First Travels


1782. On the 17th November, Samuel Hahnemann, doctor of Medicine, Medical Officer of Health to the Saxon Electorate in Gommern, aged 28 years, eldest son of Christian Gottfried Hahnemann, a painter in the porcelain factory of Meissen, and Johanne Christanen, married spinster Johanna Leopoldine Henriette Kuchlerin, aged 19 years, only legitimate daughter of Gotthard Heinrich Kuchlers, who was apothecary here, and Martha Sophien….


SUPPLEMENT II

ENTRIES IN THE CHURCH REGISTERS OR ST. JOHN IN DESSAU.

BIRTH

1764. On the January, Mr. Gotthard Heinrich kuchler, apothecary in this town, had a daughter baptised, born to him on the Ist inst. by his wife, Marthen Sophien.

The Godparents are:

I. Minister Robls

2. Mademoiselle Pauli.

3. Mayoress Krahmerin.

The name of the child is Johanna Leopoldine Henriette.

DEATH

1769. O n the 6th March, Gotthard Heinrich Kuchler, citizen and chemist of this town, who died on the 3rd inst. was buried. Age : 65 years, 5 months and 3 days.

MARRIAGE

1770. On the 21st May the banns were published for the first time between Joachim Haseler, architect, and Mrs. Susanne of Spandau; and Marthen Sophien Kuchlerin, widow of Gotthard Heinrich Kuchler, citizen and apothecary of this town; and on the 10th of June, after the banns had been published for the third time, these two persons were wedded.

The mother of Mrs. Hahnemann, martha Sophie, died on the 19th March, 1797, aged 66 years 4 months 2 weeks and 3 days. The stepfather and father-in-law, Joachim Heinrich Haseler, who owned the Mohren apothecaries’ shop in Dessau, and was adviser and medical assessor to the then-reigning Duke of Dessau, died at 1 a.m., on the 5th May, 1812, aged 72 years 3 months ad 4 days, of debility.

Wedding of Hahnemann with Johanna Leopoldine Henriette Kuchlerin Entry in the Church Register of St. John at Dessau.

1782. On the 17th November, Samuel Hahnemann, doctor of Medicine, Medical Officer of Health to the Saxon Electorate in Gommern, aged 28 years, eldest son of Christian Gottfried Hahnemann, a painter in the porcelain factory of Meissen, and Johanne Christanen: with spinster Johanna Leopoldine Henriette Kuchlerin, aged 19 years, only legitimate daughter of Gotthard Heinrich Kuchlers, who was apothecary here, and Martha Sophien. The banns were published for the first time on December 1st, and after the third time of asking the wedding was celebrated.

The remark in the autobiography of Hahnemann that at the beginning of his appointment in Gommern he got married must here be corrected, as Hahnemann lived for more than a year as a bachelor in the little town, having begun his appointment at the end of the year 1781.

SUPPLEMENT 12

LETTER OF SAMUEL HAHNEMANN TO HIS FIANCEE, “Biographical Monument”. Albrecht, p. 110 ( IST DECEMBER 1782.)

“Sentiments on the day of my union with the only daughter of Joh. Henr. Leop. Kuchlerin, born at Dessau.”

(This letter the English editors have decided to omit from this work. It has no intrinsic merit, and it is more than doubtful that it is Hahnemann’s at all. The sole authority for it is Albrecht (1851), who cut it out of his second edition, for very good reason it is to be supposed.)

SUPPLEMENT 13

APPEAL OF HAHNEMANN TO THE PRINCE LEOPOLD FRIEDRICH FRANZ OF ANHALT-DESSAU.

Your Royal Highness,

I should seemingly be mistaking Your Royal Highness’ kindness regarding the decree of October 2nd, were I not to express herewith my humble gratitude. But should Your Highness still be pleased to consider that the small fruits of my father- in-law’s diligence must have been depleted in order to pay for the cost of this research; and furthermore that a private scientist has nothing to spare, since the remuneration of study will hardly suffice for a scanty subsistence, the undersigned hopes to receive the full patronage from that gracious hand which has already deigned to acknowledge to him one half.The 1500 RThl and the furniture which I acquired through my marriage are after all only partly mine. My growing children will later on demand them as their right, and I should then rejoice to be able to tell them how much of it they owed to the favour of the kind Prince of Dessau, whose gift I should meanwhile remember with deepest respect, until such times as my children may be able to appreciate it for themselves.

Your Royal Highness’s Most dutiful subject, Dr. SAMUEL HAHNEMANN.

Dresden, October 8th, 1786.

(The above extract is from the State Archives of the house of the Duke of Dessau. This appeal is not on behalf of the (still living) stepfather of Mrs. Hahnemann, Haseler, but concerns the work of Gottfr. Heinr, Kuchler, who had died 17 years before. The nature of this research and the reason why this transaction had been so long delayed could not be ascertained, neither is it of any importance to our object. What concerns us is, that Hahnemann, the husband of Kuchler’s only daughter, still believes he has the right of making this claim for himself, to which act he probably may have been driven by the privations of that year)

SUPPLEMENT 14

WRITINGS OF HAHNEMANN FROM 1777-1784 (a) TRANSLATIONS.

1777. Translation of Nugent’s Experiment on Hydrophobia: Leipsic. J.G. Muller, from the English. 150 pages.

1777. Translation of Stedtmann’s Physiological Experiments and Observations with Copper: Leipsic. J.G. Muller, from the English. 134 pages.

1777. Translations of Falconer’s Experiments with Mineral Waters and Warm Baths. From the English. Two parts, 355 and 439 pages.

1777. Translation of Ball’s Newer Art of Healing: Leipsic,1777 and 1780, with annotation under the name of Spohr. From the English.

1784. Translation of Demachy’s Laboratory Chemist on the Preparation of Chemical for Manufacture as for Art: Leipsic, by Crusius. Two vols,,302 and 306 pages. From the French, with supplements and copper plates. 2nd Edition, 1801.

(b) OWN ESSAYS.

1779. Dissertatio inaugur. medic: Conspectus adfectum spasmodicorum aetiologicus et therapeutics, Erlangae, 1779, 4. 20 pages.

1782. The first small medical essays appear in Dr. Fr.Chr. Krebs, Quedlinburg, ” Medical Observations.” Quedlinburg, 1781 – 1784.

1784. Directions for curing old sores and ulcers. Leipsic, by Crusius, 192 pages.

The first part (1781) contains the dedication; ” To Dr. Blodau and Dr. Hahnemann, who were his co-operates and friends, the author dedicates these few pages.” If any of the contribution in the first part, and which of them were really by Hahnemann, cannot now be determined. In the “Preface” to the second part (5th August,1782) it is definitely stated by the editor: ” The author of the first section of the collection contained in this part is Dr. Hahnemann of Dessau, whom I thank herewith for his contributions for which I am much obliged.”

The chief of first title of Hahnemann’s essays reads: ” On a putrid catarrhal fever, under observation from August, 1780 to the beginning of February, 1781, by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann.”

Hahnemann describes an epidemic of putrid fever in Quenstadt in the Mansfeld district. The 25 year old physician, who is naturally still using the remedies of the old school, shows here his own thoughts and a deeper understandings of the causes of disease. He describes with forceful words the hopeless hygienic and sanitary conditions under which people live and sleep together, and says:

I am not daring too much when I maintain that epidemics, in the beginning are largely illness of isolated individuals, which could be easily subjugated: and that they only degenerate into an angle of general destruction by carelessness and ignorance. If I omit a prolonged spell of unhealthy weather conditions, penury and poverty, the remaining fault falls almost entirely on institutions, nurses and doctors, who alone by their combined bad behaviour are able to change a medium illness into a serious one.

Hahnemann thus already considered the possibility of infection from extraneous circumstances:

if one had a fair knowledge of the inner conditions of every household, and examined the means of protection that each employed, one might predict with considerable certainty if any would die in one case or all in another: especially if one took into consideration the greater or lesser possibility of infection owing to the individual constitution.

Hahnemann’s treatment was in accordance with this conception, fresh air, less bed clothes, cold sustaining drinks and cleanliness. He describes four cases with more details, and adds two cases of chorea, where he already deals with the doubtful reliability of the old school medicine. One woman suggested, after his treatment proved unsuccessful, placing the child twice a day in a warm half-bath. Hahnemann writes:

The attacks diminished visibly, and in a few days she was completely free, which she still is after a whole year. Where then is our theory? I should have sooner ordered a cold bath in chorea – I do not know what to say in this case, but quanta sunt quae nescimus! (How much there is that we do not know!)

Dr. Ameke says in ” Origin and Fight against Homoeopathy ” (Journal of the Society of Homoeopathic Physicians in Berlin, 1884, Vol.III, page 145)

In the collection of recent treatises for surgeons (Leipsic, Weygand), several essays by Hahnemann (1783 – 1784- 1787) should be found.

that is inaccurate, to say the least. For these essays are one and all- as the title already says — translations from different languages, from the English and Latin. The name of the translator is never mentioned or indicated by initials. Moreover the small number of “Additions by the translator” do not show in any way the translator or author, even when they are a little more amplified.

SOJOURN IN DRESDEN AND LEIPSIC, 1785 — 1792 HAHNEMANN’S APPLICATION FOR THE APPOINTMENT AS MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH FOR DRESDEN.

AMONG the documents of the Health Department in the city hall of Dresden, the following application from Hahnemann is to be found:

Greatly esteemed and noble Sirs, staunch, learned and most wise Guardians of the Law,

It is an especial pleasure to me to offer you may services in then place of the late Dr. Wagner.

I should almost have hesitated to apply for so important an office as that which has become vacant, had it not been that your good will on the one side, and my great inclination for this branch of the profession on the other, had given me courage. My literary work in connection with forensic medicine, and the three years during which I held the post of Medical Officer at Gommern, are proofs of my suitability.

I have the honour to remain, with deep esteem, Your obedient servant, DR. SAMUEL HAHNEMANN.

It is astonishing that Hahnemann does not mention, in his briefly worded application, that he had already acted for Dr. Wagner for a whole year, during the latter’s illness. He had probably been invited by the authorities to apply for the post of Medical Officer; and as his appointment as locum tenens for the same post previously, had also been with the consent of the authorities, he possibly took it for granted that they were cognisant of the circumstances.

It is further surprising that Hahnemann applies immediately after the death of Dr. Wagner. The reason for this was the prevailing putrid fever, which allowed of no delay in filling this very important post. In the documents in the Health Office of Dresden, of March Ist, 1788, we read:

Owing to the continued prevalence of the putrid fever, it became an immediate necessity to fill the post of Medical Officer of Health, which became vacant on February 21st, through the death of Dr. Wagner.

As mentioned in Volume I, Dr. Johann Georg Eckhardt was chosen. Dresden was not fortunate in the choice of this man, because in the middle of february, 1790, he died, and the post again became vacant.

The post of Medical Officer of Health for Dresden required a physician who possessed an extensive education, as the duties made great demand on his time and energy; for, according to documents in the Health Office, it was part of his official duties to :

(I) Supervise the Masters of Midwifery, the barber-surgeons and the surgeons of the Infirmary.

(2) Be willing to treat the inhabitants of the city; advise and treat the wealthy for a small remuneration, and the poor, out of Christian charity and compassion, for nothing.

(3) To treat and medically supervise the inmates of:

1. The Military supervise the inmates of :

2. The Workhouse

3. The Cross School.

4. The Orphanage,

5. The Prisons.

(4) To render to the ruling Mayor, each month, a record of all patient in the above institutions, together with an accurate statement of the nature of the disease and the condition of the patient.

(5) Make two inspections of the apothecaries’ shops and of the drugs contained therein, both of simple and compound. The Medical Officer of Health is also responsible for seeing that ” the assistants and head men in the apothecaries’ shops undertake to prepare correctly the prescriptions sent to them by the physicians, and that they make a reasonable charge for the medicines.”

(6) Investigate all cases of suicide and undertake all post- mortems, and give his report.

(7) Render to the Municipal Council all reports that are required on criminals.

(8) Supervise all foreign physicians who have to be examined by him. Especially to grant concessions to those who arrive at the time of the fair, for the sale of medicines and to inspect all vendors of medicine and medicaments.

(9) Examine those persons who wish to become midwives or monthly nurses in this city. He must examine them, with the assistance of the Master of Midwifery, to find out if they possess the necessary knowledge and skill; he must supervise the activities of the midwives.

The salary was altogether paltry and inadequate when we consider the duties required of the Medical Officer of Health for Dresden, as outlined in the brief extract given above.

In addition to a free residence — which was magnanimously permitted to sublet — he received 80 guldens a year, divided into four quarterly payments; he was also allowed 12 thalers for fuel and a bonus of 50 thalers. It was hardly possible for a physician with a large family to exist on such a salary, and he was more than likely to be constantly under the pressures of cares for the most necessary commodities. Among the documents in the Dresden Health Officer we find, therefore, a request from a medical officer of that time, Dr. Samuel August Wagner, dated October 7th, 1784, in which he implores the Municipal Council, with almost pathetic appeal, to make an additional grant to his salary; as the prospects for the future loomed almost too black before him, especially as, owing to bad health, he was unable to do much private practice. In this request he says:

The late Mayor Glasewald said to me, when he handed the Office over to me in the name of his noble Councilors, ” I wish that I could congratulate you on something more important. Your future salary is small, yet it is a beginning: do not lose courage, the Councilors will not let their Medical Officer suffer want.”

SUPPLEMENT 16

THE WRITINGS OF HAHNEMANN DURING HIS STAY IN DRESDEN, 1785- 1789 TRANSLATIONS.

1785. Translation of Demachy’s “Art of distilling Liquor.” Leipsic. Two parts. From the French, with additions, 332 pages and 284 pages.

1787. Translation of Demachy’s “The Art of the manufacture of Vinegar.” Leipsic, by Crusius. From the French, with additions and one supplement. 176 pages.

1787. “Signs of the purity and adulterations of drugs,” by B. van den Sanden, chemist in Brussels, and Hahnemann, dresden, by walther. 350 pages.

1789. Translation of the story of Abelard and Heloise. From the English. Leipsic, 638 pages.

HIS OWN WORKS ON CHEMISTRY AND NATURAL HISTORY

1787. “Prejudice against heating with coal, and ways of improving this fuel, etc.” With two copper plates. Dresden, Walther.

1787. Relating to the difficulties in the preparations of mineral alkaline salt by means f potash and kitchen salt. Crell’s Chem. Annals II, Part II, pages 387-396.

1788. The influence of certain gases in the fermentation of wines, Crell’s Chem, Annals, Vol.I, Part 2, pages 141-142.

1788. On the wine test for Iron and Lead. Crell’s Chem. Annals, vol.I, Part. 4, pages 291-306.

1788. Concerning Bile and Gallstones. Crell’s Chem. Annals. Vol.II, Part 10, pages 296-299.

1788. An unusually strong remedy for checking putrefaction. Crell’s Chem. Annals. Vol. II, Part 12, pages 485-486. Translated into French by Cruet.

1789. Unsuccessful experiments with some new discoveries Crell’s Chem. Annals. Vol. I, Part 3, pages 202-207.

1789. Discovery of a new constituent in plumbago. Crell’s Chem. Annals, Vol. II, Part.10, pages 291-298

1789. Observations on the astringent properties of plants. Contribution to the Chem. Annals. Vol.IV.Part 4, pages 419-420

MEDICAL WORKS

1786. On poisoning by Arsenic: Its treatment and forensic detection. Leipsic. Lebrecht Crusius. 276 pages.

1789. Instructions for surgeons on venereal diseases. Leipsic, by Crusius, XIV and 292 pages.

DISCUSSIONS.

“The Manufacturer of Liqueur.” In French, by Messrs, Demachy and Dubuisson, translated and enriched by additions. Leipsic,1785 ( in two parts pages 332 and 284).

Westrumb writes in Crell’s Annals (1792, I, 490.)

SOJOURN IN DRESDEN AND LEIPSIC,1785-1792

Few manufacturers have listened to my suggestions of arranging their alembic as Demachy and Hahnemann suggest. These latter increased the height of the distilling cauldrons, gave to the cauldrons the form of a cone, provided it with a gutter and surrounded it with a blackcap. In this way they saved one-half of their time, one third of the fuel, and furthermore gained considerably more spirit.

All producers who need distilling installations should entirely discard the old Distillery apparatus, and use the French arrangement clearly described by Hahnemann.

Demachy’s “Art of the manufacturer of vinegar.” From the French, published with remarks and a supplement with one copper- plate. Leipsic, 1787, 176 pages.

“The New Medical Literature” by Schlegel and Arnemann, Leipsic, 1788, says (pages 56, 57, 59):

From many poor descriptions on the fitting up of vinegar breweries the writings of Demachy deserve more appreciation: and it is of value that they should have been made known to the Germans by translation, all the more so as Dr. Hahnemann has put the author right on many points. He has also been able to correct errors by annotations. The supplement of Dr. Hahnemann on vinegar brewing, particularly on the vinegar brewed from grain, is as through as it is clear.

Naturally these works must be judged by the standard of scientific knowledge and industry at the end of the eighteenth century. They contain some errors and much that is now obsolete and has been superseded by science and industry, which at that time was very advanced.

“On poisoning by Arsenic, its treatment and forensic detection “- Leipsic, Lebrecht Crusius, 1786(276 pages): – “Offered as the first fruits of the author to His Majesty the good Kaiser Joseph.” Crell’s “Annals” announces the book as follows: As the author starts from chemical principles, and has made some experiments to confirm them, this book is written with such literary care that it is worthy of an advertisement.

N. Litter’s “Information for Physicians,” 1787, pages 49 and 51, says:

These latter essays (of the book: forensic investigations — pathology — chemical properties — cause of death) give this publication a great value.

Professor Henke still writes in 1817, in Horn’s Archiv. for Medical experience (page 181):

Samuel Hahnemann’s publication on arsenic, which at that time was classical, has introduced the best tests into forensic medicine.

The prejudice against heating with coal, the ways of improving this fuel its use for heating baker’s ovens, together with a supplement by Lanoix and Bruns. The prize essays on this subject, with two copperplates, dresden, 1787. Walther, bookseller to the Court. Dedicated by the author with homage to the Economical Society of Patriots in Leipsic.

In the first chapter of this publication numbering 72 pages, to which have been added 39 pages, the translations of both prize essays on the “Memories sur les Fours de Boulangers chauffees avec du charbon de terre,” with two copper plates, Hahnemann remarks on the prejudices against using coal for fuel with the following introductory words.

Districts where, owing to the increase of coal fires, experience should have destroyed all prejudices against this fuel, are still under the illusion that coal is a dirty fuel; that its economical advantages are doubtful; that its smoke, if not dangerous to health, is at least suspicious, that its drawback for cooking utensils is as good as established; and that its use is only applicable to certain kinds of work;also that the lighting and keeping up of these fires is laborious and difficult.

As I should never like to remain behind where there is harmful prejudice to contend against, I wish to emphasis what is necessary on the subject, although here and there similar statements have already been made, because much good seed must be sown in order to reap a good crop.

Hahnemann attacks first the aesthetic objections that coal soot and smoke would make everything dirty and smoky, and emphasises that with every kind )of combustion there must needs be smoke and soot liberated. This was proved by Paris, Vienna and Berlin, where no coal is burned, but which seem buried in fog. “Is there anything useful without inconveniences? ” On the other hand, Hahnemann by means of accurately worked out figures shows that heating by coal is more economical and advantageous than the most varied kinds of wood fires. He then, with great thoroughness, investigates the objections raised on hygienic grounds, and rejects the idea, that coal-heating is detrimental to health, by many arguments. He is rather inclined to assume that ” coal smoke is purifier of the polluted air in big cities and swampy localities ” Charcoal fumes in a closed room are as harmful to health as coal fumes. ” All burning or glowing bodies absorb, in a closed room, the only air that is useful to life and exhale air that is detrimental.” Hahnemann then continues ” the objection that fire-irons would be more easily, destroyed by coal fires is just as untenable,” which he confutes by experiments. The contention that coal is difficult to ignite, he meets with a rational exposition on fire-lighting. The contention which owed its origin to indifference and laziness, that coal should not be used for certain kinds of work, he confutes by enumerating all the extravagances compared to that of the use of coal which have been employed in the production of delicate works of art, and in the cooking of victuals, as well as in the baking of bread. (A third chapter, together with supplement and illustrations, then deals with the heating of bakers’ ovens with coal.) The second chapter deals with “methods of improving raw coal.” Hahnemann then speaks of the production of coke or cinders, naturally without yet knowing of the extraction of gas. He only recommends the different ways of producing coke by means of coal-kilns (Similar to charcoal kilns) and in special ovens, whereby the value by products — oils, styptic water, tar and pitch — were already then being produced. Hahnemann also recommends the preparation of coal-bricks and coal-cakes with the slack and coal-dust, and he describes this proceeding accurately and gives diagrams.

Richard Haehl
Richard Haehl was the author of - Life and Work of Samuel Hahnemann