+ ~ -
 
Article icon.

Gone to the Dogs

Read me now! Export to PDF, including full article record, author information, and annotation.
Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Editorial i
Prose: Leading Article i
Subjects Architecture; Building; Housing; Property; Landlord and Tenant;
Crimean War, 1853-1856
Great Britain—Politics and Government
Great Britain—Social Conditions—Nineteenth Century
London (England)—Description and Travel
Poverty; Poor Laws—Great Britain; Workhouses—Great Britain
Progress; Memory; Commemoration; Nostaliga; Time—Social Aspects; Time—Psychological Aspects; Time perception;
Details
Index
Other Details
Printed : 10/3/1855
Journal : Household Words
Volume : Volume XI
Magazine : No. 259
Office Book Notes
Memo-
Columns7
Payment-
Views : 1318

The personal-reminiscent tone of the earlier part of this article anticipates that of many of Dickens's later 'Uncommercial Traveller' essays, though the device on which the piece turns, the play upon the idiomatic phrase that supplies its title, is characteristic of his 1850s' journalism.


In the last three paragraphs Dickens moves from the familiar essay mode to that of satirical journalism to follow up his scating allegory 'Prince Bull' (HW, 17 February 1855) lashing the Government and the Civil Service for the appalling mismanagement of the Crimean War (Prince Bull is plagued by 'a tyrannical old godmother' called 'Tape', who can paralyse all purposeful and constructive work). Dickens makes a contemptuous reference to the national day of 'Solemn Fast, Humiliation and Prayer' that had been ordained by royal proclamation and was scheduled to take place on 21 March. This Fast Day was further derided by Dickens in the next piece he wrote for HW after this one, 'Fast and Loose' (24 March), which begins by comparing the Government to a group of incompetent Railway Company directors, who, having 'destroyed thousands of lives, wasted millions of money, and hopelessly bewildered and conglomerated themselves and everybody else', should call their shareholders together and 'with an audacious piety' say to them: 'Lo, ye miserable sinners, the hand of Providence is heavy on you! Attire yourselves in sackcloth, throw ashes on your heads, fast, and hear us condescend to make discourses to you on the wrongs you have done!'

Dickens glances at the heavy British losses both in battle (the Charge of the Light Brigade took place on 25 October 1854), and even more, as a result of the physical privations suffered by the ill-equipped and ill-nourished troops in their winter quarters at Balaklava, the terrible scandal of which had been exposed by W. H. Russell in his Times despatches. The Earl of Aberdeen's coalition Government was defeated on 29 January, when the radical MP John Roebuck's motion for a Select Committee to enquire into the condition of the army in the Crimea was passed by a large majority. Lord Palmerston managed to form a ministry after Lord John Russell had failed, but the new Government was essentially a reshuffling of the old one. It is the seventy-year-old Palmerston, celebrated for his jokes and political adroitness, whom Dickens lampoons as the 'jocular old gentleman throwing somersaults on stilts', and the reference to Nineveh points to Austen Layard, the great excavator of the Assyrian capital, now a Liberal MP who had criticised Palmerston's Government in a Commons debate on 19 February, declaring that what the country needed as not 'septuagenarian experience, but more of youthful activity and energy'. Later Dickens joined the Administrative Reform Association, of which Layard was a moving spirit, and delivered a powerful speech supporting its aims at a big meeting of the Association on 27 June (see Speeches, pp. 197-208).

Literary allusions

  • 'did ... things he ought not to have done': The Book of Common Prayer, the General Confession at Morning Prayer;
  • 'Britannia rules the waves...': James Thomson, Alfred, A Masque (1740), Act 2, Scene the Last;
  • 'crying Havoc! ... and letting us slip': adapted from Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 1: 'Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war'.

Author: Michael Slater; © J. M. Dent/Orion Publishing Group, Dickens' Journalism Volume III: 'Gone Astray' and Other Papers from Household Words, 1851-1859, 1998.

DJO gratefully acknowledges permission to reproduce this material.

Click here for further information about texts cited.

Attachments (0)

Who's Online

We have 190 guests, 2 members and 1 robot online.

Profile Information

Application afterLoad: 0.000 seconds, 0.28 MB
Application afterInitialise: 0.018 seconds, 1.00 MB
Application afterRoute: 0.022 seconds, 2.05 MB
Application afterDispatch: 0.443 seconds, 3.63 MB
Application afterRender: 0.492 seconds, 3.90 MB

Memory Usage

4119848

32 queries logged

  1. SELECT *
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE session_id = '85d260e8ff785eac1615063ffb902121'
  2. DELETE
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE ( TIME < '1660120882' )
  3. SELECT *
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE session_id = '85d260e8ff785eac1615063ffb902121'
  4. INSERT INTO `jos_session` ( `session_id`,`time`,`username`,`gid`,`guest`,`client_id` )
      VALUES ( '85d260e8ff785eac1615063ffb902121','1660122682','','0','1','0' )
  5. SELECT *
      FROM jos_components
      WHERE parent = 0
  6. SELECT folder AS TYPE, element AS name, params
      FROM jos_plugins
      WHERE published >= 1
      AND access <= 0
      ORDER BY ordering
  7. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'gone-to-the-dogs'
  8. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'gone-to-the-dogs'
  9. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE id = '2746'
  10. UPDATE jos_toc_blocks
      SET hits = ( hits + 1 )
      WHERE id='2746'
  11. SELECT template
      FROM jos_templates_menu
      WHERE client_id = 0
      AND (menuid = 0 OR menuid = 70)
      ORDER BY menuid DESC
      LIMIT 0, 1
  12. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'gone-to-the-dogs'
  13. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'gone-to-the-dogs'
  14. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE id = '2746'
  15. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_subjects_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id_estate)) SELECT id_estate, COUNT(*) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects_links  
      GROUP BY id_estate;
  16. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_genres_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id_estate)) SELECT id_estate, COUNT(*) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres_links  
      GROUP BY id_estate;
  17. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_documents (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT block_id AS id, COUNT(block_id) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents
      GROUP BY block_id;
  18. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT block_id AS id, COUNT(block_id) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links
      GROUP BY block_id;
  19. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_authors (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT id_block AS id, COUNT(id_block) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_authors  
      GROUP BY id_block;
  20. SELECT block.*,        IFNULL(periodical.title, "NA") AS title_periodical,        IFNULL(volume.title, "NA") AS title_volume,        IFNULL(magazine.title, "NA") AS title_magazine,        documents.cnt AS document_count,        links.cnt AS link_count,        subject.cnt AS subject_count,        genre.cnt AS genre_count,        authors.cnt AS author_count
      FROM jos_toc_blocks AS block  
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_magazines AS magazine
      ON block.id_magazine = magazine.id
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_volumes AS volume
      ON block.id_volume = volume.id
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_periodicals AS periodical
      ON block.id_periodical = periodical.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_subjects_links AS subject
      ON block.id = subject.id_estate
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_genres_links AS genre
      ON block.id = genre.id_estate
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_documents AS documents
      ON block.id = documents.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_links AS links
      ON block.id = links.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_authors AS authors
      ON block.id = authors.id
      WHERE (block.published = 1)
      AND (block.id = 2746)
      ORDER BY id_magazine, id_page, ordering ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  21. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_magazines
      WHERE id = '218'
  22. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_periodicals
      WHERE id = '1'
  23. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_volumes
      WHERE id = '12'
  24. SELECT document.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 2746, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_documents AS document  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents    
      WHERE block_id = 2746 ) AS fixto_table
      ON document.id = fixto_table.document_id  
      WHERE (document.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 2746)
  25. SELECT document.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 2746, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_documents AS document  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents    
      WHERE block_id = 2746 ) AS fixto_table
      ON document.id = fixto_table.document_id
      WHERE (document.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 2746)
      ORDER BY title ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  26. SELECT link.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 2746, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_links AS link  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links    
      WHERE block_id = 2746 ) AS fixto_table
      ON link.id = fixto_table.link_id  
      WHERE (link.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 2746)
  27. SELECT link.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 2746, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_links AS link  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links    
      WHERE block_id = 2746 ) AS fixto_table
      ON link.id = fixto_table.link_id
      WHERE (link.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 2746)
      ORDER BY title ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  28. SELECT r.id, r.title, r.alias, r.names, r.surname
      FROM jos_toc_authors AS r  RIGHT JOIN jos_toc_blocks_authors AS l
      ON  r.id = l.id_author  
      WHERE l.id_block = 2746
      ORDER BY r.surname ASC
  29. SELECT insignia.id, insignia.title, IFNULL(link.stamp, 0) AS stamp , insignia.definition
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres AS insignia  
      LEFT JOIN ( SELECT id_insignia, COUNT(id_insignia) AS stamp
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres_links
      WHERE id_estate = 2746
      GROUP BY id_insignia) AS link
      ON insignia.id = link.id_insignia
      ORDER BY insignia.title ASC
  30. SELECT insignia.id, insignia.title, IFNULL(link.stamp, 0) AS stamp  
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects AS insignia  
      LEFT JOIN ( SELECT id_insignia, COUNT(id_insignia) AS stamp
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects_links
      WHERE id_estate = 2746
      GROUP BY id_insignia) AS link
      ON insignia.id = link.id_insignia
      ORDER BY insignia.title ASC
  31. SELECT id, title, module, POSITION, content, showtitle, control, params
      FROM jos_modules AS m
      LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm
      ON mm.moduleid = m.id
      WHERE m.published = 1
      AND m.access <= 0
      AND m.client_id = 0
      AND ( mm.menuid = 70 OR mm.menuid = 0 )
      ORDER BY POSITION, ordering
  32. SELECT guest, usertype, client_id, DATA
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE client_id = 0

Language Files Loaded

Untranslated Strings Diagnostic

None

Untranslated Strings Designer

None