Personal Report by A.L. Jussieu to
The Second Commission of 1784
OF ONE OF THE COMMISSIONERS CHARGED
by the King with Examination of Animal Magnetism.
I have been named, 5 April 1784, to examine the doctrine, the processes & the effects of animal Magnetism, practiced by M. Deslon. The Report of MM. Mauduyt, Andry & Caille, with which I was charged with the examination, has not been signed by me, & I must account my motives, so that one does not lend me an opinion different from my own.
It seemed to me that the commission of which we were charged, directed us, not to a simple judgment founded on some isolated facts, but a methodical account of facts numerous and varied, proper to clarify the question, to clarify to the Government & the Public, & to determine the belief of the one & the other.
The partisans of Magnetism announced a great cause, a universal agent or fluid, existing in all Nature, forming in the animated bodies the principle of life, being able to transmit itself from one to the other, & producing, by the means of this communication, effects more or less sensible. These effects, if they have place, suppose a determined action, & some sort of agent; they can be salutary, or harmful, or indifferent to the body which feels them.
Without going back to a theory perhaps too sublime, the object of the Commissioners should be to verify the effects, to recognize the immediate cause, to determine the medical utility. Before examining or admitting a brilliant hypothesis, a new system, it is wise to assure ourselves beforehand of the reality of the principles which serve as its base. We have seen at first at the house of M. Deslon a part of the effects which were reproduced to our eyes under different forms.
The baquet, the curved irons directed on the patients, the cord which unites them, the wand of iron, are the instruments known to the Magnetism, of which one attributes the property to concentrate the fluid spread in the air, of transmitting it to each individual, & to make it circulate from one to the other. This action is augmented by the magnetic processes, which sometimes concur with the preceding apparatus, sometimes are employed alone. They consist in rubbing, simple contact, direct movements with the wand or only with the finger, on the person that one magnetizes. Among the effects which result, the ones are internal, & can only be known by the report of the who feels them: such are the heat of a part of the body in contact with the iron leaving from the baquet; the circulation feels of a fluid, favored by the chain of patients disposed in circle & hold themselves all by the hand; the impression of heat or of cold, of ill-ease or of well being, excited by the described procedures.
The others, obtained by the same means continue, are external & manifest themselves from outside by yawning, moisture, sweating, tears, laughter, agitation, convulsive movements light or sever, sleep, loss or suspension of senses, destruction, evacuation of diverse kinds.
It has been communicated to us the procedures by means of which we could excite the similar sensations to the ones of which we were witnesses. Some of us have tried to act so; others have contented themselves to be judges & spectators. The effects produced by ourselves cannot be denied, but not being always constant, uniform and corresponding to our manner of operating, we have been able to suspect a cause variable, different from the one which was announced. This was, according to the Possessors of this doctrine, a fluid spread into the animated bodies, escaping from all points of their surface: it was necessary to consider the existence of this fluid.
They have asked for physical proofs of this existence. M. Deslon has avowed that he knows of none, that no means can make it fall under the senses; he has added that the action of this fluid on the living body, was the only proof of its existence; that he had ignored all other demonstration; that his object being uniquely the research of a new means to heal, he had turned all his views toward this point.
This kind of evidence became perhaps uncertain & insufficient, because the partisans of the contrary opinion could attribute the effects to the impression produced by the immediate contact, or by the rubbing; & in the supposition where these effects would occur without contact, that which is rarer, they would find then the cause in an imagination more or less exalted. It was necessary then, for the decisive experiences, to give up all rubbing which could be regarded itself as independent cause of the Magnetism.
The touching practiced on a large surface, or by a strong pressure, differs very much from the one which has only placed with a light contact to a small surface, such as the end of the finger or of a wand: the first having some similarity with the rubbing, ought to then be excluded; but one can admit the second, in avoiding the confusion of these effect with the ones which are produced without touching, & from giving those the same value in the enumeration of the proofs. A third essential point consists in placing guard against the imagination of submissive persons in the experiments, be it in acting on them unbeknownst to them, be it in choosing, for these proofs with children, with men deprived of reason, or even with animals. Without this precaution, the question will remain indecisive; the adversaries of the Magnetism will attribute everything to the imagination; and it partisans will make rightly to object that their opinion is not better founded than the one which admits the magnetic fluid.
According to these, the influence of this agent does not manifest indifferently on every one; it is more sensible on certain sick beings, our delicately organized. It results that the experiments on very healthy persons, & even those which were would be made on a few patients, would not decide the question, if none of them feels any sensation. These negative proofs are admissible, when one does not oppose that one does contrarily; but the observed effects have to be attacked by other means. Was it not agreed after all to establish the first place of the observations in the rooms of treatment, when many patients are gathered, where one can see much, to know successively all the details of the processes, to seize all the passing nuances & the differences of sensations & of their results, in a word to note all the effects which would merit being verified methodically.
This first examination had to be be followed with isolated experiences, authentic & repeated many times, proper to certify the principle facts observed previously. This step appeared to me the better: I have visited the salons of M. Deslon; to avoid the illusion, I have wished to see much, & to operate often myself; & although occupied elsewhere by the most agreeable works & public functions, & have given to these a considerable enough time. In the interval, some experiments have been made in common by the Commissioners; they have seemed sufficient to them to establish a judgment of which I have not subscribed. Obliged now to give my advice without multiplying the evidence, I cannot dispense with presenting here the particular facts observed by myself, concurrently with the experiment made in common. They will be enunciated briefly, with impartiality, & will serve perhaps of base to the simple consequences, conformed to the principles of Physics.
Among the fact to explain, I will distinguish them in four orders: 1º the general & positive facts, of which one can rigorously determine the true cause; 2º the negative facts, which note only the inaction of the contested fluid; 3º the facts, either positive, or negative, attributed to the imagination alone; 4º the positive facts which appear to exist from another agent.
I. General facts.
The patients, abandoned at their liberty, to their imagination, & submitted to the magnetic treatments, feel the sensations, the common ones to many individuals, the particular others to some. They appear to depend on the the unusual practice on them; but one can also attribute them to other causes. The following exposition will give an exact idea of the most ordinary effects which have place in this treatment, & will be terminated by some observations relative to this practice.
Many patients assure that the iron of the baquet, the same light contact, the finger or the wand directed at them, imprints on the magnetized part & sometimes on the other organs, sometimes an impression of heat & more rarely of cold, sometimes a pain or of other sensations more characteristic. Some, easy to be moved, believe to feel the influence of the finger or of the wand at distances more considerable, the power of the which fixes them, & the action of the cord of or the chain which unites the circle of patients. The substances which one presents to them in a certain direction, have for them a particular odor, which becomes different in an opposing direction.
These internal effects cannot be verified by the observer, I pass to those which are exterior, & that I have seen more or less often. The first sensations & the most frequent are the yawnings that one attribute to the development of the heat, but which can equally depend on a moral cause. In continuing the treatment with or without contact, one produces nothing more on some. The same impression developed and augmented in the bodies of some others, & principally in the females, is occasioned successively with the agitations, with the convulsive movements, passing or lasting, at first light, then more severe, sometimes a little natural laugh, sometimes the sleep or the loss of sense. Sometimes the person is stationary, sometimes she runs the room with a lost air; the pulse, ordinarily regular, accelerates sometimes in the great pains.
These diverse sensations carry, in this treatment, the name of crisis, which simply in the cessation of the symptoms, or are terminated by tears, moisture, sweating, spitting, vomiting, evacuations by the bowels of the urine. Some of these effects can precede or accompany many of the symptoms; they can also have place without their concurrence, & the march of the crisis is often irregular. I have seen it more than once beginning at the baquet, without the addition of other processes. Some persons have assured me that they were not subjects outside the salons of treatment; others have avowed that they have similar [experiences] in other places.
The crises of Magnetism, when they are regular, appear sometimes covering three distinct periods. The first is the one of developed excitement; the second one of stasis, or the functions & the pains appear suspended; & the third one of the relaxations & departure of a humor. I have thought to notice this march in some; but the cases have been rare. It seems to me then that the moment of the stasis was the one where the correspondence was more constant between the action practiced & the sensible effect. These two facts, of which I was simply witness without operating, were only expressed here as doubtful observations, & only worthy of some attention.
One has spoken much of these sympathies by which the persons in crisis find themselves, are relieved mutually by a light contact according to the magnetic rules, & remain then united sometimes quite long in a perfect repose. In the rarest cases of this nature, that I have observed, nothing has been able to force me to believe that these scenes were not produced by the imagination, by a mutual taste, by the effect of an anterior liaison or of an informal character.
A young man frequently in crises, became then mute, traveled tranquilly around the salon, & touched often the patients. His regular contact operated sometimes the crises which he conducted only at their term without suffering concurrently. Returning to his natural state, he spoke, not remembering the past; & not knowing more of magnetizing. I have concluded nothing from this fact, repeated several times under my eyes.
The practice of magnetic procedures vary according to the state of the patients that one treats. It is dependent on general rules for operating, & of the parties on which one acts more constantly. The crux of the stomach, which corresponds to the diaphragm & a nervous plexus, is indicated, with reason, as one of the most sensitive; some others are much the same, but not all in the same proportion in all the subjects. In general, the front of the body is regarded as more irritable than the back, and the persons magnetized by me in two manners, have confirmed it to me.
The painful, faulty organs, the ones which are engorged, feel then as much commonly a vital impression, & often a burning heat, by the contact of the finger or of the wand; sometimes the tumor then is stimulated, advanced & rolls under the finger, & appear momentarily increased in volume; I have produced many times these two effects. A woman manifested, by the cries, a lively pain, when the finger of Physician who treated her, in contact on a gland of the belly, moved away from this gland in a horizontal line. The Physician repeated several time the proof before me, I assured me that he had already produced it anteriorly on the patient. This internal sensation is one of those which can only be observed by regular experiences.
To experience the impression of fluid crossing all the body, I posed the right hand on the head of a patient subject to the crises, & the lest on his right foot; she had not then been touched in this manner. In a few minutes she was taken with a trembling or general shivering which she had never had, that I avoided making to last, & which ceased a little after as I had displaced my right hand: I had no occasion to renew this observation.
Sometimes, when I touched the patients, the sensations reported by them did not correspond to the point of contact. The finger applied on a side of the abdomen excited a pain in the back; carried then to the seat of the pain, it directed elsewhere or dissipated: at least these effects happened at the same time with the magnetic action.
Many patients, before which I moved the finger at an inch distance from their body, believed to feel a light wind, sometimes warm, sometimes cold, which formed a trail. This movement continued the length of the arm & of the apposite leg & in repose, they were numbed sometimes, & there followed excited the prickling more or less lively, especially when the members were paralyzed.
The doctrine of Magnetism admits, in the animated bodies, the direct poles which should not have action the one on the other, & the opposing poles of which the reciprocal action is more constant; I have not always recognized this regular correspondence. The first times employed by me, would operate sometimes the effects; the seconds not producing always.
One assigns then to the fluid a current from high to low, probably in order to make it follow the direction of the nerves regarded as its principal conductors. The magnetic movements, in this direction, are indicated as useful, & the opposing movements as harmful & perturbing of the animal economy. I have practiced the ones and the others. The first ones, administered regularly, have always produced with exactitude the conforming effects; sometimes, in them varying a little, one observes this conformity. The second ones correspond better to the indication: the finger, carried from below to above in front of some sensitive persons, caused in the chest, in the neck & in the head, a troubling & a tickling which was soon dissipated by the movement in the contrary sense. These alternate sensations obtained three times in a row in few moments on the same subject, were simply internal in the bodies of some; in others, the malaise occasioned by the repetition of these movements, determined a very marked sweating. I have produce this sweating in an hour on three successive men, by the same process.
When in the treatment I have substituted a light contact with one of considerable pressure or a very strong rubbing, I excited more often the convulsions & the sharp pains, & rarely a complete crisis terminated by an evacuation.
The experiments of magnetized goods & vessels, of sensations operated by the reflection of mirrors, have never appeared to me satisfying enough to attach some value to them. The music, by its varied modulations, have often caused & augmented the crises; the Magnetism imprinted sometimes on the instrument, probably contributed there less than the harmony of the sounds & the measure of the songs. A flower under the nose, has caused keen sensations. The vibration of the two fingers agitated the one against the other before the nose or the mouth, has irritated these parts & excited the sneezes. The wand directed on the same points, has produced sometimes a swelling & a local irritation, spreading into the throat or farther, compromising the nearby glands, & so often followed with expectoration. I have seen caused, by this lone process, a vomiting of blood mixed with mucus.
The treatment especially by contact, can fatigue those who administer it. I have not felt it myself; but I have seen it exhaust many, after long sessions, returning to the baquet & to the touching of another man, & recalling the forces in combining these two means.
The resume of these facts offers many which should belong to one physical cause; the others could be attributed to an unknown fluid or to the influence of the imagination; & until this fluid be demonstrated, the last option will come to prevail, as older and better proven.
II. Negative facts.
The facts reported at this order, although very numerous, are enunciated very briefly, because they are all uniform.
A young person epileptic & deprived of reason, magnetized in the presence of the Commissioners for an hour, & by diverse processes, felt no effect. The same result had taken place on five patients with treatment of electricity of M. Mauduyt, who had been touched each during a quarter of an hour; & on a part of the patients of M. Deslon, who submitted themselves every day, for some hours, to his treatment. Many persons that I have touched outside his rooms, on diverse occasions, to satisfy their curiosity, have felt no impression. I have been magnetized my self several times, & always without success. Without insisting here on the observations of this kinds, easy to multiply, one could conclude from these that the fluid, if it exists, has not on the most part of men, be it healthy, be it sick, an action which can be manifested by sensible signs.
III. Facts dependent on the imagination.
The first are negative & less conclusive: they are those of persons who, habitually sensitive to the magnetic action, feel nothing when their imagination is diverted to another object. Two examples of this kind will suffice here. A man, subject to the crises, magnetized by myself for a considerable time & by contact, received no other impression than the one of heat; we had had during the operation an interesting discussion on diverse subjects; he assured me that this occupation of the mind had often diverted or suppressed in him the effect of the Magnetism. A Lady habituated to the same impressions, giving her cares to her spouse who acted with convulsive movements beside her, only felt a light heat, although I had magnetized her following the processes that I have employed on her with success, and on other occasions. This fact has been collected by the present Commissioners, of whom some placed behind the person, were added to other processes equally unfruitful.
The positive facts are those which tend to prove that the imagination suffices to excite the sensations attributed to the Magnetism. I can produce the following: M. Deslon habitually gives his cares to many persons who have in him an exclusive considence. I have seen them all in crises at the same time, although he could only touch them successively. When one of them, returning gradually, threw the eyes on him, this sole regard without contact sufficed to recall the symptoms of the crisis; the others at their turn presented the same spectacle, which repeated itself many times in a seance.
One of these patients was having ordinarily in consequence of these crises an abundant expectoration, & each spitting was preceded by a light spasm. When M. Deslon lest from the room, the expectoration was interrupted, & could not be continued by the contact of another Physician; the return of the former recalled it almost immediately, without there being need of addition of any process. I have seen then to begin the expectoration without anterior contact, when M. Deslon appeared & came to sit at the side of the patient. She avowed that his presence had caused many times in her this effect, be it in the same place, be it elsewhere.
Another patient subject to the violent crises, magnetized by diverse Physicians, felt sometimes less effect of this immediate action, as the one of M. Deslon who looked at her or directed her from far with his finger on her; as soon as she perceived this look or this movement she often entered into convulsion.
In order to know the effect of a first magnetic impression, I wished to magnetize the first time a new patient, who appeared susceptible to feeling the sensations. The first session produced nothing.
Retired into the salon & become more tranquil, she disposed herself to go; but finding me again at the base of the stair she had a new attack, & was obliged to enter into an inferior salon where I lest her. Some days later I saw this woman again; she had been touched in the interval by other Physicians, & had had the same jolts, but not renewed in the same manner; my presence did not produce this time on her the effects observed previously. If there was not a concerted play, as I cannot believe, in recalling me to nature & the force of the movements, they depended certainly on a strongly excited imagination.
There is another order of mixed facts, dependent in great part on the imagination, that one obtains in putting it in default, & which can only be observed as means of regular experiences. I must report here the ones which have been made at the house of M. Mauduyt on three persons, by the gathered Commissioners.
1º A pusillanimous woman, dreading the Magnetism of which one had recounted the effects to her, refusing to submitting to it, being magnetized against her will in a little time, reported in fright many sensations; & nearly all resulting from the questions which were made to her. Calmed later by the cessation of the movements, distraught by other objects, & magnetized on the back unbeknownst to her, without contact, during a quarter hour, she felt nothing. This fact is little conclusive, because the fright acted very powerfully & could cause to doubt the reported sensations: the following are more interesting.
2º A man having one side of the body at demi-paralysis, a very irritable constitution, a spirit half-distraught, an anxious imagination, a sleep very interrupted, had tried unfruitfully the electricity, which increased in him the spasm in place of calming his ills. One magnetized him without explaining to him the aim of this operation which was not known to him. At first he laughed at the apparatus of these processes; soon he told of feeling on the magnetized parts, of the light effects corresponding to the movements executed in front of him. Instructed then of the name and of the object of this apparatus, he consented to let himself be bandaged on the eyes. From then on he raved on the effects, reported the sensations on the points of the body that one did not magnetize him, even when one was in complete inaction, & he designated rarely the parts magnetized; one operated first by touching, then without contact. The man did not lose consciousness & none of his sensations manifested by the exterior signs that we were able to understand.
3º Another man complained of weakness of the stomach, & attack of nerves very frequent. He was acquainted with the Magnetism, of which had already once felt the action, & he desired himself to renew the proof. Magnetized at first as the preceding, he had equally corresponding sensations to our movements, but more marked, accompanied by tears, sighs, fainting, somnolence, issues from his nares. Returned to himself, he lest the bandages on the eyes. Magnetized without contact or even non-magnetized, he felt the same effects, with this remarkable difference that on the whole the experiments made then on him only the third offered a correspondence between the magnetic action and the reported sensation. The loss of consciousness on coming to result, reduced us to observe the apparent sensations. The announced a state of genius, which three times in a row, apparently alternately to calm & renew themselves, when one touched successively the top of the chest & the stomach.
We decided to remove the bandage in order to cause the ceasing of the episode. As it continued then, one moved before him the finger from above and below, following the doctrine of Magnetism, which assigns to this movement the property of dissipating the ill-ease, in spreading in all the body the fluid concentrated in a part. The attack ended a little later; & although the patient attributed this cessation to the last magnetic process, we believed to be able ourselves to dispense with carrying the same judgment. A second experiment, made some days later, in the same manner & on the same person, offered many differences; the first impressions were less keen & more numerous: he had a lesser correspondence between the avowed sensations & the operations; the somnolence was longer; the touching which had appeared to diminish the state of discomfort in the preceding session, lost its effect in this one; the patient returned to himself without the aid of the process indicated as calming. Of these diverse united facts, one can conclude that the imagination anticipated, put in default, excited by diverse united causes, acted with enough force on the man to produce in him the greatest effects without the aid of any exterior agent.
IV. Facts independent of imagination.
It remains to us to cover an order of facts which merit some attention, because, if they are true, they are to bear different ideas from the ones than presented at first in the preceding article. A single positive fact, which would demonstrate evidently the existence of an exterior agent, would destroy all the negative facts which certify its non-action, & would balance those which assign all to imagination. I do not know if those that I present will be the necessary evidence; they will be reported with as much sincerity as the preceding.
Placed at the side of the baquet across from a woman whose blindness, occasioned by two very thickened layers, had been, a month before, observed by the Commissioners, I saw her for a whole quarter hour very tranquil, appearing more occupied with the iron of the baquet directed on her eyes, than of the conversation of the other patients. In the moment where the sound of the voices were sufficient to put her hearing in default, I directed, at the distance of six feet, a wand toward her stomach which I knew very sensitive. At the end of three minutes, she appeared unsettled & agitated; she turned on her chair, assured that someone, placed behind her or at her side, magnetized her, although I had take the precaution before of moving away all those who could render the experiment doubtful. Her anxieties dispersed very soon after the cessation of my movements; & she became tranquil as before, especially when one had certified her as that there was behind her neither patient nor Physician.
Fifteen minutes later, seizing the same circumstance, I renewed the proof, which offered exactly the same result. All the possible precautions in the same way, had not been neglected. I was assured that the patient had not derived other benefit from her treatment than perceiving confusedly certain objects at three or four inches distances: the day fell aside on her and on me. I could not distrust myself nor the patients himself with any other object, nor the Physicians newly admitted to follow the treatment, & who looked only to see the effects. One of the chiefs of the salon was present, but alway beside me, guarding the silence, & leaving me to operate at my will. The hour advanced not permitting me to make a third proof, which would perhaps increase the conviction.
A patient, of whom the crisis was a profound sleep, more or less long, experienced by intervals, without awakening, a convulsive movement pass by, with jolts, which were excited especially by an extraordinary sound in the room, by the rattles of two irons coming together, by the cry of another person in crisis. The magnetic movements, executed in front of his face at small distance, caused often the same convulsion. I have felt many times, & nearly always with success, observing that in the same time any strange sound could not produce this effect.
The crisis of another patient was a general spasm accompanied passing loss of sense without violent movement. The head was carried in front, the eyes closed, the arms folded backward & extended on the sides, the hands open, the fingers very wide apart. My finger in contact on his forehead between the eyes, appeared to relieve here a little. If I withdrew it softly, the head, although no longer in contact, followed it mechanically, in every direction, & came to shift back against it. If, after having then direct her head to one side, I presented my other hand to an inch distance with her opposing hand, she withdrew it rapidly with the sign of a sharp impression. These movements were repeated three or four times in ten minutes; but at the end of this time, the spasm diminished, the sensibility was no longer the same. Returned from this state, the patient was unaware of that which had passed. I have made this experience only once; it only had been so complete because I have observed a month earlier the same phenomena, in following the same crisis operated by another Physician. It is necessary to add that the patient had returned this same day to the treatment, after three weeks in the country, during which she told me shed had experienced no crisis.
The slightest magnetic movements made on another patient an impression so lively, that when one moved several times the finger at half foot from her back, without her being able to anticipate it, she was taken of a sudden with convulsive movements & repeated jolts, which announced the action practiced on her, & lasted as long as this action. My first & only test on this patient, produced the same effect of which I had been witness for or five times.
The rooms of treatment contained many other patients of different sexes, & of constitution more or less irritable, who felt also, but less vividly the effect previously reported, especially when they had been excited by the touching on the stomach. If one acted, unbeknownst to them, the finger on their head or the length of their back without touching them, & even at some distance, they jumped with vivacity, in turning the head to see the person placed behind them. This involuntary & unexpected movement was excited especially by the newly admitted Physicians, who, before overtly executing the indicated processes, remaining outside the circle of patients, tried from behind, & with suspicion, the property of the agent that one made known to them; hardened by the success, they passed then to a more extended practice. I produced at first so frequently this effect; but could suspect, either as the patients sensed my action, or as the sensation would have happened without me, I paused long times around them, awaiting the favorable moment to test it; it came to me almost always. When I did not act, the flinching did not take place. The same effect, produced by others, manifested sometimes on the patient of whom I occupied the attention by the opposing touches.
These facts a little numerous & a little varied, because I have only been able to cite those which were well verified, & on which I had no doubt. They suffered in order to make for admitting the possibility or existence of a fluid or agent, which carried from man to his fellow, & acts sometimes on this latter a sensible action.
From this collection of facts & of particular consequences, it results that the human body is submitted to the influence of different causes, the internal & moral ones, such as the imagination; the external & physical ones, such as the rubbing, the contact & the action of a fluid emanating from a similar body. These latter causes, better examined, will be reduced to only one, simpler & more universal, which is the general action of the elementary bodies or composed of which we are surrounded. It is uniform, often insensible, but always manifested by these effects. If one reflects on the one of the contested fluid, on the identity of the effects which it produces, with the ones which depend on the rubbing & on the contact, one will not hesitate to recognize, in these three cases, a similar action differently exercises.
The one of rubbing, lively & close, will impress a sensation stronger, surer & more general. The action of the contact will be gentler, but different according to the state of the organs. The one of the fluid directed from far, ought to be generally little sensible & only affect certain beings more susceptible of lesser impressions. But howe does this triple action operate? What is the principle which insinuated itself then into the bodies? The rubbing & the contact carry the heat. This heat will it be the fluid, of which the existence is so debated? What is it action on the human body? How does it penetrate, & with what degree of force? What are its relations with the causes, be it interior, be it exterior? Let us try to develop these diverse points in the following reflections.
It will perhaps not be a novelty in Physics to admit in the animated bodies two first principles, the one of matter & the one of movement. This latter ought to be regarded as the immediate agent of all the animal functions. Directed by the immutable laws, controlled sometimes by foreign causes, it tends always to follow the primitive & general impression which has been given to it; but it is often diverted, attracted, repulsed by the body submitted to its actions. Looking always to put itself into equilibrium, it insinuates into the ones, & escapes the others, by reason of its quantity contained in each of them. Mobile by essence, it fixes itself en becoming part of themselves; but disengages then, it retakes its first nature to go about settling into other bodies. It is then as beings, developed by this principle, giving it & retaking it continually. Principle of movement in the whole of Nature, there comes the one of the animal heat in the living bodies; thence this marked correspondence between the variations of the atmosphere & the state of our organs.
If the admission of a similar agent repels those who wish to adopt nothing without proofs, he will suffer to reproduce it under another name, & to confound it with the electric principle known by its effects, spread into the bodies, & exercising a sensible action. This identity of principles, of which the action is not however the same in all points, will come to be adopted, if one observes that the Physicists are gradually agreeing to assign the same first cause to the magnet & to the electricity, although modified differently; as Nature being always simple in its principles, one will admit instead a new modification, than a new principle. The matter introduced in the animal body, & transformed in its substance, changes so then to say of nature, in becoming organic; from the same, the active principle, which in the air is simply electric, received in the animal body, modified by its union with the matter, & by the organic impression, takes there another form & diverse secondary properties, in resting nevertheless subject to the primitive laws.
The principal of these laws is the one of equilibrium to which the electric fluid obeys constantly when it is abandoned to itself. Pushed by this imperious force, the fluid throws its with impetuosity on the body deprived of electricity, & escapes with the same effort from the ones in which it is accumulated. This effort exercised from the center to the circumference, forms around those latter an electric atmosphere, demonstrated by the experiments, sensible to the touch, & more or less extended, according to the quantity & the activity of the contained fluid, according to the form of the body which contains it. It is more circumscribed around solid surfaces; it carries itself farther ahead of the intense outcomes, & it is principally by these latter that the exterior communication is better established. Spread in the air without being united to it, having with the water the greatest affinity, this fluid seized by the rising vapors of the earth; condense in the clouds, it forms there with great meteors; returns to the earth with water of the rain, it penetrates her & carries there the life and the fecundity.
The same principle modified in the animal body, will follow up to a certain point the same laws. It puts itself always in equilibrium, at least as the organic constitution of the individual does not render it proper, either to better conserve this principle, or to attract it less. Its action from the center to the circumference, will form equally around the body of an atmosphere more or less extended, sometimes easy enough to recognize by the sense of smell, when it is charged with odorous particles, like those of certain animals, or of men who have a strong transpiration. These particles could not be held aloft, being carried to considerable distances, if they were not pushed & sustained by the active principle acting in all senses. The water which seizes the electric fluid with avidity, which, in form of rain, purifies & attenuates a warm & dense air, in it in raising this superabundant fluid, which extinguishes the fire in uniting itself to it, preventing also the exceeding of the active principle of the bodies, & by this subtraction operated in the bath, it relieves the persons overwhelmed with heat or devoured with an ardent fever.
Since the animated beings contain this principle, which is the vital force, it ought to equally exist in the other organized & living beings, which are the plants. It is their principle of life of which the action is manifested by a vegetation more or less prompt, by the emanations, sometimes odorous, sometimes less sensible: those do not escape too the general touch becoming more delicate or more attentive by the deprivation of the sight; then a blind one distinguishes often the presence of the trees, because their atmosphere is considerable enough & extended enough for them to be impressed with a particular sensation.
Any living being is a veritable electric body constantly impregnated with this active principle, but not always in the same proportion. The ones are more, & the others less; from there, in part, this difference be it in the temperaments, be it in the daily constitutions. The perpetual mobility of this agents becomes then a simple consequence of this variation. From then on one conceives that it must be pushed outside by the ones, & attracted or pumped avidly by the others; as the proximity of the one in which it abounds is profitable to the one which lacks. the cohabitation of the infant with the old one, is useful to this one, & harmful to the other. The recent plants, moved closer in nurseries, are vigorous & fresh; but near to a great tree, they dry out & wither.
The proportion of the active principle, variable in the living beings, can & should differ likewise, be it temporarily, be it habitually in the diverse organs of the same individual. The movement accelerated or retarded in some parts of the body, indicate the differences in the quantity of the principle which they contain. One passing cause can spread in the whole body the heat concentrated in a single point, or gather it in an organ the one which was divided among all. If this effect becomes permanent, it results in an alteration, a defect in the constitution of the individual. The particular atmosphere of the affected organs, must submit gradually to the same alteration; but it would be necessary for a very delicate touch to distinguish these nuances, in moving the hand over the surface of the sick body.
One will prove perhaps more easily, by the same process, the general action of the active principle passing from a body into another nearby body. If it follows the affinity with the electric fluid, it will escape by all the openings, by all the surfaces of the body, & principally the ones which approach more of the elongated & sharp form of the electric conductors, such as the hand & the finger. These carried by an individual to some part of another individual, will act diversely, according to the state of the two beings.
The active organ less strong or less furnished with the principle than the passive organ, will sustain this principle at the place giving to it, & receiving an impression of heat, it will communicate one of cold. If the proportion of principle is the same between the two organs, each of the two giving & receiving equally, there will result no action, no remarkable sensation. It will be more characterized by reason of the superabundant quantity of principle in the conductor finger, & of the sensitivity of the organ on which will be directed the current; this organ will feel more less of heat, & of other effects more or less marked. Finally, if the conductor, in lieu of touching the part, simply directs on it at some distance, one conceives that the action will be due to the distance, of the disposition of the subjects, of the extension & of the force of their particular atmosphere.
All living beings exercise vital functions, of which the active principle is the unique agent: such are the circulation, the secretions, the introduction of the air into the organized substance, the transpiration, the extraction of the alimentary juices. These functions are common to the plants as to the animals: they can be troubled, but not interrupted, by foreign causes. Their action is more variable in the plants, because of the sole cause which influence them, are all physical & exterior, like the nature of the sun, the local exposure, the variations of the atmosphere. It is not the same with the animals who have an organization more complicated, with the nervous & muscular systems designed to produce the action of the sensitivity & of the voluntary movement, & in which there exists another superior principle from which emanate the will & the imagination. The will commands the voluntary movements, & the active principle executes them. This same principle, equally subordinated to the imagination, reacting sometimes to it, exercises on its empire an action more exterior & more profound, which tends often to break its equilibrium or to reestablish it, & causes then the salutary or harmful effects.
The great physical causes act on man with a continuous, uniform & general manner. The act of imagination is particular, inconstant, variable in each individual. It cannot suspend the true animal function exercised without its aids; but it has the power to release them or to excite them. Sometimes in the repose, it cedes to the exterior impressions; often more active, it fights & reacts against all that which surrounds it. Too restricted then in its tight space, it acts continually, it torments the principle submitted to its power, moves it with rapidity into all the parts of the body, pushes it outside or attracts it to the inside with an equal vivacity, & by these three diverse movements, it produces all the effects attributed to its action.
The classes of animals of which the organization are more simplified, & in which the imagination is annihilated or almost nil, are exposed to less variations, & the march of their functions, less troubled, comes together at this point with that of the plants. Among those who have imagination exercised, the number of the healthy beings, or nearly healthy, being then much more considerable than this one of the sick, there results as the children, in which it is very abundant, will be often in the case of giving as rather than receiving. The greater part of talented men with a good constitution, will be then little sensitive to the communication of this principle. It will be more vital on those of whom the complexion is delicate; &, if, by the force of impulsion of the agent, our by the texture of the organ which receives, this one finds itself surcharged with the principle, then the sensation increases in intensity, the fervor develops, & sometimes the excited nervous kind produce these extraordinary movements.
These simple ideas, which have not been communicated by me, but that I do not believe new, will be susceptible of a very great development. Presented however in an abbreviated manner, they will suffice perhaps to explain some phenomena of animal economy, observed be it in the treatment called magnetic, be it in other circumstances. One will be surprised with the influence of a body on another body, of this correspondence, sometimes so sensible between the active of one individual & and the sensation of another, or between two organs of the same individual; one will confound less the action of the soul & of the imagination with the simple animal action; one will distinguish the cause determines, & the agent which executes; one will be able to imagine that the active principle, always acting immediately alone on our organs, is excited, sometimes by the imagination & the will, as superior & internal causes; sometimes by a portion of itself emanated from the surrounding bodies; sometimes by combined causes.
This supposition will acquire more force, if one reflects that this principle suffices to all the plant functions, of which none are directed by another superior agent; that there exists equally a number determined of corresponding animal functions, of which the exercise is very independent of the imagination, & can be interrupted neither by it action nor its repose; that these functions, not interrupted, must consequently be exercised by a perpetually active principle. This principle, necessarily existent, is, in the organized bodies, the life principle; in the animated bodies, the principle of animal heat; in Nature, the principle of movement. Escaped from the organized bodies; it is confounded with the electric fluid; returned to these same bodies it, it is modified by the organic action, which alters some of its properties. Under form of animal heat, it passes from an animated body into another similar body; & by this transport, it produces diverse changes relative to the state of the body which it leaves, & of the one it penetrates.
It will be possible to extend here the comparison with the electric fluid & with this active animal principle, to prove more and more their identity. One had equally tied the same principle of the magnet; & to better establish the affinity, one had found or supposed the poles in poles in the animal principle: but it was useless to multiply here the comparisons, & to insister on the poles of which the existence, although possible, is not easy to demonstrate. One has dispensed equally to envelop in the same system the inorganic bodies, which are part of our globe, then as the celestial spheres. The only one which interests a Physician, is the animal sphere; & he ought only to look into foreign bodies, as they have the direct relations with it. Otherwise he agrees to abridge an explanation, which, being present as a simple theory, will be combatted by others, either more solid, or more seductive. One can not deny as truth the existence of a principle identified with the fire, with the electric fluid, penetrating the human body, & there carrying the heat; but one can regard it as not being the principle of movement, because in the abstract questions, all admit & reject it with the same facility.
The fibers of the animal body have a property known under the name of irritability, which renders them capable to contract when they are stimulated, & to relax when the stimulating principle ceased to act. If some Physicists designate this irritability as a principle of movement, could one not object to them that, residing in the lone solid particles, there is rather a property of the matter becoming organic, as a principle, acting; & as the plants, of which the functions have directed by an active principle, appear deprived of this irritability?
For the rest, what can this principle of movement be, be it that it remains the principle of heat, be it takes any other name, there exists always one which is neither the will nor the imagination; which has in the animated body a continual & never interrupted action; which exercises all the functions, the ones without concurrence & without aid, the others on the immediate action of the will & of the imagination; which receive the direct influence of the exterior physical causes; which, in a word, is always an intermediate agent, charged with the exercise of all the movements operated in man.
One conceives always that the principle of heat spreads over the globe, acts perpetually on all the bodies; that if it not the principle of movement, it has, similar Physical cause on this principle, a sensible & continual action; it insinuates itself into the body, be it by an exterior pressure, be it by an internal attraction. Repulsed outside of them by a contrary force, it carries away with it some of their material particles; it forms with these particles an atmosphere around each of them; & its force of expulsion suffices always to carry it from one body to another a little distance. The heat, active without ceasing, is then this true part emanating from the bodies, this unknown & contested agent, which establishes the physical influence of man on man. It is also the only thing that we have to consider here under the point of medical utility.
The Medicine of touch has been practiced from all times, & at the houses of all the Nations; but abandoned to the few hands proper to direct it, administered without method, relegated among the particular & popular means, neglects by the educated men, it has always languished in obscurity. But a rubbing of the hand more or less continuous, it excites in the fibers a light oscillation; by a contact more or less extended, it insinuates into the bodies a portion of heat emanated from the being who exercises these two actions. The existence of this animal heat has always been recognized, then as the possibility to transmit it; & its utility demonstrated by its effects, is generally avowed.
The tonic remedies, in the class of which one ought to report, have the property to render the force & the tone to the relaxed & weakened fibers; they reestablish the digestion in fortifying the stomach; they operate a general tightening, determining in the same time the sort of accumulated matter, & opposing with new congestions. They revive the circulation, in augmenting the movement; this action impressed on the blood, is communicated to all the parts; the interrupted transpiration returns to is course, & the recent ills, occasions by this interruption, are soon dissipated. The tonics act also calming agents, when in spreading the equal heat into the body, or in increasing the one organ which has less, they reestablish then the equilibrium between the parts.
If the animal heat really participates with all their properties, if it was true & as demonstrated that the tonics only produced the reported effects in augmenting the principle of heat, it could then be employed usefully in all the cases where they are indicated. Administered alone, it will be even sometimes the double advantage to them to carry more directly its action to the weakened organ, without spreading it as much to the others, & not fatiguing the stomach by a laborious digestion. Then, in the recent illnesses, in those of which the causes are light, in those of which the causes, although more serious, are passing & not holding to the constitution of the individual, this principle directed by the instructed Physicians, will become a salutary agent. They will not be perhaps far from joining sometime this means to those which they employ in certain simple acute maladies; of fortifying then the stomach, to render it proper to direct by intervals some nutrition, & to prepare a chyle of good quality, which pours into the blood, recovering a body weakened by the duration of the illness.
If they admit this kind of treatment in some chronic ills, it will only be after having tried first on those which are less serious. They will put into their proofs a slow & reflective progression, in order to give nothing to chance. That which is useful in some cases, becomes sometimes harmful by the quantity or by an unconsidered usage. The tonics, continued too long, administered without reserve, given inopportunely, produce irritation, excitement, convulsion. The heat adds to the body which is sufficiently provided, the surcharge, & becomes inconvenient to it; insinuating into the body which has too much already, it agitates, & begins to irritate; pushed into a body of very irritable complexion, our into one of which some organ is in a state of suffering, it augments the spasm, transits it to one organ as many others, & causes then the local or universal convulsions. These great movements are efforts of nature, which looks to expel a tenacious & fixed humor; but when they are too violent, too repeated, & especially potent, on must fear that they do not operate a sensible alteration of healthy parts, & a fatal decomposition of the tainted organs.
A moderated action will be slow, but surer; in joining to a soft contact of the light rubbing, or hardly sensible, on will cause the currents of heat, which will reestablish the communication between the organs, will disengage the ones to the profit of the other & provide the salutary derivations, then one will displace a local humor which would not have had the time to be settled, one will reestablish often the heat, the life, & the movement into the member recently paralyzed.
The possibility of these effects is sufficiently proven by the identity which exists between the principle of heat & the electric fluid, employed advantageously to combat the same ills. The properties of this fluid have been misunderstood for long times. The electricity directed without principles, was a dangerous and fatal means; but the one who makes to measure its action, renders it more consistently useful. It should perhaps be added then to its efficacy, in imagining a method which was made to penetrate softly the fluid in the parts the most intimate of the patient, in the place of pouring on it at full flow. One could animalize this fluid placing between the electric tube & the sick individual, another animated & healthy body, in which the fluid would be elaborated in part before being carried farther.
This union of the Medicine of touching with this one with electricity, will temper the action of the one & augment the other. Only experience will settle the degree of utility with this double application; it will indicate equally up what point the animal heat, administered without addition, can be advantageous. The electricity has been alternately admitted & neglected in the treatment of diseases; the animal heat has to be submitted to same variations until its action, more observed, more known, more described, be more generally appreciated.
Its most ordinary effect, observed in the magnetic treatment, on the persons less sick, was the reestablishment of the forces, of the appetite & of the sleep. Many have been then relieved without feeling any sensible action of the heat introduced into their body; some had light sensations.
The digestion of many sick hypochondriacs & hysterics, have also become better; that which would prove the calming virtue of the means employed. It is then demonstrated by the frequent success of the application of the hands, to appease the ills of the stomach & the colic.
The contact on the stomach carries sometimes the heat to the head; sometimes, in renewing in the other parts, it dissipates the one of the head, according to the anterior state of the organs. In some subjects, the heat insinuated into the stomach spreads so promptly into the whole body, & causes the moisture or the sweating. One appears to favor & accelerate these effects, in moving a finger from high to low on the surface of the body. This movement, of which the aim was to extend the heat uniformly, dissipated ordinarily the light embarrassment of the head, which ceased also sometimes at a superficial rubbing, directed from the forehead to the temples. The ills of the head strongly resisted longer, & the relief was only momentary.
On can equally reestablish the transpiration by the contact. I have done the experiment in the country, on a woman of service, who, after a transpiration interrupted by her imprudence, preserved for two days an intolerable pain along a leg, & could not move it. The woman had no idea of Magnetism, of which I knew then little of the procedures. The occasion appeared to me favorable for a test. In listening the prolonged recital of the illness, I applied a finger on the stomach & the other on the painful part. The heat reappeared quickly; it was followed with a general moisture, which was to disappear almost entirely in a half hour with the aid of a baton, & lay herself down without aid. Two hours later, the movement of the finger walked from the head to the feet over the cover of the bed, sufficed to excite suddenly an abundant sweat, which lasted all the night; the patient, almost healed, could the next day descend two floors, & return to a part of her service. At the end of two days, all was dissipated by this one treatment. I have assured myself since, that the contact on the stomach developed promptly the heat in her; this happy disposition has without doubt hastened her healing.
Among the patients submitted to the magnetic treatment with some success, one can cite some maladies of the eyes; an inflammation of this organ dissipated; a vision reestablished by the extraction of a humor; a light spot promptly effaced. Two other spots which covered the eyes of a woman for five years, one over the other spread with a milk, were so thick, that one could not see the iris at the month of last May. Her treatment produced no sensible effect for three weeks; but at the end of this time, she became suddenly subject to very frequent crises; they began by an episode of convulsive & involuntary laughing, to which succeeded a shivering, & then an drowsiness of little duration.
The simple contact to the stomach, or even the direction approached to this part, sufficed to excite or to repel the convulsion. In directing from farther the finger or the wand on her, one caused only the anxiety & the ill-ease, as I have reported in my experiences of the fourth order. At this time, it settled a white loss; the spots appeared to be thinner, & the iris began to take shape; the patient was able to distinguish colors & some objects at three inches distance. A passing suppression of discharge, retarded the progress, in producing an interior bother; but at the end of July, the iris was more apparent, & the vision appeared a little augmented.
This treatment has dissipated some quartan fevers, which at least have ceased without other aids. I has provided abundant expectorations in the humid asthma & sometimes the cessation of the attacks in the dry asthma. I has always appeared more harmful than advantageous to the consumptives. Its action on the scrofulous tumors was very slow & very insensible. I has relieved & not cured a dropsical woman, in providing some evacuations. The swelling of the belling has varied much more & less in the body of another patient, & at the end of three months the diminution was little sensible. The encysted dropsy of a third has resisted invariably to all processes employed; the puncture, became necessary, has given fourteen pints of water; in spite of the continuation of the processes, the swelling reappeared after a month, time when I ceased to follow the treatment. It gave better hopes in some not inveterate paralyses of the extremities; but I can not attest to any complete healing, because I have not verified those which have been reported in the Public.
The effort exercised by a Laundrywoman, to raise a tub, had excited a sharp pain in an arm, & especially in the wrist. A repercussion, operated by a cataplasm, carried the pain into the shoulder, which swelled without redness. The arm & the elbow had no movement; one of the fingers & especially the hand, were a little bothered; the shoulder, continually painful could not sustain any touching; the weight of clothes fatigued her. The patient was not sleeping; she had tried for a year, diverse remedies without success, when she was brought to the treatment by one of the Commissioners & examined by the others, around the end of May. From the first days of the treatment, she has some hours of sleep, & the pains less constant. The finger, walked the length of the arm, or settle on the shoulder, produced a most abundant sweat, changed successively of place; it was rekindled sometimes in the changing times; but it calmed itself later. The patient was able gradually to move the different articulations, & carry her hand to her head. Such is the state in which I left her after six weeks.
The obstructions more or less inveterate of the glands & of the viscera, were in the illnesses which occasioned the most frequent crises, of which it is necessary to distinguish two different kinds in their march & their effects. The first, which fatigues many of the patients, was always irregular, accompanied with convulsions & with pains more or less intense, without any evacuation. The others, of which the symptoms were sometimes of sharp convulsions, sometimes of movements softer, were ordinarily terminated by the departure of some humor. The second, in place of overwhelming the patients, appeared to relieve them, & fortify them for some days. The continuity of the ill made them recur to the same crises, which were renewed very often. Far from fleeing them, they looked agin for them, in spite of the momentary pain that they excited. This desire would it be an instinct of Nature, & an indication of utility?
A man subject to violent crises, terminated often by vomiting of blood & of mucus, had for very long, that an accident interrupted on his end. This inopportunely revived the calm convulsions & suppressed every release of humor. The eight days following, passed in ill-ease and anxiety, was employed uselessly to attempt the return of the crisis; the excitement was very strong; in causing the convulsions, on augmented the interior trouble. At the end of this term, he was touched in my presence by M. Deslon, who caused in a half hour a cough without convulsion, accompanied with ordinary but more abundant vomiting, followed by a release of first ways, & of appearance of a better health. This circumstance would that the humor was formerly amassed, & that the new crises was only the end of the first. I have observed other times this interruption of crisis in the body of the same patient; his hot breath announced an amassed blood, & this blood, rendered then, appeared black & corrupted. Will one come to conclude that the crises of the magnetic treatment have a regular pattern as the others, but being often interrupted or ill conducted, they appear sometimes to follow a different order?
However it be, one has only see the greater part of the patients in having taken a real advantage. Only one person, to which these crises provided abundant expectorations, appeared to be reestablished very promptly, after having been in the most complete wasting: but these exceptions are rare. The state of some patients has little changed; the diminution of the glands are made in the bodies of other more slowly; but the least causes them exaggeration of the new, & we can cite no complete healing of these patients. The too frequent repetition of crises is then harmful, because it can either cause the evacuation of a humor not prepared, or produce impotent efforts, if, the evacuation has not place. It is even to fear that the convulsive agitation renews too often, not becoming a habitual & morbid state, since the persons insensible to the magnetic action during the first times, have been afterwards so subject to the convulsions, that the least cause excited them, be it around the baquet without other contact, be it outside the rooms of treatment. These great crises have been able to seduce, because they offer grand effects, & they prove better the exist of an agent,; but their inefficacy in many cases, & their disadvantage in some, must cause to exclude them generally from ordinary practice, & to make for relegating them into the number of violent remedies, rarely used.
The facts cited, which prove in general the tonic action of the means employed, are those which I have collected from my observations, or which have been certified to me by the patients themselves, of which I could not know otherwise the interior state. The conformity of many reports of this kind, demonstrated: the truth of each in particular; & I have not been able to attribute to other causes the better health that I have noticed in some of these patients. Without doubt the imagination, exercises it by necessity in order to render in place of the treatment, with the deprivation of any other remedy which could fatigue the body, the dissipation occasioned by the gathering of many persons, the pleasure that the music gives, & the habitual usage of the cream of tartar administered with this treatment, are the means which add sometimes so much to the action of the principal means; but it will be little natural to think that they will suffice in all the cases.
In reflecting on all these effects, it is easy to recognize that they are caused by a Physical cause, which is the animal heat, & that this heat makes the physical base of the magnetic treatment. To render this treatment more interesting, the Authors have wished to support it with a great theory, to interest all Nature in the effects which it presents, to announce a fluid which acts at considerable distances, to prove its existence by the curious & extraordinary tests, to assign it a universal virtue, to reduce all the illnesses to one, & to establish a practice followed in a new & not demonstrated system. What is the result? To the enthusiasm of the ones have been opposed the reasonable doubt of others. One has wished to examine before believing; the repeated tests have succeeded rarely; in exciting the imagination, the similar effects have been obtained without the competition of other means. The default of uniformity in the causes & in the results, have given place to conclude that the fluid did not exists, the effects were illusory, or dependent uniquely on the imagination; & in rejecting the ill proved doctrine, one has enveloped all the treatment in this condemnation.
To announce the animal heat; observe its existence; speak of its force of expulsion outside the body, & of the particular atmosphere which results; to say that it transmits itself from a body to another by rubbing & by contact; to recall the known effects of this heat then communicated; in deducing its properties; to confirm them by new results of more extended practice: such will have to be the first step of those who wish to introduce a new method of treatment. After this sufficiently easy verification, they will prove by the facts, that particular atmosphere of the bodies having a certain extension & a certain force, the very light contact, or even the simple approach of the finger at a small distance, suffices to establish the same communication of heat; that it was not always necessary to receive the sensible impressions to prove the real effects; that the magnet & the electricity without isolating them, acted on the body, without manifesting always their action outside; & these assertions supported by the numerous observations, by certain healings, will acquire a degree sufficient of conviction for being generally adopted.
Then the Medicine & the Physics admitting a practical use, methodical & founded on experience, will be prepared with concert of the efforts of the Authors, to link all the facts, to explain the origin of the animal heat, its influence on the animated bodies, it relations with the elements & the surrounding bodies. One had demonstrated by the odorous emanations, the considerable extension of the particular atmospheres; one had observed that the foreign bodies immersed in these atmosphere, should pump into it a part of an insensible manner; on had added that this aspiring action was more sensible in the warm places by the coming together of many individuals. In comparing these emanations to the one of the electric fluid, one had assigned them the currents more marked in front of certain parts of the bodies; & one will perhaps come to gradually persuade that there exists one, small number of sick beings, or delicately organized, sometimes susceptible to be affected with from distance by these emanations & these currents; then one had made to admit, without difficulty, many cause for an effect.
The action simultaneous or alternative, or sometimes opposed with these moral & Physical cause, will be explained by the necessary admission of an agent or principle, subordinated to the ones & to the others always active & charged with the direct exercise of all the functions. Be it that this agent was confounded with the principle of heat, be it that it was only linked to this principle, the heal developed will be able always to be regarded as principle stimulating or acting. Its development or its augmentation had been attributed, sometimes at first with one new portion of heal emanated from the general atmosphere or from the surrounding bodies, sometimes go the imagination, which, in place of being distracted & carried outside, reacts often on the interior. If one had wished to go farther, if the theory, taking a route more elevated, embracing all the body of Nature, uniting them by a universal fluid, had undertaken to make for admitting the existence of a single illness & a single remedy; this system less proven, & contrary in some points to received principles, will be rejected in part, & combatted by the great part of the Physicists; but the solid base on which one will establish it, will persist always for the advantage of humanity.
One has followed another plan; one has been attached to great speculations & to great experiments, which are not only the brilliant part & perhaps erroneous with this method; & one has left the practical part, which is the only solid & essential one. Many facts have proven sufficiently the action of man on man at a certain distance; but this distant action is not preferable to the one of the touching; often even being incomplete, it fatigues the patients rather than only relieving them. Do we content ourselves, by the practice, with the light contact, or with the directions very close which are nearly equivalent. We try to improve this Medicine of touching, so useful in some cases, & susceptible of becoming more when it will be better known. We entrench with need of this practice all these experience of pure curiosity, which are the magic of Magnetism, & that the sage Physician rejects as useless, often illusory, sometimes harmful, & always less worthy that occupying men charged with greater interests.
One ought above all to distance from need of a similar treatment all that which has the appearance of mystery. The Art designed to relieve humanity, admits no more secrets; it marches to the great day, & submits all it means to the public judgment. The hidden sciences, which, in the centuries of ignorance, could attract the veneration & the esteem, present now, in the enlightened century, the mask of the error or of the imposture. The Physicians who have followed the magnetic treatment without precaution; tell of having observed some good effects. We invite those who practice it, to renounce all reticence, to publish that which they know, that which they believe, & especially that which they have seen. These facts presented by them, even without theory, verified by others, & linked to the facts which will offer the electricity & the magnet, will serve to better establish the relations with both known fluids with the animal heat, & to render them more useful in uniting their action.
The theory of Magnetism can not be admitted, in so far as it will only be developed & supported with solid proofs. The experiments made to observe the existence of the magnetic fluid, proves only that man produces on his fellow a sensible action by the rubbing, by the contact, & more rarely by a simple connection at some distance. This action, attributed to an un-demonstrated universal fluid, belongs certainly to the animal heat existent in the bodies, which emanates from them continually, carries itself sufficiently far, & can pass from on body to another. The animal heat is developed, augmented, or diminished in a body by the moral cause, & by the physical causes. Judged by its effects, it participated with the properties of the tonic remedies, & produces as they the salutary or harmful effects, according to the communicated quantity, & according to the circumstances where it is employed. A usage more extended & more reflective of this agent, will be better known by its true action & its degree of utility. All Medicine can follow the methods which it believes advantageous for the treatment of diseases, but under the condition of publishing its means when they are new or opposed to ordinary practice. Those which are established, propagated or follow the treatment called Magnetic, & proposd to continue it, are then obliged to expose their discoveries & their observations; & one should proscribe all treatment of this kind, of which the processes will not be known by a prompt publication.
In Paris, 12 September 1784.