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ers; and it is obtained so frequently, that a fifth part of all those who submit to be magnetised, are thrown into different degrees of it. The production of this state, and the clairvoyance, or second sight of individuals, during its continuance, may be considered as the great characteristic distinction, between the magnetism of the present day, and that of Mesmer.
But it has been induced in a much more rapid manner, than by the procedure we have given above. An abbé Faria acquired such a magnetic power, that he could produce the somnambulic state in his patients by merely speaking to them. Bertrand gives the following account of his method :
"He seated the person to be magnetised in a chair, ordered him to shut his eyes, and abstract his mind from passing events, then suddenly pronounced, in an emphatic and imperative tone, the word sleep! this usually produced such an effect on the patient, as to occasion trembling and other symptoms, speedily followed, in many cases, by somnambulism. If his first attempt did not succeed, he repeated it three times; and if still unsuccessful, declared that the person was incapable of entering into this condition!"
He boasted that he had caused somnambulism in upwards of 5000 persons; there may be some exaggeration in this, but it is incontestable that he generally succeeded. Faria was, however, a complete charlatan, and made use of the power he acquired over the imagination of individuals, as a means of enriching himself; having public exhibitions of somnambulists.
The theories of magnetism now professed, may be reduced to three general heads. That of Mesmer, and his disciples; that of the Spiritualists; and that of Puységur.
The first, as we have already observed, admits the existence of a universal fluid, which fills all space, and is the medium of communication between all bodies. The Spiritualists believe, that all the phenomena are produced by the soul, and that physical action is almost useless; this doctrine, which has many partisans in Germany and Prussia, is by far the most mystical. The exegetic and philanthropic society of Stockholm, thus explain this theory :
"There are two modes of magnetising; one physical, the other supernatural. The principle which gives activity to the first, is the desire of the magnetiser to act on the patient, and the confidence he has in himself; the foundation of the other, is the same desire, but under the will of God, whose benediction the magnetiser implores, if the cure is conformable to the designs of Providence, in which he places all his reliance. The desire of the one, has only a mortal good in view; the other a spiritual one. Magnetising is an act, in which the desire of the magnetiser for the welfare of another is the moving cause, and the effect is to dissipate the evil spirits of disease. There is some analogy between magnetism and the imposition of hands, which was accorded by the Saviour to the members of his church."
Such are the wild and impious doctrines of this sect of magnetisers, opinions which it appears almost inconceivable could have been adopted by sensible and well informed men.
We have also had somnambulists of this class in the United'
States; the most celebrated of whom, was Miss Rachael Baker, at New-York, or its vicinity; who not only answered questions whilst in that condition, but also composed prayers and hymns, and preached most admirable sermons; all of which she was incapable of doing when awake. Dr. Mitchell, who appears to have been one of her disciples, or at least, believers, has favoured the world with a detailed account of her case, accompanied with some choice specimens of her compositions.
The school of Puységur, attribute all the effects produced by magnetism, to a subtle and peculiar vital fluid, which is secreted, or at least accumulated in the brain, to which the nerves serve as conductors. This fluid, which presides over all actions of the body, is wholly under the power of the will, and can be transfused into any other body. M. de Puységur does not admit the theory of poles, or of planetary influence, but considers the will to be the great source of power, at the same time this will must be directed by physical means, in order to act on patients.
He has also introduced a great change in the method of operating; instead of the baquet and public exhibitions used by Mesmer and Deslon, all the treatment is now conducted in private; this has had a good effect; as the patients, instead of being thrown into convulsions, and other violent symptoms, now are reduced to a state of somnambulism.
In consequence of the renewed excitement occasioned by the doctrine of Puységur and his disciples, as well as from the extraordinary instances of cures performed by somnambulists;-for it is evident from what we have said in elucidation of the theory, that the magnetiser only induces the somnambulic state, when the patients, having their internal senses and preservative instinct astonishingly developed, prescribe for themselves;—the subject of animal magnetism was again brought before the Academy of Medicine, where an animated discussion took place, whether a committee should be appointed to examine the merits and consequences of the doctrine. This was at first negatived; but on a subsequent trial, a committee of eleven members was named, consisting of some of the most celebrated physicians of Paris. We have not seen their report, nor are we aware of what their decision has been. During the debate, the celebrated Laennec observed that he had studied the subject for twenty years, and was satisfied that it was a tissue of deception and imposture, although, when he commenced the study, he was prejudiced in its favour; that the phenomena effected by magnetism, and the oracles uttered by the somnambulists, vary with every magnetiser; thus Mesmer excited convulsions, Deslon caused crises, as are seen in diseases. The somnambulists of Deleuze, who is a learned man, were much better taught than those of Puységur,
who is ignorant of the sciences. Mr. Laennec also stated, that he had seen a somnambulist under the direction of an apothecary, who was quite distinguished by the art with which she compounded the medicines she recommended. Rostan, who also took part in the discussion, and was a supporter of the doctrine, related the following extraordinary instance of second sight in a somnambulist under his magnetising:
"Here," says he, "is an experiment that I have often repeated, but which I was finally obliged to interrupt, because it fatigued my somnambulist to such a degree, that she assured me if it was continued, it would make her deranged. This experiment was made in the presence of my colleague and friend M. Ferrus. I took my watch, which I placed three or four inches from her occiput. 'I asked my somnambulist, if she saw any thing,' 'certainly, I see something that shines; it pains me.' Her countenance was expressive of pain, and ours expressed astonishment. We looked at each other, and M. Ferrus breaking silence, said, if she sees something shine, she can doubtless tell what it is.' What do you see that shines'-Oh! I do not know, I cannot tell.' 'Look at it well' Stop, it fatigues me, wait, (and after a moment of great attention) it is a watch.' 'But if she sees the watch, observed M. Ferrus, she can doubtless see what the hour is.' 'Can you inform me what o'clock it is ? Oh no! that is too difficult.' 'Look attentively, try.' Well then I will, perhaps I may be able to designate the hour, but I shall never be able to tell the minutes.' After the greatest attention, she said; 'It wants ten minutes of eight,' which was the exact hour. M. Ferrus now desired to make the experiment himself, and repeated it with the same success. He requested me to change the hands of his watch several times; on presenting it to her, and without her being able to see it, she invariably designated their direction."
This is certainly a marvellous clairvoyance, for a person in a profound slumber, but at the same time it does not equal that of Miss M'Evoy, who could tell the hour through the crystal of a watch, or see people walking in the street through a pane of glass, with the tips of her fingers, and without being in a state of somnambulism.
To give our readers some idea of the mummery that has been practised and believed by the adherents of magnetism, we extract the following account from the Marquis de Puységur's work, quoted at the head of this article.
"In the month of September last, during the time that public opinion was influenced by the report of the joint committee from the Royal Academy and the Royal Society, a young lady of distinguished rank, and who appeared to enjoy the best health, was at the chateau of a relation, the Marquis of B., and like the rest of the party, scoffed at animal magnetism. The Baron B., her uncle, proposed that they should magnetise each other. He directed on his niece, his pretended influence; at first she laughed heartily, but this was soon perceived to lose its natural character, and to the extreme surprise of the company, she gra dually lost the use of her senses, and at last, as a feeble magnet is attracted by a stronger, was obliged to follow her magnetiser wherever he went. It was attempted to separate them, but this produced frightful convulsions. On the Baron retiring from the room, these increased to such a degree, that they were obliged to search for him, and intreat him to return; the moment he began to do this, the patient, notwithstanding the distance they were separated, and the thickness of the intervening walls, was conscious of it. Ah, he is returning,' she exclaimed, 'I feel it, I see him, he is now entering the anti-chamber.' This was true. As soon as he entered the room, the convulsions ceased. At the end of some
hours, this crisis disappeared, and left the patient in a languid though tranquil state. Next day her uncle came to see her, and found she had no recollection of what had passed. On telling her, she laughed, pointed her finger as if magnetising her uncle, and in a short time again fell into a state of somnambulism. It was now thought expedient to have recourse to a magnetising physician at Nantes. Baron B. went for him, the convulsions were renewed, she saw him, she followed him in idea on the route, arrived with him at Nantes, and indicated his most trifling actions. He is thinking of me, he has taken off his boots, he has chang ed his coat,' &c. &c. At the very moment he entered the physician's house, she said, Ah! he is speaking of me, he will return with a physician I do not know.' Thus passed the day and the succeeding night; on the next day she exclaimed, Ah! they have set out on their return, they are speaking of me,' and she repeated what they said; during the journey, her uncle had a dispute with some one; she immediately called for help to defend him from the attacks of a person in grey, who was about to beat him. Finally they arrived; the physician alone appearing, she asked, 'where is my uncle.' He has remained at Nantes,' replied he. That is not true, I have seen him, I still see him, he is now in the room,'" &c.
To give the sequel of this marvellous story, she was perfectly
But the sagacity of this young lady falls far short of that of Madame M., whose case is detailed at great length in the Propagateur du Magnétisme animal. We pass over the first part of the treatment, merely premising, that, being of a delicate constitution, and enfeebled by a long continuance of disease, her magnetiser considered her as "tout à fait propre, à recevoir l'influence magnétique;" he was not mistaken in his expectations; for, almost immediately after he commenced his operations, she became somnambulic; few interrogatories were propounded to her at this time, but, on the succeeding day, having again been thrown into a state of somnambulism, the following, among other questions, were asked:
"Do you think that magnetism will be of service to you?-Certainly, it will relieve all my sufferings. When should you be again magnetised?-To-morrow, the day after, every day.-But, I beg you to tell me, when you will endeavour to discover your disease, and indicate the means of cure.-On the day after tomorrow, if I possibly can; at least I will attempt it."
Next day, however, after having been more strongly magnetised, she was persuaded to give some explanations and directions as to her disease :
"Do you believe that you will be cured by magnetism? Yes, fully.-Tell me, I beseech you, if you cannot find some means to calm the pain you feel every morning? (With an air of satisfaction,) wait!-wait! (after some moments of reflection,) I believe I must take figs and milk, for eight days.-Cooked figs?— Yes, five or six figs must be boiled in a cup of milk, and taken every morning; they must be perfectly done.-Why? Because I must eat them.-What regimen must you pursue during your treatment?-After having taken my milk and figs, early in the morning, I must breakfast at eleven o'clock, on soupe maigre, in which there is little salt. At dinner, no meat or vegetables, but, above all, no vinegar. During these eight days, is nothing else to be done?-No: ah! I shall suffer from a violent headach; on Tuesday, I shall have it badly."
The magnetising treatment was continued for some time, during which the patient made some extraordinary anatomical dis
sertations, which call forth the following remarks from her physician. "As a physician, can I, after such language from the mouth of a young female, wholly ignorant of anatomy, without any knowledge of medicine, can I deny the astonishing lucidness of somnambulists?" This patient soon afterwards left Paris, to return to Lorraine, her native country, as it was revealed to her that this would restore her health.
The above are merely given as examples of the conversations that ensue between magnetisers and their patients; but, we are afraid that our readers will still be so absurd as to refuse to credit this, and similar facts, although attested by so great a number of physicians and philosophers, and will preserve their prudent scepticism, until their eyes have seen, and their fingers touched."
It must be evident to the most cursory observer, that all the effects produced by these different modes of operating, depend on a single cause, -the influence of the imagination. That this is capable of producing phenomena as striking and extraordinary as those effected by animal magnetism, is a fact too notorious to be denied, by the most prejudiced adherent of the doctrine. How an operation of the mind can modify the actions of vessels, nerves, and muscles, is at once mysterious and inscrutable; but that such is the case, every day's observation most amply demonstrates. Not to dilate on the familiar examples of blushing and paleness, induced by emotions of the mind, it is to the same cause, that may be referred all the curês performed by persons supposed to be gifted with extraordinary powers, either from heaven direct, or by descent; thus kings, old women, and seventh sons, all have had medical diplomas assigned them for ages, for the treatment of certain diseases. One of the most extraordinary instances of this kind, both from the number of cures really performed, and the learning and character of the persons who attested them, is that of Valentine Greatraks, who lived in the latter part of the seventeenth century. We give the account, as extracted by Deleuze, from Pechlin. He was the son of an Irish gentleman of good education and property. Disgusted with the religious and political dissensions of his country, in the time of Cromwell, he retired from the world, apparently in a state of disease that would soon terminate his existence. On his recovery, he became a puritan, and soon after had an "impulse of strange persuasion on his mind, that God had given him the blessing of curing the king's evil." He accordingly commenced the practice of touching for this disease, but soon extended his powers to almost all the maladies to which man is subject, and was successful in a vast proportion of cases; many of these are certified by the most learned men of the day, as Boyle, CudVOL. IV. NO. 8.