The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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Toulouse, December 17th, 1859

“Dear Sir,

I have just read your response to Mr. Oscar Comettant, whose article I had also read. If that skeptical editor and gauche teaser was not convinced by the good arguments you gave him, he could at least acknowledge the civility of your style, totally absent in his prose. The vulgar stresses that he used to color the evocations seems to have come from the red-tailed spirit; the regrets with which he mentioned the 2 francs paid for the sonata deserved that the Society reimbursed him for the 2 francs. Have in mind, Mr. Allan Kardec, that I am too a very passionate spiritist to just let go an article in which I am cited and questioned without an answer. As for myself, I also wrote to Mr. Oscar Comettant. On the very day I got your journal, he received the following letter:


I had the pleasure of reading your feuilleton Varieties, from Friday. Since you question me, and as I am cited by name, allow me to make some observations with that regard, which you will accept as I have accepted your witty parentheses where you painted the report about the evocations of Mozart and Chopin. What is it that you want to mock with such a humorous article? Is it Spiritism? You will make a big mistake in believing that you can harm it. In France, people mock first, later they assess and confer the honor of the jokes to the truly serious and great things, with the freedom of doing so after the required analysis.

If Mr. Ledoyen is as greedy as you wish to make believe, he must appreciate your intention of ensuring the success of one of his most modest publications in an 11-column editorial. It is the first time that such an important article is written about Spiritism in a great journal. I see by this almost luridly article that Spiritism is already taken seriously by its enemies, and I tell you in confidence, that the spirits have said that they have used the enemies for the triumph of their cause. Thus, the best thing to do is to remain on guard if you do not wish to become an unintentional apostle.

You cannot see in Spiritism anything different from moral and commercial charlatanism. As for ourselves, future guests of Charenton, we found in Spiritism the solution to many problems that have puzzled humanity for many centuries, as follows: the thoughtful acknowledgment of God in all His material and spiritual works; the evident individuality and immortality of the soul, demonstrated by the manifestation of the spirits; the comprehension of God’s justice, studied in the multiple incarnations of the spirits, etc…,. Had one taken the burden of carrying out an in-depth study of these subjects and one could see that they are above all sarcasms and mockery. However much you take us by dreamers and hallucinated people, instead of the “eppur si muove” from Galileo, we say: Yet, God is there!
Please accept …

Brion Dorgeval First bass, Comic Opera,
Toulouse Theater (ex-employee of Mr. Carvalho)”

OBSERVATION: We are not aware if Mr. Oscar Comettant has published this answer or ours. Nevertheless, attacking without admitting defense is not a loyal fight.

“Brussels, December 23rd, 1859

My dear colleague,

I want to submit to you some ethnographic reflections about the world of the spirits, with the intention of reestablishing a much generalized opinion, very wrong in my view, regarding the state of the human being after his transition to the spiritual world.

People mistakenly think that an imbecile, an ignorant, a rude person, becomes immediately a genius, a wise person, a prophet, once their material envelope is left behind. It is a similar mistake to someone who would admit that a criminal will become an honest person when released from the shackles; a silly person becomes an expert or a fanatic turns into a rational person just because the frontier has been transposed.

Not at all! We take every moral accomplishment with us, the character, the knowledge, the vices and virtues. We do not carry what is related to the material world. The limping, the cross-eyed and the hunchbacked are no longer so, but the villains, the stingy and the superstitious, still are. We should not be impressed by the fact that we hear spirits asking for prayers; willing that others may do the peregrinations which they had promised and even that others find the money that they had hidden with the objective of giving it to the person to whom they wanted to give, pointing to that person correctly, as long as they are still alive.

In short, the spirit that had a desire, a plan, an opinion, a belief when on Earth, wants to see them come true. Therefore, Hahnemann exclaimed: “Courage my friends, my doctrine triumphs. What a satisfaction to my soul!”

As for Dr. Gall, you know what he thinks of your Science, as Lavater, Swedenborg and Fourier, who told me that his students had truncated his doctrine, willing to skip the phase of guarantee, which he congratulates me to carry over.

In short, all spirits who profess a religion, idolatry or a schism, out of conviction, persist on the same beliefs until theyare enlightened by the study and by reflection. That is the subject of my concerns at this point. It is evidently a logical spirit that dictates it because one hour ago my only thought was to go to bed and finish the excellent little book by Mrs. Henry Gaugain about the Bretons’ prejudices against the new inventions.

By keeping up with your studies you will recognize that the world beyond the grave is not a photographic image of this world, which as you know has spirits as perverse as the devil and as bad as the demons. It will come as no surprise that good people may be deceived of avoiding any dealings with these spirits. This precludes people from the presence of the good and great spirits, who are not so rare up there as they are down here, coming from all times and all places, willing to give good advice and to do good deeds.

On the other hand you know well how irritably and repulsively the bad ones respond to a forced appeal. Nevertheless, the greatest and rarest of them all, the one that comes only three times during the life time of a globe, the Divine Spirit, the Saint Spirit, he does not attend the evocations of the pneumatography mediums: he only comes when he wishes to do so – spiritus flat ubi vult – which does not mean that others are not sent before him to pave his way.

Hierarchy is a universal law – everything is like everything – as a matter of fact, similarly to what happens to us. False human respect is what mostly delays the progress of the good doctrines, hindered by persecution.

Magnetism would have triumphed long ago if instead of saying: Mr. X, Mr. N., if one had only given the name and address of the persons, with reference, as the English say. Instead, they ask: who is this hidden Mr. M? He is apparently a liar. How about this Mr. J? He is a scoundrel. What would one say about this Mr. F.? He is a faker, or even better, someone unworthy of any trust since he hides himself and he is masked so as to deceive and to do bad things. Now that the academies admit magnetism and somnambulism, cousin-brothers of Spiritism, it is necessary that their adepts be prepared to sign off in total agreement. The fear of what is going to be said is a coward and bad feeling. The action of testifying to what one has seen, to what one believes, is no longer considered a trait of courage. Thus you must advise your followers to do what I always do: sign off.


OBSERVATION: We agree with Mr. Jobard in all points. His initial observations about the state of the spirits are accurate. Regarding the second point, like him we wait for the moment when the fear for what is going to be said will not stop anybody. However, what else to expect? One must acknowledge human weakness. Some starts, and Mr. Jobard will hold the merit of having started. Rest assured that others will follow when they feel that they can expose their feet without the fear of being bitten. Time is needed for all that. Well, time goes faster than Mr. Jobard may think. The reservation we keep with respect to the publication of the names obeys reasons of convenience, for what we so far congratulate ourselves; but while we wait we attest a fast progress in the courage of opinion. We daily see people that, not long ago, would hardly declare themselves spiritists, openly doing it today in social gatherings, sustaining the thesis of their doctrine, with no concern whatsoever for the rude epithets with which they are awarded. It is a huge step. The rest will come next. Here is what I said, to begin with: a few years more and a new change will take place; very soon the same that happened to magnetism will also happen to Spiritism. Up until recently one would only acknowledge being a magnetizer if behind the walls of a closed room. Today it is an honorific title. When convinced that Spiritism does not burn, people will declare themselves spiritists with no more fear than those that say they are phrenologists, homeopaths, etc. We are living in a transient period and the transitions don’t ever take place suddenly.

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