Page images
PDF
EPUB

Such is the mortifying, the melancholy picture from the easel of no loss an artist than the author of « The Philosophy of the Human Voice."*

It needs no key to explain its graphic features; and it needs no sage to perceive that its original had never existed, but that the arch of the medical science was in want of its key-stone; and it was to supply this desideratum, to give to this structure à consistency, a strength, and a beauty, which, for the first time, established medicine among the positive sciences that Homeopathy has been vouchsafed to man.

Hahnemann's life, with the origin of Homæopathy. Samuel Hahnemann was born at Meissen, in Upper Saxony, on the 10th of April, 1755. As his father's circumstances were too straitened to admit of his being sent to a public school, his early education was confined to what his parents were competent to teach him; and when he had attained a proper age, it was resolved that he should learn a trade.

Thus humble was the origin of Hahnemann. But he whom naturo stamps with her nobility, knows how to rise above the accidents of birth, and all the titles which these may worthlessly bestow. Tho master of Hahnemann having quickly remarked in him traces of that genius which was, at a future period, to illustrate his name, remonstrated against sacrificing him to the pursuits of a common trade.

*James Rush, M. D. | Ecrire la vie d'uu homme celebre, c'est en meme temps honnorer sa nemoire, et rendre service a la societe, car en rappelant les triomphes de celui dont chaque pas fut inarque, par une couronne on enseigne anx hommes qui veulent imiter par quels chemins on arrive a la gloire, et de quel prix est dans la vie une réputation justement acquise.-OLIVER.

[No French points to be procured ; - we had to leave them out.]

In consequence of this, the head master of the academy at Meissen was consulted, and that individual generously procured for him a free admission to its advantages. There his progress, was so rapid, that in a short time he became one of the assistant teachers He early, moreover, evinced a passion for natural history, but more especially for the botanical department of it. In prosecution of his favorite pursuit, he was in the habia of quitting his youthful companions, to explore the woods and climb the mountains, and the plants which he there collected, he carefully and systematically arranged in his herbarium.

When Hahnemann had finished his classical education, and had reached that period at which the choice of a profession is usually made, he unhesitatingly decided in favor of medicine; and as his choice met the approbation of the head master, that kind friend aided him in the arrangements necessary for his admission into the Leipzig University, to which he accordingly went, in 1775.

There while following his studies, he supported himself principally by translating English and French works into his native tongue.

Having passod two years at Leipzig, Hahnemann proceeded to Vienna, in order to complete his studies, and to acquire a practical knowledge of medicine. There

by his assiduity and talens, he succeeded in gaining the favorable opinion of Prof. Quarin, physician to the Emperor of Austria.

The Governor of Hormanstadt having afterwards offered him the situation of medical attendant to his household, he was in that situation able to economize a sufficient sum to enable him to return to Leipzig, where he took his degree of M. D., the 10th August, 1779.

In the latter part of the last century, SAMUEL HAHNEMANN, while engaged in the fruitless attempt to give to the discordant theories of the various writers on materia medica, of quite modern times, some semblar.ce or sound order - some rational test for practical application, struck out a now path in the great wilderness of facts, which environed the art of healing. No general principle of durable moment existed. Each writer had his own darling art of disentangling the riddle of every day's experi

Each invented, from his own ideality, a mode of operation for each drug given to the sick: and every doctor had a number of these fond dreams for each and every drug, accordingly as they might be administered to males or females, old or young, strong or weak, fat or lean; of applied against fevers or palsies, activity or inactivity or the various organs, etc, etc. To speak technically, each medical man (of any learning or talents) had his modus operandi for the drugs he gavo; albeit he might frequontly take the views of professors and metropolitan writers in respect to the method of healing.

ence.

The primary steps of Hahnemann's new resoarches arose from an attentive consideration of Cullen's hypothesis concerning Peruvian bark, or Jesuit's bark. He saw the presumptuous nature of the great master's views, and was very naturally led to ask, what do we actually know of the power or qualities by which this drug cures certain forms of fever and ague? The accidental discovery of the fact that it will so cure, by no means proved the explanations of its mode of effecting such cure, devised by medical authors. Dissatified with Cullen's hypothesis on this subject, Hahnemann proposed to inquiro what are the peculiar properties of the bark, by trying it in the healthy human system, wisely thinking that the diseases against which it has been applied, modified to a great degree, the effects it might naturally be capable of producing. He therefore took the bark himself, being in perfect health. The effects produced by this drug opened the way of his researches and discoveries. He found himself, while under the influence of bark, in a state very closely resembling fever and ague, and especially that form of the malady which the drug most perfectly

This result gavo rise to the suspicion that this very great similarity between the effect of drugs upon the healthy human body and the symptoms of diseases produced from other causes, might be found to exist in of undeniable cure: and this led to the patient and laborious research into the medical writings of all languages and times, (for which Hahnemann will forever be remembered with gratitude and admiration,) to ascertain whether traces of the supposed law had not, from time to time, becn developed.

remove.

every case

The first step in this new field of inquiry being made, he next directed his awakened mind to the investigation of other medical substances, and after laborious, painful, and protracted experiments, satisfied himself that he had discovered a curative process more simple, certain, and complete, than any previously known, and at the same time less injurious to health.

Thus convinced, Hahnemann pursued his researches to the doses usually administered; and taking experiment as his guide in this case, as he had done before to ascertain the properties of medicine, he found the effects required were produced by much smaller than the usual quantities.

Another discovery of Hahnemann, of no less conse. quence, is the knowledge which he was the first to teach, *tho developement of immaterial dynamic virtues of media cal substances, to a degree previously unheard of, by means of a peculiar and hitherto untried process. By this process it is, that they become penetrating, operative, and remedial, even those that in a natural or crude state betrayed not the least medicinal powers upon the human system.

Although the immortal founder of Homeopathy was prompt to observe, he was not rash to promulgate. It was not until 1796, six years after the discovery, that he considered his experiments sufficienty matured to be sub

« PreviousContinue »