“The speech of Jules Favre is reported to have lasted an hour and a half, and to have held the judges and the public spellbound by its eloquence. We who have heard Jules Favre believe it most readily; only the statement embodied in the last sentence of his argument was unfortunately premature and erroneous at the same time.
“We are in the presence of a phenomenon which science admits without attempting to explain. The public may smile at it, but our most illustrious physicians regard it with gravity. Justice can no longer ignore what science has acknowledged!”
Were this sweeping declaration based upon fact and had mesmerism been impartially investigated by many instead of a few true men of science, more desirous of questioning nature than more expediency, the public would never smile.
The public is a docile and pious child, and readily goes whither the nurse leads it. It chooses its idols and fetishes, and worships them in proportion to the noise they make; and then turns round with a timid look of adulation to see whether the nurse, old Mrs. Public Opinion, is satisfied.
Lactantius, the old Christian Father, is said to have remarked that no skeptic in his days would have dared to maintain before a magician that the soul did not survive the body, but died together with it; “for he would refute them on the spot by calling up the souls of the dead, rendering them visible to human eyes, and making them foretell future events.”
So with the magistrates and bench in Madame Roger’s case. Baron Du Potet was there, and they were afraid to see him mesmerize the somnambulist, and so force them not only to believe in the phenomenon, but to acknowledge it – which was far worse.”
H. P. Blavatsky