A daily excerpt from a a historical edition of Punch – the greatest satirical magazine in history

August 1st 1914: Germany declares war on Russia


[Lines composed on what looks like the eve of a European war; and designed lo represent the views of an average British patriot.]

To Servia.

You have won whatever of fame it- brings

To have murdered a King and the hoir of Kings;

And it well may be that your sovereign pride

Chafes at a touch of its tender hide;

But why should I follow your fighting-line

For a matter that’s no concern of mine?

To Austria.

You may. if you like, elect to curb

The dark designs of the dubious Serb,

And to close your Emperor’s days in strife –

A tragic end to a tragic life;

But why in the world should I stand to lose

By your bellicose taste for Balkan coups?

To Russia.

No doubt the natural course for you

Is to bid the Austrian bird ” Go to! ”

He can’t be suffered to spoil your dream

Of a beautiful Pan-Slavonic scheme;

But Britons can never be Slavs, you see,

So what has your case to do with me?

But since Another, if you insist,

Will be cutting in with his mailed fist,

I shall be asked to a general scrap

All over the European map,

Dragged into somebody else’s war,

For that’s what a double entente is for.

Well, if I must, I shall have to fight

For the love of a bounding Balkanite;

But O what a tactless choice of time,

When the bathing season is at its prime!

And how I should hate to miss my chance

Of wallowing off the coast of France!


28th June 1914: Franz Ferdinand shot dead

With it being the two hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the first world war, I thought that I would mark the occasion by going real time through the events that happened through the war, as chronicled by Punch.

It would of course be prudent for me to start at the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne whose death precipitated a series of events that lead to war the world over.

Yet, in Punch, the event scarcely makes a mention. In fact, by scarcely, I mean not at all.

With the benefit if hindsight, this seems like a glaring omission from the pages of Punch. In fact, regardless of the political backdrop, surely the assassination of any member of a European royal family should make major news?

This may well normally have been the case. There is, however, another enveloping crisis at the moment that is occupying much more interest in Punch. It is, of course, Irish home rule.

The situation here has rapidly been deteriorating of late. Later on, as we will see, civil war in the united kingdom seems to be the logical conclusion of the unfolding events.

As we know now, something rather large happened that distracted the country at large from the Ulster problem.

At the moment, however, the idea of a war in Europe is not being entertained. Certainly, diplomacy between the European nations is not at its best, but war in Europe – indeed, a world war – is utterly unthinkable.

So, unfortunately I don’t have an extract or cartoon for you pertaining to the second world war from Punch at all. Instead, I will provide you with this one, from around the time that the Archduke was murdered.

A guide to voter fraud


There hath been long wanting a full and perfect Synopsis of Voting, it being a science which hath become exceedingly complicated. It is necessary, therefore, to the full development of the art, that it be brought into such an exposition, as that it may be seen in a glance what are the modes of bribing and influencing in Elections. The briber, by this means, will be able to arrange his polling-books according to the different categories, and the bribed to see in what class he shall most advantageously place himself.

It is true that there be able and eloquent writers greatly experienced in this noble science, but none have yet been able so to express it as to bring it (as we hope to have done) within the range of the certain sciences. Henceforward, we trust it will form a part of the public education, and not be subject tot he barbarous modes pursued by illogical though earnest and zealous disciples; and that the great and glorious Constitution that has done so much to bring it to perfection, will, in its turn, be sustained and matured by the exercise of what is really in itself so ancient and beautiful a practice.


  • 1st. He that hath NOT A VOTE AND VOTETH; which may be considered,
    • 1st. As to his CLAIM, which is divisible into
      1. He that voteth for dead men.
      2. He that voteth for empty tenements.
      3. He that voteth for many men.
      4. He that voteth for men in the country, and the like.
    • 2nd. As to his MOTIVE, which is divisible into
      1. Because he hath a bet that he will vote.
      2. Because he loveth a lark.
      3. Because he LOVETH HIS COUNTRY.
        • [Here also may be applied all the predicates under the subjects BRIBING, HUMBUG, and PRINCIPLE.]
  • 2nd. He that hath A VOTE AND VOTETH NOT; which is divisible into
    • 1st. He that is PREVENTED from voting, which is divisible into
      1. He who is upset by a bribed coachman.
      2. He who is incited into an assault, that he may be put into the cage.
      3. He who is driven by a drunken coachman many miles the wrong way.
      4. He who is hocussed.
      5. He who is sent into the country for a holiday, and the like.
    • 2nd. He that FORFEITETH his vote, which is divisible into
      1. He who is too great a philosopher to care for his country.
      2. He who has not been solicited.
      3. He who drinketh so that he cannot go to the poll.
      4. He who is too drunk to speak at the poll.
      5. He who through over-zeal getteth his head broken.
      6. He who stayeth to finish the bottle, and is too late, and the like.
  • 3rd. He that hath A VOTE AND VOTETH; which is divisible into
    • 1st. He that voteth INTENTIONALLY, which is divisible into
      • 1st. He that voteth CORRUPTLY, which is divisible into
        • 1st. He that is BRIBED, which is divisible into
          • 1st. He that is bribed DIRECTLY, which is divisible into
            • 1st. He that receiveth MONEY, which may be considered as
              1. He that pretendeth the money is due to him.
              2. He that pretendeth it is lent.
              3. He who receiveth it as alms.
              4. He who receiveth it as the price of a venerated tobacco-pipe, a piece of Irish bacon, and the like.
            • 2nd. He that seeketh PLACE, which may be considered as
              1. He who asketh for a high situation, as a judgeship in Botany Bay, or a bishopric in Sierra Leone, and the like.
              2. He who asketh for a low situation, as a ticket-porter, curate, and the like.
              3. He who asketh for any situation he can get, as Secretary to the Admiralty, policeman, revising barrister, turnkey, chaplain, mail-coach guard, and the like.
            • 3rd. He that taketh DRINK, which may be considered as
              1. He that voteth for Walker’s Gooseberry, or Elector’s Sparkling Champagne.
              2. For sloe-juice, or Elector’s fine old crusted Port.
              3. He who voteth for Brett’s British Brandy, or Elector’s real French Cognac.
              4. He who voteth for quassia, molasses, copperas, coculus Indicus, Spanish juice, or Elector’s Extra Double Stout.
          • 2nd. He that is bribed INDIRECTLY, as
            1. He who is promised a government contract for wax, wafers, or the like.
            2. He who getteth a contract, for paupers’ clothing, building unions, and the like.
            3. He who furnisheth the barouches-and-four for the independent 40s. freeholders.
            4. He who is presented with cigars, snuffs, meerschaum-pipes, haunches of venison, Stilton-cheeses, fresh pork, pine-apples, early peas, and the like.
        • 2nd. He that is INTIMIDATED, as
          1. By his landlord, who soliciteth back rent, or giveth him notice to quit.
          2. By his patron, who sayeth they of the opposite politics cannot be trusted.
          3. By his master, who sayeth he keepeth no viper of an opposite opinion in his employ.
          4. By his wife, who will have her own way in hysterics.
          5. By his intended bride, who talketh of men of spirit and Gretna Green.
          6. By a rich customer, who sendeth back his goods, and biddeth him be d—d.
        • 3rd. He that is VOLUNTARILY CORRUPT, which may be considered as
          1. He who voteth from the hope that his party will provide him a place.
          2. He who voteth to please one who can leave him a legacy.
          3. He who voteth to get into genteel society.
          4. He who voteth according as he hath taken the odds.
          5. He who, being a schoolmaster, voteth for the candidate with a large family.
          6. He who voteth in hopes posterity may think him a patriot.
      • 2nd. He that voteth CONSCIENTIOUSLY, which is divisible into
        • 1st. He that voteth according to HUMBUG, which is divisible into
          • 1st. He that is POLITICALLY humbugged, which is divisible into
            • 1st. He has SOME BRAINS, as
              1. He who believeth taxes will be taken off.
              2. He who believeth wages will be raised.
              3. He who thinketh trade will be increased.
              4. He who studieth political economy.
              5. He who readeth newspapers, reviews, and magazines, and listeneth to lectures, and the like.
            • 2nd. He that has NO BRAINS, as
              1. He who voteth to support “the glorious Constitution,” and maintain “the envy of surrounding nations.”
              2. He who believeth the less the taxation the greater the revenue.
              3. He who attendeth the Crown and Anchor meetings, and the like.
          • 2nd. He that is MORALLY humbugged, as
            1. He who thinketh the Millennium and the Rads will come in together.
            2. He who thinketh that the Whigs are patriots.
            3. That the Tories love the poor.
            4. That the member troubleth himself solely for the good of his country.
            5. That the unions are popular with the paupers, and the like.
          • 3rd. He that is DOMESTICALLY humbugged, as
            1. He who voteth because the candidate’s ribbons suit his wife’s complexion.
            2. Because his wife was addressed as his daughter by the canvasser.
            3. Because his wife had the candidate’s carriage to make calls in, and the like.
            4. Because his daughter was presented with a set of the Prince Albert Quadrilles.
            5. Because the candidate promised to stand godfather to his last infant, and the like.
        • 2nd. He that voteth according to PRINCIPLE, which is divisible into
          • 1st. He whose principles are HEREDITARY, as
            1. He who voteth on one side because his father always voted on the same.
            2. Because the “Wrong-heads” and the like had always sat for the county.
            3. Because he hath kindred with an ancient political hero, such as Jack Cade, Hampden, the Pretender, &c., and so must maintain his principle.
            4. Because his mother quartereth the Arms of the candidate, and the like.
          • 2nd. He whose principles are CONVENTIONAL, as
            1. He who voteth because the candidate keepeth a pack of hounds.
            2. Because he was once insulted by a scoundrel of the same name as the opposite candidate.
            3. Because the candidate is of a noble family.
            4. Because the candidate laid the first brick of Zion Chapel, and the like.
            5. Because he knoweth the candidate’s cousin.
            6. Because the candidate directed to him—“Esq.”
          • 3rd. He whose principles are PHILOSOPHICAL, which may be considered as
            • 1st. He that is IMPARTIAL, as
              1. He that voteth on both sides.
              2. Because he tossed up with himself.
              3. He who loveth the majority and therefore voteth for him who hath most votes.
              4. Because he is asked to vote one way, and so voteth the other, to show that he is not influenced.
              5. Because he hateth the multitude, and so voteth against the popular candidate.
            • 2nd. He that is INDEPENDENT, as
              1. He who cannot be trusted.
              2. He who taketh money from one side, and voteth on the other.
              3. He who is not worth bribing.
              4. He who voteth against his own opinion, because his letter was not answered.
              5. He who, being promised a place last election, was deceived, and the like.
  • 2nd. He that voteth ACCIDENTALLY, which is divisible into
    • 1st. He that voteth through the BLUNDERS OF HIMSELF, which may be considered as
      1. He who is drunk, and forgetteth who gave him the bribe.
      2. He who goeth to the wrong agent, who leadeth him astray.
      3. He who is confused and giveth the wrong name.
      4. He who is bashful, and assenteth to any name suggested.
      5. He who promiseth both parties, and voteth for all the candidates, and the like.
    • 2nd. He that voteth through the BLUNDERS OF OTHERS, which may be considered as
      1. He who is mistaken for his servant when he is canvassed, and so incensed into voting the opposite way.
      2. He who is attempted to be bribed before many people, and so outraged into honesty.
      3. He who hath too much court paid by the canvasser to his wife, and so, out of jealousy, voteth for the opposite candidate.
      4. He who is called down from dinner to be canvassed, and being enraged thereat, voteth against his conviction.
      5. He who bringeth the fourth seat in a hackney-coach to him who keepeth a carriage and the like.

      (July 1841)

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