'VEIixir of kife
fi^ ^ I'
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2007 with funding from
C E. BROWN-SEQUARD, M.D., F.R.S., ETC
THE "ELIXIR OF LIFE
Dr. Brown-Seqiiard's own account of his
Famous Alleged Remedy for Debility and Old Age,
Dr. yariot's Experiments, and Contemporaneous
Comments of the Profession and the Press,
To WHICH IS PREFIXED A SKETCH OF Dr. BrO\V>»SeQUARD's LlFE,
J. G. CUPPLES COMPANY
94 BoYLSTON Street.
By J. G. CUPPLES CO.
All rights reserved.
Sketch of Dr. Brown-Sequard's Life.^
" He led me on to mightiest deeds
Above the tierve of mortal arm." — Milton.
Dr. Brown-Sequard's father, Captain Edward
Brown, was born in Philadelphia, Penn., and
married Mile. C. P. Sequard, a native of the
island of Mauritius, of French extraction. He
lost his life while endeavoring to carry provis-
ions to that place, during a severe famine.
The vessel proved unseavvorthy, and though a
sailor of much experience, he was lost.
Charles Edouard Brown-Sequard, M.D.,F.R.S.,
^See Biographical Sketches of Distinguished Living New York Physi.
cians. By Samuel Ward Francis, A.M., M.D. New York, 1867. 228 pp
Men of The Time. Cassell's Celebrities of the Century. Appleton's
Cyc. of Am. Biography.
Dictionnaire Universel des Contemporains. Par G. Vapereau. Paris,
Dictionnaire Universel Ulustre Biographique et Bibliographique de la
France Contemporaine. J. Lermina. Paris.
etc., physician and physiologist, was born April
8th, 1817, at Port Louis, Mauritius. The founda-
tion of his extensive education, he received
there at a private school. When quite young,
he took charge of two circulating libraries and
reading rooms for about two years.
In 1838, he went to Paris to pursue his medi-
cal studies, under such men as Martin Magron,
P. Berard, Cruveilhier, Trousseau, Orfila, and
others, all men of wide experience, much
thought, and the representatives of an import-
ant medical epoch. In November, 1838, he
received the diploma of ''Bachelor of Letters,"
and that of " Bachelor of Sciences," the follow-
ing year, from the Faculty of Letters of Paris,
and the Faculty of Sciences of Paris, respec-
tively, both of them forming a part of the Uni-
versity of France. In 1839, he taught natural
history, chemistry, and natural philosophy. In
1845, he began to lecture on physiology. In
natural history, chemistry, natural philosophy,
and physiology, he has kept up the deepest in-
terest ever since. That which has from the
first rendered his didactic philosophy peculiarly-
interesting, has been the number of practical
experiments elucidating the topic in hand. At
the start, his vivisections were conclusive as to
On the 3rd of January, 1846, he received his
degree of Doctor of Medicine from the Faculty
of Medicine of Paris, which is a part of the
University of France. His Inaugural Disser-
tation was a printed thesis on the " Vital Pro-
perties and Functions of the Spinal Cord," 4to.,
pp. 26. One cannot read this production without
being charmed by the fascinating treatment
so peculiarly his own.
Since graduating, he has devoted his time
mainly to extended experimental investigations
on important physiological topics ; among which
may be enumerated, the conditions and furnc-
tions of the different constituents of the blood,
animal heat, the spinal column and its diseases,
the muscular system, the sympathetic nerv^es
and ganglions, the effect of the removal of the
supra-renal capsules, etc. Not a few of his
valuable discoveries have been made while he
has been resident in France. The peculiar
facilities which that country offers men of
science seem to have been in hi-s case both at-
tractive and prolific.
Dr. Brown-Sequard has visited England and
the United States many times, delivering in
both countries short courses of lectures, and in-
structing private classes of physicians in his
discoveries. He has practised medicine suc-
cessfully in the principal centres of medical
science of the world, in each place leaving
traces of his original mind and wise sugges-
tions. He has carried out his professional career
in Paris, for many years, at various intervals, from
1847 to 1850, also in 1855, from 1857 to 1859,
in 1865, from 1869 to 1873, and since 1878.
In 1854, he resided at Port Louis, Mauritius,
and not only practised, but acquired much that
sowed the seed of future theories. In London,
England, he attended the sick, and particularly
prescribed for those nervously affected, from
March, i860, to September, 1863, and at Cam-
bridge and Boston, Mass., 1864, lectured and
treated those who appUed for his services. In
1864, he was appointed Professor of the Physiol-
ogy and Pathology of the Nervous System at
Harvard Univ^ersity, where he remained four
years. In 1869, ^"^^ returned to France, and was
made professor of Experimental and Compar-
ative Pathology in the Ecole de Medicine ; he
held the chair till 1871. In 1858, he established
in Paris \h^ Journal de la Physiologie de V Homme
ef des Animanx, which, he conducted till 1863.
After his return in 1869, he founded another
journal called Archives de la Physiologie Normale
et Pathologiqnc. In 1873, he again came to
the United States, practising in New York
City, and beginning with Dr. Seguin the publi-
cation of the ArcJiives of Scientific and Practical
Medicine. August 3, 1878, he succeeded Claude
Bernard in the chair of Experimental Medicine
in the College of France.
In March, 1853, at Boston, Mass., Dr. Brovvn-
Sequard married Miss Ellen Fletcher, a niece of
Daniel Webster's first wife.
He is opposed to the use of tobacco. In his
own words : " I never smoke, and have seen the
most evident proofs of the injurious effects of
tobacco on the nervous system."
Dr. Brown-Sequard's general health has been
very good, being exempt from many of the af-
fections that flesh is heir to. But a desire to
investigate the contents of his own stomach,
under different circumstances, by means of
which he could examine the gastric juice, or
partially digested food, has brought on a rare
affection, which is sometimes seen in man,
namely, a persistent merycism, or rumination,
when one is forced to chew a second time what
has been swallowed. This has existed since
1844, in consequence of his having often per-
formed on himself experiments, consisting in
swallowing sponges, to which were attached
threads ; by drawing upon which, the sponges
were withdrawn from the stomach, containing
gastric juice and liquid or liquified food, which
he wished to study.
This sacrifice on the altar of science should
be honorably recorded, as a disinterested effort
by a truly philosophical man. The pains, also,
to which Dr. Brown-Sequard has voluntarily
subjected himself in pursuing the experiments
which form the subject of this pamphlet, should
not be forgotten in this connection. "Truth
at any cost, even my own," has always been the
uncompromising motto of the true philosopher.
On five occasions, has Dr. Brown-S^quard
received prizes from that august body, the
French Academy of Sciences ; the last being
the Institute's biennial prize of 20,000 francs.
In 1878, he was elected to the chair of medicine
in the Academy. In 1868, he was elected mem-
ber of the National Academy of Sciences. In
i860, he became a member of the Royal College
of Physicians of London. The Royal Society
of London, under the auspices of the Queen, has
twice bestowed on him a portion of the grant?
set aside for the promotion of science. Many
other foreign institutes have bestowed their
honors upon him.
Among the many interesting theories and
scientific points propounded by Dr. Brown-
Sequard, and which may truly be said to liave
gained stronger and stronger hold, may be men-
tioned the theory that *'the fibrine of the blood
is an excrementitious product, and not subser-
vient to nutrition."
By a series of careful experiments, he suc-
ceeded in restoring the irritability of the mus-
cles, soon after oxygenated and defibrinated
blood had been injected, when a dead body had
been long rigid. By repeating this with the
same blood, it being oxygenated and defibrin-
ated again, the irritability of the muscles was
maintained for hours. Another statement of
his is likewise worthy of mention. It is to the
effect that arterial blood *'is subservient to
nutrition, while venous blood is required for
muscular contraction." He also states that the
animal heat of man is 103° F. — several degrees
higher than previous investigators 'have put it.
Moreover, as it has generally been accepted as a
fact that poison tends to lower the temperature
of the body, he suggests with much reason, that
if an artificial heat be kept up the toxaemic in-
fluence will be lessened, and the chances of re-
covery increased inversely, etc. This theory —
if carried out in clinical practice — would tend
greatly to assist in the administration of reme-
But that which has peculiarly attracted his
attention and given rise to profound discussion,
has special reference to the spinal cord ; it may
truly be considered as the greatest discovery of
that region since the period when Sir Charles
Bell unfolded to view the sensitive properties
and "■ motor functions of the anterior and pos-
terior roots of the spinal cord." To use the
words of another :^ "As the result of numer-
ous ingenious experiments, Brown-S^quard con-
cludes that the sensitive fibres do not commu-
nicate directly with the brain, but convey
impressions to the gray matter of the cord, by
which they are transmitted onward to the brain,
and that their decussation or crossing takes
place in the cord itself, at or below the point at
which they enter, not in the cerebrum or me-
' See Appleton's Cyclopaedia.
dulla oblongata. On the other hand, the an-
terior or motor fibres pass on directly to the
brain, effecting their decussation in the medulla
oblongata ; the gray matter receives the impres-
sions, conducts them to the brain, or reflects
them upon the motor nerves, but is itself insen-
sible to ordinary stimuli."
In the modern views of nervous disorders the
opinions of Prof. Brown Sequard are looked
upon with respect, and followed with implicit
faith, so earnest have been his endeavors, and
so conscientious his experiments as regards the
treatment of functional and organic affections
of the nervous system. We find that he main-
tains that morbid manifestations may be due to
a reflex influence ; that pressure on the carotid
for congestion of the brain does not diminish
the supply of blood to the brain, but the benefit
derived from it is due chiefly to the pressure on
the cervical sympathetic nerve, which causes a
contraction of the blood-vessels of the brain.
He is entirely opposed to extirpation of the
testicle as a cure for epilepsy, deeming it not
Biography. ' 11
only irrational, but barbarous ; recommends ap-
plying a white-hot iron to the head of patients
when in the ''coma of apoplexy, cerebritis,
uraemia, or epilepsy " ; and also as the most ef-
fectual cure for neuralgia, and when the patient
is suffering from rheumatic pains. Charles
Sumner's heroic treatment will be recalled in
this connection. On the same principle, he
strongly advocates ice along the spine. But
that which seems especially to have met his
high approval is the subcutaneous injection of
morphia, quinia, etc. He advocates gallic acid
in five-grain doses, six times a day, when the
nervous derangements are due to congestion of
the ovaries or kidneys, and does not particularly
admire nitrate of silver for the treatment of
locomotor ataxy, as it is often found to do. more
in the way of discoloring the skin than reliev-
ing the difficulty. For palsy he praises the
chloride of barium, in from one-half grain to
one grain doses three times a day, It has also
been found very serviceable in tetanus. He
regrets that errhines are not oftener employed.
12 " Biography.
On being once asked if he did not have some
special or favorite branch of practice, Dr.
Brown-S^quard replied : " I am chiefly con-
sulted for nervous affections, both functional
and organic, but I am not a specialist ; and
have studied, and continue to study, every
branch of medicine." When one sees the vast
strides made each year in physiology, thera-
peutics, chemistry, and microscopic anatomy,
the labor involved in carefully keeping up with
the times will be appreciated.
To enumerate the works and articles written
by Dr. Brown-Sequard would be a difficult task,
for they are in many languages, printed in dif-
ferent countries, and may be found in maga-
zines, medical journals, physical periodicals,
cyclopaedias, and bound up with the lectures
of other interesting savans. The medical and
philosophical literatures of this generation are
greatly indebted to him for his widely diffused
knowledge, and the many surprising facts made
plain to the sense. A uniform set of his elabo-
rate productions would find a ready sale, and be
secured by every public library in the civilized
To give some idea, howevever, of the diver-
sity of the subjects treated, the titles of a few
may be quoted. Most of them are written in
I. Rech. et Exper. sur la Physiol, de la Moelle
7. Sur I'Etat de I'lrritab. dans les Muscles
13. Hibernation des Tenrecs. 1849.
14. Rech. sur la Rigidite Cadav. et la Putrefac-
17. L' Action de Teter Independante du Cer-
19. Explication d'un Phenomene de Visibilite.
26. Rech. sur la Mode d* Action de la Strych-
34. Sur la Mort par la Foudre et 1' Electro-
64. Apparition de la Rigidite Cadav. avant la
Cessation des Battem du Coeur. 185 1.
80. Sur rirritab. des Muscles. Paralyses. 185 1.
84. Preuve de la Contractilite du Tissu Cellu-
^d>. Sur le Nutrition des Muscles pendant leur
100. Sur un Fait Nouveau relatif a la Physiol.
de la Moelle Epin. 1852.
107. Guerison de I'Epilepsie par la Section d'un
113. Sur la Cause des Mouvements du Coeur.
136. De rinfluence de I'Asphyxie sur la Chaleur
144. Nouv. Rech. sur les Capsules Surrenales.
155. Course of Lectures on the Physiology and
Pathology of the Central Nervous System,
delivered at the Royal College of Sur-
geons of England, 1858. 276 pages, 3
plates. Philadelphia, i860.
158. Lectures on the Diagnosis and Treatment
of the Principal F'orms of Paralysis of the
Lower Extremities. 118 pages. Phila-
delphia. 1 86 1.
162. Lois des Phenom. Dynam. de rEconomie
178. Sur quelques Caracteres non encore Sig-
nales des Mouvem. Refl* Normeaux. 1858.
186. Rech. sur rirritab. Musculaire. 1859.
192. Remarq. sur des Cas d'Ephidrose Paroti-
195. Sur un Cas de Greffe Osseuse. i860.
199. Note sur les Mouv. Rotatoires. i860.
203. Remarq. sur la Physiol, du Cervelet a
propos d'un M^moire de R. Wagner. 186 1.
205. Remarq. sur I'Action du Nerf- Vague sur le
207. Remarq. sur la Physiol, du Cervelet et du
Nerf Anditif. 1862.
209. Rech. sur la Transmiss. des Impress, de
Tact, de Chatouillement, de Douleur, de
Temperat., et de Contraction (Sens Mus-
cul.) dans la Moelle Epin. 1863.
" Lectu'res on Nervous Affections" appeared
THE "ELIXIR OF LIFE."
THE "ELIXIR OF LIFE."
The justly eminent Dr. Brown-Sequard has
recently been experimenting with a fluid,
which has received the popular appellation of the
" Elixir of Life." The present time, when his
experiments are being so widely discussed by the
press and elsewhere, seems to be a moment
opportune for the appearance of a pamphlet stat-
ing clearly and authoritatively just what the
experiments and "elixir" are.
The first announcement of the alleged discov-
ery which is attracting so much attention was
made by Dr. Brown-S^quard before the Society
dc Biologic of Paris, June ist, 1S89. The paper
then read, together with the remarks provoked
by it, appeared in the Coniptes RenduSy or Tran>s-
actions, of the society, for June 21st.
A second communication was made to the same
society on the 15th of June, and was published in
20 The Elixir of Life.
the same number of the Transactions. A third
" Note " was read at the meeting of the 22nd,
and appeared in the Transactions of the 28th,
The substance of these three papers was after-
wards embodied in an article contributed to the
London Lancet of July 20. The latter being of
smaller compass than the former, at the same
time omitting nothing essential that was con-
tained in them, and in fact throwing new light
upon the subject, it is quoted here at length in
preference to the earlier announcements. When,
ever occasion arises to quote from the Transac.
tions of the SociH^ de Biologie, the French will
be translated. The Z^;/<:^/ article is in English,
and as follows :
" The Effects Produced on Man by Subcu-
taneous Injections of a Liquid Obtained
• FROM the Testicles of Animals. —
" On June ist last I made at the Soci^te de Bio-
logic of Paris a communication on the above sub-
ject, which was published in the Comptes Ren-
dus of that Society on June 21st (No. 24). I
will give here a summary of the facts and views
The Elixir of Life. 21
contained in that paper and in two subsequent
ones, adding to them some new points.
''There is no need of describing at length the
great effects produced on the organization of
man by castration, when it is made before the
adult age. It is particularly well known that
eunuchs are characterized by their general debil-
ity and their lack of intellectual and physical
activity. There is no medical man who does
not know also how much the mind and body of
men (especially before the spermatic glands
have acquired their full power, or when that
.power is declining in consequence of advanced
age) are affected by sexual abuse or by mastur-
bation. Besides, it is well known that seminal
losses, arising from any cause, produce a mental
and physical debility which is in proportion to
their frequency. These facts, and many others,
have led to the generally-admitted view that in
the seminal fluid, as secreted by the testicles, a
substance or several substances exist which,
entering the blood by resorption, have a most
essential use in giving strength to the nervous
22 The Elixir of Life.
system and to other parts. But if what may be
called spermatic anemia leads to that conclusion,
the opposite state, which can be named spermatic
plethora, gives as strong a testimony in favor
of that conclusion. It is known that well-organ-
ized men, especially from twenty to thirty-five
years of age, who remain absolutely free from
sexual intercourse or any other causes of expen-
diture of seminal fluid, are in a state of excite-
ment, giving them a great, although abnormal,
physical and mental activity. These two series
of facts contribute to show what great dynamo-
genie power is possessed by some substance or
substances which our blood owes to the testicles.
*' For a great many years I have believed that
the weakness of old men depended on two causes
— a natural series of organic changes and the
gradually diminishing action of the spermatic
glands. In 1869, in a course of lectures at the
Paris Faculty of Medicine, discussing the influ-
ence possessed by several glands upon the ner-
vous centers, I put forward the idea that if it
were possible without danger to inject semen
The Elixir of Life, 23
into the blood of old men, we should probably
obtain manifestations of increased activity as
regards the mental and the various physical
powers. Led by this view, I made various
experiments on animals at Nahant, near Boston
(United States), in 1875. In some of those
experiments, made on a dozen male dogs, I tried
vainly, except in one case, to engraft certain
parts or the whole body of young guinea-pigs.
The success obtained in the exceptional case
served to give me great hopes that by a less
difficult process I should some day reach my
aim. This I have now done. At the end of
last year I made on two old male rabbits experi-
ments which were repeated since on several
others, with results leaving no doubt as regards
both the innocuity of the process used and the
good effects produced in all those animals.
This having been ascertained, I resolved to
make experiments on myself, which I thought
would be far more decisive on man than on ani-
mals. The event has proved the correctness of
24 The Elixir of Life,
" This innocuity was also proved on a very old
dog by twenty subcutaneous injections of a fluid
similar to that I intended to employ on myself.
No apparent harm resulted from these trials,
which were made by my assistant, Dr. D' Arson-
" For reasons I have given in many lectures
in 1869 and since, I consider the spermatic as
also the principal glands (kidneys, liver, etc.)
as endowed, besides their secretory power, with
an influence over the composition of blood, such
as is possessed by the spleen, the thyroid, etc.
Led by that view I have already made some
trials with the blood returning from the testi-
cles. But what I have seen is not sufficiently
decisive to be mentioned here.
" Leaving aside and for future researches the
questions relating to the substance or substances
which, being formed by the testicles, giv^e power
to the nervous centers and various other parts,
I have made use, in subcutaneous injections, of
a liquid containing a very small quantity of
water mixed with the three following parts :
The Elixir of Life, 25
First, blood of the testicular veins ; secondly,
semen ; and thirdly, juice extracted from a testi-
cle, crushed immediately after it has been taken
from a dog or a guinea-pig. Wishing in all the
injections made on myself to obtain the maxi-
mum of effects, I have employed as little water
as I could. To the three kinds of substances I
have just named I added distilled water in a
quantity which never exceeded three or four
times their volume. The crushing was always
done after the addition of water. When filtered
through a paper filter the liquid was of a reddish
hue, and rather opaque, while it was almost per-
fectly clear and transparent when Pasteur's filter
was employed. For each injection I have used
nearly one cubic centimeter of the filtered liquid.
The animals employed were a strong, and accord-
ing to all appearances, perfectly healthy dog
(from two to three years old), and a number of
very young or adult guinea-pigs. The experi-
ments, so far, do not allow of a positive conclu-
sion as regards the relative power of the liquid
obtained from a dog and that drawn from guin-
26 The Elixir of Life.
ea-pigs. All I can assert is that the two kinds
of animals have given a liquid endowed with
very great power. I have hitherto made ten
subcutaneous inje-ctions of such a liquid — two
in my left arm, all the others in my lower limbs
— from May f5th to June 4th last. The first
five injections were made on three succeeding
days with a liquid obtained from a dog. In all
the subsequent injections, made on May 24th,
29th, and 30th, and June 4th, the liquid used
came from guinea-pigs. When I employed
liquids having passed through Pasteur's filter,
the pains and other bad effects were somewhat
less than when a paper filter was used.
"Coming now to the favorable effects of these
injections, I beg to be excused for speaking so
much as I shall do of my own person. I hope
it will easily be understood, that if my demon-
stration has any value — I will even say any sig-
nificance — it is owing to the details concerning
the state of my health, strength, and habits pre-
viously to my experiments, and to the effects
they have produced.
The Elixir of Life. 27
" I am seventy-two years old. My general
strength, which has been considerable, has no-
tably and gradually diminished during the last
ten or twelve years, Before May 15th last I
was so weak that I was always compelled to sit
down after an hour's work in the laboratory-
P3ven when I remained seated all the time, or
almost all the time, in the laboratory, I used to
come out of it quite exhausted after three or
four hours' experimental labor, and sometimes
after only two hours. For many years, on
returning home in a carriage by six o'clock,
after several hours passed in the laboratory, I
was so extremely tired that I invariably had to
go to bed after having hastily taken a very
small amount of food. Very frequently the ex-
haustion was so great, that although extremely
sleepy, I could not for hours go to sleep, and I
only slept very little, waking up exceedingly
" I ought to say, that notwithstanding that
dark picture, my general health is and has been
almost always good, and that I had very little to
28 The Elixir of Life.
complain of, excepting merycism and muscular
"The day after the first subcutaneous injec-
tion and still more after the two succeeding
ones a radical change took place in me, and I
had ample reason to say and to write that I had
regained at least all the strength I possessed a
good many years ago. Considerable laboratory
work hardly tired me. To the great astonish-
ment of my two principal assistants, Drs.
D'Arsonval and Henocque, and other persons,
I was able to make experiments for several
hours while standing up, feeling no need what-
ever to sit down. Still more : one day (the 23d
of May), after three hours and a quarter of hard
experimental labor in the standing attitude, I
went home so little tired that after dinner I was
able to go to work and to write for an hour and
a half a part of a paper on a difficult subject.
For more than twenty years I had never been
able to do as much. My friends know, that
owing to certain circumstances and certain hab-
its, I have for thirty or forty years gone to bed
The Elixir of Life, 29
very early and done my writing work in the
morning, beginning it generally between three
and four o'clock. For a great many years I had
lost all power of doing any serious mental work
after dinner. Since my first subcutaneous in-
jections I have very frequently been able to do
such work two, three, and one evening for
nearly four hours. From a natural impetuosity,
and also to avoid losing time, I had, till I was
sixty years old, the habit of ascending and de-
scending stairs so rapidly that my movements
were rather those of running than of walking.
This had gradually changed, and I had come to
move slowly up and down stairs, having to hold
the banister in difficult staircases. After the
second injection I found that I had fully re-
gained my old powers, and returned to my pre-
vious habits in that respect.
" My limbs, tested with a dynamometer, for a
week before my trial and during the month fol-
lowing the first injection, showed a decided gain
of strength. The average number of kilograms
moved by the flexors of the right forearm,
30 TJie Elixir of Life,
before the first injection, was about 34 1-2 (from
32 to 37), and after that injection 41 (from 39
to 44), the gain being from 6 to 7 kilograms.
In that respect the fore-arm flexors reacquired,
in a great measure, the strength they had when
I was Uving in London (more than twenty-six
years ago). The average number of kilograms
moved by those muscles in London in 1863 was
43 (40 to 46 kilograms).
" I have a record of the strength of my fore-
arm, begun in March, i860, when I first estab-
lished myself in London. From that time un_
til 1862 1 occasionally moved as much as fifty
kilograms. During the last three years the
maximum moved was thirty-eight kilograms.
This year, previously to the first injection, the
maximum was thirty-seven kilograms. Since
the injection it has been forty-four.
" I have measured comparatively, before and
after the first injection, the jet of urine in simi-
lar circumstances — that is, after a meal in
which I had taken food and drink of the same
kind in similar quantity. The average length
Tlie Elixir of Life. 31
of the jet during the ten days that preceded the
first injection was inferior by at least one quar-
ter of what it came to be during the twenty fol-
lowing days. It is therefore quite evident that
the power of the spinal cord over the bladder
was considerably increased.
" One of the most troublesome miseries of ad-
vanced life consists in the diminution of the
power of defecation. To avoid repeating the de-
tails I have elsewhere given in that respect, I
will simply say that after the first days of my
experiments I have had a greater improvement
with regard to the expulsion of fecal matters
than in any other function. In fact a radical
change took place, and even on days of great
constipation the power I long ago possessed had
" With regard to the facility of intellectual
labor, which had diminished within the last few
years, a return to my previous ordinary condi-
tion became quite manifest during and after tfhe
first two or three days of my experiments.
" It is evident from these facts and from some
32 The Elixir of Life.
others that all the functions depending on the
power of action of the nervous centers, and es-
pecially of the spinal cord, were notably and
rapidly improved by the injections I have used.
The last of these injections was made on June
4th, about five weeks and a half ago. I ceased
making use of them for the purpose of ascer-
taining how long their good effects would last.
For four weeks no marked change occurred, but
gradually, although rapidly, from the 3rd of this
month (July) I have witnessed almost a com-
plete return of the state of weakness which ex-
isted before the first injection. This loss of
strength is an excellent counterproof as regards
the demonstration of the influence exerted on
me by the subcutaneous injections of a sper-
** My first communication to the Paris Biologi-
cal Society was made with the wish that other
medical men advanced in life would make on
themselves experiments similar to mine, so as
to ascertain, as I then stated, if the effects I
had observed depended or not on any special
The Elixir of Life. 33
idiosyncrasy or on a kind of auto-suggestion
without hypnotization, due to the conviction
which I had before experimenting that I should
surely obtain a great part at least of these
effects. This last supposition found some
ground in many of the facts contained in the
valuable and learned work of Dr. Hack Tuke
on the ** Influence of the Mind over the Body."
Ready as I was to make on my own person ex-
periments which, if they were not dangerous,
were at least exceedingly painful, I refused ab-
solutely to yield to the wishes of many people
anxious to obtain the effects I had observed on
myself. But, without asking my advice, Dr.
Variot, a physician who believed that the sub-
cutaneous injections of considerably diluted
spermatic fluid could do no harm, has made a
trial of that method on three old men — one
fifty-four, another fifty-six, and the third sixty-
eight years old.^ On each of them the effects
have been found to be very nearly the same as
^ The paper of Dr. Variot and my remarks upon it have appeared in the
Contptes Rendus de la Societe de Biologie, No. 26, 5 Juillet, 1889, pp 451
34 The Elixir of Life.
those I have obtained on myself. Dr. Variot
made use of the testicles of rabbits and guinea
" In my third communication at the Biological
Society, I said that both the intense pain each
injection had caused me and the inflammation it
has produced would be notably diminished if
the liquid employed were more diluted. The
three cases of Dr. Variot have proved the ex-
actitude of my statement. He made use of a
much larger amount of water, and his patients
had to suffer no very great pain and no inflam-
"These facts clearly show that it was not to a
peculiar idiosyncrasy of mine that the effects
I have pointed out were due. As regards the
explanation of those effects by an auto-sugges-
tion, it is hardly possible to accept it in the case
of the patients treated by Dr. Variot. They
had no idea of what was being done ; they knew
nothing of my experiments, and were only told
'that they were receiving fortifying injections.
To find out if this qualification had anything to
The Elixir of Life. 35
do with the effects produced, Dr. Variot, since
the publication of his paper, has employed
similar words of encouragement, while making
subcutaneous injections of pure water on two
other patients, who obtained thereby no strength-
ening effect whatever.
" Since writing the above I have received a
letter from Dr. Variot announcing that, after in-
jecting the liquid drawn from the testicles into
these two individuals, he has obtained the same
strengthening effects I have myself experienced.
'* I believe that, after the results of Dr. Variot's
trials, it is hardly possible to explain the effects
I have observed on myself otherwise than by
admitting that the liquid injected possesses the
power of increasing the strength of many parts
of the human organism. I need hardly say
that those effects can not have been due to
structural changes, and that they resulted only
from nutritive modifications, perhaps in a very
great measure from purely dynamical influences
exerted by some of the principles contained in
the injected fluid.
36 The Elixir of Life.
" I have at present no fact to mention which
might serve to solve the question whether it
would be possible or not to change structur-
ally muscles, nerves, and the nervous centers
by making during a good many months frequent
injections of the fluid I have used. As I
stated at the Paris Biological Society, I have
always feared, and I still fear, that the special
nutritive actions which bring on certain changes
in man and animals, from the primitive embryo-
nal state till death by old age, are absolutely
fatal and irreversible. But in the same way
that we see muscles which have from disease
undergone considerable structural alterations re-
gain sometimes their normal organization, we
may, I believe, see also some structural changes
not essentially allied with old age, although ac-
companying it, disappear to such a degree as to
allow tissues to recover the power they pos-
sessed at a much less advanced age.
"Whatever may be thought of these specula-
tions, the results I have obtained by experi-
nients on myself and those which have been
The Elixir of Life. 37
observed by Dr. Variot on three old men show
that this important subject should be further in-
" It may be well to add that there are good
reasons to think that subcutaneous injections of
a fluid obtained by crushing ovaries just ex-
tracted from young or adult animals, and mixed
with a certain amount of water, would act on
old women in a manner analogous to that of the
solution extracted from the testicles injected
into old men."
To the above, by way of supplement, are to
be added the following translations of passages
from the earlier Paris announcements. First
from the second '* Note : "
" Not only is there nothing to be astonished
at in the fact that the introduction into the
blood of principles taken from the testicles of
young animals is followed by an augmentation
of vigor, but this result is even to be expected.
In fact, everything shows that the force of the
spinal marrow and also, though in a less degree,
that of the brain has, in adult or aged man.
38 The Elixir of Life,
fluctuations connected with the functional ac-
tivity of the testicles. To the facts which I men-
tioned in this connection at the sitting of the
first of June, I believe I ought to add that the
following particulars have been observed a great
number of times in the course of several years
in the case of two persons aged from forty-five
years to fifty. At my advice, each time that
they had a great piece of work, either physical
or intellectual, to accomplish, they put them-
selves into a state of active sexual excitement,
avoiding, however, all seminal ejaculation. The
glands of the testicles then temporarily acquired
great functional activity, which was soon fol-
lowed by the desired augmentation of power in
the nervous centres." — Society de Biologie, Conip-
tes ReiidiiSy June 21st, 1889, p. 420.
" It is evident that the pain and local inflam-
mation from which I Ixive suffered after each
injection might be very noticeably diminished
by the employment of a liquid more diluted
with water, and also by the injection of a cubic
The Mixir of Life. 39
half-centimeter in place of double that quan-
tity. This is what I propose to do when I
return to the introduction beneath the skin of
the testicular fluid. But before making these
new attempts, I shall have to employ another
method, although it appears to me it must be
inefficacious. I mean the injection of the testic-
ular fluid into the intestine. It is probable
that I shall be able to introduce a fluid much
less irritating on account of the quantity of
water which I shall add to it into the rectal cav-
ity. The local irritative effects will thus be
very notably diminished, if not annulled. But
I have good reason to fear that the principles of
the testicular fluid, which augment the power
of the nervous centres, may be modified by the
intestinal juices, and that things may then pro-
ceed as in the stomach, where the work of diges-
tion so completely changes the organic sub-
stances which are found in our food. I greatly
fear that we may be forced to lay aside all hope
of making the active principles of the testicular
fluid enter into the blood, unless we employ the
40 The Elixir of Life.
method of subcutaneous injections." — Ibid, pp.
Again from the " Third Note : "
"The idea which has conducted me in my
experiments is, that the injections which I have
made might replace the inefficacy of testicles
but slightly active or inactive. I have good rea-
son for believing that, if other persons succeed
in their own cases in obtaining the favorable
results which I have observed in my own case,
a considerable palliative will have been found
for the evil effects of seminal losses, in injec-
tions of the testicular fluid of mammals.
" It cannot be denied that the physiologists
and physicians who may desire to repeat upon
themselves my experiments might escape the
pain by employing, simultaneously with the tes-
ticular fluid, cocaine. I believe the inflamma-
tion of the skin might be avoided if, in place of
a single injection of a too considerable quantity,
like that which I have employed, this should be
divided so as to inject the tenth part of it only
at any one point, making on the same day ten
The Elixir of Life, 41
injections instead of one, with the addition of a
little distilled water." — Societe de Biologie^
Comptes Rendiis, June 28th, 1889, p. 431.
Here follows a translation, from the Transac-
tions of the Societe de Biologic for June 21st, of
remarks called forth by the original announce-
"Remarks on the Subject of M. Browx-Se-
quard's Communication, by M. Dumont-
"The results established by M. Brown-Sequard,
in consequence of subcutaneous injections of a
peculiar fluid which held in suspension spermat-
ic elements, are highly interesting, and, if the
same results, under the same conditions of
experiment, are established anew by other
experimentors upon mammals and man, our
learned President will have added a very import-
ant discovery to the considerable discoveries
which medicine and physiology already owe him.
" But, while admitting that the major i:>art of
the results obtained by M. Brown-Sequard is due
to the peculiar nature of the fluid injected
42 The Mixir of Life.
beneath the skin, may it be permitted me to
mention that the subcutaneous injections of
sulphuric ether and traumatic irritations have
allowed me to recall to life invalids whose exist-
ence was gravely threatened, and that the sur-
vival was prolonged seven days in one observa-
tion and several years in a second one, although
in both cases the existing organic lesions must
have resulted sooner or later in death. — M.
Brown-Sequard, better than any one else, knows
that the common peripheric irritations, more or
less repeated, irritations non-inflammatory, in a
great number of cases, both physiological and
therapeutic, often determine dynamogenic phe-
nomena which are explained by the more or less
permanent awakening of the principal functions.
— In consequence, could not a certain part of
the results in the case of M. Brown-Sequard's
experiments be referred to the irritation of the
nervous system of the periphery.? — Whatever
may be the value of these remarks, they can in
nothing diminish the importance of our learned
The Elixir of Life. 43
In answer to this, it is to be noted that the
subjects of M. Variot's experiments, which will
be described later, while experiencing no inflam-
mation, exhibited the same improvement of con-
dition as did M. Brown-Seqiiard.
The following is translated entire from the
Transactions of the SocietS de Biologie for July
5th, 1889, pp. 451-5 •
" Three experiments upon the Physiologi-
cal Action of Testicular Juice injected
beneath the skin, in accordance with m.
Brown-Sequard's method, by M. G. Variot.
" The fluid which served me to make the sub-
cutaneous injections was obtained by the crush-
ing and trituration, by the aid of nippers and a
spatula, of the pulp of the testicle of a rabbit or
adult guinea-pig, in ten cubic centimeters of
"The organs employed were absolutely fresh,
having just been taken from the animals.
" After crushing several minutes in the water the
fragments of testicular parenchyma as much as
44 The Elixir of Lif».
possible, I decanted the fluid from the solid parts
This fluid is reddened by the blood, slightly tur-
bid, and contains in suspension small particles
of pulp. — In each of my experiments, I injected
beneath the skin two cubic centimeters of fluid,
and the injections were forty-eight hours apart.
'-^ Fii'st Experimeiit. — Man fifty-four years old,
house-painter, very anaemic and debilitated
from chronic intoxication. As a result of priva-
tions, he was taken with a persistent diarrhoea.
" His emaciation and debility were so great,
that he kept his bed.
" Unless one had known this man's profession
and the symptoms of previous intoxication, one
would have believed himself to be in the pres-
ence of a case of visceral neoplasm of the abdo-
men, in view of his ghastly appearance, his
emaciation, and his state of languor. Eight
days ago, nevertheless, he got up, when, on the
22nd of June, I made beneath the skin of the
abdomen two injections of fortifying fluid ;
that is the name I gave the fluid with this inva-
lid, in order to justify my operation. For three or
The Elixir of Life. 45
four hours, pain and pricking sensations suffici-
ently lively in the region of the injections ; at the
same time a feeling of general discomfort, with
sensations of stiffness in the limbs. But in the
evening this man experiences a feeling of unac-
customed comfort, which lasts throughout the
next day. * My head is better,' he says, ' I feel
a flow of spirits, my limbs are more supple and
elastic, I have more strength ; it seems to me as
if I had been stimulated.' I notice, in fact, that
the eye is much livelier, the face animated, and
that he stands more firmly on his legs. He can
walk without fatigue, he presses my hand with
" Second injection the 24th of June. The
effect is perceptibly the same on the following
days ; the gaiety and high spirits return ; appe-
tite greatly increased. — The 26th of June, this
man experiences a return of virility, which has
been wanting in him for several weeks.
*' Third injection the 26th of June. The same
'* Second Experiment. — Man fifty-six years
46 The Elixir of Life.
old, very atheromatous, with an enlarged heart.
Subject to violent palpitations and dizzinesses.
Has suffered greatly for lack of work and means,
very emaciated and extremely weak.
" He can stand only with difficulty, and walk
but for a few instants without being obliged to
'' Some tonics administered for two weeks
and sufficient nourishment have not brought
back his powers. He has no appetite.
''First injection the 22nd of June (rabbit's
testicle). Discomfort and lassitude all day, so
great that he thinks he has caught cold. Never-
theless, no elevation of temperature. The 25th
he awakes wholly recovered. Since this day, he
says, he feels more strength in his limbs, more
elasticity ; he begins to walk. The 24th he
finds a tremendous change in his condition, and
congratulates me on having found an invigorat-
ing fluid so active. ' I feel much more lively
and strong, I can stand and move without becom-
ing dizzy, as was the case before ; I am no
longer the same.' He goes up and down stairs,
leaves his chair, walks.
The Elixir of Life. 47
" Second injection the 24th of June (rabbit's
testicle). This complete transformation in the
condition of his powers and also of his mind per-
sists. He has high spirits and feels gay, wheri
before he was melancholy and oppressed. The
24th of June he declares his appetite has greatly
increased, that he feels very much stronger, and
believes himself almost wholly re-established.
He has had no spontaneous erection.
" Third injection the 26th of June (guinea-
"The effects of nervous excitement continue,
but the two injections made the 24th and 36th
create no feeling of discomfort.
** Third Experiment. — Man sixty-eight years
old, who was attacked two months ago with
pulmonary congestion complicated with bronchi-
tis ; for a long time, he has been suffering with
symptoms due to prostatic hypertrophy. His
urine is purulent. He seldom leaves his bed,
most of his functions are performed with lan-
guor, he eats very little.
"The 24th of June, two injectioiis of the tes-
48 The Elixir of Life.
ticular juice of a rabbit beneath the skin of the
" He feels for several hours lively pains and
great discomfort. But after ttie next day he
declares that he feels the good effects of the
fortifying fluid. ' He takes a walk with pleas-
ure, feels stronger, would like to lift weights as
when twenty years old.' The 26th of June he
awakes ' sharp set,' he says, as he has not been
for a long time. He is enchanted at the effect
of the injection, but suffers much from his blad-
der, while hoping speedily to regain all his pow-
ers to undergo the surgical treatment which will
'* Second injection the 26th of June (guinea-
pig's testicle) ; the first (24th of June) was made
with the testicle of a rabbit.
" On the 27th this man says to us spontane-
ously * that he woke up in the night with an erec-
tion, a thing which had not happened to him for
over two months.' Moreover, he had a natural
stool, which is equally contrary to his habits,
since he does not ordinarily have a passage with-
The Elixir of Life. 49
out an injection. He expresses his satisfaction
with great animation.
''Conclusion. — These three cases, observed
with complete impartiahty, seem to me to show :
*' I. That the subcutaneous injections of tes-
ticular juice are painful, but harmless, creating
no inflammation when they are made with
wholly suitable instruments. I have not seen
the complications indicated by M. Brown-Se-
quard, though I have made sixteen injections.
" Once only was produced a slight ecchymosis,
which still persists. This ecchymosis is due to
the puncture of a vein.
'* 2. The first effect of the injection has been
to occasion a local pain, together with a general
feeling of uneasiness, but without elevation of
temperature. It is not then possible to explain
the symptoms which follow by febrile excite-
ment, as M. Fer^ proposes.
" 3. The injections which follow the first are
well supported, and no longer determine feelings
of general uneasiness ; they are, nevertheless,
50 The Elixir of Life.
"4. As positive effect, I note a state of gen-
eral nervous excitement ; augmentation of the
muscular force ; excitement and regulation of
certain visceral functions, and notably of the
digestive tube ; slight cerebral excitement. The
men upon whom I have made these experiments
belong to a class, in which it is a dif^cult matter
to give an account of psychical excitement,
properly so called.
** Genital excitement has been produced in
two cases out of three.
''These observations seem to me to be sufifi-
ciently harmonious to merit beii"»g continued
with more precision. I propose to myself, when
I shall have an opportunity of doing so, to take
a witness upon whom I shall inject distilled
" These three men do not read the newpapers,
and are in consequence not acquainted with M.
Brown-Sequard's experiments. I am content,
by way of stating the motive of my injections,
to tell these invalids that I inject upon them a
fortifying fluid. All three insisted the injec-
tions should be continued.
The Mixir of Life, 51
*' The symptoms of nervous excitement, which
I have stated in the case of these three men,
are so similar, that they employ the same terms
in characterizing what they have experienced.
" Can these symptoms be explained by a sort
of auto-suggestion, aroused by these little ope-
*' Or, on the other hand, must they be attrib-
uted to the action itself of the injected sub-
stance, in accordance with M. Brown-Sequard's
" I do not believe myself to be authorized by
so small a number of facts, in spite of their
apparent agreement, in positing formulated con-
clusions either way.
" Remarks on the occasion of M. Variot's
Paper upon the Injections of Testicu-
lar Fluid in the case of Man, by M.
" I. The facts reported by M. Variot have
assuredly great weight.^ Whatever may be
" ^ It is of consequence to say that M. Variot had no belief in success,
when he began his experiments. Quite to the contrary, he expected nega-
52 The Elixir of Life,
the idea adopted with regard to the explanation
of the phenomena, there remains, if we add to
these facts that which I have observed in my
own case, this result, that upon four old men
effects of the same order have appeared after
subcutaneous injections of juice extracted from
the spermatic glands.
" After my experiments, it might have been
demanded whether, as I said in my first commu-
nication, the effects of these injections did not
depend upon my personal idiosyncrasy. This
question is peremptorily answered by the fact
that four old men, very different each from the
others, in age, habits of life, state of health, etc.,
experienced similar effects after the injections
of which we are speaking. It is clear that these
effects depend upon a totally different cause,
from the idiosyncrasy of the individuals sub-
jected to these experiments.
'' Does this cause consist in an influence of
the testicular juice upon the nervous system }
Is it not rather an auto-suggestion, without hyp-
notization } There is no doubt but that I was
The Elixir of Life. 53
surrounded by circumstances the most favorable
for the production of dynamic changes, changes
of nutrition, secretion, etc., by the influence of
a moral cause capable of acting as hypnotic sug»-
gestions act. Before undertaking my experi-
ments, I felt convinced that I should see all the
effects appear in me which did appear. This
condition, essential to the influence of an auto-
suggestion, existed then in me in the highest
degree. The effects which appeared were more
energetic than I had expected to establish ; that
is the only difference between my expectation
and what happened.
**The three individuals whose history M. Va-
riot gives us were surrounded by conditions to-
tally different from mine. None of them knew
what the matter in hand was. It had been'sim-
ply told them that use was made of a fortify-
ing fluid. Can it be believed that this indi-
cation was sufficient to occasion, by suggestion,
effects as marked as those which appeared }
How could the belief be entertained, when one
remembers that every day we cause tonics to be
54 The Elixir of Life.
taken, promising the invalids their strength will
increase, and that it is only seldom and slowly
we see a favorable energetic action occur,
while in M. Variot's three cases the good effects
followed . very rapidly, and in all three individ-
uals ? There is then reason for believing that
it was indeed the injected fluid that in those
cases produced the phenomena of dynamogeny
of the nervous centres and especially of the
" 11. It is of consequence to repeat that the
fluid obtained by the trituration of fresh tes-
ticles with the addition of a little water must be
employed only after filtration, and that Pasteur's
filter should be selected in preference to those
made of paper. Although M. Variot has per-
formed without accident injections with a liquid
which has not been filtered, there is no doubt
but that a risk is run of septicaemia in acting
** III. The choice of an animal whose testicle
to use is important. I believe that the guinea-
pig should be preferred to the rabbit or dog
The Elixir of Life. 55
The dogs, with which we have had an acquaint-
ance long enough to be sure there exists in
their case no probability of rabies, might per-
haps be more advantageously employed than
guinea-pigs ; but it would be necessary to avoid
using dogs which one has not been able to have
under his eyes for several days. It might per-
haps be dangerous to employ rabbits' testicles,
by reason of the possibility of worm-germs.
"As to the employment in veterinary medi-
cine of injections of testicular fluid, I beheve
that, to satisfy the necessity of having testicles
larger than ^ those of guinea-pigs, it will be
necessary to employ the spermatic glands of
sheep or of calves already somewhat mature.
" IV. I have received a great number of
letters, asking whether the testicular fluid could
be employed with advantage in other cases than
in those of individuals debilitated by old age
alone. It is quite natural to believe that there
might be advantages, in cases of debility, in
making use of injections of this liquid, when
the testicles have much less power of secretion
56 The Elixir of Life.
than they should have in adult man in the nor-
mal state. It might be especially useful to
make these injections in cases of debility con-
nected with seminal losses, with disorders of
the testicles, or with venereal excesses, espe-
cially when these have occurred at an advanced
Pertinent and interesting will be some refer-
ence, however necessarily incomplete, to con-
temporaneous authoritative opinion. The fol-
lowing extracts are given for what they are
worth, and with but little attempt at arrange-
The Medical Age^ Aug. 26, 1889, announces
that a firm of druggists, actuated by "the desire
of determining the utility of the now well-known
and much abused suggestions of Brown-Sequard,
regarding the tonic properties of testicular fluid,
of discovering its active principle, and of provid-
ing a preparation of it free from the objections
inseparable from that commended by this distin-
guished scientist, that physicians might further
experiment with it," claim to have discovered
58 The Elixir of Life.
and to furnish for use the active principle con-
tained in " testicular fluid." The article in ques-
tion, which bears the heading " The Rationale
of the Brown-S^quard Treatment," goes on to
"The main subject which has engrossed at-
tention, and which is of momentous interest to
the practical physician is the possibility of ob-
taining the active principle in a concentrated
form. The expectations entertained, seem to
have been fully realized. Having discovered a
base, or alkaloidal substance, in the testicles of
various animals, its identification with a normal
constituent of the human body and special glands,
was not attended with any great difficulty.
" Physiological experiments have established
the fact that in salts of the alkaloid Spermine^ we
have the cause for the stimulant effects observed
by Dr. Brown-Sequard. Inasmuch as the sub-
stance can be obtained in a crystalline condition,
and is quite permanent, no danger of septicae-
' This substance is a leucomaine or physiological alkaloid, one of the
natural products of living bodies.
The Elixir of Life. 59
mia tan exist. After exposure to boiling alcohol
and boiling water, bacterial agents cannot well
survive. Injections made on animals, as well as
in individuals, show that the claims made on be-
half of this remedy, rest on a secure foundation.
Although the action of various animal substances
on the economy has been known for so long, the
many difficulties attending the administration of
readily decomposable and highly nitrogenized
bodies, has been a barrier to experimental de-
monstration and recognition of the true agent
** The following will make clear the physiolog-
ical features of the problem :
' Spermine, C'^ H^ X, is the basic substance ob-
tained by Schreiner (1878) from semen, calf s heart,
calf's liver, bull's testicles, and also from the sur-
face of anatomical specimens kept under alcohol.
Previous to this, however, it had been known for a
long time under the name of ' Charcot-Xeumann's
crystals,' which are the phosphate of spermine.
These peculiarly-shaped crystals have been found in
the sputa of a case of emphysema with catarrh, in
the bronchial discharges in acute bronchitis, as Avell
as in sputa of chronic bronchitis, in the blood.
60 The Elixir of Life.
spleen, etc., of leucocythsemics and anaemics, aflcl in
the normal marrow of human bones, as well as in
human semen. Altogether it seems to have a very
wide distribution, especially in certain diseases, as
' It can be prepared from fresh human semen in
the following manner : The semen is washed out of
linen by a little warm water, evaporated to dry-
ness, boiled with alcohol, and the insoluble portion
allowed to subside by standing some hours. The
precipitate is filtered off, washed, and dried at 100°.
This residue, containing the spermine phosphate, is
triturated, and then extracted with warm ammoniar
cal water. From this solution, on slow evaporation,
the phosphate crystallizes in its peculiar-shaped
' The free base is obtained, on decomposing the
phosphate with baryta and evaporating the filtrate,
as a colorless liquid, which, on cooling, crystallizes.
From alcohol it crystallizes in wavellite-shaped
crystals, which readily absorb water and carbonic
acid from the atmosphere. They are readily soluble
in water and in absolute alcohol, almost insoluble
in ether, and possess a strongly alkaline reaction.
When heated with platinum it gives off thick, white
fumes, and a weak ammoniacal odor. The aqueous
solution of the base is precipitated by phosphomo-
lybdic and phosphotungstic acids, tannic acid, gold
and platinum chlorides.
^The hydrochloride, C^H^KHCl, crystallizes in
The Elixir of Life. 61
six-sided prisms, united in tufts, and is extremely
soluble in water, almost insoluble in absolute alco-
hol and ether.
'The aurochloride, C^H^N.HCl AuCl,^ forms
shining golden-yellow, irregular plates, and when
freshly precipitated it is easily soluble in water,
alcohol, and ether, but the dried salt is incom-
pletely soluble in water. The aqueous solution,
treated with magnesium, gives oif a sperm-like
odor. The platinochloride crystallizes in prisms.
' The phosphate (C2H5N)2.H3PO*+3H-^0(?),forms
prisms and slender double pyramids. It is diffi-
cultly soluble in hot water, insoluble in alcohol,
easily soluble in dilute acids, alkalies, and alkali
carbonates. It melts with decomposition at about
170°. It is probable that the above formula does
not represent the salt as found, and from theoreti-
cal considerations Ladenburg is inclined to think
that Schreiner's phosphate has the composition (C^
H^NH)*Ca(P0^)2.— i^rom Vaughan's & Noveifs com-
pilation on Ptomaines and Leucoiwdnes.^
" Again, in the work of Landois and Stirling
(' Text Book of Human Physiology'), we read :
* Chemical Coonjwsition. — The seminal Jltiid, as dis-
charged from the uretha, is mixed with the secretion
of the glands of the vas deferens, Cowper's glands,
and those of the prostate, and with the fluid of the
vesiculee seminales. Its reaction is neutral or alka-
The Elixir of Life.
line, and it contains 82 per cent, of water, serum-al-
bumin, alkali-album inate, nuclein, lecithin, clioles-
terin, fats (protamin?), phospborizecl fat, salts (2
per cent.), especially phosphates of the alkalies and
earths, together with sulphates, carbonates, and
chlorides. The odorous body, whose nature is un-
known, was called ^ spermatin ' by Yauquelin.
^ Fig, 548. — Crystals from Spermatic Fluid.
^Seminal Fluid. — The sticky, whitish-yellow
seminal fluid, largely composed of a mixture of the
The Elixir of Life. 63
secretions of the above-named glands, when exposed
to the air, becomes more fluid, and on adding water
it becomes gelatinous, and from it separate whitish,
transparent flakes. When long exposed, it forms
rhomboidal crystals, which, according to Schreiner,
consist of phosphatic salts with an organic base( C^
H^N). These crystals (Fig. 548) are said to be de-
rived from the prostatic fluid, and are identical with
the so-called Charcot's crystals (Fig. 144, c, and
§ 138). The prostatic fluid is thin, milky, ampho-
teric, or of slightly acid reaction, and is possessed
of the seminal odor. The phosphoric acid necessary
for the formation of the crystals is obtained from
the seminal fluid. A somewhat similar odor occurs
in the albumen of eggs not quite fresh. The secre-
tion of the vesiculse seminales of the guinea pig
contains much fibrinogen (Hensen and Landivehr.'')
" Even ancient works furnish a corroboration
of Dr. Sequard's results. The following from
' The New London Dispensatory,' by Dr. Sal-
mon, issued in 1684, being a translation of the
late edition by the Fellows of the College of
Physicians, dated 1676, will show what results
were attributed to the internal administration
of materials now under consideration, even
though they were prepared in a crude way, and
though good interpreters were lacking :
64 The Elixir of Life.
^ The Boar : The stones and pizzle (dried) for
weakness of genitals and barrenness.
' The genitals of a dog are used by magicians to
' Castor : ' It revives and quickens the spirits,
' Deer: The stones dried and drunk in wine, ex-
' Horse : The testicles in powder excite venery,
'' It is needless to multiply these quotations.
Suffice it to say that to preparations obtained
from the otter, hare, weasel, panther or leopard,
badger, bear, fox (among four-legged animals),
similar properties are ascribed.
"Among birds, the eagle, buzzard, quail,
crane, and domestic cock are credited with sim-
ilar stimulating properties.
** In the fish kingdom, we have the oyster,
cockles, the poulp, thornback, roach, and espe-
cially the sturgeon. Regarding the latter, it is
worth while to make an extract from Dr. Sal-
mon's work : * The spawn with salt makes cavi-
are, which nourishes, increases seed, and excites
The Elixir of Life, 65
" It is to be regretted that our periodical
sources of information, the newspapers, should
have given the whole subject a highly sensational-
clothing, and employed a figure of speech * El-
ixir of Life,' which is entirely unwarranted.
** Dr. Brown-Sequard never made any extrava-
gant claims for this treatments In fact his arti-
cle is characterized by modesty and cautious-
*' That the method of preparation employed
by Dr. Brown-Sequard is rather unscientific or
at least unpharmaceutical, goes without saying.
At the same time the credit of devising this
means of resupply of the energizing principle is
his due, and is deserving of the highest recog-
nition. Evidently, since the salt in question
appears to be quite permanent, there exists no
valid argument against its employment as a per-
fectly safe and legitimate medicinal agent.
** The action of the remedy appears to be sim-
ply that of a stimulant, and the duration of its
action is limited by natural causes.
"It is excreted through natural channels, the
66 The Elixir of Life.
urine, faeces, etc. The employment of boy's urine
in South America as an equivalent to beef tea
or extract of beef, may be regarded also con-
firmatory evidence of the tonic stimulant effect
of natural secretions.
" That it wastes or departs from the system
in diseased conditions is shown by quotations
from ' Landois and Stirling,' and the same con-
ditions are undoubtedly partly responsible for
the debility of old age.
" It is, of course, rather early to speculate on
its mode of action, but enough has been ascer-
tained to point out the proper line of research.
Whether it be simply a nerve stimulant or
whether it has a direct influence on the organ-
ized elements (corpuscles) of the blood itself, of
a revivifying or energizing nature, will in due
course be determined.
" The very fact that it is wasted or excreted
in diseased conditions, characterized by import-
ant lesions, is a strongly corroborative element
of our syllogism. When we replace the loss, an
increase of vitality results.
The Elixir of Life. , 67
** There can be no valid argument against the
employment of the pure salt by the stomach, in-
asmuch as we already partake of it in meats of
all kinds. Much must, however, be wasted in
this manner. If used in form of the phosphate,
or hydrochlorate, it would appear advisable to
give it when the condition and contents of the
stomach are best calculated to allow of its ab-
sorption. Being a crystalloid, spermine and its
salts are dialysable, and would therefore be ab-
sorbed readily if the process were not obstructed
by too great a quantity of food matters.
" It may be noted here that in experimental
administration, all ammonia with which the salt
is usually associated, was carefully removed, as
also the phosphoric acid combined with it, as it
exists in the structures. The results obtained
from the hydrochlorate, show that the alkaloid
itself is the active agent. On healthy individuals,
the substance seems to act simply as an exhila-
rant or stimulant to the nervous system, this fact
being especially noticeable in its action on the
sexual apparatus. The strength of solution used,
68 The Elixir of Life.
was 4 grains of spermine hydrochlorate to the
ounce, representing, in each 15 minims, one
eighth grain of the salt. Its entire safety having
been first demonstrated on animals, it was after-
wards employed on suitable human subjects.
One case in animals is deserving of especial
mention : A rather aged cat had a fang extracted
some six months ago, there being at that time an
ulcerated condition, and an abscess subsequently
formed directly under the eye, the latter suppu-
ratin:^ continuously. After three injections (one
daily) the suppuration has entirely disappeared,
and increased vivacity of the animal is also no-
"An aged negro, long troubled with rheuma-
tism and general decrepitude,due to exposure and
habits, after three injections showed a remark-
able improvement. Whereas he could previous-
ly raise himself on the steps of a street car with
great difficulty only, requiring a stoppage of two
or three minutes, he is now able to enter without
delay, almost as easily as any healthy person
would. Injections were made in both arms and
The Mixir of Life. 69
legs, and he can now move all the members as he
has been unable to do for many years. It may be
remarked that he had no knowledge of the mate-
rial employed, or of the supposed effects. It is
needless here to multiply cases, as the object of
investigation was mainly to identify the active
principle and demonstrate the possibility of pre-
senting it in a state of purity.
" Regarding the alleged dangers of this
treatment, it may be said that the forjn of
medication itself is not unattended with dan-
ger in unskilled hands. Too often the physician
is an unskilful mechanic, and where the syringe
should be kept superlatively clean and always
sterilized after each operation, it often becomes,
through neglect and consequent accumulation
of septic matter in the needle or barrel, an in-
strument of torture, or worse. Of these mistakes,
or sins of omission, we seldom hear.
*' In conclusion, several questions may be per-
tinent as a compact grouping of the reasoning
" I. Why do all animals that are continent
display excessive energy ?
70 The Elixir of Life.
" 2. Why does excessive indulgence, or loss of
the seminal fluid, invariably weaken the animal ?
" 3. Why is a larger quantity of spermine con-
tained in the generative parts and nervous sys-
tem, than in other organs of the body ?
*' 4. Why is this substance found in the sputum
or detritus of wasting structures ?
" 5. Why do such marked tonic results follow
*' 6. Why do certain kinds of food-material,
now known to contain this principle, act as de-
cided stimulants, and the evidence of which is
usually first discerned in the condition of the
generative apparatus ? "
Upon this an editorial in the same periodical
comments as follows :
** In the scales of professional opinion, the
merits and demerits of Brown-Sequard's
claims, are about evenly balanced. No small
amount of ridicule has emanated from different
sources, notably certain members of the French
Academy, which appears somewhat incongruous,
to say the least. It is passing strange that those
The Elixir of Life, 71
who unhesitatingly accepted the weather-cock
assertions of Pasteur, unsupported as they
were, and are, by evidence, and based upon no
tangible scientific fact, should without inquiry
reject the claims of a scientist of world-wide
reputation, made upon the strength of nearly a
quarter of a century of careful honest experi-
mentation. It is sad to think that the gentle-
man to whom we are most indebted for our
advance in neuropathology and physiology,
should be the subject of ribald jests, while the
emanations of the Laboratorie de Rage, based
upon experiments of one day, entirely divested
of control, are eagerly snapped up the day fol-
lowing, loudly heralded, and widely disseminated.
Were Dr. Brown-Sequard's statements proven
wholly fallacious, which they are very far from
being, his age, professional standing, and well
known honor and probity should, at least,
entitle him to respectful attention.
"But his claims have not as yet been dis-
proven by any reliable experiment. On the con-
trary every day brings more or less confirmation
72 The Elixir of Life,
— not through the lay press, who have taken the
matter up in a sensational way ; not through
the irresponsible parties calling themselves phy-
sicians who rush into public print twelve hours
after an imperfect investigation, or perhaps none
at all ; neither by those who have attempted the
experiment, and unfamiliar with its details, have
failed. It is such who bring discredit upon
experimental physiology and pathology, and who
tend to intensify the would-be sarcasm of ' Elixir
of Life,' and make it the rallying cry for all
classes of pretenders. This very fact is most
unfortunate and to be deplored, as it deters
many honest professional men from entering the
arena of experimentation and research, while it
has also served a host of charlatans with the
means of advertising themselves and their wares,
with little trouble and expense. Worse still,
many of the profession have taken their cue
from the public press, hence have conceived an
entirely erroneous opinion regarding both Prof.
Brown-Sequard and his claims.
'*Dr. Sequard nowhere heralds an 'Elixir of
The Elixir of Life. 73
Life,' ' Fountain of Youth,' or other such non-
sense, and this likening to Ponce de Leon, is
simply an emanation of the reportorial brain.
His statement made before the Sociitt^ de Bio-
logic, is simply to the effect that, in his own case,
and in experiments conducted more or less con-
tinuously since 1869, he had reason to believe a
discovery had been made of a new nerve stimu-
lant, concealed, or contained, in the spermatic
secretion ; that its influence is chiefly expended
upon the exhausted central nervous system.
The fact it relates to the most sacred portions
of the animal economy, and that the abuse of
these organs by man is such as to bring not only
them, but their possessors, in moral disrepute*
seems to tempt popular and vulgar levity.
'* The claims, however, are not altogether new
to the world, presumably. We now have every
reason to believe that the ancient civilizations —
Chaldea, Egypt, and Ethiopia for instance — for-
got more of pathology and physiology than we
yet know. Among these ancient peoples there
was a strong veneration for the sexual apparatus
74 The Elixir of Life.
as the origin of Life, which underlay their wor-
ship, and yet survives esoterically to every
known religion of the world, Christianity
included ; to-day the phallic and yoni emblems
appertain to the worship of the Nazarine and his
virgin mother. We find the same reverence
vulgarized, yet plainly patent in the Middle
Ages ; also that the generative organs and their
products, from their earliest times to the present,
were regarded as furnishing potent remedies for
diseases of a certain class. In the British Phar-
macopaeia of 1676 (Salmon) such products are
accredited with inciting lust, furthering impreg-
nation, stimulation of the sexual function in
both sexes, and preventing * falling sickness '
(epilepsy). These have fallen in disrepute, not
from evidence of lack of therapeutic activity, but
on account of inexpediency — difficulty of secur-
ing and preparing. To-day, in portions of Eng-
land the farriers employ the secretions of testes,
administered on a fasting stomach, to renew the
sexual function in exhausted stallions and other
stock getters, and it must be admitted such
The Elixir of Life, 75
therapeusis is attended with a degree of success
entirely incompatible with the claim of coinci-
"All this goes to show that Brown-Sequard
had a practical basis for his experiments, and,
moreover, that from the first they were not
devoid of scientific probabihty. It is a trite
assertion of Science, that * No superstition or
myth is wholly devoid of truth/
** Further, the existence, long known, of Char-
cot-Neumann's crystals, presupposed an alkaloid,
that has recently been identified, and corres-
ponds exactly to the Spermine of Schreiner,
C^H^N (1878). The alkaloid is further found
in the gray nerve-matter of the brain, in eggs,
oysters, lampreys, fish ovae and milt ; likewise
in the products of all atonic mucous mem-
branes whence is developed excessive secre-
tion or waste. Still further research has devel-
oped its presence in excess in the sputa of senile
and acute bronchitis, in the expectorations of
phthisis, and of emphysema with catarrh, and
in the blood and spleen of anaemics and leuco-
76 The Elixir of Life.
" Certainly there is food for reflection in the
fact this product is discoverable in wasting dis-
eases in excess. In the circulation of leuco-
cythaemics, where the proportion of white blood
corpuscles to red is as one to three, instead of
as in health one to three Jmndred and seventy-
three, spermine is readily isolated in considerable
quantities, and the brain suffers correspondingly
for lack of a vital element.
*' It is a well known physiological fact, that
those suffering from wasting diseases fail men-
tally and physically in a degree altogether dis-
proportionate to the amount of food ingested
and assimilated ; especially is this true in catar-
rhal pneumonia. We must, then, look for some
other element than the mere fact of waste, as
generally understood. Again, the loss of the
vital portions of the sexual apparatus, which
interfere with the secretion of the seminal fluid,
so completely transforms the individual, physic-
ally and mentally, that physiology has been
forced to acknowledge an unknown cause,
inadequate of explanation by mere loss of gland-
The Elixir of Life. 77
ular tissue. Such individuals are rarely long-
lived, are exceptionally predisposed to disease,
are lacking in general brain activity, and inca-
pable of great physical and mental exertion.
" Again, it is an indisputable fact that genital
affections of all classes are accompanied by pal-
lor, wasting and general exhaustion of the econ-
omy, most manifest in the central nervous sys-
tem, a most pitiable condition ensuing. The
wasting diseases of the female organism, notably
leucorrhaea, are as positive in these effects as
the excessive loss of semen, or a violent ure-
thritis, in the male. Barrenness is a frequent
concomitant, and invariable when the discharge
is both profuse and of long standing, and there
is the usual evidence of mental decrepitude.
Observe how rapidly the cachectic, chlorotic,
nervo-sanguine blonde girl, and the prematurely
aged and haggard spinster of middle life, both
suffering from excessive lues, by happy marriage,
even when entailing unaccustomed labor, in
great degree, renew vitality, youth, and health,
and obtain rapid abatement of the flux !
78 The Elixir of Life.
- '' In laboratory experiments it has been found
that the JiydrocJdorate of spermine (C ^ H ^ N. H
C 1) is the most desirable and convenient prep-
aration of the alkaloid, as it is freely soluble in
water ; to casual inspection it resembles hydro-
chlorate of cocaine." Of them, " it may be said
they were undertaken in a somewhat skeptical
spirit, and they embraced a period of six weeks.
Though not perfected in all details, enough has
been discovered to warrant the assumption that
there is a good deal more than mere assertion in
the claims of Prof. Brown-Sequard. It seems
probable the salt will prove a valuable addition
to our materia medica as a haematic and nerve
stimulant, with specific applicability in collapse,
wasting diseases, and certain forms of mental
" Regarding the irresponsible experiments
undertaken, or claimed to have been made,
appearing daily in the lay press, it may be
remarked that the majority bear prima facie
evidence of spuriousness. We may also believe
that more than one case of septicaemia has been
The Elixir of Life, 79
developed, since ignorance of the method of
preparation, of segregation of effete and danger-
ous products, of removal of possible micro-or-
ganisms, and of the physiological axiom, that
'The truth of the positive is developed only by
the negative,' is unwittingly self confessed.
"The seminal secretion, per se^ is a fluid of
extreme instability, and when mixed with blood
corpuscles tends to rapid decomposition. Unless
obtained immediately after the death of the ani-
mal, and rapidly prepared and filtered, its
employment is prone to be attended with disas-
trous consequences, and even then it can not be
deemed positively safe unless the preparation
has been such as to carefully inculcate sterility
through every stage of the process.
" Some of the adverse criticisms that obtain
are based upon false premises. One writer claims
to have secured identical results from the sub-
cutaneous injection of serum, but this is not ten-
able, since this fluid, with extremely rare excep-
tions, when thrown into the cellular tissue,
induces abscess formation, a fact that never
80 The Elixir of Life,
occurs with spermine, or properly prepared tes-
ticular fluid. Again, a chemist, Mr. J. D. Riker,
ascribes the virtues claimed by Brown-Sequard,
to the ammonio-phosphate of magnesium, and
phosphatic salts, such as are found in semen ;
yet no microscopist or chemist would mistake
the crystals of spermine for any of these salts,
as they are widely divergent in form and arrange-
ment. Further, the phosphates produce no
appreciable result in any doses that are compat-
ible with the use of the hypodermic syringe,
and the physiological effects of phosphorus (as
cited by this writer), are very far from being
those of the \)\\osphates, either individually or
collectively. Hydrochlorate of spermine, how-
ever, employed subcutaneously in a dose of one-
fortieth of a grain, in a dog thirteen pounds, in-
duced marked physical and mental activity, and
powerful and prolonged stimulation of the genital
system. This experiment has been repeated sev-
eral times with identical results : and here at
least these sequels cannot be attributed to
imagination, or psychic influence, since control
The Elixir of Life, 81
experiments were wholly negative, and operator
and observer alike skeptical. It is interesting
to note also that experiments undertaken by M.
Variot (Therapeutic Gazette, August, 1889, p.
566), of the French Academy, by Prof. W. A.
Hammond, and by Dr. H. C. Brainard, of Cleve-
land, are all corroborative of those of Brown-Se-
quard. Space will not permit of details, but we
will undoubtedly have occasion to allude thereto,
and to the labors of other investigators again in
the near future. And, while we are not pre-
pared to assert so profound advantages are to be
derived from the new discovery as are claimed,
there is little doubt hydrochlorate of spermine
will find, for a time at least, a field of useful-
In a contribution, admirably exact in state-
ment, logical and fair, to the Medical Record, of
New York, Aug. 24, 1889, Dr. Henry P.
Loomis, of New York, reports from his own
practice ten cases treated by injection of " tes-
ticular fluid," of whom five were ignorant of
and five understood the character of the treat-
82 The Elixir of Life.
ment. Dr. Loomis's observations and conclu-
sions are :
1. While the closest scrutiny of the materials
used is demanded, with proper care there need
be no danger of septicaemia. Bad results fol-
lowed in none of his cases, and in only a few did
the injection cause a moderate amount of pain,
lasting from six hours to eight.
2. The fluid exerts upon the nerve-centres
some potent but as yet not understood influ-
ence, which may in time prove to be beneficial
in some cases, but necessitates cautious use in
others. It is not safe to proceed upon the
theory that ** if it does no good it can do no
3. Its effect upon old men seems to be an
augmentation of vigor and vitality, certainly
continuing several days. Dr. Loomis has seen
in its employment nothing in the slightest
degree resembling the secondary depression,
which generally follows the use of ordinary
4. In cases of actual disease, it seems to pro-
The Elixir of Life. 83
duce no effect upon pathological conditions or
5. It does produce "nutritive modification"
in the tissues of elderly men, through the me-
dium probably of stimulation of the nerve-cen-
tres. That this modification, however, may occur
to the extent of alterations in muscular struc-
ture not essentially allied to old age disappearing,
and tissues regaining their former power, as Dr.
Brown-Sequard deems not impossible, there is
as yet ground sufficient neither for affirming
6. The theory warrants further experimentaj
Dr. Loomis's communication was the occa-
sion in the Medical Record, of the same date, of
an editorial emphatically adverse to Dr. Brown-
From the Boston Medical a?id Surgical Jour-
nal, July II, 1889 :
*' THE TESTICLE AS A REJUVENATOK.
*' Twenty years ago, at least, Dr. Brown-
Sequard exhibited tendencies towards a belief
84 The Elixir of Life.
that the testicle might be of value for other
purposes than the impregnation of the ovum,
provided it was taken when young, — that it was
competent, when its vital principles were pro-
perly injected for the respective purposes, not
only to call into existence the very young but
to rejuvenate the aged.
" It seems that the idea has continued to ger-
minate in the brain of the learned, but eccen-
tric, physiologist all these years. In 1875 he
made experiments with grafts of testicular
tissue upon dogs, and to his delight succeeded,
as he thought, in renewing the youth of one
wretched old cur. Since then he has continued
these strange investigations at various times,
and during the month of June this year made
two separate communications to the Societe de
Biologie of Paris upon the subject, describing
the methods used and the supposed results. He,
apparently, thinks he has discovered a sort of
elixir vitCB, or fountain of perpetual youth, of
simpler composition than those elixirs so sedu-
lously compounded by the mediaeval philoso-
The Elixir of Life. 85
phers, and easier of access than the elusive foun-
tain which enticed poor Ponce de Leon to his
fond and fatal journey.
" According to the reports of Brown-Se-
quard's communications given by the French
journals, he has been experimenting with a fluid
obtained by crushing and washing the testicles
of young animals, which was mixed with blood
from the spermatic veins and water. This fluid
he injected into his own subcutaneous cellular
tissue almost every day for two weeks, with re-
sults so gratifying that he hastened to commu-
nicate them to his biological confreres. Not-
withstanding his ripe age, between seventy and
eighty years, he experienced a rejuvenescence
of all his forces, physical and mental. The for-
mer healthy and vigorous contractility of the
intestines and bladder had returned, as also had
his general muscular strength. Intellectual la-
bor had again become easy to him.
" Dr. Brown-Sequard did not succeed ap-
parently in inoculating his hearers with his
own enthusiasm for his procedure. Scepticism
86 The Elixir of Life.
and physiological objections found expression
through MM. Dumont-Pallier and Fere. Nor
did the society treat his results with sufficient
seriousness to discuss the question as tp the
value of the ovary for similar purposes, or as to
the possible results of injecting subcutaneously
an ovarian aqueous extract into the male and a
testicular extract into the female."
" The sooner the general public, and especi-
ally septuagenarian readers of the latest sensa-
tion, understand that for the physically used up
and worn out there is no secret of rejuvenation,
no elixir of youth, the better. There is no
animal or vegetable product, from whatever
animal or whatever gland, and however appro-
priated by the senile organism (by ingestion
or injection), that can put back the march of
the fell destroyer by one day — except, indeed,
so far as it acts as a vital stimulant or nutrient,
and how can any stimulant or nutrient undo the
effects of atheroma, fatty degeneration, senile
atrophy!" — Ibid., Aug. 15, 1889.
From the Times and Register, New York and
Philadelphia, Aug. 17, 1889 :
The Elixir of Life. 87
''THE ELIXIR OF LIFE.
''Dr. Ernest Laplace, who has been with
Brown-Sequard within a not very remote period,
strongly dissents with those who look upon the
French physiologist as in his dotage, and affirns
that he is still in the full possession of his ijien-
tal faculties. His opinions are, therefore, to be
received with the respect due to his great
achievements, and his theory should have an
impartial examination. We need not more than
advert here to the improbability of any lasting
effect being produced by these injections of
testicular fluids. There is a disease which
sweeps into the arms of death all who escape
from other fatal ills, and that is old age. The
periods of physiological activity and of subse-
quent decay come with the same unerring cer-
tainty as the succession of the seasons. Nu-
merous experiments have been made, in fact,
the world has been scoured, in the endeavor to
find means of prolonging life, or, at least, the
period of sexual activity. It cannot be said,
however, that there has been any success in this
88 The Elixir of Life,
search. Stimulants to the sexual appetite exist,
but they are not lasting in their effects, and
serve simply to more quickly exhaust the little
vitality remaining. Since Hufeland's day no
one has thought it well to prepare a work upon
the art of prolonging life; and we may doubt,
with Erasmus Wilson, if the art has made much
progress since Hufeland wrote his book, now a
century old. While all works upon medicine
may be said to treat of this art, yet none have
treated the subject in the simplest and most
direct form, apart from the treatment of disease.
In these latter days, when the profession is so
overcrowded, it is likely that honor and profit
would result if one were to take up as a spe-
cialty the art of prolonging the lives of aged
persons and chronic incurables. But even if
the effects reported by Brown-Sequard do not
prove to be permanent, or really beneficial in
the long run, it is probable that he has dis-
covered a most valuable and powerful stimulant ;
one which may prove useful in other than the
affections for which he used it. In the low
The Elixir of Life. 89
stages of fevers, in anaemias, in many cases
where a powerful stimulant to the exhausted
vitality is needed, the testicular fluid may prove
useful. There are such cases when alcohol does
not answer ; where strychnine is powerless,
phosphorus and nitro-glycerin too evanescent,
and ordinary tonics fail completely. In these,
and in true neurasthenia, as well as in phthisis,
the new remedy may find a place ; provided the
remarkable observations of Brown-Sequard are
verified by other investigators.
"Variot has endeavored to eliminate from
the experiments with the testicular fluids the
effects of imagination. He described in glow-
ing terms the results of the new method, and
then injected pure water instead, but the pa-
tients found no relief. This is not satisfactory,
however, as it is not always possible to carry
conviction through simulated enthusiasm. Had
he selected another physician, who believed in
the method, and allowed him to address the
patients, he himself believing that he was using
the true fluid, the conditions of the experiment
90 The Elixir of Life.
would have accorded with those found in actual
*'THE ELIXIR OF LIFE.
" When Koch's discovery of the bacillus of
tuberculosis was published, a thrill of elation
went through the entire medical profession. A
memorial stone was erected that marked the
dawn of a more exact science as displayed in
our knowledge of the diagnosis and treatment
of a disease that continuously claims a greater
number of victims than any other thc.t afflicts
the human race.
" The laity never realized that the sum of
man's knowledge of himself had received a very
** This discovery was quickly followed by
others in the same domain, and to-day the germ
theory of the cause of many diseases is almost
universally accepted by educated physicians.
" Suddenly, almost in the twinkling of an
eye, the medical profession is called upon to
The Elixir of Life. 91
deal with the most striking phenomenon of the
age, just offered to the world by the aged and
renowned scientist, Professor Brown-Sequard, in
what is popularly termed the use of the Elixir
of Life, which consists of the testicles of in-
ferior animals being removed, and immediately
cut in small pieces, triturated or mashed so as
to express and expel the living spermatozoa and
juices of the gland, the straining of these juices,
composed of serum and sperm, and immediate
injection with a hypodermic syringe into the
cellular tissues of old and physically broken-
** The process has been tried by a great num-
ber of physicians, with the most diverse reports
of the results.
'* The secular press, day after day, teems with
comments, interviews, and statements of the
wondrous powers and efficacy of the promising
treatment, and the prurient tastes of the people
are pandered to ad nanseavt, until we are con-
strained to ask. Why is this thus } Why thir.
public discussion of a subject that is usually
92 The Elixir of Life.
tabooed in common conversation ? At first it
was taken up by the papers very daintily, but it
was enough to excite the Hvely imaginations of
a host of readers, and these people wanted to
know more about what they hoped was a potent
aphrodisiac and actual live forever business.
" Many at once thronged physicians' offices,
and at every opportunity hailed their medical
advisors to consult them in regard to the new
fountain of life that has brought hope to their
" Never until now has the medical profession
been made to reaHze that more than half of the
men of the period believe their genital organs
are very much below normal, and their owners
are in a frame of mind that makes them willing
to undergo a minor surgical operation and en-
dure any probable amount of pain, for a very
slight assurance that for them the generative
standard could be raised to a degree that would
be entirely satisfactory to themselves.
" It is only a few years ago that the discovery
was made that nearly all of women's ailments
The Elixir of Life. 93
were due to derangements of the uterus and its
appendages. The medical profession was at
once equal to the occasion and discovery, and
there sprang into being the now potent gynecol-
ogist. We will now usher to the front the man
who will make a specialty of the treatment of
the male genitalia. The transfusion of vital
fluids from the inferior animals to man will be
thoroughly investigated and its utility proven,
or it will be relegated to the past as a visionary
"The greatest good that will result from this
New Elixir of Life will be the creation of a
new body of specialists, whose time and talents
will be devoted to affections of the male geni-
talia." — Cincinnati Lancet-Clinic, Aug 17, 1889.
"EXPERIENCE WITH THE ELIXIR VIT/E.
"St. Louis, August 16, 1889.
"Editor Weekly Medical Review, — I
scarcely know how to respond to your very kind
94 The Elixir of Life.
request to write up my experience with the so-
called Brown-Sequard * elixir of life ' ; however
the first thought to one examining the fluid
with a microscope is much more likely to be
that he is looking at a lively or live, than a life
mixture. From the first, I have expressed my-
self as having no confidence in the medicinal
effects of this elixir other than what may follow
a psychical impression. It might be harsh and
unjust to style it the dotage dream of a prince
in physiology, but milder language of similar
import might convey an idea of the impression
I have ab initio entertained. And what was
then an impression, notwithstanding the start-
ling reports of marvelous results, following the
hypodermatic use of the mixture, which daily
appear in our newspapers, ad nauseam, has
after careful experimentation with, to be sure,
but a limited, yet I think a sufficiently large,
number of patients, when I take into consider-
ation the time and labor wasted, become a con-
viction ; and I am satisfied with the proofs of
the faith that is within me regarding the so-
called ' Brown-Sequard Elixir Vitae.'
The Elixir of Life. 95
" I have no faith in its re-vitaUzing influence,
unless to inoculate one with micrococci, bacteria
and bacilli — living organisms, but too fre-
quently death-producers — is to re-vitalize. It
is an old saying that * in death there is life,' but
for some years we have been almost uncon-
sciously formulating another sentence composed
of exactly the same words, and equally true,
but of just the opposite significance, i. e., in life
there is death. The introduction of myriads of
living organisms into bodies previously unoc-
cupied by these death-dealing germs, has doubt-
less been effected during the past two weeks to
an alarming extent. For, it is but reasonable
to suppose, that the haste to as quickly as possi-
ble introduce the elixir before the dynamic (?)
power resident in the living (?) molecules of
matter, before the cells, not spermatic, had really
become dead matter, has precluded the use of
the microscope in 999 out of every 1000 in-
stances in which it was used.
'' One of the patients on whom I experi-
mented three times, was unable to sleep half as
96 The Elixir of Life.
much as usual, and complained of unusual dry-
ness of the mouth on the night following a one-
drachm injection. Another one had a copious
and foetid sweat the night following an injection
of one drachm, made at 8:30 p.m., and would not
allow a second use of the elixir(.?) Another,
still, had an attack of vomiting and diarrhoea
during the night following an injection about 5
P.M., and did not present himself for a second
" No other symptoms, either favorable or un-
favorable, were observed. But four patients
were experimented with.
" On two occasions I discovered tubercle
bacilli in the preparations made from material
obtained from what appeared to be perfectly
healthy sheep. It is needless to say that these
mixtures were not used.
" I invariably filtered the mixtures before
using them ; this should have removed most, if
not all, of the bacteria that might have been in
the distilled water used, but in nearly every
instance, in about an hour and a quarter after the
The Elixir of Life. 97
compound had been formed, would bacteria be
seen ; and on several occasions, bacilli were
present. The bacterium termo predominated.
Next in frequency was what I took to be the
vibrio ruguda. In one sample I found a number
of vibrio serpens, three hours and fifteen min-
utes after removal of the gland from the scro-
tum. One specimen was literally crowded with
vibriones rugudae and bacilli of tuberculosis.
My friends, Dr. S. S. Porter and his son, of 2924
Chestnut street, and I spent hours together over
" On one occasion, thirty-five minutes after
removal of a gland from the scrotum of an ani-
mal that had been nearly killed, but not quite,
an hour before examination of the elixir (.?) by
Drs. Waldo Briggs and George C. McCosh and
myself, we discovered a great many bacteria
termo and bacilli ; the latter seemed to be the
** While doing the microscopical work in con-
nection with my experiments, I was astonished
to note the frequency with which I observed
98 The Elixir of Life.
two, and sometimes three, spermatozoa with
thin heads (or bodies) laid one almost exactly on
top of the other (side to side), appearing like
but a single spermatozoon with two or three
"In one instance I could not find a single live
spermatozoon twenty minutes after the death of
the animal from which the parts were removed ;
while in another instance, eighteen hours and
thirty minutes after the death of the sheep, and
eleven hours after the placing of the drop of
elixir (?) under the cover of glass, I discovered
" All of my material was taken from what was
supposed to be healthy sheep, about eight or
nine months old. And all implements and in-
struments used were carefully sterilized before
each time the mixture was made. Neither erup-
tions, flushings, nor abscesses have followed
any of the experiments.
"Alexander B. Shaw, M.D."
Weekly Medical Review, St. Louis, Aug. 17,
The Mixir of Life. 99
A communication from Indianapolis to the
New York Sttn says :
" Dr. Purman of this city has just made a
practical demonstration of Brown-Sequard's life
elixir theory. Dr. Purman easily procured the
consent of Noah Clark, who is 50 years of age,
generally debilitated, suffers from rheumatism
and from disease contracted during the war, and
is a very fit subject for the experiment tried up-
on him this morning.
"Dr. Purman drove out to the stockyards this
morning, and selected the healthiest lamb ob-
tainable. The lamb was killed and the neces-
sary parts were brought to his office. The pre-
paration was very simple. The parts were cut
and pounded in a mortar, or thoroughly ' tritu-
rated.' Two drachms of water was added and
the preparation was carefully filtered. The re-
sult was a reddish fluid — the elixir. One and
a half drachms of this were injected into the
emaciated arm of Clark a little below the
shoulder with an ordinary hypodermic syringe.
Granville Allen and Dr. Theodore Parker were
100 The Elixir of Life.
present during the operation, which took place
within two hours after killing the lamb.
** A few minutes after the operation, a re-
porter called at the office and saw Mr. Clark.
He was a limp picture of dejection, and seemed
to have little vitality.
" ' You know how you feel sometimes when
you get up in the morning,' he said, 'you feel
sleepy and lifeless, and unable to do anything.
That's the way I have felt ever since the war.'
" About four hours afterward Mr. Clark
walked down town from Fort Wayne avenue,
and climbed up two flights of stairs without
stopping. ' I feel a decided difference,' he said
" * It used to take me an hour to get down
town, and this time I have walked it in twenty-
five minutes. I have not felt this way for
twenty-five years. I have new vitality. I do
not drag, my feet along, and it is no trouble to
hold my head up. I used to go along all bent
•* Clark stood quite straight. ' The doctoi
The Elixir of Life. 101
noticed an improved look in my eyes, and more
strength in my walk,' he added. * Before I
could not read a newspaper without glasses, as I
now can. The injection has certainly done me
good. Whether this will last or not I don't
know, but I hope it will.'
"Clark to all appearances was certainly im-
proved. His complexion and eyes clearly indi-
cated an exhilarated state."
A communication to the Boston Globe from
Detroit says :
" Dr. John W. Palmer, a prominent physician
of Detroit, has been experimenting with the
elixir of life, and with remarkable results. His
patients are 60 and 70 years old respectively.
"The elder man was decrepit and had been in
failing health for years. The first injection
seemed to put new life into him, and with the
second administering the effect has been re-
markable. He walks erect, has the appearance
of long life ahead of him, and says he feels
stronger than for years.
"The younger man did not indicate such pro-
102 The Elixir of Life.
nounced results on the first trial, but with the
second he showed the rejuvenating effects, and
asserts his belief that the new remedy is a life
preserver if not a cure-all.
" Dr. Palmer says : ' I have just begun experi-
menting. I do not know what the discovery
may result in. This I do know, that an immedi-
ate effect is to exhilarate and tone up. I be-
lieve that in many cases it may save life in
bridging over a crisis. The preparation is in no
sense dangerous, for an antiseptic enters all its
composition, and its base is from the healthiest
of animals.' "
Dr. Allen McLane Hamilton, of New York*
" The theory is opposed to all the laws of
physiology and chemistry. Further than that,
I believe it is a very dangerous proceeding, and
that it is time for reputable physicians to ex-
press their disapproval of the experiments.
There is great danger of introducing a violent
poison into the system. It is well known that
The Elixir of Life. 103
the putrefaction of albumen produces some of
the most deadly poisons. It is quite possible
that this substance injected into the veins
should act there as the arrow poison does which
is used by the South American Indians. When
the elixir is sterilized by heat or the admixture
of substances to prevent decay, it is quite cer-
tain that it must be so changed as to lose any
beneficial element it may have had when fresh.
But I do not believe it has any benefieial ele-
ment when fresh. When skillfully prepared and
injected before decay sets in, it would have no
more effect than water would. But there is
always danger. It is hard to tell when the mo-
ment is passed at which the harmless substance
becomes dangerous. The juices of a newly
dead body, as undertakers and medical students
know, are much more dangerous when absorbed
through a wound than those of a body that has
been preserved some time. Dr. Brown-Se-
quard's injections were all very painful. I be-
lieve that many cases of erysipelas have followed
104 The Elixir of Life,
" On the theory that it might have the effect
claimed for it, how could the substance act on
the system ? "
" It couldn't act. Those who have tried it
offer no explanation of the result obtained.
They say practically that a 'vital fluid' has been
given the patient. It is a return to the medical
systems of the middle ages. It affects some
through mental exhilaration. Its hold on the
public is due to a love of the mysterious. It
is not a new idea. Mention of its use was made
three centuries ago. Although Dr. Brown-Se-
quard is well advanced in years, I believe that
antedates his time."
" Have you been requested to prepare the
fluid for any of your patients } "
" A gentleman came to me with such a re-
quest the other day. I refused his request ; but
if, under any extraordinary condition of affairs,
I should be persuaded by a patient to try it, I
should inject the fluid with the same confidence
that I should inject water. People do live
longer now than they did formerly, but length-
The Elixir of Life. 105
ened life is due solely to the advance of sanitary-
science and to the care which people take of
From the correspondence of the Journal of
the American Medical Association, Chicago,
Aug. 24, 1889:
" Dr. Wm. A. Hammond, who like most
others was at first disposed to pooh-pooh Brown-
Sequard's alleged discovery of the rejuvenating
power of the testicle, now announces that the
results of a number of experiments which he
has himself made are such as apparently to con-
firm the correctness of Brown-Sequard's asser-
tions. In the experiments he used the testes of
freshly killed lambs, in preference to the rabbit
or guinea pig, employed in France ; great care
being taken to thoroughly filter the solution em
ployed in the injections. He began his experi-
ments first on himself, to make sure that the
method was not dangerous to the patient.
Since then he has experimented on several old
men without their being aware of what was
being done to them, and in the case of one
106 The Elixir of Life.
of them, he states that the result was quite
remarkable. He was about sixty years of age
and had his arm so nearly paralyzed with rheu-
matism that for nearly a year he had not been
able to raise his hand to his head ; while soon
after one injection he could move it in any di-
rection and almost as vigorously as he had ever
done. Of course, Dr. Hammond does not claim
any conclusive results with the limited number
of experiments thus far made, but he says he
feels justified in proceeding further with the in-
"The Alchemist's Dream. — The discovery
of an elixir vitcB by Dr. Brown-Sequard, of
Paris, when first announced, caused a smile of
derision to spread over the faces of a majority
of the medical scientists. Among the first to
call names was Dr. Wm. A. Hammond, ex-sur-
geon-general of the United States. This was
not strange, because Dr. Hammond has hereto-
fore advanced a theory of his own concerning
the prolongation of life, based on entirely dif-
The Elixir of Life. 107
ferent grounds. He has held that, with proper
attention to physical and mental needs, there
was no physiological reason why man should
die. But after experimenting on the lines given
by the eminent French doctor, he takes back all
his previous harsh words and agrees with him,
heart and soul. In his experiments, Dr. Brown-
Sequard used the organs of a guinea pig, from
which, after pounding in distilled water, he fil-
tered his elixir of life. Dr. Hammond used
those of a lamb. The result in both cases was
the same. Decrepid persons were revivified.
A rheumatic recovered the use of a nerveless
limb. Experiments with this Frenchman's dis-
covery are being made right and left, and in
every case with apparent success. The liquid
has been injected into the subjects without their
knowledge as to what it was, so imagination
does not enter into the result. Whether the
benefit derived from these injections with this
wonderful, though simple fluid, will be lasting
or not, will only be gathered as time goes by."^
'See " The Elixir of Life," by W. A. Hammond, in N. Am. Review*
108 The Elixir of Life.
From the Western Medical Reporter, Chicago,
**BROWN-SEQUARD AND THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH,
''And now we are asked to beUeve that the
venerable Brown-Sequard has discovered the
secret of Ufe — the perennial fountain — the
waters of which once quaffed, metamorphose
the trembling and impotent old man into a
strong and virile youth. The wondrous brew
which is to defy Old Time is the juice of the
testes of animals ; the method of administra-
tion is by hypodermic injection. M. Variot
follows the * bell-wether ' over the fence and
confirms Brown-Sequard's experiments by a
series of cases. These cases were old men of
54, 56 and 6S years respectively. The injec-
tions were followed by * general exaltation of
nervous sensibility, stimulation and regulation
of digestion, and an increase of muscular vigor.'
" It is fortunate for our eminent brother that
the world is too enlightened to believe in sor-
cery and witchcraft, otherwise we would tremble
for his safety. We regret that the preparation
The Elixir of Life. 109
of the magic draught has not been more
thoroughly outlined. If we are not mistaken,
the distinguished and learned compounder for-
got to mention whether the decoction should be
brewed at the full or dark of the moon.
" It is a lamentable and indubitable fact that
some men outlive their usefulness. Why is it
that men who have achieved renown in science,
letters and politics, live long enough to ruin the
good work of the vigorous early and middle
periods of life } Had John Bright died a few
years earlier, there would never have been a
single criticism of his life and works. The
stand which he took regarding the momentous
questions involved in our own civil war, was
enough to enshrine him in the memories of
patriotic Americans at least, for all time. His
attitude in the Irish question more than neutral-
ized his previous commendable actions. That
Bright, the great and liberal commoner, should
tacitly ally himself with the aristocracy in the
oppression of the Irish, can only be explained
by the inconsistency which is but natural to the
man in his dotage.
110 The Elixir of Life.
" Tennyson, who has done work which will
justly immortalize him, has nevertheless lived
long enough to produce material — poetry by
courtesy — which is but the driveling of se-
nility, if indeed it is no worse. Many years
ago Brown-Sequard, by his researches in neuro-
physiology and pathology, took his place among
the foremost medical philosophers of the age.
If some good genius had impelled him to cease
philosophizing and experimenting at ' the zenith
of his fame,' nothing could have dimmed the
lustre of his contributions to science. His
unlucky star certainly must have been in the
ascendant, for some years. later we find the poor
old man going from place to place and trying to
convince the profession that the theory which
had made him famous, was wrong. The ancient
story of the cow that gave the good pail of milk
and then kicked it over, seems very appropriate
in this connection.
"What is most peculiar about the latest
freak of our eminent scientist, is his verification
of a time-honored and fallacious notion of the
The Elixir of Life. Ill
laity as to the potency of 'fries ' — a notion the
practicability of which might be testified to by
full many a sorrowing capon. The ancients
had great faith in the magic of Sequard's brew.
Horace is quoted as imploring a famous and
powerful witch to impart to him the secret pro-
cess by which a certain rejuvenating draught
was made. This was manufactured at night with
great mystery by grinding up flesh torn from
fiery Roman stallions. The Medical Record
suggests that the brew of Brown-Sequard con-
tains a stimulating leucomaine, to which its
effects may be attributed. Had the * discovery '
originated in the mind of a lesser light in medi-
cine, the Record — which is nothing if not
candid — might have suggested the possibility
of the claims of Brown-Sequard being unmiti-
gated bosh. We are thankful for the sugges-
tion as to leucomaines, however; our ideas of
the potency of a certain food preparation are
now more lucid. Science makes clear and
technical what the olfactories of our patients
have already discovered.
112 The Elixir of Life.
"If the ' rejuvenator' prove to be as potent
as is claimed by its originator, it might be well
for us to give Chinese therapeutics more atten-
tion. There may be more in the nostrums of
the almond-eyed heathen than our more enlight-
ened medical philosophy has yet dreamed of.
"Apropos of Brown-Sequard's pharmacolog-
ical and therapeutical discovery, it might be
well to inquire whether the distinguished inves-
tigator has not stolen some of Shakspeare's
' Round about the caldron go,
In the poisoned entrails throw.
Toad, that under coldest stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one.
Sweltered venom, sleeping got.
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot !
' Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake
Eye of newt, and toe of frog.
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind worm's sting.
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell broth boil and bubble.
TJie Elixir of Life, 113
' Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf;
Witch's mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravined salt sea shark;
Root of hemlock, digged i' the dark;
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew,
Silvered in the moon's eclipse;
Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips ;
Finger of birth-strangled babe,
Ditch delivered by a drab —
Make the gruel thick and slab :
Add thereto a tiger's chawdron.
For the ingredients of our caldron.
' Cool it with a baboon's blood.
Then the charm is firm and good.' —
Macbeth, Act 4."
The Independent, Aug. 15, 1889, views the
^.matter thus :
"THE BROWN-SEQUARD SENSATION.
" While Dr. Brown-Sequard has not called his
new injected fluid an elixir of life, it is clear
that he is not sure but it almost deserves the
name. He recognizes it as probably the fact
that certain processes and changes in the human
114 The Elixir of Life.
body are irresistible and finally fatal. In infancy
the bones are gelatinous and flexible ; but grad-
ually the proportion of lime-salts increases and
the amount of cartilage decreases, until, in old
age, the bones are brittle and perishable. This
change goes on steadily, before and after puberty.
So there is a gradual change in the structure of
brain and nerve tissue and of muscles, until they
cease to perform their functions and a person
dies of old age. As one passes from childhood
to maturity certain mental or physical powers
are developed, and then decay or are entirely lost.
There is the regular and apparently irresistible
course of things by which a period of protected
weakness is followed by a period of parentage
and strength, and this again by impotency, phys-
ical and mental degeneracy, and death. Dr.
Brown-Sequard does not assert that this process
can be permanently arrested by any new-discov-
ered elixir of life ; but he does suggest and
believe that as the strength and active vigor of
the years of a man's freshest youth come from
the absorption into the blood of fluids then pro-
The Elixir of Life. 115
duced, which have a special stimulative power
upon all parts of the body, so by the introduc-
tion, subcutaneously, into the system of old men
of a solution of fluids taken from young and vig-
orous animals, this lost force can be restored to
the circulation, and the old vigor very much
recovered. It is as if fresh yeast were put into
dough, fresh malt into the stale product of the
brewery. He believes that substances which
once came naturally into the blood, and thus
stimulated the vigorous action of the whole sys-
tem, can be artificially restored to the circula-
tion, and will then in a measure invigorate the
action of muscles and brain
** Whether the effect [produced by his experi-
ments] came from any specific property in the
fluids injected into the circulation, or was purely
the result of what is called auto-suo:£:estion or
imagination, and yet without hypnotism, is the
question to be decided. Dr. Brown-Sequard
speaks with some reserve, but evidently believes
that there is a real specific power in the fluid
taken from the active glands of the young ani-
116 The Elixir of Life.
mals employed in these experiments. He quotes
the results of experiments made upon three old
men by Dr. Variot, who has used the fluid with
success on several old men, but failed when»
with similar words of encouragement, he has
used only pure water. The experiments have,
during the past week or two, been repeated in
a number of cases in this country, and with
varying success, some operators declaring that
the results have been all that Dr. Brown-Sequard
describes, and others that no appreciable effects
have followed. The latter conclusion seems
probable, and it is yet far from certain whether
anything more than imagination must be accred-
ited with the good results recorded.
*' But this may be regarded as probable, that
nothing more than a mere stimulus can be
expected of any such injected fluid. We remem-
ber when injections of blood were first suggested
and tried what wonderful results were expected ;
but they have not followed. The transfusion of
blood is rarely tried with any good results. It
is ridiculous to speak of this as an ' elixir of
The Elixir of Life. 117
life.' There is no elixir of life, and Dr. Brovvn-
Sequard would never pretend to have found one.
All he would say is that he has found something
which stimulates the nerve centers and empow-
ers them to do a certain amount of work. No
medicine will reverse the course of nature. It
will not replace the superfluous phosphates of
the bones with cartilage. It will not restore the
lost power and function of bodily organs. It
can only for a time stimulate to activity, a stim-
ulation which is as likely to shorten as it is to
prolong life. There has been so much that is
unscientific and foolish written on the subject
during the past few days, so much that might
give wild hopes to people whose powers are
enfeebled, that we have thought it well to give
the facts on their best side, so that all that is
claimed can be clearly known, and to indicate
what we see needs to be again and again
' Neither god of love nor god of skje
Can doe, said she, that which cannot be donne.
118 The Elixir of Life.
Hon. Charles Levi Woodbury writes :
'' It depends on which part of the Hfe you
lengthen. It would be a great worry to parents to
lengthen childhood thirty or forty years. It would
be a sore deprivation to one's heirs to prolong
old age unnecessarily for such a period. It would
be a great discouragement to young women mar-
rying wealthy middle-aged men, and generally
would make life sentences for matrimony or the
penitentiary unendurable. The tendency of the
chano:e would seem to lead to an increase of
suicide and divorce, and its effect on life tenures
under the civil service reform would be disheart-
ening to the average voter. The ancients said
' whom the gods love die young,' and although
Methuselah set an early example of long life, it
has not been vigorously pursued by succeeding
" Could Dr. Brown-Sequard apply his secret
to lengthening the youth and beauty of woman
and manhood, it would be more popular than an
application to the preceding or succeeding stages
of existence. But, as every believer in a future
The Elixir of Life. 119
state thinks we are to live forever, it makes but
little difference in the long run, how much of
it we spend in the present form of life.
" Another view is that, as bores are numerous,
the prolongation of their lives would be a nui-
sance, the thing should be regulated by ballot, and
none permitted to take the elixir except those
who could command a large majority of relatives
and neighbors to that end, as Balder did in the
And so stands Dr. Brown-Sequard's '' Elixir
of Life " at present.
Important New Boohs.
Works by the late Dr. James R- Nichols.
WHENCE? WHAT? WHERE? A VIEW OF THE ORIGIN,
NATURE, AND DESTINY OF MAN. By James R. Nichols.
With portrait of the author. i2mo. Cloth, gilt top. $1.25. Eleventh
'* / consider the late Javtes R. Nichols, the well-known chemist, one of tJie
coolest and most scientific imtestigators in the field of psychical phettoviena,
atid, at Hie same time, ofte of the most honest. If tlie world had more earnest
thinkers of the same kind to co-operate with him, the world would find out
something of value.'''' — Joseph Cook.
*' No one can take up the book without feeling- tJie incli7iation to read further,
and to ponder on tJie all-important subjects which it presents. Though it is not
a religious book in tlie accepted sense of tJie word, it is a book which calls for
the exercise of tlie religious nature, and which in diffusing many setisible ideas
will do good." — Philadelphia Press.
FIRESIDE SCIENCE: Popular Scientific Essays. 12 mo. Cloth. $1.50.
These essays have been an endless source of instruction and interest to al^
that liave read them, while, to those who approach the mysteries of Nature
with an enquiring and reverent spirit, they will be of great assistance in aid-
ing the comprehension of the technical works on chemistry and physics.
Since Faraday delivered his well-known lectures, there has been nothing to
compare with the present work in tracing the action of the immutable laws of
Nature in processes of every-day occurrence.
CHEMISTRY OF THE FARM AND THE SEA, with many other
familiar Chemical Essays. i6mo. Cloth. $1.25.
This work, though perhaps not of so wide an interest to the average reader,
is of the greatest value to the thoughtful and practical farmer. Not the least
of Dr. Nichols' talents was his deep insight into and wonderful grasp of agri-
cultural chemistry, and many men to-day can bear witness to the value of his
advice respecting soils and fertilizers. In this volume will be found the gist
of a series of lectures and addresses delivered before the various agricultural
communities of New England and elsewhere, which abound with helpful sug-
gestions and solid facts.
GLIMPSES OF NORSELAND. Bv Hetta M. Hervey. With many
illustrations of exceptional value. 1 vol. i2mo. Cloth, gilt top. §1.25.
A breezy book about Norway, its people and its places, its fjords and fjelds.
A critical notice says : — "The book is not pretentious. Miss Hervey has
sought to tell in a direct, simple way the stor>' of her wanderings in Norway,
and to describe some of the strange sights of that romantic land. But she has
avoided dulness, the bane of thousands of books of travel, while many of the
passages are strikingly well done." — Again, "She has recorded her experi-
ences in exactly the manner which makes her book pleasurable and fascioating
y. G. Cupples Co. ''"'f:Siiers, BOSTON.
Important New 'Books,
THE OPERATIVE TREATMENT OF THE HYPERTRO-
PHIED PROSTATE. By Francis Sedgwick Watson, M. D.
I vol. Superbly illustrated with 34 phototype plates and with numerous
engravings. 4to. Cloth. $3.50.
A most valuable addition to the literature of surgery, treating of a patholog-
ical condition most widely diffused, and yet but little touched upon by cur-
"the elixir of life.'' Dr. Brown-Sequard's own account of his
famous alleged remedy for debility and old age, Dr. Variot's experiments,
and contemporaneous comments of the profession and the press, with
sketch of Dr Brown-Sequard's life, and portrait. Edited by Newell
Dunbar, i vol. Square i6mo. Cloth. 50 cents.
At a time when all reading classes are interested, eh'her through the medical
or secular press, in the above subject, it is remarkable to notice the amount of
ignorance and misapprehension that exists regarding what this remedy really is,
its method of application, and the results which have been attained. While
some would claim for it all the virtue suggested by the name by which it is
popularly known, others, at the other extreme, would almost refuse to give
credence to the evidence of experiments; this little book has, therefore,
been compiled to give the gist of the opinions of all classes, placing within
reach of all, in a handy and condensed form, all facts of interest connected
with the subject.
BY JAMES H. STARK.
ANTIQUE VIEWS OF YE TOWNE OF BOSTON. By James H.
Stark. Assisted by Dr. Samuel A. Green, Ex-Mayor of Boston, Libra-
rian of the Massachusetts Historical Society ; John Ward Dean, Libra-
rian of the New England Historic Genealogical Society ; and Judge Mel-
len Chamberlain, of the Public Library. An extensive and exhaustive
work injyS pag^es. Large quarto. Illustrated with nearly 200 full size
reproductions of all kno^Mnrare maps, old prints, etc. i vol. 4to. Cloth.
BERMUDA GUIDE. A description of everything on or about the Bermuda
Islands, concerning which the visitor or resident may desire information,
including its history, inhabitants, climate, agriculture, geology, govern-
ment, military and naval establishments. By James H. Stark. With
Maps, Engravings and 16 photo-prints, i vol.' i2mo, cloth, 157 pp.
J. G. Cuppies Co. '''''%'o7:;iiers, "BOSTON.
Important New ^ooks.
TEN DAYS IN THE JUNGLE. A journey in the far East by an
American lady. By J. E. L. With vignette, i vol. i6mo. Cloth.
An interesting and entertaining description of travel through the Straits of
Malacca, with pictures of life and scenery in the adjacent British Colonies of
Singapore and Pulo-Penang.
ECHOES FROM CAPE ANN ; a book of Poems and Memorial Tokens,
by Maria J. Dodge, i vol. i2mo. Handsomely bound in cloth, bevel-
led boards, gilt edges. $1.50.
Charming verses : narrative, descriptive, and devotional, touched here and
there with a lighter strain, of especial interest to all who reside in or are
acquainted with the home of Elizabeth Stuart Phelps and Lucy Earcom.
A DIRECTORY OF THE CHARITABLE AND BENEFICENT
ORGANIZATIONS OF BOSTON, ETC. Prepared for the Asso-
ciated Charities. I vol., 196 pp. i6mo. Cloth. $1.00.
The publishers have much pleasure in announcing for immediate publication
one of the most remarkable books of the day, pointing to a high ideal of truth-
and purity, its teachings being clothed in the garb of fiction.
HIERO-SALEM: THE VISION OF PEACE. By E. L. Mason.
I vol. With illustrations. Large square i2mo., unique cloth binding,
The writer, evidently an earnest believer in the immortality of the spiritual
ego, treats in this work of the endeavor made by a man deeply versed in all
lore that treats of the universality of the immaterial world, and the possibility
in this life of the partial removal of the sensual barriers which separate us
from it, to raise the standard of physical and intellectual man by the establish-
ment of a new race founded at the outset by careful selection of two individuals.
Many subjects of much interest to many thinkers now, are introduced as an in-
tegral part of the narrative, — the doctrine of re-incarnation, the beliefs of
Esoteric- Buddhism, even the occult knowledge acquired by the Kabbalists.
The idea, however, that shines through all is that behind these mere glimmer-
ings of light, there is the splendor of the truth itself, of which these are but the
reflections vouchsafed to the earnest studies and strivings of man — a deeper
truth which this book endeavors to express. It is a book to be ranked in the
same class with ' Consuelo."'
J. G. Cupples Co. '''''To'ksJiiers, BOSTON,
Uoiversity of Toronto
Acme Library Card Pocket
Under Pat. "Ref. Index File"
Made by LIBRARY BUREAU