FOR many years homoeopathy has been declining in Great Britain, and it is in danger of total disappearance, not because the new art of healing has failed, but because its so-called leaders have failed. The late Dr. John H. Clarke frequently state that homoeopathy has been ruined by the doctors themselves, that incompetent leaders had proved to be its worst enemies. Hitherto the ghastly facts of the case have been carefully hidden. Only weak and foolish men will follow the policy wrongly attributed to the ostrich. However, that big-bodied and small-brained bird has been labelled. He does not hide his head in the sand when danger threatens.
Let us look at the facts. During the last seventy years, the number of medical men in this country, has, according to the Medical Directory, increased as follows:
Since 1860-1870 the number of medical men has practically trebled and so has the number of chemists shops. If homoeopathy had merely held its own, the number of homoeopathic doctors and homoeopathic chemists ought likewise to have trebled. Instead of trebling, the number of homoeopathic doctors has shrunk to one- half during the period under consideration. Relatively speaking, the strength of homoeopathic doctors is now only one-sixth as great as it sixty years ago.
The Homoeopathic Directory of 1869 gives the names and address of 258 homoeopathic doctors. That of 1875 gives the addresses of 179 homoeopathic doctors. According to a list, just published by the British Homoeopathic Society, there are at present only 185 homoeopathic doctors in this country. Of these a considerable number have retired from practice. The number actually available is probably about 170. Dr. Petrie Hoyle, who complied the International Homoeopathic Directory of 1931, has informed me that the actual number of homoeopathic doctors in this country is 168.
During the last sixty or seventy years homoeopathy ought to have advanced at least as quickly as orthodox medicine because it is superior in curative power. As the allopathic doctors have trebled, the homoeopaths ought also to have trebled. Hence there should be 900 homoeopathic doctors in this country. Yet there are only about 170. We cannot wonder that orthodox doctors refuse to take an interest in homoeopathy. They tell us that the new art of healing is dying and that it complete disappearance is only a matter of a few years. Not unnaturally they attribute the decay of homoeopathy to its failure as a science, not to the incompetence of its leaders.
The homoeopathic chemists also are dying out. The Homoeopathic Directory of 1975 gave the names and addresses of 117 homoeopathic chemists. The International Directory, 1911-12 gave the names and addresses of seventy-three homoeopathic chemists. The International Directory of 1931 gave the names and addresses on only twenty-five homoeopathic chemists. During the period 1875-1931, when the number of general chemists shops has trebled, the number of homoeopathic chemists shops ought to have trebled as well, and they ought to number at least 300. However, only twenty-five have survived and I understand that some of them are on the point of disappearance.
When the new art of healing was introduced into England, it was found that homoeopathy cured easily, rapidly, cheaply and pleasantly thousands of patients who had been declared “absolutely incurable” by the ablest orthodox physicians. Homoeopathy became immensely popular, especially as homoeopaths not only made spectacular cures, but took the people into their confidence. They created lay societies for the study of homoeopathy, wrote popular books and pamphlets, delivered lectures, and encouraged laymen to treat themselves for simple them to the alarm of orthodox medical men, who envied the homoeopaths for their successes.
The strongly organised orthodox medical men declared war upon homoeopathy. Fully qualified physicians who had taken up homoeopathy were treated as quacks and mountebanks and were expelled from professional societies, hospitals, and other institutions. However, the homoeopaths acted like the Christian martyrs and spread the gospel of the new healing. They were men of backbone. Unfortunately they were replaced by men without backbone, whose, principal aim is to be on good terms with the allopaths. They fear to hurt their susceptibilities. Many homoeopathic doctors-of course there are splendid exceptions-seem to be ashamed of being homoeopaths. They refuse to have their names in homoeopathic directories.
Nothing on their brass plates or note paper indicates that they are homoeopaths. They never mention homoeopathy, except among themselves. Their patients often do not know that they are treated homoeopathically. Before all, they strenuously oppose homoeopathic propaganda and the enlightenment of the people. They wish to make homoeopathy a secret science. The organised homoeopaths have formed a trade union, the Homoeopathic Society, which, like the most reactionary industrial trade unions, follows a policy of secretiveness and restriction.
Those who had been benefited by homoeopathic treatment were anxious that the blessings of the new art of healing should be made generally available. Rich and poor gladly gave all they could for its advancement. Largely with the hard-earned wages of the poor, numerous small hospitals, dispensaries and other institutions were created. The great majority of these, build with the blood and sweat of the poor for the use of the poor, have disappeared owing to the criminal neglect of incompetent leaders. The Homoeopathic Directory of 1868 enumerates seventy homoeopathic dispensaries, managed by homoeopathic Convention, held at Philadelphia in 1879, Dr. C.B. Ker, and Englishman, said:.
In this year there are close on three hundred homoeopathic doctors in the United Kingdom. There has also been and increase in the number of institutions and dispensaries, which now number 120.
The number of homoeopathic dispensaries should have increased to 200 or 300 during the last sixty or seventy years. However, according to the International Directory of 1931, there are now only twenty, one-sixth the number of sixty years ago. Among the institutions which have disappeared are dispensaries and hospitals at Brighton, Cambridge, Cardiff, Eccles, Exeter, Jersey, Lamington, Manchester, Newscastel, Devizes, Northampton, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Southport, Torquay, Wigan, Winchester, Wolverhampton, Belfast, Birkenhead, Bristol, Cheltenham, Clifton, Guildford, Guernsey, Ipswich, Maidstone, Nottingham, Hanley, Richmond, Southport, Scarborough, Shrewsbury, and many other places. In London alone about twenty dispensaries have disappeared. Sixty years ago there were twelve homoeopathic veterinary surgeons in England. Now there is not a single one. Meanwhile, the so-called leaders of homoeopathy congratulate one another at their yearly meetings upon the progress of homoeopathy.
Although the official spokesmen of homoeopathy have for many years followed the policy of hiding the facts, a few medical men have lately expressed their alarm. In an article, “The Crisis in Homoeopathy,” published in this Journal in November, 1931, Dr. Fergie Woods wrote with admirable candour:.
Homoeopathy in this country has come to a crisis in its history. During the last year no fewer than eleven homoeopathic doctors have died, and in practically no instance has a homoeopathic successor been left. This means that thousands of homoeopathic patients cannot obtain homoeopathic treatment.
Dr. C. Granville Hey in his address as President of the British Homoeopathic Society, printed in October, 1931, in the British Homoeopathic Journal, stated:.
In 1875 there were upwards of two hundred medical practitioners in the United Kingdom, with thirty-three institutions in which homoeopathy was practised. In the next decade the increase was not so rapid, there being only 251 in 1867. In 1901 there were over three hundred homoeopathic physicians in the British Isles, between seventy and eighty of them being in London alone. There were seventy-nine homoeopathic chemists, of whom seventeen were in London, and eighty-two cities and towns in the country had from one to ten practitioners each. Where are these now? Many of these cities and towns have no homoeopathic practitioner and so their dispensaries have ceased to function, not for want of funds in some instances, but for want of qualified homoeopathic practitioners to carry them on.
You may say this is a gloomy picture I have drawn. It is! But it is also a true one, and being so, let us face the facts. Unfortunately, some of these institutions are under-staffed by homoeopathists, and the crying need is for more men who are convinced homoeopaths; failing these the hospitals will become staffed by non-homoeopaths, and so be lost to homoeopathy, Within the last two years four of our large Northern towns have been deprived by death of their only homoeopathic physicians, and as yet no young men have come forward to take their places.
dr. Percy Hall-Smith, his successor as President of the British Homoeopathic Society, stated in his address a few months ago: There is an ever-increasing tendency for our large provincial towns to be left without homoeopathic practitioners because no trained men are available to replaced those who have fallen out owing to death or retirement.
Even in the London area the tendency is for homoeopathic practitioners to take up consulting practice so that there is a considerable dearth of general practitioners. One of the normal sources of supply has naturally been from the resident medical officers of this Hospital, but as the figures I quoted last year show, the proportion of our residents who in the last ten years have taken up homoeopathic practice has been less than during any other similar period during the last thirty or forty years, if not longer.
Further, as regards our hospitals, it is a fact that it is being found increasingly difficult to find trained homoeopaths to man their medical staffs, with the result that in the provinces at all events, allopathic influence is becoming increasingly predominant.
Consequently, the object for which such institutions were originally formed and for which their funds were subscribed is not being fulfiled as it should be. A recent example is that of Birmingham. Not only so, but the tendency of recent years towards the co-ordination of the hospitals in provincial towns under municipal control is making it increasingly difficult to retain those special characteristics so necessary to a homoeopathic hospital An outstanding example of this process is provided by Plymouth, where the once flourishing Divan and Cornwall Homoeopathic Hospital has been merged into a municipal scheme, and has been forced to give up its distinctive name, although, I understand, certain wards are retained for homoeopathic treatment. There are thus in these days only too many signs that, under modern medical and civic organisation, homoeopathic hospitals will be in danger of losing their distinctive character.
Not only the homoeopathic dispensaries and smaller hospitals have disappeared, or are disappearing, but the great London Homoeopathic Hospital is in the gravest danger through the lack of homoeopathic practitioners. Homoeopathic doctors cannot be appointed if none are available. The position is becoming desperate. “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep.” One of the leading men at the hospital expressed the other day with callous indifference the opinion that within ten years that wonderful institution also would be engulfed. It is up to the readers of this journal to prevent this calamity.
Homoeopathy, which has been created by the vision and generosity of laymen, has been ruined by the restrictive and secretive policy of the doctors, and the most urgent task consists in eliminating those leaders who have shown such fatal incompetence. The laymen must resume control. Dr. Hall Smith, after giving a totally inadequate description of the crisis of homoeopathy, closed his observations with the advice:.
Here is no place for lay propaganda! Time enough for that when existing vacancies can be filled and men are available to open up new fields.
With incredible fatuousness the help of laymen, who introduced homoeopathy to this country, who financed and established homoeopathic doctors, training schools, dispensaries, hospitals, etc., had once more been repulsed. Yet the whole future of homoeopathy depends upon making it known to laymen by popular propaganda. Not only the homoeopathic doctors, the homoeopathic chemists, and the homoeopathic institutions are dying out, but the homoeopathic clientele of the doctors is disappearing owing to the incredible foolishness of the homoeopathic doctors. If homoeopathy is to be saved, the people at large and orthodox medical men must be made to understand that homoeopathy is vastly more efficient for curing the patient then orthodox medicine. That fact must be proclaimed from the housetops.
Thirty years ago far-seeing and enthusiastic laymen, founded the British Homoeopathic of Homoeopathy” and for “provings a central fund to act as an encouragement and aid to local bodies in Great Britain in the maintenance of homoeopathic institutions.” Unfortunately the association has fallen under the influence of doctors who form the majority of the Council. This institution, which was created for the purpose of popularising homoeopathy, follows the policy of secretiveness and restriction which is the distinctive feature of the British Homoeopathic Society, the professional trade union formed by the homoeopathic doctors.
In fact the Association has become a tool of the British Homoeopathic Society for both organisations are managed, or mismanaged, by the same people. I have received complaints from all over the country that requests for lecturers, advice and monetary assistance have been refused. The British Homoeopathic Association has existed for thirty years. What has it done during these thirty years to make homoeopathy known? There is not a single lay society in this country, while there are hundreds of flourishing lay societies in Germany, Holland, Switzerland, France, and many other countries.
How many lectures have been delivered in the provinces on behalf of the British Homoeopathic Association? Its utter uselessness in its present form is clearly recognised by homoeopathic laymen. Its funds are meager, probably because enthusiastic and opulent homoeopaths are aware that money given to it would be wasted. In the course of thirty years the Association has secured only about one hundred lay subscribers at one guinea a year.