From the early summer of 1839, I was, till this autumn, a prisoner from illness. My recovery now, by means of mesmeric treatment alone, has given me the most thorough knowledge possible that mesmerism is true.
This is not the place in which to give any details of my disease. It will be sufficient to explain briefly, in order to render my story intelligible, that the internal disease, under which I have suffered, appears to have been coming on for many years; that after warnings of failing health, which I carelessly overlooked, I broke down while traveling abroad in June 1839—that I sank lower and lower for three years after my return and remained nearly stationary for two more, preceding last June. During these five years, I never felt wholly at ease for one single hour. I seldom had severe pain, but never entire comfort. A besetting sickness, almost disabling me from taking food for two years, brought me very low, and together with other evils, it confined me to a condition of almost entire stillness—to a life passed between my bed and my sofa. Everything was done for me that the best medical skill and science could suggest, and the most indefatigable humanity and family affection could devise, but nothing could avail beyond mere alleviation. My dependence on opiates was desperate. My kind and vigilant medical friend—the most sanguine man I know and the most bent upon keeping his patients hopeful—avowed to me last Christmas, and twice afterward, that he found himself compelled to give up all hope of affecting the disease, of doing more than keeping me up, in collateral respects, to the highest practicable point.
Surrounded as I was by relations and friends who, knowing nothing of mesmerism, regarded it as a delusion or an imposture, it was morally impossible for me to entertain the idea of trying it while any hope was cherished from other means. After my medical friend’s avowal of his hopelessness, however, I felt myself not only at liberty but in duty bound to try, if possible, the only remaining resource for alleviation.
Deep as are my obligations to my faithful and skillful medical friend, for a long course of humane effort on his part, no one kindness of his has touched me so sensibly as the grace with which he met my desire to try a means of which he had no knowledge or opinion, and himself brought over the mesmerist under whom the first trial of my susceptibility was made. Last winter, I wrote to two friends in London, telling them of my desire to try mesmerism and entreating them to be on the watch to let me know if anyone came this way of whose aid I might avail myself. They watched for me, and one made it a business to gain all the information she could on my behalf, but nothing was actually done, or seemed likely to be done, when in June a sudden opening for the experiment was made, without any effort of my own, and on the twenty-second, I found myself, for the first time, under the hands of a mesmerist.
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