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quences. In the influence of the mage of iron that were inserted in its lid. netism, nature holds out to us a sove The patients then, arranged in consireign instrument for securing the derable number, and in successive health and lengthening the existence ranks, round the bucket, derived the of mankind.”
magnetic virtue at once from all these The apparatus necessary for the conveyances :- from the branches of administration of the magnetism, and iron, which transmitted to them that the method in which it was employed, of the bucket ;- from the cord which were the following. In the centre of was passed round their bodies, and a large apartment was circular box the union of their fingers, which commade of oak, and about a foot or a foot municated to them that of their neighand an half deep, which was called the bours ;-and from the sound of the bucket. The lid of this box was piano forte or a musical voice, which pierced with a number of holes, in communicated through the air. The which were inserted branches of iron, patients were besides magnetised dielbowed and moveable. The patients rectly, by means of a finger or a bar of were arranged in ranks about this iron, guided before the face, above or bucket, and each had his branch of behind the head, and over the surface iron, which, by means of the elbow, of the parts affected, the distinction of might be applied immediately to the 'the poles still observed. They were part affected.
A cord passed round also acted upon by a look, and by their bodies, connected the one with having their attention excited. But the other. Sometimes a second means especially they were magnetised by of communication was introduced, by the application of the hands, and by the insertion of the thumb of each pa- the pressure of the fingers upon the tient between the fore finger and hypochonders and the regions of the thumb of the patient next him. The lower belly; -an application frequently thumb thus inserted was pressed by continued for a long time, sometimes the person holding it. The impression for several hours. received by the left hand of the patient
In this situation the patients offered was communicated through his right, a spectacle extremely varied, in pro- ; and thus passed through the whole portion to their different habits of circle. A piano forte was placed in body. Some of them were calm, trane one corner of the apartment, and dif- quil, and unconscious to any sensa- i. ferent airs were played, with various tion; others coughed, spat, were afdegrees of rapidity. Vocal music was fected with a slight degree of pain, a sometimes added to the instrumental. Partial or an universal burning and The persons who superintended the perspiration ; a third class were agia process had each of them an iron tated and tormented with convulsions. rod in his hand, from ten to twelve These convulsions were rendered exinches in length. This rod was a traordinary by their frequency, their conductor of the magnetism, and had violence, and their duration. As soon the power of concentrating it at its as one person was convulsed, others point, and of rendering its emana- presently were affected by that symptions more considerable. Sound was tom. Accesses of this kind sometimes also a conductor of magnetism; and lasted upwards of three hours; they in order to communicate the fluid to were accompanied with expectorations the piano forte, nothing more was ne
of a thick and viscous water, brought cessary than to approach to it the iron away by the violence of the efforts. rod.
The person who played upon Sometimes these expectorations were the instrument furnished also a por- accompanied with small quantities of tion of the fluid ; and the magnetism blood; and there was among others a was transmitted by the sounds to the lad who frequently brought up blood surrounding patients. The cord which in considerable abundance. These was passed round the bodies of the convulsions were characterised by prepatients was destined, as well as the cipitate and involuntary motions of all union of their fingers, to augment the the limbs, or of the whole body; by effects by communication. The interior a contraction of the throat; by sudden part of the bucket was so constructed affections of the hypochonders and the as to concentre the magnetism; and epigastrium; by a distraction and was a grand reservoir, from which the wildness in the eyes ; by shrieks, tears, fluid was diffused through the branches hiccuppings, and immoderate laughter,
They were either preceded or followed ultimately to share the fate of every by a state of languor and reverie, by popular delusion. Fortunately howa species of dejection and even drow- ever for science, Mesmer's operations siness. The least unforeseen noise were deemed worthy of the attention occasioned starting; and it was ob- of government; and on the 12th of served, that the changing the key and March 1784, a committee, consisting the time, in the airs played upon the partly of physicians, and partly of piano forte, had an effect upon the members of the royal academy of patients ; so that a quicker motion sciences, was appointed by the king agitated them more, and renewed the to examine thoroughly the principles vivacity of their convulsions. Nothing of the new magnetical system. At could be more astonishing than the the head of this committee was the sight of these spasms. One that had celebrated Dr Franklin; and the innot seen them could have no idea of dividuals united with him in the inthem; and in beholding the whole quiry were, Majault, Le Roy, Sallin, scene, the profound repose of one class Bailly, D'Arcet, De Bory, Guillotin, of patients was not less striking than and Lavoisier. These philosophers the violence with which another class immediately entered on the discharge was agitated.
of the duty which had been intrusted The first part of the work to which to them, with all the judgment and I have alluded, by Thouret, had for assiduity which it was natural to exits object to shew, that the theory of pect from men so eminently qualified Mesmer, instead of being a novelty in for the task. Mesmer refused to have science, was an ancient system, which any communication with this commithad been abandoned by the learned a tee; but M. Deslon, the most concentury before. He demonstrated, in siderable of his pupils, consented to the most satisfactory manner, by pre- disclose to them the whole principles cise references to the writings of Para- and practice of his master, and to ascelsus, Van Helmont, Godenius, Bar- sist them in all their investigations. gravius, Libavius, Wirdig, Maxwel, Accordingly, the commissioners, after Sir Kenelm Digby, Santanelli, Tent- having made themselves acquainted zel, Kircher, and Borel, that all the with the theory of animal magnetism, propositions published and avowed by as it was professed by Mesmer, witnessMesmer were positively laid down by ed each of them repeatedly, its effects one or other of these authors. In the in public, when administered by Desa second part, Thouret proves, by obser- lon ; they submitted, in private, to be vations and reasoning, remarkable for magnetised themselves; and they mag their acuteness and good sense, that netised others in a variety of circumall the effects ascribed by Mesmer to stances. The final results of their inthe operation of a new species of mag- quiry were communicated to the king, netism were to be attributed solely to on the 11th of August, in a Report the influence of the imagination on the which was drawn up by Dr Franklin, body; that they admitted of the same and which will be read with admiraexplanation as the cures of the two tion, as long as the history of the hufamous empirics, Greatrakes and Gass man mind affords interest to the moral ner ; and that to pretend to the dis- philosopher or the physiologist. The covery of a curative means, which animal magnetic fluid was pronounced should extend to every species of dis- to have no existence; and compression, ease, or, in other words, to a universal imagination, and imitation, were shewn medicine, was an illusion unworthy of to be the true causes of the effects atan enlightened age.
tributed to it. “ The curious and inThis work of Thouret's received, teresting inquiries of M. Thouret,” from a Committee of the Royal Society say the commissioners, “ have conof Medicine appointed to examine it, vinced the public, that the theory, the that praise to which it was so justly operations, and the effects of the anie entitled, from the talent and the erum mal magnetism proposed in the last dition it displayed ; and it cannot be age, were nearly the same with those doubted, that its influence would alone revived in the present. The magnethave been sufficient to have arrested ism, then, is no more than an old falsethe progress of the doctrine it exposed, hood. The theory, indeed, is now préeven if animal magnetism had not sented (as was necessary in a more enbeen, from its very nature, destined lightened age) with a greater degree
of pomp; but it is not, on this áce ating influence which they have over count, the less erroneous.”
the understanding. To be convinced This interesting Report was transm of the reality of this fact, it is only lated into English, with an Historical necessary to attend to the operations Introduction, in 1786 ; and it is from of the mind to be called forth in learn. this translation, which is respectably ing any language. In acquiring a executed, that the preceding detail has knowledge of Latin, for instance, a been almost verbatim extracted. It person ought, (if I may be allowed to is very important however to mention, borrow the words of Beattie) to be able that in addition to this Memoir, which to "show, that he not only knows the was obviously meant for the public general meaning, the import of the eye, the commissioners deemed it their particular words, but also can refer duty to communicate a private Report each to its class ; enumerate all its to the king ; in which, with a laadable terminations, specifying every change solicitude for the morals of the sex, of sense, however minute, that may they disclosed certain circumstances, be produced by a change of inflection accompanying the administration of or arrangement; explain its several the magnetism, in the highest degree dependencies; distinguish the literal unfavourable to the purity of the few meaning from the figurative; one spe. male feeling and character, and which, cies of figure from another; and even by designing individuals, might be the philosophical use of words from rendered subservient to purposes of the the idiomatical, and the vulgar from most criminal profligacy. This secret the elegant; recollecting occasionally Memoir has since been made public. other words and phrases that are sy
An exposure so complete, accom- nonimous or contrary, or of different plished by men whose integrity and though similar signification; and actalents were acknowledged over the counting for what he says, either from whole of Europe, speedily produced the reason of the thing, or by quoting the effects that were to have been ex a rule of art or a classical authority; pected from it. In a few months, -a mode of proceeding which must Mesmer and his animal magnetism no doubt operate differently, according were forgotten.
as it is more or less scrupulously obSince the overthrow of this system, served; but by which, even when par the most remarkable popular delusion tially adopted, and as far as possible which has prevailed, is the belief in applied to other languages, it will not the influence of the metallic tractors surely be denied, the attention must of Perkins. With how much talent be fixed, the judgment strengthened, this deception was exposed, by Dr Hay- and the memory improved. garth and his scientific friends, is All this, it may be answered, is very nerally known. . To this most able and true,-- and all this may be safely intelligent physician, physiology is in- granted; but it may be asked, in con debted for a series of experiments, dis- formity with a very popular objection, playing, in a manner still more striking at how high a price are these benefits perhaps than had hitherto been done, to be purchased? Why at the expense the influence of powerful emotions on of thought ? -at the expense of that the corporeal frame.
G. which alone merits a moment's conEdinburgh, 1st. Sept.
sideration ; for, it may be maintained, the natural tendency of such an employment of the human faculties is to abstract the attention from things to words; from real important know,
ledge to things insignificant in themMR EDITOR,
selves, and valuable only as a means It is my object, on the present occa for the attainment of an end. sion, to advert to some of the advan This, however, is evidently founded tages of which, if impartially consider- upon error. Every thing is liable to ed, the study of ancient and foreign be abused. But because some men languages will be found to be produc- have been deluded by contracted views, tive.
and foolishly imagined that their menThe first advantage which I shall tal aliment was augmented in propornotice, as resulting from an acquaint- tion as their verbal stores were increasance with such studies, is the invigore ed, it does not surely follow that all
ON THE UTILITY OF STUDYING AN
CIENT AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES.
are equally misled by fancy; or that, enjoyment of the benefits of cultivated in studying different languages, a man society altogether, or be compelled to may not, at the same time, and with at listen to that which we do not under. leastequalfervour, attend to the thought stand, and which can only mortify our as well as to the expression of an au- feelings by impressing us with a sense thor. In fact, no sensible person ever of our own inferiority., thought of separating the two objects.
But independently of advantages But besides their utility in invigor- thus extensive and adventitious, ane ating the understanding, ancient and cient and foreign languages will be foreign languages ought likewise to be found to be well entitled to attention, studied. Inasmuch as they facilitate from the pleasure and instruction the attainment of our own tongue. In which they themselves are capable of glancing at this part of the subject, I affording. It is to these languages that do not mean to insist upon the ad- we are to look for some of the best vantages of etymological researches, in writers that the world has ever producopposition to usage and the practice of ed. In poetry, in oratory, and in some the best models of English style. branches of philosophy, they have With respect to their mutual influence never been surpassed. Shall we then upon composition, the former must deliberately relinquish the possession undoubtedly be ranked infinitely be of such intellectual treasures, merely low the latter. But I believe it will because we cannot undergo the toil of be admitted by the most inveterate rendering them accessible? enemy of such inquiries, that by tra
Translations will not answer the cing words to their originals, and by purpose, “ Let any man,” says the viewing them in all different varieties writer whom I formerly quoted, “ read of acceptation in which they have been a translation of Cicero and Livy, and successively received, a much greater then study the original in his own insight into the principles of our ver- tongue, and he shall find himself not nacular speech will be obtained, than only more delighted with the manner, could have been expected from any but also more fully instructed in the other source.
matter." “ I never could bear to read Another advantage to be derived
a translation of Cicero,” says Burke, from acquisitions of this nature arises in a letter to Sir William Jones. from the intimate connexion subsist Demosthenes," continues the same ing between the literature of other writer,“ suffers, I think, somewhat countries and the literature of this. less; but he suffers greatly—so much They are, indeed, so interwoven with that no English reader could well coneach other, that there is scarcely one ceive from whence he had acquired celebrated work in the English lan- the reputation of the first of orators.” guage whose pages do not teem with "I once intended," says Dugald Stewallusions to ancient and foreign writ, art, in reference to some extracts from
Their very phraseology is often Bacon, which he had inserted in the introduced; sometimes for its beauty priginal Latin-" I once intended to --sometimes for arguments connected have translated them ; but found mywith it. If unconversant with the self quite unable to preserve the originals from whom quotations are weighty and authoritative tone of the thus frequently introduced, we must, original.” therefore, be content to remain ignor În the enumeration just exhibited, ant of many passages in our own writ- it will be observed, I have not included ers, and, consequently, a great portion the advantages to be derived from the of our pleasure and our profit must be study of the dead languages, by perlost.
sons who wish to be of the learned Conversation, too, at least that professions,--and from that of the live kind of it which ought most highly to ing ones, by those whose inclination, be prized—the conversation of the or whose way of life, renders it necesknowing and informed,--turns so fre- sary to travel into foreign parts. On quently upon books, and upon topics this branch of the subject indeed, it to which books relate, that without a were useless to enlarge ; for to persons tolerable knowledge of other languages of this description, such philological besides our own, or unless endowed studies must be considered not as a with veryextraordinary powers indeed, mere matter of choice, but as absolutewe must either be debarred from the ly necessary.
BRANCHES OF NATURAL HISTORY.
REMARKS ON THE STUDY OF SOME ples and of cities upon the sand by the
I believe it will be acknowledged, on There is not any branch of Natural reflection, as well by the uninitiated as History which has been more sparing the learned, that a comparatively imly illustrated, in a popular manner, perfect knowledge of those minuter than the science of Entomology; parts of animals which distinguish and though it may safely be averred, that characterise the species, if united with few of its departments present a more a zeal for acquiring an intimate acextensive field of observation, or are quaintance with their instinctive hamore capable of exciting astonishment bits, their uses in the creation, their and admiration in the minds of its relations to each other as members of votaries. In truth, Entomology, as a one great family, and their beautiful science, so far from having kept adaptation to the soils and to the clipace with the advancements in other mates in which they exist, is of greatbranches of natural knowledge, may er value than an exclusive knowledge, be said rather to have retrograded dure however perfect it may be, of those ing the labours of the existing genera corporeal differences or affinities, by tion. That the description of exter- which thc various species, families, or nal character, and the determination classes of animals, may be either sepaof species, has been carried to a great rated or combined. degree of excellence cannot be denied; If, therefore, it be true, that of two but that a corresponding neglect of evils we should choose the less, I would the habits, the instincts, and the won not hesitate to say, that it would be derful economy of insects, has taken far more advisable that naturalists place, must also unfortunately be ad should follow the loose and desultory mitted.
method of Buffon, and others of his That systematic arrangement is nee school, than by an entire subjection cessary in natural history, as in all and devotion to all the minutiæ of sysother branches of human knowledge, tematic detail, to neglect whatever is is a fact too obvious to stand in need
great and beautiful in the science, and of illustration, and is perhaps suffi- thereby forfeit all claim to the praises ciently proved by the circumstance of of mankind, as agents in the extension Buffon-one of the most accomplished of the most admirable species of human men, and the most brilliant writer knowledge. The conduct of such men whom natural history has enlisted be- is in fact incapable of vindication, in neath her banners--having failed to as far as the perversion of talent, and induce the prevalence of a contrary the neglect of profiting by those faciopinion, notwithstanding every effort lities which the nature of their studies of his powerful genius. The want afford them, are incapable of being of fixed and determinate principles in vindicated. the arrangement of Buffon, was in Such a inode of prosecuting scientific deed “the very head and front of his research, if it deserve such an appellaoffending,” and it is well for science tion, evidently lessens, not only the that his example has not been fol- degree of interest which natural hislowed.
tory is calculated to excite, but by conThe human mind, however, as has fining this pleasure, limited though it been often remarked, is at all times be, to the understanding of those only apt to indulge in extremes, and with, in thirty years from the death of that
* I have much pleasure in mentioning philosopher, who affected to disdain
one work, which certainly forms an excepthe trammels of system, we have seen tion to the general rule. I allude to the a cloud of men arise, some of them “ Introduction to Entomology,” by Kirby not undistinguished in the annals of and Spence, in which many singular facts, science, who have devoted themselves judiciously arranged, are collected from the industriously, and almost exclusively, writings of ancient and modern authors,
which illustrate well some singular particu. in raising up and tumbling down one system of classification after another, recommend, as worthy of perusal, an ele,
I would also
lars in the history of Insects. without relation to any consequent gant “ Essay on the Philosophy of Natural object of deeper interest or greater History,” by Fothergill, published a few importance, like children tracking out years ago, which contains some pleasing and the plans and the boundaries of tem- enlightened views of the subject. Vol. I,