Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/610

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said, was developed about a month ago in a young girl from Orne, Angélique Cottin, aged fourteen years. The Academy, in conformity with its usual custom, appointed a committee to examine these alleged facts, and to give an account of the result. We will discharge this duty in very few words:
"It was affirmed that Mdlle. Cottin exercised a most intense action of repulsion upon bodies of all kinds whenever a portion of her garments touched them. Accounts were even given of heavy tables being overturned by the simple contact of a silk thread. No effect of this kind was manifested before the committee.
"In the narratives communicated to the Academy it was affirmed that a magnetized needle, under the influence of the girl's arm, performed rapid oscillations, and finally fixed itself quite far from the magnetic meridian. When tried before the committee, a needle, delicately suspended in the same way and under the same circumstances, experienced neither permanent nor momentary displacement.
"M. Sanchon thought that Mdlle. Cottin possessed the faculty of distinguishing the north pole of a magnet from the south pole, by merely touching them with her fingers. The committee was convinced, by varied and numerous experiments, that the young girl does not possess the capacity attributed to her of determining the poles.
"The committee need not enumerate these useless attempts. It will simply content itself with declaring that the only one of the alleged facts which was realised before them was that concerning the sudden and violent movements of chairs in which the young girl seated herself. Upon serious suspicions arising as to the manner in which these movements occurred, the committee has decided that they shall be submitted to an attentive examination. It frankly announces that the investigations tended to discover the fact that certain habitual manœuvres hidden in the feet and hands could have produced the observed fact. M. Cholet now declared that the young girl had lost her powers of attraction and repulsion, and that we should be notified as soon as they were restored. Many days have passed since, yet the committee has received no intelligence. We have learned, however, that Mdlle. Cottin is daily received in drawing-rooms where she repeats her experiments.
"After having fully weighed the circumstances, the committee is of the opinion that the communications transmitted to the Academy on the subject of Mdlle. Angélique Cottin should be considered as never having been sent in.

By Prof. T. H. HUXLEY, F. R. S.

OCTOBER 1, 1859, the date of the publication of the "Origin of Species," will hereafter be reckoned as the commencement of a new era in the history of biology. It marks the hegira of Science from the idolatries of special creation to the purer faith of evolution. That

  1. "Anthropogenie. Entwickelungsgeschichte des Menschen" (History of the Evolution of Man). By Prof. Ernst Haeckel. Translation in press by D. Appleton & Co.