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be such, that the mere stroking of the finger would be sufficient to lift a man from the floor; but what we assert is, that neither the testimony nor the cause assigned, affords sufficient proof that this really is the constitution of nature. We have adduced this case once more, as we think it exceedingly valuable as a norm by which the higher mesmeric phenomena in general may be estimated. By compelling the mesmerist to abandon every shred of scientific pretension as far as any explanatory theory is concerned, we simplify the matter immensely. He is driven to the position of acknowledging that he does nothing more than repeat the pretensions which are usually regarded as superstitions. His only claim to be heard is, that he can give better evidence. The world in general has rejected the ghost stories of former days for lack of evidence; the mesmerist comes forward with a batch of new ghost stories, which he says are better authenticated. And this is all that the boasted pretensions of the science of mesmerism amounts to.
Mr. Colquhoun has striven to rescue the magic and witchcraft of former days from the category of superstitions, by showing their identity with mesmerism, but in our apprehension he has admirably succeeded in the very reverse process,-in divesting mesmerism of every scientific pretension and reducing it to the category of pure superstition. Dr. Mayo is regarded by the author as a great ornament to the science, on account of his philosophic character. Now let us see how this mesmeric philosopher deals with the superstitions of by-gone days. He has written a book to exhibit the truths in popular superstitions, but instead of employing natural science to explain the delusions of superstition, he sets up a new and more unfounded superstition of his own. We give the following as an illustration of his explanation of the superstitions of the vulgar. We have no hesitation in saying that the suggested theory is far more superstitious and unphilosophical than the popular notion it is intended to supplant.
"A vampire is a dead body which continues to live in the grave, which it leaves, however, by night for the purpose of sucking the blood of the living, whereby it is nourished and preserved in good condition instead of becoming decomposed like other bodies. Fischer informs us that the bite of a vampire leaves in general no mark upon the person, but is nevertheless speedily fatal unless the bitten person protect himself by eating some of the earth from the grave of the vampire, and smearing himself with his blood. If through these precautions the life of the victim be prolonged for a period, sooner or later he ends by becoming a vampire himself. This is no romancer's dream. It is a succinct account of a superstition, which, to this day, survives in the east of Europe, where little more than a century ago it was frightfully prevalent. At that period vampirism spread like a pestilence through Servia and Wallachia causing numerous deaths, and disturbing all the land, with fear of the mysterious visitations against which no man felt himself secure. The mind or soul of one human being
can be brought, in the natural course of things, and under physiological laws hereafter to be determined, into immediate relation with the mind of another living person. I will suppose that the death of a human being throws a sort of gleam through the spiritual world, which may now and then touch with light some fittingly disposed agent, or even two simultaneously, if chance have placed them in right relation; as the twin spires of a cathedral may be momentarily illuminated by some far off flash which does
not break the gloom upon the roofs below. The same principle is applicable to the explanation of the vampire visit. The soul of the buried man is to be supposed to be brought into communication with his friend's mind. Hence follows, as a sensorial illusion, the apparition of the buried man. Perhaps the visit may have been an instinctive effort to draw the attention of his friend to the living grave. I beg to suggest that it would not be an act of superstition here, but of ordinary human precaution, if one dreamed pertinaciously of a recently buried acquaintance, or saw his ghost, to take immediate steps to have the state of the body ascertained."
It is sometimes said by the apologists of mesmerism, that there is no doubt a great deal of truth in it, though all its pretensions are not to be admitted. Now we demur to this way of putting the matter, though we acquiesce in the substance of the remark. We at once admit there
is a great deal of truth, but we object to the statement that it is the truth of mesmerism. Mesmerism essentially consists in those supernatural theories and pretensions, which we entirely deny. The undoubted truths of science, which it employs to give currency to its superstitions, are not, except by an abuse of language, the truths of mesmerism. In almost every system of human error, the error is sinall compared to the genuine facts and doctrines in which it is wrapped up. It is with error as with poison. The poisonous ingredients are always very small compared to the safe food with which it is mixed. The pinch of arsenic forms but a very small proportion of the dish into which it is put. The poisonous mess would at once be rejected if the poison was very notable compared to the nutritious food. But the poisoner ought not to get the credit of the wholesome part of the compound. When brought to stand his trial, it would be no palliation of his guilt to plead that he went to purchase wholesome flour before he went to the chemist for the deadly ingredient to mix with it. The case is identically the same with mesmerism. It must be judged of by its errors of superstition, not by the undoubted truths which it has borrowed from legitimate science to prop up its pretensions. Now the genuine scientific facts which mesmerism claims as its own, are those of the rational science of medical psychology. The public exhibitions of what has been empirically called electro-biology, are referable to the well known facts of medical psychology. The wonder which these exhibitions have excited, arises from the general ignorance of this intensely interesting study, and from the attraction of the supernatural agency put forward in explanation. The student of medical psychology has long been acquainted with all the physiological facts exhibited in genuine mesmeric exhibitions. The only difference between him and the mesmerist, is that he takes the science minus the superstition. The case of astrology and astronomy is a perfectly parallel one. Astrology which corresponds to mesmerism, comprehends many undoubted scientific truths. It takes for granted all the undoubted facts of astronomy, but what would we think of the astrologer, who, in maintaining the truth of his science, would point to the facts of astronomy. What we are concerned in is not the facts referred to, but in the superstition which is interwoven with these facts. Now the mesmerist acts precisely like the astrologer, when, in support of his system, he points to the undoubted truths of physiology and psychology.
There is no subject so interesting in itself, and so well calculated to
throw light on the mysterious structure of man's nature, than the morbid phenomenon of the mind. Mental disease has been too often regarded as an exceptional phenomenon from which no valuable results could be legitimately deduced; but the whole history of science shows, that it is from such exceptional cases that the deepest secrets have been extracted. Comets were long overlooked as unworthy of study from their abnormal character, but it is this very character that will likely enable them to unlock some of the deepest mysteries of the solar system. They have already revealed the fact of a resisting medium, and they promise to throw new light upon polar forces as operating upon cosmical bodies. For this reason, the phenomena of insanity, and the various morbid conditions of the nervous system, promise to throw much light upon our mental constitution-more especially as related to the body. The more scientific writers on mesmerism, indeed, admit that the phenomena with which they deal are essentially those of insanity. The phenomena are regarded as idiopathic in insanity, and mesmerism only furnishes artificial methods by which the morbid states may be produced at will. The mesmerists, however, err in wasting their strength on unphilosophical theories, instead of patiently sifting the phenomena in a scientific spirit. If this were done, it would be found that no new or absurd agent like Od would be necessary to account for the temporary and partial insanity produced by mesmeric processes. It would be found that the same general principles would explain the morbid states of mesmerism, and those of ordinary insanity. Though the mesmerist appropriates many of the genuine phenomena of medical psychology, he is far behind the latest researches in this interesting subject. The mesmerist at the present day is like the astrologer who would found his superstructure, not upon the Copernican, but the Ptolemaic system— not upon the most advanced, but the rudest state of astronomy-though the former might serve his purpose much better. We find that most writers on mesmerism seem ignorant of the most recent researches of the true science on which they base their superstition. Both Professor Gregory, and Mr. Colquhoun seem to be unacquainted with the labours of such men as Feuchtersleben, Müller, Kirke, Matteucci, Carpenter, Holland, Raymond, and of the valuable contributions of Mr. Winslow's journal, to medical psychology. Were they to study such works, they would find many wonders that do not require the adventitious aid of superstition to give them zest-or which, if added to the present achievements of mesmerism, would make its public exhibitions far more wonderful. (To be continued.)
IMAGINARY LETTER FROM OVID IN HIS EXILE AT TOMIS, TO HIS DAUGHTER PERILLA, AT ROME.
Id. Jan. A.U.C. 761.,
WHEN, most beloved Perilla, the ruthless myrmidons of the offended Emperor tore me, all-sorrowing, from the lingering embraces of thy mother, a double intensity was added to the horror of my despair, when I reflected that I should never see thee more. A kiss from thy sweet lips might in
some measure have sealed up the bursting floodgates of my overcharged heart; but the gods willed it otherwise, and many lofty mountains, and a great sea, were set between us. I was hurried away from Rome I know not how, and scarcely recovered my consciousness till I embarked in the vessel at Brundusium that was to waft me from my native land. Then at length, I awoke from my stupor, and took a last farewell of my muchloved country. As the ship slowly cleared the harbour, methought I could descry on the distant horizon, the minarets and towers of sea-girt Tarentum, bright with the golden phantasy of the sun's departing rays. Northwards, far as the eye could reach, stretched the Appenines,-their peaks gilded with the slanting rays of evening, and their huge sides blue in the mellow reflection of the azure sky. From among the tall forest pines I could discern the smoke ascending from the happy farm-houses where the evening meal was preparing for the wearied labourers. In the plains below, the yellow wheat was fast falling under the sharp sickle of the reaper; and the sturdy vine-dressers were blithely trudging homewards with their well-poised baskets on their heads, and singing as they went the praises of the fair Amaryllis. Here, happy groups of young men and maidens chaunted in choirs the joyous song of the harvest-home beneath the shade of the wide-spreading beech-tree. There, the heavyladen corn-wains rolled ponderously to the stack-yard with golden treasures. The crow was complacently floating overhead to his nest in the adjoining wood, safe for another day at least from the arts of the fowler; and the little song-birds were trilling their happy lays, unscared by hungry kite, or truant archer-boy. It was a sight, my daughter, such as the gods have seldom vouchsafed to mortal eyes; the intensity of my grief was for a time forgotten in the surpassing loveliness of the landscape.
The hills were now becoming fainter and fainter as the ship stood further out to sea; but still I gazed, half unconsciously, till I could no longer trace their outlines against the evening sky. On regaining my consciousness, I felt my temples flushed, and the hot tears trickling involuntarily down my cheeks; but the cool breeze fanned my fevered brow, and refreshed my despairing soul, with the spicy fragrance of the land which I had quitted for ever. Judge, my daughter, of the feelings of your poor old father at this moment, reft from his home and kindred, and banished, like a leper from society, and all because-but yet I may not tell the reason why. My sorrow was too big for my heart to contain. I buried my face in my hands, and leaning my head on the bulwark of the ship, I wept such tears as I have not shed since Lucius died. Oh Perilla, shall I never see thee more? Will the sweet music of thy voice never again greet my ear? Wilt thon never more cheer thy old father's soul with the wild strains of Pindar or the Lesbian Maid? Are thy fingers no more to sweep for me the chords of the Eolian lyre-softly luring away their gentle melody? Alas, my daughter, there is no greater grief than to remember in our misery the happiness of the past. But what avails it to repine? To grieve is but to aggravate my misery. It was by this time quite dark, and I retired in this gloomy mood to my little cabin. During the long watches of the night, while not a sound disturbed the dreamy stillness save the moaning sigh
of the wind among the shrouds, or the lazy rippling of the wave against the vessel's side, I wept in the very bitterness of my calamity. As morning dawned I fell into a gentle sleep,-indeed I think it was a trance. For, in the vision of my dream, I beheld the tale of my life spread out before me, like an unfolded parchment. And first I saw the days of my youth and innocence,-the years of unclouded happiness,-, when my brother Lucius and I were wont to forecast each the career of the other; how he was to rouse the people with the thunder of his eloquence, and teach them how Rome might still be great, and Romans still be free;-how I was to charm them with the mythic tales of Greece, and the old legends of early Roman story. But soon this happy dream was ended, and I next found myself beside a new-made grave on which there stood an urn, inscribed with the three* fatal letters, and my muchloved brother's name. Here I suddenly awoke, and for the first time a maddening thought flashed across my brain. Could I not end my woes and sorrows in a moment, and find in death the rest which life denied me? Is there not room, I thought, in Neptune's vast domain, for a wretched outcast whom the earth refuses to acknowledge? In the first impulse of passion I rushed to the door of my little cabin, but the wise precaution of the captain had secured it. I sank back upon my bed, and while I was reflecting on the folly and impiety of my resolution, the captain entered and gave me permission to go on deck. A propitious gale had brought the ship much farther on her course than I had anticipated. I saw on either side the vine-clad land of Greece, and far off, the old familiar light-house and towers of Corinth. I recognized each hill, each stream, each farm-house ;-no change had come over them since I last saw them-well-nigh twenty years ago. All were still bright and beautiful as ever. About noon we landed at Corinth, where a small escort was waiting to conduct me to Cenchrea. We passed in silence the squares and terraces of the Achaian capital, which may vie in size and splendour with those of the seven-hilled city,-mine, alas! no more. But to me they were a wilderness,—a nonentity. I have a faint recollection of pausing for a moment before the noble citadel, rising to heaven with frowning battlements and graceful minarets; and a transient gleam of satisfaction cheered me, as high over all, I beheld the golden eagle, with wings expanded, as in act to fly. But I soon relapsed into my former melancholy, and heeded not the rough merriment of my companions as they strove to dispel my mournful gloominess. Arrived at Cenchrea, we embarked in another galley that was in readiness to receive me, and after a wearisome sail of many days, in which we had a full share of the dangers and discomforts consequent upon so long a voyage, I was landed at Tomis. The Roman Governor met me on my arrival, and ever since, the worthy man has been doing all in his power to alleviate the horrors of my situation. The ship set sail immediately on her homeward voyage, and a fair wind soon carried her out of sight. Soon after my arrival, winter set in, with a bitter intensity such as you in Italy cannot conceive. But let me first say a few words regarding my place of exile. Tomis is a wretched village, situated on the shores of
* D. M. S.-"Dis Manibus Sacrum." + I have adopted the Ovidian in preference to the common orthography.