Punch-A-Day

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

Category: Nature

What better way to enjoy the downs?

Today is the 11th anniversary of when the South Downs became a national park.

(Preface to the 1857 Almanack)

The Growth of Great Britain

The Growth of Great Britain.

OUR population increases enormously, and the rate of our consumption is equalled by that of our production. What a jolly nation we should be if the consequences were not the enclosure of our commons and the pollution of our streams !

The wildlife of English rivers were largely decimated after their canalization, and Britain became horribly polluted during the Inustrial Era; so much so that some mountains have been named “Black Mountain” and other similar names.

Overpopulation was also a major concern at this period. Though Elizabeth I had thought that the population of Britain was too high, at that point it was barely a 10th of what it is now and barely a half that of France. It became a serious concern by the 18th and 19th century, precipitated by the agricultural and industrial revolutions. In 1822, an article by James Mill on “colonization” in the “Encyclopedia Britannica” offered emigration as a remedy for over-population.

(January 6, 1866)

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