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First Article.

After a delay of nine years the “Pathogenetic Cyclopoedia” is to be continued, and to the three chapters of the 1st vol., published in 1850, “disposition,” “mind,” “head”, there are now to be added: eyes, ears, nose, face, teeth, tongue, throat appetite &c.

The former boasting title a la Trinks has been changed to the plain, non assuming “ a Repertory;” the reprinting of all the symptoms in the original form, adopted by the Cyclopoedia from the large Symptomen Codex of Jahr, has been omitted to save paper, and after a great many alterations of the plan, and working it over and over again, a number of real, i.e. well educated physicians have performed the laborious task, with the evident intention of giving the homoeopathic practitioners a better work than any former, even in the German Literature, and in a more concise form a Repertory, which is more complete than any other.

In the English homoeopathic literature the physicians have had nothing but old stale meager extracts with a poor pathological index to the same, called Hulls! Jahr. A certain thick book made for money by a penny-a-liner, a hasty compilation with the most arbitrary omissions under the title: “Complete Repertory,” cannot be named except among the “bad literature.” Hence this Repertory is the first in the English tongue, and the only one.

Every homoeopathic practitioner ought to consider it his duty to buy it; the continuation and completion may depend on its sale. If every honest practitioner will try to learn to use it, which at first may require great patience, this Repertory might be the turning point in the course of our art in England and here, and prevent the rapid “going down” which has become apparent of late years. We all know, that the numbers in our homoeopathic ranks are not lessening, but it is the general observation, that the number is year after year increasing, who instead of deriving benefit from Homoeopathy, are made incurable by so called homoeopathic practitioners.

The introduction of Drs. Drysdale and Atkin contains the remarkable concession: “our success is inferior to that of the earlier homoeopathic practitioners; it must be admitted, that our practical gain has not been equal to the extension of the Materia Medica.

Such a candid, upright and noble acknowledgement deserves the greatest praise, but we cannot allow it to pass by without giving a few remarks on it. The great increase of the Materia Medica on the one side, and the decrease of success on the other are here brought into parallelism, which is too cutting against our “main law” as well as against our “great treasury,” the provings on the healthy, as not to require a most careful examination of the causes of this contradiction.

The authors of the Introduction give their decision about the causes of the inferior success. But it can be proved, how completely mistaken they are in almost all their arguments. The causes are different, and can be clearly pointed out.

We take first as granted and admitted by the majority of the leading men, as a uniform observation made in Germany as well as in France and in England and here long ago, that in general the success of Homoeopathists in our days is inferior to that of the earlier homoeopathic practitioners. We reject for ever all that may be said hereafter by the not small number of boasting geniuses, who talk about unfailing cures, by the dozen or the hundred, following the pattern of the numerous quack advertisements in the newspapers; we do not intend to take the slightest notice of them. We take the facts, as admitted by the honest.

We suppose, there are none who would dare to assume that Hahnemann's success had at a later period of his life lessened. Hahnemann practiced Homoeopathy nearly 50 years, and continually increased his Materia Medica. The same can be said of Gross and a large number of the real followers of the Master, who parted from us long ago. And some of those “earlier homoeopathic practitioners of acknowledged superior success” are still among the living. Have they not a right to give an opinion as to the causes? Stapf, Haynel, Boenninghausen and others will not only be able to prove, that their success is at least equal to any former, but every one of them will also be able to mention a number of younger practitioners, who have had a decided and continually increasing success! At the same time they will all unanimously point out other entirely different causes of the minor success in our days.

In the introduction we find the following: “The greater practical success of the earlier practitioners can only arise from one of two causes:

1. They had no repertories etc.

2. The new provings are incorrect etc.”

We will examine these two causes, and show, that they cannot influence the difference of success as stated.

“They had no repertories.” The very first “Fragmenta of Hahnemann,” 1805, had a long alphabetical index as a repertory. Before the time of the sudden increase of Homoeopathists, when the Materia Medica consisted only of six volumes, a systematic repertory by Hartlaub appeared in 12 volumes, in 1826, soon afterward Schweickert's by Ruckert's, Weber's etc. As soon as Hahnemann published in his chronic diseases a number of new medicines, Hartlaub and Trinks followed with a repertory, Weber ditto. There was thus only the time, during which the six volumes of Materia Medica were published, when a repertory was wanted and was missed by the very small number of the followers of Hahnemann at this time. Every one had to make his own, and I remember, how eagerly they were compared and copied.

The early practitioners were obliged to study the Materia Medica closely,” but not because they had no repertory, but because they adhered strictly to Hahnemann's rules; their “study of Materia Medica” was a diligent and conscientious comparison of all the symptoms of a given case, with the symptoms of several, if not all the proved medicines, until they found the right one. This was the “study,” but it was done as well with as without a repertory.

It is true: “they thus became thoroughly acquainted not only with the details of the pathogenesis of each medicine.“Why not say plainly: they became acquainted with the symptoms? What else can it mean: the details of the “pathogenesis?” Every scholar must smile at such a monstrous word, particularly when applied to our collection of symptoms, which in plain truth is all that we have. Such newly manufactured words are eagerly caught up and used by all who do not know what they really mean. The spirit which fabricated such words, and made them fashionable, that same spirit is a cause why the study of Materia Medica has been neglected, and the success in our days having grown less.

They became thoroughly acquainted not only with each medicine, but also with its genius and sphere of action.

That is a great and important truth! But we ought not to forget to mention here, that it was not the laborious comparison of the symptoms of each case with the symptoms of several medicines alone, but it was principally the success, the cures following a medicine, that led Hahnemann and his followers to the general idea of the “genius” and principal “sphere of action.” During the conscientious and scrupulous comparison of the symptoms of a case on the one side, and the symptoms of medicines on the other, during the consideration of particularities we rather loose sight of generalities. But a number of cures made by the same drug leads as it were involuntarily to the idea of characteristics. Compare what Hahnemann has said, compare his remarks about the “genius and sphere of action” in his preface to the single drugs, compare it with the abstracts given as the “genius and sphere of action” by others, even in some of the Vienna provings, compare them, and you will find, that the latter, although they sound very scientific, and also fit nicely to descriptions of the diseases as written down in the books, are nevertheless of no value for the individual cases (except by accident) as we meet them in life. They lead gradually away from the true Hahnemann examination of the sick, from the careful selection of the most similar medicine, step by step down, down to the handling of “specifics” for this and the other “diseases.”

That is the way “they go” into the soft mud of quackery, selling specifics for all the ills of the human frame in paper boxes, two for a quarter. It is the way to the manifest: Aconite is the backbone of Materia Medica.


Source: The AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW Vol. 01 No. 11, 1859, pages 517-521
Description: The British Repertory.
Author: Hering, Constantine.
Year: 1859
Editing: errors only; interlinks; formatting
Attribution: Legatum Homeopathicum
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