Victorian London - Crime - Poisoning - Sale of Poisons

FATAL FACILITY; OR, POISONS FOR THE ASKING.

    Child. "PLEASE MISTER, WILL YOU BE SO GOOD AS TO FILL THIS BOTTLE AGAIN WITH LODNUM, AND LET MOTHER HAVE ANOTHER POUND AND A HALF OF ARSENIC FOR THE RATS (!)"
    Duly Qualified Chemist. "CERTAINLY, MA'AM. IS THERE ANY OTHER ARTICLE?"

Punch, Jul.-Dec. 1849

    Again, with the promiscuous sale of poisons, what incredible laxity of government! One poison, indeed, has its one law. Arsenic may not be sold otherwise then coloured, nor except with full registration of the sale, and in the presence of a witness known to both buyer and vender. Admirable, so far as it goes! but why should arsenic alone receive this dab of legislation? Is the principle right, that means of murder and suicide should be rendered difficult of access for criminal purposes? Does any one question it? Then, why not legislate equally against all poisons ?—against oxalic acid and opium, corrosive sublimate, strychnine?

Dr John Simon, City Medical Reports, preface to 1854 edition

see also Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management - click here