Essai metaphysique, physique et phisiologistique relativement à la découverte de M. Mesmer, 1786


Date: 1786 | Size: 1 volume(s), 1 volume, 250 p.

Digital objects note

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Collection Information

Physical description

1 volume, 250 p.

Early American History Note

This is a handwritten essay on Franz Mesmer and his claims to have healing and other metaphysical powers. Mesmer is today thought of as an early user of hypnosis. Throughout the 1770s and 1780s, he captivated French society. Marie Antoinette was particularly interested in his abilities. Finally, King Louis convened a scientific body in 1784 to examine the claims of Mesmer and his disciples. Benjamin Franklin, still in France as an American envoy, headed the committee, which debunked Mesmerism. The report can be found in the Papers of Benjamin Franklin and in the Diary of Benjamin Franklin Bache, both of which are at the APS.

This essay, written in French in 1786, came after this committee's report. Mesmer still had wide appeal and was living in London at the time. This rather long essay (250 pages) offers a detailed analysis of Mesmerism and the possible scientific reasons for its purported powers.

Indexing Terms


  • Manuscript Essays

Personal Name(s)

  • Bruno, M. de
  • Mesmer, Franz Anton, 1734-1815


  • Animal magnetism.
  • Beyond Early America
  • Hypnotism.
  • Medicine
  • Mesmerism.
  • Natural history
  • Science and technology

Detailed Inventory

 Essai metaphysique, physique et phisiologistique relativement à la découverte de M. Mesmer