In the Monthly Homoeopathic Review, of London, Vol. VIII, No. 1, Mr. Alfred C, Pope asks the question “Who is a Homoeopathist?” The solution of this question is all important, for on it depends the rise or downfall of Homoeopathy. As we have no doubt the question was asked in good faith, it will be well to try to solve it.
Further, the writer says, “we have generally found the advocate of Homoeopathy declaring, with perfect correctness, that the therapeutic principle he defends is totally independent of the globule; that, in fact, Homoeopathy may be strictly and correctly practised with any dose, whether in powder or globule, tincture or pillule, provided no aggravation of the disease is incurred by the magnitude of the dose. This, I believe, to be the simple truth.”
Does Mr. Pope understand under the phrase “aggravation of the disease,” the aggravation of the symptoms, which aggravation follows very frequently the administration of the higher and highest dilutions, and may be of longer or shorter duration according to the nature of the disease, the aggravation being an almost certain indication that the most curative homoeopathic remedy has been administered and is surely to be followed by a longer and lasting improvement of the disease? Can a homoeopathic remedy ever and under any circumstances aggravate the disease? The disease can only become aggravated by its natural unchecked progress. Will Mr. Pope ask this question again and be more explicit?
Mr. Pope wishes to prove by Dr. Hering's testimony laid down in the fourth American edition of the Organon, that we need not, as Dr. Hewitt contends, accept every fact and theory contained in the Organon of Hahnemann, and he quotes from that preface, “What important influence can it exert whether a Homoeopath adopt the theoretical opinions of Hahnemann or not, so long as he holds fast the practical rules of the Master and the Materia Medica of our School”
Dr. Hering here insists that we must hold fast to the practical rule of the Master! Will Mr. Pope for a moment turn his attention to the practical rules the Master gives us in his Chronic Diseases, in his introduction to the various medicines in his Materia Medica, and in his Organon? Does the Master there advise the administration of “any dose?” On page eight, Mr. Pope says, “true Homoeopathy consists simply and solely in the prescribing for disease such remedies as are competent to produce similar disease in a healthy person.” What disease has any medicine ever produced? Has Aconite, or Bryonia, or Phosphorus ever produced pneumonia? Or, Bryonia and Rhus typhus fever? Or, Belladonna inflammation of the brain? Mr. Pope should be a little more explicit and accurate in his definitions.
On the same page ho also asserts that “the dynamization theory may be true or false and Homoeopathy remain unaffected.” By no means; if we study and follow our immortal master to the point where he first discovered and established the dynamization theory. Let me remind Mr. Pope of the provings of Carbo vegetabilis! How they were conducted, and how the symptoms guiding every true Homoeopathist in the administration of. this medicine were obtained. If, also, he will read what professor Hoppe, of Basel, the Non Homoeopathist, says, he will find himself directly contradicted. Professor Hoppe, after defining in a very clear, comprehensible and historical manner the claims and fundamental' doctrines of Homoeopathy, says that Hahnemann's greatest discovery was “that the small doses are curative.” Hahnemann was slow in publishing his dynamization theory but after many and successful experiments he became convinced of its correctness, and that theory is an indispensable part of the doctrines of Homoeopathy. We shall have a few more remarks to make if Mr. Pope will but answer our previous question.
On the ninth page he says, “It has been proved, many a 'time and oft, that a low dilution, or the pure substance, has succeeded in curing where a higher dilution has failed.” This assertion, and it is nothing but an assertion, has been made so many a time, and oft that many persons really believe it; but could Mr. Pope state one single case to substantiate this assertion? To begin, we should like to have a definition of “cure. The Allopathist administers Digitalis and cures an accelerated pulse dependent upon an organic disease of the heart. Is that a cure? Is not the patient whose pulse is brought down by the specific action of Digitalis, made hopelessly incurable by that “cure?” On the contrary, it is an established fact that where the higher potencies do not cure, the lower ones or the pure substance certainly will never cure. Has Mr. Pope noticed the Vienna experiments by Dr. Eidherr which establish the facts, beyond controversy, that the higher attenuations shorten the disease (pneumonia) in the same proportion as the dose is diminished? If he has not seen this elaborate exhibition of facts, he had better examine it at once. In giving one single case, we hope that Mr. Pope will be particular in stating fully the symptoms and the reasons why this was the truly curative remedy, and then give the dates and time when a higher potency was administered without effect, and when the same medicine in a lower potency, or in the crude state finally, permanently cured the patient.' That crude drugs and low potencies cure, and cure according to the homoeopathic law of cure no one ever denied, and if this had not been the fact, we would not have Homoeopathy; but as Hahnemann and his disciples became better acquainted with the characteristics of the medicines by provings and by the administration to the sick, experience taught them that the curative action of the drug was developed by potentization, and that diseases were cured by higher potencies which the lower potencies had left unchanged. In every instance in which a lower potency has ever relieved, not cured, a case to which a higher potency of the same remedy had been given without success, this relief has proved itself to be only the palliative effect, not the curative action of the remedy so given. If palliation were a fair criterion of superiority, Allopathy may claim to be far superior to Homoeopathy when the Allopaths state, and with truth, that in a case of an organic disease of the heart, established as such by all the physical signs of auscultation, they have succeeded in reducing the pulse in a very short time by large doses of Digitalis purp, while under previous homoeopathic treatment the pulse had not been reduced. But who is so ignorant in our days as to believe that the reduction of the pulse by large doses of Digitalis is the criterion of a progressive improvement, or a cure of the organic disease? Or, Allopathy may also claim to have produced the desired result by a dose of Castor Oil when in a case of disease the bowels had remained in a state of constipation under homoeopathic treatment. There existed in the first case no possibility of a reduction of the pulse till the organic disease was improving and was in a fair way to be permanently cured; and, in the second case, it was very likely one of the best things for the patient that his constipation (so called) continued, and it was still more likely that, in that case, the very decided effect of the Castor-Oil caused the patient not to recover at all.
On the tenth page, Mr. Pope says “those then who believe in Homoeopathy, whether they adopt Hahnemann's pathological and and posological theories or whether they do not, are bona fide Homoeopathists.” Then Mr. Pope must define more clearly what he and his friends understand by “a belief in Homoeopathy.” By this we shall come nearer to the solution of his question — ” Who is a Homoeopathist“ If a belief in Homoeopathy is only a belief in the law “Similia Similibus Curantur” without a further explanation, it is a blind belief; if the necessity of the proving of drugs upon the healthy to ascertain their unknown curative power is included, the belief comes nearer to conviction; but if the belief also includes the conviction that but one medicine should be given at a time (which excludes all baneful alternations), and when it includes, besides, the conviction that the curative virtue (power) of drugs is developed by potentization, the conviction then becomes a positive faith and we have before us the outlines of a Homoeopathist.
Such a Homoeopathist does not care whether he is called purist, Hahnemannian, or high dilutionist; he knows himself to be a Homoeopathist, he knows that those who assail him are not what he is, although he may wish them to become enlightened.
Mr. Pope will certainly publish an accurate and decided specification of the scientific doctrines and principles which he and his friends profess. It is not to be desired that he should follow up the plan of the negation, although this mode of philosophizing is a very convenient one as it is much easier' to attack others, to represent their objective material and their daily experience as being fallacious, than by self-exertion to bring something better to light. It is time, and it would be a matter of great interest, to know “Who is a Homoeopathist.” Whether, the Homoeopathist whose aim is to develop and promote Homoeopathy as taught by Hahnemann, or he who, by anegating criticism, pretends to give perpetuity to Homoeopathy. That there exist two parties who claim the title of Homoeopathists becomes a clearly established fact. Before either party lays claim to that title, we must necessarily have a decided specification of the scientific doctrines and principles of Homoeopathy; and it behooves the attacking party who find fault and negate, who contend against any further development of Homoeopathy, and who doubt not only the Hahnemannian theory of Homoeopathy, but who also utterly reject or violate his practical rules, that in common courtesy they should make these Specifications. Will Mr. Pope make them?
On looking for the prime cause of the fierce attack now made in England on the few true progressive, sincere and faithful Homoeopathists, and on examining for that purpose the history of its origin and progress, it becomes apparent that the great offence committed at first by Mr. Wilson was an exposition of the errors, mistakes, blunders, omissions and falsifications inflicted on our Materia Medica by its translator Charles Julius Hempel. Mr, Wilson's criticism was attacked and a party spirit was exhibited in favor of Hempel (and his publisher?). Here again Dr. Hewitt, as a co-laborer of Mr. Wilson, is taken to task and Mr. Wilson is found guilty of having cured a case of severe illness by Lycopod.200, and Of publishing one of the characteristic symptoms of Lycopod. Dr. Dudgeon, in sympathy with Hempel, insists that fuss may be translated “leg or foot,”ad libitum, and finds out too late for his own tranquility that he has put his foot into it, and it may be also his leg, as now his want of accuracy and fidelity are also exposed. The first offence was the exposition of Hempel's miserable translation, not a word being of late said about his (Hempel's) literary productions. They were not reviewed on this side of the ocean, because a review adverse to his productions would have not been admitted into the columns of one of the Homoeopathic Journals, then all under the control of the interested publisher. Whether common decency will permit a review now is very questionable. If, for instance, Hempel's Materia Medica (the lectures were delivered by him while Professor of that chair in the Homoeopathic College of Pennsylvania) was to be reviewed — if the manifold slanders, mistakes, and positive contradictions of the truth were to be published, it might be looked upon as an offense against common decency. It would be such an awful awakening to the miserable dupes who can imagine this fearfully deceptive fabrication as deserving of a “Repertory.” The friends, defenders, and abettors of Dr. Hempel have opened the controversy, they have unmercifully misrepresented his reviewer, and now wish to heap additional odium and distrust upon him and his friends and colaborers, because he and they are conscientiously engaged in developing and promoting Homoeopathy. In order to whitewash these sympathizers of Hempel and his perversions of Homoeopathy, the question is now asked “Who is a Homoeopathist.” May they, who are in sympathy with Hempel, his translations and fabrications, answer that question in a clear and positive manner. But if men are rightly judged by their surroundings, it will not be out of place to remind these sympathizers that the aidors and abettors of evil deeds are held equally as responsible as the principals; and should Dr. Hempel be proved a traitor to Homoeopathy, proved so by his own public actions, these his aidors and abettors (unless they plead ignorance) must stand convicted of the same crime and must no longer claim to be Homoeopathists.
I copy from the Globe, published in Toronto, Canada, under date of the 8th of April, 1850. The testimony was elicited during a trial for murder against Dr. King, and Dr. Hempel testified in behalf of the defense. After being duly sworn according to law, Dr. Charles Julius Hempel testifies thus; “I am Professor of Materia Medica and Therapeutics in the Homoeopathic College of Pennsylvania. I know the prisoner, he has studied under me two sessions. The gist of homoeopathic practice is this: for the cure of disease we administer medicines, which if taken by a healthy person would produce a like disease, etc;” again, in testifying, he says, “in homoeopathic treatment I have given as much as one-fifth of a grain of Arsenic in the Asiatic cholera, and have repeated that dose from twelve to fifteen times in the course of forty-eight hours. The patients have done well and recovered.” Further he says, “we endeavor to stop short of symptoms of poison.” Dr. Hempel gives this testimony under solemn oath, and represents himself the exponent of Homoeopathy. These principles and teaching as the Professor of Materia Medica and Therapeutics in the Homoeopathic College of Pennsylvania. Had Dr. Hempel testified only as a practitioner, I should not have ventured to consider this testimony worth quoting, but he assumes a fearful responsibility, representing the Homoeopathic College of Pennsylvania and the exposition of Homoeopathy as he gives it in his testimony must be accepted as it stands, or he must be discountenanced. It is testified, then, that he has administered fifteen times in forty-eight hours one-fifth of a grain of Arsenic, that is, he has given three grains of Arsenic in forty-eight hours in cases of Asiatic cholera and the patients have done well and recovered. What does Hahnemann say in his preface to Arsenic? What do allopathic authorities say on that subject? Both unite in flat contradiction of Hempel's testimony. The symptoms characteristic of the Asiatic cholera and the symptoms characteristic of Arsenic, are so very different that in a very few and but very exceptional cases Arsenic may become the curative remedy in the above named disease.
But what can Dr. Hempel mean when he says, “we endeavor to stop short of symptoms of poison.” Horrible in the conception of a physician who claims to have adopted Homoeopathy, of a Professor who claims to teach Homoeopathy and who yet gives such massive doses that his endeavor is to stop short of symptoms of poison. Is that the homoeopathic doctrine? And is Dr. Hempel a trusty and faithful exponent of that school and its doctrines? Or, is he proving himself a traitor to the cause? Let Mr. Pope answer this question. If he and his friends sustain Dr. Hempel in his testimony, the world should know it; if they, on the contrary, understand Homoeopathy quite differently, how can they trust the veracity, the candor or any of the effusions of Dr. Hempel in future?
I hope Mr. Pope will deign to answer my questions; we will then very soon come to the solution of his interrogation “Who is a Homoeopathist?”
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 04 No. 12, 1864, pages 534-542
|Who Is a Homoeopathist?
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