Punch,  32 (1857), 89.

Comicalities of the Sectarian Press



News-Commentary, Drollery


Religious Authority, Magnetism, Supernaturalism, Spiritualism, Physiology, Telegraphy, Electricity, Superstition, Cruelty, Crime, Providence

    Responds to a decree in the Roman Catholic periodical, the Weekly Register, of the '"Holy Inquisition", against the abuses of "Magnetism"'. Notes that the latter term seems to indicate animal magnetism, in particular 'the alleged phenomena of somnambulism and clairvoyance', since these phenomena involve using physical means to produce 'non natural' effects. Wonders if 'natural means could produce any other than natural effects' and observes that the 'non-natural' effects of mesmeric passes are caused by 'metaphysical volition', not the actual passes. Questioning the definition of 'non-natural effects', points out that 'There was a time when the Inquisition would have deemed the agency of the electric telegraph preternatural; would perhaps have roasted Mr. Wheatstone alive, and probably dug up and calcined the bones of Oersted'.

    Discusses a review in the same periodical of a work on natural history that legitimates cruelty to animals by appealing to the creator's decree that all animals are under man's dominion. Observes that this latter circumstance does not render the apparently illegitimate 'Protestant sympathy for the sufferings of brutes morbid'.

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