38. System of Charlatanism. Among our antago
nists many attribute these effects to fraud, because
some of them have been imitated. This supposition
would transform all spiritists into dupes, all mediums
into cheats, without regard to the position, the charac
ter, knowledge, and reputation of the persons. If this
deserved an answer, we might say that certain phe
nomena of physics have also been imitated by jugglers,
and that it proves nothing against the real science.
Besides, there are persons whose characters are beyond
all suspicion of fraud, and one must be wanting in
every vestige of good breeding and urbanity to dare
to say to them that they are the accomplices of char
latanism. In a very respectable parlor, a gentleman,
otherwise well bred, having permitted himself to make
a reflection of this nature, the lady of the house said
to him, " Since you are not content, sir, your money
will be returned to you at the door," and, with a ges
ture, made him understand what he would better do.
Is that to say that there are no abuses in it ? To
think that we must admit men to be perfect.
Everything is abused, even the most sacred things ;
why, then, should not Spiritism be abused ? But the
bad use that may be made of a thing should cause no
prejudice against the thing itself; the only way by
which we can judge of men's sincerity is by the mo
tives from which they act. Where there is no specula
tion, charlatanism can find no place.