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his position, and with the assurance of a man willing to give himself airs of importance he dilates on the horrors of the laboratory— stupid stories, accepted without a misgiving by M. von Weber, of whose physiological knowledge they even now form the sum total.*
A German spinster. El pis Melena, the author of some sleepy novels, used these wretched stories as material for a little work on the miseries of a cat; and this it is which has given the signal for a savage onslaught on the physiological laboratories throughout the length and breadth of Germany.
It is true that the adhesion of Professor Zollner, of Leipsic, and his passionate attack on his old friend and colleague Professor Ludwig, have powerfully contributed to the success of the agitation fomented by M. von Weber.
M. Zollner, a very distinguished astronomer and physicist, unluckily belonged to a family every member of which is more or less touched with insanity. He himself, afflicted in addition with a physical deformity which condemned him to the life of an ascetic, was attacked towards the end of his life by the hereditary malady. He died mad last year. From 1865 to 1875—that is to say, during the most brilliant period of his scientific activity—M. Zollner, who owed to the influence of Ludwig his chair of astronomy at Leipsic, had been the friend and admirer of that illustrious physiologist, and au habitual visitor at his laboratory. It was there that friendly relations grew up between him and me. Indeed, it was M. Zollner—as he has since reminded me with a certain satisfaction—who initiated me into the study of the higher mathematics. An open-minded and impassioned student, he attended often and with the greatest interest at operations on animals, never showing the least repugnance, much less disapprobation. When I was at Leipsic in 1875 and 1876, I several times invited him to be present at experiments on the semicircular canals of pigeons. It is well known what a frightful appearance is presented by the disordered movements of animals in whom these canals have been cut. No one took more interest in these experiments than M. Zollner; and he appreciated to the full their psychological bearings on the formation of our notions of space. It was he, too, who congratulated me on having undertaken to codify, so to speak, in my work the scientific methods of modern physiology.
How, then, can it have come about that the same man should, two years later, have become the standard-bearer of the anti-vivisectionist agitation? The explanation of this change of front is very simple. The mental malady, the germs of which he carried within him, but which till 1877 had shown itself by symptoms intelligible only to the specialist,* at last took possession of that fine brain, and—with the help of Spiritism—established its dominion there.
* It is well known that medical students in their first year often take pleasure in telling imaginary horrors of the dissecting room. It was the same kind of wish to pose before a stranger which took possession of Professor Ludwig's conciiryc.
Rambling discursions on Spiritism, on the fourth dimension, and on the supernatural powers of the medium Slade, published in the collected works of M. Zollner, gave the first intimation to his friends of the terrible malady which had seized him. Perhaps under the circumstances his colleagues hardly showed the indulgence due to the errors of so distinguished a man. Their jests and their opposition did hut exasperate the sick man and complete the overthrow of his reason.
The anti-vivisectionists were not slow to take advantage of this quarrel with his colleagues, and especially with Ludwig and others who had made the mistake of forgetting that it is impossible to reason with a madman. They fell upon the unhappy savant, and succeeded with little difficulty in utilizing his insanity in their contest with the laboratories.
In reading M. Zollner'slast book,f one follows with a sort of terror the progressive ravages of insanity on a fine and rare intelligence. The floundering amongst crude and inconsequent conceptions, the impossibility of keeping to one set of ideas for so much as two or three consecutive sentences, the declamations against the vivisectors, mixed up with views on the political mission of Bismarck, observations on the amours of Lassalle and Madame de Rakowitz, furious sallies against the Jews, against the opponents of Spiritism, and against the (supposed) scientific errors of Sir William Thomson—all this offers to the student of mental disease a most striking instance of diseased intellectual activity with occasional fits of furious madness.
If the conversation of a dozen inmates of Bedlam during twentyfour hours were taken down by stenography, it would not make a more extraordinary collection of nonsense than the ravings of this anti-vivisectionist. %
Zollner's little work ended in a petition addressed to the Reichstag. The list of signatures to this document is most curious. What first strikes one is the large number of names belonging to the staff of the Prussian army. One never would have suspected that such compassion for the sufferings of rabbits and frogs would reign in the breasts of these men, whose harshness in action is proverbial, and whose inhumanity sufficiently proved itself during the war of 18701871. The Blumenthals and others who shot the free-shooters they captured, who bombarded inhabited houses, hospitals, and museums, in order to hasten the capitulation of fortified towns,—these are the men who shed tears over the sad fate of some poor rabbit snatched too early from household joys, or of some kitten whose brilliant future has been cut short by the pitiless biologist!
* Zollner has often consulted me on the state of his mind ; he foresaw with terrible distinctness, but also with a surprising stoicism, the catastrophe which was to overwhelm his reason.
+ "Ueber den wissenschaftlichen Missbrauch der Yivisectionen." Leipzig, 1S82.
X The auti-vivisectionist literature is rich in insauities of this sort. Take, for example, Richard Wagner's pamphlet. I defy anybody to rind a specialist who would refuse to give a certificate of madness to the author of these rambling dissertations without liesd or tail to them. The musician who has most agonized the ears of his contemporaries naturally takes his part in the clatter got up by the opponents of modern scieuce.
What absurdity and what pharisaism! People who forbid the discoverer to sacrifice some few animals to the progress of science and the cure of innumerable human sufferers, find it easy to squander thousands of human lives iu colonial wars—which means, in fact, in the interest of commercial enterprise. The life of the frog and the rabbit is sacred; no scientific gain can excuse a physiological experiment. But to immolate soldiers by tens of thousands, to ruin cities, to cause the tears of widows and orphans and bereaved mothers to flow, all in order to secure the payment of the bondholders' coupons, —this is a legitimate thing and shocks no one.
Poor charity and poor humanity! Is there any need, after this edifying example, to speak of noble ladies, of aged dowagers, of hypocritical pastors, who, like Stocker, preach -to-day the destruction of the whole Semitic race, and to-morrow lend the aid of their eloquence to the old maids whose tenderness, despised by man, has flung itself in despair at the feet of cats and parrots? Every sensible reader has already passed his judgment.
It is curious to observe that Protestant countries have a monopoly of the anti-vivisectionist agitation. Among Catholic nations all efforts to stir up public opinion against the pretended barbarities of physiologists have been fruitless. This fact appears still more extraordinary when confronted with a similar fact, which struck me as far back as 1871, when, having formed a committee for subjecting to scientific investigation the spiritist phenomena of Mr. Douglas-Home, I succeeded in exposing all the tricks of that clever conjurer. Spiritism, also, has never been able to take root in Catholic countries. On the other hand, it flourishes at Leipsic and in London, the two metropolises of the anti-vivisection movement. This is certainly no accidental coincidence. To make sure of this, it is only necessary to go over the lists of adherents of the two causes. It will be seen that the same persons who addict themselves to calling up spirits from the vasty deep also breathe out fire and flame against physiological science. Possibly the latter might be forgiven the slight offence of cruelty to animals if it were not guilty of the major offence of bringing to light the tricks of mediums.
This exemption of Catholic countries is due to several causes, some of which I will point out, without pretending to exhaust so large a subject. In the first place Catholicism opens to old maids of excited imagination a refuge in its convents. The ecstatic adora
tion of the Heart of Jesus or of the Blessed Virgin offers sufficient food for the mysticism of these disordered minds. An enthusiasm of piety acts as a powerful diversion to the explosions of a morbid nervous condition. For want of a similar resource, the Protestant old maids fling themselves into the mysteries of Spiritism, or give themselves up to a fantastic charity rarely directed to any worthy object.* The task of protecting a few animals from the physiologists appears to them the noblest employment to which their lives can be consecrated.
The Catholic religion, clearly, provides full satisfaction for the mystical and superstitious tendencies indigenous to the soil of the human mind. The Protestant religion, on the contrary, with its cold formalism and rigid creed, is very far from satisfying these needs. Even in Catholic countries, we see sceptics like Dumas and Sardou, who would be ashamed to have any one credit them with any faith in God, addict themselves with ardour to the practice of Spiritism. If ever the anti-vivisectionist agitation acquires any proselytes in France, it will find them, I am well persuaded, only amongst the so-called freethinkers and amongst the Protestants.
E. De Cyon.
MDE CYON, in this interesting essay, has criticized rather # freely persons of whom he subsequently tells us frankly that he knows little. "I know the English leaders"—i.e., of the Antivivisection movement—" too little," he says, "to seek instances among them in support of what I say." In that case, surely it would have been more scientific if he had confined what he says of theui— which he does not—to those of whom he knows more than a little. It is of "the English leaders" that he has just said, "very few are sincere; the greater part only seek to gain at little cost a notoriety and a position they could not otherwise have secured; and often their true object is even less creditable. The interrogation of
* When I was visiting the English asylums in 1S67, I was struck with the contrast between the extraordinary luxury of these asylums, intended for the poor, for idiots (u Earlswood), and even for criminals (as Broadmoor), and the dreary misery of the workhouses, and even of workmen's dwellings in the great industrial centres. When one considers that ten thousand children of sound mind—among whom, for aught we know, there may be a Newton or a Shakespeare—are found deserted on the London pavement, without home, .without food, without education, whilst millions of money are expended in teaching a few hundred idiots to execute automatic movements and sing part-songs, one is indeed struck with astonishment at the aberrations of the charitable mind. One would almost suppose, to look at it, that madmen and idiots, by the very fact of their going out of their minds, had rendered the most signal service to the State and to society.
Mr. Jesse, the chief promoter of the agitation in England, is most instructive from this point of view, and cannot leave in any just mind the slightest illusion as to his humanitarian sentiments." Now, it is quite certain that Mr. Jesse was not the first promoter of this agitation in England. I myself had heen engaged for years in doing all I could to put some check on the reckless prosecution of research hy painful experiments on living animals, before I ever heard of Mr. Jesse's name; and this I can say most sincerely, that M. de Cyon is entirely ignorant of the very elements of the English situation when he supposes that insincerity in some, and "want of occupation," " an eccentricity amounting to disease," and "hysterical sentimentality," in others, will account for the success of the anti-vivisection movement in England. I know as many men as I do women, as many overworked men as I do men of leisure, as many men remarkable for plain common sense as I do men of sentiment, who have joined in this movement, and who have joined in it from the sheer sense of justice and humanity, and no other motive whatever. If M. de Cyon knew what he was talking about— so far as regards the English movement at all events—he would see how unscientific and even silly it is in him to judge a priori of the kind of persons who have taken part in this movement in England. To class men like Lord Shaftesbury, the Lord Chief Justice of England, the late Professor Rolleston, the eminent surgeon Mr. Lawson Tait, and a great many other professional men, as either hypocrites or hysterical sentimentalists, betrays nothing but rashness and ignorance. Indeed, I might honestly say even for myself, that I doubt if a busier, a less sentimental, a less hysterical man, or one less willing to pass hasty judgments on subjects of which he is wholly ignorant, could be easily found than I am; and yet I have taken an active part in this movement as long as it has existed in England. M. de Cyon is, no doubt, a highly scientific physiologist, but a less scientific critic of his adversaries I have seldom met with. He docs not take the very essential precaution of learning something of the nature of the agitation of which he is about to speak. He makes another ludicrous mistake in saying that it is only necessary to go over the names of the adherents of the Anti-vivisection movement and the so-called Spiritist movement, to show that the same persons devote themselves to these two distinct causes. So far as I know the English movement, nothing could be more flagrantly contrary to the fact. The lady who has done most for the Anti-vivisection movement in this country, Miss Cobbe, is a thoroughly religious Rationalist, who has poured contempt on the Spiritist movement whenever she has had a chance. Indeed, I can at the present moment recollect only one writer of the smallest note on the Anti-vivisection question who has ever been known as identified