“And now we will notice how, when Mesmer had imported into France his “baquet” and system based entirely on the philosophy and doctrines of the Paracelsites – the great psychological and physiological discovery was treated by the physicians. It will demonstrate how much ignorance, superficiality, and prejudice can be displayed by a scientific body, when the subject clashes with their own cherished theories.
It is the more important because, to the neglect of the committee of the French Academy of 1784 is probably due the present materialistic drift of the public mind; and certainly the gaps in the atomic philosophy which we have seen its most devoted teachers confessing to exist.
The committee of 1784 comprised men of such eminence as Borie, Sallin, d’Arcet, and the famous Guillotin, to whom were subsequently added, Franklin, Leroi, Bailly, De Borg, and Lavoisier. Borie died shortly afterward and Magault succeeded him.
There can be no doubt of two things, viz.: that the committee began their work under strong prejudices and only because peremptorily ordered to do it by the king; and that there manner of observing the delicate facts of mesmerism was injudicious and illiberal.
Their report, drawn by Bailly, was intended to be a death-blow to the new science. It was spread ostentatiously throughout all the schools and ranks of society, arousing the bitterest feelings among a large portion of the aristocracy and rich commercial class, who had patronized Mesmer and had been eye-witnesses of his cures.
Ant. L. de Jussieu, academician of the highest rank, who had thoroughly investigated the subject with the eminent court-physician, d’Eslon, published a counter-report drawn with minute exactness, in which he advocated the careful observation by the medical faculty of the therapeutic effects of the magnetic fluid and insisted upon the immediate publication of their discoveries and observations.
His demand was met by the appearance of a great number of memoirs, polemical works, and dogmatical books developing new facts; and Thouret’s works entitled Recherches et Doutes sur le Magnetisme Animal, displaying a vast erudition, stimulated research into the records of the past, and the magnetic phenomena of successive nations from the remotest antiquity were laid before the public.”
H. P. Blavatsky