Together with original, humorous, and satirical articles in verse and prose, from all the
[Illustration: Funny dogs with comic tales.]
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Volume I.—July to December, 1841.
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Early in the month of July, 1841, a small handbill was freely distributed by the newsmen of London, and created considerable amusement and inquiry. That handbill now stands as the introduction to this, the first Volume of Punch, and was employed to announce the advent of a publication which has sustained for nearly twenty years a popularity unsurpassed in the history of periodical literature. Punch and the Elections were the only matters which occupied the public mind on July 17, 1842. The Whigs had been defeated in many places where hitherto they had been the popular party, and it was quite evident that the Meeting of Parliament would terminate their lease of Office. [Street politics.] The House met on the 19th of August, and unanimously elected Mr. Shaw Lefevre to be Speaker. The address on the queen’s Speech was moved by Mr. Mark Phillips, and seconded by Mr. Dundas. Mr. J.S. Wortley moved an amendment, negativing the confidence of the House in the Ministry, and the debate continued to occupy Parliament for four nights, when the Opposition obtained a majority of 91 against the Ministers. Amongst those who spoke against the Government, and directly in favour of sir Robert peel, was Mr. Disraeli. In his speech he accused the Whigs of seeking to retain power in opposition to the wishes of the country, and of profaning the name of the queen at their elections, as if she had been a second candidate at some petty poll, and considered that they should blush for the position in which they had placed their Sovereign. Mr. Bernal, Jun., retorted upon Mr. Disraeli for inveighing against the Whigs, with whom he had formerly been associated. Sir Robert peel, in a speech of great eloquence, condemned the inactivity and feebleness of the existing Government, and promised that, should he displace it, and take office, it should be by walking in the open light, and in the direct paths of the constitution. He would only accept power upon his conception of public duty, and would resign the moment he was satisfied he was unsupported by the confidence of the people, and not continue to hold place when the voice of the country was against him. [Hercules tearing Theseus from the rock to which he had grown.] Lord