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after truth. To these we added all the works of M. Allan Kardec, who has become the accepted leader of a considerable number of adepts, and the originator of the term Spiritisme.
“We read with avidity, with astonishment and doubt. We there saw that the different schools—that of the Americans, which did not admit of successive existences, and called itself Spiritual ; and the French, which adopted re-incarnation as its chief, and so to say, absolute principle, and called itself Spiritethat these two great factions of the same original thought attributed all the phenomena of which we have proved the prolegomena, to the intervention of spirits, that is to say to the souls of those who had lived visibly on the earth, and who continue to inhabit it in particular conditions which give them an action upon
matter. “Speak to them," said Kardec, “and they will answer you !" "Well, M. Leon Favre and his friend spoke, and they were answered by such a rushing hubbub of contradictory voices, as confounded and astounded them. It was like the eager congregation of spirits in Hades at the invocation of Ulysses or Æneas. Some assured them one thing was the only truth, some another, and other some gave them other dictations as the only eternal verity. Some were Christian, some Judaic, some Protestant, others Catholic, vast numbers were Pagan, and invited them back to Plato and Pythagoras. The spiritual noviciates had yet to learn that all the departed had taken along with them their faiths and feelings, and that beyond the great and important fact that all their spirits really continued their existence, their identities and their passions, all doctrinal truth must be learned here by the only tests of reason and history by which such truths can be established. “ From the first step,” says M. Leon Favre, “I was struck by contradictions, by daring hypotheses, by impossibilities of all sorts presented as realities, with which the mediumistic dictations abounded."
The inquirers determined to steer their way stoutly through this chaotic Babel of the spirit-world. They had still to learn that it had its Sotherns, its Addisons, and the like creatures who were ready to mystify simple and trusting believers.
“New phenomena presented themselves. Names completely unknown were rapped out by the table ; others that had belonged to beloved objects stirred our hearts by tender recollections. What was strange was, that the movements of the table indicated faithfully the character of the person who professed to avail himself of the instrument: and this so well, that without words, and simply by its oscillation, the table revealed to us whether the spirit demanded our prayers, whether it was happy, whether known to us or unknown. These comparative experiences continued for six months, and we acquired a dexterity of comprehension perfectly compatible with the serious examination to which we had devoted ourselves.
“A singular circumstance occurred to corroborate the beliefs that began to form themselves in us. The table related a history very complicated concerning persons of our intimacy who lived two thousand leagues from us. The names, the places, the details, the analyses of characters, all were scrupulously correct. The events, full of an augmenting excitement, went so far that they might sensibly influence our future fortunes. Each day the table developed a new theme, and the spirits confirmed the recitals. We waited with anxiety the arrival of the courier, who should confirm or annihilate these revelations. It came at last. Not a single word in these mystifications, which had lasted three months, was true. They had amused us with a romance, and the better to deceive us, had made use of our relatives and friends, and we were ourselves personally interested in the conclusion of this phantasmagoria.
But who was the mystificator? Doubts had before shaken us; but this romance? But these relatives, these friends, who at the distance of two thousand leagues, continued their ordinary lives, without an idea of the parts which were assigned to them; and whose habitudes and character were wrought into a rational story having a logical development, affecting us by the interest of events of importance to us, and the details of which were presented with the most minute exactness, so far as they were known to us, and thus more readily causing us to credit what was unknown ? Could we in good faith attribute to our investigations an invention of which we ourselves were the dupes ? What power in ourselves could possibly be engaged in such manifestations?
6. It must be observed that this romance had been conceived outside of ourselves; that we were simply auditors, palpitating with curiosity in the expectation of events which an invisible author was unrolling before us. There was then an author, an agent, a power; and as the table was merely an instrument like
which now traces out my thoughts, there was then an intelligent being acting exteriorly to us. Still further, this romancer had not invented everything The names, the characters of the personages, their habits, the places of their abode, were painted with that precision which gives a perfect acquaintance. Who had revealed all this to the invisible one? Perhaps he had read all this in the reservoirs of our memories, and had thence drawn the elements of his fiction; or he may have transported himself to those whom he introduced into his narrative, and studied that which he had to describe. We had
seen one or the other of these powers acting in connection with somnambules, but from what source did they really emanate? We were, in fact, compelled to admit that there was a power independent of us which moved the table; then, that this power was intelligent and manifested in itself all the characteristics of a human being, present but invisible."
This was an astounding denouement, in the progress of spiritual experiences: but who have not had such, who have not been confounded by them? They have been the startling discoveries of nearly all earnest enquirers. For a time all has gone on smoothly and deliciously. Friends and the nearest and most beloved connections have come apparently from the depths of the unknown to hail you with all their old affection, and to paint the elysium of immortality to which they assured you that you were advancing; and then in the midst of this heavenly confidence, has come the savage blow of a stupendous, gratuitous and barefaced lie, come as from the same hallowed lips, and struck you down into the abyss of midnight despair. Hundreds have never recovered this cruel catastrophe; but have abandoned in the bitterness of their souls, the whole province of Spiritualism, as wholly and solely diabolical.
We have seen not long ago, one of these individuals, after a single week's experience, fling down the instrument of his communications, and rush violently into print, denouncing the whole proceeding as the work of the devil. M. Leon Favre was of more sturdy and philosophical stuff. He adds calmly,
“We continued our experiments, which confirmed constantly this theory which both our senses and our reason were compelled to admit, at least provisionally, as a truth, namely, that the manifestations were the work of an independent spirit. The table replied in all languages, revealed the name hidden in thought, presented the phenomenon of spirits coming without being called, to assist by their counsels, to utter words of affection, to declare truly future events, displaying an absolute independence, and exhibiting all the manners of the living."
M. Favre had the sense to perceive that all was not false; that the inhabitants of the invisible, at least on the confines of the visible were very much like those still in the flesh, good and evil, loving and true, mischievous and mocking. Put upon his guard, he accepted the true and let the false drop; for the false like the clouds must in its own nature quickly disperse, leaving the true, like the sun,
and the stars to shine on for ever. And who that has walked on bravely in spiritual as in daily life, has not soon had to acknowledge even single benefits which were ample recompense for all the falsehoods encountered ? Who that discovers in the mine a diamond of princely value, regrets
or remembers the host of false brilliancies, the world of mocking delusions, the cruel disappointments, the deadly toils through which he has had to hew his way?
We cannot follow M. Favre through his detailed experiences : they are extremely curious and interesting, adding luminous attestations to the now ascertained laws and persistent phenomena of this great branch of psychology. He soon adopted the planchette, and noticed with great satisfaction how each different spirit presented its different and characteristic style, both of diction and of caligraphy. He mentions an Abbé who used to attend their séances in Mexico, who frequently had the planchette under his left hand, a pencil in his right, and used, whilst talking and even arguing enthusiastically, to have two subjects going on in writing, each as different from the other as possible in handwriting, in topic, idiom, and style of reasoning. So far from the spirits following their particular wishes, or coinciding in their views, they displayed not only the utmost independence, but often the most obstinate contradiction of them. Sometimes when questions had been put to spirits, and they were about to answer a higher authority came in and forbade it. On one occasion a sceptical acquaintance asked them to give him a winning number in the lottery: they gave it, and it succeeded. He asked for another on the next occasion: they refused, on this plea, that they gave the number to convince him; they should not give another merely to gratify an avaricious desire. Nor could any answer afterwards be obtained to such requests.
But the most extraordinary truths now were communicated to them. In Mexico, in 1858, the spirits told them of the coming of the war in Italy, and they announced to them successively the victories of Montebello, Magenta and Solferino, correctly. They also made a prediction regarding M. Favre's personal affairs, which realized itself nine months afterwards.
Here we may pause till M. Favre has completed his important narrative, when we may have a few remarks to offer
In the meantime we cannot avoid noticing the vast difference betwixt the careful and persevering examination of such a man as M. Leon Favre, and the contemptuous treatment of so important and prominently palpable a subject by the majority of our scientific men, and by our newspaper scribes who sneer in their folly at what the most distinguished and reflective men approach with serious and anxious research, as if wilful and shallow ignorance could possibly be wisdom.
NOTES AND GLEANING S.
WHAT IS THE NUMBER OF SPIRITUALISTS IN THE UNITED
STATES? This question, put to us by a correspondent, is not easy to determine. Those who profess to give information on the subject are all at variance concerning it. About eight years ago, Mr. A. E. Newton, of Boston, in an admirable article which we hope to republish, estimated the number of Spiritualists in the United States as between two and three millions. Uriah Clark, in his Plain Guide to Spiritualism, published in 1863, tells us "The decisive believers number about two million, while the nominal are nearly five million.” Mr. Andrew Leighton who visited America in 1865, in his “Notes on Spiritualism and Spiritualists in the United States,” published in this Magazine, estimated the number of Spiritualists there as about three millions. Mr. Hepworth Dixon, in his New America (published about two years ago), considered three millions to be rather an over-estimate. From Mr. A. J. Davis's Memoranda of Persons, Places, and Events, we learn that in 1868 he estimated the number of Spiritualists in the United States to be about four millions two hundred and thirty thousand. In 1866, Judge Edmonds estimated their number to be between five and six millions. In a work published in New York in 1867, entitled Christianity and its Conflicts, Ancient and Modern, the Spiritualists of the United States are set down at six millions three hundred and thirty-three thousand. Warren Chase, in a recent article in the Banner of Light, estimates their number at about eight million. In 1867, Judge Edmonds, adopting an estimate said to have been compiled by the Council of Roman Catholic Bishops and Archbishops assembled that year in Baltimore, in a letter to the Spiritual Magazine gave the number of Spiritualists in the United States as between ten and eleven millions“ persuaded,” he says,
66 that the number is twice as large as my estimate," of the year before. While Mr. Edwin Harrison Green, who made a four months' tour in America in the autumn of 1866, assured the Convention of the British Association of Progressive Spiritualists in 1867, that the numbers of Spiritualists in the United States was thirteen millions. Amid these conflicting statistics one thing is clear:—that the Spiritualists of the United States are very numerous.
Another thing seems equally clear:—that there are at present no sufficient data on which a reliable, or even approximately correct estimate of that