AT an international meeting, like our Congress in Chicago, I cannot, nor dare I, discharge the duty allotted to me, to give the “Historical Development of Homoeopathy in Germany,”in the ordinary manner as is customary with such retrospective work. You may read in all newspapers, of the numerical increase or decreases of the adherents and the representatives of Homoeopathy. The interest regarding hospitals having been erected or having ceased to exist, does not extend beyond the respective country or city.
But considering the total aspects of the development of Homoeopathy in Germany, we must be surprised at the fact, that Homoeopathy has made so little progress in the land of its birth, and why now, after existing almost a hundred years, its representation in medical circles in Germany is still so limited, whilst the general public is continually increasing its demand for it. If we compare other countries in this direction, especially the United States we find that, since Homoeopathy has been introduced in America, a much stronger development has been published there, in a much shorter period.
Although we know from pathology, that fresh germs develop more rapidly than older ones, we cannot attribute this wide difference in the evolution in both countries to the ‘need of expansion” of the newly established medical fraternity only. At the time when even here, the first disciples of the master came forward with apostolic inspiration, their number was small, their activity rarely exceeding their near surroundings.
The progress of civilization is warranted by the continuation of intellectual work, not merely by single individuals, but also by entire nations, as soon as the love or the power to work, has weakened in the predecessor. Thus the entire medical science during the Middle Ages was under the influence of Humoral pathology delivered drown from the Arabs, until German labor broke this spell, and the first standard- bearers of anew medical era appeared in the persons of Vesalius and Paracelsus. While Vesalius introduced the anatomical investigation, and in consequence, the foundation of the objective proofs for medical conception, Paracelsus opened the way to a view of life and the living body, which we find a remarkable admixture of physical interpretation and purely philosophical speculation.
It is natural to the average man that he is more attracted towards the fantastic center of theoretical views, than toward the cultivation of dry, barren soil of through investigation. Thus the contemplative part of the teachings of Paracelsus were strongly brought forward, and the Archaeus Maximus still reigned supreme in Germany, whilst the Romans and Anglo-Sexons, already showed more interest for a physiological and anatomical basis of their theories. From the Archaeus, Stahl constructed the conception of a “soul,” which was worthless to natural science, thus originating the school of the Animists, and the main object of the natural philosophers at that time was the interpretation and formulation of life-force.
At this period Hahnemann makes his appearance. He emphatically demands the experiment; only upon such a foundation will be erect the new structure of his Similia Similibus therapy. In this he is a follower of Vesalius and a most prominent pioneer of modern physiology and pathology. But on the other hand, he studies the life-force and its derangements and seeks to remedy the latter by the administration of medicinal potencies, which are to work only dynamically, not physically. At that tie of philosophical speculation, his demands for experimental proofs were not under stood, and later on when the experimental objective tendency offer. French anatomical school became prevalent also in the medical reference of Germany, his superabundance of views on life-force, dynamism, etc., prevented the appreciation which he fully deserved.
If but only one of his many opponents had really read him and if this reader had taken pains to strip his arguments of the garments which they had to wear an accordance with the fashion of his day, it would have been long established, that Homoeopathy is the medicine of the future, because it always admits the proof of its assertions, thus resting upon facts in the most modern sense. Naturally, Homoeopathy refrains from using rounded expression, so to speak, scientific idioms like other therapeutic schools; as for these it is too clear and despises the cloak of pharaseology or the finely formed technical terms for the designation of conditions of which the recognition is wanting.
But the attempt, to adapt Homoeopathy to the dominant school of medicine, has been made repeatedly; partly by competent students, partly by men who did not grasp their object. The Homoeopathische Therapie auf Grundlagen der Physiologischen Schule, by Dr. Joseph Kafka is undoubtedly the most able attempt in this direction in German literature.
Kafka possessed the knowledge, the intelligence and the energy to accomplish such a task. If he did not succeed, the failure was not due to his want of ability but because of the inadequacy of the object. Let us hope that Physiology will explain to us in the future, why certain remedies will affect various organs of our body; for even if we recognize “organic remedies” for convenience, as for instance, heart, stomach remedies, etc., we only wish to thus indicate that we know their action on those organs more thoroughly than that on any other regions; but we have to insist on the totality of symptoms for prescription.
Pathological names of diseases are least suited as guides in the difficult selection of a remedy, as they mainly refer to an artificially constructed conception. The best proof for this is the latest investigation of causes of disease. None of the vital functions of diseased germs can influence our selection of drugs, nor even the aetiological points which predispose the body, for the development of the former will help us in this direction; but still our therapeutic success vastly exceeds that of the Old School in the treatment of infectious diseases, even when we do not know the character of the infection.
While Kafka’s work is an excellent one of its kind, there is anterior book by an anonymous editor, published by Wilmer Schwabe, Homoeopathic pharmacist, at Leipsic, which has done much to injure Homoeopathy. It makes the attempt to adapt Homoeopathy to the physiological school in a purely mechanical way. It simply substitutes names of Homoeopathic remedies in the place of Allopathic ones, after each chapter on special diseases, after a fashion of the small domestic treatises written for the laity. This book has done a great deal of mischief, especially in the hands of younger physicians intending to study Homoeopathy.
In Germany, as well as everywhere, the general progress of Homoeopathy vastly depends upon its practical success with the public. The patients and their friends induce its spread; notwithstanding their gratitude they really do little to actually further it. Only in one state of the German Empire, in Wurttemberg, the local society, Hahnemannian, successfully agitated the state government and the legislature. Hundreds of other minor societies who bear the name “Homoeopathic” have done nothing, their only aim being to get their remedies and periodicals at wholesale prices.
For decades the business centre of these societies has been the pharmacy of the above mentioned Dr. Schwabe in Leipsic, who, as a thorough business man, has furthered and assisted them in every possible manner until he founded a private polyclinic as a branch of his establishment for the benefit of his customers, and became at last the greatest publisher of German Homoeopathic literature. Thus Schwabe’s pharmacy, with its branches, appears to be the centre of all Homoeopathic interests in Germany in the eyes of those who stand outside the real Homoeopathic fraternity, but who incline towards them. Certainly five-sixths of those young physicians who became Homoeopathic training, or have at least spent some time there.
Therefore, these young men have taken Schwabe’s book, with the anonymous editor for a guide in their studies. For those who have been so familiar with the Allopathic fashion of having the remedy fitting the disease, this book naturally seems very convenient and promising. Only later on, after they have become acquainted with a thoroughly educated Homoeopathic physician, they begin to perceive that the study of Homoeopathic Materia Medica is something entirely different, and that real success can be gained only buy the careful, dry study of symptoms.
This is the reason why a large number of Homoeopath physicians,now practicing in German, are not in the position make a scientific propaganda for their method. They do not make exceed the enthusiastic laity in the defense of their views. But for this reason again our colleagues of the dominant school find no interest for a science in the public representatives of which they recognize mainly lay men or half-educated physicians.
In Germany it is the traditional duty of every Homoeopathic physician to first acquire all general medical knowledge like all his professional colleagues, and after the close of his studies receive the permit to practice as a physician by a state examination. We are not sorry for this indirect way, as we thus gain the proof that we are scientifically educated physicians, if doubted by our opponents.
A future time may perhaps give us separate institutions for clinical instruction, for until now we are still restricted to private studies for a specifically Homoeopathic education. There is only one clinical institution, aided by the state government, under the control of the Homoeopathic Central Society in Leipsic, but this is much curtailed by the flourishing private clinic of Schwabe’s pharmacy.
The hospital of the Central Society in Leipsic is successful, but has not been assisted by general interest.
Munich has a small Homoeopathic hospital, under the supervision of Dr. Koeck, but this is not generally known.
Berlin has the funds for the erection of a hospital, but the society for its erection has not yet been granted the governmental permit, without which the undertaking cannot proceed. The government will not support Homoeopathy in the near future, although many persons of high rank are its adherents. Only in the state of Wurttemberg the official physicians are compelled to acquire a general knowledge of Homoeopathy.
Homoeopathic literature in Germany is represented by one of the oldest existing Homoeopathic periodicals: Die Allgemeine Homoeopatische Zeitungun Leipsic; (2) Die Zeitschrift des Vereins Berliner Homoeopatischer Aertle; (3) Archiv fuer Homoeopathic, founded by me; (4) Die Leipziger Populaere Zeitschrift fuer Homoeopathic; (5) the publications of the “Hahnemannia” in Wurtemberg; and (6) Dr. Schlegel’s Weguciser zur Gesundheix in Thuebingen.
Of these periodicals, the first one has no programme any more, as it has three different editors. It also publishes, in the interests of a shall circle, who congregated under the name of Epidemiological society, which hopes to improve Homoeopathy by the teachings of Weihe, who adds a number of sensitive nerve points to the symptoms of individual remedies, at the same time attempting to revive the old theories of Rademacher with regard to epidemic remedies.
The Berliner Zeitschrift tends to find a modern expression for the doctrines of Homoeopathy, hoping to advance the latter by adding pathological and physiological views in the selection of the remedy.
The Archive represents the older tendency of Homoeopathy, the purely symptomatic selection, and the use of high potencies. It is the only paper which cultivates international relations as much as possible. The other publications are written for the laity and are excellently edited, although their views cannot always be accepted, but they show a decided aversion to concede to the physicians the leadership of the party, for they, as laymen, consider the laymen supreme.
The pharmacies dispensing Homoeopathic medicines exclusively are good and flourishing. Most all the German drug-stores have Homoeopathic departments, and it must be admitted that the apothecaries who are celebrated for their conscientiousness also try their best in this somewhat heterodox territory. There are a few fanatics and immature youths who try to spite Homoeopathy by preparing and dispensing Homoeopathic drugs in a careless manner; but it must be emphasized that such dishonorable conduct is rare. I, therefore, advocate that Homoeopathic physicians should cease to dispense medicines themselves.
In Prussia, the physician can receive a permit by passing an examination; in other prominent states states such a law does not exist. However, with this view of giving up the dispensing of medicines by physicians, I stand isolated with a very small number of friends, although we argue that for diplomatic reasons also we should not insist upon a right which we use exclusively, and which has caused the enmity of the entire drug trade. We should at once assist in an agitation for all physicians to prepare and dispense their own medicines, but we do not wish that this demand should apply to Homoeopathic physicians only.
If we now recapitulate all that is to be said about the position of Homoeopathy in Germany, it is that we are gain at the beginning of a rising tendency. A younger generation with modern views and education has joined our party; individuals of all circles of society needing medical assistance show greater interest in the method of the healing a art, and even though it be the economical of our treatment which rouses the interest of the general public, as, for instance, the shorter duration of disease and the greater cheapness of the medicines, this is sufficient to guarantee the gradual recognition which we deserve.
We Homoeopathic physicians are scattered in all directions and are overworked; therefore, it cannot be expected for some time to come that Homoeopathy in Germany will appear prominent upon the great battlefield of scientific labor, but also among us indications appear of an increased interest for a through investigation of our knowledge and for the good-will to join actively in the development of our school. But, above, after a period of hopeless decline, we are inspired with the consciousness that we, as Homoeopaths, need not care whether we are acceptable to others, nor how we might make ourselves agreeable to them, but that we may expect to be asked for advice, for we consider ourselves the standard bearers of medical progress, so long as we remain true disciples of our Master, who held up to his contemporaries the warning and admonition: Aude Sapere!.
THE CHAIRMAN: This address will be discussed by Dr. Dake.
DR. DAKE: I want to say that I am exceedingly sorry that Dr. Villers was prevented from being here to read this paper himself. I had the pleasure of meeting him two years ago, and know that he would be a very interesting member in this Congress. We are glad to hear something of Homoeopathy in that country; we are glad of these notes of progress and to be assured that our cause is living and growing there.
A few years ago I made the acquaintance of a physician of our school who told me that the greatest trouble they had in Germany, and I believe in other European countries, has been the control of the surgical staff of the army. They like to dominate and they do dominate, and so Homoeopathy has a poor chance to progress compared with what it has in American. They won’t give them a charter; they cannot have a school of their own to educate men in their own way; they have to go through the mill of the Old School, with its autocratic methods, and hence are laboring under difficulties; and they have our sympathies.
DR. FISHER, of Sydney, Australia: Very many of the older men, and at that time the most scientific men of Germany, were charmed with Homoeopathy, for Hahnemann’s language was strong, powerful, and good. At the Berlin University Homoeopathy was flourishing. Chairs of Homoeopathy colleges under that name are few, but I have just been travelling over Germany, and Homoeopathy has not diminished. The Allopath adopts most of our views, though a not under the name of Homoeopathy. Every pharmacy in Germany and in Prussia is obliged to keep a Homoeopathic department, under the supervision of the government. The book on therapeutics, published by Schwabe, of Leipsic, has done a great deal of good, and I am astonished it has not been translated into English; it gives every disease and its treatment, and has induced many to make further investigation into Homoeopathy.
The Congress adjourned until the following morning at 10:30 A.M. .
The Sections in Surgery and in Ophthalmology, Otology, and Laryngology held separate sessions at 3 P.M., and at 8 P.M., at which numerous valuable papers were presented and discussed. (See the reports on these subjects.).