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Seymour's "The March of Intellect": a Robot Built of Steam Engine & Printing Machine Parts with a Head of Books Topped by a University

Circa 1828

By the late 1820s technological advances and educational reforms resulting from the the Industrial Revolution became the subject of satires questioning whether these reforms would be progressive or damaging. In illustrator and caricaturist Robert Seymour's cartoon entitled The March of Intellect a giant automaton built of steam engine and printing machine parts, and with a head of books topped by a university building, sweeps away quackery, delayed parliamentary bills and court cases.

In Thomas Love Peacock's 1831 novel Crotchet Castle a character, Dr. Folliott, called the Society for the Distribution of Useful Knowledge the "Steam Intellect Society" and linked the march of technological and efforts at educational progress to folly, rural protest and the rise in crime.

Seymour's unusually long caption to the print reads,

"I saw a Vision, A Giant form appeared its eyes where burning lights even of Gass, and on its learned head it bore a Crown of many towers, Its Body was an Engine yea of steam its where worn and [sic] the legs whith which it strode like unto presses that men called printers use, from whence fell over and anon small Books that fed the little people of the earth, It rose and in its hand it took a Broom to sweep the rubish [sic] from the face of the land, the Special pleaders & their wigs also of the Quack Doctors also and the ghosts of those that whear [sic] Horns, & the Crowns of those that set thempler's above the laws & the Delays in Chancery it utterly destrory'd, likewse it swept from the Clergy every Plurality, Nevertheless the lawyers & the Parsons & divers others kickt up a great Dust!!!"

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