Warburton, Eliot
Travels in Egypt and the Holy Land, or, The crescent and the cross: comprising the romance and realities of eastern travel — Philadelphia, 1859

Page: 103
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https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/warburton1859/0133
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CHAP XV.]

MAGNETISM.

103

above the head of the sick person, and the other is on his breast.
When priestcraft began to wane in Egypt, magnetism, amongst
other of its instruments, seems to have passed over into Greece,
and the Pythoness, perhaps, directed the politics of the world by
her revelations, when in the ecstatic state of clairvoyance. A
very intelligent French physician, in the Pasha's service, whom
I met upon the Nile, pointed out to me a curious passage in
Plautus, which seems to imply that magnetism was not unknown
to the Romans. Amphytr. sc. 1. Mercurius et Sosia. Mer.
" Quod si ego ilium tractim tangam ut dormiat?" Sos. " Ser-
vaveris, nam continuas has tres noctes pervigilavi." The same
person told me that he believed great and extensive benefit might
be produced by the use of magnetism, in Egypt particularly,
where every constitution seems subject to its influences ; while
in France and England its action is chiefly confined to the more
delicate and finer organizations of mind and body.

When the brilliant but credulous minds of the Arabians
began to exercise an influence in Europe, facts borrowed an
energy and vitality from fancies, that made men zealous as they
could never otherwise have been. Astronomy would have been
too practical and abstruse for those busy and material times ;
but, wrapt in the robes of astrology, it was eagerly followed.
Thus also chemistry prevailed through alchemy, and medicine
through magic. As Avicenna, and the few Arab writers on
pathology, present us chiefly with results, and the publications
of those times were intended only for the initiated, the obscurity
of their means can only be penetrated by conjecture, based on
the causes that present similar results at present. We find that
epilepsy, derangement, and many other disorders dependent on
the nervous system, were cured by the Egyptian priests : yet
medicine seems to have been little understood, and surgery un.
known. Moral medicine, however, acted, and no doubt acts at
this day, with great facility on the imaginative Arabs, predis-
posing them to magnetic influences. 1 never looked at an
Oriental, seated on his little carpet, smoking his chibouque, and
apparently sharing in the trance that seems to wrap all nature
ihat surrounds him—without thinking of a magnetic seance
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