Hahnemann’s Removal to Kothen

Cothen is a pretty little town; it lies in a valley through which flows a little river, that gives freshness and beauty to the surrounding country. Wide and beautifully laid out streets together with the castle of the reigning Duke, adorn the town. …


A letter of Hahnemann to Dr. Billig in Altenburg (Saxony). (“Hirschel Zeitschr. f. hom. Klinik,” 1855, Vol. IV, page 198).

Leipsic, 5 February, 1821.

Most Worshipful Obr. (Obr.-Ordensbruder-Member of the Masonic lodge.) Esteemed Friend,

From the public proceedings directed against me by the Saxon medical men, you will have learned (I am sure with grief) how bitterly my method of treatment and its author are persecuted in this country. This persecution has now reached its climax, and I should indeed be bearing a grudge to the beneficient science, and my own life, were I to remain here any longer and not seek protection in some foreign country.

Some propositions of this kind have been made to me from Prussia, but I should prefer to find the protection I need for the few remaining days I have to live (I am an old man of sixty- six) in the country of Altenburg. In a country that is so mildly governed as Altenburg is, and where, moreover, I can still meet with true Masons, I think I may be more comfortably settled, especially as twenty-four years ago I enjoyed great distinction as physician to the dear old Duke Ernst, in Gotha and Georgenthal.

I do not desire to go to the town of Altenburg itself, because dear friend, I do not want in any way to stand in your path, or in that of your colleagues by my presence.

I only wish to settle in some country or village, where the post may facilitate my connection with distinct parts, and where I may not be annoyed by the presumption of any apothecary, because, as you know, the pure practice of this art can only employ such minute weapons, such small doses of medicine, that no apothecary could supply them profitably, and owing to the mode in which he has learnt and always carried on his business, he could not help finding the whole affair ridiculous, and ridicule it to the public and the patients, therefore it would be impossible for this and other reasons to find an assistant in the apothecary for the practice of homoeopathy.

I beg of you my honoured friend, to receive me in your country, under your kind protection, and I should do all in my power to prove to you actively my gratitude and esteem. Please remember me most kindly to our worthy Obr. Hofrath Dr. Pierer.

You will oblige me greatly if you will be so good as to speak of this matter to the President of Government, von Trutschler, to whom I have also applied.

In the meantime accept a triple kiss from my esteem and love, as from your true friend and Obr.




Dr. Peschier of Geneva, who visited Hahnemann in 1832, describes Kothen as follows: (Bibliotheque Homoeopathique, Vol. I, p.378.)

The route from Leipsic to Cothen is neither very interesting nor agreeable, though it is necessary for the driver to be familiar with it; my friend the Baron von Brunnow, who had set out with his sister, lost his way in a cross road and there wandered for more than three hours before he discovered the right way. Cothen is a pretty little town; it lies in a valley through which flows a little river, that gives freshness and beauty to the surrounding country. Wide and beautifully laid out streets together with the castle of the reigning Duke, adorn the town. The castle itself is surrounded by a garden which is open to the public, and in it many rare plants are cultivated with great care.

The dowager Duchess Julie-her husband Duke Ferdinand, who had reigned in Hahnemann’s time, had died in 1830-lives in a pretty house, situated in the middle of the garden which is adorned by a lake on which were swans. The house is situated near the gates of the town and is only separated from them by a broad walk and a few shrubs. The town gates and the old city wall are the relics of the once fortified town. Adjoining the castle is a Catholic church with a high portal and beautiful columns; this church had been built by the deceased Duke who was a Catholic, for the purpose of holding Catholic services.



To Dr. Hahnemann in Leipsic.

I have been using your medicine all the time, and even if I do not feel that I have completely recovered, yet it seems to me, that the vertigo has subsided a little.

I have enough medicine to last until the 27th of the mouth, and therefore ask, what is to happen after this date, if you wish to send me a fresh supply or not.

Moreover, I shall be very pleased to see you here soon.


Kothen, 21 May, 1821.

The following letter is a further proof of the relationship existing between the Duke and Hahnemann, previous to his removal to Kothen.

Cothen, 29 January, 1823.

My dear Hofrath Hahnemann,

While expressing to you my thanks for your medical help this year, and for the past two years, and assuring you of my complete satisfaction, I wish you to accept the enclosed trifle as a slight recompense for your services. May Heaven preserve you in good health for many years to the benefit of suffering humanity.



Gracious Highness, (Concept in Hahnemann’s own handwriting found among his literary remains.)

Your Ducal Highness, I take the liberty to humbly ask for permission to take up my residence in your country, and, what is denied me here, to practice unrestrained my healing science, and prepare the necessary remedies with my own hands, and be allowed to give them to my patients. The noble disposition of your Serene Highness which gives free play to the development and promotion of science and arts, an invaluable and so rarely found disposition in rulers, which will weave an unfading laurel in the wreath of your virtues, gives me the hope that you will graciously grant my petition for which, Your Serene Highness, I yearn in deepest submission.


(Signature.) 21st March.


The following document, together with a number of further documentary writings, is in the private archives of the Duke of Anhalt, in Zerbst. Following Dr. Haehl’s direct request to the Duke of Anhalt, all the documents concerning Hahnemann, were kindly given to him to copy, through the kind mediation of Geh. Archivrats Dr. Waschke of Zerbst.

We hereby announce to the Commissioners of the State Administration that we have graciously accorded to Dr. Hahnemann, of Leipsic, upon his humble request, permission to settle here as a practising physician, and to prepare the remedies required for his treatment, and hence the sections 15, 17, and 18 of the Medical Regulations of 1811 have no application to him. In other respects Dr. Hahnemann is subject to all the rules and regulations of State and police; and to all the regulations of our Medical Direction, and our Commissioners of State Administration will arrange all that is necessary, especially in regard to the Medical Direction.


Cothen, April 2nd, 1821.

Dr. Arthur Lutze writes in his “Fliegenden Blatter,” No.7 of April 10th, 1859:

On the first Whit holiday of 1821, Hahnemann removed to Cothen with his whole family, and by a coincidence, he left it again on the first Whit holiday, fourteen years later, with his second wife Melanie, nee d’Hervilly-Gohier, and went to Paris.

While Hahnemann lived with his family for the first few weeks in the great Inn at Cothen, he furnished for himself, the house, then No. 270, now No. 47, on the rounded corner of the Wallstrasse, which he had bought from Dr. Heinrich.

In the “Book of Oaths” of Kothen, of 1729 is entered, Actum Kothen, June 13th, 1821:

His Serene Highness the Duke, by means of a rescript of his Ducal Sovereignty, of the 4th April of this year, has graciously allowed Sam. Hahnemann, Doctor Medicinae, born in Meissen, and lately residing in Leipsic, to settle here, and he has acquired by purchase, the house of Dr. Heinrich, in the Wallstrasse, No. 270. He has to-day in the usual manner been added to the number of resident citizens, on account of the Bill of Sale, at the Ducal State Office, against payment of 9 Rl. and 10 gr. current money.


(From the State Archives of the Ducal House at Zerbst).

Very esteemed friend,

In the decree of His Serene Highness which arrived yesterday concerning Dr. Hahnemann, there have been omitted by accident, just the words on which rests the unrestricted practice of his science. Hahnemann asked for permission: “To prepare with his own hands the necessary remedies, and to be allowed to give them to his patients himself.” The underlined words have been omitted in your High Degree, and it is just this permission which has been denied him in Leipsic, owing to the pressure brought to bear by the Apothecary Guild. He has been allowed to prepare his own remedies, provided he let the apothecary afterwards dispense these remedies to the patients in his own boxes and bottles. In a method of treatment where the results on the patient rest upon infinitesimally small particles of medicine, and which the apothecary might be inclined to view with disfavour on account of his own interests, it naturally depends on the physician having unconditionally a free hand. As Hahnemann himself is recognized as one of the most famous analytical and pharmaceutical chemists of Germany, and for twenty years most physicians and apothecaries have used his Apothekerlexicon as a guide for the preparation of their medicines, there can be no hesitation in granting the permission which has been given to him personally.

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