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system of deception, if it be such. To most minds this will be stronger proof of the reality of the phenomena, than any facts observed at a single séance, or than any unsupported assertion that the thing is impossible.
WILLIAM HOWITT, the well-known author of “Rural Life in England," of several historical works exhibiting great research, of many excellent works of fiction, and recently of a “History of Discovery in Australia,” has had extensive opportunities of investigating the phenomena, and can hardly be supposed to be incapable of judging of such palpable facts as these :-“Mrs. Howitt had a sprig of geranium handed to her by an invisible hand, which we have planted, and it is growing; so that it is no delusion, no fairy money turned into dross or leaves. I saw a spirit hand as distinctly as I ever saw my own.
I touched one several times, once when it was handing me a flower.”
“A few evenings afterwards a lady desiring that the · Last Rose of Summer' might be played by a spirit on the accordion, the wish was complied with, but in so wretched a style that the company begged that it might be discontinued. This was done, but soon after, evidently by another spirit, the accordion was carried and suspended over the lady's head, and there, without any visible support or action on the instrument, the air was played through most admirably, in the view and hearing of all.”—Letter from William Howitt to Mr. Barkas, of Newcastle, reprinted in Home's "Incidents of my Life," 2nd ed., p. 189.
Here the fact of the spectators not receiving bad music for good, because they believed it to proceed from a superhuman source, is decidedly in favour of their coolness and judgment; and the fact was one which the senses of ordinary mortals are quite capable of verifying.
The Hon. COLONEL WILBRAHAM sent the following letter to Mr. Home. I extract it from the Spiritual Magazine:
“ 46 Brook Street, April 14th, 1863. “ My dear Mr. Home,-I have much pleasure in stating that I have attended several séances, in your presence, at the houses of two of my intimate friends and at my own, when I have witnessed phenomena similar to those described in your book, which I feel certain could not have been produced by any trick or collusion whatever. The rooms in which they occurred were always perfectly lighted; and it was impossible for me to disbelieve the evidence of my own senses.—Believe me, yours very truly,
“ E. B. WILBRAHAM.”' S. C. HALL, F.S.A., Barrister-at-Law, Editor of the Art Journal, and well known in literary, artistic, and philanthropic circles, has written the following letter to the Editor of the Spiritual Magazine (1863, p. 336)
“Sir,- I follow the example of Colonel Wilbraham, and desire to record my belief in the statements put forth by Mr. D. D. Home ( Incidents of my Life'). I have myself seen nearly all the marvels he relates ; some in his presence, some with other mediums, and some when there was no medium-aid (when Mrs. Hall and I sat alone). Not long ago I must have confessed to disbelief in all miracles; I have seen so many that my faith as a Christian is now not merely outward profession, but entire and solemn conviction. For this incalculable good I am indebted to “Spiritualism ;' and it
bounden duty to induce knowledge of its power to teach and to make happy. That duty may, for the present, be limited to a declaration of confidence in Mr. Home.-Yours, &c.,
"S. C. HALL.” NASSAU WILLIAM SENIOR, late Master in Chancery, and twice Professor of Political Economy in the University of Oxford, was one who, it will astonish many persons to hear, had become convinced of the truth and reality of what they in their superior knowledge suppose to be a gross delusion. In his “Historical and Philosophical Essays,” vol. ii. pp. 256-266, he gives a careful summary of the amount and kind of evidence in favour of Phrenology, Homoeopathy, and Mesmerism, and concludes thus :-“No one can doubt that phenomena like these deserve to be
observed, recorded, and arranged; and whether we call by the name of Mesmerism, or by any other name, the science which proposes to do this, is a mere question of nomenclature. Among those who profess this science there may be careless observers, prejudiced recorders, and rash systematisers; their errors and defects may impede the progress of knowledge, but they will not stop it. And we have no doubt that, before the end of this century, the wonders which now perplex almost equally those who accept and those who reject modern Mesmerism will be distributed into defined classes, and found subject to ascertained laws-in other words, will become the subjects of a science."
These views will prepare us for the following statement, made in the Spiritual Magazine, 1864, p. 336, and which can be, no doubt, authoritatively denied if incorrect: “We have only to add, as a further tribute to the attainments and honours of Mr. Senior, that he was by long inquiry and experience a firm believer in Spiritual power and manifestations. Mr. Home was his frequent guest, and Mr. Senior made no secret of his belief among his friends. He it was who recommended the publication of Mr. Home's recent work by Messrs. Longmans, and he authorised the publication, under initials, of one of the striking incidents there given, which happened to a near and dear member of his family.”
The Rev. WILLIAM KERR, M.A., Incumbent of Tipton, in his recent work on "Future Punishment, Immortality, and Modern Spiritualism,” thus gives his testimony to the facts:-“The writer of these pages has, for a length of time, bestowed great attention upon the subject, and is in a position to affirm with all confidence, from his own experience, and repeated trials, that the alleged phenomena of Spiritualism are, for by far the most part, the products neither of imposture nor delusion. They are true, and that to the fullest extent. The marvels which he himself has witnessed, in the private retirement of his own home, with only a few select friends, and without having even so much as ever seen a public medium, are in many respects fully equal to any of the startling narratives that have appeared in print."
THACKERAY, though a cool-headed man of the world, and a close student of human nature, could not resist the evidence of his senses in this matter. Mr. Weld, in his “Last Winter in Rome,” p. 180, states, that at a dinner shortly after the appearance in the Cornhill Magazine of the article entitled “Stranger than Fiction,” Mr. Thackeray was reproached with having permitted such a paper to appear. After quietly hearing all that could be said on the subject, Thackeray replied: “It is all very well for you, who have probably never seen any spiritual manifestations, to talk as you do; but had you seen what I have witnessed, you would hold a different opinion.” He then proceeded to inform Mr. Weld, and the company, that when in New York, at a dinner party, he saw the large and heavy dinner table, covered with decanters, glasses, and a complete dessert, rise fully two feet from the ground, the modus operandi being, as he alleged, spiritual force. No possible jugglery, he declared, was or could have been employed, on the occasion; and he felt so convinced that the motive force was supernatural, that he then and there gave in his adhesion to the truth of Spiritualism, and consequently accepted the article on Mr. Home's séance.
The late CHANCELLOR, LORD LYNDHURST, was another eminent convert to Spiritualism. In the Spiritual Magazine, 1863, p. 519, it is said: "He was a careful and scrutinizing observer of all facts which came under his notice, and had no predilections or prejudices against any, and during the repeated interviews which he has had with Mr. Home, he was entirely satisfied of the nearness of the spiritual world, and of the power of spirits to communicate with those still in the flesh. As to the truth of the mere physical phenomena, he had no difficulty in acknowledging them to the fullest extent, neither did he, like many, make any secret of his conviction, as his friends can testify."
ARCHBISHOP WHATELY was a Spiritualist. Mr. Fitzpatrick in his “Memoirs of Whately” tells us, that the Archbishop had been long a believer in Mesmerism, and latterly in clairvoyance and Spiritualism. “He went from one extreme to another, until he avowed an implicit belief in clairvoyance, induced a lady who possessed it to become an inmate of his house, and some of the last acts of his life were excited attempts at table-turning, and enthusiastic elicitations of spirit-rapping.” This converted into plain language means, that the Archbishop examined into the facts before deciding against their possibility; and having satisfied himself by personal experiment of their reality, saw their immense importance, and pursued the investigation with ardour.
Dr. ELLIOTSON, who for many years was one of the most determined opponents of Spiritualism, was at length convinced by the irresistible logic of facts. Mr. Coleman thus writes in the Spiritual Magazine, 1864, p. 216 :-"I am,' Dr. Elliotson said to me, and it is with his sanction that I make the announcement, 'now quite satisfied of the reality of the phenomena. I am not yet prepared to admit that they are produced by the agency of spirits. I do not deny this, as I am unable to satisfactorily account for what I have seen on any other hypothesis. The explanations which have been made to account for the phenomena do not satisfy me, but I desire to reserve my opinion on that point at present. I am free, however, to say that I regret