Today we assemble in this beautiful city of Rochester and at the same time mark the quarter century of our existence as a society; the vicissitudes thro’ which the Association has passed in these years have largely been those inherent to young organisations and now that the storms have been weathered, we count it an uncommon privilege to be able to do our duty toward you as an united body giving the fairest promise of future usefulness in keeping and propagating pure Homeopathy.
The spirit bequeathed us by the fathers of our science and their immediate successors among whom we number many of the founders of this association is alive and active in our midst and will remain so as long as we make the cure of the sick our chief aim; should the day ever dawn when political preferment, honors or the applause of the multitude appeals to us more than the cry of the distressed we will go into deserved oblivion.
The year just passed has been marked by gratifying concessions on the part of some of our colleges in adding Hahnemannian teachers to their faculties; this step cannot fail to do great good and we should avail ourselves of it whenever practicable.
No open overtures for a union with the senior society have been received; an amicable rivalry will do both bodies good, especially as we do not feel constrained to agree that we may cure homoeopathically. Homeopathy is a science resting upon the natural law of similia, the law of action and reaction or it is nothing and one of the greatest delusions that has ever taken hold of human mind; if it is a science the word may has no place in its nomenclature, if it is only a tentative method the very term Homeopathy is indefensible.
Unfortunately for all such weak-kneed enunciation’s and their oracles the rapid advances of scientific investigation are about to make a laughing stock of them; to all desirous of becoming more proficient in the application of the law this society extends the right hand of welcome, others will hardly here find a congenial atmosphere. It is with gratification that we note a considerable increase in the number of converts from the old school of practice especially of late, and also that these men are usually satisfied with nothing less than pure Homeopathy. This should be an object lesson to all inclined toward amalgamation or liberalism, for it seems that many are not yet able to distinguish between freedom and license of practice.
I have elsewhere refuted the implication of the late Dr. Hughes that part of Hahnemann’s symptoms in the Chronic Diseases were obtained ab usu in morbis as stated on page eight of Dr. Hughes’ prefatory note to the Chronic Diseases, the Dr. Gross therein mentioned distinctly states on page 15 of Vol. 1. of the Allium H. Z. that the pathogeneses of the Carbons, Lycopodium and some others were obtained by provings of the high and highest potencies on healthy persons; elsewhere he states that these potencies elicit primary symptoms almost exclusively and are therefore of highest value.
Boenninghausen in his Aphorisms of Hippocrates tells us that his first curative experiments with high potencies were made upon animals, and Gross relates the effect of a high potency of Veratrum album upon flies at the same time using control experiments with unmedicated pellets thus bringing out the characteristic drug effect very fully.
Boenninghausen in the same work, page 416, also points out the fad that the best antidote to a drug disease is a very high potency of the same remedy given in repeated doses; but in order to avoid unpleasant results, he found it necessary to change the potency a little with each dose. He does not however stop to discuss its homeopathicity. This may be useful information to the isopathic antidotalists who have plagued us somewhat in the past.
It affords more than passing pleasure to note that the spirit of fairness and absence of bias in looking at all questions has at last extended to and is gaining ground with increasing momentum in the medical profession. Homeopathy has nothing to lose from such a movement and will most assuredly gain much; the benefit derived must however largely depend upon our ability to seize upon and make the best of the opportunity. To the end that we may meet the emergency fully equipped we should leave no stone unturned to make our graduates equal to the best that may be turned out by any school, plus Homeopathicians; for after all we must bear in mind that breadth of knowledge will in the end count for much and will help to attract the thinkers to us, the others will come of their own volition according to their light. lt is better that most should come from conviction, for then they will contain the seeds of progress and advance our science along lines leading to final victory. To hasten this I would earnestly recommend the study of the early fathers in Homeopathy. Beside the standard works of Hahnemann, those of Boenninghausen, especially his Aphorisms of Hippocrates should be carefully read and studied; it will help the young student over many a hard place and put weapons of defence in his hands which no antagonist will long despise.
While on this subject I cannot do better than call attention to the grave deficiency in powers of observation which many of our younger men display; this especially unfits them for taking the case properly, and thus nullifies a very large part of their otherwise good instruction. You that sit here before me will, I know, appreciate the gravity of such a position keenly when you reflect upon the time it has taken you to become proficient in this most essential part of the physician’s education. During our college days little or no stress was laid upon this subject, in fact I seriously doubt whether any of us had the matter brought to our attention at all. With such instruction we must cease to wonder that habits of generalisation from insufficient premises have fastened themselves upon the profession. The wonder is rather that true inductive reasoning has survived at all; in all probability it would not have done so had not scientific habits of thought percolated into the homeopathic student body from the educational world in general. To foster and develop such powers I would particularly call your attention to the great benefit to be derived from the study of botany which should be encouraged in every way as it especially develops the power of observation and has a many sided and definite relation to the systematic study of Materia Medica.