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3lttimal Migtirtism; 













Ingeaii commeDta delet dies ; naturae judicia confirmat Ciceao. 

Non fingendum, non excogitandum, sed inveaiendnm et observaDdum 
quid Natura faciat aut ferat. — Bacon. 

VOL. I. 

- • • 

» _• 





UoXXdxt ^ t| hxiyi^s ohvvfii fAtyet yiyvtratt ecXyos 
K«v» ap rig kv^etir tjirta <pa^fia»a ^ovs- 

Ttfn 21 zaxuTs vov^otffi xvxtifittvov u^yeikieits n 
'A^pdfttvas x"i^*^ it^» tiitir ityiii. 

Solon, apud Stobceum. 

Sspe dolor tenuis morbos produxit acerbos, 
Tollere quos nullis sit medicaminibus : 

Ssqpe din ssevo jactatum corporis eestu 
Contactu sanum reddidit una manus. 


f-^ms- < ^- 'W^'' t-^ k2j t •J 

i 3 - ; f 

• • • 


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» k * « 

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Preface to the First Edition. 
Preface to the Ssookd Edition. 



Chapter I. — Definition of Animal Magnetism. Extra- 
ordinary nature of the phenomena. Difficulty of 
belief. Experimental investigation recommended. 
Best means of conducting it. Evidence in favour 
of the facts^. Objection of marvellousness obviated. 
Opinions of Philosophers — La Place — Cuvier — 
Coleridge — Treviianus^ &c. . . .59 

Chapter IL — Phenomena of Animal Magnetism deserve 
serious attention. Tend to increase our physiolo- 
gical and psychological knowledge. Experiments 
conducted not by empirics alone, but by profes- 
sional gentlemen of learning, intelligence, &c. — 
Curious popular opinions which have prevailed al- 
most univeisaUy in ihe world— ^Influence ascribed 
to the touch of the huxaan hand. — ^Royal touch. — 
Influence of the human eye, breath, and saliva, 
&c. . . . * . .73 


Chapter III. — Sympathy. — The stomach a principal 
centre of nervous sympathy. — Effects of moral 
causes upon the stomach. — Opinions of Dr Cullen^ 
Dr Alison^ &c. ..... 97 

Chapter IV. — Sympathy between the mind and the 
body. — Cases of John de Poictiers and Henry IV. 
of France. Influence of the mental affections over 
the bodily secretions. Case reported by Dr Ward- 
rop. Beneficial effects of mental impressions upon 
the body. — Opinions of Dr John Gardiner. Alleged 
influence of the imagination. . . .112 

Chapter V. — Nature herself cures diseases — Opinions 
of Hippocrates, Paracelsus^ Van Helmont^ Dr Ni- 
chols^ Dr Laurence, Stahl, Hunter and Abemethy, 
Dr T. Simson^ Dr Hoffmann. Effects of faith and 
confidence. Fienus. Galen. Pechlin, &c. Ex- 
tract from Le Globe, — ^Miracles wrought at the 
tomb of the Abb^ Paris. Explanation of. Opinion 
of Douglas, Bishop of Salisbury^ upon. Miracles 
at the t(»nb~of Saint Jubin. Cure of the yellow 
fever by Magnetism. Faith and confidence neces- 
sary to the success of every transaction in Ufe. 
Opinion of William MaxweU^ &c. . .125 

Chapter VI. — Power of volition over the organism. 
Kant. Passavant. Brandis. Boerhaave^ Frank- 
lin. Bemier. Avicenna. Cardanus. St Austin. 
Case reported by Dr Cheyne. — ^Power of the voli- 
tion of one individual over the organism of another. 
Opinions of authors. Pomponatius, Van Helmont^ 
&c. Case related by Joseph Glanvill, &c. . 144 

Chapter VII. — Difficulty of explaining the phenomena 
of Animal Magnetism. Difference between mate- 
rial and mental phenomena. Theory. — Experi- 
ments on the nervous system. — Transference of 
Vital Power. Physical analogies^ &c, . . 171 


Chapter VIII. — Magnetic opinions and practices^ 
of the ancients. Temples of Health. — ^Verses of 
Solon. Plautus. Martial.. Practice of Asclepiades. 
liiagnetism among the Oriental nations. In the 
Monasteries. Witchcraft. Opinions, of the North 
American Indians. Influence of the imagination. 
Case of Elizabeth Bryant. Philosophical Medicine. 
Opinion of Dr Zi^rmann^ &c. . . . 188 

Chapter IX. — Leyret> Qreatzakes^ and Streper. Method 
of Greatrakes. Opinions of his practice by Philo- 
sophers^ Physiciansy and Divines. G^assner. Other 
natural magnetizers. .... 203 

Chapter X. — ^Mesmer. His labours in the discovery of 
Animal Magnetism^ at Vienna, in Paris^ &c. Per> 
kinism. Mesmer makes converts. His theory. 
Conduct of the Medical Faculty of Paris. Progress 
of Animal Magnetism. Court de Gebelin^ &c. 213 

Chapter XI. — ^Mesmer's mode of conducting the mag- 
netic treatment. Whimsical apparatus and mys> 
tery. Opposition. Mesmer sells his secret Har> 
monic Societies. Committee to investigate the 
medicinal eflects of the mineral magnet. Commit- 
tee to investigate Animal Magnetism. Reports, 
and remarks upon them. Report of Jussieu. Pub- 
lications on the subject. Lavater imparts the sys- 
tem of Animal Magnetism to Doctors Bickers, 01- 
bers> and Wienholt. Boeckmann and Gmelin re- 
ceive it from Strasburg. Works on the subject. 
Death of Mesiner. His character, &c. . 232 

Chapter XII. — Schools of Animal Magnetism, at Paris, 
Lyons, and Ostend. Strasburg. Improved treat- 
ment introduced by Puysegur. Magnetic power 
and susceptibility. Physical and psychical quali- 
fications. Magnetic treatment, simple or com- 
pound. Manipulation— with contact — in d%9tane. 


Method of administering Animal Magnetism recom- 
mended by Kluge. Preparatory and eflTective ma^ 
nipulations^ &c. .... 260 

Chapter XIII. — Effects of Animal Magnetism upon the 
organism of the patient. General effects. Parti- 
cular effects. Classification of the phenomena. 
Firsts second^ thirds fourth^ fifths and sixth degrees. 
Theory of the first French Commissioners — ^imagi- 
nation^ imitation, and atUmt^iement Opinions of 
Doctors Stieglitz, Hufeland^ Sprengel, 2iermann^ 
and of Professor Dugald Stewart. 276 

Chapter XIV. — Phenomena of Animal Magnetism. 
Sleep. Somnambulism. Organic insensibility. 
Transference of the faculties. Natural Somnam- 
bulism, &c. ..... 293 

Chapter XV.-— Somnambulism known to the ancients. 
Cases reported by Van Helmont — Horstius — Hen- 
ricus ab Heer— Muratori— Gassendi— Vigneul de 
Marville — Dr Prichard — Martinet — Professor Up- 
ham — ^Macnish — ^Gall — Dr Franklin. Case of Lord 
Culpepper's brother. Case of a French gentleman. 
Case at the Town-HaD, Southwark. Other exam- 
ples. ...... 309 

Chapter XVI. — Archbishop of Bourdeaux' case. Case 
rieported by Dr Levade, and MM.I^^nier and Van 
Berchem. Case reported by Professor Feder of 
Goettingen. Case recorded in the Transactions of 
the Medical Society of Breslau. Total organic 
insensibility. Case reported by Dr Knoll. . 323 

Chapter XVII. — Cases reported by M. Sauvages de la 
Croix — Lord Monboddo — Dr Schultz oi Hamburgh. 
Case of John Baptist Negretti. — Cases reported by 
Rittei^— Major Elliot— Dr Dyce of Aberdeen— Dr 
Abercrombie of Edinburgh. . 336 


Chapter XVIII. — General observations. Case of Cata- 
lepsy at the Hospital deUa Vita, Bologna. Case at 
the Jervis-Street Hospital^ Dublin, reported by Mr 
Ellis. ...... S6S 

Chapter XIX.^ — Extraordinary case of Jane C. Rider^ 

in America, reported by Dr Belden. . 366 

Chapter XX. — Case of the devotional ecstasis, in South 
America, reported by M. de St Hilaire. Westmin- 
ster Review. , , . , 385 




lir is not firithout considerable hesitation) and 
great diffidence, that I venture to submit the fol- 
lowing pages to public notice. 

The subject is, in a great measure, foreign to 
my usual avocations, and was originally taken up 
merely as a matter of curiosity, although it after- 
wards swelled, in my estimation, into no small im- 
portance. Conscious, however, as I necessarily 
must be, of my own great deficiency in the requi- 
site knowledge of those sciences which are most 
calculated to elucidate the particular object of my 
present researches, I have long felt an anxious de- 
sire that some individual, better qualified by his 
professional pursuits, and in every other respect 
more competent, had been induced to undertake 
the task which has now devolved on me. But see- 


ing no immediate prospect of the fulfilment of this 
hope, and having been frequently applied to, both 
by professional gentlemen and others, for informa- 
tion, I have, at length, felt myself almost compelled 
to exhibit a concise view of the progress which has 
hitherto been made towards the elucidation of this 
obscure but most interesting subject; for the reader 
will soon perceive, that this could not have been 
satisfactorily accomplished in mer^ casual and in- 
terrupted conversation. Indeed, it is almost im- 
possible for any one to comprehend a great many 
particulars, which it is yet necessary not to overlook, 
Widiout having either himself carefully made ex- 
p0rime«its, or witnessed — at least attentively stu- 
died — those made by others. 

Fortunately, the kindness of a most respected 
friend, whoise active and enlightened mind is con- 
stait<ly alive to the interests of literature and 
science, has recently supplied me with an admir- 
aUe opportunity of introducing the subject to the 
notice of the British public, by communicating to 
me the late Report of the Magnetic Experiments 
made by a Committee of the Medical Section of 
the Royal Academy of France. I felt that I 
had now nothing more to do, than to lay this im- 
portant document before my countrymen, accom- 
panied by such an historical and explanatory in- 
troduction, Bs might enable those, who had not 


hitherto paid any attention to the subject, to eom- 
prehend its details.^ 

This subject ought to be peculiarly interesting 
to the medical profession, as well as to the philo* 
sopher in general. If the vast variety of facts, 
which have been graduallyaccumulating during the 
last half century, can be considered as satisfactorily 
substantiated, the force of the evidence in favour 
of Animal Magnetism — or by whatever other name 
we may choose to distinguish that peculiar species 
pf sympathetic influenee which has long been so 
called — becomes absolutely irresistible^ And if 
these facts be true, and not entirely supposititious 
and delusive, it cannot be denied that they are cal- 
culated to open up many new and most important 
views in medical and physiological science — in- 
deed, in the whole philosophy of the human mind. 

Ever since the time of that singular compound 
of genius and folly, Paracelsus, physicians in ge- 
neral seem to have been in the habit of relying 
too exclusively upon the efficacy of the chemical re- 
medies, to the almost entire neglect of many simple 
and natural, though equally efficacious, sanative 
processes, especially those powerful psychical in- 

* This Report, so far as I am aware, has not been published 
in France. A determinate number of copies, however, were li- 
thographed for the use of the members of the Academy ; and 
from one of these the translation has been made. 


fluences, which appear to have been known and 
employed in ancient times, and which are deve- 
loped with such prodigious effect, in the magnetic 
treatment. Thus, for example, in cases of epilepsy 
and other spasmodic diseases, the r^ular practi- 
tioner would perhaps prescribe the internal admi> 
nistration of lunar caustic, ammoniate of copper, 
or some other dangerous drug ; whereas, the mag- 
netic doctor would cure the patient as speedily, as 
effectually, and probably more safely, by means of 
a few simple, and apparently insignificant manipu- 
lations. This is a circumstance which surely de- 
serves the serious attention of the profession ; the 
more especially, as, should it still continue to be 
neglected by the regular physician, the treatment 
runs the risk of being unskilfully practised, and 
probably abused, by the empiric. * 

This country has produced many eminent phy- 
sicians, distinguished for their learning, their ta* 
lents, and their liberality.f Of late, however, our 
medical men seem liable to the reproach of having 

* This truth was fully exemplified during the earlier practice 
of AfUmal MagneHtm in France. 

*' £adem namque subjecti subtilitas et varietas, quse magnam 
medendi &cultatem prsebet, sic etiam magnam aberrandi facili- 
tatem.** — Bacok. 

•f- I trust, howeyer, that we have no reason, in our days, to 
say with Hippocrates, Medieifama quidem et nwUne muUi^ re au- 
tern et opere valde pauou 


almost entirely neglected the most important labours 
of their professional brethren upon the Continent. 
The interesting and instructive works of Sprengel, 
Reil, Treviranus, Gmelin, Wienholt, Autenrieth, 
and many others, are known only to a few ; and 
when any mention happens to be made of the subject 
of Anitnal Magnetism^ it is at best received with an 
ignorant ridicule, or with a supercilious reference 
to the superseded report of the French Commis- 
sioners in 1784 ; as if nothing had been done, since 
that period, towards a more profound experimen- 
tal investigation and improvement of the magnetic 

But it is evident that our physicians cannot long 
remain ignorant of these matters, without falling 
greatly behind the age in respect to professional 
acquirements. To them, therefore, I would re- 
spectfully, but earnestly, recommend a scientific 
and impartial inquiry into the subject. They are 
unquestionably the most competent to the investi- 
gation, the most interested in its result, and the 
best qualified to render the discovery — provided 
they shall be ultimately satisfied that it really is 
a discovery — most conducive to the interests of 
science, and to the public welfare. At all events, 
they ought no longer to betray utter ignorance up- 
on a subject which has long been handled in almost 
every physiological text-book upon the Continent. 


Within the limits which I had prescribed to my- 
self in this publication, it was found quite impos- 
sible fully to elucidate all the details of this inte- 
resting subject. This would have required, at the 
least, a large volume. All that I proposed to my- 
self, therefore, at this time, was merely to give 
such an introductory notice of this discovery, as 
might prepare the reader, in some degree, for a 
more serious study of its nature and principles, 
and of the evidence by which its reality is sup- 
ported. Should the present trivial publication at- 
tract any remarkable share of attention, additional 
information can easily be communicated hereaf- 


IMh April 1833. 

( *vii ) 




Wh£N the First Edition of this Inquiry was 
published, I was perfectly aware of the gross igno- 
rance that prevailed, in this country, upon the sub- 
ject of its contents, and of the prejudices I should 
probably encounter, and the ridicule to which I 
might expose myself, in attempting to recommend 
it to the serious notice of philosophers. Having 
occasionally bestowed a good deal of attention up- 
on Animal Magnetism, however, during a period 
of more than twenty years ; having carefully in- 
vestigated its origin «nd progress, perused all the 
most important works which treated of its prin- 
ciples, explained its practice, and established tiie 
reality of its operation ; and, moreover, having made 
a few successful experiments in order to satisfy 

VOL. I. h 



myself with regard to the truth of the facts and 
the alleged efficacy of the processes ; I felt myself, 
in some measure, qualified to communicate to 
others an adequate portion of information upon this 
interesting but neglected subject. Accordingly, I 
had long determined to publish a short account of 
the discovery, provided I found a favourable oppor- 
tunity, and was not anticipated by any other more 
competent individual. My object, I thought, would 
be amply attained, if I should only succeed in at- 
tracting public attention, and in exciting a spirit 
of investigation in more influential quarters. Per- 
*haps the very circumstances that, as an individual, 
I was altogether unconnected with the medical 
profession, and otherwise unattached to any parti- 
cular philosophical sect, and, consequently, cpuld 
have no conceivable interest in the establishment 
or refutation of the statements to be made or the 
doctrines to be propounded, might operate as an 
assurance that I should divest myself of all scien- 
tific prejudices, and treat the subject as an honest 
and zealous, although an humble, inquirer after 
truth. Indeed, I had no philosophical theory to 
recommend to the favourable notice of the public ; 
my sole object was to solicit their earnest and un- 
biassed attention to a class of very curious but 
hitherto much neglected facts, which I deemed of 
more than ordinary importance, and of the truth 


of which every competent inquirer might satisfy 
himself, as I had done, by study and experiment. 

But, notwithstanding the apparent simplicity 
of my project, I could not avoid feeling that, in 
carrying my determination into effect, I should 
have many serious difficulties and disadvantages to 
contend with. The subject — at least in its scien- 
tific relations — was new in this country, and al- 
most, if not entirely unknown to the great majo- 
rity of those to whom I should have to address 
myself: and, besides, so far as causes are concerned, 
it was by no means of easy explanation. Probably 
few, if any men of scientific pursuits, in this king- * 
dom, were prepared for a serious investigation of 
the details to be submitted to their j udgment. The 
terms, too, by which the doctrine has hitherto been 
designated, savoured of mysticism, with which, in- 
deed, it had been generally — at one time, perhaps, 
not altogether unjustly — associated; while the very 
extraordinary character of the facts to be adduced 
must almost necessarily have caused them to be 
viewed with the utmost suspicion and scepticism, 
at least, if not treated with absolute ridicule. From 
the gentlemen of the medical profession, whose 
opinion would naturally have much weight with 
the inexperienced public, I had, for obvious reasons, 
nothing to hope, but, at the utmost, an armed neu- 
trality ; although it was principally in a deficient 


knowledge of the technical lore peculiar to their 
craft, that I felt my own weakkiess and Wiant of 
Bupp^*t.* The celebrated Report of the French 
Academicians, in 1784— to Which I shall hare oc- 
casion to advert hereafter — had nterly banished 
Animal Magnetism from the territory of science, 
consigned it to the realms of imagination and de- 
lusion, and presented formidable obstacles to its 
restoration, by erecting a strong barrier of preju- 

• This neutrality, so far as I am aware, has been pretty strict- 
ly obserred, and I may even venture to confess my obligations 
for the polite attention I have experienced from several of the 
junior, and consequently most unprejudiced and most inquisi- 
tive, members of the profession. I cannot help expressing some 
surprise, however, that the subject should have been viewed by 
medical men, in general, with such an ap|)arently Hstless and 
apathetic indifference. Upon due inquiry (and this is all I ask 
for), they would find a number of very extraordinary and high- 
ly interesting fitcts, adduced upon the most incontrovertible evi- 
dence, to which sufficient attention has not been hitherto paid. 
These facts are most important to medical science, and ought to 
be seHously investigated. To this investigation they ought to 
be the most competent ; and by neglecting it, they just leave a 
wide door open to quackery, besides depriving themselves of ad- 
ditional means of being useful to society, and, by abandoning 
the scientific study of their profession, becoming little better 
than mere empirics. 

I must embrace this opportunity of returning my grateful 
thanks to the gentlemen connected with the medical periodical 
press, for the candour and courtesy with which they treated my 
former hasty and very imperfect production, and for the indul- 
gence they shewed towards the many errors into which my ig- 
norance of their science must necessarily have betrayed me. 

Vemam peHmus damutque vtcksim. 


dice against all further inquiry. Any attempt, 
subsequently miade, to re-introdnee the subject to 
public notice, mu^ have been regarded as imply- 
ing a preference of private investigation and indi- 
vidual judgment, to the apparently solemn, delibe- 
rate and authoritative decision of a celebrated 
scientific body. Besides, the names of the greater 
number of those individuals — however respectable 
or distinguished among their own fellow-citizens — 
who had made Animal Magnelism the object of 
their researches ^pon the Continent, and given 
their countenance to that mode of treatment as a 
sanative process, were almost entirely ihikDown in 
this country, and, conseqaently, could have carried 
little Weight along vnth them, if authority only 
were to be depended upon. 

In more recent times, however, — fturtcmately for 
my projected undertaking, — ^a Committee consist- 
ing of some of the most distinguished members of 
one of those scientific societies, which had formerly 
pronouinced a judgment so apparently unfavourable 
in this interesting matter— the Royal Academy of 
Medicine at Paris — ^have fVamed a new Report up- 
on the subject, founded upon numerous experi- 
ments, which may be fairly consider^ as having 
now superseded the former Report of the Commis- 
sioners appointed in 1784, and thus placed Animal 
Magnetism upon a footing of respectability, by 


conferring upon its study, at length, the sanction 
of that learned body. While the original Commis- 
sioners had formerly— in the very infancy of the 
inquiry — in the days of comparative ignorance—, 
prematurely condemned the doctrine and practice 
of Animal Magnetism as delusive and dangerous; 
a recent Committee of competent persons, appoint- 
ed from among their own body by one of the most 
learned scientific societies in Europe, have now, 
with far more ample and more mature knowledge 
of the subject, with an infinitely larger body of 
evidence before them, and with a praiseworthy zeal 
tempered with a truly philosophical caution, re-in- 
vestigated the facts, reviewed the question, and 
found reason to reverse the hasty and inconsiderate 
sentence of their predecessors.* 

It is curious, and by no means uninstructive, to 

* Dr Bertrand states it as an important fact, that, in the dis- 
cussions which preceded the recent investigation and Report b^ 
the Royal Academj of Medicine, there was scarcely one mem- 
ber who opposed the proposition for a new examination, who 
did not, at the same time, admit that maffneiism exerts a real ac- 
tion on ihe animal economp. This affords one instance among 
many of the irrational inconsistency of some of the opponents of 
Animal Magnetism. They pretend to admit the existence of 
the agent, while they obstinately refuse to investigate the rea- 
lity of the phenomena by which alone its efficacy can be demon- 

NonntUlif Usdio veritatis invdstiganda^ ouilibet opinioni potius ig- 
rtavi swseumbunt, quam ejiphrandd veritate pertinaoi diligentid per- 
ieverare vduni, — Minut. Felix. 


observe the different reception which these two re- 
ports respectively met with in the scientific world.. 
The former, with all its numerous faults, imperfec- 
tions, inconsistencies, and contradictions on its 
head, was, at once« almost universally hailed, by 
the professional physician and the philosopher, with 
the highest satisfaction and applause, as conclusive 
with regard to the reality, the merit, and the uti- 
lity of an alleged important discovery, which had 
begun to disturb the calmness of their scientific 
repose. The latter has been viewed with suspi- 
cion and distrust, and treated with censure, con- 
tumely and ridicule, because it has opened up an 
obnoxious but highly interesting discussion; al- 
though this last Committee, carefully avoiding the 
controversial example of their predecessors, have 
merely laid before their brethren the result of their 
own experiments and observations, without one 
word of argument, or a single allusion to theory. 
This affords one instance, among many, of the ex- 
treme reluctance which is felt by philosophers to 
allow their partial convictions to be unsettled by 
new lights, and of the great difficulty of procuring 
a favourable reception for doctrines which are ob- 
jectionable only because they are deemed to be< in- 
compatible with preconceived notions. 

Were we even to go the length of holding. that 
these two apparently conflicting Reports neutra- 






Itsed each other — 'which, however, would be an- 
fair, considering the very different situation and 
opportunities of the two Commissions, as well as 
the spirit by which they seem to have been respec- 
tively actuated — we «hould still be left in po^sefr- 
sion of the whole of the facts elicited by both Com- 
mittees, together with all the other overwhelming 
evidence brought out by the numerous investiga- 
tions of many competent and eredible individual 
inquirers, in support of the reality of Animal Jtf^- 
netism. Indeed, the last Report of the French 
Academicians contains but an inconiideraUe frag- 
ment of the evidence in the case. So true is this, 
that even were the BefMirt in question— however 
valuable as an auxiliary, as expressing the decided 
conviction, afiter the most anxious, the most ample, 
the most able and deliberate inquiry, of some of 
the most eminent scientific physicians in Europe— 
were this Report, Isay^ at this moment annihilated 
and forgotten, the most important £Eusts which it 
recc^ises ckmld, nevertheless, be established, in 
the most satisfactory manner, by evidence alto- 
gether ind^endent of it, as I trust I shall be en- 
abled to shew iu tfae sequel. Nay, in this docu- 
ment, some ^ the most remarkable phenomena 
which occasionally occur in the magnetic practice, 


as will be seen hereafter, are scarcely even adverted 
to. In one pokd; of view, at least, this last Report 



unquestionably possesses a decided superiority over 
the former. It is limited to the iaets alone which 
fell under the observation of the reporters, and 
cautiously avoids all doubtful, perplexing, and un- 
satisfactory theories.* 

I am quite aware that a great many of the facts 
to which I shall have occasion to solicit the atten- 
tion of the reader, especially when I come to treat 

* Those ingenious persons who vainly imagine that they liave 
demolished Animal Magnetism, when they have merely uttered 
some foolish quibbles, jokes, or invectives against the last Re- 
port of the French Academicians, ought to be made aware that 
they have not attempted, far less accomplished, one thousandth 
part of their necessary labours* They must proceed to examine 
and refute the voluminous works of Doctors Wienholt, Olbers 
(the astronomer), Treviranus, Heinecken, Gmelin, Brandis, 
Passavant, Kluge, Ennemoser, Ziermann, &c. ; of Professors 
Kieser, Eschenmayer, Nasse, Nees von Esenbeck, &c. ; of MM. 
de Puysegur, Tardy de Montravel, Deleuze, de Lausanne, 
Roullier, Chardel, Fillassier, &c They must invalidate the 
whole &ct8 brought forward in these works, and in the vari- 
ous periodical and other publications which have appeared upon 
this subject, and prove that their authors were and are fools or 
knaves and liars ; for all of them speak of what they assert to 
have witnessed. Moreover, they must refute Nature herself^ 
and demonstrate that, according to all the known principles of 
science, she is an arraut quack and impostor, and utterly un- 
worthy of the slightest degree of credit, when' she pretends to 
act in opposition to established notions. In attempting this 
arduous and very laudable task, I may admire their boldness, 
but Cannot promise them success. Yet until they have done 
all this, they must not be allowed to boast of having vefiited 
Animal Magnetism. 

VOL. I. C 






of the higher phenomena of Animal Magnetism, 
are of a very extraordinary character->-apon the 
first view, perhaps, altogether incredible; sncb, in 
short, as 

'* Maj gratify our curiodfy, 

'* But ought not to necessitate belie£*' 

The evidence adduced in support of the reality of 
these facts, I freely admit, must be thoroughly 
sifted, and carefully examined, and accurately 
weighed—- must be ascertained to be of the most 
ample, the most unsuspicious, the most cogent and 
irresistible nature — 'before their existence can be 
generally admitted. But a rational, a philosophi- 
cal scepticism can be allowed to go no farther than 
this, however extraordinary, however incompi^ehen- 
sible the facts themselves may appear to be. That 
an individual, for example, in certain circumstances, 
in a peculiar state of the organism, should be able 
to see, or, at least, should appear to us to exercise 
the faculty of vision, at thei pit of the stomach, the 
palms of the hands, or the points of the fingers, is, 
no doubt, most extraordinary, quite inconsistent 
with common experience, and incompatible with 
the principles of all established science — some, 
perhaps, will exclaim. Marvellous ! impossible !* 

* Yoici leur jaxgon : Cela est faux, impossible, absurde ! 
Eh ! combien j a t-il de choses lesquelles, pour un temps, nous 
avons rejet^es avec ris^ comme impossibles, que nous aTons H4 
contraints d'aTouer apr^s, et encore passer outre k d'autres plus 


But the phenomenon,' when its reality has once been 
established, and its conditions ascertained, bysatis- 
fectory and irreivagable evidence-^when once we 
are assnred th^it isftrpowtive^natorat foct **' thephe- 
nomenon, I say; howtBipeF extraofjiinary and remote 
from common experiencei it may be^ is nonewrefiii- 
raeiilous opincredible^tiianthat thesame individdal^ 
in differcBt ciroomstanees^ in ^hor ordinary state-vf 
the organism, sbonldsee with his ^es. iWe are ^oo 
apt to judge of the reality of thingaby thdrmove 
familiar oxtenrarl appearances, and, foi^tting :tfae 
first aphorism:of Iiord ^Bacon^to expect that Natava 
will always accommodate b«r opeeatioirs to^ontNpi^i. 
eooceived notioosof poasibilky, and^adapt^her phe-' 
Boneaa4x> our •arbitrary systems of philo^opby. ^hi 
aeertain^sense, indeed, universal 'nature may^'be 
said to^ constitute one grand and incomprehensible 
miraoleoft]>mne Power. • In? Our present ordinary 
state of iesistenee,^we are permitted to see only 
^as^faroc^h a glass-^^arkly.^ V We are yetcon- 
fassedljr ignorant mf > many tyf the -powers^ and *pro- 
desees of nature, 'as well asof the causes- to which 
ttyey are ^to be ascribed. ^ We are, therefore, not en- 
titled to* prescribe Kmita to' her operations, and' to 
9B^U^h^Ti''Hiihert9shaUihmgo,tmdnofc^ We 
must tidt' presume to assign* bounds to the exercise 

^CnngM. ^l%tixi retMniri; coliibieii d'auUes nous ont ^t^ comme 
articles de fbi, et puis vains mensonges I— XaAaaoK, Dela Sa^ 
geste, Liv. I. 




of the power of the Almighty ; nor are these ope- 
rations and that power to be controlled by the ar- 
bit«^ theories and capricious fancies of o,an. To 
borrow the language of an old and eloquent English 
author, ** The ways of God in nature, as in pro- 
vidence, are not as our ways : Nor are the models 
that we frame any way commensurate to the vast- 
ness, profundity, and unsearchableness of His 
works, which have a depth in them greater than 
the well of Democritus."** 

In this age of intellect, it seems, we have become 
much too enlightened to believe in miracles, and 
yet we are constantly surrounded by miracles ; for, 
essentially, every thing in nature is a miracle. The 
human eye, with its power of vision, which is 
placed in intimate and immediate connexion with 
the soul, is a mii'acle; [and so of the other senses. 
The motion of the muscles at the command of the 
will is a most astonishing and incomprehensible 
miracle. The regular return of the seasons, the 
fertility of the earth, the origin and nature of man, 
the millions of worlds around us, and their unvaried 
revolutions, the principle of gravitation, the phe- 
nomena of electro-magnetism, &c.— all these things 
are miracles, which do not owe their existence and . 
preservation to themselves, but depend upon de- 
termined laws assigned them by that great, pmni- 

* Joseph GlanvilL 


scient, and omnipotent Being by whom they were 
originally created. But because they are universal 
and continually recurring, they no longer appear 
to U8 as miracles ; all this has become so natural to 
us, that we conclude it could not have been other- 
wise than it is. But do these miracles, which per- 
vade all nature, cease to be miracles, because they 
are common to all existence? They are still 
miracles, only subject to certain laws which are 
generally recognised. Hence it comes, that. we 
only consider as a miracle whatever appears to us 
to deviate from these general laws, and dues not 
seem to coincide with the other common phenomena. 
For instance, were the exalted psychical powers of 
some individuals, such as the clairvoyance of som- 
nambulists, a property common to all men in ge- 
neral, nobody would consider it as miraculous, 
but as an endowment conferred by nature upon^ll 
mankind. Exceptions, deviations from a general 
rule, however, are disputed and denied, unless they 
become as obvious to the senses as the influence of 
the magnet, which we recognise when it attracts 
iron, although we do not comprehend its cause. 
Nature supplies us with facts, and of these men 
form theories and systems by means of a more or 
less perfect process of generalization. But^ unfor-^ 
tunately, in the course of time, these theories are 
permitted to supersede nature, our systems are 

. .■ V 


completed, . and * tbencefocward we become obsti- 
natdy'indispoeed to adsnit the reality of any fact, 
however clearly demonstrated^ which does n<»t fall 
within: ouTiealaiblished general laws. 

We know a number of instances in which wounds 
and diseases have been cured % sympathy ; bui 
ma^y persons, .who are isceptica ioi regard' to aU 
other super^enisible 'phenomena do ^not hes^atoto 
deny aU>sacfa^ effectsof sympathTyoi^'whichJibejr 
hare not been witnesses, or * wliiefa they> b»«ie; 
not themselves experienced. Others :haTe hwi 
a presentiment /of ^ certain events which has been 
subsequently verified in the most wonderfufl-man^- 
ner. Theses* persons profess their belief in such 
presentiments^btit reject the influence^of ^sympathy, 
the^ckdrvo^ttce of somnambulists^ and other«xtra«> 
ordinary 'phenomena. Biit if the one be true^ the 
others' are, at' least) possible; and experience must' 
determine the reality of both. Now, the reality of 
the'extraordinsiryphenomena alluded to, as shall 
hereafter^ be shewn, has been demonstrated by such 
satisfactory evidence as must put even the most 
obstinate scepticism 4;o silenee ; and the most - leanii-^ 
ed and enlightened physicians, who ^ have eonde^ 
soended< te investigate the subject impartially^ no 
longer attempt to deny facts which either they 
themselves, or others, have frequently witnessed, 
and which incontrovertibly prove that there are 


hidden powers in the humaji constitution, whi^h 
are ciq;>able of being developed on particular occa- 
sions, and under fayourable circ^]Xlstla^ces, an4 
which the ignorant then gaze miracles.* 

It has hitherto been too much the custom with . 
all the zealous partizans and apostles of new doc- 
trines and- systems, of sciencei however suspicious 
or fanciful, to make*a clamorous ^nd iiQpatient, and. 
often very unreaisonabie, appeal to the^ fidth or ere-*, 
dulity of the public. I have too high an opiuiou; 
of the candour of my readers, and too much .reispe^t 
for their intelligence, to make uny such appeal upon, 
the present occasion. Firm, indeed, as is-my own 
individual conviction of the reality and importance 
of the facts I am about to submit to the.considera-^ 
tion of the public, I do not now, I never did, and 
never shall, call upon any one to profess his belief 
in them : — 

'' Let me be censurM by th' austerest brow. 
Where I want art or judgment, tax me freely : 
Let envious censors, with their broadest eyes. 
Look through and through me. I pursue no &vour ; 
Only vouohaa/e me your aiteniioiu**f 

I merely solicit the patient attention of the honest 
and unprejudiced inquirer, and humbly invite him 
to read, and reason, and investigate, and request 

* See some striking observations upon this subject in a work 
by Professor W. Stilling, (entitled : Der Zutammenhany derSeele 
mit der Geitterwelt, Ludwigsburg, 1834. 

-f- Ben Jonson. 






that be will believe nothing but upon the most co- 
gent evidence of its truth. Conviction, when ulti- 
mately obtained in this way, will be less apt to be 
mingled with error — will be more valuable in it- 
self, more powerful and more permanent. Let it 
be remembered that I am not going to open up any 
new views of religious faith, nor even to expoulid 
any new system of human science. I am merely 
about to lay before the public a class of very inte> 
resting natural facts, which, although many of them 
have been occasionally observed during thousands 
of years, have hitherto been too much disregarded 
by philosophers, and, consequently, still await a 
satisfactory elucidation. Should I have occasion 
to bring forward any theoretical or speculative no- 
tions upon this subject, it will only be for the pur- 
pose of exhibiting the analogy that exists between 
these facts and other known phenomena of nature, 
or of shewing how ingenious men have attempted 
to explain things which to many appear to be per- 
fectly anomalous and inexplicable. I trust, how- 
ever, that the intelligent reader will carefully dis- 
tinguish between theory and fact, and beware of 
permitting the former to withdraw his attention 
from the latter. It was by vigorously attacking 
the theories of the first magnetizers, and denying 
or suppressing the facts, or keeping them in the 
back ground, or misrepresenting and subjecting 


them to ridicule, that the adversaries of Animal 
Magnetism on the Continent so long succeeded in 
their opposition to that doctrine, in the face of daily 
experience; and as it is extremely probable that 
the same disingenuous mode of hostility may be at- 
tempted upon its first introduction into this coun- 
try, we should be cautious of allowing ourselves 
to lose sight of the facts, when we have once be- 
come satisfied of their reality. 

The great book of Nature lies open and acces- 
sible to all. Some individuals may be more, while 
others are less, capable of deeyphering the charac- 
ters in which it is written, and of comprehending, 
and duly appreciating, the truths it reveals. But 
if wc would peruse it with advantage, we must 
prepare ourselves for the study, by previously 
shaking off all prepossession. Some, perhaps, have 
the misfortune to be naturally blind ; but the pro- 
verb truly teaches us, that there are none so blind 
as those who will not see.* The scepticism of 

* Certe et labor irriitu et nuilus effedus, offerre lumen coca, ser- 
mcnem surdo, sapientiam hruto, — St Cypbian. 

^^ It often happens, however, that an object is not seen, from 
not knowing how to see it, rather than from anj defect in the 
organ of vision. Mr Babbage has given a striking illustration 
of this fact. Conversing with Sir .John Herschel on the dark 
lines observed in the solar spectrum hy Frauenhofer, he inquired 
whether Mr Babbage had seen them ; and on his replying in 
the negative, Sir John Herschel mentioned the extreme diffi- 
culty he had had, even with Frauenhofer*s description in his 
hand, and the long time which it had cost him in detecting 




science, wbicb hath certainly rid us of many errors, 
sometimes repek,. with too much contempt, the in- 
vestigation of phenomena which it d^m9 impos-; 
sible, or inconsistent with some preconceived sys- 
tem. But this pre-occupation jof the mind is in- 
compatible with the enlarged study of nature; and 
there are no prejudices so difficult to eradicate, 
and, at the same time, so detrimental to the real 
progress of useful knowledge* as the prejudices of 
self-satisfied and exclusive science. 

Although, at this time of day, it may appear 
to those conversant with the subject to be some- 
thing like a work of supererogation to attempt to 
answer, at any great length, the objections formerly 
urged by ignorance and prejudice against the mag- 
netic treatment ; yet it may be proper to take some 
short notice of the most prevalent ; the more espe-> 
ciallyas they may happen to be revived in this coun- 
try by persons who are not aware that they have been 
already repeatedly and most effectually refuted. 

them t He then added, ^ I will prepare the apparatus, and put 
jou in such a position that they shall be visible, and yet you 
shall look for them and not find them : after which, while you 
remain in the same position,- 1 will instruct you how to see ihem^ 
and you shall see them, and not merely wonder you -did not see 
them before, but you shall find it impossible to look upon the 
spectrum without seeing them.' On looking as he was directed, 
notwithstanding the previous warning, Mr Babbage did 910^ see 
them ; and, after some time, he inquired how they might be 
seen, when the prediction of Sir John Herschel was completely 
flilfilled.''«THOif AS Martik, Charaoter of Lord Baeofiy &c. 


In the first place, then^ it was once loudly, ast 
serted by many, and is still faintly repeated by a 
few, that Animal Magn^ism is altogether a system 
of mere quackery and delusion. This objection—- ^ 
which might, perhaps, haye some pl^ausibilityduring 
the infancy of the discovery- — has now become ut- 
terly ;ludicrou8, and betrays either consummate ig-; 
uorance of tb^ subject, or gross dishonesty* Fq^, 
in this assertion it is implied that hundreds .of 
learned, intelligent and eminent individpals — ^phy? 
sicians, philosophers and others — ^ip various par^k 
of Europe and at diflferent periods of time, mfmy 
of them without any pers<mal .knowledge, of each 
other, and having no immediate communicationji 
bad actually conspired together for the purpoeia of 
paknmg a paltry p^ce of deception ui)t90 the scien. 
tific world ^ and that, with this sole object in view, 
they had wantonly sacrificed, not their time and 
talents, only, but their character, their respectabl* 
lity and their honour; and all this without the 
slightest prospect of advantage to themselves, for 
hitherto, it is believed^ the practice of Animal Mag-^ 
netism has been by no means a profitable occupa- 
tion. And this calumny, be it remembered, is ut- 
tered against such men as the Doctors Wienholt,* 

* Wienholt, in conjunction with his colleague Dr Olbers» 
the celebrated astronomer, successfully employed the magnetic 
treatment in a variety of cases where all the ordinary resources 


Olbers, Gmelin, Heinecken, Trevirauus, Hufeland, 
Brandis, Kluge, Passavant, Ennemoser, &c. ; the 
Professors Sprengel, Kieser, Escbenmayer, Nasse, 
&c. — M. Tardy de Mohtravel, the Marquis de Pay- 
segur, M. Deleuze, M. de Lausanne, M. Chardel, 
the Russian Count Panin, Baron de Strombeck, 
the nine eminent physicians who subscribed the 
recent Report of the French Royal Academy of 
Medicine, and hundreds of other intelligent indi- 
viduals of the most undoubted respectability. In- 
deed, considering the many accomplished profes- 
sional gentlemen who have countenanced this me- 
thod of practice, the mere mooting of such an ob- 
jection as this implies a degree of scepticism which 
is utterly ludicrous and absurd. Upon what evi- 
dence, I would ask, are we to be permitted to be- 
lieve any series of facts ? What amount of proof 
is required to justify the general introduction of 
any new medicine or mode of treatment ? If Ani- 

of the medical art had enUiely failed to produce any beneficial 
effect The results of this practice were published in four vo- 
lumes, which I would earnestly recommend to the attention of 
the student of Animal Magnetism. All tlie other eminent in- 
dividuals above mentioned have recorded their fiiith in the salu- 
tary effects of the magnetic processes, and in the reality of the 
most remarkable phenomena ; most of them have written scien- 
tific or practical works upon the subject, and those still living, 
and belonging to the medical profession, are, I believe, in the 
constant habit of employing a mode of treatment, the efficacy 
of which has been fully demonstrated by experience. 



mal Magnetism be an imposture, where shall we 
look for reality ? 

Thatxquackery may be exhibited here, as in the 
regular medical profession, it would be absurd to 
depy. Yet we have never heard physicians urge 
this circumstance as an objection to the practice of 
their art. Apd supposing that cases occasionally 
do o^cur in which imposture is active, and the phe- 
nomena are feigned ; — ^an hundred such cases could 
not affect the truth of the facts really manifested, 
and attested by competent and credible witnesses. 
There might be a thousand false sovereigns in cir- 
-eulation ; but he would be rather a strange logician 
who should attempt to prove from thence that there 
is no such thing as a genuine coin of that denomi- 
nation. Because there are many quacks, is there 
no such thing in nature as an honest and skilful 
physician ? Because rogues abound, are there no 
honest men? This, indeed, is rather a singular 
argument in the mouth of a medical man, especially 
when we reflect that by far the greater number of 
the phenomena of Animal Magnetism have been 
elicited by the investigation of regular graduates, 
and rest upon medical evidence. Moreover, if me- 
dicine be not altogether a system of quackery, the 
very circumstance that the magnetic practice may 
give occasion to the exercise of quackery and de- 
ception, is one of the very best reasons why honest 


and' respectable professional men should endeavour 
to wrest it out of the hands of the empiric, and take 
it under their own protection. 

' In the second place, it has *be6ti -urg^ Its an eb- 
jection against the practice of Aftimal Magnetism, 
that it IS' uncertain in its operation. But it is illo- 
gical to concltide thiit, because the magnetic trtot- 
meut d6e9 not invariably prodilce the-desired ciffect, 
it is therefore altogether inoperative and useless. 
Certi»n ntiknown, perhaps accidental, circumstan- 
ces^ taay'^ounteract its usual efficacy in particular 
instances; indeed, several of these circumistances 
have beien already discovered and made known, and 
others may be detected upon farther - experience. 
The same thing, however, it may be observed, some- 
times occult in the ordinary medical practice. The 
prescribed medicines do not, upon every occasion, 
operate in the precise manner expected by the phy- 
sician; yet, from this circumstance, no sane per- 
i^n would attempt to demonstrate the totkl inutili- 
ty of medicine. A' thotisand unprolific inai*riages 
tliko pliace ; yet, upon the strength t)f this fact, no 
one^ould be' foolish enough to' deny that the'mul- 
tiplication of mankind is brought about by the 
union of' the sexes. Ail hundred unsuccessful ex- 
periments cannot redargiie the evidence 'of esta- 
blishied facts. A million 'df blind persons will ne* 
ter "prove thlit^the natural' hedfthy eye is sightless. 


It 18 quite eertain that the magnetic treatment 
has been sucoesfifuUy employed in many instances 
where the ordinary resources of medical skill had 
entirely failed to produce any beneficial eflPect; and 
in i^me oaieslt is considered as nearly a specific. 

In the third placie^ it has beei> alleged^ and uJM>n 
apparently high irdthdrity, that the practice of Ani- 
ttial Magnetism is dangerous. Nbw, if by this 
allegation it is meant that the- Administration of 
this remedy by tmskilful persons, and in improper 
circumstances, may bo attended with dangerous 
consequences, 'tine objection'^ must be admitted. 
But hete, again^ the objection equally ap^es to 
the ordinary medical practice. -May not'thesame 
thing be ^i of the imprudent administration of 
<ipium, of arsenic, of foxglove^ of mercury, or of 
any other medicinal drug ? Nay^' ifif it not equally 
applicable to the unskilful use 'of' siH'gical instru- 
ments? The best mcidicines, it has been said, and 
probably with reaBO%'are poisons in ihehanfds of 
the imprudent; whereas, the strongest poisons are 
•niedieines^ when cautiously adttnnistered by the ex- 
iperiencedtpbysicnan. ^B^des, it'is implied jn this 
objection^ that Ihe treatment in ^eiiftion' Sdoerpro^ 
^coi^me eiiP(dcts;''a!6d'this'fiklmisfinon,'oh the part 
of its most strbnuotis'oppMidtats^ is exeeedingly^va- 
lUalble. tn slMMii^1ihis('objeoti<Ai'lB whoSly founded 
<«pon the ai^fttttient ab eibiau di ttindn^-^iifrom the 


abuse to the use of any article whatever ; and it 
has therefore no force when directed against Ani- 
mal Magnetism in particular. But it affords ano- 
ther powerful reason for taking the practice out of 
the hands of the empiric, and confiding it entirely 
to the intelligent and skilful physician. . 

Fire and water are dangerous and destructive 
fi elements ; but would we banish them entirely fron^i 

the universe, lest we should be burnt or drowned ? 
The elements of the unceasing activity of nature 
will continue to exist, whatever short-sighted mor- 
tals, in their spurious wisdom, may be pleased to 
determine in regard to them. Let us study the 
properties, the relations, the powers of these tre- 
mendous elements ; and so shall we best learn to 
use them with advantage, and to protect ourselves 
from their injurious effects. 

Objections, such as I have now briefly noticed, 
were, for a considerable period, urged against the 
practice of Animal Magnetism upon the Continent, 
and perhaps with some shew of reason, so long as 
it was exercised principally by unprofessional, ig- 
norant, and, it may be, unprincipled persons, and 
intimately associated with absurd mystical theories. 
But the circumstances are now entirely changed. 
The mind of every competent and conscientious 
inquirer was at length completely overwhelmed by 
the irresistible force of the evidence of the facts 



accumulated by experience ; a number of eminent 
physicians adopted and improved the treatment, 
and subjected the phenomena to a more scientific 
investigation ; the doctrine assumed a more philo- 
sophical form; and the objections alluded to, hav- 
ing now become utterly ludicrous and contemptible 
when viewed in opposition to the facts, were ulti- 
mately abandoned by every enlightened antagonist 
of the system. So far as I am aware, there is now, 
upon the Continent, no longer any question regard- 
ing the reality of Animal Magnetism as a fact, at 
least among those who have thoroughly investigat- 
ed the subject, and of such alone I speak ; that 
question has been completely set at rest by a vast 
multitude of well-conducted and decisive experi- 
nients ; the only points still controverted rel^ite to 
the causes to which the effects ought to be ascribed, 
and to the efficacy and utility of the treatment ; — 
in short, the question is now reduced to one of 
theory alone, and here, it must be confessed, there 
is much scope for speculation. 

That one human being, in certain circumstances, 
and under certain conditions, is capable of pro- 
ducing a very perceptible, and, in some instances, 
a most remarkable effect upon the organism of an- 
other, by the exertion of some hitherto unknown, 
and consequently inexplicable influences, either 

VOL. I. d 


pbjmttl or-psyofaiesd, x>r botii» ocmibineil'^for ^^ 
has'not^ been precisely asdertained-^ has been fi^ 
quently asserted as a faot;> in aiment >and in mo-^ 
deiiEi times* Afany instaaoes iff it are upon .reeord; 
and this fact; upon* whatever principles it -may i>l^ 
timately be found to depend^ basinowtbeen estar 
blishedi beyond the <poBsibiiitgrfofi rational deub^ 
by the resab of the processeecof Animal MBgoe- 
tisnu It is a fact) however,. which has probably 
been believed by many without sufficient .inqaiiy^ 
and certainly. rejected by othecs witiiout any.adet- 
quate or satisfactory investigation^ The apparent 
mystery which envelopes' the >sttb}ecti& well calou-^ 
lated to. feed credulity in< some, and to generate 
scepticism in others ; — iu: either case . erecting a 
barrier against all sober and scientific . in^^uiry. 
Tbeonly persons who are entitled to haveAn au^t- 
thoritative voice in the .decision of a question of 
this nature, are either such. as have themselves 
made an adequate experimental investagsiliiDn, or 
such as have carefully studied the subject, and in^t 
partially -weighed the whole evidence* From snch 
competent judges. Animal Magnetism has^iuMthiiig 
to apprehend* The phenomena' alleged to have xch 
suited from the magnetic practice are either true, 
or some hundreds of enlightened and respectable^ 
individuals, otherwise of unimpeachable veracity, 
have, in this instance, been guilty of the most 


daring and unparalleled effroptery — of the meet 
wanton, gratuitoas, and abominable falsehood; 
while many thousands of sober and sensible men, 
most of them originally sceptical in regard tp the 
facts, have permitted themselves to be iinposed up- 
on by the grossest delusion; and this, too, in cases 
where deception appears to have been impossible, 
or, if possible, could be productive of no imagin- 
able advantage, and was, besides, of easy detection. 
Moreover, almost every individual may have an op- 
portunity of verifying these phenomena, for his own 
particular satisfaction, by complying with the re- 
quisite conditions. In short, an obstinate denial 
of the reality of these facts, in the face of all the 
evidence, is not only irrational in itself, but would 
annihilate the grounds of all philosophical belief, 
and tear up all science by the roots. 

There is one particular method of treating novel 
facts, which appear hostile to established theories 
or systems of science, to which I would briefly call 
the attention of the reader, although it is perhaps 
the most dangerous of any, because apparently the 
most rational, and certainly the most plausible of 
aU. I think it right, indeed, to put the honest in- 
quirer- upon his guard against all those specious 
and sophistical practices, which tend to perpetuate 
ignorance and error, and to prevent or retard the 
advancement of truth* The method to which I 


now allude, is that by which a clever but disinge- 
nuous writer, with a very superficial knowledge, 
or no knowledge at all, of a particular subject, 
resting upon principles generally conceived to have 
been already sufficiently established, combines his 
powers of wit Und ridicule, with every species of 
tortuous sophistry, and brings the whole battery 
to bear against doctrines which he deems incom- 
patible with received notions. He feels his ad* 
vantage in combating new opinions, and arguing 
on the side of the many against the few. His 
object is victory, not truth ; and he knows that the 
more he can perplex and darken the subject, the 
better chance he has to profit by the t)bscurity. 
He is quite an adept in the art of distorting facts, 
and perverting arguments, of making a false ap- 
plication of known principles, and of contriving to 
throw an air of ridicule over the most serious sub- 
jects. Never was the Sphynx more captious in 
her enigmas, than such an antagonist in his pro- 
positions. He knows how to give them a form 
which may impose upon the soundest logic. He 
himself contrives to assume the appearance of a 
good logician : he attacks with vigour — he evades 
with address ; and when arguments fail him, he 
has recourse to wit. From a consequence which 
is just, and which he places in th^ strongest and 
fairest light, he passes to a num^iwr^^f other con- 


clusionH, wliich are utterly false, bat which he 
knows how to clothe in the same colours with the 
first. By means of this disguise, they pass (Cur- 
rent in the train, like well counterfeited coin, and 
are believed to be of the same nature, and of the 
same value. When hard pressed by unanswerable 
arguments, he squirts out a profuse quantity of 
inky matter around him, and, like the cuttle-fish, 
makes his escape amidst the obscurity. Some- 
times, too, a vigorous sarcasm astounds the reader, 
and extricates the writer from a serious embarrass, 
ment, occasioned by the invincible opposition of 
some stubborn, unmanageable, and insuperable 
facts: like Hannibal, who, when arrested in his 
march by the rocks of the Alps, is said to have em- 
ployed vinegar to dissolve them, and thus cleared a 
passage for his army. Such a writer securely relies 
upon having all the ignorant and indolent upon his 
side, and, accordingly, addresses himself principally 
to those who are disposed to mistake wit for argu- 
ment, and ridicule for refutation — to those who, 
at all times, would rather be amused than instruct- 
ed. But I need not enlarge any farther upon this 
method — which, when skilfully employed, is. ex- 
ceedingly effi^ctive — because it is in very general 
use, and many admirable specimens of it are to be 
found in our modern reviews. I trust, however, 
that the majority, at least, of those to whom this 


publication is addressed, possess too much intel- 
lectual discerpment to be imposed upon by sophis- 


try of this description, or to accept of aii argument, 
a sneer, or a sarcasm, as a sufficient refutation of 
a demonstrated fact. Let them remember th^ 
Veritas, mm est de ratione faceti ; or, to borrow the 
words, of the English poet, 

" Reason is ill refuted with a sneer." 

I am aware it may very naturally occur to the 
reader, that the topics I have undertaken to inves- 
tigate in the following pages, would have been 
treated with much more scientific and technical 
skill and precision, and with much greater felicity 
of illustration, by some intelligent member of the 
medical profession, than by an individual who must 
be presumed to be little conversant with the cog- 
nate departments of knowledge. Nay, I may per- 
haps be reminded of the very judicious advice of 
the poet, 

^<< .................. quid medicarum est 

Pertractent medici ; tractent fabrilia &brL" 

Now, I have not the slightest hesitation in amply 
acknowledging, as I deeply feel| my own deficien* 
cies in the, essential qualifications requisite for the 
adequate performanceof the task I have, perhaps too 
arrogantly, undertaken; and, had I observed a dispo- 
sition on the:part of any gentleman of professional 


education, in this country^to take up and investigate 
the subject, to communicate the result of his inteU 
ligent and impartial inquiries, and to add his ac- 
knowledged acquisitions to the already accumu* 
lated treasures of science, I should unquestionably 
never have presumed to obtrude myself upon pub- 
lic notice as an ej:pounder of the apparent myste- 
ries of ^imal Magnetism ; but, on the contrary, 
I shoi^ld have been most happy to withdraw from 
the field| and abandon the task to hands more skil- 
fuL than mine. But I regret having been at length 
compelled to relinquish all hope of any such pro- 
fessional and unprqi^ced investigation^ I am 
sorry to have found the medioal.gentlemen in Great 
BritiMn^ with a very few honourable exceptions, 
div}de4'ipto Xwo classes in r/^lation to this interest- 
ing study^ The. one is. composed of individuals 
who p]a€e;themselves in an attitude of determined 
hosUiity, reiioLved, it would; appear^ not even to 
listen to facts, far. less to be convinced by reason — 
individuals whose, object, it seems to be, not only to 
rendc^r their own minds impenetrable to all rational 
coovictifOPf but to endeavour to argue, to frighten, 
•r (ajridicule the rest of mankind. out of the use of 
their natural faculties — to persuade them to shut 
their eyes, to close their ears, and to steel their 
understandings against the admission of even the 
evidence of truths and to resign themselves impli'- 


citly, like trae Catholics, to all the prejudices of 
foreclosed science. The other class consists of 
such as look upon the whole details of the subject 
with a listless and apathetic indifference, and whom 
it seems in vain to attempt to rouse out of that 
state of torpor and inanition — that more than mag- 
netic sleep — into which they have permitted them- 
selves to sink, as into a slough of despond. 

It is not easy to discover the cause of this most 
extraordinary hostility and indifference, unless, 
perhaps, we may ascribe it to that propensity of 
the mind, which, after a certain routine of study 
atid labour, indisposes it for the reception of new 
truths, which are supposed to stand in opposition 
to previous acquirements. The subject itself is 
sufficiently curions and interesting, and worthy of 
the most serious investigation ; and it is difficult to 
imagine how any class of men, professing a love 
for the pursuits of science, and possessing every 
facility for extending their knowledge in an im- 
portant department, can look with coldness upon 
an overwhelming mass of accumulated evidence, 
which, has already forced complete conviction up- 
on the minds of thousands of the most learned and 
enlightened individuals in Europe, and promises to 
open up many new and most interesting views in 
the philosophy of man. It is well known to all 
who are conversant with the subject, that, upon 



the Continent, the record in this case, to use a le- 
giJ phrase, has long been closed, and a favourable 
judgment pronounced by the learned; and the only 
oppugners of the doctrine of Animal Magnetism 
are now to be found, either among those who are 
too supercilious, too indolent, or too prejudiced to 
submit to the labour of inquiry; or among such as, 
like 21eno and Pyrrho of old, relying upon the 
quirks and quibbles of a perverted logic, would 
disprove the possibility of motion, or discredit the 
evidence of their own senses. * 

In these circumstances, therefore, conceiving it 
to be the duty of every man to impart to others 
that knowledge of which he believes himself to be 
in possession, more especially when, from its nar 
ture, it appears calculated to benefit mankind in 
general, I resolved to summon up that moral cou- 
rage which, in the cause of truth, however unfa- 

* It seems the more extraordinary, that medical men in this 
country should obstinately decline the investigation of this sub- 
ject, which promises not only to enlarge their professional 
knowledge, but to augment their practical means, and thus in- 
cresae the sphere of their useftilness, considering the manifold 
Imperfections which all great physicians have acknowledged to 
exist in their science. These imperfections have been fairly 
steted, and candidly admitted, by the celebrated Br Abercrom- 
Ue of Edinburgh, in his recent work On the JrUeUeotuai Powers, 
who does not hesitate to acknowledge^ that ^ the uncertainty 
of medicine, which is a theme for the philosopher and the hu- 
morist, is deeply felt by the practical physician in the daily ex. 

VOL.1. e 


shionaMe or tinpalatabte, i^ibables us to bid defiance 
to the sheers of ignorance atad the {prejudices of 
sctettce, atid to eomikitinicate to kny countrymen 
some infdrmlition ^tfa iregai^d to those facts, of 
wMch both the authenticity a^d ti^ valnc^ had long 
been recognised by our h'eighboui'». I trust, how- 
ever, that, in r^pect of my ackhdwledged defi- 
ciency in mneh of that sp^ciite of iearhing, which, 
had I pofisedsed it, would have feiidered the execu- 
tion of iny task more ^asy, taot^ perfect, and pro- 
bably more acceptable to th^ profession, the follow- 
ing attempt to itiveistigate a diffiiHilt subject #ill 
be treated \^th some corresponding indulgence. 

** Ne nostros contemoe ausus, medicumque laborem : 

Scilicet hac tenui rerum sub imagine multum 
Natune, &tique subest, et grandis origo.^* 

Some of the observations contained in the foU 

ercise of hia art ;'* and having noticed Ihe different departments 
of medical science^ he ii]^nuou8l7 admits, that extended obser- 
vation has only tended to render its deficiencies the more re- 
markable. Henoe^ no doubt, the daily success of quacks and em- 
jiirics. Immediately previous to the observation above quoted, 
Dr Abercrombie alludes to the apologue which, according to 
J)*Alembert, was made upon this sul^ecti by a physidan, a man 
of witand oi ^ulosophy : ^ Nature is fighting with the disease ; 
a Uind man armed with a club, that is the physidan, comes to 
settle the disturbance. He first tries to make peace ; when he 
cannot accomplish this, he lifts his club, and strikes at random ; 
if he strikes the disease, he )dlls the disease ; if he strikes na- 
ture, he kills nature." 


lowing work may perhaps be thought to have ra- 
ther too controversial a coniplexion. This has been 
occasioned principally by the ignorance, prejudice 
and petulance with which the subject has general- 
ly been treated in this country. But the author 
disclaims all intention of offending the feelings of 
any individual. 

The first edition of this Inquiry was an exceed- 
ingly hasty, and, cbn^quently, a very imperfect 
production.* In it, my principal object was to 
draw the attention of thb public to the recent Re- 
port bf the French Academicians. The volume 
seems lb have excited some small sensation in dif- 
ferent quarters ; but I soon became aware that the 

* in huxrying it (brou^ the pteaa^ a slight error had, per in- 
curiam^ crept into the title-page of the first edition, which pro- 
fessed to give the transUtion of a Report bj a Committee of the 
MeMtU SmUoi^ i^ ike Ftmeh Royal Aeadenuf of SoienceSy instead 
of the Royal Academy qf Medicine. The error was altogether 
of a trivial nature, and the title was correctly given on the leaf 
preceding the Report. But — parva lefoee capiurU animos — a 
grest deal is said to have been attempted to be made of this cir- 
cumstance bj the sceptics and opponents; nay, some, I am told, 
were disposed even to view it as decisive of the merit and fitte 
of Aiifmiil Magnetism. Ridiculous ! as if anj such casual and 
unimportant error of mine could affect the credibility of the 
phenomena described, or as if the Royal Academy of Medicine 
i^ere not the most competent tribunal before which this parti- 
eultf qnastion could have been investigated. Whatever may 
be thou^t by individual members, an impartial inquiry into 
the pretentions of Animal Magnetism could have reflected no 
diignce upon the Institute, or Royal Society of France. 


introductory and explanatory matter which accom- 
panied the Report, did not convey sufficient infor- 
mation to those to whom the subject was entirely 
new, or who had not the means or the leisure to 
prosecute the study in the writings of other au- 
thors. Besides, many most interesting phenomena 
were scarcely noticed, far less explained to the in- 
quisitive reader ; and I was anxious to exhibit a 
more extensive view both of the facts and of the 
evidence. Although, therefore, I have announced 
the present publication as a second edition of the 
former, it has been, in fact, almost entirely re- 
composed, and may be considered as nearly a new 
work. All the most important information con- 
tained in the former has been retained in this edi- 
tion, whilst a great deal of new matter has been 
added. The French Report, which was the prin- 
cipal object of the former publication, I now deem 
of inferior importance, and I have therefore thrown 
it into the Appendix. Valuable as that document 
undoubtedly is, I found many persons disposed to 
consider it as containing the whole evidence in the 
case, instead of being, as it is in reality, a mere 

I must still be permitted to express my hope, 
that this very interesting subject may soon engage 
the attention of some more competent inquirer^ 

Edinburgh, 16 A April 1836. 


Miretur populut miracula ; nil mihi mirum 
Praeter eum, solus qui faucit ilia, Dkum. 




It is not uncommon for persons, ignorant of the 
nature of the alleged phenomena of Animal Mag- 
netism, to denounce them as pretended miracles, 
and hold them up to ridicule. This is extrediely 
irrational. A miracle is a violation of some gene*- 
ral and known law of nature, in consequence (li* 
the immediate interposition of a Superior Power ; 
and, in the sense of this definition, it is not pre^ 
tended by any of the philosophical adherents of the 
doctrine^ that there are any miracles in Animal 
Magnetism. The experiments, indeed, by which 
the reality of its peculiar phenomena has been es- 
taUifihed, have disclosed a number of extraordinary 
and most interesting facts ; but the occasional oc- 
corrence of every fact, however uncommon, is ca- 
pable of being demonstrated by evidence ; it can 
be shewn to be the result of natural causes ; and it 
then becomes quite unphilosophical to regard it as 
a real or pretended miracle. 

Previous to the wonderful discoveries whjich 
]^viB been made in modem times, relative to the 

« • • 

• • • • • 

• • • • • 


.•;, '• ■• *• properties and action of Heat, of Electricity, of Gal- 
. * ' vanism, &c., had any man ventured to anticipate 
the powers and uses of the Steam-engine, the Elec- 
trical Machine, the Voltaic Pile, or of any other of 
those mighty instruments by means of which the 
mind of man has acquired so vast a dominion over 
the world of matter, he would probably have been 
considered as a visionary or a madman ; and had 
he been able to exhibit the effects of any of these 
instruments, before the principles which regulate 
their action had become generally known to philo- 
sophers, they would, in all likelihood, have been at- 
tributed to supernatural agency; and we sbould 
then, perhaps, have heard of the miracles of Me- 
chanical Philosophy, as we now hear of the mira- 
cles of Animal Magnetism. In the strict and pro- 
per sense of the word, there are no miracles either 
in the one or in the other ; both are merely con- 
versant with the natural effects of natural agencies. 
There is no error more arrogant or more irrationid 
than that which leads us to measure the reality of 
phenomena, or the possibilities of nature, by the 
line of our own limited experience — to weigh them in 
the balance of our own partial understanding — ^with 
an utter disregard of positive facts, established by 
real and satisfactory evidence. Every man who 
lias passed the mere threshold of science, ought to 
be awure^ that it is quite possible for us to be in 


possession of a fact, or even of a series of facts, 
long before we become capable of giving a rational 
and satisfactory explanation of them ; in short, be- 
fore we are enabled to discover their causes ; and 
to such unexplained facts, especially when they ap- 
pear to be attended with mystery, the vulgar give 
the name of miracles.* But this is an abuse of 
language — unphilosophical and dangerous — ^which 
ought to be stigmatized and exploded.f 

Indeed, were we to regard all extraordinary and 

* The conduct of some of the opponents of Animal Magne- 
tism, is the most irrational that can he conceived. They sneer 
at our lahoun^ and ridicule our facts, and then call upon us to 
explain the phenomena. They first discourage all investigation, 
and then taunt us with not doing that which investigation only 
can accomplish. 

•f Many mUunU mrades^ along with their scientific explana- 
tloB% will be found in Sir David Brewster*s learned and amusing 
LMtn im Natural Magic Take the following as one instance. 
We have probably all heard of the celebrated Spectre ^ the 
one of the Hartz Mountains in Germany. This spectr* 
I of a gigantic figure, which has, from time immemorial, oc- 
euloDally appeared in the heavens to a spectator on the top of the 
nmnitaiii, and given rise to the traditional belief that it is haunt- 
ed by iopeniatural beings. This figure has been seen by many 
timvellers. In speaidng of it, M. Jordan says, <* In the course 
of mj repeated tours through the Hartz Mountains, I often, 
but in Tain, ascended the Brocken, that I might see the spectre^ 
At lengthy on a serene morning, as the sun was just appearing 
ebove the horizon, it stood before me, at a great distance, to- 
waris the opposite mountain. It seemed to be the gigantic 
figure ef a man. It vanished in a moment.** In September 
ITM^ the celebrated Alibi Hauy visited this country. He says, 


apparently unaccountable pbenomena as miraclesr, 
I suspect that we should have a great many more 
of such miracles than those of Animal Magnetism. 
Every science, in short, would have its own pec\i- 
liar miracles. We should then have the miracles 
of Astronomy, of Chemistry, of Mineral Magnetism^ 
of Electricity, of Galvanism, and as many more 
classes of miracles as there are departments of na- 
tural knowledge. For of many of the phenomendr 
that occur in these sciences, what more do we know 
than that they have been demonstrated to exist in 
certain circumstances, and under certain condi- 

**' After having ascended the mountain for thirty times, I at last 
saw the spectre. It was just . at sunrise, in the middle of the 
month of May, about four o'clock in the morning. I saw dis- 
tinctly a human figure of a monstrous size. The atmosphere 
was quite serene towards the east. In the south-west, a high 
wind carried before it some light vapours, which were scarcely 
condensed into clouds^ and hung round the mountain upon which 
the figure stood. I bowed ; the colossal figure repeated it. I 
paid my respects a second time, which was returned with the 
same civility. I then called the landlord of the inn, and having 
taken the same position which I had occupied bef<M'e, we looked 
towards the mountain^ when we clearly saw two such colossal 
figures^ which, afler having repeated our compliments^ by bend- 
ing their bodies, vanished." Here, then, was a popular miracle, 
so long as the phenomenon continued unexplained. 

Now, the followii^ is the simple explanation of this lingular 
and apparently preternatural apparition. 

<^ When the rising sun throws his rays over the Brocken upon 
the body of a man standing opposite to fleecy cloudy lei the be- 
holder fix his eye steadily upon them* and, in all probability, he 
will see his own shadow extending the length of 500 or #00 
feet, at the distance of about two miles from him.** 


tiong? aod this we also know in regard to the phe- 
nomena of Animal Magnetism. If no facts were to 
be admitted in science, excepting such as are found 
to coincide with oar own previous observation, or 
snch as could be immediately referred to some 
known principle as their cause, our whole know- 
ledge might be compressed within veiy narrow 
bounds; there would be an end to all farther ad-^ 
vancement, and the book of Nature would hence- 
finrth be to us a sealed volume. 

With regard to Asttonomy, the celebrated Sir 
John Herschell, in the Introduction to his late ad- 
mirable treatise upon that interesting study, ob- 
serves, that ^^ there is no science which draws more 
largely upon that intellectual liberality, which is 
ready to adopt whatever is demonstrated, or to con- 
cede whatever is rendered highly probable, how- 
ever new and uncommon the points of view may 
be in which objects the most familiar may thereby 
beoome placed. Almost all its concltisiom stand in 
open and striking contradiction with those of superfi- 
cial and vylgar observation, and with what appears 
to evfry ome, until he has understood and weighed the 
proqfs to the contrary, the most positive evidence of 
his tenses.*** 

* When the early philosophers of the Italian school explained 
to their diadples, upon the principles of their astronomical 
■jitem, the very simple causes of the solar and lunar eclipses, 
and othernatural phenomena, which were generally regarded by 


** How Strangely/' says one of the very few in- 
telligent English disciples of Mesmer (the late Mi' 
Chenevix) — ^^ how strangely must they estimate 
nature, bow highly must they value themselves, 
who deny the possibility of any cause of any effect, 
merely because it is incomprehensible ! For, in 
&ct, what do men comprehend ? Of what do they 
know the causes ? When Newton said, that gravi* 
tatiao held the world together, did he assign the 
reason why the heavenly bodies do not fly off from 
each other into infinite space ? He did but teach 
a wordy and that word has gained admittance, as 
it were, surreptitiously, amid causes, even in the 
minds of the most enlightened, insomuch that to 
doubt it now were a proof of ignorance and folly. 

" Let an untutored Indian hear, for the first 
time, that the moon which rolls above his head is 
suspended there by the power of gravitation ; that 
she obeys the influence of every little speck which 
his eye can discern in the firmament; of orbs 

cotton trade, spindles that used to revolve fifty times a minute, 
now revolve, in some cases, eight thousand times a minute. At 
one mill at Manchester, there are 136,000 spindles at work, 
spinning one million two hundred thousand miles of cotton 
thread per week. Mr Owen, at New Lanark, with 2500 people, 
daily produces as much cotton-yam as will go round the earth 
twice and a half. The total machinery in the kingdom is cal- 
culated now to be equal to the work of four hundred millions, 
and might be increased to an incalculable extent under proper 


placed beyond them again, but invisible to as, be- 
cause tlieir light has not yet reached our globe ; 
that the earth cannot be shaken, and the shock not 
communicated through the whole system of the 
universe ; that every pebble under his feet as vir- 
tually rules the motions of Saturn as the sun can 
do. liCt him then be told that one sentient being, 
placed in the vicinity of another sentient being, 
can, by a certain action of his nervous system, pro- 
duce the daily phenomenon, sleep, and the rarer 
c«e, somnambulism ; and which of these lessons 
would he be the most prompt to credit ? Certain- 
ly not that which inculcates an impalpable action 
and reaction between infinite masses, separated by 
infinte distances. The pride of learning, the arro-* 
ganoe of erudition, deem it ignoble to believe what 
they cannot explain ; while simple instinct, struck 
with awe by every thing, is equally open to credit 
what it cannot as what it can comprehend, and ad- 
mits no scholastic degrees of marvellousness." 

Now, if there be any individuals who are dis- 
posed to reject the alleged phenomena of Animal 
Magnetism, at once, and without any serious exa- 
mination of their reality, as utterly inexplicable, 
marvellous, and incredible, I would humbly re- 
commend to them, before taking such a precipitate 
and, I may be allowed to say, irrational step, to 
consider well whether it were a greater miracle 


that these facts should be true, or that some hun- 
dreds of the most sober, enlightened, respectable, 
and competent observers, in all parts of Europe, at 
different periods of time, without any possible con- 
cert amongst each other, and without any imagin- 
able motive for falsehood and deception, should have 
wilfully and recklessly compromised their own ho- 
nourable and scientific characters, by declaring that 
they had witnessed certain phenomena of a most 
remarkable and unambiguous description, which, 
in reality, had no existence ; that these learned and 
most respectable individuals should have acciden- 
tally stumbled upon and trodden the same extraor- 
dinary path of paltry and unprofitable deception, 
and openly, anxiously, and impudently proclaimed 
their own folly, and dishonesty, and moral turpi- 
tude, to the world at large ; and, moreover— most 
miraculous of all ! — ^that this foolish and false tes- 
timony should happen to be supported and con- 
firmed, in almost all its essential particulars, by 
strong collateral evidence of the most unsuspicious 
nature. To adopt this last alternative, I do not 
hesitate to affirm, implies, in my humble opinion, 
our belief of a much greater miracle than any cre- 
dence tve might accord to the facts themselves; 
which last, indeed, lose all their miraculous charac- 
ter the moment we abandon all theoretical preju- 
dices, lay our minds open to demonstratioDt and 


become satisfied that they are rea], natural pheno- 
mena. The best means of obtaining convictioiif 
especially in the case of professional gentlemen—- 
and to them, principally, I would seriously recom- 
mend the inquiry — is to make careful experiments, 
for which an extensive practice must afford them 
many valuable opportunities; and should they pur- 
sue die appropriate methods in the right spirit, and 
in suitable circumstances, I may safely assure them 
that their efforts cannot fail to be crowned with 
success. Indeed, I cannot anticipate that the en- 
lightened professors of the healing art, animated 
with that zeal and benevolence which essentially 
characterise their fraternity, will much longer shut 
their eyes to some of the most interesting and im- 
portant phenomena of nature — ^that they will much 
longer neglect a method of treatment, which, be- 
sides increasing their therapeutic knowledge, pro- 
mises to multiply their resources, by enabling them 
more effectually to cure or alleviate many of those 
diseptses which afflict humanity. 

I have been thus earnest in my endeavours to 
persuade my readers to throw aside all prejudice 
and prepossession, and submit to patient and un- 
biassed investigation, because I have almost inva- 
riably found that those persons, however otherwise 
learned and intelligent, to whom any of the more 
extraordinary phenomena of Animal Magnetism 


have he&x for the first time mentioned, have either 
listened to the cireomatances with an incredulous 
wonder, or attempted to demonstrate the impossi- 
bility of their occurrence upon some commonly re- 
ceived principle of science. Now, what I am de- 
sirous of impressing upon their minds is this — that 
an alleged fact is not necessarily false, because it 
may seem extraordinary, unaccountable, or appa- 
rently inconsistent with some assumed scientific 
principle. Human wisdom is fallible ; but Nature, 
when viewed with unjaundiced eyes and unpreju- 
diced judgment, cannot deceive us in the end ; nor 
can her manifestations ever come into real collision 
with the conclusions of a just philosophy : Nun^ 
quam aliud nature^ cUiud sapientia dixit. The fact 
itself must first he strictly investigated ; and if this 
investigation be conducted with skill and impartia- 
lity, it may possibly turn out, not that the alleged 
phenomenon is false, but that the adverse theory is 
either unfounded, or at least imperfect, or perhaps 
^inapplicable in the peculiar circumstances of the 
case. In a subsequent part of this volume, I shall 
have occasion to direct the attention of the reader 
to a very remarkable, a very extraordinary, state of 
the human organism, which sometimes occurs na- 
turally or spontaneously, sometimes in consequence 
of a morbid state of the system, and is sometimes 
produced artificially by means of the magnetic pro- 


cesses. Of the occasional existence of this extra- 
ordinaiy state — ^which is generally, although per- 
haps not yerjr properly, denominated SonmambH^ 
/ism^-^it is impossible to doabt ; but its very sin- 
gular phenomena have never yet been sufficiently 
investigated by physiologists. To those who have 
made adequate inquiry, it must be abundantly ob- 
vious, that the state of Somnambulism is totally dif- 
ferent from the ordinary organic state of existence, 
and that the appearances it presents are incapable 
of explanation upon the common principles of phy- 
siology. But it would be very unphilosophical in- 
deed, to regard this inconsistency as a proof of the 
non-existence of that peculiar state, in the face of 
our actual experience. The proper method of pro- 
ceeding would be, first to ascertain the reality of 
the facts, and then to alter or enlarge our theory, 
-so as to enable it to comprehend, and, if possible, 
account for the newly-observed phenomena. 

I could easily point out to the notice of my 
readers many striking instances illustrative of the 

• The impropriety of the term Somnambulism^ or sleep- walk- 
|iigy when employed to distinguish the state in question, has 
been remarked by many authors, and several others have been 
suggested as more characteristic of the affection. That oiSomno- 
v9§U appears to me to be the most appropriate, signifying that 
the mind is awake while the body sleeps. I am aware, however, 
-of the difficulty of altering expressions which have become fixed, 
M it were, by general use ; and I would reconmiend to my read- 
ers to attend to things rather than to words. 


difficulty of obtaining credence to the statement of 
new, rare, or unnoticed facts, however well esta- 
blished, when they appear extraordinary in them- 
selves, or seem calculated to invalidate a favourite 
theory, or to contradict preconceived. opinionfii.* I 
need not remind my readers of those days of sciea- 
tific darkness, in which eclipses of the sun and 
moon, the appearance of comets, meteors, and other 
natural phenomena, were generally looked upon as 
miracles, frequently as harbingers of Divine wrath 
to mankind ; nor will I go back to Galileo's restor-> 
ed doctrine of the earth^s motion, or to Sir Isaac 
Newton's splendid discoveries in physics, because 
these, I apprehend, must be familiar to most of us ; 
but shall take my examples from the latest history 
of scientific discovery. 

The very first instance I shall adduce, strongly 
illustrates the influence of prejudice and pre-con- 
ceived opinion, even over otherwise enlightened 
minds. — *^ It is not without reason,'' says a recent 
writer, ^^ that the epithet uncowth has been applied 
to the Dodo ; for two distinguished naturalists, in 
their day, maintained, for many years, that such a 

* Every one knows how much opposition the Copemican 
theory experienced, for a long time, from prejudice and prepos- 
session, and in what contempt it continued to be held by the 
learned as well as the vulgar. The persecution of Galileo, the 
tardy reception of the theory of Harvey, and of the discoveries 
of Newton, are equally notorious. 


form had never existed but in the imagination of 
th^ painter. One of these individuals, however, at 
length had an opportunity of inspecting the well 
known specimen of the head of the Dodo, which is 
preserved in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford ; 
tad was then convinced that such a bird had real- 
ly existed. But so far was he from producing the 
same conviction in the mind of his friend by the 
description of the specimen, that he incurred the 
charge of an intentional deception ; and the result 
was, that an interminable feud arose between 
them : for although they were attached to tlie 

same institution, and lived within its walls, 

they never again spoke to each other."* 

The next example to which I shall refer^ relates 
to one of the most curious and most beneficial dis- 
coveries that have been made in modern times; and 
it affords an apt illustration of the absurdity of de- 
nying the possibility of facts before investigating 
their reality. 

** Authorities," says M. Arago, — who, however 
eminent in the physical and mathematical sciences, 
is, I am informed, a decided opponent of Animal 
Magnetism, — *^ authorities, I admit, are of little 
weight in matters of science, in the face of positive 
facts; but it is necessary that these facts exist, 

* See Dr Kidd*s Briigewater TreaHse. 
VOL. I. B 


that they hare been subjected to severe examina- 
tioDy that they have been skilfully grouped, with 
a view to extract from them the truths they conceal. 
He who ventures to treat, apriori^ a fttct as absurd, 
wants prudence. He has not reflected on the nu- 
merous errors he would have committed in regard 
to many modern discoveries. I ask, for example, 
if there can be any thing in the world more bizarre^ 
more incredible, more inadmissible, than the dis- 
covery of Dr Jenner ? — ^Well \ the bizarre^ the in- 
credible, the inadmissible, is found to be true ; and 
the preservative against the small-pox is, by una- 
nimous consent, to be sought for in the little pus- 
tule that appears in the udder of the cow."* — So 
far M. Arago. I have read of an eminent physi- 
cian at Berlin, whosie prejudice against this disco- 
very was so inveterate, that, to the last moment of 
his life, he never ceased to inveigh against vacci- 
nation, as the brutal inocvJtation, 

* These observationd appear to be exceedingly appficable to 
their author himself, ia so &r as regards the opinions he is said 
to have uttered respecting the phenomena of Animal Magnetism* 
M. Arago, however, I believe to be no less distinguished for his 
libeniUty, than fot his talents and sciefitifid acquiremeBlB ; and 
I would, therefinre, humbly recommend to that eminent indivi- 
dual to investigate the subject more thorougMj and more mi- 
nutely, before he ventures to pronounce a decided opinion upon 
it. I think he will admit that the evidence could not have been 
feeble, which produced conviction in the mind of his celebrated 
countryman, Cuvien 



ia one of bis medical leetureS) when 
speaking of the prejadices that prevailed against 
the original introduction of inoculation for the 
small-pox into England, obeerres, that ^* many 
lAargymea and dissenting ministers raved against 
it from the palpit, and called inoculation the o^ 
^prmgofatheUm: tkofse who performed it were called 
w r ee r e r s ^ emd the whole thing wets said to be a dia- 
bolical inoenikm of Satan. Others, however, were 
of a diibrent opinion, and Bishop Maddox and Dr 
Doddridge defended it, and in doing so employed 
seriptnral quotations. You know," continues Dr 
l^liotson, ** that the devil can quote Scripture to 
snit his own purposes, and therefore it was very iair 
for good men to quote Scripture too. However, the 
reaeonabte side of die question at last prevailed.^' I 
have thought it proper to make this reference to the 
analogous case of the introduction of inoculation, 
befmse I am aware that similar arguments (if such 
they can be called), have been, and may still be 
employed, by certain welLmeaning, perhaps, but 
weak^ ilUinformed, and mistaken peraons, in rela- 
tion to the study^ the practice, and the phenomena 
of Animal Magnetism. 

The two next instances I shall bring iorwm*d, in 
ilktotratioii of this subject, seem still more apposite 
to ear own case ; inasmuch as they relate to facts 
wfaidi had been observed for many ages, before 


their authenticity was fuJly established by demon- 

The first of these relates to the curious pheno- 
menon of spontaneous combustion^ or that internal 
burning to which animal bodies are occasionally 
liable. This fact appears to have been known to 
the ancients, and many instances of it have been 
recorded. The reality of this phenomenon, how- 
ever, although believed by some, was, for a long 
time, doubted by many, until, in recent times. Sir 
David Brewster, in his amusing and instructive 
Letters on Natural Magic, has shewn that it has 
been completely established by evidence ; and I be- 
lieve it is now generally admitted by physicians and 

The last instance I shall particularly refer to, is 
derived from the discovery of what are called me- 
teoric stones. 

That solid masses fell from above upon the earth, 
connected with the appearance of meteors, had 
been advanced as early as 500 years before the 
Christianera, by the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras; 
and the same idea had been brought forward in a 
vague manner, by other inquirers among tlie Greeks 
and Romans, and was revived in modem times ; 
but it was regarded by the greater number of phi- 
losophers as a mere vulgar error, until so late as 
1802, when Mr Howard, by an accurate examinar 


tion of the testimonies connected with events of this 
kind, Hnd by a minute analysis of the substances 
said to have fallen in di£Ferent parts of the globe, 
proved the authenticity of the circumstance, and 
shewed that these meteoric productions differed 
from any other substance belonging to our earth ; 
and since that period, a number of these phenomena 
have occurred, and have been minutely recorded. 
Some of my readers, too, may perhaps recollect the 
various theories which were advanced with a view 
to account for this remarkable phenomenon ; and 
there can be little doubt that the difficulty of ex- 
plaining it upon intelligible and satisfactory prin-* 
eiples, in this, as in other instances, prolonged the 
disbelief or the disregard of the fact. 

I have hinted that the two last mentioned 
examples may be r^arded as pretty apposite illus- 
trations of the fate which has hitherto attended 
Animal Magnetism. It has been asserted by some 
individuals, little conversant with the subject, that 
the facts of Animal Magnetism are new, — that the 
pretended discovery is altogether of recent origin. 
This assertion, even if it were true, would be a 
matter of no earthly consequence, because it could 
have no effect in invalidating the evidence of the 
existence of the phenomena. But it is not only 
animportant, but demonstrably false, as will be 
seen hereafter. Many of the most important facts 

22 I'STKODVcrioff. 

alluded to appear to have been well known to the 
aneients ; they may be traced among different na- 
tions and in remote times ; and they have been re- 
ferred to and reasoned upon by several old antfaorsy 
although it is only at a recent period, indeed, thoit 
men of science hare condescended to devote to 
them an attention commensurate with their value* 
We have thus seen that many things which were, 
for a long time, treated as fabulous and incredible, 
kave, at length, been proved to be authentic ihcts, as 
sooti as the evidence in support of them wm chily 
sabjected to scientific investigation^ and the requi- 
site experiments, when possible and necessary, were 
made with a view to ascertain their truth. We have 
seen that, in the case of meteoric stones, more than 
2000 years elapsed between the first recorded ob- 
servation of the phenomenon and the ultimate con- 
firmation and general recognition of the fact Do 
not diese examples teach us that an obstinate scep- 
ticism^ and neglect of adequate investigation^ are 
quite as detrimental to the progress of scientific dis- 
covery, as an excess of credulity witiiout due in- 
quiry ? For, if we adopt the unphilo8(^faical prin- 
ciple of rejecting, and at once without examination 
or inquiry, all facts which appear to us to be extraor- 
dinary, inexplicable, and mysterious, and which have 
not happened to fall immediately under our own li- 
mited obseryatioii^ we place ourselves preoisely in 


the same predicament with that Indian Prince, 
who, relying exclusively upon his own experience, 
and probably conceiving that it was quite impossi- 
ble for any thing to exist of which he was ignorant, 
denied the possibility of the production of ice by 
the freezing of water, and treated all accounts of 
the phenomenon as apocryphal, fabulous, and ut- 
terly unworthy of credit. We are informed that, 
in more recent times, another s^e Indian potentate, 
in the same spirit, imagined that a certain Euro- 
pean traveller was actually sporting with his cre- 
dulity, when he was merely attempting to give him 
an accurate description of the steam-engine. 

It may be reasonably maintained that, in the 
sciences of Physiology and Psychology, as in others, 
one important fact, when well established, is of in- 
finitely more value than hundreds of the most bril- 
Klint but baseless hypotheses ; and nothing can be 
more irrational than to attempt to ridicule or de- 
preciate a well authenticated fact, either because 
we are incapable of accounting for it, or because it 
appears, apriofi^ to be inconsistent with some re- 
ceived theory. ^^ Concerning the publication of 
novel facts,* says the late celebrated Sir H. Davy, 
^ there can be but one judgment, for facts are in^ 
dependent of fashion, taste, and caprice, and are 
subject to no code of criticism ; they are more use- 
fulj perhaps, even when they contradict, than when 


they support received doctrines ; for our theories 
are only imperfect approximations to the real know- 
ledge of things." 

Theories, indeed, have been pretty justly de- 
scribed as ^^ the mighty soap bubbles, with which 
the grown-up children of science amuse themselves, 
whilst the honest vulgar stand gazing in stupid 
admiration, and dignify these learned vagaries with 
the name of science."* 

It may be stated as one of the many great ad- 
vantages attending the study of Animal Magnetism, 
that it tends to approximate the sciences of Physio- 
logy and Psychology — the phenomena of the ma- 
terial and those of the spiritual man — by demon- 
strating, experimentally, the intimate connexion 
that subsists between them. The study of Physio- 
logy has of late been generally confined to an in- 
vestigation of the component parts and mere mate- 
rial structure of th6 organism, with little or no re- 
gard to the principles which r^ulate their action 
in living beings. Psychological science, strictly so 
called, on the other hand, has been for a long time 
greatly neglected in this country, and its pheno- 
mena, even when they presented themselves to no- 
tice, have been almost entirely disregarded, al- 
though of paramount interest to every intelligent 

* Sm William Drummond ; Academical QtiesHoru. 


living being, and of the utmost importance to the 
philosophy of man.* This has probably arisen 

* I find the following striking, and, as it appears to me, 
extremely appropriate observations upon the present state of 
philoAphj in England, in the Londtm Review for April 1836 : 

^ In the intellectual pursuits which form great minds, this 
'country was formerly pre-eminent. England once stood at the 
bead of European philosophy. Where stands she now ? Con- 
sult the general opinion of Europe. The celebrity of England, 
in the present day, rests upon her docks, her canals, her rail- 
roads. In intellect, she is distinguished only for a kind of sober 
good seose, free from extrayagance, but also void of Idty aspi- 
XBtioDS ; and for doing all those things which are best done where 
man most resembles a machine, with the precision of a machine. 
Valumble qualities, doubtless ; but not precisely those by which 
man raises himself to the perfection of his nature, or achieves 
greater and greater conquests over the difficulties which encum- 
ber his sodal arrangements. Ask any reflecting person in France 
or Germany his opinion of England ; whatever may be his own 
tenets— however friendly his disposition to us — whatever his ad- 
mintion of our institutions, and even his desire to introduce them 
into his native country ; — however alive to the &ults and errors of 
his own countrymen — ^the feature which always strikes him in the 
Sngliah mind, is tlie absence of enlarged and commanding views. 
Every question he finds discussed and decided on its own basis, 
however narrow, without any light thrown upon it from prin- 
ciples more extensive than itself; and no question discussed at 
all, unless Parliament, or some constituted authority, is to be 
moved to-morrow, or the day after, to put it to the vote. In- 
stead of the ardour of research, the eagerness for large and 
compreliensive inquiry, of the educated part of the French and 
German youth, what find we ? Out of the narrow bounds of 
mathematical and physical science, not a vestige of a reading 
mud thinking public, engaged in the investigation of truth, tu 
tnUk^ in the prosecution of thought for the sake of thought. 


VOL. I. C 


from the pecidiar direction which has been given 
to the stady of nature. We are generally taught 
to investigate only the materiality and mechanism 
of things, without paying much regard to those im- 
material^— or rather, those invisible, intangible and 
imponderable — forces, which are incessantly active 
throughout the universe, and are the mainsprings 
of the vital organization. Even in Physics, how- 
ever — a science more immediately conversant with 
matter and mechanism — we dare not overlook the 
perpetual operation of these important powers, al- 
though we should never be enabled to ascertain 

Among no class, except sectarian religionists — and what they 
are we all know— is there any interest in the great problem of 
man*s nature and life ; among no class whatever is there any 
curiosity respecting the nature and principles of human society, 
the history or the philosophy of civilization ; nor any belief 
that, from such inquiries, a single important practical conse- 
quence can follow. Guizot, the greatest admirer of England 
among the continental philosophers, nevertheless remarks, that, 
in England, even great events do not, as they do every where 
else, inspire great ideas. Things, in England, are greater than 
the men who accomplish them." 

In the preceding representation, it is to be feared there is 
but too much truth. In England, the very name of science is 
perverted, and the epithet of philosopher is almost exclusively 
conferred upon the mathematician, the chemist, and the mecha- 
nic. Upon the Ck)ntinent, England, in the present day, is not 
considered as holding any high rank in the scale of intellectual 
pursuit; and for one work which issues from the British press 
in the course of a year, on any subject connected with the 
science of mind, probably twenty make their annual appearance 
in France and Germany. 


the principles of their action. Am Dr Roget ob- 
MHTves in his treatise on Electricity^ *^ besides the 
well-known mechanical forces which belong to or- 
dinary ponderable matter, the phenomena of na- 
ture exhibit to our view another class of powers, 
the presence of which, although sufficiently cha- 
racterised by certain effects, is not attended with 
any appreciable change in the weight <^ the bo- 
dies with which they are connected. To this class 
beloof; Heat, Light, ]Qectricity, and Magnetism." 
And widi still more immediate r^erenoe to our 
present subject, M. Buff[>n, when treating of the 
sympathies that exist between the different parts 
of the living organism, remarks, that ^' the corre- 
spondence which certain parts of the human body 

have with others very different and very distant 

ought be much more generally observed ; but we do 
not pay sufficient attention to effects, when we do 
Qot suspect their causes. It is undoubtedly for this 
reason that men have never thought of carefully 
examining these correspondences in the human 
body, upon which, however, depen4s a great part 

of the play of the animal machine. A great many 

of these might be discovered, if the most eminent 
pbysiciana would turn their attentioti to that study. 
It appears to me that this would be^ perhaps, more 

nsdiil than the nomenclature of anatomy.. The 

true springs of our organization are^ not these 


muscles, these arteries, these nerves, which are de-^ 
scribed with so much care and exactness: there 
reside, as we have said, internal forces in organised 
bodies, ^hich do not follow th^ laws of that gross 
mechanical system which we have invented, and 
to which we 'would reduce everything. Instead 
of attempting to obtain a knowledge of these forces 
from their effects, men have endeavoured to banish 
even the idea of them, and to exclude them from 
philosophy. They have, however, re-appeared, and 
with more eclat than ever, in the principle of gra- 
vitation—in the chemical affinities — in the phe- 
nomena of electricity, &c« But, notwithstanding 
their evidence and their universality — ias they act 
internally, as we can only reach them by means of 
reasoning, as, in a word, they elude our vision, we 
admit them with difficulty: we always wish to 
judge by the exterior ; we imagine that this exte- 
rior is all ; it appears that we are not permitted 
to penetriate beyond it, and we neglect all the means 
which might ienable us to approach them. 

^* The ancients, whose genius was less limited, 
and whose philosophy was more extended, wonder- 
ed less than we do at facts which they could not 
explain : they had a better view of Nature, such 
as she is; a sympathy, a singular correspondence, 
was to them only a phenomenon, while to us it is 
a paradox, when we cannot refer it to our pre- 


tended laws of motion: they knew tbat Nature 
operatee by onknown means the greater part of 
her effects; they were fully convinced tbat we can- 
not enumerate these means and resources of Na- 
ture, and that, consequently, it is impossible for 
the human mind to limit her, by reducing her to 
a certain number of principles of action and means 
of operation ; on the contrary, it was sufficient for 
them to have remarked a certain number of rela- 
tive effects of the same order, to justify them in 
constituting a cause. 

^ Let us, with the ancients, call this singular, 
correspondence of the different parts of the body 
a Sympathy, or, with the moderns, consider it as 
an unknown relation in the action of the nervous 
system: this sympathy, or this relation, exists 
throughout the whole animal economy; and we 
cannot too carefully observe its effects, if we wish 
to perfect the theory of medicine." 

Thus far Buffon. — It is unquestionably true, that, 
in modem times, at least, and especially in this 
coontry, far too little attention has been hitherto 
paid to the spiritual nature of man — to the effects 
of tliose immaterial and invisible influences, which, 
analogoas to the chemical and electric agents, are 
the true springs of our organization, continually 
produdng changes internally which are externally 
p0reeiTed, as the marked effects of unseen causes, 


and which cannot be explained upon the principles 
of any of the laws of mechanism : and it adds no 
small value to the studj of Animal Magi^tism, 
that it has brought pretty fully to light a most in- 
teresting class of phenomena, heretofore little in- 
vestigated, a knowledge of which is essentially ne- 
cessa ry to the perfection, not of Medicine onIy» 
but of Philosophy in general. 

The medical student applies himself to the stiidy 
of Anatomy, and endeavours to acquire a compe* 
tent knowledge of the different parts of the human 
body— -of the bones, and joints, and nerves, and 
mu8cles-*of the thews and sinews of a man — in 
short, q( the mere animal mechanism ; and this is 
indispensable to the skilful exercise of his future 
profession. He turns to Physiology, and seeks to 
become acquainted with the uses and functions of 
the various portions of the material structure ; and 
this, too, is essentially necessary. Chemistry, Ma- 
leria Medica, PiEtthology, &c. are also necessary ac- 
quisitions. But a great deal more than this is re- 
quisite to constitute an accomplished physician. 
He must study profoundly the various sympathies 
and susceptibilities of the human frame — its capa- 
bility of being affected, in various ways, by those 
imperceptible physical and moral influences, whose 
existence is constantly manifested in the living 
body, but which we should in vain attempt to detect 


or trace in the inanimate subject. All truly eminent 
phytieiani have admitted the high importance of this 
lasit species of knowledge, and the success of their 
profeiskMial practice has mainly depended upon its 
skilfdl application. Tet it is certain, that, for more 
than a century, men of science have betrayed a 
strange indisposition towards all investigations of 
this natufe-^an obstinate scepticism with regard 
to the results of all such inquiries, and a propen- 
nty to disparage and ridicule the labours of those 
who are engaged in them. So far, indeed, has this 
sfdrit of hostility been carried, that individuals pre* 
lending to discovery in this department of science 
might esteem themselves fortunate, if, along with 
the depreciation of their pursuits, and the ridicnie 
of thrir allied facts, they were not also denounced 
and pereecated as worthless, or even noxious im- 
poetors. Of such persecution there are abundant 
instances in the history of all incorporated acade- 
mies and colleges. 

When Mesmer first commenced the magnetic 
practice— of the efficacy of which he had, per- 
htcpB accidentally, made the discovery — at Vienna, 
he waa immediately assailed by a virulent perse- 
cation on the part of the medical faculty, which 
eventually drove him from that city. The same 
hostile spirit pursued him into France. It was in 
vain tliat he succeeded in curing the most obsti- 


nate diseases by processes until then unknown or 
disregarded, and by means apparently inadequate; 
— it was in vain that be boldly published authentic 
reports of his cures ; it was in vain that 8om6 of his 
most respectable patients attested the reality of these 
cures. The whole faculty, instead of calmly inves- 
tigating the matter, rose up in arms against this 
single unprotected stranger, denied the success of 
his practice in the face of the most positive and irre- 
fragable evidence, loaded him with everyimaginable 
species of calumny and abuse, loudly accused him of 
jugglery, and proclaimed him a quack and an im. 
postor, although himself a regularly graduated pby- 
sician. It was conceived to be highly presumptuous 
in any member of the medical profession to pretend 
to cure diseases according to a method not recom- 
mended, or sanctioned, or even known, by the fa- 
culty; and, unfortunately for their victim, the words 
Animal Magnetism were not to be found in the 
Materia Medica, The patrimony of the college 
was in danger, and the heretic disciple of ^scula- 
pi us must he put down by all means. 

There is probably no instance, however, in which 
a real and valuable discovery has been ultimately 
suppressed by methods so violent and irrational as 
this. Mesmer persevered — made a few learned 
converts^ who shared the persecution inflicted up- 
on their master^ bid defiance to all the malice of 


his enemies^ and gallantly maintained his ground 
against the united efforts of incorporated power^ 
of learning, argument, wit, ridicule, falsehood, and 
invective. The result — at least so far as posterity 
is concerned— was such as it were to be hoped 
might always be the case when truth is opposed 
by oppressive authority, as well as by despicable 
arts and manoeuvres. In vain did the French Aca- 
demicians of that day attempt to stifle the embryo 
discovery. Magna est veritasj et prtBvalebit. The 
seed had been abundantly sown in fertile soil — 
the plant grew up healthy and vigorous— the nnm* 
bier of labourers daily increased — the fruit arrived 
at maturity, and the harvest was ultimately so- 
cdred. After the retirement of Mesmer, indeed^ 
the practice of Animal Magnetism— although ge- 
nerally discountenanced by scientific and profes- 
sional men, and, for some time, apparently in abey- 
ance — was still partially exercised in private by 
learned and unlearned individuals: and the extra* 
ordinary facts which were gradually brought to 
light, no less than the remedial efficacy of the treat- 
ment, at length forced complete conviction upon the 
minds of thousands. Several eminent physicians 
at last embraced the practice, and made great ad- 
ditions to the evidence in favour of the authenti- 
city of a doctrine which now stands much too 
firmly to be in any danger of being shaken down 


by tbe impdfUmi eflbrts of an ignorant ridieule. 
Of late, it hBM been almost anirersally recognised 
npon the Continent, and it has claimed the atten- 
tion, and obtained the countenance, of some of the 
most celebrated scientific societies in Europe. For 
several years, the Royal Academy of Berlin has 
openly encouraged tbe inveatigation, and assigned 
pmes to the best memoirs on the subject; and in 
the late report of tbe French Royal Academy <yf 
Medicine, Animal Magnetism is recommended as 
wottixy of being allowed a place witbin tbe circle 
of tbe medical scienoea. Indeed^ it may be truly 
said, that the physician who is contented to conti- 
nue in ^^ happy ignorance" of its interesting phe«- 
ncnnena, and of the results which may be l^ti^ 
matdy deduced from them, wilfolly relinquishes 
one of the most useful acquirements essential to 
his professional success, and neglects some of Ae 
most remarkable and most important discoveries 
of modern philosophical investigation. 


'^ There are some secrets which who knows not now. 
Must, ere he reach them, dimb the heapy Alps 
Of science, and devote seven years to tolL* 

The details to be submitted to the attention of 
the public in this publication, are partly pbysiolo* 
gical, partly psycholo^pica], and partly fiEdling more 
immediately within the medical department of the- 

rKTBODUcnoK. S5 

rapeatic89 or the metbod of outing disea^et; Mid 
in order that my readers maj be in sobm measure 
aware of the great interest and importanee of the 
subjects to be discussed, I sball here take the li- 
berty of premising a short and succinct account of 
the new views to be brought under their notice in 
each of these sciences respectively. 

The science of Physiology professes to explain 
the ftmctions of organised beings. Human Phy- 
siology relates to the animal, vital, or natural fnne- 
tions of the homan oi^nism* 

This science is acknowledged by almost all who 
have made it tbe object of their researches to be 
in a very imperfect and unsatisfactory state ; and 
this imperfootioA may, perhaps, be justly ascribed 
— a% indeed, it is directly attributed by many — 
to the circumstance, that roost authors have ap* 
pespred agreat deal more anxious to establish some 
favourite theory or hypothesis of their own, upon 
certain points, than to devote themselves to an at- 
tentive, steady, and judicious generalization of th^ 
aetoal phenomena of Nature. A great proportion 
of the excellent work on lAfe and Organizatiomy 
by that very eminent anatomist and physiologist, 
the late Dr John Barclay of Edinburgh, is occn- 
pied with an exposition and refutation of the fal- 
laeiotis theories of h\» predecessors. Mr How, tlie 


author of a transition of Rudolphi's Elements of 
JPhyHohgi/f very justly: observes in his preface, that 
^^ the almost insuperable difficulties which have ever 
Attended the compilation of an elementary work on 
physiology, are increasing almost daily. There are 
few authors who are not engaged in some favourite 
hypothesis, and thus the facts which come under their 
pbservation are seen through a false and deceitful 
iQedium." The testimony of Mr Lawrence, in bis 
Jjectures on Physiology (Lee. Ill), is to the same 
effect. ^^ In this," says he, ^^ as in most other subr 
jects,. tike quantity of solid instruction is an incon- 
^idera,ble fraction of the accumulated mass; — a 
few grains of wheat are buried amid heaps of chaff. 
For a few well-observed facts, rational deductions, 
and cautious generalizations, we have whole clouds 
of systems and doctrines, speculations and fancies, 
built merely upon the workings of imagination, 
and tl^e labours of the closet," 
• A great part of the evil probably arises from a 
propensity to the premature formation of theories 
and systems of science, which, in the course of 
timej are found inadequate to explain all the phe- 
nomena that occur ; so that, when any new facts 
are discovered, the doors of science are closed 
against them, and they are at once rejected, not 
because they can be demonstrated to be false, but 


because they are, or are supposed to be, irreconcile- 
able with our preconceived notions.* 

Much, no doubt, has been done for this science, 
since Mr Lawrence gave the above description of 
the situation in which he found it ; and the names 
of Sir Charles Bell, Bichat, Flourens, Magendie^ 
his learned translator, Dr M]lligan,f and others, 

* This propensitj of the learned was frequently exposed and 
reprobated hy. Lord Bacon, as extremely detrimental to the 
progress of science : 

Error est prsematura atque proterva reductio doctrinarum in 
artes et methodos, quod cum fit, plerumque scientia aut parum 
aut nihil profidt. — De Augment. Scieni. 

•f* I entertain all due respect for the microscopic obseryers of 
the animal economy, but they mast learn to entertain a little 
moire respect for such as take a more enlarged view of nature 
than themselves. The investigations of the former extend no 
fiurther than the mere structure and functions of the various or- 
gans ; and all this is very good, and very useful to know. But 
man and other animals possess not only various oi^ans, but also 
a moving power, a vital principle, without which these organs 
would be entirely useless. The microscopic observers, indeed, 
ridicule all inquiry into the manifestations of this principles, as 
absurd and useless. Yet I do not hesitate to affirm that any 
ajflteoi of Physiology is incomplete, which excludes all conside- 
ration of these manifestations, which are phenomena of nature, 
aod a fit sul^ect for philosophical investigation. What should 
wtf think of the wisdom of that philosopher, who, in attempting 
to communicate an adequate idea of the operation of the steam- 
engine; should content himself with a mere description of its 
mechanism, — of its wheels and levers, and cylinders, and pistons, 
•—keeping entirely out of view the moving power — ^the steam, 
and ridiculing all investigation into the nature, application, and 
phenomena of this power ? 

In the Preface to the first edition of M. Magendie's Com- 

38 i:ntboduction. 

whose succegsful labours in this department of 
knowledge haye been recently laid brfore the pub- 

pendium of Physiology, the author sets out by observing, that 
fala jHTiocipal olject in composiiig the work was ** to contribute 
to the introduction of the Baconian method of induction into 
Physiological science ;** and on the 89th and 90th pages of the 
fourth edition of Dr Milligan's Translatton, there occurs the 
only reference which M. Mi^ndie has been pleased to make tu 
the subject of Animal Magnetism. It is as follows : — 

" The professors of magnetism, and particularly those of Ger- 
many, speak a great deal of a sense which is present in all the 
others, which wakes when they sleep, and which is displayed 
more especially in sleep-waUeers ; those persons receive from it 
the power of predicting events. The instinct of animals is 
formed by this sense; and it enables them to foresee dangers 
which are near. It resides in the bones, the bowels, the gan- 
glion, and the piexos of the nerves. To answer such reveries 
would be a mere losing of time." 

Tliis is all, 80 fior as I have observed, that M. Magendie has 
condescended to say about Animal Magnetism ; a ludicrously 
imperfect alhuion to one of those hundred theories which have 
been put forth with a view to account for a oertaiu class of phe- 
nomena. On the subject of the phenomena themselves he is 
quite silent. Now, I would just take the liberty of asking M. 
Mai^endie, in what part of the writings of Bacon he has found a 
single passage which, eitiier directly or by implication, can war- 
rant us in excluding from philosophy the coaskleration of any 
class of focts which have been established by incontrovertible 
evidence, and of the reality of which every intelligent man may 
satisfy himself by experiment and observation ? Xiord Bacon 
was hot quite su<^ a blockhead as some of his pretended disciples 
would make him. 

In one of his notes to the work of M. Magendie, Dr Milligan 
observes that ^ tkop-w mihen afford a most perplexing olgect of 
study.** Now, surely that labour is not useless, that time is not 
misspent, which aie occupied in attenqHting to unravel this p^- 
plexity, in the true spirit of the Baconian philosophy, by col- 
lecting and dasslfyiag the fiicts. 



lie, will be honourably distinguish^ by posterity. 
But although much has been already done for this 
science^ in the way of collecting materials for its 
future improvement, a great deal still remains to 
be performedf before it becomes capable of afford- 
ing us a just and comprehenfidve insight into the 
human constitution, and the action, sympathies, 
and susceptibilities of the various parts of the vital 
economy. Some very interesting discoveries, in- 
deed, have been made; but the attempts to gene- 
ralize the facts discovered have been founded upon 
too limited an induction, and the theories which 
have resulted from these imperfect generalizations 
have consequently been too partial and exclusive* 
Hence we are still so far from having hitherto ar- 
rived at a knowledge of that important link which 
connects the phenomena of nature — ^mind and mat- 
ter. To me, indeed, it is quite incomprehensible 
how the interesting inquiries of the enlightened 
professors of Animal Magnetism, upon the Conti- 
nent, should have been so entirely overlooked and 
neglected in this country, and such a truly ludi- 
crous, if not absolutely disgraceful, ignorance of the 
whole subject should still be allowed to prevail 
among {HTofSassicmal men. Setting aside all theory, 
the various important and undoubted facts which 
have been brought to light by that practice, are not 
only exceedingly curious in themselves, but are, 


moreover, calculated to open up many new views 
in physiological science, and to explain many ob- 
scure passages in the book of Nature. The mul- 
titude of these indisputable facts, now accumulated 
by the intelligent disciples of the doctrine^ afford 
the most overwhelming answer to the reiterated, 
ignorant parrot-cries of quackery and imagination. 
Physicians of the very highest eminence have borne 
the strongest testimony to the reality and import- 
ance of this discovery, and have anticipated from 
it the most valuable accessions to their professional 

I am perfectly willing to agree with those who 
hold that all our knowledge ought to rest ultimate- 
ly upon Physics'^ — a science which embraces, or 

* The name and reputation of the celebrated Dr Hufeland, 
Physician to the King of Prussia, is, or ought to be, well known 
to everj professional gentleman in this country ; and no one ac- 
quainted with the character and writings of this practical phy- 
sician, will accuse him of any deficiency of scientific acquire- 
ments, or of any predisposition to enthusiastic feelings. I pre- 
sume, then, that the opinions of a man so eminent, and in every 
respect so well qualified, will be allowed to have some weight 
even with those who are themselves indisposed to investigation, 
and prefer an indolent scepticism to the labour of enquiry. 
Now, in his illustrations of and additions to Dr Stieglitz*s Ideas 
upon Animal Magnetism, Dr Hufeland observes. *' We stand 
before the dawning of a new day for science and humanity,— a 
new discovery, surpassing any that has been hitherto made, 
which promises to afibrd us a key to some of the most recondite 
secrets of nature, and thus to open up to our view a new world.*' 

f Is it necessary to remind any persons pretendmg to the cha- 


QQght to. embrace,, all nature. Bat our prevailing 
physical theories have been recently described, 
perbape with top. much justice, as ^< merely ingeni- 
ous methodsi of no other utility than to facilitate 
the calculation of results." * Hitherto the science 
of Physics has been unable to discover the element 
of motion, and now abandons the research as fruit- 
less. Physiology, too, is ignorant of what /|^ real- 
ly is, and yet pretends to explain its p^ienomena; 
and Psychology, not knowing in what manner the 
spiritual faculties are united to the organization, 
is compelled to investigate the operations of the in- 
idilect, as tf they were performed altogether inde^ 
pendently of the body ; whereas they are only ma- 
nifested, in the ordinary state of existence, through 
the intermediate agency of the corporeal organs ; 
and Nature nowhere exhibits to our visual per- 
ceptions a soul acting without a body. 

Now, in the course of this volume, I shall have 
occasion to direct the attention of my readers to a 

racter of philoM^hers, that the term Pht/gica is derived from a 
Greek word (pv^it) signifying Nature ? How, then, do they 
pnbeod to Umit it to matter and mechanism ? Are not the 
phenomeiia of Spirit as much a part of nature as those of 

*QeeJBmi{ilePhif$iologiePiifoholcffigue^pax Paris, 

1831. In a subsequent part of this volume, I shall take the 11- 
liBfij of laying the ingenious writings of this author more 
largely under contribution. . 

VOL. I. D 

number of ne^ and most importfirnl fecta— facts, 
tooy to which safficient attenticm does not seem to 
have been paid, especially by medical men, in this 
country — relative to the more remarkable powers, 
sympathies, and susceptibilities of the hninan or- 
ganism, and to the energies and occasional mani- 
festations of the vital functions. These facts are 
clear and unambignons in themselves, and their 
reality has been demonstrated by nhmerons and 
decisive experiments ; they are consequently sup- 
ported by the most unimpeachable evidence, and 
must ultimately, in my hmnble opinion, greatly 
modify^ if not entirely change, the whole aspect of 
the science.* 

With regard to Psychology, or that science which 
treats of the nature and fonctionB of the immate- 
rial, or spiritual, or vital principle, which animates 
and governs the organism, I hope to be able to 
bring forward a numerous class of facts, of a cha- 
racter perhaps still more important, and certainly 
more interesting to science and to humanity.'f- 

* The microscopic philosophers need be under no alarm. 
Their labours are useful, and we respect them, and require onljr 
the same respect from them. The object of their inyestigationa 
is matter, — ours is spirit, and the manifestations of spirit. Our 
paths are difitont, and why thonid wetum aiide tcr quarr^ with 
each other? The objects of science are suffl cie B tly numerous to 
afford occupation to aO, and suffidei^j separated to pvevent 
the necessity oi perpetual collision. 

f Our iny^stigations^ however, must not be confounded with 
those of the mere metaphysician. He dwells in the region of 


It li a complaint as old, at least, as- the days of 
Godwortby that, in their psychological researches, 
most indiTidiialfl seemed disposed to give an undue 
bias to the principles of materialism ; and Bishop 
Berkeley asks, ^< Have not Fatalism and Sadducism 
gained ground during the general passion for the 
corposcularian and mechanical philosophy, which 
haA prevailed for about a eentury T* The later 
facts and speculations of Lord Monboddo, other- 
wise calcobted to revive the stndy of Spiritual 
Philosophy, appear to have made little or no per- 
manent impression upon die minds of philosophers. 
There is no doubt, indeed, that, for a considerable 
period, our psychological theories have in general 
displayed a decided leaning towards materialism ; 
they have too much disregarded the manifestations 
of the vital principle-^the via motnxy*-9Mi relied 
too exclusively upon the mere acts of the material 
organization, as if there were nothing else deserv- 
ing investigation. Hence, by a very partial and 
perverse examination of human nature, many phi. 
losophers and pbysidi^sts were induced to con- 
clude, that the isoul — if indeed any such hypothe- 
tical beii^ eocdd be rationally presumed to exist — 

absUact Idma^ and endeavours to reduce these to the cleaniess 
of iQatbematical axioms ; we are occupied with &ct8 and obser- 
vations tending to demonstrate, and, if possible^ explain the 
manifestations of the spiritual principle \ his proofs are logical ; 
ouis are derived entirely from experience. 

44 introduction; 

was inseparably connected with the body — ^that it 
was the mere product or oBBspring of organization 
— that both grew up to maturity together, existed 
in indissoluble union, and perished at one and the 
same moment of time.* 

* These opinions are very old ; thej are of Pagan, not of 
Christian, origin. The doctrine, with the reasons which led to 
the belief of it, is thus stated bj Charles Blount, and subse- 
quentlj plagiarised by other writers, in his Treatise entitled 
Arwna Mvndi. 

** As first to behold the soul in its in&ncv very weak, and 
then by degrees with the body to grow daily more and more 
vigorous, till it arrived to its perfection, from which state to- 
gether with the body it de<!flined, till the decrepitude of the one 
and dotage of the other,, mode it seem' to them probable that 
both should likewise perish tc^ther : 

Gigni pariter cum corpore, et una 
Crescerd sentimuB, pariterqae senescere mentem.** 

Other ancient and modem poets have dilat^ upon the same 
idea. Thus Seneca, the Tragedian: 

Pott mortem nilul ^st, ipsaique more nihiL 

Mora indjvidua est noxia corpori. 

Nee parcens animse. 

Toti morimur, nidlaque para manet nostri. 

And the same sentiment is re-echoed by Voltaire : 

£at-ee la ce Raion de I'EMenee suprenfey 

Qae ron nous peint si lumineuz ? 
Est-ce la eet Esprit survivant k nous meme ? 
II nait avec nos sens, croit, s'aft>iblit eomme euz : 

Helas t il perira de mqme. 

This doctrine was held by some of the Greek and other hea- 
then philosophers ; it was maintained, amongst others, by the 
Jewish sect of the Sadducees, and it was embodied in what has 
been called the Arabian heresy. It seems to have originated 
from a want of due attention to the obvious and important dis- 

lUTRODUcnow; 45 

But the facts and observations I aiii aboQt to 
submit to the serious consideration of my readbrs^ 
in this Tolumcy lead us to conclusions precisely the 
reverse of this, and are calcnlatied, as I conceive^ 
to dem<mstrate^ incontrovertibly, the separate ex- 
istence and independent activity of the soul of inan, 
as well as its powerful influence over the corporeal 
organisni ; in short, that it governs, instead of be* 
ing governed by, the body ;* and thus, by the mo6t 

tiiiction between the merelj physical and material, and the mo- 
ral and spixitual nature of man, without which the various phe- 
nomena, of the himian constitution cannot be prc^erlj compre- 
hended and explained. The doctrine, however, although cer- 
tainly very ancient, never became generally popular, even in 
the heaths world. As Cicero observes,- there always remained 
in the minds of men quasi sacuhrum quoddam augv/numftUurorumy 
—an internal presentiment of immortality, which opposed a 
stubborn resistance to all the ingenious sophistry of atheism. 
The opinion, too, was always philosophically refuted, as pften as 
it was seriously propounded in a tangible shape. It was at- 
tempted to be revived by many of the French philosophers and 
egpnU forU^ previous to the first revolution, and even infected 
some thinking people among ourselve& I trust, however, that 
we have no reason, at present, to express ourselves in the lan- 
guage of an old and learned writer: *^ Surely we are fallen into 
an age declining from God, in which many are fond of those 
things which, lead us fiu-thest from Him; and the rabble of 
atheistical epicurean notions, which have been so often routed, 
and have fled before the world, are now &ced about, and afiresh 
recruited, to assault this present generation.'* — Sir C. Wolse- 
X.KT ; Vwrtimmdlbi^ne99 of AUhnsm^ p. 37* 

* Spiritus intus alit ; totamque infusa per artus 
Mens Sgitat moleoi— ^Viboil. 

Some of the ancient philost^hers ascribed muc(i greater in- 


ample imd irrefragable evidenee^ to set for ever at 
rest that apparently interminaUe controversy be- 
tween the Materialists and the Spiritoalists-^that 
qtUBStio vexata, as it has been called— ^hich has been 
the great opprobrinm of philosophy^ from the earli- 
est dawn of science even to our own times. 

This indeed is perhaps the moel interesting di»- 
covery, in a scimtifio point of view, whidh has hi- 
therto resulted from the investigations of the pro- 
fessors of Animal Magnetism— a study which, it 
will thos be perceived, is of the very highest im- 
portance, not to medical science only, but to gene- 
ral philosophy. 

With regard to the therapeutic department of 
Animal Magnetism, it cannot be expected that I 
should enter at any great length into its details, 
beyond a mere enumeration of the conditions, a de- 
scription of the processes, and a statement of their 
attested efficacy. A dry narrative of cases of treat- 
ment, and a still drier list of cures and failures — 
for both have been amply recorded— however ac- 
ceptable to the gentlemen of the medical profession, 
could possess little interest for the general reader. 
With a reference, therefore, to the numerons works 

iluence to the soul, as the poet, Spenser, hss expfsssed their 
doctrine in the fdlowing couplet : 

** For of the soul the body form doih fake { 
** For soul ia fora, and doOi the bodjr aalM.'' 

tmrnoDvenotf. 47 

IB which tbeie caMs are t» be foned mkititely re* 
oordedy it may be almost eofficient for me to ob- 
serve at preeent, that, by means of a few apparent- 
ly insigntficaDt manipiikitions, or even by an ener- 
getic exereise of the volition, aeoompaaied by a 
vehement desire to relieve the afflieted, diseases of 
the most inveterate and obstinate nUtnre, which 
had previously baffled all the ordinary resonrces of 
medical skilly have been radically eared, or great- 
ly alleviated, and the patient, according to the na^ 
tnre of ihe partienlar case, has been re8t<M^ to 
perfect or comparative health and strength. This 
sanative efficacy of the processes might be demon- 
strated by the most ample and most satisfactory 
evidence. In the mean time I shall take the liber- 
ty of merely alluding to one or two facts. 

The jndicioos Dr Wienholt of Bremen, a physi-^ 
cian of great respectability, and in extensive prac- 
tice, who had long been sceptical in regard to the 
allied efficacy of the magnetic treatment, was at 
length iitdaced by circumstances to make trial of 
it, and gives the following account of his own ex- 

'^ It became every day more and more evident 
to me, that, in the phenomena produced by the 
magnetic treatment, there was manifested the in- 
fluence of a hitherto unknown agent, and that it 
was impossible to ascribe them either to mecliani- 


cal excitation) or to moral effects^ as their source. 
But I found a still ;more valuable and more inte- 
resting reward of my perseverance) in tbe success- 
ful and complete termination of many serious and 
inveterate diseases, .where my art failed me, and I 
could derive no aid from it in future. 

*^ The best encours^ement I experienced was in 
the. successful. and radical cure of my own child, a 
boy near ^ix years old. For some years he had 
been almost constantly in a complaining state^ and 
.afflicted with many ailments, especially of the sto- 
mach, which appeared to be of a spasmodic kind. 
At leifgth, when he had attained his sixth year, he 
exhibited symptoms which led me to apprehend 
confirmed epilepsy; and now, as all my. previous 
efforts had failed, I resorted to Magnetism, of the 
efficacy pf which I had already acquired sufficient 
experience. His mother undertook the treatment 
In a few days he became somnambulist, and n^ani- 
fested precisely the same phenomena, making al- 
lowance for his age, as other patients .who have 
been placed in the same state. In a few weieks }ie 
was cured, continued subsequently free .from all 
those spasmodic attacks, and is at this moment the 
model of a strong and healthy youth. 

^* The cases in which, during a series of years, I 
have either .administered Animal Magnetism my* 
self, or caused it to be administered by others, 


•mount now to between 75 and 80. By far the 
greatest number of these cases consisted of diseases 
in which I could obtain no relief, or, at the utmost, 
a very equivocal alleviation, from the ordinary me- 
dical treatment— <liseases of various kinds, acute 
and chronic, nervous and other tedious complaints. 
Among the patients there were persons of every 
age, rank, and sex, married as well as unmarried. 
In the cases of several of these patients, no other 
phenomenon was observed but a state similar to 
deep; in others, there was feverish excitement; in 
many there were disagreeable and painful feelings, 
and in not a few convulsions. These reactions 
either appeared singly, or, as in most cases, in com- 
bination. I had frequent opportunities, too, to ob- 
serve the phenomenon of Somniloquism, with all 
its various shades and attributes; although this 
state has occurred much more seldom in my expe- 
rienoe than it is said to have done in that of others. 
1 have seen it in grown persons, as well as in chil- 
dren, in males as well as in females, in the married 
and in the unmarried. In many patients, however. 
Magnetism produced no perceptible symptoms, and ^ 
the complaints abated during the process of mani- 
pulation, or the patients were restored to health by 
this treatment, without my being able to discover 
the cause. But not all of the magnetized patients 

VOL. I. £ 

50 INT]U>0t7€TlON. 

recover^. Many continued m the same sta^ as 
before the treatmefit ; otiierB fonnd only an ailevia- 
tian of their isuffmngs ; nay, some died. In some 
the ettre was transient ; several were only partial- 
ly, but VB^iay were completely, cured." 

In another passage, Wienholt adds : << Above all 
things, the competent judge will not overlook the 
nature and duration of the diseases which came un- 
der treatment. He will soon be convinced, that 
by far the greats part of the cases here reported 
fall under that class in which the skill of the phy- 
sician usually fails, which our forefathers, there- 
fore, desi^ated by the significant name of Scanda- 
la medicorum, and which even our present physi- 
cians, notwithstanding all the boasted progress 
made in the bealing art, bave not been able to take 
out of that predicament."* 

Captain Medwin, in his Memoir of Shelley, the 
poet, informs us that ^^ Shelley was a martjrr to a 
most painful complaint, which constantly menaced 
to terminate fatally, and was subject to violent 
paroxysms, which to his irritable nerves were each 

* See the Pre&ce to Wienholt*8 HeUkraft des Thierisohen 
MagneHstnusy a work which I would eamestlj recommend, as 
written with great sobrietj and good sense, and bj an eminent 
practical phjsidan, to every student of Animal Magnetism. In 
his magnetic practice, Wienholt was assisted bj the Drs Olbers, 
Heinedc^n, Treviranus, &c. all of whom were perfectly satisfied 
of the efficacy of the treatment, and the reality of the pheno- 


a separate death/' Captain Medwin continues, '^ I 
had seen ms^etism practised in India and at Paris, 
and, at his earnest request, consented to try its ef- 
ficacy* Mesmer himself could not have hoped for 
more complete success. The imposition of my 
hand on his forehead instantaneously put a stop to 
the spa^m, and threw him into a magnetic sleep, 
which, for want of a better word, is called Som- 
nambulism. Mrs Shelley and another lady were 
present The experiment was repeated more than 

^^ During his trances, I put some questions to 
him. He always pitehed his voice in the same tone 
as mine. I inquired about his complaint, and its 
cnre^ — the usual magnetic inquiries. His reply 
was, * What would cure me would kill me' (allud- 
ing probably to lithotomy). I am sorry I did not 
note down some of his other answers. Animal 
Magnetism i», in Germany, confined by law to the 
medical professors ; and with reason — it is not to 

be trifled with^ " It is remarkable, that, 

in the case of the boy Matthew Schwir, recorded 
by Dr Tritschler, the patient spoke in French, as 
Shelley in Italian. He inxprovised also verses in 
Italian, in which language he was never known to 
write poetry. I am aware that, in England, the 
phenomena of Animal Magnetism are attributed to 
the imagination. I only state those facts that may 


perhaps shake the incredulity of the most scepti- 

I could easily adduce a host of other eminent 
and unimpeachable authorities upon this subject ; 
but I am afraid of exceeding the limits I have pre- 

* A very curious instance of improoisoHon during the mag- 
netic sleep will be found in a work on Animal Magnetism bj 
Mr Baldwin, British Consul in Egypt 

In the Memoir referred to in the text, Captain Medwin adds 
that Shelley was afterwards magnetised by a lady, to whom he 
addressed some verses, supposed to have been spoken to himself 
by his female physician during the operation ; and which, al- 
though carelessly thrown together, possess a good deal of that 
" wild and wondrous'* charm, mingled with refined sensibility, 
which distinguishes the poetical effusions of that gifted but un- 
fortunate genius. 

** The Magnetic Ladt to hsr Patient. 



Sleep on ! aleep on ! forget thy pain ; 

My hand is on thy brow, 
My spirit on thy brain, 
My pity on thy heart, poor ^end ; 

And from my fingers flow 
The powers of health, and, like a sign, 

Seal thee from thine hour of woe ; 
And brood on thee, but may not blend 
With thine. 

Sleep on ! sleep on ! I love thee not ; 

But when I think that he. 
Who made and makes my lot 
As full of flowers as thine of weeds. 

Might have been lost like thee ; 
And that a hand which was not mine 

Ifight then have chased his agony, 
As I another's — my heart bleeds 
For tlane. 


scribed to myself, and must therefore refer my 
readers to the subsequent parts of this work, and 
to the writings of those authors whom I shall have 
occasion to notice hereafter. 

In concluding this Introduction, I again beg to 
be permitted to repeat, what I formerly observed, 
that I do not expect my readers to place implicit 
confidence in all the statements I shall have occa> 


Sleep, deep, and with the dumber of 

The dead and the unborn : 
Forget thy life and woe ; 
Forget that thou must wake for ever ; 

Forget the world's dull scorn ; 
Forget lost healih, and the divine 

Feelings that die in youth's brief morn ; 
And forget me — for I can never 
Be thine. 

** Like a eknid big wiA a May shower. 
My soul weeps healing rain 
On tliee, thou withered flower ; 
It breathes mute music on thy sleep ; 

Its odour calms thy brain I 
Its light within thy gloomy breast 

Speaks like a second youth again. 
By mine thy being is to its deep 

** The spell is done. How feel you now ? 
* Better.— quite well'— replied 
Tlie sleeper. — What would do 
Toa good, when suffering and awake ? 

What cure your head and side ? 
' 'Twottld kill me what would cure my pain ; 

And as I must on earth abide 
Awhile, yet tempt me not to break 
My chain.' ** 


gion to make^ merely becaase I may have brought 
them forward as facts. I shall honestly lay before 
them the evidence m support of these statements, 
and thus endeavour, to the utmost of my power, 
to place them in a situation to judge for themselves. 
I assure the public that I am no proselytising en- 
thusiast ; — ^r have no desire to make converts to 
any particular doctrine, but am anxious only to sti- 
mulate to inquiry, in order that truth, when ulti- 
mately discovered, may be duly acknowledged. In 
short, I do not call upon any of my readers to be- 
lieve ; I merely solicit their candid attention, and 
humbly invite them to think, and investigate, and 
decide according to theit respective convictions. A 
blind credulity, and an obstinate scepticism, are 
frequently both the offsfMring of ^nerance, and both 
are equally injurious to our progress towards scien- 
tific truth. 

With regard to myself, I expect neither fame 
nor fortune from literary or scientific labour ; I 
have no persom^ interest in the reaKty of the facts 
I am about to establish ; I am content to act mere- 
ly in the humble capacity of a pioneer, and endea- 
vour to clear the way for others more competent 
to the task, and more ambitious of the honours and 
rewards of successful investigation. Upon this oc* 
casion, however, I would remind all those who may 
approach the ^scussion of this interesting but in- 


tricate subject, in the words of an old and ingeni- 
ous English writer, the celebrated Dr Henry More 
— ^that ^^ exquisite disquisition begets diffidence ; 
diffidence in knowledge, humility ; humility, good 
manners and meek conversation. For mine own 
part, I desire no man to take any thing I say upon 
trust, without canvassing. I would be thought ra- 
ther to propound than to assert : But continually 
to have expressed my diffidence bad been languid 
and ridiculous." 


Nihil compomtum miraculi causa, verum audita scriptaque senioribuf 

tradam. — Tacitus, An. zi. 27. 



The name of Animal Magnetism has been given 
to that organic susceptibility which renders the 
nervons system of one individual capable of being 
affected, in various ways, by particular processes 
performed by another, especially when accompanied 
with fidth, or, at least, a certain abandonment in 
the patient, and with an energetic effort of volition 
on the part of the operator. The same name is also 
employed to designate the processes themselves, by 
means of which the desired effects are sought to be 

* The name, Ammai MagneHam, has been by many considered 
inq)roper, because it ccmyeys no adequate idea of the nature and 
extent of the subject; and, also, because it seems to implj 
a questionable theory. This latter ol^jection, indeed, has evi- 
dently misled many ingenious but superficial enquirers, who 


This definition, however, applies only to the most 
ordinary manner in which the efiects alluded to are 
most frequently developed. But the same or simi- 
lar phenomena have been observed to occur, in a 
variety of instances, in consequence of the probable 
influence of certain organic or inorganic substances 
upon the living organism — nay, sometimes spon- 
taneously, or without any apparently adequate 
cause ; and as all these analogous phenomena are 

seem to have conceived that they had demolished the whole 
doctrine, and invalidated the whole &ct8, when they had merely 
shewn, like the French Academicians, in 1784, that the existence 
of a magneHeJIuidof this nature is an improbable hypothesis, and 
that, in the present state of our knowledge^ we are not war- 
ranted in attributing the effects produced to any species of mag- 
netism. But the name which Mesmer was originally induced 
to give to his discovery, in consequence of certain circumstances 
which shall be explained hereafter, cotdd not now be changed 
without considerable inconvenience; nor is it, perhaps, desiraUe 
that it should. Several of the sciences, it may be observed, have 
long since out-grown the names by which they were at first de- 
signated : As an instance among many, the science of ElectrieUj^ 
was originally so called from a Greek word signifying Amber. 
Whether the phenomena evolved during the processes practised 
by Mesmer and his disciples have any thing in them analogous 
to Magnetism, is to this day a moot point, liie greater num- 
ber of the practical magnetisers are decidedly of opinion that 
such an analogy does exist. But, really, this is a matter of 
comparatively little consequence. It is much easier to classify 
these phenomena, than to give an appropriate and entirely un- 
objectionable name to that department of science \mder which 
they &]] to be arranged; especially so long as their cause is ob- 
scure or ambiguous. It is of more consequence to science, 
however, to collect and classify fiicts, than to stickle about names. 
^^Re$f nen vnba. 


conceived to depend upon the same principle, they 
have consequently been all included under one ca- 

This influence, from whatever cause it may be 
alleged to proceed, appears so very mysterious and 
inexplicable, and the effects said to have been pro- 
duced by the processes employed seem so very ex- 
traordinary and unaccountable, that the greater 
part of physical philosophers, especially in these 
later times, have, without suflicient examination, 
generally regarded the whole subject, prima fade, 
with the utmost scepticism ; and many uninformed 
persons, seduced by the prejudices of the learned, 
have not hesitated to treat it with unbounded ridi- 
cule.* Nevertheless, it will be shewn in the se- 

* I might give many amusing specimens of this ignorant le- 
vity, but cui bono $ Some will probably occur hereafter. To 
me they have completely demonstrated the truth of the French 
poet's observation : 

Lee plus grands foux soot ceux qui ne pensent pas iWe. 

In the mean time, I must be permitted to express my regret 
that my friend. Professor Napier, in a late number of the Edm- 
burgh Retfiew, should have lent his countenance, and that of the 
publication over which he presides, to mere vulgar clamour, 
and affected to sneer at what he, or his contributor, is pleased 
to denominate ^ the follies of Animal Magnetism.** I have no 
hesitation in telling Professor Napier, that he who attempts to 
hold up to ridicule a scientific subject, of which he is profoundly 
ignorant, has but small pretensions to the character of a philo- 
sopher. Indeed, I cannot sufficiently express my astonishment 
that a gentleman who once boldly undertook the task of ex- 
pounding the philosophy of Bacon, should expose his utter igno- 


quel, that manifest traces of the reality of this in- 
fluence may be discovered in all ages and amongst 
all nations ; it has always constituted an element 
of popular belief; it is supported by some striking 

ranee and contempt of its most elementary principle, by pass- 
ing a condemnatory sentence, without previous investigation, 
upon a series of facts, entirely elicited by inductive enquiry ; — 
&ct8, too, which attracted the serious attention of such men as 
La Place, Cuvier, Hufeland, Dugald Stewart, and many other 
eminent philosophers and physicians. Such conduct merits ge- 
neral reprobation ; for when incompetent persons are permitted 
to erect themselves into judges and oracles in matters of litera- 
ture and science, when adventitious circumstances afford them 
opportunities of influendng popular opinicm, and when they 
proceed, at once, to decide upon the character and value of par- 
ticular subjects, without condescending to enquire or having the 
capacity to comprehend, they only mislead others, become blind 
leaders of the blind, retard the progress of useftil knowledge by 
discouraging investigation, and thus contribute to perpetuate the 
reign of prejudice, ignorance, and error. 

Judex danmatur oum nocens absolvituT. 

In a subsequent number of the same publication (October 
1835, p. 240), it is said, with the same profound and deplorable 
ignorance of the subject : 

'< In the provinces, a believer in Animal Magnetism or Ger- 
man Metaphysics has few listeners and no encouragement; but 
in a place like London, they make a little coterie ; who herd to- 
gether, exchange flatteries, and take themselves for the apostles 
of a new gospeL" 

Now, this may, perhaps, be thought a very smart sentence in 
the pages of a review ; but, in the first place, it is quite clear 
that the writer knows just as much of German Metaphysics as 
he does of Animal Magnetism— that is, in &ct, nothing at all of 
either ; secondly, it is absolute nonsense in itself; and, thirdly, 
so &r as it relates to Animal Magnetism, it is just the very re- 
verse of the truth. The doctrines and practice of Animal Mag- 


natural analogies ; it has been seriously maintain- 
ed in the Tvritings of many profound and ingenious 
philosophers ; and, during the last half century, its 
existence has been experimentally demonstrated by 
such ample and incontrovertible evidence, as pre- 
cludes all rational doubt in the mind of every ho- 
nest and inteUigent inquirer. 

When a series of experiments, however, has been 
instituted and successfully conducted, with the 
view of investigating the reality of certain alleged 
facts which are of comparatively rare occurrence, 
and consequently not immediately obvious to com- 


netism were actually proscribed in Paris, Vienna, and other 
large cities, — proscribed even by the respective governments, at 
the instigation of the learned rabble. They were, for a consi- 
derable period, cultivated almost exclusively in the provinces : 
and it was there that by far the greater proportion of the over- 
whelming evidence was collected, which afterwards flowed back 
into the different capitals, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, &c., carrying 
conviction into the minds of many even of the most obstinate 
and prejudiced opponents. But it is unnecessary to dwell upon 
&cts which are sufficiently well known to all who have enquired 
into the subject, with the view of rectifying the errors and mis- 
representations of those who prefer an ignorant dogmatism to 
philosophical investigation. For my own part, I disclaim all 
conn^ion with any such coterie as that described by the critic, 
and of which I doubt the existence ; as well as all pretensions to 
the character of an apostle of any new gospel At the same 
time, I assure the public, that not even the smartest sayings of 
the very smartest of Reviewers, shall ever deter me from in- 
vestigating the phenomena of Nature, and endeavouring to dif- 
fuse the truths she reveals to the humble and conscientious in- 


mon observatioD, it is often exceedingly difficult 
to impress minds, hitherto unprepared for the re- 
ception of these particular truths, with an adequate 
conviction of the accuracy of the result, or of the 
value of the discovery. The difficulty, too, is great- 
ly increased, when the phenomena evolved are re- 
mote from the ordinary paths of scientific inquiry ; 
when they are of a nature to excite our wonder, 
rather than to satisfy our reason ; and when they 
appear to baffle every effi)rt to bring them under 
any ascertained general laws, or to subject them 
to the rules of any previously-recognised philoso- 
phical theory. In some instances, indeed, the very 
first aspect of the allied facts is sufficient to in- 
sure their immediate rejection. There is always, 
it is true, an ample fund of credulity in the world, 
accompanied with a ready disposition to believe 
any thing that is new, and apparently marvellous, 
and incomprehensible. But it is not among the 
ignorant and the credulous that the true philoso- 
pher looks for a rational approbation of his labours, 
or for an accurate appreciation of the truth and 
the value of his discoveries. Even men of scienti- 
fic and otherwise unprejudiced minds — ^whose opi- 
nions alone can confer credit upon the efforts of 
the philosopher — are naturally slow in yielding 
their assent to the reality of any series of singular 
phenomena, which do not fall immediately within 


the sphere of their own habitual investigations, 
which seem inconsistent with the results of their 
previous acquirements, and of the conditions of 
whose existence they are yet necessarily ignorant. 
Nor is this caution perhaps prejudicial, in the end, 
to the interests of science, unless when it is allow- 
ed to degenerate into downright obstinacy, or be- 
comes contaminated by the sectarian spirit of party. 
Unfortunately for science, however, there are few 
minds possessed of that philosophical energy, which 
enables them to divest themselves of all prejudice, 
and to welcome the evidence of truth, from what- 
ever quarter it may approach them.* 

In all cases, however, where a class of extra- 
ordinary facts is presented to us for the first time, 
upon the evidence of others, which we ourselves 
have hitherto had no opportunity of examining, 
the rational means of arriving at a just conclusion 
respecting their reality, appear to be, — 

1. To consider the nature of the subject, the 

* It has been hitherto the &te of Animal Magnetism, to have 
to contend not onljr with scientific prejudice, but with profes- 
sional interest, with Academies of Sciences and Colleges of Phy- 
sicians; in short, with all the great monopolists of learning and 
wisdom. In such circumstances, it is not a little surprising that 
it should have surviyed until the present day; nay, that it 
should recently have started up, like Antaeus, firom the earth, 
with renovated vigour. Its ultimate triumph, which is probably 
now not &r distant, will afford a most striking proof of the innate 
and unconquerable force of truth. 

VOL. I. F 


n amber of the obserrations and experiments which 
have been made, and the analc^ of the phenomena 
which have been observed to occur in similar cir- 

2. To satisfy ourselves with respect to the gene- 
ral character, intellectual fitness^ and consequent 
credibility of the witnesses. 

3. To scrutinize the circumstances in which the 
various experiments were made, with a view to de- 
tect any possible sources of error. 

4. To be assured of the precision and unambi- 
guity of the facts themselves, of their dependence 
upon the same principle, and of the rational im- 
possibility of referring them to more than a single 
cause; and, 

5. If posuble, to repeat, for our own satisfac- 
tion, or cause to be repeated in our presence by 
others, the experiments by which the phenomena 
have been elicited, and that in the same circum- 
stances, and under the same conditions. * 

* The strictest attention to this last requisite is absolute!/ 
necessary. Attempts have occasionally been made, by the op- 
ponents of the system, to throw discredit upon Animal Magne- 
tism, in consequence of the alleged failure of certain ii\jodicious 
experiments made by ignorant and unskilful persons. This is 
most unfair. Are we prepared to peril the reality of the pheno. 
mena of Chemistry upon the bungling experiments of some awk- 
ward novice, who is utterly destitute of all knowledge of the ele- 
mentary principles of the science, and of the necessary conditions 
of successful manipulation ? Do not our most eminent profes- 
sors occasionally fiedl in producing the expected result ? 


By judicioufily following these rales, every in- 
telligoEit and candid enquirer may succeed in ob- 
taining complete conviction ; wherea% he who de- 
cUnea to enquire is not entitled to decide. 

In proceeding to the execution of the task I have 
undertaken in the present publication, however, I 
am quite aware that I may expose myself, in the 
eyes of some individuals, to the charge of draw- 
ing largely upon the credulity of my countrymen. 
For such a charge, indeed, I am fully prepared, 
and do not eschew it; but, fortunately, I may share 
the burden with a numerous host of individuals of 
far higher attainments and scientific reputation 
than any to which I can pretend ; while I may hope 
to find the weight diminish, in proportion as know- 
ledge extends. My sole object is to ascertain the 
truth in an important subject of inquiry ; and this 
can only be done by an examination of the evi- 
dence applicable to the different points of the case. 
And here I may take the opportunity of declaring, 
that I shall bring forward no facts, as such, unless 
they be sufficiently attested by men of unimpeach- 
able veracity; — men abundantly qualified by their 
scientific habits and attainments, by their perspi- 
cacity and cautious spirit of research, for investi- 
gating the reality of the circumstances which they 
profess to have witnessed; — and who, besides, could 
have no motive for deception, no conceivable inte- 


pest in the practice of impention^ or the propaga- 
tion of falsehood; — eren if the high respectability 
of their characters, and their responsibility towards 
the public, did not eonstitate a sufficient security 
against any suspicion of the kind. I may be al- 
lowed to add, that I have myself produced, and 
consequently witnessed, several of the phenomena 
described in the following pages, and that un- 
der circumstances in which no deception was pos- 
sible ; and the minute correspondence of the facts 
which have fallen under my own observation with 
those recorded in the experiments of more prac- 
tised manipulators, induces me to place entire con- 
fidence in the evidence for those other phenomena 
which I have had no opportunity of verifying by 
direct experiment. My object, however, at pre^ 
sent, is not so much to force conviction upon the 
unwilling minds of the careless, or the obstinately 
incredulous, as to soUcit the earnest attention of 
the philosophically inquisitive to a subject of ra> 
tional and most interesting inquiry; and, if pos- 
sible^ to excite a corresponding spirit of investiga- 
tion amongst all the genuine and liberal friends of 
truth and science. 

The reader is requested to observe, that no sub- 
ject of questionable theory is now to be propounded 
to him. Our business, at present, is with mere 
matters of fact ; and these matters of fact he must 

■• c. 


at or rejeet, dtber on the incontrovertible evi- 
dence of CMmipetent observers, hereafter to be ad- 
duced, or on the testimony of his own experience. 
AH that is required of him is, that he shall bring 
to the investigation of the subjects to be submitted 
to his consideration, that candour of mind, and 
that perfect freedom from prejudice and prepos- 
session, which we ought to preserve in all our re- 
searches after truth. Indeed, I would strongly re- 
commend to all who apply themselves to the inves- 
t^tion of this subject, to abstain, in the mean 
time, from any attempt to explain the facts pre- 
sented to their notice upon the principles of any 
preconceived theory, or of any theory whatever. 
It were best, in the present state of our knowledge^ 
to confine ourselves to the observation and classi- 
fication of the authenticated phenomena. It is the 
facts, and the facts alone, which ought to engage 
all our attention in the first instance; and these, as 
has been already observed, we are bound to admit 
or reject, upon such evidence as we conceive to be 
satisfactory, or unsatisfactory, in the peculiar cir- 
cumstances of the case. 

Moreover, I feel it indispensably necessary to 
warn the reader, again and again, against the ab- 
solute and precipitate rejection of any alleged fiict, 
without adequate investigation, merely because it 
may appear to him to be extraordinary, unacconnt- 


able, improbable, incredible, or even miraculous*; 
or becauae the means employed seem, at first sight, 
incapable of producing the particular effects. Let 
him remember that le vrai n^est pas toufours le vrai- 
aemblabk ; that Nature is wonderful and inexhaust- 
ible in her manifestations, whilst our iaeulties of 
perception and comprehension are limited; and 
that there are many facts in science which we are 
compelled by evidence to admit, although we are 
unable to discover the principle which is active in 
their production. What do we know, for example, 
of the real cause of the phenomena of mineral mag- 
netism, of electricity, of galvanism, of gravitation ; 
—of the susceptibility of disease in the animal or- 
ganization ; — of infection ; — of the salutary opera- 
tion of many medicinal drugs, &c. ? If no facts, in- 
deed, were to be admitted in science, but such as 
could be immediately traced to a certain and satis- 

* '< Les miracles sout selon Tignorance en quoi nous sommes 
de la nature, non selon Pestte de la nature. 

^< II ne faut pas juger ce qui est possible et ce qui ne Vest 
pas selon ce qui est croyable ou incroyable a notre sens ; et est 
une grande fiiute, en laquelle la pluspart des hommes tombent, 
de faire difficult^ de croire d*autrui ce qu*eux ne saurdent ou 
ne voudroient faire.'* — Moktaigne. 

A celebrated philosopher (Bayle) has said with reason : ^< On 
ne prescrit point contre la verity par la tradition generale, ou 
par le consentement unanime des tous les hommes.** Another 
sage (Averroes) had previously declared, that ^ a whole army of 
doctors was not capable of chan^ng the nature of error, and of 
converting it into truth.** 


factory principle as their cause, our whole know- 
ledge would be confined within exceedingly nar- 
row bounds. * 

* ^ In every scientific investigation, it must be kept in 
mind, that efficient causes are beyond our reach. The objects 
of our research are physical causes only, by which we mean no* 
thing more than the uniform sequences of events, as ascertain- 
ed by extensive observation. What we call the explanation of 
phenomena, consists in being aUe to trace distinctly all the links 
of such a chain of sequences, so as to perceive their unifi>nn 
relation to each other. Thus, there may be many instances in 
which we are acquainted with facts forming part of such a diain, 
and are satisfied that they are so connected, while we cannot 
explain their connexion. This is occasioned by the want of 
some fact which forms an intermediate part of the chain, and 
the discovery of which would enable us to see the relation -of 
the wholfi sequence, or, in common language, to explain the 
phenomena. Such a chain of facts was, at one time, presented 
by the rise of water in a vacuum to the height of thirty-two 
feet. The circumstances were well known, as well as their uni- 
form relation, that is to say, the fiu:t of a vacuum — the fact of 
the water rising — and the &ct of this uniformly taking place. 
But the phenomenon could not be explained ; for an interme- 
diate fact was required to show the manner in which these 
known facts were connected. The doctrine of nature abhorring 
a vacuum afforded no explanation, for it furnished no fact ; but 
the fact required was supplied by the discoveries of Torricelli 
on atmospheric pressure. The chain of events was then filled 
up, or, in common language, the phenomenon was accounted 

^ There are, indeed, many cases in which the investigation 
of intermediate events in the chain of sequences is beyond our 
reach. In these, we must be satisfied with a knowledge of the 
facts, and their actual connexion as we observe them, without, 
being able to trace the events on which the connexion depends. 
This happens in some of the great phenomena of Nature, such 
as gravitation and magnetism. We know the facts, but we call- 


I may here observe, that the most eminent phi- 
losophers — those who have made the most pro- 
found researches into the laws and operations of 
Nature— are generally the most disposed to speak 
with becoming modesty of such facts as they them- 
selves have had no opportunity of investigating, 
and of which they can only judge from the evi- 
dence of others, and from known analogies. In 
proof of this, I may refer to the following remarks 
of the most illustrious disciple of Newton, which^ 
are peculiarly applicable upon the present occasion. 
The celebrated M. de Laplace, in his Essai sur ks 
ProbdbiliUs^ observes, that ^^ of all the instruments 
we can employ, in order to enable us to discover 
the imperceptible agents of nature, the nerves are 
the most sensible, especially when their sensibility 
is exalted by particular causes. It is by means of 
them that we have discovered the slight electricity 
which is developed by two heterogeneous metals. 
The singular phenomena which result from the 
extreme sensibility of the nerves in some indivi- 
duals, have given birth to various opinions relative 
to the existence of a new agent, which has been 
denominated Jnimal Magnetism, to the action of 
the common magnetism, to the influence of the 

not account for tbem ; that is, we are ignorant of certain inter- 
mediate &ct8, by which those we do know are connected to- 

gether.** Abebc&ombis, Inqukiet wncemkng (he JnteUeehuU 

Powers, 4th edition, pp. 413-415. 

ANIMAL Magnetism. TS 

8QI1 and moon in some nervous atfections, and, 
lastly, to tbe impressions which may be experienced 
from the proximity of the metals, or of a running 
water. It is natural to suppose, that the action of 
ifaesc causes is very feeble, and that it may be easi- 
ly disturbed by accidental circumstances ; but be- 
cause in some cases it has not been manifested 
at all, we are not entitled to conclude that it has 
no existence. We are so far from being acquaint- 
•ed with all the agents of nature, and their diffe- 
rent modes of action, that it would be quite un- 
pliilosophical to deny the existence of the pheno- 
mena, merely because they are inexplicable in the 
present state of our knowledge. It becomes us, 
however, to examine them with an attention the 
more scrupulous, in proportion as we find it more 
difficult to admit them ; and it is here that the cal- 
culation of probabilities becomes indispensable, in 
order to determine to what degree we ought to 
multiply our observations and experiments, with a 
view to obtain, in favour of the agents which they 
seem to indicate, a probability superior to the rea- 
sons we may have for rejecting them." 

The late justly celebrated Baron Cuvier, too, 
(an authority not to be treated lightly in a matter 
of this kind) has, in the second volume of his Ana- 

VOL, I. G 


tonUe Cang)arSef expressed his opioion, in regard to 
Animal Magnetism, in the following terms ; — ^^ I 
must confess that it is very difficalt to distingaish 
the effect of the imagination of the patient from 
the physical effect produced by the operator. The 
effects, however, which are produced upon persons 
already insensible before the commencement of the 
operation, those which take place in others after 
the operation has deprived them of sensibility, and 
those which are manifested by animals, do not per- 
mit us to doubt that the proximity of two animat- 
ed bodies, in certain positions and with certain mo- 
tions, has a real effect, independently of all parti- 
cipation of the imagination of one of them. It 
seems sufficiently evident too, that these effects are 
owing to some sort of communication which is es- 
tablished between their nervous systems." 

I shall have occasion hereafter to refer to the 
opini(ms expressed upon this subject by the late 
Professor Dugald Stewart, and by other eminent 
philosoj^ers and physicians. In the mean time, I 
may observe, that the foregoing specimens of phi- 
losophical judgment present a striking contrast to 
the supercilious, disingenuous, and irrational me- 
thods by which the greater number of the antago- 
nists of Animal Magnetism have attempted to dis- 
credit the discoveries of the professors of that doc- 

trine) and to discourage and ridicule all inquiry 
into its phenomena.^ 

* In an annotation on Southey^s lAfe of Wesley, the Metho- 
dist, the late ingenious Mr Coleridge has left us the following 
curious record of his opinion of Animal Magnetism. It is pretty 
much what we might have expected from such a man of inde* 
pendent thought and inquiry, who had derived some knowledge 
of the subject from books and conversation, but was practically 
unacquainted with it. 

Mr Coleridge remarks, that " the coincidence throughout of all 
these methodist cases with those of the magnetists, makes me wish 
for a solution that would apply to alL Now, this sense or appefur- 
anoe of a sense of the distant, both in time and space, is common 
to almost all the magnetic patients in Denmark, Germany, France, 
and Xorth Italy, to many of whom the same or a similar stdution 
could not apply. Likewise, many cases have been recorded at the 
same time, in different countries, by men who had never heard 
of each other's names, and where the simultaneity of publication 
proves the independence of the testimony. And among the 
magnetisers and attestors are to be found names of maii» whose 
eompetenoe in respect of int^pity and incapability of intentional 
fidsdiood is fully equal to that of Wesley, and their competence 
in rsspect of i^ysio-psydiological insist and attainments^ incom- 
paiably greater. Who would dream^ indeed, of comparing 
Wesley with a Cuvier, Hufeland, Blumenbach, £schenm6yer, 
Aeil, &C. ? Were I asked what 1 think, my answ^ would be, 
■I that the evidence enforces scepticism and a non iiguet ;r^too 
strong and consentaneous for a candid mind to be aaUs^ed of its 
falai^ood, or its solvibility on the supposition of in^^tosture or 
casual coincidence ; too fugacious and unfixable to support any 
theory that supposes the always potential, an4 under certain 
conditions and circumstances, occasionally iv^ve, existence oi a 
eorve^ondent fiicuHy in the human souL And oothifig less thsn 
sudi an hypothesis would be adequate to the tati^aftory explana- 
tion of the facts; though that of a fn«to«tom of specific functions 
of the nervous energy, taken in coi\junction with extreme ner- 
vous exdtemait, jdut some delusion, phu some illusion, pka some 


^' The essential point," says Nicole, after Aris-* 
totle, ^^ when any question arises respecting fact» 
that are extraordinary and difficult to conceive, is, 
not to demonstrate how they exist, but to prove 
that they do exist"* •*• We mast not decide,'^ says 
Father Lebrun, ^^that a thing is impossible, be- 
cause of the common belief that it cannot exist ; 
for the opinion of man cannot set limits to the 
operations of nature, or to the power of the Al- 

There is no doubt that, when phenomena of an 
extraordinary character are presented to u& for the 
first time, to which we can perceive nothing ana** 

imposition, plus some chance and accidental coincidence, might 
detennkie the direction in which the scepticism should vibrate. 
Nine years has tite subfect of Z^b-Magnetism been before me. 
I have traced it historically, collected a mass of documents in 
French, German, Italian, and the Latinists of the sixteenth 
century, have never neglected an opportunity of questioning 
eye-witnesses, eje. gr. Tieck, Treviranus, De Prati, Meyer, and 
others of literary or medical celebrity, and I remain where I 
was, and where the first perusal of Eluge*s work had left me, 
without having moved an inch backward or forward. The re- 
ply of Treviranus, . the &mous botanist, to me, when he was in 
London, is worth recording : — loh habegesehen was (Ich weiss das) 
Ich nicht wUrde geglaubthdben auf ihren Erxdhlung^ &c.^-' I have 
seen what I am certain I would not have believed on your tell- 
ing ; and in all reason, therefore, I can neither expect nor wish 
that you should believe on mine.* " — Coleridge ; Table-Talk^ 
voi i* pp. 107, &c* 

* Nicole ; Oeuvres, tom. vii let 45, p. 238. 
t Hist. Cfit, des Supersi, I i. ch. 7- 


logous in our previous knowledge, it is quite natu- 
ral tbat we should require much stronger evidence 
to convince us of their reality, than in the case of 
facts of more ordinary occurrence, and of easier 
explanation.* Here, indeed, it is the duty of tlie 
philosopher to proceed with great caution, and to 
suspend his belief until he shall have obtained evi- 
dence of a character and weight sufficient to satis- 
fy bis judgment, and to remove every reasonable 
^nbt But when such satisfactory evidence has 
once been obtained, we can no longer continue to 
withhold our assent, without totally abandoning 
ihe use of our reason, and surrendering our inindtf 
to the perverse dominion of an irrational scepti- 

* ^ In the acquisition of facts, we depend partly upon our own 
^ibaervation, and partly on the testimony of others. The former 
source is necessarily limited in extent, but it is that in which 
we have the greatest confidence ; for, in receiving facts on the 
testimony of oliiers, we require to be satisfied, not only of the 
Fendty of the narrators, but also of their habits as philosoiphical 
observers, and of the opportunities which they have had of as* 
oertaining the &ct8. In the degree of evidence which we re- 
quire fbr new fiicts, we are also influenced, as was formerly 
stated, by their probability, or their accordance with facts pre- 
viously known to us ; and, for facts which appear to us impro- 
bable, we require a higher amount of testimony, than fbr those 
in accordance with our previous knowledge. This necessary 
caution, however, while it preserves us from credulity, should 
not, on the other hand, be allowed to engender sceptidsm ; for 
Iwth these extremes are equally unworthy of a mind which de- 
votes itself with candour to Uie discovery of truth."— -Abul- 
^moKBiE ; JnquMti eoneendng Ihe InteUeeiual Poweny p. 378. 



The effects which af e allied to have been pro^ 
duced throQgh the influence of that agent which 
has been denominated Animal Magnetisniy appear 
to have Mtherto excited little sensation in this 
country^ etCepting as an occasional subject of ri- 
dicule. In the case of persons who have never 
made ahy serious inquiry into the subject^ the very 
extraordinary, and apparently mysterious and un- 
accountable, character of the facts, so startling up- 
on a first view, might almost justify the derision 
with which they invariably scem disposed to treat 
them. But he who <mce enters into a sober inves- 
tigation of these facts, and becomes, in some degree, 
aware of their number, their universality, the con- 
ditions under which they occur, their analogy with 
each other, and the superabundant Evidence which 
exists in favour of their reality, must soon perceive 
that they merit more serious attention. During 
the last half century, numberless experiments have 
been made upon the Continent, especially in France 
and Germany (where, indeed^ the practice has notr 


been pretty generally introduced), and a vast va« 
riety of cases, of the most remarkable character, 
witnessed and recorded, which, if we consider them, 
as they seem entitled to be considered, as well au- 
thenticated, will be at once admitted to be of a 
highly important nature, whether we r^ard them 
merely in a medical point of view, or look upon 
them as a most interesting and valuable accession 
to our physiological and psychological knowledge. 
These experiments, too, have been conducted, not 
by ignorant empirics alone^* as is too generally 
supposeds but chiefly, as will be seen in the sequel, 
although not limited to them, by professional gen- 
tlemen of learning, talents, and high respectability, 
whose characters hold out sufficient security against 
all suspicion of deception, even supposing that, in 

* It is frequently thrown out as a reproach to Animal Mag- 
netism, that it was, at one time, practised principally bj «n- 
plrics and unprofessional persons. The fiict is, in some degree, 
true, but the reproach is altogether unmerited. It will be seen 
hereafter, that Animal Magnetism was prohibited; that the 
doctrine was condemned, and its most enlightened advocates 
persecuted by the profession ; and it was natural enough that 
the practice, should have fidlen into other hands. The reproach 
m%;ht, with &r greater justice, be directed against those who, 
#lthou|^ they ought to have been the best qualified for the in* 
vestigation^ neglected the opportunity of extending and im* 
proving the discovery, and of rendering it more and more usefiil 
to science and to humanity. Throughout the entire annals of 
scientific discovery, we meet with nothing more mean-spirited, 
nanrow-minded, and disgusting^ than the conduct of the Faculty 
of Medicine towards Mesmer and his disciples. 


the particular eiroamstanees, there existed any mo- 
tive for deception, or that it had been practicable, 
or had been actually attempted. 

Before I proceed to the history of this interest- 
ing discovery, and to describe the various remark- 
able phenomena which have been brought to light 
by the magnetic treatment, I conceive it may be 
useful to advert briefly to certain curious opinions 
and customs, which have prevailed, almost univer- 
sally, among mankind, in all ages of the world, 
and tberefoire would appear to have some probable 
foundation in nature. In what degree they may 
be held to be connected with the doctrine of Ani- 
mal Magnetism, to be afterwards explained, I may 
leave to the judgment of my readers.* 

* I understand that the facts I stated, and the observations I 
took the liberty of making upon these matters of popular faith, 
in the first edition of this volume, have called forth a vast deal 
(^merriment among the wiseacres and witlings in certain quar- 
ters (I wish I could make them at once meny-and wise) ; and I 
have myself heard an infinite number of jokes— « few good, many 
bad, and some indifierent*-sported in relation to this and other 
subjects connected with the study of Animal Magnetism. 

Now, I do not in the least regret that I have thus fUmished 
a rattle to amine these half-grown-up children of science ; most 
willingly would I leave them in the undisturbed ei\joyment oi 
their harmless and unmeaning mirth, provided I am permitted 
patiently to grope my way along the lowly paths of experience 
and observation, and to cast an humble but not an undisceming 
eye upon all that I meet of the realities of nature. If we are 
desirous of making any assured progress in the studjr of the phi- 
losophy of man, we inust not neglect thot^ popular opinions, 


There are various simple operations in almost 
constant practice among mankind, and performed, 
as it were, instinctively, which, from their very fre^ 
quency and apparent insignificance, scarcely en- 
gage our attention, and conseqiieiitly give rise to 
no reflection. We find, indeed, a number of float- 
ing opinions relative to the object and efficacy of 
some of these seemingly trifling operations, which 
have been transmitted from age to age, until they 
have at length been permitted to settle down and 
mingle with the elements of popular belief;, but 
men of education and science, especially in this 
age of intellect, have generally agreed to regard aU 
such practices with indifference^ and to reject all 
such opinions with contempt, as the offspring of 
mere ignorance and prejudice. Upon due inquiry, 
however, it will probably be found, that Nature 
never confers a general instinct without having a 

those habits of thinking, those instinctive principles andfeelings> 
which Nature herself for the wisest of purposes no doubt, seems 
to have originally implanted in the minds even of the rudest of 
mankind. These are frequently more valuable as materials for 
thought, more fertile in interesting results to the inquisitive 
mind, than all the airy speculations of a fiuidful philosophy, and 
will be disregarded, despised, or decided only by the self-conceit- 
ed and the wilfully ignorant. 

I will therefore venture to take leave of these laughing phi- 
losophers in the words of St Austin : Rideat me ista dkentem^ qui 
non irUdUgit ; etego doleam riderUem m» — <^ Let them laugh at me 
for speaking of things which they do not understand.; and I 
must pity them, while they laugh at me«^ 


partieular end in view ; and it is quite possible that 
l^ete instinctive practices may have their special 
ob}ect% and that the opinions alluded to may con- 
stitnte the surviving relics of some rude branches 
of knowledge, cultivated in remote periods of so* 
ciety, which have been almost entirely swept away, 
and nearly obliterated from the records of human 
acquirements, leaving but a few faint traces of their 
former prevalence behind, in popular superstition, 
and the deeply-rooted prejudices of the vulgar. 

In all ages, a certain medicinal virtue has been 
ascribed to the touch of the human hand, to the 
placing of it upon a sick person, or using it as a 
topical remedy, by rubbing with it any part of the 
body which may happen to have been injured. 
This fact is familiar to all of us from our infancy, 
although little attention appears to have been hi- 
therto paid to this instinctive operation, and scarce- 
ly any attempt has been made to assign a reason 
for the soothing influence of the process. 

Natural instinct prompts a patient to apply his 
hand to any part of his body in which he feels pain. 
If he should happen to have received a blow, or 
any local bodily injury, the hand instinctively 
moves towards the suffering part, and probably 
rubs it gently. In the same manner, in the case 
of a headach, a colic, &c. we naturally seek relief 
from the application of the hand to the r^on where 


the pain is felt. In similar complaints, too, we fre- 
quently experience relief from the same operation 
performed by another, with the view of alleviating 
the painful sensation. This process is well known 
and appreciated in the nursery, where it is often 
resorted to by attendants upon children. When a 
child has been injured, or is otherwise suffering 
bodily pain, it usually runs to its mother or its 
nurse, who places it on her knee, presses it to he^ 
breast, applies her hand to the part afibcted, rubs 
it gently, and in many cases soothes the painful 
sensation, and sets the child asleep. 

This process indeed appears to be sometimes 
adopted, not merely with the view of alleviating 
any particular painful sensation, but as a general 
corroborant and preservative of the health. In 
some parts of Bavaria, we are informed that the 
peasants r^ularly rub their children from head to 
foot, before putting them to bed ; and they are of 
opinion that this practice is attended with salutary 
consequences. The mode of taking the bath among 
the Oriental nations, accompanied with friction, 
and pressing the different parts of the body (duxn^ 
poamgj, produces a refreshing, invigorating, and 
highly agreeable feeling, occasions a slight perspi- 
ration and gentle slumber, and cures, or at least 
alleviates, many diseases. In investigating the 
customs of different countries, we sometimes stum- 


ble apon practices still more analogous to the mag- 
netic processes. The author of the Philosophie Cor- 
pusculaire informs us, that a family exists in the 
mountains of Dauphine, who have been in the ha- 
bit of magnetising, from father to son, for centu- 
ries. Their treatment, he adds, consists in con- 
ducting the great toe along the principal ramifica- 
tions of the nerves. Professor Kieser* mentions 
that a similar mode of treatment (called Treten) 
has long prevailed in many parts of Germany, for 
the cure of rheumatic and other complaints. We 
have probably all heard of the virtue ascribed to 
the great toe of King Pyrrhus. 

Long before the discovery, indeed, of what is 
now called Animal Magnetism, many eminent phy- 
sicians appear to have been perfectly well acquaint- 
ed with the efficacy of touching and rubbing, as a 
means of curing diseases. Nay, if we may credit 
the authority of the anonymous author of the De~ 
narium Medicum^ there were many ancient physi- 
cians who cured diseases without making use of 
any material remedies, and, as it would appear, in 
a manner purely magnetic, corresponding with 
that practised in the modern School of Barbarin. 
Fuerunt^ says he, ante Hippocratem multi viri docti, 
qui ntiUa prorsus medicina corpared tisi suniy sed sola 
spiritus et animaefacuUate. 

* E1E8BB ; Sffttem des T^htfinmu^ &c voL i. p. 381, sect. 127* 



Michael Medina, in his treatise De recta in Deum 
fidej cap. 7. (Venice, 1564), tells us that he knew 
a boy at Salamanca, who was believed to possess 
the gift of communicating health, and who cured 
many persons of the most serious diseases merely 
by touching them with his hand. Thiers, in his 
Traite des Superstitions (1. vi. ch. 4), mentions se- 
veral monks who were in the practice of curing 
diseases by the touch. Athanasius Kircher asserts 
that there are some persons who cure the most ob- 
stinate diseases by the mere touch of the hand 
(solo attactu incurabiles morbos toUunt quidam). 
Pujol, in his work on Trismus, relates a curious 
circumstance which occurred during the treatment 
of a patient, who was afflicted with the disease 
called Tic doUmreux. ^^ Ever}*^ paroxysm," says 
he, ^^ terminated by the flowing of some tears from 
the eyes, and of some saliva from the mouth ; but 
the patient was obliged to beware of attempting to 
dry her eyes and chin upon those occasions, because 
the slightest touch increased the acuteness and du- 
ration of the pain. In one of these attempts, she 
made the discovery, that when she slowly and cau- 
tiously approached the points of her fingers to the 
suffering part, the fit was much shortened. She 
was obliged, however, merely to reach the skin 
with the edge of her nails, to touch it as lightly 
and as rapidly as possible, and then to withdraw 


them as fast as she coald." In consequence of this 
superficial contact, she experienced a painful but 
merely momentary itching ; upon which there im- 
mediately followed a sensation which she compared 
to the noise made by the wheels of a clock in strik- 
ing the hour, and then the fit terminated.* 

Individuals have at various times appeared in 
^is country, who have acquired considerable repu- 
tation for their skill in reducing obstinate swell- 
ings, and curmg other diseases, principally of the 
joints, by means of friction and pressure ; and these 
methods have also been frequently adopted in the 
eure of rheumatic oomplftints. But in such cases, 
the beneficial effects* it is believed, have generally 
been ascribed to the mere friction, and to the in- 
creased local excitement and activity of circulation 
thereby produced in the affected parts.^ 

A peculiar and supernatural efficacy has been 
sometimes ascribed to the touch of particular indi* 
viduals. Thus, in England and France, it was an 
old belief, that the monarchs of these kingdoms 
possessed the power of curing the scrofula (hence 
called the King^s Evil) by means of the touch of 


* Pujol regarded Animal Magnetism as a chimera, and con- 
ndered the effects of this manipulation as merely electrical. 
Wienholt, however, Mmsdf a phji^dan, and one of the most 
sensible writers upon this subject, is disposed to look upon the 
matter in a different light, and recommends that the magnetic 
treatment should be tried in similar caiies. 



their hand. This power is said to have been first 
ascribed to Edward the Confessor, in England, and 
to Philip L in France. The following was the for- 
mula adopted by the kings of France, in manipu- 
lating upon such occasions : Le Rot te tauche^ Dieu 
te guerisse. The same power is said to have been 
previously exercised by the Scandinavian princes, 
and particularly by St Olaf, who is supposed to 
have reigned from 1020 to 1035 ; so that this tra- 
ditional efficacy of the royal touch appears to have 
originated in the north of Europe.* 

* See Snorro Sturluson's History of the Soar^inaman Kings. 

That the Kings of England, for several hundreds of years, 
actually exercised their touch for the cure of scroMous com- 
plaints, is proved hy ahundant historical authority; and the 
sanative efficacy of the process is also sufficiently attested. — See 
PoLTDORE YiKGiL, lib. viiL Hist, AngU 1 ; Todkeb, ChansmOf 
tiwe dotmm sanatUmiSy &c 1697* Mr Wiseman, principal sur- 
geon in King Charles First's army, and seigeant-curgeon to 
King Charles IL after the Restoration, says : ^ I myself have 
been a frequent eye-witness of many hundreds of cures per. 
fonned by his Miyesty's touch alone, without any assistance of 
ehimrgery ; and those, many of them, such as had tired out the 
endeavours of able chirurgeons before they came thither.'* — 
Wiseman's Chirurgioal Treatises, voL i p. 387* See also Mr 
Bedcett's Enqmry into the Antiquity and £lffieaoy of TowMng four 
the Cure of ihe K%ng*s EviL The method adopted upon these oc- 
casions was to accompany the touch with prayer, and to bang a 
gold medal about the neck of the patient. 

Sir WilHam Davenant, in his Tragedy of Macbeth, referring 
to the exercise of this power by Charles II. of Englund, ob- 

** How this good King soUaited Heaven 
Himself beet knew ; but straogely-vieited people, 


These circumstances, relative to the popular be^ 
lief of the sanative efficacy of the touch of the hu- 
man hand, accompanied, as we have seen, with 
some evidence of its reality, are certainly curious. 
I am aware that many of the writers upon Animal 

The mere despair of surgery, he cured, 
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks, 
Put on with holy prayers." 

And that very eminent divine, Bishop Bull, assures us of the 
truth of this fact, in the following passage of his fifth sermon :— 
^^That divers persons, desperately labouring under the King's 
Evil, have been cured by the mere touch of the Royal hand, 
assisted with the prayers of the priests of our church, is unques- 

It has been seen, that it was usual, upon these occasions, to 
hang a gold medal about the necks of the patients. To those 
who are in the habit of ridiculing the efficacy of charms, amu- 
lets, &c. I would recommend a serious consideration of the fol- 
lowing case, which was related by Mr Dicken, sergeant-surgeon 
to Queen Anne, to a respectable physician. ^^ A woman came 
to him, begging that he would present her to be touched by the 
Queen. As^ from her appearance,' he had no great opinion of 
her character, he told her the touch would be of little service 
to her, as he supposed she would sell her medal, which must con- 
tinue about the neck to make the cure lasting. . She promised to 
preserve it ; was touched ; had the medal given to her ; and soon 
after her sores healed up. Forgetting her promise, and now 
looking upon the piece of gold as useless, she disposed of it ; but, 
soon after, her sores broke out once more. . Upon this she ap- 
plied to Mr Dicken a second time, earnestly entreating him to 
present her again to the Queen. He did so, and once more she 
was cured.** — Douglas, Bishop of Salisbury ; The Criterion^ p. 205. 

An analogous anecdote is told by Deleuze, towards the con- 
clusion of his Defense du MoffneHsme Animal, '^ A Doctor of 
Medicine, who enjoys a high reputation, and who will not be 
accused, of ignorance, for he is a Professor and a Member of the 


Magnetism do not admit that there is much) if any, 
analogy between this mode of cure and the mag- 
netic processes. I should not have conceived it 
proper, however, to have omitted all notice of the 
belief and corresponding practices alluded to ; the 
more especially as, notwithstanding all the facts 
which have been brought forward, and the theories 
which have been propounded upon the subject, we 
are still confessedly very ignorant of the true causes 
which operate in producing the phenomena of Ani- 
mal Magnetism; and it has never yet been correct- 
ly ascertained in how far these phenomena may de- 
pend upon the physical means employed, or upon 
the psychical influences which are exerted, or de- 
veloped, during the treatment. The general, al- 
most universal, prevalence of the popular belief re- 
specting the existence of the influence in question, 
appeared to be a circumstance of too much im- 
portance to be passed over entirely without notice.^ 

Academy of Sciences, declared to me that he knew a lady who 
was long afflicted with palpitations of the heart. She was ad- 
vised to wear on her breast a hazel-nut, hollowed out^ and then 
filled with mercury, and well stopped. As soon as she be^^ to 
wear this amulet, the palpitations ceased. After a few days she 
thought herself cured, and laid aside the amulet. The palpi- 
tations returned ; and the same thing took place during several 

Fama vero nulla prorsua perit, quam quidem multi 

PopuU diyulgant Jffegiodi Opera et Diet, v. 761. 

VOL, I. H 


Some af tbe writers apon Animal Magnetisin 
have been induced to ascribe a great deal of influ- 
ence to the human eye ; and in this opinion^ also, 
they appear to be supported by a very ancient and 
generally prevalent popular belief, which, in many 
instances, no doubt, may have degenerated into 
superstition. This belief, however, appears to have 
eidsted from the earliest times. Pliny informs us, 
in his Natufal HMory^ that a particular colour of 
the eye, and a double pupil (probably meaning a 
variously-^M>loured or spotted tm), were* believed 
to indicate that the persons having this colour or 
conformation of the eye, were peculiarly endowed 
with this species of the magnetic virtue.* 

Of all the corporeal organs, there is none which 
can be considered so much in the light of an im- 
mediate and faithful interpreter of the internal 
thoughts, feelings, and emotions, as the eye. It is, 
as it were, at once the telescope and the mirror of 
tbe soul. Love, hate, fear, courage, jealousy, in- 
nocence, and guilt, are revealed by that powerful 

* ^ Esse, a^idt Isigonus, in Triballis et lUyriis, qui visu quo- 
que effiiscinent, interimantque quos diutius intueantur, iratis 
pnecipue oculis : quod eorum malum praecipue sentire pufoeres. 
Notab&Hus esse, quod pupillas binas in singuHs oculis liabeant. 
Hujus generis et fceminas in Scjthib, quse vocantur Bithyse, 
prodit Apoll<mides : Philarchus, et in Ponto Thibiorum genus, 
multosque alios ejusdem naturae ; quorum notas tradit in altero 
oculo geminam pupillam, in altero equi effigiem.** And more to 
the same purport.— Plin. Nat. Hist, vii 2. 


aDd delicate organ; every species of passion^ in 
short, is immediately portrayed in it; and there 
is probably no feature in the human countenance 
from which we are so much disposed to draw our 
inferences, and to form our opinions, respecting in-* 
dividual character. Nee enim^ says Wierius, uUwn 
rq^erias in humani corporis fabrica organum^ quod 
tanta spiritman copia scateaty et ex quo eommftdgor 
usque odea emicet, ut de oculi pupUla certum est* 

The force and fascination of the eye, indeed, have 
been alwajrs proverbial, and the common belief of 
the people has ascribed to this influence many of 
those phenomena which are included under the 
description of magic and witchcraft.f The bane- 
ful effects of the evil eye are recorded in the vul- 
gar traditions of all ages and nations. Hence pro- 
bably the derivation of the Latin word Invidia ; 
and Virgil clearly alludes to the common supersti- 
tion in his 30th Eclogue, v. 118 : — 

* De PrasHgm Daemonumj lib. ii. c. 49. 

-f The miglitj mind of Bacon did not disdain, like many of 
our physical philosophers of the present day, to grapple with 
this interesting subject This great philosopher defines /(womm* 
Htfi to be '^ the power and act of imagination, int^isive upon 
other bodies than the body of the imaginant.** The reality of 
this influence he does not seem disposed to deny ; for, after re- 
marking that the school of Paracelsus, and the disciples of na- 
tura] magic, had too much exalted this power of the imagination, 
he observes, that *< others, that draw nearer to probability, call- 
ing to their view the secret passages of things, and specially of 


Neicio quis teneros oculus mihi fiudnat agnos. 

According to the accounts of recent travellers, the 
Indians are to this day convinced that many dis- 
eases are generated merely by an evil Took. In 
Captain Lyon's Travels in Northern Africa^ it is 
observed, that among the Arabs, the evil eye is of all 
mischiefs the most dreaded ; and for a stranger to 
express particular admiration of a child, a horse, or 
any other valuable, is to bring on it or its posses- 
sor misfortune, unless averted by passing over the 
object a finger wetted with saliva, * 

It has been asserted, and upon evidence, too, 
that the human eye manifests a powerful influence 
in subduing the natural courage and ferocity of 
wild animals, insomuch that bulls, tigers, &c. it 
is alleged, have been known to retire in dismay 
before the firm and fixed look of man. Some sin- 

the contagion that passeth from body to body^ do conceive it 
should likewise be agreeable to nature, that there should be 
some transmissions from spirit to spirit, without the mediation 
of the senses." After alluding to the means used **• to raise and 
fortify the imagination," he concludes : " Defidences in these 
knowledges I will report none, other than the general deficience, 
that it is not known how much of them is verity, and how much 
vanity ;" in other words, that the subject had not yet been phi- 
losophically investigated. 

* As there are some who are said to &scinate by their as- 
pect, so Rodericus a Castro {Med, Polit, 1. 4. c. 1.), says : " E 
converso, quosdam esse quorum oculi creduntur habere vim be- 
neficam ad res inspectas : vulgo Benssedeiros,'* 


gular and almost incredible instances of this in- 
fluence will be found in Van Helmont's Treatise 
on the Plague^ and in other works. * 

The breath and the saliva have both been aU 

* See, in particular, Secrets et Remedes eprouvts, dont lea pre- 
paraHans ont itifmtes an Louvre^ de Vordre du Roi, par M. L'Abbe 
Bousseau, &c 2d edit. Paris» 1708. 

I remember having read in a newspaper, some jears ago, an 
account of the escape of a tiger from confinement, which caused 
great terror and confusion in the streets of London. A gentle- 
man happening to come suddenly out of a house, without any 
previous knowledge or suspicion of his danger, found the animal 
couched within a few yards of him. Fortunately, this gentle- 
man had spent some part of his life in the East Indies, and was 
acquainted with the nature of these ferocious animals. Instead 
of attempting to make his escape, he stood perfectly still, and 
fixed his eyes steadily upon the tiger, who, in the course of a 
few seconds, made a bound to the opposite side oi the street, 
and soon left the gentleman in complete security. 

I need make no apology for extracting the following very cu- 
rious observations from a popular publication, entitled Time''* 
Teleecopef for 1832. 

^' Reciprocal Effects of betratimo Fear. 

** It is well known, that, with regard to most animals, the be- 
trayal of fear in one often excites another to mischievous at- 
tacks, or, if these have been commenced, to increased boldness.** 
Van Helmont had, long ago, made a similar remark : ^< In omni 
dueUo^ a pavori ?Mstis conspicuo, aniinus ho$iiRs roboratur." Tu- 
mulus pESTis. '^ That this does not hold, as is usually sup- 
posed, in the case of bees, appears from a circumstance which 
occurred to M. de Hofer of Baden. Being a great admirer of 
bees, they appeared to have acquired a sense of friendsliip for 
him, by virtue of which he could at any time approach them 
with impunity, and even search for a queen, and taking hold 
of her gently, place her upon his hand. This was, as usual, 


l^ed to possess considerable efficacy in the cure 
or alleyiation of diseases. The remedial efficacy 
of the breath) indeed, appears to have been main- 
tained in ancient times ; for we find that Pliny re- 
commends breathing upon the forehead as a means 
of cure. * Peculiar virtue ha% in all times, beeu 
ascribed to the breath of young and healthy per- 

ascribed to his want of fear^ but having had the misfortune to 
be attadred bj a violent fever, he soon fbund, after his recovery, 
that the bees considered him as a different person, and instead 
of being received bj them as an old friend, he was treated as a 
trespasser ; nor was he ever able, after this period, to perform 
anj operation upon them, or approach within their precincts, 
without exciting their anger. It would thence appear that it 
was not so much his want of fear and confidence in their want 
of enmity, as some peculiar effluvia of his body (changed by the 
fever), whidi gave rise to the drcumstance. 

'^ That the non-betrayal of fear, however, has a powerful in- 
fluence upon quadrupeds, as well as upon man himself, there can 
be no doubt We are acquainted with a gentleman who affirms 
that he is not afraid to face any animal, not excepting a lion, a 
tiger, or even a mad dog; and when in India, he gave actual 
proof of his courage^ by killing, with his own hand, more tigers 
than one. His secret is to fix his eye firmly and undauntedly 
on the animal, a method which he maintains will cause the 
fiercest to quaiL By the same means, he succeeded in subduing 
a furious maniac, who had broke loose from confinement in a 

* HisL Not lib. xxviiL c 6.— Delrio treats at large of those 
magnetic doctors who cured their patients by anointing them with 
their spittle, by breathing upon them, and by manipulation. 
Rodericus a Castro (Medio. Poiit, L 4. c. 3.) seems to admit the 
reality 'of these cures, and teUs us : ^< In wnfirmaiwnem addueunt 
expenentiam et varia ouraHonum genera mire freqiunHia^ et prtucin 


^oos. On the other hand^ the breath of some ser- 
pents is said to communicate a deadly poison. 

When a child complains, the mother or the nurse 
frequently says that she will blow away the pain ; 
and it is usual among the common people, in some 
countries, to treat the disease called St Anthony's 
¥ire magnetically, by breathing upon the body. 
Borelli mentions that there exists a sect of physi- 
cians in India, who cure all sorts of diseases merely 
by the breath. 

The quality of the saliva, in men and other ani- 
mals, appears to depend much, not only upon the 
bodily health, but also upon the state and disposi- 
tion of the mind. The natural office of this se- 
cretion is to prepare the food for digestion. Most 
of us may have experienced the alteration produced 
upon this secreted fluid by corporeal disease : the 
passions seem to exercise a strong influence over 
it; and madness converts it into poison. 

The saliva is said to have a peculiar efficacy in the 
case of swellings. It was employed as a remedy 
by the EnscUmadores in Spain, who, according to 
Delrio, cured diseases by means of the saliva and 
the breath. * 

quotidiianam ntUitum qui solo afflatu, osculo, aut nudi lintei ap- 
plicatione, sanant etiam atrocissima vulnera, qui omnes done 
sanitatis in variis morbis se prseditos gloriantur." 

* Delrio, DUqumt. Magic. Mogunt. 1C06, torn. 1. p. 69. 


It is scarcely necessary for me to repeat, that 
the alleged efficacy of these simple natural in- 
fluences has been brought under notice, merely in 
deference to the very general popular belief. The 
reader is at liberty to attach what degree of credit he 
pleases to the accounts given of theh: sanative vir- 
tues. The spiritual magnetist may hold that there 
is no efficacy in the things themselves, but that the 
salutary influence is derived from the will and in- 
tention of the individual who employs the pro- 
cesses. Even in this view, however, the circum- 
stances are not undeserving of attention, as they 
may be considered as indicating the employment 
of certain means towards a particular end, with- 
out any knowledge of the operating principle. * 

* Fienus, in his well known work, De FirUnu ImaginaHmisy 
ascribes immense influence to the acts of the mind per potenHam 
imaginaiham. ^^ £tenim," says he, '^ infiniti authores diversas et 
admirandas virtutes ei adscripserunt : ipsummet vulgus et to- 
tus mundus dicit, et quasi pro comperto liabet, per imaginatio- 
nem mirabiles effectus contingere et corpore proprio et alieno : et 
non tantum hoc yiri mediocriter docti, sed et muliercuke ipsse no- 
runt et prsedicant." He then refers to the authority of Aristotle, 
Avicenna, and other eminent persons, for the truth of the fact. 
The last-mentioned author expressly asserts, among other things, 
^< animam humanam posse corpus sanum ad eegritudinem, et se- 
grum ad sanitatem convertere.** Were we to reject all the 
other evidence of the reality of this fact, it could be completely 
substantiated by the indisputable phenomena of Animal Mag- 

( 97 ) 


In order to enable us to prosecute, with any pros* 
pect of success, our inquiries into the operation of 
those influences, the alleged effects of which have 
been considered in the preceding chapter ; it may 
be useful to direct our attention, for a short time, 
to some of those more remarkable sympathies 
which have been found to exist between the diflis- 
rent parts of the corporeal frame, and also between 
the mind and the material organism. Here, indeed, 
we are led into an inquiry of vast extent, interest, 
and importance, as regards both philosophy and 
medicine. I confess that I feel myself quite in- 
competent to do justice to such a subject-— a sub- 
ject which has been hitherto too little investigated 
by physicians ; and I have in vain sought for ade- 
quate information upon it, in the writings of pro- 
fessional men. There are some points, however, to 
which it is necessary that I should advert, in con- 
sequence of their connexion with the general ob- 
ject of this work. 

From a quotation I formerly made from M. de 

VOL. I. I 


BufFon,* the reader must have perceived the great 
value which that eminent naturalist set upon this 
inquiry ; but the hints he threw out respecting its 
more extensive prosecution, so far, at least, as I am 
aware, do not seem to have attracted sufficient at- 
tention from those most competent to the investi- 
gation. Yet, as calculated to afford us some in- 
sight into the nature of those hidden springs which 
stimulate the animal motions and influence the 
vital functions-^to unveil, in part, the causes of 
corporeal change and of moral aflfoctability, espe- 
cially in those cases where they are clearly seen to 
act and react reciprocally upon each other — the in- 
quiry is of infinite importance to physiology in ge- 
neral, and more particularly to the study of Aqi- 
.mal Magnetism. Craving the indulgence of the 
reader, therefore, for the very imperfect manner in 
which I am enabled to treat this highly interesting 
subject, I shall proceed to lay before him the scanty 
information I have been able to collect ; trusting, 
at the same time, that it will soon be rendered 
more satisfactory, by the co-operation of other in- 
dividuals far better qualified for the investigation. 
Of the first of those kinds of sympathy to which 
I have alluded, there is none more remarkable than 
that which has been so frequently observed to ex- 
ist between the stomach and every other part of the 

* S?e IniroductUm, p. 27* 

■ I 


body — with the head, for iDstance, and vice versc^ 
with the kidneys and other organs, widi the skin, 
&c« — that particular sympathy of the heart and 
lungs with the stomach and bowels — the sympathy 
of the heart with the lungs, &c. From all which 
it evidently appears that the stomach is the prin- 
cipal seat of all the most remarkable sympathetic 
affections which occur in valetudinary states of the 
body — a circumstance to which, although well 
known to medical men, both in ancient and mo- 
dern times, I would take the liberty of seriously 
directing the attention of physiologists and profes- 
sional physicians, with a view to farther investiga- 
tion.* Every disorder accompanied with severe 
pain affects the stomach ; while this viscus affects, 
not only in its diseased state, every part of the sys- 
tem, but at other times, the effects of healthful sti- 
mulants applied to it are instantly communicated 
to the rest of the body — as when we take food, 
wine, medicine, &c. 

Mental emotions also exercise a very powerful 
influence upon the stomach. Dr Paris observes, 
that *' the passiotis of the mind, fear, anxiety, and 
rage, are well known to affect the nervous system, 
and, through that medium, the stomach ; and so 

* Van Helmont seems to have been fiiUy aware of the great 
importance of this inquiry ; but sinoe his time, the subject ap« 
pears to have been much nei^fcfcedi 


immediately are its consequences experienced, that 
a person receiving unpleasant intelligence at the 
hour of a repast, is incapahle of eating a morsel, 
whatever might have been his appetite before such 
a communication. 

** Bead o'er iMs ; and after ^is ; and then 
To bxeak&st with what appetite you maj."* 

Moral causes, indeed, have the most powerful, 
and immediate, and permanent effect, of any, upon 
the state of the stomach. Among these have been 
reckoned excessive grief, mental depression, from 
whatever cause, anxiety about worldly affairs, in- 
tense thought, &c. combined with the deprivation 

* Mr Carbut, in his Chmetd Lectures, makes some very per- 
tinent observations to the same purport. ^ As every person," 
says he, *' has probably experienced, the emotions of the mind 
have a powerful influence on the stomach. Let a person who 
is going to sit down to dinner, with a good appetite^ receive a 
piece of news, either exceedingly joyful, or exceedingly dis« 
tressing, his appetite goes in a moment. Children who are 
about to set out on a pleasant journey, it is well known, cannot 
eat. This, when I was a child, used to be called being 'journey 
proud.* On the other hand, a blow upon the stomach will some- 
times take away life instantly ; and a drink of cold water, when 
the body has been very hot, has often had the same efiect. At- 
tend to your companions when on a journey a-foot ; as their 
stomachs grow empty, how sullen and silent the whole party 
becomes I Let a crust of bread, a little cheese, a glass of ale or 
wine, be takeo, and cheerfulness immediately reigns, even long 
before any nutriment had time to reach the general drculative 
system. These things all shew the general sympathy between 
the stomach and every other part of the body." 


of sufficient bodily exercise and free air. ^' in >hi^- / 
country," says Dr James Johnson, ^< where man's ^ : 
relations with the world around him are multiplied 
beyond all example in any other country, in con- 
sequence of the intensity of interest attached to 
politics, religion, commerce, literature, and the 
arts ; where the temporal concerns of an immense 
proportion of the population are in a state of per- 
petual vacillation; where spiritual affairs excite 
great anxiety in the minds of many ; and where 
q^eculative risks are daily run by all classes, from 
the disposers of empires in Leadenhall Street, down 
to tho potato-merchant in Covent Garden ; — it is 
really astonishing to observe the deleterious influ- 
ence of these ment^ perturbations on the functions 
of the digestive organs. The operation of physical 
eauseS} numerous as they are, dwindles into com- 
plete insignificance when compared with that of 
anxiety or tribulation of mind."* 

The celebrated Dr CuUen, in his Physiology^ re< 
marks, that there is one very general case of very 
great influence in almost the whole of the doctrines 
of the materia medica, as this particular sympathy 
is concerned in the operation of the most part of 

* The effect of cheerfulness and oecasicMial mirth in the pre- 
serration of health, and the promotion of convalescence, must 
be familiar to all medical men. I think it was Dr Arbuthnot 
who used to my tiiat laughing lengthens life, and that the arri- 
val of a dngle mountebank in a town contributes more to pro- 
mote the health of the inhabitants than a dozen of physicians. 

102 ". '. \ '- 'ANIMAL MAGNETISM. 

.• \ . 

••• . 

/'./flf^diclnes, and explains the operation of many 
. • 'which is otherwise difficult to be understood. 

*'This is the operation of medicines upon the 
stomach, from which motions are often propagated 
to almost every distant part of the human body, 
and peculiar eifects produced in those parts, whilst 
the medicine itself is only in cohtact with the 

"The stomach is the part by which the most 
part of substances introduced into the interior parts 
of the bddy generally pass ; and it is endued with 
a pecuRar sensibility, which renders it ready to be 
idBTected by every substance entering into it that is 
active with respect to the human body. Every 
thing, therefore, of this kind introduced into the 
stomach, operates almost always there, and for the 
moit ^art only there. It is irow, however, well 
known to physicians, that the most considerable 
instance of the sympathy mentioned above, is af- 
forded by the stomach, so connected with almost 
every other part of the system, that motion^ excit- 
ed there are communicated to almost every other 
part of the body, and produce peculiair effects in 
those parts, however distant from the stomach it- 
self. This, indeed, is very well known ; but that 
the effects of many medicines which ajp'pear in other 
parts of the body are entirely owing to an action 
upon the stomach, and that the iii'ddt pirt of lAedi- 
cines acting upon the system act immediately upon 


the stomach only, is what has not been understood 
till very lateVy, and does not seem even yet to be 
very generally and fully perceived by the writers 
on the materia medica" This opinion the learned 
Doctor proceeds to confirm by many sound reasons 
and striking illustrations. 

It would thus appear that the region of the sto- 
mach is a great and most important centre of ner- 
vous sensibility ; but even those writers who have 
been forced by experience intOLion acknowledg- 
ment of this fact, do not seexti to have made any 
adequate attempt to explain it; although they might 
naturally have been led to inquire how this sym- 
pathetic sensibility comes to be distributed from 
this centre throughout the whole system, in the 
manner above described. The nature and funcv 
tions of the plexus Solaris, or great concatenation of 
sympathetic nerves, situated in this region, have 
not yet been sufficiently investigated, although it 
evidently appears to act a very important part in 
the animal economy, especially in certain morbid 
states of the system, or disturbed sensibility. The 
investigation, if conducted with a view to the ge- 
neral sympathy in question, might perhaps lead to 
some interesting results.* 

* Dr Bertrand, the ingenious author of a learned work on 
Somnambulism, thinks it more than probable that, in relation 
to the internal life> the plemu solaria performs the same func- 
tions which we ascribe to the brain, as the organ of the intellec- 


There are also various other sympathies, al" 
though of less importance in relation to our sub- 

tual fiiculties in the waking state, in relation to the external 

In the solar plewusf whidi some of the ancients called the 
cerebntm abdominale^ the soul is thought to derive the materials 
necessary for the formation of its intuitive judgments. 

A number of eminent German and French anatomists and 
physiologists, in recent times, have bestowed considerable pains 
in investigating the structure and course of the nervous ganglia 
and plexus, and of the various abdominal nerves connected with 
them. (See J. F. Meckkl ; De vera nervi irUeroostalU origine. 
In diss, de qwnto pari nervorum cerebri. Groeting. 1784 — J. 6. 
Walter ; TaMae nervorum thoracis et abdominis. Berolini, 
1783.) Bichat in France, and Hufeland in Germany, came, 
about the same time^ upon the idea that all these nerves, al- 
thou^ organically connected with the cerebral nerves, consti- 
tuted a peculiar and independent system of nervous influence. 
(See Bichat*s General Anaiomp, and C. W. Hufeland's Pathohgie.) 
This idea was subsequently farther pursued, and expounded 
with much clearness and ingenuity, by Autenrieth {Handbuch 
der Phgsiologie), Burdach (Phjfsiologie), and especially by Reil 
{On the peouUar properties of the Ganglionic Sgstem<t and its rela- 
tion to the Cerebral System ; in the Archiv fur Physiologic, voL vii. 
No. 2, pp. 189-254). Humboldt (in the Gaxette Litteraire de 
Berlin, 1788, p. 312) afterwards extended this theory, by his 
evidence in fiivour of the external expansion of the nervous in. 

As it would lead me too far, were I to enter minutely into 
the details of this ingenious theory, I think it may be sufficient 
for me to have pointed out the various works in which it is un. 
folded, and to recommend farther Investigation by competent 
inquirers. I may observe, however, that the theory is of great 
importance to Animal Magnetism ; as most of the magnetic 
phenomena seem capable of being explained only by the rela- 
tion in which the cerebral and ganglionic systems stand towards 
each other. 


ject, besides those already mentioned ; such as that 
of the internal membrane of the bronchi with the 
skin, on the application of cold to the sniface of 
the body, in the production of a catarrh — that of 
the skin with the stomach and bowels, and vice 
versoj at the commencement and during the conti- 
nuance of fevers, &c. So universal, indeed, is this 
sympathetic connexion between the different parts 
of the living system, that we might safely subscribe 
to the dictum of the great father of physic — Con- 
fiuxio tmaj conspiratio tma^ consentientia omnia. 

This universal sympathy of the whole frame with 
a particular part or parts, appears to owe its exist- 
ence to that unity and contiguity of substance in 
the brain and nerves, by means of which all the 
different parts of the sy8tem are so intimately con- 
nected with each other, by means of the ganglia 
and plexus^ that if any one part is affected, the rest 
must suffer more or less. That this reciprocal 
sympathy, indeed— -this action and re-action — has 
its ori^n in the various minute ramifications of 
the nervous system, seems liable to no doubt. We 
know that the nerves, which are so many elonga- 
tions of the meduUary substance of the brain, are 
conductors of part of the vital principle to all the 
organs of the body, for the purposes of life, sensa^ 
tion, and action, and that it is through the medium 
of the nerves that the vital principle is acted up- 


on. In dhort, the nerves are the conditions of the 
corporeal aJfbctabiUty, It is also well known to 
the profession, that many eminent physicians and 
physiologistB have suspected, assumed, or found 
tlmn^dves compelled to admit a certain permea- 
bility of the nerveiB, i. e. that they contain, secrete, 
circulate, transmit, or in some manner conduct 
w&ke fluid or substance, and, consequently, that 
they have cavities, whether discoverable by human 
optics or not. To this hypothesis, and the conclu- 
sions to be drawn from it, I shall have occasion to 
Invert hereafter.. In the mean time, I have merely 
aHuded to it as affording apparently the best ex- 
l^anation of those mutual sympathies which are 
fcnoili^n to exist in the human frame. 

I believe there has been of late some controversy 
regarding this sympathy between different and dis- 
Umt parts of the organism — whether it may be 
traced to nervous irritation, and ^^ a nec^sary and 
permaaent eonbent" of these parts, or whether it 
arises simply irom the effects of ^^ certain mental 
tensatHms,** In an ingenious paper by Professor 
Alison, On the Pkffsiokgical JPrinciple of Sympatkp^ 
inserted in the 2d volume of the Tnmsactions of 
the Medieo-Chirm*gical Society of Edinburgh, in 
which he supports the latter of these views, the 
learned author observes : ^^ As this is a subject of 
xspnsiderable intricacy and difficulty, so I think it 


is one of tfaose which has of late jrears not itttk-aei. 
ed as much attention irom medical inquirers as its 
importance deserves. In consequence of this, the 
progress which had been already made in the in- 
quiry by physiologists of the last ag!e, seems to 
have been overlooked, and speculations brobj^ht 
forward, which a careful consideration of the facts 
collected by them might perhaps have repressed.** 
In his observatiotis, Dr Alison remarks, that te 
has chiefly in view ^^ the excitation or alteration 
of action in die animal economy, by the irritation 
of distant patta;" and he proceeds thus> *< This 
strikii^g ahd imp<>irt»iit general faet in physiology, 
used to be regard^^ as denoting, or as depending 
on, a necessary and permanent (xmsent of pdrta; 
and the reason of this was anxiously looked for in 
connexions or anastomoses of the nerves of the 
parts irritated, and the parts thrown into action 
by the irritation, whereby it was supposed thirt ah 
irritation applied to the one might operate on the 
other, in like mantfer as if lk)yplied to itself. But 
the researches of Dr Whytt and Dr Monro on tbk 
subject were, as I think, quite successful in esta- 
blishing two points in regard to such phenomena ; 
1st, That they cannot be explained by the con- 
nexions of the nerves of the sympathising parts ; 
and, 2dly, That they do not indicate any necessary 
consent or sympathy between indimdkal paris qf 


Ae bodpf but are, in general, simply the effects of 
oertain mental sensations; and that, in these in- 
stances, one part of the body sympathizes with an- 
other, ordy in so Jar as the sensatum, which is the 
natural and appropriate stimulus of the one, is ex- 
citable by irritation of the other" 

In a Note to the preceding passage, the learned 
Professor makes the following observations : '' We 
know that a certain portion of the nervous sys- 
tem (at the origin of the nerves of sense), and can- 
not doubt that a certain change in that portion, is 
necessary to the production of every sensation, of 
which an animal is susceptible. The mode in 
which that physical change excites a mental act, 
and the mode in which that or any other mental 
act, in its turn, excites a physical change in any 
part of the nervous system, and thereby acts on 
muscles or other organs, are things not only un- 
known, but manifestly inscrutable. We have, 
therefore, no means of judging, whether it is strict- 
ly speaking from mental sensations, that the diffe- 
rent sympathetic phenomena proceed, or whether 
they are more properly the results of those physi- 
cal changes in the nervous matter, which imme- 
diately precede and cause the sensations, and which 
are known to us only through them. But if the 
sensations are the only antecedents, in the order of 
time, which can be pointed out as uniformly pre- 


ceding the sympathetic changes, I apprehend that 
we may lawfully assign them as the causes of these 
changes, without giving ourselves any trouble as 
to that indeterminable question." 

In a subsequent passage, Dr Alison makes the 
following most important remarks, in which I most 
cordially agree with that learned physician : ^^ I am 
aware, that some physiologists consider all parti- 
cular reference to the acts or affections of mind, 
and to the distinctions existing among these, as fo- 
reign to the proper business of their science, and 
expect no result from such discussions, but endless 
and nugatory metaphysical disputes. But although 
it must be admitted, that such disputes are to be 
found in most writings on the physiol<^ of mind, 
yet I will venture to maintain, on the other hand, 
that it is absolutely incumbent on every one who 
studies the physiology of the nervous system in the 
human body, to consider carefuUy the laws of the 
mental phenomena, as made known to us by our 
consciousness, and as generalized in the writings 
of metaphysicians. 

<< Whether the nervous system be intended to 
serve other purposes in the animal economy or not, 
it is certain that it is intended to serve the grand and 
essential purpose qf maintaining the connexion be- 
tween mind and body. The study of Its functions, 
therefore, necessarily embraces the consideration 


of two distinct kinds of phenomena ; and however 
miButely the physiolo^st may have examined the 
anatomy of the brain and nerves, and however ac- 
curately he may have noted the effects of injuries 
of these parts, in experiments on animals, and in 
observations on disease; dtill, unleiss he has care- 
folly considered a.nd generalized the mental part 
of the processes, of which the brain and nerves are 
the instruments, he has done but half his work."* 
At the concloraonof his interesting paper, the 
ingenious Professor observes, that his object had 
been to state the grounds of his belief in these two 
principles in Pbj^iplogy, ^^ Ji^st^ That what are 
called sympathetic actioils are, in general, actions 
caused by sensations ; and, secondly^ That no ana- 
tomical explanation can be given of the fact, that 
certain sensations act upon certain nerves only, f 

• These are sound philosophical views, and it were very desir- 
able that a professional physiciah of Dr Alison's high acquire- 
me^is should apply himself to a more ex|;^[isive Inquiry into 
this most interesting subject, combining mental with physical 

f This last ground of belief is opposed to Sir Charles Bell's 
views, as I find them expressed in the following passage of his 
BridgeweUer Treatise : '' Experiment proves, what is suggested 
by anatomy, that not only the organs of the senses are appro- 
priated to particular classes of sensations, but that the nerves 
intermediate b^tw€^n the btain j^ the putwfur4 organs a^ re* 
spectively capable of receiving no other sensations but such as 
are adapted to their particular organs." 

Into the meritii of this controversy, for the reasons above 


The discussion in Professor Alison's paper is too 
strictly professional to entitle me to enter into it 
more at large; indeed, I do not conceive myself 
competent to give any decided opinion upon the 
subject. But I am not aware that he has stated 
any thing that can invalidate the propositions I 
have advanced, upon the authority of many emi- 
nent physicians, from Hippocrates downwards, re- 
lative to the sympathies that really exist between 
different, and distant parts q( th(3^nim^l econpmy, 
through the mediation of the nervctus system. My 
business is with faots^ rather thap the explanation 
of facts. Whether these sympathetic actions oi^i- 
ginate from a connexion between the different 
nerves, which are the sole instrumentii of all sen- 
sations ; or whether they are determined by men- 
tal sensations, as maintained by Dr Alison — ^these 
are questions which I willingly leave to be decided 
by scientific physiologists and physicians. 

stated, I do not mean to enter; but in the sequel of this 
work, I shall have occasion to bring forward some matters, not 
of theory, but of fact, which, I trust, may occasion some farther 
investigation into the powers and susceptibilities of the nervous 


( il2 ) 


The second class of sympathies to which I for- 
merly referred) is composed of those which are 
found to exist between the mind and the body. 
These are of infinitely greater importance in the 
present investigation, but, perhaps, still more dif- 
ficult to account for upon intelligible and satis- 
factory principles ; inasmuch as it must be easier 
to trace and explain the actions and re-actions of 
one homogeneous substance, than to discover the 
principle which renders this substance susceptible 
of being acted upon by another being of a totally 
difierent nature and quality.* The very interestr 
ing nature of the facts, however, — and these are 
matters of observation — independently of any at- 

* '^ As vital properties do not differ from the properties of in- 
animate nature, in degree, or by any other modification, but have 
nothing in common with them, it follows, that when living bodies 
affect each other only by their vital properties, the result must 
be such as bears no analogy to any of the properties of inani- 
mate nature ; and, consequently, that in all processes which 
have any such analogy, one of the agents must operate by the 
properties of inanimate nature." — ^Dr W. Philip, On ihe Vital 
FuneHona, 3d ed. p. 202. 



tempt to explain their causes, will do more than 
repay the labour of inquiry. 

Bodily suffering always affects the mind, in a 
greater or less degree; while impressions made 
upon the mind have been known to produce sur- 
prising changes on the habit of the body. The 
remarkable histories of John de Poictiers and 
Henry IV. of France, have been recorded by his- 
torians, and corroborated by physicians. * 

It is quite notorious, indeed, that the passions 
of the mind occasionally exert a most extraordi- 
nary influence oyer the corporeal frame. An ex- 
cess of joy or of fear has been known to occa- 
sion speedy death; and the same thing, or, in some 
cases, insanity, has been produced by sudden sur- 

* The former having been convicted of being an associate 
in the conspiracy of the Constable of Bourbon against Francis I., 
and condemned to lose his head, became so much distracted by 
fear and violent passion, that, in one night, his hair turned en- 
tirely grey ; and he was seized with so violent a fever, that, 
though his daughter procured his pardon from the king, no re- 
medies could preserve his life. The latter, when he heard the 
unexpected and mortifying news, that Henry III. had publish- 
ed the edict of July 1685, against the Hugenots, was so greatly 
affected, that, in an instant, one of his mustachios was turned 
grey.— See Moreri, art. Diaiu de Poiciiers ; Thuanus, lib. iii ; 
Anselme, PaUm (Thonneur; Sully, Memoiresy torn, i — An- 
other story of the same kind is related in Howel*s Letters^ 
p. 179 ; and a still more curious one in Yeiiouc, OperaL de 
Chtrurg, cap. xiv. ji. 337* 

VOL. I. K 

1 14 . ANIMAL MAGi^£»FISM. 

prise. An eminent medical writer * mentions, up- 
on unquestionable authority, that, upon the arrival 
of the alarming news of the taking of B^t^en-op- 
Zoom, in the year 174^^ such Wm the general con- 
sternation, that many women were known to die 
of fright soon after the intelligence was communi- 
cated to them. Sudden death, from an excess of 
joy, although equally certain, is more unconrmoA ; 
but there are many iiist)anc6s of it upon record. 
Livy relates, that two wtat^ at Rome died of ex- 
cessive joy, upon finding ttadir sons return, safe 
and unhurt, from the baCtlet^ Tbursymene. There 
are numerous instaiitoes ^ sudden surprise having 
occasioned imbecility, insariit^^ or death itself, f 

The mental affections e^rt a very remarkable 
influence over the bodily secretions. Of this many 
familiar instances might be noticed; but they will 
readily occur to the readier. I shall therefore con- 
tent myself with quoting the foUowinjg case, be- 
cause it has been less commonly observed, rests 
upon the best authority, and is of great importktice 
to our argument. 

* Dr Gardiner, On the Anmai Eoomom^^ p. 40. 

t This is corroborated by the observation of the celebrated 
Dr Mead : " Annon hominum pessundare vehementes animi 
affectiones ssepe experiuntur ? Subitus terror multos intere- 
mit ; et ipsa quandoque supra modum exultans laetitia fuit ex- 
itio." — Mead, Medica Sacra, p. 70. 


My old) ingeniouB) and bigbly respected friend, 
Mr Wardrop of London, one of the most eminent 
surgeons of whom this or any other country can 
boast, observes, in one of his very able surgical lee- 
tures, that ^^ the only circumstance of importance 
to be particularly attended to, when operating upon 
an infant, is the management of the nurse, I am 
convinced, says he, that in many cases where ope- 
rations on infants have proved fatal, the death has 
been caused by changes produced in the nurse's 
milk, in consequlmceof the mental agitation which, 
as you maysupp<»se, is often produced in the mind 
either of the nurse or the mother^ when an opera- 
tion on her young charge hecoines necessary. I 
have seen several remarkable instances of this kind, 
and similar cases are recorded by authors. The 
first case which came unde^ my own notice, took 
place some yeats ago in an infant from whom I 
had removed a small, very hard tumour, which 
was situated behind the ear. No fever or inflam- 
mation supervened; and after suppuration had 
been established, and the wound was granulatmg 
in the most healthy manner, the child died and* 
denly of convulsions. On inquiry, I found that 
the mother had been thrown itito a isiolent fit of 
passion late at night, and that she sdckled her in* 
fant soon afterward^ immediately subsequent to 
which the fatal convulsion succeed^* In another 


instance, I waa sent for in great haste to see an in- 
fant in a convulsive fit, and on inquiry found, that 
the nnrse who was employed to suckle the infant 
had been guilty of some misconduct, for which she 
had been severely reprimanded. Soon after this 
mental agitation, the infant was suckled by her, 
and that occurrence was followed by the convul- 
sive attack referred to« The late Sir Richard 
Croft, who had the immediate care of the child^ 
informed me, that he had frequently known simi- 
lar cases, and that otf the mischief was to be attri- 
buted to the pemickms effects which moral excitement 
produces on the mUkqfthe nurse — an effect with 
which, in some degree^ every one is familiar. Mr 
North, in his treatise on the Convulsions of Infants, 
makes allusion to this circumstance, and has men- 
tioned examples of it." 

It is of importance, however, to observe, that 
impressions made upon the mind may exert a be- 
neficial as well as a prejudicial influence upon the 
state of the body; — they may restore as well as 
destroy healthy action. This, indeed, is agreeable 
to reason, and the fact has been abundantlv con- 
firmed by experience. There are numberless well- 
authenticated instances, in which diseases have 
been found to be alleviated, if not entirely re- 
moved, by passions excited in the mind — by fear> 
terror, anger^ joy, &c. 


It is somewhere reeorded, that a person afflicted 
with silent melancholy having been put into a vio- 
lent passion, immediately recovered his sanity of 
mind. Another, who was going to drown himself, 
fell in with robbers, defended hinaself vigorously 
against them, and returned home cured of hia 
suicidal propensities. Fright, sudden affections, 
vehement emotions, have, in hundreds of eases, 
operated the instantaneous removal of insanity. 

It has been usual to refer all such cases to the 
influence of the imagination — a very convenient 
mode of explanation, but which, in reality, only 
serves as a cloak to cover our ignorance, and seems 
to be resorted to for the purpose of saving us the 
trouble of investigation. It appears quite evident 
that, in all these instances, there is some action 
exerted on the vital principle, probably through the 
medium of the nervous system. 

The same eminent physician to whom I lately re- 
ferred — the late Dr John Gardiner of Edinburgh, ob- 
serves in his treatise on the AnimcU (Economy^ that 
*^ in chronic diseases, accompanied with a preterna- 
tural irritability in the nerves, and a variety of diffe- 
rent complaints, arising from a morbid mobility of 
particular parts, as in hysterical and hypochondriac 
patients, in persons afflicted with chronic asthma, 
or with a fit of the gout, toothach, or rheumatism, ' I 
have ki^own these several disorders suspended for 


a time, wlien the mind bas be«i under the influence 
of fear, turprise, or roused to a fixed attention to 
some interesting object. I have frequently observed 
in practice, delicate hysterical wom^n, who for 
many months had seldom enjoyed one day's health, 
suddienly relieved from every eomplaint, when a 
favourite child was attacked with a disease in which 
daager was apprehended, and they continued in 
appearance to be in perfect heahh during the whole 
coarse of the illness, and 'exhibited an unusual 
alertoess in discharging their duty as nurses and as 
parents." — ^^ A gentleman of great courage and 
luniour,^ says Dr Gardiner, ^< who had become va- 
letudinary, and subject to the iasditna, by a long 
twvice in India, as an officer in the laud forces, 
iold me that, during their encampment, he was at- 
tacked with a severe fit of that disorder, which 
usually lasted ten or twelve days : That, upon the 
third or fourth day of his illness, when he could 
only breathe in an erect posture, and without mo- 
tion, imagining that it was not in his power to 
move six y^rds to save his life, the alarm guns were 
fired for the whole line to turn out, because a; party 
of the Mahrattas had broke into the camp, and fear- 
ing certain death if he remained in his tent, he 
sprung out with an alacrity that astonished his at- 
tendants, instantly mounted his horse, and! drew 
.his sword with great ease, which, -^e.dayjb^ore, 

ANIMAL MAGN^¥isM. 119 

he could not move frdm ito sc&bbfti*d, l^oagfa he 
itsed his whole ^tr^n^th in the attttti^pt. From thie 
instant of the alarm and surprise, the '^tebility left 
him, together with the asthma; nor did the disorder 
return till its nsual period/'* 

^^ From the above instances/' continues Dr Gar- 
diner, ^^ and others of a similar nature, where the 
ordinary course of a disease^ or the disease itself, 
is susptoded for a time, we have reason to believe 
that, in disorders of the body, as well as in tboee 
of the mind, there is an irregdlmr and an nneqnal 
distribution of the powers of ao^n^ wblch deems 
to be Rectified by a sudden and cbtilinaed exerti<m 
of the powers of the midd. TKis 'exertion gwis 
grtcUer stability to the nerves cLs conHudtors. ThHr 
condition is immediately changed J^Ofn a morbid to a 

* Cases of the same kind will be found in the Memwrea de 
Chavagkac, p. 332 ; in Gasseitdi, Opera, voL iv. p. 307 ; in 
Pechlini, Obs. Phpsico-Mediem ; Hamb. 1692, pp. 453^ 454, 
456, 457. 

Hippocrates was so faUy aware of this species of influence, 
that he expressly recommended «^(^t//eei«»— anger, sadden excite- 
ment — as of great service in certain diseases ; and in this opi- 
nion he is supported in the strongest manner by Aretaeus, 
Paulus, and Galen. See Galen, m lAb. de Theriaea, 

The fuane opinion has been confirmed by eminent medical 
writers in more modem times. See, in particular, Fienus, De 
viribiu Imagi/natwnia^ and Pechlinus, ut sup. 

I may h4te obterve, by-the-by, that the elder writers appiieat 
to use the terms, Imaginaiioj Phantanoy in a somewhat different 
and more definite sense than that which seems to be attached 
to them at the present day. 


tnore vigorous ^ate : The whole system acquires such 
a degree of strength as enables it to resist, in a sur- 
prising manner, the ordinary action of the cause of 
the diseased << These facts shew the necessity and 
great use of constantly employing the mind, either 
by business or amusement, in the cure of certain 
diseases accompanied with a preternatural irritabi- 
Jity of particular parts. 

^^ As a solution of opium taken into the stomach, 
injected into the bowels^ or applied to any part of 
the body» so as to have its full effect on the nerves, 
never fails^ in proportion to the quantity used, to 
lessen or destroy the sensibility, and the powers of 
the nerves to which it is applied ; and as these ef- 
fects are speedily communicated, in a less degree, 
to die rest of the system ; in like manner, when 
any part of the body, from its diseased state, comes 
to be endued with such a preternatural degree of 
irritability, as to be, from the slightest causes, al- 
most in constant pain, and this for a number of 
days or weeks together, it has always the effect to 
render the rest of the nerves irritable to a morbid 
degree, or, to use a term in music, to bring the 
rest of the nerves more in unison with those of the 
diseased part than they were before. This effect 
of long-continued pain, in rendering the system 
more irritable, is not perhaps so observable as the 
effects of opium in a contrary way." 


Again : " If we wi8h to moderate the severity of 
pain, or to take off a particular spasmodic affec- 
tion, in any part of the body, a dose of laudanum 
or opium is prescribed^ suitable to the age, consti- 
tution, or habit of the patient in the use of this 
medicine. In a few minutes after its application 
to the nerves of the stomach, they become less sen- 
sible. The same diminished sensibility is soon 
communicated to the whole nerves, and the pain 
in the diseased part is proportionably abated, or 
entirely removed.^' The learned Doctor afterwards 
proceeds to mention, that *^ we sometimes meet 
with a patient who, from a singularity of constitu- 
tion, disagrees with opium, in whatever form it is 
given ;" and in such eases, and where the effects 
of an opiate are considered necessary for the remo- 
val of pain, he endeavours to point out the best 
means of obviating this inconvenience. 

I need make no apology for introducing this 
long quotation from the excellent work of Dr Gar- 
diner, because his observations appear to be not 
only judicious, and of great importance to medical 
science, but also exceedingly interesting, when con- 
sidered in relation to the doctrine of Animal Mag- 
netism. If by any means whatever (the more 
simple assuredly the better) we can succeed in 
soothing the preternatural irritability of the ner- 

VOL. I. L 


voQs system, asd in any way facilitate a restora- 
tion of the healthy action of the vital fanctmiB, 
do we not go a great way towards the effectual 
care of a variety of serious complaints, by lulling 
painful sensations, and alleviating or removing the 
morbid symptoms, leaving thdrestto be perform- 
by the vis medicatrix naJturtaf Now, these are pre- 
cisely the effiscts generally produced fay the mag- 
netic processes — they act, at the same tine, as a 
sedative and a tonic or corroborant, in a degree far 
beyond any article in the Materia Medioa ; and a 
better description of these aalntary effects could 
hardly be given, than by using the language of Dr 
Gardiner, when speaking of the pro^r administra- 
tion of opiates. These effects, indeed, in the case 
of Animal IMbgnetism, have been eaid to .depend 
upon the influence of the imagination * — a hack- 

* Those of the opponents of Animal Magnetism who adopt 
the imagination-hjpothesis, have never jet, fio fur aa'I am aware, 
condescended to inform us what they'mean bj Tnmginatian. Bo 
they use the term in the sense of the Archieus of Paracelsus 
and Van Helmont— the anvna metHoa, the vital spirits, the in- 
telligenee, i^ l{f0^ of other eminent physicians P If they do, 
then let them say so ; for, in that case, it may perhaps appear 
upon this, as upon many other occasions, that our controversy 
is more verbal than reaL The Animal Magnetists have incon- 
trovertibly demonstrated, that the phenomena of which tbey 
speak cannot, with any propriety, be ascribed to the imagina- 
tion, according to the common meaning of the word. As well 
might we attempt to refer the effects of ordinary medicines 
solely to the influence of the imagination. 


neyed and umnsaiuDg asBcrtioa, wliioh, so far as it 
is at all intelligible, has been completely disproved 
by the experience of every practical magiMtiser, 
and contradicted by all who bave any real know- 
ledge of tbe subject, but wbicb |I do not at pre. 
sent intend to combat. But if we must have a de- 
terminate cause aeeignod for every known ctfect, 
will any physician be kind enough to inform ue 
upon what principle lie depends in tbe case of the 
administration of opiates ? Or, if ignorant of this, 
why he ever employs these, or, indeed, any other 
medicines ? To me it appears, tliat all we can 
know, in the one case, aa in tlie other, is, tliat cer- 
tain antecedents are generidly followed by certain 
consequents ; and this is quite sufficient for all 
practical purposes. And let them depend upon 
whatever principle they may, those means arc cer- 
tainly to be accounted the best, which, according 
to experience, do most safely, aud, at the same 
time, most eflfeciiually, promote the object in view, 
visf. tbe relief of the patient; and for Hccomplisliiug 
this object, in many cases, the superior success of 
the magnetic treatment is unquestionable. Those 
individuals who decline to liste^i to the doctrine, 
until they receive an explanation of the cause of 
the phenomena, resemble petted children, who re- 
fuse to eat their bread and butter, until informed 
what particular cow produced the milk from which 


the butter was made. ** If medical men assert,'' 
says Mr Chenevix^ '^ that the allied 4sares of Mes- 
merism are performed by the mind, and that this 
is the peculiar proyince of imaginative therapeutics, 
do they not culpably n^lect the most powerful 
agent of mental medicine, if they do not practise 
Mesmerism? If imagination can cure diseases, 
and if this be its most energetic exciter, then ex- 
cite it thus: — Cure by ima^nation, and the sick 
will bleJBS you.* If the cause be analogous to a ro- 
tatory or a rocking motion" — this was the opinion 
of some of the professional gentlemen who wit- 
nessed Mr Chenevix's experiments — ^< then whirl 
or rock your patients into sleep and health. If it 
be a new agency, find it out, and prove it by ex- 

To these recommendations of Mr Chenevix, I 
would beg leave to add—- Do not allow yourselves 
to lose sight of the facts, while attempting to dis- 
cover their causes; — do not overlook or disr^^ard 
the effects, although the principle should for ever 
remain undetected. 

* See the opinion and advice upon this subject of the late 
celebrated Professor Dugald Stewart, to be quoted hereafter. 

( i23 ) 


Hippocrates long ago afiSrmed, that Natuce. 
herBoIf frequently cured diseases ; and he thjDught 
that her most vigilant attendants and observers 
were the best physicians. The observation has 
since been often repeated, and the opinion appears 
to have given rise to the various hypotheses coq- 
cerning the nature of this sanative principle* * 

* *' There is iio curable maladj ftom which the patient 4oe8 
not sometimes recover^ without the aid of foreign remedies, bj 
the unassisted efforts of the vital principle. A fortiori ought 
this cure to take place, when, bj means of a methodical and 
well understood communication of an effective fluid, the defec- 
tive fluid of the patient is restored^ and better directed in its 
action. And let it not be thought that it is essentiallj the 
quantity or the quality of drugs which effects cures ; Nature 
alone cures, by restoring in some manner «r other — whether by 
natural or by artificial means — order in the disturbed functions. 
A cure is nothing else than a victory obtained by the vital prin- 
ciple over the adverse forces presented by the disease.*'^ilf e- 
moir iur le Fluide Vitaly &C. par M. le Bocteur Ch. in the IN- 
blioffi. du Magnet Anim. t. ii. p. 26. 

These opinions are corroborated, in part, by the experience of 
the celebrated Dr Hofifaumn, and by the great success, in recent 
times, of the homoeopathic system of medicine^ which has proved 
such a ^Mboielh to the profession. 


Heoce, no doubt, the ArcJuBUS of Paracelsus and 
Van Helmout, the Anima medica of Dr Nichols, 
the Vital Semes of Dr Lawrence, the Intelligence of 
StaU, the Life of Hunter and Abernethy, and the 
Imagination of the modem antagonists of Animal 
Magnetism. ^^ Whether the great dexterity and 
seeming contrivance of the vital economy, in the 
gen^M conduct aivdf frequent cdr« of ^isieluMy be 
diily tn« ne^iMiary nM ti^^tOkieil tmAt- o>f tMM! 
stttpendons^ iHsdotti eeiterled i» th& fftbi^ and MH^ 
stitution of llie body, for ifts otrnr teitfponaify MIM^ 
rUty hi a vital* t^aM ; of WheAi^i' a#y eoniMdbiMF itK 
tdligence, disthici tt^ta th^ ihhi^ Aum with i<ed} 
sagtfeity and int^tioti for the ittm^ pur^^ ie«ni» 
very difficult to ascertain.-' The fact affirmed by 
Hipfberalevy b^ei^er^ iff^ I beli«f\'^ genevi^ i^ 
tiMM by tlie ih6Kt learned 4hdf eje^^erf^tice^ j^by- 
dcians f and .m«ielr less confidence is now placed in 
the eflfteiffi^y 6t tifie dru^ii^^ syisf^AU, «r6 l^i'^^i^Iettf 
in the medical practice of a former age* iTo such 
praetitioners as are stfll attached to the emfbjff- 
rtit^t df {fif^ 6li6diiickl i^^tiiSdl^^, AtkA the cheftiTC^ifi 
remiedies alone, in the cure of all complaints^ I 
i^bnM Kif^bly f^bomiiieftd the ftillowteg ^bsenra^ 
tions of another eminent physician, ]>r Thomas 
ffimson, in his Inquiry ink) the FUal dnd AkmOl 
AOidd^. ^ Tftfe pw&t of m ittttd iti MfsWig 
sensations, and with them the consequences . that 


attend them, is past all contradiction. The siglit 
of an orang'e giree an agreeable taste, and causes 
the discharge of the aaliva : the sig^it of a vomit 
or purge will sometimes produce the effects which 
ordinarily attend tbemwhen taken inwardly: bread 
pills, taken with d confidence that they were mer- 
curial, have produced a salivation. By all which," 
says the Doctor, " I persuade myself it must be 
admitted, that there ia scarce an action pertoimcd 
by any kind of stimtUus, but what can be c(i[ii(!d 
and performed by the fancy, or a strong idea of 
what effects a certain Stimulus has produced." 
Now, I do not see how any physician who tniiki'it 
such ample admissions as these, can, in candour, 
presume to deny the alleged efficacy of the m^- 
netic processes, in the face of an overwhelming 
body of evidence, without any investigation of the 
tacts, without any knowledge or study of the con- 
ditions upon which that efficacy is said to depend. 
While upon this subject, too, of the prevailing at- 
tachment to physical means of cure, I may quote 
the high authority of tlio celebrated Dr Frederic 
Hoffmann, who, in one of his works, thus declares 
his confidence in simple and familiar remedies : 
" I affirm with an oatb," says he, " that there wae 
a time when I ran after chemical remedies with 
great ardour; but age and farther experience have 
persuaded me, that a few medicines, judiciously 


chosen 9 taken from substances the most simple, 
and the most unpromising in appearance, relieve, 
with greater promptitude, and with greater effi- 
cacy, the general run of diseases, than all the che- 
mical preparations, the most rare and the most re- 

We have thus seen, that, in consequence of some 
sympathetic connexion, impressions made on the 
mind are occasionally capable of producing extra- 
ordinary changes on the corporeal habit ; and of 
this fact we are as certain as that a change can be 
wrought on it by means of medicines, or any other 
external cause. * 

* In the curious journal of his disease and cure,- which has 
been left us by Aristides the orator, the writer ixiforms us, that 
he dreamt one night that a bull attacked him, but did him no 
other injury than giving him a push under the right knee. Up- 
on awaking, he found a small carbuncle on that part of his body. 
We find in the life of Conrad Gessner, that he once dreamt of 
having been bitten by a serpent, at a time when a malignant 
epidemic disorder was raging in the neighbourhood. He pre- 
dicted that a boil would appear on the spot, and it was accord- 
ingly observed next day. A man dreamt that he was struck by 
a stone on the breast, and awoke in a fright. When light was 
brought him, he perceived a large black mark on the spot where 
he felt pain.— <£'pAef»md: Nat, Curios, Dec i Ann. ii. Obs. I2&) 
Similar effects have been produced in the waking statew Male- 
branche tells us, that a young girl suffered severe pain for se- 
veral days in that part of the foot where she had seen blood 
drawn firom another person. A young man of fourteen, in 17779 
fainted on witnessing an execution on the wheel, and suffered 
violent pain, and had blue spots on the parts of his body corre- 
sponding to those where the criminal had been hit 1^ the 


T am now about to notice another species of thia 
influence, which has furnished nearly all the oppo- 
nents of Animal Magnetism with what they seem 
to consider a decisive argument against that mode 
of treatment ; — although the influence in question 
can be demonstrated to be very real and very ge- 
neral; — and although it may be said to constitote 
one of the greatest, most important, and most cu- 
rious arca$M in medical science. It is laid down 
by the advocates of the particular treatment al- 
luded to, that Jaiih in the operator, and confidence 
in the patient, are very important conditions of its 
success. Now, it does appear somewhat strange 
to me, that such a circumstance as this should be 
considered as rendering suspicious the allied facte 
of Animal Magnetism, seeing that the same faith 
and confidence are required in all medical prac- 
tice — nay, are essentially necessary to the suocesa 
of every important transaction in life. In the or- 
dinary medical practice^ would not the prospect of 
success be greatly diminished, if, in any instance, 
the physician had no faith in the efficacy of bis 
medicines, while the patient, on the other hand, 
had no confidence in the skill of his physician ? 
Is it not the primary object of every grekt physi- 
cian to inspire his patient with confidence in the 

wheel — (Sigaud de la Fond, Diction, det Mertmiles d$ h iW 

199 AinVAXr HAGMEH8M. 

effie&iey ol the treatment empleyed? And is not 
the- filth of the patient in tbeefficaey' of the treat* 
ment a mighty meam^ of rcfieovery ? 

*< That the ei^r confidence of the patient in the 
shall of his physician^ aiud the fitm expectation of 
reKef by his mesni^ have semetimea a wonderful 
efieaey in restoring healthy is- a point not to be 
doobted oi^ Fienus, besides corroborat&g. this 
opniioik by the authority of Oalbn and^ othws, 
tdk n%? tkaiy in general^ all phjwieiaDs subscribed 
t9ri^; and he gives ns sereral instances of cures 


buought about by the use of meaB% in tbsmseites 
of no effieaisy, if not ridiculous^ nay^ wliick to all 
afjp^rance were hurtful^ but whidi' tbe strong de^ 
sire and eenfidenee of the patiettia endoweil with 
a saliatWe virtue. * PechliN) abo) is very full, 

« De Viribus Imaginatwnit, p. 169-170.— '< Etenim Gale- 
HOB, 1. pirognost. dicit confidentiam teigA de medico- plUrimutn 
ia9er» ad saluteBO) idque se in ieipeo expertam esfef et prop* 
terea ilium medicum melius sanaturum, ^ui melius potent per- 
suadere. Albertus Magnus, 4. de anima, scribit segrum per 
oonfidentiam de suo medico tantum sanare ipsum qtiimfam me- 
dics medWamastia. Communiter omnes medid^ magnam 

vim ejusmodi confidentise ascribunt Probatur quoqueex- 

pelleft^ et exempBs. Docet etiam experient& multos in 

ileliribiM hahentat iummum^ dbi dici^us desldMuiD, et Ibrtisrt- 
mam imaginationem quod talis cibus esset eos sanaturos, come- 
dendo eum, ssepissime ftiisse sanatos, etiamsi ipsi dbi secundum 

regttlds medidns illi moibo noxii et contraiii haberentur. 

Quod cum non fiat virtute naturali ipsorum dborum, reliquum 
est, ut non fiat nisi virtute firmse segrorum confidentiae et in- 

to the silme purpeisa In bk opinion)! va^ k the 
power of the mind m determining, then operaticir 
and efficacy of m^diein^s. li will, acedvding to 
him, not only diminish or ini^reasd their nmiid ef*- 
fectSy but Bi^ change themi to ii< nlamiev ^ ojli^ra- 
tion directly contrary ; and eommiinitalc^ a b^ing. 
quality to the meet inad^lHite nleanfe^ even to ai 
bread-piU difiguieed ad a miBdieitte>: and awallowed 
with af Vaafc confidence in the skVU of the peraeAr 
who administers it."^ 

Tki^ siitgedf of the sanative infiuetice^ faith 
and confideoe^l in lAedkal praotiiBe, ia tveatad>wHb 
profound knowledge^i and mncb pbilosophioal aon* 
men,, by a karMd- atidaUb writer in a Frenok p«i%» 
lication, at one time^ 1 believe, of cOnsid^lvd^le ce- 
lebrity and extensive circidation. The writer in 
(question observes, that, " if it be true (and indeed 
it cannot be doubted) that among the cnosea whidb 
are capable of modifying the state of the vital funo- 
tions, there ar^ none more rapidy more powerfnly 
and more infAlUble, than moral impressions^ of 
wfaatt mighty importance is i( for the phyucian to 
accf uire a practical knowledge of the curative eflbcts 
which these impressiwM may ^?odiice ! And bow 

tettaa^ imajgfaialtoiiis.'*— tieHUB qubter ilittiy other atfOiOrttlttf 
and gives atY&nk exiBipk» of the effieacy of the piiMci)iIa 

* PsoH&iXy Obtk Ik 48l^22^-«.The above ^uotatka k frota 
Douglas, Bishop of SalisUury's treatise, entitled. The Cnlerioi^ 


ean he be permitted to remain ignorant of the in- 
fluence exerted on the state of the sick by that con- 
fidence which they accord to the remedies which 
are administered to them. 

*< In its most feeble degree, this confidence, pro- 
duced by the slightest causes, determines those ame- 
liorations, already sufficiently perceptible, which 
are constantly observed in the case of certain pa- 
tients, every time they change their physician or 
the remedies. 

*< More decided efiects are manifested when a 
physician, employing, for the first time, a new re- 
medy, communicates to the patient the hope of an 
efficacy, the precise limits of which have never 
been indicated by any experience; and this is a 
source of error from which even the most experi- 
enced physicians do not always escape. How many 
new substances are there, the efficacy of which, 
supported at first by many wonderful cures, hks at 
length heeh reduced to nothing in the hands of ex- 
perimentalists, who have made trial of them with 
a sort of doubt and distrust? To what shall we 
ascribe the curative efiects of the magnet and of 
Perkinism, and that of acupuncture so recently 
extolled ? It is a demonstrated fact, that the prus- 
sic acid no longer produces those eflPects which were 
observed at the time when hopes were entertained 
that it would prove a preservative against phthisis. 


Has not a well known physician recently announ- 
ced, that he had administered successively, without 
the slightest effect, enormous doses of that narco- 
tic, of which some fractions of a grain were at first 
sufficient to soothe with almost complete certain- 

" When the new remedy is kept secret, the ex- 
cess of confidence inspired in some minds by the 
mystery which surrounds it, renders its curative 
effects still more decided, especially in certain com- 
plaints in which the imagination plays a great part. 
Hence the miracles produced at all times, and in 
all countries, by the superstitious recipes against 

^^ But, in order to observe the effects of confi- 
dence in its most elevated degree, we must look for 
them among pious patients, who, with lively faith, 
invoke the aid of superior intelligences. In them 
every requisite is combined — ^implicit faith — a firm 
and unbounded confidence in the support of a pro- 
tecting Power which has no limits — finally, religi- 
ous exaltation, which, considered in itself, is suffi- 
cient to render the organism soft as wax to all the 
modifications induced by the imagination.* It is 

* Nothing can be more manifestly uigust and unphilosophi- 
cal, although there is nothing more usual, than to maintain that 
all which takes place in cases of mental exaltation is mere de- 
ceit and imposition. Such an opinion can only arise from a 
want of due attention to those psychological principles which 

in .«iwb cp«Bei9» dier^forey that are manifeBted those 
ttmeiilor». cureB ia whitoh all religious ^ects, wMh- 
out iexeeption, h&Te gloried in ttmr ^^mmenoe- 

fr/^^Uj inanile^t tli^ eristraordUj^^uy effects on tlie huipan 
constitution : For it cannot be doubted that the influence of the 
soul on the body is often as great as that of the body on the 
jfiVjh gi^Qv^ hith^r^HD, phjrcMmilpftweonSiied their studies 
pdncip^j to the latter. Even in the ordinary state, we can 
relieve ourselves from pain and suffering by a firm exercise of 
▼oUtioay by fiadng the attention upon o^er objects ; nay, very 
serious con^LpJaints jpaay occaaionally be ^red )n .tl^s way. It 
is well known, as lias been already observed, what astonishing 
effects may -be produced upon the human body by violent joy, 
fl^rpriie, JMnroKrr-hoir esrily.fiaar jwd anxiety if mind may ge- 
jiertUe corpox^ dis^^ises. ^ow, then, ci^ it be denied th|it a 
profound devotional feeling, which in some individuals far sur- 
passes all other feelings in power and intensity, may likewise 
y^yB t^e grf^t^.infl)i^|ioe ^pqafi the Jiuma^ body ? 

Indeed, it would be much more incomprehensible if this were 
not the case, than that it is so ; and it must appear at least 
equally incomprehensible ihat wine, wjhioh ei^Uarates, and to a 
q^i:^in degree jslevfites ^ ;^ul of VOfm, shoi^d a|so be a,u f^- 
mirable medidne in many diseases, as that a firm confidence in 
God should penetrate body and soul, and again restore the sink- 

H^o true phyirician, therefore, will be siu^irised, when men are 
rdieved from corporeal 8ufi*ering by a strong and lively fidth ; 
and he will readily ponnit the more ignorant to represent these 
cures A3 miracH^ while, be sef^ ip .them o^ly ^e effects of the 
same universal power of nature, of the si^ne Spirit, whiqh lies 
at the bottom of all other phenomena. The miraculous cures, 
so called, must interest him even as mere natural phenomena, 
as from them he can derive new prpQ& of the l^gh importance 
of the medicina psifiMca^ and he will be eqj^ially ^di^ed in his 
way by these facts, as that devout mind which contemplates 
them as miracles. 

ment, tbveu when tike exaltatmi of ibftir fpljpwers 
did iu>t go the length of producu^ the etwUn-tifi qH- 
sis, along <wifeli the incomprcihttisible phenommi 
whidi 4»company it. In foot, 2I0 tbaimauifestfition 
of miraculous ciures nothing more js »eoes9«try th^n 
a general and lively faitfi ; and there is no religiop 
which, even in its decline, :h^3 .^ot ^endeavoured to 
re-enkindle the seeal of ite followers, in order to ob- 
tain them. When Pagianisin, ^ve^y where in ruins, 
was rapidly disappearing before itbe numerous mi- 
racle9. performed by the faith of j^ Christians, 
it still endea^^xmred to niaintaiu its credit in the 
public estimation, by the supernatural cures per- 
formed in Uie teoAples of .^culapius ; and to these 
the defenders of Christianity coul4 only oh^ct by 
aaeribing them to the deviL* 

* The practice of ascribing these physical or magnetic ciues 
to his Satanic mi^esty and his niinistera, previtiled down to a 
very late period, and is, periiaps, not even jet entirely extinct. 
The belief in question appears to have been powerfiilly en- 
couraged by the " three black Graces — Law, iPhjrsic, and Di- 
vjbrity." Amoxigist a variety of writers upon this j^utject, I may 
refer the reader to the commencement of the second partition 
of old Burton's Anaiomy of Melancholy^ in which he will find a 
variety of Jleamed opinions upon this question. Nicholas Tau- 
reUus says that ^' common experience confirms to our astonish- 
ment, that magicians can work such feats, and that the Devil 
without impe^ment can penetrate through all the parts of oiir 
bodies, and cure such maladies, by means to us unknown.'* 
But, then, with r^ard to the lawfulness of such cures :— ^' It 
matters not," saith Paracelsus, *' whether it be God or the devil, 
angels, or unclean spirits cure him, so that he be eased." In 


^ If we wisbed to assign a fiarticular rank to the 
phenomena which are produced in our days by the 
partizans of Animal Magnetism, we should place 
their cures immediately after those which result 
(rom religious exaltation, and far above all that 
can be produced by confidence in an ordinary re- 
medy, however new, and however secret. The ar- 
dent zeal of the magnetizers, the almost supernatu- 
ral marvellousness of the phenomena they describe, 
the nature of their processes, which require a long 
continued recueillement — all this is amply sufficient 
to explain the difference which exists to their ad- 

We may all recollect something of the wonder- 
ful cures alleged to have been wrought at the tomb 
of the Abbe Paris in France, and of the acrimoni- 
ous controversies to which the circumstances gave 
rise. By the friends of the Saint, these cures were 
ascribed to the miraculous interposition of Divine 
Power ; whilst his enemies, in order to get rid of 
them, were forced into an utter denial of their rea- 
lity. Both parties were completely blinded by false 

opposition to such atheistical opinions, honest old Burton him- 
self magnanimously contends, — ^ much hetter it were for such 
patients that are so troubled, to endure a little misery in this 
life, than to hazard their soul's health for ever ; and (as Delrio 
counselleth) much better diey ihan be so cured,*' This last opinion 
would probably be most popular among the hculty. 

• Le Ghbe ; No. 89, 18th July 1826. 


zeal, and both were most egregiously in the wrong. 
Some of these cures, at least, if not all, were unde- 
niable; but they were no miracles, in the proper 
sense of the word. The learned Bishop of Salis* 
bury, who had carefully investigated the subject, 
admits, that ^^ whoever attentively weighs the evi- 
dence urged in support of some of them, must own 
that few matters of fact ever were confirmed by 
more unexceptionable testimony. They were per- 
formed openly, in the sight of the whole world ; in. 
the heart of one of the greatest cities in the uni- 
verse ; on persons whom every body could see and 
examine ; whose diseases could not be counterfeit- 
ed, because we have the certificates of the most 
eminent physicians who had previously attended 
or examined them ; and whose recovery every in- 
habitant of the city of Paris could satisfy himself 
of, because they lived on the spot. And that the 
facts were examined into with all the art and ad- 
dress of the ruling part of the clergy, backed by 
the civil magistrate, is too notorious to admit of a 
dispute ; as it is, also, that some of them could stand 
the examination, and remained undetected.''* Ac- 

* The CrUerion, by John Douglas, D. J>^ Lord Bishop of 

Scenes of a similar character again occurred in more recent 
times, and occasioned a renewal of the same discusdon^ I shall 
take the liberty of quoting the following observations upon the 

VOL. I. M 


cprdingly^ the Bisfaop very properly Adttiits the fm^ 
lity of thtfse l^or^^ and jufttly asmbefi tb^ili t^ the 
principles I have alreiidy notieed-^religiotts eiltli0- 
sifti^m, a lively ikithy and onhounded coiliidenee. 

subject, by on ingenious writer, to whom I have abreadj re- 

** Th&t htd bten tatdy discovered at liyoM an did iomb, 
which) ri^t or wron^ is believed to be that of Si Jubia» Here- 
upon, the imaginations of the pious have become exalted, and 
some cUseased persons, anxious to expexience ilte virtue of* new 
r^cS,hat«fouiidtliMrcoia^aihtSiaieviated near iMlf tomb. We 
are told that a woman, who had been sulTering frmn paralysis^ 
was completely cured. These circumstances have given great 
Mfbtkhtt^ to SOttife phildS6phe^ thfel Wtdth ^ dertdin J6u)K^i[l8t^ 
hatf been kindled^ aiid appansntljr tejpimish this wtnnan for Imviag 
been, or believed herself to have been cured, they have hastened 
to acquaint the public tliat ske had become insane, ti is dl&ult 
ttf pert»lt6 h6# this itf Mni^ £buld dfanfaiidi the :Mlity tH bef 
miraculous cure. In the mean time, the account appeared of im- 
portance, and was repeated in all the ^unuds which espoused 
the Bmts side ; t^kich At^iik d6#h tipb^ tltd ^rkti^ df ^h^ U po- 
sitive contradiciion on the jpuH of the GioMSMff UMventik^ Lyohr 
which, reasonably enough, defended the miraculous cure. 

^ Witii regard to our liberals, wdy will they not allow the re- 
lic^ find thb nei^l^ discovered Wmh of th^ sdilt, to pr^uee ih 
our days, the same efi^ts which the relics and the toMbS of ali 
the saints have produced in all times ? St Jubin may well be 
peiMtt^ to do, fer some thhe, ai Lyons, thai which ^t Vans 
dkij duflng more thiin ten years^ at PAri% itt tike Middle df the 
18th century — ^that which Prince Hohenlohe, all alive as he is, 
hss bet^ doin^ since the eoknmenceiheht d^ the 19tk dentury, 
throughout the whole extent of Catholic Europe. It is ilh in« 
codtestiblfr ftctj ikhd deinonstrated by the retigioUs history of all 
titfiei^ tha^ HrhMteV^ a Hvely Mih ih supericn- power was ceih- 
blft^d #ith fifiA aohfidehb^ surjiHsdng cu:^ wei^ the i^uH. 
AVhv, then, obstinately deny them? Assuredly, we eught not 


In condudiDg theM ftfw otogrvatiopg upon the 
vast sanatire infleeiice of iiiith and confidence, I 
shall take the liberty of laying before my readers 
the followii^ extract of a communication from a 
gentleman at the HaTannah^ which irill be found 
in the Monthly Magazine for February 1820. 

^^ Since my arrival^ for about a year» I have wit- 
nessed the successive extinction of about four-fifths 
of those who have arrived from Europe. A terri- 
ble disorder — the vomiio negro, or yellow fever — 
almost invariably attacks the newly-landed. In 
vain do I inquire what is the cause of this disease, 
and what are the remedies provided against it. 
The physicians of the country ard as uninformed 
on this subject as I am ; as evidently appears from 
the different preemptions which they distribute, 
and which all tend to one common result*- that of 

to belieye, upon light grounds, events which are almost always 
exaggerated by enthusiasm ; but instead of fbeUag annoyed when 
similar accounts are published, philosophers would do well to 
investigate and ascertain the fiicts, to present them in their just 
d^;ree of importance, and to enlighten the public on the subject 
of their natuze and causes. I am much deceivsd if such conduct 
would not make a greater impression than a ridiculous exaspe- 
ration, or stale raillery, which are more calculated to excite fii- 
natidsm, than to destroy iU It is time that sdenoe should 
franUy take possesion of these miraculous cures, whidi are so 
evidently within its domain, and which constitute a very inte- 
resting chapter of that powerful influence of the moral over the 
physical nature of man, so frequently appealed to^ asul yet UU 
tberto so little appreciated in its nuire curious results."—/^ 
Ghbey utstqK 


conducting their unhappy patients to the grave. 
At the same time^—^and to this passi^ 1 would 
especially direct the attention of the reader — '^ at 
the same time, the Negro women are much more suc- 
cessful in their treatment of thefatcdfever than the 
regular faculty ; they inspire confidence, which calms 
the patient, and then, probably. Nature does the rest. 
The very captains, who have brought away the 
Negresses from the coast of Africa, are obliged 
to implore their benevolent assistance, and are fre- 
quently indebted for the preservation of their lives 
to those whom they have deprived of their country 
and their liberty.'' 

Now, these N^ro women were undoubtedly 
quacks, and, as such, I presume, would have been 
liable to prosecution and punishment, at thie in- 
stance of the Faculty, in every civilized JEuid well- 
governed realm. Yet the sanative processes, so 
successfully employed by them, would appear to 
have been truly Hippocratic ; and it must be evi- 
dent to all who are conversant with the subject, 
that they bore a striking resemblance to the mag- 
netic treatment.*^ 

* ^ The following account of the first appearance of the ve- 
nereal disease is given by Yillalba. When, in 1493, this pre- 
viously unknown disease appeared at Seville, the king and queen, 
Ferdinand and Isabella, ordered their physicians to attend the 
persons afflicted with it in the hospital of San Salvador. Many 
physicians and professors laboured for seven or eight months, 


I bave said that faith and confidence are reqni- 
site conditions of the success of every important 
transaction of life, as well as of medicine and mag- 
netism.* This is a principle which scarcely re- 
quires illustration. What, I would ask, was die 
grand secret of the brilliant successes of all those 
great men, who, at different periods, have astonish- 
ed the world by the almost never-failing accomplish- 

applying thousands of remedies without benefit The famous 
physician Maestro Francisco de G^bralion, and the celebrated 
Doctors fiodiga, Aragones, and Infantos, held councils^ the re- 
sult of which was a declaration that the disease was a scourge 
of Heaven, which attacked aHke all ages and complexions, cities, 
and villages, and that all physical remedies had till then proved 
inefficacious ; they were therefore of opinion, that every one 
who had greater experience should be aUowed to undertake the 
cure of the disorder, and prayed the king to permit non.gni- 
duates to try their skill upon it. The consequence waa, that a 
weaver actually cured most of the patients with a sort of oint- 
ment." — LUermy Gazette^ for February 18. 1832. 

* ^ We all know that, in undertaking any difficult task which 
requires moral energy, the confidence we have in our powers, 
and the hope of success, contribute much towards enabling us 
to surmount obstacles. When one body of troops marches to 
the attack of another, if it is well convinced of its superiority, if 
it has no doubt of obtaining the victory, it will possess a prodi- 
gious advantage over the enemy, even although the latter should 
be superior in numbers. When soldiers make an assault, we see 
them scale walls and clear ditches, which would certainly have 
arrested them, if they were not previously convinced that no- 
thing could resist their impetuosity. Magnetism has fbr its 
principle a moral action ; it is the will which darts forth the fluid 
as it impresses motion; and is it surprising that confidence 
should augment its energy ?** — Deleuze ; Defense du Magne- 
tisme Ammdly p. 106. 

140 AKiMAL UAamtmsu. 

meat of their ifdendid^ dieir glor]oii% their won- 
derfbl adnevemente— 4ke Alexiitider% the HannU 
hftl% the G«sar% the Mahomete^ the Tanierlanes, 
the Charleses^ the Cromwells, the Frederic^ the 
Bonapartes, &e. ? I answer) that h is to be found, 
in a great meaeare^ in an unbounded eosfidenee in 
their own powersy a firni) a lively fiiithy and an 
eiletf;etic» a despotic Tolition* In the words of the 
poet : Pasmni quia pas9e videntur-^they were capa- 
ble of performing great things, because tfaey had a 
strong, an unflinching faith in their own ability, 
and confidently looked for suecese in all their en-* 
terprises. The professors of Animal Magnetism 
will tell us, that these were all magnetic men — 
men who possessed, in an extraordinary degree, 
that nervous power, that determined volition, and 
that indomitable confidence, which gave additional 
vigour to all their energies, and enabled them to 
perform actions which, to ordinary mortals, might 
almost appear impossible. I may add, in the lan- 
guage of a noble living author, that ^^ one of the 
surest marks of a great mind is the confidence with 
which it knows how to inspire others."* 

I have aleady observed, I believe more than 
once, that our modern physiological systems be- 
tray far too great a leaning to materialism ; they 
treat of man as a merely passive being — as little 

* Lord Mahon, Hiitory tfthe War of the Suocestian in iSJNitn. 


more thau a machine ; while the stady of his spi- 
ritual nature has been almost totally neglected.* 
Yet the latter is« at least, equally interesting to thr 
physician, and far more so to the philosopher. It 
makes us better acquiunted with the various sym- 
pathies and susceptibilities of our being, and leads 
US to %h^ dii<N>Very of the true springsf of ^nr ac- 
tions, wbieh will always bn the mmre admirvbltr 
the fartbiA* tbcy are retttared frotn materialism asd 
medfaanism'^-ihe nearer thdy Irpproach to the na** 
tur^ 0f the incorporeal^ the spontaneeus, tbe spiri-* 
toal-- ^the moTv immediately tbvy proofed from our 
independetit moral ener^esx^the more manifestly 
they evince the dominion of miDid oVer matter. 
Si vobieris magna ^q>erarii says William Maxwell^ 
one of the most ingenioas of the predecessofs of 
Mefeilier^ corpoteitatem a rebus pro posae deme^ vet 
corpari de spiHiu adde : Nisi tiliqmd horum/eeertB 
...•«......^iiiAi/ wiptam magni operaberis.f 

* One great cause of this neglect may probably be found in 
the di^UmftU^ce, thirt Physloldgy has been more cultivated by 
medical writers than by philosophers ; and we are told by Hoff- 
mann and Conringius that Medico, qua Medieus, ignota est AniU 

f If you would accomplish great things, you must divest ob- 
jects, as trttich as pMtt>l^ of their materiality, or add spiHt to 
matter : Unless you do one or other of these, you will never 
perform any thing great. 

( 144 ) 


After the preceding, I trust not altogether un- 
necessary or uninteresting and uninstructive, epi- 
sode upon the subject of those sympathetic and 
moral influences, which are occasionally operative 
in the cure of diseases— -and which, if treated at 
the length their importance deserves, would pro- 
bably occupy far too great a proportion of this pub- 
lication ; — I shall now proceed to a much more ex- 
traordinary topic, and direct the attention of my 
readers to some very remarkable instances which 
have been recorded of the wonderful power of hu- 
man volition, first, over the corporeal organism of 
the individual exerting it, and then over that of 

The most surprising cures, indeed, are said to 
have been occasionally effectuated psychically, and, 
as it were, magically, without employing any tan- 
gible or ponderable remedy, or any visible medium, 
by the mere influence of the will and determination 
of the individual over the corporeal organs. The 
celebrated German metaphysician, Kant, wrote a 
small treatise, addressed to Dr Hufeland, upon the 


pow«r of mental resolation in overcoming painful 
sensations arising from some derangement of the 
animal economy ; and he observed, that this power 
was most efficaciously exerted in the case of spas- 
modic affections. This observation has beea con- 
firmed by the experience of the animal magnetizers, 
who have occasionally witnessed cases of a similar 
description, and have themselves performed cures, 
by means of a strong effort of the will and resolu- 
tion, without the employment of any manipula- 
tions, or, indeed, of any physical media whatever. 
Passavant mentions, that he knew a lady who 
cured herself of spasms in this manner. — Her hus- 
band, to whom she was tenderly attached, always 
treated her with coldness and indifference when* 
ever she was seized with any affection of this kind ; 
and this circumstance induced her to exert a power- 
ful effort of resolution, of which she was otherwise 
incapable, and in consequence of which she suc- 
ceeded in effecting a complete cure.* Brandis, 
principal physician to the king of Denmark, re- 
lates several eases of a similar description ; in par- 
ticular, one of a lady whom he cured of violent 
spasms, and another of a young man whom he 
cured of St Vitus's dance, by resolutely forbidding 

* Uniermdhungen uber deti Lebena Magnetwmu und das HeU- 
sehen. Yon Dr J. C. Passavant Frankf. k M. 1821. 



him to yield to the attack.* The treatment resort- 
ed to by Boerhaave, in the case of the convulsive 
qhildren in the Orphan-House at Haarlem, appears 
to have been of the same kind. 

Indeed, there is a variety of instances upon re- 
cord of the most marvellous and incredible influ- 
ence of volition over the bodily organization, even 
in the case of such operations as cannot be con- 
ceived to depend, in any degree, upon the will of 
the individual. Thus, in Franklin's Jtmmey to the 
Polar Sea (p. 157), a strange story is told of a man, 
who, after earnest prayer, became provided with 
milk, and actually suckled a child. 

Bernier, in his Ceremonies et Coutumes ReHgi- 
eusea (tom. vi. p. 188), informs us, that voluntary 
somnambulism is frequent among the Indian Bra- 
mins and Fakirs, and that even the means of pro- 
ducing it are taught. In Avicenna's treatise De 
AnimdUbus^ a case is reported of a man who pos- 
sessed the power of paralyzing his limbs at plea- 
sure, by an effort of volition. Cardanus relates of 
himself, that he could voluntarily place himself in 
a state of ecstatic insensibility .f St Austin, in his 

* Brandis, Ueber payehuehe HeUmittel und Magnetismus. Co- 
penhageU) 1818. 

f Quatuor mihi indita sunt a natura, quse nunquam apenri 
volui, et omnia (meo judicio) admiratione digna. Quorum primum 
hoc est, quod quoties volo, extra sensum quasi in ecstasim tran- 
seo, &c. — De Rerum Varietate^ lib. viiL c. 43. Something similar 


work De Civitate Dei^ has recorded two cases of a 
similar description ; the one of a man who could 
perspire when he wished it; and the other of a 
priest, Restitutus by name, who, whenever he 
pleased, could throw himself into a state of com- 
plete insensibility, and lie like a dead man.* 

One of the most extraordinary, the most circum- 
stantial, and the most authentic instances which 
have been recorded, of the astonishing power of 
volition over the bodily organiacatiou, is that re- 
lated by the celebrated Dr Cheyne in one of his 
medical treatises, f and which appears to have been 
verified by the most exact observation, and sub- 
stantiated by the most irrefragable evidence. It 
is the case of a Colonel Townsend, who, as in the 
instance mentioned by St Austin, could die, to all 

is related of that singular character Emanuel Swedenborg ; and 
also, it is believed, of Jacob Behmen. ' 

* Illud multo est incicdibilius, quod plerique fraties memo- 
ria recentissima experti sunt. Presbyter fiiit quidam, nomine 
Restitutus, in parcecia Calamensis ecclesise, quando ei placebat, 
Togabatusaut Ut hoc fexierit ab eis qui rem mirabilem coram scire 
cupiebant, ad imltatis quasi lamentantis cujuslibet voces, ita se 
auferebat a sensibus, et jacebat simillimus mortuo; ut non solum 
bellicantes atque pungentes minime sentiret, sed aliquando etiam 
igne ureretur admoto, sine uUo doloris sensu, nisi post modun^ a 
vulnere ; non autem obnitendo, sed non sentiendo non movere 
corpus, eo probatur, quod tanquam in defuncto nullus invenie- 
batur anhelitus ; hominum tamen voces, si clariim loquerentur, 
tanquam de longinquo se audisse referebat. 

f Cheyne, English Maladp^ &c. 


appearance, at any time that he chose, and havings 
lain for a considerable period in that state, could 
resuscitate himself by a voluntary struggle. '^ He 
could die/' says Dr Gheyne, ^^ or expire when he 
pleased, and yet, by an effort, or somehow, he could 
come to life again. He insisted so much upon our 
seeing the trial made, that we were at last forced 
to comply. We all three felt his pulse first: it 
was distinct, though small and thready, and his 
heart had its usual beating. He composed himself 
on his back, and lay in a still posture for some 
time; while I held his right hand, Dr Baynard laid 
his hand on his heart, and Mr Skrine held a clean 
looking-glass to his mouth. I found his pulse sink 
gradually, till at last I could not feel any by the 
most exact and nice touch. Dr Baynard could not 
feel the least motion in his heart, nor Mr Skrine 
perceive the least soil of breath on the bright mir- 
ror he held to his mouth. Then each of us, by 
turns, examined his arm, heart, and breath, but 
could not, by the nicest scrutiny, discover the least 
symptom of life in him. We reasoned a long time 
about this odd appearance as well as we could, and 
finding he still continued in that condition, we be- 
gan to conclude that he had indeed carried the ex- 
periment too far; and at last we were satisfied that 
he was actually dead, and were just ready to leave 
him. This continued about half an hour. By nine 


m the morning, in autumn, as we were going away, 
we observed some motion about the body, and, upon 
examination, found bis pulse and the motion of his 
heart gradually returning: he began to breathe 
gently, and speak softly. We were all astonished 
to the last degree at this unexpected change, and, 
after some farther eon versation with him and among 
ourselves, went away fully satisfied as to all the 
particulars of this fact, but eonfounded and puzzled, 
and not able to form any rational scheme that 
might account for it" 

In the foregoing instances, we perceive the asto- 
nishing power which certain individuals appear to 
have possessed over their own bodily organization; 
and I am now going to bring under the view of 
the reader a still more incredible power, treated of 
by many authors, which is said to enable one indivi- 
dual, by an energetic effort of volition, to produce 
very extraordinary effects upon the corporeal or^ 
ganism of another. The existence of such a power 
was maintained by several ancient writers * ; and, 
in modem times, by a numerous sect of physicians 
and philosophers, during the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries. It would be tedious to attempt 
a minute examination of the various opinions of 
this numerous class of writers, and to point out 
their several coincidences. Much of thartiii^ieh they 

* yide Fisiius, Oe FMbut Imiffmaiiomt, 


assert or relate, mAy bave been taken up too ere-^ 
dulously, upon tr^t, and witbout dae inyestigation) 
but still tbere are many things whicb tbey affirm 
upon their own experimental knowledge, or upon 
the credible testimony of others, and these deserve 
a serious consideration. Of these authors, I may 
mention, as the most eminent, Pomponatius, * Ro- 
dblphus Goclenius,f Athanittius Kircher,j: Van 
Heittiont, n Sir Kenelm Digby, § William Max^ 
well,f J. G. Bui^rave,** Sebastian Wird%,ff 

* Petrits Pompokatiitb, De IncafUaHonibus. Basil, 1^7. 

f RoihGoclekii Tract de Mapnei. Vuin, Curat Mar- 
burg!, \60% et Ftmeot 1613. 

t Athav. Kircheb, Magnesy sine de Arte Moffnetica. . Co- 
lon. 1643, et Rom. 1654. — MagneHcvm Nahira Regnum^ &c. 
Alnst. 1667. 

1} Yak HEtMONT, De Magnet, Vuin, Ctirutione, Paris, 
1621. — See also the other works of this author. 

§ K. Digby, Of ^ Cure of Wounds by the Power of Sym- 
paihy, Lond. 1660. 

% GuL. Maxwell, Medhina Magnet Rbri fres^ &c. 
Frankf. 1679, 

** J. G. BuEOBAAYE, Bidgohniumy seu Lucema vUa^ cui 
aooessit oura morborum magnetica. 1629. This work I have not 
seen ; but I find it referred to by Kluge, under a title some- 
what different* 

<)")- SebastiAk Wirdio, Noea Medidna Spisiiumm. Hamb. 
1673* This also is a work which I have not been able to procure ; 
but I find the following remarkable quotation firom it on the 
title-page of a treatise, entitled Mesmer justifii. : '< Totus mundus 
constat et positus est in magnetismo; omnes. sublunaiium vids* 
situdines fiunt per magnetismum ; vita conservatur magnetismo; 
interitus omnium rerum fiunt per mi^^istxitim.^— ?% 17^* 


Joannes Bohnius, * &c. All of these writers, and 
many others, assumed the existence of an univer- 
sal magnetic power, by which they attempted to 
explain the dependence and reciprocal action of 
bodies, in gfeneral, upon each other, and, in particu- 
lar, the phenomena of the vital organization. They 
also broadly and distinctly maintained the proposi* 
tion, that the will or imagination of man, when en- 
ergetically called into action, is capable of produc- 
ing certain perceptible effects upon the organism of 
other living beings, even at a considerable distance. 

This last proposition has been, perhaps, most 
clearly enunciated by Pomponatius and Van Hel* 
mont ; and considering them as the representatives 
of the whole of this class of writers, I deem it suf- 
ficient to give an abstract of the opinions which 
they entertained upon the subject we are now in- 

Pomponatius "f assumes it as a fact generally 
acknowledged, that there are men endowed with 

* JoAMKEs BoHMius, De SfMhtum Afikmdlium Medela. 
Haxnb. 168& 

To the list of authors given in the text, may be added, Jul. 
Cses. Vaninius, De Admkr, Natwrm arean. ; C Agrippa ab Net- 
tesheim, De OoeuUa PhihaopMa ; Cliristopher Irving ; N. Pa- 
pin ; Fludd, and a variety of others, who have either written 
expressly upon the subject, or, at least, incidentally alluded to 

t Petrus Pomponatius was bom at Mantua in 1462, and 
died in 1525. He was Professor of Philosophy at Padua. 


the faculty of curing certain diseases, by means of 
an effluence or emanation, which the force of their 
imagination directs towards the patient. ** When 
those," says he, ^^ who are endowed with this fa- 
culty, operate by emplo}ring the force of the ima- 
gination and the will, this force affects their blood 
and their spirits, which produce the intended ef- 
fects, by means of an evaporation thrown out- 
wards." * 

He afterwards observes, that it is by no means 
inconceivable that health may be communicated 
to a sick person by this force of the imagination 
and the will, so directed ; and he compares this 
susceptibility of health to the opposite susceptibi- 
lity of the infection of disease, "f- 

* *^ Possibile est apud me, quod homo habeat talem dispo- 
sitionem qualem dlximus. Sic contingit, tales homines qui ha- 
beant hujusmodi vires in potentid, et per vim imaginativam et 
desiderativam cum actu operantur, talis virtus exit ad actum, et 
affidt sanguinem et spiritum, qui per evaporationem petunt ad 
extra, et producunt tales efiectus.**^ — Cap. iv. p. 44. 

f ^^ Incredibile non est, etiam sanitatem posse produci ad 
extra ab anima taliter imaginante et desiderante de 8^;ritudine." 
—P. 61. 

** Quemadmodum aliquis potest infici et eegritudinem susci- 
pere ab aUquo alio ex eyaporatione, sic et aliquis secundum is- 
tum modum potest suscipere sanitatem." — P. 88. 

Vaninius, in his work already referred to, has a passage to 
the same effect : *' V^iementem imaginationemy cui spiritus et san^ 
guM obediunt, rem metUe amceptam realiter tuffusere^ mm sohtm intra, 
sedet extra. Ergo pnepotentem animse de valetudine cogita. 
tionem posse segroto sanitatis aliquid impertiri.*' — L. iv. dial 0. 


In another passage, our author enumerates the 
conditions of the exercise of this faculty, in nearly 
the same terms as are employed by the modem 
magnetisers : and he adds, that the confidence of 
the patient contributes to the efficacy of the re- 

It is necessary, says he, that he who exercises 
this sort of enchantment should have great faith, 
a strong imagination, and a firm desire to cure the 
sickness. But these dispositions are not to be 
found equally in all men. * 

There is also a curious passage in Maxwell upon this subject, 
which I take the liberty of subjoining : '^ IfnagmaHonem e/rtra 
corpus operari clarum esse ptUo, £t quid quseso aliud est imagi- 
natio quam, ut ita dicam, animse manus, per quas ilia sine cor. 
poris auxilio operatur.'' — Med. Magnet. L L cap. 2. 

Here, too, I cannot avoid quoting a remarkable passage from 
Cornelius Agrippa ab Nettesheim, in which he asserts that it 
is possible for a man to communicate his thoughts to another, 
even at a great distance, and appeals to his own experience, as 
wen as to that of others, fur the truth of the fact : ^^ Possibile 
est naturaliter, et procul omni superstitione, nullo alio spiritu 
mediante, hominem homini ad quamcunque, longissimam etiam 
vel incognitam, distantiam et mansionem, brevissimo tempore 
posse nuntiare mentis suse conceptum : etsi tempus in quo is- 
tud fit non possit mensurari, tamen intra viginti quatuor horns 
id fieri omnino necesse est : et ^;o id &cere novi, et ssepius fed. 
Novit idem etiam fedtque quondam Abbas Trithemius." — De 
OccuHa PMIosopMa^ lib. iii. 

* ^ Oportet prsecantatorem esse credulum, et magnam fi- 
dem adhibere, et habere vebementem imaginationem et fixum 
desideriiim, et drca unamquamque segritudinem. Mode patet 
non onmes homines esse sequaliter dispositos.'*— *P. 73< 


It must not be concealed, however, that Pompo- 
natias ascribes a much more comprehensive power 
to the magnetic virtae, than any other author whom 
I have yet met with; and he even goes so far as to 
say, that, in certain circumstances, it may render 
the very elements, and matter itself, subject to the 
commands of man. * 

There is no author of that age who appears to 
have so fully anticipated the modem discovery of 
Animal Magnetism, as Van Helmont;-f' indeed, in 
perusing some parts of his works, we might almost 
conceive that we were occupied with the lucubra- 
tions of some disciple of Mesmer. His treatise, 

* *' Cum hominis animee voluntas, et maxime imaginativa, 
fuerint vehementes, elementa, venti et reliqua materialia sunt 
nata obedire eis." — P. 237. 

t John Baptist van Helmont was born at Brussels in the 
year 1577y and died in 1644. He was educated for the profes- 
sion of a physician, but spent the greater part of his life in che- 
mical researches. He discovered the laudanum of Paracelsus, 
the spirit of hartshorn, and the volatile salts ; and to him we 
owe the first knowledge of the elastic aciriform fluids, to which 
he gave the name of gas^ which they still retain. The science 
of medicine is also under considerable obligations to Van Hel- 
numt. But some of his most singular and original opinions are 
those which relate to our subject. His works were collected, 
some time after his death, and beautifully printed by Elzevir. 
— In speaking of Van Helmont, the learned Conringius «ays . 
<^ Helmontio multum debemus, quod philosophantium sui aevi 
errores acriter perstringendo, atque impugnando, excitavit tor- 
pentia ad naturalem philosophiam ingenia, et post Yerulamium 
ad experimenta ^ nugacissimis quandoque ratiocinationibus re- 
vocavit.''— .H. Cbnringii, IrUroduet in Unkfen. Art. Medio. I 23. 


On the Magnetic Cure of Wounds^ is, in this respect^ 
particularly remarkable. It was intended as du 
answer to two authors, who had written upon the 
same subject — Goclenius, a physical philosopher 
then in considerable repute, and Father Robert, a 
Jesuit. The first had maintained the reality of ih» 
cures effected by the magnetic means, and ascribed 
them to natural causes. The latter did not deny 
these cures, but condemned them as proceeding 
from the devil. 

Van Helmont shews that Goclenius had feebly de- 
fended the cause of truth ; and he proves, in oppcK 
sition to Father. Robert, that there is nothing cri- 
minal or diabolical in the magnetic treatment, but 
that all the phenomena depend upon natural causes. 
^^ Magnetism ,^^ says he, ^' is an universal agent ; 
there is nothing new in it but the name ; and it i^ 
a paradox only to those who are disposed to ridi- 
cule every thing, and who ascribe to the influence 
of Satan all those phenomena which they cannot 
explain/'* He defines Magnetism to be ^^ that 
occult influence which bodies exert over each other 
at a distance, whether by attraction or by impul- 
sion."-!- The medium or vehicle of this influence, 

* Magnetismus, quia passim viget, prseter nomen, nil novl 
continet ; nee paradoxus nisi iis qui cuncta derident, et in Sata- 
nae dominium ablegant quaecunque noti intelligant. 

t Sic vocitainus earn occultam coa])tationem qua absens in 


he designates by the name of the Magnate Magnum^ 
which he seems to consider as an universal fluid 
pervading all nature. It is not, he continues, a 
corporeal substance, capable of being condensed, 
measured, or weighed ; but an ethereal, pure, viCal 
spirit, or essence, which penetrates all bodies, and 
acts upon the mass of the universe. With regard 
to the human frame, he conceives that the seat of 
this magnetic influence is in the blood, and that it 
is called forth and directed bv the will. Van Hel- 
mont occasionally gives to this influence the epi- 
thets of ecstatic and magical, using the latter word 
in its more favourable signification.* 

In the same treatise, the author proceeds to say, 
that he had hitherto delayed the communication of 

absens per influxum agit^ sive trahendo vel impellendo fiat — 
Sect 69. 

* Igitur in sanguine est quaedam potestas ecstatica, quae si 
aliquando ardente desiderio excitata fiierit, etiam ad absens ali- 
quod objectum, exterioris hominls spiritum deducendo sit : ea 
autem potestas, in exteriori homine latet, velut in potentia ; nee 
dudtur ad actum, nisi excitetur accensa imaginati(me, ferventi 
desiderio, aut arte aliqua pari.— Sect 76. 
• Eadem vero anima, magica virtute non nihil expergefacta, 
extra suum ergastulum, in aliud distans objectum solo nutu agere 
pofise^ per media deportato ; in eo nempe sitam esse totam basim 
magiae naturalis, nuUatenus autem in ceremoniis variisque su- 
perstitionibus.— Sect 122. 

Postremo est virtus magica a corpore quasi abstracta, quae fit 
exdtamento interioris potestatis animae, unde fiunt potentissi- 
mae procreationes et vaUdissimi efiectus, et per phantasiam suam 
agit, et quo spiritualior eo potentior. — Sect. 157* 


a great mystery, viz. that there resides in man a 
peculiar energy, which enables him, by the mere 
force of his will and imagination, to act at a dis- 
tance, and to impress a virtue, to exercise an influ- 
ence, upon a very remote object.* This power, he 
admits, is incomprehensible ; but there are other 
powers and agents in nature which we are equally 
incapable of comprehending — such as the power of 
human volition over the corporeal organs. The 
union of the soul and the body, too, and their re- 
ciprocal influence upon each other, depend upon 
causes which we are unable to discover.-f- 

Van Helmont also asserts, that we can impress 
upon another body the virtue with which we our- 
selves are endowed; that we can thus communicate 
to it certain properties, and make use of it as an 
intermediate agent for producing salutary effects. 
He maintains, for example, that several vegetable 
remedies derive a peculiar efficacy from the imagi- 

* Ingens mysterium propalare hactenus distuli; ostendere 
videlicet in homine>itam esse energiam qua solo nutu et phan- 
tasia sua queat agere in distans, et imprimere virtutem, ali- 
quam influentiam, deinceps per se perseverantem et agentem in 
objectum longissime absens—- Sect. 158. 

f To this may be added our ignorance of the causes of Gra- 
vitation, of the common Magnetism, of Electricity, &c. The 
day, perhaps, is not far distant, when the remarkable anticipa- 
tion of Kant will be realised, and when it will be generally re- 
cognised and admitted, that all of these phenomena are the pro- 
duct of one single and simple principle, differently modified. 


nation of the individual who gathers, prepares, or 
administers them ; and this is quite consistent with 
the alleged experience of many of the modern pro- 
fessors of Animal Magnetism. But one of the most 
remarkable passages in this treatise is that in which 
th^ author explains the conditions necessary to the 
suecess of the magnetic treatment, ^' We have al- 
ready observed," says he, ^^ that all magical power 
lies dormant in man, and that it requires to be ex- 
cited. This is inyariably the case, if the subject 
upon whom we wish to operate is not in the most 
favourable disposition ; if his internal imagination 
does not abandon itself entirely to the impression 
which we wish to produce upon him ; or if he, to- 
wards whom the action is directed, possesses more 
energy than he who operates. But when the pa- 
tient is well disposed, or weak, he readily yields to 
the magnetic influence of him who operates upon 
him through the medium of his imagination. In 
order to operate powerfully, it is necessary to em- 
ploy some medium ; but this medium is nothing 
unless accompanied by the internal action."* All 
this — at least in its essential points — as we shall 

* Diximus omnem fortassis magicam vim dormire et excila- 
tione opus habere ; quod perpeiuo verum est, si objectum in 
quod agendum est non sit proxime dispositum, si ejus interna 
fiintasia non prorsus annuat agentis impressioni, vel etiam si 
robore patiens sit par vel superior agenti; at contra, &c. — 
Sect. 172. 


afterwards see, is quite coincident with the modern 
doctrine of Animal Magnetism introduced by Mes- 
mer, and established by the numerous experiments 
and observations of his successors. 

There is nothing more striking, and probably to 
most persons, upon a first view, more incompre* 
hensible, in the works of Van Helmont, and in* 
deed of most of the early writers on the subject of 
Magnetism, than the vast and mysterious influence 
which they ascribe to the power of energetic and 
concentrated volition — an opinion which could 
hardly be founded but upon experience of the fact. 
In this respect, too, there appears to be a remark- 
able coincidence between their opinions and the 
doctrines and practice of the Magnetic School of 
Barbarin, which the reader will find explained in 
the sequel. 

The will, according to Van Helmont, is the first 
of powers. It was by the will of the Almighty 
that the universe was created ; it was by volition 
that motion was originally impressed upon all ob- 
jects ; it is the will existing in man, which is the 
principle of all his actions. Volition belongs to all 
spiritual beings ; it is the more active and power- 
ful in them, in proportion as they are disengaged 
from matter ; and the energy with which it ope- 
rates without the assistance of organs, is the essen- 
tial characteristic of pure spirits. These positions 


are laid down by our author in his treatise, entitled 
A(Mo Megiminis; where he repeats, in somewhat 
different words, the opinions which he had so often 
expressed in the work to which I have already so 
fully referred.* 

It seems unnecessary to take any notice of the 
theory upon which, in another treatise, Van Hel- 
mont endeavours to account for the phenomena to 
which he refers. It may be observed, however, 
Uiat he there lays down more clearly a principle, 
which is implied in some of his preceding proposi* 
tions, viz. that those who exert this magnetic in- 
fluence, operate more or less powerfully according 
to the energy of the will ; and that the effects of 
their operation may be impeded by the resistance 
of that which is operated upon. A magicianf will 
operate with much more certainty upon weak than 
upon robust beings ; because the power of operat- 
ing effectually by means of volition has its limits, 
and he who possesses energy of mind can easily 
resist it4 

* Est ergo tertia actio spiritibus incorporeis propria, qui non 
requirunt ad agendum radium directum, nee aspectum subjecti, 
nee ejus propinquitatem, dispositionem aut colllgationem ; sed 
agunt solo nutu potestativo, longe vi influentiali efiicaciore.—- 
Aci, Regimin, Sect 39. 

•f- This word might here be very properly translated Magne- 

t See Van Helmont's Treatise, De InjeoHs MateriaHbus, 


It would be premature, perhaps, at present, to 
give any account of tbe observations and experi- 
ments of Van Helmont on the subject of the ecsta- 
tic, or magnetic, crisis. In the mean time, I may 
observe, that it appears quite evident from the 
virhole works of this author, that he was not only 
perfectly well acquainted with the magnetic influ- 
ence, but that he made use of it professionally, and 
placed great confidence in its effects. He himself, 
indeed, informs us, that when the plague was ra- 
ging in the town of Brussels, he thought it his 
duty to seize the opportunity of instructing him- 
self, and of being useful to others. He according- 
ly offered his services to attend the sick ; neither 
the fatigue, nor the fear of infection, could abate 
his zeal, or extinguish his charity. ^^ Perceiving," 
says he, ^^ that most of the physicians deserted the 
sick, I devoted myself to their service, and God 
preserved me from the contagion. All, when they 
saw me, seemed to be refreshed with hope and joy; 
whilst I, supported by faith and confidence, per- 
suaded myself that God would at length confer 
upon me the science of an adept."* 

These observations and opinions of Van Helmont, 
and other writers of his age, are exceedingly curi- 
ous, and certainly deserved a careful experimental 

* Promista Aucioru, coL ill. sect. 7* 
VOL. 1. O 


investigation. But the style in which most of these 
trieeitises were written, was so shroaded in mystical 
estpression ; the vague and unsatisfactory theories, 
in which their authors delighted to indulge, tend- 
ed so much to obscure the few facts which they 
really developed ; and the opinions they announced 
were so much at variance with the common philo- 
sophical systems, as well as with the ordinary ex- 
perience of life, that no attempts appear to have 
been subsequently made to ascertain the truth or 
falsehood of their principles by a fair appeal to the 
decisive test of scientific exp^ment* About that 
period, too, chemical science, and its application 
to medicine, began to be cultivated with great zeal, 
and prosecuted with eminent success ; and it was 
not to be expected that much attention should be 
devoted to a subject so remote from the fashionable 
scientific pursuits of the age. On the contrary, 
the magnetic authors gradually came to be gene- 
rally regarded as idle visionaries and contemptible 
empirics ; they were placed in the same class with 
the astrologers and alchemists; their works were 
consigned to neglect and oblivion, or, at most, were 
only occasionally consulted by the curious, and re- 
ferred to as striking instances of the hallucinations 
of the human intellect. Thus were the mystical 
volumes of these magnetic philosophers allowed to 
repo8e undisturbed, for a long period, amidst the 


learned dust of our libraries, until, in recent times, 
when the subjects of which they treated again be- 
gan to attract a considerable share of the attention 
of philosophers upon the C/ontinent, and many of 
the most extraordinary opinions they maintained 
were almost daily receiving fresh confirmation from 
experience, they were sought after with avidity, 
drawn forth from their obscurity, carefully studied, 
and appealed to by the professors of Animal Mag- 
netism in support of their principles and practice. 

I am quite aware that attempts may still be 
made, by the incredulous, to get rid of these autho- 
rities in a short and easy way, by representing 
them as quacks, mystics, and visionaries — a charge 
which is frequently brought against all those indi- 
viduals who maintain uncommon opinions, or who 
adopt a mode of practice different from that which 
is sanctioned by their professional brethren. But 
now we are enabled to subject the obnoxious tenets 
to the test of experiment ; and in all cases it is 
surely more rational and philosophical to investi- 
gate the trulli of certain opinions, and the reality 
or possibility of certain facts, than to evade all in- 
quiry, and endeavour to excite prejudice by the 
employment of silly and preposterous ridicule, or 
by using opprobrious, names. If Van Helmont 
merits the name of quack, what physician of su- 


perior attainments can hope to escape the imputa-^ 
tion of quackeiy ? Opinions supported by evidence, 
however, cannot be invalidated by any such irra- 
tional mode of opposition ; and many of the opi- 
nions I have noticed are not only corroborated by 
some striking natural analogies, but confirmed by 
unquestionable and unequivocal facts. Similar 
opinions, too, were embraced, at a later period, by 
authors of a much more popular character, who 
did not hesitate to maintain them openly, and to 
give good reasons for the faith that was in them. 
As an instance, I shall take the liberty of laying 
before the reader an exceedingly curious passage 
from the works of a ver}' ingenious old English 
writer, which, I think, will sufficiently prove that 
some, at least, of the facts which are said to have 
been elicited by the magnetic practice, are not 
quite such mere visionary chimeras of modern 
mystics, as many persons, not conversant with the 
subject, may have been induced to suppose. The 
author to whom I allude is Joseph Glanvill, with 
whose entertaining and instructive writings some 
of my readers may be acquainted ; and who relates, 
as will be perceived, with great confidence, the 
following remarkable and amusing story. 

^^ That one man should be able to bind the 
thoughts of another, and determine them to their 


particular objects, will be reckoned in the first 
rank of impossibilities :* Yet by the power of ad- 
vanced imagination, it may very probably be effect- 
ed : and storv abounds with instances. I'll trou- 
ble the reader but with one ; and the hands from 
which I had it, make me sure of the truth on't. 
There was very lately a lad in the University of 
Oxford, who being of very pregnant and ready 
parts, and yet wanting the encouragement of pre - 
ferment, was by his poverty forced to leave his 

* Dr Bertrand mentions two very curious fects, fiJling within 
his own experience, which seem to prove that somnambulitts 
are capable of penetrating the thoughts of others with whom 
they are placed en rapport In performing upon his first som- 
nambulist, the process by means of which he was accustomed to 
awaken her, with a firm determination, at the same time, that 
she should not awake, she was instantly seized with violent con- 
vulsions. On his enquiring what was the matter, she answered, 
*' How ! you bid me awake, and you dont wish me to awake.*' 

The other example is the following i— A poor woman, unedu- 
cated and unable to read, was said to be capable, in somnambulism 
of understanding the meaning of words, of the signification of 
which she was ignorant when awake ; and, in point of fact, she 
explained to Dr Bertrand, in the most exact and ingenious 
manner, what we ought to understand by the word encephahtif 
which he proposed to her; a phenomenon which, unless we 
assume the hypothesis of an accident as difficult to admit as the 
supposed &culty, can only be explained by acknowledging that 
this woman read, in the very thoughts of the doctor, the signi- 
fication of the word about which she was interrogated. 

This fact of the intimate rapport existing between the operator 
and the patient, may a£ford us a key to many of the mysteries 
of Animal Magnetism ; but it is not the less extraordinary in 
itself. — Bebtrand, p. 439. 


Studies there, and to cast himself upon the wide 
world for a livelihood. Now, his necessities grow- 
ing daily upon him, and wanting the help of friends 
to relieve, he was at last forced to join himself to 
a company of vagabond Gypsies^ whom occasional- 
ly he met with, and to follow their trade for a 
maintenance. Among these extravagant people, by 
the insinuating subtilty of his carriage, he quickly 
got so much of their love and esteem, as that they 
discovered to him their mystery; in the practice 
of which, by the pregnancy of his wit and parts, 
he soon grew so good a proficient, as to be able to 
4i«t'>do his instructors. After he bad been a pretty 
while well exercised in the trade, there chanced to 
ride by a couple of scholars, who had formerly been 
of his acqu^ntance. The scholars had quickly 
spied out their old friend among the Gypsies, and 
their amassement to see him among such society 
had well-nigh discovered him ; but by a sign he 
prevented their owning him before that crew ; and 
taking one of them aside privately, desired him 
with his friend to go to an inn, not far distant 
thence, promising there to come to them. They 
accordingly went thither, and he follows. After 
their first salutations, his friends inquired how he 
came to lead so odd a life as that was, and to join 
himself with such a cheating, beggarly company ? 
The scholar-Gypsy, having given them an account 


of the necessity which drove him to that kind of 
life, told them that the people he went with were 
not such imposters as they were taken for, but that 
they had a traditional kind of learning among them, 
and could do wonders by the power of Imagina- 
tion, and that himself had learnt mach of their art, 
and improved it further than themselves could. 
And to evince the truth of what he told them, he 
said he'd remove into another room, leaving them 
to discourse together; and upon his return tell 
them the sum of what they had talked of; which 
accordingly he performed, giving them a full ac- 
count of what had passed between them in his ab- 
sence. The scholars being amazed at so unexpect- 
ed a discovery, earnestly desired him to unriddle 
the mystery ; in which he gave them satisfaction, 
by telling them that what he did was by the power 
of Imagination, his Fancy binding theirs ; and that 
himself had dictated to them the discourse they 
held together while he was from them : That there 
were warrantable ways of heightening the Imagi- 
nation to that pitch as to bind another's ; and that 
when he had compassed the whole secret, some 
parts of which he said he was yet ignorant of, he 
intended to leave their company, and give the 
world an account of what he had learned.'"* 

* Lord Bacon (long before Glanvill), in his Splva Sylvarum 
(Century x. sect. 946), tells the following storj confirmative of 
the same principle. 


Such is the story told by Glanvill, an author 
perfectly worthy of all credit, who afterwards 
maintains that this strange power of the imagina- 

''I related one time to a man that was curious and vain 
enou^ in these things, that I saw a kind of juggler, that had a 
pair of cards, and would tell a man what card he thought. This 
pretended learned man told me, it was a mistaking in me ; * for,' 
said he, ' It was not the knowledge of the man's thought, fur 
that is proper to God, but it was the enfwumg of a thought upon 
him, and binding his imagination by a stronger, that he could think 
no other card.' And thereupon he asked me a question or two, 
which I thought he did but cunningly, knowing before what 
used to be the feats of the juggler. ' Sir,' said he, ' do you re- 
member whether he told the card the man thought, himself, or 
bade another to tell it ?* I answered, as was true, that he bade 
another tell it. Whereunto he said, < So I thought ; for,' said 
he, * himself could not have put<m so strong an imagination ; 
but by telling the other the card, who believed that the juggler 
was some strange man, and could do strange things, that other 
man caught a strong imagination.' I hearkened unto him, 
thinking for a vanity he spoke prettily. Then he asked me 
another question. Saith he, < Do you remember, whether he 
bade the man think the card first, and afterwards told the other 
man in his ear what he should think; or else that he did whisper 
first in the man*s ear that should tell the card, telling that such 
a man should think such a card, and after bade the man think a 
card ?* I told him, as was true, that he did first whisper the 
man in the ear, that such a man should think such a card : upon 
this the learned man did much exult and please himself saying, 
* Lo, you may see that my opinion is right ; for if the man had 
thought first, his thought had been fixed ; but the other ima- 
gining first, bound his thoughts.' Which, though it did some- 
what sink with me, yet I made it lighter than I thought, and 
said, I thought it was confederacy between the juggler and the 
two servants ; though, indeed, I had no reason so to think, for 
they were both my father*8 servants, and he had never played 
in the house before.*' 


tkm is no impossibility, and contends that this ex- 
traordinary influence seems no more unreasonable 
than that of " one string of a lute upon another, 
when a stroke on it causeth a proportionable mo- 
tion in the sympathizing consort, which is distant 
from it, and not sensibly touched."* 

In the sequel of this publication, I shall have 
occasion to bring forward many stories equally 
strange, marvellous, and incredible — stories grave- 

* A still more curious observation occurs in Gardiner's Mutie 
of Nature : — ^ It has been found that, in a watchmaker's sbop^ 
the timepieces or docks, connected with the same wall or dieU; 
have such a sympathetic effect in keeping time, that they stop 
those which beat in irr^^ular time ; and if any are at rest, set 
a^ing those which beat accurately." 

The sympathy between stringed musical instruments, al- 
luded to by Glanvill, although more &miliar to us, is perhaps 
as extraordinary as any of the phenomena of Animal Magnetism. 
This subject brings to my recollection the following affecting 
anecdote, related by Kotzebue in his Journey to Paris, A young 
lady used to play upon the harpnchord, while her lover accom- 
panied her on the harp. The young man died, and the harp 
had remained in her room. After the first excess of her despair, 
she sank into the deepest melancholy, and some time elapsed 
before she could again sit down to her instrument. At last she 
.did se — gave some touches, and, hark ! the harp, tuned alike, 
resounded in echo. The poor girl was at first seized with a se- 
cret shuddering; but soon felt a kind of soothing melancholy. 
She became firmly persuaded that the spirit of her lover was 
softly sweeping the strings of the instrument The harpsichord, 
from this moment, constituted her only pleasure, as it afforded 
to her mind the certainty that her lover was still hovering about 
her. One of those unfeeling men, who want to know and clear 

VOL. I. P 


ly told by learned, iutelligept, $iid sober men, phy- 
sicians, professors in umversities, and others, all 
of them persons of unimpeachable veraeity, having 
no coAceiyable motive for falsehood,' honestly re- 
lating what fell under their own dbservation, or 
that of other persons equally crediUe, boldly pub- 
lishing the results to the world at large, anxiously 
chiedlenging criticism, and loudly calling upon |Ay- 
siciaos and philosojdiera to invesitigsate the alleged 
facts. Let my readers, however, remember, that I 
do not insist upon their conceding a blind and imr 
pliq^b belief to any one of these stories : I only re^ 
quest them to pause and inquire before they deter- 
mine to reject them ; and to exercise; a litUe of that 
academical scepiieism, which teaches us to suspend 
our judgment until we have obtained rational con- 

up everj thiQg^ once entered her apartment ; the girl inatantiy 
begged him to be qjuiet, for at that very moment the dear barp 
spoke most distinctly. Being informed of the amiable illusMm- 
which overcame her i^ason, heUugbQd,,and, witbi a great display 
of learning proved to her by e^erimental physics,, that all tbiss 
was very natural. From, that instant* thQ young lady grew, 
melancholy, drooped, and soon.aft^ died.! 

( in ) 


Th£R£ are some persiius whose miinlB are so 
sceptically constituted^ a& to find great difficulty in 
bringing themselves to believe any uncomnMm.fact» 
or series of facts, however incontrovertiUy esta* 
blished by evidence^ unless they are placed in a sir 
tuatidU) ait the same time, to give a lational and 
apparently satisfactory explfumtion of theprincipiM 
upon which they depend. Such peFsoosgienandiy 
continue scq[^cs both in regard to rdigioor and to 
philosophy. But the explanation- re<|uired by these 
individuals is by no meana essential to our convict 
tion of the reality of any phoAmienony nor, inmany 
cases, can it be easily afforded. Facta are every 
day believed upon observation^ or upon testimony, 
which we should be exceedingly pnzzled, if called 
upon to account for. In the Introduction to this 
work, I have shewn that tiierC' are fusts which bad 
been observed during thousands of years^ befove 
even their existence waa generally admittedii A 
common proverb tells us that *^ there is netiiing 
new but what has been feifjdtton.'' ^ 

The phenomena of Animal Magneliiftm mm^f^ 


nature so very extraordinary, that it is exceedingly 
difficult to account for them upon any rational and 
satisfactory hjrpothesis. The difficulty, too, has been 
greatly increased by the very irrational manner in 
which the subject has been hitherto treated by many 
learned men, and especially by professional physi- 
cians. With such, for a long period, the great and 
sole object appears to have been to get rid of thefacts 
altogether, by argument, by ridicule, by contempt, 
or by any means by which they might be brought 
into general discredit. They determined not even 
to investigate, far less to admit the reality of that 
which, had they taken the trouble to make the 
slightest inquiry, they would have fpund completely 
demonstrated. The advocates of the doctrine, on 
the other hand, were compelled, by this obstinate 
hostility and incredulity of the learned, to multiply 
their experiments and observations, until they had 
obtained such a body of evidence as should consti- 
tute an insubvertible basis for their system. This, 
at least, they must be admitted to have accom- 
plished in the most satisfactory manner ; for it is 
quite impossible for any candid inquirer to study 
even one half of what has been written upon this 
subject, without having complete conviction forced 
upon his mind. Indeed, scepticism, in this matter^ 
is now confined entirely to those persons who ob- 
stinately refuse to inquire. 


These circumstances, however, have not been 
very favourable for the philosophical investigation 
of the subject. The individuals who, at first, ad- 
dicted themselves to Magnetism, were better quali- 
fied for the accurate observation of facts, than for 
the construction of satisfactory theories. The op- 
ponents, too, certainly demanded too much, when 
they insisted upon such explanations. Mathemati- 
cal reasoning is wholly inapplicable to the pheno- 
mena in question, nor could they be explained upon 
the ordinary principles of Physics or Physiology. 
There were serious difficulties in the way of the 
investigation of these facts, the nature of which I 
cannot better express than in the language of Dr 

^' In the investigation of the powers which are 
concerned in the phenomena of living beings,^' 
says that distinguished philosopher, *^ we meet with 
difficulties incomparably greater than those that at- 
tend the discovery of the physical forces by which 
the parts of inanimate nature are actuated. The 
elements of the inorganic world are few and simple ; 
the combinations they present are, in most cases, 
easily unravelled; and the powers which actuate 
their motions, or effect their union and their 
changes, are reducible to a small number of general 
laws, of which the results may, for the most part, 
be anticipated and exactly determined by caleula- 


tiaii« What law, for tnstaoeey can be more simple 
than iiiat of graTitaiioa, to which all material bo- 
diee, wiiBtever ihe their isize, figure, or other pro- 
perties, and whatever be Hieir relatiye pofiitions, 
are aqoalljr subjected; and of which the observa- 
tions of modem astponemers have rendered it pro- 
bable that the influence extends to the remotest 
regions of space ? The most undeviating regularity 
is exhibited in the motions of those stupendous 
piatketary masses, which continually roll onwards 
in the orbits prescribed by this all-pervading force. 
Even the slighter perturbations occasioned by their 
mutual influence, are but direct results of the same 
general law, and are necessarily restrained within 
certain limits, which they never can exceed, and 
by vMeh the permanence of the system is efi*ec- 
tually secured. All the terrestrial changes de- 
pendent on these motions partake of the same con- 
stancy. The same periodic order governs the suc- 
oession of day and night, the rise and fall of the 
tides, and the return of the seasons ; which order, 
as far as we can perceive, is incapable of being dis- 
turbed by any existing cause. Equally definite are 
the operations of the forces of cohesion, of elastic 
city, or of whatever other mechanical powers of 
attraction or repulsion there may be, which actuate, 
at insensible distances, the particles of matter." 
After observing that all these phenomena, to- 


gether with those of Chemistry, of Light, of Heat, 
of Electricity, wai. of Magnetism, ** have been, in 
like mavitter, reduced to laws of sufficient simpli- 
city to admit of the application of mathematical 
reasoning;" and that, ^^ to whatever department 
of physical science our researches have extended, 
we ey«ry where meet with the same regularity in 
the phenomena, the same simplicity in the laws, 
and the same uniformity in the results ;" the author 

^* Far different is the aspect of living Nature. 
The spectacle here ofiered to our view is every 
where characterised by boundless variety, by in- 
scrutable complexity, by perpetual mutatidn. Our 
attention is solicited to a vast multiplicity of objects, 
carious and intricate in their mechanism, exhibit- 
ing peculiar movem^its, actuated by new and un- 
known powers, and gifted with high and refined 
endowments. In place of the simple combinations 
of elements, and the simple properties of mineral 
bodies, all organic structures, even the most mi- 
nute, present exceedingly complicated arrange- 
ments, and a prolonged succession of phenomena, 
so varied and so anomalous, as to be utterly irre- 
ducible to the known laws which govern inanimate 
matter.^ — ^Dr Rogers BridgeuHiier Treatise^ vol. i. 
pp. 7, &c. 

*^ If we are to reason at all, we can reason only 


upon the principle, that for every effect there must 
exist a corresponding cause ; or, in other words, 
that there is an established and invariable order of 
sequence among the changes which take place in 
the universe. But though it be granted that all 
the phenomena we behold are the effects of certain 
causes, it miglit still be alleged, as a bar to all fur- 
ther reasoning, that these causes arc not only utter- 
ly unknown to us, but that their discovery is wholly 
beyond the reach of our faculties. The argument 
is specious only because it is true in one particular 
sense, and that a very limited one. Those who 
urge it do not seem to be aware that its general 
application, in that very same sense, would shake 
the foundation of every kind of knowledge, even 
that which we regard as built upon the most solid 
basis. Of causation, it is agreed that we know 
nothing; all that we do know is, that one event 
succeeds another with undeviating constancy,^' &c. 
This is sound philosophy, and the most zealous 
Animal Magnetist could not object to its applica- 
tion to his doctrine. The phenomena of the living 
organism are unquestionably much more difficult 
of explanation than those of inorganic matter ; but 
this difficulty ought not to deter us from collecting 
and endeavouring to classify the facts. And, after 
all, what do we know of the common Ma^etism, 
of Electricity, of Galvanism, &c. but the facts 


which have been elicited by the labours of experi- 
mental inquirers, and the laws which have been 
deduced from their generalization ? And would it 
be considered a sufficient reason for the absolute 
rejection of any of these facts, or of a whole class 
of facts, that we are still ignorant of the principle 
upon which they depend, and perhaps may never 
become acquainted with it ? If we carry the un- 
disputable phenomena of Animal Magnetism along 
with us, and regard them as calculated to open up 
many new and interesting views in the physiology 
of man, it is quite possible that, in proportion as 
we advance in our knowledge of the subject — in 
proportion as we succeed in ascertaining the con* 
ditions of their reality — we may ultimately become 
enabled to give as satisfactory an explanation of 
the principles upon which these phenomena depend, 
as in the case of any other science, or as is compa* 
tible with the limited stretch of our faculties. But 
to discourage all investigation is not the best way 
to extend our knowledge of Nature. 

In order, in some measure, however, to gratify 
those who require som« theoretical explanation of 
all natural phenomena, and to shew to all that the 
professors of Animal Magnetism are not entirely 
destitute of rational principles and scientific analo- 
gies in confirmation of the doctrines they maintain, 
I shall briefly direct the attention of the reader to 


43m foUowiBg pfaikMopUcal view itf the Bufoject. 
.Whether it tfadl be thoiigfat eatisfiftotory or not, I 
heg, leave to reound hii% that the reality of the 
faieta doesy hi no degree, depend upon the accuracy 
of Ihe iezpianatioB. 

. I form^ly obsenml^ tlieit it is through the tne- 
Mtaxk of: the neryes that the vital princi^ple appears 
^ he acted upon — that liiey arfe the aource of the 
anaiml afieetalNlity-^tfae oonneeting link between 
vmlter and mind ; and that many eminent physi- 
ejasifi sad physiologists Imd found themsdves com- 
peUsd to assume the fact of the permeability of the 
nerves, and also the existence of a nervous fluid, 
without any actual demonstration of their reality. 
Indifed, this supposition of a nervous secretion and 
oir^ilatioiiy with its utmost difficulties, seems much 
more rational and satisfactory than any other hy- 
pothesis with regard to their nature and action. 
It has been maintained, upon speculative grounds, 
by the ablest physiologists, and enables us to ac- 
count for many phenomena which app^tr to be 
0therwise inexplicable. But this hypothesis has 
beeti almost reduced to a certainty, in recent times, 
by the interesting researches of Rliil, Autenrieth, 
Humboldt, Bdrdach, Bichat, Beclard, and others, 
who have gone far towards the actual demonstra- 
tion of the fact of the secretion and circulation of 
a nervous fluid, and even rendered it extremely 


probabk that thu carculating fluid is capable of an 
external expansion, which takes place with such 
energy as to form an atmosphere, or sphere of ac- 
tivity, similar to that of electrical bodies. If it be 
said that this is a mere hypothesis, yet it must be 
admitted that it is an hypodiesis, not only very 
probable in itself, but calculated to enable us to give 
a scientific explanation of many facts which cannot 
be accounted for upon any other principle.* More- 
over, this hypothesis may now be considered as 
having been almost completely demonstrated by 
the researches of the celebrated French Mialonust 
and physiologist, B^lard. This skilful experi- 
mentalist having cut a nerve of considerable sise^ 
adjoining a muscle, which indnced paralysis in this 
part, perceived the contractile action reappear, 
when he approached the two ends of the nerve at 
the distance of three lines. It is quite evident 

* I haire somewhere read of late, although I caniiol» at this 
moment, refer to my authoritj, that a recent experunentaiist 
had succeeded in injecting the nerves with •ome:fliiid. I believe 
there are other physiologists who Biaintaiui that the nerves are 
merely the conductors of some fluid from the Inrain and spinal 
chord to the different parts of Uie body. This hypothesis 
would equally suffice fbr our explanation. 

Dr Roget{Bri^fewHer TrtaiiM, vol. iL p. 307), observes that 
*< the velocity with which the nerves subservient to sensalion 
transmit the impressions they receive at one extremity, akag 
their whole course, exceeds ail measurement, and can be com- 
pared only to that of electricity passing along a conducting 

• it 


here, that an imponderable substance, that is to say, 
a fluid of some kind, traversed the interval of se- 
paration, in order to restore the muscular action. 
Another experiment of the same philosopher not 
only proves the existence of this fluid, but seems 
also to demonstrate its striking analogy to electri- 
city. Having frequently placed a magnetic needle 
in connexion with the extremity of a divided nerve, 
he ^sonstantly perceived the deviation of the pole of 
the tieedle, caused by the reciprocal attraction of 
the two opposite fluids,* To all this may be added 
the experiments which have been made with re- 
gard to the action of Gkilvanism upon dead men 
and other animals ; as also the galvanic pheno- 
mena exhibited by a pile composed of alternate 
layers of brain and muscle. 

Farther : It appears, says Dr Ure, that the gal- 

* I do not know in what work of Beclard's these experiments 
are detailed, but I find them alluded to in a memoir transmitted 
to the Royal Academy of Berlin, by Br Leonard, entitled : — 
MagneHsme, son hisknre^ sa iheoriey &c. published at Paris in 1834. 
Some experiments are also said to have been made, with a view 
to demonstrate, more conclusively, the intimate analogy that 
exists between the nervous fluid and electricity ; but it is suffi- 
cient for me to have drawn attention to the subject, and I shall, 
therefore, leave the fitrther prosecution of it to more competent 
inquirers. I may, however, refer the reader to Haller*s Ele- 
nietUs qf Phytkiogy^ to Mr Abemethy's Phya%ohg%cal Lectures, 
and to Br W. Philip's work on The Vital FunoHons. The expe- 
riments of the last mentioned author are particularly curious 
and interesting. 


vaiiic eoergy is capable of supplying the place of 
the nervous influence, so that, while under it, the 
stomach, otherwise inactive, digests food as usual. 
Certain experiments clearly shew a remarkable 
analogy between galvanic electricity and nervous 
influence, as the one may serve as a substitute for 
the other. When the lungs are deprived of ner- 
vous influence, by which their function is impeded, 
and even destroyed, when digestion is interrupted, 
by withdrawing this influence from the stomach, 
these two vital functions are renewed by exposing 
them to the influence of the galvanic trough.* 

If we are justified, then, in assuming the exist* 
ence of this nervous fluid — whether secreted or 
merely conducted by the nerves — of its analogy to 

* I understand that Professor Keil of Jena, has recently .made 
some very interesting experiments tending to demonstrate the 
susceptibility of the nervous system for the magnetic influence, 
and the efficacy of the magnet in the cure of certain diseases. 
The result of these experiments, I believe, was communicated 
by the Professor to a meeting of the Royal Society of London, 
about the beginning of the year 1833. 

Some of the late German Journals give an account of a singu- 
lar machine, recently invented by a person of the name of Por- 
tins, at Leipsic, called the Psychometer. The object of this ma- 
chine is to indicate the temperament and character of each in- 
dividuaL At first, we should be apt to look upon such a ma- 
chine as a mere toy, but it is seriously spoken of, and described 
as exhibiting great accuracy. It is constructed upon the prin- 
ciple of a supposed affinity existing between the nervous fluid of 
the animal body, and the electric and magnetic fluids. 


the other known^ active, andi Imponclerable fluids, 
and q£ its eapalnlity of external expansioii, as in the 
caaa of eleotvicity ; it does not appear to be a very 
^ioleiKb or unwarrantable prooeedii^ to extend the 
hjrpoihesis a little fieurther, a»d to' presume that it is 
also «apaUs> of being transmitted or direeted out- 
wmtdSf. eiAeoR iiiivoluntarilr|r, or hy the voliticHi of 
one indi?ridualy with, sueh energy as to prodnee cer- 
tain realrand perceptiblie effects upon the organism of 
another, in. a. manner analo^us to what is known 
to oeamr in the ease of the T&rpedo, the Gymno^i^ 
ekdricuif &c. Indeed, the faet.of tW aetufd trims- 
ferenee of nervous or viAal power, in certain cir- 
cttmstancee, frean one individual to another, is now 
adnattedi by some of ouc own most eminent medi- 
cal writers, amongst others by the learned Dr Cop- 
landi In his Dictkmary^of Praeticai Medicine^ this 
experienced physician observes, that " this fact*' — 
thatof the transference of vital power — ^^ however 
explained, has been long remarked, and is well- 
known to every unprejudiced observer ; but," be 
adds, ^ it has been most unaccountably overlooked 
in medicine.'* The learned Doctor gives several 
instances which, along with others recorded in 
history, leave no doubt of tbe fact. Now, adtorl^ 
ting that such a transference takes place — where, 
I wonld^ a^, does this vital power rende^. and how 
is the transference in question effected? fi^ it not 


pretty evident that this power resides in the nerres, 
and that it i& transmitted from- one indifTidual fo 
another, in certun cireumstanecs,^ in oonseq^ienee 
of some connexion between their m^n^sMw* systems, 
and in a manner analogous to heat or eieetricity? 
And do not these cireamstaBces giro a powerfnl 
confirmation to the views of the Animal Magne- 

Physical science presents us with many£»et8 
analogous to the transference in question. Tlih^ 
for example, the ease of the transmission o# heat; 
*^ If two solid bocUes" — I quote from Br Lardtaer 
— *^ if two solid bodies, having different tempieta-^ 
tures, be plaeed in close contact, it will be obseryed 
that the hotter body will gradually fall in tampe*- 
rature, and the colder gradually rise, until the- 
temperatures becooie equal. This process is not, 
like radiation, sudden, but very graduid ; die colder 
body receives increased temperature slowly, and* 
the batter losea it at the same rate. IHtforent bo- 
dies, however, e3di9t>it a cBfierent facility in this 
gradual truismission of heat by contact. In sompe 
it passes more rapidly from the hotter to the colder ; 
and in others, the equalization of temperalure ia 
not ppodueed until after the lapseef aconmderablia 
time." Similar phenmnena lure ^ihibited in Meig" 
netism, Electricity, Galvanism, &c. ; and there ap- 
pear no good grounds for holding it to be impose 


sible, or improbable, that nervous energy may, in 
certain circumstances capable of being ascertained, 
be transmitted from one animal body to another, 
in some analogous manner; on the contrary, ex- 
perience, without the aid of theory, seems to afford 
us abundant proofs that such a transmission does 
occasionally take place. 

The foregoing theory, if acknowledged to be 
founded upon just data^ might enable us to account 
for many of the more ordinary phenomena of Ani- 
mal Magnetism, and particularly for the sanative 
efficacy of the processes ; considering this efficacy 
to depend upon a transference of vital energy, and 
a consequent restoration of the vital functions, 
through the medium of the nervous system, to a 
more healthy state of action. There appears to be 
nothing unreasonable in supposing that health may 
be communicated in the same manner as disease ; 
and, as in all morbid states of the system, the 
nerves are always more or less affected, if not the 
actual seat of the malady, it does not seem irra- 
tional to conclude, that their tone may be restored 
by the action of a healthy organism, and fresh vi- 
gour thus diffused throughout the whole frame. 
Some medical writers, I believe, have spoken of a 
contagion of health, as well as of disease. * 

* It is inconceivable that any persons acquainted with the 
most ordinary phenomena of physical science, and especially 


It is but fair to observe, however, that there is 
a variety of other magnetic pheDomena — and these 

with the changes produced upon inanimate bodies by apparent- 
ly trivial and inadequate causes, should obstinately deny the 
possibility of the facts of Animal Magnetism — the effects, per- 
haps, of analogous causes upon the living organism —without 
condescending to make any inquiry into their reality. To all 
such I would beg leave to submit the following observations. 

The superposition of two different metals produces Galvanism. 
The friction of a plate of glass generates Electricity. M. Hauy 
discovered that the simple pres9ure of the hand upon a tourma- 
line rendered it electrical. The point of contact confers all its 
force upon attraction. Iron attaches itself to the magnet by 
the point of contact, and becomes magnetic itself by friction : 
it follows the direction of the magnet at a distance, even acroAt 
intermediate solid bodies. The touch developes caloric. Fric- 
tion causes the wheels of a carriage to take fire. Phosphorus 
emits li^t in consequence of friction. Chemistry teaches us 
that friction causes surprising detonations. The union of hy- 
drogen with an elementary substance which has been called 
cyanogen^ produces the ftpdroeyanie acid. This acid, more com. 
monly called the Prussioy possesses the most singular physical 
properties. It freezes at 15% and begins to boil at 26° — an in- 
terval so short, that, if a single drop be exposed to the air, the 
evaporation of a part produces a sufficient degree of cold to 
freeze the rest. In its pure state, this add is the most deadly 
poison. The smallest drop, placed on the tongue of an animal, 
kills it like a bullet or a thunderbolt. The same substance 
which, when combined with hydrogen, produces this frightful 
poison, when united with oxygen produces fulminating pow- 

Iron filings, immersed in a liquid as cold as itself, instantly 
produce a violent ebullition, and vapours susceptible of inflam- 
mation. Nay, this metal, solid as it is, is afterwards destroyed, 
in some measure, by the above fiuid, and unites with it in such 
a manner, as to pass with it through the closest filter. Another 

VOL. I. O 

186 AHlMi^L MAG^f^Tim* 

by much the mQ^t extraordinary — a9 will be seen 
in tbQ ^equel^ of which this theory does not imme- 

Um^d liquor suddenly dissolves this uqI^D) and causes the iron 
to fall to tl^ lH>ttoiQ of the vessel in the fofm of an impalpable 

M' P<ibere|nery \>y projecting a mixture of oxygen and hy. 
drogen on a small mass of spon^ty platinum» observed that this 
simple oqotaet combm^ th? two gases, and produces such a de- 
gree of l^eat as to redden the metal^^thus producing a red heat 
hy means of a blast of cold air. Oxygenated water, when thrown 
upv9 very oxidable metals (such as arsenic), causes them to 
bum and emit light-^thus presenting the curious spectacle of 
cpmbustion pirodueed by water: a single drop is sufficient to 
produce the effect. On the contrary, when thrown upon gold, 
silver, or platinum, the oxygen suddenly becomes fr^ with an 
explosion, and restores the water to its ionner state, without 
producing any alteration on the metaL The oxides of the same 
metaU produce this eifect with stUl greater force. 

Baron Cuvier observes, that *' all those innumerable substan* 
ces whose action maintains the admirable and complicated spec- 
tacle of animated nature, those substances which, independent, 
ly of the body which has produced them, are still so astonishing 
in the variety of their effects, wheth^ as delicious aUments or 
fonnidable poisons -r^ whether as objects or instruments of such 
num^PUS and sucli various arts,.^ouly differ from each other, 
at least iu the eye of chemistry, in the proportion of three or four 
elements, A little more or a little less of hydrogen or of car- 
boUgiii^ all the distipction we at present see between that strych- 
nia which kills like thunder, and those savoury and wholesome 
fruits which constitute the delicacies of our tables ; and, what 
is still more astonishing, it is all that distinguishes that blood 
which conveys nutrition and lite to all parts, those nerves which 
connect us with external nature, those muscles which give us 
dominion over her. These are effects greater than their appa- 
rent causes ; which gives us sufficient reason for believing that 
they have causes which are still concealed from qur view.'* 


diately appear calculated to afford any satisfactory 
or complete explanation. With regard to these, 
therefore, it will be best, perhaps, for us, in the 
mean time, to avoid all premature theory, and to 
content ourselves with collecting, arranging, and 
classifying the facts, until we shall, at length, be- 
come enabled to obtain some insight into the prin- 
ciple upon which they depend. For this reason, I 
shall proceed, in the next^ and some of the sub^- 
quent chapters, to present the reader with an his- 
torical deduction of the magnetic doctrines and 
practice, and shall afterwards endeavom to make 
him acquainted with all the more remarkable phe- 
nomena which have been elicited by experiment. 

By simple contact, cotton and woollen articles are infected, 
and carry contagion firom one hemisphere to another, &c. 

Now, with what efficacy may not the same, or, at least, ana- 
logous causes, act upon living bodies, on irritable and sensible 
parts, on the nerves, the brain, the phrenic plexus, &c. ? At 
all events, why so readily admit the reality of the phenomena 
in the one class of cases, and so obstinately deny it in the other ? 
Are not both equally susceptible of proof? Do they not equally 
depend upon evidence ? Are not their causes equally obscure ? 

( 188 ) 


In all ages, and aipoDgst all nations, phenomena 
similar to those which are now known to be pro- 
duced by Animal Magnetism have been occasion- 
ally observed. The ancient writers, indeed, are 
full of allusions which, when carefully examined, 
leave no room to doubt, that some knowledge of 
these processes, probably, and certainly of these 
susceptibilities, obtained in early times. Amongst 
other inexplicable phenomena, how are we other- 
wise to explain^ in any thing like a satisfactory man- 
ner, the ancient oracles, the prophetic dreams, and 
the cures produced by the touch of the priests in 
the Temples of Health, which popular belief im- 
mediately ascribed to the miraculous influence of 
some beneficent presiding deity ? At a subsequent 
period, indeed, the reality of these facts was either 
entirely denied, or the singular effects in question 
were attributed to imagination and delusion, or to 
the impositions of the priesthood, aided by the ig- 
norance and credulity of the people. Other causes, 
into which I am unwilling to enter at present. 


tended to strengthen and perpetuate the scepticism 
entertained upon this subject. I may observe, how- 
ever, that to deny a* fact is not to refute it, nor can 
it be invalidated by ascribing it to an erroneous or 
inadequate cause. Many of those miracles, as they 
were called, were probably just as real as those 
said to have been performed at the tomb of the 
Abb^ Paris, and in other instances, and may 
be considered as depending upon the principles 
I formerly explained. And since the discove- 
ries which have been made during the practice 
of Animal Magnetism, it has appeared exceed- 
ingly probable to many learned inquirers, that 
these phenomena were not the offspring of fraud 
and deception, but that they depended upon a 
knowledge of certain principles, which was after- 
wards obscured or lost amidst the decline of those 
institutions by which it had been cherished. 

Yet this knowledge does not appear to have been 
totally lost. There occur, in the works of Greek 
and Roman authors, occasional expressions, which 
cannot well be explained, unless upon the sup- 
position, that some memory, at least, of these very 
ancient practices had been preserved by tradition. 

In the following verses of Solon, we have, so 
far as I have been able to discover, the earliest 
and most direct testimony to the practice of mani« 
pulation, as a sanative process, to be found in an- 


tiquity. It seems surprising that they should have 
hitherto escaped the notice of all the writers upon 
Animal Magnetism, many of whom have exercised 
great diligence in collecting the various allusions 
to this process which occur among the ancients. 

TloXXtcxt o fi| cXtyn^ o3vw}$ f^et yiyifwou eiXycf 
'A'^eifMfcq X^^^^h ew^^ riSna-* vytn* 

Solon, apud Stobaeum, * 

The following remarkable expressions occur in 
the Amphitryo of Plautus : Gtuidy si ego ilium trac- 
tim tangam, ui dormiat. These expressions are 
evidently used euphemistically or ironically, for 
" What if I should knock him down ;" but we can 
hardly fail to perceive that there is here an obvious 
allusion to some method of setting pers6ns asleep 
by a particular process of manipulation ; and, ac- 
cordingly they aref so explained, in a note upon this 
passage, in Taubmann^s edition of Plautus.f 

* Stanley, in his History of Philosophy (1C66), has given 
us a very competent translation of these verses: 

'* The smallest hurts sometimes increase and rage 
More than all art of physic can assuage ; 
Sometimes the fiiry of the worst disease 
The hand, by gentle stroking, will appease." 

t The words of Taubmann are these : — ^Tractim tangam, ut 
dormiat Perbelle videtur ludere, tralatioiie a nuMcuKs duota, 


In the following verses of Martial, the procesB 
in question is not merely alluded to, but pretty 
fully described. They occur in B. iii. Ep. 82, and 
appear to refer to some refinement of luxury. 

Percunit agili corpus arte tractatrix, 
Manumque doctam spar^t omnibus membris.* 

Sprengel, in his learned History of Medicine^ in- 
forms us that, in chronic affections, Asclepiades of 
Bithynia, who acquired so much reputation, as a 
physician, at Rome, recommended frictions, to be 
continued until the patient fell asleep, which sleep 
he considered as very salutary. Tacitus and Sue* 
tonius have preserved an account of two remarkable 
magnetic cures, which were performed by the Em- 
peror Vespasian, at Alexandria, f 

Among the ancient Oriental nations, the cure of 
diseases by the application of the hands appears to 
have been well known. The Chaldean priests are 
said to have practised this mode of treatment ; as 

quee pusiones palma leniuscule demulcent ut dormiant. Taub- 
mann's Commentarj on Plautua was published in 1612. 

* There is also a passage in Seneca's Epistles, in which this 
process seems to be alluded to, although the meaning, perhaps, 
maj be considered ambiguous. Quidni ego feliciorem putem 
Mucium, quisle tractavit ignem, quasi ilium manum tractatori 
prsestitisset — £p. 66. The Latin words Traokttor and Traotairix 
seem to imply the knowledge and practice of some art of this 
kind among the JEtomans. 

t Tacit. Hiti, iv. 81 Suet, ta Vetpat. vii Sects. 5, 6. 



also the Indian Bramins, and the Parsi. Accord- 
ing to the accourits of the Jesuit Missionaries for 
the year 17639 the practice of curing diseases hy 
the imposition of the hands, has prevailed in China 
for many ages. The theory of Animal Magnetism, 
indeed, appears to have been known in the East 
long before it was ever thought of in Europe. It 
is said that there are individuals in Asia who make 
the practice of that theory their profession, and 
that these persons are persecuted by the MoIIahs. 

When we reflect that, after the fall of the Ro- 
man Empire, literature, science, the arts, medicine, 
&c. took refuge in the monasteries, might we not 
.be led to suspect that many of the secrets and prac- 
tices of the ancient Egyptians, the Greeks, and the 
Romans, which had always been confined to the 
temples, may have passed into the monasteries 
which succeeded them, and that in them the mag- 
netic medicine had been mysteriously preserved ? 
Indeed, we have pretty good evidence that this was 
actually the case. Thiers tells us that Protogenes, 
priest of Edessa, cured the children, his pupils, by 
prayer and the touch of his hand; and that the monk, 
John, had received from God the gift of curing the 
gout, and of replacing dislocated limbs. The 
monk, Benjamin, cured all kinds of diseases by the 
touch of his handf and anointing with holy oil, &c.* 

* Thiers ; TraU^ de Superst. 1. vi. ch. 4. 



Petrus Tbyraeufi, the Jesuit, in his work entitled 
ZkBmoniad, hoc est de ObsessiSy &e. refers to a num- 
ber of cures performed by ecclesiastics, by the im- 
position of the hands, and by other means analogous 
to the magnetic. 

If we admit, to any extent, the efficacy of these 
manipulations, and give any degree of credit to 
what has been alleged in regard to the efficacy of 
human volition, we shall have the ready means at 
hand of explaining, in a pretty satisfactory man- 
ner, many of those extraordinary cases which have 
served as a foundation for the popular bdief in 
witchcraft, sorcery, possession, &c. — a belief which 
has led to many absurdities in speculation, and oc- 
casioned many enormities in practice. Some learn- 
ed persons, indeed, have expressed an utter scepti- 
cism with respect to the foundation of the belief in 
question, considering it as entirely delusive ; some 
have treated the whole subject as a matter for ri- 
dicule ; while others have attempted to account for 
such of the phenomena as they conceived to be un- 
deniable, upon principles which are altogether in- 
adequate and unsatisfactory. If, however, upon a 
more minute and unprejudiced investigation of 
the powers and processes of Nature, and a more 
thorough examination of the physiological and psy- 
chological principles upon which they depend, it 

VOL. I. R 


9h<mld appear that the pfaenottena, which have oc- 
casioned so much riiUeule, doubt, aud discosrion, 
may be justly ascribed, partly to sympathetic sos- 
ceptibility, to certain reciprocal influences of orga* 
nic and inorganic bodies upon each other ; partly 
to a certain disposition, or idiosyncrasy, of the ner- 
vous system, and probably, in some instances, to a 
diseased state of the animal onanism ; — would not 
this tend to dissipate, in a great measure, the clouds 
which have hitherto enveloped this mysterious sub- 
ject, and assist us in evolving principles,- which, by 
contrdiling alike the rash incredulity «f scepticism 
and the irrational errors -of superstition^ €ould not 
fail to ocmduct u» to a more profound knowle^^, 
and more accurate appreciation of these apparent- 
ly anomalous ocoarrenoes, and thus prove highly 
interesting and advantageous to thC' study of the 
philosophy of man ? 

Some curious- facts respecting the great confi- 
dence which the North American* Indians j^bce in 
the 'professors of the magical lurt, will be found in 
Heame's Journey. Such is^said to be the influence 
of these professors, that they 'appear^ 4a be capable 
of curing the most serious complaints' wilhoutr re- 
sorting to any physical means, and thatthe^feav of 
incurring their malignity plunges individual»into 
diseases which often terminate iatally. One of 
these Indians, Matonabbi by name, conceiving that 


Uearne was in possession of supernatural powers, 
requpsted hini to kill, by magic, a man against 
whom lie entertained a deadly hatred. To oblige 
him, Hearne, without dreading any bad conse- 
quences, drew some figures upon a piece of paper, 
and gave it to Matonahbi, advising him to make it 
HH public as possible. Matonabbi'e enemy, who 
enjoyed perfectly good health, scarcely heard of 
the paper, when he became melancholy, refused 
food, drooped, and died in the course of a few days ! 

Hore we have a very simple case, in which we 
can have little difficulty in ascribing the whole ef- 
fect produced, primarily, if not solely, to the influ- 
ence of the imagination. But even here, it is con- 
ceived, we must presume that the imagination ex- 
erted a real and most remarkable action upon the 
nervous system of the individual. To this power, 
indeed — the imagiaation — as we shall see in the 
sequel, many learned persons were, at one time, 
disposed to attribute all the phenomena of Animal 
Magnetism. But there is a vast number of cases, 
as will appear hereafter, which do not adroit of be- 
ing explained upon tliis hypothesis. 

The following case, in some of its features, bears 
a striking resemblance to the effects of Magnetism. 
it is quoted from the newspaper report of a trial 
which took place at the Taunton Assizes, on the 
Ith of April 1823, before Mr Justice Burrough. 





I I 


Elizabeth Bryant, aged 50, with her two daugh- 
ters, Elizabeth, aged'22, and Jane, aged 15, were 
charged with maliciously assaulting an old woman, 
Ann Burgess, a reputed witch, under the following 
circumstances : — It appears that Elizabeth Bryant, 
the younger, had been afflicted with fits, which 
were supposed to hare been occasioned by the in* 
fluence of some malignant spirit ; and a noted sor-- 
cerer in the neighbourhood was resorted to by the 
mother for advice. The conjuror, in order to break 
the charm, gave an amulet to secure the wearer 
against witchcraft, and prescribed some medicines 
to be taken internally, and also a paper of herbs to 
be burned with certain ceremonies and incantations. 
But this was not all ; for the prisoners were ac- 
tually possessed with the horrible notion, that, in 
order to dissipate the charm effectually, it was ne- 
cessary to draw blood from the witch. Accord- 
ingly, having fixed upon the prosecutrix as the in- 
dividual by whom the young woman was bewitched, 
they took an opportunity of making an assault up- 
on her, and of drawing blood from her arm by la- 
cerating it dreadfully with a large nail. The pri- 
soners were convicted, and had sentence of im- 

This trial is curious, as aflbrding an instance of 
the rude belief in witchcraft, still prevalent, it 
would appear, in some remote parts of the country. 


But there are some farther circumstances men- 
tioned in the newspaper report of the case, which 
are more to our purpose. 

The fits with which the young woman was af- 
flicted are not very circumstantially or technically 
described. It is said that, ^' when worked upon, 
she would dance and sing, just as if sh6 was dancing 
and singing to a fiddle, in a way that there was no 
stopping her before she dropped down, when the 
fiend left her. Whilst the fit was upon her, she 
would look tuished (wild or frightened), and point 
at something, crying, ^ There she stands ! there she 
stands /' One of the witnesses said that she felt for 
the girl very much, and that her state was ^ very 
pitiable.' '^ It likewise appeared that she had bieen 
subject to these fits for twelve months. 

But the conclusion of the report is most remark- 
able. It is said that, ^' as the preparations were 
taken by the ignorant creatures, it could not be as- 
certained what they were, whether medicinal, or 
mere rubbishy as is most probabk. But we are po- 
sitively assured, that, q/Zier the rites were all per- 
formed, such was the effect upon the imagination 
of the girl, who fiancied herself possessed, that she 
has not had a fit since.^* 

Had it not been for the brutal assault upon the 
old woman, this case would have been a very in- 
nocent one, and would merely have added another 



198 ANiif AL BTAGNETi^. 

iniit^Gfe'tb-tlie many already on recefd, of the ef- 
fidfteyof the psychical, or, as seme would probably 
call them, the magnetic remedies. 

Phllbsophicjal medicine was a subject mnch^cul- 
tiVsrtbd^ by the'pbyBldf^iis of a former age; bat 
d^f^s n6W niuch neglected by thcf prof^fl^n^ asr 
Br Hisberden remarks in his Coi^nientarSeg. It 
iMd^ to have been now idmost'entirely sapeh^^ 
by a miere empirical practice. TTp6h the subject 
of the psychical or mi^netic remedies, just alludii^d 
to, however, I must beg permission to make a t)iio- 
tatiori flx)iltf^'Vork by an eminent fore^ physieilm, 
whose talents and experience cfhtitle his obs^rra- 
tibnfii to^bbtreatild with great attehtibh and respect. 

« It is aprobf,*' says' DrZiertiiann,* "of partial 
and narrow vie\^^ which constitntes^a great* atid'd 
jdstf i^pto^ch'tb medical sci^nde in our dkys^ that 

* Steiglitz's Ideen Uberden Thieriaohen Magneiumtu. Beleu- 
ohiet von Dr J. C. L. Ziermann. Hanover, 1820. 

Dt' Zlerttiaiin, Ib^Ueve, wdsfbr many years In' tlie military 
service of Great Britain. The above work was written in an- 
swer to a publication, upon the same subject, by Dr John Stieg- 
litz, Physician to the King at Hanover, which appeared there 
in Ii8l4. In his' wtxrk, Br Sti^^litc had ptetty fUIly admitted 
the reality of the greater part of the phenomena of Animal Mag- 
netism, and-did not even pretend to deny the efficacy of the treat- 
ment as a remedy in diseases — ^nay, he ev^n weilt so far a^ to re- 
eoomiMid it in all detjM^Ue cases ; but his book, upon the whole, 
was composed in a hostile spirit, and it was evident that he 
viewed the magnetic practice with considerable pr^udice and 
proftMbtial jMoUsy . 


its professors should conceive that all diseases must 
beoured merely by medicinid preparations. This- 
o^nion certainly betrayis as great a d^ciency of 
science and experience^ as is objected to those who 
rely exclusively upon the- efficacy of the m^netic 
manipulationA; That Acre are great masters in 
medicine — ^in the art of curing diseases by the ad* 
ministration of dmgs — ^is no prooffto the contrary; 
for they vRrald have been much greater masters of 
their art, had they not themsdlves limited their 
means. They would have restored to bealth'many 
of those patients whom tb^ now dismiss as in- 
curable; and they would cure many patients more 
rapidly, and- more eflectually, than diey now do. 
Every means that can be used as a remedy, with«> 
out greater disadvantages-tfaan ihe disease itself, is 
a sanetSve^and an auxiliarjF^ and, as such, ought to 
be emplioyed by the physician. He ought not to be 
ignorant of the psychical remediies, which are inti- 
mately interwoven with the doctrine of magnetism. 
By psychical remedies, I understand not merely 
die art of curing mental diseases by means of tan- 
gible and ponderable drugs, but the art of 

operating upon the spiritual powers and capacities 
of man, upon the heart and understanding, the 
temper, character, modes of thinking, and preju- 
dices,— which may be done in a variety of ways, 
by words, gestures, signs, and actions, according 




to the mental disposition and constitution of the 
individual ; isM> as to affect the invisible vital func- 
tions, or the basis of the phenomenal lifC) and thus 
produce salutary changes in the diseased organiasa- 
tion. How this is effectuated, indeed, we know 
not ; but that it is effectuated is certain, for we have 
experienced it. 

^' The physician, therefore, must not be a mere 
dealer in medicines ; he must also understand how 
to operate in a salutary manner upoii his patients 
without drugs, or by employing them only in part ; 
and if he does not know how, or neglects to do 
this, he does not possess, or does not exercise, his 
art in its whole extent ; and were he even the great- 
est master of medicine in the world, still he is not 
the more perfect physician which he might be. 
All rieally great physicians have acknowledged this 
truth, and applied it in practice* Along with the 
use of drugs, they have employed the psychical re- 
medies, in the sense in which I have used the ex- 
pressions. Hence, too, we can explain how physi- 
cians possessed of moderate medical attainments, 
but endowed with much intuitive or acquired know- 
ledge of human nature, and, on the other hand, 
men of great medical skill, have, with very insig- 
nificant medicines, been fortunate in operating 
cures throughout their whole lives. In vain, per- 
haps, would Boerhaave have exhausted the whole 

AKlMAL MAfiNEauaM. 201 

magazine of antispasmodic drugs, even to alleviate' 
the convulsions with whidi the children in the 
Haarlem Orphan-house were seized. A few words 
from his lips were sufficient to produce a perfect 
cure upon the spot/'* 

In the following chapter, I propose to bring un- 
der notice some instances of individuals, who are 

* Another eminent German phjddan makes the following 
excellent observations on the Medioina Payehiccu 

'^ It is a much more difficult matter to apply the psychical 
method of cure, than to write a prescription. Dr Kreysig says, 
in his classical work on the Diseases ef the Heart : Psychical me^ 
dicine cannot be comprehended in words or rules ; it presup- 
poses a theoretico-practical knowledge of the human heart, 
which it is the imperative duty of the physician to acquire, and 
the first rule for its application is this :— -Obtain the entire con- 
fidence of the patient by thy whole conduct, so that he firmly 
relies upon thy power and thy will to relieve him. When the 
physician has accomplished this, and knows how to preserve the 
advantage by his intellectual and moral character, he consti- 
tutes himself a beneficent ruler and guardian of the mind of his 
patient; and this he must do, because all patients resemble 
children in mind, and require a conductor. In this first maxim 
lies the whole secret of psychical medicine, whose deeply pene- 
trating effects will always remain an enigma even to ourselves. 
By the application of it, there arises a real rapport between phy- 
sician and patient, or a certain spiritual connexion, which in- 
spires the patient with the hope of that cure which the physi- 
cian anticipates, before the reasons for this hope and antidpa^ 
tion are clearly perceived. This is the r» ^Cfv of our art, 
which must always render it equally beneficent and important. 
See Remarks by Dr Muller, Physician to the Court at 
Wiirtzburg, in the Zeitschrift fur die Anthropologie, edited by 
Dr Nasse. Vol i. p. 197. - 

kneim to have cored dweoaes, and to have pro- 
dueed various remarkable phenomena upon the 
hanuu organiBm,.by means analogoos to the mag- 
dStii:^ previous to the discovery of Animal M^- 
DOtism, or without any knowlec^e of its prin- 

( 203 ) 


About the middle of the seventeehth century, 
there appeared ini England a certain gardener, of 
the name of LeVret, an Irilsh gentleman Valentine 
Greatrakes, and the notorious Dr Streper, who 
cured, or pretended to cure, various diseases, hy 
stroking with the hand. Their proceedings excited 
considerable sensation ai the time ; but no attempt 
appears to have beeii made by men of science, at 
that period, to ascertain the precise stttfe of the 
facts, or to investigiLte the siibject phyddldgfically ; 
on the contrary, the effects of their treatintftit mxin 
cathe to be regarded by some as a mei'e |)fiece of 
jugglery, and by others as the conseqtiettce of a 
peculiar virtue specially conferrt^ By Nature upon 
th^siel individufds.* 

* Tlie leundd PeehBiitlfl^ in^liii il!>orit^ eddied, Ob m i VM f im m 
I^ptieO'JUediearum HM trmy Hamlkirgh, 1691, hiti'preaeaf^ed a 
pretty full accotitit of Greatridces; and ih^fte is also eiftHilt a 
treatise sidd to have been writtini and published by that' ringtt* 
lar individual himself entitled, A Brief Aooouni ofMrVakmlm 
GreaMikw^ Sec London, 1606. 

The efficacy of the treatmrat adopted by GrealtlllEeli^ ii" at- 


The method of Greatrakes consisted in applying 
his hands to the diseased parts, and rubbing gently 
downwards. This is very similar to tlie most com- 
mon and most simple process adopted by the pre- 
sent magnetizers ; and it is remarkable, that the 
effects produced by this treatment appear to have 
borne a striking analogy to some of the most ordi- 
nary phenomena of Animal Magnetism, viz. in- 
creased excitement, different kinds of excretions, 
alvine evacuations, vomiting, &c. No mention, 
however, is made of sleep or somnambulism in the 
accounts given of the cures performed by Great- 
rakes ; whether it be that he did not produce these 
phenomena, or that he did not particularly observe 
them. It is remarked, indeed, by Deleuze, and by 
other writers upon Animal Magnetism, that som- 
nambulism rarely appears when it is not sought to 
be excited, and that it may take place without be- 
ing observed, as actually occurred to some of the 
early disciples of Mesmer. 

Many interesting particulars relative to Great- 
rakes have been related by Joseph Glanvill — an 

tested bj a number of the most respectable witnesses (amongst 
others, bj that celebrated experimental philosopher, and truly 
pious Christian, Mr Bojle) ; who also bear ample testimony to 
the simplicity of his manners, the general excellence of his cha- 
racter, and his reverence for the principles of religion. The 
philosophic Cudworth was among his patients, and had firm faith 
in the efficacy of his treatment. 


author to whom I formerly referred— to whom 
they were communicated in letters from Dr G. R. 
(George Rust), Lord Bishop of Derry in Ireland. 
These all represent him as a simple, unpretending 
man, and sincerely pious. With regard to his cures^ 
the Bishop says, ^* I was three weeks together with 
him at my Lord Conway's, and saw him, I think, 
lay his hands upon a thousand persons ; and really 
there is something in it more than ordinary ; hut I 
am convinced it is not miractdous, I have seen pains 
strangely fly be/ore his hands^ tiU he hath chased them 
out of the body-dimness cleared, and deafness cured 
by his touch ; twenty persons, at several times, inflts 
of the falling sickness, were in tux> or three minutes 
brought to themselves, so as to tell where their pain 
was ; and then he hath pursued it till he hath drawn 
it out at some extreme part : Running sores of the 
hinges evil dried up, and kernels brought to a suppu- 
ration by his hand : Grievous sores of many montkff 
date in a few days healed : Obstructions and stop- 
pings removed ; cancerous knots in the breast dis- 
solved, &c. 

'* But yet," continues the Bishop, '^ I have many 
reasons to persuade me that nothing of all this ib 
miraculous. He pretends not to give testimony to 
any doctrine ; the manner of his operation speaks 
it to be natural ; the cure seldom succeeds without 
reiterated touches, his patients often relapse, he 


Iflils frequeiilly» he can, do nothing where there is 
my decay id naturej. and many distemperaare uot 
stall obedjentjto his touch. So iba,t,il.coufm», I 
refer all hie virtue to hia particular tamper and 
oeqaplexion ; and 1 take his sfHrits to be a kind of 
elUirand universal ferment, and that he cures (ae 
Pr M. expressed it) by a Sanative Contagion" 

To these particulars communicated 1^ the Bishop 
of Berry, t^ADvill himself afterwards adds, "that 
many of tluwe matters of fact bare been since cri- 
ticBlIyjgapaQted and exawned by several sagat^ous 
aad waryp«8ons of the RoyaVSoci«ty, and other 
very learoed and jadictoaa men, whom we may 
suppose as unlikely to be deceived by a contrived 
impoeture, aa any others whatsoever." 

to abort, the evidence in support of the procesNea 
and cures of Greatrakes B4)pear8 to me to be as sa- 
tiafatitory and unobjeetionaUe as is possible in the 
Wiownatances of the case. A mere denial cannot 
inxalid^ the iacts so strongly attested, and the 
evidence is iar beyond the reach of sophistry.* 

■ Since the above wna wiitteu, I have seen b very curioui 
pamplilet by Henrj Stubbe. PbyiiciBii at Stratfocd-upon-Avon, 
.pontalning Jtn Avcounl o/ Mr Greaianck and Aii Miracahut Cttrf^ 
with the appropriate motto, JVm idea negar» debet aperltim, guia 
eoK^rAtnM nvn potett quad etl oMtutfwB. Thb author, an eje- 
.iiiimm In part, GODfimu, from hia own experience and that of 
otherB, all that bu been said of Greatrakes in the text. The 
pamphlet was addreased to the celebrated Br Thomas Willis. 
■•IdaiMt^'>aaj»Iie, "lelate unto you tiie reports of-lntnerted 


A great many years after wards, .there uppeared 
a still, more ej^traordtnary character, in- tbe person 
of the German exorcist, John Joseph Gaasner. 
Gassner ivias bom, in 1727, at Bratz, near Plu- 
denz, in Siiabia, and became Catholic imnister At 
Closterle,. in the Ushopric of Chur. Haidx^ tidran 
np a notion that most diseases arose from demoni- 
acal possession, and i could be cured by exoroism, 
he commenced by curing some of his paridiicmers 

raonks and friars concerning things done in monasteries and pri- 
vate cells : An infinite number of the nobiHty^ gentry, iui4 f^imgy 
of Warwickshire and Worcestershire, persons too understanding 
to be deceived, and too honourable and worthy to deceive, win 
avowj that they have seen him publicly cure the lame, theMhid, 
the dea^ the perhaps not unjustly suj^posed demoniacs iimdlfiH 
pers ; besides the asthma, &Uing sickness, convulsion fits, fits of 
the mother, old aches and pains.*' After relating some of his 
own observations on the cases he had witnessed, Dr Stubbe pro« 
x:eed8, '^ I considered that, there was no manner of fraud in, the 
performances, that his hands had no manner of medicaments upon 

them, nor was his stroking so violent, as that much could 

beattributfid.tOitbe fiicticm. I observed that he used no man- 
ner of charms or unlawful words ; sometimes he ejaculated a 
short prayer before he cured any, and always, after he had done, 
he bade them -give God the pndse.** New^ where is the impos- 
ture in all this ? 

I find firom the Life of Flamsteed, recently published, that 
that celebrated astronomer had also been a patient of Greatrakes ; 
and although he does not seem to have himself derived much 
benefit firom the treatment, yet he, too, bears ample testimony 
to the reality of the cures performed upon others^ and to the 
general efficacy of the processes. Divines, physicians, and phi- 
losophers, therefore, and those cotemporaries and eye-witnesses, 
all unite in giving the most unequivocal evidence in favour of 


in this manner, and excited considerable sensation 
in the neighbourhood. He went first to reside with 
the Bishop of Constance, and afterwards, in 1774, 
to the Archbishop of Ratisbon at Elwangen, where 
he performed a number of astonishing cures, espe- 
cially among patients affected with spasmodic and 
epileptic complaints. The power which he appears 
to have possessed and exercised over the organism 
of his patients would be absolutely incredible, were 
it not supported by the most ample and most re- 
spectable evidence. A public officer took regular . 
and copious minutes of his procedure, which were 
attested by many individuals of the first rank and 
the highest respectability. The phenomena which 
occurred assuredly were of the most extraordinary 
character ; the facts, however, so far as I am aware, 
never were denied, nor attempted to be refuted, at 
the time; although, at a subsequent period, per- 
sons who had not witnessed the treatment, and 
could not explain these phenomena to their own 
satisfaction, found it most convenient, as is usual 
in such cases, to throw discredit upon the whole 
procedure, and to ascribe the effects alleged to have 
been produced entirely to quackery and impos- 

* A full account of Gassner and his proceedings will be found 
in one of the volumes of the German Archives of Animal Mag- 
netism (AreMv fur den Thieritchen MapneHamusJ, 


A number of other instances might be adduced 
of persons who, without any knowledge of Mag- 
netism, have cured diseases by the touch of the 
hand, believing themselves to have been spe- 
cially endowed with this virtue. Deleuze, on the 
authority of credible persons, mentions a shoe- 
maker of Auxerre, of the name of Dal, who ope- . 
rated efficaciously, in this manner, upon persons 
affected with the toothach. sprains, &c. He would 
accept of no remuneration ; and he even alleged, 
that if he once took payment, he should no longer 
be able to operate with success. 

In the German Archives of Animal Magnetistn 
(vol. i. No. 3), there is an extract of a letter from 
Silesia, dated 22d July 1817, giving an account of 
a magical or magnetic doctor, of the name of Rich- 
ter, who had cured many sick and infirm persons 
merely by means of manipulation. He was visit- 
ed, it is said, by multitudes, from ministers of state 
and noblemen down to the lowest b^gars ; and he 
cured them all indiscriminately and gratuitously. 
He refused every kind of recompense ; and when 
any thing was given, it was immediately handed 
over to the poor. The government had investigat- 
ed his conduct and procedure, and granted him 
protection. He is afterwards described as a man 
of good substance, an innkeeper at Royn, near 

VOL. I. s 


Li^fnitz, of a fa'6althy and vigorous constitotioB, 
and the best reputation. Some account of this man 
will be found in the iTebb^d Yoltime of Katiseh ; 
Memorcibilien der Heilkunde. 

Thete was ako another natctrkF itkagMtitev in 
Gelrtnany, in rebent time^, of the name of €rtabe, 
a grooin, I believe, by profession, of ^hom I have 
read [^6me published accounts. He appeals to h^e 
pos^ssed great powers of curing diiseases by maili- 
jiTulation, and was very indefittigable and disiMe- 
rested in exercising them. Although a man of 
perfectly good characfeir and active bfeneficenee^ hi^ 
procee<Kngs gave grent tinit^ri^e to the* Faculty, at 
whose instance ho liilffered cOfitin^al persecution.*' 
At the same tiaie, he was patroiiiited by some m«^ 
dical men and other respt^ctable ittdividusAs^ who 
bore ample find satisfactory testifncmy to the pro- 
priety of his conduct, aiid th^ efficacy of his treat- 

There are, doubtless, other instances of indivi- 

* Nothing can be more absurd and disgraceful than such per* 
secution. When facts are attested bj evidence, it is surely more 
I'ational to examine them philosophically, than to attempt to in. 
y^dote them by discreditable means. Fake statements of 
facts can never gain any permanent credit; but when such 
statements are opposed, not by reason, but by ridicule and per- 
secution, a considerable bias in their favour Is naturally gene- 
rated in the minds of all sober, and serious, and disinterested 
inquirers. No doctrine, probably, was ever thoroughly eradi- 
cated by the persecution of its adherents. 


daals who exercised similar powers; but grent 
pains appear to have been always taken, upon saeh 
occasions, by sceptics and interested persons, to ri- 
dicule, disparage, and discredit their proceedings, 
and to represent themselves as mere 'impostors. 
If we carefully and impartially weigh the evidence, 
however, by which the reality of their cures is at- 
tested, we cannot fail, I think, to find a strong con- 
firmation of the propositions laid down by the old 
magnetic writers, relative to the sanative efficacy 
that may be exerted by one individual ov^ the or- 
ganism of another. 

But it was not until towards the conclusion of 
the eighleenth century, that this most interesti^i^ 
inquiry was systematically revived, and that, after 
an ample series of experimental investigations^ the 
remarkable efficacy of this mode of treatment by 
manipulation was fully developed, and firmly esta- 
blished by induction. For this discovery — if such 
we may be permitted to call it — the world is prin- 
cipally indebted to a man, whose character, mo- 
tives, and actions have been painted in such oppo- 
site colours, and whose merits have been so vari- 
ously appreciated, that, were we to draw our infer- 
ences merely from a perusal of the writings of his 
partisans and his opponents, without any serious 
and impartial examination of those labours upon 
which his reputation, good or bad, must ultimately 


rest, we should find it difficult to determiDe» even 
at the present day, whether we ought to consider 
him as one of the greatest benefactors to science, 
and to the human race in general, or as one of the 
most impudent and most successful scientific im- 
postors who have ever contrived to practise upon 
the credulity of mankind.* 

* The greatest caution is requisite in perusing the statements 
of the opponents of Mesmer. The partial and hostile spirit is 
eveiywhere apparent, and sometimes degenerates into absolute 
malignity. Even the most sober of them appear to be more 
desirous of throwing discredit upon the system, than of boldly 
meeting and fairly investigating the facts. I am not aware that 
the slightest stigma has been attached to the moral character of 
Mesmer ; and there can be no doubt that he was thoroughly im- 
pressed with a perfect conviction of the truth and importance of 
his discovery. The same conviction accompanied him in his re- 
tirement from the world, as fully appears from the accounts 
given of him by individuals who visited him in his latter days. 

( 213 ) 


Frederick Anthony Mesmer, a native of 
Switzerland) was born upon the 23d of May 1734. 
In his youth) he came to Vienna, in very needy 
circumstances) for the purpose of studying physic ; 
and after having attended the lectures of Van Swie- 
ten and De Haen for several years, and taken his 
degree of Doctor of Medicine, he settled in that 
capital as a practising physician, and placed him- 
self in a situation of independence by an advanta- 
geous marriage. From his youth upwards, he is 
said to have manifested a decided bias towards the 
uncommon and the marvellous ; and his favourite 
employment was to search after the almost forgot- 
ten works of the old mystical writers, particularly 
those which treated of astrology, which he studied 
with great attention and earnestness. The conse- 
quence of this was, that, upon the occasion of his 
promotion, in the year 1766, he wrote and public- 
ly defended an inaugural dissertation On the Infiu^ 
ence of the Planets upon the Human Body. This 
treatise drew down upon him the almost universal 


ridicule of his professional brethren, who regarded 
him, from that period, as a strange and eccentric 
visionary ; and it is probable that this first display 
of his natural bias injured his character as a phy- 
sician during the whole of his subsequent career. 
But the only effect of this treatment upon Mesmer 
himself, was to render him still more ardent and 
entbudiastic in the prosecution of his fievourite 

His theory of the influence of the stars upon the 
human body was founded upon the assumed exist- 
enee of a certain subtile element, or essence, per- 
vading all nature (the ether of N^vton)*; and this 
element he at first thought to have discovered in 
electricity, until, by repeated experiments, he be- 
came convinced of the insufficiency of that prin- 
ciple to explain the {Aenomena. 

After a variety of fruitless efforts,^ he at length. 
In the month of November 1773, resorted to the 
magnety to which bis attention had been particu- 
larly called l^ the Jesuit Maximilian Hell, Pro- 
fessor of Astronomy at Vienna * ; for which rea- 

« Hell was bom at Chemnitz in Hungary in the year 1720, 
afid entered at an early age into the order of Jesuits. From 
faifl youth, he devoted himself to the study of astronomy and 
experimental philosophy. In 1745-46, he assisted Father J. 
Francois, who had the charge of the Jesuits* Observatory at 
Vienna, in his observations, and took an active part in promot- 
ing the estaUishment of an institution for experimental physics 


goOy the latter sabeeqoeiitly claimed for himself 
the merit of the discovery of the iiMrgnetic remedy. 
Mesmer was the more readily induced to believe 
that he should be enabled to accomplish liis object 
by means of the magnet, as many previous writers 
had not only proved its efficacy upon the humaoi 
body, but had ascribed to it an extensive influence 
over universal nature. 

He now proceeded to apply artificial magnets 

in that citj. Having taught the mathematics for some years 
at Clausenberg in Transylvania, he was nscalled to Vienna, to 
fill the situation of astronomer and keeper of the Observatory. 
From 1757 to 1786, he published his yearly Ephetnerides, which 
form a very interesting collection for the astronomer. Count 
Bachoff, the Danish ambassador at YieniM^ urged him to under- 
take the task of observing the transit of Venus in Lapland ; 
and, for this purpose, Hell set out in the month of April 1768. 
After accomplishing his purpose, he returned to Vienna in Au- 
gust 1770. Of his subsequent connexion with Mesmer, some 
notice has been taken in the text. Hell died at Vienna on the 
14th of April 1792, after having contributed greatly to the ad- 
vancement of astronomical science. His works, besides the 
Ephemeride8 above mentioned, are numerous. Among these 
are, T<ibtila Solares N. L. de la Caille^ cum tuppL reUqitar. tabu- 
lar, 1763; Tabula Lunarea Tob. Mayer, cum tuppl. D, Cassini^ de 
Lalande, et suity 1 763 ; De Tranmtu Veneris ante ditcum Soke die 
3tioJuru 176!^ Wardahusii in Finnmarchia observato, 1770; De 
paraUaai Solis ejp observatione traruihu Veneris anni 1769. 1773, 

It does not appear that Hell can justly claim much of the 
merit due to the discovery of Animal Magnetism. He may, no 
doubt, have ori^nally suggested the use of the mineral magnet, 
to which he always continued to ascribe the remedial efficacy ; 
whereas the experiments of Mesmer, as will be seen in the se- 
quel, ultimately led to a yerj different result. 


(which his fiiend Hell prepared for him in various 
forms) to diseased parts of the human body. He 
afterwards brought the affected parts into perma> 
nent connexion or affinity with his magnets, and 
had at length the pleasure of witnessing the most 
satisfactory results. These results of his experience 
he published to the world in a Letter to a Foreign 
Physician on the Magnetic Remedy, Upon this oc- 
casion, however, he got involved in a controversy 
with his friend Hell ; but after some explanations, 
the parties became reconciled. 

As several individuals had been relieved from 
the most obstinate complaints by this treatment, 
some of whom had been induced to communicate 
accounts of their cure to the public through the 
medium of the press, and as other physicians, be- 
sides Mesmer, now resorted to the same practice, 
and experienced the same satisfactory results; the 
new remedy could not fail to attract considerable 
attention, although there were some who could per- 
ceive no particular advantage in it, whilst others 
totally denied its efficacy. 

The magnetic remedy, indeed, was not general- 
ly sanctioned or patronized by the physicians of 
Vienna; and Mesmer experienced so much calum- 
ny and persecution on account of the novelty and 
singularity of his practice, that he resolved to with- 
draw from that capital. Accordingly, in the years 


1775 and 1776, he made travels of discovery into 
Bavaria and Switzerland, and performed several 
remarkable cures, both in private circles, and in 
the public hospitals at Bern and Zurich. Upon 
this occasion, too, he is said to have paid a visit to 
thie famous exorcist Gassner, at Ratisbon. 

Upon his return to Vienna, in order to be en- 
abled to prosecute his practice with more secrecy, 
and less interruption, he established an hospital in 
his own house, where he received destitute sick 
persons, whom he subjected to the magnetic treat- 

Hitherto, Mesmer had always made use of the 
magnetic rods in operating upon his patients, and 
he believed that the remedial efficacy of the treat- 
ment was the consequence of a certain virtue in- 
herent in the mineral magnet. In the course of 
his experiments, however, he was now led to form 
a very different conclusion, * 

* EkKemosek (p. 30.) says, that Mesmer was led to the 
discovery of Animal Magnetism by the following circumstance. 
Being present on one occasion when blood was drawn from a 
patient, he found a remarkable difference in the flowing of the 
blood when he approached or retired. Having afterwards re- 
peated the experiment, the same phenomenon was manifested. 
Hence, he was induced to conclude, that his person was endow- 
ed with this magnetic influence, which may have been stronger 
in him than in other men, as different pieces of iron or steel 
may possess different d^rees of magnetic power. I do not re- 

VOL. I. T 


He observed thati in the case of nervous patientsiy 
in particular^ he was enabled to produce a variety 
of phenomena of a very peculiar character, vrhich 
were not reconcileaUa with the usual efiecta of 
the magnet. This induced him to suppose Aat 
his magnetic rods, perhaps, did not operate merdy 
by attraction, but that they, at the same time, 
served as the conductors of a fluid emanating from 
his own body. .This conjecture^ 4Memed to hin^ la 
be converted into a. certainty,- iwhen he became sa- 
tisfied, by repeated: experiments^ that Jlie could pro- 
duce the very same eflects without using the -mag- 
net at all, by .merely passing his bands from the 
head of the patient towarda,the lover extremitiesy 
or even by mahing these motions at some cUstance 
from the body of the patient ; and that he could< al- 
so communicate to inanimate objects, by merely 
rubbing them with his hand, the power of producing 
similar eflects upon such nervous patients as came 
in contact mth them. * 

member to bave met with this remark in anj of Mesmer'tfown 
writings^ but it iB-poaedble I may have orerlooked it. 

* The disciples of Mesmer, therefore^ could be at no loss, 
upon their own principles, to account for the efficacy of Per- 
kins's Metallic Tractors, which, at one time, made so much 
noise in this country. They were, in fact, nothing else than a 
modification of Animal Magnetism ; and being themselyes mere- 
ly conductors, it was of no essential consequence whether they 
were made of metal, or (as Dr Haygarth's) of any other con- 
ducting substance. Yet, if we may give credit to some of the 



Partly swayed by the fact ascertained by pre- 
vious cxperiiDente, that, in like manner, by re- 

more recent writers upon Animal Magnetism, tken? is a pecu- 
liar virtue in certain metaU, wiiich ia capable of affecting the 
human frame in various waya. But into this subject we have 
no occasion to enter at present. 

The history of Perkinisra, however, and of Its alleged refu- 
tation by Dr Haygarth, affords strong collateral evidence, if 
any such were wanted, in confirmation of the reality of Animal 

FeiUna invented certain Instruments colled Metallic Tractors, 
with which he is admitted, even by bis enemies, to haverire- 
quently relieved pain, and periunncd remaricable cures. In or- 
der to reftite Pertinisra, Dr Haygarth made ivBoden tractors, with 
which fae and others produced similar effects ; nay effects, it was 
alleged, even greater and more wonderiiil tlian what was related 
of the patent netatlie tracCori of Perkins. The patent tractors of 
Perkins, therefore, were a piece of quackery. True ; — and so also 
ivere the vmeden Iranttr* of Dr Haygarth. And jihysiclans may 
raise the outcryof quackery as loudly and as often as theyple&se 
— they will never succeed in getting rid of the obnoxiouE humbug, 
in one form or aitother, until they ^li condescend to submit, 
like their brethren upon the continent, to a philosophical InvesCi' 
gation of the principles and processes of Meemer and his disciples. 
The effects of Perkinism, as well as those of Animal Magne. 
tlsm, were ascribed by all learned physicians to the imagina. 
tion. What a wonderful power this Ima^nation must he, to 
be the sole cause of so many extraordinary efiects t Amongst 
Its other virtues — not remarked, indeed, by the physicians — 
it seems to aflbrd an admirable casemate to ignorance and Indo- 
lence. But If the imagination really does possess such asto- 
nishing powers, why, in the name of common sense, do not the 
Doctors more frequently dose their patients with Imagination, 
instead of poisonous drugs ? Is there greater quackery In curing 
diseases by means of the Imagination, than by Rhubarb, Mag- 
nesia, Opium, and Arsenic ? But, according to St Real, ^i dii 
Doflivr, ne dU pai loujoim vn homme docle. By-thc-by, I can see 
no good reason why the effects produced by Rhubarb, Magnesia, 


peated friction in certain directions, a magnetic 
attraction could be excited in iron, without the ap- 
plication of any magnet, and partly seduced, also, 
by the supposed fact, that, in the process above 
mentioned, the animal body exhibited a certain po- 
larity and inclination, Mesmer now jumped at once 
to the conclusion, that there exists in the animal 
frame an original and peculiar species of magne- 
tism, which is capable of being set in activity with- 
out the aid of the artificial magnet. He then ex- 
tended this magnetic power over all nature, form- 
ed theories upon this assumed fact, and, in so far 
as this alleged influence was manifested in the ani- 
mal body, he gave it the name of animal^ to dis- 
tinguish it from the mineral magnetism. * 

Opium, Arsenic, Foxglove, Mercuiy, &c. should not also be re- 
ferred to the influence of the imagination. This would tend 
greatly to simplify the theory of Medicine. The universal 
panacea is at length discovered. The medical report of every 
case successfully treated might henceforth be drawn up in some- 
thing like the following terms : 

" Visited A. B. whom I found confined to bed in a very weak 
state, and labouring under a severe attack of . Pres- 

scribed the following dose : 

R . . 

and, such was the effect of this treatment upon the Imagincttion 
of the patient, that he rapidly recovered, is now quite well, and 
able to go about his ordinary business. 

* It has been thought proper to point out, thus parti- 
cularly, the original mistake of Mesmer, because it is quite 


It is highly probable, if not absolutely certain, 
that the discovery of that organic susceptibility, 
which gave rise to the magnetic treatment, did not 
originate entirely with Mesmer himself, but was 
suggested to him by the perusal of the works of 
certain mystical writers of the sixteenth and se- 
venteenth centuries, to which reference has already 
been made. But Mesmer has the unquestionable 
merit of having been the first, in recent times, who 
availed himself of the hints thrown out by these 
earlier writers, and who, by patient and indefati- 
gable investigation and experiment, succeeded in 
establishing, as demonstrated fact, that which, so 
far as we know, had previously been, at least in a 
great measure, theory and conjecture. 

From the period of this curious discovery, how- 
ever, in whatever manner it may have been sug- 
gested, its author daily assumed a more mysterious 
demeanour, veiled his experiments and observa- 
tions in a sort of sacred obscurity, and talked no 
more of mineral, but of animal magnetism. He no 

certain that a great deal of the aiigument, and almost the whole 
of the wit and ridicule, by which the magnetic treatment has, 
at any time, been assailed, have been suggested by the name ; 
and many persons, otherwise ignorant of the subject, still seem 
to expect, like the first French Commissioners, to see the mag' 
neHc fluid sensibly exhibited. I formerly mentioned, that, for 
this and other reasons, many intelligent persons conceive the 
name of Animal Magnetism to be improper; but it would not 
be easy now to substitute one more appropriate. 


longer made use of the magnetic rods, but consi- 
dered his own body as the depository of this mag- 
netic virtue) which he was not merely capable of 
communicating at pleasure, by immediate manipn. 
lation) but eoiild convey to it distance by the power 
of his volition^ and thus eradicate the most compli«> 
cated diseases, witliout explaining, in an intelli'i' 
gible and satisfactory manner — probably without 
perfectly comprehending — the nature of the me- 
thod by which he performed his cures. 

No person was able to penetrate this mysteribua 
obscurity; but it was still commonly believed that 
Mesmer coatinued to operate by means of magne- 
tic rods concealed about his person. Meanwhile, 
some learned individuals endeavoured to throw 
discredit on his treatment; and others, who had 
once been attached to him, afterwards publicly 
and explicitly proclaimed their scepticism. Mes- 
mer, in short, was pretty generally held to be an 
impostor, or, at least, a self-deceiving enthusiast. 
In order to obviate these suspicions, he sent circu- 
lar letters to the most celebrated learned societies 
in Europe, in which he attempted to explain his 
principles, and gave an account of his magnetic 
cures. Of these learned bodies, the Royal Aca- 
demy of Berlin alone condescended to return an 
answer, in which some doubts were expressed, and 
Rome queries put to the author, to which, however, 


be did not think proper to make any reply ; and 
by this conduct he strengthened the unfavoarable 
opinion which had been entertained against him. * 

The ill repute* in which he now stood in the eyes 
of his professional brethr^iy and the scientific pub-^ 
lie in general, induced Mesmer to leave Vienna, in 
the year 1777} and to lode out for some new theatre 
for the exercise of his magnetic art. Some time 
elapsed before the public received any certain in-* 
telligenee respecting his movements; but at length, 
in die month of February 1778^ he made his ap- 
pearance at Paris, where, however, he at first found 
the learned but little disposed to patronize^fais dis- 
covery. He was afterwards, however^ fortunate 
enough to make a convert of Dr D'Esloo, whe be- 
came a zealous partisan of the magnetic doolaine 
and treatment, and encouraged Mesmer to publish, 
in the following year^ a short treatise^f which^ b^ 
sides an apology for his conduct in Yi^ina, con- 
tained a concentrated view of his sjrstem, in twen- 
ty •seven propositions. The following is the sub- 
stance of this system. 

Thece exists a reciprocal influence between the' 

* See HkL de PAoad, Ro^ ifer Seknan^ an 1775, p. S3, 
&C., and NmntUe* Memoirea d8 PAeadem, de Berlin, an 177&*-' 
Hist p. 33. 

f Memoire tur la DeeouverU du Magnetume Animal. Paris, 

224 ANIMAL magnetism: 

heavenly bodies, the earth, and animated beings. 
The medium of this influence is a very subtile 
fluid, pervading the whole universe, which, from 
its nature, is capable of receiving, propagating, and 
communicating every impulse of motion. This 
reciprocal action is subject to certain mechanical 
laws, which have not yet been discovered. From 
this action there result alternative efl^ects, which 
may be considered as a sort of flux and reflux. 
This flux and reflux may be more or less general, 
more or less particular, more or less compounded, 
according to the nature, of the causes which deter- 
mine them. It is by this operation (the most uni- 
versal of those which nature exhibits to us), that 
the relations of activity are maintained between 
the heavenly bodies, the earth, and its constituent 
parts. The properties of matter, and of organized 
bodies, depend upon this operation. The animal 
body experiences the alternative effects of this 
agent ; which, by insinuating itself into the sub- 
stance of the nerves, affects them immediately. 
The human body exhibits properties analogous to 
those of the magnet, such as polarity and inclinO' 
tion. The property of the animal body, which ren- 
ders it susceptible of this influence, occasioned its 
denomination of Animal Magnetism. The action 
and the virtue of Animal Magnetism are capable 
of being communicated to other animated and in«» 



animate bodies. The one and the other, however, 
are susceptible of them in different degrees. This 
action and this virtue can be increai^d and propa-* 
gated by these bodies. We observe from experi- 
ence the flowing of a certain subtile matter, which 
penetrates all bodies, without perceptibly losing 
any of its activity ; and it operates at a consider- 
able distance, without the aid of any intermediate 
object. Like light, it is reflected by mirrors ; and 
it is invigorated, diffused, and communicated by 
sound. This virtue is capable of being accumu- 
lated, concentrated, and transported. There are 
animated bodies, although very rare, which possess 
a property so opposite to Magnetism, that their 
mere presence prevents all its effects in other bodies. 
This opposite power also penetrates all bodies, and 
is also capable of being concentrated and diffused: 
It is, therefore, not merely a negative, but a really 
positive power. The mineral magnet, whether na- 
tural or artificial, is likewise equally susceptible 
with other bodies of Animal Magnetism, and even 
of the opposite virtue, without suffering, in either 
case, any alteration of its agency in respect to iron; 
which proves that the principle of Animal Mag- 
netism is essentiaHy different from that of the mi* 
neral. This system will furnish new illustrations 
of the nature of fire and of light ; as also of the 
theory of attraction, of flux and reflux, of the mag* 


net and of electricity. It will inform us, tkat the 
mi^et and artificial electricity only have, with 
respect to digeasee, properties in common witk se- 
veral other agents which nature presents to us; 
and that, if the former have produced some salu- 
tary effects, these effects are to be ascribed to Ani- 
mal Magnetism. By meanft of Animal Magnetism, 
nervous diseasee may ^be* cured immediate, and 
other complaints 'mediately: It explains to us the 
operation of the remedies, and' promotes the salu- 
tary crises. With the kaowledge of its principle^ 
the physieian can discover, with certainty, the ori- 
gin, the nature, and the progress of diseases, even 
the most complicated ; he can arrest their progress, 
and ultimately cure them, without ever exposing 
the patient to dangerous or troublesome cons^ 
qnences. Lastly, this doctrine will enable the phy- 
sician to judge accurately with respect to the de» 
gree of health possessed by all individuals^ and to 
preserve them from those diseases to which they 
maybe exposed. Thus, the science of Medicine 
may attain its highest degree of perfection.* 

* Since the great light which has been thrown upon this sub« 
ject'bj the more widely extended practice of Animal Magne* 
tism axdong persons of learning and intelligence, these early 
mystical theories of Mesmer and his partisans, whidi appear to 
have been borrowed from the writers of a previous age, have be* 
come rather curious than really interesting or instructive. In 
a work Uke the present, however, some notice of them could not, 


This novel, extraordinary, and obscure theory 
found no favourable reception among men of science 
in France; on the contrary, it was, perhaps not 
undeservedly, treated, as the dream of a visionary, 
with coldness or contempt. 

The Medical Faculty of Paris, however, coold 
not be expected to continue altogether indifferent 
to the subject, especially as one of its members^ 
Dr lyEslon, was not only a zealous partisan of 
Mesmer, but had actually published a work upon 
Animal Miignetisinw But the' measures at length 
resorted to, for the purpose of vindicating the ho- 
nour and privileges ot the body, were not, assured- 
ly, very creditable to the state of science and libe- 
rality towards the conclusion of ^^ the philosophioal 
century." Instead of candidly investigating the 
whole matter, with a view to ascertain the truth or 
falsehood of the obnoxious doctrine, theyproceecU 
ed, at once, to deprive the magnetic Doctor of his 
voice in the Faculty for a whole year, and threat* 
ened farther, that, if he did not recant his prin- 
ciples at the expiration of that period, his name 
should be finally erased from the list of members ; 
in short, that he should be excommunicated. An 

with propriety, have been omitted. But let no one imagine 
that he has demolished Animal Magnetism, as a &ct, when he 
has merely demonstrated the improbability of these hypotheaes 
to explain its cause. 


incipient schism in the church, some centuries ago, 
could not have been contemplated at Rome with 
greater horror and alarm, than were exhibited by 
these disciples of ^sculapius on the disclosure of 
the magnetic heresy.* 

But although deprived of scientific and profes- 

* Learned bodies seldom obtain much credit from posterity 
for their attempts to interfere with the progress of scientific 
discovery. In the year 169, the celebrated Galen came to 
Rome, where he became eminent for his successful practice ; but 
the ignorance of the learned of those times drove him thence by 
an accusation of practising the magical arts. The system of 
Copernicus was, for a considerable period, embraced by astrono- 
mers only : The learned in all other sciences viewed it with 
scorn and contempt. In the 17th century, Gralileo was perse- 
cuted by the Roman Consistory, for maintaining the true theory 
of the planetary motions. The medical &culty have always 
been peculiarly unfortunate in their ludicrous crusades against 
heretical remedies. Whenever they have ventured to enter 
the lists, they have almost invariably been beaten off the field. 
In the year 1566, the Faculty of Medicine at Paris issued a 
mandate prohibiting the use of antimony, and this mandate was 
confirmed by the Parliament. Paumier of Caen, a great chemist 
and celebrated physician at Paris, having disregarded this man- 
date of the Faculty, thus sanctioned by the Parliament, was de- 
graded in 1609. The Quinquina, or Peruvian bark, was im- 
ported into Europe by the Spaniards in 1640. Nine or ten 
years afterwards, the Jesuits distributed a great quantity of it 
at Rome, curing intermittent fevers with it, as if by enchant- 
ment. The physicians, however, declared war against this effi- 
cacious remedy, and the ecclesiastics prohibited sick persons 
from using it, alleging that it possessed no virtue but what it 
derived from a compact made by the Indians with the devil. 
In 1784, the Medical Faculty of Paris prohibited the practice 
of Animal Magnetism by any of its members, under the penalty 
of being deprived of the privileges of their profession. 


sional patronage, the practice of Animal Magnet- 
ism began to make considerable progress among 
the public ; and this prc^'ess was greatly accele- 
rated in consequence of the successful magnetic 
treatment of some patients from among the more 
respectable classes of society, who published ac- 
counts of their cures, and being astonished at the 
result of the means employed, took occasion to be- 
stow the most extravagant panegyrics upon Mes- 
mer and his remedial art. Among these was the 
celebrated Court de Gebelin, the learned author of 
the Monde Primitifj who, from a very dangerous 
state, had been restored to health by Magnetism ; 
and who, in a letter to his subscribers, not only re- 
lated the particulars of his own case, as a proof of 
the superior efficacy of Mesmer^s treatment, but 
extolled the magnetic panacea as the most wonder- 
ful and the most beneficial discovery that had been 
made by human wisdom and ingenuity since the 
creation of the world.* 

* It is a very great mistake to suppose that all learned and 
intelligent men were opposed to the doctrines of Mesmer : on 
the contrary, he had a considerable number of adherents among 
the most respectable and best educated classes of society. Af. 
de Segur, the elder, formerly Ambassador from France at the 
Court of St Peterbuigh, in his amusing publication, entitled, 
Memoires^ Souvenirs et Anecdotes (vol ii.), informs us, that he 
himself was one of the most zealous disciples of Mesmer, as were 
also MM. de Gebelin, Olavides, d*£spremenil, de Jaucourt, 
de Chastellux, de Choiseul-Gouffier, de La&yette, and many 


The very mystery in which Mesmer enveloped 
bis treatment, tended to excite curiosity) while it 
withdrew the attention from the active principle^ 
and thus caused him to be r^arded individually as 
an extraordinary personage, full of the old Egyp- 
tian wisdom, and conversant with all the secret in- 
fluences of nature. This, while it extended his re- 
putation, aeemed to flatter the vanity and mystical 
disposition of the man. His house became crowd- 

others, all enlightened and talented men. M. de Segur neye^ 
abandoned his conviction of the reality of the phenomena of 
A«<Tnft1 Magnetism, and he very judiciously appeals to his own 
experience in justification of this conviction. ^ I have no de- 
tltre," says he, ^ to enter into any controversy on the subject ; 
it is sufficient for me to affirm that, having been present at a 
great number of ^perimentsj I have witnessed impressions and 
effects very real, very extraordinary, but of which I have never 
had the cause explained." On the supposition that these im- 
presrions and effects may be the results of an exalted imaginaiionf 
M* de Sq;ur very pertinently asks, whether this word knaginam 
liofi can be considered as a sufficiently satisfactory refutation, 
and whether the learned and philosophical are not bound, at 
least, by the love of truth, to investigate the causes of this new 
and strange power of the imagination. Assuredly, says he, 
when such men as I have mentitmed, and hundreds of other 
learned and intelligent individuals, in iill parts of Europe have 
expressed their conviction of the reality of certain &cts, founded 
upon personal experience, it must require aometiiing more than 
a mere theoretical refutation to invalidate the evidence in &- 
vpur of a particular doctrine. It is not sufficient to ascribe the 
effects \XK question to the influence of the imagination » the ad- 
vocates of that theory are imperatively called upon to explain 
ifhat they mean by imagination, and how the peculiar effects 
ca9 be i^ationally attxibuted to the influence of that j&culty. 


ed with patients of all ranks, and from every quar- 
ter ; and such was the extent and success of his 
practice, that, in the course of a short time, he is 
said to have amassed a large fortune. 

( 232 ) 


Although Mesmer had the unquestionable me- 
rit of being the first who experimentally discovered 
and demonstrated the effects of the magnetic pro- 
cess upon the animal constitution, and who em- 
ployed that process systematically for the cure of 
diseases, it cannot be denied that he greatly retard- 
ed the general acknowledgment of the reality and 
the value of his discovery, by the absurd affectation 
of much idle, unnecessary, and almost ludicrous 
solemnity, in his mode of conducting the treat- 
ment. We have now no means of ascertaining whe- 
ther all this was done merely for the purpose of 
mystification^ or whether he himself actually be- 
lieved it to be essential to the success of his prac- 
tice. There can be no doubt, however, that this 
affectation of mystery was highly unfavourable to 
the scientific investigation of the subject, besides 
injuring his own character in the eyes of many 
learned and sensible persons, who, looking only at 
the accessories, and having no knowledge of the 
essential agent, were disposed to regard him mere- 


]y as an imposing quack ; whereas, we have every 
reason to believe that he was himself sincerely im- 
pressed with a conviction of the reality, and the 
great scientific importance, of the discovery he had 
made, however much he might attempt to disguise, 
disfigure, and obscure it by ridiculous ceremony 
and ostentation. 

He operated not only by the actual touch of his 
hands, or by means of an iron rod extended to some 
distance from his body ; but, by means of cords, he 
placed his patients in connexion with magnetized 
trees, or conducted the invisible magnetic fluid out 
of covered vessels (baqueU) to the patients, who 
sat round in a circle ; and, by this treatment, he 
was enabled to throw them into very peculiar states, 
which could not be properly called either sleeping 
or waking, but presented some of the phenomena 
of both. It sometimes happened, however, that 
none of all these arrangements was found neces- 
sary ; for a single look from Mesmer was frequent- 
ly sufficient to produce the same effects. This last 
circumstance will be better understood when we 
come to consider the improvements which were 
made upon the processes of Animal Magnetism 
subsequently to the retirement of its discoverer. 

In order, it is supposed, to increase the efficacy 
of the treatment, the apartment in which he per- 

VOL. I. u 


formed his operatiofos and careR was darkeBed to 
a sort of twilight ; a number of mirrors were plaeed 
fffoond it ; and a profound and mysterious siloiee 
prevailedy whiefa was onljrinterrupted occasionally 
by the tones of this harmonica^ an instrument upon 
wUcb Mesmer himself performed with great skiH, 
or by those of a harpsichord. 

All this Whimsical apparatus and mystery^ hM^- 
ever essential it may have appeared to Mesmer 
himself had too much the semblance ot quackery^ 
and was certainly calculated to operate unikyour- 
ably to the reputation of his treatment in the min^' 
of sober and scientific nien ; who, upon a superfi- 
cial view, and judging merely from what was ao^ 
tually submitted to their senses, lirast hkte beeis^ 
inclined to attribute any effects which they wit- 
nessed to the inflaence of the snrrounding scene 
upon the imagination and the nervous system, ra- 
ther than to that secret magnetic virtue' to whiefa 
the operator ascribed them, but whiefa could not bo 
palpably exhibited. It is said that Mesmer, in his 
latter days, approved and adopted the more simple 
and less ostentatious, yet equally efficacious, pro- 
cesses, which were subsequently introduced by his 
successors in the magnetic art. The Mesmerian 
system, however, along with the use of the bciquety 
was for a long time retained, and, if not now, was> 


at least till lately^ practised by some of his dis- 

Mesmer was not only^ deprived of the counte- 
nance of the medical profession and the protection 
of government; he was ridiculed by the wits of 
Parisy and attacked and calu«iniatedby the public 
journals^ into which, we are told, the censors al- 
lowed no article to be admitted which emanated 
from any of his partizans. Incygnant at such illi- 
beral conduct, he at length found it necessary to 
vindicate himself, and to expose to the world the 
unfair proceedings of his enemies.* 

It cannot be denied, however, that Mesmer drew 
down upon himself a great deal of this obloquy and 
persecution by the obscurity of some of his propo- 
sitions, the mystery attending his practice, and by 
the coldness and contempt with which he affected 
to treat the professors, as well as the profession, of 
the medical art. He boldly set out with the ex- 
traordinaiy and novel principle : There^ is but one 
healthy one disease^ and one remedy ; and he arro- 
gated to himself the discovery of the grand pana- 

* See Precis Histortque des FaUs reloHfs au MagneHsme Ani- 
mat, fttr. 1781^ a work which deeerves to be carefiiUj penued 
by all those who are desirous of obtaining a full knowledge of 
the earlj historj of the magnetic doctrines and practice, and of 
the violent struggle thej had to maintain with prejudice and 


teiy id which it had been hitherto enveloped, and 
which had, at least, secured it from any fli^^nt 
abuse. The secret was not kept : The art was em- 
pirically practised by persons who had obtained 
merely a superficial knowledge of its princnpless 
and it was frequently exposed to the most ludicroofr 
misapplications; circumstances which could not 
fail to brii^ the whole treatment into general dis- 

In the mean time, however, some of Mesmer's 
pupils made a more prudent and cautious use of 
Animal Magnetism. They established Hwrmonic 
Societies in the different provinces and towns of 
France, and united themselves under the gei^ral 
superintendence of M esmer. In these institutioB% 
the destitute sick were magnetised gratis^ in the 
presence of physicians ; the discoveries made in the 
progress of their practice were communicated to 
each other ; and the most interesting cases were 
made public through the medium of the press.* 

* These early publications on the phenomena of Animal Mag- 
netism, are very numerous, and some of them exceedingly in- 
teresting. The following deserve especial notice : — 

Detail des Cures opere^ k Lyon par le Magn. Aninu selon 
lea Principes de M. Mesmer, par M. Orelut ; precede d'une 
Lettre k M. Mesmer. Lyon, 1784. — Rapport des Cures ope- 
re^ h. Bayonne par le Magn. Anim. par M. le Comte Max. de 
Fuysegur ; avec des Notes de M. Duval d'EspremeniL Bayonne 
et Paris, 1784. — Detail des Cures Opere^ h, Burzancy par Ife 
Magnet. Anim. Soissonns, 1784. — ^Nouvelles Cures opere6s par 


It is rather singular that the Medical Society of 
Paris paid so little attention to this alleged disdo- 
very, considering the great sensation it had excited 
among the public; and that they permitted Animal 
Magnetism to be practised for so long a period, 
withoat any investigation, interruption, or hinde- 
rance upon their part. 

In the year 1778, indeed, at the solicitation of a 
friend of Mesmer's, they appointed a committee to 

le Magnet. Anim. Parin, 1784. — Recueil d'Observations et de 
Fails relati& au Biagnet Atiim. Public par la Society de GuS- 
enne i Bordeaux. 1786. — Appergu de la Maniere d*admiiuBtrer 
les Remedes indiqu^ par le Magnet. Anim. h, TUsage des Mag- 
netiseurs qui ne sont Medicins. 1784. — Exposi des differentes 
Cures opere^s depuis le 16 d'Aout 1780 ; JuSqu' au 12 de Juin 
1786, par les Membres de la Society Haniion. de Strasbuig^ 
1788. — Suite des Cures faites par differens Magnetiseurs de la 
Society Harmon, de Strasb. 1787 — Annales de la Soc Harm. 
de Strasb., ou Cures que le Membies de cette Sbdet^ ont ope- 
re^ par le Magnet Anim. Strasb. 1789.— Extrait des Jour- 
naux d*un Magnetiseur (Comte de Lutzelbourg), attach^ k la 
Soc Harm, de Strasb. 1788.— Journal du Traitement Mag- 
netique de la Dem. N. &c. par M. Tardy de MontraveL 
Lond. 1786. — Suite du Traitement, &c By the same.— Jour- 
nal du Traitement Magnet de Madame Braun. By the same. 
Strasb. 1787. — Lettre ^ Mad. la Cumtesse de "L, contenant une 
Observation Magnetique, faite par une Somnambule sur un 
Enfant de Six Mois. 1787.— Nouveaux Extraits des Joumaux 
d*un Magnetiseur, &c. Strasb. 1788.-»Faits et Notions Mag- 
netiques. Strasb. 1788.— Journal Magnetique du Traitement 
de Mademoisselle D. et de Madame N. par M. C. de Lyon. 
1789. A great deal of curious information upon this subject 
will be found also in the periodical and other publications of 
those times, but much of it must be received with caution, as 
many fidse and prejudiced views of it were entertained. 


enquire into this subject, consisting of the physi- 
cians, Daubenton, Desperrieres, Mauduyt, Andry, 
Tessier, and Vicq-d' Azyr ; but Mesmer himself, al- 
though he had no objection to receive these gentle- 
men, or any other individuals, as witnesses of his 
treatment, would not agree to the proposed inves- 
tigation, on the ground that it might give him too 
much the appearance of a common mystical em- 
piric. On the other hand, he proposed to the Me- 
dical Faculty, as a test of the superior efficacy of 
his practice, that twenty-four patients should be 
selected from the hospitals, one-half of whom were 
to be treated according to the usual principles of 
medicine, and the other half should be magnetised 
by himself.* This proposal, however, was not ac- 
cepted by the Faculty, who contented themselves 
with commissioning two of their number, MM. 
Andry and Thouret, to investigate the medicinal 
effects of the mineral magnet, a task which these 
gentlemen performed in a very satisfactory man> 

* The same proposal, it is said, has been repeatedly made by 
the Marquis de Puysegur, but it has never been accepted. The 
circumstance is remarkable, as it demonstrates, at least, the 
great confidence which the magnetisers repose in the efficacy 
of their peculiar mode of treatment. 

f See Obaervatiom et Recherches mr futoffe de Paimani en Me' 
deeine, au Menunres sur le Magneiume Medicinal; in the Hieioire 
de la Society R<nfale de Medeoine for the year 1779. Paris, 1782. 


At length, when Animal Magnetism prevailed 
to such an extent in France, as to give occasion to 
many abases of that practice in the hands of the 
ignorant and unskilful, a royal mandate was issued, 
upon the 12th of March 1784, to the Medical Fa- 
culty, requiring them to appoint commissionera to 
investigate the matter. Two commissions were in 
consequence appointed : the one consisting of mem- 


The medicinal efficacy of the mineral magnet seems to have 
been observed in ancient times, and its application, in certain 
diseases, was recommended by Galen and Dioscorides. Borelli 
takes notice of its application in the toothache and ear-ache : 
" Quidam sunt, qui dentiscalpia, auriscalpiaque habent, qusetactu 
solo dolores dentinm, aurium et oculorum tollanf Klarich of 
Gottingen, occupied himself, about the year 1765, with experi- 
ments on the medicinal efficacy of Magnetism. (See the Ha- 
noverian Magazine for 17^5, and the Gottingen Literary Advertiser 
for 1765, 1766. The reader will also find this subject amply 
discussed in the following works : — 

Ludwig, Dissert, de Magnetismo in Corpore Humano. Leip. 

J. C. Unzer, Beschreibung der mit dem Kiinstlichen Magnet 
angestellten Yersuche. Altona, 1775. 

J. F. Bolten, Nachricht von einem mit dem Kiinstlichen 
Magnet gemachten Yersuch in einer Nervenkrankheit. Hamb. 


J. A. Heinsius, Beytrage zutmeinen Yersuchen welche mit 
kiinstlichen Magneten in verschiedenen krankheiten anges- 
tellt worden. Leip. 1776. 

Sammlung der neuesten gedruckten und gescfariebenen Na- 
chrichten von Magnetcuren. Leip. 1776. 

Historia Trismitonici Quadraginta fere Septimanarum a Phi- 
iiatro de Wocher curati. Freiburg, 1778. 

VOL. I, X 


bers of the Academy of Sciences — Franklin, Le 
Roi, Bailly, De Bori, and Lavoisier — and of the 
Medical Faculty — Bovie, and after his death, Ma- 
jault, Sallin, D'Arcet, and Guillotin; the other 
composed of members of the Society of Physicians 
— Poissonier, Desperrieres, Caille, Maudayt, An- 
dry, and Jussieu. 

The result of the investigation by these oommia- 
sioners is well known. They published reports, 
abounding with inconsistencies certainly, but drawn 
up with great art, and, upon the whole, altogether 
unfavourable to the pretensions of Animal Magne- 
tism ; and these reports seem to have satisfied most 
of the scientific men of that period, and have been 
appealed to ever since — more especially in this 
country, where great ignorance of the subject has 
always prevailed — as having set the question, re- 
specting the merits of the magnetic treatment, 
completely at rest. * 

* See Rapport des Commissaires de la Society Royale de 
M^decine, nomm^s par le Roi, pour faire Texamen du Magne- 
tisme AnimaL Paris, 1 784.— Rapport des Commissaires chai]g«s 
par le Rol de I'ezamen du Magnetisme Animal (by M. Baillj.) 
Paris, 1784. — Ejtposi des experiences qui ont M fiiites sur le 
Magnetisme Animal : Lu k TAcademie des Sciences, par M. 
Bailly. Piffis, 1784. — Report of Benjamin Franklin, and other 
Commissioners charged by the King of Fiance with the exami- 
nation of the Animal Magnetism, as nctw practised at Paris : 
translated from the French, with an historical introduction. 
Lond. 1785. 
The following extract from the Report of the Commiasiohers 


The whole of this investigatiouy however, is al- 
leged by the professors of Animal MagQetism, and 
upon good groun4s9 to have been conducted in a 

will sufficientlj shev the object tfae^r appear to have had in 
view, and the method m vrhick the investigation was conducted .* 

1. Le fluide^ que les Commisaaires nomment Fluide magne- 
tique animal, n'eziste pas, car il echappe k tons le aens. , 

2. Ce fluide echappant k tons lea sens, aon exiat^ice ne peut 
etre demonstr6 que par les effets curati& dans le traitement des 
maladies, ou par les effists momentan^s sur Teconemie animale. 
Ilfaut endure de c&t dewf preuwa le iraitemnU dee wtaHadiee^ pome- 
Vtf*t/ ne feutfowmkr que dee reauUata Umjowre ineertuint et eovneni 

3. Les veritablfis preuves, les preuves purement physiques 
de I'existenoe de ce fluide, s<Hit iee effeU tmmimeUsnke mur le cerpt 

Poor s*as8urer de ces eflfet8,,les Commissaires ont fait des 
epreuves: 1. Sur eux-memes; 2. Sur sept makdes; 3. Sur 
quatre peraonnes ; 4. Sur une society aasemblei^ chez M. Frank- 
lin ; & Sur des malades aasembl^s chez M. Jumelin ; B. Avec 
un arbre magnetiafe ; 7- Enfin sur diflerens sujets. 

4. De ces experiences, les Commissaires imt condu, que Tima- 
gination &it tout, que le Magnetismeest nuL Imagination, imi- 
tation, attouchement, telles sont les vrais causes des efiets at- 
tribu6 au Magnetisme AnimaL 

5. Les proced6s du magnetisme etant dang^eux, il suit que 
tout traitement public, oil les mojens du magnetisme seront em- 
ploy^s, ne peut avoir k la longue que des efiets funestes. 

Sudi is the substance of this celebrated report It seems 
quite dear, that these CommisslooeTs were exoeedinglj igno- 
rant of the subject thej were charged to investigate^ and that 
their report was addressed to a public even more ignorant than 
themselves. It would appear, however, that their principal ob- 
ject was to satisfy themselves of the existence or non-existence 
of the alleged nrnffnetio-Jluid^ whidi fluid was never anj thing 
more than a mere hypothesis in the magnetic theories — a gra- 
tuitous assumption oi Mesmer's, in order to enable him to ac- 
count for the pheiKHnena ; and the realitj of these pbenomeaa 


very partial, superficial, and unsatisfactory mari'' 
ner. Franklin is said to have been indisposed at 
the time, and to have paid little attention to the 

being once established, they could be in no d^ree affected by 
the rejection of the supposed agent. The fiu:ts connected with 
the magnetic treatment would still have stood upon t^ same 
footing as thej did previous to the investigation. 

But, in other respects, the method pursued bj the Commis- 
sioners in their inquiries was sufficiently absurd. Every sys- 
tem of doctrine can be legitimately refuted only upon its own 
principles, viz. by disproving its facts, and invalidating the prin- 
ciples deduced firom them. Now, how did the CommissioneFs 
proceed ? It was asserted by the magnetisers, upon alleged ex • 
perience, that the magnetic treatment was of great efficacy in 
the cure of diseases ; but, so &r as I am aware, they never pre- 
tended to say that the effects could be always produced instan- 
taneously. But the Commissioners, with singular inconsisten- 
cy, rejected altogether the proofs resulting from the treatment 
of diseases, for a reason which, if good at all, is equally appli- 
cable to every species of remedial treatment, and would esta- 
blish the utter uncertainty of all medical science, viz. that ^ it 
could only furnish results always uncertain, and frequently fal- 
lacious ;'* and they restricted their investigation to an exami- 
nation of the effects instantaneously produced, which formed no 
part of the magnetic doctrine. 

The Commissioners, however, do not pretend to deny that 
some effects were produced in the course of their experiments, 
which, indeed, is wonderful enough, considering the circum- 
stances in which they were made. But these effects they as- 
cribed to imagination, imitation, and atUmahement — that is to 
say, they attempted to refute one theory by setting up another 
of their own ; and, whether they were right or wrong, is com- 
paratively a matter of little consequence. Tt is the facts, and 
not the opinions of theorists, which are of chief importance 
here, as in all other scientific questions. The reader, however, 
will find some observations in the sequel, which will probably 
convince him, that, in our present more advanced state of know- 
ledge upon this subject, the theory of imagination, imitation. 


proceediDgs. Of the whole commissioDers, the 
learned and intelligent Jussieu, it is stated, took 
the greatest interest in the investigation, and be- 
stowed the greatest attention upon the phenomena 
exhibited; and it is a circamstance rather remark- 
able, that this eminent physician not only refused 
to subscribe the general report drawn up by the 
other commissioners, but published a special re- 
port of his own, in which he presented an entirely 
different view of the matter, and conveyed a much 
more favourable impression with regard to the pre- 
tensions of Mesmer and his disciples.* 

and attouchement^ is utterly untenable, if not manifestly absurd ; 
and, in fact, it has been long since abandoned by all the intelli- 
gent opponents of Magnetispi. 

The dangers attending the empirical and unskilful admini- 
stration of Animal Magnetism are allowed upon all hands — ^by 
the partizans as well as by the opponents of the system ; but this 
observation cannot apply to the treatment, when carefully con- 
ducted under scientific and medical superintendence and con- 
trol ; and, at any rate, it has nothing to do with the truth of 
the &cts, unless, indeed, it be to confirm them. 

It must always be remembered, that the investigation by 
these Commissioners took place at a period when Animal Mag- 
netism was yet in its in&ncy. The processes, as well as the 
effects, were totally difierent then from what they are now. 
An experienced magnetiser of the present day cannot but 
laugh when he finds Magnetism described in the Report of 
these Commissioners, as ^ the art of disposing sensible subjects 
to convulsive motions !** 

* Rapport de tun de$ Commissaires (A L. Jussieu) ohargis 
par U Roi de Fesamen du MagneHsme Animal. Paris, 1784. 
I have been somewhere accused of misrepresenting the ten- 


It 18 well known that these commissioners, in 
general, although men of undoubted learning and 
talents, proceeded to the investigation of Animal 

dency of th& report made by Jussieu. I have not at present 
that document at hand ; but having perused it some years ago? 
I am satisfied of the general correctness of the account I have 
given of it, although the author expresses his sentiments with 
considerable reserve. On turning to Kluge and Deleuze, I find 
that both of these authors speak of it in the same terms. De- 
leuze says, Lea faiU qu*U avoU exaimnii aneo sea eoUeguea kU 
avoient paru offrir dea preuvea certamea de Paction du magneHame. 
In the recent Report of the Committee of the Royal Academj 
of Medicine, Jussieu is alluded to as that ^ one cooscientious 
and enlightened man who had published a report in contradic- 
tion to that of his colleagues." The integrity and manly cou- 
rage displayed by Jussieu upon this occasion, will appear still 
more conspicuous, when it is known that great interest was em- 
ployed, even by the government, to procure his signature to the 
general Report, and to prevent him from publishing lus dissent. 
Since the preceding part of this Note was written, I have 
had an opportunity of again seeing a copy of the Report of M. 
Jussieu, and I find that it completely bcsars out my original re- 
presentation. I appeal to the Report itself in which the learn- 
ed author unequivocally admits the influence of Che magnetic 
action on the human body. Referring to his own experiments, 
M. Jussieu says : '' Ceafaita aorUpeu nombreux et peu vari^ paree- 
qu0 je rCai pu dter que ceux qui etaient bien verijUa^ et sur leaquei 
je n^avaiaaueun doute, Ils suffirskt pour fair admettre 


enumerating those influences by which the human body may be 
affected, the author includes l'action d'un fluide i^mane 
b'un corps SEMBLABLE. If thcse cxpressious do not imply a 
belief of the magnetic action, as asserted by Mesmer and his 
disciples, I confess that I am utterly unable to comprehend 
their meaning. 


Magnetism with miDds strongly prepossessed against 
the subject of inquiry* It is certain, too, that they 
did not possess a sufficiently intimate knowledge 
of that subject, to enable them to conduct their 
researches with the requisite skill and judgment. 
They did not, however, pretend to deny altogether 
the effects produced by the magnetic treatment, 
imperfectly as it would appear to have been ap- 
plied ; and this is a circumstance of considerable 
importance. But, as the fluid which Mesroer and 
his friends alleged to be active in the process could 
not be physically exhibited, they conceived them- 
selves justified in denying its existence— -probably 
upon the principle, that de non apparentibusy et non 
existentibu9y eadem esi ratio — and in ascribing tbe 
phenomena which they did observe to sensitive ex- 
citement, imagination, and imitation. The commit* 
sioners, then, admitted that certain effects were 
produced by the magnetic processes which they at- 
tempted ; and they even put forth a theory to ac- 
count for the phenomena. But this theory must 
just take its place at the side of all the others 
which have been formed upon the same subject ; 
and it must be ultimately received or rejected, ac* 
cording as it shall be found to be confirmed or re- 
futed by experience. * 

* The following drcumstanceflwill shew the spirit in whtdi 
the French Academicians, and other wise men of that period, 
contemplated the subject of Animal Magnetism. 


At the period, indeed, when these commissioners 
instituted their investigation, the principles of Ani- 
mal Magnetism were but imperfectly known. They 
appear to have been almost entirely ignorant of the 
conditions of the treatment. They were not in- 
formed of the great influence of volition in deter- 
mining and regulating the efficacy of the magne- 
tic process, and that the external means employed, 
although frequently useful, are not absolutely es- 
sential, but merely instrumental and accessory, 
and may sometimes be altogether dispensed with. 
They do not seem to have been aware that we 
cannot always be assured of the magnetic influence 
by effects instantaneously produced. In short, they 
ought previously to have studied the subject more 
profoundly ; to have multiplied their experiments, 
and taken full time to consider the nature of the 

Soon afler the Commissioners had made their report, M. 
Thouret published his book, entitled, Recherches et doutes sur le 
Magnetisme Animal, in which he proposed to investigate the 
subject, not with a view to ascertain the reality of the alleged 
facts, or the truth of the doctrine, but to point out — ^its poliHcal 
and moral rekUions ! In the approbation given to the work of 
M. Thouret by the Royal Society of Medicine, they state that 
they had perceived with considerable anxiety the vogue which 
Animal Magnetism had acquired ; that they were much dis- 
pleased that its processes, good or bad, had been administered 
to patients, without having been previously submitted to them 
for their approval, conform to the orders of government ; and 
that they considered it one of their duties to protest against 
such an abuse. From such prejudiced judges what could have 
been expected ? 


phenomena, instead of pronouncing an inconside- 
rate and hasty decision upon a very superficial and 
imperfect examination. 

The experiments, too, were conducted, not un- 
der the superintendence of Mesmer himself^ but of 
his pupil D'Eslon, who afterwards protested against 
the Reports of the Commissioners,* as did also 
several other professors of Animal Magnetism; 
among whom M. Bonnefoy distinguished himself 
by an ingenious analysis of these Reports, in which 
he shewed that the Commissioners had been guilty 
of a number of errors and contradictions.-!- 

A variety of other publications appeared, about 
this period, for and against the practice of Animal 
Magnetism ;* and at length Macquart and Brieude 
endeavoured to give a final blowtomagneticscience, 
in the article Imagination^ in the Enq/chpedie Me- 
thodique de Medecine. 

The facts, however, which the new system of 
treatment almost daily disclosed, were much too 
numerous, too unambiguous, and too firmly esta- 
blished, to be overthrown even by the united force 

* ObservaUoHS sur les deuz Rapports de M.M» lea Commitsaires 
nomm^ par sa Majesti pour Vexamen du MagneHsme Animal^ par 
M. d'£8lon. 1784. 

f Andlyae Raisonnee des Rapports, &c par J. B. Bonnefoy. 

X A list of the most important of these publications will he 
given in the Appendix. 


of learniDg, prejudice, ingeDuity, ridicole, invec 
tive, and persecution. Accordingly, the subject of 
Animal Magnetism continued to occasion much 
controversy in France, nntil, upon the breaking 
out of the revolution, other interests than those of 
science almost entirely absorbed the public atten- 
tion. It was still practised, however, as a reme- 
dial art, in some of the provinces of that kingdom, 
where schools were formed, and societies establish- 
ed, for its cultivation and iminrovement. 

In the year 1787, Lavater,* the celebrated phy- 
siognomist, imparted the system of Animal Mag- 


netism, as improved by Puy8egnr,f to the physi- 

* It would appear that Lavater had been originally a disbe- 
liever in regard to the magnetic doctrines, until h^ had an op- 
portunity of satisfying himself hy experiments. The mystical 
views, then combined with the practice of the system, were well 
calculated to make a profound impression upon a mind so en- 
thusiastic as his. Some curious letters, upon this subject, ad- 
dressed by him to his friend Spalding, have been preserved in 
the 8th volume of Eschenmayer's Archiv fur den Thieriscken 

t Next to Mesmer, the original discoverer, Animal Magne- 
tism, perhaps, lies under the greatest obligations to the Marquis 
de Puysegur, especially for the very interesting observations 
which he made and published upon the phenomena of the na- 
tural and of the magnetic somnambulism. His principal works 
upon this subject are, Memoires pour servir k THistoire et k 
PEstablissementduMagnetisme Animal, 3d edit. Paris, 1820. 

^Du Magnetisme Animal, consider^ dans ses Rapports avec 

diverses branches de la Physique general 2d edit. Paris, 
1809. — Recherches, experiences, et observations Physiologiques 


eians, Bickers, Olbers, and Wienholt,* in Bremen ; 
and, about the same time, Boeckmann and Gntielin 
received it directly from Strasburg. It was owing 
principally to the zeal, ability, and industry of those 
learned and most respectable physicians, that the 
magnetic treatment was revived in Germany, where 
it has continued to flourish ever since in the bands 
of many intelligent adherents, and under the direct 
countenance and protection of some of the local 
governments. Besides a great variety of learned 
works upon this subject, which have appeared with, 
out intermission,-|- there are several Journals, both 

sur r homme dans Tetat de Somnambulisme naturel, et dans le 
Somnambulisme provoqu6 par Facte Magnetique. Paris, 1811. 

* Wienholt, for a considerable period, would not listen to any 
aigument in fiivour of the magnetic treatment. At length, 
however, he was induced to make some experiments upon his 
patients, the success of which made him a complete and a sin- 
cere convert. He is the author of some valuable works upon 
the subject. The most use^l is that entitled, Heilkraft des 
Thierischen Magnetismusnach eigenen fieobachtungen. Lemgo, 
1802; 4 vols. 8vo. 

Wienholt is, undoubtedly, one of the most sober and sensible 
writers on Animal Magnetism. His experiments were made 
with great caution, and all his observations breathe the spirit of 
perfect honesty, candour, and conscientieusness. His pre&ce 
to the work above mentioned is Kii considerable importance to 
the early history of the progress of the magnetic treatment. 

f The best elementary publications on Animal Magnetism 
are probably, Kluge, in Grerman, and Deieume in French, ftom 
both of whom I have not hesitated to borrow liberally. The 


in France and in Germany, entirely and exclusive- 
ly devoted to the phenomena and the theory of 
Animal Magnetism ; in which the cases falling un- 
der that system of treatment are regularly record*- 
ed, in the same manner as other important facts 
which are observed in medical practice.* 

Meanwhile, Mesmer seems to have withdrawn 
in disgust from that theatre, upon which he had 
hitherto acted so conspicuous a part. He retired 
to his native country, Switzerland, where he is said 
to have continued the practice of the magnetic 
treatment privately, for the benefit of the poor, 
until the period of his death, which took place up- 
on the 5th of March 1815, at Meersburg on the 
Lake of Constance, at the advanced age of eighty- 
one years. As a proof of his sincere belief in the 
efficacy of the remedy which he himself had dis- 

latest, and most comprehensive, systematic work in German on 
the subject, so far as I am aware, is Professor Kieser's System 
des Tellufismus, oder Thiensohen Magnetismus, Leips. 1822. 2 
vols, large 8vo. 

* Among the most distinguished of thes« Journals may be 
reckoned the Bibliotheque du Magnettsme Animal, published at 
Paris since the year ISl?* instead of the Annates du Magnettsme 
Animai, which it replaced; the Archivfur den Thierischen Mag- 
netUmus, edited by the Professors Eschenmayer, Kieser, Nasse, 
and Nees von Esenbeck, and published at Leipsic; and the 
Jahrbucherfur den Lebens-Magnetismus, edited by Professor Wol- 
fart of Berlin, and published also at Leipsic. I have not re- 
cently ascertained whether all or any of these are still in pro- 
gress. They constitute a vast repertory of fiu:ts. 


covered, it may be remarked, that he not only con- 
tinued the practice of Animal Magnetism among 
the poor in his neighbourhood, during his retire- 
ment, but that he submitted to the magnetic treat- 
ment in his last illness, and experienced from it 
great relief. 

During the active period of bis career, Mesmer 
was exposed to a great deal of odium, and his cha- 
racter was frequently assailed by the most oppro- 
brious aspersions. But the important and now 
generally recognised facts which he elicited by his 
practice, prove that he was no impostor. He ap- 
pears to have been constitutionally disposed to 
mysticism ; he paraded his discovery in all the 
trappings of quackery ; and his natural vanity con- 
stantly led him not only to magnify his own merit, 
but to treat his opponents — nay, even his profes- 
sional brethren iii general — with a presumptuous 
contempt, which they could not fail to resent. 
Yet he seems to have been perfectly sincere in the 
doctrines which he professed, and honest in the de- 
tail of that experience upon which his theory was 
founded. In testimony of his liberality, it is worthy 
of notice, that, although during the course of his 
busy life he had ample opportunities of acquiring 
great wealth, and was reported by his adversaries 
to be of an avaricious disposition, his whole for- 
tune, at the time of his death, was found not to ex- 


ceed 10,000 francs. His loss was much lamented, 
especially by the poor in his neighbourhood, who 
had regarded him, for a long period, as their father 
and their physician.* 

However probable it may be that Mesmer had 
perused the writings of those more ancient authors 
4 to whom I have referred in this work, and that 
from them he derived the idea of his theory of na- 
ture, there still remains to him, in the language of 
one of his most faithful and intelligent disciples, 
the unquestionable and enduring merit of one of 
the greatest and most beneficial discoveries ; and it 
argues a mean and ungrateful spirit to attempt to 
diminish the honour to which he is so deservedly 
entitled. ^^He raised one corner of the curtain 
behind which Nature conceals her secrets. Envy 
perceives, acknowledges, and admires the wonders 

* In an historical sketch of Animal Magnetism by M. de Lau- 
sanne, published in the Annalet du MagneHsme AninuU^ it is said 
that Mesmer refused the offer of a yearly pension of 30,000 
Unresy made to him by the king of France through the minister 
Maurepas, because his own pecuniary interest was a secondary 
object with him, and he wished first to have his discovery for- 
mally recognised and sanctioned by authority. His answer was: 
— Les offres qui me sont fidtes me semblent pecher, en ce qu'elles 
presentent mon interet pecuniaire, et non Timportance de ma 
decouverte, comme objet principal. La question doit etre abso- 
lument envisaged en sens contraire ; car sans ma decoverte, ma 
personne n'est rien. This is not the language of avaiice. It is 
also said to have been in consequence of I)*£slon's breach of 
confidence that Mesmer was induced to sell his secret. 


of somnambulism, which scepticism had previous* 
ly denied and rejected as phantasms and chimeras. 
Incredulity can now no longer wrench the victory 
from truth, but it tears the palm of merit in pieces, 
because it has not &llen to its own share. In its 
meanness it cannot elevate itself to the greatness 
of the man ; therefore it endeavours to draw bim 
down beneath its own level, in order still to be 
above him. Mesmer expresses himself, upon this 
subject, with great truth and dignity : ^ As long,' 
says he, ^ as any discoveries were viewed as chime- 
ras, the incredulity of certain learned men left me 
in undisturbed possession of them ; but since they 
have been compelled to acknowledge their reality, 
they have laboured to place in opposition to me the 
works of antiquity, in which the words, untverwU 
fluidi Magnetism, if^uences, &c. are to be found. 
The question, however, is not about words, but 
about things, and tbe i^es to which we apply them/ 
Who before Mesmer knew any thing of the pecu- 
liar method of operating upon others, which he 
discovered, and of the art of producing such re- 
markable phenomena as are manifested in somnam- 
bulism, which he taught us ? Was not every thing 
that writing or tradition related of this subject as 
true, considered as fieibulous or absurd ? Do we 
not owe all that we now know of it, were it ever 
ao little and unsatisfactory, to Mesmer ? What 


can those, who distingaish so sharply between 
Magnetism and Mesmerism, who give out, under 
new names (Siclensm and TeUurism)^ the signifi* 
cant notions of this man as discoveries of their own, 
or really correct one or two trivial errors — ^what 
can they answer, when they are asked who it was 
that made them acquainted with all that they know 
of Magnetism, who rendered them so wise as to be 
capable of justly censuring its discoverer in one 
thing or another? The Pigmy stands upon the 
shoulders of the Giant, looks down upon him with 
contempt, and exclaims — How tall am I ! Those 
ideas of the ancients may have given to his mind 
the first impulse, the direction, — may have conduct- 
ed him, upon the untrodden path, to the end to- 
wards which he strove, and which he attained. 
But, admitting that Mesmer derived the first idea 
of his theory and art either in Maxwell, or in any 
other forgotten author, would that circumstance 
derogate from his fame ? All great men who have 
lived, or who now live, have been indebted for their 
knowledge to teachers and to books ; they increas- 
ed that knowledge by their own experience and re- 
flection. But can we justly deny them respect and 
merit, because the foundation was laid by others ? 
No one would think of refusing to Boerhaave the 
honourable name of one of the greatest of physi- 
cians, because he derived his knowledge from the 


writings of Galen and Hippocrates, or esteem the 
last mentioned as an insignificant empiric, because 
he copied the prescriptions in the temples of health, 
and is thus said to have become the father of pub- 
lic medicine. Who will deny to Newton the fame 
of having discovered the law of gravitation, because 
Gilbert had previously alluded to it, by viewing 
the heavenly bodies as immense magnets which at- 
tracted and repelled each other, and, by their re- 
ciprocal influence, were retained in their orbits ? 
Who will venture the ridiculous assertion, that 
Columbus did not discover a new quarter of the 
globe, because America was previously known to 
its inhabitants; or that Aeronautics are no new 
invention, because Icarus had already flown over 
lands and seas on waxen wings ? 

^^ To Mesmer, therefore, there must ever remain 
the originality of his genius and of his invention. 
He collected and combined the scattered threads 
which, in the labyrinth of ages and events, con- 
duct us to the spot where the knowledge of the sa- 
native instinct in diseases, and the art of develop- 
ing it by means of processes which are in them- 
selves restorative, lay sunk and concealed under 
the ruins of the temples. He called it again into 
light, and to it we are indebted for an extended 
science, clearer prospects into the depths of Nature 

VOL. I. Y 



and the obscurity of the past ; while we had pre- 
viously been accustomed to deny as impossible, and 
therefore to reject as absurd, all that individuals 
had reported of it, because we were yet ignorant 
of the means and the conditions. A great deal of 
sound sense and moral courage are required to in- 
troduce ideas which will only be recognized as just 
after the elapse of many years. Nay, even to re- 
cognise their truth will require more understand- 
ing than falls to the share of most men. If there 
be any one to whom this assertion appears harsh 
or offensive, he is at liberty to avail himself of the 
right, competent to all, of considering himself as 
an exception.*** 

Such are the claims of Mesmer to public respect 
and gratitude. Let us remember, that ^* the most 
arduous scientific labours and the most important 
discoveries have been achieved by men who have 
looked forward to neglect, contempt, and persecu- 
tion through life, and have triumphantly endured 
all, in the assurance that their fame, phoenix-like, 
would spring forth in full splendour from their 
humble ashes. It would seem that God has im- 
planted in the noblest spirits of bis human family 
a consciousness of immortality, a certainty that 
from their Elysian home they shall see justice 

* Br J. C L. ZiERMAKN ; GeschichtHche Dartkllung des 
Thiertschen MagneHsmus^ &c. pp. 225> &c. 


awarded ; shall hear the voice of their praise ; shall 
be cheered by the gratitude and love of coming 
generations; shall behold the ever ripening harvest 
of their labours and their virtues. Posthumous 
fame is a meed which posterity ought diligently 
to award when deserved/'* 

The time has surely now arrived, when well- 
merited, although tardy, justice ought to be done 
to the character and labours of the calumniated 
and persecuted discover of Animal Magnetism. 

• American Monthly Review. 

( 260 ) 


After the retirement of Mesmer, the professors 
of Animal Magnetism, in France, became divided 
into three different schools, varying considerably 
from each other in their respective modes of treat- 

The original school of Mesmer, whose chief seat 
was at Paris, operated principally by physitsal 
means ; by touching, rubbing, and pressure with 
the hand, or by the employment of metal conduc- 
tors. His disciples made use of magnetic vessels 
(baquets*) and trees, and magnetized baths ; they 
recommended the drinking of magnetized water, 
and the carrying of magnetized plates of glass up- 
on the stomach ; and, in general, their treatment 
was calculated to produce strong crises and reac- 
tions in their patients. They regarded the con- 
vulsions which ensued as a remedial process of na- 
ture ; and, accordingly, they endeavoured to bring 

* The laquet was a kind of covered tub, filled with water, 
iron, glass, &c. which was supposed to contain the magnetic in- 
fluence ; and cords were attached to this vessel, for the purpose 
of conducting the magnetic virtue to the patients under treat- 


them on by artificial means, and called them crises. 
As the first and great object, therefore, in every 
magnetic treatment, was to produce such crises, 
certain rooms, called chambres de criscy were fitted 
up for the purpose ; apartments of which the walls 
and floors were covered with matrasses and cu- 
shions, to prevent the convulsive patients from in- 
juring themselves in the access of their crises. 
Mesmer's idea, that light and sound are peculiarly 
favourable to the magnetic process, has been al- 
ready noticed. 

A second school was established at Lyons and 
Ostend, under the direction of the Chevalier Bar- 
barin, who adopted a mode of treatment totally 
different from the preceding. 

The school of Barbarin operated in a purely psy- 
chical manner, admitting no other agents in the 
magnetic process than^ai^A and volition. For this 
reason, its disciples were distinguished by the name 
of the Spiritualists, They practised no particular 
manipulations ; any physical operations which they 
admitted being considered as merely accessory, or 
auxiliary, and by no means essential to the success 
of the treatment. They endeavoured, therefore, 
to produce all the phenomena of Animal Magnet- 
ism in their patients, by firm determination, and 
by the energy of tlie operator's volition, even at 


considerable distances. Their motto was : VeuiUez 
le bien — allez et guerissez ! 

The third school was established under the di- 
rection of the Marquis de Puyse^r, at Sirasburg, 
under the name of the Societi Harnumique des mnis 
retmis. It was distinguished not only by the ad<- 
mirable adaptation of its constitution, but prinoi* 
pally by combining, in a happy manner, the phy- 
sical and psychical treatment, and thus steering a 
middle course between the schools of Mesmer and 
Barbarin. The chambres de crise — or chambres 
d^enfer^ as Puys^ur called them — were entirely 
banished from this excellent institution ; and the 
whole magnetic treatment was conducted in a 
manner the best calculated to insure the repose 
and comfort of the patients. * The manipulations, 

• Kluge gives great credit to Puysegur for abolishing the 
chambres de crise. Other professors of Animal Magnetism, how- 
ever, and among these Van Ghert and Ziermann, look upon 
this matter in a quite different light, and, with Mesmer, consi- 
der the crises, when skilfully regulated, as highly salutary. Up- 
on this subject, Ziermann makes the following judicious obser- 
vations: ^ Nature cures many diseases only by means of crises, 
that is, in the meaning in which the word is here used, by vio- 
lent efforts. In general, it is only the physician who is capable 
of distinguishing this crisis from the disease itsel£ His im- 
portant business is to manage, to moderate, to increase it, ac- 
cording to the nature and necessity of the case. Puysegur, 
Deleuze, and the other respectable French magnetisers, are not 
physicians— they dread that tumult which they are incapable 
of controlling — that activity which they cannot direct and re- 



when employed, were extremely gentle ; and the 
hands, instead of being brought into contact ^iHlth 

gulate. Thej are right, and act prudently, in not attempting 
to excite powers which thej cannot govern. But the physician 
is in a quite different situation. He knows what diseases are 
cured hy Nature through similar efforts : he moderates or 
avoids them altogether, when it is desirable to do so ; but in 
cases where a contrary procedure is indicated, he excites them 
with courage and caution. It is a peculiarity of the magnetic 
treatment, however, that it promotes those crises, developes 
them earlier, and in a more lively manner, and thus brings the 
disease sooner to a termination. These are advantages which 
it possesses in a degree beyond all other means. He who re- 
presents these artificial crises, in general, as injurious, and on 
this account reprobates and rejects them, is ignorant of the very 
essence and advantages of Magnetism ; and instead of render- 
ing it more practically useful, he, by the dissemination of such 
representations, diminishes the benefits which its application is 
peculiarly calculated to afford.** Hippocrates has a somewhat 
similar idea : Ars mediea ab eo ^uod molettum est liberaty et id^ ex 
quo quis tBgrotat^ aitferendOy saniiaiem reddit. Idem et natura 
per se facere novit. 

The foregoing views of Dv Ziermann might be co^rmed by 
the authority of our own most learned and respectable physicians. 
I shall only make the following quotation from the late excel- 
lent work of Dr Abercrombie On the Brain : **• A man mention- 
ed by Dr Bussell {Land, Med. Obs. and Eng, voL L), after an 
apoplectic attack, with hemipleg^ recovered the use of his arm 
in six weeks, but the lower extremity remained perfectly para- 
lytic. After twelve months, in which he made no improvement, 
he was one day astonished to find that he had some degree of 
motion of the leg, but it continued only a few minutes. [On the 
same evening he had headach, and in the night he urns seized with 
a sort of fit, in iehioh the paralytic limb vms strongly convulsed^ and 
after this he had tiight power of tnoving it. The fit returned next day, 
and again in the night, and then left him completely free from para- 
lysis and in perfect health : he had continued well for eight years 


the patient, were frequently kept at some distance 
from him. lu consequence of this mode of treat- 
ment, there ensued crises of a quite different kind 
from those which were known to Mesmer and his 

at the time when the account was written. A case somewhat 
similar, though of shorter standing, occurred to a friend of mine. 
A middle-aged man was suddenly attacked with hemiplegia 
and loss of speech, while he was using violent exercise in walk- 
ing quick or running; all the usual practice was employed with- 
out any improvement for a month ; the parcUytic limbs then be- 
came one day suddenly convuUedy and when this subsided, the para- 
lysis was gone. In a woman mentioned by Dr Home (Clinical 
Experiments ), hemiplegia of considerable standing was removed by 
an attack of fever. '^ A man mentioned by Mr Squire (PhilosO' 
phioal Transactions, voL 45.), without any previous complaint, 
except a cold, suddenly lost his speech. He had no other para- 
lytic symptom, and was otherwise in good health, but continued 
perfectly speechless for four years. He was in general a man 
of temperate habits, but having at this time been one evening 
much intoxicated, he fell from his horse three or four times on 
his return home, and was at last taken into a house near the 
road, and put to bed. He soon fell asleep, and had a frightful 
dream, during which, struggling with all his might to call out 
for help, he did call out, and from that time recovered his speech 

'^ Several cases still more remarkable are related by Diemer- 
broek {Observat et Curat. Medica, Obs. x.) A woman, who had 
been paralytic from the age of six to forty -four, suddenly reco- 
vered the perfect use of her limbs, when she was very much 
terrified during a severe thunder-storm, and was making vio- 
lent efforts to escape from a chamber in which she had been 
left alone. A man, who had been many years paralytic, reco- 
vered in the same manner, when his house was on fire ; and an- 
other, who had been ill for six years, recovered suddenly, in a 
violent paroxysm of anger.'* — ^Abercrombie On the Brain, 3d 
edit. pp. 293-294. 


immediate disciples: the most agreeable feelings 
were experienced; the intellectual faculties ap- 
peared to be wonderfully increased and exalted, 
and, in the higher stages, the patient exhibited a 
very delicate knowledge of his own bodily state, 
as well as of the internal condition of such other 
patients as were placed in magnetic connexion fen 
rapport J with him. 

This improved treatment, introduced by Puy- 
segur, was subsequently adopted, in a great mea- 
sure, by all the best magnetizers, and even, it ha9 
been said, by Mesmer himself. It is to the same 
most intelligent magnetizer, too, that we are prin- 
cipally indebted for the discovery of the magnetic 
Somnambulism, and of its singular phenomena. 

I am not aware that any particular school of 
Animal Magnetism predominates in Germany. In 
that country, however, the practice of the art is 
very generally diffused — many scientific and prac- 
tical works upon the subject have been published 
— the treatment is almost universally employed 
and recommended by the most intelligent physi- 
eians — much attention is bestowed upon the mag- 
netic phenomena, and great ingenuity is displayed 
in the formation of theories to account for them. 

After the preceding historical sketch of the dis- 
covery of Animal Magnetism, and of its general 

VOL. I. z 


introduetioxi upon the Condiieiil, it will appear ne- 
cessary) for die benefit of those who may not hither- 
to have had an opportunity of studying the subject^ 
or of obtaining any correct information i*e8pecting 
it, that I should make a few observations upon the 
magnetic power and susceptibility — the peculiar 
method of treatment — and the effects produced 
upon the organization of the patient. * 

It is alleged by some that every individual does 
not possess the capability of operating magnetically 
upon others; and that even he who does possess 
lite power in some degree, will not always operate 
beneficially, f Certain properties, partly physical 

* It would swell out this publication to. a most inconve- 
nient bulk, were I to enter into any minute detail upon these 
particulars. All that I can afford is a general view of every 
branch of the subject, leaving it to the inquisitive reader to 
prosecute his researches, by consulting the authors I have re- 
ferred to. To professional men this will be sufficient ; and the 
less that unprofessional persons meddle with the practice of 
Animal Magnetism the better. Indeed, after the publication 
of the first edition of this work, had the Faculty taken up the 
investigation of the subject, as they ought to have done, I pro- 
posed to have confined my attention thenceforward entirely to 
a consideration of the philosophical views suggested by the phe- 
nomena. It is owing to the intellectual sloth of the profession 
that I became, and continue to be, an interloper. 

f The following, however, is the opinion of a competent 
authority : '' Every healthy man has the power of communi- 
cating the vital fluid ; the more healthy he is, the sounder his 
constitution, the more capable he is of communicating it. The 
opposite of these conditions produces contrary effects. This 


and partly psychical, are said to be requisite in the 
practical magoetizer ; and the fortunate combina- 
tion of these properties may, in most cases, be con* 
sidered as a gift of nature. There is a nmilar in- 
equality in the susceptibility of patients-— son» be- 
ing not at all, others very slightly, and others, 
again, very easily tind powerfully affected by the 
magnetic treatment. In general, strong and healthy 
persons exhibit little susceptibility; while wedc and 
diseased persons are strongly affected in various 
ways. * 

With r^ard to physical constitution, experienoe 
seems to havo demonstrated, what might otherwise 

fluid is transmitted by means of very rimple processed, and even 
%rithout thcar aid, by the sole act of the wilL Tfae>act of the 
will is not necessary to receive it. It is transmitted the more 
easily, in proportion as the will of the operator is real, strong, 
and determined. It will, perhaps, be with difficulty believed, 
that the communication of the fluid^ift more or less complete, 
according to the degree in which the will of the operator is more 
or less developed ; but daily experience has enabled us to per- 
ceive, that, in order to produce the desired efiects, an adept has 
been obliged to learn to exert his will, as a child is obliged to 
learn to walk." — Memoire sur le Fluide FUal, &c. in the 2d vo- 
lume of the Biblioiheque du MagneHtme Animal, 

* To some of these circumstances, perhaps, we may ascribe 
the confirmed scepticism c^ certain persons, who have made tri- 
vial and unskilful attempts to bring the magnetic doctrines to 
the test of experiment They do not reflect, that the magnetic 
action, and, consequently, the manifestation of the phenomena, 
depend upon certain conditions, and that, if these conditions «re 
not fulfilled in the treatment, it is in vain to expect any satis- 
fiictory result 


have appeared agreeable to analogy, that tLe mag- 
netizer ought to possess a preponderance of energy- 
over his patient. A few instances, indeed, have 
been observed, in which weak persons have mag- 
netized with effect. But such exceptions are said 
to be extremely rare ; and Wienholt attempts to 
account for them upon the principle, that, in such 
subjects, the vital energy has a greater tendency 
to the surface, and therefore a more diffusive effi- 

The magnetizer ought to possess not merely a 
strong natural constitution, but also a sound state 
of bodily health. A magnetizer affected with sick- 
ness will not only operate imperfectly, but, besides, 
runs the risk of communicating his diseased feel- 
ings to the patient, and of thus increasing those 
sufferings which it is his purpose to alleviate. The 
age of the magnetizer, too, is said to be a matter of 
considerable importance. The proper age is that 
in which the corporeal and mental powers have at^ 
tained their utmost development, and before they 
have begun to decline; and the doctrinal writers 
have therefore fixed it within the period between 
the twenty-fifth and fiftieth years. To these phy- 
sical qualifications must be added the psychical, 
consisting of a sound and energetic mind, a lively 
faith, and a determined, despotic volition. 

It has been observed, that different persons are 



T > ' 

variously 8usce|)tife9e of the magnetic influence. 
This circumstance will be best understood when 
we come to speak of the effects produced by the 

The magnetic treatment is either simple or com- 
pound. In the former case, the magnetizer ope- 
rates solely by himself; in the latter, he makes use 
of certain external media. The simple magnetic 
treatment is usually administered with the hand, 
and is thence called manipulation. But the mag- 
netizer can also operate without employing the 
hand — by breathing, or by fixing the eyes or the 
thoughts, or both, steadily and intensely upon the 
patient. When the magnetic connexion has been 
previously established, a single fixed look of the 
magnetizer, accompanied with energetic volition, 
has frequently been found sufficient to throw the 
patient into the state of magnetic sleep, or som- 

The magnetic treatment by manipulation com- 
prehends several modes of touching and stroking 
with the hand, which could not be described here 
particularly without leading us into prolixity.* 

* I have had several queries addressed to me, both by profes- 
sional and by unprofessional persons, relative to these modes of 
manipulating; but the inquirers may easily satisfy themselves 
by consulting the works I have referred to. For my own part, 
I am not disposed to assign the preference to any particular 
method, especially, since all have been occasionally employed 
with success, and the effects have been frequently produced 


The usual mediod is to stroke repeatedly with 
the palms of the hands and the fingers, in one di- 
rection downwards, from the head to the feet; and, 
in returning, to throw the hands round in a semi* 
oirole, turning the palms outwards, in order not to 
disturb the e£fects of the direct stroke. To mag- 
netize in the contrary direction— that is, from^e 
feet upwards towards the head— HMt only oouirter^ 
acts the effects of the former method, but vfreqoent- 
ly operates, of itself, prejudicially, especially in the 
case of irritable subjects. If we attempt to operate 
with the back of the hand, no effect whatever- will 
probably be produced upon the patient. 

If, in the course of this process, the hands or 
fingers of the operator are made actually to touch 
the body of the patient^ it is called manipulation 
with contact ; if, on the contrary, the operation is 
conducted at some distance, it is called manipula- 
tion in distans. The manipulation with contact is 
of two kinds ; It is accompanied either with consi- 
derable pressure, or with slight touching — manipu- 
lation with 9^trong or with Ught contact The ma- 
nipulation with strong contact is certainly 'the most 
aocient and <the most universally prevalent mode 
of operating; and traces of it are to be found in 

without any manipulation at all. The manipulations I should 
consider chiefly useful in fixing theattentioU;, and strengthening 
the will. 


almost all ages and countries. In manipulatiiig 
with light oontact, the band) indeed, is conducted 
very lightly along Ae body of the patient ; but the 
magnetiEer must perform this operation with the 
utmost enei^, and must always have ihe desire of 
applying strong pressure to it. 

The manipullUion in distans is. administered at a 
distance of generally from two to six inches from 
the patient^e body ; in the case of very susceptible 
persons, it is performed at. a still ;gv«ater distanoa 
The effects of this mode of manipulating are less 
intense than those produced by actual oonlact, 
and, besides, it requires a greater ^necgy^^of voli^ 
tion on the partof^hemagnetkBer. It 'is,bowever, 
frequei^ly employed in roagnetirang very inilaUe 
patients, who caimot endnre any stronger me- 

It would be tedious to enumente and deaeiribe 
all the various kinds of manipulation, with r^ard 
to which tbereader will receive ample informatioti 
by consulting the elementary works upon this «ab« 
ject. All of these^ however, may he combined X»* 
geth^ in the magnetic treatment, or eiKq[iloyed 

* Wienholt, however, observed several cases, in which the 
patients could not endttre the manipulation in dbttans. (See 
Heilkrqfij &c. vol i. p. 292, ei teg. voL iL p. 349, and vol iSi. 
pp. 1 18, 1 19.) Kluge observed the same thing in one of his pa- 
tients, but could not discover the jreason of it. (Kluge f p. 387, 
note c) 


separately, according to circumstances. Much, 
of course, must depend upon the skill and jodg- 
ment of the magnetizer, who will vary his modes 
of operating according to the effects produced, 
and the degree of sensibility exhibited by the pa- 

I must not, however, pass unnoticed the method 
of administering Animal Magnetism adopted and 
recommended by Professor Kluge, in whose work 
the whole process is described with great minute- 

Before commencing the magnetic manipulations, 
it is necessary that the magnetizer and the patient 
should be conveniently placed ; in order that the 
former may be enabled freely to perform his ope^ 
rations, and the latter prepared for the expected 
crisis of sleep. A semi-recumbent posture of the 
patient is, upon the whole, the most convenient, 
the body being, at the same time, so far bent, that 
the operator can reach, without difficulty, from the 
crown of the head to the toes. Should the patient 
be unable to leave his bed, we must endeavour to 
place him in a proper bended position. It is not 
necessary that the patient should be completely 
undressed, only no silk covering should be allowed 
to intervene. 

* See C. A. F. Klup^e, Versuoh einer Daratellung des AnimaH' 
schen MagneHsmuSy &c. Berlin, 1815. 


The best situation, perhaps, in which a magnetic 
patient can be placed, is in an easy arm-chair, with 
his hands resting on the arms, his feet upon a foot- 
stool, and his knees bant somewhat forward. The 
maghetizer then places himself upon a common 
chair, opposite to the patient, and so near as to be 
able to enclose his knees within his own, but with- 
out designedly touching them. 

When the magnetizer has thus placed the patient 
and himself in the most convenient attitude, be 
proceeds to the manipulations, which are distin- 
guished into the preparatory and the effective. The 
preparatory manipulations were formerly called 
placing in connexion or affinity (mettre en rapport^ 
en harmonic) ; denoting that they were employed 
for the purpose of establishing such a sympathy 
between the nervous systems of the magnetizer 
and the patient, as should render the subsequent 
operations more certain and effectual. 

Some magnetizers, and amongst others Wienholt, 
it is said, proceeded at once to the effective treat- 
ment, without any preparation. Kluge, however, 
strongly recommends a contrary method, and, ap- 
parently, with good reason; because, otherwise, 
especially in the case of very irritable patients, the 
preparatory manipulations enable them to endure 
the more effective manipulations, which, without 


fluek preparation^ it is alleged, mi^it be very piun- 
All. . 

The preparatory manipulations are performed in 
the following manner. The operator lays hold of 
the: shoulders of the patient with both his hands, in 
such a manner that the balh of his thumbs are 
]daoed in thetaitm-^Hte, ^aad the other fingers rest 
upon the shoulders of the .patieiit. In ithis^ipesition 
hr cDBtinueB fcx'SLSew aBoarab, «eaceites in Jiimself 
the inteation of pressing the shoulders togethei:^ 
aoatd ifaen lajrii^ hold of thsupper part of the arms, 
giides/down to the dhows, tarries therefor a little, 
and then proceeds down to the iiands, where he. sp^ 
pKes die points of his thumbs to those of the pi^ 
timt, .and aUowsthe odror -fingers to i^st .iqion the 
back of his hands. He then returns, by means 
of the dorsal manipulation (i. e. the hands being 
throTm round in a semicircle, in the fmanner^- 
ready described), to the shoulders, and r^atsthe 
some operation two or three times;- aiber which be 
commences the effectivemanipnlationB, of which « 
gvsneral description has already been given. 

No iperson ought to attempt the magnetic ^tveat^ 
ment, unless he has complied with the requisite 
eonditions, or without baring previoudy prc^red 
himself by an attentive study of the best works 
which have been vmtten on the subject by practi* 


cal authors, such as those of Tardy du MoDtravel> 
Puysegur, Gmelin, Heinecken, Wienholt, Deleuze, 
Kluge, &c. in order that he may thoroughly under- 
stand the proper methods, and profit by their ex- 
perience, when analogous cases occur in his owo 

( 276 ) 


The effects produced upon the organism of the 
patient, by the operations described in the preced- 
ing chapter, are truly wonderful ; and, considering 
the apparent inadequacy of the means employed, 
can scarcely be expected to obtain belief, excepting 
from those who have actually experienced or wit- 
nessed them. These effects are very various, and 
may be divided into two classes. The first consists 
of those general effects, which are produced upon 
the entire bodily frame, and which are not merely 
periodica], but continue throughout the whole treat- 
ment. The second comprehends those which affect 
only some particular functions of the organization, 
and which are not constantly manifested, but only 
at certain times, and especially during the mag- 
netic manipulations. These last may be reckoned 
among the particular effects of Animal Magnetism. 

The general effects of Animal Magnetism, which 
may be regarded as permanent states of the organi- 
zation, and which almost always manifest them- 
selves, in a greater or less degi*ee, in all subjects 


whose diseases are of such a nature as to indicate 
the application of this mode of treatment, and 
which, therefore, seem to originate from the sym- 
pathy of the whole body, are chiefly the follow- 

l.A general excitement and strengthening of 
the vital functions, without any considerable stimu- 
luSy in the nervous, muscular, vascular, and diges- 
tive systems. Persons who could not be strength- 
ened by corroborant medicines of any kind, have 
been restored to health, from a state of great debi- 
lity, in a short time, by means of the magnetic 
treatment. The application of this remedy quickens 
the pulse, produces an increased degree of warmth, 
greater sensitive power, and mental cheerfulness. 
The appetite and the digestion are increased ; the 
bowels, which had previously been kept open by 
artificial means, now become regular ; and the pa- 
tient acquires a relish for such kinds of food as are 
good for hini, and an aversion from such as are in- 
jurious. Animal Magnetism also promotes all the 
other secretions. In those constitutional complaints 
which are peculiar to the female sex, it is said to 
be the most certain, the most powerful, and most 
efficacious remedy hitherto discovered. The treat- 
ment seems to operate principally upon the great 
concatenation of sympathetic nerves (the pleanis so- 
laris)^ situated in the abdomen^ and, by means of 


their various ramifications, to commumoate its in- 
fluenoe to the rest of the system. 

2. It affords a gentle stimuhm^ pervading, gene* 
rally, the whole surface of the body, by which all 
disturbed harmony and diseased local action are 
removed, and the equilibrium again restored. In 
this way. Animal Magnetism soothes the most vio- 
lent aotion of the nervous system, the tumult of 
the muscles, and the over-exertion of the vital 
functions in the whole economy. 

3. It draws off the increased vital aetion from 
the diseased parts, and conducts it to others. By 
this means, a twofold advantage is attained. In 
the firsi place, the excited action, or irritation, is 
carried away from the internal and more ndUe or- 
gans to such whose violent action is attended with 
less injury to the system; and, in the second place, 
the salutary vital action is strengthened and in- 
creased in particular debilitated organs. The con- 
sequences of the magnetic treatment, therefore, are 
— southing and strenffthening. In most instances, 
the agitation produced by the diseased organiza- 
tion is gradually allayed, until, at length, a perfect 
recovery is effected ; because, 

4. Animal Magnetism occasions a diminution 
and total removal of the existing cause of the rawr- 
bid action of the nervous system. 

The paiticnlar effects of Animal Magnetism, 


which ai*e not the necessary consequences of itfir 
application, but only occasionally manifest them- 
selves periodically, in a greater or less degree, in 
individual cases, are exceedingly various, and seem 
to depend, in a great measure, upon the peculiar 
physical and moral constitution, not only of the 
particular patient, but also of the operating mag- 

It sometimes happens, that no perceptible effect 
is produced upon the patient during the magnetic 
treatment, of which the efficacy only appears in 
the gradual restoration to health. Dr Passavant 
mentions a case of this description which occurred 
under his own eye, where a girl was cured of St 
Vitus's dance in this way, without even exhibiting 
any of the ordinary phenomena of the magnetic 
treatment. Wienholt, in a passage formerly quoted, 
informs us, Uiat similar cases occurred in the course 
of bis practice; In most instances, however, the 
magnetic patient experiences a variety of symptoms 
of a nature more or less remarkable. So various, 
indeed, and so peculiar are these effects of the mag^ 
netic processes, that it appears almost impossible 
to arrai^e or classify them under any general 
heads. Such a classification, it is true, has been 
attempted at different times by (hnelin, Hein^cken, 
Wienholt, Hufeland, and others ; and Kluge, avail- 
ing himself of the labours of his predecessors, has 


distinguished the phenomena produced by the mag- 
netic treatment into six classes ; but he admits, at 
the same time, that this classification is still a mere 
essay, and necessarily imperfect. 

This classification, of which I shall presently 
give an abstract, follows the order of the different 
degrees through which the patient has been ob- 
served to pass during the magnetic treatment. 

The ^rst degree presents no very remarkable 
phenomena. The intellect and the senses still re- 
tain their usual powers and susceptibilities. For 
this reason, this first degree has been denominated 
the degree of waking. 

In the second degree, most of the senses still 
remain in a state of activity. That of vision only 
is impaired ; the eye withdrawing itself gradually 
from the power of the will. This second degree, 
in which the sensibility is partially disturbed, is, 
by some magnetizers, called the half-sleepi or the 
imperfect crisis. 

In the third degree, the whole of the organs, 
through the medium of which our correspondence 
with the external world is carried on (the senses), 
refuse to perform their respective functions, and 
the patient is placed in that unconscious state of 
existence which is called the magnetic sleep. 

In the fourth degree, the patient awakes, as it 
were, within himself, and his consciousness re- 


turns. He is in a state which can neitlier be pro- 
perly called sleeping nor waking, but which ap- 
pears to be something between the two. When in 
this state, he is again placed in a very peculiar re- 
lation towards the external world, which will be 
explained by examples in the sequel. This fourth 
degree has been distinguished in the writings of 
the animal magnetiste by tbe name of the perfect 
crisis^ or simple somnambulism. 

In the Jifth degree, the patient is placed in what 
is called the state of self-intuition. When in this 
situation, he is said to obtain a clear knowledge of 
his own internal mental and bodily state; — is en- 
abled to calculate, with accuracy, the phenomena 
of disease which will naturally and inevitably oc- 
cur, and to determine what are their most appro- 
priate and effectual remedies. He is also said to 
possess the same faculty of internal inspection with 
regard to other persons who have been placed in 
magnetic connexion (en rapport) with him. This 
state, also, I shall afterwards have occasion to il- 
lustrate by examples. From this fifth degree, all 
the subsequent magnetic states are comprehended 
under the denomination of lucidity^ or Iticid vision 
(Fr. Clairvoyance; Germ. HeUsehen,) 

In the sixth degree, the Itudd vision which the 
patient possessed in the former degree, becomes 

VOL. I. . A a 

282 ASIMAL AtA6N;fiTlSM. 

wonderfollj incneased, and extends to all olgeeti^ 
neer and at a distanee, in space and in time : hence 
it has been called the d^reeof vmcersal lueidiiy. 
This exfdted state of the faculties^ as may earily be 
supposed, is comparativelj^if yer]r rareiswmnrence ; 
but some examples of it, likewise, will 4>e addueed 

No patient, it is said, can reach the higher degrees 
of magnetism, without having previously paseed 
through the lower. Individuals, it is true, are some- 
times placed in the higher degrees at the very first 
magnetic treatment; but they are supposed <to hare 
previously passed through the intermfediate stages 
in so rapid a manner as rendered it diffieakj if ^ot 
impossible, to distinguish the transitions. External 
as well as internal influences, not yet sufficiently 
ascertained, dispose a patient, more or less, at pen- 
ticular times, to attain a certain degree; and hence^ 
the magnetic sleep is never permanently the same, 
but always variable, depending probably upon the 
predisposition of the subject, and other inducing 
causes. * 

* It is a very great mistake of the ignorant to suppose that 
the higher states of magnetism can be produced in all indivi- 
duals, and at all tunes, at pleasure. £?en simple somnambu- 
lism, as a consequence of the magnetic treatment, is compara- 
tively rare, and the more exalted state of Clairvoyance still more 
so. It appears to me, likewise, to be a great abuse of the prac- 
tice (I suspect too prevalent in France), to aim continualljr at 


I have thu» attempted to describe, as conoiteLy 
as possible, die processes emrpLoyed in Animal Mag- 
netism, and to point xiut briefly the most remark* 
able characteristic symptoms produced by the treat- 
ment. I am quite aware that w^hat I have said 
upon this branch of the subject will be considered 
unsatisfactory by the inquisitive student. But, for 
reasons already adduced, it would have been very 
inconvenient for me to have entered into any far- 
ther details. I have still a great deal of curious 
information to lay before the public, which, as it 
must be new to many, and will, I have no doubt, 
appear very extraordinary to all, I am anxious to 
state at some length ; the more especially, because 
many of the facts, the existence of which I propose 
to demonstrate l^ evidence, have been roundly and 
confidently denied by very eminent scientific men; 
and besides, I consider these facts as not only of 
great importanee in themselves, but as well suited 
for inductive investigation. 

But before I proceed to this branch x)£ my sub- 
ject, it may be proper for me to make a few obser- 
vations upon the theory put forth by the first 
French CommiBsioners,. in /Order to account for the 

the production of SomnunbuIiBtn^ and the deteloptnent of its 
higher phenomena. The piimaiy ol^t, in every magnetic 
treatment, ought to be the cure of disease, to which every thing 
else should be held subordinate. Experiments of mere curio- 
Ity shouM-'beHa mudh Kr possible avoided. 


phenomena of Animal Magnetism} which appears 
to have been framed with such consummate art, 
skill, and plausibility, as to have imposed upon all 
those learned and scientific men who were igno- 
rant of this peculiar subject, and, in a great de- 
gree, to have checked, for a season, all serious in- 
vestigation into the matter. 

This theory ascribed the whole of the magnetic 
phenomena to imagination^ imitation, and attouche- 

The last element of this theory is at once over- 
thrown by the single decisive fact, that all the mag- 
netic phenomena are frequently produced without 
touching the patient at all. 

The influence of the imagination, and of the 
imitative principle, seem at first sight — and at 
first sight only — much more capable of affording 
an adequate explanation of the facts; but the ac- 
tivity of these principles is rejected as absurd by 
every practical magnetizer, as well as by every in- 
telligent opponent of the system; — in short, by 
every person who knows any thing of the matter ; 
and besides, a great many, if not all of the pheno- 
mena, will be found, upon due consideration, to be 
of such a nature, that they cannot be rationally 
accounted for upon any such theory. Sleep, for 
example, is a very common effect of the magnetic 
treatment; and I should like to be informed whe- 


ther sleep, io any instance, can be produced by ex- 
citing the imagination, or by imitation, where, as 
in the case of the solitary treatment, there is no- 
thing to imitate. Even Dr Stieglitz, an opponent, 
whose work appeared so long ago as the year 1814, 
ridicules the idea of attempting to trace the mag- 
netic phenomena to any such sources. '^ A great 
multitude of facts," says the Doctor, " which, al- 
lowing for some little variation in the more mi- 
nute shades, still coincide in the most essential 
points, force complete conviction upon us. The 
number of credible observers who attest them, and 
whose representations bear the stamp of truth, has 
increased so much within the last twenty or thirty 
years, in many parts of France^ Germany, and 
Switzerland, as to overthrow all scepticism on the 
subject." — P. 17. " Have those seized the right 
point of view, who ascribe all these phenomena to 
the influence of a diseased imagination, or to the 
excitement of sexual passion? The partizans of 
Animal Magnetism have a right to complain, when 
their antagonists attempt to annihilate many vo- 
lumes of observations with these turns and tirades, 
eternally repeated, although long since refuted. 
Indeed, this is merely to seek an outlet for escape ; 
— to withdraw, in the most convenient manner, 
from the investigation of truth ; — to prevent our 
apathetic repose from being rudely disturbed, by 


adopting shallow bypotheses, which are totally in- 
applicable to the subject ; — and to parry off attacks 
upon preconceived opinions, which we are neither 
willing to abandon, nor serionsly to defend.'' « 

<^ Imagination and sensnal excitement,^ says the 
celebrated Dr Hufeland, ^^ are not the causes of 
these phenomena; for we have deeie^iFe facts to 
prove, that the effects have appeared without the 
slightest co-operation of the imagimttion, and'thftt 
persons of the same sex have produced iiiem upon 
each other." To the same effect, the learned 

* '< In the times of ignorance, superstition laid hold of all 
phenomena, and without searching for their real causes, everj 
thing was ascribed to the immediate agency of Divine Power, 
or to the intervention of the deviL At present, the imagina- 
tion plajs nearly the same part ; and in physiology it is consi- 
dered as the cause of all that appears to be otherwise inexpli- 
cable. The best established facts are, at first, declared to be 
gross errors, and when, at length, they have become incontest- 
able, they are attributed to the imagination ; but no one is ca- 
piU}le of explaining in what manner this spiritual faculty pro- 
duces the physical results. 

'^ Science, however, teaches us nothing, when it endows the 
imagination with supernatural powers ; and the truth is, that, 
in doing so, it merely changes the name of something that is 
unknown. Ignorance concealed under another word is still ig- 
norance, and the accumulation of phenomena adds little to our 
knowledge, so long as none of them are explained. 

^< Imaginary hypotheses can never hold the place of truth, 
nor dispense with the necessity of investigation."*— Chardel, 
Essai de Psycholoffie physMogique, Paris, 1831. 

It is rather remarkable that Dr Sti^litz, althou^ he op- 
poses the general introduction of Animal Magnetism into me- 
dicine, strongly recommends its application in all desperate cases. 


Sprengel observes, hi his InsHitUiam €if Medtcinsy 
that the imagination of the patient is^never' observed 
to be increased previous to the manifestation of the 
phenomena, and that the efieets are net differeirt 
in those persons who have entertained the gi*eatest 
doubts regarding the efficacy of the treatment^ 
and in those who never heard a word about it. 
^^ Hence," says he, ^^ I hold it to be clear that the 
imagination has nothing to do in the production of 
these phenomena; and this is confirmed by Gmelin, 
who relates that magnetic patiente have frequently 
witnessed convulsions in others witbout'being them- 
selves affected in a similar manner.*^* 

Sprengel also mentions another decisive fiftct in 
regard to the alleged influence of the imagination 
in the magUi^c process — a faci well known to all 
practical magnetisers. It is simply^ this, — that if we 
attempt to manipulate in contrary directions, the 

* £a autem metbodus quosnam effeetus producat, cBctu est 
mirabile. Plerique jucundas faabent sematioiies bkndi caloris 
aut etiam aune quasi descendentis per iieiT9B. Neque unquam 
imagmatio ante accessum eum augetur : neque aliter se habent ii 
effectus in hominibus, qui vel maxime de efficada earum tzac- 
tationum dubitaverant, neque alios Tidebis in iis, qui nunquam 
de ea re quidquam audiverunt. Unde imaginationem profecto 
nihil posse, ut ea phfenomena nascantur, exploratum habeo; 
quod conflrmatum ab Eberfaardo Gmelino lego, qui magnetismo 
eo imbutos refert ssepe conTubivos aliorum adfectus conspextwr 
sine ulla noxa. — Sprengel ; InsHHit. MecUcmm^ torn. ii. p. 300^ 
sect. 896. 


UBual effects will not be produced, whilst others 
of a totally different nature will be manifested.* 

A great deal has been occasionally said with re^ 
gard to the dangers that may arise from the prac- 

* Maxime autem veritatem ejus methodi et obeeiratorum 
candorem probat constantissimus contrariorum tractuum effec- 
tus. Quodsi enim vel frictionem vel etiam imaginationem ac- 
cusaveris, neutra agere in contrariis contrariorum tractuum ef- 
iectibus potest. Pallor enim subitaneus, et frigus, et nerv^orum 
distentio, nunquam a frictione simili, contrariis duntaxat tracti- 
bus suscepta, oriri possunt — Sprengel ; InsHiuL Medicina, torn. 
iL p. 305, sect. 398. 

Among the numerous doctrinal writers and practical magne- 
tizers, the only one whom I have found, in recent times, ad- 
hering t6 the theory of imagination, and of imagination alone, 
is ]\I. Bertrand, who published a work upon Animal Magnetism 
in 1826. But so j&r as I can perceive, M. Bertrand seems to 
know nothing of the magnetic treatment as a sanative process ; 
he appears to consider it merely as a means of producing som- 
nambulism. Quant a mot, says he, je crois au» phenomenes du 
samnambulismey et fecris ce livre pottr prouver que le magnetisme est 
une pure cMmere, It is rather difficult exactly to comprehend 
what M. Bertrand really means ; but so far as his opinions can 
be guessed at, they are directly at variance with those of every 
other individual who has a competent knowledge of the subject. 

I may be permitted to observe, that the opinions of Dr 
Sprengel, upon this question, are the more valuable, not only on 
account of his great learning and high reputation, but in conse- 
quence of the circumstance, that he was originally a sceptic in 
regard to Animal Magnetism, and wrote a small work against it, 
but subsequently became a convert to the doctrine ; which, in- 
deed, with few exceptions, is now universally admitted by all 
the most eminent physicians and physiologists upon the Conti- 
nent. In Germany we know only a single disbeliever of the 
facts of magnetism, among several opponents of the practice. 
That disbeliever is Rudolphi. And what are his arguments ? 


tice of Animal Magnetism ; but these dangers are, 
in a great measure, chimerical ; they could only be 
apprehended from the ignorant and unskilful appli- 
cation of the treatment; and nothing of the kind 
is to be dreaded from the present improved prac- 
tice. In the hands of the intelligent physician, who 
knows how to employ it, it is a safe and most effec- 
tual remedy in many diseases. Upon this subject, 
Dr Ziermann observes, that *^ if, in the earlier 
magnetic associations, the storm, once excited, was 
allowed to rage, in the nervous system, in uncon- 
trolled convulsions — if the salutary activity of na- 
ture was cherished into a destructive organic tu- 
mult ; it was, indeed, very meritorious to put a stop 
to these extravagances and abuses, and to warn the 
public against them. Here, however, the blame is 
not imputable to magnetism, but to the ignorance 
and imprudence of those, who, without medical 
knowledge, or without a sufficient acquaintance 
with the new method, attempted the cure of diseases 
by its means .; and a great part of the abuses and 
mischiefs of all kinds, which must necessarily have 
arisen from this cause, as well as from the illusions 
under which enthusiasts, and others entertaining 
false and exaggerated views, plied this occupation, 
is to be ascribed to those, who, although best qua^ 
lified by their attainments to direct this important 

VOL. I. B b 

290 ANIMAL If AGl^fiTlStt. 

busiaeMy stood altogether aloof. As aoon as the 
intelligent physician avails himself of this method 
of care, as soon as it is wrested oat of the hands of 
the unprofessional, there is as little danger to be 
apprehended from it, as from the poisons and siir-« 
gical instruments which we are in the daily prae* 
tiee of employing." 

All opinion in some respects similar to that of 
Dr Ziermann, upon the subject of Animal Magne-' 
tism, was expressed by the late Mr Dugald Stewart, 
in one of the last of those valuable works with 
which he enriched the philosophical literature of his 
country. The ingenious professor appears to have 
been well aware of the irresistible wright of the 
e^dence which had been adduced in favour of the 
facts ; but had he been better acquainted with the 
magnetic treatment, and the nature of the pheno- 
mena, his candid mind would certainly have led 
him to reject that absurd and exploded theory, up- 
on which, along with the first French Commission- 
ers, he attempted to account for the facts. 

^' Among all the phenomena, however," says Mr 
Stewart, ** to which the subject of imitation has 
led our attention, none are, perhaps, so wonderful 
as those which have been recently brought to light, 
in consequence of the philosophical inquiries oc- 
casioned by the medical pretensions of Mesmer 
and his associates. That these pretensions in- 


yolved much of igBorance, or of imposture^ or of 
both, in their authors, has, I think, been fully de-' 
Hionstrated in the very able report of the French 
academicians ; but does it follow from this, diat the 
faxia witnessed and authenticated by these acade- 
micians should share in the disgrace ineorred by 
the empirics who disguised or misrepresented them? 
For my own part, it appears to me, thi^t the gene«« 
ral conclusions established by Mesmer's practice, 
with respect to the physical effects of the priueiple 
of imitation and of the faculty of imagination (more 
particularly in cases where they operate together), 
are incomparably more curious, than if he had ac- 
tually demonstrated the existence of his boasted 
fluid« Nor can I see any good reason why a phy-* 
sician, who admits the efficacy of the moral agents 
employed by Mesmer, should, in the exercise of his 
profession, scruple to copy whatever processes are 
necessary for subjecting them to his command, any 
more than he would hesitate about employing a 
new physiceU agent, such aselectricityor galvanism. 
The arguments to the contrary, alleged by the 
Commissioners, only shew that the influence of ima^ 
gination and of imitation is susceptible of a great 
abuse in ignorant or in wicked hands ; — and may 
not the same thing be said of all the most valuable 
remedies we possess ? Nay, are not the mischiev- 
ous consequences which have actually been occa- 

292 XNIMAL MA6K£TlS]ft. 

sioned by the pretenders to Animal Magnetism^ 
the strongest of all encouragements to attempt such 
an examination of the principles upon which the 
effects really depend, as may give to scientific prac- 
titioners the management of agents so peculiarly 
efficacious and overbearing ? Is not this mode of 
reasoning perfectly analc^ous to that upon, which 
medical inquirers are accustomed to proceed, when 
they discover any new substance possessed of poi- 
sonous qualities ? Is not this considered as a strong 
presumption, at least, that it is capable of being 
converted into a vigorous remedy, if its appropriate 
and specific disorder could only be traced ; and has 
it not often happened, that the prosecution of this 
idea has multiplied the resources of the healing 
art ?"* 

• Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind ; voL iii. 4to. 
London, 1827. Pp. 221,222. 

It is, perhaps, not generally known, that besides the reports 
of which I have spoken, the Commissioners presented a secret 
report to the Minister of State, in which they represented Mes- 
merism in the worst possible colours, and as extremely dan- 
gerous in a moral point of view. The Commissioners did not 
publish this report themselves, but it afterwards found its way 
to the press. It is full of exaggeration ; and, at all events, to- 
tally inapplicable to Animal Magnetism as now practised. 

• ---^ -'-^ -' 

( 293 ) 


In the preceding chapters, I have given my 
readers an account of the early history ofthe mag^ 
netic opinions and practices— of the origin and 
progress of Animal Magnetism ; and I have also 
endeavoared to make them sufficiently acquainted 
with the nature of the processes, as well as of all 
those appearances which generally present them- 
selves during the treatment adopted hy Mesmer 
and his disciples. Of these last, as may have been 
observed, Sleep— although by no means an invari- 
able consequence of the magnetic manipulations, 
nor essentially necessary to their sdbative efficacy 
— is by far the most common ; and it usually ma- 
nifests itself, after a longer or shorter period, ac- 
cording to the degree of energy possessed by the 
operator, or the greater or less susceptibility of the 
patient, or in consequence of a combination of both 
causes. It is proper to mention, however, that, in 
the opinion of all the experienced practical mag- 
netizers, this artificial sleep is something very dif- 
ferent from the natural ; and I conceive it is quite 


impossible to witness, with attention and discrimi- 
nation, one or more cases of the kind, without be- 
ing satisfied of the reality of this distinction.* It 

* Amongst a variety of other instances, the following case, 
reported by M. Deleuze, is quite decisive of the fiu:t above 
stated, besides presenting some serioua ^ftfficulties to those who 
are still disposed to adhere to the exploded imagination hypo- 

" I was called in to magnetize a child of eleven years of age, 
who was very HI, and whom I had the good Ibrtune'to dtM^M^ 
a treatment of two months. At the third 8ittt^g, ahe bqpap^ 
somnambulist ; and two days afterwards, X produced somnam- 
bulism in an instant. As my othier avocations ^d hot permit 
me to vlfiil my patient during the day, «t the esd of ?« vfibk I 
agreed with her parents to see her every evening atnine.o*elQ<;)r, 
and to magnetize her during her sleep. When 1 arrived,' the 
child, who badbeen in bed since betwemi s&ven and ci^t 0*^1036 
had fidlea asleep^ and her deep was so sound that pa tuAae.oMd 
awaken her; she could even be shalcen without intecruptiiig her 
repose. After talking for some time with her parents, I ap- 
proached Uke bed of the patient, stretdied my han^ over famr, 
and in one minute she passed into somnambulism. She tHiep 
answered my questions — she told me how I ought to magnetize 
her— she announced to me what symptoms she should experience 
next day, and pointed out what remedies. I ou^t to give her. 
When the sitting had continued a quarter of an hour, she sfdd, 
*• You must awaken me.' I answered, * You were asleep when 
I <!anle— go to sleep again.' * That is Imjpossible,* she lepHed ; 
' I cannot pass from the state in which I now am to the natAu^l 
sleep ; and this state, if too much prolonged, would do me harm.' 
I then awakened her with a single gesture. She wished us ail 
good night, and turning her head on the pillow, fi^ll asleep again. 
The same phenomenon was repeated every day for six weeks.*' 
^^Defenie du MagneU Anim, p. 154. 

M. I>eleuze mentions several other instances in which the 
«ato6 thing occumsd. 


appears te be the result of an entirely peculiar state 
of the organism— -«n affeetion sui ^6fim9— and, if 
not identical with, at least to bear a close analogy 
to, that state of somnolency, which is frequently 
found to precede the somnambulistic or ecstatic 
crisis. Indeed, in a variety of instances, this arti- 
ficial or magnetic sleep passes into actual Somnam- 
bulism — a state in which, as will be seen in the 
sequel, while the corporeal organs are apparently 
dcHrmant, and insensible to external impressions, 
the patient still possesses the power of speech and 
of locomotion ; there frequently occurs a vicarious 
transference of the functions of the faculties to dif- 
ferent parts of the nervous system i* while both 

*I am awire that this Is one of the moat extxaordiiiary, and, to 
those QWtcquafaited with the evidence, one of the most inorediUe 
facts of which 1 hmve undertaken to demonstrate the occasicsial 
occurrence. I am also aware that all our most eminent yihytkoh 
legists are of opinion that the thing is impossible. I quote the 
following passi^ ftrom Dr Boget*8 Bridgewatvr TreaHaB (vol. iL 
p. 376» note). 

** The credulity of the public has sometimes been imposed 
upon by persons who pretended to see by means of their fingecsT 
thus, at lirerpool, the eriebrmted Miss M^Avoyeontiived finra 
long time to persuade a great number of peraoas that she really 
possessed this miiaculous power. SquaUgnnworA^qformiUmtemil 
the stories of persons^ under the inftuenoe of AnkmA MogmUmm^ 
he&rmff eemtdi addmeei i0 ^ fktef the tftmmh, and reftdk^iShe 
pa^ tf a book sqiplied i» the dih^aoer Uua etftm/^ 

Now, this iia mere dlilwii— an opfalon eppoeod to a maHitnis 
of well observed hcUf and however h^ my respect ibr Dr 
Roget*s tidents and arqaireoMiits^ he mail p w don mm fiir say* 


the senses and the intellectual faculties appear to 
be exercised with an extraordinary degree of deli- 
cacy, vigour, and acuteness. This state of Som- 
nambulism is sometimes more, sometimes less, per- 
fectly developed ; a circumstance which probably 

ing that there is an authority which I am disposed, in all ques- 
tions of this kind, to estimate much higher than his — ^the autho- 
rity of Nature. Amicus PlatOy &c. Even did the possibility of 
this and other phenomena depend upon the authority of man's 
judgment, I could oppose to the opinion of Dr Roget, those of 
men whose names, without any disparagement even to that 
learned gentleman, may be placed at least upon a level with his 
— ^the names of La Place, Cuvier, Petetin, Puysegur, Deleuze, 
Wienholt, Hufeland, Olbers, Treviranus, Reil, Sprengel, Schel- 
ling, Eschenmayer, Kieser, Nasse, and a multitude of others, 
equally competent to observe the phenomena of nature, and 
equally incapable of misrepresenting the &cts they witnessed. 

I always thought the alleged detection of Miss M'Avoy's pre- 
tended imposture, to say the least of it, exceedingly doubtful ; 
and I have occasion to know that many eminent professional 
men, who took no part in the discussion, were of the same opi- 

I would respectfully remind Dr Roget of the expressions made 
use of by himself, in a passage formerly quoted from his other- 
wise admirable, and truly philosophical Bridgetoater Treatite* 

<^ In place of the simple combinations of elements, and the 
simple properties of mineral bodies, all organic structures, even 
the most minute, present exceedingly complicated arrangements, 
and a prolonged succession of phenomena, so varied and so ano- 
malous, as to be utterly irreducible to the known laws which 
govern inanimate matter.'* 

Finally, I would humbly request Dr Roget to examine the 
evidence I have adduced in this publication, and then to state 
whether and how far his prima facie opinion has been modified 
by a consideration of the facts ; or whether he requires still lar« 
ther evidence — and of what nature, and to what amount. 


depends partly upon conBtitutional causes, and 
partly, as in the case of the magnetic sleep, upon 
the energy of the operator, and the susceptibility 
of the patient. 

In order to enable my readers fully to compre- 
hend, and duly to appreciate, the very extraordi- 
nary facts which I shall presently have occasion 
to bring under their notice, it is indispensably ne- 
cessary that they should have paid great attention to 
the inferior and more ordinary phenomena of Ani- 
mal Magnetism, and their several gradations ; and 
also that they should make themselves acquainted 
with those analogous cases, which occur in the ge- 
neral medical practice ; otherwise, their situation 
would resemble that of persons brought suddenly 
out of total or comparative darkness into a bril- 
liantly illuminated picture-gallery, where their eyes 
might be dazzled and their judgment confounded ; 
but they would be, for some time, incapable of en- 
during the light, or of distinguishing the surround- 
ing objects. Every doctrine of extensive applica- 
tion has its alphabet, its rudiments, its gnunmar ; 
and to attempt to introduce individuals at once, 
and without any previous preparation, to the phe*- 
nomena manifested in the higher stages of Som- 
nambulism, would be pretty much the same thing 
as if we were to request them to read some diffi- 
cult pages of a particular volume, before they had 


IcMmt the language in which it was written, aot to 
require them to eolve a oomplieated probkm in the 
higher mathematical aoaljrsis, while they were stiil 
ignorant of the elementary rules of arithmetie. I 
am Ae more earnest in insisting upon the neees- 
nty ef this preparatory stndy, because I have ge^ 
nerally found that a great proportion ef tbeunen* 
Hgfatened soeptics itk re^rd to the reality ef the 
ikots of Animal Magnetisnoi, heweveir leftriied m 
other matteis, have i&yariably been dispe^ed^to 
finten upon some of the higher and more etiraon 
ffiaary phenomena of SomnarahuHsm, whk& they 
at once, and in consummate ignorance of the ntAsh- 
jeet^ pronoance to be impossible and iaoredible ; 
while they, at the same time, attempt to hold up 
all those who have carefully investigated the mat* 
ter, examined the evidence, and ascertained tibe 
truth of the facts, to the contempt and derision of 
umnkind* I trust that there is ndt one of my 
readers in the predicament I have just described. 
I would hope that, from serioira attention to the 
preceding chapters of this publication, accompani- 
ed with private study and investigation, they sre 
now fully prepared to follow me to the oonsideva* 
tion of still more striking though recondite trullie, 
whidi, without such initiation, they would pro* 
UAly have regarded with the utmost incredulity* 
Buty in order to dispel any harking reoMonaef 


suspicious gcepticism, which vtuny still w«%h upon 
the minds of those to whom these pages are ieul* 
dressed, and to convince them that the phe&omemi 
to be hereafter submitted to their atteution lUre not 
mere inventions of the professors of Animal Mag^ 
netism, I propose first to bring onder their actios 
an analogous olass of facts, many of which fpvfe 
observed l<»g before the introduction of the maf^ 
netie treatiiient» and ail of them withoirt may. ■vm' 
ferenoe to that discovery : I allude, to the jdieiM^ 
meoa of Ibe natural Somnambulism. : -. .>: 

Sofonambulism-f-^aa all who ha;ve inquired ipio 
tho subject are pnrfiably aware-^ooostitttteS/aTeKgr 
uncommon, and a very peculiar stats of the humatt 
organism.^ Fortuaatelyralthougliof ^mpatetively 
rare occurreacci many well authenticated and mi*> 

»' ' 

* Dr Bertrand, in his treatise On S&mnamlmUtimy diitin-^ 
gaishes, I think correctly, ibur species of tliat extraordlharj 
afibctkns Ist, The Mtmliaf (idiopathic ?)8omnambit^ 
occasionally takes place in some individuals^ otherwise apps- 
renUj healthy, during their ordinary sleep, in consequence of 
a particular predlspositittn' of the nervous system' ^AWidm^ 
limm} 9 My, The sgmpiomaikf whidh ii soawtimes Dlnervtdj0 
occur during the course of certain diseases, and is considered aa 
a sjrmptom or crisis of the complaint: 3dly, The ariifieUU, which 
fti^iiently occurs as a consequence of tiis magnetic tfeatmetttt 
and, 4thly, The AMlo/to, which is produced hy a high exaltation 
of the mind, and becomes infectious by imitation, in suchi per- 
sons as are pre&posed and subjected to the same influences. 
Of this last spedea, the devdhnal eestatk is perhaps the nUMt 
frequent, and the most remarkable. 


nately observed instances of the natural somnam- 
bulism are upon record ; and they present pheno- 
mena so remarkable, and so interesting in many 
important points of view, that, since my attention 
was first directed to this curious subject, I have 
frequently wondered how it could happen that they 
should have been so long overlooked, disregarded, 
or, at least, left without sufficient investigation, by 
physicians and physiologists. I can only account 
for this extraordinary neglect upon the principle, 
that these facts were little calculated to afford their 
support to the prevalent systems of a material and 
mechanical physiology; — systems which, I appre- 
hend, must crumble in pieces, when, guided by the 
torch of truth, we shall have explored, with greater 
care and exactness, the more secret phenomena of 

Somnambulists,* or sleep-walkers, are persons 
who, apparently in a state of profound sleep, rise 
from their beds at night, traverse the most inac- 
cessible places without awaking, and successfully 
perform the most delicate and difficult operations, 
whether intellectual or mechanical ; and all this in 
the dark, and frequently with their eyes closed, as 

* I use the words samnambuiiam and somnambiUist as gene- 
ric tenns, to denote sleep-talkers as well as sleep-walkers. This, 
perhaps, is not strictl/ correct, but it is very convenient The 
affections are of the same nature, and frequently found in com- 


in tbe ordinary state of sleep. It lias been ob- 
served, also, tbat individuals, wbile in tbis state, 
occasionally manifest a superior knowledge of sub- 
jects and of languages, wbicb tbey had not pre- 
viously studied, so as to remember tbem, or with 
which they had been but imperfectly acquainted. 
It is likewise a striking peculiarity of this state of 
existence, that, upon awaking, the individual who 
had thus insensibly performed all these operations, 
retains no recollection of anything that passed while 
he was under the influence of somnambulism. 

It is worthy of notice, too, that the acts of the 
somnambulist are almost always performed with a 
degree of freedom, boldness, and precision, supe- 
rior to what he manifests when awake ; and that 
he generally succeeds in accomplishing every thing 
he attempts. So far as I am aware, there is no 
instance of a somnambulist awaking spontaneous- 
ly in the midst of any operation he has once un- 
dertaken ; nor of his perishing amidst the dangers 
which he frequently encounters. There are, it is 
true, many instances of somnambulists who have 
perished, in consequence of having been suddenly 
awakened by the imprudent alarm of the witnesses 
of those perils to which they were apparently ex- 
posed ; but the general experience of all times 
seems to lead us to the conclusion, that the som- 
nambulist is guided by other senses or instincts — 


thit he is protected from injury by other mieaiiB 
and gimraiitees of security than those by which his 
condaot is regulated in his ordinary wakii^ state. 
So long as he is left undisturbed in his proceed- 
iligs, be acts fearlessly, and is safe; a sndden anvm- 
fcening alone, by restoring him to his natural state, 
and depriving him of the protection of that in* 
stinct which governed his actions, causes him to 

In somnambulism, when the crisis^ as it is some- 
times called, is perfect, the functions of the cor- 
poreal sensitive oi^ans seem to be entirely sus- 
pended, and the soul, or interna] sense, is found 
to energise, if I may be allowed the expression, 
independently of the body. Such, at least, is the 
only adequate explanation we can give of the facts, 
until some philosopher shall find himself enabled 
to account for them satisfactorily upon some more 
material physiological principle. In this state, 
too, there occasionally occurs that most extraordi- 
nary, that apparently unaccountable phenomenon, 
already alluded to — the vicarious transference of 
the faculties from their appropriate organs to other 
parts of the nervous system; — a phenomenon, 
than which there is nothing more marvellous and 
incredible, yet nothing more clearly and conclu- 
sively demonstrated within the whole circle of the 
magnetic doctrines-»I may say, within the entire 



limits of science.* From all this, it seems clear^ 
that the somnambulist is placed in a state of exist' 

* I lately (quoted a dictum of Dr Roget's upon this subject, 
upon which I took the liberty of making a few observations ; 
and I n&ust now use the same freedom in commenting upon 
some passages of Sir Charles Bell's BrtdgeunUer Treaiisef which, 
although in a more indirect manner, seem calculated to throw 
discredit upon the &ct alluded to in the text. 

Sir Charles lays down the proposition, *•*• that one organ of 
eense can never become the substitute for another, so as to ex- 
cite in the mind the same idea. When an individual is deprived 
of the organs of sight, no power of attention, or continued ef- 
fort of the will, or exercise of the other senses, can make him 
enjoy the class of sensations which is lost. The sense of touch 
may be increased in an exquisite degree ; but, were it true, as 
has been asserted, that individuals can discover colours by the 
touch, it could only be by feeling a change upon the surface of 
the stuff, and not by any perception of the colour. It has been 
my painful duty to attend on persons who have pretended 
blindness, and that they could see with their fingers. But I 
have ever found, that, by a deviation from truth in the first 
instance, they have been entangled in a tissue of deceit ; and 
have at last been forced into admissions which demonstrated 
their folly and weak inventions." Again: — *•* £xperiment 
proves, what is suggested by anatomy, that not only the or- 
gans of the senses are appropriated to particular classes of sen- 
sations, but that the nerves, intermediate between the brain 
and the outward organs, are respectively capable of receiving 
no other sensations but such as are adapted to their particular 

Now, I have neither inclination, ability, nor interest, to con- 
trovert these propositions of Sir Charles Bell ; and I am bound 
to believe that he has fiurly stated the results of his experience* 
But these propositions can have no effect in invalidating the 
fact I have stated, because the conditions are not the same. 
The observations of Sir Charles, I presume, apply to the ordi- 
nary state of existence. But the Animal Magnetists asaert 


eDce completely different from the ordinary life, 
and the phyBiological principles, therefore, which 
are applicable Co the one, are totally inapplicable 
to the other. In the one case, we see the soul and 
body acting in unison, although we may be* inca- 
pable of perceiving the link that connects them ; 
in the other, the corporeal functions disappear, 

— ^and I have undertaken to demonstrate — that there is an ejr. 
WwKrdknmry state of existence, called— -properly or improperly 
— Somnamhui%nn^ in which the phenomenon in question, amongst 
others, is occasionallj manifested. They do not all^^ that one 
organ of sense ever becomes the substitute for another; but that, 
in the state alluded to, the corporeal organs sometimes become 
totally insensible* and that their functions are exercised in some 
peculiar manner, being apparently transferred to other parts of 
the system. Should I be fortunate enough to convince Sir 
Charles Bell of the reality of this fiict, we Animal Magnetists 
would be delighted to have his valuable assistance in enabling 
us to unravel the mystery, by endeavouring to explain the 
causes and conditions of these extrordinary phenomena. 

Dr Bertrand, who, according to his own expression, r^ijards 
Animal Magnetism as '^ a pure chimera," tells us that he was 
for a long time sceptical with regard to this &ct of the trans- 
ference of the faculties, even after he had witnessed several ex- 
amples of it ; and the grounds of his scepticism were similar to 
those of Dr Roget, Sir Charles Bell, and all our eminent phy- 
siologists — because, without doing apparent violence to reason, 
the phenomena could only be explained upon the supposition of 
chance or deception. Upon a minute investigation of the evi- 
dence, however, the Doctor's scepticism vanished, and no doubt 
of the reality of the fact remained in his mind. — See Ber- 
trand, p. 445, &c. 

If our own physiologists would lay aside all prejudice, and 
condescend to a similar investigation, I am satisfied it would 
lead to a similar result. 


and life assumes a character almost entirely spi- 
ritual. The one state maybe denominated organic 
— ^the other — instinctive life. In the former state, 
our knowledge is acquired through the instrumen- 
tality of certain intermediate organs of sense: in 
the latter, it appears to be obtained by means of 
some species of more immediate intuition.* 

In an Appendix to the first edition of this publi- 
cation, I brought forward abundance of evidence 
with the view of demonstrating the extraordinary 
fact of the occasional transference of the faculties 
in certain states of the organism. While engaged 

* In their state of clairvosfancey the magnetic patients maj 
be said to feel^ rather than to tee, Fischer's somnambulist as- 
sured him that he saw his internal parts, but not as with the 
ejes ; but he could not describe the manner in which he per. 
ceived them. Frederic Hufeland*s patient said, only in the 
highest degree of lucidity, ^ I see;** at other times, she gene- 
rally used the expression, '* I feel** this or that part, this or that 
change, &c. Gmelin's patient, too, said she did not seej but 
feely and with great delicacy, both internally and externally ; and 
^cherb's patient declared, that, in the magnetic sleeps the sensa- 
tions were rather those of feeling than of sight ; and that the 
feeling, during that state, was -much more acute and delicate 
than when awake. — See Kluoe, pp. 283, 284. 

A corroboration of these views may also be derived from the 
following curious declaration of Dr Despine*s cataleptic patient. 
<* You think,** said she to those who had placed themselves en 
rapport with her, ** that I don*t know what passes around me 
every evening ; but you are mistaken. I see nothing , but I 
feel something which makes an impression upon me, but which 
I cannot explain.** — See Bs&travd, p. 461, Note, 

> VOL. I. C c' 

306 ANIMAL MACKfittlfftf. 

in eolleeting Hurt evidence^ I fcm&d no wmat, hmt 
mthter a redandaney of muterials. I foniid mfUM 
to be very mnch in the same sitOttlion mth tbe^- 
genioas Frenchman, who complained «if the eikbay-^ 
ras de richeues ; and might, with flonie jnetiee, htf^pe 
exclaimed, in the word^ of the poet, fycpemike 
copia fecit / I am poor in the midet of abundaniM^ 
For this reason, I concaved it safficient to uddnce 
only the meet etrlking and best aothenticateril in- 
atanera ; onutting all such as did not hear «6 ^ 


recily npon the point at ifisae, lis had not bi»eil 'ffo 
carefnlly and so minutely obserred, or did ntit real 
^ upon equally good authority. 

. I have occasion to know^ that the eyiience then 
brought forward was considered pretty conclusiTe 
as to the fact, by many persons in every respect 
well qualified to appreciate its force ; although I 
am aware that );he whole subject — like every thing' 
else relating to Animal Magnetism — has been 
treated with levity and ridicule by many others^ 
f equally ignorant, incredulous, and incompetent* 

] Some time subsequent to the publication alluded 

\ to, however, I remembered that, several years be- 

fore, I had, for a totally different purpose, made a 
{ pretty am];de collection of the most interesting and 

best authenticated instances of the natural Somnam- 
bulism ; and it occurred to me that it might be of 
use to search for and examine this coUection, with 


a view to discover whether it contained any thing 
that could confer additional strength upon the co- 
gent evidenee already adduced in support of the 
reality of the very curious fttets <^ which I had ^i- 
deayoured to deoionstrate the ^coanoiial manifes* 
tation. Having euceeeded in my aearcfa, I was a 
good deal sarpriBed, thongh ^eaaed, to find that, 
in almost every one of tjiese eases, the fa^s of the 
insensibiKty of the corporeid 4nrgaa8, and of the 
tranafersnce of die faculties, had iieen more or less 
disiinctly observed. I hayo sfaMs been Miabled'ta 
add severid very intersfiting reeent nases^of a per* 
fectly uniform diaracter, almost all of which have 
been reported with great accuracy by professional 
men. The discovery of the manifestation of the 
remarkable phenomena in question appears to have 
been almost always made by mere accident — they 
are seldom brought very prominently forward— 
and scarcely any attempt is made to account for 
them, excepting upon the strange and inadmissible 
hypothesis, that the organ of one sense supplies the 
place and performs the functions of others. Such 
an hypothesis, indeed, — if otherwise admissible — ' 
even did it meet the facts, which it evidently does 
not, is quite as mysterious and incomprehensible as 
that of the actual transference of the faculties to 
different parts of the nervous system, besides being 



incapable, like the latter, of affording an adequate 
explanation of the phenomena* 

I am, therefore, about to draw my readers aside 
from Animal Magnetism for a short while, for the 
purpose of laying before them a variety of instances 
of the natural Somnambulism; from which, I think, 
it will fuUy appear, that the phenomena which have 
excited so much incredulity, and even ridicule, are 
by no means peculiar to the ma|petic treatment^ 
nor the mere inyentions of individuals professing, 
and anxious to establish, a peculiar system of doc<» 
trines, but have been frequently known to occar 
spontaneously, in certain abnormal states of the or-» 


I . 


( 309 ) 


Somnambulism appears to have been known to 
the ancients, and has been noticed by Hippocrates, 
Aristotle, Gralen, and others. It is only in thef 
works of modem authors, however, that we find 
minute and accurate descriptions of its pheno- 

Van Helmont tells us, that, when at college, he 
slept in the same room with one of his comrades, 
who was subject to somnambulism. He rose du- 
ring the night, took the key of the garden, went 
and walked in places where he ran the risk of fall- 
ing ; then returned and replaced the key in a press, 
as he would have done when awake in broad day- 
light. One evening. Van Helmont got possession 
of the key, without being perceived by his com- 
rade, and carefully concealed it ; but as soon as 
the other became somnambulist, he went to seek it 
in the place where it had been hid, and took it 
without hesitation^ as if he had placed it there 

* Van Helmont, De orHi Formarumj sect. 52. 



Horstias, in his well known work, relates, that 
a young nobleman in the citadel of Brenstein was 
observed by his brother, who occupied the same 
room, to rise in his sleep, put on his cloak, and 
having opened the casement, to mount, by the help 
of a pulley, to the roof of the biiilding. There he 
was seen to tear in pieces a magpie^s nest, and wrap 
$be young birds in his cloak. He returned to liis 
apartment, and went to bed, having ploeed Im 
cloak by him with the birds in it. in the laanK 
ing he awoke, and related the adventure a« having 
occurred in a dream, and was greatly surprised 
when he was led to the roof of the tower and shewn 
the remains.of the nest, as well as the msgpies con- 
cealed in his cloak. This individual would appear 
to have been in a state of imperfect somnambulisai, 
otherwise he would have recollected nothing of the 
circumstances when he awoke. 

Henricns ab Heer mentions the case of a stu- 
dent at a German university, who, having been 
very intent on the composition of some verses, 
which he oould not complete to his satisfaction^ 
rose in his sleep, and opening his desk, sat down 
with great earnestness to renew bis attempt At 
length, having succeeded, he returned to bed, after 
reciting his composition aloud, and setting his pa- 
pers in order as before.* 

* The author recollects s dicumstenoe tomevhat similar. 

Animal MAOMEtiiiM. 811 

Several mteresting cases of somnambulism #ill 
be foand in Muratori's work, DeOa farza dtWa 
Fantasia Humana^ some of ihem giTeii on the aa- 
thority of Gassendi. One of GassendFs somnam- 
balists used to rise and dress himself in his sleep, 
go down to the cellar and draw wine from a cask : 
he appeared to Bee in the dark as well an in a dear 
day; but when he awoheeither in the street or eeUoTj 
he was obliged to grope and feel his way back to his 
bed. He always answered his wife as ifawaksy lm$ 
in the morning recollected nothing of what had passed. 
Another sleep-walker, a coantryioaan of ^rassend?s, 
passed on stilts ov^r a swollen torrent in the night, 
but on awaking was afraid to return bfafofe day- 
light, or until the water had subsided. 

The same author j on the authority of an eye- 
witnessj Vigneul de Marville, giTes the followitig 
account of the somnambalism of an Italian noble- 
man, Signor At^ttstin Forari: 

** About midnight, Signor Augnstin drew aridle 
the bed-curtains with violence, arose^ and put oh 

which ocxnirred to himself when a boy at the Grammar School. 
At nighty he had made manj unsuccesBiul attempts to tnoukte 
a difficult pawage in Juvenal, andmftwrwirds went to bed> €hi 
getting up in the morningi it occurred to him that he had re- 
ceived some light upon the subject during his sleep ; and, upon 
referring to the passage whkft had prevloualj puzsled him, be 
ibond that he then understood it perfectly welL Upon other 
occasions, he had been known to get out of bed and walk in his 


his clothes. / went up to him, and held the light 
under his eyes. He took no notice ofitj although his 
eyes were open and staring. Before he put on his 
hat| he fastened on his sword-belt, which hung on 
the bed-post : the sword had been removed. Sig- 
ner Augustin then went in and out of several 
rooms, approached the fire, warmed himself in an 
arni-chair, and went thence into a closet, where 
was his wardrobe. He sought something in it, 
put the things into disorder, and having set them 
right again, locked the door and put the key into 
his pocket He went to the door of the chamber, 
opened it, and stept out on the staircase. He ap- 
peared to be sensible to noises, and became fright- 
ened. He went into a large court and to the sta- 
ble, stroked his horse, bridled it, and looked for 
the saddle to put on it. As he did not find it in 
the accustomed place, he appeared confused. He 
then mounted his horse, and galloped to the house.- 
door. He found this shut ; dismounted, and knock- 
ed with a stone, which he picked up, several times 
at the door. He afterwards remounted, and con- 
ducted his horse to the watering-place, let him 
drink, tied him to a post, and went quietly to the 
house. Upon hearing a noise which the servants 
made in the kitchen, he listened attentively, went 
to the door, and held his ear to the key-hole. Af- 
ter some time, he went to the other side, and into 



a parlour in which was a billiaid-table. He walk- 
ed round it several times, and acted the motions of 
a player. He then went to a harpsichord on which 
he was accustomed to practise, and played a few 
irregular airs. After having moved about for two 
hours, he went to his room, and threw himself up- 
on his bed, clothed as he was, and the next morn- 
ing we found him in the same state ; for as often 
as hix attack came on, he slept afterwards from 
eight to ten hours. The servants declared that 
they could only put an end to his paroxysms cither 
by tickling him under the soles of his feet, or by 
blowing a trumpet in his ears." 

DrPrichard takesiioticeof aman whoroseinhis 
sleep, saddled his horse, and rode to a market-place, 
which he was accustomed to attend once a-week, 
being all the lime asleep. Martinet speaks of a 
saddl«r who was accustomed to rise in his sleep, 
and work at liis traile. The same author describes 
the case of a watchmaker's apprentice, who had an 
attack of somnambulism every fortnight. In this 
state, aU/umgh insensible to ail external impressions, 
he performed liis work with his usual accuracy, 
and was always astonished, when he awoke, at the 
progress be had made since the commencement 

of the paroxysm. An Ai 
ed by Professor Upham, 

VOL. I. 

farmer raention- 
hJB sleep, went 


to his bam, and threshed ottt, m tiie darky five 
bushels of ryoj^ separating the grain from the straw 
with the greatest correctness. 

^' A young man named Johns, who works at 
Cardrew, near Redruth, being asleep in the sump- 
house of that mine, was observed by two boys to 
rise and walk to the door, against which he leaned ; 
shortly after, qmtting that position, he walked to 
the eiigine^shaft, ai^d safely descended to the depth 
of twenty fathoms, where he was feaad by his 
comrades soon after, with bis back resting ou the 
ladder. They called to him, to appriase him of the 
perilous situation in which he was, but he did not 
hear them, and they were obliged to diake bim 
roughly till he awoke, when he appeared totally at 
a loss to account for his being so situated/'* 

Dr Gall takes notice of a miller who was in the 
habit of getting up every night, and attending to 
his usual avocations at the mill, then returning to 
bed : on awaAening in the mommg^ he recotteded no- 
thing of what had passed during the night. Dr 
Blacklock on one occasion rose from bed, to which 
he had retired at an early hour, came into the 
room where his family were assembled, 0€»i^ 
versed with them, and afterwards entertained them 
with a pleasant song, without any of them sus-^ 
pecting he was asleep, and without his retmning 

* Mackish, Philosophy of Sleep, 2d edit p. 166. 


after he awoke the haet recoUectian ^ uAid he had 

A very curiom cireatnBtaace is related in the 
memoirs of that eminent pMIoeopiier Dr Frank- 
lin. '^ I went out," said tfa« Bootor, <* to bathe in 
Morton's salt-water hot<bath in Southampton^ and, 
floating on my back^ fell asleep) and sl^ nearly 
an hour by my watch, without sinking of turning 
— a thing I never did before, and shottld hardly 
have thought possible." 

^* A case still mere extraordinary oecnrred some 
time ag0 in one of the towns on the coast of Ire- 
land. Aboot two o'clock in the mornings the 
watchmen on the Revenue Quay were much sur- 
prised at descrying a man disporting himsdf in the 
water, about a hundred yards from the shore. In- 
timation having been given to the Revenue b6at's 
crew, they pushed off, and succeeded in picking 
him up; but^ strange to say, he had no idea what- 
ever of his perilous situation, and it was with the 
utmost difficulty they could persuade him he was 
not still in bed. But the most singular part of 
this novel adventure, and which was afterwards 
ascertained, was, that the man had left his house 
at twelve o'clock that night, and widked through 
a difficult, and, to him, dangerous road, a distance 
of nearly two miles, and had actually swam one 

* MAcmtH, p. lenu 


mile and a half, when he was fortanately diseo- 
vered and picked np. 

*' Not very long ago, a boy was seen fiabing^ off 
Brest, up to the middle in water. On coming' up 
to him, he was found to be fast asleep/'* 

The story of Lord Culpepper's brother is pretty 
well known. In 1686, he was indicted at the Old 
Bailey for shooting one of the Guards and his 
horse. He pleaded somnambulism, and was ac- 
quitted, on producing ample evidence of the extra- 
ordinary things he did in his sleep. There is a 
somewhat similar story of a French gentleman, 
who rose in bis sleep, crossed the Seine^ fought a 
duel, and killed his antagonist, without recollect^ 
ing any of the circumstances when awake. 

The following curious case occurred not long 
ago at the Town-Hall, South wark: — ^^ Yesterday 
Mary Spencer, a well-looking young woman, was 
placed at the bar, before Mr Alderman Thorp, 
charged with possessing herself of a pair of trousers 
and a handkerchief, under the following most ex- 
traordinary circumstances : 

'^ John Green deposed, he was by trade a plas- 
terer, and, on Saturday evening, after finishing^ 
his work, he went to see some friends at Pimlico, 
and returned from thence about ten o'clock, and 
in passing through the Borough, he was accosted 

* Macvisb, pp. 167) 168. 


by a female: he. had at the time a bundle on his 
arm. He knew no more of what transpired until 
between one and two o'clock on Sunday morning. 

^^ Alderman Thorp. — What ! were you so drunk 
that you cannot tell what happened ? 

*^ Complainant (with great simplicity), — I was 
not drunk, your worship; I was fast asleep (laugh- 

^* Alderman Thorp. — You cannot be serious. I 
never heard of such a thing as a man walking 
through a crowded thoroughfare, like the Borough 
High Street, without being disturbed. 

^* Complainant — What I have stated, your wor- 
ship, is true ; I am, unfortunately, too frequently 
affected with fits of somnambulism, and, for greater 
security from robbery, I always make what articles 
I carry fast to my arm, so that if any one attempt 
to snatch it from me it would awaken me. 

** Alderman Thorp. — ^But how do you know the 
prisoner is the party who accosted you in the Bo- 
rough ? If you were asleep, you could not see 

** Complainant. — Strange as it may appear, al- 
though I have not the power to arouse myself 
when in such a state of excessive lethargy, yet I 
can retain the sound of persons' voices in my mind, 
and, from the voice of the prisoner, I have not the 
least doubt she is the party. 


I ** Aldernum Tborp.-^How 4o you gMoont for 

j the lapse of honra firom htmg aecoetod by the pri« 

8w^ up to the time you discovered your loss? 

^^ Complainant.— rl am in the habit of waHdng 
for hours in my sleeps and If an attempt had been 
made to forcibly take the bundle from my mrni^ it 
would have aroused me ; my h&ndkerchief was cut, 
and thus the bundle was easily taken away. 

^^ Aldwman Thorp.*— I nerer heard smb a ease 
before ; was the bundle found ? 

** Acting Inspeetor MK3raw, division M. an* 
swered in the affirmative, and added, that what the 
complainant had stated about walking the streets 
and roada was true : be had made inquiries, and 
found it to be the fact; it was well known to tbe 

** Watts, police constable 169, division M. de« 
posed, that the complainant came to the station- 
house between one and two o'clock on Sunday- 
morning, and made precisely the same statement 
as he had made before the Alderman. The In- 
spector thought the tale savoured of the marvel* 
lous, and told witness to accompany him (com- 
plainant) in search of ^e property ; and on ar«» 
riving at a house in Kent Street, BoKNtigh, he satd 
he thought the bundle was there. He knocked at 
the door, which was opened, and, by the door of a 
room wherein the prisoner was sleeping, the pro-^ 


perty was found : the moment she spoke, he 
the prisoner was the peiten who stopped him in 
the Borough. Witness took the prisoner to the 

^^ The prosecutor here pointed out the way in 
which the bundle must have been taken away, and 
showed the Aldeman the rent handkerchief. 

«« Mr Edmonds (for the prisDiier) contended, 
that no jury would oonvict upon the evidence of 
a sleep-walker, in a prosecution against a street- 
walker fa laughs) The prisoner likid mo claim to 
the bundle ; and as the oomplainant had sworn it 
was his property, the police would give it up to 

^^ Alderman Thorp said it was so strange a case, 
that he hardly knew how to act : be sboald, how- 
ever, under the doubtful cireain8tasce» as to iden- 
tity, give the prisoner the benefit of it, and dis- 
charge her. The bundle was given up to the eom« 

** A gentleman, who was in attendasce, said he 
had known the complainant many years, aiad U 
woinoi anuncomnwnMng/ar MmtobeseizedwUh 
thai unhappv afiictkm wkUe ai uhrk on Ae mn^ffbid, 
and j^ he had never mei with an acddeni^ (xndy iMk 
in thai etatCf would answer questions put to him as 
though he was awahA.*^ 

Mr Macnish, in his ingenious work already re- 


ferred to, very correctly obfierves, that ^< fd walk 
on the house top, to scale precipices, and descend 
to the bottom of frightful ravines, are common ex- 
ploits with the somnambulist; and he perfiMins 
them with a facility far beyond the power of any 
man who is completely awake." 

Equally judicious are the following observations 
of the same learned writer: ^< It is not always 
safe to arouse a sleep-walker; and many cases of 
the fatal effects thence arising have been detail- 
ed by aulliors." *^ Among other examples, that 
of a young lady, who was addicted to this affec- 
tion, may be mentioned. SLnowing her failing, 
her friends made a point of locking the door, and 
securing the window of her chamber, in such a 
manner that she could not possibly get out. One 
night, these precautions were unfortunately over- 
looked, and, in a paroxysm of somnambulism, she 
walked into the garden behind the house. While 
there, she was recognised by some of the family, 
who were warned by the noise she made on open- 
ing the door, and they followed and awoke her ; 
but such was the effect produced upon her nervous 
system, that she almost instantly expired." 

A very affecting incident, of a similar descrip- 
tion, occurred about twelve or eighteen months 
ago at Dresden. One evening, a young lady was 
observed walking upon the top of a house in one 


of the Streets of that city. The alarm was given, 
and a considerable concourse of persons assembled, 
intensely interested in the event of her perilous 
proceeding. Every possible precaution was taken 
to prevent her from receiving injury, in case of an 
anticipated fall ; — the street having been covered 
with beds, matrasses, &c. Meanwhile, the young 
lady, apparently unconscious of danger, came for- 
ward to the edge of the roof, smiling and bowing 
to the multitude below, and occasionally arranging 
her hair and her dress. After this scene had con- 
tinued for some time, and the spectators wwe in 
the utmost anxiety for her safety, she at length 
proceeded towards the window of a room, from 
which she had made her exit. In their alarm, 
some of the family had placed a light in this rocmi, 
which the somnambulist perceiving, suddenly ar 
woke^ fell to the ground, and was killed on the 

The preceding instances, I presume, sufficiently 
illustrate the more common phenomena of som- 
nambulism-*the expertness, confidence, and se- 
curity with which somnambulists perform the most 
difficult and dangerous operations — the organic 
insensibility attending the affection, and the com- 
plete oblivion, when awake, of every thing that 
may have occurred during the paroxysm — and 


the danger of arooaing tbem oat of tbeir extrft- 
ordinary sleep. In the following inBtanceaj u- 
milar phenomena will be found to occur, along 
with others of a etill more rMOarkahle olmrao- 

( 323 ) 


The following ease of somnaiiibiilism is report- 
ed in the 38th Tolnme of the French Encyclopaedia^ 
on the highly respectaUe anthority of the Arch- 
bishop of Bourdeanx, and has been fVeqaently 
copied into other subsequent pnblicatiens. 

It is the case of a young ecclesiastic^ wha was in 
the habit of getting up during the night, in a state 
of somnambulism, of going to his room, taking 
pen, ink, and paper, and composing and writing 
sermons. When he had finished one page of the 
paper on which he was writing, he would read aver 
what he had written aload, and correct it Upon 
one occasion, he had made use of the expression : Ce 
divtn er^fixnt. In reading over the passage, he 
changed the word divin into odonMe. Observing, 
however, that the prcHMHm c$ cenld not stand be« 
fore the word adorable^ he added to it the letter t 

In order to ascertain whether the somnambuliBt 
made any use of his eyes, the Archbishop held a 
piece of pasteboard under his chin, to prevent him 
from seeing the paper upon which he waa writing; 


i>at he continued to write on, without beings appa- 
rently, incommoded in the slightest d^ree. The 
paper upon which he was writing was taken away, 
and other paper laid before him ; but the young 
ecclesiastic immediately perceived the change. 

He wrote pieces of music while in this state, and 
in the same manner, toiih his eyes closed.^ The 
words were placed under the music. It happened, 
upon one occasion, that (he words were written in 
too large a character, and did npt stand exactly 
under the corresponding notes. He soon perceived 
the error, blotted out the part, and wrote it over 
again with great exactness. 

Now, in what manner, it may be asked, v^as the 
faculty of vision exercised by this somnambulist ? 
He wrote, it will be observed, and corrected what 
he had written, with his eyes closed ; and he expe^ 
rienced no inconvenience when an opaque body was 
interposed between them and the paper on which 

* I request the particular attention of my readers to this re- 
markable phenomenon throughout all the instances of the natu- 
ral somnambulism which I shall have occasion to adduce. I am 
aware that, in my views upon this subject, I am opposed hy all 
the most eminent adherents of the prevailing systems of physio- 
logy ; but I beg it may be noted that, while they deny the pos- 
atbUUy of the phenomenon, a priori, upon mere theoretical 
grounds, I have undertaken to demonstrate its real eanttetwe bj 
positive evidence of the most cogent and irresistible nature. 
The explanation of the &ct is attended with more difficulty ; 
but this circumstance affords no argument against its reality. 


he was writing. Is it not evident here that the fa- 
culty in question must have been transferred from 
Its appropriate organ to some other part of the ner- 
vous system ? 

In the following case,- which appears to have been 
most minutely and most accurately observed, the 
phenomenon of the exercise of vision without the 
use of the eyes, and, consequently, of the transfe- 
rence of the faculty of sight, is still more conspi- 

Some interesting particulars, concerning a na- 
tural somnambulist, having been communicated to 
the Philosophical Society of Lausanne, three of its 
members — Dr Levade, and Messrs Regnier Mid 
Van Berchem — ^wereappointedacommitteeto make 
their observations and report upon the case. The 
somnambulist was a boy of the name of Devaud, 
thirteen years and six months old, residing in the 
house of M. Tardent, schoolmaster at Vevey. 

The following are some of the facts observed and 
reported by the Committee upon this occasion. I 
have purposely left out of view the theoretical prin- 
ciples upon which these intelligent gentlemen at- 
tempted to account for the phenomena they ob» 
served ; being anxious, at present, to confine my** 
self, as much as possible, to the mere detail of 

* I have quoted from a translation of the Frendi Report, 


<< We can testiiy/' say the Committee, <« that he 
dressed himself in a room perfectly dark. His 
clothes lay on a great table ; and when we jumbled 
them with other wearing apparel, he immediately 
diaeovered the trick, and complained grievously 
that his companions made sport of him. At last, 
by the help of a feeble ray, we saw him dress with 
great precision."" 

^' Having snatched one of his books, when his 
eyes were perfectly shut^ he said, without opening it, 
< 'Tis a sorry dictionary,' as indeed it was.'' 

With his eyes fast locked, he touched, in onr 
presence, several objects, and yet distinguished per- 
fectly well those he had, from those he had not seen 
before. Once, for example, we thrust into the 
drawer that contained his papers, a book which did 
not belong to him. He stumbled upon it by acci- 
dent, and expressed great concern lest he should be 
suspected of theft'" 

^^ He is sometimes apprised of the presence of 6b- 
jects^ unthout being assisted by the sense of sight or 
of touch." 

*^ Having prevailed on him to write a version, 
we saw him light a candle, take pen, ink and paper 
from his drawer, and then jot down what his master 

published at Edinburgh, in 1792. An account of this case will 
be found also in the EncyohpacUa Britannica. Art Sleep- 
Walker. , 

dictated. Though we put a thick piece of paper be- 
fore his eyesj he continued to form each chairacter wHth 
the same distinctness as before ; only he seemed to 
feel uneasy, probably from the paper being placed 
too near his nose, and so preventing a free respi- 

At five o'clock, on the morning of the 2l8t De- 
cember, our young sleep-walker rose from his bed, 
took his writing materials and version book, and 
put his pen to the top of the page, but observing 
some lines already traced, he brought it down to 
the blank part of the leaf. The lesson b^an with 
these words, Fiunt ignavi pigritia — lis deviennemi 
ignorans par la paresse. What is very surprising, 
after writing several lines, he perceived that he had 
omitted an s in the word ignorans, and inserted 
two rs in paresse ; nor did he proceed further till 
he eorreoted both these mistakes/' 

*^ At another time, he wrote a copy, to please his 
master, as he said. It exhibited specimens of large 
and round text, and running hand, each done with 
its respective pen. He drew a castle in the corner 
of the paper, and erased a blot between two letters, 
widiout touching either of them. M. Levade, in 
short, has seen him cypher and calculate with great 
exactness. In each of the above operations^ the sleeps 
walker had his eges aknost always shut, but there 
was a ligt^ the room." 


** We have i^fUm, heard him come down siairs verp 
hastifyf when ii was quite darh.** 

<< We ghewed him a book he had never seen be- 
fore. He mid be would examine it in day-l%ht; 
and retiring, with this intention, into a very dark 
kitchen, opened the book,^ &c. 

** He took from his press several of his own 
books, went to examine them in total darkness, cast 
np the title-pages, and named each, without making 
a single mistake, as we verified by bringing them 
into the light, as soon as he named them. He has 
even told the title of a hooky when there was a thick 
plank placed between it and his eyes** 

<< M. Tardentshewedusa specimen qfhis writtng, 
whichf he asswred us, the sleepwalker had executed 
in the completest darkness*' 

lo their observations upon this remarkable case, 
1 1 the Committee conclude, that '^ since the sleq^ 

walker can write with any thing placed before his 
eyesj toe are not to be surprised that he should do so 
f ft the greatest obscurity. In darkness, it seems that 
his sense of touch supplies, in some measure, that 
of sight ; that his hands, and even his face (far he 
has been seen to approach objects so near his face cu 
to touch itjy help him out with a just idea of the forme 
and qualities of objects*' 

The reader is requested to compare this last ob- 
servation with the phenomena described in the Ap- 



pendix (No. II.), as occurring in tlie cases reported 
by the Doctors Despine and Delpit, and by Profes- 
sor Kieser, which, I have been informed, have been 
tlie subject of a great deal of wit and ridicule. In 
these various instances of the observation of a very 
extraordinary fact, it is quite impossible that there 
could have been any thing like collusion between 
the parties; nor is there the slightest ground to 
suspect the competency, or the good faith, of the 
reporters. Had the appropriate experiments been 
made in this Lausanne case, the results, in all pro- 
babilStyt would have been very similar to those ob- 
served and recorded by the learned Professor. 

I may here remark, that the hypothesis of one 
sense supplying the want of another, as I formerly 
hinted, is utterly inadequate to explain the facts, 
and therefore quite inadmissible. In some of the 
cases to be afterwards adduced, it will be seen that 
the whole of the senses were in a state of temporary 
suspension ; so that not one of them was left to 
perform the functions of the others, even if such an 
hypothesis were otherwise tenable. On the other 
hand, the supposition of the transference of the fa- 
culties, which apparently takes place during the 
apathy of the organs, combined with an increased 
sensibility and activity of certain portions of (he 
nervous system, which has been observed to take 





place in YarioasiD8(aiAeeB),k much more eonsuilKWt 
with the phenomena actoally numifestedy and reiv? 
ders the solation of all difiM^tiee companU^ely 
easy. At all eventfl» explain it as we will, the fiiot 
itself is capable of being demonstrated by evidence* 

The next instance of the natural soBAnambuJiapi 
to which I shall refer, reste upon the moft ceepect* 
able authority of the Aalic Councillor and Profes- 
sor Feder of Goettingen, a gentleman wJboeci learn- 
ing and philosophical taleiits wem highly, aypri^ 
ciated in his native cecmtry. 

The sulgectof the Prpfessoc^a observadimei wm 
a student, who, during a seyer^iwry^fiwi Q(HBD|il«ini,, 
experienced several attaelm of jswwi>ni»mhnMaia^. Up- 
on the^e occasions,, he ly^ould go fijom.hls bed-^wn^ 
to his parlour, and back,, opw and) sbult the dooro, 
as also his closets^ and take out of the latter wb^jt- 
ever he wanlj^d— pieocNS of mumc» pen,.Jnk,. and 
paper» &c. — ami all thifi wUh to ^e$, skitL From^ 
among his music, he picked out a.mareb feoia the 
Medea, laid the. sheet in a proper eitaatAon before 
him, and having found the appropriate key^ he 
played the whole piece, with hk usoal skilly upon 
the harpsichord. In the same manner^ be also 
played one of Bach's sonatas^ and gave the mosl 
expressive passages with surprising effect One of 
the persons present turned the notes upside down : 
This he immyediately perceived, and when be again 


began to play, he replaced the sheet in its proper 
situation. While playing, he remarked a string 
out of tune, upon which he stopt, put it in order, 
and then proceeded. He wrote a tetter to his bro- 
ther ; and what he wrota waa not only perfectly 
rational^, but straight and l^Ue. While ProfiBs- 
sor Feder waa upon a vint to him one afternoon, 
he ohswved that it was snowing,, which was really 
the case* On the same day, heremarkedy fwiwiih* 
Bkmdvng his eyes were dosedj that the landlord of 
the opposite house was standkig at the window^ 
which was taroe ; and that hats were hanging at 
the window of another room in the same* house, 
which was also correct, &e. No partienlar experi^ 
ments appeac to have been made, in this case, with 
the view of ascertainiag the precise state of the 
different faculties.; bat it was^ quite evidebt that 
this somnambulist saw distinctly without the use 

The:fi»llcfwing casackf natural somnambulism is 
recorded in the Transactions of the Medical Society 

of Brealatt^ 

A ropeKinaker, twenty-three years of age, was 
frequently overtaken l^ sleeps even by d8y4ight, 

* I have mislaid my reference to the source whence I derived 
this case ; but I believe it will be found in Moritz's PtyiiMagieal 

t See Acta VnUukv. Class iv. art. 7* 








and in the midst of his usoal ocoapation, whether 
sitting, standing, or walking. Bis eyes were firm* 
ly diMedy and he last the tue qfidl his external senses. 
While in this state, he sometimes recomineDeed 
doing all that he had been engaged in during the 
previous part of the day, from his morning devo- 
tions up to the commencement of the parozyam. 
At other times, he would continue the work in 
i'jl which he happened to be engaged at the time» and 

finished his business with as great^ease and aaceess 
as when awake. When the fit overtook him in 
travelling, he did not stand still, but proceeded on 
his journey, with the same facility and almost fiist- 
er than when awake, without missing the road, or 
stumbling over any thing. In this manner, hh re- 
peatedly went from Naumburgh to Weimar. Upon 
one of these occasions, he camiB into a narrow lane, 
I • across which there lay some timber : He passed 

over it regularly, as if awake, without injury. 
With «qual care and dexterity, be avoided the 
horses and carriages which came in his way. At 
another time, he was overtaken by sleep, a short 
while before setting out for Weimar on horseback. 
jj He rode through the river Ume, allowed his horse 

to drink, and drew up bis legs to prevent them 
I !i from getting w;et ; then passed through several 

i il streets, crossed the market-place, which was then 


:l I- 



■ ., 


full of people, booths, and carts ; and arrived in 
safety at the house where his business lay. 

During the continuance of the paroxysm^ he was 
quite insensible ; thxmgh pricked^ pinchedy or struck^ 
he felt nothing. He could not see when his eyes were 
forced open. He could not smell even the most vola- 
tile spirit ; nor could he hear the report of a pistol^ 
when fired dose beside him. 

It is scarcely necessary to observe, that the or-- 
dinary material principles of Physiology are quite 
incapable of explaining such a case as this. Here, 
it is at once obvious, there is no foundation for the 
hypothesis of one sense supplying the place of an- 
other ; because aU the external senses were ascer- 
tained to hie completely dormant. The case, it is 
conceived^ can only be accounted for by assuming, 
as warranted by the facts, a transference of the fa- 
culties; and that the internal sense — the soul — 
manifested its energies through other than the 
usual organs. 

Dr Knoll gives a curious account of a somnam- 
bulist, whom he himself attentively and accurately 
observed during his nightly wanderings in winter ; 
and his narrative is accompigaied with many judi- 
cious and interesting remarks** The subject of 

* Hiatoriiche^ thmtretiteke und praciMte Betraehhing Hnei iHtrs- 
/teft vorg^alknen Xae/Uwandeint. 1747* 


these obeerrations was a young maoy a gmrden«r. 
wbo became somnambulist, and, wbile in that sti^ 
performed many extraordinary operations, of whicb 
I shall notiee only the following. 

The lady of the honse in which he ratided^ be* 
ing apprehensive of some danger from hia noetm^ 
nal excursions, ordered him to sleep in aiK^lwr 
apartment, where he was locked up and watcbed* 
When he became somnambulist, at the usual hour, 
he b^an to perform aU sorts of operations ufia» 
his clothes and the furniture of the room. He 
climbed up to the window, and from thence to a 
stove, which was much higher, and at some d]»> 
tance from it, and rode upon the latter, aa if upon 
horseback. The height of the stove, its distance 
from the window, and its small breadth, were such, 
that a person awake would scarcely have ventured 
to go through these operations. After descending 
from the stove, he knocked a large table about, 
hither and thither, and finding that it was likely 
to fall upon himself, he very dexterously contrived 
to evade it He gathered all the clothes he could 
find in the room, mixed them together, then sepa- 
rated them carefully, and hung them up, each ar- 
ticle in its proper place. The old stockings and 
shoes he endeavoured to arrange together in pairs, 
according to their shape and colour, as if he actual- 
ly saw them. He laid hold of a needle, which he 


bad stuck into the wall some weeks before, put the 
thread through the eye, and sewed his small-clothes. 
Besides these, he performed a variety of other ope- 
rations too tedious to enumerate ; (dly however, re- 
quiring light and the use of the eyes, with which, it 
would appear, he was enabled to dispense. 

In this case, we have an example of the ease and 
confidence with which the somnambulist performs 
diflBiCultand delicate operations, without any assist- 
ance from the sensitive organs. In some of the 
following instances, these and other remarkable 
phenomena will be still more conspicuously dis^ 

( 8S6 ) 


I AM now about to addace two or three cases of 
Bomnambulism, in which the affection appears to 
have been occasioned by, or at least was conoonaiir 
{ tant with, an otherwise morbid state of the system. 

In these, it will be seen, the phenomena were, in 
all respects, analogous to those manifested in the 
preceding instances. 

The following case is given upon the authority 
of M* Sauvages de la Croix. 

A girl of twenty years of age was frequently at- 
tacked with cataleptic insensibility, during which 
she continued stiff and deprived of all sensation, 
whether standing, sitting, or lying, in the position 
she might happen to be in at the commencement of 
the attack, and she could be pushed forward, like 
a statue, when it was wished to remove her from 
one place to another. She was afterwards placed 
in a different state, which commenced with the 
same deprivation of sense and motion, but, at in- 
tervals, presented a wonderful kind of animation. 
She first became motionless, then, some minutes 


afterwards, she began to yawn, sat up on the bed, 
and enacted the following scene, which she repeat- 
ed at least fifty times. She spoke with an unusual 
liveliness and cheerfulness, and what she said was 
a continuation of what she had spoken in her pre- 
vious fit, or a repetition of some part of the cate- 
chism, which she had beard read on the preceding 
evening. She frequently addressed her acquaint- 
ances in the house, and sometimes made ironical 
applications of moral apophthegms to them under 
fe^ed names, with open eyes, and such gestures 
as she had made the previous evening. That du- 
ring aU this time she was not awake^ is dear from 
various experiments. A hand uhis suddenly passed 
near her eyes^ without producing any motion in the 
eye-lidsy or any attempt to evcuie it^ or interrupting 
her speech in the slightest degree. The same thing 
happened when a finger was suddenly approached 
dose to her eye^ or a burning taper heldso near to it, 
that the hair of her eye-lids was actuaily bumtj and 
also when any one called loudly into her ear from he- 
hind, or threw a stone against the bedstead. Nay 
morej brandy and spirit of hartshorn were poured in- 
to her eyes and mouth ; Spanish snuff was blown in- 
to her noetrik ; she urns pricked with needles ; her 
fingers were wrenched; the ball qfher eye was touch- 
ed with afeather, and even with the finger : She ma- 
VOL. I. p f 




ni/eMed nai the Mghtest sensixikm. SIie.alwa3r8 be* 
gan to speak with more animatioD, and^ soon after- 
wards, she saog and laughed aloud, attempted to 
get out of bed, and at length sprang out of it, and 
uttered a cry of joy. She kept the middle tooy be- 
tween the bedsteads as well as when awakSi and fiever 
came against them--'4umeddexterouslp round between 
the bedsteads and a concealed chsetj withoui ever 
groping her wa^j or tonching the oigects ; andeffier 
turning rounds she returned toher body co(Dered her- 
self with the dotheSf andagain becmme stiff as estihe 
commencement. She then awoke, as if from a. pro- 
found sleep, and when she^ perceived, frMn tliei«p» 
pearance of the bystanders, that she flHiat*Juiye 
had her fits again, she wept die whole day: for 
shame, and never knew what had happened to her 
during the paroxysm. 

This ease bears considerable analogy to tliatof 
Loui8a^6aerkmann, reported by Dr Joseph Frank, 
and iMHiced in the Appendix (No. II.) It tends, 
along with others, to demonstrate the total organic 
insensibility attending the affection, and the com- 
plete forgetfulness in the waking states of every 
thing that oecurred during the. paroxysm. 

Lord Monboddo, in the 11th chapter of the Se* 
cond book of his Antient Metaphysics^ has recorded 
a very curious case of somnambulism, which,* al- 
though I presume it is very generally knowii, I 


kIihII take tlie liberty of again renting in his Lord- 
ship's own words. 

" It was," Bays his Lordship, " the case of a 
yoang girl, in the neighbourhood of my house in 
the country, who had a disease that is pretty well 
known in the country where I live, uikkr the- name 
oftlie louping, that is the^wpt'n^ ague ; and which 
is no other than a kind of frenzy which seizes the 
patients in their sleep, and makes them jump and 
run like persons possessed. The girl was attacked 
by thin disease three years ago, in the spritig, when 
she was about sixteen years of age, and it lasted 
something more than three months. The fit al- 
ways seized her in the day-time, commonly about 
seven or eight o'clock in the morning, af^er she 
had been out of bed two or three hours. It began 
with a heaviness or drowsiness, which euded in 
sleep, at least wtiat had the appearance of sleep, 
_fi>r her eyes were close shut In this condition, she 
would leap up upon stools and tables with sur- 
prising agility ; then she would get eat of the cot- 
tage where she lived with her father, mother, and 
brother, and run with great violence, emd muck 
faster than she could do when well, but always with 
a certain destination to some one place in the neigh- 
bourhood ; and to which place she often said, when 
she found the fit coming upon her, that she was to 
go : and after she had gone to the place of her 



. /. 



destination, if she did not there awake, she came 
back in the same direction, though she did not al- 
ways keep the high road, but frequently went a 
nearer way across the fields ; and though her road, 
for this reason, was often very rough, she never fell, 
notwithstanding the violence with which she ran. 
But all the while she rdn^ her eyes were quiie skuf, 
as her brother attests, who often ran with her to 
take care of her, and who, though he was much 
older, stronger, and cleverer than she, was hardly 
able to keep up with her. When she told, before 
the fit came on, to what place she was to run, she 
said she dreamt the night before that she was to 
run to that place; and, though they sometimes dis- 
suaded her from going to a particular place, as to 
my house, for example, where they said the dogs 
woujd bite her, she said she would run that way, 
and no other. When she awaked, and came out 
of her delirium, she found herself extremely weak, 
but soon recovered her strength, and was nothing 
the worse for it, but, ou the contrary, was much 
the worse for being restrained from running. 
lichen she awaked, and came to herself j she had not 
the least remembrance of what had passed while she 
was asleep. Sometimes she would run upon the 
top of the earthen fence which surrounded her fa- 
ther's little garden ; and, though the fence was of 
an irregular figure, and very narrow at top, yet 


she never fell from it, nor from the top of the 
house, upon which she would sometimes get, by 
the assistance of this fence, though her eyes were 
then likewise shut. Some time before her disorder 
left her, she dreamed, as she said, that the water 
of a well in the neighbourhood, called the Driping 
Welti would cure her ; and, accordingly, she drank 
of it very plentifully, both when she was well and 
when she was ill. Once, when she was ill, she ex- 
pressed, by signs, a violent desire to drink of it 
(for she did not, while in the fit, speak so as to be 
intelligible), and they having brought her other 
water, she would not let it come near her, but re- 
jected it with signs of great aversion ; but when 
they brought her the water of this well, she drank 
it greedily, her eyes being all the while shut. Be- 
fore her last fit came upon her, she said that she 
had just three leaps to make, and she would nei- 
ther leap nor run more. And accordingly, having 
fallen asleep as usual, she leaped up upon the stone 
at the back of the chimney, and down again ; and 
having done this three times, she kept her word, 
and never leaped nor run more. She is now in 
perfect health." 

Having given these details of this very interest- 
ing case, his Lordship justly observes : ** What I 
have said of this girl remembering nothing of what 
passed while she was in the fit, is the case of all 


nigfat-^iralkerBi It U by -this, dii^flyrthat iriglil^ 
wallring ift< disCttigukbed' from drestoi^ and^it 
proved tl> nw^ tbarthei mind is then more dlkM^ 
gagMl'ftoia tho^ bodythaft it'iis ev^nda dreattifiqg>v 
For it is not only witltotit tfa^^fnseof the Mnseir, 
burxirithont meittory.'' Sd'ihr^his Lordrinp. 

Here; then, ie a case of^ nitftidiral scrmttinofMiliMtr, 
in wHiisb' we £nd several of 'the pbtoomena'pecoKar 

»to the affection, aud which hav^ oeeutved to immy 
other instances, very distinctly develdped. l$^^-her 
/ eyes shut, this girL mns rapidly along the hlgii)- 

rofld, and through the fidids, uninjured^ Shoe rtnis 
with greater rapidity than . she was^oapaUe of- diit^ 
ingt in her ordinary state. She also runs ae^Mefy 
upontthei narrow and irregular top of aa^eaiitlien- 
fen'ce, and upon the topof the house^^ with fa^ 
eyes still closed. In- the same sti^^ die distin- 
guishes: between the water of a patliicttlar wall and 
other water. When awake, she/ remembers no^ 
thing of what occurred during' her fits'; and she 
predicts the period and the manner of her reco- 

The^ following account was commanicated to Dr 
Wienholt by Dr Scbultz of Hamburgh^ and it ia 
alsofinserted in Meiner's coHection, he having-^re- 
ceived' it from' the same so^roe^ 

The ptflient wan a girt of thirteen^ beleii|ging to 
a respectable family^, who was sick of a severe^ner^ 


VOU8 compljaint^ accompanied with vialent convnl- 
Hive vkotioms, insensibility and catalepsy. In some 
of ber attacks, she conversed with mach acutenees 
and pointed^ wit. While in a state of somnambu- 
lism, she distinguished, without difficulty, all co- 
lours presented to her, and recognised the num- 
bers of cards, and the stripes upon the painted 
cards. She described- the colour of the binding of 
books. She wrote as well as usual^ and cut out fi* 
gures in paper, as she was accustomed to do for 
amusendentr in her waUng. state. During att tkii 
Hmej her effes toer^fcut chsed; but in order to be 
certain^ tkat^ upon these occagkmef sh^ made no use 
of her eyes, thep werehandaged vpon the cqrprodch 
of the conmdsums which preceded the sdmnambdh 

I need make no vemark upon this case, except^ 
ing that it confirms and corroborates some of the 
most remarkable phenomena described in the pre>- 
ceding instances. 

One of the most extraordinary somnambulists 
upon record is a certain John Baptist N^pretti of 
Vicenza, a servant in the family of the Marquis 
Louis Sale. Messrs Rig^lini and Pignatti parti- 
cularly observed the phenomena he exhibited ; and 
the latter, in the year 1745, drew up a Report up- 
on the case, of which thie substance will be found 
in the Journal Enoucbpediaue for the mondi of 


July 1762, and also in the work of Muratori al- 
ready referred to, page 96, and in the Jbumai E- 
tranger for the year 1756. 

I must refer the inquisitive reader to some one 
of the above-mentioned works for a full account of 
this very curious and amusing case ; and shall only 
advert to one or two particulars, as illuatrative of 
the state of this somnambulist's sensibility. 

Upon one occasion, Negretti dressed ^ a salad, 
having previously taken all that was necessary for 
this purpose out of the kitchen-press ; and when it 
was ready, he sat down at a table to eat it. The 
plate was taken away from before him, and a dish 
of cabbage set down in its place, which he ate in- 
stead of the salad. While he was still eating, the 
cabbage was removed, and a tart placed before 
him, which he also devoured, without appearing to 
perceive any difference in the things he was eat- 
ing ; from which circumstance, the reporters ob- 
serve, it may be inferred, that the usual organs of 
taste were inactive or insensible, and that the soul 
only was busy, without any co-operation of the 

A similar inference may be drawn from the fol- 
lowing occurrence : — ^At another time, he said that 
he wished to drink a little. Accordingly, he went to 
a tavern, called the landlord, and asked for half a 
pint of wine. Instead of wine, half a pint of water 



was given him, which he drank off. Upon return- 
ing home to the chateau, he appeared very cheer- 
ful, said that he had been drinking in the tavern, 
and that his stomach was much the better of it.* 

In Moritz's Psychologtcal Mcigazine (vol. ii. No. 1, 
p. 69), there is a short account, by Ritter, of a boy 
of ten years of age, who became subject to fits of 
drowsiness, and frequently fell asleep suddenly, 
even in the day-time, whether sitting or standing. 
In this state, he would converse with the persons 
present ; and although his eyes were^ to aU appear^ 
ance^ completely closed, he was able to see and discri- 
minoie all objects presented to him. When awaken- 
ed, he recollected nothing of what had occurred 
during his sleep, but would talk of other matters. 
On bis again falling asleep, the thread of discourse 
could be taken up where it had been previously 
interrupted, and continued. When he again awoke, 
he remembered nothing of the conversation that 
had occurred during his sleep, but recollected what 
had been last said to him when awake ; and thus, 
says the reporter, it appeared as if he had two souls, 
one for the state of sleep, and the other for the pe- 
riod when he was awake. 

In this and the following case, which presents a 
still more extraordinary instance of this douiM 

* Similar phenomena are quite fkmiliar to those acquainted 
with the magnetic somnainhuliflm^ 




I* * 





permmalUy^ we might perhaps find some ^orrobotm- 
tion of the ideas of Reil andtotfaers, retq^eeling' tlie 
twO' antagonist poles of senubilityin the haman 
constitntion— -the /metimolie and the «of»fltfft0-^^--dis 
cerebral.and the gangHonio systenie of vitality. 

The case now to be referred toocomred in. Aiao- 
riea. It is described bjr Major J^io^ Prafeaaor of 
Matiieiiiaties in the> United^ : Stateif Militargr Aca- 
demy at West Pointy and wa»;coimiittiiicated. by 
Dr Mitchell to Dr Nott, in ik» Medical JEtapewOc^r^ 
ofAmmca^ for January 1816« 

The patient wb» an aceomplished youngs bidy^ 
whO) in a state of somnambulism^ lost all. reodUee^ 
tion of her previous acquirements, and) like a ehild^ 
was. obliged to commence her education anew. 
When restored to her natural state, she again be* 
came possessed of her former knowledge but re^ 
membered nothing of what had occurred' in. tfae in^^ 
terval. During four years, these two states alter-* 
nated periodically ; but she herself possessed- as 
little consciousness of her double character, as two 
distinct persons of each other. 

When treating of somnambulism, Dr Abercromw 
bie observes, that *^ another very singular pheiKK 
menon presented by some instances of this affection, 
is what has been called, rather incorrectly, a state 
of double consciousness. It consists in the indi- 
vidual recollecting, during a paroxysm, circnm^ 


)«taiicfls which occurred in a formor atlack, though 
there was no remembrance of them during the in- 
terval. This, as well as various other phenomena 
connected with the aflfectton, ie strikingly illustrat- 
ed in a case described by Dr Dyce of Aberdeen, in 
the Edinbiirgb Philosophical Transact ions. The 
patient was a servant girl, and the affection began 
with lits of somnolency, which came upon her sud- 
denly during the day, and from which ehe could at 
iirst be roused by shaking;, or by being taken out 
iuto the open air. She soon began to talk a great 
deal during the attacks, regarding things which 
seemed to be passing before her as a dream ; and 
she was not, at this time, sensible of any thing that 
was said to her., Id her subsequent pa- 
roxysms, she began to understand what was said 
to her, and to answer with a considerable degree 
of consistency," &c. " She also became capable 
of following her usual employments during the pa- 
roxysm ; at one time she laid out the table correct- 
ly for breakfast, and repeatedly dressed herself and 
the children of the family, her eyes remainiiiy siait 
the whole time. The remarkable circumstance was 
now discovered, that, during the paroxysm, she had 
a distinct recollection of what took place in former 
[Mroxysms, though she had no remembrance of it 
during the intervals. At one lime, she was taken 
to church while under the attack, and there be- 



haved with propriety, evidently attending to the 
preacher ; and she was at one time so much affect- 
ed as to shed tears. In the interval, she had no 
recollection of having been at church ; bat, in the 
next paroxysm, she gave a most distinct account of 
the sermon, and mentioned particularly the part of 
it by which she had been so much affected." — ** Da- 
ring the attack, her eye-lids were generally half- 
■hnt; her eyes sometimes resembled those of a per- 
son affected with amaurosis, that is, with a dilated 
and insensible state of the pupil ; but sometimes 
they were quite natural." — " At one time, during 
the attack, she read difltlnctly a portion of a book 
which was presented to her : and she often sang, 
both sacred and common pieces, incomparably bet- 
ter, Dr Dyce affirms, than she could do in the 
waking state."* 

Dr Ahercromhie also relates tfae following ana- 
](^ue history. 

*' A ^rl aged seven years, an orphan of the lowest 
rank, rending in the house of a farmer, by whom 

* Abercrombie On Ae IntelUetual Poteen. Founh EdlUon, 
pp. 394, &c. 

It appears that this girl wu tStervird» abused, in one of her 
parosysnu, in the most brutal and treacberous manner. On 
omMnf, ilu had no vaiueiiyUMne— talialmtr <ff the outrage ; but in a 
fuAwfumJ panagtn, tame daft aftenearde, it reBurrwd to har reool- 
leetion, and the then nlated to her mo&tr all the rmmltir^ parHeulart, 
Tbts caie presents ■ very strlUog initance of the phenomenon 
oi iMbk perrnnaHts. 


she was employed in tending cattle, was accustomed 
to sleep in an apartment separated by a very thin 
partition from one which was frequently occupied 
by an itinerant fiddler. This person was a musi- 
cian of very considerable skill, and often spent a 
part of the night in performing pieces of a refined 
description ; but his performance was not takien no-^ 
tice of by the child except as a disagreeable noise. 
After a residence of six months in this family, she 
fell into bad health, and was removed to the house 
of a benevolent lady, where, on her recovery after 
a protracted illness, she was employed as a servant. 
Some years after she came to reside with this lady, 
the most beautiful music was often heard in the 
house during the night, which excited no small in*- 
terest and wonder in the family; and many a waking 
hour was spent in endeavours to discover the invi- 
sible minstrel. At length, the sound was traced to 
the sleeping room of the girl, who was found fast 
asleep, but uttering from her lips a sound exactly 
resembling the sweetest sounds of a small violin. 
On farther observation it was found, that, after be- 
ing about two hours in bed, she became restless 
and began to mutter to herself; — she then uttered 
^ sounds precisely resembling the tuning of a violin, 
and at length, after some prelude, dashed off into 
elaborate pieces of music, which she performed in 
a clear and accurate manner, and with a sound 




encdy r69embliBg the ■Mwtdalioale modulatioDs 
of that instrimient Doriiig tiie perftyrmanee she 
aometimes stopped^ HMide the aaiiBd of ce-.timii^ 
her inttnuneDty and then began' ezacdywiiere she 
had stopped in the most eomoetrnumner/' 

^* After M year or two, her mumo was not con- 
fined to the imitation of the yielin^ that was often 
ezehangedfor Aat of a piamirof arery olddascrip- 
tion, which she was accostomed to hear in the 
house where she now lived; and die then aiao te- 
gan to sing, imitating exactly the voices of aeveral 
ladies of the family. In another year fi^ooi this 
time^ she b^an to talk a^ great deal in lier sleep, 
in whidi she seemed to fancy hersdf instmetiDg a 
younger companion. .She often descanted • with 
the utmost fluency and correctness on* a Tariety^of 
topics, both political and religious, the newaof the 
day, the historical parts of Scripture, pubUc cha- 
racters, and particularly the characters of members 
of the fiutnily and their visitors. In these iliseiis- 
sions she shewed the most wonderful discrimination, 
often combined with sarcasm, and astonishing 
powers of mimicry. Her language through the 
whole was fluent and correct, and hen illustrations 
often forcible and even eloquent. She was fimd of 
iUustratmg her subjects by what sha called Vifablej 
and in these her imagery was both appropnate and 
elegant. iShe ^was by : no means, says . my : infor- 



luer, limited ia her range, — Bonaparte, Wellington, 
Bluclier, and all the kings of the earth, figured 
among the phanlaEmagoria of her brain ; and all 
were animadverted upon with such freedom from 
restraint, ae often made me think poor Nancy had 
been transported into Madame Geulio' Palace of 
Truth. The justness and truth of her remarks on 
all subjects, excited the utmost astonishment in 
those who were acquainted with her limited means 
of acquiring information. She has been known to 
coujugate correctly Latin verbs which she had pro- 
bably heard in the school-room of the family ; and 
she was once heard to speak several sentences very 
correctly in French, — -at the same time stating that 
she heard them from a foreign gentleman, whom 
she had met accidentally in a shop. Being ques- 
tioned on this subject when awake, slie remembered 
having seen the gentleman, but could not repeat a 
word of what he said. During her paroxysms, it 
was almost impossible to awake ber, and when her 
eyelids were raised, and a candle brought near the 
eye, the pupil seemed insensible to the light. For se- 
veral years, she whs, during the paroxysms, entirely 
unconscious of the presence of other persons ; but, 
about the age of sixteen, she began to observe those 
who were iu the apartment, and she could tell cor- 
rectly their numbers, though the utmost care was 
taken to have the room darkened. She now also 




became capable or aniwering qneatioQs that were 
put to ber, and of Doticing remarks made in her 
preaence; and, with regard to both, ahe ahewed aalo- 
nUhingaeateDesa. Her obwrratioDa, indeed, were 
often of Buch a nattire, and corresponded so accu- 
rately with cbaractera and events, that by the coun- 
try people she waa believed to be endowed with su- 
pernatural powers. 

" Daring tbewbole period of thisremarkableaflec' 
tion, which seems to have gone on for ten or eleven 
yeaia, she was, when awake, a dull awkward gir], 
very slow in receiving any kind of instruction, 
though much care was bestowed upon her; and, io 
point of intellect, she was muob inferior to the 
other aervantH of the family. In particular, abe 
shewed no kind of tarn for mnsic. She did not 
appear to have any recollection of what had passed 
during her sleep ; but, during her nocturnal 
ramblings, she was more than once heard to lament 
her infirmity of speaking in her sleep, adding, how 
fortunate it was that she did not sleep among the 
other servants, as they teased her enough about it 
as it was."* 

* Abercromble, virup. pp. 296, Ac 

( 353 ) 


In some of the preceding cases, it must have been 
observed, the peculiar phenomena of somnam- 
bulism, although, upon the whole, of a pretty uni- 
form character, are more distinctly manifested than 
in others. Sometimes, too, only one or two of 
these phenomena are developed, while the others 
do not appear at all, or are only slightly noticed. 
These peculiarities may arise from the degree in 
which the patient is affected, from the opportunities 
afforded for experiment and observation, and from 
the knowledge and tact of the observers. But from 
the circumstance that a particular phenomenon has 
not been noticed in any one case, we are not en- 
titled to conclude that it might not have been de- 
veloped, had proper means been employed to as- 
certain its existence. It is only of late that pro- 
fessional men have obtained any thing approaching 
to an adequate knowledge of the nature of ^this af- 
fection, and of the best means of investigating the 

VOL. I. Gg 


If' ^ 





■ p 




, '} phenomena it presents. Previously, only such ap- 

\ pearances were, in general^ observed, as mig^ht bap- 

pen to be accidentally manifested. 

The readers of the former edition of this publi- 
cation may remember that, in the Appendix (now 
No. II.), there was inserted, amongst others, a short 
account of a case of Catalepsy, which occurred in 
the hospital Delia VitOj at Bologna. The follow- 
ing very remarkable case of spontaneous catalepsy 
and ecstasy combined, was aba observed, at ths 
same place, by MM. Carini and J^ Yliscenti^ juid 
by M. Mas2aeorati« I extract the interesting^ agk 
count given of this case in* the Lancet for 1882^ 
33 (vol. xxiti pp. 668, &e.) 

Thepatleot wasa femaleof twtoty-fire^yeaMof 
age. I shall omit tbe medical deseription giwetkA^ 
the morbid B}naftptoHi6, and pvoceed^ aionee^ iO'niK 
tice tbe phenomena wbioh W^e manifeirted. 

, I The body wM altogether imseniible ete» t& the 

most intense and painful physical impressions: 

m\ During the first twenty-ont daysy the eyes were cam^ 

'if pUtely shut. In the second period of the disease^ she 

optn&i themj but she hej^ them motionless^ tunwd to- 
w&fds the light, and insensible to all the impre^iosies 
sought to be communicated to them. M. Mazsacorati 
soon perceived that some singular faculties were 
developed in the patient during this state, and, in 

jjll concert with M. Carini, he tried a series of expe- 


riments, the iDarvellous results of wbicli were the 

Phenomena of ConditiaiL-^The patient heard no 
sound, however loud^ which reached her by the 
ears ; but if she was spoken to, even in the lowe&t 
whisper^ directed on the hollow of the hand^ or soh <tf 
tkejbatr^on the pit of the stomdch^.or along the trq§e€i 
<^ihe sympa^etic nerve, she heard preftctl^*the worda 
addressed to her. It was the same, i^ wfaik speak- 
ing to her in a whisper, tbe speaker iqipHed her 
hand to any of the plaees above: mMUioned^ Bai, 
stranger still, she heard also when the persoik' ad- 
dresring her was only in distaot mediate communi- 
cation with the sorfisuse of the body^ Attiidacrowd 
of experiments, which leave no doubt of this fact, 
it will suffiee te mention (me iii which the chiun 
was of four persons, three of whom keld eacb 
others' hands, and the fourth communicated with 
the third by the interpositioit of a very long wax- 
taper; the first of the chain, meanwhile, being the 
only person in contact with the patient. ' Under 
these civcnrnstanees, she iMard perfeotly^ the whis- 
pers of the fourth person pronocmced at a consider- 
aUe distance. 

Phenomena nfSpeech^-^^The patiebi wfaenileft, to 
herself^ kept constant silenbe t but, when interro* 
gated in the manner above mentioned, she answered' 
with ^perfect propriet]^ always^ making use of the 





tone of voice of her qaeationer. If^ during her 

answer, the immediate contact was broken, or the 

I chain interrupted, she stopped suddenly, bat the 

instant the communication was re-established* she 
finished her discourse, with this remarkable cir- 
cumstance, that she took it up at the point where 
it would have arrived, had there been no interrup- 
tion. It seems, then, that the answer was combined 
in her mind even while the external connexions 
were suspended, and that, during this suspension, 
the vocal organs became paralyzed. 

Phenomena (f Natural or Magnetic vision. — With 
her eyes closed, or even bandaged, she recognised 
things, and their colours^ when placed on the regions 
where this special sensibility existed. She pointed 
out to the instant the hours and minutes on every 
watch. She often, but not always, succeeded in 
reading words written on paper. Later in the dis- 
ease, this faculty became still more prodigiously 
developed. It sufficed to call her attention to any 
object placed in her room, or in the next room^ or in 
the street, or out qf the toum, or even at enomunis the-^ 
tances, to have it described by her as perfectly as 
if she saw it with her eyes. The following are some 
experiments sufficient to prove this assertion. — In 
presence of a celebrated professor of the University, 
it was agreed to ask her to describe a convent in 
the town, into which neither herself nor any of her 


interrogators had ever entered. Next, to describe 
a cellar in a country house, equally unknown to 
the questioners. According to the descriptions she 
gave, plans were designed, and on the places being 
visited, they were found to correspond perfectly 
with the designs made by her dictation. She even 
pointed out the number and position of some bar- 
rels in the cellar. In the same sitting, the Profes- 
sor questioned her respecting the arrangement of 
his study. Her answers were of the most perfect 
exactitude. The following questions and answers, 
for example, are extracted from the notes taken on 
the occasion : — ^^ What is in such a comer ?" ^< A 
table."—" And on the table ?' " A book."—" And 
on the book ?' " A skull."—" Of what ?" " Of 
an animal/' — " Of what animal ?" " I don't know 
its name ; but if you pronounce it among many 
others, I can tell you." In fact, on mentioning 
the names of many animals, she allowed several to 
pass, and instantly stopped at the panther, to which 
animal the skull actually belonged. It is remark- 
able, with respect to names of things and persons 
unknown to her, that she always pursued the same 
method, and thus obtained an almost intuitive 
knowledge thereof. 

She described aUoj with the same facility^ the 
healthy and diseased parts of her own person, and qf 
other individuals. The Professor already mentioned 


m^ecUdker to tm analamiail exammatiomf ^omttaut 
in Latm (a laiguage qf which ake ioom peijicdf iff- 
mmmt) and aometimeM in Ilaiitaif but aboofft tamf 
aeientific nomenclature. He oUained in r^ifymod 
eaxtct dtacriptiau, m ItaHoM, t^the keart and itatf- 
pendoffet, the golar plexus, the ptmcretUy the_firwtver^ 
tdira or atiaa, the monoid api^hyna, §fv. She alao 
gaee precise notions re^tecting the pathoiofficai stats 
of a tadg she did not know. After this, the readw 
wSA scarcely be astoniBhed when we add, that sIh 
described, with equal facility, plaoea pointed out to 
her in Rome, Paris, and Naples. 

During the period in which her eyes remained 
open, and her pupils motionless and tamed towardi 
the lights the experimentalists believed (bat tbey 
obserred that the optic axis bad become electrome- 
ters of prodigious sensibility, since they tamed 
constantly and immediately to the side n'faere the 
smallest friction was exercised capable of prodae- 
ing electric tension. They thus perceived eleetrio 
operations performing in an adjacent room. F(- 
nnlly, they followed, like a magnetic needle, the 
movenientB of a magnetic bar behind the patient^ 
head, or even at the other side of a wall. 

Phenomena qf Smell and Taste. — Odorous sub- 
stances were discoTered by the patient with tbe 
same promptitude and precision. At the moment 
they were placed on the sensitive regions, she 


named them, or, if she had no previous knowledge 
of the name of the substance applied, she rec<^ 
nised the name among many others pronounced 
before her. The touch presented analogous qua-- 
lities. When a substance was placed on a sensi* 
tive region, she recognised it as perfectly as could 
be done by the most delicate hands. 

The IfdeUectj sufficiently acute ia its natnral 
state, was much more so during the cataleptic ac- 
cess. Although she was acquainted only with the 
four rules of arithmetic,^ she succeeded, under the 
cataleptic influence, in extracting several roots of 
numbers ; amongst others, that of the number 4d65. 
However, this experiment was not invariably soc* 
cessfu). She exposed with much lucidity several 
philosophical systems, and discussed others pro*- 
posedtoher. She discovered cmd described tke phases 
€fher own disease. At |»*esent, the patient is per* 
fectly cured, having hAd recourse to no remedy 
wliatever; but the cataleptic access can be now 
voluntarily reproduced and terminated. She has 
pointed out means by which analogous phenomena 
may be occasioned in other persons. The observers 
propose to make known all these discoveries in a 
work they are preparing on the subject.* 

This is unquestionably a very extraordinary, al- 
though by no means a singular case. My readers 

* I am not aware whether an^ sudi wort: has yet appeared. 


may compare it with tbe namerouB experimeDts 
made by Dr Petetin at Lyona, as detailed io the 
Appendix, with the case reported by Dr Jaaefh 
Frank, and with several others, in whicb the af- 
fection appears to have been developed in its high- 
est d^rees. Deception in these instancee ia totally 
out of the question, and there can be no doubt ss 
to the competency of the observera. 

I am happy to obaerve, that aome of oar own 
most respectable medical practitioners are now be- 
ginning to pay some degree of attention to the in- 
teresting phenomena of catalepsy and somnambo- 
lism, which hitherto they had, in general, either 
totally disr^^tirded, or been accustomed to treat 
with contemptuous scepticism, as pretended mi- 
racles and impostures. In a recent clinical lec- 
ture on a case of catalepsy, which occurred in the 
JerviB Street Hospital, Dublin, by Mr £lli8, and 
published in the Lancet (Saturday, MayS. 1835), 
the ingenious lecturer, after describing the usual 
symptoms of tbe cataleptic affection, and alluding 
to the Bologna case, already reported, obaerves, 
that " this and similar statements are doubtless 
well calculated to put our credulity to the test ; 
but when we call to mind the extraordinary phe- 
nomena which occur in cases of somnambulism, 
and what we have ourselves witnefsed in the case 
of Mrs Finit, we are not, in my opinion, justified 


in withholding our belief of the poesibiltty of bets 
HO well authenticated. Mr Ellis considers that 
Ecstasy (or Somaambulism) " bears a strong re- 
semblaDce to Catalepsy," If the opinion of an un- 
profeeeioaal man who has paid much attention to 
this subject might be thought of any weight, I 
should bo disposed to say, that somoambuliam is 
sometimes simple, and sometimes the concomitant 
of some other morbid affection or functional de- 
rangement.; while catalepsy occasionally presents 
a mixed or composite character, being accompanied 
with a more or less perfect somnambulism, and 
that it is in this last description of cases, in ge- 
neral, that the most remarkable phenomena are 

" When we come," says Mr Ellis, " to inijuire 
into the causes of these strange diseases, we find 
that some of them arise spontaneously, and conse- 
quently, their origin will not admit of explanatiutt. 
Others appear to be the result of functional derange- 
ment, or mental emotion ; a third may be the effect 
of sympathetic imitation ; whilst a fourth, it is al- 
leged, may be produced by the mysterious agency of 
Animal Magnetism. The records of medicine fur- 
nish abundant examples of the two first. I will not, 
therefore, occupy your time in enumerating facts 
which are well known," &c. " but at once proceed 
VOL. I. H h 


368 ABtUAh lUGmnHli. 

to diract y««r attentka to b few caaaa, i» ordfr to 
lirove tbe infloenca at lyuipathetic imitBtun, aid 
of Animal Mugnetitm* in onnn^ these diaauct.* 
Mr EUia then refers to the BtJojgns eeae, pA- 
lisfaed in iho Gazette Maiheak of VmtWt tor Vtomm- 
her 18SS, and whiok will be fbnnd, along with a 
variety of oihera, in the Appendix to this worii 
(No. II.), and nlao to that of Mn Knn, who be- 
came deddedly hyeterical, in eonBeqnenee of eos- 
fitantJy sitting with an hyaterical girL Mr EUm 
proeeeds: " The advoostea of Animal MagnetiuB 
allege that they can, by the ezerciae of eartain ma- 
nieuTres of tbe hand, conducted aoeordin^ te thor 
Byetem, prodoce eoatasy in soeb peraons aa may he 
subjected to its influence. Many cases in aap^iort 
of the truth of their doctrine have been pabliah- 
ed ;" and the lecturer then refera to the case re- 
ported by M. FiUazzi in hiB inaogoral theaia, which 
I shall give at length in a Bubseqnent part of this 
work, when I come to canTass tbe ofHiuona of M. 
Andral. Upon that most remarkable and most 
decisive case, Mr Ellis makes the following truly 
philosophical commentary. " However incredible 
or surprising this narrative may appear at the fiiat 
blush, yet, when we bear in mind that it haa been 
autheoticBted by a phyiician of character, who bad 
been himself an unbeliever in the doctrinea of Ani- 
mal Magnetism, we should not, in my opinion^ be 

AHIHAh 114GN£nfiM. 368 

^tified in doubiiiig ibis ifegtaafy.. Our kaowledge 
of the laws cf the soimal economy is «iot 3Nrt suf- 
ficiently perfect :to warrant our cUsMief in the 
possibility of certain phenomena^ merelff on the 
grounds that we did not oorselyas witness their 
occurrence, or because they -cannot be satisfiwtorily 
explained according to our present notions t>f phy^ 
siology and pathology. For my own part, I have 
made it a rule to reoeiye all infornEiation on these 
abstruse but very interesting subjects, with feel- 
ings •^ impartiality, being uninfluenced by precon- 
ceived thaories> ai^, I trust, not being hypereriti^ 
oiUy soaptical of the statements of ^ethtn^, and to 
wait patiently in all matters of doubt, with the 
hape that time, the growing intelligence o£ the age, 
and the advaskoement of sdenoe, will speedily dis- 
pel the obscurity." 

Mr Ellis then proceeds t» report the case of Mrs 
Finn, who was treated in the Jervis Street Hospi- 
tal. It was a ease of catidqmy, and presented 
many of the phenomena which we have seen oc- 
curring in other instances — such as insensibility 
to external stimuU^ the transference of sensation, 
&c. ^* An j£olian was played close to her ear, but 
she seemed to be unconscious of what was doing; 
her head was then placed over a bucket, and some 
cold water was dashed upon her. She screamed 
violently, but did not become conscious. She wa$ 



apoken toon&e ^igaxtrivm, Aepaims ^Oe Aowf^ 
atid the soles t^ tb£ Je^ Wben she recoTSred 
from the fit, on being questioned as to whether 
•he had heard the munc, ot any person speakiDg, 
or if she felt the water, she answered by sigiu In 
the nq^liTe." For a consideiahle period* she vnu 
deprived of Uta faculty of speech, bnt recovered it 
after vomiting. At a suhseqaent period, when hff 
complaint appears to have become mnch modified, 
" she stated, that having been thinking; over va- 
rious matters which had occurred to her daring 
the hut two months, she recollectAd having heard 
a voice one day on the pit of the stomach while 
she was in a fit, and consequently otherwise insen- 
sible. On the occurrence of the first cataleptic 
attack after this communication, she was spoken 
to on the epigastrium as previously ; and on the 
subsidence of the fit, she could repeat with accu- 
racy every word addressed to her through this re- 
gion. This experiment was often repeated, and 
alivays attended with similar results. She could 
hear the lowest whisper, or even the ticking of a 
watch. However, she was incapable of distin- 
guishing between the voices of different persons 
who spoke to her. She stated, that the voice ap- 
peared to her as if it issued from a barrel, and 
that she could form no idea whatever of the state 
she was in." 


It were exceedingly desirable that we possessed 
many such intelligent and philosophical practi- 
tioners as Mr Ellis; — men who would not disdain 
to interrogate Nature, and to listen to reason, in- 
stead of having their opinions constantly r^ulated, 
and their views cramped, by an obstinate adhe- 
rence to preconceived notions. 

f me ) 


I SHALL adduce only one otber instance of the 
natural Bomaambuliem. The case ia one of recent 
occurrence. It ia so exceedingly intereating in it- 
self, illiutrateB bo many of the charaoteristic phe- 
nomena of the affection under discuasion, and was 
so carefully observed by a competent and skilful 
physician, that I am induced to enter much more 
fully into its details, than I have done in the pre- 
ceding instances. The following account is ex- 
tracted from a long and minute report by Dr Bel- 
den, the medical attendant upon the patient, in the 
American Journal of the Medical Sciences, No. S8, 
for AuguBt 1834. 

Jane G. Rider, in the seventeenth year of her 
age, subject to frequent headachs, was iirst at- 
tacked with the singular affection about to be de- 
Hcribed, on the night of the 24ith of June. Dr 
Belden, who was called in, found her struggling to 
get out of bed, and complaining much of pain in 
the left side of her head. Her face was flushed, 
head hotj eyes closed, and her pulse much excited. 




Attributing the attack to the preseace of undi- 
gefited food in the stomach, Dr Belden gave her an 
active purgHiive, which brought away a large quan- 
tity of green currants, after which she became 
more (juiet, and soon fell into a natural sleep, 
frora which she did not awake until morning ; 
when she was totally unconscious of ei'ery thing that 
had paused during the night, and could scarcely be 
persuaded that she had not slept quiedy the whole 
time. After the lapse of nearly a month, she 
was attacked with a second paroxysm, during 
which, after several attempts to keep her in bed, 
it was determined to suffer her to take her own 
course, and watch her movements. Released from 
constraint, she dressed herself, went down stiurs, 
and proceeded to make preparations for break- 

She set the table, arranged the various articles 
with the utmost precision, went into a dark room, 
:tnd to a closet at the most remote corner of it, from 
which she took the coffee cups, placed them on a 
waiter, turned it sideways to pass tlirough the 
doors, avoided all intervening obstacles, and depo- 
sited the whole safely on the Uble. She then 
went into the pantry, the blinds of which were 
nbut, and the door closed after her. She there 
skimmed the milk, poured the cream into one cup, 
and the nilk into another, without spilling a drop. 


She diBD cot the bread, placed it r^^olarly on tl» 
plate, and divided the slices in the middle: In 
fine, she went through the whole operation of pre- 
paring breakfast, with as mach preoiaion as she, 
could in open day ; and Uiia with her eyes doted, 
and without any light except that of one lamp, 
which was standing in the room, to enable the &• 
milyto observe her operationa. Dgring the whole 
time, she seemed to take no notice of tboae aronqd 
her, unless they purposely stood in her way, or 
placed churs or other obstacles before her, when 
she avoided them, with an expression of impatience 
at being thus disturbed. She finally returned vo- 
luntarily to bed, and on ^finding the tabic arremged 
Jbr brea^ast when she made her <^>pearance .m tie 
morning^ inquired why she had been suffered to sle^t 
while cmother had performed her duty. None qf the 
tranmfHons of the preceding night had l^ the slight- 
est impression on her mind. 

After this, the paroxysms became more frequent. 
SometimeB she did not leave her room, but was 
occupied in looking over the contents of her trunk, 
and arrau^ng the different articles of dress. She 
accasUmaUy placed tinngs where she eoald not Jmd 
Aem. when awake, but some circttmstances induced 
the belief that the knowledge of their situation was 
re^ored in a subsequent paroxysm. Id one instance, 
she disposed of her needle-book where she could. 


not afterwards discover it; but after some time 
had elapsed, she was found one night in her cham- 
ber, sewing a ring on the curtain with a needle 
which she must have procured from the lost 

The entire paroxysm was sometimes passed in 
bed, where she sung, talked, and repeated passages 
of poetry. Once she imagined herself at Brattle- 
borough, spoke of scenes and persons with which 
she was acquainted there, and described the cha- 
racters of certain individuals with great accuracy 
and Gifarewdness, and imitated their actions so ex- 
actly as to produce a most comical eflPect. 

Generally, her conceptions relative to place were, 
to a certain extent, correct- — those relating to time 
were very commonly inaccurate. She almost inoor 
riMy supposed it was day : hence her common re- 
ply, when reminded it was time for her to retire, was 
— " What! go to bed in the day-time?'— S/iff her 
movements were always regulated by the senses^ and 
not by her preconceived notions qf things. Her cham- 
ber was contiguous to a hall, at one extremity of 
which was the stair-case. At the head of the stair 
was a door, which was usually left open, but which 
was once closed after she was asleep, and fastened 
by placing the blade of a knife over the latofa. On 
getting upy she rushed impetuously from her roomy 
and% without stopping^ reached out her hand b^ori 





$kB tame to the door^ seized the kntfky emd tkrmvm^U 
imiiffnantly on the floor, exdmmed, ^ Wkjr ^ jon 
wiA to fasten wte m ?' ' 

Allasion has been made to her sewing* in tiie 
dark, and circumstances render it almost certain 
that she most at that time harre thrtadedi her needle 
also. Some time after this occarrenee, riie eon- 
ceived the plany during^ m patoxjrsmy of making a 
I" bag) in wUch, as sbs said, to boil sooie siq^varii* 

She ufoa Asa seen tb thread a aeedir mm room m 
which there Wizs btarefy light enmiffh tb^ enable^ oiliers 
to pereei^ what she urns aboMi ; emi eftearweards, iks 
same nighty she was seen to do^itwOk her eifes ebsseA 
In this eondOion, she completed tie bag-, and, 
thoi^ a little piiekered, as Ae ebserveily it still 
answered very well to boil die squash in. Id' one 
instance} she not onfy arranged Ae tabk Jbr a meaif 
but a/atuaUy prepared a dinner in the night, wiUt Her 
eges chsed. She first went into the ceHsr in the 
darky procured the Tegetabfes) washed each kind 
sieparatelj, brought in the wood and made a. fire. 
While they were being boiled, she completed tShe ar- 
rangements of the table, and then proceeded t€>' try 
the Tegetablee^ to ascertain whether they were suA- 
eiently cooked^ After repeated trials, she o b ser ved 
the smallest of them were dbne* — she took then- 
up, and, after waiting a little^ said the rest w^auM 
do, and took them' up also^ They were actually 


very well cooked. She tben remarked that S., a 
Kttle girl in the fitmily, ate milk, and procured a 
bowl for h^ — she also procured one for herself, 
and ate it. As the family did not set themselves 
at tabk^ she becam« impatient, and complfune^ 
that the men never were ready for their disiier. 
WUie engaged in her preparatumSf she observed a 
lamp burning i» tiie roomy and extmgtUehed t^ eoj^ 
mgy she did. me/i Smm whypeofk toiehed to hup m 
bnnp burning in the dav^timek On being' requested 
to go to bed, she obgeoled^ alleging thai it waa day. 
hi the marmnff, she appeared as usuat, toialfy uncot^ 
sdeus of tike transactions of the preceding n^ht 

At the commeneeawnt of a paroxysHi^ she ap- 
peared tO' a spectator like a peraon going qnietly ti» 
sbep* Her ejfes were'ehsedf the respiratioiia became 
laMg and deep, her attitude^ and the motions of the 
head^ resembled these ef a person in a prefonnd 
slumber. Her manner diifered exceedin^y in dif- 
ferent paroxysms. Sometimes she engaged in her 
usual occupations, and then her motknis were re* 
markably quick and impetnoos — she moved with 
asionishing rapidity^ and accomplished whatever she 
anemfOed with a eeienig t^ which she wms wtDsrtg in- 
capable in her natural siate. She frequently sat in 
a rocking dudr,, at timea nodding, and th^i moving 
her head from side to side^ with a kind of nerrens 
uneasinc»ss„ the hand and fingiers beingt at the same 


time, aflPected with a sort of involuntary motion « 
In the intervals of reading and talking, and even 
when engaged in these very acts, her nods, the ex- 
pressions of her countenance, and her apparent in- 
sensibility to surrounding objects, forced upon the 
mind the conviction that she was asleep. Pain in 
a circumscribed spot on the left side of the head 
was generally, if not always, an attendant on the 
paroxysm, and frequently occasioned a degree of 
suflPering almost beiyond endurance. To this spot 
she invariably pointed as the seat of her agony, 
when she repeated the expression, << It ought to be 
cut open«~it oi^t to be cut open."* 

Her eyiss were genercUly closed^ but at times they 
were tmddy open, and the ptqnl was then very consu 
derably dilated. These different states of the eye 
seemed to occasion no difference in the power of seeing 
— she saw apparently as well when they were closed 
as she did when they were cpen-f 

* Without intending to cast the slightest imputation upon the 
respectable medical attendant on this joung ladj, and at the 
risk of exposing mjself^ perhaps, to the ridicule of the whole 
profession, I have no hesitation in saying that, in my. humble 
dpinion, the insh of the patient ought to have been complied 
with, and an operation, if possible, performed. It is one of the 
many extraordinary circumstances attending somnambulism, 
that no medicine nor mode of treatment prescribed by a patient, 
in that state, has ever been known to operate injuriously ; on 
the contrary, it generally does good ; while the neglect of such 
prescriptions frequently produces bad consequences. 

f In my original abstract of this case, I omitted a passage in 


There is abundant evidence that she recoUectedj 
during a paroxysm^ circumstances which occurred in 
a former attack, though there was no remembrance of 
them in the interval. A single illustration will suf- 
fice, though many more might be given. In a pa- 
roxysm, a lady who was present placed in her hand 
a bead-bag which she bad never seen before. She 

Dr Belden's Report which hete follows, because it appeared to 
me to describe a solitary phenomenon, probably depending upon 
some peculiarity in this patient, from which no general condu- 
sbn could be legitimately deduced. I have since learnt, how. 
ever, that the matter has been viewed by others in a dififerent 
light ; and I, therefore, insert the passage here, lest I should be 
thought to have suppressed any circumstance material to the 
explanation of the case. 

In order to test the sensibility of the eye, the reporter took 
one evening a small concave mirror, and held it so that the rays 
proceeding from a lamp were reflected upon her closed eye-lid. 
When the light was so difiused that the outline of the illumi- 
nated space could scarcely be distinguished, it caused, the mo- 
ment it fell on the eye-lid, a shock equal to that produced by an 
electric battery, followed by the exclamation : '< Why do you 
wish to shoot me in the eyes ?*' This experiment was repeated 
several times, and was always attended with the same result. It 
was also tried when she was awake^ and the effect, though less 
striking, was very perceptible. The same degree of light 
thrown on the reporter's eye-lids occasioned no pain. 

Understanding that attempts had been made to construct 
some theory upon the above-mentioned fitcts, I think it ri^t to 
put my readers in possession of the following observation of 
Professor Kluge : 

**• Most frequently the magnetic treatment produces an ex. 
cited sensibility in the optic nerve, and a sensation of burning 
in the eyes, accompanied with flashes of light, or a convulsive 
twitching of the eyelids."— Kluok, p. 353. 


examined it, named theoolours, and compared them 
with those of a bag belonging to a lady in the family. 
The latter bag being presented to her in a sobse- 
qnent paroxysm^ the recollection of the former 
was restored-— she told the colours of the beads, 
and made the same remarks respecting the com- 
parative value of tbe two bags that she had done 
before. The reporter had taken measures to sa- 
tisfy himself in the interval that she then remem- 
bered nothing of the first impression. 

At the termination of a paroxysm, she sunk into 
a profound sleep. The frown disappeared from 
her brow, the reBpiratioos again became long and 
deep, and the attitude was that of a person in un- 
disturbed slumber. She soon began to gape and 
rub her eyes, and these motions were repeated after 
short intervals of repose. In the course of fifteen 
or twenty minutes from the first appearance of 
these symptoms, she opened her eyes, when recol- 
lection was at once restored. She then invariably 
reverted to the time and place at which the attack 
cammencedf and in no instance^ when under the care 
of the reporter^ manifested any knowledge of the time 
ffuxt had elapsed, or the circumstances which tran- 
spired during the interval. 

The family in which Jane lived were early con- 
vinced, from the confidence with which she moved 
about, and the facility with which she always 


avoided obstacles, that she saw both when lier eyes 
were closed and in the dark ; but no ^xperimeots 
were instituted to determine the fact until the 
evening of the 10th of November, when it was pro- 
posed to ascertain whether she could read with her 
e^ closed. 

She W€LS seated in a comer of the room^ the lights 
were placed at a distance from her^ and so screened 
as to leave her in almost entire darkness. In this si- 
tuation, she read with ease a great nrnnber of cards 
which were presented to her, some of which were writ' 
ten with a pencil^ amd so obscurely, that in a fdixtt 
light no trace could be discerned by comvnan eyes. She 
told the reporter the date of coins, even when the fi- 
gures were necarly obliterated. A visitor handed her a 
letter, unth the request that she would read the motto 
on the seal, which she readily did, although several 
persons present had been uncMe to decypher it with 
thcyoid^fa lamp. The whole if this time her eyes 
weire, to all appearance, firmly closed. 

Upon one occasion, she fell asleep while her phy- 
sician (the reporter) was prescribing fur her, and 
her ease having now excited considerable interest, 
she was visited during that and the following day, 
by probably more than a hundred people. Upon 
this occasion she did not awake until forty-eiglit 
hours after the attack. During this time, she read 
a great variety of cards written and presented to her 


by different individuaisy told the time bywatches^ and 
ivrote short sentences. 

For greater security, a second handkerchief was 
sometimes placed below the one which she wore 
constantly over her eyes, but apparently without 
causing any obstruction to the vision. She also 
repeated, with great propriety and distinctness, se- 
veral pieces of poetry, some of which she had 
learned in childhood, but had forgotten, and others 
which she had merely read several times since, 
without having ever committed them to memory. 
In addition to this, she sung several songs, such as 
** Auld Lang Syne," and ^^ Bruce's Address to his 
army," with propriety and correctness. Yet she 
never learned to sing, and never had been known 
to sing a tune when awake. 

On the 20th ofNovembery the reporter took a large 
blaek silk handkerchie/y placed between the folds two 
pieces of cotton batting ^ and applied it in stick a way 
that ike cotton carm directly over the eyesy and com- 
pletely filled the cavity on each side of tke nose — the 
silk was distinctly seen to be in close contact tvith the 
skin. Various names were then written on cardsy 
both qf persons with whom she was acquaifUedy and 
tf those who were unknown to hery which she read as 
soon as they were presented to her. This was done 
by most of the persons in the room. In reading, 
she always held the paper the right side up, and 


brought it into the line of vision. The cards were 
generally placed in her hand, for the purpose of 
attracting her notice; but when her attention was. 
excited, she read equally weU that which was held 
before her by another. 

Being desirous, if possible, to prove that the eye 
was actually closed, the reporter took two lai^ 
wads of cotton, and placed them directly on the 
closed eye-lids, and then bound them on with the 
handkerchief before used. The cotton filled the 
cavity under the eye-brow, came down to the middle 
of the cheek, and was in close contact with the 
nose. The former experiments were then repeated, 
without any difference in the result. She also took 
a pencil, and while rocking in her chair, wrote her 
own name, each word separately, and dotted the t. 
Her father, who was present, asked her to write 
his name. << Shall I write Little Billy or Stiff 
Billy ?^ was her reply, imagining that the question 
was proposed by a little^ boy of the name of Wil- 
liam, belonging to the family. She wrote Stiff 
Billy — the two words without connexion, and after 
writing them both, she went back and dotted the 
% in each. She then wrote Springfield under them, 
and after observing it a moment, smilingly re- 
marked that she had left out a letter, and inserted 
the / in the proper place. At another time, a 

VOL. I. . I i 

geKkfk&mmML pctaeut. wvet* his: nma^ in characlteF»8o 
Bouili Uum no> oii8i else eouU dktuiguish it at the 
iiMial4iitsiMefiromtheeyek As soon as the paper 
vnm p«t hi<K> her hand^- she pranaavoed Ae aane. 
Although she was closdy watcM^ namttfimpi^tO'^peit 

Durng almost •reny paroxyMn^ 8h,a* repeated 
poetry- ai|cl song, aMd tbeogb there are etoae piieeee^ 
whid^ she maat have repeated ki> this' wojp seeree 
of tioMi) her kaewledge ot tbeiii» when she i^awalDe 
is not mtjielieaet improved by thepraetice. These 
eaqiersoientB worO' perforiaed in the presmice of se»- 
veeakef AeiiaoBl EeepeeteUe andintelii^BBt gen^ke^ 
iBe» j» iomMf and tb^ were* aitt eoavinoed theoe 
eonid he no deceptioii. 

Whib ia a f^sy^m, tb* Ugfate w>e remonML 
from her noom^ and Ae wii|ds9?s so secttred thal^ 
no object waa diseemiUe. T\m»i books wmm Ae» 
pceseadted to heVf which had beea^ selected for tier 
purpose; she^ immediately told the titles: e£ both, 
though one of them waa a book she had, never seeat 

The room in. the front part of the house she haA 
never* seeiiy exc^ for a taw moments seveval 
months befoore. The shuttera were closed^ and it 
was so dark that it was impossible for any one 
possessing ooJijr) ordinary pewere of vision to dis- 
tinguish the colours on the carpet. She, howefver. 


though her eyes were bandaged^ noticed and com^-* 
mented upon the variiMis artieks of fuimitiirey and 
pointed oat the different cofeuvsin the hearth^rug.^ 
^le also, took up and read several cards: which 
were! lying' on tiie tsUb. Soon after, oiraerving hev 
witb a skein of thread in ker hand, Dr Belden of* 
feredl to hold it £nr her to wind She immediately 
pfaused iit en. his: hand% and took hoU of Ae end of 
tho> tkreadv, in a manner whiefe satisfied hiia that 
she: saw it, and completed <^e operation a» ridilftit- 
fy and readily as^ iS she were awake. Having left 
the room a moment^ the Eknstor fimnd! her, oir hio 
return^ with her needle' direadedv and^ kemming a 
cambriehandkereUef. Bryanfs-Poemoweregivent 
to her f db» opened the book^ and taraing to the* 
ThanmtopHS^ readthc'wkole (three pages), and the; 
most of it witk great propriety. 

At dkiner^ she took her seat at Ae table, helped 
hers^tO' bread when it vra» ofllered, presented her 
tumbTer for watier^ andv tbroaghonttbe whole timi^. 
did not) by- her manner or aetioni^ betray tiie least 
want of sight. 

WiA' a bhidc silk kim«ftttrekief stnfibd witk cot- 
ton bouad over her eyes, sbo wrote* a part of the 
Snow Stormy one of the pieces she was- io the kabtt 
of repeaAing when asleefi A person standing Be- 
hi»d beritery carefully: interposed apiece of brown 
paper betweeia her eyes mid tke paper on whiobshe 


was wniiiig. Whenever tbia was done, she ap*- 
jieared disturbed^ and exclaimed — ^^ Don't, don't." 
During a paroxysm, she went into a dark room, 
and selected from among several letters, having 
different directions, the one bearing the name she 
was requested to find. . She was heard to take up 
one letter after another, and examine it, till she 
came to the one for which she was in search, when 
she exclaimed, <^ Here it is," and brought it out. 
She also, with her eyes bandaged, wrote of her 
own accord two stanzas of poetry on a slate ; the 
lines were straight and parallel. 

She occasionally exhibited an extraordinary 
power of imitation. This extended not only to the 
manner, but to the language. and sentiments of ^the 
persons whom she personified : and her perfor- 
mances in this way .were so striking, and her con- 
ceptions of character so just, that nothing could be 
more comical. This^ like her other -. extraordincary 
powersywcu confined to her somnomibulist state — at 
other times, she did not exhibit the slightest trace 
of it. 

Like other somnambulists, she appearied fatigued, 
and her morbid symptoms were manifestly aggra- 
vated, by the constant trials of her powers. 
- In one of her paroxysms, she lost a book, which 
dbe coiild not afterwards find. Next day, imme- 
diately oir the access of the paroxysm, she went to 


the sofa, raised the cushion, took up the book, and 
commenced reading. Her eyes were covered with 
a white handkerchief, folded so as to make eight or 
ten thicknesses, and the spaces below the bandage 
filled with stripes of black velvet. She then took 
a book and read audibly, distinctly, and correctly, 
nearly a page. It was then proposed to her to play 
backgammon. She said she knew nothing of the 
game, but consented to learn it. She commenced 
playing, with the assistance of one acquainted 
with the moves, and acquired a knowledge of the 
game very rapidly. She handled the men and dice 
withi facility, and counted off the points correctly. 
She had another paroxysm in the afternoon, inwhich 
she played a number of games of backgamnum, 
and made such proficiency, that, without any as- 
sistance, she won the sixth game of Dr Butler, who 
is an experienced player. Knowing her to be a 
novice, he suggested several alterations in her 
moves — ^these alterations she declined making, and 
the result shewed the correctness of her judgment. 
The Doctor, a little mortified at being beaten by a 
sleeping girl, tried another game, in which she 
exerted all his skill. At its close, she had but three 
men left on the board, and these so situated that a 
single move would have cleared the whole. While 
she was engaged in this game, an apple was taken 
from a dish, in which there were several varic^ties^ 


and hdd before Lev, bat bigfaer than her eyet;^ On 
bemg asked its oolour, sber raised hev head, Kke a 
peraott wha wished t» seat an* ohjeot a Isltla eleTat- 
ed^aadgave acovreelanssivar ta^the'qaaatkni. In, 
dke lucid mterval, ha}f a» faoav after shai aLwhm 
froaa tfav pataKysia, it was proposed toi &er te fimy 
baokgnmaaoQ. Ske observed Ae never saw it play^ 
od^. a»d. was wholly ignorant 08 the game. Qw 
trials it wa» found tbat ska could not cyan* set tbe; 

At another time, diet opened lier eym^ and de** 
daaed that ske could not see wh«i iimf ware olwUv 
Whan readings the Dectoo phieed hiv fingers ow 
ker ejrta-— sk» said inmiedialaly it wbs< total dhalt- 
Bco s y and dM could not read a weed. At dinnav^ 
her eyes were open, and all tke family suppoaad 
ker* awake; bat she desclkred in the- evening tiMi 
she had not the least recollection of dining^ of seed- 
ing some firienda^ or of witnessing a catastrophe in; 
tbe gattery wkkb disturbed the whole fiunily,. and 
in wUeh she was much interested at tike trnseu 
Soon after this^ tke Doctor observes^ that: she erii- 
dently had lost her former aeuteness of i^ht ; trwuh 
wfatsh drcmnstance it woold appear that her sonir- 
aambuHsm had gradually beoome> lesa perfect ; and 
thi» view is corroborated by a subsequent state- 
ment^ that ^ btely her face had beeo; Itsa flashoc^ 
and her head' tese painful." 

in oii» of ber paroxTsms^ she wf ote » long and 
sensible letter to her aunt, descpibiiip her own si^ 
tuatiom Sbe afterwapds remembereclf that she bod 
written a leHteF, but eould not reeoUeet his eon*- 

The al»eTe is an abstract of the history of this 
yeiy remarkable case— -a case so minutely obserretl^ 
and so ably reported — a case in which, the tntelK- 
gent Reporter assures us, all idea of imposkibn or 
deception is precluded. I hare purposely omitted 
all those particulars which could be interesting 
only to the medical student, and also many insu- 
lated circumstances and phenomena which appear- 
ed to me to be unimportant. I do not intend to en- 
ter into any investigation of the theory upon which 
the Reporter attempts to account for some of the 
phenomena, viz. an excited state of certain por- 
tions of the brain. It has hitherto been too much 
the practice, in treating of this subject, to build up 
a theory upon some one solitary fact, or, at least, 
upon the circumstances of some single case ; where- 
as, it appears to me to be much more philosophi- 
cal, and much more satisfactory in the end, first to 
form a sufficient collection of well-authenticated 
cases to constitute a legitimate basis of induction ; 
and then to proceed to classify the phenomena 
which may be found to have been manifested in 
the whole, or in the greater number of instances. 


In the preceding case, we meet with the follow- 
ing phenomena: organic insensibility — vision with- 
out the exercise of the usual organ — a great exal- 
tation of the intellectual faculties, and an entire 
oblivion, when awake, of every thing that occurred 
during the paroxysm. The phenomenon of the 
ifinMe personality also appears pretty distinctly de- 
veloped. To this I formerly alluded, and other 
instances of it will occur when I come to treat of 
the Magnetic Somnambulism. 

( 385 ) 


With the preceding case I had originally in- 
tended to conclude my examples of the natural 
somnambulism, conceiving that, with the magnetic 
cases to be afterwards adduced, I should have laid 
a sufficient foundation for a generalization of the 
phenomena. I have been induced to alter this in- 
tention, however, for reasons which, I think, will 
immediately become apparent; and I am otherwise 
not displeased to have an opportunity of bringing 
under the notice of my readers an example of one 
peculiar species of that remarkable generic affec- 
tion which has engaged our attention in the fore- 
going pages — the devotional ecstasis. 

The following curious case is extracted from a 
review of M . Auguste de St Hilaire's Travels in 
the Diamond District of Brazil^ in the 42d Num- 
ber of the Westminster Review^ October 1884. The 
Reviewer, like many other persons who write or 
speak in total ignorance of the subject, compares 
this case with what he is pleased to denominate 

VOL. I. K k 


*^ the spedosa miractUa operated by Animal Mag- 
netism in France," which, he confidently assures 
us, are ^^ susceptible of an easy explanation ; ha- 
ving been in/act nothing more than a volupttumsjtig- 
gkry^ set on foot and carried on for very intelligible 

This is really a very beautiful specimen of the 
slap'dask idyle of criticism^ so common amongst 
our reyiew-writers, and so utterly ludicrous to 
every man of intelligeDoe and candour. The Re- 
viewer se^ms to be proifoundly ignorant that the 
jikenomen^f^the speciosa mircicufo^—^to which he 
allndesi hav^ oceiirred» in thousands of instances, 
not only in Franqci but in Oreat. Britain, in G^- 
many, in Switzerland, in Italy, in Holland, in Ros- 
sia, in Denmark, in Sweden, in India, in America 
— ^in all parts of Europe— in all quarters of the 
globe ; that no voluptuous Jugglery is attempted in 
the magnetic processes, and that the purpose in 
view is merely to heal the sick. But the critic 
evidently did not know what Animal Magnetism 
is, and wanting the ingenuous modesty which 
would have led him either to ajsknowledg^ his ig- 
norance, or be silent on the subject, and probably 

* It must never be forgotten that it is the unintelligent op- 
poneots and not the intelligent advocates of Animal Magnetiaim, 
who designate these phenomena as miracles. The magnetists 
consider them as natural occurrences, and endeavour to discoyer 
their causes. 


unwilling to let slip so fair an opportunity of say- 
ing something vastly smart, he utters an oracle of 
flippant nonsense. 

The following is the case referred to : — 
On the Serra de Piedade, says the traveller, I 
saw a woman of whom I had heard much in the 
Comarcas of Sabar& and Villa Rica. Sister Ger- 
maine, the] woman in question, was attacked about 
1808 by an hysterical affection, accompanied 4>y 
violent convulsions. She was at first exorcised — 
remedies mal-adapted to her complaint were^made 
use of-*— and her condition d^eneratad from bad 
to worse. At length, at the period of my viut, 
shtf had for a long time been reduced to so extreme 
a state of weakness, that she was no longer able to 
rise from her bed, and subsisted upcm a r^men 
whidi could scarcely have supported the life of a 
new-bom infant. Animal food, rich soups and 
gravies, her stomach was no longer in a condition 
to recdive. Sweetmeats, cheese, a little bread or 
flour, constituted the whole of her food^-^fTe-^ 
qilently she was unable to retain what she had 
taken; — and it was almost always necessary to 
use considerable persuasion to decide her to eat at 

It was on all hands admitted, that the manners 
of Oermaine had always been pure, her conduct ir- 
reproachable. During the progress of her disor- 


der, her devotion had daily assumed a more en- 
thusiastic character. Fridays and Saturdays she 
fasted entirely; at first, indeed, her mother op- 
posed this practice ; but when Germaine declared 
that, during these two days, it was utterly impos- 
sible for her to take any nourishment, she was al- 
lowed to have. her own way, and accordingly, sub- 
mitted, on those occasions, to total abstinence. In 
order to indulge her devotion for the Virgin, she 
caused herself to be transported to the Serra de 
Piedade, where there is a chapel erected under the 
auspices of Our Lady of Pity, and she obtained 
from her spiritual director permission to remain 
in this asylum. In this retreat, meditating one 
day on the mystery of the Passion, she fell into a 
kind of ecstasy : her arms grew stiff, and were 
extended in the form of a cross ; her feet were dis- 
posed in the same attitude; and in this position 
she remained during forty*eight hours. This was 
four years ago ; and ever afterwards the phenome- 
non was weekly repeated^ She relapsed into her 
ecstatic attitude on Thursday or Friday night, and 
continued in a sort of trance until Saturday even- 
ing or Sunday, without receiving the slightest nou- 
rishment, without speech or movement. 

The rumour of this phenomenon quickly spread 
through the neighbourhood; thousands of persons 
of all ranks crowded to behold it; it was declared 


to be a miracle ; Sister Germaine was regarded as 
a saint; and two surgeons of the province commu- 
nicated an additional impulse to the veneration of 
the people, by declaring, in a written document, 
that her situation was supernatural. This decla- 
ration remained in manuscript, but was widely cir- 
culated, and numerous copies of it were taken. 
Dr Gomide, an able physician educated at Edin- 
burgh, thought it necessary to refute the declara- 
tion of the two surgeons, and, in 1814, published 
at Rio de Janeiro (but without his name), a small 
pamphlet, replete with science and logic, in which 
he proves, by a multitude of authorities, that the 
ecstasies of Germaine were merely the effects of 

The public was now divided in opinion; but 
crowds of people still continued to ascend the 
Serra, to admire the prodigy operated there. Ne- 
vertheless Father Cypriano da Santissima Trini- 
dade, the late Bishop of Marianna, a prudent, en- 
lightened man, sensible of the inconveniences which 
might arise from the numerous assemblies collect- 
ed by Sister Germaine upon the mountain, and de- 
sirous of discrediting the pretended miracle, from 
which there resulted at least as much scandal as 
edification, prohibited the celebration of mass at 
La Piedade, under pretence that permission had 
never been obtained from the king: Many per- 


sons offered Germaine an asylum in their honses : 
but she gave the preference to her confessor, a 
grave middle-aged man, who resided in the vici- 
nity of the mountain. The devotees were greatly 
afflicted at the prohibition of the Bishop of Ma- 
rianna, but they did not sleep: they solicited from 
the king himself permission to celebrate mass in 
the Chapel of the Serra^ and it was granted them. 
Germaine was now transported a second time to 
tbe summit of the mountain: her confessor occa- 
sionally ascended tbither for the celebration of 
mass ; and the concourse of pilgrims and curious 
persons was weekly renewed. 

A short time previous to my visit, continues 
M. de St Hilaire, a new prodigy began to mani- 
fest itself. Every Tuesday she experienced an 
ecstasy of several hours ; her arms quitted their 
natural position, and assumed the figure of a cross 
behind her back. In the course of my conversa- 
tion with her confessor, he told me that, for some 
time, he was unable to explain this phenomenon, 
until he at length recollected that on this day it 
was customary to propose to the meditation of the 
faithful the suffering of Christ bound. The disin- 
terestedness and charity of this priest had been de- 
scribed to me in glowing colours. I had a long 
conversation with him, and found him a person 
not altogether destitute of education. He spoke 


of bis penitent without enthasiasm ; professed to 
desire that enlightened men should study her con- 
dition ; and almost the only reproach be uttered 
against Dr Gomide was, that he had written his 
book without having seen the holy woman. If 
what this priest related to me of the ascendency he 
possessed ocer Germaine be not exaggerated, the par- 
tizans cf Animal Magnetism vxmld probably derive 
from it strong arguments in support of their system. 
He in fact assured me, that, in the midst of (he most 
fearful convulsions, it was always sufficient for him 
to touch the patient to restore her to perfect tranquil- 
lity. During her periodical ecstasies, when her limbs 
were so stiffs that it would have been easier to break 
than bend them, her confessor, according to his own 
account, had only to touch her arm^ in order to give 
it whatever position he thought proper. However 
this may be, it is certain that, having commanded 
her to receive the sacrament., during one of these 
ecstatic trances, she rose with a convulsive move- 
ment from the bed on which she had been carried 
to the church, and kneeling down, with her arms 
crossed, received the consecrated wafer; since which 
time she has always communicated during her ec- 
stasies. At the same time, her confessor spoke 
with extreme simplicity of his empire over the pre- 
tended Saint : attributed it wholly to her docility 
and veneration for the sacerdotal character ; and 



added, that any other priest would fiave been able 
to produce the same eflects. With all that coafi- 
dence which the magnetizers require in their adepts,- 
he observed, that so complete is the obedience of 
the poor girl, that should I command her to abstain 
from food during a whole week, she' would not he- 
sitate to comply. He was also persuaded that she 
would have suffered no inconvenience from the ex- 
periment, but added, *^ I fear I should be tempting 
God by making it." 

^* I requested permission,''' continues the traveller, 
*^ to see Germaine, and was conducted into the small 
chamber where she constantly reclined. Her coun- 
tenance was visible, though partly overshadowed 
by a large handkerchief which projected over her 
forehead ; she appeared to be about thirty-four 

years of age r..Her physiognomy was mild 

and agreeable, but indicative of extreme emacia- 
tion and debility. I inquired respecting her health, 
and she replied, in an crxceedingly feeble voice, that 
it was much better than she desert^. I felt her 
pulse, and was surprised to find it vqry rapid. On 
the following Friday, I < again visited Germaine. 
She was in bed, stretched upon her back, with her 
head enveloped in a handkerchief, and her arms 
extended in the form of a cross ; one of them was 
prevented by the wall from occupying its proper 
position, the other projected beyond the bed-^ide. 

■ ■ * ' • 



■' J" 


and was supported by a stool. Her hand felt ex- 
tremely cold, the thumb and forefinger were est- 
tended, but the other fingers were bent, the knees 
drawn up, and the feet placed over each other. In 
this position she was perfectly immoveable; and 
her pnlse being scarcely perceptible, she might have 
been taken for a corpse, if the rise and fell of the 
bosom in the act of respiration had not indicated 
the presence of life. I sometimes attempted to 
bend her arms^ but without success ; the rigidity 
of the mnscleff increased in proportion to my ef- 
forts, which could not have been more violent with* 
oat inconvenience to the patient. Certainly, I more 
• than once closed her hands ; but on releasing the 
fingers they resumed their former position.'" 

Such is the case related by M. de St Hilaire, 
which has called forth the sneers of the Westmin- 
citer reviewer. As I have already stated, it consti- 
tutes one instance, among many, of a specific va- 
riety of that organic affection which I have been 
attempting to iflustrate under the generic designa- 
tion of Natural Somnambulism. It presents a spe- 
cimen of catalepsy combined with devotional ec- 
stasy, of which many other instances might be ad- 
duced, were I not afraid of trespassing loo muck 
upon the time and patience of my readers. 

The reviewer observes, in conclusion, that ^^ from 
VOL. I. L 1 


the circumstances attending this transaction, some 
insight may be obtained into the character of the 
Brazilians, whose ignorance, credulity, and super- 
stition exceed belief.'' Now, credulity and super- 
stition, in one form or another, are, probably, pretty 
equally diffused over the globe ; — witness the fol- 
lowers of Joanna Southcote,* and the adepts in the 
unknown tongues, amongst ourselves ; and the re- 
oept case of Robert Matthews, or Mathias, in Aiae- 
rica. But if in search of ignorance, the reviewer, 
assuredly, did not require to travel quite so far be- 
yond the precincts of Westminster. If the pious 
Brazilians were mistaken in supposing that there 
was any thing miraculous in the case of Sister Ger- 
maine, the reviewer is still more un pardonably 
wrong in treating a natural occurrence with ridi- 
cule, and in describing Animal Magnetism as ^^ a 
voluptuous jugglery." It is equally strange and 
lamentable, that any writer pretending to a compe^ 

* I find from Dr lung.Stilliiig^s Theory of Pneumatologyy that 
parallel cases to that of Joanna Southcote have occurred in Ger- 
many. ^' A common servant girl in the north of Germany re- 
ceived, while in a trance^ the commission that she should hrin|^ 
forth the prince who should hear rule under Christ in his ap- 
proaching kingdom. A married clergyman, and in other respects 
a pious man, let himself be deceived by her ; he believed her^ 
and she really bore a son ; but my readers,** says the author, 
*•* may judge whether he will become that to which his mother 
had destined him. A similar event took place, a few years ago, 
in the south of Germany.** 


tent knowledge of the literature and science of the 
age, should not be aware that the case above de- 
scribed constitutes one of a pretty numerous class, 
the phenomena of which have occasionally attracted 
the attention of physicians and philosophers. It is 
part of the business of Animal Magnetism to collect 
and classify these cases, and, if possible, by means 
of generalization and induction, to explain their 
peculiarities, to point out the natural principles 
upon which they depend, and thus deprive them of 
their miraculous character. In this interesting 
philosophical investigation, it is quite provoking to 
be met at every corner by the silly sneers of igno- 
rance, imbecility, and an irrational incredulity. 





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