The Franklin Commission - 1784
on Animal Magnetism
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS
CHARGED BY THE KING,
WITH THE EXAMINATION OF ANIMAL MAGNETISM.
Printed by order of the King.
Of the Commissioners charged by the King with the Examination of Animal Magnetism.
Nomination of Commissioners.
The king appointed 12 March 1784, the Physicians chosen from the Faculty of Paris, MM. Borie, Sallin, d’Arcet, Guillotin, to make he examination and render account to him of animal Magnetism, practiced by M. Deslon; & on the request of these four Physicians, His Majesty has appointed to proceed with them in this review, five Members of the Royal Academy of Sciences, MM. Franklin, le Roy, Bailly, Bory, Lavoisier.
M. Borie having died in the beginning of work of the Commissioners, His Majesty has chosen M. Majault, Doctor of the Faculty, to replace him.
Exposition of the doctrine of animal Magnetism.
The agent that M. Mesmer claims to have discovered, as he has made known under the name of animal Magnetism, is as he characterizes it himself & following his own words, “a universally distributed fluid; it is the means of mutual influence between the celestial bodies, the earth and animated bodies; it is extended in the manner to suffer no vacuum; its subtlety allows no comparison; it is capable of receiving, propagating, communicating all the impressions of movement; it is capable of flux & reflux. The animal body experiences the effects of this agent; if it is insinuated into the substance of the nerves, it affects them immediately. One recognizes particularly in the human body, properties similar to those of the magnet; one distinguishes poles equally diverse & opposing. The action and virtue of animal Magnetism, can be communicated from one body to other bodies animate & inanimate; this action takes place at a remote distance, without the aid of any intermediate body; it is augmented, reflected by mirrors; communicated, propagated, augmented by sound; this virtue may be accumulated, concentrated and transported. Although this fluid is universal, all animated bodies are not equally susceptible; there is even though in very small numbers, those who have so opposite a property that their mere presence destroys all the effects of this fluid in the other body.
“Animal Magnetism can immediately cure the ills of nerves, and mediately the others; it perfects the action of medicines; it causes & directs salutary crises, so that we can master it; by its means the Physician recognizes the state of the soul of each individual, and judges with certainty the origin, nature & progress of the most complicated diseases; it prevents the increase & succeeds in healing, never exposing the patient to dangerous effects or or unfortunate consequences, whatever the age, temperament & sex. (a - Memoir of M. Mesmer on the discovery of animal Magnetism, pages 72 & following) Nature offers in Magnetism, a universal cure & preserve men.” (b - Ibid. Notice to Reader, page vi
Such is the Agent that the Commissioners have been charged to examine, and whose properties are avowed by M. Deslon, who accepts all the principles of M. Mesmer. This theory is based on a Memoir that was read by M. Deslon, May 9, in the presence of the lieutenant-general of Police & the Commissioners. One establishes in this Memoir that there is only one nature, one disease, one remedy; & this remedy is animal Magnetism. This Physician in instructing the Commissioners, of the doctrine & processes of Magnetism, has taught them the practice by making them acquainted with the poles, showing them how to touch the sick, and to direct on them this magnetic fluid.
Proposition of M. Deslon. Engagement which he takes with the Commissioners.
M. Deslon has engaged with the Commissioners, 1° to determine the existence of animal Magnetism, 2° to communicate his knowledge on this discovery; 3° to demonstrate the utility of this discovery & of animal Magnetism in the cure of diseases.
Description of treatment.
After having taken this knowledge of the theory & practice of animal Magnetism, it was necessary to know the effects; Commissioners were transported, and each of them several times to the treatment of M. Deslon. They saw in the middle of a large circular room, made of oak & high a foot or a foot and a half, that called the baquet; that which makes the top of this baquet is pierced with a number of holes; from which come branches of mobile iron rods with elbows. Patients are placed in several rows around this baquet, and each has his branch of iron, which by means of the elbow, can be applied directly to the diseased part; a rope around their body unites the ones to the others; sometimes a second chain is formed by communicating through the hands, that is to say, in applying the thumb between thumb & index finger on his neighbor, so one presses the thumb which is held thus; the impression received at the left goes to the right, and it circulates around.
A piano forte is placed in a corner of the room, and it plays different tunes on various motions; sometimes it is coupled with the sound of the voice & singing.
All those who magnetize have in hand an iron rod, ten to twelve inches long.
Explanation of the provisions.
M. Deslon told Commissioners 1º that this wand is conductor of Magnetism; it has the advantage of concentrating in its tip, and rendering them more powerful emanations. 2° Sound, according to the principle of M. Mesmer, is also a conductor of Magnetism, and for communicating the fluid piano forte, it suffices to approach the iron rod; the one who touches the instrument also provides it & Magnetism is transmitted by the sounds to the surrounding patients. 3° The rope with which patients are surrounded, is intended as the chain of thumbs, to increase the effects of communication. 4° The inside of the baquet is made so as to concentrate the Magnetism therein; it is a great reservoir from which it spreads by iron branches that are immersed there.
The Commissioners assured themselves in following, by means of an electrometer and of a non-magnetized iron needle, that the baquet contains nothing that is either electrical or magnetic; & on the statement M. Deslon made to them of the inner composition of the baquet, they did not recognize any physical agent, able to contribute to the effects reported of Magnetism.
Manner to excite & to direct Magnetism.
The patients ranged in great numbers, and in several rows around the baquet, thus receiving then at the Magnetism by all means; by the branches of iron that transmit to them Magnetism of the baquet; by rope entwined around the body, and by the union of thumbs that communicates them with their neighbors; by the sound of the pianoforte, or a pleasant voice that spreads in the air. Patients are still magnetized directly by means of finger & iron rod, promenaded in front of the face, above or behind the head & the diseased parts, always observing the distinction of the poles; one acts on them by the look & fixing them. But mostly they are magnetized by the application of the hands, and by finger pressure on the hypochondria & regions of the abdomen; application often continued for a long time, sometimes for several hours.
Effects observed on patients.
So patients offer a very varied picture by different states where they find themselves. Some are calm, tranquil & feel nothing; others cough, spit, feel some mild pain, a local heat or a universal heat, and have the sweats; others are restless & tormented by convulsions. These convulsions are extraordinary by their number, their duration and by their force. Once a convulsion begins, several others declare themselves. The Commissioners have seen them lasting more than three hours; they are accompanied by spitting of a troubled & viscous water, torn by the violence of the efforts. One sometimes has seen streaks of blood; among others there was a sick young man, who often renders it abundantly.
These convulsions are characterized by precipitate, involuntary movements of all members & the whole body, by tightening at the throat, by jolts of hypochondrium & epigastrium, by the trouble & straying eyes, with piercing cries, tears, hiccups & immoderate laughter. They are preceded or followed by a state of languor & of reverie, of a strong abatement and even slumber. The slightest unexpected noise causes jerks; & we noticed that the change in tone & of measure in the air played on the Piano forte, impacted on the patients, so that a more vivid movement agitated them more, and renewed the vivacity of their convulsions.
There is a padded room & originally intended for patients tormented with these convulsions, a room named with Crises; but M. Deslon does not judge fit to make use of it, and all patients, regardless of troubles, are equally gathered in the halls of public treatment.
Nothing is more surprising than the spectacle of these convulsions; when one has not seen it, one can not have an idea; & in seeing it, one is equally surprised & of the deep rest of a part of these patients, and the agitation which animates the others; various accidents that are repeated; sympathies which are established. We see patients searching exclusively & rushing towards each other, smiling, talking with affection & softening mutually their attacks. All are rendered by the one that magnetized; they might be in apparent slumber, his voice, a look, a sign draws them back. One can not help but acknowledge, at these constant effects, a great power which agitates the patients, masters them, and of which the one who magnetizes seems to be the custodian.
This convulsive state is improperly called Crisis in the theory of animal Magnetism: according to this doctrine, it is regarded as a salutary crisis, of the kind that Nature operates, or the clever Physician has the art of provoking to facilitate the cure diseases.The Commissioners will adopt this expression following in this report. & when they used the word Crisis, they will still understand the state where convulsions, or dozing in some lethargic kind, is produced by the methods of animal Magnetism.
General remarks made on public treatment.
The Commissioners can not do experiments thus.
The Commissioners observed that in the number of patients in crisis, there were always many women and few men; that these crises were an hour or two to be settled; and that as soon as it was established, all others were beginning successively and in a short time. But following these general remarks, the Commissioners soon found that the public treatment could not become the place of their experiments. The multiplicity of effects is a major obstacle; one sees too many things at the same time in order to see well one in particular. Besides distinguished patients, who come to treatment for their health, might be bothered by questions; the care to observe them might either disturb or displease them; the Commissioners themselves would be embarrassed by their vigilance. So they stopped as their assiduity not being necessary for this treatment, it sufficed that some of them should come from time to time to confirm the first general observations, in making new ones if there were any, & in rendering account to the assembled commission.
These experiences should have for first object to establish the existence of Magnetism.
After having observed these effects at public treatment, we had to take care to disentangle the causes, and to look for evidence of the existence & of the utility of Magnetism. The question of the existence is the first; that of the utility should only be treated when the other has been fully resolved. Animal Magnetism can well exist without being useful, but it can not be useful if it does not exist.
In dealing with this existence,
it first would be necessary to exclude the idea of celestial influences.
In consequence the main purpose of the examination of the Commissioners & the essential purpose of their first experiments had to be to assure themselves of that existence. This object was then very large & had need to be simplified. Animal Magnetism embraces all Nature; it is, one said, the means of the influence of celestial bodies on us; the Commissioners believed that they must first eliminate this great influence, only considering that part of this fluid spread over the earth, without bothering whence it comes, and observing the action that it exerts on us, around us & under our eyes, before examining its relationship with the Universe.
The magnetic fluid escapes all the senses.
The surest way to observe the existence of the animal magnetic fluid, would be to render its presence sensible, but it did not take long for the Commissioners to acknowledge that this fluid escapes all the senses. It is not luminous & visible like electricity; its action is not manifested to the view like the attraction of the magnet; it is tasteless & odorless; it operates quietly, and around you or enters you without the tact to warn you of its presence. If it exists in us & around us, it is then of an absolutely insensitive manner. Among those who profess Magnetism, there are some who claim that one sometimes sees it go out from the fingertips, which serve it as conductors, or which they believe to feel its parting when one walks the finger before the face & on the hand.
It is by error that one could believe the view, the touch, might warn of its presence.
In the first case, the emanation perceived is that of perspiration, which becomes entirely visible when it is magnified at the solar microscope; in the second, the impression of cold or cool that is felt, an impression the more marked than one has a warmer feeling, results from air movement following the finger, and of which the temperature is always below the level of animal heat. When to the contrary one approaches the finger to the skin of the facet, colder than the finger, and that leaves in repose, there is a feeling of heat, which is the communicated animal heat.
It is not more sensible to smell.
It is claimed then that this fluid has the smell, and that it is sensed when one carries it under the nose, or the finger or a conductive iron; it is even said that these sensations do different under the two nostrils as one directs the finger or iron to the direct or opposite pole. M. Deslon has caused the experiment on several Commissioners; the Commissioners have repeated it on several subjects; no one has experienced this difference in feeling from one nostril to the other; if, paying attention there, it was indeed recognized some odor, it is when one presents the iron, that of the same heated & rubbed iron; & when presents the finger, the emanations of perspiration, an odor often mingled with that of iron with which the same finger is imprinted. These effects have been attributed by error to Magnetism, they all belong to natural & known causes.
The existence of this fluid can only be determined by its action on animated bodies.
As Deslon has never insisted on these fleeting impressions, he has not thought necessary to produce them as evidence; & to the contrary he has expressly declared to the Commissioners that he could not demonstrate to them the existence of Magnetism by the action of this fluid, operating changes in animated bodies. This requirement becomes more difficult to observe by the effects that are demonstrative and of which the cause is not equivocal; by authentic facts, on which the moral circumstances can not influence; finally by proofs susceptible of striking, to convince the mind, the only ones which are made to satisfy enlightened physicists.
By following the treatment of diseases,
or by the momentary effects on the animal economy.
The action of Magnetism on animated bodies can be observed in two different manners; or by this long continued action and by its curative effects in the treatment of diseases, or by its momentary effects on the animal economy and by observable changes that it produces there. M. Deslon insisted so that we might employ primarily and almost exclusively the first of these methods; the Commissioners have not thought it necessary to do so & here are their reasons:
Reason of the Commissioners excluding the treatment of diseases.
The effect of the remedy has always some uncertainty. First reason.
Most diseases have their seat in the interior of the body. The long experience of a great number of centuries has made known symptoms which announce & characterize them; the same experience has indicated the method of treating them. What is in this method the aim of the efforts of the Physician? it is not to thwart & to tame Nature, is to support its operations. Nature heals the sick, said the Father of Medicine; but sometimes it encounters obstacles which hinder its course, which consume unnecessarily its forces. The Physician is the Minister of Nature; attentive Observer, he studies its march & this march is firm, safe, equal and without gaps, the physician observes the economy silently & guards from troubling it by remedies at least useless; if the march is embarrassed, he facilitates it; if it is too slow or too fast, he accelerates or retards. He sometimes limits merely regulating the regime to fulfill its purpose; sometimes he uses medicines.
The action of a drug introduced into the human body, is a new force, combined with the great force that makes life: if the remedy follows the same paths that this force has already opened, for the expulsion of evils, he is useful, it is salutary; if it tends to open contrary routes & to divert this interior action, it is harmful. However it must be admitted that this salutary or harmful effect, all real as it is, can often escape vulgar observation. The physical history of man offers very singular phenomena in this regard. We see that the most opposite regimes, have not prevented reaching a great age. Men are seen, it seems attacked with the same disease, heal following conflicting plans, and taking entirely different remedies; Nature is powerful enough to support life despite the bad regime, and to triumph at the same time & with the illness & with the remedy. If it has this power to resist the remedies, the more reason it has the power to operate without them. The experience of their effectiveness therefore has always some uncertainty; when it acts with Magnetism, there is more uncertainty; it is that of its existence. Or how to be assured by the treatment of diseases, the action of an agent whose existence is contested, when one can doubt the effect of medicines whose existence is not a problem?
The cure of diseases proves no more. Second reason.
The cure that is cited most in favor of Magnetism is that of M. Baron de ***; the Court & the city have been equally educated. We will not enter here into the discussion of the facts; we will not examine whether the remedies previously employed could have contributed to this cure. We admit in the first part, the greatest danger in the state of the patient, and the other inefficacy of all means ordinary Medicine; Magnetism has been put in use & M. Baron *** has been completely healed. But can a cry of Nature not alone operate this cure! A woman of the people, and very poor, living in Gros-caillou, was attacked in 1779 by a malignant fever very well characterized; she constantly refused all help, she asked only that there should always be kept a vase full of water near her: she is rested calmly on straw which served her as a bed, drinking water all the day, and doing nothing else. The disease developed, passed successively different periods, and ended with a complete cure. (c - This detailed observation was given to the Faculty of Medicine of Paris, in a prima mensis Assembly, M. Bourdois de la Mothe, Physician of Charity of St. Sulpice, who strictly visited the sick daily.
Mademoiselle G *** residing at to Small-stables of the King carried in her right breast two glands that much disturbed; a Surgeon advised to use water of the painter, as an excellent fondant [melting agent]; telling to her that if this remedy did not succeed in a month, it would be necessary to extirpate the glands. The fearful Demoiselle, consulted M. Sallin, who judged that the glands were susceptible of resolution; M. Bouvart consulted then, carried the same judgment. Before starting the remedies, on advised her about dissipation; a fortnight later she was taken at the opera with a violent cough & sputum so abundant, they were obliged to take her home; she spit up in the space of four hours, about three pints of slimy lymph; an hour later M. Sallin examined breast, he found no more vestige of glands. M. Bouvart called the next day, observed the happy effect of this natural crisis & mademoiselle C *** had taken water of the Painter, the Painter should have had the honor of the cure.
The constant observation of all ages proves, & the Physicians & recognized that Nature alone & without any treatment, cures many patients. If Magnetism was without action, patients provided by its processes, would be abandoned to Nature. It would be absurd choosing to establish the existence of this agent, which means, in attributing to it all the cures of Nature tendered to prove that it has a useful & curative action, even when it would have none.
The Commissioners are in this of the opinion of M. Mesmer. He rejected the cure of diseases, when this mean of proving Magnetism was offered him by a Member of the Academy of Sciences: it is, he said, an error to believe that this kind of proof is without reply; nothing demonstratively proves that the Physician or the Medicine heal the sick. (d - M. Mesmer, Historical precis, pages 35, 37)
The Commissioner should be limited to physical evidence.
The treatment of diseases can only then provide uncertain & often misleading results; this uncertainty cannot be dispelled, and any cause of illusion compensated by an infinity of cures, and perhaps by the experience of centuries. The object & the importance of the Commission demands more prompt means. The Commissioners had to be limited to purely physical evidence, that is to say, the momentary effects of the fluid on the animal body, in stripping the effects of all the illusions which can be mixed, and being assured they can not be due to any cause other than animal Magnetism.
Experiments of the Commissioners on different subjects.
They are proposed to make experiments on isolated subjects, who were wished to be well suited to the varied experiments that one might imagine; and some by their simplicity, others by their intelligence, were capable of rendering a faithful & true account of what they would have felt. These experiments will not be presented here following the order of time, but the order of the facts that they need to clarify.
The Commissioners wanted to do the first on themselves.
Precaution that they believed necessary.
The Commissioners have first resolved to do on themselves their first experiments, and to be submitted to the action of Magnetism. They were very curious to recognize their own sensations the effects reported of this agent. They are the accommodated to these effects, and with such a resolution, that they would have not been upset to experience accidents & a derangement of health, which is well recognized to be an effect of Magnetism, it would be put to them even to resolve on the spot and by their own testimony this important question. But in submitting then to Magnetism, the Commissioners have used a necessary precaution. There is no individual, in the state of the bess health, that if he wants to listen attentively, does not feel inside him, an infinite number of movements & of variations, either of infinitely slight pain, or heat in different parts of his body; these variations which take place in all times are independent of Magnetism.
It is perhaps not irrelevant to bear & thus fix on one self his attention. There are so many reports, whatever be the medium, between the will of the soul & the movements of the body, that we cannot say how far can the influence of attention can go, which only seems a succession of wills, directed constantly & without interruption to the same object. When we consider that the will moves the arm as it pleases, should we not be able by that attention, stopping some inner part of the body, not being able to excite slight movements, carrying there heat, and modifying the current state in manner to produce new sensations there? The first care of the Commissioners had to been to not render itself too much attention to what was going on in them. If the Magnetism is a real & powerful cause, it does not have need that they think in order to act & to be manifested; it must so to speak force, fix their attention, and be perceived from a distracted mind even on purpose.
But in taking the part to making experiments on themselves, the Commissioners unanimously resolved to do so between them, without admitting there another stranger as M. Deslon to magnetize them, or persons chosen by them; they equally promised not to magnetize at public treatment, for the power to freely discuss their views, and to be in all cases the only ones, or at least the first judges of what they would have observed.
Experiment on themselves, once each week.
In consequence there was dedicated at the house of M. Deslon, a separate chamber & a particular baquet, and the Commissioners have been placed there once every week; they stayed up to two hours and a half at a time, the branch of iron leaning on the left hypochondrium, surrounded with the cord of communication, and making time to time the chain of thumbs. They have been magnetized, either by M. Deslon or by one of his Disciples, in his place, some longer and more often, and it was the Commissioners who appeared to be the most sensitive; they have been magnetized, sometimes with finger & the iron rod presented and walked over various body parts, sometimes by the application of hands and by finger pressure, or at hypochondria, or the pit of the stomach.
They have felt nothing.
None of them felt anything or at least nothing felt which was of the nature to be attributed to the action of Magnetism. Some of the Commissioners are of a robust constitution; some others have a less strong constitution, and are subject to inconveniences: one of them has experienced a slight pain in the pit of the stomach, as a result of the strong pressure that one exercised there. This pain persisted all day and the next day, it was accompanied by a sense of fatigue & malaise. A second felt one afternoon where he had been touched, a slight irritation in the nerves, to which he is very subject. A third, endowed with greater sensitivity, and above all an extreme mobility in the nerves, felt more pain & more marked irritations; but these small accidents are the result of perpetual & ordinary variations in the state of health, and by consequence by strangers to Magnetism, or resulting from the pressure on the region of the stomach. The Commissioners only even mention these slight details, as by scrupulous fidelity; they say them because they are imposed by the law to say always & everything the truth.
Difference of the effects at public treatment, and their private treatment.
The Commissioners could not but be struck by the difference of public treatment with their particular treatment at the baquet. The calm & silence in one, the motion & agitation in the other; then, the multiplied effects, of violent crises, the usual condition of the body & of the mind interrupted & troubled, Nature exalted; here, the body without pain, the mind undisturbed, Nature preserving & its equilibrium & its ordinary course, in a word, the absence of all effects; we can not find this great power that astonished at the public treatment; Magnetism without energy seems stripped of all sensible action.
They go to several days of treatment, and experience nothing more.
The Commissioners having at first been at the baquet every week, wanted to test if continuity would not produce something; they were there for three days straight, but their insensitivity was the same, and they obtained no effect. This experiment made & repeated at the same time on eight subjects, many of whom have the usual inconveniences, sufficed to conclude that the Magnetism has little or no action on the state of health, and even in this state of mild disabilities. It was resolved to do tests on persons really sick, and we chose them in the class of people.
patients of the class of experienced people.
Seven patients were gathered in Passy at the house of M. Franklin; they were magnetized before him and before the other Commissioners by M. Deslon. The widow Saint-Amand, asthmatic, having the stomach, thighs & legs swollen; & the woman Anseaume, who had a growth in her thigh, did not feel anything; the little Claude Renard, child six years, scrofulous, almost emaciated, tested, having the knee swollen, leg flexed & articulation almost without moving, interesting child & more reasonable than his age comports it, has also felt nothing, and Genevieve Leroux, aged nine, attacked with convulsions and with a disease quite similar to that, which is called St. Vitus chorea. François Grenet experienced some effects; he has sick eyes, especially the right with which he hardly sees, where he has considerable tumor. When one has magnetized the left eye approaching it, waving the thumb near & long enough, he experienced pain in the globe of the eye, and the eye teared. When one has magnetized the right eye is more diseased, there is nothing felt; he felt the same pain as the left eye, and nothing anywhere else.
The Charpentier woman who had been thrown to the ground against a beam, by a cow, two years ago, has experienced several sequels of the accident; she lost vision, partially recovered it, but it is connected in a state of habitual infirmities; she reported two falls, the belly with a sensitivity so great that she not stand the ties of the belt of her skirt: this sensibility belongs to nerves irritated & rendered very mobile; the slightest pressure made in the belly region, can determine this mobility & produce effects throughout the body by the correspondence of the nerves.
This woman was magnetized like the others, by application and by finger pressure; the pressure has been painful to here, then directing the finger down, she complained of pain in the head; the finger being placed in front of the face, she said she lost the breath. At the repetitive motion of the finger from high to low, she had precipitate movements of the head & shoulders, as one has a surprise mingled with fear, and similar to those of a person to whom we would throw a few drops of cold water in the face. It has seemed that she felt the same movements with his eyes closed. We directed at her the fingers under the nose making her close the eyes, and she said that she would find herself ill if we continued. The seventh patient, Joseph Ennuye, experienced similar effects, but less marked.
Divided effects. Some feel something, others feel nothing.
On these seven patients, there are four that have felt nothing & the other three have experienced effects. These effects deserved to fix the attention of the Commissioners & demanded scrupulous examination.
One feels sick in a more distinguished class.
The Commissioners to enlighten themselves & to fix their ideas in this regard, took advantage to test the patients placed in other circumstances, the sick chosen in society, who could not be suspected of any interest & of which the intelligence was capable to discuss their own feelings & to account. Mesdames B ** & V Messieurs M ** & R ** were admitted to the particular baquet with the Commissioners; we requested them to observe what they felt, but without bearing there an attention too regular.
M. M ** & Mme. M ** de V ** are the only ones who have experienced something. M. M ** has a cold tumor across the knee joint and he feels pain in the kneecap. He said after having been magnetized, not having felt anything throughout the body, except when we walked the finger before the ill knee; he believed then to feel a slight warmth at the place where he usually has the pain. Mme. de V ** attacked by ill nerves, was many times on the point of falling asleep while one magnetized her. Magnetized during one hour nineteen minutes without interruption, and most often by the application of hands, she experienced only agitation & the malaise. These two patients only came once to the baquet. M. R ** patient with remains of an engorgement in the liver, following a strong obstruction poorly healed, came there three times, and felt nothing. Mme. B ** severely attacked with obstructions, came there constantly with Commissioners, she felt nothing; & it should be observed that she submitted to Magnetism with a perfect tranquility, which came with a great incredulity.
Different patients have been tested in other occasions, but not around the baquet. One of the Commissioners in a migraine attack has been magnetized by M. Deslon for half an hour; one of symptoms of this migraine is an excessive cold at the feet. M. Deslon approached the foot of the patient, the foot was not warmed, the migraine had its ordinary duration; & the patient having recovered near the fire got the salutary effects that heat has consistently procured him, without having experienced either during day or the next any effect of Magnetism.
M. Franklin, though his infirmities had prevented him being transported to Paris, and assisting at the experiments that have been made there, has been himself magnetized by M. Deslon who visited his home in Passy. The assembly was large; all those who were presents were magnetized. Some patients who had accompanies M. Deslon, felt the effects of Magnetism, as they were accustomed to feel at the public treatment; but Mme. de B **, M. Franklin, his two Relatives, his Secretary, an American officer, felt nothing, although one of the relatives of M. Franklin was convalescing, and the American officer was then sick with a controlled fever.
Comparison of the results of these three experiments.
These different experiments furnish proper facts to be reconciled & compared, & of which the Commissioners were able to draw conclusions. On fourteen patients, there are five that appeared to experience effects, and nine who did not experience any. The one of the Commissioners who had migraine & cold feet, has not experienced relief from Magnetism, and his feet have not been warmed. This agent has not therefore developed the property attributed to it, to impart heat to the feet. It even announces the Magnetism, as proper to make known the kind & above all the seat of the illness, by the pain that the action of this fluid invariably carries there.
This advantage would be valuable; the indicator fluid of illness, would be a great means in the hands of the Physician, often misled by equivocal symptoms; but François Grenet, has only experienced some feeling some pain & at the least affected eye. If the other eye was not red and swollen, we would have been expected to believe it intact judging from the effect of Magnetism. M. R ** & Mme. de B **, both attacked obstructions, & Mme. B ** very seriously, having felt nothing, would not have been warned either of the seat or the kind of their evil. However obstructions are however diseases that are classified as particularly submissive to the action of Magnetism; since according to the new theory, the free & rapid circulation of this fluid by the nerves, is a means of ridding the channels & destroying the obstacles, that is to say, the engorgement that it meets there. They say at the same that Magnetism is the touchstone of health; if M. R & Mme. de B ** had not experienced the derangement & suffering inseparable from the obstructions, they would have been entitled to believe themselves in the best health of the world, We must say the same of the American Officer: Magnetism announced as an indicator of illness, has then absolutely failed in its effect.
The heat that M. M ** has felt at the kneecap is too light and too fleeting effect to conclude anything. One can suspect that it comes to the cause developed above, that is to say, too much attention being observed: the same attention would retrieve similar sensations in any other time where Magnetism would not be used. The drowsiness experienced by Mme. de V ** probably came from constancy & boredom of the same situation; if she has had some vaporous movement, one makes it proper for affections of the nerves, is to keep much attention as one does there; it suffices to think or hear spoken in order to make it come back to life. One can judge of what should happen to a woman whose nerves are very mobile, and who magnetized during one hour nineteen minutes has during this time other thoughts than that of the ills which are habitual to her. She might have had a greater nervous crisis, without one being surprised.
Some sick people are the only ones who have experienced the effects.
Reason to doubt that these effect belong to Magnetism.
There remains only the effects on produced on the woman Charpentier, on François Grenet & on Joseph Ennuye, which may appear to belong to Magnetism. But then by comparing these three particular facts to all the others, the Commissioners were surprised that these three patients of the class of people, are the only ones who have felt something, while those who are in a higher class, gifted more lights, more able to render account of their sensation have not experienced anything. No doubt François Grenet has experienced pain in the eye & tearing, because we approached the thumb very close to his eye; the Charpentier woman complained that in touching the stomach the pressure corresponded to its descent; & this pressure may have produced a part of the effects that the woman felt; but the Commissioners have suspected that these effects had been raised by moral circumstances.
Do we represent the position of a person of the people, by consequence ignorant, attacked with a malady & delirious from healing, led with apparatus before a large assembly composed partly of Physicians, where one administers an entirely new treatment done to her, and of which she is persuaded beforehand that she will experience wonders. Let us add that her complacency is paid, and that she believes to satisfy us more in saying that she feels the effects; and we will have natural causes to explain these effects; we will have less legitimate reasons to doubt that their real cause is Magnetism.
The children who are not susceptible to prejudice, feel nothing.
Besides one can ask why Magnetism has had these effects on the people who knew what one did to them, who could believe having an interest to say what they have said, while it has had no hold on little Claude Renard, on this delicate organization of childhood, so mobile & so sensitive? the reason and ingenuity of this child assures the truth of his testimony. Why has this agent produced nothing on Genevieve Leroux, who was in a perpetual state of convulsions? She certainly has mobile nerves, how did Magnetism not manifest, either increasing or decreasing her convulsions? Her indifference & her impassivity suggests that she felt nothing, because the absence of her reason has not allowed her to judge it as she had to feel something.
It is suspected that the imagination has part in the effects produced.
These facts permitted the Commissioners to observe that Magnetism seemed to be nil for those of the sick who are provided with some incredulity; that the Commissioners, even those with more mobile nerves having diverted their attention on purpose, being armed with philosophical doubt that must accompany any examination, have not experienced the impressions as have felt the three patients of the class of people, and they had to suspect that these impressions, in assuming all real, were the result of an anticipated persuasion, and could be an effect of the imagination. This resulted in another plane of experiments. Their researches will now be directed to a new object; it acts to destroy or confirm this suspicion, to determine how far the imagination can influence our sensations, and to observe if it can be the cause all or in part of the effects attributed to Magnetism.
It is proposed to conduct experiments to destroy or to confirm this suspicion.
Method of M. Jumelin to magnetize, different from that of Messrs. Mesmer & Deslon.
While the Commissioners have heard speaking about the Experiment which have been made at the house to the Dean of the Faculty, by M. Jumelin, Doctor in Medcine; they desired to see these experiments, and they are assembled with him at the house of one of them, M. Majault. M. Jumelin has declared to them that he was the disciple neither of M. Mesmer nor of M. Deslon, he has learned nothing from them on the animal Magnetism; & on what he has heard told, he conceived the principles & has made processes. His principles in regarding the animal magnetic fluid as a fluid that circulates in the bodies, and which emanates,, but which is essentially the same as the one which makes heat; a fluid as all others, tending to equilibrium, passes from the body that has more into one which has the least. His methods are also different from those of MM. Mesmer & Deslon; he magnetizes like them with the finger & the iron rod conductors, and by the application of the hands, but without any distinction poles.
it proves that by this method on produces the same effects.
Eight men and two women were initially magnetized & have felt nothing; Finally a woman who is the Doorwoman of Alphonse Roy, Doctor in Medicine, having been magnetized at the front, but not touching, said she felt the heat. M. Jumelin running his hand, and with the five tips of his fingers across the face of the woman, she said she felt like a flame that was walking: magnetized at the stomach, she said feeling there the heat; magnetized on the back, she said there feel the same warmth; she declared moreover, that she had warmth throughout the body & headache.
The Commissioners seeing that on eleven persons subjected to the experiment, only one had been sensitive to the magnetism of M. Jumelin, thought this one had not experienced something because she had without doubt the more facile imagination to shake; the occasion was favorable to be clarified. The sensitivity of this woman being well proven, it only acts to put her at the shelter of her imagination, or at least to put her imagination in default. The Commissioners proposed to bandage her eyes, to observe what would her sensations when operated on unwittingly. We blindfolded her & magnetized her; then the phenomena have not responded to the places where they directed the magnetism. Magnetized successively on the stomach & the back, the woman has only felt the heat in the head, with pain in the right eye, in the eye & in the left ear.
One disbanded the eyes & M. Jumelin having applied his hands to her on the hypochondria, she said there to feel heat; then after a few minutes, she said she was going to faint, and her found herself ill indeed. When she came back to herself, she was taken again, the eyes bandaged, M. Jumelin was dismissed, silence recommended, and we made the woman believe that she was magnetized. The effects were the same though one acted no her neither from near nor from far; she experienced the same warmth, the same pain in her eyes & in the ears; she felt more heat in the back & in the kidneys.
After a quarter of an hour, a sign was made to M. Jumelin to magnetize the stomach, she felt nothing, even at the back. The sensations diminished instead of increasing. The pains of the head are persisted, the heat of back & kidneys ceased.
It is concluded that the method is indifferent,
that the distinction of the poles is chimerical.
We see here that there were effects produced, and these effects are similar to those as experienced by the three patients of which there was question above. But the ones and the others have been obtained by different methods; it follows that the methods are nothing. The method of Mesmer & Deslon, and an opposite method equally give the same phenomena. The distinction of poles is then chimerical.
Marked effects of the imagination.
One can observe that when the woman beheld it, she placed the sensations precisely at the point magnetized; whereas, when she did not behold it, she placed them at random, and in very remote parts of where we directed Magnetism. It was natural to conclude that imagination determined these sensations true or false. One had been convinced when one saw that being well rested, feeling nothing more, and having eyes bandages, this woman felt all the same effects, although did not magnetize her; but the demonstration was complete, when after a session of a quarter of an hour her imagination being without doubt tired & cooled, the effects instead of increasing decreased at the moment when the woman was really magnetized.
As she fainted, this accident sometimes happens to women when they are tight & hampered in their clothes. The application of the hands to hypochondria could produce the same effect on an extremely sensitive woman; but we do not even have need of this cause to explain the fact. It made then very hot, the woman had experienced probably the emotion in the first moments, she made effort to undergo a new unknown, treatment,, and after too long sustained effort, it is not extraordinary to fall into weakness.
which gives the same results, and also shows the effect of the imagination.
This fainting has therefore a natural & known cause, but the sensations she experienced when not magnetized, can only be the effect of the imagination. Through similar experiences as M. Jumelin has made the same link, the next day, in the presence of Commissioners, on a man with eyes bandages & on a woman eyes uncovered, one has had the same results; it was recognized that their responses were evidently determined by the questions that made to them. The question indicated where the sensation must be; instead of directing Magnetism on them, one only made to bring up & direct their imagination. A child of five year, then magnetized, only felt the heat it had previously incurred while playing.
These experiments seemed pretty important to the Commissioners, to make them to desire to repeat them, in order to get new lights, & M. Jumelin has had the complacency to lend it. It would be useless to object that the method of M. Jumelin is bad; because we did not propose in this moment to experience magnetism, but imagination.
The Commissioners have agreed to bandage the eyes of the tested subjects, not to magnetize the most often, and to make matters with enough skill to indicate their responses. This march does not see to induce them into error, it deceived their imagination. In effect, when they are not magnetized, their only response must be that they felt nothing & when they are, it is the impression felt which must dictate their response, and not the manner in which they are interrogated.
which confirms and which still gives the same results.
In consequence the Commissioners being transported to the house M. Jumelin, we commenced by testing his servant. There was applied on the eyes a blindfold, prepared on purpose, and which served in all the same experiments following. This blindfold was composed of two caps of elastic rubber, the concavity was filled with eiderdown; all closed & stitched in two pieces of fabric cut in circles. These two pieces were attached to each other; they had cords which connected behind. Placed on the eyes, they allowed in their interval place for the nose & all liberty for breathing without being able to see anything, even in daylight, neither through, nor above nor below the bandage. These precautions taken for the convenience of the subjects tested & for the certainty of the results, we convince the servant of M. Jumelin that he was magnetized. Then he felt an almost general heat, movements in the belly, the head feeling heavy; little by little he became drowsy, and seemed about to fall asleep. This proves, as has been said above, that this effect is due to the situation, boredom, and not to magnetism.
Then magnetized the eyes uncovered, in presenting him the iron rod at the face front, he feels there tickling: the eyes bandaged again, when presented to him, he does not feel it; & when we do not present it to him, asked if he feels nothing at the face, he says he feels something going & returning to the width of the face. Mr. B **, educated man, and particularly in Medicine, the eyes bandaged, offers the same spectacle; experiencing effects when one does not act, often experiencing nothing when one acts. These effects have even been such that before having been magnetized in any way, but believing to be ten minutes, he felt himself in the limbs a heat that he compared to that of a stove. It is evident that M. B ** had a strong sensation, as to give the idea he had to resort to such a comparison; & this feeling he owed only to the imagination, which alone acted him.
It is evident that these effects belong to the imagination.
The Commissioners above all the Physicians, have made an infinity of experiments on different subjects that they themselves magnetized, or to whom they made to believe they were magnetized. They indifferently magnetized either at opposing poles, or at direct poles & against the grain, and in all cases, they obtained the same effects; there were in all these tests, only other differences than that of the imaginations more or less sensitive. (1)
(1) M. Sigault, Doctor in Medicne from the Faculty of Paris, known for having devised the operation of the symphysis, made several experiments that prove that magnetism is only the effect of the imagination. Here are the details he gave in a letter dated July 30, and addressed to one of the Commissioners.
“Having left to believe in a large house in the Marais, that I was a follower of M. Mesmer, I produced on a Lady, different effects. The tone, the serious air that I affected, together with gestures, made on her a very great impression that she wanted at first hide from me; but having raised my hand over the heart region, I felt that it palpitated. Her state of oppression elsewhere designated a tightening in the chest. To these symptoms were soon joined by others; the face became convulsed, the eyes became dim; finally she fell faint, then vomited her dinner, had several wardrobes, and found herself in a state of weakness & incredible collapse. I repeated the same maneuver on several people with more or less success, depending on their degree of belief & sensitivity.”
“A celebrated Artist, who gives drawing lessons to the Children of one of our Princes, complained in recent days of great migraine; he imparted this to me on the Pont-Royal; having persuaded him that I was initiated into the mysteries of M. Mesmer; almost immediately, with a few gestures, I removed his pain to his great surprise.”
“I have produced the same effect on a boy Hatter also attacked with a migraine; but this one feeling nothing at my first gestures, I carried to him my hand on the false ribs, in telling him to look at me. From that time he experienced tightness of the chest, palpitations, yawning, and a very great malaise. He no longer doubt from that moment, that I had power over him. In effect, having brought my finger to the affected part, I asked him about what he experienced. He replied that his pain descended. I assured him that I was going to direct it to the arms & the out through the thumb, as I strongly pinched him. He believed me & my word & was relieved for two hours. At that time, he stopped me in the street to tell me that his pain was back. This effect is, it seems to me, the same as that produced by the Dentist on the moral of those who go to his house to have a tooth pulled.”
“Lately still, being in the parlor in a Convent, Rue du Colombier, F.S.G. a young Lady said to me, so you go to the house of M. Mesmer! Yes, I said; & across the grille I can magnetize you. At the same time I showed her the finger; she was frightened, found herself distress, and begged me in mercy to stop. She was so moved, that if I had insisted more, she would fall infallibly into convulsions.”
Mr Sigault told that he had experienced himself the power of imagination. One day that there was a question of magnetizing to convince him, he felt, at the moment that one resolved to touch, tightness in chest & palpitations. But being soon reassured, one vainly employed all the gestures and all the processes of magnetism, which made no impression on him. [end of note]
They are therefore convinced by the facts, that the imagination alone can produce different sensations & cause the experiencing of pain, heat, even considerable heat in all parts of the body, and they concluded that it enters necessarily for many in the effects attributed to animal Magnetism. But it must be admitted that the practice of Magnetism produces in the animated body, changes of more marked & derangements more considerable than those which have been reported. No subjects who believed to be magnetized so far, have been shaken as far as having convulsions; it was therefore a new object of experience, that to experience if in only stirring the imagination, we might produce similar crises to those that take place in public treatment.
It is proposed to test if the imagination in its effects,
can go as far as producing crises.
Seventh experiment on a magnetized tree.
Thus many experiments have been determined by this view. When a tree has been touched following the principles & the method of Magnetism, anyone who stops there must feel more or less the effects of this agent; there are even some who lost awareness or who experienced convulsions. We spoke to M. Deslon, who responded that the experience should succeed as long as the subject was very sensitive, and we agreed with him to do it in Passy attended by M. Franklin. The necessity that the subject was sensitive, made him think that the Commissioners to render the decisive experiment and without reply, it was necessary that it should be done on a person chosen by M. Deslon, and of whom he would test beforehand the sensitivity to Magnetism. M. Deslon has then brought with him a young man of about twelve years; we marked in the orchard garden, a well isolated apricot tree, & proper to preserve the Magnetism that one would imprint on it.
He was led there alone by M. Deslon, in order that he was magnetized, the young man having remained in the house with someone who did not leave him. We would desire that M. Deslon was not present at the experiment, but he declared that it might fail if he was not directed by his cane & his regards on that tree to increase the action. We took the party to distance M, Deslon the most possible & to place Commissioners between him and the young man to assure themselves that he would not signal, and to be able to respond that there had been no cunning. These precautions, in an experiment that must be authentic, are essential without being offensive.
One then brought the young man, eyes bandaged, and successively introduced him to four trees, which were not magnetized by making him embrace each for two minutes, following what had been settled by M. Deslon himself.
M. Deslon present & at a great enough distance, directed his cane on the tree really magnetized.
At the first tree, the young man interrogated after a minute, declared that he was sweating great drops; he coughed, spat, and said he felt a little pain on the head; the distance from the magnetized shaft was about twenty-seven feet.
At the second tree, he feels dizzy, even pain on the head; the distance was thirty-six feet.
At the third tree, dizziness doubles and the headache; he says he believes approaching the magnetized tree; he was then about thirty-eight feet.
The patient falls into crisis under a tree that is not magnetized.
Finally at the fourth tree not magnetized, and at about twenty-four feet away from the tree which had been, the young man fell in crisis; he lost consciousness, the members are stiff, and we carried him to a nearby lawn, where M. Deslon gave him relief & make him return.
The imagination has then produced this crisis.
The result of this experiment is completely contrary to Magnetism. M. Deslon wanted to explain the fact, in saying that all the trees are magnetized by themselves, and that their magnetism was further reinforced by his presence. But then a person sensitive to Magnetism, might not venture to go into a garden without risking to have convulsions; this assertion would be contradicted by experience of every day. The presence of M. Deslon did nothing more than what it did in the carriage when the young man came with him, placed vis-a-vis with him, and where he has not experienced nothing. If the young man had felt nothing, even under the magnetized tree, it might have been able to say that he was not sensitive enough, at least that day; but the young man fell in crisis not under a tree that was not magnetized; it is by consequence an effect that has no physical cause, external cause, and which can only have the imagination. The experiment then is absolutely conclusive: the young man knew that he was being led to the magnetized tree, his imagination is struck, successively exalted, and at the fourth tree it was raised to the degree necessary to produce crisis.
Other experiments came to the support of this one which furnished the same result. One day that the Commissioners all met at Passy at the house of M. Franklin, and with M. Deslon, they had requested him to bring with him patients, & to choose the treatment of the poor, those who would be the most sensitive to Magnetism. M. Deslon brought two women; & while he was occupied in magnetizing M. Franklin & several people in another apartment, we separated these two women, and placed them in two different rooms.
Eighth experiment, which gives the same result.
A woman believed to be magnetized, fell in crisis.
One woman P **, has spots over their eyes; but she still sees a little, we however covered her eyes with the bandage described above. We persuaded her that we had brought M. Deslon to magnetize her: silence was recommended, three Commissioners were present, one for questioning, the other for writing, the third to play M. Deslon. We had the air of addressing the word to M. Deslon, begging him to commence, but we did not magnetize the woman; the three Commissioners remained quiet, occupied only to observe what was going to happen. After three minutes the patient began to feel a nervous shudder; then successively she felt a pain behind the head, in the arms, a tingling in the hands, it is her expression; she tensed herself, beat her hands, raised up from her seat, beat the feet: the crisis has been well characterized. Two other Commissioners placed in a side room, the door closed, heard the beats of the feet and hands, and without seeing anything were witnesses of this noisy scene.
Ninth experiment that gives the same result.
A woman believed to be magnetized through a door, falls in crisis.
These two Commissioners were with another patient, the demoiselle B **, attacked with nervous disease. They allowed her the free view & uncovered eyes; seated her in front of a closed door, persuading her that M. Deslon was on the other side, busy at magnetizing her. There was hardly a minute that she was sitting at the door, when she began to feel the chill; after another minute, she had a clacking of teeth & at the same time a general heat; finally, after a third minute, she fell entirely made in crisis. Breathing was rushed, she extended both arms behind the back, twisting them strongly, and bowing the body in front: there was general trembling of the whole body; the teeth clacking became so loud, it could be heard outside; she bit the hand & strong enough, so that the teeth are left marks.
It is good to observe that we have touched in no way these two patients; we have not even felt the pulse, so that it might not be said that we had communicated magnetism, and yet the attacks were complete. The Commissioners who wanted to know the effect of the work of the imagination, and to appreciate the part it can have to the crises of Magnetism, got everything they desired. It is impossible to see the effect of this work more uncovered and of a more evident manner, than in both these experiments. If the patients have reported that their crises are stronger treatment, it is that the shaking of the nerves are communicated, and that in general all proper & individual emotion is increased by the spectacle of the same emotions.
We had opportunity to experiment a second time with the woman and to recognize how much she was dominated by her imagination. We want to do the experiment of the magnetized cup: this experiment consists in choosing a number of cups, one cup that is magnetized. One presents them successively to a patient sensitive to Magnetism; he ought to fall into crisis, or at least experience sensible effects when presented with the magnetized cup, he ought to be indifferent to all those that are not. It is necessary only, as M. Deslon has recommended, to present them the direct pole, so that the who holds the cup does not magnetize the patient, and that only can have no other effect than the magnetism of the cup.
The woman P ** was requested at the Arsenal house of M. Lavoisier where M. Deslon was; she commenced by falling in crisis in the antechamber before having seen neither Commissioners nor M. Deslon; but she knew that she had seen him, and this is a well marked effect of the imagination.
Tenth experiment of the magnetized cup; same result.
When the crisis was calmed down, one brought the woman into the place of experiment. One presented her with several porcelain cups that were not magnetized; the second cup commenced to move her, and at the fourth she fell entirely into crisis. One can respond that her current state was a state of crisis, which had commenced from the antechamber, and that renewed of itself; but what is decisive is that, having asked to drink, one gave her the cup magnetized by M. Deslon himself; she drank quietly & said that she was much relieved. The cup & the magnetism have therefore missed their effect, since the crisis was calmed instead of being increased.
Eleventh experiment with this cup; same result.
Some time later, while M. Majault examined the spots that she has over her eyes, one presented her behind the head behind the magnetized cup, and this for twelve minutes; she did not perceive it & experienced no effect, she has even in no time been quieter because her imagination was distracted, and occupied with the examination that was made of her eyes.
Marked effect of imagination & of prejudice.
One recounted to the Commissioners that this woman was alone in the antechamber, different persons alien to Magnetism approached her, and that the convulsive movements had begun again. It was pointed out to her that we did not magnetize her; but her imagination was so struck, that she responded, if you did not do anything to me I will not be in the state where I am. She knew that she was coming to be submitted to experiments; the approach of someone, the least noise attracted her attention awakened the idea of magnetism, & renewed the convulsions.
this effect extends as far as causing to lose speech.
Imagination to act powerfully often needs that one touched several strings at once. Imagination responds to all the senses; its reaction must be proportionate & to the number of senses which unsettle it, and to the that of the sensations received: this is what the Commissioners have recognized by an experiment of which they will render account. M. Jumelin had spoken to them of a demoiselle, aged 20 years, to whom there had been caused the loss of speech by power of Magnetism; the Commissioners have repeated this experiment at his home, the girl consent to lend herself & to let the eyes be bandaged.
We first tried to obtain the same effect without magnetizing her; but although she felt or thought to feel the effects of Magnetism, we could not get through enough to strike her imagination in order that the experiment succeeded. When we really magnetized her, leaving the eyes bandaged, we had no more success. We disbanded the eyes; then the imagination was shaken both by sight and by hearing, the effects were more marked; but though the head began to feel heavy, though she felt embarrassment at the root of the nose, and a large part of the symptoms that she had experienced the first time, however, the speech was not lost.
She watched herself as it was necessary that the hand which magnetized the forehead, descended vis-à-vis the nose, remembering that the hand was thus placed when she lost her voice. One did what she demanded, and in three quarters of a minute, she became mute; we only heard some more inarticulate & voiceless sounds, despite visible efforts to push at swallowing in order to push the sound, and those of the tongue and lips to articulate it. This state lasted just a minute: we see finding precisely the same circumstances, the seduction of the mind and its effect on the vocal organs were the same. But it was not enough that the speech warned her as she was magnetized, it took the view that should bear her a stronger & more capable testimony to shake, it took even a gesture already known, awakened her ideas. It seems that this experiments shows how wonderfully the imagination acts, arises by degrees & has need of more external aid to be more effectively shaken.
The gaze used to strike the imagination.
The power of the stare on the imagination explains the effects that the doctrine of Magnetism attributes to the stare. The regard has eminently the power to magnetize; the signs, the gestures employed are commonly nothing, did one tell the Commissioners, that on a subject of whom one previously seized, in throwing him a look. The reason is simple; it is in the eyes, where are disposed the most expressive features of the passions, it is there that unfolds everything that the character has more imposing & more seductive. So the eyes must have great power over us; but they only have this power because they undermine the imagination, and in a way more or less exaggerated according to the force of the imagination.
Thirteenth experiment proves this effect look.
It is then by the regard to commence all the work of Magnetism; & the effect is so powerful, it has traces so deep, that a woman newly arrived to the house of M. Deslon, having met leaving crisis, the looks of his Disciples who magnetized her, stared at her for three quarters of an hour. She was long pursued by this regard; she always beheld before her that same eye attached to watch her; & she constantly carried it in her imagination for three days, in sleep as in waking. We see all that can produce an imagination capable of keeping so long the same impression, that is to say, to renew itself and by its own power, the same sensation for three days.
These experiments are uniform & decisive;
they prove the imagination suffices
to produce the effects attributed to Magnetism.
The experiences that we just reported are uniform & are equally decisive; they permit us to conclude that the imagination is the real cause of the effects attributed to Magnetism. But the Partisans of this new agent will respond perhaps that the identity of the effects does not always prove the identity of the causes. They will grant that the imagination can excite these impressions without Magnetism; but they argue that Magnetism can also excite them without it.
The Commissioners will easily destroy this assertion by reasoning by by the principles of Physics: first of all is not to admit new causes, without an absolute necessity. When the observed effects may have been produced by an existing cause, and as other phenomena have already manifested, healthy physics teaches that the observed effects should be attributed to it; and when news & announces having discovered a cause unknown until, healthy physics also requires that it be established, demonstrated by effects that belong to no known cause, and that can not be explained by the new cause. It would therefore be to the Partisans of Magnetism to present other evidence, and to search for effects that were entirely stripped of the illusions of the imagination. But as the facts are more demonstrative than reasoning, and have an evidence that strikes more, the Commissioners wanted to experience by experiment, what the Magnetism would be when the imagination does would not act.
which proves that Magnetism produces nothing without the imagination.
There was arranged in an apartment two adjacent rooms, and united by a connecting door. We had removed the door & there he had substituted a frame, covered & stretched with a double paper. In one of these rooms was one of the Commissioners to write everything which would pass, and a Lady announced to be from the Province, and to have the linen to do the work. We had summoned the demoiselle B **, Worker in linen, already used in the experiments of Passy, and of whom we were acquainted of the sensitivity to Magnetism. When she arrived everything was arranged in the manner that there was only one seat where she could sit, and this seat was placed in the recess of the door of communication where it is found as in a niche.
The Commissioners were in the other room, and one of them, a Physician, trained to magnetize, and having already produced effects, was charged to magnetize the Demoiselle B ** through the paper frame. It is a principle of the theory of Magnetism, that this agent passes through the wooden doors, walls, &c. A paper frame can not hinder it; besides M. Deslon positively established that Magnetism passes through paper; & Demoiselle B ** was magnetized as if she were uncovered & in his presence.
She was in fact, for half an hour, to a foot and a half away to opposite poles, following all the rules taught by M. Deslon, and that the Commissioners have seen practiced at his house. All the while, the Demoiselle B ** has cheerfully made conversation; questioned on her health she has responded freely that she carried herself well; at Passy she fell in crisis after three minutes; here she supported Magnetism with no effect for thirty minutes. It is here that she unaware of being magnetized, and that at Passy she believed to be. One see then that the imagination alone produces all the effects attributed to Magnetism; & when the imagination does not act, there are no more effects.
which proves that the imagination acts to produce crises.
One can only make an objection to this Experiment; it is as finding less sensitive in this moment to Magnetism. The Commissioners expected the objection & made of the crises consequently the following experiment. Forthwith as we stopped magnetizing through the paper, the same Physician- Commissioner passed into the other room; it was easy for him to engage the Demoiselle B ** to let her be magnetized. Then he began to magnetize her, observing as in the previous Experiment, to stand a foot and a half away, using only gestures, and the movements of the index finger & the iron rod, because if he applied the hands & touched the hypochondria, one might have said that the Magnetism had acted by this more immediate application. The only difference there was between the two Experiments is that in the first, he magnetized opposed poles following the rules, rather than in the second, he said magnetized the poles & against direction. In doing so, one would not produce any effect, according to the theory of magnetism.
However after three minutes, the Demoiselle B ** felt an uneasiness, of suffocation; there occurred successively a hesitant hiccup, a clacking of teeth, a tightness in the throat, a bad headache; she was agitated uneasily in her chair; she complained of the kidneys; struck sometimes she nimbly with her foot on the floor; then she extended her arms behind his back, strongly wringing them as at Passy; in a word the convulsive was complete and perfectly characterized. She had all these accidents in twelve minutes, while the same treatment employed for thirty minutes found her unresponsive. There is no more here than imagination, so it is to it that these effects belong.
which proves that the imagination also acts to stop the attacks.
If imagination caused the crisis to commence, it is then the imagination that made him it stop. The Commissioner who magnetized her said it was time to finish; he has presented her his two index fingers in cross; & it is good to note that by then he magnetized her at the direct poles as he had done until then; so there was nothing changed, the same treatment should continue the same impressions. But the intention suffice to calm the crisis; heat & headache are dissipated. We have always pursued the ill from place to place, in reporting that it was going to disappear. It is then that the voices that commanded the imagination, the neck pain ceased, then successively the accidents in the chest, the stomach & the arms. It took only three minutes; after which the Demoiselle B ** declared feeling nothing & being absolutely in her natural state.
Imagination does everything; Magnetism is nil.
These latter experiments thus and many of those which were made at the house of M. Jumelin have the double advantage of demonstrating at the same time, the power of imagination & the nullity of Magnetism in the effects produced.
Competition of several causes to increase the crises in public treatment.
If the effects are then more marked, if the crises seem more violent at public treatment, it is that several causes are joining the imagination to operate with it, to multiply & to enlarge its effects. It commences with the look to seize the minds; touch, the application of the hands soon follows; & there concurs the developing of the physical effects here.
Effects of touching & of pressure.
These effects are more or less considerable: the least are hiccups, stomach upsets, purges; the most significant are the convulsions which one names crises. The place where the touch is held is at the hypochondria, the pit of the stomach, and sometimes the ovaries, when the women have to be touched. The hands, the fingers press, and compress more or less these different regions.
On the colon.
The colon, one of our large intestines, through the two regions of hypochondria & epigastric region which separate them. It is placed immediately under the integuments. It is on this intestine that the touch is held, on this sensitive and very irritable intestine. The movement only, the movement repeated without another agent, excites the muscular action the intestine and sometimes provides evacuations. Nature seems to indicate as by instinct this maneuver to the hypochondriacs. The practice of Magnetism is only the same maneuver; & the purges that it can produce are then facilitated in the magnetic treatment, by the frequent & almost habitual use of a real purgative, cream of tartar in drink.
But when the movement excites mainly irritability of the colon, this intestine offers other phenomena. It swells more or less, and sometimes assumes a considerable volume. Then it communicates to the diaphragm such an irritation, that this organ enters more or less into convulsion, and it is what one calls crisis in the treatment of animal Magnetism. One of the Commissioners saw a woman subject to a kind of spasmodic vomiting, repeated several times each day. The efforts only produced a viscous cloudy water, similar to that thrown up by the patients in crisis in the practice of Magnetism. The convulsion had its seat in the diaphragm; & the region of the colon area was so sensitive that the slightest touch on that part, strong concussion of the air, the surprise of an unexpected noise, were sufficient to excite the convulsion. Then this woman had crises without Magnetism only by the irritability of the colon & diaphragm, and the women who are magnetized have their crises by the same cause & by this irritability.
On the stomach.
The application of the hands on the stomach also has remarkable physical effects. The application is directly on this organ. One operates there sometimes a strong & continuous compression, sometimes light & repeated compressions, sometime a tremor with a rotational movement of the iron rod, applied to this part; finally passing there quickly & successively the thumbs one after another. These maneuvers carry promptly to the stomach an irritation more or less strong & more or less durable, according as the subject is more or less sensitive & irritable. On prepares, one disposes the stomach to this annoyance by compressing beforehand. This compression it in the case of acting on the diaphragm, and of communicating to it the impressions that it receives. It can only irritate the diaphragm not provoked, & from there result as by the action of the colon, nervous symptoms of which we have just spoken.
In sensitive women, if one comes to simply compress both hypochondria without any other movement, the stomach is found tight, and these women fall in weakness. This is what happened to the woman magnetized by M. Jumelin; & what often happens without any other cause when women are to restricted in their clothes. It is not then crisis, because the stomach is compressed without being irritated, and as the diaphragm remains in its natural state. These same maneuvers performed with women on the ovaries, in addition to the effects which are to them individual, produce much more powerfully then the same symptoms. One knows the influence & the empire of the uterus on the animal economy.
The nervous center which establishes a general correspondence.
The intimate relationship of the colon intestine, of the stomach & of the uterus with the diaphragm is one of the causes of the effects attributed to Magnetism. The regions of the abdomen, submitted to the different touchings, correspond to different plexi which constitute there a nervous center, through which, abstraction made from any system, there exists very - certainly a sympathy, a communication, a correspondence between all parts of the body, an action; & a reaction such as the sensations excited in this center, shaking the other body parts; and as reciprocally a sensation felt in a part shakes & puts in play the nerve center, which often transmits this impression to all other parts.
Effect of the imagination on this nervous center.
This not only explains the effects of magnetic touch, but then the physical effects of the imagination. One has always observed that the affections of the soul carry their first impression on this nerve center, which is commonly said as one has a weight on the stomach and as one feels suffocated. The diaphragm is involved, when there are the sighs, tears, laughing. One experiences then a reaction on the viscera of the abdomen; & it is then that we can render reason from the physical disorders produced by the imagination. The shock occasions colic, fear causes diarrhea, grief gives jaundice. The history of Medicine contains countless examples of the power of the imagination & the affections of the soul. The fear of fire, a violent desire, a firm and sustained hope, a tantrum of anger renders the use of the legs to a gouty cripple, to a paralytic; a lively and unexpected joy dissipates a quartan fever of two months; a strong attention stops the hiccups; mutes by accident, recover speech following an emotion of the soul. History shows that this emotion suffices to recover speech, and the Commissioners have seen that the stricken imagination had sufficed to suspend its use. The action & reaction of the physical on the moral, and the moral on the physical are demonstrated since one observes it in Medicine, that is to say, from its origin.
The crises arising & with the touch & with the imagination.
Crying, laughing, coughing, hiccups, and in general all the effects observed in that which one calls the crises of public treatment, arise then, or as the functions of the diaphragm are troubled by physical means, such as the touch & the pressure, or the power of which the imagination is endowed to act on this organ & to disturb its functions.
The imagination deploys its effects more largely in public treatment,
because the impressions & the movements are communicated.
If one objected that the touch is not always necessary for these effects, one would respond that that imagination can have enough resources to produce all by itself; above all the imagination acting in a public treatment, doubly excited then by his own movement and that of the imaginations which surround it. We have seen what it produces in the Experiments made by the Commissioners on the isolated subjects; we can judge of its effects multiplied on the sick gathered in the public treatment. These patients are gathered there in a tight place, relative to their number: the air is warm there, although one has need to renew it; & it is always more or less charged with noxious gas of which the action focuses at the head & on the nervous kind. If there is music, this is one more means to act on the nerves & to move them.
Effects of imagination & imitation in numerous assemblies.
Many women are magnetized at the same time & at first only experience the effects similar to those that the Commissioners have obtained in many of their Experiments. They have recognized that even at the treatment, it is more often only after two hours the the convulsions commence. Little by little the impressions are communicated & reinforced, as we related it to the theater performances, where the impressions are greater when there are many spectators, and above all in places where one has the liberty to applaud . This sign of particular emotions establishes a general emotion that everyone shares to the degree the he is susceptible. This is what is observed in the armies one day of battle, where the enthusiasm of courage like panic terrors spread with so much rapidity. The sound of the drum & of military music, the noise of cannon, musketry, the cries, the disorder shake the organs, give the spirits the same movement, & and raise the imaginations to the same degree.
In this unity of intoxication a manifested impression becomes universal; it encourages to charge, or it determines to flee. The same cause gives rise to revolts; imagination governs the multitude: the men gathered in number, are more subject to their senses, the reason has less dominion over them; & When fanaticism preside at these meetings, it produces the Shakers of the Cevennes. (f)
(f) M. the Marshal de Villars, who terminated the troubles with the Cevennes, said: “I saw in this kind, of things that I would not have believed, if they did not happen before my eyes; an entire City, of which all the women and girls, without exception, appeared possessed by the Devil. They trembled & prophesied publicly in the streets. . . One had the boldness of trembling, and of prophesying for an hour before me. But of all these follies, the most surprising was the one recounted to me by M. le Bishop d’Alais, and which I sent to M. Chamillard, in these terms.
“A Monsieur of Mandagors, Lord of the land of that name, Mayor of Alais, possessing the highest offices in the City & County, having also been for some time Subdelegate of M. de Bâville, came to do an extraordinary thing. He is a man of sixty years, wise by his manners, very intelligent, having composed & published several Works. I have read some, but in which, before knowing what I have learned of him, I found a very vivid imagination.
“A Prophetess, aged 27 to 28 years, was stopped, there about eighteen months ago, and brought before M. d’Alais. He questioned in the presence of many Ecclesiastics. This creature, after having listened to, replied with a modest air, and urged him to stop tormenting the true Children of God, and then talked to him for an hour in a foreign languageto which he did not understand a word; as we seen the Duc de la Ferte another time, when he had a little drink, talking English before the English. I have seen to say, I heard that he speaks English, but I do not understand a word that he said. It would have been difficult to understand, for he never had known a word of the English. This girl spoke Greek, Hebrew as well.
“You believe that M. d’AIais caused to lock up the Prophetess. After several months, the girl appeared recovered from her wanderings by care & advice of Monsieur de Mandagors, who visited, she was left free; & from this liberty, and of that which M. Mandagors took with her, he got this Prophetess is pregnant.
“But the present fact is that Monsieur de Mandagors was relieved of all his charges, has handed them to his son, and has said to some Individuals & M. the Bishop himself, that it was by the commandment of God that he had known this Prophetess, and that the child to be born will be the true Savior of the World. All of this and in another Country than this, there would be no other thing than to send Monsieur the Mayor & the Prophetess to the Petites Maisons [confinement]. Monsieur the Bishop asked me to make him stop. I wanted earlier to confer with M. de Bâville; however ordering to observe him & Prophetess too, in the manner that they can not escape: my thought being that in the midst of fools, who regards a fool with this importance should make the least noise that it is possible; that it was necessary consequently to try to reorient him slowly, and then be assured.
“Because you judge well to declare publicly for a Prophet, a Mayor of Alais, a Lord of very sizable land, former Subdelegate of the Intendant, Author & hitherto reputed sage, among people who are accustomed to esteem him & to respect him, all this might pervert more that correct. Especially since outside the folly of believing that God ordered him to know this girl, he is very wise in his speech, as was Don Quixote very wise, except when it was a question of Chivalry. The opinion of M. Baville as was mine, was not to rush. His children took him without glory into one of his Castles, where they detained him, and the Prophetess was confined.” Life of Marshal Duke of Villars, Page 325 & seq. [End note]
It is to stop this movement so easily communicated to the spirits in seditious cities we prohibit the mobs. Everywhere the example acts on the moral, mechanical imitation involves the physical; in isolating individuals, one calms the spirits; separating them, one also stops the convulsions, always contagious from their nature: there is a recent example in the young girls of St. Roch, who separated were healed of convulsions they had being together (g).
(g) The day of the Ceremony of the first communion, made in the Saint-Roch Parish, a few years ago (1780), after the evening Office, one made, as usual, the Procession outside. Hardly were the children returned to the church, and rendered to their seats, than a girl fainted, and had convulsions. This affection spread with such a rapidity, that in the space of half an hour, 50 or 60 young girls, 12 to 19 years, fell in the same convulsions; that is to say, tightness in the throat, swelling at the stomach, suffocation, hiccups & more or less strong convulsions. These symptoms reappeared to some in the course of the week; but the following Sunday, being assembled at the Ladies of St. Anne, whose institution is to teach the young girls, twelve fell again into the same convulsions, and there would have fallen more, if one had not taken the precaution return on the field, each child to his parents. They had to multiply the schools. By separating the children, and only holding them assembled in small numbers, three weeks sufficed to dissipate entirely this convulsive epidemic affection. Look for similar examples, The Naturalism of convulsions, M. Hecquet. [End note]
We thus find the Magnetism, or rather the imagination acting at the spectacle, in the army, in numerous assemblies as at the baquet, acting by different means, but producing similar effects. The baquet is surrounded by a crowd of patients; the sensations are continually communicated & rendered; the nerves in the long run must be fatiguing with this exercise, they are irritated & the most sensitive woman gives the signal. Then the cords every where outstretched to the same extent & in unison, correspond, and the crises are multiplied; they are mutually reinforced, they become violent. At the same time the men witnesses of these emotions, share them, in proportion to their nervous sensibility; & those in whom this sensitivity is greater & more mobile, fall themselves in crisis.
This great mobility partly natural and partly acquired, as much in men as women, becomes habit. These sensations experienced one or more times, it is no more than to recall the memory, to raise the imagination to the same degree in order to operate the same effects. It is what is always easy to make by placing the subject in the same circumstances. So there is no more need of public treatment, one has only to touch the hypochondria, walking the finger & the iron rod in front of the face; these signs are known. It is not even necessary that they be employed, it is sufficient that the patients, blindfolded, believe that these signs are repeated on them, persuade themselves that one magnetizes them; the ideas are awakened, the sensations recur, the imagination employing its usual ways, and taking the same routes, causes to reappear the same phenomena. This is what happens with the patients of M. Deslon who fall into crisis without baquet, and without being excited by the spectacle of public treatment.
Touching, imagination, imitation,
are the real causes of the effects attributed to Magnetism.
Touch, imagination, imitation, such are the real causes of the effects attributed to this new agent, known by the name of animal Magnetism, to this fluid that one says to circulate in the body & to communicate from individual to individual; such is the result of the experiments of the Commissioners, and of the observations that they have made on the means employed, and on the effects produced. This agent , this fluid does not exist, but chimerical that it is, the idea is not new. Some authors, some Physicians of the last century have expressly treated it in several Works.
The curious & interesting researches of M. Thouret, prove to the Public that the theory, the methods, the effects of animal Magnetism, proposed in the last century were at nearly similar to those that one renewed in this one. Magnetism is therefore an old error. This theory is presented today with a more imposing apparatus, necessary in a more enlightened age; but it is not less false. The man seizes, quits, retakes the error which flatters him. There are errors that will forever be dear to mankind. How many times has Astrology not reappeared on earth? Magnetism tenders us to back there. One wanted to have the link to celestial influences, so that it deceived more and that it attracted men by the two expectations that affect them the most, that of knowing their future and that of prolonging their days.
The imagination seems the most powerful;
the touch serves to shake it, and the imitation spreads is impressions.
There is reason to believe that imagination is the principal of the three causes that we just assign to Magnetism. We have seen by the experiments cited that it suffices alone to produce crises. Pressure, touch, therefore seem to serve it with preparations; this is by touching that the nerves begin to shake, imitation communicates & spreads the impressions. But the imagination is this terrible & active power which operates great effects observed with astonishment in the public treatment. These effects strike the eye of everyone, while the cause is obscure & hidden. When we consider that these effects have seduced in recent centuries estimable men by their merit, their cognizance, and even by their genius, such as Paracelsus, Vanhelmont, Kirker, &c we should not be astonished if today educated, informed, even if a great number of Physicians have been deceived.
The Commissioners only admitted to public treatment where one has neither the time nor the facility of doing decisive experiments which would be able themselves to be induced into error. It is necessary to have had the liberty to isolate the effects in order to distinguish causes; it is necessary to have seen them acting on the imagination, in some kind partially, to produce its separate effects & in detail, to conceive the accumulation of these effects, in order to know the making of an idea with its whole power & to appreciate its wonders. But this examination requires a sacrifice of time, and a number of researches followed that we do not always have the leisure to undertake for instruction or its particular curiosity, as we have not even the title to follow, at least being the Commissioners charged with orders of the King, honored of the public confidence.
M. Deslon does not recede from these principles, and he believes to use the power of imagination in the practice of medicine.
M. Deslon does not depart from these principles. He has declared in the committee held at the house of M. Franklin on June 19, he thought to pose in fact that imagination had the largest share in the effects of animal Magnetism; he said that this new agent was perhaps only the imagination itself, of which the power is as powerful as it is little known: he claims to have consistently recognized this power in the treatment of his patients, and it also assures that many were cured or infinitely relieved. He observed to the Commissioners that the imagination then directed to the relief of suffering humanity, would be a great good in the practice of medicine; (h)
(h) Deslon had already said in 1780. “If M. Mesmer had no other secret than the one to cause the imagination to effectively act for health, would it not then be a wonderful good. For if the Medicine of the imagination was the best, why do we not do the Medicine of the imagination?” Observation on animal Magnetism, pages 46 & 47. [end note]
& persuaded of this truth of the power of the imagination, he invited them to study at his house the operation & effects. If Deslon is still attached to the first idea that these effects are due to the action of a fluid, which is communicated from individual to individual by touch or by the direction of a conductor, it will not be long to recognize with Commissioners that it is only necessary one cause to one effect, and that since the imagination suffice, the fluid is unnecessary. No doubt we are surrounded by a fluid that is ours, insensible perspiration forms an atmosphere around us of equally insensitive vapors; but this fluid acts only as the atmospheres, can only be communicated infinitely little by touching, neither by the look, nor by intention, is not propagated by sound, nor reflected by the mirrors, and is not susceptible in any case of the effects attributed to it.
The imagination is almost always harmful
when it produces violent effects & convulsions.
It remains to examine whether the crises or convulsions produced by the methods of this alleged Magnetism, in the assemblies around the baquet can be useful, & healing or relieving of the sick. No doubt the imagination of sick often influences a lot in the cure of their illnesses. The effect is only known by a general experiment & has not been determined by positive experiments; but it only seems that one can doubt it. There is an known adage that faith saves in medicine; this faith is the product of the imagination: the imagination then acts only by gentle means; it is in spreading the calm in all the senses, in restoring order in the functions, in reviving all by hope.
Hope is the life of man; who can render him the one helps to render him the other. But when the imagination produces convulsions, it acts by violent means; these means are almost always destructive. It is with very rare cases where they may be useful; it is with hopeless cases where it is necessary to trouble all to order everything again. These dangerous shocks can be of use in Medicine such as poisons. We must have necessary control them & economy employ them. This need is temporary, the shock must be unique. Far from repeating, the wise Physician is responsible with means to repair the necessary evil that it has produced; but the public treatment of Magnetism, the crises repeated every day, they are long, violent; the state of these crises is harmful, the habit can be dire.
How to conceive that a woman whose breast is attacked can without danger have crises with a convulsive cough, forced expectorations; & by violent and repeated efforts, fatiguing, maybe tearing the lung, where it is so hard to bring the balm & the mitigations? How to imagine that a man, regardless of his illness, has need to heal from falling into crisis where the sight seems to be lost, where members stiffened, or in the precipitate & involuntary movements, he harshly strikes the chest; crises by an abundant spitting phlegm & blood? This blood is neither tainted nor corrupt; this blood leaves the vessels where it is torn by the efforts, and where it leaves against the wish of Nature. These effects then are real ill, not a curative ill; it is an ill added to the disease whatsoever it is.
These convulsions can become habitual,
be spread in cities & be communicated to the children.
These crises have yet another danger. Man is constantly controlled by custom; habit modifies to become Nature by successive degrees; but it disposes so powerfully that it often changes it almost entirely, and renders it unrecognizable. Who assures us that this state of crises, first impressed at will will not become habitual? And if this habit, then contracted, reproduces often the same accidents despite the will, and almost without the aid of the imagination, what will be the fate of an individual subjected to these violent attacks, tormented physically & morally with their unfortunate impression, of which the days will bee shared between apprehension & pain, and of which life will only be a lasting torment?
These diseases of nerves, when they are natural, are the despair of Physicians; it is not for the Art to produce them. This art is sinister, which disturbs the functions of the animal economy, pushes nature to deviations, and multiplies the victims of its derangements. This Art is all the more dangerous, as it not only aggravates ills of nerves by recalling the symptoms, by making them degenerate into habit. But if that evil is contagious, as one can imagine, the use of provoking nervous convulsions & exciting the public in treatments, is a means to spread them in large cities; and even to afflict generations to come, since the ills & habits of the parents are transmitted to their posterity.
The magnetic fluid does not exist,
and the means employed to put it into action are dangerous.
The Commissioners having recognized that this animal magnetic fluid can not be perceived by any of our senses, that it had no action, neither on themselves nor on patients they have provided; being assured that the pressures & the touchings occasion changers rarely favorable in the animal economy, and the ever annoying shaking in the imagination; having finally demonstrated by decisive experiments that the imagination without Magnetism produces convulsions, and that Magnetism without imagination produces nothing; they have concluded with one voice on the question of the existence & of the utility of Magnetism, that nothing proves the existence of the animal magnetic fluid; this fluid without existence is by consequence useless; that the violent effects observed at public treatment, belongs to the touch, to the imagination put into action, and to this mechanical imitation which leads us despite ourselves to repeat what strikes our senses. At the same time they feel obliged to add, as an important observation, that touchings the repeated action of the imagination to produce crises can be harmful; that the spectacle of these crises is also dangerous because of this imitation which Nature seems to have made us a law; & that by consequence all public treatment where the means of Magnetism will be employed can only have at length disastrous effects. (i)
(i) If one objected to the Commissioners that this conclusion bears on Magnetism in general, rather than focusing only on the Magnetism practiced by M. Deslon, the Commissioners would respond that the intention of the King has been to have their advice on animal Magnetism; they have not thus exceeded the bounds of their commission. They still would respond that M. Deslon that seemed to them informed of what is called the principles of Magnetism, and that he certainly the means to produce effects & to excite crises.
These principles of M. Deslon are the same as those which are contained in the twenty-seven propositions, that M. Mesmer made public by way of impression in 1779. If M. Mesmer today announces a broader theory, the Commissioners have had no need of knowing this theory, to decide the existence & utility of Magnetism; they are only due to consider the effects. This is by the effects that the existence of a cause is manifested; it is by the same effects, that its usefulness can be demonstrated. The phenomena are known by observation, long before one can reach the theory that chains them and that explains them. The theory of the magnet does not yet exist, and its phenomena are recognized by the experience of centuries. The theory of M. Mesmer is here indifferent & superfluous; the practices, the effects, that is what it was a to be examined. For it is easy to demonstrate that the essential practices of Magnetism are known of M. Deslon.
M. Deslon has been for several years a disciple of M. Mesmer. He saw constantly during this time, to employ the practices of animal Magnetism, and the means of exciting & of directing it. M. Deslon himself has treated the patients in front of M. Mesmer; apart, he has operated the same effects as M. Mesmer. Then coming together, the one and the other have combined their patients, the have treated these patients indiscriminately, and by consequence in following the same processes. The method that M. Deslon follows today, can then only be that of M. Mesmer.
The effects correspond equally. There are crises as violent, as multiplied, and announced by similar symptoms at the house of M. Deslon & at the house of M. Mesmer; these effects thus do not belong to a particular practice, but to the practice of Magnetism in general. The experiments of the Commissioners demonstrate that the effects obtained by M. Deslon, are due to the touch, to the imagination, to the imitation. These causes are then those of Magnetism in general. The observations of the Commissioners have convinced them that these convulsive crises & the violent means, can only be useful in Medicine that the poisons; & they have judged independently of any theory, that every where one will seek to excite convulsions, they will become habitual & harmful; they can spread into an epidemic, and may extend to future generations.
The Commissioners have concluded in consequence that not only the processes of a particular practice, but the processes of Magnetism in general, might eventually become baneful.
In Paris, August 11, thousand seven hundred eighty-four.
B. FRANKLIN, MAJAULT, LE ROI, SALLIN, BAILLY, D'ARCET, DE BORY, GUILLOTIN, LAVOISIER.
EXTRACT OF THE RECORDS
FACULTY OF MEDICINE of PARIS,
Translated in François
The Faculty of Medicine, legitimately assembled on 24 August 1784 conforming to the billet of invitation brought to each of Regent Doctors by his Apparitors [porters], after having heard the report of its illustrious members, MM. Majault, Sallin, Darcet, and Guillotin, that the King had charged them the examination of animal Magnetism, 1º Give with a unanimous voice, and with vital satisfaction, the highest praise for their work, to their sagacity & to their doctrine; 2º Adopts the Report drafted & signed jointly by them and by the learned Members of the Royal Academy of Sciences, MM. Franklin, Le Roy, Bailly, De Bory & Lavoisier, that His Majesty had nominated to concur for the same Examination on the request that had made to Members of the Faculty: & it adopts this Report with even more eagerness that it develops of a manner as a as luminous as energetic, a doctrine that was always of teaching & advising, at the same time that there was question of this Method, that many designated under the denomination as false as ridiculous of animal Magnetism, and that they had commenced to boast & put in use. Such is the conclusion I have pronounced in the name of the Faculty.
Pourfour du Petit, Dean.
And signed with me, MM. Le Clerc, Maloet, Grossin du Haume, des Essartz, Dumangin, Mathey.
Printed under an express Decree of the Faculty, Pourfour-du-Petit, Dean.