Mr. President and Members of the Congress:.
IN proceeding to the discussion of the topic assigned for this occasion I pause to remark that expositions of the varied resources and products of nature and of art have been made in one country and another, but nowhere and at no time has there been one organized so well calculated to show the intellectual and moral, as well as the physical possibilities and achievements of our race, as the one which we are now taking part.
The action of Congress devised by the Exposition Auxiliary for the display of the various departments of science, morality and religion, which aim to elevate and ennoble, as well as prolong, human life, is destined to mark a new era in the advance of civilization on the globe.
The step taken by America, in this Columbian year, toward a more free expression and interchange of views upon a recognized platform, the new beside the old, and the heterodox beside the orthodox, must tend to soften harsh antagonisms and lead on to more united, as well as earnest, efforts for human welfare.
As we approach the end of our Medical Congress, held at this time in commemoration of one of the greatest events noted in history, it is well, in addition to the views and reviews relating to the past and present, to let our mental vision run on before to see what the future has in store for the healing art.
That the condition of medicine and medical organizations is long to remain as we see it to-day is not to be expected, nor should it be desired. Well satisfied as we may be with much in the constitution and resources of Homoeopathy, we yet look forward to what is even better. It is my mission, in the brief address, to speak of some of the better things therapeutic that continued observation and experience may bring. Had I the gifts of a prophet, enabling me to look forward a few decades clearly to discern coming changes, my task would be easy and you would doubtless enjoy a rare intellectual treat.
The Retrospect. -As it is, I must ask you, for a brief time, to cast the search-light of memory back upon the way we have come, and the eye of observation over the fields no occupied by our school of medicine, as we look forward only in the light of the past, calculating what will be from what has been and what is.
The retrospect at the outset brings to view one great fact, never to be forgotten, namely, that the discovery of the Homoeopathic principles was unlike any other discovery concerned in the art of healing, in that it brought to light a natural law, fixed and paramount in therapeutics. It defined the relationship that must exist, between the medicinal agent and the disease to be overcome, in the words Similia Similibus Curantur.
So many have been the changes for the better in the current medical teaching and practice of the world since that day, it is not easy for us to realize the surprise and even consternation that prevailed upon the announcement of Hahnemann’s discovery. What was then feared, in due time became a reality, the knights of venesection, and the cupping and leeching barber, and the blister-spreading and heroic dose mixing apothecary were sent into comparative retirement.
With feelings of satisfaction we look back upon the steady development and spread of the therapeutic system based on the law of similars, especially upon the decided triumphs over such great destroyers life as the Asiatic cholera and the yellow fever. Had it done no more to demonstrate its worth down to this time, than the indubitable records show it has done in the epidemics of those two well-marked and fatal diseases, it would deserve the confidence and esteem of the world.
The reception we see accorded to the new therapeutic doctrine by the medical men of the early part of the century, was hardly such as became scientific men. The attitude of medical journalism was decidedly adverse to its discussion.
Hufeland was the only editor with magnanimity and courage enough to open his pages to Hahnemann. In his journal for 1796 had appeared the dawning of Homoeopathy, the first suggestion of its basic principle. But even Hufeland afterward closed his columns, in difference to the wishes of medical men who were unable to bear the criticisms of Hahnemann, and in obedience to an authoritative medical censorship. And the prevailing policy from that time on has been either to ignore or simply ridicule Homoeopathy. Hence the necessity for journals of our own, through which the new truth could reach the profession and the public, and by which its triumphs could be made known.
But as time went on and the followers of Hahnemann became more numerous, a curious state of things, puzzling to men of the other learned professions, developed in the ethical attitude of the dominant school. Graduates from the old colleges were cut off from fellowship and declared no physicians because they had ventured to push their studies beyond the old curriculum and to give their patients the benefit of the farther inquiry; and some students, avowing their intention, after graduating, to investigate and probably adopt the Homoeopathic method, were refused diplomas.
Doctors with a less complete education and less extended medical armamentarium, assuming an attitude of superiority, refused them professional aid. But the effect of such professional manners, while temporarily embarrassing to the ostracized physicians and their clients, was afterward very greatly in their fever. It led on to the organization of colleges and societies devoted but creditable to the good sense of the Old School-they on the one side looking down with apparent contempt on us of the other, and denouncing us as ignoramuses and quacks, when processed of the same learning as themselves, plus knowledge attacks, calling for organized means of defense, the New School had to contend, in countries, with an unfriendly governmental censorship.
Examining boards with assumed and arbitrary standards, authorized by the State, have had a tendency to keep medical practice in the old ruts, and such will always be their tendency whether called Allopathic, Homoeopathic or Eclectic. And great military establishments with dictatorial surgical staffs and red- tape methods, have always been unfavorable to the careful consideration and ready adoption of new therapeutic measures.
The traditional supply table for the army navy surgeons and for hospitals under governmental control, a have known little change form generation to generation. Considering the influence of great standing armies and of authoritative boards of medical censors, it need not be surprising that Homoeopathy has had to make its way inch by inch, in Germany, Austria, Italy, France and even England. As might be expected the fairest field presented for its adoption and growth has been in America, away from the domination of military medical staffs and arbitrary censorships.
But our retrospect, if it shows obstacles met with also shows advantages enjoyed, in the progress of the new medical philosophy.
We see that among medical men, not alone in this country, those who have been most ready to examine and adopt it, have been the well educated and most enterprising.
Physicians weighed down by an inordinate sense of authority and ‘regularity” or industriously plying their art, as in a tread-mill, never looking or moving about to see what may be found that is better, are not the first to appreciate what is new. And among the people, the very first to comprehend the value of curative methods based on a law of a nature, have been the educated and most cultured classes.
If the old medical journals were closed against us the columns of the public press were not. If unfair representations appeared in the daily papers calculated to mislead the public and create prejudice against our cause, the opportunity was freely accorded for reply and defense. If suits in court were instituted us in our rights. And in matter of legislation where efforts have been made to check our progress contrail our freedom, law makers have listened to our arguments and refused to deal unfairly with us.
The Present Status. -In surveying the present fields occupied by the New School, much is to be seen that is encouraging. There are numerous journals in different countries and different tongues, devoted to the therapeutic measures of Homoeopathy and covering likewise every department of medical and surgical inquiry. More than a score of them are issued monthly in the United States alone. And our colleges, each with a full curriculum, and all up to the highest standard-indeed foremost in the extension of the general course and lengthening of annual sessions, are a source of credit and support to our cause.
In the matter of colleges, the disadvantages imposed by the censorship system of the Old World is very plainly seen. They have prevented charters for our schools, so that we have not to- day a whole school of our own in Europe, possessed of the power to confer medical degrees upon its students. Even in enlightened and liberal England, our school based on the London Homoeopathic Hospital and conducted by some of the very ablest medical men in Great Britain, cannot grant a diploma after ever so much study or upon ever so through and satisfactory an examination.
Hospitals and dispensaries extending the benefits of our practice to the poor are seen in nearly all parts of the enlightened globe. Fortunately boards of censors cannot always intervene between the people and the desired means of physical relief even in despotic countries.
In its relations to other principles that have to do with the art of healing, I desire to say that Homoeopathy has no antagonism whatever. What surgery can and should do or chemistry or mechanics, to remove useless or burdensome tissues and products, or destructive parasites or poisons; and what palliatives should do to save life or mitigate useless suffering we are agreed that they shall do. We are prepared to hail with pleasure every discovery and improvement in the ways and means of preventing or removing disease. If we hesitate and take time to consider, when the inventions of Brown-Sequard and Koch are heralded over the world, it is for the want of more affirmative profits of their value.
The Future. -I come now to the point where I must ask you turn your gaze from the past and present of Homoeopathy to future. Many and various have been the predictions made as to destiny, some saying: “Like other popular delusions it will have its day and pass away.” And others: “It will be the prevailing and exclusive mode of practice.”.
Applying analogy to the facts hurriedly passed in review, and reasoning from cause to effect, what do we really see before us? Let us consider:.
Unquestionably the future has in store more exact methods of observation and clearer lines of reasoning, which must lead to a more definite understanding of the cases of disease amenable to the Homoeopathic remedy.
1. Taking this view, my first proposition is, that the true field or sphere of the Homoeopathic law will be more clearly defined.
The first and one of the most important questions presented to the physician in assuming the care of a patient, is as to the particular department of the healing art from which help must come. Is it a case for surgery, for chemical antidotes, for anti- parasitics, for change of residence, or occupation, or diet, or one admitting of palliatives only; or is it one requiring the Homoeopathic remedy?.
It is possible for a case to require help from two or more of these departments at one and the same time. In that case the agencies employed must be such as to co-operate with and not antagonize each other. But in determining the question whether a Homoeopathic remedy is required, the physician must very definitely and clearly understand what affections come under the Homoeopathic law or within its domain. It is a childish view to suppose that the physician calling himself a Homoeopath is, in all cases, bound only to search his own Materia Medica for the needed remedy; and it is criminal for him to shut his eyes to other means where the Homoeopathic remedy is not required and can do no good.
Diseases, according to the help required, very readily fall into classes; and the Homoeopathic class is made up of all such as are similar to those producible by pathogenic means, existing in organisms having the integrity of tissue and reactive means, existing in organisms having the integrity of tissue and reactive power necessary to recovery, the essential cause having been removed or having ceased to be operative in the case.
For this class the Homoeopathic law is supreme and universal, while for all others it has no application and no meaning. Years two, while lecturing upon the principles and practice of medicine in Philadelphia, for convenience I divided the great field of therapeutics only as call for the Homoeopathic remedy, and the former in clouding all others. The special I also denominated the pathogenic, inasmuch as the curative agency in the sick was also the sick-making power in the healthy.
In truth, the different principles presiding over the several measures concerned in the restoration of the sick and the injured are complementary and not antagonistic to each other. The ardent Homoeopath, conscious of the transcendent value of his method, need have no fear that a strict construction of the law he rests upon, and proper recognition of its limitations, will belittle it is importance and weaken its hold upon the world. Confide to its legitimate sphere it covers ground enough and calls upon its ministers for enough work employ the brightest intellect and most stalwart energies of a man for a very long life-time.
2. In regard to the future of Homoeopathy, my second proposition is, that its basis and governing principle will survive all changes that may come, only clearly defined and strongly established by human experience.
It cannot in future, more than now, supply to the physician faculties to observe and note the symptoms of a case of disease on the one side nor of drugs on the other; nor can it furnish him with reasoning faculties rightly to compare them; but it most unmistakably points out the relationship between the two sets of symptoms which must be present when cures result. I can conceive of no discoveries possible in any department of medicine that can supersede or invalidate the truth arrived at by Hahnemann’s generalization of facts, and over and over again confirmed in the treatment of the sick.
So long as the human organism is what it is, and the impressions of morbific causes and the resisting efforts of the vital forces what they are, there is an everlasting necessity that the medicinal influence that proves curative similar to that of the morbific. That medicines acting otherwise may prove palliative or remove the causa morbi and thus be needed at times, we do not doubt, but most cheerfully acknowledge.
The whole order of man’s physical nature must be reversed so that reaction does not follow action, and so that the continuing lasting functional condition is not opposite to that directly inducted by pathogenic agencies, if a time ever comes when the Homoeopathy method fails. Terms may be changed, and explanatory theories be different, but the essential relationship between the disease and the remedy will ever be Homoeopathic; and, I may add, that such must be the case, however the curative impression is made, whether by a single drug or a combination of drugs, by heat or cold, by electricity or massage.
3. My third proposition as to the future is, that the pathogenesy, or drug symptomatology constituting the Homoeopathic Materia Medica, will be more thoroughly obtained and carefully displayed. When Hahnemann came to understand the requirements of the Homoeopathic law, and saw the necessity of true drug pictures, for comparison with the various disease-pictures presented to the physician, he soon realized how poorly adapted to his purpose were the current works on materia medica. The most be could there learn of the remedies related to their cathartic, emetic, antispasmodic, and other such general effects on the sick.
Experimentation, to ascertain their physiological or positive influence on the healthy human organism, had not then been started. He soon announced the necessity of proving drugs upon the healthy instead of the sick, and himself became a prover. But, poorly supplied with means, and assisted at times by students of his method, he worked on with one drug after another, adding to the symptoms thus obtained what he could gather from reported cases of poisoning, till he was able to form a new Materia Medica, which he published in 1805 with the modest title Fragmenta de Viribus Medicomentorum Positivis.
Good as were the results of his work, compared with the collections of the old Materia Medica, they yet came short of the demand of similia. It must ever be regretted that he allowed symptoms taken from the sick, while using remedies, to be recorded as drug symptoms. And his neglect to preserve and publish the records of each proving in the narrative form has been a lamentable defect. His publication of drug symptoms in schematic form, disconnecting and putting them out of their natural order, left them less useful to the practitioner and the writer of Materia Medica than they would or should have been.
In following the Homoeopathic principle, it is often quite as important to have a similarity in the order as in the other qualities of the symptoms compared. With regret I mention the fact, that subsequent provers, with few exceptions, possessed superior advantages for the undertaking, have allowed the same inflects to mar their work. Only of late has there been an attempt to gather and publish our drug provings in narrative form.
The British Homoeopathic Medical Society and the American Institute of Homoeopathy, a few years ago, together secured the publication of the Cyclopaedia of Drug Pathogenesis, under the lead of the great Materia Medica scholar, Dr. Richard Hughes. The four large volumes contain all known records of reliable provings, except those embraced in the Materia Medica Para and Chronic Disease of Hahnemann, which it was thought best to let stand by themselves. Valuable as the Cyclopaedia is, it would have been yet more valuable had all the provings detailed been made, and the symptoms recorded, in a more through and discriminating manner. While it is the best we have, it is not equal to the future best.
At this point, I beg to be excused for a slight personal mention. Just thirty-six years ago, in this city, I read a paper before the American Institute of Homoeopathy upon the defects of our pathogenesy, and proposed for its improvement a college of drug provers -an institution under competent management, having a body of students, male and female, acting as subjects of drug influence while receiving medical instruction, during the long vacations in the ordinary medical schools; and, while under expert observation, all the means for detection and measurement of abnormalities, useful in diagnosing diseases in the sick, being employed.
I showed the unavoidable defects in provings made, here, there, and everywhere, by busied, wearied, and worried physicians, exposed to the vicissitudes of weather and sick-room influence, with little if any critical observation of their symptoms. Again, and again, in after years, I urged the profession to take hold of the work, and make our Materia Medica more in keeping with our matchless therapeutic law. I am happy, on this great occasion, to say that the tendency is now toward more through and careful drug-experimentation, not only in our school, but in the Old School as well.
Dr. T. Lauder Brunton, one of the brightest of all the orthodox teachers of Materia Medica in England, writing of the therapeutist, not long ago, said:.
“Evidently it is his special province to find out what are the means at command, what the individual drugs in use do when put into the human system. It is seemingly self-evident that the physiological action of a remedy can never be made out by a study of use in disease.”.
The increasing number of liberally educated young upon in the ranks, who are critical and logical, not satisfied with observations casually made and experiments not properly guarded against sources of error and corruption, look with surprise upon the rank and file of the profession apparently satisfied to go on year after year, depending upon a hash and rehash of what was not entirely sure and reliable at the outset. It used not be surprising if, ever and anon, some of them become disgusted with the “Tithing of mint, anise and cummin” in those who are apparently headless of the “weightier matters of the law.” If the plan of a college of provers is Utopian, and if the influence and power of drugs cannot be ascertained by direct and scientific experimentation, wee may as well consider the abandonment of drugs.
One alternative is left, if the present encouraging prospects fails and the physiological laboratories and through drug provings do not come, the trade circulars of the great drug houses, displaying the refreshing romance of clinical experience, that are being showered upon our desks like the leaves of Vallambrosa, may enable us to practice empiricism with some hope if with no satisfactory fruition. But, jesting aside-the healthy vital test will not fail.