Since “Time whereof the memory of (this man runneth not to the contrary” I have always been a “medical protestant.” Mother told me that even in infancy I protested, feebly as a baby must, against the well-intentioned doses of catnip and chamomile tea she prescribed for me when I had wind on my stomach. She did not need to tell me, for I remember it well, that I protested so vigorously against castor oil that she had to hold my nose in order to make me swallow it, the while father held my thrashing arms and legs. Later I protested vociferously but vainly against the inexpressibly bitter, shuddery teacupful doses of hot “boneset tea,” (“Thoroughwort,” Eupatorium perfoliatum), which I was obliged to take every spring to ward off fever. Liberal sweetening with brown sugar did not help it a bit in spite of seductive assurances to the contrary. I protested against the astringent drafts of white oak bark decoction which I had to take when I had the cholywobbles.
I protested against mustard plasters and footbaths. I regarded it as insult added to injury when I was sent out into the woods and fields in their season to gather the raw material for these domestic internal and external hot and cold aspersions and hang them up in the woodshed to dry. I protested against the annual doses of “sulphur, cream o tartar and molasses” for my blood. I protested with all my might against vaccination when I was about six years old and submitted only to “force of arms.” Always, then, I was protesting, and I have continued to do so ever since.
It was not until my parents were converted from the error of their medical ways and took me to the nearby city of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, to see the new doctor who gave little sugar pills to his patients that I found my ideal medicine and was contented.
The child was father to the man. Consistently, all my medical life, covering a period of now more than forty-five years (if my four years of preceptorial and college preparation be included) I have been a medical protestant – a rebel against the medico- political hierarchy and its therapeutic methods. In spite of the sinister interpretation (since the World War) of the previously honorable term, I am not ashamed to call myself a “Conscientious Objector,” for I have steadfastly and conscientiously refused to submit my will or govern my practice according to the dictates of the “powers that be” in matters therapeutical.
Narcotics and stimulants, tonics and sedatives, laxatives and cathartics, ointments and lotions, and all other forms of topical palliatives and habit-forming drugs have never had a place in my pharmacopoeia, nor have been used by me. Against bloodletting and blistering, against the use of the hypodermic needle for therapeutic purposes; against vaccination and all other forms of inoculation; against internal antiseptics, anti-toxins and vaccines of all kinds; against vivisection and animal experimentation; against reckless surgery, especially when it invades the legitimate field of medicine, I have protested and fought with all my might.
This I have done because I saw not only that these things were evil, deceiving the people and leading them into physical slavery, degradation and degeneration, but that there was a better method of treating the sick. That method I learned and practiced in due time with results which proved that I and others who followed the same course were right.
The experience and success of thousands of physicians in healing the sick by internal homoeopathic medication for more than a century since the method was promulgated by Hahnemann, is not to be lightly brushed away as a delusion, suppressed by an edict of a dominant medical organization nor ridiculed out of existence. The record and the proof is indelibly written for all time.
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther of Saxony nailed his celebrated ninety-five protesting these against the door of the church at Wittenberg, thus inaugurating the great ecclesiastical Reformation. Nearly two hundred years later, by the publication (in 1810) of his Organon of Medicine, Samuel Hahnemann, also of Saxony, after more than twenty years of study and research, “nailed his these to the church door” and inaugurated the great medical Reformation.
The two reformations had and still have much in common. Under the Roman hierarchy the state of religion in Europe had sunk very low. Working in close political conjunction with the princes lords and barons it oppressed and tyrannized over the souls and bodies of the people.
Submerged in ignorance and denied the privileges of secular education, impoverished by excessive taxation, chained and fettered by superstition and monkish domination, the people could not call their souls their own. From the cradle to the grave every act and thought was held in subjection to the dictates of the priests with excommunication or death as the penalties of disobedience. It was during that bloody period that leaders like Wyckliffe and Huss and hosts of others suffered martyrdom for their rebellion against the church.
In medicine of course, there was no such compact organization as there was in the church, having civil and military as well as ecclesiastical power over the masses. But there was organization of a sort, and the same spirit of professional and official intolerance bigotry and tyranny, rooted in ignorance of the true healing art, and there was hypocrisy, superstition and brutality. The medical authorities were just as quick to persecute and excommunicate any who showed signs of independence and originality as were the ecclesiastical rulers. The times were ripe for a reformation in medicines.
It was the indiscriminate sale of “Indulgences,” or remissions of penalties for sins, in whole or in part, for money by the Roman church authorities, that ultimated in the ecclesiastical Reformation. The custom was ancient, but in raising money to build St. Peters at Rome early in the sixteenth century, it was carried to such extreme that a great scandal arose. Luther availed himself of the opportunity thus provided and carried his warfare to the gates of the Vatican itself with results known to all the world.
Here appears one of the analogies between ecclesiasticism and orthodox medicine. It does not take any great power of penetration to see that physicians who sell prescription for drugs to be used as palliatives against the pains and penalties of disease without regard to the law of cure, are guilty of selling “indulgences”.
Do they not provide a specious, deceptive and fleeting “remission of penalty.” which leaves the deluded victim in a worse state than before.? Does it not enslave and degrade and demoralize both parties to it and render disease inveterate ? Does it not, in its commercial aspect, create great manufacturing vested interests, preying constantly upon the woes and weakness of humanity?.
The analogy is very close and the medical practice is as false and as pernicious to the moral and physical well being of all concerned in it as ever the ecclesiastical practice was, if not more so. It is a shameful prostitution of the divine art of healing and the source of innumerable evils.
Hahnemanns entrance upon his career as a medical reformer precipitated a conflict in the medical world which was to last more than a century. Subjected personally to derision, denunciation, persecution and ostracism, he stood by his guns and fought back as vigorously as he could. Denied the right to prescribe his own medicines, reduced to dire poverty, bounded from town to town with his brave wife and children, he continued the struggle to promulgate his ideas by pen, precept and example.
Gradually disciples and followers gathered to Hahnemanns support, his writings obtained wide currency and the new method became firmly established. Eventually he found a haven of rest from persecution in the quiet little town of Kothen, where, under the patronage and protection of Ferdinand, reigning Duke of Anhalt-Kothen, he entered upon a period of intensive study, research and experimentation which lasted fifteen years. During this period he conducted a practice drawn to him from all parts of Europe by the fame of his cures, and worked all his spare hours in the preparation of his great work on Chronic Disease.
There are many similarities between the careers and personalities of Hahnemann and Luther. Thy may be summed up by a paragraph written of Luther, but equally, well descriptive of Hahnemann.
He was a brave strong, altogether healthy nature; he combined a penetrating into facts, lofty courage and indefatigable energy in dealing with them, and a sincere and simple. A signal flaw in his character was his tendency to use rude and intemperate language toward his adversaries.
The new-born baby is the true prototype of the Protestant. The Reformer is only the baby Protestant grows up. The baby begins squalling and protesting the moment he comes into the world, and by the same token he proves himself a normal baby. He does not like his new surroundings and immediately registers a protest. Everybody in attendance, especially the doctor, smiles at his exhibition of prophetic infantile energy and independence.
Forthwith they credit him in advance with the ability, other things being equal, to make his wants known, hold his own and win out in the life struggle ahead of him. If the baby protestant develops eventually into reformer it will be by virtue of his inherent ability to give force and effectiveness to his earlier protestations.
This, in brief, is the history of every reformer. From small beginnings, modified by the character and circumstances of his environment, but governed always by the spirit and principle of nonconformity- to “things as they are” – to conventionally and orthodoxy – the budding protestant develops into a full fledged reformer.
From the orthodox point of view he is a heretic, a disturber of the peace, a trouble maker – altogether a pestilent fellow who must he suppressed and laid by the heels at any cost. Innumerable are the means used to bring this about; Citation and trial, the inquisition, auto da fe, excommunication, ostracism, persecution, outlawry, expulsion, exile, assassination, boycotting – all these and more in the name of orthodoxy.
The reformers lot, like that of the Gilbert and Sullivan police mans “is not a happy one”. His life is a turbulent one, full of self sacrifice, struggle and danger. He is always a cross bearer headed toward Cavalry, always a martyr, and always in the long run and final outcome, a conqueror and a hero. In all his trials he is sustained by his convictions of truth and the Beautific Vision.
So it was with Copernicus and Galileo, with Wyckliffe and Huss, with Luther and Zwingli, and so it was with Hahnemann. So it has been, virtually, with all the faithful followers of Hahnemann. All these were and are ” Protestants” Homoeopathy is the original protestant offshoot from the “Romish Church” of medicine, and Hahnemann was its Luther.
It represents the revolt of thinking, progressive men against the tyranny of tradition, against corrupt alliances and perversion of principles, against ignorance, bigotry and intolerance; against medical ” priestcraft” and aggression; against “Medical Trusts” and oligarchies, all of which have had and still have representation and embodiment in medicine.
Luther, defending himself before the Diet of Worms by which he was ordered to recant, concluded his two-hour speech with a ringing challenge.
“Confute me by proofs of Scriptures, or else by plain just arguments. I cannot recant otherwise. For it is neither safe nor prudent to do aught against conscience. Here stand I, I can do no other. God assist me”.
” It was. ” Carlyle.” the greatest moment in the Modern History of men; English Puritanism, England and its Parliaments, Americas and vast works of these two centuries; French Revolution, Europe and its work every where at present; the germ of it all lay there; had Luther at that moment done other, it had all been otherwise; The European world was asking him; Am I do sink lower into falsehood, stagnant putrescence, loathsome accused death; or, with whatever paroxysm, to cast the falsehoods out of me and be cured and live.
Hahnemann, too, was called upon to defend himself before the bar of orthodox medicine, against which he had revolted.
Hear first his scathing indictment of orthodox medicine.
In recent times the old school practitioners have quite surpassed themselves in their cruelty toward their sick fellow creature, and in the unsuitableness of their operations, as every unprejudiced observer must admit, and as even physicians of their own school have been forced, by the pricks of their conscience to confess before the world.
It was high time for the wise and benevolent Creator and Preserver of mankind to put a stop to these abominations, to command a session of these tortures, and to reveal a healing art the every opposite of all this, which should not waste the vital juices and powers by emetics, perennial scourings out of the bowels, warm baths, diaphoretics or salivation, nor shed the lifes blood; nor torment and weaken with painful appliances; nor in place of curing patients, suffering from disease, render them incurable by the addition of new, chronic medical maladies by means of the prolonged use of wrong, powerful medicines of unknown properties; nor yoke the horse behind the cart by giving strong palliatives according to the old favorite axiom, contraria, contrariis curantre; nor, in short, in place of lending the patient aid, to guide him in the way to death as is done by the merciless routine practitioners – but which, on the contrary should spare the patients strength as much as possible, and should, rapidly and mildly, effect an unalloyed and permanent cure and restore to health by means of smallest doses of few simple medicines, carefully selected according to their proved effects, by the only therapeutic law conformable to nature similia similibus curantre. it was high time he should permit the discovery of homoeopathy.
Listen now to Hahnemanns challenge and compare it with Luthers;.
“My respected brethren on the opposite benches. I can give you better advice as to how you should set about overthrowing if possible, this doctrine which threatens to stifle your art, that is founded on mere assumption, and to bring to ruin all your therapeutic lumbar.
“This doctrine appeals not only chiefly, but solely to the verdict of experiments. it cries aloud, repeat them carefully and you will find the doctrine confirmed at every step. It does what no medical doctrine no system of physics ever did or could do, it insists upon being judged by the result.
Take one disease after another note it down according to the directions given in the Organon, specially in respect of all its discernible symptoms, in so exact a manner that the founder of homoeopathy himself shall be unable to find fault with the minuteness of the report administers the most appropriate homoeopathic medicines, pure and unmixed taking care to remove all other kinds of medicinal influences from the patient, and if it do not give relief, speedy mild and permanent relief, them by a publication of the duly attested history of the treatment according to the homoeopathic system strictly followed out, you will be able to give public refutation of this doctrine which so seriously the old darkness”.
“It was requisite that some one should at length beat the way, and this I did.
“The way now lies open. Every attentive, zealous and conscientious physician may freely tread it.
“What though the way, which alone leads with certainly and safety to the goal of health, and which I, setting aside all current prejudice, discovered by a calm observation of nature, is directly opposed to all the dogmas of our medical scholar, just as the these which Luther of yore courageously posted on the the door of the Schlosskirche of Wittenberg were opposed to the mind- enslaving hierarchy – the fault lies neither with Luthers truths nor mine. Neither he nor I deserved the venom of the prejudiced.
“Refute I cry to my contemporaries refute these truths if you can, by pointing out a still more efficacious, sure and agreeable mode of treatment than mine – and do not combat them with mere words, of which we have already too many.
“But should experience show you, as it has me, that mine is the best, then make use of it for the benefit, for the deliverance of humanity, and give God the glory”.