To me this has been a most extraordinary age. Events of such variety and importance as to distinguish centuries have been compressed within the range of my professional life.
When has it happened that history has had so much to record as since 1889?.
Much has been crowded into my life during these fifty years — six patients in my office in one day. I have made fifty-eight house calls in one day; fifty house calls and one maternity case, forty-four house calls and two maternity cases and thirty-three house calls and three maternity cases all the span of one day respectively. These facts have no particular importance but merely indicate that my opportunities for observing medical conditions in this country for the last half century have been fairly wide.
As a result of these experiences and observation I would say that it is much more difficult in these times of spectacular medicine to practice homoeopathy than it was in the earlier years of my professional life. However, our opportunities are legion and we are offered a challenge to our faith and practice which we as homoeopathic physicians will have to meet.
I have a firm conviction that the most pressing needs in the medical field in this land today, which must be met by the believer in the principle of homoeopathy, are for a closer cooperation, a more intelligent, discriminating, forceful and inspiring educational program coupled with great care and precision in pursuing the application and practice of our chosen profession.
Grass withers and flowers fade but the principle as laid down by Samuel Hahnemann will survive.
True, there are discouraging features in the present situation of our profession, nevertheless this is a wonderful age in which we are living.
As we look out upon the restless life of earth we see an appalling mass of confusion and disorder. I have learned much during the last fifty years through my own failures and blunders as well as from the encouraging success. Would that my work had been much better, but as I stand at the approaching sunset of my life let me say to you, who have before you years of opportunities and service: Press forward with vision, courage and strength towards your goal of dissemination and application of the true and pure therapeutic art. “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good”.
Will you follow me for a little as I recount the passage of days as I saw them and picture events as they influenced my daily life and span of years?.
Fifty years ago this month I began the study of homoeopathy. That same year I had the opportunity, under the supervision of my preceptor, of caring for my first case of carcinoma, involving one half of the face, one eye and one ear. A hopeless case, yes, but homoeopathy gave him great comfort and greatly mitigated the pangs of death. The same principle applied then as now, the same remedies prescribed for the same symptoms picture gave the same results then as now.
Let us note a few of the many changes which have occurred in the drama of life during this period.
In those days one never saw in print such words as radio and airplane; they came twenty years later. The word automobile was just in dreamland– I purchased my first automobile in 1905 and it was first spoken of as the horseless carriage.
Pathology was just beginning to be taught in my second year of medical school.
No warning in those days of March fifteenth for filling your taxes and surtaxes.
Doctors had not heard of 606, insulin or relativity.
The homoeopathic polychrests were just as efficacious then as now.
Homoeopathic philosophy was just as lucid then as now.
The telephone and electric lights were just emerging.
The trolley car was destined soon to supplant the horse car and cable car. I well remember my first ride on a trolley car in 1890, riding a distance of five miles and back in Lincoln, Nebraska.
At this time woman suffrage was just making a beginning in a very humorous, far fetched, whimsical burlesque.
In those days we never heard of nor saw mentioned, smoking by women, bobbing hair, permanent waves, nor birth control.
The vocabulary of the average man did not contain camouflage nor propaganda.
Co-education in our medical schools had been adopted, but women doctors were looked upon partly with ridicule, partly with suspicion.
We heard of real estate agents, not realtors; of travelling salesman, not commercial tourists; of undertakers, not morticians. The x-ray was unheard of, the microscope was used by but few. In the field of therapeutics in 1889, Bryonia alba relieved a pain aggravated by motion just as quickly as it will today.
During this period the theories of digestion have passed through many changes as have hygiene, sanitation, dietetics and climatology.
Fifty years ago the dominant school of medicine always administered their therapeutic agents in the maximum dose. With the exception of quinine, whisky, strychnine, morphine, a few of the coal tar products and a very few other expedients no treatment in vogue then is ever considered now.
Fifty years ago Chicago depended upon kerosene and gas for illumination instead of the light from Arcturus.
Homoeopathy was represented in those days by Drs. H. C. Allen, W. J. Hawks, T. S. Hoyne, Wm. Gee and others who elaborated the same philosophy of Hahnemann and used the same remedies that we are hearing proclaimed today.
In those days there were homoeopathic medical colleges in the north, south, east and west. Today we have but two medical schools that make even a pretense of teaching homoeopathy.
A large per cent of the homoeopathic physicians of today are members of allopathic medical societies. A very few physicians educated in allopathic colleges are affiliated with homoeopathic fraternities and they are or are fast becoming genuine pioneers for homoeopathy.
I well recall my first maternity case while in country practice. Caulophyllum helped greatly in bringing to a favorable termination what would otherwise have been a most severe if not fatal delivery. The indicated homoeopathic remedy was the largest factor in enabling me to deliver my first one thousand maternity cases with but two fatalities and these were the result of an embolus several hours after delivery.
As illustrative of the pernicious and cumulative effect of calomel as given years ago I recall a case which came under my observation forty-eight years ago. Mr. B. gave a history of having been given by a close friend, an allopathic physician, over a period of years a large amount of calomel, for colds and a severe attack of typhoid fever. He had never taken any mercury for at least twenty-five years when I was asked to prescribe for him as he was suffering from cramps in his hands, severe rheumatic pains in his back and limbs. One prescription of Sanguinaria salivated him in thirty-six hours.
The same remedy will do the same thing under the same conditions and on the same symptom picture if given today.
Fifty years ago the healing art had in reality but two branches, homoeopathy and the dominant school. Homoeopaths were quacks, most undesirable citizens, ridiculed, despised, rejected, had sarcastic poems written about and of them. We were refused admission to the consultation chambers, hospitals and other medical conferences.
In my hearing over two score years ago a very prominent physician said that he would rather lose his right arm than to live to see the day when any homoeopath would be allowed to step foot over the threshold of the hospital.
However, our foundation was secure, truth began to rise again, our results were convincing, ridicule and abuse gave way to toleration and even admission that we had taught them some things. Time went on, homoeopathy gave results; but it seemed so mysterious, how does it do it, etc.?.
The dominant school had not succeeded in crushing us by ridicule and abuse, even toleration was less effective than they had desired. Once more the art of healing was divided but this time it was science and mysticism.
Following this period we had other competition, religious cults, mental science, Christian Science, osteopathy, chiropractic, physical culture, etc., etc. Still our principle proved true and dominated.
Then there was evolved the catch phrase that, after all, there was in reality no difference between the schools, we were all physicians and we were invited to join their societies and other medical fraternities provided we would drop the word homoeopathy, simply physicians.
Many, many responded to this bait but the chasm of difference between the true art of healing and spectacular medical drama under the guise of scientific medicine was as great and insurmountable as ever. Here followed the tragedy, for the greatest enemies to the true art of healing proved to be the so- called homoeopathic physician. Here again many fell to the lure of vaccine, science, monkey glands, hormones, intravenous and intramuscular medication.
In the meantime the subtle influence is going on– domination, closing of colleges, appeal to legislation, standardization, general restriction and challenging our standing.
Within a few days a prominent allopathic physician in one of our largest medical centres writes me in regard to a patient who consulted him for diagnosis– “I am an allopathic physician who believes in homoeopathy, my homoeopathy takes the form of hypodermic injections of 5 to 6 minims of dilutions of various substances. One of the substances which I have found most potent and specific is the individuals own serum. by giving a 5M. dilution in a 0.02 c.c. amount intradermally every three weeks, gratifying results are obtained”.
Forty-five years ago Dr. A. M. Cushing and Dr. J. H. Carmichael of Springfield, Mass, did much research and experimental work along this very line. They gave it up but now it is advanced again — with what results? Time only will tell.
“Change and decay in all around I see”.
The principle of homoeopathy is as true today as it was fifty years ago. We have been a target but our results following our faithful application of our homoeopathic principle have carried us in triumph. Are there enough stalwart true homoeopaths left to carry us over the present crisis?.
The principle of homoeopathy will never die even though concealed under another name.
Will the homoeopathic physicians and laymen, Hahnemanns true followers, stand by their colors?.
“Thank God for a world where none may shirk,
Thank God for the splendor of work,
Challenging the brain and heart and hand”.
“IF THERE BE ANY TRUTH— THINK ON THESE THINGS”.