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the cardinals, jealous of their new honours, endeavoured to obstruct them, and Urban the Eighth declared that he would give the princes no other title than that of excellence, which they had so long enjoyed. On the other hand, the princes threatened, unless they received the title which they had chosen for themselves, they would refuse to give to cardinals the title which had been chosen for them by the A secretary of state, having one day received a letter from a cardinal to the prince his master, with no other title but that of excellence, sent it back, with this note, “ My master receives no letters from those who know not his merits.” Another prince, having received a letter from a cardinal, also without the title of highness, as soon as he had read the address, returned it to the person who brought it, saying, “That the cardinal had a drunken secretary who did not know what titles princes deserved.” In the end, the cardinals, to prevent the loss of the title of eminence, found themselves obliged to give the princes the title of highness.

The power of the cardinals consists chiefly in this, that they alone can elect the popes, and that they alone can be chosen as popes. The steps by which they attained these privileges are highly interesting, but on these, and a number of other particulars, we are forbidden by our limited space to enter at present. The pope creates the cardinals, and the cardinals create the pope, and together they claim to be the governors and judges of the world. The pope claims to be above all kings; and, in a passage before quoted, he styles the cardinals the equals of kings, and at the papal banquets, cardinals and kings, when present, were intermixed, the cardinals having the preference, the order being, first a cardinal, and then a king. To raise men to this high rank by his simple word, and to make it good for them against all opposition, is an instance of the wonderful powers which the popes possessed over Christendom in former times. The author of the “History of Cardinals" tells an amusing anecdote illustrative of this. One day, it was disputed between a papist and a protestant, whether the pope was Christ's vicar on the earth, the protestant denying and the papist zealously affirming. After bandying words with one another for half-an-hour, the papist, turning to the protestant, told him that he would give him so clear and perspicuous a reason as would leave him nothing to reply, but shut him up to believe in the catholic faith. “I was present, and began to open my ears, the better to understand so efficacious a proof, and whilst, with great attention, I expected the result of the dispute, the Catholic told the Protestant, Sir, you know the omnipotent God, by the virtue of two words only, created out of nothing the vast mass of the world which we enjoy, and, with two words, his holiness the pope, like another deity, creates cardinals. God said, Fiat Cælum only, and on sudden the heavens were framed, and the light, and all other the works of His divine hand. In like manner, the pope, by the power of two words, Esto Cardinalis, raises, as one may say, from nothing to the highest dignity in the church, a person who perhaps had not so much as the least hopes or thoughts of it

. Judge, then, if the pope be not another God upon earth, seeing, in his admirable administrations in the church, he uses the same power and method God Almighty observed in the creation of the world.

141

MESMERISM IN EDINBURG H.*

BY AN EDINBURGH DOCTOR OF MEDICINE.

It is some twelve years since I first saw anything of Mesmerism. The subject was brought before the Royal Physical Society, and illustrated with the help of certain cases of mesmeric sleep, by James Gall and Alexander Dove. It was discussed with much enthusiasm and acerbity during four successive nights of meeting, and the hall was always crowded. Advocate Colquhoun, the earliest of the disciples of Mesmer in Scotland, mingled in the debate; so did Dr Simpson; and so also did George Thompson, the orator. These gentlemen all spoke, with differing degrees of decision, on the side of the communicators. At the instigation of the late Professor Reid of St Andrews, and of the present Professor Forbes of King's College in the University of London, and representing the opinions which they held at that time, I opposed the claims of Mesmerism in general, and the rhetoric of orator Thompson in particular, with all my might.

The public experiments of one Lafontaine, which were described to me by medical friends whom I considered to be competent witnesses, made me suspect I had been guilty of the crime and misdemeanour of scientific presumption. At length, the experiments of another peripatetic who came to Edinburgh, of the name of Craig, convinced me of the reality of the trance, and filled me with intellectual perplexity concerning the nature of what were then called phreno-magnetic phenomena. Subsequently to this avatar of Phrenological Mesmerism, I one evening witnessed many of Spencer Hall's best experiments, in company with Simpson, Forbes and Goodsir. I also saw Mary Todd, the clear-seer, when she was brought to Edinburgh, and made a good many experiments on her powers. Altogether, then, what with the things that have been done before me, what with a stray patient now and then of my own, what with the reports of friends from London and Paris, and what with pretty extensive reading on the subject, I am now a Mesmerist, though neither an adept nor an enthusiast. Truth to tell, I do not know what to believe, and what not to believe, in certain departments of this nebulous but light-bringing science. Beyond the simple trance and a few minor phenomena, I only know that there lies a vast quarry of most important and primitive fact in that direction.

This confession of adherence can have no weight with any reader, of course, merely as connected with an anonymous penman like me; but it is no secret, in certain circles, that a somewhat similar confession might be drawn from Sir William Hamilton, Sir David Brewster, Mr Combe, Dr Simpson, Mr Robert Chambers, Professor Henderson, Dr John Russell, and many more of our eminent men. Were I to go beyond the limits of the Scottish metropolis, and enumerate the great names in British, European and American science, now more or less identified with a certain amount of belief and experience in Mesmerism, the reader would be amazed to find how much he has been absorbed in his parish affairs, and how unobservant of the progress of the world! I say the world; for it is the able, thoughtful, ingenuous, fearless few who constitute that unresting entity. The vast multitude, whether learned or unlearned, is possessed of absolutely no existence in history whatever,

* The word Mesmerism is preferable to all other epithets, because it implies no theory; and all credit is due to Mesmer for having won the attention of mankind to this class of phenomena, how crude soever his ideas on the subject may prove to have been. As for Electro-biology, the fashionable phrase of the hour, it is simply nonsensical. Biology means the doctrine of life; but what light has Mesmerism yet thrown on the nature of vitality? Nor is there a tittle of evidence that electricity has anything to do with the matter. Rypophagon is an absurd enough name for a razor-paste, but it at least signifies an edge-eater, which such a paste undoubtedly is; whereas Electro-biology is both outlandish and utterly destitute of any human meaning.

Certain of the scientific men, as well as hundreds of the lecture-going laity, of Edinburgh have of late weeks been arrested and perplexed by the experiments in Mesmerism of two American strangers. Mr Lewis, a man of colour, and Dr Darling, a transatlantic physician, have been mesmerising the lieges by the dozen. Public lectures and private sittings have once more been the rage. Queen Street Hall and the drawing-rooms of certain medical professors and literary dons have been swarming with timorous victims and puzzled spectators. All sorts of people have been thrown into the trance; all sorts of people have been brought over to the belief of that phenomenon. What is more to the purpose, more than one man of science, worthy of the name, has been aroused to a profound sense of the great importance of the subject. In the meantime, strange questionings are being raised in the minds of the thoughtful as to the speculative direction in which all these things may be leading the careless and the bold. Nay, there are few heads so strong, but the sight of some of the mesmeric phenomena is able to make them unsettled. Men's theories begin to quake. All are puzzled, many are perplexed, some are troubled, and a few are seized with a panic of alarm; while one or two ardent spirits, perhaps as audacious as they are brave, are secretly exulting at the nearer prospect of the world's old wine of thought being shaken on its lees.

In these circumstances, it must be profitable to take a cool survey of those mesmeric doings; for it is highly probable that they are by no means either so portentous, or even so striking, as they seem. After simply and clearly describing the sort of phenomena at present before the public, then, I shall do my endeavour to throw a gleam of theoretic light upon them, how feeble soever it may be. But my preliminary narrative shall not relate to any of the cases of Mr Lewis or Dr Darling; it shall record some experiments of my own, conducted in the manner of the latter mesmerist. Not one of the following experiments is original. They are all mere repetitions; but I have observed them watchfully for myself, and they shall not go without a commentary. They are only a portion of the experiments which I have made; and they have been both selected and arranged with a view to represent a fair average of the things now engaging the general attention. They are a type of what hundreds have been seeing in Edinburgh since last November. They will, therefore, serve the purpose of a graduated and eclectie report upon the doings of the American experimentalists; and, in that point of view, they will be interesting to distant and uninitiated readers, while they may help to collect the thoughts of many who have wondered over similar and even more surprising things. It needs only be added, that the method adopted for the induction of the mesmeric state was very simple. The subject of experiment was seated, made to hold a common shilling on the left palm, requested to gaze continuously upon the coin, and exhorted to abandon himself to what sensations soever should begin to come over him. A kind of self-absorption in one monotonous act of sensation seems to be the thing that is wanted.

I. Miss B. (the K. B. of the “Palladium”) was the subject of the first experiment in this little series. She is a tall, dark, powerful woman, capable of great nervous tumult, but usually placid, mild, and even soft. Contradiction and distress carried her to the verge of distraction on one occasion. Her father was paralytic from the age of forty-three. Altogether, however, she is one of the healthiest, strongest, serenest, and most self-possessed of women, notwithstanding of these indications. After having concentrated her gaze for some minutes on the coin, her palm began to darken in hue. It deepened to a mahogany brown. The edges became even darker. When she closed her eyes, or when they were closed for her, she felt indisposed to open them. She subsided, in fact, into a pleasing half-sleep. She did not wish to come out of it; but she could lift her eyelids when she pleased. There was no catalepsy. No second

person

had

any power over her by word or sign. II. Mrs R., of a sanguine-lymphatic temperament, healthy, aged twenty-seven, in the eighth month of pregnancy, experienced the following things. Her palm became white and puckered, like that of a dead washerwoman, Pearly bands intersected it here and there. The Georgian head disappeared from the shilling, and a baby in miniature lay in its place. It was then found that, though she could turn her hand upon the wrist-joint, she could not raise her arm from its position by her side. She was otherwise quite her own mistress.

III. Miss M., some twenty-three years old, blond, round, lymphaticsanguine, found the edges of the shilling and of her palm become black soon after she began to peer into the coin. Speedily the whole palm was as black as darkness. A word addressed to her at once banished this effect, but silence and renewed contemplation speedily restored it. Even the left arm was free, however. Blackness of the hand and general repose, never a moment amounting to self-oblivion, were the only things produced.

IV. Susan, a tall, pale, nervous, dyspeptic cook, differed from the last subject only in finding that the left arm and hand were rigidly fixed in the position in which they had been holding the piece of money. She retained perfect self-command in all other respects.

V. Mr W., a student of design and drawing from Newcastle, seventeen years of age, nervous-lymphatic, rather fair, full, gentle, intelligent, full of promise as an artist, saw nothing unusual in his palm. The carpet beyond, however, became chequered, confused, dark. His self-consciousness remained vivid. Yet when his hands were taken and placed together for a minute or so, and when he was told he could not separate them, he found much difficulty in doing so. The difficulty diminished in proportion as he got them forced asunder. After they were a foot or so asunder, the spell was broken. I defied him to step towards me. It was in vain. He walked steadily across the room, but it required an effort on his part. I gave him a purse to hold, and then defied him to hinder it from falling to the ground. He hindered it, but it was with the utmost difficulty. It was painful to hold it fast, it was pleasant to loosen his grasp. But for his resolution and perseverance, it would have come to the ground. This patient described the difficulty of separating his palms, of walking towards me, and of holding the purse, as a difficulty he seemed to feel in the will rather than in the organs. It felt like a strong and constraining unwillingness to separate, to walk, to hold. The sensations of a patient have certainly little to do with the scientific question of Mesmerism, but it may be useful to record such ingenuous and thoughtful observations. It must also be remembered that the sensations of an experimentalist are equally irrelevant to an inquiry of this nature. It is to no purpose that he feels a fluid or what-not go out of him. He must also rid himself of all preconceived ideas concerning polarity, the power of his will

, and all other foregone conclosions, if it really be in his heart to investigate this eccentrical sphere of nature with success.

VI. Alice, a young servant, leuco-phlegmatic, yet easily flurried, prone to hysteria, short, thick, pale, rather fair, docile, pliant, particularly attachable, first found the edges of the shilling and of her palm grow dark; the whole hand next turned black, then hand and all disappeared from her sight. She was now entranced. Yet you could partially awake her by speech. She heard you and answered, but it was in the manner following. I experimented upon her for half-an-hour, as is about to be described. On finally awaking from this state, she passed into violent hysterics; and, on recovery, she assured her mistress that, from the moment of her hand disappearing from sight, her mind was a blank as to all the curious things that transpired around and within herfrom that moment till she became hysterical, she had no memory,

rather no knowledge. Such total self-negation is by no means necessary to the success of the experiments I made. The majority of Dr Darling's cases remain perfectly self-conscious, though not self-governing, in the ordinary sense of the word. The more frequent condition, in fact, is one just intermediate between that of Mr W. and this girl. This is all the better for the present case, however. It renders it less complicated on the one hand, and more typical on the other.

1. Unspoken to, unsolicited in any way, Alice was, in this state, insensible to tickling, and to little injuries that would have caused her pain

when awake. I presume she might have been operated upon like Dr Esdaile's numerous subjects in India, like Dr Simpson’s dead-drunk patients in Scotland. But this is a minor matter in the present connection, for the production of anæsthesia by Mesmerism, whatever Mesmerism really be, is already established on grounds that cannot be shaken. It is now one of the facts of science, and one of the most important in its probable consequences. It is what Coleridge calls a central fact; ever so many things and thoughts radiate from it in all directions. The idea of it is what Kant denominates a fontal idea; rivers of result, both practical and speculative, begin to flow from it. The discovery that insensibility, anæsthesia, or dead-drunkenness as it has just been plainly called, is safely producible by the breathing of intoxicating

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