Biological Sketch of Hahnemann


The histories of many men who have risen to eminence in some particular branch of science teach us that they have done so under the most unfavourable circumstances. Hahnemann belonged to this class of great men….


Difficulty of forming a correct estimate of him

– His birth and parentage

– Pursuit of knowledge under difficulties

-School days- Student’s life in Leipzic and Vienna

-Removal to Hermannstadt- Graduates in Erlangen

-Practises in Hettstadt, then in Dessau, then in Gommern

-His first marriage-Removes to Dresden-Chemical labours

-Berzelius’s opinion

-Goes to Leipzic

-Discovery of the homoeopathic principle

– Res angusta domi

-Accepts the charge of a lunatic asylum-Introduces the principle of moral restraint

– Removes to Walschleben, Pyrmont, Brunswick, Wolfenbuttel, and Konigslutter

-Works written during this period-Enunciation of the homoeopathic principle

-Persecution of the apothecaries-Discovery of the prophylactic for scarlet fever

-Tardy acknowledgment of his discovery

-Forced to leave Konigslutter

-Accidents on the journey

– Arrives at Hamburg

-Removes to Altona, Mollen, Eulenburg, Machern, Dessau

-Works written during this period

-Hostility of his colleagues

-Chemical mistake

-Removes to Torgau

-Writes for a literary journal

-Returns to Leipzic

-Attacks upon him

-His thesis to enable him to lecture

-Commences lecturing

-Literary labour

– Treatment of Prince Schwarzenberg

-Persecution of the apothecaries

– Driven from Leipzic

-Settles in Coethen

-Works written during this period

-Foundation of the Central Homoeopathic Society

-(Secret history of Hahnemann’s statue)

– Indicates the remedies for cholera

– Death of his first wife-Second marriage

– Removal to Paris-Death and burial

-Characteristics of Hahnemann’s mind

-His perseverance

– His intolerance

-His unsociableness

-His conscientiousness

-His industry

– His generosity

– Anecdote of his high estimate of the medical profession

-His humility

-Compared to Luther

-Estimate of his character.


“HAHNEMANN, dieser seltene Doppelkopf von Philosophie und Gelehrsamkeit-dessen System am Ende den Ruin der gemeinen Receptirkopfe nach sich ziehen muss, aber noel, wenig von den Praktikern angenommen and mehr verabscheut als untersuchtist.”- JEAN PAUL RICHTER, Zerstreute Blatter, II. Band, S. 292.

ALTHOUGH it would perhaps be out of place to preface a course of lectures upon the ordinary Practice of Physic with an account of the Personal history of Aesculapius or Hippocrates, of Galen or Sydenham, as the representative men of old Physic, the case is altered when we have to discourse of that thorough reformation of the art of Medicine commonly called Homoeopathy; for Homoeopathy is so intimately associated with the name of Hahnemann, and a study of his history and a due appreciation of his character are so essential for enabling us to comprehend the various developments and phases of this complete and remarkable Reformation, that it would be almost as unpardonable for the teacher of Homoeopathy to omit attempting to estimate the character of its Founder, as it would be for the historian of the great religious Reformation of the sixteenth century to omit the study of life and character of Martin Luther.

But nine years have elapsed since Hahnemann entered the domain of history, and in confirmation of the saying that a hero is not appreciated till he has passed away from among us, we observe that these nine years have witnessed an extension of homoeopathy unequalled since its promulgation fifty years ago; and its Founder, who could at the period of his decease only reckon his disciples by hundreds, is now acknowledged as their master by thousands of educated medical men scattered all over the globe; and the very town whence he was driven by the enmity of his colleagues only twenty years ago, a few months since saw a costly monument of bronze erected to his memory by the united efforts of his admirers of all nations.

The biographer who has not enjoyed the friendship and acquaintance of his hero cannot indeed have such an exact idea of his minuter traits of character and peculiarities as he who has had this advantage; but on the other hand he may be able to form a juster estimate of his general characteristics and genius, by an unbiased study of his works and of the impressions produced upon those who were familiar with him; just as the spectator placed upon a hill may be able to form a more correct idea of the general features and capabilities of a town, than one of its inhabitants who may be familiar with every house, but not with its aspect from beyond its walls.

Hahnemann has not been dead long enough to enable us to assign to him his true place among the world’s worthies. The veneration of some might perhaps induce them to give him too high a rank in the Walhalla of immortality, whilst others, to whose remembrance the petty foibles incident to humanity, of which our Hahnemann had his share, recur too vividly, might be apt to under estimate him.

R.E. Dudgeon
Robert Ellis Dudgeon 1820 – 1904 Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh in 1839, Robert Ellis Dudgeon studied in Paris and Vienna before graduating as a doctor. Robert Ellis Dudgeon then became the editor of the British Journal of Homeopathy and he held this post for forty years.
Robert Ellis Dudgeon practiced at the London Homeopathic Hospital and specialised in Optics.
Robert Ellis Dudgeon wrote Pathogenetic Cyclopaedia 1839, Cure of Pannus by Innoculation, London and Edinburgh Journal of Medical Science 1844, Hahnemann’s Organon, 1849, Lectures on the Theory & Practice of Homeopathy, 1853, Homeopathic Treatment and Prevention of Asiatic Cholera 1847, Hahnemann’s Therapeutic Hints 1847, On Subaqueous Vision, Philosophical Magazine, 1871, The Influence of Homeopathy on General Medical Practice Since the Death of Hahnemann 1874, Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica, 2 vols 1878-81, The Human Eye Its Optical Construction, 1878, Hahnemann’s Materia Medica Pura, 1880, The Sphygmograph, 1882, Materia Medica: Physiological and Applied 1884, Hahnemann the Founder of Scientific Therapeutics 1882, Hahnemann’s Organon 1893 5th Edition, Prolongation of Life 1900, Hahnemann’s Lesser Writing.