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which, as the officers entered, seemed to be furiously dissipating in vapor. They relate that, on finding himself taken, Von Keinpelen seized the crucibles with both hands (which were encased in gloves that afterwards turned out to be asbestic), and threw the contents on the tiled foor. It was now that they hand-cuffed him; and, before proceeding to ransack the premises, they searched his person, but nothing unusual was found about him, excepting a paper parcel, in his coat pocket, containing what was afterwards ascertained to be a mixture of antimony and some unknown substance, in nearly, but not quite, equal proportions. All attempts at analyzing the unknown substance have, so far, failed, but that it will ultimately be analyzed, is not to be doubted.
Passing out of the closet with their prisoner, the officers went through a sort of ante-chamber, in which nothing material was found, to the chemist's sleeping-room. They here rummaged some drawers and boxes, but discovered only a few papers, of no importance, and some good coin, silver and gold. At length, looking under the bed, they saw a large, common hair trunk, without hinges, hasp, or lock, and with the top lying carelessly across the bottom portion. Upon attempting to draw this trunk out from under the bed, they found that, with their united strength (there were three of them, all powerful men), they “could not stir it one inch.” Much astonished at this, one of them crawled under the bed, and looking into the trunk, said:
“No wonder we couldn't move it—why, it's full to the brim of old bits of brass !"
Putting his feet, now, against the wall, so as to get a good purchase, and pushing with all his force, while his companions pulled with all theirs, the trunk, with much difficulty, was slid out from under the bed, and its contents examined. The supposed brass with which it was filled was all in small, smooth pieces, varying from the size of a pea to that of a dollar; but the pieces were irregular in shape, although all more or less flat-looking, upon the whole,“ very much as lead looks when thrown upon the ground in a molten state, and there suffered to grow cool.” Now, not one of these officers for a moment suspected this metal to be anything but brass. The idea of its being gold never entered their cains, of course; how could such a wild fancy have entered it! And their astonishment may be well conceived, when next day it became known, ail over Bremen, that the “ lot of brass” which they had carted so contemptuously to the police office, without putting themselves to the trouble of pocketing the smallest scrap, was not only gold—real gold, but gold far finer than any employed in coinage-gold, in fact, absolutely pure, virgin, without the slightest appreciable alloy!
I need not go over the details of Von Kempelen's confession (as far as it went) and release, for these are familiar to the public. That he has actually realized, in spirit and in effect, if not to the letter, the old chimera of the philosopher's stone, no sane person is at liberty to doubt. The opinions of Arago are, of course, entitled to the greatest consideration ; but he is by no means infallible; and what he says of bismuth, in his report to the academy, must be taken cum grano salis. The simple truth is, that up to this period, all analysis has failed ; and until Von Kempelen chooses to let us have the key to his own published enigma, it is more than probable that the matter will remain, for years, in statu quo. All that yet can fairly be said to be known, is, that “pure gold can be made at will, and very readily, from lead, in connection with cer. tain other substances, in kind and in proportions, unknown.”
Speculation, of course, is busy as to the immediate and ultimate results of this discovery-—a discovery which few thinking persons will hesitate in referring to an increased interest in the matter of gold generally, by the late developments in California ; and this reflection brings us inevitably to another—the exceeding inopportuneness of Von Kempelen's analysis. If many were prevented from adventuring to California, by the mere apprehension that gold would so materially diminish in value, on account of its plentifulness in the mines there, as to render the speculation of goiny so far in search of it a doubtful one-what impression will be wrought now, upon the minds of those about to emigrate, and especially upon the minds of those actually in the mineral region, by the announcement of this astounding discovery of Von Kempelen? a discovery which declares, in so many words, that beyond its intrinsic worth for manufacturing purposes, (whatever that würth may be), gold now is, or at least soon will be (for it cannot be supposed that Von Kempelen can long retain his secret) of no greater value than lead, and of far inferior value to silver. It is indeed, exceedingly difficult to speculate prospectively upon the consequences of the discovery; but one thing may be positively maintained—that the announcement of the discovery six months ago, would have had material influence in regard to the settle. inent of California.
In Europe, as yet, the most noticeable results have been a rise of two bundred por cent. in the price of lead, and nearly twentyfive per cent. in that of silver.
WHATEVER doubt may still envelop the rationale of mesmerism, its startling facts are now almost universally admitted. Of these latter, those who doubt, are your mere doubters by professionun unprofitable and disreputable tribe. There can be no more absolute waste of time than the attempt to prove, at the present day, that man, by mere exercise of will, can so impress his fel. low, as to cast him into an abnormal condition, of which the phenomena resemble very closely those of death, or at least re. semble them more nearly than they do the phenomena of any other normal condition within our cognizance; that, while in this state, the person so impressed employs only with effort, and then feebly, the external organs of sense, yet perceives, with keenly refined perception, and through channels supposed unknown, matters beyond the scope of the physical organs; that, moreover, his intellectual faculties are wonderfully exalted and invigorated; that his sympathies with the person so impressing him are profound ; and, finally, that his susceptibility to the impression in. creases with its frequency, while, in the same proportion, the pe. culiar phenomena elicited are more extended and more pronounced.
I say that these—which are the laws of mesmerism in its gen. eral features—it would be supererogation to demonstrate ; nor shall I inflict upon my readers so needless a demonstration to-day. My purpose at present is a very different one indeed. I am impelled, even in the teeth of a world of prejudice, to detail without com. ment the very remarkable substance of a colloquy, occurring between a sleep-waker and myself.
I had been long in the habit of mesmerizing the person in
question, (Mr. Vankirk,) and the usual acute susceptibility and exaltation of the mesmeric perception had supervened. For many months he had been laboring under confirmed phthisis, the more distressing effects of which had been relieved by my manipula. tions; and on the night of Wednesday, the fifteenth instant, I was summoned to his bedside.
The invalid was suffering with acute pain in the region of the heart, and breathed with great difficulty, having all the ordinary symptoms of asthma. In spasms such as these he had usually found relief from the application of mustard to the nervous cen. tres, but to-night this had been attempted in vain.
As I entered his room he greeted me with a cheerful smile, and although evidently in much bodily pain, appeared to be, mentally, quite at ease.
“ 1 sent for you to-night,” he said, “not so much to administer to my bodily ailment, as to satisfy me concerning certain psychal impressions which, of late, have occasioned me much anxiety and surprise. I need not tell you how sceptical I have hitherto been on the topic of the soul's immortality. I cannot deny that there has always existed, as if in that very soul which I have been denying, a vague half-sentiment of its own existence. But this half-sentiment at no time amounted to conviction. With it my reason had nothing to do. All attempts at logical inquiry re. sulted, indeed, in leaving me more sceptical than before. I had been advised to study Cousin. I studied him in his own works as well as in those of his European and American echoes. The • Charles Elwood’ of Mr. Brownson, for example, was placed in my hands. I read it with profound attention. Throughout I found it logical, but the portions which were not merely logical were unhappily the initial arguments of the disbelieving hero of the book. In his summing up it seemed evident to me that the reasoner had not even succeeded in convincing himself. His end had plainly forgotten his beginning, like the government of Trinculo. In short, I was not long in perceiving that if man is to be intellectually convinced of his own immortality, he will never be 80 convinced by the mere abstractions which have been so long the fashion of the moralists of England, of France, and of Ger. many. Abstractions may amuse and exercise, but take no hold