314. Those who do not admit the reality of the physical manifestations generally attribute the effects produced to fraud. They base their opinion on the fact that skillful jugglers do things that appear like prodigies when we do not know their secrets ; whence they conclude that mediums are only another kind of sharpers. We have already refuted this argument, or, rather, this opinion, principally in our articles on Mr. Home, and in the Nos. of the Review of January and February, 1858 ; we shall, therefore, say but a few words before speaking of a more serious thing.
It is, besides, a consideration that will not escape any one who reflects a little. There are, no doubt, marvelously skiLful prestidigitators, but they are rare. If all mediums practice juggling, it must be conceded that the art has made unheard-of progress in a short time, and become suddenly very common ; as it is found innate with persons who scarcely suspect it : even with children.
Even as there are quacks who sell drugs in public places, so there are mediums who, without going to public places, betray confidence : must it follow that all doctors are quacks, and that the medical corps is, for that reason, unworthy of consideration ? Because there are persons who sell adulterations for wine, does it follow that all wine merchants are adulterators of wine, and that there is none pure ? Everything is abused, even the most respectable things, and it may be said that fraud also has its genius. But fraud always has a motive, some material interest : where there is nothing to gain, there is no interest in deceiv ing. So we say, apropos to mercenary mediums, that the best of all guarantees is absolute disinterestedness.