Fellow Members of the International Hahnemannian Association: It is with pleasure that I welcome you to your eighth annual meeting; to one which promises to exceed in interest and profit even our last session.
In the past, this Association has accomplished some very useful work for the cause it espouses. Let us hope it will do even more in the future. And what is the cause we espouse; or in other terms, why this Association.
It was certainly for no idle purpose, nor for any senseless caprice, that our oldest and most respected members left the American Institute and formed this separate Association; it is equally true that we of the junior profession did not join this Association for any selfish or useless purpose. Was not this Association formed solely for the purpose, as expressed, of perpetuating and developing true Homoeopathy? Was it not felt at the time of its organization that the hour had come for true men to arouse themselves, and work for the science they loved? Had they not heard all the principles which Hahnemann had taught, and which the experience of many had proven to be true, vilified and abused; had not, in short, all true Homoeopathic been driven from the Institute? The Homoeopathic school, then as now, was divided into two parties-the one representing Eclectic methods and practice, the other the principles and practice of Hahnemann, of Gross, of Boenninghausen, of Hering. The time had come when all practitioners had to decide which of the parties they should assist. And let it be to the eternal glory of these men that they chose rather to be right than to be with the majority!
In the history of the American Institute, we may read a warning for us. In its first years the Institute was composed of able and true men, and its purpose was for truth and usefulness. But little by little Eclectics were allowed to creep into its membership, and soon, behold! the whole body is Eclectic. Let us then beware whom we elect members, let our censors be even over-scrupulous lest a wolf creep in sheep’s clothing. Let no member sign any application for membership unless he knows the physician personally and is very sure he is qualified to serve with us. Too great caution cannot be observed in this matter. It is not great numbers that we want, but men of truth and purpose.
While much caution may be judiciously exercised in this matter of electing new members, let us not repel those who though not yet with us, are in sympathy with our purpose, and whose presence would be welcome. Let us not therefore erect any Chinese Wall of exclusion, but merely exercise all proper precaution to prevent evil. Let no good man be excluded by personal malice; nor any useless man elected to serve personal ambition. As well stated in the preface of our last volume of transactions:
“Personal interests or ambitions have no place here, but only what is truth.”
Without doubt all will assent to this assertion, but many will inquire, and most rightly too, What is truth? This question has been asked many, many times, and of all subjects. In this case, limiting our statement to what is true in therapeutics, we unhesitatingly assert the law of similars to be true; to be a proven fact. Has it not been found operative in all diseases and in all countries? Can fuller demonstration be needed?
“It is true; let it stand,” we all exclaim.
It may be well to remark that while our law is a fixed fact, we must never forget that our school is not to be stationary. The law is complete and perfect; our knowledge of the extent of its usefulness is very incomplete and imperfect. The law is fixed, the school is progressive.
Eclectics, building upon the uncertain sands of theory, need to be continually rebuilding, as each new theory causes a shifting of their foundation. Homoeopathist, building upon the unchangeable rock of law, need never rebuild.
Our foundation then being firm, we need only develop and improve the superstructure. Our knowledge of the extent and usefulness of the law of similars has increased since Hahnemann’s day; let us see to it that we continue to improve, and always in the right way.
The law, being of divine origin, is complete, perfect, and fixed; the school, being composed of erring humanity, is incomplete, imperfect, and changeable.
While many willingly concede this much to the Homoeopathic law, yet they desire something more; they would like to have liberty, license, “to use their best judgment;” to be free to treat anomalous cases by non-homoeopathic measures if, in their judgment, such may at any time be needed.
There is growing up such a tendency to the so-called scientific that our young men stand in danger of being drawn into this vortex of confusion. This scientific vortex looks wonderful; it is so strong! What can there be in the science of medicine but a knowledge of how to cure the sick? The scientific physician, when asked what he knows, must say: 1 know how to cure the sick. If he really knows this he has the knowledge and is scientific. If he has not this knowledge, which he pretends to possess, he is a pretender and a fraud.
What is there of value in this word “scientific,” when all the pretenders in medicine make use of it? These, most of all, cry “We are the scientific.” “We teach science.” The amount of science depends entirely on how much the instructor possesses, for “a stream cannot rise higher than its source.”
The “Eclectics” claim to teach the most scientific (?) of all, because they select the good from all schools of medicine. Who has guided them to this great wisdom? Do they pretend to have a law or a philosophy to enable them to select the wheat and leave the chaff? No. Such a thing does not belong to their pretensions. They even claim the greatest empiricism to be the highest order of science. The greater the chaos and confusion the greater the science.
The cry of the unbelieving does not strengthen their scientific position when their only appeal is to the miscroscope and to common sense. Common sense is opposed at all times to cultivated intelligence. The man of lowest intelligence can prove that he must have a dose that can be seen and handled to cure him of his aches, by appealing to common sense. The mongrel makes use of the same reason and argument to condemn us that the Allopathist resorts to, to convict the mongrel-appeal to common sense and belief.
Ten men may stand and affirm each, “I did not see.” and one man states “I did see,” and who of the eleven would the meanest court in the land accept as competent to give evidence? The one knows what the ten did not know.
The ten declared they have tried the high potencies and have failed to secure curative results. What have they demonstrated? Nothing but their own ignorance of the manner of using these potencies. But they say they cure with the low. I do not believe they cure with the low, because of the best reasoning. It is logical to suppose or presume that a physician, who can cure with the high, can cure with the low, but the demonstration is entirely wanting to show that the physician can cure with the low and cannot cure with the high. Men who know how to select a remedy have confidence in that remedy and go on gaining yearly in this knowledge; men who are ignorant of the powers of the selected remedy of course have not gained the confidence necessary to cure with it, and they mix other means and other medicines.
It has been recently stated in a medical journal that there are logical reasons for deserting Homoeopathy for Allopathy; that is, for abandoning law for empiricism. The idea is fallacious, and no sensible reason has ever been adduced in its support. There can only be one excuse for this change and that is failure! And this failure has never yet been shown to be due to any insufficiency of the homoeopathic law, but is always easily traced to the incapacity of him who uses it. All men are liable to err. Let him who thinks he cannot sin cast the first stone at our law.
Concerning the oft-made plea for liberty of medical opinion and action, we would remark that no one is free from the obligations of law; the greater your work, the higher you advance, just by so much do you rivet the chains of responsibility. Only the beggar in the gutter is free to do as he will. No one can grant a physician success in practice whose practice does not of itself secure success.
If one practices Homoeopathy he will secure Homoeopathic success; if he practices Allopathy, he will gain only the meager results of Allopathy. No results of learned bodies can change this rule. We are freemen; free to do and practice as we please; but our success will be measured by our practice, and our title as Homoeopaths or Eclectics be given accordingly as we practice the one or the other, and we all know the greatest measure of success is attained by a strict adherence to the law of similars, the minimum dose, and the single remedy. The Homoeopathy of Hahnemann gives the greatest success, the greatest freedom, and the greatest honor. No man can practice empiricism and honestly claim to be a Homoeopath; such are “living a lie,” as an Allopath has asserted. The Eclectic is a slave, bound by error; the Homoeopath is free, emancipated by truth. A great poet declares, “He is a freeman whom truth makes free, and all are slaves beside.”