Puslapio vaizdai

The Journal of Psychological Medicine and Mental Pathology. Edited by Forbes Winslow, M. D. Vol. I. London. 1848. 8vo. pp. vi. and 662. Appended to it is a Monograph I. On the cerebral diseases of children, with regard to their early manifestations and treatment. By Walter C. Druly, Esq. &c. &c. London. 1848. 8vo. pp. 42.

A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, by Henry D. Thoreau. Boston. 1849. 12mo. pp. 414.

Ten Discourses on Orthodoxy, by Joseph Henry Allen, Pastor of the Unitarian Church, Washington, D. C. Boston. 1849. 12mo. pp. viii and 228.

Ursache und Geschichte der Octoberereignitze zu Wien, von einem Augen. zeugen. Leipzig. 1849. 8vo. pp. 36.

Ueber Schwärmerei. Historisch-philosophische Betrachtungen mit Rücksicht auf die jetzige Zeit von J. H. von Wessenberg, &c., &c. Heilbronn. 1848. 8vo. pp. vu. and 554.

Hamasa oder die ältesten arabischen Volkslieder, gesammelt von Abu Temmâm, übersetzt und erläutert von Friedrich Rückert. Stuttgart. 1846. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 428 and 398.




The subject of Mesmerism, considered as a literary phenomenon of the present day, was criticized from the scientific or positive point of view, in the last number of this organ. The multitudinous statements of fact in the science, as held by the majority or average of its expositors and students, were somewhat summarily classified nnder several heads; the so-called phenomena, collected and separated in those classes, were then described with as much individuality and precision as such a plan of procedure admitted of; and a scientific judgment was pronounced upon the external evidences of those phenomena, certainly not without either candor or care. The first of our classific headings distinguished and separated the great fact of the simple trance from the alleged phenomena of phrenomagnetism, community of sensation between the mesmerized person and the operator, community of consciousness, and clearseeing in all its varieties. The trance was admitted: the other things were, each and all, refused admission into the crystal sphere of positive science; and that on account of their appearing not to be eliminated from the chaos of averment and opinion with any thing approaching to the nature of inductive rigor. The higher phenomena were all relegated to another day of judgment and to other judges, being undoubtedly not proven in their present condition.

The ingenuous reader would observe, however, that we did by no means commit ourselves against those avowed phenomena. It is impossible to prove them false in the mass. The evidence in their favor is already so various, so luminous, although also so nebulous and dim, as to have left a profound NO. VIII,


impression of their essential truthfulness upon a number of well-cultivated minds in Europe and America. Such an impression is not by any means a scientific conviction, but it may possibly be the shadow and prophecy of some future demonstration. For our own parts, we have no wish that such things as clearseeing should turn out to be true; but we shall not wonder if they do. Such an event, indeed, would be a grand and exhilarating surprise. It would shake our wine of thought upon its lees. It would agitate our too solid theories to their little centres. It would force us to think anew. Like all good news at all deserving of the name, it would sound a reveillé in our dull ears; and we should perhaps awake, not only to subdue the new facts to the dominion of the intellect, but to lay a lordlier grasp upon the whole domain of Nature. It is at the same time a matter of indifference to us whether the school of Mesmer ever do mankind so great a service or not; for futurity is rich, and one array of upstart and imperious new facts will serve the purpose as well as another.

Suppose, however, for the sake of scientific sport, as we have said already, that those fond investigators are really destined to triumph over the enormous difficulties that withstand them. Suppose that they shall make good their four or five apparently eccentrical points of fact, at some more or less distant day. Let us imagine that the statements which are every day reiterated at present by the adepts in Animal Magnetism, in the impatient hearing of cotemporary science, are actually and undeniably facts; and not a horrid imbroglio of truth and error, openmindedness and imposture, courage and humbug. In that case our theoretical position in Nature were somewhat erroneous, and would require to be altered a little ; for it should then behove us to find a new centre, from which we might see the strange new facts to be neither eccentric nor strange, but as harmonious as the planets, and as homely as our daily bread.

That which we at present propose to do, then, is to find that right centre within our sphere of surrounding facts, supposed to be altered by the admission of a whole constellation of very questionable new ones. It is an imaginary problem that is now proposed for solution; and it is to be solved for the sake of the intellectual exercise. We are, in short, to suppose that Mesmerism is true in all its commonly received details; and then to explain it, we are to weave an hypothesis which shall include the wonderful statements of the magnetists in its ample

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