User Tools

Site Tools



“DIPHTHERIA,” by Rollin R. Gregg, M. D., Buffalo, 1880.—Here is presented to the profession a truly homoeopathic book. It deserves to be read and used by every homoeopathic healer; it shows that its author has followed Hahnemann’s teachings carefully, and he confirms the wise admonitions of that close observer. Hahnemann advised the healer as to what was to be cured, how the remedy should be selected, and how it should be administered. Dr. Gregg followed this advice and found that Hahnemann was right when he said, in the 154th paragraph of the Organon, “a disease which is of no very long standing ordinarily yields, without any degree of suffering, to a first dose of this medicine.” The indications for the various medicines in diphtheria are clearly given; they have been so often confirmed that they leave no possible doubt as to their reliability. The only addition we may ask to be made is that the characteristic symptom of Lachesis, “worse after sleep,” may also be added to Kali bich.; though found from clinical observations, it nevertheless is a reliable symptom. Dr. Gregg shows clearly that there can never be found a specific remedy for a specific disease; but that we can and must find for each and every individual case the similar remedy, and when found administer it in the single dose.—AD. LIPPE.

“TRANSACTIONS OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF HOMOEOPATHY, SESSION 1880.”—The members of the American Institute of Homoeopathy will surely express their thanks to their secretary, Dr. T. C. Burgher, of Pittsburgh, for his prompt publication of the Transactions of 1880. Early in September every member of the Institute received his copy. Dr. Burgher, unmindful of disgraceful precedents, gives us a more truthful report of the transactions of the Institute at a very much earlier date than we were accustomed to receive at a late date, The deviations from a perfectly correct report of the Transactions as discovered by Dr. Pearson (Washington) and published in the November number of the Advance can hardly be charged to Dr. Burgher, who, contrary to precedents, reported all the transactions without assuming, as his predecessor did, the right to trim the transactions to please designing men. No doubt Dr. Burgher will have an eye on the transcribed transactions and in future not only detect intermeddlers and willful perverters of the truth, but, if detected, expose them.

The reports of the Transactions of the Institute in 1876 and 1879 are still due! The late secretary, failing to keep his solemn promises, recommended his successor, to whom he professed to have given all the MS. in his possession; his successor was indorsed on account of the aptitude he had shown when he brought out the “Transactions of the State Society of Pennsylvania;” he had shown his “aptitude” by aiding to “spirit away” a paper which Dr. Ad. Lippe had presented to the State Society with the provings of Lac can., the results of long and protracted study, showing its relations to other remedies. We hope the Institute will fully appreciate Dr. Burgher’s promptitude and efforts to break through baneful precedents, that is, the right the former secretary and his near friends wrongfully assumed to serve and act as “Censors,” scissors in hand to trim papers, or, if it were not considered prudent for private reasons or as an auxiliary and supplementary measure to extinguish true Homoeopathy, to spirit them away in the waste-basket or fireplace. Let Dr. Burgher be honored by a re-election to the post he so well fills, just as long as he will be good enough to serve us.

“The Transactions of the Homoeopathic Medical Society of Pennsylvania” are in the possession of the members of that Society in less than eighty days after it was held. A general index of the “Transactions” for the last fourteen years is also added. A determined effort to publish the Transactions truthfully in full, and at an early date, will undoubtedly make members more willing to attend the annual meetings and furnish carefully written, instructive papers. The thanks of the Society are due Drs. Z. T. Miller, R. E. Caruthers, I. F. Cooper, T. M. Strong, the Committee of Publication.—AD. LIPPE.


MEDICAL HERESIES: HISTORICALLY CONSIDERED. By Gonzalvo C. Smythe, M.D., Phila., Presley Blakiston, 1880.

This little book gives a review of all the strange theories and singular practices that have prevailed in medicine from the earliest ages down to our own day, with a particular reference to homoeopathy. It is indeed specially leveled at the latter, the other heresies being considered only by way of introduction.

Ever since Hahnemann first gave to the world his immortal discoveries that have led to a grand reform in the most important of all sciences—the science of medicine, — efforts more or less malignant have been made to excite contempt for his doctrines and break up the influence they have been exerting upon medical practice.

Most of these efforts have been conducted with a combination of malice, prejudice and partisanship truly astonishing. But as these passions were so plainly visible in the attacks, they have been comparatively unsuccessful; their influence having, if anything, the quality of increasing the number of the adherents of the hated system from the fact that unjust persecution stimulates investigation. In the little book before us there is a singular absence of these blinding passions in its treatment of the subject. Homoeopathy is considered with a coolness, calmness and liberality that excites our surprise. This spirit of fairness will cause it to be extensively read, and to command a large share of respect. It must prove a very damaging blow to our school from which it will take us a long time to recover. When an allopathic doctor finds his patient going over to the new heresy he will simply place in his hands a copy of this book and thereby change his intention.

Nevertheless the author has not escaped committing one or two gross acts of injustice. Thus on pp. 149 to 153 he estimates the number of strokes necessary to make a given high potency and shows that the number is practically infinite. His method of doing this is peculiar. On page 150 he says: “Take, for instance, one drop of this mother tincture; this is mixed with ninety-nine drops of alcohol contained in a vial and having received twelve strokes is called the first dilution. The second dilution will consist of one hundred vials and twelve hundred strokes.” Thus our worthy author makes out that having raised one drop of the first dilution to the second dilution, that we then proceed in the same way with each one of the remaining ninety-nine drops of that first dilution: that this same thing is continued with the second, and then with the third and so on. By magnifying in this untruthful way he calculates that the tenth dilution will require one quintillion vials and twelve quintillion strokes: whereas every homoeopathist knows that when he asks for the tenth dilution at the pharmacy the preparation he gets has been through ten successive vials and has received one hundred and twenty strokes. Now, inasmuch as the author has already acknowledged that having taken a drop from any given dilution in order to make the next higher he throws away the remaining ninety-nine drops (or ninety-nine per cent, as he expresses it) the wilful injustice of these figures is perfectly apparent. By the same method the thirtieth potency would require one hundred and twenty sextillions of duodecillions of strokes (that is to say one million raised to its tenth power and the product multiplied by one hundred and twenty.) To accomplish this task would take more than six hundred and sixty-one quadrillions of decillions of years!*[One million raised to the eighth power and the product multiplied by six hundred and sixty-one!] But the arithmetician has succeeded in deceiving himself, for he triumphantly exclaims (p. 153); “In the face of this calculation the principal Homoeopathic pharmaceutical establishments in the United States advertise that they have carried up to the two hundredth potency, two hundred and fifty remedies * * * can it be that the fool-killer has visited this planet since Hahnemann proposed this theory?” Evidently not, else the professor from Central College would not be alive to tell the above tale.

Again at pages 141 and 142 we get a very incomplete statement of the pathogenesis of Calc-carb. No mention is made of the great characteristics of this remedy by which we are enabled to make those wondrous cures which compel a large following of the despised creed. Why does he omit the perspiration on the head while sleeping, so profuse as to “wet the pillow far around;” the coldness, flabbiness, and paleness of the skin; the disgust for fat, butter, etc.

The writer of this article was once undergoing, an operation upon his teeth by a well-known dentist in this city when the dentist’s little daughter three years old ran into the office. The dentist, who had no faith in homoeopathy, spoke of a flow of bland pus from the child’s right ear which had continued for six months and had resisted all treatment. The father jestingly asked us to cure the flow. We took the request seriously and immediately proceeded to get the “totality of the symptoms.” We were informed that the child perspired much about the head whilst sleeping. That the perspiration was apt to be sour, and that there were clay-colored passages from the bowels. The skin was cool, flabby and pale. Here was a group of symptoms calling for Calc-Carb., which we were permitted to give the little patient. In one week the flow from the ear stopped and the perspiration ceased. When prescribing we had not recollected to ask whether the child disliked meat, but the parents voluntarily informed us that the infant had asked for both butter and meat neither of which could she previously be induced to touch. Now this desirable result was brought about by attention to the silly symptoms which a diseased fancy (?) and gross superstition (?) had developed as the toxic influence of a piece of inert oyster shell. Will our allopathic friend credit this statement, or will he mentally decide that we must be “either foolish or knavish“?

Chapters twelve to fourteen are devoted to a statement of Hahnemann’s doctrines with a discussion of their merits. With but a few exceptions (two of which are already noted) its statements are true from an allopathic stand-point. In chapters fifteen and sixteen the fallacy of this doctrine is shown by the strongest of all evidence—the testimony of the men who are supposed to be its defenders and professors; thus getting a kind of states evidence. By quoting the assertions of a certain kind of pretender to homoeopathy he secures a mass of testimony that, if it is to be believed, renders his argument almost unanswerable.

But who are these men whose testimony is taken to refute the very doctrine they are supposed to uphold? We will answer. They are men who do not know, and never did know, any thing about the homoeopathic principles; who never gave a homoeopathic prescription; who, whilst professing the name, are really making war upon the cause; who are denying and denouncing cures made by infinitesemal means whilst continuing to sail under the flag for the sake of the trade advantage it gives them; who wish the favor of the public at the same time that they are striving to win the recognition of the old school that they may enjoy the trades-union advantages of the latter; who cater to the medical prejudices of the old school in every possible way; who denounce a consistent homoeopathist with all the venom of an allopathist; get up clap-trap tests in which to ensnare the unwary, and seizing upon the unlucky deliverances of the late Dr. Dunham, clamor for “liberty of medical opinion and action;” who hold professorships in homoeopathic colleges and brazenly declare that they give emetics, purgatives, etc., and consider themselves very good homoeopathists; who talk learnedly of the “collateral sciences” and proclaim what no old school practitioner will venture to assert, that pathology is an “exact science.”

One of them, devoting himself to the praiseworthy task of exposing the fallacy of prescribing inert substances, points the scornful finger at the adamantine rock, bids us consider the ways of nature, and then dramatically demands if now we believe Silicea soluble? Thus at one fell swoop he annihilates the whole Hahnemannian horde and even brings confusion upon the learned Storer’s assertions in his “Dictionary of Solubilities” (art, Silicic Acid). Another warrior excitedly denies that he “sees one particle of proof that the dynamized remedy given singly and in the smallest dose * * * is alone homoeopathic;” declares his opinion that “the man who never uses topical applications or mechanical appliances in non-surgical cases is unfaithful to his patients,” and finally exclaims, “if this is heresy, make the most of it!”*[Homoeopathic Times, Dec. 1880, p. 305.] Well, yes! that’s precisely what Drs. Gonzalvo C Smythe and H. C. Wood are doing this moment! We hope he is pleased with their work.

Do these champions of “liberty of medical opinion and action” gain the ardent desire of their hearts—the recognition and favor of the old school? Not at all. Dr. H. C. Wood the learned editor of the Phila. Medical Times, looking on with contemptuous smile penetrates their motives and derisively exclaims:

“Little by little is creeping out that which the regular profession has long known, namely, that for a man to be a homoeopathic physician at present† [Italics ours] necessitates that he be ignorant, foolish or knavish—that is, if it be knavish to live a lie.” [Phila. Medical Times, April 13th, 1878, p. 336.]

And the author of the book under review assuming these persons to be “very good homoeopathic authority,” makes the very strongest argument against homoeopathy by quoting their writings. Thus on page 209 we find the following: “These propositions and conclusions of Dr. Dake, if accepted, settle the entire question of homoeopathy, and concede almost every point which I have attempted to establish; not in regard to similia similibus curantur only, but also triturations, dilutions and dynamizations. *[Hahnemannian Monthly, Dec. 1880, p.757.]

Here is a munificent and desirable reward for their efforts to unite a counterfeit homoeopathic practice with the old school. One noted authority of the latter accusing them of “living a lie,” the other one quoting them only to annihilate them!

To cap the climax the author indulges a cheerful prediction:

Page 197: “A process of evolution has been going on and will continue until the most objectionable principles of the school will be eliminated. ” Darwin teaches that the process of evolution is attended with a “survival of the fittest.” According to “Medical Heresies,” the plain inference is that the fittest are those men who, Dr. Wood stoutly asserts, are “living a lie”!!

How do they like the prospect? Will they continue to bear this ignominious burden piled upon them by the scornful enemies whom they seem so anxious to placate? Are they so completely dominated by these two deceitful watch-words, “liberty of medical opinion and action,” and “medical union,” that they will patiently stand while the load is raised ever higher and higher, and these two absurd ideas lead them by the nose, as asses are, deeper and deeper into the slough of despond? But will the ultra Hahnemannians consent to share these desperate fortunes? Will they not rather disavow all fraternity with such people; combine to expel them from the ranks, and force them to assume the title that clearly describes their practice, namely: eclectic? Will they not, then, proceed to “eliminate” these eclectics, immediately, without waiting for the “process of evolution”? And when the separation is accomplished, will it not be possible to judge from the size of the respective fragments whether the Hahnemannians are a “split” or a “splinter”?

This “heart of oak” is decayed. The “shins of the conceited young woodman” are in no danger; a blow from his axe can not “glance” for there is no elastic body of timber to resist it. On the contrary, it will only bury itself in a mass of rotten granulations. Let the woodman join the workman from Indiana, burst the outer shell, and turn the old log up to the light, and it will fall apart of its own rottenness.

Enough of this. The allopaths set themselves to ridiculing our principles, and proving their absurdity by copious quotations from the anti-Hahnemannians; yet all this is foreign to the question to be settled. The sole issue between homoeopathy and allopathy is this: which is the better curative method i. e. which cures quickest, easiest, the most certainly, and leaves the least bad sequelae? If this question be answered in favor of allopathy, then they need trouble themselves no further with unsuccessful homoeopathy, for it will soon die a natural death. They need make no murderous assaults; they need waste no time scanning our literature for offensive weapons. On the other hand, if this question be fairly met and answered in favor of homoeopathy then and only then, are the means by which this superior success is achieved to be discussed. If we use their methods then we do better with them than they do. If we employ other and newer methods they should expose the deception, if any there be, or failing to do so, adopt them. If they can find no deception and yet refuse to adopt them (always supposing that they are shown to be more successful) then allopathy must stand self-accused of wilful neglect of life—aye, of wilful murder! Of all the many writers against homoeopathy, none have attempted to prove that we are less successful in healing than they. They are too casuistic. They carefully avoid this point, preferring to appeal to vulgar prejudice, always existing against new and strange methods. The wonderful growth of homoeopathy in spite of foes without and traitors within, in spite of the extreme novelty of its tenets, is certainly a strong, a priori argument in favor of its being the better curative method.—WALTER M. JAMES.

“IS CONSUMPTION CONTAGIOUS? AND CAN IT BE TRANSMITTED BY MEANS OF FOOD?” by Herbert C. Clapp, A.M., M.D., Lecturer on Auscultation and Percussion in the Boston Medical School, etc., etc., pp. 178. Boston and Providence. Otis Clapp and Son, 1881.

In these few pages, Dr. Clapp very ably discusses a question of great interest and vital importance. First clearly outlining the scope of his inquiry and defining ambiguous terms, the author proceeds to review this question in all its bearings and fails not to quote all the testimony, pro and con, available. Thus proving that he seeks only the truth, not to uphold some pet theory. While the entire book should be carefully considered, we would call especial attention to the chapter on food as a means of infection. If consumption can be thus received, we have here a wide entrance for disease, much more so than sickroom contagion.

As this is such an important question we can not forbear quoting the following, from the introduction: “Some of the more important practical results to be obtained by a judicious agitation of this subject (of contagion, etc.) are these:

(1). That no person, particularly if young, should be allowed to sleep in the same bed, or even (if it can be prevented), in the same room with a consumptive. (2). That no person should be allowed to remain for too long a time in too close, or too constant attendance on a consumptive. (3). That ventilation as perfect as possible be secured. (4) That the most rigid inspection be made of meat that comes into our markets, particularly of the slaughter houses and of all cows that furnish milk.”


Source: The Homoeopathic Physician Vol. 01 No. 01-02, 1881, pages 37-38, pages 71-78
Author: HPhys01
Year: 1881
Editing: errors only; interlinks; formatting
Attribution: Legatum Homeopathicum
You could leave a comment if you were logged in.
en/hphys/hphys01-book-notices-and-reviews-159-11042.txt · Last modified: 2013/06/04 17:39 (external edit)