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Harry Furniss: Essence of Parliament

It was said that when an avid reader of Punch purchased the latest issue from the news-stand their first port of call within its contents was the ‘Essence of Parliament' column. The column was the domain of Harry Furniss and his salacious illustrations of the latest political shenanigans. For many a politician to be parodied by Furniss was a badge of honour,though, in this instance, we can't be sure that was the case. Bradlaugh used his position to promote secularist philosophy by refusing to affirm the religious text of the Parliamentary oath. A martyr to the cause, he endured imprisonment and fines till finally an Oaths Act was passed in 1888 hence the triumphant pose of this caricature.