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tion whether the, lesson afforded by this sin- | witches were only ignorant old women; gularly perfect piece of history is more or whereas, in his day, they had come to be less appropriate to our own day and gener
persons of knowledge, holiness, and devotion; and in our day, we hear remarks on tion who had been drawn into that damnathe superior refinement of spirit intercourses, in comparison with the witch doings at Salem; but the cases are all essentially plicable appearances occur, and are, as a the same. matter of course, when their reality cannot In all, some peculiar and inexbe denied, ascribed to spiritual agency. We may believe that we could never act as the citizens of Salem acted in their superstition and their fear; and this may be true; but the course of speculation is, in spiritual circles,' very much the same as in Mr. Parris's parlour.
We have already observed that at the date of these events, the only possible explanation of the phenomena presented was the fetish solution which had in all ages been recurred to as a matter of course. heathen times it was god, goddess, or In nymph who gave knowledge, or power, or gifts of healing, or of prophecy, to men. In Christian times it was angel, or devil, or spirit of the dead; and this conception was in full force over all Christendom when the Puritan emigrants settled in New England. The celebrated sermon of the Rev. Mr. Lawson, in the work before us, discloses the elaborate doctrine held by the class of men who were supposed to know best in our generation than for his! We are very And how much less excuse there is for regard to the powers given by Satan to his far yet from being able to explain the wellagents, and the evils with which he afflicted known and indisputable facts which occur his victims; and there was not only no rea- from time to time, in all countries where son why the pastor's hearers should ques- men abide and can give an account of themtion his interpretations, but no possibility selves; such facts as the phenomena of natthat they should supply any of a different ural somnambulism, of double consciouskind. The accused themselves, while un-ness, of suspended sensation while conable to admit or conceive that they were sciousness is awake, and the converse-of themselves inspired by Satan, could propose no explanation but that the acts were done by some bad spirit.' And such has been the fetish tendency to this hour, through all the advance that has been made in science, and in the arts of observation and of reasoning. The fetish tendency that of ascribing one's own consciousness to external objects, as when the dog takes a watch to be alive because it ticks, and when the savage thinks his god is angry because it thunders, and when the Puritan catechumen cries out in hysteria that Satan has set a witch to strangle her-that constant tendency to explain everything by the facts, the feelings, and the experience of the individual's own nature, is no nearer dying out now than at the time of the Salem Tragedy; and hence, in part, the seriousness and the instructiveness of this story to the present generation. Ours is the generation which has seen the spread of Spiritualism in Europe and America, a phenomenon which deprives us of all right to treat the Salem Tragedy as a jest, or to adopt a tone of superiority in compassion for the agents in that dismal drama. There are hundreds, even several thousands, of lunatics in the asylums of the United States, and not a few in our own country, who have been lodged there by the pursuit of intercourse with spirits; in other words, by ascribing to living but invisible external agents movements of their own minds. Mr. Parris remarked, in 1692, that of old,
a wide range of intellectual and instinctive
tures on physiological subjects delivered in
tonishing and the most infernal phenomena | many agents and sufferers who have been are described and discussed, with the hor- the subjects of strange maladies and strange ror and dismay that the same facts would faculties, in all times and countries. As we have created, if disclosed by divines in are now taught the new discoveries of the churches three centuries ago. Dr. Mauds- several nerve-centres, and the powers which ley, in his recent work on the Physiology are appropriated to them; and when we and Pathology of Mind,' and other physi- observe what a severance may exist between cians occupied in his line of practice, lead the so-called organ of any sense or faculty us through the lunatic asylums of every and the operation of the sense or faculty; country, pointing out as ordinary or extra- and how infallibly ideas and emotion may ordinary incidents the same afflictions' of be generated, and even beliefs created in children and other morbid persons which we minds sane and insane, by certain manipuread of, one after another, in the Salem lations of the nerves and brain, we see how story. It is a matter of course with such innocently this phenomenon may be prepractitioners and authors to anticipate such sented in natural somnambulism. Sleepphenomena when they have detected the walkers have been known in many counmorbid conditions which generate them. tries, and treated of in medical records by Mr. Upham himself is evidently very far their physicians, who could not only walk, indeed from understanding or suspecting and perform all ordinary acts in the dark how much light is thrown on the darkest as well as in the light, but who went on part of his subject by physiological re- writing or reading without interruption searches carried on to the hour when he though an opaque substance - a book or a laid down his pen. His view is confined slate- -was interposed, and would dot the almost exclusively to the theory of fraud i's and cross the t's with unconscious corand falsehood, as affording the true key. It rectness without any use of their eyes. is not probable that anybody disputes or There is a wide field of inquiry open in this doubts the existence of guilt and folly in direction, now that the study of the nermany or all of the agents concerned. There vous system has been begun, however miwas an antecedent probability of both in re- nute is the advance as yet. gard to Mr. Parris's slaves, and to such of It is needless to dwell on the objection the young children as they most influenced; made to the rising hopefulness in regard to and that kind of infection is apt to spread. the study of Man, and the mysteries of his Moreover, experience shows us that the nature. Between the multitude who have special excitement of that nervous condi- still no notion of any alternative supposition induces moral vagaries at least as pow- tion to that of possession or inspiration by erfully as mental delusions. In the state spirits, or, at least, intercourse with such of temper existing among the inhabitants beings, and others who fear Materialism' of the Village when the mischievous club of if too close an attention is paid to the ingirls was formed at the pastor's house, it teraction of the mind and the nerves, and was inevitable that, if magic was entered those who always shrink from new notions upon at all, it would be malignant magic. in matters so interesting, and those who Whatever Mr. Upham has said in illustra- fear that religion may be implicated in any tion of that aspect of the case his readers slight shown to angel or devil, and those will readily agree to. But there is a good who will not see or hear any evidence whatdeal more, even of the imperfect notices ever which lies in a direction opposite to that remain after the abstraction and de- their prejudices, we are not likely to get on struction of the records in the shame and too fast. But neither can the injury lapse anguish that ensued, which we, in our new under neglect. The spectacle presented dawn of science, can perceive to be an now is of the same three sorts of people affair of the bodily organisation. We are, that appear in all satires, in all literatures, therefore, obliged to him for rescuing this since the pursuit of truth in any mode or tremendous chapter of history from oblivi- direction became a recognised object anyon, and for the security in which he has where and under any conditions. Leaving placed the materials of evidence. In an- out of view the multitude who are irreleother generation the science of the human vant to the case, from having no knowledge, frame may have advanced far enough to elu- and being therefore incapable of an opinion, cidate some of the Salem mysteries, together there is the large company of the superfiwith some obscure facts in all countries, cial and lightminded, who are always injur which cannot be denied, while as yet they ing the honour and beauty of truth by the cannot be understood. When that time levity, the impertinence, the absurdity of comes, a fearful weight of imputation will the enthusiasm they pretend, and the nonbe removed from the name and fame of sense they talk about some new thing.'
No period of society has been more famil-trast it also with the wild exultation of those iar with that class and its mischief-making of the Spiritualists of our own day who can than our own. There is the other large form no conception of the modesty and paclass of the contemporaries of any discov- tience requisite for the sincere search for ery or special advance, who, when they can truth, and who, once finding themselves absent themselves from the scene no longer, surrounded by facts and appearances new look and listen, and bend all their efforts to and strange, assume that they have discov hold their ground of life-long opinion, usu- ered a bridge over the bottomless gulf beally succeeding so far as to escape any yond which lies the spirit land,' and wander direct admission that more is known than henceforth in a fools' paradise, despising and when they were born. These are no ulti- pitying all who are less rash, ignorant, and mate hindrance. When Harvey died, no presumptuous than themselves. It is this physician in Europe above the age of forty company of fanatics - the first of the three believed in the circulation of the blood; but classes we spoke of-which is partly anthe truth was perfectly safe; and so it will swerable for the backwardness of the second; be with the case of the psychological rela- but the blame does not rest exclusively in tions of the nervous system when the pres- one quarter. There is an indolence in the ent course of investigation has sustained a medical class which is the commonest reclearer verification and further advance. proach against them in every age of scienOn this point we have the sayings of two tific activity, and which has récently been truth-seekers, wise in quality of intellect, heroically avowed and denounced in a pubimpartial and dispassionate in temper, and lic address by no less a member of the profearless in the pursuit of their aims. The fession than Sir Thomas Watson.* There late Prince Consort is vividly remembered for the characteristic saying which spread rapidly over the country, that he could not understand the conduct of the medical profession in England in leaving the phenomena of mesmerism to the observation of unqualified persons, instead of undertaking an inquiry which was certainly their proper business, in proportion as they professed to pursue science. The other authority we refer to is the late Mr. Hallam. A letter of his lies before us from which we quote a passage, familiar in its substance, doubtless, to his personal friends, to whom he always avowed the view which it presents, and well worthy of note to such readers as may not be aware of the observation and thought he devoted to the phenomena of mesmerism during the last quarter-century of his long life. It appears to me probable that the various phenomena of mesmerism, together with others, independent of mesmerism properly so called, which have lately' (the date is 1844) been brought to light, are fragments of some general law of nature which we are not yet able to deduce from them, merely because they are destitute of visible connexionthe links being hitherto wanting which are to display the entire harmony of effects proceeding from a single cause."
What room is there not for hopefulness when we compare such an observation as this with Mr. Parris's dogmatical exposition of Satan's dealings with men! or when we contrast the calm and cheerful tone of the philosopher with the stubborn wrath of Chief Justice Stoughton, and with the penitential laments of Judge Sewall! We might con
is a conservative reluctance to change of view or of procedure. There is also a lack of moral courage, by no means surprising in an order of men whose lives are spent in charming away troubles, and easing pains and cares, and making things pleasant'by no means surprising, we admit, but exceedingly unfavourable to the acknowledg ment of phenomena that are strange and facts that are unintelligible.
This brings us to the third class - the very small number of persons who are, in the matter of human progress, the salt of the earth; the few who can endure to see without understanding, to hear without immediately believing or disbelieving, to learn what they can, without any consideration of what figure they themselves shall make in the transaction; and even to be unable to reconcile the new phenomena with their own prior experience or conceptions. There is no need to describe how rare this class must necessarily be, for every one who has eyes sees how near the passions and the prejudices of the human being lie to each other. These are the few who unite the two great virtues of earnestly studying the facts, and keeping their temper, composure, and cheerfulness, through whatever perplexity their inquiry may involve. It is remarkable that while the world is echoing all round and incessantly with the praise. of the life or the man spent in following truth wherever it may lead, the world is always resounding also with the angry passions of men who
Address on the Present State of Therapeutics.
Delivered at the opening meeting of the Clinical
resent all opinions which are not their own, | the nervous system will generate this or that
At the end of nearly three centuries we find ourselves relieved of a heavy burden of fear and care about the perpetual and unbounded malice of Satan and his agents. Witchcraft has ceased to be one of the gravest curses of the human lot. We have parted with one after another of the fetish or conjectural persuasions about our relations with the world of spirit or mind, regarded as in direct opposition to the world of matter. By a succession of discoveries we have been led to an essentially different view of life and thought from any dreamed of before the new birth of science; and at this day, and in our own metropolis, we have Sir Henry Holland telling us how certain treatment of this or that department of
instead of inciting us to the study of ourselves. And these are not all our teachers.
human mind and body, we have arrived now at the express controversy of Psychology against Physiology. Beyond the mere statement of the fact we have scarcely advanced a step. The first cannot be, with any accuracy, called a science at all, and the other is in little more than a rudimentary state; but it is no small gain to have arrived at some conception of the nature of the problem set before us, and at some liberty of hypothesis as to its conditions. In brief, and in the plainest terms, while there is still a multitude deluding and disporting itself with a false hypothesis about certain mysteries of the human mind, and claiming to have explained the marvels of Spiritualism by making an objective world of their own subjective experience, the scientific physiologists are proceeding, by observation and experiment, to penetrate more and more secrets of our intellectual and moral life.
From Bentley's Miscellany.
Ir is a simple, time-old story-
The birds, the trees, the fruit, the flow'rs,
Who never lack'd the master's smile;
But it behoves me to relate
And flap its wings in glad surprise
But lik'd a harmless joke or whim,
But though the shafts were wing'd with wit,
Ay, more than tongue of mine could tell.
The scholars saw with eager glance