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Correspondence, Drs. Lippe and Pope.

— To the Editors of the American Homoeopathic Review:

Gentlemen; - The point at issue between Dr. Lippe and myself is simply this, I assert that the medical man who invariably, or as often as his knowledge permits him to do, or as the means at our disposal admit of his doing, selects his remedies for the cure of disease guided by the homoeopathic law, as to all intents and purposes a Homoeopathist, or in the phraseology of your journal a “Homoeopathician.” Dr. Lippe, on the other hand, regards no one as a Homoeopathist or Homoeopathician, who does not accept as absolute truth everything propounded as well as every fact related by Hahnemann. Those who believe in the law of similars only, who doubt, even though they do not deny the dynamization theory, who have the audacity to question the complete accuracy of the itch doctrine, who presume to regard high dilutions as uncertain remedies, Dr. Lippe has the impertinence to style “pretenders” i.e. dishonest persons. In another part of his curious effusion, he describes such practitioners as pseudo-Homoeopathicians, a term equally unjust. In all that Dr. Lippe has written, not one word has he uttered, proving that the physician who takes the homoeopathic law as his guide in drug therapeutics, is not a Homoeopathician. Though all he has published is utterly beside the mark, I will so far presume on your space, as to make one or two observations on what he does say.

We are told, that the morbid sensations produced during a proving do not constitute disease, because, forsooth, they disappear without requiring any medicinal remedy; but if no functional disorder is to be regarded as a disease which nature alone and unaided is able to shake off, some cases of pneumonia, to say nothing of catarrhs, diarrheas, dyspepsias and many others will have to be removed from the catalogue of diseases. The symptoms produced by a drug must owe their existence to a definite morbid process, and must therefore constitute a disease,

If, when Hering writes of “the practical rule of the master,” he does not mean the law of cure, what practical rule does he refer to? If the word rule, is to mean only the manner in which a law is applied, Hering does not seem to be aware of its interpretation. Dr. Lippe thinks, or rather says, that Hering ought to have written, rules. But that, after all, is Dr. Lippe's opinion, and not Dr Hering's. To show that Hering here refers to the law when he uses the word rule, he couples it with our “our Materia Medica,” regarding the two as constituting Homoeopathy. In an earlier part of the same essay he writes of the law, the Materia Medica, and the single medicine as characteristics of homoeopathic practitioners. Of course Hering was wrong, Dr. Lippe would say, in takings narrow a view; but it is his view, and in my opinion the correct one. The passage from the preface quoted by Dr. Lippe, merely tells us what we all know and regret, viz., that there are such persons in the world as careless practitioners. Though how such persons can expect to find comfort from employing massive doses I cannot see. Inasmuch as a massive dose prescribed without reference to the homoeopathic law, and yet too small to have an antipathic action will have no more influence than a high dilution of an equally ill-chosen remedy.

Then with regard to Dr. Lippe's favorite theory — the theory on which be wants to make out that all true Homoeopathy is built - the theory of dynamization, what is it? It is Hahnemann's mode of accounting for a puzzling fact. It is nothing more. The fact may be perfectly true, and the explanation of it just as false. The infinitessimal dose does act. I know it. But I have seen no clearly stated evidence either in Hahnemann's writings or elsewhere that a supposed process of dynamization accounts for it. It seems somewhat probable that trituration does render some drugs more active, but it does not therefore follow that it does so in all. As a mere explanation or attempt at explanation of a fact, the dynamization theory, I repeat, may be true or false and Homoeopathy remain unaffected by the result.

Dr. Lippe, not satisfied with making, all sorts of charges against me, proceeds, and I regret to be compelled to say so, proceeds deliberately to misrepresent what I have written. He writes: Mr. Pope claims that the man who practises giving crude drugs is a Homoeopathician, and, as the inference that the man who gives potencies is not a Homoeopathician.“ (The italics are mine.) Further on he suggests the existence, on my part, of a desire to expel those who prescribe high potencies. He doesn't say where I wish to expel them. All this would be very amusing if it had the ghost of a fact to stand upon, but it hasn't. Dr. Lippe must have been dreaming of spirit-rapping when he deduced such an inference from anything that I have ever written. In the January number of the English Review, p. 8, I find the following sentence in the first paper on this subject; “It by no means follows that a physician who avows his faith in Homoeopathy, by so doing admits that all the Organon contains is absolute truth. Dr. Hewitt desires that all who believe in Homoeopathy without regarding the Organon as pure infallible truth should be described by some other designation than by that of Homoeopathists. The title is a matter of wonderfully little consequence, but if such members of the profession are to be styled something, what are they to be called, certainly not Allopathists, for they do not practise allopathically. Dr. Hewitt does not like to be called a purist, a Hahnemannist or a high dilutionist, what is he then? He is certainly a Homoeopathist, but he is something more.” And again in my paper published in August, in reply to Dr. Lippe, I have said, “since the man who used the crude drugs, according to the homoeopathic law is every whit as much a Homoeopathist as he who prescribes the higher potencies according to the homoeopathic law.” Surely I have given Dr. Lippe and his friends, and the party for which he writes, as much credit as they are entitled to. Not only have I described them as Homoeopathist, but I have given them the benefit, such as it is, of being something more; by this something more, I wish it to be understood that Dr. Lippe, his “friends” and the “party” all believe in the superiority of the high dilutions, (200, 800, 1000, 2000, 10000, etc.) that they have unbounded faith in the psora doctrine, and are deeply impressed with the vital importance of the dynamization theory, Are not all these virtues enough for them? As Dr. Lippe has gone rather extensively into the “critical business” of late, and probably purposes doing a little more yet, let me beg of him at least to be fair.

Dr. Lippe characterizes my expression of the need of a work on practical medicine, the therapeutical part being based on the homoeopathic law, as an “absurdity.” This assumption that I would have diseases treated according to their nosological type is simply groundless. I am fully as alive to the necessity of treating cases individually as he can be. But, nevertheless, I believe that such a work as I have named as “a want,” would be invaluable, if well done, it could never supersede the necessity of studying the Materia Medica, but would be a most important assistance in doing so.

If instead of wasting ten years in detailing the errors of Hempel, in stigmatizing them by the most offensive of epithets, those who have been so employed had revised, retranslated and republished the Materia Medica, they would have had some claims to the gratitude of homoeopathic practitioners. All it is they have none. Perhaps, however, they may, some of them, be disposed to work now; I hope they may.

Dr. Lippe objects to any sifting of the Materia Medica; his phrase is “we cannot strike out one solitary symptom.” That may be true, but “pity 'tis 'tis true.” Had we the records of the original experiments, the journals of symptoms, the scissors might doubtless be used with much profit in many instances I think it is Gross who tells us, that the chief part of the moral symptoms of several of Hahnemann's medicines, occurred in the person of a hypochondriacal, fellow student of his. Are these all pure?

Dr. Lippe may find not only consolation, but matter for rejoicing that the discussion raised by Mr. Wilson, Dr. Cameron and Dr. Cockburn has somewhat checked the progress of Homoeopathy among medical men. It he fancies that the peculiar views on which he lays so much stress have gained ground by it, he is grievously mistaken. I cannot wonder that medical men who have meditated an investigation of Homoeopathy, should, on reading the papers I have alluded to, have given up their intentions of doing so altogether. In so exaggerated a light have these errors of Hempel been exhibited, that some might have supposed our Materia Medica to be a tissue of fallacies, and as a perfectly rational inference, have concluded that all the cures reported to have been made by medicines selected on its authority have been so many therapeutic delusions. Those who have used these translations know full well that they are, in nearly all the emergencies we are called on to meet, perfectly reliable, but if errors do exist they should certainly be removed; even the most trivial should be corrected. The importance of a perfectly trustworthy Materia Medica cannot be overrated. If critics would turn workers, we might yet have this desideratum. But from such critics as we have had of late, I fear real work is too much to expect.

Dr. Lippe says that he has attended cholera patients, and never lost one! He must, I conclude then, have had either very few or only such as were comparatively mild in their nature. I suppose that even his patients die sometimes! A case of cholera which will run its course in four hours is not usually, if ever, amenable to any treatment at all. Perhaps Philadelphia people are tougher than such as are seized with cholera in London, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Hull or Newcastle. In these cities and towns, physicians who not only studied the Materia Medica but were possessed of a thorough knowledge of disease, (these two qualifications for practice do not always go together) found ample cause for gratitude that they were able to save seventy-five percent of those attacked. For my part, I place more confidence in the statements of such men as Drysdale, Russell, Atkin and Yeldham, than I do in those of practitioners who profess never to lose any cases of a disease so rapid in its progress as cholera.

If Dr. Lippe doubts the homoeopathicity of Arsenic to the advanced stages of cholera, let him study the records of this medicine's action on the healthy, given by Dr. Black in the Hahnemann Materia Medica. But whatever may be his doubts, its value here has been clinically demonstrated to be greater than that of any other medicine, Veratrum and Cuprum perhaps excepted. If it does not then cure homoeopathically, how does it cure?

I owe you on apology for taking up so much of your valuable space. On this subject, however, I do not intend again to trouble you, so that if Dr. Lippe likes to have the last word, he is welcome to it. Thanking you for your courtesy,

I am, Gentlemen,

Your obedient Servant

York, Eng., Nov. 1, 1864 Alfred C. Pope


Source: The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 04 No. 05, 1864, pages 279-282
Description: Correspondence, Drs. Lippe and Pope.
Author: Pope, A.C.
Year: 1864
Editing: errors only; interlinks; formatting
Attribution: Legatum Homeopathicum
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