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Rapport des commissaires chargés par le roi de l'examen du magnétisme animal imprimé par ordre du roi (Paris: L'Imprimerie royale, 1784).

  • 1784
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • 26 cm H
  • Edelstein Rarebook Room
  • Neville Rare Book Collection
  • RGNb10341791


By 1784, Mesmerism—the doctrine that all living things possess animal magnetism and that this magnetic fluid can be manipulated to effect cures—had become a popular enough fad to threaten the established scientific authority and, indirectly, the state.  Louis XVI appointed a blue ribbon scientific commission to assess the claims of Mesmerism, which included Franklin, Lavoisier, the astronomer Bailly, and Dr. Guillotin (yes, that Guillotin), among others.  Franklin is given pride of place as the first signature on the report, which finds, unsurprisingly, that there is no basis to Mesmerism.

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