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Mesmerism and Christian Science: A short history of mental healing. From the Preface: 'THE 11th of August should be observed as a day of humiliation by every learned Society in the civilised world, for on that date in 1784 a Commission, consisting of the most distinguished representatives of Science in the most enlightened capital in Europe, pronounced the rejection of a pregnant scientific discovery—a discovery possibly rivalling in permanent significance all the contributions to the physical Sciences made by the two most famous members of the Commission—Lavoisier and Benjamin Franklin. Not that the report on Animal Magnetism presented by Bailly and his colleagues did serious injustice to Mesmer himself, or to his vaunted science. The magnetic fluid was a chimaera, and Mesmer, it may be admitted, was perhaps three parts a charlatan. He had no pretensions to be a thinker : he stole his philosophy ready-made from a few belated alchemists; and his entire system of healing was based on a delusion. His extraordinary success was due to the lucky accident of the times.'