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acquired the reputation of being a great Alchemist, a philosopher studiously employed in the most useful and important researches.
• In 1766 he first publicly announced the object and nature of his secret labours :-all his discoveries centered in the magnet - which, according to his hypothesis, was the greatest and safest remedy hitherto proposed against all diseases incident to the human body. This declaration of Messmer excited very general attention; the more so, as about the same time he established an hospital in his own house, into which he admitted a number of patients gratis. Such disinte- . restedness procured, as might be expected, no small addition to his fame. He was, besides, fortunate in gaining over many celebrated physicians to espouse his opinions, who lavished the greatest encomiums on his new art, and were instrumental in communicating to the public a number of successful experiments. This seems to have surpassed the expectations of Messmer, and induced him to extend his original plan farther than it is likely he first intended. We find him soon afterwards assuming a more dogmatical and mysterious air, when, for the purpose of shining exclusively, he appeared in the character of a Magician-his pride and egotism would brook neither equal
nor competitor. • The common Loadstore, or Mineral Magnet, which is so well kaown, did not appear to him sufficiently important and mysterious : he contrived an unusual and unknown one, to the effect of which he gave the name of Animal Magnetism.'. After this he proceeded to a still bolder assumption, every where giving it out, that the inconceiv. able powers of this subtle fluid were centered in his own person. Now the Mono-drama began ; and Messmer, at once the hero and chorus of the piece, performed his part in a masterly manner. He placed the most nervous, hysteric, and hypochondriac patients opposite to him; and hy the sole act of stretching forth his finger, made them feel the most violent shocks. The effects of this wonderful power excited universal astonishment; its activity and penetrability being confirmed by unquestionable testimonies, from which it appeared, that blows, resembling those giren hy a blunt iron, could be imparted by the operator, while he himself was separated by two doors, nay even by thick walls. The very looks of this Prince of Jugglers had the power to excite painful cramps and twitches.
• This wonderful tide of success easily instigated bis indefatigable genius to bolder attempts, especially as he had no severe criticisms to apprehend from the superstitious multitude. He roundly asserted things, of which he never offered the least shadow of proof; and for the truth of which he had no other pledge to offer, but his own high reputation. At one tiine he could communicate his magnetic power to paper, wool, silk, bread, leather, stones, water, &c. -at another he pronounced, that certain individuals possessed a greater degree of susceptibility for this power than others.
· It must be owned, however, to the honour of his cotemporaries, that many of them made it their business to encounter his extravagant pretensions, and to refute his dogmatical assertions with the most convincing arguments. Yet he long enjoyed the triumph of being
supported by blind followers ; and their too great number completely overpowered the suffrages of reason.
• Messmer perceived at length, that he should never be able to reach, in his native country, the point which he had fixed upon, as the term of his magnetical career. The Germans began to discredit his pompous claims ; but it was only after repeated failures in some important promised cures, that he found himself under the necessity of seeking protection in Paris. There he met with a most flattering reception, being caressed, and in a manner adored, by a nation which has ever been extravagantly fond of every thing new, whimsical, and mysterious. Messmer well knew how to turn this national propensity to his own advantage. He addressed himself particularly to the weak'; to such as wished to be considered men of profound knowledge, but who, when they are compelled to be silent from real ignorance, take refuge under the impenetrable shield of mystery. The fashionable levity, the irresistible curiosity, and the peculiar turn of the Parisians, ever solicitous to have something interesting for conversation, to keep their active imagination in play, were exactly suited to the genius and talents of the inventor of Animal Magnetism. We need not wonder, therefore, it he availed himself of their moral and physical character, to ensure easy entrance to his doctrines, and success to his pretended experiments : in fact, he found friends and admirers, wherever he made his appearance.
• What splendid promises ! what rich prospects ! Messmer, the greatest of philosophers, the most virtuous of men, the physician and saviour of mankind, charitably opens his arms to all his fellowmortals, who stand in need of comfort and assistance. No wonder that the cause of Magnetism, under such a zealous apostle, rapidly gained ground, and obtained every day large additions to the number of its converts. To the gay, the nervous, and the dissipated of all ranks and ages, it held out the most flattering promises. Men of the first respectability interested themselves in behalf of this new philosophy; they anticipated, in idea, the more happy and more vigorous race to proceed, as it were by enchantment, from the wonderful impulsive powers of Animal Magnetism. Nay, even the French Go. vernment was so far seduced by these flattering appearances, as to offer the German Adventurer thirty thousand livres for the communia cation of his secret art. He appears, however, to have understood his own interest better than thus to dispose of his hypothetical property, which upon a more accurate investigation might be excepted against, as consisting of unfair articles of purchase. He consequently returned the following answer to the credulous French Ministers :-" That Dr. M. considered his art of too great importance, and the abuses it might lead to, too dangerous for him at present to make it public; that he must therefore reserve to himself ihe time of its publication, and mode of introducing it to general use and observation; that he would first take proper measures to initiate or prepare the minds of men, by exciting in them a susceptibility of this great power; and that he would then undertake to communicate his secret gradually, which he meant to do without hope of reward.”
Messmer, too politic to part with his secret for so small a promium, had a better prospect in view ; and his apparent disinterestedness and hesitation served only to sound an over-curious public; to · allure more victims to his delusive practices ; and to retain them more firmly in their implicit belief. Soon after this, we find Messiner easily prevailed upon to institute a private society, into which none were admitted but such as bound themselves by a vow to perpetual secrecy. These pupils he agreed to instruct in his important mysteries, on condition of each paying him a fee of one hundred louis. In the course of six months, having had not fewer than three hundred such pupils, he realized a fortune of thirty thousand louis. It appears, however, that his disciples did not long adhere to their engagement: we find them separating gradually from their professor, and establishing schools for the propagation of his system, with a view, no doubt, to reimburse themselves for their expences in the acquisition of the magnetising art. But few of them having clearly understood the enigmatic terms and mysterious doctrines of their foreign master, every new adept exerted himself to excel his fellow-labourers, in additional explanations and inventions : others, who did not possess, or could not spare the sum of one hundred louis, were industriously employed in attempts to discover the secret by their own ingenuity : and thus arose a great variety of magnetical sects. At length, however, Messmer's authority became suspected; his pecuniary acquisitions were now notorious, and our humane and disinterested philosopher was assailed with critical and satirical animadversions from every quarter. The futility of his process for medical purposes, as well as the bad consequences it might produce in a moral point of view, soon became topics of common conversation, and at length excited even the apprehensions of government. One dangerous effect of the magnetic associations was, that young voluptuaries began to employ this art, to promote their libidinous and destructive designs.
• As soon as matters had taken this serious turn, the French Go. vernment, much to its credit, deputed four respectable and unprejudiced men, to whom were afterwards added four others of great learn. ing and abilities, to inquire into, and appreciate the merits of the new discovery of animal magnetism. These philosophers, among whom we find the illustrious names of Franklin and Lavoisier, recognized indeed very surprising and unexpected phenomena in the physical state of magnetised individuals; but they gave it as their opinion, that the power of imagination, and not animal magnetism, had produced these effects. Sensible of the superior influence, which the imagination can exert on the human body, when it is effectually "wrought upon, they perceived, after a number of experiments and facts frequently repeated, that Contact or Touch, Imagination, Imitation, and excited Sensibility, were the real and sole causes of those phenomena, which had so much confounded the illiterate, the creduJous, and the enthusiastic ; that this boasted magnetic element had ño real existence in nature ; consequently that Messmer himself was either an arrant Impostor, or a deceived Fanatic
· The French Count of St. Germain made large sums, by vending an artificial Tea, thichy composed of Yellow-Saunders, Senga-leaves,
and Fennel-secd; puffing it off by the specious name of Tea for prolonging life. It was once swallowed with great avidity all over the continent; but its celebrity was short lived, and its promised tencticial effects were never realized.
• Another impudent Adventurer, the Chevalier D'Ailhoud, presented the world with a Powder, which met with so large and rapid a sale, that he was very soon enabled to purchase a whole Comté. Instead, however, of adding to the means of securing health and long life, this famous powder is well known to produce constant indisposition, and at length to cause a most miserable death ; being compounded of certain drugs, which are clearly of a poisonous nature, although slow in their operation. And yet there are on the continent, even to this day, several respectable families who persist in the use of this deleterious powder, from an ill.judged partiality for its inventor.'
• It is no less astonishing than true, that in the year 1794, a Count Thun, at Leipzig, pretended to perform miraculous cures on gouty, hypochondriac, and hysterical patients, merely by the imposition of his sacred hands. He could not, however, raise many disciples in a place, that abounds with Sceptics and Unbelievers.'
We were much pleased with the following account of a new institution in Germany, for the prevention of premature interment:
• Houses for the reception of persons apparently dead have been, at length, erected in various parts of Germany, in Berlin, Jena, Coburg, &c.
This idea, at the first view of it, may to some appear whimsical ; but those who know the extent of the power of vitality, and the almost infinite modifications of which that power is susceptible, will not ridicule a proposal, which originated in motives of prudence and humanity. Into these houses every inhabitant of the town, or district, has a right to send the body of a deceased person, on paying a trifling sum per night, towards the expences of the institution. Here the body is deposited on a couch, lightly covered, and provided with a string fastened to the hand, which pulls a bell on ihe top of the house. A watchman is appointed to receive and register the bodies brought into the house, and to give the alarm, if, necessary. This, to say the least of it, is no small convenience to families in a large city, crowded into narrow apartments, with a number of children, who must necessarily suffer from the pestiferous exhalations of dead bodies. But this is not the principal advantage attending such establishments: it is unquestionably a great satisfaction to the relatives of the deceased, to be assured that every means have been used to preserve from the most dreadful of all deaths, a friend whose memory they revere.'
This publication will prove a safe and useful guide, to those who regard a rational attention to their health as an object of importance; and the 3d edition is, in several respects, improved : but, as we have already hinted, some farther alteration is still requisite, before the work can be thoroughly re. commended to general use.
ART. VIII. A Familiar Treatise on the Physical Education of Children,
during the early Period of their Lives. Being a Compendium ad. dressed to all Mothers who are seriously concerned for the Welfare of their Offspring. Translated from the German of Christian Augustus Struve, M. D. &c. To which are prefixed Three Introductory Lectures on the same Subject. By A. F.M. Willich, M. D.' 8vo. Pp. 450. 85. Boards. Murray and Highley, Idoi.
is , , ficult to characterize specifically : they are good, as far as they contain nothing absolutely erroncous; yet they reach no excellence, and challenge no distinction but this class of intelligence, though valuable in its rank in Society, is not in titled to commendation in literature. If three-fourths of the world were composed of the good kind of men, who should act and think alike under similar circumstances, Society wo much better constituted than it now is : but the multiplication of middling authors, who merely compile, and republish the sentiments of preceding writers, is an evil which threatens the existence of the Republic of Letters.
A number of sensible observations are certainly to be found in the volume before us, but many of them are so obvious that they might have been spared ; and for the sake of the others it was hardly worth while to write a large book. Dr. Struve proceeds too much on the starving plan ; and we cannot agree with him in prohibiting our young friends from eating dumplings and potatoes. Pastry, too, is prohibited! We have not so completely forgotten the pleasures of hot apple-pye as to join in this proscription, though rich pastry may not be the most wholesome of all food. In the following instance, the unrelenting Dr. Struve has surely condemned pastry for faults not its own :_Experience (he says) every day confirms that, after eating an immoderate portion of cakes in the forenoon, the appetite for dinner is spoiled ; because this food enfeebles the digestive organs, and renders them unfit to perform their offices. It appears to us that the appetite must have been impaired in this case, as it usually is, by the quantity of food previously swallowed. It would be just as reasonable to represent roastbeef as unhealthy, because, after having eaten two or three pounds of it, a man generally feels his appetite spoiled for the afternoon. Dinner-time is a relative term ; it may imply any hour between noon and night; and we conceive that whoever sits down at table with a stomach full of cake will make a bad dinner, without having reason for decrying the food with which he had previously gorged himself. We shall even venture a little farther, and shall say that it is better to let chil