did
not, however, court publicity in their entertainments as in a later
age.[19] They dined sumptuously in their own houses; there were few
expensive restaurants in those days or for many years to come. The
nearest approach was Verrey's Café, which was then a fashionable resort,
and the immortal Gunter, who "to parties gave up what was meant for
mankind." "Society" was small, unmixed, and exclusive. Neither love nor
money could secure the "Spangle-Lacquers" (under which title _Punch_
satirizes the pretensions of the New Rich), the _entrée_ to Almack's.
For club life a mine of useful information is to be found in Thackeray's
"Letters to a Young Man about Town" and in the social cartoons of
Richard Doyle. The account of a club cardroom and the absorption and
obsession of the players needs little revision to fit the manners of
to-day, and there is much excellent advice to young men to avoid
roystering and drinking with "Old Silenus," the midnight monarch of the
smoking-room at the Polyanthus. From Thackeray's contributions we have
borrowed sparingly, but cannot refrain from quoting the passage in which
he pays noble homage to the genius of Dickens:--

    What a calm and pleasant seclusion the library presents after the
    brawl and bustle of the newspaper-room! There is never anybody
    here. English gentlemen get up such a prodigious quantity of
    knowledge in their early life that they leave off reading soon
    after they begin to shave, or never look at anything but a
    newspaper. How pleasant this room is--isn't it? with its sober
    draperies, and long calm lines of peaceful volumes--nothing to
    interrupt the quiet--only the melody of Horner's nose as he lies
    asleep upon one of the sofas. What is he reading? Hah, _Pendennis_,
    No. VII.--hum, let us pass on. Have you read _David Copperfield_,
    by the way? How beautiful it is--how charmingly fresh and simple!
    In those admirable touches of tender humour--and I should call
    humour, Bob, a mixture of love and wit--who can equal this great
    genius? There are little words and phrases in his books which are
    like personal benefits to the reader. What a place it is to hold in
    the affections of men! What an awful responsibility hanging over a
    writer! What man, holding such a place, and knowing that his words
    go forth to vast congregations of mankind--to grown folks, to their
    children, and perhaps to their children's children--but must think
    of his calling with a solemn and humble heart? May love and truth
    guide such a man always! It is an awful prayer; may Heaven further
    its fulfilment! And then, Bob, let the _Record_ revile him--See,
    here's Horner waking up--How do you do, Horner?

[Footnote 19: _Who's Who_ first appeared in 1849. In those days it was
little more than a bare list of dignitaries and officials. It was not
until 1897 that the personal note was sounded and details added which
have swelled the slim volume to its present portentous bulk.]

[Sidenote: _Tobacco Tabooed_]

Smoking was not yet a national habit. It was the height of bad form to
be seen smoking in the street. Even in clubs it was frowned upon, and
Thackeray, in his "Snob Papers," writes in ironic vein respecting "that
den of abomination which, I am told, has been established in _some_
clubs, called the Smoking Room." The embargo on pipes was not removed
for many years. A well-known judge removed his name from a well-known
club about the year 1890 because the committee refused to tolerate
pipe-smoking on their precincts. _Punch_ early ranged himself on the
side of liberty, and in 1856 was greatly incensed against the British
Anti-Tobacco Society, as against all "Anti's," "who, not content with
hating balls, plays, and other amusements themselves, want to enforce
their small antipathies on the rest of us."

[Illustration: GROUP IN THEATRE BOX]

The relaxations of men of fashion, if less multitudinous than to-day,
were at least tolerably varied. The golden age of the dandies had
passed, but the breed was still not quite extinct in 1849; witness
Thackeray's picture of Lord Hugo Fitzurse. "Fops' Alley," at the Opera,
was one of their favourite resorts; and its attractions are summed up,
during the season of 1844, in the last stanza of a "Song of the
Superior Classes":--

    Blest ballet, soul-entrancing,
      Who would not rather gaze
    On youth and beauty dancing
      Than one of Shakespeare's plays?
    Give me the haunt of Fashion,
      And let the Drama's shrine
    Engross the vulgar's passion;
      Fops' Alley, thou art mine.

Robuster natures found distraction in knocker-wrenching and organizing
parties to witness executions, but it would be as unfair to judge the
manners of the high life of the time from the exploits of the mad
Marquess of Waterford as it would be to base one's estimate on the
achievements of Lord Shaftesbury. Thackeray, in _The Newcomes_, written
in 1853, gives a somewhat lurid account of the entertainment at the
"Coal Hole," from which the indignant colonel abruptly withdrew with his
son Clive. The moral atmosphere of "Cyder Cellars" and similar places of
entertainment was not exactly rarefied, but _Punch_ makes a notable
exception in favour of Evans's Supper Rooms, which were reopened after
redecoration in the year 1856 as the abode of supper and song. There was
no price for admission. You entered by a descent from the western end of
the Piazza, Covent Garden, and took your choice from the little marble
tables near the door or nearer the raised platform. _Punch's_ only
adverse criticism is directed against the epileptic gesticulations of
the Ethiopian serenaders. For the rest he has nothing but praise for the
entertainment, whether for mind or body:--

    Anybody wanting to hear a little good music, sup, and get to bed
    betimes will be precisely suited at this place. Singing commences
    at eight. Any country curate, now, or indeed, rector, being in town
    under those circumstances, would find it just answer his purpose.
    To a serious young man, disapproving of the Opera, and tired of
    Exeter Hall, it would be a pleasant change from the last-named
    institution. Moreover it has the advantage of cheapness--so
    important to all who are truly serious. Even a bishop might give
    it an occasional inspection, without derogation from the decorum of
    his shovel hat and gaiters. A resort whereat unobjectionable
    amusement is provided for the youthful bachelor--the student of
    law--of medicine--nay, of divinity--offers an attraction in the
    right direction which is powerful to counteract a tendency towards
    the wrong: and a glass of grog, with the accompaniment of good
    singing, may have a moral value superior to that of a teetotal
    harangue and a cup of Twankay.[20]

[Footnote 20: "Twankay," constantly used at this time as an equivalent
for tea, after the name of the district of Taung Kei in China.]

[Sidenote: _Travellers and Outlaws_]

The cult of pastime was as yet in its infancy; years were to elapse
before even croquet was to assert its gentle sway. But there was always
the great game of politics and patronage, and though Crockford, the
founder of the famous gambling club at 50, St. James's Street, retired
in 1840, after he had won "the whole of the ready money of the existing
generation," in Captain Gronow's phrase, there was plenty of gambling
for very high stakes. There was also travel, limited in its larger and
more leisurely range to people of fortune, but already beginning to
appeal through excursions to the middle classes. "Paris in twelve hours"
was advertised by the South Eastern Railway in 1849, though according to
_Punch_ it really took twenty-nine hours; but before long the time
occupied in the transit was reduced to nine hours. Boulogne had long
been the resort of a curious colony of Englishmen "composed of those who
are living on their means, and those who are living in despite of them,
including, to give a romantic air of society, a slight sprinkling of
outlaws." It was at Boulogne-sur-Mer that Brummell ended his days in
poverty; but the most famous outlaws of the period under review were
"the most gorgeous" Countess of Blessington and Count D'Orsay, who fled
precipitately from Gore House in April, 1849, to Paris. Nine years
earlier Lady Blessington had been one of the most courted leaders of
fashionable society. She had beauty, fascination, a fair measure of
literary talent, and an industry only surpassed by her extravagance. Of
D'Orsay, whom Byron called the _Cupidon déchaîné_, handsome, gifted and
popular, athlete, wit and dandy, it is enough to say that he was the
only artist congenial to the Duke of Wellington, who used to call
sculptors "damned busters" and so exasperated Goya by his cavalier
treatment that the old Spanish painter is alleged to have challenged him
to a duel! Lady Blessington and D'Orsay escaped censure from _Punch_
even in his democratic days. It was hard to be angry with these birds of
Paradise, gorgeous in their lives, almost tragic in their eclipse. They
at any rate did not come under the condemnation meted out to Cockney
travellers on the Continent in 1845:--

    SMALL CHANGE FOR PERSONS GOING ON THE CONTINENT

    Laugh at everything you do not understand, and never fail to
    ridicule anything that appears strange to you. The habits of the
    lower class will afford you abundant entertainment, if you have the
    proper talent to mimic them. Their religious ceremonies you will
    also find to be an endless source of amusement.

    Recollect very few people talk in English on the Continent, so you
    may be perfectly at your ease in abusing foreigners before their
    faces, and talking any modest nonsense you like, in the presence of
    ladies, at a _table d'hôte_. Do not care what you say about the
    government of any particular state you may be visiting, and show
    your national spirit by boasting, on every possible occasion, of
    the superiority of England and everything English.

[Illustration: THE OPERA

DOORKEEPER: "Beg your pardon, Sir--but must, indeed, Sir, be in full
dress."

SNOB (excited): "Full dress!! Why, what do you call this?"]

[Sidenote: _The "Gent" Abroad and at Home_]

The criticism, if caustic, was not without provocation, and unhappily
the provocation did not cease, indeed, it may not be a rash assertion to
observe that it has not yet altogether ceased. The type reappeared as
"'Arry." In the early 'forties he was one of _Punch's_ pet aversions
under the title of "the Gent":--

    Of all the loungers who cross our way in the public thoroughfares,
    the _Gent_ is the most unbearable, principally from an assumption
    of style about him--a futile aping of superiority that inspires us
    with feelings of mingled contempt and amusement, when we
    contemplate his ridiculous pretensions to be considered "the
    thing."

    No city in the world produces so many holiday specimens of tawdry
    vulgarity as London; and the river appears to be the point towards
    which all the countless myriads converge. Their strenuous attempts
    to ape _gentility_--a bad style of word, we admit, but one
    peculiarly adapted to our purpose--are to us more painful than
    ludicrous; and the labouring man, dressed in the usual costume of
    his class, is in our eyes far more respectable than the Gent, in
    his dreary efforts to assume a style and _tournure_ which he is so
    utterly incapable of carrying out.

_Punch_ was a sincere lover of his country and her Constitution. When
foreigners criticized England or the English he was up in arms in a
moment. John Bull, he declared, _à propos_ of the suspicion of the
French Government, was the best natured, most kindly, and tolerant
fellow in the world. But this conviction never stood in the way of his
playing the candid friend to and dealing faithfully with his countrymen
on all possible occasions. As a comprehensive indictment of their
failings it would be hard to beat or to improve upon the following list
of the things an Englishman likes:--

    An Englishman likes a variety of things. For instance, nothing is
    more to his liking than: To talk largely about Art, and to have
    the worst statues and monuments that ever disgraced a metropolis!

    To inveigh against the grinding tyrannies practised upon poor
    needlewomen and slop-tailors, and yet to patronize the shops where
    cheap shirts and clothes are sold!

    To purchase a bargain, no matter whether he is in want of it or
    not!

    To reward native talent, with which view he supports Italian
    operas, French plays, German singers, and in fact gives gold to the
    foreigners in exchange for the brass they bring him!

    To talk sneeringly against tuft-hunting and all tuft-hunters, and
    yet next to running after a lord, nothing delights him more than to
    be seen in company with one!

    To rave about his public spirit and independence, and with the
    greatest submission to endure perpetually a tax[21] that was only
    put on for three years!

    To brag about his politeness and courteous demeanour in public, and
    to scamper after the Queen whenever there is an opportunity of
    staring at her!

    To boast of his cleanliness, and to leave uncovered (as in the
    Thames) the biggest sewer in the world!

    To pretend to like music, and to tolerate the Italian organs and
    the discordant musicians that infest his streets!

    To inveigh against bad legislation, and to refrain in many
    instances from exercising the franchise he pays so dearly for!

    To admit the utility of education, and yet to exclude from its
    benefits every one who is not of the same creed as himself!

    And lastly, an Englishman dearly likes:

    To grumble, no matter whether he is right or wrong, crying or
    laughing, working or playing, gaining a victory or smarting under a
    national humiliation, paying or being paid--still he must grumble,
    and in fact he is never so happy as when he is grumbling; and,
    supposing everything was to his satisfaction (though it says a
    great deal for our power of assumption to assume any such absurd
    impossibilities), still he would grumble at the fact of there being
    nothing for him to grumble about!

[Footnote 21: The income tax. _Punch_ knew better, and prophesied from
the very outset that it would never come off.]

_Punch_ certainly exercised the national privilege of grumbling to the
full, though the shafts of his satire were sometimes of the nature of
boomerangs. We can sympathize with him when, in his list of "things and
persons that should emigrate," he includes "all persons who give
imitations of actors; all quack doctors and advertising professors; all
young men who smoke before the age of fifteen, and young ladies who wear
ringlets after the age of thirty," as fit for "dumping." But he runs the
risk of the _Quis tulerit Gracchos_ retort when he bans "all punsters
and conundrum makers." In the main he was a strenuous supporter of
education, especially elementary education, and the recognition and
reward of men of science and letters, but, along with his general
support of literary and scientific institutions, he seldom missed a
chance of making game of learned societies, beginning with the British
Association. The ignorance of candidates for appointments in the Civil
Service does not escape his reforming zeal, when in 1857 no fewer than
44 per cent. were rejected for bad spelling; yet in 1852 we find him
publishing a picture of a Japanese as a black man.

[Sidenote: _Desirable Emigrants_]

[Illustration: OFFENDED DIGNITY

SMALL SWELL (who has just finished a quadrille): "H'm, thank goodness
that's over. Don't give me your bread-and-butter Misses to dance with--I
prefer grown Women of the World!"

(N.B. The bread-and-butter Miss had asked him how old he was, and when
he went back to school.)]

[Illustration: TWO WORDS TO A BARGAIN

JAPANESE: "We won't have Free Trade. Our ports are closed, and shall
remain so."

AMERICAN: "Then we will open our ports, and convince you that you're
wrong."]

[Sidenote: _Exploiting the Dead_]

Spiritualism invaded England from America at the end of the 'forties;
the mania for table-turning dates from 1852, and in 1855 the famous
"medium" Daniel Dunglas Home (the original of Browning's "Sludge") paid
his first visit to England. From the very first _Punch's_ attitude was
hostile, sceptical, even derisive; and he was one of the first to
condemn the harrying of humble fortune-tellers while fashionable and
expensive exponents of clairvoyance were immune from prosecution.
Crystal-gazing is mentioned in 1851. Playing upon words, in the
_Almanack_ for 1852 we read: "It is related as astonishing that there
are some clairvoyants who can see right through anybody; but that is not
so very strange. The wonder is that there should be anybody who cannot
see through the clairvoyant." In 1853 it was seriously suggested by a
mesmerist in the _Morning Post_ that he could get into communication
with Sir John Franklin; this _Punch_ promptly pilloried, as, too, a
little later, he did a reference to a play alleged to have been dictated
by Shakespeare's spirit. In 1857 _Punch_ solemnly vouches for the
authenticity of the following advertisement under the heading "Spirits
by retail":--

    COMMUNICATIONS with the SPIRIT OF WASHINGTON for Oracular
    Revelation of public fact and duty; responses tendered relative to
    Executive or Governmental, State or Diplomatic, National or
    Personal questions on affairs of moment for their more ready and
    appropriate solution, and the special use of official,
    Congressional and editorial intelligence. Address "Washington
    Medium," Post Office, Box 628, Washington, D.C. No letter (except
    for an interview) will be answered unless it encloses one dollar,
    and only the first five questions of any letter with but one dollar
    will have a reply. Number your questions and preserve copies of
    them.

Sober and instructed opinion has always shown this distrust, but _Punch_
was not always justified in his treatment of new arts and discoveries.
He quite failed to recognize the importance and the possibilities of
photography, the early references to which are uniformly disparaging.
There was at least this excuse for his want of foresight, that for many
years the professional photographer was destitute of any artistic
feeling or training save in the purely mechanical side of his calling.
In representing him as combining photography with hairdressing or other
even more menial trades, _Punch_ was not indulging in exaggeration. The
mere name "photographer" called up the image of a seedy, weedy little
man who suggested an unsuccessful artist by his dress and whose "studio"
was a shabby chamber of theatrical horrors, in which the subject was
clamped and screwed into rigidity by instruments of torture. In the
'fifties photography was already exploited as a means of advertising
actors, actresses and even popular preachers, but it had not begun to
be thought of as a means of social _réclame_. Apart from politicians and
public characters little limelight was shed on personality. The
relations between the Stage and Society were curiously different from
those which prevail to-day. _Punch_ was a great champion of the
legitimate drama. Douglas Jerrold had been a prolific and successful,
though not prosperous, playwright, and other members of the staff had
written for the stage. The disregard of serious native talent by the
Court[22] and the fashionable world was a constant theme of bitter
comment. But _Punch_ shows no eagerness for the bestowal of official
recognition on actors; when the question of knighthoods was mooted, he
expressed apprehension lest they should be conferred upon the
upholsterers rather than the upholders of the Drama. With that form of
mummer-worship which took the form of the publication of personal gossip
about actors he had no sympathy, and even satirized it in a burlesque
account of the daily life of an imaginary low comedian. On occasions
when actors resented the tone of dramatic criticism, as in the quarrel
between Charles Mathews and the _Morning Chronicle_, _Punch_ stood for
the liberty of the Press. Against sensationalism, horrors, plays based
on crime, and the cult of monstrosity _Punch_ waged unceasing war, but
he was no prude. Those who were always on the look out for offence were
sure to find it: "certain it is that whenever a father of a family
visits a theatre, something verging on impropriety takes place." So
again he falls foul of the inconsistent prudery which allowed a
performance of _La Dame aux Camélias_ at Exeter Hall in 1857, but
prohibited an English translation of the words.

[Footnote 22: "As well hope to touch, Memnon-like, the statue of Queen
Anne into mourning music, as to awaken generous impulses in the House of
Hanover towards art, or science or letters." The payment of 13s. 4d.
each to actors at a Royal Command performance provokes a sarcastic
reference to the Court Almoner Extraordinary.]

[Sidenote: _"Punch's" Respect for Decorum_]

Many of the broader aspects of early Victorian social life remain with
us to-day, though modified or amended. "The broad vein of plush that
traverses the whole framework of English society," as _Punch_
flamboyantly gibed, if not wholly obliterated is at least less
conspicuous. Jeames and Jenkins are dead. If we cannot say the same of
bullying at schools, "ragging" in the Army, the unnecessary expense of
uniforms and the costly pageantry of funerals--all of which were
strenuously condemned by _Punch_--it may at least be contended that
public opinion is more vigilant in arraigning and bringing to light
offences against humanity, good taste and common sense. Modern critics
have not been wanting who charge _Punch_ with prudery and squeamishness,
but this is not the place to discuss whether the popularity of the paper
would have been enhanced, or its influence and power fortified by
following the example of _La Vie Parisienne_ or of _Jugend_. Certainly
during the period under review reticence and respectability were
combined on occasion with a remarkable freedom of comment, and the
tragedy of "The Great Social Evil" was frankly admitted in Leech's
famous picture. Though an isolated reference it was worth a hundred
sermons. If _Punch_ preferred to be the champion of domesticity and
decorum in public and private life, he was reflecting an essential
feature of the age--a feature which no longer exists. It was an age of
patriarchal rule and large families. Nothing strikes one more in
turning over the pages of old numbers of _Punch_ than the swarms of
young people who figure in the domestic groups so dear to John Leech.
The numbers, more than the precocity of the rising generation, impress
the reader. The type represented is mainly drawn from well-to-do
middle-class households, but all classes were prolific. If one needs
proof, there is the evidence of Debrett and of the tombstones in our
country churchyards.

[Sidenote: _Mr. Quiverfull_]

[Illustration: Scene: A Public-house, Bury St. Edmunds, after the Dinner
given by the Mayor of Bury to the Lord Mayor of London.

COUNTRY FOOTMAN: "Pray, Sir, what do you think of our town? A nice
place, ain't it?"

LONDON FOOTMAN (condescendingly): "Vell, Joseph, I likes your town well
enough. It's clean; your streets are hairy; and you've lots of rewins.
But I don't like your champagne; its all Gewsberry."]

[Illustration: THE GREAT SOCIAL EVIL

Time: Midnight. A sketch not a hundred miles from the Haymarket.

BELLA: "Ah! Fanny! How long have you been _Gay_?"]

[Illustration: A FRESHENER ON THE DOWNS]



THE LIBERAL PROFESSIONS


As a mirror of public opinion on the status and importance of the
learned and liberal professions _Punch_, when due allowance has been
made for his limitations, his prejudices and even his passions, cannot
be overlooked by the student of social history. A whole book has been
written on his attitude towards the Church; in another section of this
chronicle I have dealt at some length with his hostility to Pluralism,
Sabbatarianism, Ritualism, and endeavoured to show how a generally
tolerant and "hang theology" attitude was in the early 'fifties
exchanged for one of fierce anti-Vaticanism. The "No Popery" drum was
banged with great fury, and when the Roman Catholic hierarchy was
re-established in England in 1850, _Punch_ supported the Ecclesiastical
Titles Act which declared the assumption of titles connected with places
in the realm illegal and imposed heavy penalties on the persons assuming
them. This Act, passed in 1851, remained a dead letter until 1871, when
it was repealed. As for the law and lawyers the record of _Punch_ is
more consistent and creditable, and, as we have seen, he was from the
first an unflinching advocate of cheap justice and the removal of
irregularities which pressed hardest on the poor, an unrelenting critic
of barbarous and oppressive penalties. No one was too great or small to
escape his legal pillory, or to secure recognition for reforming zeal or
humane administration--from Lord Brougham and Lord St. Leonards down to
unpaid magistrates. To what has been said elsewhere it may be added that
the series of papers written by Gilbert à Beckett, under the heading of
"The Comic Blackstone," are much better than their title, for they
contain a good deal of shrewd satire and sound sense. _Punch_ had good
reason to be proud of his own legal representative, the humane and
genial Gilbert à Beckett. He welcomed Talfourd's promotion to the Bench
as an honour to letters, for Talfourd was not only the executor and
first biographer of Lamb and the author of the highly successful, but
now forgotten, tragedy of _Ion_, but his services to authors in
connexion with copyright earned for him the dedication of _Pickwick_. On
his death in 1854, _Punch's_ elegy fittingly commemorated the character
and career of one of whom, as an advocate, it was said that the wrong
side seldom cared to hear him, and who, like Hood, in his last words,
deplored the mutual estrangement of classes in English society.

[Sidenote: _The Bench and the Universities_]

On the other hand, judges who jested on the Bench, indulged in judicial
clap-trap, or encouraged the public to regard the Courts of Justice as
substitutes for theatrical entertainments, are severely handled. _Judex
jocosus odiosus_; but the type is, apparently, impervious to satire.
Another anticipation of latter-day criticism is to be found in the
remark made in 1856: "There was once a Parliament--(we do not live in
such times now!)--in which there were few or no lawyers." Even more
red-hot in its up-to-dateness is _Punch's_ sarcastic dismissal of the
cult of "efficiency" sixty-five years ago:--

    _Mr. Punch's_ reverence for the business powers of so-called men of
    business is not abject. The "practical men," who smile
    compassionately at schemers and visionaries, are the men who
    perpetually make the most frightful smashes and blunders. No
    attorney, for instance, can keep, or comprehend accounts, and a
    stock-jobber, the supposed incarnation of shrewdness, is the most
    credulous _gobemouche_ in London.

With University authorities, professors, dons, and academics generally,
we look in vain for any sign of sympathy, save that _Punch_ condemned
the rule which then prevented Fellows from marrying. For the rest, he
looked on the older Universities as the homes of mediæval obscurantism,
stubbornly opposed to reforms long overdue. Of the two, Oxford fared the
worse at his hands on account of the Tractarian movement, Pusey, and
Newman. This antagonism was based on political and religious
divergences, not on any hostility to learning or the classical
curriculum, of which _Punch_ was a supporter, to the extent of printing
_jeux d'esprit_ in Latin and Greek in his pages. All along he was a
jealous guardian of the "illustrious order of the goose-quill," a sturdy
champion of its claims to adequate pay and official recognition, a
vigilant critic of the "homoeopathic system of rewards" adopted by the
Crown in the Civil List. References to this undying scandal are
honourably frequent in the early volumes of _Punch_. It may suffice to
quote the letter to Lord Palmerston in the summer of 1856:--

    I will not, this hot weather, weary your lordship by specifying
    every case, but will sum up the account as I find it divided:

    To Science, Literature, and Art             £275
    To sundries                                  925
                                              ------
                                              £1,200
    Deduct sundries                              925
                                              ------
                                                £275
    Due to Science, Literature, and Art          925
                                              ------
                  Total Civil List            £1,200

Equally creditable is the reiterated plea--from 1847 onward--for the
establishment of International Copyright, to guard English authors from
the piracy of American publishers, amongst whom Putnam is singled out as
an honourable exception. It may be fairly claimed for _Punch_ that he
made very few mistakes in appraising the merits of the authors of his
time or of the rising stars. He failed to render justice to Disraeli as
a writer, and he curtly dismissed Walt Whitman's _Leaves of Grass_ as "a
mad book by an American rough." But literary values prove him
substantially right in his distaste for the flamboyant exuberance of
Bulwer Lytton, and absolutely sound in his castigation of the
tripe-and-oniony flavour of Samuel Warren's books, one of which he held
up to not undeserved obloquy under the ferocious misnomer of "The
Diarrhoea of a Late Physician." He was a veritable _malleus stultorum_
in dealing alike with the futilities of incompetent aristocrats and the
homely puerilities of Martin Tupper and Poet Close. The famous campaign
against the poet Bunn and his bad librettos goaded the victim into
reprisals in which he gave as good as he got, but the fact remains that
Bunn _was_ a bad poet, though _Punch_ quite overdid his persecution. The
nobility of Wordsworth, though the least humorous of poets, was
handsomely acknowledged; when the erection of a statue to Peel was
mooted, _Punch_ put in a claim for a similar honour to the sage of
Rydal. And though indignant with Carlyle for his defence of slavery,
_Punch_ was still ready to acknowledge "the monarch in his masquerade."
Lastly, he not only welcomed Tennyson as a master, but threw open his
columns to him to retort on his detractors.

[Sidenote: _"Punch" and "The Times"_]

[Illustration: JENKINS AT HOME]

[Sidenote: _Victorian and Georgian Journalism_]

Dog does not eat dog, but the unwritten etiquette in accordance with
which one newspaper does not directly attack another was much less
strictly observed sixty or seventy years ago. Delane, the editor of _The
Times_, exercised a greater political influence than any other
journalist before or since, and for a good many years _Punch_ acted as a
sort of free-lance ally of the great daily,[23] drawing liberally from
its columns in the way of extracts and illustrations, and, according to
his habitual practice, underlining its policy while pretending to be
shocked at it. Several of the men on _Punch_ were contributors to _The
Times_. Gilbert à Beckett's name stands first in the list of the
principal contributors and members of the staff of _The Times_ under
Delane given in Mr. Dasent's biography. Yet I have searched the pages of
the biography and the index in vain for a single reference to _Punch_.
None the less the relations of the two papers were close and cordial,
and "Billy" Russell, the _Times_ war correspondent and unsparing critic
of mismanagement in the Crimea, had no more enthusiastic trumpeter than
_Punch_. But the great gulf in prestige and power between _The Times_
under Delane and the rest of the London Press is indirectly but
unmistakably shown in _Punch's_ habitual disrespect for most of his
other contemporaries. In another context, I have quoted examples of his
flagellation of the _Morning Post_--the only paper, by the way, which
supported the _Coup d'État_; but two masterpieces of malice may be
added. In 1843, _à propos_ of "Jenkins's" incurably unctuous worship of
rank, _Punch_ observes: "If the reader be not weeping at this, it is not
in the power of onions to move him." And again, a little later on in the
same year, _Punch_ compares the "beastliness" of Jenkins, "the life-long
toad-eater," with the "beastly fellow" denounced in the _Morning Post_
for swallowing twelve frogs for a wager! _Punch_ was not content with
identifying the _Morning Post_ with the imaginary personality of
Jenkins, the super-flunkey, but was also responsible for re-christening
the _Morning Herald_ and the _Standard_--Conservative morning and
evening papers which, until 1857, belonged to the same proprietor--Mrs.
Gamp and Mrs. Harris. The _Standard_ retaliated by calling _Punch_ the
"most abject of all the toadies of _The Times_," and accusing it of
libelling "the young gentlemen of Eton" and the Queen. By an unconscious
compliment _Punch_ was bracketed with the _Examiner_, the ablest and
most independent of the weeklies, as _The Times_ was of the dailies, for
its disloyalty to the Crown. In the war of wits which ensued and was
carried on for several years, all the honours rested with _Punch_. But
these controversies belong rather to the domestic history of _Punch_;
and _Punch's_ friendly relations with the _Daily News_, of which Dickens
was the first editor, must be somewhat discounted by the facts that
Douglas Jerrold was an intimate friend of the novelist, who occasionally
dined with the _Punch_ staff; that Paxton, one of _Punch's_ heroes,
exerted all his great influence on behalf of the new daily; and finally,
that Bradbury and Evans were, at the time, the publishers of Dickens, of
_Punch_, and of the _Daily News_. The journalism of the 'forties and
'fifties presents curious analogies with and divergences from the
journalism of to-day. _Punch_ is never weary of girding at the cult of
monstrosity and sensationalism, the disproportionate amount of space
devoted to crime and criminals and _causes célèbres_, the habit of
burning the idols of yesterday, the nauseating compliments paid to
statesmen after death by those who had maligned them in their lifetime.
Many of the least reputable exploits of Georgian journalism were
anticipated in early Victorian days. Criticism was franker, more
outspoken, and less restrained by the law of libel, and _Punch_ always
stood out within reasonable limits for the liberty of the Press. When an
Edinburgh jury gave a verdict against the _Scotsman_ in the famous case
brought by Duncan MacLaren in 1852, _Punch_ compared them to Bomba, and
congratulated the Scottish gentlemen who defrayed the _Scotsman's_ costs
and damages. He regarded it as a righteous protest against a verdict
which threatened "to make it impossible to express contempt at
political apostasy, disgust at the abandonment of principles, or
indignation at any coalition, however disreputable, without the danger
of being brought before a jury." The _Scotsman_ was then edited by
Alexander Russel, the most powerful, original, and enlightened of Scots
journalists. Russel, for the last twenty years of his life, dominated
the _Scotsman_ as Delane dominated _The Times_. But it was, in the main,
a righteous and benevolent dictatorship. "What made every one turn with
alert curiosity to _The Times_ in Delane's day was that nobody knew
beforehand which side he would take on any new question." [24] And much
the same might be said of Russel. No such curiosity is possible to-day.
There has been a great levelling up of journalism from the bottom, and a
great levelling down from the top. In the old days the gap between men
like Delane and Russel and the penny-a-liners was greater than any gap
that now exists in the profession. Not the least of their distinctions
was the fact that they both died without even a knighthood to their
names. Fifty years later neither of them could have held his post for a
fortnight. It is to the credit of _Punch_ that he recognized the value
of their independence and emulated it in his own sphere. He played his
part manfully in helping to kill the old flunkey-worship of rank, but
could not prevent the reincarnation of "Jenkins" in the modern
sycophantic worshipper of success--no matter how achieved. The
excellence of provincial journalism--not yet exposed to the competition
of the cheap London press--is attested by _Punch's_ frequent citations,
but he did not overlook its ineptitudes, some of which happily remain to
refresh our leisure.

[Footnote 23: On the occasion of _Punch's_ Jubilee, in 1891, _The Times_
remarked: "May we be excused for noting the fact that he (_Punch_) has
generally, in regard to public affairs, taken his cue from _The Times_?"
That was substantially true of _The Times_ under the old _régime_ when
Delane was editor. Mr. Herbert Paul, himself a strong Liberal, writes in
his _History of Modern England_ that "Delane's chief quality was his
independence." Mr. Dasent, in his biography, gives good grounds for his
assertion that Delane was at no time what could be called a party man,
though his instincts were essentially Liberal, and notes that "if
charged with inconsistency, Delane would merely remind his critics that
_The Times_ was the organ of no party, and that every issue was complete
in itself."]

[Footnote 24: _Delane of "The Times,"_ by Sir Edward Cook, p. 281.]

[Sidenote: _Quacks and Doctors_]

But of all the professions, none looms larger in the early pages of
_Punch_ than that of medicine. Here, again, a broad distinction is drawn
between the heads of the profession and those who are preparing for it;
between legitimate and illegitimate practitioners. Men like Harvey and
Jenner are extolled as heroes and benefactors of humanity at large, and
their recognition by the State is urged as a national duty. The
maintenance of the status and dignity of physicians and surgeons,
civil, naval, and military, is frequently insisted upon before and
during the Crimean War. _Punch's_ tribute to the services of Florence
Nightingale in reorganizing the nursing profession has already been
noted. He was a strenuous advocate of the disestablishment of Mrs. Gamp,
and a consistent supporter of the campaign against quackery, though
under no illusions as to the possibility of its entire extermination:--

    Great outcry has been raised of late, in the _Lancet_ and other
    journals, against Quacks and Quackery. Let them not flatter
    themselves that it is possible to put either down. The Quack is a
    personage too essential to the comfort of a large class of society
    to be deprived of his vocation. He is, in fact, the Physician of
    the Fools--a body whose numbers and respectability are by far too
    great to admit of anything of the kind. However, as there are some
    people in the world who are not fools, and who will not, when they
    want a doctor, have recourse to a Quack, if they can help it, the
    practice of the latter ought certainly to be limited to its proper
    sphere. For this end we could certainly go rather farther than Sir
    James Graham's sympathies permitted him to proceed last session. We
    propose that every Quack should not only not be suffered to call
    himself what he is not, but should be compelled to call himself
    what he is. We would not only prevent him from assuming the title
    of a medical man, but we would oblige him to take that of Quack.

This was written in 1845. The Sir James Graham referred to was one of
the blackest of all _Punch's bêtes noires_--in consequence of the
postal censorship which earned for him the title of "The Breaker (not
the Keeper) of the Seals," and prompted the savage cartoon of "Peel's
Dirty Little Boy." He never had friendly treatment at the hands of
_Punch_. Elsewhere it is insinuated that the measure played the game of
the quacks, and the history of attempts to regulate their activities in
the last seventy years goes far to justify _Punch's_ scepticism. But his
censure was not confined to quacks; he says hard things of doctors who
exploited and traded on _malades imaginaires_, and more than once
exhibits impatience at the failure of medical science to arrive at any
definite conclusions as to the causes or cure of the cholera epidemic in
1849. And when Mr. Muntz brought forward a motion in 1845 to oblige
doctors to write their prescriptions in English and put English labels
on their gallipots, the proposal was satirized as an effort to strip
medicine of its indispensable mystery. It may be not unfairly contended
that _Punch_, in his horror of humbug and condemnation of guzzling and
gormandizing, was a disciple of Abernethy. His views on diet inclined to
moderation rather than asceticism, and the new cult of vegetarianism,
which seems to have had its origin in Manchester, was satirized under
the heading, "Greens for the Green."

[Illustration: SOMETHING LIKE A HOLIDAY

PASTRYCOOK: "What have you had, Sir?"

BOY: "I've had two jellies, seven of these, eleven of these, and six of
those, and four Bath buns, a sausage roll, ten almond cakes--and a
bottle of ginger beer."]

[Sidenote: _Medical Students_]

By far the largest number of the references to medicine, however, are
concerned with the manners and customs of medical students, and if
corroboration be needed for the unflattering picture of this class which
has been drawn in _Pickwick_, the pages of _Punch_ supply it in
distressing abundance. The counterparts of Bob Sawyer and Benjamin
Allen, in all their dingy rowdiness are portrayed in a series of
articles and paragraphs running through the early volumes.

[Illustration: THE MEDICAL STUDENT]

Thus, under the heading Hospitals we read:--

    The attributes of the gentlemen walking the various hospitals may
    be thus enumerated:

    Guy's             {Half-and-half, anatomical _fracas_,
    St. Thomas's      {and billiards.
    St. George's      Doings at Tattersall's.
    London            Too remote to be ascertained.
    University        Conjuring, juggling, and mesmerism.
    Bartholomew's     State of Smithfield Markets.
    Middlesex         Convivial harmony.
    Charing Cross     Dancing at the Lowther-rooms.
    King's College    Has not yet acquired any peculiarity.
    Westminster       Dashes of all the others combined.

Even when all allowance has been made for the exaggeration of the
satirist, there was undoubtedly a serious warrant for this indictment,
and we may congratulate ourselves that it is a gross libel on the
medical students of to-day. They may be exuberant, noisy, and rowdy on
occasion, but they are neither grubby nor callous, and the unfortunate
episode of their treatment of Mr. "Pussyfoot" Johnson may be regarded,
we believe, as a blot on the scutcheon of their sportsmanship which the
great majority regretted and reprobated.



WOMEN IN THE 'FORTIES AND 'FIFTIES


On the position and influence of women in society _Punch_, as we have
already seen, furnishes a critical if not a complete commentary.
Extravagance, exclusiveness and arrogance are faithfully dealt with.
There is genuine satire in the picture of the fine lady who, on hearing
that her pet dog had bitten the footman in the leg, expressed the
fervent hope that it would not make the dog ill. Fashionable delicacy is
ridiculed, and _Punch_ ranged himself on the side of "S.G.O." (Lord
Sidney Godolphin Osborne) in his crusade in _The Times_ against Mayfair
matrons for not nursing their own offspring, and for employing
wet-nurses who, in turn, had to starve their own children. A few years
earlier, when the question "Can Women regenerate Society?" was seriously
discussed in the same journal, the issue is drowned by _Punch_ in a
stream of comic suggestions. There is not much to choose between the
"Dolls' House" ideal and that expressed in the sonnet printed in the
winter of 1846:--

    I idolize the ladies. They are fairies
    That spiritualize this earth of ours;
    From heavenly hotbeds, most delightful flowers,
    Or choice cream-cheeses from celestial dairies.
    But learning in its barbarous seminaries,
    Gives the dear creatures many wretched hours,
    And on their gossamer intellects sternly showers
    Science with all its horrid accessaries.
    Now, seriously, the only things, I think,
    In which young ladies should instructed be,
    Are stocking-mending, love, and cookery--
    Accomplishments that very soon will sink,
    Since Fluxions, now, and Sanscrit conversation,
    Always form part of female education.

[Illustration: SOMETHING LIKE A BROTHER

FLORA: "What a very pretty waistcoat, Emily!"

EMILY: "Yes, dear. It belongs to my brother Charles. When he goes out of
town, he puts me on the Free List, as he calls it, of his wardrobe.
Isn't it kind?"]

[Sidenote: _Victorian Damsels_]

But even within the ranks of the social _élite_ signs of a desire for
equal rights were not wanting. These, however, were mainly in the
direction of aping masculinity in sport and dress. In the same year we
read of the Duchess of Marlborough shooting, and a Ladies' Club is
mentioned for the first time a few months earlier. References to the
mistakenly modern idea of ladies smoking are to be found pretty
frequently even before the Crimean War, which is generally held
responsible for the introduction of the cigarette, and soon afterwards
we have a picture of a lady calmly enjoying a smoke in the train. Fine
ladies are satirized for emulating their brothers and husbands by
leaving their bills unpaid. It must be owned that woman, if she ventured
to step outside the domain of an amiable, decorative, or domestic mode
of existence met with little commendation from _Punch_. He was a strong
advocate of schools for cooking long years before the historic advice of
"Feed the Brute" appeared in his pages. But the strong-minded female
only excited his ridicule and satire, though with unkind inconsistency
he was never weary of making fun of the troubles of the helpless
"unprotected female." There are hundreds of portraits of charming
Victorian damsels in Leech's "Social Cuts," but their predominant trait
is health and amiability. Very rarely do they say anything wise or witty
or plain spoken--even under great provocation from their pert schoolboy
brothers. But we know--even from the pages of _Punch_--that Victorian
women and girls were not all of this yielding and gentle type, and it is
to his credit that in his sketch of "The Model Fast Lady," he was able
to render justice to a phase of advanced womanhood remote alike from
sentimentality and intellectualism:--

[Sidenote: _The Model Fast Lady_]

    She delights in dogs; not King Charles's, but big dogs that live in
    kennels. She takes them into the drawing-room, and makes them leap
    over the chairs. Her mare, too, is never out of her mouth.... If
    she is intimate with you, she will call you "my dear fellow"; and
    if she takes a fancy to you, you will be addressed the first time
    by your Christian name, familiarized very shortly from Henry into
    Harry. Her father is hailed as "Governor." Her speech, in fact, is
    a little masculine. If your eyes were shut, you would fancy it was
    a "Fast Man" speaking, so quick do the "snobs," and "nobs," and
    "chaps," and "dowdies," "gawkies," "spoonies," "brats," and other
    cherished members of the Fast Human Family run through her loud
    conversation. Occasionally, too, a "Deuce take it," vigorously
    thrown in, or a "Drat it," peculiarly emphasized, will startle you;
    but they are only used as interjections, and mean nothing but
    "Alas!" or "Dear me!" or, at the most, "How provoking!"

    The MODEL FAST LADY is not particularly attached to dancing. She
    waltzes as if she had made a wager to go round the room one hundred
    and fifty times in five minutes and a quarter. If any one is pushed
    over by the rapidity of her Olga revolutions, she does not stop,
    but merely laughs, and "hopes no limbs are broken."

    By the bye, if she has a weakness, it is on the score--rather a
    long one--of wagers. She is always betting. It must be mentioned,
    however, that she is most honourable in the payment of her debts.
    She would sell her _Black Bess_ sooner than levant.

    THE MODEL FAST LADY has, at best, but a superficial knowledge of
    the art of flirting. Compliments, she calls "stuff"; and sentiment
    "namby-pamby nonsense." She likes a person to be sensible; and has
    no idea of being made a fool of.

    At a picnic she is invaluable. When your tumbler is empty, she'll
    take Champagne with you--that is to say, if you're not too proud.
    You may as well fill her glass; she has no notion of being cheated.
    Here's better luck to you! and to enforce it, she runs the point of
    her parasol into your side.

    She dislikes smoking? Not _she_ indeed; she's rather fond of it. In
    fact, she likes a "weed" herself occasionally, and to convince you,
    will take a whiff or two. Her forefinger is not much needle-marked,
    and she laughs at Berlin wool, and all such fiddle faddle. She has
    a pianoforte, but really she has no patience to practise. She can
    play a short tune on the cornet-à-piston.

    Literature is a sealed pleasure to her, though it is but fair to
    state she reads _Bell's Life_, and has a few volumes in her bedroom
    of the _Sporting Magazine_. She knows there was a horse of the name
    of _Byron_.

    The FAST LADY rather avoids children. If a baby is put into her
    hands, she says, "Pray, somebody, come and take this thing, I'm
    afraid of dropping it." She prefers the society of men, too, to
    that of her own sex.

    Her costume is not regulated much by the fashions, and she is
    always the first to come down when the ladies have gone upstairs to
    change their dress.

    Her greatest accomplishment is to drive. With the whip in one hand
    and the reins in the other, and a key-bugle behind, she would not
    exchange places with the Queen herself.

    With all these peculiarities and manly addictions, however, the
    FAST LADY is good hearted, very good natured, and never guilty of
    what she would call "a dirty action." Her generosity, too, must be
    included amongst her other faults, for she gives to all, and
    increases the gift by sympathy. She is always in good humour, and,
    like gentle dulness, dearly loves a joke. She is an excellent
    daughter, and her father dotes on her and lets her do what she
    likes, for "he knows she will never do anything wrong, though she
    is a strange girl." In the country she is greatly beloved. The poor
    people call her "a dear good Miss," and present their petitions and
    unfold all their little griefs to her. She is continually having
    more presents of pups sent to her than she knows what to do with.
    The farmers, too, consult her about their cows and pigs, and she is
    the godmother to half the children in the parish.

    Her deficiencies, after all, are more those of manner than of
    feeling. She may be too largely gifted with the male virtues, but
    then she has a very sparing collection of the female vices. Nature
    may be to blame for having made her one of the weaker vessels, but
    imperfect and manly as she is, she still retains the inward
    gentleness of the woman, and many fine ladies, who stand the
    highest in the pulpits of society, would preach none the less
    effectively if they had only as good a heart--even with the
    trumpery straw in which, like a rich fruit, it is enveloped--as the
    MODEL FAST LADY.

[Illustration: FAST YOUNG LADY (to Old Gent): "Have you such a
thing as a lucifer about you, for I've left my cigar lights at
home."]

This was written seventy years ago, but within the last decade we have
seen Miss Compton frequently impersonating _rôles_ of which the leading
traits were, in essentials, identical with those of the Model Fast
Lady. The model woman, married or unmarried, as represented by the
writers and artists of _Punch_, was feminine, kindly, but colourless,
though the "deviations from the norm" are not overlooked--the
lion-huntresses of Belgravia; thrusting matrons; willing victims of the
social tread-mill and the "petty decalogue of Mode"; cynical
high-priestesses of the marriage market.

When we turn to the higher education of women generally the attitude
assumed is nearly always one of mild chaff. _Punch_ refused to take it
seriously, and propounded his own scheme for a female university, in
which the fashionable accomplishments are enumerated in detail:--

    French and Italian as spoken in the fashionable circles, music,
    drawing, fancy-work, and the higher branches of dancing, will form
    the regular _curriculum_. A minor examination on these subjects, or
    a "Little Go," will be instituted before the Spinstership of Arts
    can be tried for. The examined shall be able to "go on" anywhere in
    "Télémaque," or in the conversations in Veneroni's Grammar; to play
    a fantasia of Thalberg's; to work a pair of slippers in Berlin
    wool; and to dance the Cachuca and Cracovienne.

    For the degree of Spinster, the candidate shall be examined in
    various novels by Paul de Kock, Victor Hugo, Balzac, and others;
    also in the _libretto_ of the last new opera. She shall be able to
    play or sing any of the fashionable pieces or airs of the day, and
    shall give evidence of an extensive acquaintance with Bellini,
    Donizetti, Labitzky, and Strauss. She shall draw and embroider, in
    a satisfactory manner, various fruits, flowers, cottages and a
    wood, Greeks and Mussulmen. Lastly, she shall dance, with
    correctness and elegance, a "pas de deux" with any young gentleman
    who may be selected for the purpose.

    There shall be likewise, with respect to music and dancing, an
    annual examination for honours. The candidates shall evince a
    familiarity with the most admirable feats of Taglioni, and the
    Ellslers, and with the most difficult compositions of Herz, Czerny,
    and Bochsa; though if they like they may be allowed to take up, in
    preference, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Weber.

    These examinations shall be called respectively the Musical and the
    Dancing Tripos. No one shall be admissible to the latter who has
    not taken honours in the former. The gradations or distinction
    shall be as follows: In the Musical Tripos the foremost damsel
    shall be entitled the Senior Warbler; next shall follow the Simple
    Warblers; the Bravissimas shall come next; then the Bravas; and
    finally those who barely get their degree.

    The first dancer shall be denominated La Sylphide; after her shall
    be ranked the Sylphs; next to these the first and second Coryphées;
    and lastly, as before, the merely passable.

[Illustration: MISS WALKER: A FEMALE POLITICIAN, 1842]

[Sidenote: _Women and Politics_]

This article is fairly typical of the attitude of _Punch_ towards what
we now call "Feminism"--a term so new that in the _New English
Dictionary_ it is dismissed in half a dozen words as a rare word meaning
"the qualities of females"! That definition, however, was given in 1901.
Now it would have to be revised to include the movement for political
emancipation, economic independence, and admission to the professions.
References to female politicians begin in the third volume, where we
find the very unsympathetic and even acid sketch here given of Miss
Walker, "the female Chartist." Eight years elapsed before ladies were
admitted to the gallery of the House of Commons, though, even then,
carefully screened from view by the metal work of the "Grille," an
Orientally obscuring device which lasted till Georgian days. The
possibility of their appearing on the floor of the House is never
seriously contemplated; the "Parliamentary female" included amongst the
"ladies of creation" in the _Almanack_ for 1852 is modelled on Mrs.
Jellyby--_Bleak House_ had been coming out serially from March, 1852,
onwards. The pioneers of the invasion of the professions hailed from
America. Miss Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D., of Boston,[25] is mentioned in
1848, and in the following year _Punch_ welcomed the innovation in
verse:--

AN M.D. IN A GOWN

    Young ladies all, of every clime,
      Especially of Britain,
    Who wholly occupy your time
      In novels or in knitting,
    Whose highest skill is but to play,
      Sing, dance, or French to clack well,
    Reflect on the example, pray,
      Of excellent Miss Blackwell!

    For Doctrix Blackwell--that's the way
      To dub in rightful gender--
    In her profession, ever may
      Prosperity attend her!
    _Punch_, a gold-handled parasol
      Suggests for presentation,
    To one so well deserving all
      Esteem and admiration.

[Footnote 25: Miss Blackwell, as we learn from an _In Memoriam_ notice
in _The Times_, was born in Bristol on February 3, 1821, died at
Hastings in 1910, and was buried at Kilmun, Argyllshire. She is there
described as "the first woman doctor."]

[Sidenote: _The Bloomer Craze_]

[Illustration: BLOOMERISM--AN AMERICAN CUSTOM]

_Punch's_ commendation rather declines in dignity in the last stanza.
But we are hardly prepared for his condemnation of women doctors in 1852
merely on the illogical ground that they were unfitted to walk the
hospitals or use the scalpel. The better training of nurses had been
urged before the days of Florence Nightingale; _Punch_ appreciated the
gossiping humours of Mrs. Gamp, but he was very far from regarding her
as a ministering angel. To the "strong-minded female," however, he had a
strong antipathy, and in his pictures rather ungenerously emphasized the
unloveliness, even the scragginess, of the advocates of women's rights.
The famous Amelia Jenks Bloomer was a vigorous suffragist and temperance
reformer, but _Punch_ was only concerned with her campaign on behalf of
"trouserloons." "Bloomers" were a constant theme of comment in pantomime
librettos; they were adopted by some barmaids; and a "Bloomer Ball" was
actually held in the year 1851. This earliest form of "rational" dress
for women was, however, banned by Mayfair. The divided skirt, many years
later, was more fortunate in having a Viscountess for its chief
advocate. _Punch_ is not only concerned with feminine dress-vagaries. He
makes a semi-frivolous suggestion of the appointment of a Poetess
Laureate, and the "Letters from Mary Ann," though they form a new
departure and indicate an increased readiness to treat the claims of
women from the women's point of view, cannot be regarded as a
whole-hearted contribution to the cause. Women were already knocking at
the door of other professions. In 1855 we find references to ladies at
the Bar in America and women preachers in Methodist chapels in England.
The first Exhibition of Women Artists is noticed in July, 1857.
_Punch's_ anticipation of women policemen in 1851 was probably prompted
not by a desire to see the innovation realized, but merely served as a
means of guying bloomerism. The female omnibus conductor is another
piece of unconscious prophecy, as she was imaginatively represented as
being in charge of 'buses for ladies only, to relieve male passengers
from the pressure of voluminous dresses and redundant parcels. But while
_Punch_ was an opponent of woman suffrage and, at best, a lukewarm
supporter of woman's demand for professional employment, he was--as we
have shown in other sections of this survey--at least a persistent
advocate of the reform of the Divorce Laws--and unwearied in his
exposure of the hardships and sufferings of underpaid governesses,
sweated sempstresses, and women-workers generally. Brutal assaults on
women were, in his view, altogether inadequately punished by fine. He
was alive to their wrongs if not to their "rights," and the sneers of
some of his contemporaries at the Women's Petition in 1856 moved him to
indignation:--

THE CRY OF THE WOMEN

    Now, this petition or lamentation--in which _Mr. Punch_ gives
    willing ear to the cry of weakness and unjust suffering--has been
    rebuked, pooh-poohed, pished and fiddle-de-dee'd; but in these
    scoffings _Mr. Punch_ joineth not. He cannot, for the life of him,
    say, with certain editorial porcupines of the male gender, "Of what
    avail these lamentations of lamenting women, whose cries are
    foolishness? Wherefore should women at any time lift up their
    voices; when is it not manifest from the beginning that women were
    created to sing small? And finally, if women be beaten by savages,
    and robbed by sots, what of it? It is better that women should be
    beaten and crouch in the dust--it is better they should be robbed
    and sit at home, than go and petition Parliament."

[Sidenote: _"Punch" Champions Horatia_]

He espoused the cause of humble heroines, of the neglected widows or
orphans of heroes and benefactors like a true knight errant. Elsewhere
we have told of his exertions on behalf of Mother Seacole, the brave old
sutler in the Crimea, for whose benefit he started a special fund. The
scurvy treatment of the widow of Lieutenant Waghorn, the pioneer of the
Overland Route, who wore himself out in a work of national importance,
moved him to righteous indignation. She was given a pension of £25,
afterwards increased to £40.

But none of these palpable wrongs to women stirred _Punch_ so deeply in
these years as the tardy and meagre discharge of the nation's debt to
Nelson in respect of his daughter Horatia. To this particular bit of
narrow-mindedness he recurs again and again in the years 1849 to 1855,
when he sums up what had been done to liquidate the debt:--

NELSON'S DAUGHTER AND GRANDCHILDREN

 An advertisement in _The Times_ tells the world that the eight
 children of Nelson's daughter Horatia--Nelson's grandchildren--are
 "more or less provided for." Perhaps a little less than more; but
 let that pass. At length a long, long standing debt has been paid,
 or rather compounded, at something less than nineteen shillings in
 the pound. The Government, as the Government, has done nothing. The
 stiff, whalebone virtue that set up the back of Queen Charlotte
 against Nelson's daughter--George the Third thought Nelson's
 funeral had too much state in it for a mere subject; such pomp "was
 for kings"--still kept the Government aloof from all help of
 Horatia and her children. At length, however, the press spoke out.
 The "ribald press" for a time laid aside its ribaldry, and
 condescended to champion the claims of Nelson's daughter upon
 Nelson's fellow-countrymen. Well, something has been done; and thus
 much in explanation we take from the advertisement in question:--

    "The eight children of Horatia, Mrs. Ward, are all now, more or
    less, provided for. Her eldest son has been presented to the living
    of Radstock by the Dowager Countess of Waldegrave; the second son
    had been previously appointed by Sir W. Burnett Assistant-Surgeon
    in the Navy; to the third, Lord Chancellor Cranworth has given a
    clerkship in the Registry-Office; the fourth son received a Cadetcy
    from Captain Shepherd; His Royal Highness Prince Albert conferred a
    similar appointment on the youngest son; and Her Majesty has been
    graciously pleased to settle upon the three daughters a pension of
    £300 per annum. To this last result the exertions of the late Mr.
    Hume, M.P., mainly contributed. Messrs. Green, of Blackwall, and
    Messrs. Smith, of Newcastle, conveyed the two Cadets to India free
    of expense."

To this may be added a "small cash balance" paid to Mrs. Ward, "after
investing £400 in the funds." Altogether some £1,427 have been
subscribed in the cause of Nelson's daughter. We state the sum, and will
not pause to calculate whether the amount be the tenth of a farthing or
even a whole farthing in the pound, for which England is Nelson's
debtor. Let us anyway thank those who have helped Horatia's children.
They have all done well, from the Dowager Countess to the Queen, ending
with the prince ship-owners of Blackwall and Newcastle. Their ships will
not have the worst fortune of wreck or storm for having borne,
passage-free, the grandsons of Nelson to their Indian work. Let us, too,
pause to thank the shade of Joseph Hume--the strong, sound, kind old
heart! Joseph, who "mainly contributed," with those earnest, honest
fingers of his to undraw the royal purse-strings, so that the three
grand-daughters may now keep the wolf from the door, as their immortal
grandfather kept the foe from the "silver-girt isle."

We omit the bitter words in which _Punch_ heaps scorn on Nelson's
brother, "the first parson Lord Nelson," because the odious charges
there made cannot be substantiated. This was not the only occasion on
which _Punch's_ zeal was disfigured by the vehemence of his
partisanship. But we cannot blame him for his jubilation over the
thrashing of General Haynau, the woman-flogger, by the draymen and
labourers at Barclay's Brewery on the occasion of his visit to London in
1850, or for the vigour with which he scarified the papers who found
excuses and parallels for Haynau's ferocity in the military exigencies
of the Peninsular War.

[_Sidenote: Slavery in America--and England_]

Foremost amongst _Punch's_ heroines in the 'forties and 'fifties were
Jenny Lind, the Swedish, and Florence, the English Nightingale, but of
these mention is made elsewhere. In general, the personalities of
notable or notorious women were not unfairly exploited in the pages of
_Punch_. The conspicuous isolation of Miss, afterwards Baroness, Burdett
Coutts, in virtue of her great wealth, suggests in 1846 the problem,
Whom will she marry? which was not settled until 1881. Less restraint is
shown in dealing with the arrival in England, after practically ruling
Bavaria for more than a year, of the meteoric adventuress, Lola
Montez,[26] and with her marriage with a young Cornet in the Life Guards
in July, 1849. Another visitor, of a very different sort, was the famous
Mrs. Beecher-Stowe,[27] author of _Uncle Tom's Cabin_, whose sojourn in
England in 1853 brought the question of slavery in America into social
prominence and led to the presentation of the "Stafford House Address,"
initiated by the Duchess of Sutherland, to the women of America. The
appeal was not well received, being answered by the "Address of many
thousands of the women of the United States," who pointed out the
degraded conditions in which the poor in England lived. Two wrongs do
not make a right, but there was excuse for the retort. The Southern
planters were not all Legrees. Let it be added that, in his indignation
at the inadequate sentences passed on wife-beaters, _Punch_ did not fail
to pillory cruel mothers who tortured or neglected their children. In
the autumn of 1856 he contrasts the sentence of four years on a woman
who had tortured her daughter to death with that of fifteen years on a
man for mutilating a sheep. Already the problem of the numerical
disparity of the sexes and the hard case of the "superfluous woman" had
begun to attract attention, and emigration was preached as a panacea. To
what has been written elsewhere on the remedy and _Punch's_ belief in
it, we may add his remarks on "Our female supernumeraries":--

    _The Cynical View_:--Wherever there is mischief, women are sure to
    be at the bottom of it. The state of the country bears out this old
    saying. All our difficulties arise from a superabundance of
    females. The only remedy for this evil is to pack up bag and
    baggage, and start them away.

[Footnote 26: The stage name of Marie Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert,
daughter of an English officer, born at Limerick in 1818, the favourite
of the old King Ludwig of Bavaria; dancer, actress, author, lecturer,
who died in New York "sincerely penitent" in 1861.]

[Footnote 27: See the _Examiner_ and _Punch_. The following
advertisement in the _Examiner_ will be read with interest:--"The
arrival of Mrs. Beecher-Stowe has given an impetus to the demand for all
Stephen Glover's compositions connected with _Uncle Tom_: 'The Sea of
Glass,' Eliza's song 'Sleep, our child,' 'Eva's Parting Words,' and
Topsy's song 'I'm but a little nigger girl.'"]

    _The Alarmist View_:--If the surplus female population with which
    we are overrun increases much more, we shall be eaten up with
    women. What used to be our better half will soon become our worse
    nine-tenths; a numerical majority which it will be vain to contend
    with, and which will reduce our free and glorious constitution to
    that most degrading of all despotisms, a petticoat government.

    _Our Own View_:--It is lamentable that thousands of poor girls
    should starve here upon slops, working for slopsellers, and only
    not dying old maids because dying young, when stalwart mates and
    solid meals might be found for all in Australia. Doubtless they
    would fly as fast as the Swedish hen-chaffinches--if only they had
    the means of flying. It remains with the Government and the country
    to find them wings.

[Sidenote: _The Worm Turns_]

_Punch's_ chivalry to women is beyond question, but it was not
untempered by a certain condescension. Throughout these years--with rare
exceptions--he remains faithful to the old assumption that no woman
could have a sense of humour. Grown-up sisters are frequently
represented as being unmercifully chaffed by small brothers without
apparently having the slightest power of effectual rejoinder. And this
defect is shown in the pictures, where the women are exceedingly
pleasant to look at, but nearly always quite expressionless. Yet in
moments of generous expansion _Punch_ was capable of crediting them with
extremely damaging criticism of their lords and masters. The high-water
mark of his sympathy with female emancipation in these years is to be
found in the homely remonstrances of "Mrs. Mouser" in "A Bit of my
Mind":--

     ... Well, the hypocrisy of men all over the world, especially the
    civilized!--for, after all, the savages are really and truly more
    of the gentlemen. They mean what they say to the sex, and act up to
    it; they don't call the suffering creatures lilies, and roses, and
    angels, and jewels of life, and then treat 'em as if they were
    weeds of the world, and pebbles of the highway. But with civilized
    nations--as I fling it at Mouser--they all of 'em make women the
    sign-post pictures of everything that's beautiful and behave to the
    dear originals as if they were born simpletons. "Look at Liberty,
    Mr. Mouser," said I, "look, you want to make Liberty look as lovely
    as it can be done, and what do you do? Why, you're obliged to come
    to women for the only beautiful Liberty that will serve you. You
    paint and stamp Liberty as a woman, and then--but it's so like
    you--then you won't suffer so much as a single petticoat to take
    her seat in the House of Commons. And next, Mouser"--for I would be
    heard--"and next, you want the figure of Justice. Woman again.
    There she is, with her balance and sword, as the sort of
    public-house sign for law, but--is a poor woman allowed to wear
    false hair, and put a black gown upon her back, and so much as once
    open her mouth on the Queen's Bench? May she put a tippet of ermine
    on herself--may she even find herself in a jury? Oh, no: you can
    paint Justice, and cut her in stone, but you never let the poor
    thing say a syllable."

[Illustration: "Are you going?"

"Why, ye-es. The fact is that your party is so slow and I am weally so
infernally bored, that I shall go somewhere and smoke a quiet cigar."

"Well, good-night. As you are by no means handsome, a great puppy, and
not in the least amusing, I think it is the best thing you can do."]



FASHION IN DRESS


It is a noteworthy sign of the times that between 1841 and 1857 the
specific references to the dress of men in the text of _Punch_ are much
more numerous than those dealing with the vagaries of female attire. The
balance inclines in the contrary direction in the pictures which, when
tested by old daguerreotypes and the contents of family albums, form a
substantially correct and illuminating commentary on the evolution of
fashion in women's dress. So we begin with the ladies, with the double
proviso that Leech and Doyle and their brother artists on _Punch_ were
not fashion-plate designers, and that the charms and extravagances of
the modish world which they depicted were drawn mainly from the
Metropolis. _Punch_ was a Londoner, even a Cockney, and throws little
light on the social life of the provinces.

[Sidenote: _The Breadth of the Fashion_]

[Illustration: EASIER SAID THAN DONE

MASTER OF THE HOUSE: "Oh, Fred, my boy--when dinner is ready, you take
Mrs. Furbelow downstairs!"]

[Illustration: GRAND CHARGE OF PERAMBULATORS--AND DEFEAT OF SWELLS]

[Illustration: ILLUSTRATION FROM AN UNPUBLISHED NOVEL]

[Sidenote: _Aids to Beauty_]

To speak roughly, fashion in women's dress is subject to two great
alternating influences--in the direction of elongation or of lateral
extension. In the 'forties and 'fifties the tendency was steadily in the
second direction and away from the slim elegance which has been the aim
of the modistes of recent years. Long, "mud-bedraggled" dresses are, it
is true, condemned in 1844, but width rather than length was the
prevailing feature. It was the age of flounces, and this expansive
tendency culminated, in the mid-'fifties, in the reign of the crinoline,
against which _Punch_ waged for many years a truceless but, as he
himself admitted, a wholly ineffectual warfare. The first indication of
the coming portent is to be found in the _annus mirabilis_ of 1848, when
an "air-tube dress extender" is shown in a picture. This, however, was a
single hoop and comparatively modest in its circumference. The
crinoline, in its full amplitude, did not invade London until 1856.
Thenceforward, hardly a number is free from satire and caricature of
this exuberant monstrosity, and the inconvenience caused in theatres,
drawing-rooms, in the parks and public vehicles, and in the streets.
What with the bath-chairs of invalids, the ladies' dresses, and the
children's perambulators, we read in 1856, that "it amounts almost to an
impossibility nowadays to walk on the pavements." People were now
dressed "not in the height, but the full breadth of the fashion." The
structure of the machine, with its whalebone ribs and inflated tubes,
was revealed in all its mammoth dimensions. It was denounced alike as an
absurdity and as a danger, but satire and warnings were equally
powerless to abate the nuisance. But the crinoline was only the most
conspicuous and culminating example of a tendency to superfluous
clothing and a semi-Oriental muffling-up of the female form, against
which _Punch_ has lived to see a most acute and wholesome reaction. A
sentimental "Buoy at the Nore" writes to put on record a protest against
the enormous sunbonnets which covered up the "dear heads" of beauties on
the Ramsgate sands. In those days the use of cosmetics and pigments was
far less general; veils and bonnets and sunshades, notably the
projection aptly nicknamed the "Ugly," were in great demand. The
resources of civilization were employed to preserve complexions rather
than to supply artificial substitutes. So we find _Punch_ in 1855
describing with much gusto a young lady at the seaside wearing: (1) A
huge, round hat doubled down to eclipse all but her chin, (2) an "Ugly"
of similar magnitude, (3) a veil, and (4) a parasol. These huge, round
hats, like shallow bowls, were worn by little girls, who were often
dressed like their parents with flounces and voluminous skirts. But
extremes meet, and along with the monstrous seaside hats--big enough to
be used as a substitute for an archery target by undisciplined younger
brothers--small bonnets, worn on the back of the head, and tiny parasols
were in vogue in 1853. A certain masculinity of attire was affected by
young ladies of sporting tastes--in the way of waistcoats and ties for
example--but the fashionable world set its face as a flint against
anything in the way of rational dress reform. In 1851 we find one of the
earliest instances in _Punch_ of the use of the word "æsthetic" in
connexion with costume, where in an imaginary dialogue Miss Runt, a
strong-minded female, speaks of "our dress viewed as sanitary,
economical, æsthetic."[28] Mayfair had no appreciation of any of these
aspects of millinery, and "Bloomerism" never caught on with the
fashionable world.

[Illustration: WHAT MUST BE THE NEXT FASHION IN BONNETS]

[Illustration: PLAIN]

[Illustration: RINGLETS]

This was the age of flounces and crinolines; it was also the age of
ringlets. Bands and braids and hair nets are features of early Victorian
_coiffure_, but ringlets were undoubtedly the favourite mode for full
dress occasions. The fashion lasted for a good many years. You will find
it in the ballroom scene depicted by Leech in 1847, and Leech
illustrated Surtees's novel _Plain or Ringlets?_ in 1860. Of the "plain"
variety of hairdressing there are several good examples in _Punch_,
notably the head given above, with which we couple the ringleted belle
illustrated at the foot of the same page.

[Footnote 28: "Æsthetical" was noticed as early as 1847 in a dig at _New
Curiosities of Literature_, and in 1853 we read of an "æsthetic tea," at
which "the atmosphere was one of architecture, painting, stained glass,
brasses, heraldry, wood carving, madrigals, chants, motets, mysticism
and theology."]

[Sidenote: Coiffures in the Fifties]

[Illustration: ÆSTHETIC PIONEERS

MRS. TURTLEDOVE: "Dearest Alfred! Will you decide now what we shall have
for dinner?"

MR. TURTLEDOVE: "Let me see, poppet. We had a wafer yesterday--suppose
we have a roast butterfly to-day."]

In the mid-'fifties, it may be noted, it was the fashion for women to
wear gold and silver dust in their hair. In 1854 it was often dressed _à
l'impératrice_ in imitation of the Empress Eugénie, and _Punch_
satirizes as an absurdity the general adoption of a _coiffure_ unsuited
to people of certain ages, features, and positions--a wide scope for his
wit. Tight lacing is seldom noted, and in one respect the ladies of the
time were exempt from censure: high heels had not yet come in, or, if
they had, they escaped _Punch's_ vigilant eye. In the main Leech, on
whose pencil the burden of social commentary fell, was a genial satirist
of feminine foibles. Whether they were dancing or riding or bathing,
walking or doing nothing, the young women he drew were almost
invariably comely to behold. And that reminds me that the decorum of
sea-bathing in the 'fifties was promoted by the apparatus known as the
awning, attached to bathing machines. Children were handed over to the
rigours of old bathing-women as depicted in the terrifying picture
opposite.

[Sidenote: MERMAIDS AT PLAY]

[Illustration: BATHING WOMAN: "Master Franky wouldn't cry! No! Not
he!--He'll come to his Martha, and bathe like a man!"]

Turning to male attire we have to note that the main features of men's
dress as we know it was already established, though in regard to colour,
details, and decoration the influence of the Regency period still made
itself felt. Trousers were first generally introduced in the Army (see
Parkes's _Hygiene_) at the time of the Peninsular War, but
pantaloons--the tight-fitting nether garments which superseded
knee-breeches late in the eighteenth century, and were secured at the
ankles with ribbons and straps, were fashionable in the 'forties. You
will see no trousers, as we know them to-day, in the illustrations to
_Pickwick_, and in the early 'forties pantaloons appear in _Punch's_
illustrations of fashionable wear at dances. The cut of the
"claw-hammer" dress-coat does not differ from that of to-day, but it was
often of blue cloth with brass buttons; shirts were frilled, and
waistcoats of gold-sprigged satin. The bow tie was larger, resembling
that worn by nigger minstrels. "Gibus," or crush hats, did not arrive
till the late 'forties--they are mentioned in Thackeray's _Book of
Snobs_, and gentlemen always carried their tall hats in their hands at
evening parties, and habitually wore them at clubs. For morning wear
blue frock-coats, with white drill trousers and straps, were fashionable
in 1844. Stocks and cravats and neck-cloths had not been ousted by ties.
The _dégagé_ loose neck-cloth of the "fast man" in 1848 is ridiculed by
_Punch_, who traces its origin to the neck-wear--as modern hosiers
say--of the British dustman. Amongst overcoats the Taglioni, a sack-like
garment, called after the famous dancer, is most frequently mentioned;
the Petersham, a heavy overcoat named after Lord Petersham, a dandy of
the Waterloo period, still held its own. The Crimea brought Alma
overcoats, Balaklava wrappers, and Crimea cloaks, and about the same
time _Punch_ caricatures a long garment reaching nearly to the heels,
which gave the wearer the appearance of a toy figure from a Noah's Ark.
There is a mention of the "Aquascutum" waterproof ten years earlier. One
Stultz was the fashionable tailor of the time. The chief hatter, however
(according to _Punch_), was Prince Albert, whose continual and
unfortunate experiments with headgear have been mentioned elsewhere.
_Punch_ speaks of his obsession as a monomania; he only abstained from
calling him "the mad hatter" because that engaging personage had not yet
emerged from the brain of Lewis Carroll. But _Punch_ himself was much
preoccupied with hats. There was a certain elegance about the tall
beaver hat which tapered towards the crown. There was none in the rigid
"chimney-pot" or cylinder silk hat, the ugliest of all European
head-dresses, with its flat, narrow brim, which was "established" by
1850. _Punch_ warred against it almost as vigorously and as
ineffectually as against the crinoline. Indeed, in 1851 he even went to
the length of suggesting the form and materials suitable for an ideal
hat:--

    Take an easy and well-cut morning jacket of the form no longer
    confined to the stableyard or barrack room, but admitted alike into
    breakfast parlour and country house, or the hanging paletot with a
    waistcoat, not scrimp and tight, but long and ample, and wide and
    well-made trousers of any of the neutral-tinted woollen fabrics
    that our northern looms are so prolific in; and we assert
    fearlessly that a broad-leafed and flexible _sombrero_ of grey, or
    brown or black felt may be worn with such a costume, to complete a
    dress at once becoming and congruous.

[Sidenote: _Fashions for Men_]

[Illustration: WHY, INDEED!

PERCEPTIVE CHILD: "Mamma, dear! Why do those gentlemen dress themselves
like the funny little men in the Noah's Ark?"]

[Illustration: A MOST ALARMING SWELLING!]

The resources of modern newspaper enterprise were not then available to
enable _Punch_ to realize his ideal, but he continued to tilt at the
"chimney-pot," though he never succeeded in dethroning it. High collars
are caricatured in 1854. At first they were wide as well as high, but
the "all round collar" of which _Punch_ has a picture in 1854
approximates to the lofty cincture worn by the present Lord Spencer when
a member of the House of Commons. The monocle was not uncommon; but the
caricature of Colonel Sibthorp, one of _Punch's_ favourite butts, shows
that the square shape was still used. White waistcoats were noted as the
emblem of the blameless life of the "Young England" party. For the
grotesque extravagances of fashion Oxford undergraduates, forerunners of
little Mr. Bouncer, are singled out for satire, but if we are to believe
_Mr. Punch_, caricature was unnecessary.

[Sidenote: _The Ideal Hat_]

[Illustration: "SIBBY"--1843]

If this was the age of ringlets for women, it was the age of whiskers,
short but ambrosial, for men. The long "Piccadilly weepers" of Lord
Dundreary were a slightly later development, but Leech's "swells" all
wear whiskers in the 'forties and 'fifties. (Is not the habit
immortalized in the mid-Victorian comic song: "The Captain with his
whiskers cast a sly glance at me"?) They wore small moustaches, too, and
occasionally chin-tufts. Under the head of "Moustaches for the Million,"
_Punch_, in 1847, ironically suggests the placing of sham moustaches on
the market for the benefit of seedy bucks, swell-mobsmen, inmates of the
Queen's Bench prison, and all impostors who affected a social status to
which they had no claim or which they had forfeited. But what he calls
the "Moustache Movement" in the early 'fifties was undoubtedly inspired
by military example, and was followed by the fashion of growing beards.
The necessity of campaigning became the adornment of peace, and in 1854
and 1855 we find pictures of tremendously bearded railway guards and
ticket-collectors, whose appearance terrifies old ladies and gentlemen.

[Sidenote: _Uncomfortable Uniforms_]

[Illustration: PROCTOR (to Undergraduate): "Pray, Sir, will you be so
good as to tell me whether you are a member of the University, or a
Scotch terrier?"]

The vagaries of military uniforms--apart from the intrusions of Prince
Albert--call for separate treatment. The new and very skimpy
shell-jacket introduced in 1848 evokes imaginary protests alike from
stout and lean officers. The short, high-shouldered military cape is
guyed in 1851. In 1854 _Punch_ throws himself with great energy into the
movement for the abolition of the high stock and the adoption of more
rational and comfortable clothing--witness the verses, "Valour under
difficulties," depicting the sufferings of a half-strangled militia-man;
the caricature of the "New Albert Bonnet"; the cartoon in which Private
Jones in a bearskin, black in the face from the strangulation of his
stock, is afraid that his head is coming off; the ridiculous frogged
tunic with a very low belt; and the comments on the Army Order, issued
by Sidney Herbert in 1854, providing white linen covers for helmets and
shakos as a protection against the heat. The sufferings endured by
soldiers owing to their heavy packs and marching kit are not forgotten.
But these abuses, like the story of the bad and rotten boots provided by
contractors for the Crimea, do not belong to a chronicle of fashion, but
to the scandalous history of commerce. Did history repeat itself in some
measure in the Great War?

[Illustration: RUDE BOY: "O, look 'ere, Jim!--If 'ere ain't a Lobster
bin and out-growed his cloak!"]



THE DRAMA, OPERA, MUSIC, AND THE FINE ARTS


One must not expect to find a detached, impartial, or coldly critical
survey of the drama in the pages of _Punch_. Most of his staff had
dabbled in play-writing; Douglas Jerrold was a prolific, accomplished,
and, so far as prestige went, a successful dramatist, but he had reaped
a singularly meagre reward for his industry and talent. He had fallen
out with managers, and his quarrel with Charles Kean was not without its
influence on _Punch's_ persistent disparagement of that actor. Yet, when
all allowance has been made for these personal motives and the querulous
tone which they occasionally inspired, _Punch_ may fairly claim to have
rendered valuable service to the British drama in this period. He was
sound in essentials: in his whole-hearted devotion to Shakespeare and
loyal support of those, like Phelps and Mrs. Warner, who under great
difficulties, and with no fashionable patronage, gave good performances
of Shakespearean plays at moderate prices; in his unceasing attacks on
"Newgate plays," "poison plays," the cult of the criminal whether native
or foreign, stage buffoonery, over-reliance on mere upholstery, dramatic
_clichés_, and solecisms in pronunciation.[29] He was also a reformer in
his advocacy of improvements for the comfort and convenience of the
play-goer, such as the abolition of the rule of evening dress. And, as
we have seen, he rebuked mummer-worship, holding that "the players'
vanity has been the curse of the modern drama." His continued and
pointed remonstrance with the Court for discouraging British plays and
British-born players has been already noted. It runs through the first
ten years of _Punch_ with little intermission and was largely
justified. _Punch_ was able to congratulate Prince Albert on subscribing
to the fund raised to purchase Shakespeare's house for the nation in
1847, but in the main his grievance was genuine. Foreign artists and
freaks were far too freely patronized and encouraged at Court. The
balance has long since been redressed, and another grievance--the
dependence of managers on translations and adaptations from French plays
as set forth in the following extract--has been largely remedied, though
the remedy, so far as the importation of American plays is concerned, is
by some critics considered worse than the disease:--

    _Galignani's Messenger_ says of the French theatre:--

    "There were produced in 1842 at the different theatres of Paris,
    191 new pieces."

           *       *       *       *       *

    _Punch_ says of the English theatre:--

    "There were produced in 1842 at the different theatres of London
    about _ten_ new pieces; the rest being hashed, fricasseed,
    devilled, warmed up, from old stock brought from France or stolen
    from the manufactory of Bentley and others!"

[Footnote 29: See the protest against "skee-yi," "blee-yew," "kee-yind,"
"dis-gyee-ise," for "sky," "blue," "kind," "disguise."]

Censure is impartially bestowed on home-made and imported specimens of
the Newgate drama--_Jack Sheppard_ and _Madame Lafarge_.[30] Of the
latter we read that besides being revolting it was "disgusting and
filthy." The play is compared, to its great disadvantage, with _The
Beggar's Opera_, which is defended as being "real satire and not
wallowing in vice." George Stephens's tragedy _Martinuzzi_ comes in for
frequent ridicule, though the chief _rôles_ were taken by Phelps and
Mrs. Warner, and the ridicule seems to have been well deserved. On what
grounds Stephens gained a place in the D.N.B. is not evident, as his
dramas soon died beyond all possibilities of resurrection. Lord Mahon's
"petition" to Parliament on behalf of the drama in the year 1842 met
with _Punch's_ support. It amounted to this, that Parliament in the
bounty of its wisdom would permit what were then called the minor
theatres to play the very best dramas they could obtain; as it was they
were only open to the very worst. Douglas Jerrold writing under his
signature of "Q" then develops the argument:--

    Virtue, decency, loyalty, and a bundle of other excellences, are
    only valuable in Westminster. In that city of light and goodness,
    the Lord Chamberlain deputes some holy man to read all plays ere
    they are permitted to be produced before a Westminster audience.
    There is no such care taken of the souls of Southwark or Islington.
    The Victoria audiences may be the Alsatians of play-goers, and
    laugh, and weep, and hoot, in defiance of Law. They get their _Jack
    Sheppards_, unlicensed and unpaid for; but the strait-laced
    frequenters of the Adelphi and Olympic have the satisfaction of
    knowing that their _Jack Sheppard_ has been licensed by a Deputy,
    for a certain amount of Her Majesty's money. There, the beauties of
    Tyburn are exhibited with a _cum privilegio_.

    Will Lord Mahon's petition have the effect of altering this
    wickedness, this stupidity, this injustice and absurdity? We _hope_
    it may; but, we repeat it, we have little faith in the enthusiasm
    of Parliament. With the worthy gentlemen who compose it, the
    playhouse is become low and vulgar. Were they called upon to debate
    what should be the statute length of Cerito's petticoats, we should
    have greater hope of their activity, than when the subject involves
    the true interests of the English dramatist, and the real value of
    the English stage.

[Footnote 30: Madame Lafarge (1816-52) achieved a sinister
immortality by the famous poisoning case which bears her name, "one
of the most obscure in the annals of French justice" (Larousse).
After being imprisoned for twelve years she was released and died
in 1852.]

[Sidenote: _Lord Mahon's Petition_]

_Punch's_ pessimism was fortunately not justified by the sequel, for in
the following year, 1843, the Theatres Act abolished the monopoly of the
patent theatres--which for more than a hundred years had confined the
legitimate drama to Covent Garden, Drury Lane and the Haymarket--and
thus inaugurated a policy of free trade.

Déjazet's London _début_ in 1843 provoked the comment, applied by a
later humorist to one of the plays of Aristophanes, that she was "as
broad as she was long"; and the production of a ballet on Lady Macbeth
in the same year prompted the really prophetic suggestion that the only
way to get a five-act tragedy performed was to omit the whole of the
dialogue and give the _rôle_ of heroine to a _première danseuse_. As a
matter of fact Taglioni appeared in _Electra_ in 1845.

In 1844 _Punch_ took a very gloomy view of the dramatic outlook; French
dishes predominated, Shakespeare was "Cibberized," and comedy vulgarized
at the Adelphi and the Olympic. Nor was he cheered by the activities of
a society called the Syncretics, "whose boast it is that they can write
tragedies which no company can act, and no audience can sit out"--a
boast which might be triumphantly re-echoed by similar societies to-day.
A Greek play, the _Antigone_, produced at Covent Garden in 1845 was an
early harbinger of the fruitful movement which began at the end of the
'seventies. _Punch's_ spirits, however, had already revived somewhat
when "Shakespeare though banished from Drury Lane and Covent Garden
found the snuggest asylum near the New River"--at Sadler's Wells under
the enterprising management of Samuel Phelps and Mrs. Warner in 1844,
and in the following year he notes that Shakespeare, expelled from
England to make way for the ballet, had been welcomed in Paris in the
person of Macready. The public knowledge of Shakespeare at the time was,
according to _Punch_, confined to "elegant extracts."

A curious sidelight is thrown on the composition of theatrical
programmes in the 'forties by the ironical regret expressed at the
passing of the old school of comic song: "The old comic song was a
description in lively verse of a murder or a suicide or some domestic
affliction, and if sung at a minor theatre just after the half-price
came in, never missed an encore." At the major theatres, and especially
Drury Lane, the cast in spectacular plays was already reinforced by
four-footed performers, and processions of animals through the streets
were a familiar mode of theatrical advertisement. Managerial enterprise
has always had its menagerial side. Foreign bipeds, however, were not
always popular, and when _Monte Cristo_ was produced at Drury Lane in
1848, with French performers, there was a patriotic hostile
demonstration.

[Sidenote: _The Passing of Pantomimes_]

Judged by modern standards salaries were modest. Well-known actors are
charged with extortion in demanding £60 a week, but it must be
remembered that £60 was exactly all that Douglas Jerrold ever made out
of his most popular and successful play--_Black Eyed Susan_. Those
simple souls who lament the decadence of the harlequinade will be
comforted to learn that as early as 1843 _Punch_ deplores the triumph of
scenery over fun, the supersession of Grimaldi by Stanfield; and he
returns to his complaint in 1849 in "Christmas is not what it ought to
be":--

    Pantomime's quite on the wane,
      Though vainly they try to enrich it,
    By calling, again and again,
      For "_Hot Codlins_" and "_Tippetywitchet_."
    The stealing of poultry by clown
      Has ceased irresistible sport to be,
    If he swallowed a turkey it wouldn't go down;
      Christmas is not what it ought to be.

The red-hot poker business has at any rate taken an unconscionably long
time in dying, and it is not dead yet. But clowns, outside pantomime,
have taken on a new lease of life thanks to Marceline and Grock. The
present writer ventures to predict wonderful possibilities for
harlequinade if revived and developed on the romantic and grotesque
lines of the Russian ballet, to say nothing of the opportunities which
it affords for satire. The craze for child actors and marionettes in
1852 led _Punch_ to bestow an ironical commendation on the latter on the
ground that they never squabbled in the greenroom.

_Punch_ was all for clean plays, but he was no stickler for puritanism
or prudery. In this same year of 1852 he indulges in well-deserved
satire on the performances in Passion week. All theatres were supposed
to be shut, with the result that while the legitimate drama was
suppressed, acrobats or mountebanks of any sort could give
entertainments. We may note that in 1853 _Punch_ suggested that
theatrical performances should begin at 8 instead of 7 p.m.; 6.30 p.m.
is mentioned as the usual dinner hour. Besides the actors already noted
Charles Mathews and Vestris, J. B. Buckstone and Paul Bedford are
constantly mentioned and in the main with good will. The feud with
Charles Kean was kept up to the end; _Punch_ speaks of his "touchiness,"
and certainly spared no means of getting him on the raw. When Kean was
made an F.S.A. in 1857 it was maliciously suggested that the initials
stood for Fair Second-rate Actor. It was otherwise with Charles Kemble,
that "first-rate actor of second-rate parts," as Macready styled the
father of the gifted and delightful Fanny, and Adelaide the successful
opera singer. After his retirement from the stage Kemble gave readings
from Shakespeare at Willis's Rooms and elsewhere in 1844-45, and on his
death in 1854, _Punch_ paid him this graceful tribute:--

    He linked us with a past of scenic art,
      Larger and loftier than now is known;
      Less mannered, it may be, our stage has grown,
    Than when he played his part.

    But where shall we now find, upon our scene,
      The Gentleman in action, look and word,
      Who wears his wit, as he would wear his sword,
    As polished and as keen?

    Come all who loved him: 'tis his passing bell:
      Look your last look: cover the brave old face:
      Kindly and gently bear him to his place--
    Charles Kemble, fare thee well!

[Sidenote: _The Reign of Italian Opera_]

[Illustration: LABLACHE]

A whole volume might be written on the glories, the splendours, and the
absurdities of Italian opera in the 'forties and 'fifties as revealed,
applauded, and criticized in the columns of _Punch_. We say Italian
opera advisedly, because the domination of Italian composers and singers
and of the Italian language was as yet practically unassailed. Germany,
it is true, had already begun to knock at the door. Lord Mount Edgcumbe
in his _Reminiscences_ mentions the visit of a German operatic company
in 1832. Staudigl, who "created" the title-_rôle_ in Mendelssohn's
_Elijah_ when it was produced at Birmingham in 1846, is mentioned by
_Punch_ as singing in opera in London in 1841. Weber's _Der Freischütz_
was given at the Haymarket in the summer of 1844. But the greater
lights in the operatic firmament, judged by the test of fashionable
patronage and indeed general popularity, were all Italian. The meteoric
Malibran--Spanish by race but Italian in training--died suddenly and
tragically in 1836, and Pasta, her great rival, withdrew from the stage
shortly afterwards. The retirement of the famous tenor Rubini is
mentioned in _Punch's_ first volume, but his popularity was eclipsed by
that of Mario, who reigned without a rival in virtue of his triple
endowment of voice, good looks, and elegance. His triumphs were shared
by Grisi, and the kings and queens of song on the lyric stage in these
two decades were either Italians by birth--e.g., Grisi, Alboni, whom
_Punch_ likens to a "jolly blooming she-Bacchus," Persiani, and
Piccolomini--or trained in the Italian school and distinguished by their
association with Italian opera, such as Sontag and Jenny Lind, Duprez
the French tenor, and Lablache, who was born and bred in Italy though of
Franco-Hibernian parentage, the greatest in bulk, in volume and beauty
of voice, in dramatic versatility and in genial humour of all operatic
basses. So too with the composers. It was the heyday of Rossini,
Donizetti, Bellini and the earlier Verdi, whom _Punch_ in 1852
irreverently styles the "crack composer" as he cracked so many voices.
_Punch_ cannot be blamed if he failed to foresee in the crude vigour of
_Nabucco_ and the hectic sentimentality of _Traviata_ and _Trovatore_
possibilities of that wonderful Indian summer of genius which began with
_Aïda_ and culminated in _Otello_ and _Falstaff_. Michael Costa was the
conductor _par excellence_, who took outrageous liberties with scores,
but was none the less a most efficient operatic drill-sergeant. Here our
debt to Italy was ingeniously expressed--though not by _Punch_--in the
Latin tag: _Costam subduximus Apennino_. Balfe, it is true, had scored a
resounding success in 1843 with _The Bohemian Girl_, which still holds
the boards. The fact that it is commonly known in the profession as "The
Bo Girl" is perhaps the best index to its artistic value. But Balfe was
at least equally well known as a conductor of Italian opera. _Punch_
supported the claims of native and national opera, and regretted that
Adelaide Kemble, "our first English operatic singer," should not have
made an effort in its behalf in connexion with the venture at Drury Lane
in 1841, when a Mr. Rodwell was the only native composer represented.
The reason alleged for the rejection of other English operas submitted
was the badness of the _libretti_. Italian opera _libretti_ were often
satirized by _Punch_, but those of Fitzball and Bunn were, if possible,
worse.

Italian opera, however, the only opera which really counted in the
social world, was the luxury and appanage of the nobility and gentry.
The importance and significance of the institution at this time, and for
many years afterwards, are really very well summed up in an article
which _Punch_ reproduced from the _Morning Post_ in 1843 with italics
and comments of his own at the expense of "Jenkins":--

    "The Opera is the place of rendezvous of those persons who, _de
    facto_, as well as _de jure_, are, in their several different
    spheres, the leaders and models of society. It is not only to hear
    an Opera which they may have seen a hundred times that the
    distinguished subscribers assemble. There, most men of consequence
    _literary and artistical_ (pretty egotist) as well as the noble and
    fashionable, have agreed to meet during the season. There, the fair
    tenants of the boxes receive those friendly and agreeable visits
    which do not consist in the delivery of a _piece of engraved
    postcard to a servant_. Charming _causeries_ are constantly
    proceeding _sotto voce_ (of course Jenkins listens), the music
    filling up the pauses of a conversation which the more often it is
    interrupted by the bright efforts of the singers--with the more
    zest and piquancy _it is resumed_. We, whose office it is to record
    daily events--things as they are--and hold the _glass up to
    fashion_ (whilst fashion arranges its evening tie) can but seek to
    imitate this course of things--and we do so with only one
    regret--that motives of delicacy compel us to reflect rather the
    general sentiments that prevail, than those private opinions which
    have most piquancy."

[Sidenote: _"Jenkins" as Musical Critic_]

For sheer ecstasy of flunkeydom "Jenkins" was unsurpassed and
unsurpassable, but at least he was capable of recognizing native talent,
as may be gleaned from his notice of _Semiramide_ in English in the
winter of 1842:--

    We cannot omit another little extract from a notice of
    _Semiramide_:--

    "Of the gems of this sublime opera we must particularly direct
    attention to Mrs. Alfred Shaw's manner and divinely expressive way
    of singing her Cavatina, 'Ah! that day I well remember,' where her
    sublime contralto, controlled by the most scientific skill, and
    whose soft diapason tones fall like seraphs' harmony, penetrates
    the heart with chastening ardour and inspiring effect. Again the
    contralto and soprano duet, 'Dark days of Sorrow,' between Miss
    Kemble and Mrs. Shaw; what deep pathos! what eloquence discoursing!
    Mark the clear, brilliant, towering sublimity of expression as
    Semiramide holds on the C in alt., while the thirds and fifths of
    Assaca's deep mellow notes from D to G in a full octave and a half
    are filling in a sublime harmony of melody of the most touching and
    refined order."

But if extravagant homage was paid to the queens of song much was also
expected of them. The truth of this is seen in the episode chronicled
under the heading "Persiani at Sea":--

    An enthusiastic audience is assembled to hurrah Persiani--to cry
    _brava_--to throw bouquets, etc. The crowd open their mouths to
    receive the honeyed voice of a _prima donna_, and Doctor Wardrop
    throws blue pills into them. The following notice proves the truth
    of our metaphor:--

    "Madame Persiani continues to _suffer so severely from the effects
    of sea-sickness, accompanied with violent retching_, that it is
    impossible for her to appear this evening.

"JAMES WARDROP, M.D."

    On this, says _The Times_, "the audience were at first disposed to
    grumble, and gave many signs of dissatisfaction."

    The audience were perfectly right. They were justified in becoming
    very savage at the violent retching of a sea-sick St. Cecilia; and
    had she had the effrontery to die, they would, we are convinced,
    have been perfectly exonerated, by all the laws of English freedom,
    in breaking the chandeliers and tearing up the benches!

[Illustration: THE SKATING BALLET]

The private life of operatic celebrities was as a rule no concern of the
opera-going public, but the line was drawn at Lola Montez, whose
engagement to dance at Drury Lane in 1843 was cancelled in deference to
general protests. The ballet was an integral part and commanding
attraction of the old Italian opera. The most wonderful account of this
"explosion of all the upholsteries" has been given by Carlyle at a
slightly later date. In the 'forties the shining lights were
Taglioni--whose skirts were quite long--Cerito, Fanny Ellsler and
Carlotta Grisi, cousin of the _prima donna_, a wonderful quartet on
whose gyrations and levitations "Jenkins" showered all the adulatory
epithets in his polyglot vocabulary. The skating ballet in _Le
Prophète_, popular in 1849, is the subject of a charming little sketch
in _Punch_, and this production was notable vocally for the appearance
of Pauline Viardot-Garcia, the greatest actress, the most accomplished
and enlightened musician, and the most interesting personality of all
nineteenth century _prime donne_. Henriette Sontag, however, was the
popular operatic heroine of the year, graceful, charming and still
handsome, though no longer in her first youth,[31] a perfect singer, an
incomparable _Susanna_ (as _Punch_ admitted), though lacking dramatic
force--Sontag, of whom Catalani said that she was the first in her
_genre_, but that her _genre_ was not the first.

[Sidenote: Jenny Lind]

Great singers came and went but _Punch_ never wavered in his allegiance
to Jenny Lind. Though her career on the lyric stage was brief, she is
more often and more enthusiastically mentioned than any other singer,
and for reasons which are revealed in the following lines:--

THE NIGHTINGALE THAT SINGS IN THE WINTER

    Sweetest creature, in song without rival or peer,
    Far more inwardly vibrate thy notes than the ear,
    For there speaks in that music, pure, gentle, refined,
    The exquisite voice of a beautiful mind--

    Of a spirit of earnestness, goodness and truth,
    Of a heart full of tender compassion and ruth,
    Ever ready to comfort, and succour, and bless,
    In sorrow and suffering, in want and distress.

    Now this Nightingale rare, in the winter who sings,
    Being not yet a seraph, is one without wings;
    And her name, which has travelled as wide as the wind,
    Is kind-hearted, generous, dear JENNY LIND.

When her retirement was rumoured _Punch_ declared that the Bishop of
Norwich should rather persuade her to remain on the stage than quit it,
because of her example. Reports of her engagement to a Mr. Harris
prompted the remark that "the people would never permit it." Indeed
there were some persons as sceptical of his existence as Mrs. Gamp was
of his female namesake. Her last appearance was in May, 1849, to assist
Lumley, the unlucky _impresario_, then in difficulties, in response to
appeals which were especially vehement in _Punch_. He asserted that her
secession was a national calamity: she "made the stage better without
making herself worse"; and Mozart's aid was invoked in an imaginary
address from the composer of _Don Giovanni_.

[Footnote 31: She had already been twenty-five years on the stage and
was a link with Beethoven, having sung the soprano part in both the
Ninth Symphony and the Mass in D at the historic production of these
great works in Vienna in 1824. Lablache's generous homage to Beethoven's
genius on the occasion of his funeral is too well known to need more
than a passing word of grateful recognition.]

[Illustration: TO JENNY LIND

FROM PUNCH]

The engagement to Mr. Harris was "declared off" immediately afterwards,
but Jenny Lind, in spite of _Punch's_ repeated appeals, adhered to her
decision to quit the stage. As late as 1856 _Punch_ still hoped she
would reconsider her verdict, and her farewell concerts at Exeter Hall
in the summer of that year inspired the characteristic remark that "if
any sweetening process could purify the building it would be such
singing as hers."

[Sidenote: _Popular Favourites in 1844_]

In the early 'forties _Norma_ was the opera most frequently mentioned.
_Punch_ published the stories of several of the most popular operas in
verse. A fragment from _Linda di Chamouni_ may suffice:--

    Then Mario warbles a beautiful bar
    About the revenge of his cruel mamma,
    Who, finding to Linda his faith has been plighted,
    Resolves to another to get him united:
    He curses his fate in a charming _falsetto_,
    Gives way to despair in a _voce di petto_.
    And, rather than grief in his bosom should fester,
    He calls out for death in a _voce di testa_:
    Of life his farewell he seems willing to take,
    And gives on _addio_ a delicate shake.
    The passage is managed with exquisite skill;
    And Linda--acquainted with Mario's trill--
    Lets him hold it as long as he's able to do,
    Awaiting its finish to take for her cue.

Opera singers were great public favourites, but if _Punch_ is to be
believed they did not stand first. In a list of the great features of
the season of 1844 he puts the Polka and Tom Thumb first, followed by
Cerito (the dancer), Grisi, Mario, Persiani, Lablache and the Ojibbeway
Indians, who were "horrid but interesting." The ways and personalities
of the operatic stars are genially hit off in an article on "the
Migration of the Italian Singing Birds." It is pleasant to find
Lablache--Stentor and male Siren in one--put first as a bird unrivalled
for the combined power and richness of his song. "He is a bird that can
sing, and will sing, never requiring any compulsion to make him sing."
_Punch_ alludes to his genial disposition, his magnanimity in
undertaking small parts to secure a perfect ensemble, but omits to
mention his humour. Lablache was once living in the same house with Tom
Thumb, and a stranger who came to visit the "General" strayed into
Lablache's room. Aghast at the bulk of the inmate the visitor explained
"I thought Tom Thumb lived here." "Yes," said Lablache, "but when I am
at home I take it easy." Lablache had as much brains as body, and
elsewhere _Punch_ happily quotes in his praise the line of Virgil:
_ingentes animos ingenti in pectore versat_. The notices of Grisi and
Mario are worth transcribing:--

"THE GRISI"

    Among Italian singing birds the female is equally musical, to say
    the least, with the male. The song of the Grisi is remarkable for
    its variety, strength and sweetness. The habits of the Grisi, from
    what we have been enabled to glean respecting them, seem to be
    those of a bird that continues, in a considerable measure, to enjoy
    its own existence. Whether rising with the lark is one of them, or
    not, we do not know, but we are certain that singing with it is;
    for the Grisi may undoubtedly be said to vie with the lark, or even
    the nightingale, in singing. The Grisi is evidently a bird of a
    kind disposition, and susceptible of affection and attachment; but
    we should conjecture that she would be apt to peck if ruffled. The
    kind of food best adapted for this very fascinating songstress is
    to be obtained at M. Verrey's.

"THE MARIO"

    A very pleasant vocalist. He is now regarded as an efficient
    substitute for the Rubini, to whose note, his own, in point of
    quality, is somewhat similar. He differs, however, from the latter
    bird, in singing, like a good bullfinch, the airs which he has
    acquired without any admixture of certain "native wood-notes wild"
    which, however well enough in their way, are no embellishment to
    such music as Mozart's. We lately had the pleasure of hearing him
    deliver "Il mio tesoro" with very commendable fidelity. He is in
    the habit of being frequently encored; which is the only habit our
    knowledge enables us to ascribe to him. So highly are these Italian
    singing birds prized that many of them fetch, on an average, fifty
    pounds a night for a mere performance. The sum that would be
    required to buy one of them up altogether would be enormous.
    Whether it is the length of John Bull's ears that causes him to pay
    so dearly for their gratification, we do not know. Would he give as
    much to relieve the national distress? Perhaps: if it were set to
    music and sung at the Italian opera.

[Sidenote: _Musical Grab_]

The last lines of this passage lend point to a sardonic remark in an
earlier volume:--

    The following extract is as honest as it is true. It is written by
    Monsieur Henri Blanchard, in the _Gazette Musicale_:--

    "Are you aware," he asks, "that the Italian singers, the French and
    German instrumentalists, visit your shores solely for the purpose
    of exercising that spirit of commerce which presides over
    everything with you, and not to ask for the opinion of Englishmen
    on the subject of art? They come to make amends in Paris, as they
    all say, for the trading system they have been carrying on in
    England, and to spend the money which they have earned with so much
    _ennui_."

    _Punch_ begs to lay the above on the reading-desk of his gracious
    mistress the Queen, and humbly prays that her Majesty will
    mercifully consider the condition of the French, German and Italian
    _ennuyés_--and dispense for the future with their services.

This familiar wail is repeated in 1849 when London was likened to a
musical Babel with two Italian, one German, and one French operas;
Hungarian, French and other foreign _prime donne_; Strauss's band and
Styrian minstrels. M. Blanchard's view was further confirmed by a
curious episode worthy of note for the first introduction of the name
Wagner to _Punch's_ readers and indeed to the British public. It was not
the great Richard, however, but his niece Johanna, an opera singer of
considerable repute, who was concerned. In 1852 she simultaneously
accepted engagements at both opera houses, a policy which led to
protracted litigation in Chancery. Her father was so frank as to say
that "England was worth nothing except for her money," and _Punch_ in
his frequent references to the incident employs the term "Wagnerism" to
express the point of view of opera-singers who would not abide by their
contracts. The unfortunate Johanna, "the wandering minstrel," as _Punch_
called her, never appeared in opera in London, but apparently did sing
at Court. The engagement of Richard Wagner to conduct the concerts of
the Philharmonic Society in 1855 left _Punch_ not merely cold but
pugnaciously antagonistic.

The "music of the future" prompted him to rude remarks about "long-eared
musicians," and he returns to the seat of the scornful in a curt notice
headed "NOT a Magic Minstrel":--

    Herr Wagner, Professor of the "Music of the Future," appears, in
    conducting at the Philharmonic, to have made strange work with the
    music of all time. He alters Mozart, it appears, if not exactly as
    a parish clerk once said that he had altered Haydn for the singing
    gallery, yet in a manner nearly as audacious, altering "_allegro_"
    to "_moderato_"; "_andante_" to "_adagio_"; "_allegretto_" to
    "_andante_"; and "_allegro_" again to "_prestissimo_." Wagner would
    seem strongly to resemble his namesake in _Faust_, in the
    particular wherein that _Wagner_ differs from his master--that is,
    in the circumstance of being no conjuror.

The sudden disappearance of that Italianized Westphalian, the fiery
Cruvelli, was a nine days' wonder in the operatic world in 1854 and is
duly chronicled in _Punch_. Towards the end of this period Piccolomini,
a singer of small calibre but attractive personality, achieved great
popularity in the _rôle_ of the consumptive heroine of _La Traviata_,
and _Punch_ celebrated the craze of "Piccolomania," as he called it, in
the following travesty:--

    Art is long and time is fleeting,
      But of genius the soul,
    Ordinary talent beating,
      Reaches at one stride the goal.

    In the operatic battle,
      In the _Prima Donna's_ life
    Quit the herd--the vocal cattle,
      Be a Grisi in the strife.

    Trust no promise, howe'er pleasant,
      Not who may be, but who are;
    Piccolomini at present,
      Is the bright particular star.

[Sidenote: _Jullien_]

[Illustration: JULLIEN'S DESPAIR]

Outside the opera houses, music in the period under review in this
volume may be said to begin and end with Jullien, so far as _Punch_ is
concerned. Jullien is roughly handled in the very first number of
_Punch_. In the autumn of 1857 satire has given place to affection and
generous recognition. And _Punch_ was right, for underneath all his
superficial buffooneries Jullien was a great educator and reformer. The
present writer vividly remembers an anecdote told him by the late Sir
Charles Hallé in the 'eighties. After giving a description of Jullien's
flamboyant attire--on one occasion he wore a shirt front embroidered
with a picture of a nymph playing a flute under a palm tree--and his
habit, after performing a solo on his golden piccolo, of flinging
himself with a _beau geste_ of exhaustion into a gorgeously upholstered
armchair, Sir Charles Hallé went on to recall how Jullien had once said
to him: "To succeed in music in England, one must be either a great
genius like _you_, or a great charlatan like _me_." Now Jullien had been
a failure as a student at the Paris Conservatoire--but so had Verdi at
Milan. But there is no warrant whatever for Punch's statement that he
was "a _ci-devant_ waiter of a _quarante-sous traiteur_." Of the
charlatan side of Jullien, the love of noise and, again to quote
Carlyle, of the "explosion of all the upholsteries," _Punch_ gives a
graphic if severe picture in the verses which appear in his first
number:--

MONSIEUR JULLIEN

            "One!"--crash!
            "Two!"--clash!
            "Three!"--dash!
            "Four!"--smash!
            Diminuendo,
            Now crescendo:--
    Thus play the furious band,
    Led by the kid-gloved hand
    Of Jullien--that Napoleon of quadrille,
    Of Piccolo-nians shrillest of the shrill;
            Perspiring raver
            Over a semi-quaver;
    Who tunes his pipes so well, he'll tell you that
    The natural key of Johnny Bull's--A flat.

    Demon of discord, with moustaches cloven--
    Arch-impudent _improver_ of Beethoven--
    Tricksy Professor of _charlatanerie_--
    Inventor of musical artillery--
    Barbarous rain and thunder maker--
    Unconscionable money taker--
    Travelling about both near and far,
    Toll to exact at every _bar_,
      What brings thee here again
      To desecrate old Drury's fane?

      Egregious attitudiniser!
      Antic fifer! com'st to advise her
    'Gainst intellect and sense to close her walls?
      To raze her benches,
      That Gallic wenches
    Might play their brazen antics at masked balls?

[Sidenote: _Early Promenade Concerts_]

[Illustration: "GENTS" AT THE PROMENADE CONCERT]

But when _Punch_ assails Jullien for leaving his "stew-pans and
meat-oven To make a fricassee of the great Beet-hoven" and "saucily
serve Mozart with sauce-piquant," and bids him "put your hat on,
_coupez votre bâton, Bah, Va_!!!"--_Punch_ was both rude and ungenerous.
From the very first at his Concerts d'Eté and then at the Promenade
Concerts, Jullien was a popularizer of good music. He gave his public
waltzes, "Row Polkas," and explosive Army Quadrilles, but he also
sandwiched Beethoven and Mozart between the coarser viands of his
musical _menu_. So while he was credited with the intention of bringing
out _Stabat Mater_ waltzes--by no means a difficult feat with Rossini's
work--and a _Dead March_ gallopade, we must never forget that he was the
first conductor to introduce symphonic music to the masses and the
authentic pioneer of the movement which Sir Henry Wood has carried on at
the Queen's Hall for the last twenty years and more. Modern music
strikes heavily on the naked ear, but Jullien was in the habit of
reinforcing instruments of percussion with explosives, and _Punch_
suggests in 1849 that his _Concerts Monstres_ should be held on
Salisbury Plain to give elbow room for his "stunning performances." His
_chevelure_, his waistcoats and waistbands were too conspicuous to
escape _Punch's_ vigilant eye, and Jullien was no doubt content that it
should be so, for he was a master of the art of _réclame_. He is
habitually alluded to as "the Mons," primarily as the diminutive for
"Monsieur," but mainly because he was "the Mont Blanc of Music." The
excesses of Jazz Bands of to-day are foreshadowed in a description of
the "tongs and bones" music at the Promenade Concerts. But the author of
the notice of Jullien[32] in the D.N.B. conveys a wrong impression when
he speaks of _Punch_ as only ridiculing Jullien. Already _Punch_ had
learned to recognize his merits, and, while rebuking him for his
extravagant conducting of flashy and trashy pieces, renders homage to
his reverence for good music. Thenceforward the references to "the Mons"
are in the main friendly. The _Almanack_ for 1852 speaks of the "Julian
(Jullien) Era" in music. Jullien's opera _Peter the Great_ is tenderly
handled in the autumn of the same year, and, when he set out for his
tour in the States, _Punch_ sped the parting minstrel in some verses
which are an admirable and faithful summary of his services to musical
education in England:--

FAREWELL TO JULLIEN

    Composer of _Peter the Great_,
      Ere over Atlantic's broad swell
    The steamer shall carry thee, proud of her freight,
      Let me bid thee a hearty farewell.

    With ophicleides, cymbals, and gongs
      At first thou didst wisely begin,
    And bang the dull ears of the popular throngs,
      As though 'twere to beat music in.

    With national measures of France,
      With polka, with waltz, and with jig,
    The "gents" thou excitedst to caper and dance,
      As Orpheus did ox, ass, and pig.

    Then, leading them on, by degrees,
      To a feeling for Genius and Art,
    Thou mad'st them to feel that Beethoven could please,
      And that all was not "slow" in Mozart.

[Footnote 32: Jullien was, we assume, a naturalized British subject,
though he appears in Larousse.]

[Sidenote: _John Hullah_]

The end of the poor "Mons" was pitiful. He was, when he chose to lay
aside his mountebankery, an excellent and inspiring conductor. But he
was hopelessly extravagant and improvident, and always in money
difficulties. In the fire which destroyed Covent Garden Theatre in 1856
he lost all his musical library and other possessions, and a disastrous
venture at the Royal Surrey Gardens completed his ruin. There is no
"ridicule" in the tribute paid to the unlucky Jullien in the autumn of
1857, when _Punch_ describes him as "a most worthy fellow, at whose
eccentricities I have made good fun in his days of glory, but whom I
have always recognized as a true artist and a true friend to art." But
things went from bad to worse with the eccentric artist, and Jullien
died bankrupt and insane in a lunatic asylum in Paris in 1860, at the
age of forty-eight.

Another musical pioneer on far more orthodox lines whom _Punch_
recognized was John Hullah, whose singing classes for the people at
Exeter Hall in 1842 prompted the comment: "If music for the people be a
fine moral pabulum, is the drama for the people to be considered of no
value whatever?" More sympathetic is the reference, under the heading of
"Io Bacche," to the performance of Bach's Mass in B minor at one of
Hullah's monthly concerts in St. Martin's Hall in March, 1851. Hullah,
who devoted his life to popular instruction in vocal music, well
deserved the commendation: no fewer than 25,000 pupils passed through
his singing classes between 1840 and 1860. The standard of taste in
vocal music was not high in the early 'forties: _Punch_ satirizes the
prevalent sentimentality in songs by suggesting in 1842 as a title
"Brush back that briny tear." On the instrumental side we have to note
the entrance of the banjo in the same year. Musical eccentricities and
monstrosities are duly noted. There seems to have been a special
effervescence of them in 1856, when a performer who hammered out tunes
on his chin, and Picco, the blind Sardinian penny whistler, enjoyed a
fleeting popularity. In the same year American negro dialect ballads
were much in vogue, a tyranny from which we are not yet relieved. The
concertina became fashionable much earlier, in 1844, owing to the
remarkable performances of the Italian _virtuoso_ Giulio Regondi, but
is seldom heard nowadays outside of music halls. Turgenieff said that
the zither always reminded him of a Jew trying to sing through his nose.
Without going so far as that, one may say that it would be hard to carry
out Sir Edward Elgar's favourite expression-mark _nobilmente_ on the
concertina. With regard to fashionable music _Punch_ complains in 1849
that execution was everything, composition little or nothing. He only
anticipated the complaint of a later satirist who wrote:--

    Spare, execution, spare thy victim's bones--
    Composed by Mozart, decomposed by Jones.

[Illustration: MANNERS AND CVSTOMS OF YE ENGLYSHE IN 1849

A FEW FRIENDS TO TEA AND A LYTTLE MVSYCK]

[Sidenote: _"Punch's" Taste in Music_]

[Illustration: TASTE IN 1854--VILLIKINS AND HIS DINAH IN THE
DRAWING-ROOM

YOUNG LADY (who ought to know better): "Now, William, you are not low
enough yet. Begin again at 'he took the cold pizen.'"]

Specimens of fashionable musical criticism have already been given under
the head of opera. _Punch_ had the root of the matter in him but was
lacking in technique, and confesses himself unable to make out what a
critic meant by alluding to a new tenor's "admirable _portamento_." He
was on much more sure ground when he attacked Balfe for mangling
Beethoven at the Grand National Concerts at Her Majesty's Theatre in
1850, when trivial rubbish was sandwiched between movements of the
_Eroica_ Symphony. A second visit, however, enabled him to withdraw his
censure, as the _Eroica_ and C minor Symphonies were performed without
being cut in two. _Punch_ had "no use for" Wagner, as we have seen, but
he fully appreciated his romantic forerunner Weber; his salutation of
Spohr and Hummel as classics was perhaps a trifle premature. The names
of the various musical celebrities who figure in the pages of _Punch_ in
this period afford a striking illustration of the transitoriness of the
fame of the executant. Who but experts in musical biography know of
Sivori and Ole Bull now? Even the laurels of the great Thalberg, the
most "gentlemanly" of all the great pianists, author of the most
fashionable variations, have withered sadly in the last half century.
_Punch_ does not seem to have been specially impressed by Liszt, the
greatest of them all, and misspells his name "Listz" on the occasion of
a perfunctory reference to him in 1843. The favourite composers of
waltzes were Strauss, the founder of the dynasty of the Viennese
waltz-kings, and Labitzky. To the present generation the name Strauss
has totally different associations; and we live so fast that an
enlightened writer has recently declared that the once redoubtable
Richard is also dead. It would be an overstatement to say that
conductors were of no account in the 'forties and 'fifties, in view of
the notoriety of Jullien and the prestige of Costa, who was both an
autocrat and a martinet, but they did not loom nearly so large in the
public eye as the great singers. The balance of repute has long since
been decisively redressed and the popular conductor of to-day has no
reason to complain of lack of homage, whether in the form of applause or
official recognition.

[Sidenote: _Turner as Painter and Poet_]

The low opinion which _Punch_ entertained of contemporary architects and
sculptors and of their ability to design or execute a public building, a
monument, or a memorial, has been noted in our brief survey of London.
He made an exception in favour of Paxton, but does not seem to have
recognized the genius of Alfred Stevens, and here at any rate was not in
advance of public or expert opinion of the time. Stevens's design for
the Wellington monument was only placed sixth in order of merit by the
adjudicators of the competition in 1857, and though ultimately the
execution of the monument was entrusted to him, it was not placed in the
position intended for it till twenty-seven years after his death. As a
judge of painting and painters _Punch_ showed greater independence,
intelligence and enlightenment. His earlier volumes abound in references
to forgotten names, but he was at least no indiscriminate worshipper of
established reputation. In a notice of the Suffolk Street Gallery in the
autumn of 1841 he prints a most trenchant criticism of Maclise's
"Sleeping Beauty" as showing "a disdain for both law and reason and
avoiding an approximation to the vulgarity of flesh and blood in his
representation of humanity." Landseer falls under his lash for his
"courtier pictures" at the R.A. in 1844, and in the same article we find
the first of many satirical references to Turner's poetic titles.
_Punch_, we regret to say, wholly failed to recognize that a bad poet
might be a very great painter. In his "Scamper through the Academy" we
read:--

    No. 77 is called _Whalers_, by J. M. W. Turner, R.A., and embodies
    one of those singular effects which are only met with in lobster
    salads, and in this artist's pictures. Whether he calls his
    pictures _Whalers_, or _Venice_, or _Morning_, or _Noon_, or
    _Night_, it is all the same; for it is quite as easy to fancy it
    one thing as another. We give here two subjects by this celebrated
    artist.

[Illustration: VENICE BY DAYLIGHT,--RETURNING FROM THE BALL

MS. "Fallacies of Hope" (An Unpublished Poem).--TURNER.]

And again:--

    We had almost forgotten Mr. J. M. W. Turner, R.A., and his
    celebrated MS. poem, the _Fallacies of Hope_, to which he
    constantly refers us as "in former years," but on this occasion he
    has obliged us by simply mentioning the title of the poem, without
    troubling us with an extract. We will, however, supply a motto to
    his _Morning--returning from the Ball_, which really seems to need
    a little explanation; and as he is too modest to quote the
    _Fallacies of Hope_, we will quote it for him:

    "Oh! what a scene!--Can this be Venice? No.
    And yet methinks it is--because I see
    Amid the lumps of yellow, red and blue,
    Something which looks like a Venetian spire.
    That dash of orange in the background there
    Bespeaks 'tis Morning! And that little boat
    (Almost the colour of tomato sauce)
    Proclaims them now returning from the ball!
    This in my picture, I would fain convey,
    I hope I do. Alas! _what_ FALLACY!"

But there is some good "horse sense" mixed up with frivolity in an
article on the canons of criticism a few pages later:--

    GENERAL MAXIMS

    I. The power of criticism is a gift, and requires no previous
    education.

    II. The critic is greater than the artist.

    III. The artist cannot know his own meaning. The critic's office is
    to inform him of it.

    IV. Painting is a mystery. The language of pictorial criticism,
    like its subject, should be mysterious and unintelligible to the
    vulgar. It is a mistake to classify it as ordinary English, the
    rules of which it does not recognise.

    V. Approbation should be sparingly given: it should be bestowed in
    preference on what the general eye condemns. The critical dignity
    must never be lowered by any explanation why a work of art is good
    or bad.

     [Sidenote: _Rules for Art Critics_]

     CHARACTERISTICS OF PARTICULAR STYLES

    1. _To criticise a Picture by Turner._--Begin by protesting against
    his extravagance; then go on with a "notwithstanding." Combine such
    phrases as "_bathed in sunlight_," "_flooded with summer glories_,"
    "_mellow distance_," with a reference to his earlier pictures; and
    wind up with a rapturous rhapsody on the philosophy of art.

    2. _To criticise a Picture by Stanfield._--Begin by unqualified
    praise; then commence detracting, first on the score of "_sharp,
    hard outline_"; then of "_leathery texture_"; then of "_scenic
    effect of the figures_"; and conclude by a wish he had never been a
    scene painter.

    3. _To criticise a Picture by Etty._--Begin by delirious
    satisfaction with his "_delicious carnations_" and "_mellow
    flesh-tones_." Remark on the skilful arrangement of colour and
    admirable composition; and finish with a regret that Etty should
    content himself with merely painting from "_the nude Academy
    model_," without troubling himself with that for which you had just
    before praised him.--N.B. Never mind the contradiction.

    4. _To criticise a Picture by E. Landseer._--Here you are bound to
    unqualified commendation. If the subject be Prince Albert's Hat or
    the Queen's Macaw, some ingenious compliment to royal patrons is
    expected.

    _Punch_ will be happy to supply newspaper critics with similar
    directions for "doing" all the principal painters in similar style.

    He subjoins some masterly specimens of artistic criticism:--

    The "_facile princeps_" of daily critics of art (he of the Post)
    has the following, in a criticism of Herbert's _Gregory and
    Choristers_:--

    "There is a want of _modulative melody_ in its colours and
    mellowness in _its hand_ (whose?), pushed to an _outré_ simplicity
    in _the plainness and ungrammatical development of its general
    effect_. The handling is firm and simple, though in the drapery
    occasionally too square and inflexible."

[Illustration: MANNERS AND CVSTOMS OF YE ENGLYSHE IN 1849

YE EXHYBITYON. AT YE ROYAL ACADEMYE.]

The neglect and rough handling of the treasures of the National Gallery,
where pictures presented to the nation were buried in a vault, is a
frequent source of indignant comment throughout this period--note for
example "The Pictures' Petition" in 1853. But in another sense
contemporary pictures were roughly handled by _Punch_. Thus in 1849 he
puts in an effective plea for realism as against Wardour Street "Old
Clo'," and appeals to artists to "paint human beings instead of
clothes-horses." There is indeed a strangely familiar ring in "Mr.
Pips's" notes on the R.A. Exhibition of the year:--

    "The Exhibition at large I judge to be a very excellent middling
    one, many Pictures good in their kind, but that Kind in very few
    cases high. The Silks and Satins mostly painted to admiration, and
    the Figures copied carefully from the Model; but this do appear too
    plainly; and the action generally too much like a Scene in a Play."

The same complaint recurs in the following year, when _Punch_ is moved,
as the result of visiting all the exhibitions then open to ask certain
questions:--

    Is painting a living art in England at this moment?

    Is there a nineteenth century?

    Are there men and women round about us, doing, acting, suffering?

    Is the subject matter of Art, clothes? Or is it men and women,
    their actions, passions and sufferings?

    If Art is vital, should it not somehow find food among living
    events, interests, and incidents? Is our life, at this day, so
    unideal, so devoid of all sensuous and outward picturesqueness and
    beauty, that for subjects to paint we must needs go back to the
    Guelphs and Ghibellines, or to Charles the Second, or William the
    Third, or George the Second?

[Sidenote: _The P.R.B._]

[Illustration: CONVENT THOUGHTS]

But much more interesting than these generalities--sound and sensible
though they are--is the first reference to "certain young friends of
mine, calling themselves--the dear silly boys--Pre-Raphaelites" in the
same volume. It must certainly be admitted that in his earlier
criticisms of the P.R.B.'s _Mr. Punch_ managed to dissemble his
affection pretty effectively. The initial compliment in the notice of
1851 is largely discounted by what follows:--

    Our dear and promising young friends, the Pre-Raphaelites, deserve
    especial commendation for the courage with which they have dared to
    tell some most disagreeable truths on their canvases this year. Mr.
    Ruskin was quite right in taking up the cudgels against _The Times_
    on this matter. The pictures of the P.R.B. _are_ true, and that's
    the worst of them. Nothing can be more wonderful than the truth of
    Collins's representation of the _Alisma Plantago_, _except_ the
    unattractiveness of the demure lady, whose botanical pursuits he
    has recorded under the name of CONVENT THOUGHTS.... By the size
    of the lady's head he no doubt meant to imply her vast capacity of
    brains--while by the utter absence of form and limb under the robe,
    he subtly conveys that she has given up all thoughts of making a
    figure in the world.

    Mr. Millais's "_Mariana_ in the moated Grange" is obviously meant
    to insinuate a delicate excuse for the gentleman who wouldn't
    come--and to show the world the full import of Tennyson's
    description:--

   _then said she, "I am very dreary."_

    Anything drearier than the lady, or brighter than her blue velvet
    robe, it is impossible to conceive.

[Illustration: MARIANA IN THE MOATED GRANGE]

[Sidenote: _Commercialism in Art_]

But Punch _makes_ the _amende_ most handsomely in 1852:--

    Before two pictures of Mr. Millais I have spent the happiest hour
    that I have ever spent in the Royal Academy Exhibition. In those
    two pictures [_Ophelia_ and _The Huguenot_] I find more loving
    observation of Nature, more mastery in the reproduction of her
    forms and colours, more insight into the sentiment of our greatest
    poet, a deeper feeling of human emotion, a happier choice of a
    point of interest, and a more truthful rendering of its appropriate
    expression, than in all the rest of those eight hundred squares of
    canvas put together.

In 1852 _Punch_ singles out, from a wilderness of niggling landscapes
and highly-coloured and meretricious upholstery, Watts's "marvellous
chalk drawing of Lord John Russell." For the rest,

    Art is more of a trade now, than it was when Raphael's studio had
    no other name than _bottega_--in English, shop; and moreover, it is
    an emasculate and man-milliner sort of a trade, instead of one
    demanding strong brains, and a brave and believing heart. It is a
    trade mainly conversant with miserable things and petty aims--with
    vanity, and ostentation and vulgarity, and sensuality and
    frivolity--no longer dealing with themes of prayer and praise, with
    the glories of beatitude, or the horror of damnation, with the
    perpetuation of family dignities and devotions, the recording of
    great events, the dignifying of public and national, or the
    beautifying of private and individual life. It is a trade in
    ornament, and its Academy is a shop, and its Exhibition a display
    of rival wares, in which the best hope and the sole aim of the many
    is to catch the eye of a customer; and he who "colours most highly,
    is sure to please."

As a comprehensive indictment of the commercialism and triviality of
Victorian art this leaves little to be desired. For an illustration of
_Punch's_ altered opinion of the P.R.B.'s it may suffice to quote his
palinode in 1853:--

    Will you consider me ridiculous or blind when I assure you, on my
    honour as a puppet and a public performer, that these young
    gentlemen have written for me this year four of the sweetest and
    deepest and most thoughtful books I have read since I laid down Mr.
    Millais's historical romance of _The Huguenot_, last year? I am
    sensible of the omniscience of the daily, and some of the weekly
    papers, and I am aware that this is an opinion which should not be
    breathed within ear-shot of places where they take in _The Times_,
    and the _Morning Post_, and the _Examiner_. But I am a sort of
    chartered libertine, and nobody will believe anything I say is
    serious, so I can enjoy the luxury of saying what I feel, having no
    character to keep up. Then I tell you frankly--not forgetting Edwin
    Landseer's two grand cantos of his Highland Poem, _Night and
    Morning by the Lochside_, or Stanfield's noble paean-picture of the
    Battered Hull that carries the body of Nelson, like a Viking with
    his ship for bier--not forgetting these and other picture-books
    well worth reading--I tell you that Hunt's _Claudio and Isabella_
    is to me _the_ book of the collection, though it records in colours
    what Shakespeare has written in words; and that little, if at all
    after it, comes Millais's _Order of Release_, and then the _Strayed
    Sheep_ and _Proscribed Royalist_ of the same authors. I do not mean
    to put either after the other, so I bracket them."

In accepting the principles of the P.R.B.'s _Punch_ shows all the zeal
of the convert, as may be gathered from the following discourse
published shortly afterwards:--

    Art must adapt itself to the conditions of the time and the life it
    has to reflect.

    See what follows.

    If pictures are to be hung in rooms instead of churches, and public
    halls and palaces, they must be small.

    Work on a small scale, being meant for the satisfaction of a close
    eye, must be highly finished.

    These conditions did not affect the old painters and must affect
    the moderns, and these conditions my young friends the
    Pre-Raphaelites appear to be conscious of and to submit to, for
    which I cannot blame them, but praise them rather, for wisely
    recognising the necessity of adapting Art to surrounding
    circumstances.

    What have they recognised besides?

    That the truest representation and grandest creation may and must
    be combined by the great artist; that as man works in a setting of
    earth and air, all the beauties and fitness of that setting must be
    rendered--the more truthfully the better--and that the most
    accurate rendering of these need not detract from the crowning
    work--the creation of the central interest which sums itself in
    human expression.

    The practice of painting hitherto has seemed to challenge the
    possibility of combining these two things--human expression and
    accurate representation of inanimate or lower nature. These young
    men take up the gauntlet, and say, "We are prepared to do this--at
    least to try and do it." Their first-fruits are before the world,
    and already it has felt that the undertaking is new and startling
    and cheerfully courageous: nay, more: that to a certain point--and
    further than might be expected from such beardless champions--it
    has already succeeded.

    So God speed these young Luthers of the worn-out Art-faith; they
    have burnt the Bull of the Painter-Popes of their time. They have
    still enough work before them, such as their spiritual father
    before them went through--devils of their own creating to hurl
    their palettes at, and many mighty magnates to wrestle with, and
    confute, and put to shame--by trust in their gospel truth that
    Accurate Representation is the first requisite of Art.

[Sidenote: Enthusiasm of a Convert]

It may be added that when French medals were conferred on English
artists in 1855, _Punch_ complained that the newer school, i.e. the
P.R.B.'s, had been overlooked in favour of Court painters such as
Landseer. As a set-off to these examples of _Punch's_ artistic and
aesthetic _flair_ and enlightenment, it must be owned that in 1854 he
had expressed high praise for Frith's _Ramsgate Sands_ (which was bought
by the Queen) on account of its realism. But it may be accounted to him
for righteousness that he supported Lord Stanhope's National Portrait
Gallery Bill in 1856, and entered a vigorous protest against the vile
"Germanism" of the title "Art Treasures Exhibition" instead of
"Treasures of Art" for the show at Manchester in 1857. The more modern
and equally vile Germanism "Concert-Direction Smith" or whoever the
musical agent may be, has apparently been washed out by the War of 1914.

With all deductions and limitations _Punch's_ record as a critic of the
fine arts acquits him handsomely of the charge of Philistinism.



PERSONALITIES


Towards the end of the period reviewed in this volume, _Punch_
enumerates his special _bêtes noires_ as "Humbug, Cant, Sleek Hypocrisy
and Brazen Wrong." But as has already been abundantly proved, the list
would have to be considerably extended to include all the personages,
notable and notorious, who came under his lash. In earlier years he is
much more specific. Thus in 1850 his amiable catalogue of the gentlemen
and public bodies who have kindly consented to furnish him with game in
the ensuing year contains Colonel Sibthorp, the bearded reactionary who
sat for Lincoln, Barry, the architect of the new Houses of Parliament,
all quack-medicine vendors, tyrants and woman-floggers (the Tsar
Nicholas and Haynau are specially aimed at), Madame Tussaud, Lord
Brougham, R.A.'s, the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, Smithfield and all
City nuisances, and all sinecurists and pensionists. In 1852 Panizzi
(for his long deferred catalogue of the British Museum of which he was
Chief Librarian), Cardinal Wiseman, and Lord Maidstone are added,
together with Railway Directors, Homoeopathists and Protectionists.

[Illustration: PEEL AS THE KNAVE OF SPADES]

Among the various devices adopted to ventilate his personal animosity
may be noted _Punch's_ list of "desirable emigrants," and the ingenious
suggestion that "Penal Statues" should be erected to commemorate the
misdeeds of great offenders, obstructionists, bigots and anti-reformers.
Of some of _Punch's_ butts it may be said that they were rescued from
oblivion by his satire and caricature--Sibthorp for example, though he
was by no means the merely reactionary buffoon who appears in _Punch_.
He was eccentric in dress and figure, opposed all the great measures of
Reform, and was the incarnation of ultra-Tory tradition. But he was
frequently witty, and as truculently courageous as _Punch_ himself. Sir
Peter Laurie, Alderman and Lord Mayor of London, stood to _Punch_ for
all that was pompous, officious, meddlesome and even odious in City
administration. We rub our eyes on reading in the D.N.B. that Sir Peter
throughout his public life "devoted himself largely to schemes of social
advancement, was a good magistrate and a disciple of Joseph Hume." But
the explanation of this and other divergent records is simple enough.
_Punch_ was often too angry or enthusiastic to be just or
discriminating. He wrote on the spur of the moment, with the result that
he often had to revise his verdicts. We have seen this change in regard
to Prince Albert, the Duke of Wellington, and Palmerston, and already
_Punch_ had reluctantly begun to admit that Disraeli was a force in
politics and not a mere mountebank. The bitter attacks on Bulwer Lytton
as a pinch-beck writer and padded dandy, which abound in the 'forties,
ended in reconciliation and amity. We have seen the process at work
again in the altered estimates of Jullien. Bunn was severely let alone,
but only when it was found that the animal, as in the French saying, was
so evil as to defend himself when he was attacked. Sometimes, however,
_Punch_ was implacable and impenitent. He never appears to have had a
really good word to say for Daniel O'Connell, but regarded Repeal
throughout as a fraud, and the "Liberator" as a self-seeking and
grasping agitator. When Dan promised in 1845 to achieve Repeal in six
months or lay his head on the block, and did neither, _Punch_ only
jeered at his "brazen boasting," and depicted him later on as the real
"Potato Blight" of Ireland. Impenitence, too, marked his attitude
towards both "Henry of Exeter" (Dr. Phillpotts), Pusey, and Wiseman; and
his distrust of Louis Napoleon, after a brief period of reticence
imposed during the Crimean War, revived in full force in the later
'fifties. We have also seen the converse of the process described above
in the treatment of Cobden and Bright, who were rudely hauled down from
their pinnacles when _Punch_ the peace-loving Free Trader developed in
the Crimean War into the bellicose patriot. The change was made in the
contrary direction with Peel, but the grace of recognition was
grievously impaired by its delay. Posthumous honours are a sorry
reparation for continual abuse of the living, and _Punch's_ treatment of
Peel is one of the worst blots on his scutcheon. In _Punch's_ early
volumes no abuse was too bad for the Conservative statesman. Even the
Bible was ransacked for invidious parallels, which only stopped short of
Judas. He was a "political eel," a "quack," a "genius or Janus," and
there is a curious foreshadowing of the recriminations of our own time,
in the way in which Peel, in virtue of his inveterate policy of
temporizing, is saddled with the watchword "wait awhile."

[Sidenote: _"Punch's" Injustice to Peel_]

[Illustration: THE ROYAL RED RIDING HOOD]

If "Jenkins" was _Punch's_ "chief butler"--in the sense of the supreme
flunkey--Lord Brougham was his chief butt throughout these years. And
certainly no public character in the nineteenth century ever played
better into the hands of the satirist. His nose in the most literal
sense lent a handle to the caricaturist. His tweed trousers figure as
regularly in _Punch's_ portraits as the straw in Palmerston's
mouth--which, by the way, is generally traced to a trick that "Pam"
acquired in visiting his stables. Palmerston's nickname was "Cupid" from
his gallantry: the mythological parallel for Brougham would have been
Proteus. One of the earliest references to him in _Punch_ appears in the
composite Preface to Vol. vi., in which each of the contributors
ascribes to _Punch_ his own characteristics, Brougham praising him for
"forswearing like a chameleon every shade of opinion, when for the
moment he has ceased to wear it." Thereafter the fun becomes fast and
furious. Brougham is charged with writing the flamboyant advertisements
of George Robins, a veritable Barnum among auctioneers. His tweed
trousers are explained as a cause of his always wanting to get back to
the woolsack. He is credited, in virtue of his versatile activities,
with the attempt to discover perpetual motion. Brougham's vanity,
craving for office at all costs, meddlesomeness, and subservience to the
Duke of Wellington are held up to contempt, and in "Rational Readings
for Grown-up People" (an early anticipation of the Missing Word
Competition) we read:--

    If people may, without rebuke,
    Call Wellington the "Iron----,"
    Why then we safely may presume
    The "Brazen Peer" to term Lord----.

[Illustration: QUEEN CANUTE REPROVING HER COURTIERS]

The snobbishness of Brougham's arguments on behalf of royal princes in
his Debtors' Bill again infuriates the democratic _Punch_, who in 1849
was even more disgusted by Brougham's fulsome championship of Radetzky
and the Austrians when they defeated the Piedmontese. But _Punch's_
hostility reaches its height in the verses (accompanying a cartoon which
represents Brougham standing on his head) describing the amazing farrago
of inconsistencies which composed the mind of one who was at once a
charlatan and encyclopædist, a reformer and a courtier. In the same year
_Punch_ suggests a Bill should be promoted for "the better behaviour of
the erotic and learned lord,"

    Who'd rather mount the mountebank's stage than be laid on the shelf,
    Who does with ease the difficult task of turning his back on himself.

Brougham's perversely obstructive attitude towards the Exhibition of
1851 excited _Punch's_ wrath, when he himself had become converted to
the scheme, but already the tone of the paper had changed; and the
turning point was reached on the occasion of Brougham's visit to America
in 1850, when _Punch_ printed the following unofficial letter of
introduction to the President of the United States:--

    To General Taylor, President of the United States,

    Favoured by Henry Lord Brougham, Member of the French Institute.

    "Dear Taylor,

    "I have much pleasure in making yourself and my friend
    _Brougham_--the _Brougham_ whose fame is _not_ European but
    world-wide--personally acquainted. With all his little drolleries,
    he is an excellent fellow; and with all his oddities, he has worked
    like a Hercules stable-boy at our Augean Courts of Law. He has
    cheapened costs; he has well-nigh destroyed the race of sharp
    attorneys. Indeed, if you would seek Brougham's monument, look
    around every attorney's office; and you will _not_ see Brougham's
    picture."

[Sidenote: _A Palinode to Brougham_]

_Punch_ had already welcomed Brougham's espousal of the anti-Sabbatarian
cause, but the full avowal of reconciliation is to be found in the
following graceful verses printed in 1851:--

      A PALINODE

        From _Punch_ to Henry Brougham

    "During the last five or six weeks, he had with the utmost
    difficulty, and against the opinion of his medical advisers,
    attended the service of their Lordships' House. During the last ten
    days the difficulty had increased and become more severe. In the
    hope of assisting in this great measure, in a cause to which his
    life had been devoted, he had struggled to the last, until he found
    he could struggle no more."--_Lord Brougham's last speech on Law
    Reform in the House of Lords._

    And is the busy brain o'erwrought at last?
      Has the sharp sword fretted the sheath so far?
    Then, Henry Brougham, in spite of all that's past,
      Our ten long years of all but weekly war,

    Let _Punch_ hold out to you a friendly hand,
      And speak what haply he had left unspoken
    Had the sharp tongue lost naught of its command,
      That nervous frame still kept its spring unbroken.

    Forgot the changes of thy later years,
      No more he knows the Ishmael once he knew,
    Drinking delights of battle 'mongst the Peers--
      Your hand 'gainst all men, all men's hands 'gainst you.

    He knows the Orator whose fearless tongue
      Lashed into infamy and endless scorn
    The wretches who their blackening scandal flung
      Upon a Queen--of women most forlorn.

    He knows the lover of his kind, who stood
      Chief of the banded few who dared to brave
    The accursed traffickers in negro blood,
      And struck his heaviest fetter from the slave;

    The Statesman who, in a less happy hour
      Than this, maintained man's right to read and know,
    And gave the keys of knowledge and of power
      With equal hand alike to high and low;

    The Lawyer who, unwarped by private aims,
      Denounced the Law's abuse, chicane, delay:
    The Chancellor who settled century's claims,
      And swept an age's dense arrears away;

    The man whose name men read even as they run,
      On every landmark the world's course along,
    That speaks to us of a great battle won
      Over untruth, or prejudice or wrong.

    Remembering this, full sad I am to hear
      That voice which loudest in the combat rung
    Now weak and low and sorrowful of cheer,
      To see that arm of battle all unstrung.

    And so, even as a warrior after fight
      Thinks of a noble foe, now wounded sore,
    I think of thee, and of thine ancient might,
      And hold a hand out, armed for strife no more.

This is a fine summary of Brougham's services as the friend of humanity,
the champion of free speech and popular education, and the great legal
reformer, erring, if at all, in the over-generous estimate of his
disinterestedness as an advocate. Brougham recovered from his breakdown
and lived for seventeen years longer--years crowded with multifarious
activities, legal, scientific, literary. He was, in many ways, a unique
figure in public life, though, when the lives of the Lord Chancellors
are brought up to date in the next generation, he will not be able to
avoid rivalry on the score of early advancement, versatility,
vituperation, and vulgarity.

Sir James Graham is not mentioned nearly so often as Brougham, but in
respect of concentrated hostility of criticism he occupies the first
place amongst _Punch's_ pet aversions. No cartoon in this period held up
any politician to greater contempt and ridicule than the repulsive
picture of the Home Secretary as "Peel's Dirty Little Boy," who was
"always in trouble." The predominating cause of _Punch's_ resentment was
the historic episode of the opening of suspect correspondence, notably
that of Mazzini; but Sir James Graham could do nothing right in
_Punch's_ view: _nihil tetigit quod non foedavit_. Peter Borthwick,
the advocate of the slave-owners, M.P. for Evesham from 1835 to 1847,
and editor of the _Morning Post_ from 1850 till his death in 1852, was
no favourite of _Punch_. He was, however, as the date shows, not
editorially responsible for "Jenkins"; and by introducing the Borthwick
clause into the Poor Law Amendment Bill in 1847, under which married
couples over the age of sixty were not, as theretofore, separated when
they entered the poor-house, he so far expiated his pro-slavery
heresies that _Punch_ granted him "six months immunity from ridicule for
this good act." _Punch's_ antipathy to Urquhart is curious, for they
were united in their Russophobia. But _Punch_ was often intolerant of
competitors, and he was never an extravagant Turcophil as Urquhart was.

[Sidenote: _"Punch" Designs a Statue_]

[Illustration: MR. PUNCH'S DESIGN FOR A STATUE TO MISS NIGHTINGALE]

If a paper, like a man, is to be fairly judged by its heroes and
favourites, _Punch_ emerges from the test with considerable credit. Most
of them have been mentioned incidentally elsewhere, and the list[33]
might easily be added to. Let it suffice, however, to give the names of
Jenner, Stephenson, Rowland Hill, Paxton, Faraday, and Livingstone;
Mazzini and Kossuth; Jenny Lind, Florence Nightingale, and William
Russell, of whose lectures _Punch_ wrote an enthusiastic and
well-merited encomium in the summer of 1857.

[Footnote 33: It is perhaps worthy of note that with the exception of
Paxton none of those mentioned belonged to the decorated or decorative
classes. Stephenson refused a knighthood in 1850; it was not bestowed on
William Russell till more than forty years later. Rowland Hill was made
a K.C.B. in 1860.]

_A complete Index will be found in the Fourth Volume._

                               PRINTED BY
             CASSELL & COMPANY, LIMITED, LA BELLE SAUVAGE,
                             LONDON, E.C.4

                               F.100.521





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