Hahnemann at Leipsic University

They are making all preparations, to transmute Torgau into a big and terrible fortress, in which my family is not likely to live in peace. I have to sell my dear and comfortable freehold house and move to Leipsic….



Hahnemann wrote to von Villers (“Leipz.Pop.Zeitschr. f. Hom.,” 1880. 11 year, page 47): Torgau, January 30th, 1811.

Another few words from me. I am living (now nearly fifty-six years old) surrounded by my family which is very dear to me–a wife of exceptional kindness, and seven happy, almost grown-up daughters, who are well educated, obedient and innocent, they take every care of me, and brighten my life (also with music). I am nearly always able to heal quickly and prematurely any patients entrusted to my care, and in that way make many people happy, through the Grace of Him Who made the remedies and put them in my hands. Am I not to be envied? But, see, they are making all preparations, to transmute Torgau into a big and terrible fortress, in which my family is not likely to live in peace. I have to sell my dear and comfortable freehold house and move hence–undecided–where? You see, dear friend, in this way the all-wise Providence puts sorrow on the other side of the scales, if the first is to hold such a full measure.


The Dissertation on Venia Legendi has the following title: Dissertatio historico-medica de Helleborismo veterum Quam Gratiosi medicorum ordinis auctoritate in auditorio maiori D. XXVI Junii MDCCCXII defendet auctor Samuel Hahnemann Medicinae et chirurgiae Doctor acad. Moguntinae scientiar utilium societies phys. med. Erlang. et societ.

regiae oeconom. quae Lipsiae floret sodalis honorarius Respondente Frederico Hahnemann filio art. lib. Mag. etc. med. bacc.

Lipsiae impressit Carolus Tauchnitz.

English: Historic-medicinal essay on treatment and cure with Hellebore of the Ancients.

Delivered by kind permission of the medical faculty in the large Audience Hall, on June 26th, 1812, defended by the author Samuel Hahnemann, doctor of medicine and surgery, honorary member of the Society of applied sciences at Mayence, of the physical and medical Society of Erlangen, of the Royal economic Society, which flourishes in Leipsic; it will be answered by his son Fredrick Hahnemann, Master of Arts and Bachelor of Medicine [Student who is just about to take his examinations for his Doctor’s degree– R.H.). Leipsic, printed by Karl Tauchnitz.

The essay consisted of 86 pages. After a short introduction Hellebore is described as a remedy in insanity and as an emetic; “helleborosus,” one who require much Hellebore is not in his right mind. Then are considered consecutively: the initial use of Hellebore as a medicine; Hellebore as the oldest remedy, especially as a purgative, proved by the testimony of ancient writers. Then follows an investigation into the question, whether Helleborus albus is the same plant as our Veratrum album. Hahnemann answers this in the affirmative, for the healing properties of both are not only similar but identical. (Proof: the testimony of many earlier and recent physicians).

Then are named the districts in Greece where Hellebore grows best, and the characteristics of especially good plants are enumerated. The description of the repeated medicinal use in the majority of cases of chronic diseases is proved with examples of important cases.

After that is shown, when Hellebore was first used and to what extent; further, at what time of the year, against what kinds of diseases, and for what types of people Hellebore was used by the ancients, when according to their ideas it was advantageous and when injurious; the preparation of the patient before using it; the way in which Veratrum album should be employed; what the Ancients mixed with Veratrum as a remedy; what to do for the condition of vomiting which regularly followed its use; the curing of the unfavourable and serious symptoms which arise from the effects of Veratrum. It concludes with some remarks on Helleborus niger.

In the professional criticism this essay met with approval without-as can be well understood-paying too much attention to it. It was not a polemical writing, and therefore had disappointed all parties in their expectations, as much those who had hoped for a new fundamental precept in the homoeopathic sense as also those who had expected further violent attacks on the old medical science. As neither the one nor the other day before them they passed quickly over this profoundly scientific work. Yet the reviewer writes in the “Medorrhinum Chir. Ztg.,” Supplement 192, page 234:

Although the effects of Veratrum may not be as helpful, as the author believes, there remains yet another merit, that is, the historical compilation of all the methods of treatment with available dates, and in this way the complete historical representation belongs entirely to the author; such a work as the one before us is all the more interesting as similar works are very rare. The earliest traces of the use of Veratrum album can be followed back to 1500 B.C.

And in the “Allgem. med. Annales” of the nineteenth century, 1812, page 1053, another reviewer says that the dissertation is “an interesting contribution to the history of medical science, diligently collected and estimated with a critical spirit.” A third one calls it (in Augustin, Wissensch. Ubersetz. der ges. med-chir. Literature, 1812, page 337), “a very thorough essay.”

That must hold good, even to-day, when we consider the authors and sources of knowledge that Hahnemann mentions in his writing. From Hippocrates, the famous Aesculapius of antiquity (460-377 B.C.) the chain goes uninterruptedly on to Antyllus (Greek surgeon at the end of the third or beginning of the fourth century, handed down by Oribasius), then to Aretaeus (Greek physician of Kappadocia, at the end of the first, or early in the second century, who is considered the best observer of diseases after Hippocrates), on again to Claudius Galenus, the most renowned physician of antiquity after Hippocrates (died 31 A.D.), and then passing over to the Oriental Mesue, of whom Hahnemann, himself, says in an annotation, he–who lived under the reign of the Caliph Harun Af-Raschid, about the year 800-was a man of such importance that he has been child the Evangelist of the physicians. At his side is put Avicenna Ibn Sina, born 980, near Buchara, died 1037, at Hamadan, who is considered the greatest Oriental medical man. And so the line continues on to Theophrastus Paracelsus (born 1493, died 1541) down to the recognised great ones of the profession such as Haller and others. Then naturalists and historians are included, thus Herodotus (500 B.C.), Ktesias (400 B.C.), Plinius (79 A.D.), Pausanias (160 A.D.); an extensive and collective list of scientists of all times and all nations!



Dr. Huck wrote to a friend (Albrecht, Hahnemann’s Life and Work, page 30): Lutzen, August 9th, 1812.

Dear Friend,

Though I do not usually like to talk to anyone about one of the greatest thinkers of all the centuries, yet I gladly write to you about the man who, by evident proofs of his great ability, has in a short time wholly won over to himself the unprejudiced portion of the medical as well as the other scientists of Leipsic. To hear Hahnemann, the keenest and boldest investigator of nature, deliver a masterpiece of his intellect and industry, was to me a truly beatific enjoyment. I drove back home to my own town as if in a dream, and was desolate as I was obliged to acknowledged to myself, “You are not worthy to loose the latchets of his shoes.” He will deliver private lectures at Michaelmas. I shall be a student next year again, and if exceptional circumstances do not prevent it, will see what I can derive from this wonderful source. If Hahnemann would stoop to act contrary to his noble character and play the hypocrite, like so many other seemingly great men, even the most renowned physicians of Leipsic would be obliged to lower their pretentions. The strongest of his opponents were so courteous as to acknowledge that they were wholly of his opinion, medically speaking, and they thought that if anyone wished to say anything he would be obliged to discuss the matter philologically. He covered himself with renowned he remained victor.

Had it not been a very unsuitable time to look for him on that day, I would have gone to him, and should have voluntarily and unconditionally betaken myself to his banner.




Dr. Franz Hartmann, a pupil and friend of Hahnemann during his sojourn in Leipsic, tells us about Hahnemann’s lectures at Leipsic University (“Allg. hom. Ztg.” 1844, Vol. 26, page 182):

I cannot hide that Hahnemann presented, from his arrival to his departure from the lecture room, such a peculiar appearance, that would have taken men of his own type of mind and age, to look seriously into his eyes; but for the fact that young minds and particularly cheery students, are easily stimulated to laughter at the slightest provocation, and easily find reasons and look for them, it would have been impossible to demand a serious demeanour.

Richard Haehl
Richard M Haehl 1873 - 1932 MD, a German orthodox physician from Stuttgart and Kirchheim who converted to homeopathy, travelled to America to study homeopathy at the Hahnemann College of Philadelphia, to become the biographer of Samuel Hahnemann, and the Secretary of the German Homeopathic Society, the Hahnemannia.

Richard Haehl was also an editor and publisher of the homeopathic journal Allgemcine, and other homeopathic publications.

Haehl was responsible for saving many of the valuable artifacts of Samuel Hahnemann and retrieving the 6th edition of the Organon and publishing it in 1921.
Richard Haehl was the author of - Life and Work of Samuel Hahnemann