« PreviousContinue »
been tried much until recently. Dr. Forel of Zürich, Dr. Voisin, and others, claim to have had very encouraging results in certain forms of insanity, though Dr. Percy Smith's attempts at Bethlehem Hospital have not yet met with much success. Insanity is a thing so completely beyond all ordinary therapeutic measures that any additional method of treatment is welcome. Similarly certain vices and disorders of childhood are extremely difficult to deal with, and Dr. Bérillon has made out a good case for the use of hypnotism here. For the rest, we can only expect that hypnotism will be employed here and there in exceptional cases as an additional means, to be handled with the greatest discretion, when others have failed. It is not a remedy that can or ought ever to come into general use. If modern investigations make anything clear, it is that the real value of hypnotism lies in its efficiency as a method of research. We possess no such powerful instrument for searching out the mysteries of the physiology and pathology of the nervous system and of the mind. It has been truly called a method of moral vivisection;' but whether any one is justified in practising such moral vivisection is very much open to doubt.
In conclusion, if any ask, What after all is mesmerism? we can only say that its real nature remains a mystery. None of the modern theories cover all the ground, nor would they explain the essence of the thing even if they did. Certainly it is not merely a form of hysteria, as they say in Paris; and even if it were, we do not know, cannot even guess, what hysteria itself is. Equally certain it is not all subjective, all due to suggestion, and therefore a mere extension of the ordinary influence which one mind has over another, as they say at Nancy. That does not explain the influencing of patients behind their backs, without their knowledge, as was done by Esdaile in open court and since by Liégeois. Nor is it compatible with the definite physiological effects upon the muscles, the circulation, and the secretions, which have been proved to take place; nor with the mesmerizing of the lower animals, of birds, snakes, and crabs, which is an established fact. Besides, the ordinary influence of one mind over another is always greatest between strangers: witness the case of lunatics and children; the more familiar people are, the less influence they have, whereas in hypnotism the exact opposite obtains-influence is proportionate to familiarity. And even if this theory of suggestion being everything were tenable, we should still ask :-What is this condition in which the influence of another's mind is increased to such an extraordinary degree? Heidenhain's physiological theory that it is
due to inhibition' of the higher centres in the cerebral cortex does not help us much. What is inhibition, and how is it established? There can be little doubt that the actual mechanism by which the phenomena are brought about is the modification of the circulation in the brain. We may suppose that in the ordinary state there is a central organ which holds the balance between the others and prevents any being specially prominent. In the hypnotic state this is thrown out of gear somehow or other, and then, on attention being drawn to a particular organ, the blood rushes thither, and a condition of tremendous over-activity ensues; hence the heightening of the senses and other faculties, which seems so marvellous. All the energy is, as it were, concentrated in one spot. But that leaves us just as much in the dark as before about the real nature of the state in which this happens, and how it is induced. The only theory which attempts to go to the root of the matter is Mesmer's own, and it may be that some day, when our knowledge is extended, that theory, though couched in the vague and fanciful language of the last century, will be found to contain the germ of a true idea. There is nothing inherently absurd in supposing that living creatures possess a property analogous to magnetism, by virtue of which they may act and react on each other; and there is not a little in the most recent experiments, particularly those with magnets, which go some way towards proving it. At least Science has learnt a lesson from her discomfiture in the past, and will not be so ready to deny the existence of a thing simply because it cannot be seen. 'De non apparentibus et de non existentibus eadem est ratio' may be a good maxim in law, but is a bad one in science.
ART. X.-1. The New York City Ring. By Samuel J. Tilden. New York, 1873.
2. The History of Tammany: New York Star. 1883, 1884. 3. Machine Politics, and Money in Elections in New York City. By William M. Ivins. New York, 1887.
4. The American Commonwealth.
London and New York, 1888.
By James Bryce, M.P.
5. New York City Daily Journals, 1870-1890.
ERIN'S Manaten and things. If the definition be
RIN'S Isle,-Manhattan.' So says 'Life,' a shrewd New
accurate, we have the whole purpose of this article in three words; possibly, before we finish, we may be in a position to show whether the definition is accurate or not. It is necessary, however, to state, for the benefit of strangers, that Manhattan is the aboriginal name of the Island which, until a few years ago, was co-extensive with the City and County of New York.
It is a somewhat difficult task for an outsider to determine what an American means by the term 'Home Rule.' There is Federal Home Rule at Washington; 'government of the people by the people, and for the people;' there is State Home Rule in each State; municipal Home Rule in the large cities. The Federal Government is jealously excluded from all interference with State rights; and the municipalities claim, within certain limits, complete autonomy in the management of local affairs. The limits of each autonomy are clearly defined; and, theoretically at all events, American Home Rule means, as defined by the Hon. Abram S. Hewitt, when Mayor of New York in 1888, that 'America should be governed by Americans,' with the American flag as the symbol of Home Rule and of the sovereignty of the people.'
But in New York the American flag fails as an acknowledged symbol of Home Rule. One-third of the inhabitants are, as we shall show, of Irish birth or of Irish descent; and this third part of the population has so dominated the remainder, that the 'Irish flag,' whatever that may be, is raised as the peculiar local symbol of Home Rule in Manhattan. The Irish are in fact and evidence the rulers there; and they supply fully twice their due proportion of the city aldermen and magistrates, policemen, criminals, and paupers. They can turn Municipal, State, and even Federal elections. They hold not only the balance of power, but actually rule New York;
and since, more than once, the Presidential election has turned on the vote of New York City and State, in ruling New York they practically rule the country.
At home the Irish have never found a government to suit them. Laws proscribing evil-doers, and protecting those who are amenable to social and political authority, have hitherto been specially obnoxious to the Irish character. The people do, no doubt, prefer a varying element of illegality, and submit best to a despotism. But since anarchy has now been vigorously expelled, and individual despotism has become impossible, the Irish accept, when they have opportunity, the despotism of a mob. Such despotism they denominate Home Rule,' and legal statesmanship, enforcing equitable order, is by them, in their disorder, called 'coercion.'
In one quarter of the world, however, it appears that Irishmen are satisfied, and find Home Rule according to their mind. In New York City they seem quite at home; and if we take a little pains to see how New York has been ruled of late by Irishmen and their associated sympathisers, we may understand what blessings for Belfast, and Cork, and Dublin, would result from, and accompany, Home Rule in Ireland.
It becomes then a matter of interest to discover how the Irish so 'oppressed' and so 'coerced' at home behave abroad when they have power and opportunity to rule. It might, however, be presumptuous in an Englishman to decide this question. Let Americans answer; the reader bearing constantly in mind that two-thirds of the influence and character revealed are Irish.
Speaking of the loss to New York of the World's Fair,' 'America' (March 6, 1890) attributes this to corrupt politics;' while Life,' of the same date, pronounces New York City 'singularly incapable of carrying out such a project successfully' on account of its 'political rottenness.' The Aldermen are especially corrupt; it is impossible to get any authorization of work with money' in it passed through the Board without first satisfying their itching palms. The granting of a charter for a railroad in Broadway was a few years ago a notable illustration of this fact; public opinion was so outraged that the corrupt members were indicted. Some of them saved themselves by skipping' to Canada; some were tried and convicted, and are now suffering for their misdeeds in State prisons. In the trials of others the juries disagreed: their re-trials were conveniently postponed; and now the witnesses, whose evidence is necessary to conviction, suffer a grievous lapse of memory. Thus the trials of the Aldermen for bribery have been,
been, in more than one instance, the merest farce; the last case has been dismissed; and, according to the New York Times,'' it is not by any means certain that the result will be effectively exemplary. . . . Aldermen, belonging, as a rule, to the ignorant and dangerous classes, have short memories, and a tale of a conviction for bribery five years old will have very little deterrent effect upon them compared with the attractive effect of untraceable bank-notes in large denominations. . . . The real remedy is to see that it is not worth anybody's while to bribe them; and this means the taking from the Aldermen the power to dispose of valuable franchises' ('concessions') 'at their own discretion.' Indeed, the Aldermen have already lost the confirmation of the Mayor's appointments to heads of Departments, which has been taken from them by the Legislature, because they would only confirm the appointments of men whom they thought would be serviceable to themselves. They now retain only the power of granting franchises, of authorization of street opening and nomenclature, and some minor legislative powers. No European city,' says Mr. Bryce, in his American Commonwealth,' has witnessed scandals approaching those of New York.'
In 1885, Mr. William M. Ivins was private secretary to Mayor Grace, by whom he was appointed City Chamberlain; and he is, therefore, in a position to speak with authority; which must be our excuse for quoting him somewhat at length. Referring to 'assessments, that is, money paid by candidates to 'guarantee the result' of their elections, he gives as the total in an average year, at the lowest estimate $211,200, or 40,2407. Regarding the ultimate consequence of this jobbery, he adds :—
The existing system amounts to an almost complete exclusion from official public life of all men who are not enabled to pay, if not a sum equal to the entire salary of the office they seek, at least a very large percentage of it. The poor man, or the moderately wellto-do man, is thus at once cut off from all political ambition, because the only key to success is wealth or machine power. The ablest lawyer at our Bar could not secure a nomination for a judgeship unless he were able to pay an assessment of from $10,000 to $20,000 (2000l. to 40007.); while a mere political lawyer, if he have the means of paying his assessment and stands well with the party leaders, can without great difficulty secure a nomination, and even an election, to an office for which he has no peculiar qualifications.'
So well has Mr. Ivins exposed jobbery in New York, that a recent declaration of the present Counsel to the Corporation, that the city is entitled to all fees collected by the Chamberlain,