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of artificial trance as an anæsthetic agent in the service of surgery. There is no doubt that, when a patient can thus be deprived of ordinary sensibility, the resource is preferable to the employment of chloroform. Not only is it absolutely free from risk, but its direct effect is to soothe and tranquillise; whereas chloroform is but a powerful narcotic, the effects of which are obtained through a brief stage of violent physical excitement. Then, at each dressing—at any moment, in short, when advisable—mesmerism may be again resorted to, which chloroform cannot. The honour of having been the first to employ mesmerism systematically, as an anæsthetic agent, belongs to James Esdale, M.D., Presidency Surgeon at Calcutta. The reports of his success, in a vast body of cases, many of the most serious description, are given in the Zoist.
A second point is the employment of artificial trance as a universal sedative; as a means from which, in all cases purely nervous, the most admirable results may be expected and are realised ; and from which, in disease in general, singular and beneficial effects have been obtained. This success was confidently to be anticipated, the instant that the real nature of mesmeric phenomena was appreciated.
A third point is the employment of mesmeric passes, without the intention or power to produce trance, — simply as a local means of tranquillising the nervous sensibility of a diseased part, and allaying the morbid phenomena which depend upon local nervous irritation.
There is a fourth point under this head which will be regarded as more questionable, viz. the power attributed to clairvoyantes of prescribing treatment for themselves and others. Nevertheless, in their own cases, where the prescriptions have been limited to baths, and bleeding, and mesmerism itself, the boldness and precision of their practice, and its success, have been such as to excite our wonder, and almost to command our confidence. It does not, however, seem that the treatment prescribed by clairvoyantes to others is equally certain ; and when they recommend drugs, it is clear that, adopting the fashion of the time and country in medicine, they are only prescribing by guess like other doctors. But they sometimes guess very cleverly.
XI. Phreno-Mesmerism.—How great is my regret that I can no longer take an active part in physiological inquiry! How great is my regret that, in former years, when I worked at the physiology of the nervous system, I undervalued phrenology! Prejudiced against it by the writings of the late Dr Gordon, by the authority of my early instructors, by the puerile mode in which craniology was generally advocated, by the superficial quality of the cerebral anatomy of Gall, I confined my attention to what I considered sounder objects of investigation. But now I have no doubt, not only that the metaphysical speculations of Gall were in the main just, but, likewise, that great part of his craniological chart is accurately laid down. To connect pbrenology with severe anatomical research, to endeavour to determine the organic conditions which interfere with the application of the science to practical purposes, would be a task worthy the efforts of the best physiological labourer. Then, if phrenology be true, and the organology in the main correct, what is more likely than that directing an Od current upon the cerebral seat of a mental faculty should bring it into activity? I have myself witnessed the repetition of this now common experiment, in a very unexceptionable instance ; and the success was perfect. The organs of veneration, of combativeness, of alimen
tiveness, were successively excited ; and in each case a brilliant piece of acting followed. I must confess, however, that I could not divest myself of the impression that, whatever pains we took to conceal our plans, the clairvoyante young lady really knew beforehand what was expected of her, and performed accordingly. I speak in reference to the single instance which I have myself witnessed. I cannot, however, refuse to credit the testimony of good observers—such as Dr Elliotson-to facts which seem to establish the genuineness of phrenomesmerism. In its double relation to phrenology and mesmerism, this inquiry well merits attention.
XII. Rapport. Mesmeric Relation. Psychical Attraction.—Without presuming to place absolute confidence in the preceding speculations, but, on the contrary, apologising for their hypothetical character, on the plea that any theory is better than none, let me now recapitulatorily put in array the facts and principles to which the terms at the head of this section refer :
1. I hold that the mind of a living person, in its most normal state, is always, to a certain extent, acting exoneurally, or beyond the limit of the bodily person ; but, possibly, always in conjunction with some Od-operation.
2. I suppose that there must be laws of neuro-psychical attraction, or that there are definite circumstances which determine our exoneural apprehension to direct itself upon this or that object or person.
So, in common perception, the exoneural apprehension probably moves back along the lines of material impression, to reach the object perceived, which so attracts it.
So, in sudden liking or aversion at first sight-or, more properly, on all occasions of meeting strangersan exoneural mingling of reciprocal appreciation takes place; different persons being differently gifted with intuitive discernment, as others or the same with powers of pleasingly affecting most they meet.
So Zschokke's seer-gift would have been but the result of a greater exoneural mobility of his mind, whereby he was occasionally drawn to such mental affinity with a stranger, that he knew his whole life and circumstances.
So in panic fears, in all cases where impressions seem heightened by the sympathy of many, the power of psychical attraction we may presume to be increased by its concentration on one subject, and the participation of all in one thought. The Rev. Hare Townshend, in his interesting work on mesmerism, declares that he has more than once succeeded in the following fact of sympathetic mental influence. All the members of a party then present have conspired against an expected visitor; and when he came-carefully, at the same time, abstain- ' ing from alluding to some special subject agreed onthey have striven silently and mentally to drive it into his thoughts; and in a short time he has spoken of it.
3. For the most lucid persons in waking-trance (either of spontaneous occurrence, as in catalepsy, or when induced by mesmerism) the exoneural apprehension seems to extend to every object and person round, and to be drawn into complete intelligence of or with them. Such a patient is “ en rapport," or in trance-mental relation with any or every thing around, in succession or simultaneously.
4. In persons slowly waking in the most measured course of things out of artificial initiatory trance into somnambulism, the mind is at first exoneurally attracted to the mermeriser alone. As a next step, the mesmeriser, by putting himself in Od-relation with a third person, can make him participator in the same attraction.
I do not here discuss Mr Braid's views, which are
more fully considered in a subsequent Letter. I have analysed trance in its character of a spontaneous pathological phenomenon. I have examined its principal features as they present themselves when it is induced by mesmerism. But facts have been brought forward by Mr Braid, which seem to establish that, in some highly susceptible persons, trance may be brought on at will in another way, by their own indirect efforts, apart from external influences:-as, for instance, by straining the eyes upwards, the attention being kept some time concentrated on the object or the effort. Certainly, doing this makes the head feel uncomfortable and giddy, and seems as if it would lead to some kind of fit if indefinitely prolonged
XIII. Trance - Prevision. — Instances of trance-prevision are referable to three different heads.
1. The simplest trance-prevision is that of epileptic patients (artificially entranced) who name, at the distance of weeks beforehand, the exact hour, nay, minute, at which the next fit will occur. The case of Cazot, (mentioned by Dr Foissac,) who was in the habit of predicting the accession of his fits with unerring precision, terminated, however, in the following manner : Cazot had predicted, as usual, when he should be next attacked; before the time came round, however, he was thrown from a horse and killed. But no doubt can be entertained that, had he not met with this accident, the next fit would have occurred at the hour predicted. This is the simplest and narrowest form of prevision: the clairvoyant can tell, in reference to himself, or to any one with whom he is placed in relation, what will be the course of his health. He can see forward what the progress of his living economy will be, other things continuing the same.
2. The next feat is greater. Dr Teste, in his most