Tubs in the tropics. The diffusion of animal magnetism in saint-domingue in 1784
The export of mesmerism beyond metropolitan territory was very limited, but it had a great success, after the arrival of Antoine Hyacinte Chastenet de Puysegur in the great town of the northern part of the colony of Saint-Domingue, Le Cap-Français, in June 1784. This episode is well known as a result of the hostile testimony, of Moreau de Saint-Mery. The membership lists of the Cercle des Philadelphes, however, are often the same as those of the Société de l’Harmonie Universelle in Le Cap. So, the phenomena of magnetism and the learned society were the same expression of a creolizing whiteconsciousness, which modelled itself on metropolitan culture, while at the same time differentiating itself from it. This social phenomenon developed mainly in the great northern town, other examples emanating from the same milieu. Black slaves and free-coloured people were not directly involved. The testimony of Moreau de Saint-Méry, which bore the imprint of racial prejudice, and equated mesmerism with voodoo, must be read in this perspective.