[ Oxford, Gladstone, Marsham and the General Election of 1852. ] Spoof in the form of a printed circular from 'Mrs. Harris' Commemoration Advertiser', with a variety of in-jokes poking fun at the University.

[ University of Oxford; General Election of 1852; William Ewart Gladstone; Robert Bullock Marsham, Warden of Merton College; Rev. Dr Richard Harington, Principal of Brasenose ]
Publication details: 
"Printed for the Authoress" [ University of Oxford. 1852. ]
SKU: 20194

A lively Oxford spoof, which can be dated precisely from the references to Marsham, Gladstone and the coming General Election. In the General Election of July 1852 the Peelite Gladstone defeated the Conservative Marsham, who had been put forward by 'the heads, Protestants and protectionists'. A reference to German education is a nod towards the first Oxford University Commission, whose report published in 1852 recommended that a switch to a more Germanic educational system. (For the background see Brock and Curthoys, 'History of the University of Oxford', vol. 6 (1997).) Printed in black on one side of a 31 x 19 cm. piece of wove paper. In fair condition, lightly aged and worn. An announcement in the customary Victorian style of mixed typefaces and point sizes, with a series of 'advertisements' printed one above the other. At bottom right: 'Printed for the Authoress.' Begins: 'Mrs. Harris' Commemoration Advertiser, | The Perfect Substitute for Reform. | The Abolition of Dons: | A single Trial will convince the most incredulous. | The Metaphysical Syphonia, | Or invisible Wrapper, warranted Reason proof, and weighs nothing. | Apply to the Marines. | Il n'y a pas de prix fixe.' A number of quips follow, including a dig at 'the Proctors', a list of five 'Candidates for vacant Professorships' (the last: 'Practical Electioneering . All the Fellows of L*****n.'), a fake advertisement for a new book titled 'The Freshman's Vade-Mecum'. The next section refers to the recommendation of the Oxford University Commission, that the University follow the German mode of education: 'A Professor, | Not unequal, as he trusts, to the educational requirements of the 19th Century, has a vacancy for | One Pupil. | He engages that in six months his fond parents shall not know him from a GERMAN STUDENT. | N.B. Duelling extra.' Next there is another spoof advertisement for a book, this one titled 'Weathercockiana, or the Gladstone of the Future.' Then there comes: 'PRIZE ESSAY, | (Open to all Masters of Arts who have not Graduated in Honours; and to be awarded when Dr. Marsham is returned for the University,) | “On the best means of reconciling the Duties of a Head of a House with those of a Member of Parliament.”' A couple more joke announcements end the spoof. Presumably "Mrs Harris" is inspired by the non-appearing character in Dickens' "Martin Chuzzlewit". From the papers of Rev. Dr Richard Harington, Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford. No other copy traced, either on OCLC WorldCat or on COPAC.