Hahnemann at Torgau. Organon

No science, no art, even no craft, has progressed so little with the march of time, no science has remained so far behind in its original imperfection as the science of medicine. Our medical science requires a complete reformation from head to foot….



(To Councillor Becker).

Torgau, June 11th, 1806

I am not without enemies in my own profession, they have been sent me from above for the purification of my heart, but I conquer them by silence and frequent remarkable cures with medicines which have neither smell nor taste, but usually help in a permanent manner without causing much discomfort. On those occasions I see that I am not lacking the necessaries of life, and have the sweet assurance that I have, taking all things into consideration, made unhappy people happy.


On March 17th, 1808, U.F.B. Bruckmann, Dr, med and Court physician in Brunswick, published in No. 76 of “Allg. Anzeiger der Deutschen,” a case which dated back more than ten years, in order to accuse Hahnemann of desire for gain. It was in connection with the treatment of an epileptic which Hahnemann had undertaken in the summer of 1796, in Brunswick. Although the patient had not been cured, Hahnemann had demanded a special indemnity of 70-80 Rth. apart from the ordinary fees. The alleged letter of Hahnemann speaks of 100 Louis d’ or-with the remark that people did not like to have to pay in Brunswick, but of course they could not expect great results from the physicians of that city. If he, Hahnemann, achieved a great success it was only fair that he should receive three or four times as much remuneration. Bruckmann then reproached Hahnemann with ill- treating his patients and said that they suffered morally under him. He states in his writing:

I have now been fifty-seven years a medical practitioner in Brunswick but have never known a local physician who was so avaricious and who practised so much charlatanism as Dr. Hahnemann when residing in our city, and later on at Konigslutter. But because this kind of practice did not succeed in our country, and also because the physicians were not allowed to dispense their own medicines, or to extort money out of the patient’s pockets by so-called Arkana, or secret remedies, Hahnemann took up his staff and wandered on, and I do not know where he went to.

How little Bruckmann’s essay could be taken seriously from a scientific point of view, can be seen from the closing part, where he says in connection with Hahnemann’s “Fragmenta de viribus medicamentorum” and the provings of medicines contained in it:

Should Mr. H. continue to carry out many such provings on his own person, I fear that a destruction of his whole body and especially of his brain will take place. Really these kind of experiments should only be carried out on criminals deserving a death sentence. If all physicians had to make such experiments upon themselves, or wished to make them, I would fear that they might all be crippled in body and soul.

The publication of this unusually violent attack which had been started at the first opportunity, and which among other things referred to the pneum alkali, and also to the scarlet fever prophylactic, had brought forward, as the publisher said, an impartial and clear-sighted doctor, H. of W. from the district of the Ocker, who came to the assistance of one so bitterly attacked. In NO. 94 of the “Allgemeinen Anzeiger” of April 5th, 1808, he leaves to Dr. Bruckmann, whom he knows personally, every honour and justification, but refutes the attack on Hahnemann as regards its from and contents. His judgment is based entirely on his “truly scientific and useful publications.”

Such a man who with marvellous science of all the joys of life puts his health in the background, in order to put the physicians on the only true and correct road, in regard to the effect of medicines, should not be openly put in the pillory. One would rather find in such a man, who has acquired great merits from medical science and suffering humanity, what is good and meritorious, sooner than expose his weaknesses. It would be very desirable to keep from the general public such writings, as they are abhorrent to it. Scholars should carry on their discussions in a scholarly way.

It was natural that Hahnemann too could not keep silent. In No. 97 April 8th, 1808, he replied to the “abusive writings of the old man now more than eighty years of age.”

In Brunswick they are aware of his character and in every line of his essay he reveals a soul which is only the shadow of a noble picture of humanity. Think of it! for twelve years the noble author has been seething in the poison, and now on the brink of his grave squirts it at me; for twelve long years he has cunningly kept back a slander until the witnesses of the time who could have refuted it, have passed away, and until the clear- sighted Duke of Brunswick was dead, who would not have let such an action directed against me go unpunished, because he was fond of me.

Like the incendiary Herostrat, a man of no fame, who by his knavish trick, erected for himself a monument to his mode of thinking, in which jealousy was the active motive, so even now it is jealousy that led him to persecute Hahnemann, because of several satisfactory cures, and also because to this day patients come to Hahnemann from his district. And so he renewed old calumnies of years before with which were interwoven ignorance and misunderstanding, and accusations which had long been refuted.

The rest were purely untruths and believed by his own soul.. Why should I be angry with angry with him? In such a condition of body and mind all such importances are useless. I am only sorry that his old heart-ache of a bad conscience together with such public-disgrace.






(a) Chemical and Pharmaceutical.

1806. On Substitutes for Cinchona. “Hufeland’s Journal,” Vol. 23 Part 4, p. 27-47.

1806. What are Poisons? What are Medicines? Ibid., Vol. 24, Part 3, p. 40-57.

1806. Objections to the Proposed Substitute for Cinchona, published in 1806, No. 12, “Reichsanzeiger,” and on Substitutes in General. “Reichsanzeiger,” No. 57.

1808. On the Present Want of Medicines, Extraneous to Europe, “Allg. Anz der Deutsch.” anonymous, No. 207.

1808. On Substitutes for Foreign Drugs. Ibid., No. 327. (b) Medicinal.

1805. AEsculapius in the Balance. Leipsic, by Steinacker, p. 70.

1805. Fragmenta de viribus medicamentorum positivis sive in sano corpore humano observatis. Leipsic, by J. A. Barth. Two parts, VIII p. 269, VI pp. 470.

1806. Scarlet Fever and Miliary Purple Fever, two quite different diseases. “Hufeland’s Journal,” Vol. 44, Part I, pp. 139-146.

1806. Medicine of Experience. Ibid., 22, Part 3, pp. 5-99, printed separately in Berlin by Wittich.

1807. Indications of the Homoeopathic Employment of Medicines in Ordinary Practice. “Hufeland’s Journal,” Vol. 26, Part 2, pp. 5-43 (later partly altered, and printed in the preface of the first three editions of the “Organon”).

1808. On the Value of the Speculative Systems of Medicine. Especially Contrasted with the Ordinary Practice which is joined to it. Anonymous. “Allgemeiner Anzeiger der Deutschen,” No. 263.

1808. Extract from a Letter to a Physician of High Standing, on the Great Necessity of a Regeneration in Medicine. Ibid., No. 343 (translation in Lesser Writing).

1808. (Observation on Scarlet Fever. Ibid., 160. Anonymous (translation in Lesser Writings).

1808. Correction of the Question put in Vol. 27, Part I, on the Prophylactic for scarlet Fever. “Hufeland’s Journal.” Vol. 27, Part 4, pp. 153-156.

1809. To a Candidate for the degree of M.D. Anonymous. “Alg. Anz. der Deut.,” No. 227 (translation in Lesser Writings).

1809. Instructions on the Prevailing Fever., Anonymous. Ibid., No. 261 (translation in Lesser Writings).

1809. Signs of the Times in the Ordinary System of Medicine. Anonymous. Ibid., 326 (translation in Lesser Writings).

1810. Organon of Rational Medicine. Dresden, by Arnold, 222 pp. (2nd edition, 1819, “Organon of the Art of Healing,” 371 pp., 3rd edition, 1824, XXIV and 281 pages, 4th edition, 1829, XVI and 307 pp., 5th edition, 1833, XXV and 304 pp., 6th edition, 1921, LXXVII and 347 pp.).

1811. Materia Medica Pura. Part I. Dresden, 248 pp. (see Supplement).

(c) Translations.

1806. Albrecht v. Haller’s Materia Medica. Leipsic, by Steinacker.


On “Fragmenta de viribus.”

Letter to the Editor Barth:


I cannot define exactly the number of sheets. After a close estimate of my first manuscript it might well be two quires; but I cannot ascertain quite accurately.

As I am working more for the advancement of the good cause than for gain, I will accept your offer, with the suggestion that you give a helping hand in the completion of this work.

The text, being exclusively mine, as you know, does not require any outside help, but in my notes there are quotations which require putting in their right places, and correcting where necessary. For this purpose I need to look at various books, which I am expecting through your kindness, from the Eilenburg delivery van. These transport expenses are only small, so please undertake them. I shall in my turn promise to return the books, which I need for corroboration, bound or unbound, in the same good condition as I receive them, and not to keep any, even the most voluminous, more than eight days.

Write by the next post if you accept this, and I will in the meantime prepare an advertisement, as you wish, for the A.L.Z. and send it to you immediately.

I generally keep my promise. To this punctuality I owe a great part of my success.

You shall receive the manuscript in one, or better still, in two batches, but I cannot consent to send it in separate sheets.

I expect the remuneration immediately after it is printed. If in course of time a German edition should become necessary, I make the condition that I only shall compile it, this you will probably consider reasonable and appropriate.

With profound esteem, Yours faithfully,


Eilenburg. October 30th, 1803.

Mr. Joh. Ambr. Barth, publisher and bookseller in Leipsic.

The first and smaller part of the book contains the symptoms of all the remedies which Hahnemann had proved on himself, in so far as they are not taken from other Toxicological observations, while the second part consists of the repertory.” This work, containing the first collection of remedies which had been proven on a healthy subject, deals with the remedies which we give below, together with a number of symptoms found by proving.

Symptoms Symptoms from from Hahnemann. others.

Aconitum napellus 138 75 Acris tinctura (Causticum) 30 0 Arnica montana 117 33 Belladonna 101 304 Camphora 73 74 Cantharides 20 74 Capsicum anuum 174 3 Chamomilla 272 3 Cinchona 122 99 Cocculus 156 6 Copaifera balsamum 12 8 Cuprum vitriolatum 29 38 Digitalis 23 33 Drosera 36 4 Hyoscyamus 45 290 Ignatia 157 19 Ipecacuanha 70 13 Ledum 75 5 Melampodium (Helleborus) 32 25 Mezereum 62 34 Nux vomica 257 51 Papver somniferum (Opium) 82 192 Pulsatilla 280 29 Rheum 39 13 Stramonium 59 157 Valeriana 25 10 Veratrum album 161 106

Although Hahnemann says in the preface to the book: “Nemo me melius novit, quam manca sint et tenuia” (nobody knows better than I do, how imperfect and insufficient it all is) it shows much diligence, extensive observation, and fearless love of truth. In “Hufeland’s Bibliothek,” Vol. 16 page 181, the essay is said to be “Uncommonly interesting and creditable.” In the scientific translation of the ges med-chir. Literatur of the year 1805 (page 409) Augustine calls the book ” the results of excellent experiments on the effect of medicines on the human organism.” Yet this work was and remained a fragment as Hahnemann modesty declared. A carefully prepared second edition, with numerous additions-the original of which is in the possession of Dr. Rich Haehl, Stuttgart, has probably for this reason not appeared in print, whilst the whole of the results of provings on a healthy subject were published in the Materia Medica Pura.

The following letter, the second part of which deals with.


is of interest in the history of culture.

Torgau, January 28th, 1805

Dear Mr. Steinacker,

For old acquaintance sake you shall have it for the mere sum of 25rl (This probably concerns the payment for “AEsculapius in the Balance.” This little book of seventy pages appeared in 1805 published by Steinacker.); but with the condition that it remains strictly anonymous, and a free copy on writing paper. I must also ask for myself a catalogue of Baldinger’s library which is to be sold.

The book-selling trade is at a crisis, the miserable, harmful and ephemeral literature of fashion will perish together with its publishers, and people will regain the taste and desire for the useful arts and sciences. The book-selling trade can only flourish and exist through books of real and lasting value. That time is not far off. The advance of knowledge and the increased remuneration of the teachers in many important countries give us reason for such an outlook.

I have in hand a translation of Albrecht von Haller’s Materia Medica, with additions by Vicat, a French book which is almost unknown in Germany, I have arranged it for the German reader, so that what concerns Switzerland only is abbreviated. It will be about 18 sheets (a little more a little less). Can I offer it to you. Please write to me what you can offer for the sheet? (The book was afterwards published by Steinacker, 1806.) Haller’s famous name will not let it remains unsold, it is really filled with much that is useful.

Please suggest to me a young scholar in Leipsic who would be able to procure new foreign books and scientific news for me at a small remuneration.

Your obedient servant,


Mr. Steinacker, publisher and bookseller, Leipsic.

From a letter to the same publisher it becomes evident what amount of enumeration Hahnemann was working for at that time. The letter is again addressed to the publisher Steinacker, and was written on August 11th, 1805. He says in it: I accept your offer to deliver the translation of Haller’s Materia Medica by Easter, and after sending the manuscript to pay 36rl. and at Easter the whole (after deducting the 36rl.), also to pay 4rl. for each sheet.

I must ask you for a favour, will you procure for me from the surgical instrument shop in Leipsic (I have forgotten its name) one of Stark’s midwifery forceps, a pair of craniotomy scissors, and a hook, in advance for my work, and to send these on soon, deducting the cost from the 36rl. which are due to me. You would do me a great favour by it as I need them very much.

This was Hahnemann’s last translation.

“On Objections to a Proposed Substitute for Cinchona.” “On the Present Want of Drugs Extraneous to Europe.” “On Substitutes for Foreign Drugs,” etc.

Napoleon had ordered a Continental blockade in order to destroy the commerce and shipping of England, that meant no English goods were any longer allowed to be landed at any Continental harbour. The consequence of this was naturally that in a short time there arose a great scarcity of drugs extraneous to Europe, because at that time drugs were prescribed in very large doses, and Cinchona bark especially was almost unobtainable, so a great many substitutes for it were advertised. As other medicinal substances were also in demand the medical faculty in Vienna tried to find a way of helping by declaring in the “Allgem. Anz der Deutsch.,” 1808, No,. 305, that a number of foreign medicines were quite unnecessary. Hahnemann gave his opinion in the three above named essays. He declared:

“Substitutes” in the sense that most physicians understood them were non-existent; the best help would be to carefully watch where one medicine was indicated, and then not give as large as dose as hitherto.

Substitutes, which completely take the place of medicines, which do not act chemically but specifically, there are not, and there cannot be, as one medicine differs from another-and substitutes which partly and half and half take the place of others (if such were necessary) can only then be found when the properties of every single drug have been accurately and completely displayed before the eyes of the world, for a complete comparison.

Prof. Hofrat Hecker of Berlin, also spoke against the opinion of the faculty in Vienna, by declaring: Cascarilla was not only as good as Cinchona bark in healing properties, but was to preferred.

Hahnemann says to this:

I say he maintained what he has said is nothing more than saying in a thousand words what the faculty in Vienna has said in two words (by declaring this remedy as quite superfluous); he makes statements and proves nothing, he does not give a single illustration.

This draws from Hahnemann the accusing statement :

No science, no art, even no craft, has progressed so little with the march of time, no science has remained so far behind in its original imperfection as the science of medicine. Our medical science requires a complete reformation from head to foot. Treatment is not undertaken according to conviction but according to opinion, the more ingenious and learned it appears the less is its value all these modes of procedure however much opposed, have their authorities and their famous men as examples; nowhere do we find a really good and helpful rule which has justified itself through the centuries.

And so Hahnemann returns again to the demand that the properties of the individual medicines should be proved. God had created and so arranged them “that unchangeably everyone of them has its definite use, its definitely established healing properties, which in very small doses could be used for the great healing of humanity.”



Dear Mr. Schaub,

I have just finished after eighteen months work the sixth edition of my “Organon,” which has now become the most complete., It will consist of 20 to 22 sheets calculated from the previous publication of the Organon,” but as I wish a more liberal edition it will take at least 24 sheets. I require the whitest paper and the most recent type for its production, as it probably will be the last.

If you wish to undertake such a handsome publication you can fix the fee yourself, either for the whole or by the sheet-just as you like-we want to earn honour with it. As Mr. Arnold has printed a portrait of me in front of all previous editions, which has little if any resemblance to mr, I shall see to it, that you receive at least a correct drawing of my facial expression which you can have engraved in Dusseldorf, so that posterity can form a conception of my face. I only ask for ten free copies. If this meets with your approval please answer by return of post.

Yours faithfully,


Paris Rue de Milan. No. I.

February 20th, 1842.



This is the paragraph intended by our Master for the fifth edition of the “Organon,” but suppressed by the senselessness of others. This I had the good fortune to discover, and I deem it my duty to give it to the world here after having already published a chapter on the double remedies in my “Lehrbuch der Homoeopathie.” Dr. Julius Aegidi, at that time physician in ordinary to the Princess Frederica of Prussia, in Dusseldorf, sent Hahnemann the report of 233 cases of cures effected by double remedies, and the reply of this great thinker, dated Cothen, June 15th, 1833, of which I possess the original, runs thus:

Dear Friend and Colleague,

Do not think that I am capable of rejecting any good thing from mere prejudice, or because it might cause alteration in my doctrine. I only desire the truth, as I believe you do too. Hence I am delighted that such a happy idea has occurred to you, and that you have kept it within necessary limits: “that two medical substances (in smallest doses or by olfaction) should be given together only in a case where both seem Homoeopathically suitable to the case, but each from a different side.” Under such circumstances the procedure is so consonant with the requirements of our art that nothing can be urged against it; on the contrary, Homoeopathy must be congratulated on your discovery. I myself will take the first opportunity of putting it into practice, and I have no doubt concerning the good result. I am glad that von Boenninghausen is entirely of our opinion and acts accordingly. I think too, that both remedies should be given together; just as we take Sulphur and Calcarea together when we cause our patients to take or smell Hepar Sulph, or Sulphur and Mercury when they take or smell Cinnabar. Permit me, then, to give your discovery to the world in the fifth edition of the “Organon,” which will soon be published. Until then, however, I beg you to keep it to yourself, and try to get Mr. Jahr whom I greatly esteem to do the same. At the same time I here protest and earnestly warn against all abuse of the practice by a frivolous choice of two medicines to be used in combination.

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