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give any fair account of his views would be to go too far sistible and unalterable conditions, is foolish as well as into a very profitless discussion. This mucb, however, I wrong. The shrewder the blows which Mr. Ruskin can must venture to say. Mr. Ruskin's polemics against the aim at the doctrines that life is to be always a selfish economists on their own ground appear to me to imply a struggle, that adulteration is only a “form of competition," series of misconceptions. He is, for example, very fond of that the only remedy for dishonesty is to let people cheat attacking a doctrine, fully explained (as I should say, each other till they are tired of it, the better; and I only demonstrated) by Mr. Mill, that demand for commodities regret the exaggeration which enables his antagonist to is not demand for labor. I confess that I am unable to un charge him with unfairness. But the missortune is this. derstand the reasons of his indignation against this unfor. On that which I take to be the right theory of political tunate theorem ; and the more so because it seems to me to economy, the supposed "inexorable laws" do not, indeed, be at once the most moral doctrine of political economy, describe the action of forces as eternal and unalterable as and that which Mr. Ruskin should be most anxious to es gravitation ; but they do describe a certain stage of social tablish. It is simply the right answer to that most endur development through which we must pass on our road to ing fallacy that a rich man benefits his neighbors by profli. the millennium. To cast aside the whole existing organgate luxury.
ization as useless and corrupt is, in the first place, to atMandeville's sophistry reappears in Protean shapes totempt a Quixotic tilt against windmills. and, in the next the present day. People still maintain in substance that a place, to deny the existence of the good elements which man supports the poor as well as pleases himself by spend exist, and are capable of healthy growth. The problem is ing money on his own personal enjoyment. In this form, not to do without all our machinery, whether of the mateindeed, Mr. Ruskin accepts the sound doctrine ; but when rial or of the human kind, but to assign to it its proper clothed in the technical language of economists, it seems to place. Mr. Ruskin once said to a minister, who was laact upon him like the proverbial red ray. He is always menting the wickedness in our great cities, “ Well, then, flying at it and denouncing the palpable blunders of men you must not have large cities.” “That,” replied his whose reputation for logical clearness is certainly as good friend, “is an utterly unpractical saying," and I confess as his own. His indignation seems to blind him, and is the that I think the minister was in the right. source of a series of questionable statements, which I can Mr. Ruskin, however, is too impatient or too thoroughnot here attempt to unravel. His attack upon the econo. I going to accept any compromise with the evil thing. Covmists is thus diverted into an unfortunate direction. etousness, he thinks, is at the root of all modern evils; our Political economy is, or ought to be, an accurate descrip- | current political economy is but the gospel of covetousness; tion of the actual phenomena of the industrial organization our social forms are merely the external embodiment of of society. It assumes that, as a matter of fact, the great our spirit; and our science the servant of our grovelling moving force is competition; and traces amongst men the materialism. We have proved the sun to be a "a splenvarious consequences of that struggle for existence of which didly permanent railroad accident," and ourselves to be Mr. Darwin has described certain results amongst animals. the descendants of monkeys; but we have become blind to The complex machinery of trade has been developed out the true light from heaven. Away with the whole of the of the savage simplicity by internal pressure, much as detestable fabric founded in sin, and serving only to shelter species on the Darwinian hypothesis have been developed misery and cruelty! Before Mr. Ruskin's imagination has out of more homogeneous races. Now, it is perfectly open risen a picture of a new society, which shall spring from for any body to say that the conditions thus produced are the ashes of the old, and for which he will do his best to unfavorable to morality at the present day, and that we secure some partial realization. He has begun to raise a should look forward to organizing society on different prin fund, chiefly by his own contributions, and has already ciples. If Mr. Ruskin had said so much, he would have I bought a piece of land. These members of the St. George's found allies instead of enemies amongst the best political Company – that is to be the name of the future commueconomists. Mr. Mill agrees, for instance, with Comte, nity — will lead pure and simple lives. They will cultiand therefore with Mr. Ruskin, that in a perfectly satisfac | vate the land by manual labor, instead of “huzzing and tory social state capitalists would consider themselves as mazing the blessed fields with the Devil's own team ; ” trustees for public benefit of the wealth at their disposal. i the workmen shall be paid fixed wages; the boys shall They would be captains in an industrial army, and he no learn to ride and sail ; the girls to spin, weave, sew, and more governed by the desire of profit than a general by a “cook all ordinary food exquisitely ;” they shall all know desire for prize-money. To bring about such a state of how to sing, and be taught mercy to brutes, courtesy to each things requires a cultivation of the “altruistic” impulses, other, rigid truth-speaking, and strict obedience. And which must be the work of many generations to come. they shall all learn Latin, and the history of five cities,
But Mr. Ruskin in his wrath attributes to all economists Athens, Rome, Venice, Florence, and London. Leading the vulgar interpretation of their doctrines. He calmly "contented lives, in purc air, out of the way of unsightly assumes that political economists regard their own science objects, and emancipated from unnecessary mechanical as a body of “directions for the gaining of wealth, irrespect occupation," the little community will possess the first conively of the consideration of its moral sources." He sup- ditions for the cultivation of the great arts; for great art is poses that they deny that wages can be regulated otherwise the expression of a harmonious, noble, and simple society. than by competition, because they assert that wages are so Let us wish Mr. Ruskin all success ; and yet the path he regulated at present; and that they consider all desires to is taking is strewed with too many failures to suggest much be equally good because they begin by studying the phe- hopefulness — even, we fear, to himself. Utopia is not to nomena of demand and supply without at the same moment be gained at a bound ; and there will be some trouble in considering the moral tendencies implied. He supposes finding appropriate colonists, to say nothing of competent that because for certain purposes, a thinker abstracts from leaders. The ambition is honorable, but one who takes so moral considerations, he denies that moral considerations melancholy a view of modern society as Mr. Ruskin must have any weight. He might as well say that physiology fear lest the sons of Belial should be too strong for him. consists of directions for growing fat, or that it is wrong to We say that truth must prevail, and that all good work study the laws of nutrition because they show how poisons lasts. Some of us may believe it, but how 'an those bemay be assimilated as well as good food.
lieve it who see in all past history nothing but a record Mr. Ruskin's wrath, indeed, is not thrown away, for of dismal failures, of arts flourishing only to decay, and there are plenty of popular doctrines about political econ- religions rising to be corrupted almost at their source ? omy which deserve all that he can say against them. I | What Mr. Ruskin thinks of such matters is perhaps never read a passage in which reference is made to the given most forcibly in a singularly eloquent and pathetic “ inexorable laws of supply and demand," or to "economic | lecture, delivered at Dublin, and republished in the first science,” without preparing myself to encounter a soph- 1 volume of his collected works. The subject is the “Mysistry, and probably an immoral sophistry. To regard the tery of Life and its Arts, and it is a comment on the melexisting order of things as final, and as imposed by irre- ancholy text, “ What is your life? It is even as a vapor that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away,” ble. By all means let us preach or practice that doctrine, That truth which we all have to learn, has been taught to and take such comfort as we can in it; but the mystery Mr. Ruskin as to others by bitter personal experience. remains and presses upon all sensitive minds. That Mr. He speaks a little too mournfully, as it may seem to his Ruskin is inclined to deepen its shades, and indeed to take readers, of his own failures in life. For ten years he tried a rather bilious view of the universe, may be inferred from to make his countrymen understand Turner, and they will this brief account of his sentiments. Indeed, the common not even look at the pictures exhibited in the public gal- taunt against Calvinism often occurs in a rather different leries. He then labored more prudently at teaching archi- / form. Why don't you go mad, it is said, if you really betecture, and found much sympathy; but the luxury, the lieve that nine tenths of mankind are destined to unuttermechanism, and the squalid misery of English cities choked able and never-ending torments ? But no creed known the impulse ; and he turned from streets of iron and pal amongst men can quite remove the burden. The futility aces of crystal to the carving of the mountains and the of human effort, the rarity of excellence, the utter helplesscolor of the flower. And still, he says, he could tell of ness of reason to reduce to order the blindly struggling repeated failure; for, indeed, who may not tell of failure masses of mankind, the waste and decay and confusion who thinks that the seeds sown upon stubborn and weed which we see around us, are enough to make us hesitate choked soil are at once to develop into perfect plants? before answering the question. What is the meaning of it The failure, however, whether exaggerated or real, made all ? A sensitive nature, tortured and thrust aside by the mystery of life deeper.
'pachydermatous and apathetic persons, may well be driven All enduring success, he says, arises from a faith in hu- i to rash revolt and basty denunciations of society in general. man nature or a belief in immortality; and his own failure At worst, and granting him to be entirely wrong, he has was due to a want of sufficiently earnest effort to under certainly more claims on our pity than on our contempt. stand existence or of purpose to apply his knowledge. And for a moral, if we must have a moral, we can only But the reflection suggested a stranger mystery. The arts
remark, that on the whole Mr. Ruskin supplies a fresh prosper only when endeavoring to proclaim Divine truth; illustration of the truth, which has both a cynical and an and yet they have always failed to proclaim it. Always elevating side to it, that it is amongst the greatest of all at their very culminating point they have become “minis. blessings to have a thick skin and a sound digestion. ters to lust and pride.” And we, the hearers, are as apathetic as the teachers. We listen as in a languid dream and care nothing for the revelation that comes. We profess to believe that men are dropping into hell before our
SPIRIT-PHOTOGRAPHS.1 faces or rising into heaven; and we don't much care about it, or quite make up our minds one way or the other. Go
We now approach a subject which cannot be omitted in to the highest and most earnest of religious poets. Milton
any impartial sketch of the evidences of Spiritualism, since evidently does not believe his own fictions, consciously
it is that which furnishes perhaps the most unassailable adapted from heathen writers; Dante sees a vision of far
demonstration it is possible to obtain, of the objective inore intensity ; but it is still a vision only; a vision full
reality of spiritual forms, and also of the truthful nature of of grotesque types and fancies, where the doctrines of the
the evidence furnished by seers wben they describe figures Christian Church become subordinate to the praise, and are
visible to themselves alone. It has been already indionly to be understood by the help of a Florentine maiden.
cated — and it is a fact, of which the records of SpirituOr take men still greater because raised above controversy
alism furnish ample proof - that different individuals posand strife. What have Homer and Shakespeare to tell us
sess the power of seeing such forms and figures in very of the meaning of the world ? Both of them think of men
variable degrees. Thus, it often happens at a séance, that as the playthings of a mad destiny, where the noblest pas
some will see distinct lights of which they will describe sions are the means of bringing their heroes to helpless
the form, appearance, and position, while others will see ruin. The Christian poet differs from the heathen chiefly
nothing at all. If only one or two persons see the lights, in this, that he recognizes no gods nigh at hand, and that
the rest will naturally impute it to their imagination; but
there are cases in which only one or two of those present by a petty chance the strongest and most righteous perish without a word of hope. And meanwhile, the wise men
are unable to see them. There are also cases in which all of the earth, the statesmen and the merchants, can only
see them, but in very different degrees of distinctness; yet tell us to cut each other's throats, or to spend our whole
that they see the same objects is proved by their all agreeenergies in heaping up useless wealth. Turn from the
| ing as to the position and the movement of the lights. wise men to the humble workers, and we learn a lesson
Again, what some see as merely luminous clouds, others of a kind. The lesson is mainly the old and simple
will see as distinct human forms, either partial or entire. taught in various forms by many men who have felt the
In other cases all present see the form – whether hand, painful weight of the great riddle too much for them, that
face, or entire figure — with equal distinctness. Again, we are to work and hold our tongues. All art consists in
the objective reality of these appearances is sometimes the effort to bring a little more order out of chaos; and
proved by their being touched, or by their being seen to the sense of failure and imperfection is necessary to stimu
move objects, -in some cases heard to speak, in others late us to the work. Whatever happiness is to be obtained
seen to write, by several persons at one and the same time; is found in the struggle against disorder. And yet what
the figure seen or the writing produced being sometimes has been effected by all the past generations of man? |
unmistakably recognizable as that of some deceased friend. The first of human arts is agriculture, and yet there are
A volume could easily be filled with records of this class of unreclaimed deserts in the Alps, the very centre of Europe,
appearances, authenticated by place, date, and names of which could be redeemed by a year's labor, and which still
witnesses ; and a considerable selection is to be found in blast their inhabitants into idiocy. And in India (Mr.
the works of Mr. Robert Dale Owen. Ruskin was referring to the Orissa famine) balf a million
Now, at this point, an inquirer, who had not pre-judged of people died of hunger, and we could not bring them a
| the question, and who did not believe his own knowledge few graini of rice. Clothing is the next of the arts, and
of the universe to be so complete as to justify him in reyet how many of us are even decently clad? And of
jecting all evidence'for facts which he had hitherto conbuilding, the art which leaves the most enduring remains,
sidered to be in the highest degree improbable, might nothing is left of the greatest part of all the skill and
fairly say, “ Your evidence for the appearance of visible, strength that have been employed but fallen stones to en
tangible, spiritual forms, is very strong; but I should like cumber the fields and the streams.
to have them submitted to a crucial test, which would “ Must it be always thus?” asks Mr. Ruskin; "is our
quite settle the question of the possibility of their being life forever to be without profit, without possession ?”
due to a coincident delusion of several senses of several
The only answer to be given is a repetition of the old advice,
1 This chapter is taken from the second part of a long and curious paper
entitled “A Defence of Modern Spiritualism," by A. R. Wallace. Fori. to do what good work we can, and waste as little as possi." nightly Review for May aud June, 1874.
persons at the same time; and, if satisfactory, would dem- | hind the background, was dressed in black. This is the onstrate their objective reality in a way nothing else can do. first spirit-photograph taken in England, and it is perhaps If they really reflect or emit light which makes them vis- | more satisfactory on account of the suddenness of the imible to human eyes, they can be photographed. Photograph pulse under which it was taken, and the great white patch them, and you will have an unanswerable proof that your which no impostor would have attempted to produce, and human witnesses are trustworthy." Two years ago we which taken by itself, utterly spoils the picture. A few could only have replied to this very proper suggestion, | days afterwards, Mr. and Mrs. Guppy and their little boy that we believed it had been done and could be again went without any notice. Mrs. Guppy sat on the ground done, but that we had no satisfactory evidences to offer. holding the boy on a stool. Her husband stood behind, Now, however, we are in a position to state, not only that looking on. The picture thus produced is most remarkait has been frequently done, but that the evidence is of ble. A tall female figure, finely draped in white, gauzy such a nature as to satisfy any one who will take the robes, stands directly behind and above the sitters, looking trouble carefully to examine it. This evidence we will down on them and holding its open hands over their heads, now lay before our readers, and we venture to think they as if giving a benediction. The face is somewhat Eastern, will acknowledge it to be most remarkable.
and, with the hands, is beautifully defined. The white Before doing so it may be as well to clear away a pop- robes pass behind the sitters' dark figures without in the ular misconception. Mr. Lewes advised the Dialectical least showing through. A second picture was then taken Committee to distinguish carefully between “ facts and as soon as a plate could be prepared; and it was fortunate inferences from facts.” This is especially necessary in the it was so, for it resulted in a most remarkable test. Mrs. case of what are called spirit-photographs. The figures Guppy again knelt with the boy; but this time she did not which occur in these, wben not produced by any human stoop so much, and her head was bigher. The same wbite agency, may be of “spiritual" origin, without being fig. figure comes out equally well defined, but it has changed its ures “ of spirits." There is much evidence to show that position in a manner exactly corresponding to the slight change they are, in some cases, forms produced by invisible in- | of Mrs. Guppy's position. The bands were before on a telligences, but distinct from them. In other cases the level; now one is raised considerably higher than the other intelligence appears to clothe itself with matter capable of so as to keep it about the same distance from Mrs. Guppy's being perceived by us; but even then it does not follow head as it was before. The folds of the drapery all correthat the form produced is the actual image of the spiritual spondingly differ, and the head is slightly turned. Here, form. It may be but a reproduction of the former mortal then, one of two things is absolutely certain. Either there form with its terrestrial accompaniments, for purposes of was a living, intelligent, but invisible being present, or recognition.
Mr. and Mrs. Guppy, the photographer, and some fourth Most persons have heard of these “ghost-pictures,” and person, planned a wicked imposture, and have maintained how easily they can be made to order by any photographer, | it ever since. Knowing Mr. and Mrs. Guppy so well as I and are therefore disposed to think they can be of no use do, I feel an absolute conviction that they are as incapable as evidence. But a little consideration will show them | of an imposture of this kind as any earnest inquirer after that the means by which sham ghosts can be manufactured truth in the department of natural science. being so well known to all photographers, it becomes easy The report of these pictures soon spread. Spiritualists to apply tests or arrange conditions so as to prevent im. in great numbers came to try for similar results, with vary. position. The following are some of the more obvious : ing degrees of success ; till after a time rumor of imposture
1. If a person with a knowledge of photography takes | arose, and it is now firmly believed by many, from suspicious his own glass plates, examines the camera used and all the appearances on the pictures and from other circumstances, accessories, and watches the whole process of taking a that a large number of shams have been produced. It is picture, then, if any definite form appears on the negative certainly not to be wondered at if it be so. The photograbesides the sitter, it is a proof that some object was pres pher, remember, was not a spiritualist, and was utterly ent capable of reflecting or emitting the actinic rays, puzzled at the pictures above described. Scores of persons although invisible to those present. 2. If an unmistakable came to him, and he saw that they were satisfied if they got likeness appears of a deceased person totally unknown to a second figure with themselves, and dissatisfied if they did the photographer. 3. If figures appear on the negative not. He may have made arrangements by which to satisfy having a definite relation to the figure of the sitter, who everybody. One thing is clear; that if there has been imchooses his own position, attitude, and accompaniments, it posture, it was at once detected by spiritualists themselves; is a proof that invisible figures were really there. 4. If a if not, then spiritualists have been quick in noticing what figure appears draped in white, and partly behind the appeared to indicate it. Those, however, who most strongly dark body of the sitter without in the least showing / assert imposture allow that a large number of genuine picthrough, it is a proof that the white figure was there at tures have been taken. But, true or not, the cry of imposthe same time, because the dark parts of the negative are ture did good, since it showed the necessity for tests and transparent, and any white picture in any way superposed for independent confirmation of the facts. would show through. 5. Even should none of these tests The test of clearly recognizable likenesses of deceased be applied, yet if a medium, quite independent of the friends has often been obtained. Mr. William Howitt, who photographer, sees and describes a figure during the sit went without previous notice, obtained likenesses of two ting, and an exactly corresponding figure appears on the sons, many years dead, and of the very existence of one of plate, it is a proof that such a figure was there.
which even the friend who accompanied Mr. Howitt was Every one of these tests have now been successfully ap | ignorant. The likenesses were instantly recognized by plied in our own country, as the following outline of the Mrs. Howitt; and Mr. Howitt declares them to be perfect facts will show.
and unmistakable.” (Spiritual Magazine, October, 1872.) The accounts of spirit-photography in several parts of Dr. Thompson of Clifton, obtained a photograph of himself, the United States caused many spiritualists in this country accompanied by that of a lady he did not know. He sent to make experiments; but for a long time without success. it to his uncle in Scotland, simply asking if he recognized Mr. and Mrs. Guppy, who are both amateur photogra a resemblance to any of the family deceased. The reply pbers, tried at their own house, and failed. In March, was that it was the likeness of Dr. Thompson's own mother, 1872, they went one day to Mr. Hudson's, a photographer who died at his birth; and there being no picture of her living near them (not a spiritualist), to get some cartes de in existence, he had no idea what she was like. The uncle visite of Mrs. Guppy. After the sitting, the idea suddenly very naturally remarked, that he “could not understand struck Mr. Guppy that he would try for a spirit-photograph. how it was done.” (Spiritual Magazine, October, 1873.) He sat down, told Mrs. Guppy to go bebind the back- | Many other instances of recognition bave occurred, but I ground, and had a picture taken. There came out behind will only add my personal testimony. A few weeks back I aim a large, indefinite, oval, white patch, somewhat re- | myself went to the same photographer's for the first time, embling the outline of a draped figure. Mrs. Guppy, be- 1 and obtained a most unmistakable likeness of a deceased
relative. We will now pass to a better class of evidence, raphy, as an amateur, for twenty-five years. They exthe private experiments of amateurs.
perimented at the studio of a friend, who was not a spirMr. Thomas Slater, an old-established optician in the itualist (but who became a medium during the experiEuston Road, and an amateur photographer, took with himments), and had the services of a tradesman with whom to Mr. Hudson's a new camera of his own manufacture and they were well acquainted, as a medium. The whole of his own glasses, saw everything done, and obtained a por the photographic work was done by Messrs. Beattie and trait with a second figure on it. He then began experi- | Thomson, the other two sitting at a small table. The menting in his own private house, and during last summer pictures were taken in series of three, within a few seconds obtained some remarkable results. The first of bis suc. of each other, and several of these series were taken at cesses contains two heads by the side of a portrait of his each sitting. The figures produced are for the most part sister. One of these heads is unmistakably the late Lord not human, but variously formed and shaded white patches, Brougham's; the other, much less distinct, is recognized which in successive pictures change their form and deby Mr. Slater as that of Robert Owen, whom he knew in velop as it were into a more perfect or complete type. timately up to the time of his death. He has since ob Thus, one set of five begins with two white somewhat tained several excellent pictures of the same class. One angular patches over the middle sitter, and ends with a in particular, shows a female in black and white flowing rude but unmistakable white female figure, covering the robes, standing by the side of Mr. Slater. In another the larger part of the plate. The other three show intermehead and bust appears, leaning over his shoulder. The diate states, indicating a continuous change of form from faces of these two are much alike, and other members of the first figure to the last. Another set (of four pictures) the family recognize them as likenesses of Mr. Slater's begins with a white vertical cylinder over the body of the mother, who died when he was an infant. In another a medium, and a shorter one on his head. These change pretty child figure, also draped, stands beside Mr. Slater's their form in the second and third, and in the last become little boy. Now, whether these figures are correctly iden- | laterally spread out into luminous masses resembling tified or not, is not the essential point. The fact that any nebulæ. Another set of three is very curious. The first figures, so clear and unmistakably human in appearance as has an oblique flowing luminous patch from the table to these, should appear on plates taken in bis own private stu the ground; in the second this has changed to a white dio by an experienced optician and amateur photographer, serpentine column, ending in a point above the medium's who makes all his apparatus himself, and with no one pres head; in the third the column has become broader and ent but the members of his own family, - is the real mar somewhat double, with the curve in an opposite direction, vel. In one case a second figure appeared on a plate with and with a head-like termination. The change of the himself, taken by Mr. Slater when he was absolutely alone, curvature may have some connection with a change in the by the simple process of occupying the sitter's chair after position of the sitters, which is seen to have taken place uncapping the camera. He and his family being themselves between the second and the third of this set. There are mediums, they require no extraneous assistance; and this two others, taken, like all the preceding, in 1872, but may, perhaps, be the reason why he has succeeded so well. which the medium described during the exposure. The One of the most extraordinary pictures obtained by Mr. first, he said, was a thick white fog; and the picture came Slater is a full-length portrait of his sister, in which there out all shaded white, with not a trace of any of the sitters. is no second figure, but the sitter appears covered all over The other was described as a fog with a figure standing in with a kind of transparent lace drapery, which on exami- | it; and here a white human figure is alone seen in the nation is seen to be wholly made up of shaded circles of almost uniform foggy surface. During the experiments different sizes, quite unlike any material fabric I have seen made in 1873, the medium, in every case, minutely and or heard of.
correctly described the appearances which afterwards Mr. Slater has himself shown me all these pictures and came out on the plate. In one there is a luminous rayed explained the conditions under which they were produced. ; star of large size, with a human face faintly visible in the That they are not impostures is certain; and as the first centre. This is the last of three in which the star deindependent confirmations of what had been previously veloped, and the whole were accurately described by the obtained only through professional photographers, their medium. In another set of three, the medium first devalue is inestimable.
scribed, — "a light behind him, coming from the floor." A less successful, but not perhaps on that account less! The next, -- "a light rising over another person's arms, satisfactory confirmation has been obtained by another coming from his own boot.” The third, — " there is the amateur, who, after eighteen months of experiment, ob same light, but now a column comes up through the table, tained a partial success. Mr. R. Williams, M. A., Ph. and it is hot to my hands.” Then he suddenly exclaimed, D., of Hayward's Heath, succeeded last summer in obtain: -“What a bright light up there! Can you not see it?” ing three photographs, each with part of a human forın pointing to it with his hand. All this most accurately debesides the sitter, one having the features distinctly marked. scribes the three pictures, and in the last, the medium's Subsequently another was obtained, with a well-formed hand is seen pointing to a white patch which appears figure of a man standing at the side of the sitter, but overhead. There are other curious developments, the while being developed, this figure faded away entirely. nature of which is already sufficiently indicated; but one Mr. Williams assures me (in a letter) that in these exper. | very startling single picture must be mentioned. During iments there was “no room for trick or for the production the exposure one medium said he saw on the background of these figures by any known means.”
a black figure, the other medium saw a light figure by the The editor of the British Journal of Photography has side of the black one. In the picture both these figures made experiments at Mr. Hudson's studio, taking his own appear, the light one very faintly, the black one much collodion and new plates, and doing everything himself, more distinctly, of a gigantic size, with a massive coarseyet there were “abnormal appearances” on the pictures, featured face and long hair. (Spiritual Magazine, January although no distinct figures.
and August, 1873; Photographic News, June 28th, 1872.) We now come to the valuable and conclusive experi. Mr. Beattie has been so good as to send me for examinaments of Mr. John Beattie of Clifton, a retired photog- / tion a complete set of these most extraordinary photographs, rapher of twenty years' experience, and of whom the thirty-two in number, and has furnished me with any parabove-mentioned editor says: “Every one who knows ticulars I desired. I have described them as correctly as I Mr. Beattie will give him credit for being a thoughtful, am able; and Dr. Thompson has authorized me to use his skilful, and intelligent photographer, one of the last men name as confirming Mr. Beattie's account of the conditions in the world to be easily deceived, at least in matters re under which they appeared. These experiments were not lating to photography, and one quite incapable of deceiv made without labor and perseverance. Sometimes twenty ing others."
consecutive pictures produced absolutely nothing unusual. Mr. Beattie has been assisted in his researches by Dr. Hundreds have been taken, and more than half have been Thomson, an Edinburgh M. D., who has practised photog. complete failures. But the successes have been well worth the labor. They demonstrate the fact that what a medium that which by the other process could not have been peror sensitive sees (even where no one else sees anything), formed at all. He etched with immense precision and power may often have an objective existence. They each us all that he meant to etch ; but he reserved his effects — the that perhaps the bookseller, Nicolai, of Berlin - whose things for which he cared -- for the other art. That alone case has been quoted all nauseam as the type of a “spec- clothed the skeleton, and visibly embodied the spirit of tral illusion," - saw real beings after all; and that, had each picture. But when one speaks of the great etchers, photography been then discovered and properly applied, one speaks of those who gave to their art a wider field, we might now have the portraits of the invisible men and and claimed from it a greater result. They too, like women who crowded his room. They give us hints of a Turner, worked by lines, but their lines were a thousand process by which the figures seen at séances may have to to his one; for they were the end as well as the beginbe gradually formed or developed, and enable us better to ning — they made the picture, and did not only prepare understand the statements repeatedly made by the commu for it. nicating intelligences, that it is very difficult to produce The work of the great etchers was usually speedy. d'efinite visible and tangible forms, and that it can only Their minds had other qualities than those of the line be done under a rare combination of favorable condi engravers. On the one side there was quiet intelligence, tions.
patience, and leisurely attention to detail ; on the other, We find, then, that three amateur photographers work rapid sympathy, instinctive recognition, and either a veheing independently in different parts of England, separately ment passion for the thing beheld and to be drawn, or confirm the fact of spirit-photography, - already demon- else, at the least, a keen delight in it. The patience and strated to the satisfaction of many who have tested it leisure were for Marc Antonio, the passion was for Remthrough professional photographers. The experiments of brandt, the delight for Claude. Mr. Beattie and Dr. Thomson are alone absolutely conclu- ' It is perhaps because Vandyke was by a few years the sive ; and, taken in connection with those of Mr. Slater and earliest of the etchers — save Albert Dürer, whose greatDr. Williams, and the test photographs, like those of Mrs. est achievements are all in a different art — that one finds Guppy, establish as a scientific fact the objective existence in many of his prints a poverty of means, never indeed to of invisible human forms, definite invisible actinic images. be confused with weakness or with failure, but tending Before leaving the photographic phenomena, we have to now and then to lessen the effect and meaning of his work. notice two curious points in connection with them. The He was a genuine etcher : there was never a more genuine. actinic action of the spirit-forms is peculiar, and much more But if you think of him with Rembrandt and with Claude rapid than that of the light reflected from ordinary material - the two great masters who in point of time were ever forms; for the figures start out the moment the developing so little behind bim - there comes perhaps to your mind Auid touches them, while the figure of the sitter appears some thought of the diligent schoolboy whose round-hand in’uch later. Mr. Beattie noticed this throughout his ex- and whose large-hand are better than his teacher's, but periments, and I was myself much struck with it when who can write only between those rigid lines which for watching the development of three pictures recently taken himself the teacher would discard. Or, if that simile apat Mr. Hudson's. The second figure, though by no means pear offensive, think of the difference between certain bright, always came out long before any other part of the musicians: think of the precision of Arabella Goddard picture. The other singular thing, is the copious drapery that faultless, measured, restrained interpretation - and in which these forms are almost always enveloped, so as then of Joachim's artistic individuality : firmness at will, to show only just what is necessary for recognition, of the a resolute self-control, minute exactness, and then, sudface and figure. The explanation given of this is, that denly, and but for an instant, the divine indecision which the human form is more difficult to materialize than dra- is the last expression of supreme mastery, because it is pery. The conventional “white-sheeted gbost” was not the sign that creator and interpreter are fused into one. ihen all fancy, but had a foundation in fact, -- a fact, too, But there may be other causes than the one I have sugof deep significance, dependent on the laws of a yet un gested for that which, define it how we will, seems lacking known chemistry.
to Vandyke. Perhaps not in etching only - that process without precedents — is he something less than he might have been. As a painter, the highest examples were before
him. But did he fully profit by them? MASTERS OF ETCHING.
He is born in 1599 — the son of traders who are wealthy
- and early showing signs of his particular ability, he has BY FREDERICK WEDMORE.
no difficulty in entering the studio of Rubens. That master much appreciates him. The youth gives still increasing promise ; and he is well advised in early manhood to set
out for Italy, so that he may study the treasures of Venice, REMBRANDT, Ostade, Vandyke, and Claude — these Florence, and Rome. But he has not passed out of his are the four masters of the art of etching; and it is in native Flanders before he is enamored of a young country virtue of their mastery of that art that they receive from girl. He wavers. The love of her detains bin many many a more enthusiastic admiration than that which their months. He is quite happy, painting the portraits of her painted pictures call forth from all the world. But what kinsmen. He has forgotten Italy. Remonstrance on reis the nature of that less popular art which they practised ? monstrance comes from Rubens, and it is owing to this To draw upon the varnished surface of a copper plate, persistence that he finally sets forth. There is then a five with a steel point, the lines that are to give the form and years' absence. No absence so long was ever less fruitful light and shadow of your picture ; to bite those lines by ' in direct influence; and now he is busy at Antwerp. In the application of a bath of acid, and finally to transfer | 1632 he travels to England, hoping for greater gain than your work to paper with ink and a printing-press — that, work in his native city affords ; and he is early patronized as far as one rough sentence can explain it, is the process by the king, by the Lords Strafford and Pembroke, and by of etching. It is, in many ways, the complement of the art | Sir Kenelm Digby, whose wife's portrait (she was the of mezzolinting. The mezzotinter works by spaces, the Lady Venetia Stanley), he paints four times. He does not etcber by lines. And Turner, in the most interesting and neglect his work, but he does not feed and enrich bis facmost important of his serial works, the “Liber Studiorum,” | ulty. He is amiable, no doubt: he is dashing and brilliant eflected that marriage of the two arts which, strange to too. But it does not occur to any one to say that he is say, has never been repeated. He etched the leading lines wise. He dresses lavishly. In the matter of display he of his studies, and mezzotint, executed sometimes under attempts an unreasonable rivalry with the wealthiest of bis own supervision and sometimes by his own hand, ac- the nobles — runs that race which an artist rarely wins, coinplished the rest. Yet one does not class bim anong and then wins only at the price of a fatal injury. Van. the yreat etchers, because be only used etching to perform dyke keeps an open house for his friends — an open purse