Samuel Hahnemann is a drama based upon the life story of this great medical reformer of the nineteenth century, from his boyhood and early struggles to obtain an education, and from his student days in Leipsic and Vienna to his graduation at the University of Erlangen, in 1779.
We then find him as a young physician, the Parish Doctor at Gommern, where he has married the daughter of an apothecary. We next find him in his period of wandering and struggles against poverty, at Stotteritz and elsewhere–a period in which, for conscience’s sake, he relinquishes the practice of his profession and devotes himself to chemistry and translating to obtain bread for his starving family; until, finally, through his Cinchona experiment, he discovers and makes practical application of the Law of Similars enunciated by Hippocrates.
The next period of the drama deals with his medical lectures in Leipsic, and the establishment of an Institute for the training of students and physicians in the principles of homoeopathy, the name given by him to his new system of therapeutics; until, finally, owing to the persecution of the apothecaries, he is prohibited from dispensing his own medicines. At this critical juncture he is given safe refuge within the confines of the independent Duchy of Anhalt-Coethen, where, under the patronage of the Duke and Duchess, he devotes himself to the promulgation of the new principle. Here he gains much fame and is visited by notables from all parts of Europe.
With the death of his first wife in 1830, he is cared for by his devoted daughters until his second marriage in 1835 to Mlle. Melanie d’Hervilly, a young and gifted French artist, and his removal to Paris at the age of eighty years, where, amid the salons and gaiety of the Capital, his life, in the language of Bradford, becomes “one long fete.” Here his name and fame are destined to spread through the entire world, and he is enabled to complete his three greatest monuments. The
Organon, the Materia Medica Pura and The Chronic Diseases. It was here that was initiated a combined lay and professional movement, which, to the present time, plays such an important part in the spread of the true healing art.
Here, amid his triumphs and success, he dies at the age of eighty-nine. This saga of Hahnemann brings into the foreground the epic happenings in the life of not only one of the greatest of modern physicians, but one of the greatest medical figures of all times.
The play is arranged in five acts, including a prologue and an epilogue in verse form, intended to depict the chaos of old medicine in the pre-Hahnemannic era, together with Socrates and Physon, a classic little homely “On the Worth of Outward Show”; and a second Interlude, The Prince and the Doctor, a humorous satire “On the Choice of a Family Physician,” both of which are arranged, with some alterations and additions, from the original writings of Hahnemann.
As this year is the one hundredth anniversary of the death of Hahnemann (July 2, 1843), and as the year 1944 marks the centenary or the founding of the American Institute of Homoeopathy, and likewise of the London Homoeopathic Hospital, it is hoped that opportunity may be had at our different homoeopathic gatherings for the presentation of some of the dramatic incidents in the life of the great leader under whose banner we serve.