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But though pass'd from the earth, still bright in the sky
To the Land that no parting hath stain'd with a tear.
Parish of Cockpen.—The Rev. John Stenhouse Muir, son of the Rev. Dr. Muir of St. Stephen's, has been presented to the Church and Parish of Cockpen, vacant by the translation of the Rev. William Davidson to the Church and Parish of Largo.
Parish of Dalkeith.-His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, has presented the Rev. Robert Wright, Minister of Luss, to the Parish Church of Dalkeith, vacant by the translation of the Rev. Norman MʻLeod, to the Parish of the Barony of Glasgow.
Presentation. The Earl of Zetland has presented the Rev. Patrick Gilruth, who has been officiating as Assistant in the New Greyfriars' Parish here, in the absence of the Minister, to the Church and Parish of South Ronaldshay, Orkney.
University of St. Andrews. — The Rev. Dr. W. Brown has been appointed by the Crown, to the Chair of Biblical Criticism and Theology in St. Mary's College, St. Andrews.
Ordination at Wishaw.—On Thursday last, the Presbytery of Hamilton met in the quoad sacra Church of Wishaw, for the purpose of ordaining Mr. Thomas Hardy, and of inducting him to the pastoral charge of the congregation. The Rev. D. Reid Rae, minister of
Avondale, conducted the services; and after sermon, Mr. Hardy was ordained by the laying on of hands. When the whole services were finished, he received a hearty welcome from the congregation.
Induction and Settlement of the Rer. Mr. Shau.—On Friday forenoon, the Presbytery of Ayr met in the Old Church, Ayr, to proceed with Mr. Shaw's translation from Bonhill, to the second charge in the Parish. After the usual services, Mr. Shaw was declared duly inducted, and thereafter received the right hand of fellowship from the members of Presbytery. Dr. MacQuhae then addressed the Pastor, and afterwards the people : and the solemn and interesting services were concluded by prayer and the benediction. On Sunday forenoon, the Rev. gentleman was introduced to his flock by the Rev. Dr. Grahame.
Induction at Keanloch-Luichart.-On Tuesday the 13th inst., the Presbytery of Dingwall met in this Church, and ordained and admitted Mr. Gregor Stewart, preacher of the Gospel, to the charge.
Died at King's College, Old Aberdeen, on the 4th inst., after a short but severe illness, John Tulloch, Esq., LL.D., for many years Professor of Mathematics in that University.
H. AND J. PILLANA, PRINTERS, EDINBURGI.
EDINBURGH ECCLESIASTICAL JOURNAL.
MESMERISM, BY A CANDID INQUIRER.*
PROFESSOR Gregory, in stating the scientific claims of Mesmerism, has chosen the epistolary form, the Letters purporting to be addressed to a candid inquirer. In submitting these claims to examination, we shall put ourselves in the room of the candid inquirer, and endeavour to sift them with all due calmness and impartiality. In a candid inquirer two things are demanded. He must, in the first place, be free from prejudice; and, after a conscientious inquiry, he must honestly state the convictions at which he has arrived. And, secondly, the inquiry must be extensive enough to meet the exigencies of the case. As to the first point, viz. the spirit in which the inquiry is made, the inquirer is not perhaps the most competent judge. The reader must form his own opinion from the mode in which the subject is discussed in these pages. As to the second point, viz. the extent of the inquiry, we can avow that our decision, whatever it may be worth, is not founded on a superficial investigation. We make this personal avowal, to meet the objection constantly urged by the mesmerist, that those who call its claims in question have never dared to look the facts in the face, or at least never patiently listened to the claims of the theory by which they are explained. Just examine the facts patiently; extend your observation a little farther ; don't be actuated by prejudice, but open your mind to conviction, and you will be sure to arrive at the conviction of the truth.' This is the usual language of the mesmerist, when any doubt is thrown upon the phenomena. And while it expresses the firmness of his own faith, it is perhaps the most convenient and summary way of getting rid of troublesome objections.
• Letters to a Candid Inquirer on Animal Magnetism. By William Gregory, M.D., F.R.S.E., Professor of Chemistry in the University of Edinburgh.—London: Taylor, Walton, & Maberly. Edinburgh: Maclachlan & Stewart.
We have obeyed the injunction as far as the range of inquiry is concerned. Professor Gregory gives, in his preface, a list of the works which have appeared in this country on the subject of mesmerism, by the following authors : Mr. Colquhoun, Dr. Elliotson, Rev. Messrs. Townsend and Sandby, Rev. Mr. Scoresby, Miss Martineau, Mr. Braid, Dr. Haddock, Dr. Esdaile, Mr. Herbert Mayo. Now, in the course of our candid inquiry, we have made ourselves acquainted more or less with almost all these authors, and we have consulted other English works, which have been omitted in the above enumeration. We have carefully examined several foreign works on the subject, and more especially the Researches of Baron von Reichenbach, who is regarded as the Newton of mesmerism. We have now before us a large mass of interesting documents, supplied us by an enthusiastic proselytising friend, bearing on what is perhaps the strongest point in mesmerism—the Cal. cutta Mesmeric Hospital, under the able superintendance of Dr. Esdaile. We have, lastly, also before us Professor Gregory's own book, which is undoubtedly the most readable work yet published on the subject; for we can assure our readers, that it requires no ordinary patience to get through the loose rambling disquisitions and stories in which writers on the subject usually indulge. It is not a proof of our candour, but it is a circumstance with which the mesmerist ought not to quarrel if our decision be against him, that our reading has been almost exclusively on the one side. With the exception of one or two pamphlets, we have seen little of what has been urged against the pretensions of the science.
We have not been satisfied with mere book evidence: we felt it our duty, as a candid inquirer, to obey the injunction, “consult the evidence of your own senses, and you cannot but believe.” We have not, like the persecutors of Galileo, obstinately refused to use our eyes and judge for ourselves. We have witnessed the mesmeric phenomena, both in public and private. We have had exhibited before us both the ordinary manifestations and the higher phenomena. We have enjoyed the advantage of the amateur performance, and also that of the itinerant professor. We have listened with the crowd in public, and in the private séance have had opportunity of applying the requisite tests. We have patiently listened to all manner of stories from believers. Ladies, both old and young, have poured into willing ears their experiences and their proofs that mes. merism must be true; and we may mention, in passing, that the number of female disciples is a marked characteristic of mesmerism : no science can boast of so many female hearts rallying round its standard.
Having now stated our apology for assuming the title of a candid inquirer, it will be asked, What is the conclusion you have come to? Do you believe in mesmerism ? Do you acknowledge it to be a true science, founded on induction? We answer emphatically, No,we do not believe ; and, what is more, the further we extend our inquiry, the more are we convinced that there is no truth in its pretension. We can conceive the amazement of the mesmerist when he exclaims, Do you really mean to doubt the facts of mesmerism? Do you assert that the facts with which all books on the subject are crowded are fictions ? that the phenomena exhibited by Mr. Lewis and others are
all delusions that the researches of Baron von Reichenbach are a tissue of falsehoods ? Sure such incredulity is a far more wonderful fact than the phenomena disbelieved. —Now, our answer to this cannot be so short as our first; a simple yes or no will not do. In fact, the whole question turns on the answer to be given. At the public lectures we attended, it was obvious that the audience, as a whole, believed implicitly in the pretensions of the exhibitor ; but there was always a small minority, who shook their heads in a bewildered manner, but yet admitted the facts. It was some sort of relief to them to make a compromise between a disbelief of mesmerism and a belief in its facts. The usual formula, among those who did not like to go along with the credu. lity of the mass, and yet did not see their way clearly to an unassailable sceptical position, was, “We certainly cannot go the whole length of mesmerism, but yet there is no doubting the facts.” So helpless is a popular audience in investigating scientific truth, that before the hearers could catcheven this straw, it had to be thrown out to them by the lecturer. While he carried the mass along with him without the least trouble, he managed the doubters by asking the very small admission that the facts were undoubtedly true. The thing was reasonable in itself, and it helped them so opportunely out of their difficulties, that they could not but acquiesce in this demand. We think it is likely that this is the form of belief entertained by the larger number of the more intelligent classes who have had opportunities of witnessing the phenomena in question.
In order to see our way to a satisfactory result on this question, it will be necessary to analyze the expression, “ the facts of mesmerism." And first let us inquire, What is a fact ? To many this may appear a strange question, and they will perhaps be disposed to answer by an identical proposition, that a fact is just a fact. But the matter is not by any means so plain as this. When Sir Robert Peel pulled himself up for action, and threw down the challenge to his opponents, “tell me what is a pound,” he was apt to be answered by a smile, which declared that a pound was just a pound. Sir Robert could, however, shew that he who understood clearly the nature of a pound was on the fair way to a clear and comprehensive view of the currency question in all its intricacy; and that an error on this point was the centre round which all fallacies crystallised. Now, the term “fact” has a similar importance in discussing subjects of science, and more especially the matter under our immediate consideration. It is probably most generally used as equivalent to that to which our senses testify; and it is in this sense it is used when it is said we must believe the facts if we are to believe our senses.
Now, it is at once admitted that we must rely on the trustworthiness of our senses, else science is impossible; but the grand question is, in regard to any phenomenon, How much is recognised by our senses, and how much is a matter of mere inference? In the great proportion of objective facts, the mere objective element is quite insignificant, compared to the inferences with which we surround them. But in the popular mind there is the greatest difficulty felt in drawing the distinction between the fact in its strict sense, and the inference based
upon it. Let us take, for example, the sense of sight. A man asserts the fact that he sees one tree standing beyond another; and if asked for the ground of his belief that the one stands at a greater distance than the other, he at once says that he has the testimony of his senses for the fact. But every metaphysician knows that the eye testifies no such thing, that distance is a mere matter of inference. The scene presented to the eye is painted on the flat surface of the retina, and this is all that our sensation takes cognisance of. The perspective, by which an object is projected beyond another, is an intellectual operation. In this case the object of the senses and the inference are so closely united, that we cover both by one word, viz. fact. We learn to draw a distinction only when there is a contradiction between the strict testimony of the senses and the inference from that testimony. A man asserts that the apparent size of the moon is greater at the horizon than on the meridian, and pleads the testimony of his senses in proof of this. But the eye gives no such testimony. The picture of the moon on the retina is actually larger instead of smaller when on the meridian. The testimony of the eye is quite correct : it is the inference alone that is at fault. The testimony of the senses was strongly pleaded in favour of the theory which made the earth stationary, while the sun revolved round it. It was urged that there was no need of argument, while the sense of sight testified that the sun rose and set in its daily course round the earth. But the eye gave no such testimony: the revolution of the sun was a matter wholly of inference. The confounding of the inference with the objective fact, is more frequently illustrated in cases of causation. It is here that the greatest danger exists, and it is this point that more particularly throws light on the subject before us. Two events follow one another, and this case of sequence we call a fact; but let it be remembered that all that our senses testify to, is the sequence one sensation after another. When we infer causation, when we assert that the one event is the cause of the other, we transcend the region of the senses, and draw an inference. A sailor, for example, whistles for wind, and a gale springs up. A person who believes in the potency of a tune on the deep would, very likely, in support of his belief, assert that he had the testimony of his senses : he had repeatedly seen the whistle followed by a gale. But it is plain that unfair responsibility is here laid upon the senses,- that the inference alone is responsible for this vulgar belief. In the inductive philosophy, there is a fundamental antithesis between fact and theory. Fact forms the basis of the inductive pyramid ; theory is the apex. But even the most scrupulous writers use the term fact for theory, when the theory is so firmly established as to be regarded as a fact in any generalization. We speak of the theory of gravitation, but the word fact is frequently substituted, as in all reasoning the theory may be safely taken as a fact. This ambiguity is the source of much error, and admirably serves the purpose of the mesmerist, as he insinuates the theoretical meaning under cover of the more harmless one.
We are now prepared to estimate the value of the averment made by half-way believers," that they cannot deny the facts.” If by this is meant that they are ready to go as far as their senses testify, the aver