« FöregåendeFortsätt »
setting up a superannuated materialism against the entire body of philosophy. What do you hope for in endeavouring to reduce the intellectual heritage of humanity to what has been transmitted to us only by intelligence of the second order? Do you not see at the side of, or rather standing aloft above those mere vulgarizers rather than philosophers, rather the soldiers of the idea than the authors of the idea, a whole world of creator spirits, inventors, initiators, revealers, philosophers, savants, artistes and poets who have made us what we are, and whose heritage it would be at once foolish and ungrateful to reject? No, we are not the children of the 18th century, we are the children of humanity. Let us give our hands to Diderot; so be it, but that shall not cause us to abandon Descartes. We desire not to know whether Leibnitz was greater than Spinoza, whether Plato transcended Aristotle; we desire to know only the ideas which they have brought into the world, and we are not anxious to weigh' each individual ray which our intellectual fathers have contributed to the luminous hearth at which we warm ourselves."
This able article concludes by denouncing materialism as a senseless and cheerless act of retrogression, and declaring that the present age requires for the worthy accomplishment of its duty to mankind, the amenities of science united with the sacred fervour of faith as its principle. “But,” it adds, do not believe in principles, for you admit only the material fact; and you carry into science the spirit of inquisitors.
M. Piérart next quotes a vigorous essay on the immortality of the soul, from the same journal, La Solidarité, and follows it up by another showing that Fichte, an authority that Materialists are continually quoting, is anything but a Materialist. The sentiments of Fichte as there given on the nature of death, which he declares to be really a birth, and on the spirit-world as revealed to the soul just entering it, are extremely fine. “In fact,” says Piérart," Fichte was a great Spiritualist as have been many of the noblest intellects of Germany: and one before whom Hegel and his disciples must bow their heads, is Bader, a new man, destined to make an immense revolution in the philosophy of his country.”
These selections from La Solidarité are concluded by the -report of a lecture by M. Chavée in the Hall of the Boulevard des Capucines, on the question of the immortality of the soul in its relation to the sciences of observation. The outline of this ·lecture is very imposing and we are told that the hall was far from large enough to contain the crush_of people who were anxious to hear the courageous professor. This learned discourse, based on historical and philosophical arguments, was concluded
" you by a brilliant peroration on the greatness of our destinies, and terminated with the words of Dante :
“Noi siam vermi nati a formar il divino farfallo." It is cheering to see the spirit of a better and more rational philosophy thus rising in France. In truth, the stream of science is leading inevitably to the ocean of truth, and its votaries must soon make up their minds to swim or drown.
M. Piérart has a continuation of his article on the history of the medicine of nature, in which, from a host of facts, he shews how many cures the natives of different countries possess, such as positive remedies for the bites of serpents, for the poison of arrows, for fever, gout, rheumatism, &c., which our medical men do not possess because they are too proud to learn from what are called savages; who are, in fact, the pupils of the ages, and the possessors of a Positivism infinitely superior to that of Comte. "This knowledge exists in every quarter of the world, and genuine science would collect and adopt it. Surely it would be better to be cured by the practices of savages than left to death or to years of physical torment by the one-sided science of our medical schools.
A REMARKABLE CASE OF PHYSICAL
(From the Atlantic Monthly for August. With Remarks by T. 8.)
" Mary CARRICK is an Irish girl, 18 years of age, who came to this country in the month of May, 1867. She is very ignorant, like the most of her class, but quick to learn anything required. Previous to leaving her native land she had, for a short time, lived in a gentleman's family as a 'maid of all work,' and she has always been healthy with the exception of a severe attack of fever occurring a few months before she left home. By a correspondence with the gentleman in whose service she had lived in Ireland, we find that nothing remarkable was ever discovered concerning her, except that at one time she had been a somnambulist, but seemed to have recovered from her tendency to sleepwalking. Immediately upon her arrival, she went to live with a very respectable family in one of the larger towns in Massachusetts. At this time she appeared to be in perfect health. She performed the duties required of her in a most acceptable manner, and nothing whatever in her appearance or behaviour excited particular remark. She seldom left the house, and, at the time when the occurrences we are about to describe took place she did not have the acquaintance of six persons outside the family. She had lived in this situation about six weeks, when upon the 3rd of July, the bells hanging in the kitchen and communicating with the outside doors and chambers commenced ringing in an unaccountable manner. This would occur at intervals of half an hour or longer, during the day and evening, but not during the night. It was at first attributed to the antics of rats upon the wires. An examination showed this to be impossible; though, to put the matter beyond doubt, the wires were detached from the bells; but the ringing went on as before. These bells hang near the ceiling of a room eleven feet high. They never rang unless the girl was in that room or the adjoining one, but were often seen and heard to ring when different members of the family were present in the room with the girl. The ringing was not a mere stroke of the bell, but there was a violent agitation of all the bells, such as might have been produced by a vigorous use of the bell-pulls, had they been connected. A careful examination by the writer and others showed that there was no mechanism or other appliance by which the ringing could be produced.
“A few days after the bell-ringing commenced frequent loud and startling raps were heard, which seemed to be on the walls, doors, or windows of the room where the girl might be at work. The noises thus produced were quite as loud as would ordinarily follow a smart application of the knuckles to any article of wood. They were heard by all the members of the family, and many others whom curiosity prompted to come in for the purpose of verifying, by their own senses, what they were slow to believe. These occurrences increased from day to day, and became a source of great annoyance. The girl,'ignorant as she was, and naturally superstitious, became very much excited; and it was with the greatest difficulty that she could be kept in a comparative state of calmness during her wakeful hours, while in her sleep at night she was continually raving. She wept very much, protested that she had no action in the occurrences, and begged of the family not to send her away, for she had not a single friend in the country to whom she could go, and none of her countrymen would take her in, for the matter had already become notorious, and they shunned her as they would the Evil One himself. Several applications were made by professed Spiritualists, offering to take the girl, and provide for her; but it was not deemed advisable to place her under such questionable supervision. It was finally decided to retain her, and try to endure the disagreeable phenomena which, as will be seen, were only the beginning of troubles. It should be stated that the raps referred to followed the girl from room to room, and could be heard in her chamber at night, when she was found to be in a profound sleep. Thus had matters gone on for nearly three weeks, when occurrences of a more extraordinary character began to take place. Chairs were upset, crockery-ware thrown down, tables lifted and moved, and various kitchen utensils hurled about the room. No particular record of these occurrences was made until August 1st; after which time, and until the phenomena had entirely ceased, accurate daily memoranda were noted, from which some extracts are here taken :
“On the 5th of August, Mary was washing clothes, when a bench, having upon it two large tubs filled with water, was suddenly moved several inches. The lid of a copper washboiler was repeatedly thrown up, when the girl was not near enough to touch it. These occurrences were observed by different members of the family. August 6th, Mary was ironing: The table at which she worked continually lifted itself, and troubled her so much that she took her work to another table, where the same operation was repeated, and her flat iron, which she left for a moment, was thrown to the floor. This annoyance was always repeated whenever she worked at ironing, and more or less at other times. It was seen by all the members of the family and other persons. The writer saw the table thus lifted when neither the girl nor any other person was near enough to touch it. It has happened when a child, nine years of age, was sitting upon it, and also when persons have tried to hold it down. This lifting propensity seemed to communicate itself to everything movable. The covers to the wood-box and wash-boiler were constantly slamming. A heavy soapstone slab, one and a half inches thick, weighing forty-eight pounds, which formed the top of a case of drawers, was often affected in a similar manner.
On the 6th of August, as Mary was putting away the tea things, and about to place a metallic tray filled with dishes upon this slab, it suddenly flew up and struck the bottom of the tray with such force as to upset the dishes upon it. This was seen by one of the family, and frequently occurred afterwards. The stone would also often be thrown up violently when Mary was at work at the sink near it. On the last occasion that this happened— August 25th-the writer was seated near to it, and watching for the movement, which had been repeated severer times within an hour. Suddenly it raised itself and fell great force, breaking in two through the centre, Mary moment being in the act of wringing out her dish-cloth. after one half of the same was thrown to the floor; fragments were then thrown out of the house on the where they remained quiet. This peculiarly active should be added, had a few days previous been takplace, and laid upon the floor of a room adjoining
bucket placed upon it; but, as the same movements continued, it was replaced in its position for the purpose of noticing the effect, and with the result before stated. It had also, at one time, been fastened in its place by wooden clamps, which were forcibly torn away.
“It is moreover worthy of particular notice, that another soapstone slab, in which the copper wash-boiler is set, and which had become loosened from the brick-work, was split and thrown to the floor in like manner; showing that the force, whatever it may be, has a striking effect upon this kind of material. A piece of the same, weighing several pounds, wàs also thrown into the kitchen from the wash-room, no person being in the latter room at the time. A common cherry table, standing against the wall in the kitchen, often started out into the room, and at one time was hurled completely over upon its top.. On the 20th of August the table movements occurred many times. On this day a large basket filled with clothes was thrown to the floor. A small board, used for scouring knives, hanging against the wall, was thrown quite across the kitchen. The doors were continually slamming unless locked or latched. August 26 and 27 were very stirring days, there being hardly a halfhour of quiet. The rappings (which occurred daily) were particularly vigorous on these days. The chairs, and other moveables, were thrown about; a large wash-tub, filled with clothes Boaking, was thrown from the wash-form to the floor, and emptied of its contents; a stool, having upon it a pail filled with water, moved itself along the floor; a porcelain-lined kettle, standing in the sink, was lifted over the side, and dropped upon the floor. The moveable furniture in the girl's room was so much agitated, that, with the exception of the bedstead, it was all taken from the room for the sake of quiet. The foregoing are a few only of the various phenomena occurring from the 3rd to the 27th of August, there being but one day during the whole time when nothing of the kind took place. On the date last mentioned the girl was sent away for two days, to observe what the effect might be. On the evening of the 29th she returned, and reported that she had not seen or heard anything unusual during her absence. It should also be remarked that the family experienced no trouble while she was away. But, within two hours after her return the demonstrations again commenced. It is needless to follow them further in detail. It is sufficient to say that similar scenes to those of the previous days and weeks were daily repeated from the date of her return until the night of September 12, when her nervous system succumbed, and she was suddenly seized with a violent attack of hysteria. During the paroxysm, which continued two or three hours, she was in