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I observed in the Nov. No. of your REVIEW, a notice by Dr. J. R. Coxe, Jr., of Hempel and Beakley's Manual, just issued by Mr. Radde.

You will please pardon me for intruding a few additional remarks. I shall not dilate upon “the difficulty attending the production of a Domestic Physician.” Judging from their numbers, however, one might easily fell into the conclusion that, conception, gestation and parturition of these beings were attended with no unusual degree of hazard; their subsequent existence, however is quite another question.

In looking over this new manual, I noticed on pages 98-9, this curiosity in the way of calculation.

“If every body now living,” he says, “would at once discard the use of animal food, and confine himself to the use of vegetables and fruit, an universal state of starvation would ensue; for there would not be a sufficency of vegetable food to supply the demands of our own country, much less the population of the whole globe. The existing poverty of the globe is one principal, and probably the principal, objection to the introduction of a strictly vegetable diet in all families and countries. Man would consume immensely more vegetables than he now does, and if every spot of the globe's surface were cultivated, it is not probable that, with our present means of producing, tee should be able to make the surface of the globe yield enough to satisfy the wants of all its inhabitants.

The first reading of such announcement in regard to the animal economy of our earth, awakened within me quite a sentiment of surprise; and when I paused for a moment, to reflect upon the relative proportions of land and human beings, and took into my hand a work on agricultural statistics. I confess that I stood appalled at the idea of becoming, in common with the whole world, a vegetarian; that is, provided we were to consume all that the earth would produce: for I found that every human being would be obliged, (after deducting one half for animal consumption,) to accommodate his stomach to the trifle of more than one ton of food per diem!

Fancying myself in the middle of that distant period, the Millennium, when all nations shall become one, and under the rule of a Vegetarian Autocrat, I found, according to Dr. Hempel's statement, that every human fated to live in that period was doomed to digest more than ten times his own weight (200 pounds) of food per diem. And this is the process by which I arrived at this solemn conclusion.

According to ordinary computation (1) [Black's General Atlas.] there are upwards of fifty millions of square English miles of land-surface upon our globe, and the same authorities estimate a human population of less than one billion, which would allow one square mile to every twenty inhabitants, or thirty-two acres to each individual.

With ordinary care in farming, the average crop of cabbage is from thirty-five to forty tons per acre; and of parsnips from thirteen to twenty-seven tons, (and some vegetables average still more);of the two mentioned the mean gives upwards of twenty-eight tons of vegetable produce per acre. (2) [Farmers Guide, vol, I p207, by H, Stephens, F, R, S, E,] Now this would allow to every human individual, a daily quantity of nearly fifty hundred pounds of food. But a good man (all will in that day be good,) should be kind and generous to his beasts, so let us deduct, say twenty hundred pounds of this daily allowance, with which to support three or four animals, leaving for every man, woman or child, nearly thirty hundred pounds per diem.

The capacity of the author of the first part of this Manual, however, is such, that under even these circumstances he fears starvation!

Another point:-our author recommends a continuation of the use of animal food, not because it is best, or was so intended by Nature, but because of necessity-as a matter of economy. Let us investigate, and perhaps we shall find here developed a new principle of economy.

An ox, at four years of age, (and tough proofs often remind us that thin animal not unfrequently survives this age by some years,) and weighing two thousand pounds, (3) [And this is unusually large weight, see Farmers Guide, vol. II, p. 700.] is obtained at a vegetable expense of not less than forty thousand pounds, or every pound of such flesh costs twenty of vegetable. (4) [Op. Cit. vol. II, p, 144.] This is counting the whole weight of the animal as he stands alive; but every one hundred pounds of this “live weight,” gives less than sixty percent, (57) of batcher's meat, (5) [Op. Cit. vol. II, p, 144.] so that every pound of eatable beef costs over thirty ave pounds of vegetable food.

According to the army and navy diet-scales of France and England, about two and a half pounds avoirdupois of dry food per diem are required for each individual, (6) [Drapers Phys., p.11] three quarters vegetable and one quarter animal.

Now one pound of flesh per diem will not support an active man, and this one pound, as we have shown, costs over thirty-five pounds of vegetable matter, of which not more than five pounds per diem can be digested by one ordinary man, so that one days living upon beef (one pound) costs seven days of vegetable living, (5 lbs. per day.) Verily the present is a new era in the annals of economy! Who knows but that our temperance friends may be unconsciously precipitating us into a world of trouble; for upon the same manner of induction a scarcity of water might ensue were we to abstain from the use of liquors, coffee, &c.

It is truly (wonderful, to conclude our remarks upon the proceeding quotation), how any one with the ninth part of a rightful claim to knowledge of Comparative Anatomy and Physiology can totally disregard and ignore the foundation principle of the entire science, namely; that Nature adapts every part to its normal use; and canine teeth, and the construction of man's digestive organs belong to no purely herbivorous animal.

But this lop-sided theory, sometimes designated the 'Bran-Bread Philosophy,' requires no human opponent to overthrow it. To those who have eyes and understanding and are willing to use the same, Nature every hour proclaims it false. Therefore it is a waste of time and patience to employ one moment in demolishing the straw-man.

Reverting to pp. 15-16 we read as follows:-

“The treatment of disease is not only much more positive and certain than formerly, but it is likewise much less complicated, and the most enlightened members of the medical profession are constantly endeavoring to render it so simple, that it requires but an ordinary degree of intelligence and education to administer medicines in a successful manner, without much previous preparation in the class-room or hospital. The discovery of homoeopathy favors the adaptation of medical science to the plain, non-professional understanding. Homoeopathy is destitute of the technical jargon of the old school of medicine, of its Latin formulas and the undecipherable scrawls of pedantic practitioners: and all attempts to engraft the superannuated gibberish of the past upon the lucid science of the present, and of the future, should be discontinued.”

Then why, pray, does our good friend, Dr. Hempel, in the capacity of a professor in a college avowedly devoted to instruction in the practice of Homoeopathic Medicine, take money and give in return that which can be no earthly use? What possible excuse, in conscience, has he for abstracting the money from, and trifling with the time of those mortals that would waste their years in vain study of Medicine, when they are just as successful and just as beneficial to their race “without much previous preparation in the class-room or hospital?” Why does he not honestly inform them that no such preparation is necessary, and advise them to go about their business and save their time and means?

With a mind and education such as I know Dr. Hempel possesses, and occupying the position which he does in the school of Homoeopathy, I have regretted this more than any thing else which I have ever seen emanating from his pen.

Homoeopathic physicians number largely and are yearly increasing; and such paragraphs as the above, from a teacher and a voluminous writer in homoeopathy, are calculated to instil into this large class a stagnating indolence and thereby to produce a state of ignorance which would degrade its adherents and render the school an object of merited contempt. Great heavens! how long must education be thus protested, and the arteries of Science be thus wounded by those who are nourished from them, and for the ignoble purpose of flattering the unlettered public with the idea that by purchasing a Domestic Manual they may at once rank in skill with Hippocrates, Galen, Hunter or Hahnemann? How can the quotation last made become reconciled with the following which I take from page 14?

“The study of the nature, course and relation of these phenomena (morbid phenomena,) has, from time immemorial, been a subject of high interest to man, and now constitutes one of the most important branches of human knowledge.”

Or how does it compare with this, from pp. 88-9?

“Physicians who proceed in this manner seem to ignore the fact that diseases are disturbances of the organism, and that the symptom simply reveals the nature of these disturbances to those whose intelligence enables them to interpret the phenomenal signs of disease.

And again this:

“The whole science of practical medicine resolves itself to these two questions: What ails a patient? and, secondly, what means have to be employed to care him? The first question implies a knowledge of all the various diseases that mankind are subject to; and the second, a knowledge of the remedial agents that Nature has furnished us against disease, and of tha curative virtues inherent in every particular medicine. Hence, in order to obtain this knowledge, it would seem as though a person ought to study medicine as a science, by attending lectures, visiting hospitals, dissecting dead bodies, and the like.

And this is certainly indispensable to a man who does not mean to content himself with the practice of medicine for a livelihood, but who has the highest interest of medicine at heart and is anxious to perfect it as a Science.”

Between these, and the extract from pp. 15-16, others may be able to trace some element of compatibility; I confess I can not.

And now in regard to the “technical jargon of the old school of medicine:“will the author be so kind as to inform his readers wherein “Homoeopathy is destitute” of such “jargon?” If there be not as much of “technical jargon,” “Latin formulas” and “superannuated gibberish,” incomprehensible to the layman, in the two volumns of the Symptomen Codex, translated by Charles Julius Hempel, M. D., as there is in the two volumns of Allopathic practice by Dr. Watson, then I mistake the meaning of these terms.

But the denunciation of Latin is simply a popular species of talk for “Buncombr.” Dr. Hempel knows very well that the terms of all Science, in all parts of the civilized world, are from Latin or Greek; and why should they be discarded, and new terms constructed in every language, thus rendering the acquirement of a new set of technics in each language necessary, before scientific works, upon the same subjects, in the different tongues, could be understood.

This mode of gaining popular applause may grace the speeches of a “stump orator,” but they ill befit a work of science.

Under the head of “WHEN MAY PALLIATIVES BE USED,” page 47, is the following:-

“Strictly speaking, man's whole life is a system of palliation. Man eats to satisfy his hunger; this is, so to say, a palliation, for after a certain period, the hunger returns and has to be appeased or palliated a second time, and so on until death. The same is true in regard to thirst, sleep, and all the other animal functions.”

The term palliation, signifies not a fulfillment or satisfying of demand, but only a concealment of such demand leaving it nevertheless really unanswered. Food is the proper demand of hunger, and therefore food is not a palliation of hunger, but an absolute and real cure of it. The same of thirst, sleep, rest, &c., so that to say the least, the term palliative is here misapplied.

Passing to page 49, he thus gives poor bungling Nature a hit:-

“But it is well known that nature, unassisted by art, is generally powerless and insufficient to cure disease, or if she does cure, she does it bunglingly.”

In some of the French hospitals Nature seems to have been in better humor than during her interviews with the doctor.

In the work are perpetuated many symptoms as pathogenetic of certain remedies, which symptoms are evidently chance occurrences; as, for example, (and I opened the book at random for the examples,) on page 228 he informs us that Hyoscyamus is indicated when one “acts as though he were chasing peacocks;” and on the opposite page Mercurius is indicated when she “heats the stove in the middle of summer, places candles in one corner of the room and boots in another;” also when she “laps up cow-dung,” &c.

Is it not high time to disarm the opponents of Homoeopathy by the disuse of such (in some cases disgusting) nonsense?

There is one point at least, in the book, which is not stultified by contradiction; namely, the applicability of Aconite to every known disease.

The foregoing remarks may seem censorious: they are made however, with no ill will towards the author, Dr. Hempel, for I really respect his talents and learning, and, as exhibited in some of his productions, am proud of him as a writer. One's best friends however are never those who most successfully flatter, and with the kindest of feelings towards Dr. Hempel, whom I have formerly had the pleasure of knowing, I conclude these observations.

EDWARD P. FOWLER. M. D., 20 West 11th St., New York.


Source: The AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW Vol. 01 No. 04, 1859, pages 179-183
Description: Letter from Dr. E. P. Fowler.
Author: Fowler, E.P.
Year: 1859
Editing: errors only; interlinks; formatting
Attribution: Legatum Homeopathicum
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