Punch,  48 (1865), 192.

Letter from a Lady Spirit

Hannah More


Letter, Spoof


Progress, Reason, Rationalism, Mesmerism, Animal Magnetism, Physiognomy, Spiritualism, Homeopathy, Phrenology

    Written from the perspective of the eighteenth-century seer Hannah More, the letter writer begins by giving reasons why talk of the 'enlightened Eighteenth Century' and the shattering of superstition by reason is in vain: for example, she points out that 'at this very time Mesmer has got £100,000 by animal magnetism', that 'Lavater's physiognomy books sell at fifteen guineas a set', and that 'the divining-rod is still considered oracular in many places'. She explains that she addressed these remarks to Horace Walpole in 1788 and asks Mr Punch how much she should alter them if she were to address Walpole's descendant, Spencer H Walpole, noting that she has heard of 'Spirit-Rapping, Mesmerism, Homeopathy, Puseyism, Phrenology, Fortune-Telling' and 'other characteristics of the enlightened Nineteenth Century'.

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

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