Imatges de pàgina

he not put our man to sleep? What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. It is clear that his legerdemain breaks down when he is deprived of the aid of his confederate. Admirably logical conclusion! And what warrants you, most shallow objector, in supposing that all constitutions must be equally susceptible of the agency in question, supposing it to exist, or of any other agency? Are all men somnambulists? Are all men similarly affected by music? Have you been, unhappily, compelled to convert “ your fair flesh" into a matrix for mercurial ore; or does the rheumatism favour you from time to time with an extemporized scene from the martyrology ? and are you become a sort of living weather-glass? If not, if you know no more of the weather to come than Murphy, if you have no familiar devil at your elbow, or your foot, to give you warning on the subject; still your own blissful ignorance does not justify you in treating the woful prescience of your rheumatic neighbour as a delusion. One man may swallow, with ease and comfort, as much whisky punch as would be enough to float him; while another shall be led successively with every wine-glass-full he drinks through all the stages of drunkenness. The inhalation of the laughing gas (nitrous oxide) notoriously produces very singular effects,-exciting a high degree of cheerfulness, inspiring a lively consciousness of exalted animal power, and prompting to strange and grotesque muscular action. Nothing can be more certainly ascertained than these general effects of the gas; yet there are individuals over whom it exercises hardly any influence. When you find perfect uniformity of constitution amongst all men, and exactly the same susceptibility with regard to all outward agencies, then, and not till then, you shall have reason to expect that mesmeric experiments shall succeed equally well with all subjects.

The Rev. Hugh M'Neile has made, it seems, the notable discovery that Mesmerism, saving your favour, is the devil.* We sincerely hope the reverend gentleman's theology is sounder than his philosophy. It is curious, at least, to find a zealous divine exemplifying, in his own person, the principle that nothing is more credulous than unbelief. Mr. M`Neile, who has evidently given but little attention to phy. siology, cannot conceive the possibility of any reconciliation between the phenomena of Mesmerism and natural causes : he cannot do this, but he can see the devil. Nor is this all. Talking of the diabolical art in question, he says, “ I have seen nothing of it, nor do I think it right to tempt God by going to see it :" but still he has such an intense perception of the devil's interference in the matter, that he cannot refrain from declaring it from that solemn place, which the pious minister is bound to regard as the very sanctuary of truth, Wonderful is this gift of smelling out brimstone at all distances, and through all intervening obstacles; it beats clair-voyance all to nothing. By the magic signet of Solomon! the man who, without any special preparation in the way of knowledge, study, or observation, can pluck out the very heart of a mystery in this fashion, has, indeed, a right to talk to us of the devil.

• Satanic Agency and Mesmerism ; a Sermon preached at St. Jude's Church, Liverpool, hy the Rev. Hugh M.Neile, M.A., on Sunday Evening, April 10, 1842. (Forming Nos. 599 and 600 of “ The Penny Pulpit.") Paul, London.

• We should hardly have thought it worth while to advert, even thus briefly, to Mr. M`Neile's Sermons, did it not strike us as presenting a sort of reductio ad absurdum of the popular cavillings at Mesmerism. “ I shall not go see it," says one party; " it is all nonsense, an illusion of the imagination, or a fraud.”_" I shall not go see it,” says another ; “ it is Satan's handiwork.”

To us it appears that the fundamental fact, namely, that somnambulism may be artificially induced, has been established upon irrefragable evidence. The first steps are secured: the work will-it must go on : but whether or not it shall make good speed will depend upon how far the spirit of the Baconian philosopher shall be observed in its prosecution. If those who are engaged in the investigation of this interesting subject are willing to give us an earnest of their trustworthiness, let them abandon the unhappy name they have imposed upon their embryo science. Mesmer was an arrant quack. The fellow who could talk gravely of his having magnetized the sun must have been the most impudent of knaves, or a monomaniac. Those who adopt his name as their watchword may be honest and enlightened men, but they show a great lack of discretion, to say the least of it, in so doing. Either they identify themselves with Mesmer's doctrines and system of thought, or they do not. If they do, they are travelling infinitely wide of the only path to true science that of induction; and it is high time that men of better disciplined minds should take out of their hands the conduct of the enterprise they can never lead to a prosperous issue. If they are not Mesmer's bona fide successors, why do they make a parade of the mountebank's name? Let it not be thought that this is mere carping at a word. In the three syllables, “ Mesmerism," is involved a confession of faith ; they are a stumbling block to all parties : on the one side, they disgust and prove a bar to inquiry; on the other, they are a pledge, and in some sort, a sanction, for all that is arbitrary in assumption, vague and disjointed in reasoning, and unphilosophical in method. Nor are we much better pleased with the alias of “Animal Magnetism.” Magnetism! What right is there to suppose anything analogous to this in the phenomena we are considering? Polarity, magnetic induction, fluid, current-where do we find anything like these in Mesmerism, except in the ipse dixit of professors ? What proof have you, that when you point your fingers at a patient's eyes, a peculiar fluid existing in your body is passing out from it and into his, or vice versa? Where are your crucial experiments to determine this? It is your hypothesis, you say, and you find it serves very well to explain the phenomena. Good : you are at liberty to make guesses ; but recollect always that a hypothesis is not a theory. A hypothesis may be very useful for suggesting experiments, but it will not serve as a basis for positive reasoning. How, if I start my hypothesis ? Let me see. Suppose I say that the mesmerizer's fingers placed before the patient's eyes are wholly passive as regards the production of mesmeric sleep, that the only active process is carried on within the patient's body? Ordinary sleep, we know, is induced by the long continuance of an unvarying sensation; is it unreasonable to suppose that preternatural sleep should be brought on by the long duration of a certain --- unusual sensation? The fingers, in the act of mesmerizing, it is to be noted, are placed much nearer to the eye than the limit of distinct vision: the sensation produced by their presence is a very peculiar one. Let any one try the experiment upon himself. The writer of this has often made himself sneeze by pointing his own fingers at the spot where the cartilage of the nose may be felt springing from the extremity of the nasal bones. He can even produce in himself, by the ordinary manipulation, an approximation to the mesmeric state. Is there a current of mesmeric Auid, in this case, from the writer's own hand to his face ? Again: has any one succeeded in mesmerizing, for the first time, a patient with closed eyes? Suppose an automaton were made the operator, is it very certain that the result would not be the same, cæteris paribus, as though a living man stood before the patient?

Here, then, are two hypotheses, of which the second appears to us fully as plausible as the first; and did our space allow of it, we think we could show that it is equally reconcilable with all the well authenticated phenomena. What should decide between them? Experiment alone; experiment varied in every possible way, shaped with no lurking desire to prop up a favourite notion, but with the determination to subject its validity to the severest tests. Let the Mesmerists pursue their inquiries with all the rigorous accuracy with which Faraday would try an electrical hypothesis : let them even imitate the caution of Wollaston, who was said always to know more than he actually set forth ; the sources of fallacy are more numerous in the case of their investigations than of his. Let them do this, and they will contribute incalculably to the cause of true science : let them persevere in their old course, and they will have done all that in them lies to justify the odium attached to the name of Mesmerism.

W. K. K.

THE MILLIONAIRE AND HIS DAUGHTER. The daughter of the Millionaire has been well educated in every sense of the word, but not over-accomplished, so as to destroy the natural feminineness of her character. She is graceful and lovely. Display has not been the object of her tuition, and she has all the simplicity of the humblest born, with the grace and delicacy of the highest. She loves her father as she does the air she breathes, or her own life : and his equable and well poised nature has not once ruffled the current of this natural course of her affections. Her mother, nobly born and a lady in her own right, fell a victim to the disease of the delicate, consumption; but left no appearance of it in her lovely daughter, beyond a tendency to too keen a sensibility.

The Millionaire loves her deeply, strongly, and with that close, silent constancy, that, “ like the Propontic and the Hellespont, knows no retiring ebb, but keeps due on." All the energies of his cold and calculating disposition are warmed by this affection into a strong feeling, greater than perhaps he himself imagines. He admires her elegance, is proud of her quiet, unpretending talents, and relaxes his cautious heart to her genial filial affection. He has ambitious hopes for her, but great consideration for her happiness. He attempts not to control, scarcely to guide her: in this, as in all other important matters, he is naturally too clever a man to endeavour to mould all events as he desires, but leaves circumstances to develope themselves, and then he shapes them. Yet the wisest are misled, and the keenest sometimes slumber. Wrapped his whole lifetime in exaggerated notions of the power and influence of wealth ; impressed with an exorbitant idea of its importance; he thinks it is a natural and inevitable principle, and one that every reasonable being must acknowledge, that the gulf between the wealthy and the poor is impassable. He has divided human nature (and certainly nothing can differ more) simply into those who have wealth and those who have not. This appears a clear, tangible, indisputable distinction, that common sense must acknowledge. This is no fanciful division of the metaphy. sician or the herald. This is no subtlety of the politician, or quibble of the lawyer : but a plain, visible matter of fact, and, like the daylight, can only be denied by the insane.

Enwrapped in this belief, he admits a third cousin, a penniless collegian, who writes Tennysonian poetry, and meditates a new Edition of Plato, into his house, until he can provide for him in a business or profession. The young Platonist is very delicate and high-minded, but very sensitive and impassioned. He is, of course, profoundly and irrevocably in love with his fair cousin on the second day; has numerous struggles and contentions, which he might conquer, but his simple lady cousin busies herself to relieve his apparent uneasiness ; talks to him, rides with him, and at last studies Plato with him. They are soon whirled into the eddying circles of the enchanting science of the unition of kindred souls, which must, when both are under twenty, lead irrevocably to the unition of kindred lips. Not that this consummation so devoutly to be avoided takes place hastily or coarsely with a Tennysonian versifier or a Millionaire's daughter. When it does occur, the film drops from their mental eyes, and they see a gulf before them, which requires a rash leap or a quick retreat. They are detected on the brink, and the Millionaire finds that he, too, has been slumbering. A distant appointment in the sultry East, or the more noxious West, is proposed. He reveals not to his daughter or poor cousin by the slightest word or deed his knowledge of the facts. He knows he is safe from disastrous consequences in the purity and delicacy of both their minds, and he therefore pursues his usual mode, and bides the course of circumstances. He hints at the necessity of exertion in one who has to acquire his own fortune. He counsels promptitude and early efforts, and he proffers opportunities; but all in a distant land. He, however, urges nothing grossly. Has no vehemence concerning it; but, relying with indestructible confidence on the certainty of his own power to prevent a coming evil, waits the evershifting action of existence. And he waits not in vain. The Tennysonian, delicate by nature, wrought upon by struggling after " thoughts beyond the reaches of his soul," and fevered by the intensity of his new passion, and the conflict of his principle and feelings, sinks under a cold caught by sitting all night with his window open, cop.

versing with the stars, and seeking to interpret their vast and mystic mazes into a symbol of the undefinable and wandering impulses of his own mysterious being. The young student is in six weeks borne to that dark portal which leads to the unfathomable immensity, that was. the ever-constant theme of his bright but phosphoric speculations.

The “ fair ladye” goes into no hysterics ; has no violence or vehemence of woe; but is for a time most terribly statue-like-pale, silent, and trembling. Deep and anxious are the watchings of the Millionaire; he at last is restless; he who never yet was known to show emotion, except that he once was observed to help himself to fish twice, when some one he considered good authority reported that a Spanish patriot had stabbed Mendizabal at the council board. He now is heard pacing the night away, and his tone is almost querulous when he inquires how his daughter has past the night. But nature and youth are mighty, and she revives only to love her father fonder than ever. She never knows passion more; and all is as the Millionaire desires. She will wed in accordance with his wish.

A coronetted curricle is now seen frequently at the door, and a slight thin young man, with unmeaning eyes and ineffective figure, proffers, and is accepted. He is the second son of a Marquis; has no talents, no passions; few appetites, and, consequently, little ambition or reflection. He is a human butterfly, and lives in the sunshine of fortune unharmed and unharmingly. Has a sweet temper and a good nature. His vanity is pleased at obtaining a great heiress and a fine woman, and a little dash and exuberance of folly is the result. He is very proud of his heir, and knows no limit to the innuendos of his extraordinary ability thus displayed in a parental capacity. Life glides on with the lady, slowly, quietly, and she knows no variations. It seems as she had once been stunned, and that it left ever after a little dizziness of soul; this settles into habit, and she goes on fulfilling sweetly, but gravely, the duties of her station.

The Millionaire now thinks all is as he wishes. In due time his son-in-law succeeds to the earldom, and his grandson exhibits great political talents, and he yet hopes to live to see him Chancellor of the Exchequer; but death is never complaisant-he always comes when his absence would be particularly desirable and in this instance, he steps in to prevent this the fondest, and, as he said, the last wish of the Millionaire, who is conveyed to his family vault with the only honours that his wealth can now afford him.

But his daughter-his gentle, silent daughter-what became of her? She died for love of that father who had rendered the whole of her existence a monotonous succession of duties. Yes, strange as it may seem, and romantic as it appears, such was the case. She had never been accustomed to reason on her father's conduct, and, therefore, looked upon him as faultless. She had loved, intensely, her cousin ; and that channel of her sympathies dried up, she had returned to the love of her father. Her husband she had never loved ; but duty, as it was called, bad induced her to yield her hand. The children, even, that had sprung from their union, bad never caused in her that intense affection that arises from mutual passion in the parents. They had been early separated from her, and she had been regarded as a woman

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