From Dresden he was sent upon an expedition to Surinam, a Dutch colony in the north of South America, its purpose being the examination of the interesting flora and fauna there, a commission to which young Hering devoted himself with great enthusiasm. He there made the acquaintance of German missionaries, Moravians, to whom he soon became a friend and medical adviser.


Greeting to the town of Oschatz whose walls enshrined the cradle of him we celebrate today. Greeting to those of his family and relations who have come from Germany and from across the ocean to us. Greetings to all friends of the works of Dr. Constantine Hering.

“Wie an dem Tag, der dich der Welt verliehn,

Die Sonne stand zum Grusse der Planeten

Bist allsobald und fort und fort gediehn

Nach dem Gesetz, wonach du angetreten.

“So must du sein; du kannst dir nicht entfliehn,

So sagten schon Sybillen, so Propheten,

Und keine Zeit und keine Macht zerstuckelt

Gepragte Form, die leband sich entwickelt”.

“As on the day that gave thee to the world,

The sun consociate to the planets stood,

Thou didst prosper, evermore develop

According to the laws that governed them.

“So must thou be; from self thous canst not flee,

So sibyls spoke, so prophets wisely told.

Nor any time, nor any might can break

The graven form by destiny prepared”.

Over everyones life a star presides. Guardian spirits hover near, and demons lie in wait to drag him down. With iron pen the ruinic characters that mark our fate are graven into the book of history. Scratching in, charizo the Greeks have named it, and that which is so inscribed is the character of the man. According to his being his destiny is formed. It was to this natural observation the seeker Goethe gave poetic expression in the above verses.

Happy the man who can see the lines of his destiny, who again according to an ancient Greek word can know himself and act according to this knowledge. Such a man was Dr. Constantine Hering. Today, on the occasion of this celebration, when his life is already familiar to many, we will undertake to observe, from a different viewpoint, according to principles, his life and his labours.

A change of years is surely nothing extraordinary, purely a human arrangement and yet thoughtful people will at mid-night pause to wish one another a happy New Year while folding their hands in gratitude for the old and a wish for the new. Also the division of time into years is based upon ancient astronomical observations and each year bears its stamp upon it. How much more each century. Exactly on the advent of the nineteenth century on January 1, 1800, Constantine Hering was born here in Oschatz in the dwelling of the cantor. His father was organist and choirmaster in the church.

Another natural observation says, “mans years are seventy, if more are added they come to eighty.” This external law was also fulfiled by Constantine Hering. A noble life, full of energy and labor stretches from the young century to July 23, 1880. Another imprint, the third, attaches to this life – the name. Hering signifies leader, general, Constantia: steadfastness, perseverance. A steadfast leader in the army of light, was Constantine Hering. The commander in chief of this army had sounded his call to arms four years before Herings birth.

Samuel Hahnemann then published his first ideas on homoeopathy in Hufelands Journal. This is not the place to enter into the principles of the new system. Only this much may be said that medical science at that time was but poorly equipped. Medical art spent itself in blood-letting, leeching and the mixing of an incredible number of drugs. Hahnemann pondered over that which great physician to Frederick William III and Queen Louise, although never a homoeopathic physician, was generous enough to smooth the way for the new doctrine. Hering, as we will later see, became its true apostle.

He was brought up simply and naturally. He sprang from a prolific family. In him was verified the same observation we so often make in Germany that from such families come notable men (Bach, Lessing, Arndt, Jahr, etc.) He was a good pupil who particularly liked to occupy his mind with the natural sciences and nature studies. His acute thinking powers qualified him to be a mathematician. At the same time there developed in him a strong sense for justice. When the French army marched through Oschatz in 1806 a soldier begged him for bread. He handed him a piece of good plain rye which the Frenchman refused.

He wished for white bread. The blood of the six year old boy was up and he said: “If you will not eat the bread my mother baked God will punish you!” Curiously, as Hering often in his lifetime reaped the fruits of his manly acts, so it happened here. In the disastrous retreat of the army from Russia in 1812 the soldier humbly begged for a piece of black bread. It is told that this time gave him a piece of white.

H.A. Roberts
Dr. H.A.Roberts (1868-1950) attended New York Homoeopathic Medical College and set up practrice in Brattleboro of Vermont (U.S.). He eventually moved to Connecticut where he practiced almost 50 years. Elected president of the Connecticut Homoeopathic Medical Society and subsequently President of The International Hahnemannian Association. His writings include Sensation As If and The Principles and Art of Cure by Homoeopathy.