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1665 __ « Scepsis Scientifica »
Joseph Glanvill (1636-1680)
Comment : In the SCEPSIS SCIENTIFICA, published in 1665, Joseph Glanvill wrote, « to confer at the distance of the Indies by sympathetic conveyances may be as usual to future times as to us in literary correspondence. » (The Rosicrucians also believed that if two persons transplanted pieces of their flesh into each other, and tattooed the grafts with letters, a sympathetic telegraph could be established by pricking the letters.). (John Munro. Glanvill is also the author of “Philosophical Considerations Touching Witches and Witchcraft”, 1666, and of “The Sadducismus Triumphatus”, 1681.)
French comment : "Pour peu qu'on réfléchisse à ce commerce intime et merveilleux de deux âmes qui devinent réciproquement leurs pensées et leurs sentiments, qui, dans une certaine mesure, se pénètrent l'une l'autre par une sorte de vertu intuitive, on conçoit qu'en présence des faits surprenants dus à une surexcitation nerveuse, des personnes peu versées dans la science pathologique aient affirmé la possibilité que cette vertu, déjà si efficace, acquière, dans certaines conditions, un nouveau degré d'intensité et de clairvoyance, et qu'elle établisse entre ces deux âmes une communication plus parfaite. Du reste, ce qui empêche d'admettre des merveilles de ce genre, ce n'est point l'impossibilité de leur existence, mais l'absence de faits convaincants, le silence de l'expérience, ou, à son défaut, d'une autorité assez puissante pour en tenir lieu : "That the fancy of one man should bind the thoughts of another, and determine them to their particular objects, will be thought impossible ; which yet, if we look deeply into the matter, wants not its probability" (J. Glanvill, "Scepsis Scientifica", p. 146). Il est remarquable que cet auteur suppose, comme les mesméristes modernes, un éther subtil servant de moyen de communication en pareil cas. Il avait aussi l'idée d'expliquer ces sympathies à l'aide de l'âme du monde, ou du "nous" d'Anaxagore.”. (Pierre Maurice Mervoyer, "Étude sur l'association des idées", Paris : A. Durand, 1864, p. 310)
Original excerpt : « Should these heroes go on (The Royal Society) as they have happily begun, they will find the world with wonders; and posterity will find many things that are now but “rumours”, verified into practical “realities”. It may be, some ages hence, a “voyage” to the southern unknown tracts, yes, possibly the Moon, will not be more strange than one to America. To them that come after us, it may be as ordinary to buy a pair of wings to fly to the remotest regions, as now a pair of boots to ride a journey, and to confer at the distance of the Indies by sympathetic conveyances, may be as usual in the future as literary correspondence. The restoration of grey hairs to juvenility and the renewing of the exhausted marrow may at length be elicited without a miracle; and the turning the now comparatively desert world into a paradise, may not improbably be effected from late agriculture. Those that judge by the narrowness of former principles and snecesses, will smile at these paradoxical expectations. But the great invention of latter ages, which altered the face of all things, in thair naked proposals and mere suppositions, were to former times as ridiculous. To have talked of a new earth to have been discovered, had beeen a romance to antiquity; and to sail without sight of stars of shores, by the guidance of a mineral, a story more absurd that the flight of Dedalus. That men should speak after their tongues were ashes, or communicate with each other in differing hemispheres, before the invention of letters, could not but have been thought a fiction. Antiquity would not have believed the almost incredible force of our cannons, and would as coldly have entertained the wonders of the telescope. [...] But yet to advance another instance. That men should confer at very distant removes by an extemporary intercourse is a reputed impossibility; but yet there are some hints in natural operations that give us probability that 'tis feasible, and may be compassed without unwarrantable assistance from demoniak correspondence. That a couple of needles equally touched by the same magnet, being set in two dials exactly proportioned to each other, and circumscribed by the letters of the alphabet, may effect this "magnale" (ie. important result) hath considerable authorities to avouch it. The manner of it is represented : Let the friends that would communicate take each a dial, and, having appointed a time for their sympathetic conference, let one move his impregnate needle to any letter in the alphabet, and its affected fellow will precisely respect the same. So that, would I know what my friend would acquaint me with, 'tis but observing the letters that are pointed at by my needle, and in their order transcribing them from their sympathized index, as its motion directs; and I may be assured that my friend described the same with his, and that the words on my paper of his editing. Now, through there will be some ill-contrivance in a circumstance of this invention, in that the thus impregante needles will not move to, but avert from each other (as ingenious Dr. Browne hath observed), yet this cannot prejudice the main design of this way of secret conveyance; since it is but reading counter to the magnetic informer, and noting the letter which is most distant in the Abecederian circle from that which the needle turns to, and the case is not altered. Now, though this desirable effect my possibly not yet answer the expectations of inquisitive experiment, yet 'tis no despicable item, that by some other such way of magnetic efficiency it may hereafter with success be attempted, when magical history shall be enlarged by riper inspections; and 'tis not unlikely but that present discoveries might be improved to the performance. »
Source : Munro, John (1891), “Heroes of the Telegraph”, Published by BiblioBazaar, 2008, Chapter 1, p. 14, and Published by Icon Group International Inc (Webster’s French Thesaurus Edition), p. 6.
Source : Fleury Mottelay, Paul (1922), “Bibliographical History of Electricity and Magnetism, Chronologically Arranged”, Read Books (2008), p. 128.

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