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it would, perhaps, be premature to explain our notions on this point just at present.
There is a passage in Dr. Passavant's work which just occurs to us, and which we must quote :—
the virtue of animal magnetism are capable of being communicated to other animated and inanimate bodies. The one and the other, however, are susceptible of them in different degrees. This action and this virtue can be increased and propagated by these bodies. We observe from experience the flowing of a certain subtile matter, which penetrates all bodies, without perceptibly losing any of its ac
"To the theory of a polar attraction and repulsion between the planets, certain anomalies in the proportion of their distances from one another lend probability; some planets stand-tivity; and it operates at a considerable dising nearer or further asunder than they should, according to the law Wurm has laid down for their relative distances. According to this law the distance of the earth from the sun should be 210 semi-diameters of the latter, instead of which it is 216. The distance of Mars from the sun should be 336 semi-diameters, but it is no more than 329. Thus the earth is six semi-diameters of the sun farther from, and the planet Mars seven nearer to, that body than the law of gravitation would assign to these orbs as their respective places. This is hardly to be conceived as possible, but on the hypothesis of qualitative attraction, an assignable ground of which we have in electricity and magnetism."
tance, without the aid of any intermediate object. Like light it is reflected by mirrors; and it is invigorated, diffused, and communicated by sound. This virtue is capable of being accumulated, concentrated, and transported. There are animated bodies, although very rare, which possess a property so opposite to magnetism, that their mere presence prevents all its effects in other bodies. This opposite power also penetrates all bodies, and is also capable of being concentrated and diffused; it is, therefore, not merely a negative, but a really positive power. The mineral magnet, whether natural or artificial, is likewise equally sus ceptible with other bodies of animal magnetism, and even of the opposite virtue, without suffering in either case any alteration of its
We are sorely tempted to apply our elec-agency in respect to iron, which proves that trical notions to this passage, but that is not the purpose for which we quoted it. We use it as an appropriate pioneer to what follows from Mr. Colquhoun's book. At p. 223 he says,―
the principle of animal magnetism is essentially different from that of mineral. This system will furnish new illustrations of the nature of fire and of light; as also of the theory of attrac tion, of flux and reflux, of the magnet and of electricity. It will inform us, that the magnet and artificial electricity only have, with respect to diseases, properties in common with several other agents which nature presents to us; and that if the former have produced some salutary effects, these effects are to be ascribed to animal magnetism. By means of animal magnetism nervous diseases may be cured immediately, and other complaints mediately," &c.
"There exists a reciprocal influence between the heavenly bodies, the earth, and animated beings. The medium of this influence is a very subtile fluid pervading the whole universe (electricity?) which, from its nature, is capable of receiving, propagating, and communicating every impulse of motion. This reciprocal action is subject to certain mechanical laws, which have not yet been discovered. From this action there result alternaIt is only as a curative agency that we tive effects, which may be considered as a sort can regard animal magnetism or mesmerof flux and reflux. This flux and reflux may ism with any kind of favor; the next thing be more or less general, more or less particu- that reconciles us to it, is the eloquent adlar, more or less compounded, according to the vocacy of such men as Mr. Colquhoun and nature of the causes which determine them. Dr. Elliotson. With regard to the chemiIt is by this operation (the most universal of those which nature exhibits to us), that the cal theory here laid down, we shall only say relations of activity are maintained between that it is a curious subject for speculation, the heavenly bodies, the earth, and its constit- and therefore, unobjectionable. The inuent parts. The properties of matter and of fluence which the moon has upon the flux organized bodies depend upon this operation. and reflux of the sea may be properly enough The animal body experiences the alternative accounted for. It is no part of our present effects of this agent, which, by insinuating itself into the substance of the nerves, affects them immediately. The human body exhibits properties analogous to those of the magnet, such as polarity and inclination. The prop erty of the animal body, which renders it susceptible of this influence, occasioned its denomination of animal magnetism. The action and
Inquiries respecting Vital Magnetism and Clairvoyance, 1837.
purpose to go into that matter; but when we find analogies drawn from it (we don't say by Mr. Colquhoun) to favor the belief in a story told of Mesmer on the occasion of an operation with the lancet, when it is said the blood oozed from the incision or retreated, flowed or ebbed, according as the operator approached and touched or receded from the patient, public credulity is
results are produced as manifest themselves under the magnetic process. We do not mean to say that it is safe for a patient to try these experiments unless some person be at hand to disengage him, by wafting or percussion of the hands; we only explain the process, in order to show, that neither the passes nor the volition of an operator are required to induce the condition which will be recognized at once as Mr. Braid's' method of producing nervous sleep.
We shall pass over the many curious instances of clairvoyance cited by Mr. Colquhoun, because any discussion or criticism of them would involve a much greater space than is left at our disposal. Suffice it to say, that in many cases sufficient light is not thrown upon the subject, whilst in others much that appears marvellous may be very easily accounted for by other than magnetic means.
We have already protested against the injustice of voting animal magnetism a delusion and a humbug. We are thoroughly convinced that it is neither the one nor the other. We only think that it has been carried out of its depth, and that high, almost superhuman, attributes have been assigned to it to which it has no pretensions whatever; and we have not omitted to have a smart cut or two at the extravagancies to which injudicious friends have committed it. That man has an inherent
brought flat on its face again before the exploded superstitions of our ancestors of the middle ages; that the wounds of a murdered person would bleed if the body were approached by the murderer. With reference to the living person, the probability is, that if he were touched by any indifferent bystander whilst in the magnetic coma, the same results would follow; for a touch would, in a particular condition, be sufficient to arouse his energies in some degree, which would have an immediate effect upon the whole nervous system. [We shall show this more particularly anon, when we come to treat of" double consciousness."] With reference to the dead subject, the presence of a number of persons in a room would inevitably have the effect of raising the temperature, which, acting upon the accumulated gases in the body, might cause a slight effusion of the little remaining liquid blood or pus. But this latter superstition has long been swept away with the ordeal itself. We have nothing to urge in favor of the curative efficacy of the magnet, or artificial electricity; but we cannot help thinking that Mr. Colquhoun goes too far when he says, that if they "have produced some salutary effects, these effects are to be ascribed to animal magnetism!" Now we don't mean to deny that salutary effects have been, and often are, produced by animal magnetism; but we contend that precisely the same effects, frequently with less risk, are constant-power of acting upon man in a way not ly produced by other means,-nay, by patients themselves, who first induce sleep by keeping their eyes and attention fixed upon any inanimate object-say the ceiling of a room; then causing their mind and body to act and react upon each other in an unusual degree. Some object considerably above the level of the eye, so as to cause the head to be thrown back a little, is the best for the purpose. This, with the fixed gaze, produces a slight strain upon the eyes; hence, Frederick Anthony Mesmer was born in besides the exhaustion of the visual organ Switzerland on the 23d of May, 1734. and slight vertigo which are the immediate He studied physic in Vienna, and eventualand necessary results of this process, a hab-ly took his doctor's degree. Naturally fond it of intense abstraction, or concentration of the marvellous, his attention was drawn of attention is induced; during which there to the magnet by the Jesuit Maximilian is a suppressed state of the respiration, preventing the proper and efficient purification of the blood, and interrupting the free and regular circulation through the brain (as in common and easy respiration); the imperfectly decarbonized blood acts on the brain as a narcotic, and presently the influence is extended through the whole nervous system. And in this way precisely the same
hitherto generally known and practised there can be no doubt whatever; that is, by inducing him to comply with the preliminary methods just noted; and there can be as little doubt that, when properly and legitimately applied, this power may be exerted to the very best advantage. We, therefore, resume the consideration of the subject at the point where Mesmer himself took it up.
Hell, professor of astronomy at Vienna. In consequence of the instructions received from this worthy, Mesmer began to use them successfully in the treatment of disease, continuing the practice, until, happening to quarrel with the Jesuit, he became anxious to relieve himself of the obligation which he owed him, by finding some substitute for the magnets. He therefore
that which has been proved to us in a clear "That which we have learned, or at least and satisfactory manner by our inquiry into the phenomena of mesmerism, ie, that man can act upon man at all times, and almost at will, by striking his imagination; that signs and gestures the most simple, may produce the most powerful effects; that the action of man art, and conducted after a certain method when upon the imagination may be reduced to an exercised upon patients who have faith in the proceedings.”
tried the effects of operating in the same favorably of the pretensions of Mesmer, manner with his hands alone, as he had quoad his demonstrating the existence of a been accustomed to do with the magnets, magnetic fluid. They bore testimony, howand he found that the results were precisely ever, to the reality of the phenomena, but the same. From this he naturally inferred attributed them entirely to the influence of that the magnets were not the efficient the imagination. Here is an extract transcause, but had acted only as the medium lated from this report :of transmitting an influence from his body. to the patient's. To a mind constituted like Mesmer's it would be an easy and natural inference that there was a principle in animated nature capable of transference from one being to another, and which could be brought into activity and influence by certain processes. Since the active principle of mineral magnetism was designated a fluid, he called this new agency a magnetic fluid, and its effects he designated animal magnetism. Shortly after his arrival in Paris in 1778, his experiments began There is manifestly no attempt here to to excite so much attention, that a commis- deny the phenomena; on the contrary, the sion of the French Academy was appointed commission actually confirms their reality; to investigate and report upon the subject. and yet this is the celebrated decision conMesmer undertook to prove to this commis- tinually referred to ever since, as a complete sion that he could produce certain phenom- death-blow to mesmerism and its pretenena, and demonstrate that a magnetic fluid sions. In the sequel we shall show, that the was the cause of these phenomena; that by commissioners were quite justified in allegthe exercise of his will and manoeuvres, ing that what they witnessed was entirely the magnetic fluid could be excited into the result of imagination; but they were activity and even operate at a distance, and in no respect warranted by the premises in that it could be transferred to inanimate drawing the latter part of their conclusion, objects, and made to operate on patients at namely, that the primary induction of the second-hand, through proximity or contact condition had also been entirely the result with these magnetized substances. One of of imagination. Although this decision had his most notable experiments was his mes- the effect of throwing mesmerism into the merizing trees in Dr. Franklin's garden, shade, it was still prosecuted on the Contiand allowing his subjects to be taken blind- nent by many eminent medical and scienfold into the garden with the object of tific men with zeal and success. In 1817, proving that the magnetic influence would the practice of the art was ordained to display itself when the subjects went under be confined to the medical profession in the magnetized trees, and then only. The re- the Prussian dominions; and in 1818, sult proved directly the reverse. The sub- the Academy of Sciences at Berlin offered jects became affected, not under the mes- a prize of 3400 francs for the best treatise merized, but under the non-mesmerized trees! on mesmerism. In Denmark, and even in Other experiments made within doors equal- Russia, about the same period, the subject ly proved the fallacy of Mesmer's theory, was brought under investigation; and in since the subjects became affected when no the latter country, a committee, appointed passes were being made, provided they had by the emperor, declared it to be a most been led to believe that they were being op- important agent. In consequence of the erated upon-at a distance; whilst on the progress of matters in these various quarcontrary, they were not at all affected, how ters, in 1826 a second commission of invigorously soever the passes were made, if quiry was appointed by the Royal Academy the subjects had not been led to believe of Medicine of Paris. This commission that such proceedings were going forward. prosecuted the inquiry for five years, and The commission, of course reported* un-drew up a report with great care, which
Rapport des Commissaires de la Société Royale de Médecine, nommés par le Roi, pour faire l'examen du Magnétisme Animal. Paris, 1784.
was read to the academy in 1831. After referring to the various physiological phenomena particularly specified, and to cures effected under their own immediate obser
vation, they made the following important [previously made on their minds! Now these
"Your committee have communicated in the report facts of sufficient importance to en
title them to think that the academy ought to encourage the investigations into the subject of animal magnetism as a curious branch of psychology and natural history."
were well-contrived and well-conducted exmetals were possessed of the positive and periments for determining whether these negative qualities assigned to them; and Dr. Elliotson held in his hands the most irrefragable proofs of the fallacy of his theory. But then Mr. Wakley, in his turn, rushed into the extreme of error. He pubNow, when it is borne in mind that this lished to the world, and persisted and glorireport was subscribed by nine eminent ed in the assertion, that the patients were members of the academy (one of whom sub- impostors, and, par consequence, that all mitted personally to be operated upon), who mesmeric phenomena were an unmitigated prosecuted the investigation for five years, and daring cheat. Now, Mr. Braid's investhere is very little room left for skepticism tigations tend to clear up these difficulties as to the reality of either the psychological at once. They prove to us, that those who or physiological phenomena. How they were have had the impressibility stamped upon produced, or by what precise laws they are them either by the mesmeric process or by governed, is another question. In 1828 the induction of nervous sleep, became liaand 9 M. Chenevix attempted, but with little ble to be affected entirely through the imsuccess, to bring the subject under the no- agination and habit, since they have invaritice of the British public. In 1833, Mr. ably given way to the influence, or have Colquhoun published the report of the sec- not been affected at all, exactly as they exond French commission; and in 1836 the pected it or did not expect it. first edition (the edition before us is the second very greatly enlarged) of his very valuable and interesting work Isis Revelata. In 1837 Baron Dupotet came over to this country, but his labors and his efforts were alike disregarded until Dr. Elliotson took him by the hand; and the results of the doctor's experiments created a strong sensation. But, as was the case with Mesmer, his theoretical notions not standing the practical test to which he had offered to subject them, the current of public opinion was turned against him, and he was speedily swamped. He not only believed in a special influence emanating from the operator, but he fell back upon the old notions about mineral magnetism, and alleged that certain metals possessed this special influence, whilst others had no such power. Ex. gr., he maintained that nickel was a powerful magnetizer, whilst lead possessed no such property; and he offered to allow Mr. Wakley, of the Lancet, an opportunity of testing this. The results were these: Mr. Wakley made the subject believe that he was operating with mesmerized metal, whilst he was using the other, and the subject became mesmerized! on the other hand, he operated with the mesmerizing metal, whilst the subject was made to believe that he was using the non-mesmerized metal, and no effects ensued. His other experiments were conducted in the same manner, and with similar results, the effect on the subjects always answering to the impressions
We now come to the period (1841) at which M. Lafontaine commenced operations in this country. Although the phenomena exhibited at his conversazioni were of a very ordinary and commonplace description, seldom showing more than the usual characteristics of magnetic coma, accompanied by the puncturing, pinching, squeezing, aural, and olfactory tests of insensibility, and so forth; they served to awaken curiosity, and to set investigation a-foot. Amongst others, Mr. Braid, a learned and eminent surgeon, of Manchester, to whose valuable and interesting book we have already referred, turned his attention to the subject, and the result of his investigations is a new branch of science, which has already worked wonders as a curative agency, and which promises to be of the utmost service in that character. He calls his method NEURHYPNOTISM (which, for the benefit of the ladies, we may as well explain, is derived from two Greek words, vegov (nerve), and vлνos (sleep),-nervous sleep). Mr. Braid was at first a skeptic; but, after having attended two or three of M. Lafontaine's conversazioni, he witnessed an effect, appa rently a bona fide phenomenon, which, upon consideration, he believed to be, not the effect of any magnetic influence passing from the body of the operator to the patient, but of the continued fixed stare exhausting the irritability of the optic and motor nerves of the eye, an effect which he believed
would result quite as readily by causing three minutes without falling asleep, and orthe patient to maintain a steady, fixed stare dered him down stairs. In a short time I re at any inanimate object. In order to put called this young man, and desired him to sit down once more, but to be careful not to go to this to the proof, he induced a young friend sleep again, as on the former occasion. He to sit down on a low seat, and maintain a sat down with this intention, but at the expirasteady, fixed gaze at an object placed con- tion of two minutes and a half his eyelids clossiderably above his head, but we willed, and exactly the same phenomena as in the quote Mr. Braid's own words:former experiment ensued.
"I now stated that I considered the experi
"In three minutes his eyelids closed, a gush "I again tried the experiment, by causing of tears ran down his cheeks, his head droop- used on the first experiments; but still, as I Mr. to gaze on a different object from that ed, his face was slightly convulsed, he gave a groan, and instantly fell into profound sleep, anticipated, the phenomena were the same. the respiration becoming slow, deep, and sib-I also tried him à la Fontaine, with the thumbs ilant, the right hand and arm being agitated and eyes, and likewise by gazing on my eyes by slight convulsive movements. At the end without contact, and still the effects were the of four minutes I considered it necessary for same, as I fully expected. his safety to put an end to the experiment. This experiment not only proved what I ex-ments fully proved my theory; and expressed pected, but also, by calling my attention to the my entire conviction that the phenomena of spasmodic state of the muscles of the face and mesmerism were to be accounted for on the arm, the peculiar state of the respiration, and principle of a derangement of the state of the the condition of the mind, as evinced on rouscerebro-spinal centres, and of the circulatory, ing the patient, tended to prove to my mind I and respiratory, and muscular systems, induhad got the key to the solution of mesmerism. ced, as I have explained, by a fixed stare, abThe agitation and alarm of this gentleman, on repose of body, fixed attention, and supbeing roused, very much astonished Mrs. Braid. pressed respiration, concomitant with that fixShe expressed herself very much surprised at ity of attention; that the whole;depended on the his being so much alarmed about nothing, as physical and psychical condition of the patient, she had watched the whole time, and never arising from the causes referred to, and not at saw me near him, or touching him in any way all on the volition, or passes of the operator, whatever. I proposed that she should be the throwing out a magnetic fluid, or exciting into next subject operated on, to which she readily activity some mystical universal fluid or mediconsented, assuring all present that she would um. I further added, that having thus pronot be so easily alarmed as the gentleman re-duced the primary phenomena, I had no ferred to. I requested her to sit down, and gaze on the ornament of a china sugar basin, placed at the same angle to the eyes as the bottle in the former experiment. In two minutes the expression of the face was very much changed at the end of two minutes and a half the eyelids closed convulsively; the mouth was distorted; she gave a deep sigh, the bosom heaved, she fell back, and was evidently passing into an hysterie paroxysm, to prevent which I instantly roused her. On counting the pulse I found it had mounted up to 180 strokes a minute.
"In order to prove my position still more clearly, I called up one of my men-servants, who knew nothing of mesmerism, and gave him such directions as were calculated to impress his mind with the idea that his fixed attention was merely for the purpose of watching a chemical experiment in the preparation of some medicine, and being familiar with such he could feel no alarm. In two minutes and a half his eyelids closed slowly with a vibrating motion, his chin fell on his breast, he gave a deep sigh, and was instantly in a profound sleep, breathing loudly. All the persons present burst into a fit of laughter, but still he was not interrupted by us. In about one minute after his profound sleep I roused him, and pretended to chide him for being so careless; said he ought to be ashamed of himself for not being able to attend to my instructions for
doubt but the others would follow as a matter of course, time being allowed for their gradual and successive development."
These then were the means used by Mr. Braid to induce somnolency. There can be no doubt that he succeeded, and there can be as little doubt, for we have been eyewitnesses of his experiments ourselves, that, by his method, all the phenomena which exhibit themselves in the mesmeric treatment are brought out, except the phenomenon of clairvoyance, a bona fide instance of which, that could not be accounted for in a dozen different ways, we have never witnessed. It is quite evident, we take it, in the cases above quoted, that in none of them could there exist any thing beyond what arose from the minds and bodies of the patients acting on themselves in conjunction with the inanimate objects at which they gazed. It is true that faith in a particular agency may powerfully aid, although it is by no means absolutely necessary to the success of, the experiment. the impressibility has been stamped upon When, however, as we have already hinted, patients, either by the mesmeric or neurhypnotic method, if you can only induce