135. IF we take a glance at the condition of chemistry in the times of Agricola, Kunkel, and Brand, we acquire some conception of the relations in which this science at present stands to the subjects of the present researches. Scattered isolated fragments of observations lie around, but in what a condition 1 To give an idea of this, I will select merely one example. For more than seventy years an instrument has been used in medicine, which bears the name of a magnetic tub (baguet); I scarcely dare describe it, for it will be an abomination to every one accustomed to a scientific treatment of natural knowledge. A small wooden tub is filled with a medley of the most absurd and senseless kind, stirred up with magnetized water, an iron rod inserted in it, and from this woollen threads are carried out to sick persons of various sorts, to whom is to flow healing vital magnetism. And this mixture consists of iron slag, broken glass, hammerings of iron from a forge, steel filings, roots, iron ore, grains of corn, sulphur, sawdust, glass plates, wool, pieces of old iron, aromatic vegetables, quicksilver, all magnetized and mystically stratified one above another. What that is pure and healing can come out of such a devil's kitchen? is the reasonable question. How any real magnetizing effect can be produced from a mess of this kind, will certainly be as incomprehensible to every physicist as it is to me. And yet all who have occupied themselves with magnetic cures agree that it is a constantly persisting fountain of magnetism . which may be made to flow to the patients through the conductors, &c.
136. Every one who is acquainted merely with the rudiments of such matters, sees that this cannot be a galvanic, electrical, still less a magnetic apparatus; and yet it has an effect which, recognised now for seventy years, has some analogy to these reagents, and must be based upon a hidden something, whatever this may be; otherwise it could not have spun out its obscure existence to the present day. Asking myself what really might operate in it, only one thing seemed to have any clear relation, namely, chemical action; room was blindly given for a planless play of affinities, and decompositions and combinations must go on slowly in the tub. In my previous researches I had discovered eight very different sources of one and the same force; the said force here flowed, according to the statements of the physicians, from a mixture of substances attacking and decomposing one another in most opposite ways: might not the chemical disturbance alone excite the same imponderable agent? Might not chemical force also be a source of that associated with crystals, the magnet, living organisms, the sun, heat, &c.?1
137. To investigate this, I took a glass of water, dissolved bicarbonate of soda in it, inserted the end of a wire five feet long, gave Miss Maix the other end into her hand, and placed a pinch of powdered tartaric acid upon the edge of the glass; then gave the patient the usual interval to accustom herself to the arrangement, and scattered the acid in the solution. As soon as the decomposition commenced, the same sensation of heat, then of cooling, came to the observer's hand, as when I had touched the end of the wire with my ten fingers, with a large crystal, or with a magnetic rod.
This result displayed itself so quickly and powerfully, that it made the girl grow quite red. It uniformly persisted as long as the chemical disturbance continued in the glass, and subsided when this ceased.
138. I had thus seized the clue op crystallic force, &c., in chemical action; my next business was to acquire assurance of its certainty. I might, in the first place, be met by. the objection that the electricity developed in the process of decomposition had acted on the sensitive patient. Lavoisier and Laplace, and more recently L. Gmelin, believed that they observed evolution of free negative electricity in the decomposition of carbonate of lime by sulphuric acid; Pfaff and others contest this. Without delaying with the discussion of authorities, I thought it safest for the concrete case, to apply myself to direct experiment. I connected a conducting wire with a Bohnenberger's electroscope, and carried it into the isolated fluid contained in a long-stemmed glass, in which I prepared a mixture of tartaric acid with carbonate of soda. The gold-leaf did not move. I applied the condensing plates, and added new portions of the salt and acid to the water in the glass; but not even now, after the separation of the plates, could any trace of movement of the gold leaf be detected. If free electricity did present itself in such a tumultuary action as this, it is not very probable in itself that it would appear in insensible amount, certainly least of all such as arose from the purely chemical share in it. I am, therefore, obliged to conclude that electricity here, where no current of it can be set up, is not set free; while that which might take part in the process, is, by known laws, again confined by the products in the moment of origin, through the chemical act itself. The effect upon the hand of the patient, therefore, cannot be produced by a current of electricity, and consequently it belongs entirely to those results which constitute the object of the present researches.
139. I return to the detail of the collected observations. I placed in Miss Maix's hands a glass of diluted sulphuric acid and an iron wire. After a pause, the wire was introduced into the acid, and the solution proceeded with an evolution of hydrogen gas. She immediately found the wire grow warmer until apparently very hot; while cool air was diffused all round the glass.
140. I placed in her hands a glass of water, upon which lay a paper containing some common salt, and after a short pause the salt was thrown into the water, which she gently agitated. She felt the glass acquire crystallic force for some time during the solution, then remain at rest; the sensation flowed upward to the arm.
141. Controlling experiments were made on Miss Reichel. First, the trial with the bicarbonate of soda and tartaric acid, then the dilute sulphuric acid with an iron rod inserted in it; lastly, also with the water and common salt: they all succeeded in the same way. I made further experiments with the following mixtures:—sulphuric acid with caustic soda; acetic, tartaric, fumaric, citric and hippuric acid, successively, in excess upon iron filings; sulphuric acid in excess upon carbonate of soda, &c. We had, at that time, freshly pressed wine-must in full fermentation, and I tried this; all these chemical actions gave abundant evolution of crystallic force.
142. I then took some weak solutions: sugar, alcohol, crystallized borax, crystallized carbonate of soda and potass, in water; then borax and sub-carbonate of potash which had been exposed to the air; sulphuret of calcium and of potassium; lastly, freshly-burnt lime. All these, when passed into water, produced either coolness or warmth in the wire, continuing until the solutions were complete, when the peculiar effects immediately vanished. In every case, therefore, even when only fixation of water of crystallization or mere solution in water occurred, the chemical action devoloped a five manifestation of crystallic force, &c.
143. I was curious to see whether a glass of water could be magnetized, as it is called, by means of chemical action. Here mere conduction through a wire could scarcely convey sufficient force; I required the chemical action in the undivided expression of its power. To obtain this, I placed one glass within another. Into the inner 1 poured spring water, into the outer a solution of bicarbonate of soda. I threw some tartaric acid into the latter, and had it slowly stirred by a female hand, until the effervescence subsided. The inner glass was then taken out, and handed to Miss Maix, to drink. The water was found as strongly magnetized as if it had been exposed five minutes to the sun's rays, but not so strongly as in the earlier experiments with twenty minutes of sunshine. After she had tasted it, I subjected the same glass of water to the same process a second time; when she drank of it again, she found it almost twice as strongly magnetic. I afterwards repeated a similar trial with Miss Reichel, in which I used carbonate of potass and sulphuric acid with the same results. Consequently, we can render water magnetic by chemical force, as well as by the magnet itself.
144. During the above experiments, I made both Miss Maix and Miss Reichel hold separate copper conducting wires, the ends of which were dipped in dilute sulphuric acid. One of these was nearly 100 yards long. But the effect was manifested even at this great distance, and Miss Reichel perceived at the end of the wire which she held in her hand every insertion and removal of the opposite end, which were evident to the hand, not instantaneously, but after a little interval of from fifteen to twenty seconds.
145. There still remain the investigations on the luminous phenomena, abundance of which I went through carefully with Miss Reichel. On the one hand, I tried a series Of chemical and mechanical solutions alone; on the other hand, according to their effect upon the opposite end of the conducting wire dipped in them, in the dark. Sugar, carbonate of soda, borax, &c. were dissolved separately in glasses of water. A glass rod was used to stir them. Even before this was applied, the contents of the glass emitted a red light in the dark. A fine luminosity began to sweep over the fluid, flowing upwards. A largish tuft of light ascended from the further end of the glass rod. As I dropped the pieces of sugar into the water, and they became wetted, they emitted a red light, according to the observer, and sank in the water like red fragments. Therefore, the evolution of light produced by the process of solution commenced instantly the sugar came in contact with the water. As I stirred it slowly in the dark, I myself saw very strongly luminous flashes from the sugar, at each gentle friction with the glass rod, and here, in water where the whole outer surface of the sugar was half dissolved, it could scarcely, or only by a great stretch, be assumed to be electrical, as the flashes produced by rubbing loaf sugar, chalk, &c. in the air, are commonly imagined to be, although there is not the slightest evidence for it. I placed some freshly-burnt lime in a porcelain capsule, and dropped some water on to it. As soon as the internal disturbance connected with solution began, and steam appeared, the entire mass of lime appeared to the observer to glow with a white light, and a dull blue flame rose above it to the height of a hand. She imagined the dull appearance to be caused by the aqueour vapour. These flames endured of the same size for about a quarter of an hour after the chemical action had ceased; they then began to sink, and ceased in half an hour. Sulphuric acid poured into water at once formed red flames in the glass, waving on the water. When I stirred, these increased so much, that they rose to the height of a full span above the glass. The effect of heat was here evidently associated with that of chemical action. The glass stirring rod also acquired a tuft of flame on its upper end. Fermenting wine-must emitted a continuous yellowish, dull flame.
146. An iron wire 30 yards long was led in the day-time to the observer, placed on the darkened staircase, and the outer end dipped into dilute sulphuric acid. After the lapse of half a minute, she saw a slender column of fire, a span and a half long, ascend from the extremity, and this rose and sank as the wire was moved in and out of the acid. The same recurred with a solution of sugar in water; the flame at the end of the long wire was even somewhat larger than from the action of sulphuric acid upon iron wire. In another experiment, a brass wire 4 yards long was employed; it gave the same result, with the slight difference that, where the iron wire flame had appeared white and reddish-blue, the brass wire emitted a white and green light. Dried lime stirred up in excess of water gave a flame a span high on iron wire. Thus in every case, when chemical action occurred, light and flame also appeared to the sensitive in the dark.
147. In an examination of the chemical causes of the potential essence here investigated, I would not omit the flame of burning bodies, which is in the highest degree a chemical process. But since it is associated with heat and the development of light, there did not at first appear any prospect of obtaining simple results. I might have included the experiments made in this respect just as well under the treatment of heat or light. I brought a pan full of glowing charcoal sear Miss Reichel. At a distance of a yard she found it cold; she felt it cool at the whole length of the room. I have already detailed the effects of the flame of candles on the sensitive. I lighted a shallow capsule of spirits of wine, then of pure alcohol, and allowed them to burn away; she felt cold from both flames at a slight distance. I burned various substances, both positive and negative; in her presence, such as resin, sulphur, and globules of potassium; all of these, especially the last two, were found cold. But it cannot be simply determined here what emanation it was that produced coolness to the sensitive, and was the ultimate cause of this crystallic force. Light appears to take proportionally little pars in it, for the effects of alcohol and of sulphur, from which there is little evolution of light, were not found weaker than that of stearine candles. Real heat almost always afforded sensations of apparent heat, as we see by the last treatise. Since, therefore, the flame here always emitted predominant cold, the reason of this must be either in the products, or, as is most probable, in the chemical action itself, as this does so in all decompositions without flame.
148. From the present investigation of chemical force, we will pass immediately to one on the voltaic pile. Since the hydro-electric chain is one of the most important foci of chemical force, I shall take the liberty to anticipate the final result of this, namely, that there, also, a great spring of crystalline force flows from the interchange of matter, with all the attributes which we have observed in it elsewhere. This invasion of the system of the present work must be excused, on the ground that it is necessary to collect all kinds of chemical processes in the subjoined deduction.
149. The parallelism of the properties of the so-called magnetic phenomena associated with chemical force, with those which we have found in crystals, the magnet, human hands, heat, light, tc., is complete, and chemism declares itself as the ninth in the series of sources of this force.
150. The field of these researches here opens out to an immeasurable extent; but this can scarcely surprise; such a result must have shown itself in the distance with the earliest discoveries in crystals. Chemical action, solution, decomposition, combination, interchange in the groupings of the elements, stand in such close connection with the destruction and reconstruction of crystalline forms, that as soon as a force like this declares its presence in crystals, it must be placed almost in necessary connection with the forces and actions which bring about the separation and reunion of the molecules. It was therefore to be anticipated that chemical force would and must be reactive here. I hope that it will furnish us with the means of concentrating the force in question, and facilitating further investigations to a greater extent than has yet been accomplished, where I have been almost wholly restricted to the irritability of sensitive persons, and, above all, that it will afford what I have hitherto wanted—a more convenient reagent, and a more certain measure for its relative amount.
151. And now let us turn our eyes back to the magnetic tub; the strange affair loses its mystery: truly at the pain of still greater ridicule. It is merely an accidentally aroused, slowly proceeding, chemical action, which gives out the desired force, exactly as a slowly burning fire gives out gradual and continued heat. It is a current of the force of the magnet, crystals, and human hands, flowing slowly from the chemical action, which is thus very improperly called animal magnetism. It is now comprehensible why the " baguet," as it gradually becomes inert, acquires new force when stirred up again months after, since new surfaces are exposed to fresh solution; conceivable, moreover, why every new practitioner can make a new medley, and yet always attain the same effect, because it does not matter at all what things they are that act upon one another, if they will only ferment and decompose each other. Finally, we can understand why one who fills a tub with water and glass alone can produce little, another who succeeds him no magnetic effect at all,, since glass and water, let any amount of magnetic conjurations be said over them, will not enter into chemical action, &c. All the wonderful superstructure of the magnetic tub, which, from the time of Mesmer, has not a little contributed to render animal magnetism ridiculous, and to expose it to shame, will consequently be cleared away for the future, and any simple, slowly proceeding chemical operation, perhaps best of all an open voltaic circuit, will take its place, by which means the power will be acquired of hrranging it stronger or weaker as may be most desirable, with a choice of very varied modifications in the smallest possible space.
152. But the examination of chemical forces leads us into another still more interesting path. It leads us to the source from which, to all appearance, organic life itself derives its so-called magnetic force, to the focus at which the flaming forces are lighted, which emerge from our finger-ends, and, as we shall hereafter see, from still more noble parts of our curious corporeal structure. This is digestion. It being proved that a main source of that magnet-like force lies in chemism, in the play of interchanging affinities, while digestion is nothing else but an exchange, a constant separation and recomposition of matters, enduring uninterruptedly so long as we live, under the influence of vitality—it follows necessarily that, like as we have seen in every, even such weak chemical action as the simple solution of sugar, common salt, alcohol or sulphuric acid in mere water, magnet-like force will be uninterruptedly evolved along our intestinal canal, and must be placed by this great organ at the service of the whole organism. But this is not all. The nutriment digested in the stomach, and then elaborated in the intestines, becomes absorbed, chylified, in its further course, carried to the lymph and blood by countless large and small vessels, here again chemically changed, carried further and further, more and more altered chemically, and thus onward, ever further turned to account in innumerable decompositions as an inexhaustible reservoir of crystallic force, till at last it leaves the body.
153. All that I have just said of digestion holds good, in altered terms, but to the same value, of respiration. It impregnates us with oxygen, carries on the blood to every corner of our body, sustains on every hand the universal interchange of substances, and secures to us, as one of its chief products, the animal heat. The so-called animal magnetism stands beside this, comes, goes, flows, and vanishes with it. That which affords heat, the chemical action in the body, affords, also, as we have seen, crystallic force, magnetism, or whatever we please to call this potential essence. The dynamics, which constitute the inmost life, be they material or immaterial, condition one another, are perhaps one and the same in the ultimate analysis; and when they here appear to us going hand in hand, this is but one more warranty that we are on the right track of their pursuit.
We thus obtain explanation whence the force comes which issues in a polar condition from our hands and fingers as from a magnet, whence it is continually renewed, and why it unceasingly flames forth from us. Chemical action, which is infinitely busied in our whole structure, produces, sets free, and delivers it; and when we meet with it, we see it already subject to the laws of its indwelling dualism.
154. By one of the most ingenious combinations of profoundly grasped thoughts the present century has produced, Liebig has led us to the conception that all motive force of which we partake is afforded through digestion, all the heat which we possess through respiration; that is, force and heat are the results of chemical action. Though this cannot yet be laid down either in an algebraic formula, or in chemical symbols, although the form of the expression of such a vast idea may be criticised on many bands, yet its profound conception strikes so forcibly on our understanding, finds such a mighty echo in the totality of all that we at present know of nature, that its final triumph stands in tolerably certain prospect. And since nature affords for our maintenance nothing but air and nutriment, we can scarcely imagine otherwise than that she has directly appointed us to draw from air and food all that is necessary to this our maintenance. If, then, for example, it happens, and calculation shews it, that we daily, on the one hand, appropriate fourteen ounces of carbon from the food, and, on the other hand, give it off again by respiration; when we further find that we daily inspire forty-seven ounces of oxygen, and expire just as many ounces; finally, when we find that the carbon and oxygen emerge combined, and this combination corresponds to exactly as great an evolution of heat as we require daily: so much striking testimony is furnished for such deduction, that all scruples must soon prudently submit to be overcome.
155. I regard it a no small warrant of the profound natural truth of my researches, that, as is seen, I have, by a totally different series of observations and deductions, arrived at the same new field on which I now meet Liebig. Chemical action abundantly furnishes the active principle of crystallic force; the human body overflows with this circulating potential essence,—man digests, breathes, decomposes, combines, and interchanges matter, therefore performs chemical action every moment: thus is it not only clear, it is necessary, it is logically inevitable, that man derives that still mysterious force, the existence of which is made known by these researches, from the play of affinities; in a word, from chemism. It is possible to doubt whether the sun lights us, since it is often day while yet no sun is to be seen; I know this well enough, and do not fight against it.
156. As a conclusion to this section, one more practical application, indeed the more welcome to me that it tears up one of the deepest roots of superstition, the most hateful foe of the development of human enlightment and freedom. An occurrence which took place in Pfeffel's Garden at Colmar is tolerably well known, and has been spread about by many published accounts. 1 will mention the most important points briefly. He had appointed a young evangelical clergyman, Billing, as his amanuensis. The blind German poet was led by the arm by this person when he walked out. This occurring in his garden, which lay at some distance from the town, Pfeffel remarked that every time they came to a particular place, Billing's arm trembled, and he manifested uneasiness. Some conversation about this ensued, and the young man at length unwillingly stated that as often as he came over that spot certain sensations attacked him, which he could not overcome, and which he always experienced at places where human bodies were buried. When he came to such places at night he usually saw strange sights. With a view to cure the man of his delusion, Pfeffel returned with him to the garden the same night. When they approached this place in the dark, Billing at once perceived a weak light, and when near enough the appearance of a form of immaterial flame waving in the air above the spot. He described it as resembling a woman's form, one arm laid across the body, the other hanging down; wavering, erect, or at rest; the feet elevated about two hands' breadth above the surface of the ground. Pfeffel walked up to it alone, as the young man would not follow him, struck about at random with his stick, and ran across the place, but the spectre did not move or alter; it was as when one passes a stick through flame, the fiery shape always recovered the same form. Many things were done, during several months; parties taken thither, but the matter remained always the same, and the ghost-seer always held to his earnest assertion, consequently to the supposition that some one must lie buried there. At last Pfeffel had the place dug up. At some depth a solid layer of white lime was met with, about as long and as broad as a grave, tolerably thick, and when this was broken through they discovered the skeleton of a human body. It was found, therefore, that a human being had been buried there, and had been covered with a layer of quicklime, as is the custom at the time of pestilence, earthquakes, or similar occurrences. The bones were taken out, the hole filled up again, and the surface levelled. When Billing was again taken there the appearance was gone, and the nocturnal spirit had vanished for ever.
157. I need scarcely indicate to the reader what I now thought of this history, which has given rise to much discussion in Germany, since it came from the most trustworthy man living, and theologists and psychologists have given it a thousand dreadful interpretations. In my opinion it belongs entirely to the domain of chemistry, and finds a simple and clear explanation in natural science. A human body affords fruitful material for chemical decomposition, for fermentation, putrescence, vaporizations, and play of affinities of all kinds. A layer of dry quicklime pressed into a deep hole, unites its own active affinities with those of organic substances, and gives rise to a long-continued operation of them. Rain water joins from above; the lime first falls into a pulverulent mass, and afterwards, through the rain-water oozing into it, becomes a pasty mass, to which the external air has only very slow access. Pits of slacked lime have been found in the ruins of castles, decayed for centuries, still so well preserved that it could be used for mortar of new buildings. The carbonic acid, therefore, penetrates constantly, but so slowly, that in such spots a chemical process goes on through many years. This event, therefore, had its usual natural course in Pfeffel's garden; and since we know that a constant emanation of the flame of crystallic force accompanies it, this was a fiery appearance, which must necessarily endure until the affinities of the corpse and the lime for carbonic acid, &c. were brought into a state of rest. Whenever a living man, who was sensitive to a certain degree, but might appear to be otherwise healthy, came there and entered into the sphere of these physical forces, he necessarily would feel, by day, like Miss Maix, and by night, see like Miss Reichel. Ignorance, fear, and superstition, then shaped the luminous appearance into the spectral figure of a human being, and furnished it with arms, head, feet, &c., as, when we like, we may shape every cloud passing over a bright sky into a man, or a goblin.
158. The desire to deal a mortal blow to the monster superstition—which a few centuries since poured from such sources so inexpressible a number of miseries over European society, when, in unhappy trials for witchcraft, not hundreds, nor thousands, but hundreds of thousands of innocent persons breathed out their lives miserably on the rack or at the stake—led me to the experiment of bringing a highly sensitive person, by night, into a cemetery. I thought it might be possible, where mouldering corpses thus lay, to see something of the kind that Billing had observed. Miss Reichel had the courage, unusual in her sex, to promise the fulfilment of my wish. She consented to be taken, on two different very dark nights, from Reisenberg Castle, where she was residing with me, to the cemetery of the neighbouring village of Griinzing. The result actually fulfilled my expectation most perfectly. She soon saw a brightness, and perceived along one of the mounds a fine exhalation of flame; she found the same in a slighter degree on a second grave. However, she did not suppose them to be either witches or ghosts, but recognised the fiery appearance from one to two spans high, as a luminous vapour, waving over the graves and extending over the ground, the length of the latter. Some time after she was taken to two large grave-yards, near
Vienna, where several burials occurred daily, and the mounds lay around in thousands. She saw many graves furnished with such luminosities. Wherever she looked, she found herself surrounded by fiery masses. But these showed themselves more particularly over all new graves; while on very old ones they were extinguished. She described the appearance as less like clear flame than a dense vapour-like mass of fire, intermediate between flame and mist. On many graves this fiery light was as much as four feet high, so that when she walked into it, it reached up to her neck. When she placed her hand in it, it was as though she had brought it into a dense fiery cloud. She did not manifest the least uneasiness at it, since she had been accustomed to such emanations all her life, and had seen them produced in countless forms, in a natural way, in my house. I am convinced that all persons to a certain degree sensitive will see these in grave-yards, and in those very much used always in great numbers, and that this observation may readily be repeated and confirmed. (Postscript, 1847.—Since these experiments, which were made in the year 1844, I have taken five other sensitive persons to grave-yards, in the dark, of whom two were invalids, three perfectly healthy. All these confirmed, word for word, the statements of Miss Reichel, and saw the lights more or less distinctly over all new graves; so that the fact can no longer be open to the slightest doubt, and may be tested anywhere.) Thousands of ghost stories will now meet with their natural explanation, and thus with their end. It will be now seen, too, that our old women were not so far wrong when they asserted, as is well known, that it is not granted to every one to see the spirits of the departed wander over the graves; for in fact it is only the sensitive who can see in the dark the luminosity of the imponderable effluvia from chemical decomposition of corpses. And thus I hope .I have succeeded in tearing down one of the thickest veils of dark ignorance and human delusion.2
159. We now come to the domain of Electricity. By a superficial consideration of the foregoing researches, it may here and there seem as if electricity alone, excited sometimes in one way sometimes in another, bore the greatest share, if it were not the whole basis, of the phenomena which are here detailed. The following results will show what is to be thought of this.
160. The first experiment was for the purpose of seeing what amount of sensibility for galvanism existed in the patients who are highly excitable by steel magnetism. It was undertaken with Miss Nowotny, in the presence of M. Baumgartner, the physicist. I brought in a zinc and copper element of about twelve square inches, between the members of which was placed a piece of linen, moistened with salt and water. The patient took in her hands two German-silver conductors, which were connected with the two electrodes by short copper wires. She did not experience the slightest sensation from the current thus conducted, although it gave a shock with the multiplier. She did not feel the sourish taste of the positive conductor on her tongue more strongly or differently from us who were healthy. I tried Miss Sturmann with a soldered zinc and copper element of nearly four square inches. She found little difference between this element when I placed it between her moistened fingers, and separate pieces of copper or zinc; at most the metals seemed a little stronger then, but hardly decidedly so. Miss Atzmannsdorfer did not feel a similar element, taken in her moistened fingers, any more strongly. Miss Maix could just distinguish the zinc of the element when she held it in her fingers, moistened with salt and water, from free zinc, but this little with no certainty. A large square element of twelve inches on a side she found little stronger, even when her fingers were wetted with a saline solution. Miss Reichel found this reaction just the same as her predecessors; she experienced no observable influence from the union of the zinc and copper into one element, whether this were large or small, her fingers wetted with water, or a saline solutiim. The current produced iv a single element, after the subtraction of the obstacles to the passage, and with the little tension it has, is indeed very weak; but if the reagent in which it has to act be in a high degree sensible, it is fully sufficient to produce effects. It makes the nerves of frogs contract, diverts the needle, decomposes weak iodide of potassium, &c., and therefore we were led to expect that it would act perceptibly to the feelings upon the nerves of the sensitive.
161. Yet it follows from these experiments, carried out with every care, in every case frequently repeated, all instituted on highly sensitive persons, and all responded to in the same way,—that a weak hydro-electric current in itself does not act observably more powerfully on sick persons, even when they possess a very high degree of excitability by the slightest magnetism, than upon the healthy. This, therefore, proves conversely that it cannot be galvanism, for which exists in them the exalted sensitiveness which we have become acquainted with.
162. Compound circuits, of course, acted more strongly upon them. I brought a little pile of soldered zinc and copper elements, almost four inches square, to Miss Nowotny. The intermediate layers were of felted cloth, moistened with solution of common salt. The zinc surfaces were not very clean, and I let this be so on purpose, so as to retain power over slighter modifications of the strength of the current. I piled up ten pairs before she and others perceived anything at all from it. At fifteen elements she began to trace a little effect, but some of the most excitable of the healthy spectators also already found it. With twenty pairs the tremulous motion from the discharge reached from both hands to the elbows, while I could now feel it myself the length of my finger. Other girls present felt the shock beyond the wrist. Miss Nowotny was, indeed, the most sensitive among us, but did not exceed the usual greater excitability of other healthy persons. With Miss Maix I arranged a pile of nine of the same elements. The result was about the same as the last. The zinc plates were made somewhat cleaner this time; she therefore felt the nine pairs about as strongly as her predecessor had felt the twenty; but healthy persons felt them almost as strongly. A certain degree of increased irritability must be attributed to the general diseased condition, dependent, not upon the sensitiveness, but upon sensibility. With Miss Reichel I tried from two to fifteen elements, in different stages of her disease, on occasions several months apart, in July, September, and November. She did not feel a few elements at all; with from fifteen to twenty she perceived the effect so little, that she never mentioned it when discharges passed through her accidentally, in the course of the operations on the pile; forty to fifty pairs she felt vividly, but she regarded it as sport to take shocks from them when others hesitated to venture. And subsequently, neither on the days mentioned nor on any others, were any results to be observed. Miss Atzmannsdorfer felt no difference between a zinc-copper element, held in her fingers, wetted with a saline solution, and a piece of one of these metals taken by itself; she found the reaction of the copper warmish, that of the zinc rather cooling, but without other notable effect. I applied to her feet three, then sixteen elements, in a circuit. She perceived the electric current just like healthy persons; at length she detected that with the increase of the number of elements the zinc began to act more coolingly, the copper with more heat, upon her fingers. This was the first trace of the excitement of crystallic forces by the voltaic element.
163. When Miss Reichel allowed the current from fifty elements to pass continuously through her for some time, holding the polar wires in her two hands, the sensations from it increased gradually in strength, becoming felt on the one hand in the head, and on the other extending to the knees; but this was the first character of galvanic action upon her, which necessarily presented itself after a certain time, since a persistent current brings with it as a consequence direct magnetic motion. It was therefore not galvanism alone acting directly here, but because by its entrance it according to known laws converted the conductor more or less into a magnet, which was here the tranverse axis of the patient herself; namely, the path from one hand, through the arms and breast, to the other.
164. When I had recourse to the electrical machine, and let frictional electricity strike upon her from the conductor, it amused her; she drew dozens of sparks from it for mere pleasure; no special sensation presented itself distinguishable from those of healthy persons. Subsequently, electric shocks were ordered her by her physician, to be deliVered at the nape of the neck, and carried along the spine. I undertook to provide this rough medicament. In accordance with the prescription, I charged to saturation a Leyden jar having about a square foot of coating, and gave her daily eight such shocks, which were not pleasant to sustain. But she did not find anything different in them from what we others should have experienced.
165. The conclusion which I believe these experiments to warrant is, that an electric discharge, cbrried through the body, either from the voltaic pile, the conductor, or the Leyden jar, passes over too quickly to allow it to set in perceptible motion the force which prevails in human beings, as in crystals; agreeing perfectly with well-known analogous electrical lids.
166. However, it will immediately appear that we may by no means deduce from this the conclusion that all other kinds of electrical operations are as ineffectual as the shock or the discharge from a weak pile. When I placed in the patient's hands a thick copper wire connected with a weak pile, and allowed her to become accustomed to it, then completed the circuit with this wire, so that the whole current was made to pass through her, without by any means penetrating into the substance of the hand, she at once felt apparent heat e., crystallic force—increase in the wire. The
hand was in this case in immediate contact with conducting wire, and the latter was so thick, one-twelfth of an inch, that real heating of it was out of the question.
Since, however, the hydro; electric circuit is a complication of chemical, magnetic, and electrical activity, and thus no instructive conclusions could be expected from it here, I directed the observations to frictional electricity, and made the patient enclose a discharging wire from the conductor with her hand, in such a manner that she did not actually touch the metal, but that this passed freely through her half-closed hand. As soon as I set the glass plate in motion, she had the sensation of a warm atmosphere around the wire, which she clearly distinguished from the well-known aura.
167. I pass over the experiments on conduction, accumulation, polarization, &c., which are all involved in the following, and hasten to the phenomena of light. I placed Miss Reichel on the darkened staircase, gave a brass wire six yards long into her hand, the point being held free. The rest of it lay on the ground, passing through the door, and ending at the conductor. The machine worked so weakly, that only sparks about half a finger's breadth long could be drawn from the conductor. Soon after the first revolutions of the plate, a slender column of flame ascended from the end of the wire, such as we have already met with in other similar circumstances, ten inches high, about the thickness of one's thumb below, and running up to a very fine point. When I turned the plate rapidly, of which the patient on the staircase could not be aware, the flame rose higher, and sank again as often as I ceased. The point of wire had no visible trace whatever of an electric brush to healthy eyes, which of course was rendered impossible by the many points of delivery that occurred along the wire. As often as I ceased to move the machine, the flame on the wire endured of the same form for more than a minute, and then first began to diminish slowly. An action therefore took place here which did not agree in any way with the known phenomena of an electrified wire. Every repetition, at different times and with change of the wires, always reproduced the same phenomenon.
168. Instead of fastening the wire on to the conductor, I detached it, and applied to the same end of it a hollow polished ball two inches in diameter. I took hold of this by the wire, and approached it to within two inches, sideways, of the electrified conductor, the sparks of which only equalled a tenth part of this distance in length. The ball was tlierefore placed in the electrical atmosphere of the conductor as soon as the machine was turned, but remained unisolated in my hand. A full minute elapsed before the observer shut up in the dark perceived an alteration at the end of the wire which she held in her hand; then, however, the flame began slowly to rise before her, above a span in height, and I turned the plate of the machine for four minutes before it, by degrees, reached its maximum, at which it there uniformly maintained itself. When the machine was now stopped and the ball removed out of the sphere of its action, the flame again remained for more than a minute of unaltered size, and then began to disappear, which it did completely within several minutes.
169. I modified this experiment by removing the brass ball to a greater distance from the conductor. I now held it eight inches above the conductor. The observer described the phenomena in the same order and intervals of time; the flame in her hand was now even somewhat larger. I then held the brass ball at a distance of forty inches from the conductor, laterally. The phenomena actually recurred in the same space of time, and only changed in that the flame was now about one-fourth shorter. Finally, I removed the ball eighty inches (more than a fathom) from the conductor, but again, after a pause of two minutes, the flame at the end of the wire on the staircase rose up, increased for five minutes, and when the machine was stopped slowly sunk away in the course of several minutes. This time, however, it only attained half the size.
170. I placed the ball firmly upon the conductor, so that it was no longer in the electrical atmosphere, but directly received positive electricity: under these conditions the same phenomena presented themselves, but now in less than half a minute, instead of not for two minutes. The duration of its increase, however, and the slowness of its subsequent dying away, remained the same as before. When any one touched the conductor with the finger, or took hold of the brass ball itself, during this, the size of the flame was not obviously altered; it came, went, and vanished in the same times, and with no perceptible difference of size. But when, instead of this, I placed the ball so near to the conductor that a rapid succession of sparks passed over to it, the effect was not produced; the observer felt the successive shocks in her hand at the passage of the sparks, but perceived no flame at the end of the wire. The rapidity of the electrical action was so great that the flaming principle, more sluggish than it, was not set in motion. Finally, I repeated all these experiments with negative electricity, the apparatus being in connection with the isolated cushion, which, however, was connected with the earth. There was, however, little, or rather no distinction in the results, on the darkened staircase. In all these experiments not a word was spoken; the observer, who sat in darkness, was separated from me by a wall, and knew nothing of all the various modifications and repetitions, did nothing but call out, from time to time, like a clock, so loud that it could be heard through the closed door, the changes as she saw them originate, endure, and pass away, on the wire. So that there could be no question of any kind of deception here,— on the contrary, this exact coincidence of the phenomena with the experiments and the theory, was an expressive evidence of the correctness of all the operations.
171. These experiments speak so clearly that I shall pass over the enumeration of a number of others. I have only to add, that all those slender flames which presented themselves in the darkness diffused coolness. When the sensitive girl was near the electrical machine, the positive charge of the brass conductor gave her a feeling of heat; but when she stood some paces distant from it she always experienced coolness. I shall be able to clear up the cause of this distinction in the succeeding treatises.
172. I afterwards brought over the conductor a tin electrophorus plate of about a foot in diameter, on a wooden handle, in such a manner that it was placed, at a distance, in the atmosphere of the conductor for about a minute. When, having first touched it freely with a wet finger, I brought it near the face of Miss Reichel, she felt coolness issue from it strongly and for several minutes, which seems to confirm, in a different way, the experiments of the preceding article. I did the same also with an isolated body; I suspended the often-mentioned German-silver conductor over the conductor of the machine, by a silk band; its effect, when brought near the face of the patient, was, as might have been foreseen, exactly the same as that of the unisolated tin plate: as yet no isolator has been found for the crystallic force. Similar experiments were also made, with the same results, on Miss Atzmannsdorfer. The same unisolated tin plate was first brought near her face before having been placed in the electrical atmosphere. She felt it, as she did most metals, to emit heat. It was now held a hand's length above a weakly-charged conductor, and then touched for a moment with my wetted hand, so that if it should possibly have abstracted any trace of electricity this might thus be fully removed. When I now held it again before her face, I found that it had become remarkably cool, spreading cold around it.
173. In every case, therefore, in which electricity is excited to any permanent extent, that peculiar force appears which I am endeavouring to clear up in these essays, and accordingly electricity presents the tenth source of it.