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piricism whose subtle dangers he suggests is already entering the citadel of homeopathy by more than one gate; and—a curious fact,—the branch of the profession which most loudly denounces, by very unpleasant names, certain of our freethinkers who by too frequent resort to palliatives and “physiological” doses open a door to empiricism, are themselves opening, every year, a wider door. What is genuine homeopathic practice? It is one thing and one thing only; the administration for the relief of certain disease-symptoms, of drugs demonstrably able to produce similar symptoms in the healthy organism. Nothing else than this is homeopathic practice, no matter how iterantly or blatantly it may claim to be such. By two classes among us, such practice is set at naught. One class is that which-frankly and in not a few cases justifiably,—uses palliatives for cases past cure, and agonizing for relief, and treats empirically certain other cases for whose symptoms no simillimum has yet been discovered. The second class includes those who treat disease-conditions with drugs having no reliable pathogenesy; drugs whose sick-making powers are absolutely undemonstrated and undemonstrable; and which therefore it is absolutely impossible to employ homoeopathically. Both of these classes are empiricists; only of one class the empiricism is intelligent, honest, occasional and defensible; while the empiricism of the others is blind, chronic, hidden under pretentious and plausible names, and therefore infinitely more perilous. There is no logic on earth which can demonstrate the giving on “clinical indications” of the millionth potency of an unproved and unprovable drug to be any less rank empiricism than the giving a phenacetine pill for neuralgia.
Dr. Hughes goes, after his well-known fashion, to the very root of the mischief in urging that drug-pathogenetics be made a leading and vital interest in every homeopathic medical school, and that drug pathogenesy be taught in its purity and integrity, entirely apart from clinical teachings or even suggestions. The convictions of students are thus, at the outset, fixed on a logical basis ; they learn from what armory alone the weapons of true homoeopathic practice can be drawn ; and if they lapse thereafter into any form of empiricism, it is at least not ignor
antly done. It is to be hoped that every instructor in homoeopathic materia medica will examine this work in the light of Dr. Hughes' wise counsel.
EDITORIAL NOTES AND COMMENTS.
THE BATTLE AGAINST ARSENIC IN WALL-PAPERS and in house-furnishings generally seems, in England, to be practically won, which gives good hope that a like cheerful result may be obtained in this country, in the not distant future. In a recent number of the London Lancet there is a highly interesting article on the decrease of arsenical poisoning throughout England, and the almost entire disuse of arsenic as a pigment, not only in wall-papers, but in cretonnes and all upholstering materials. The Lancet attributes this fortunate state of things to the active caution of buyers, taught to demand reliable analyses of purchases under consideration; said caution being implanted by the teachings and preachings of physicians and medical publications. Driven by necessity, the dealers have secured, and are now almost universally employing green and other pigments as harmless as satisfactory, containing no arsenic whatever, as is demonstrated by the most delicate tests employed for its discovery
The frequent agitation of this subject by the physicians and professional journals of our State, and especially the efforts yet fresh in the public mind, of our Boston Homeopathic Medical Society, to arouse the public to a sense of its danger from arsenic commercially employed, have brought about much improvement and lessening of the danger in question. But undoubtedly much yet remains to be done before the mischief will be as thoroughly under control with us, as the Lancet's encouraging report shows it to be in England. And meantime, as our contemporary the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal incisively says, in commenting upon the report in question, the Lancet's article is much to be commended “to those physicians in other States, who profess to regard the danger to health from arsenic in papers and fabrics, as a Boston fad."
A BRAVE AND TRIUMPHANT FIGHT AGAINST CHOLERA has been that waged, for the last few weeks, by the health authorities of New York. To have had the dread disease set foot not only on the threshold, but across the threshold of a great city, and then to have fought it bravely back, is an achievement of which modern sanitary resource and the men who so successfully employed it have every reason to be proud. The New York authorities had very much to contend with apart from cholera itself. The city was in far from a sanitary condition, and reforms in this direction, thanks to ignorant poverty and rapacious landlordism are not quickly achieved. The infected steamships brought cabin passengers as well as steerage passengers; and it was but human nature that the former should bitterly rebel not only against being kept from their imperative business and comfortable homes, by the exigencies of quarantine, but against remaining in an infected atmosphere. Finally the shameful story of the riotous mob who delayed the landing, on Fire Island, of the women and little children in desperate case from cold, hunger and loss of sleep, is the darkest chapter in all the tale of difficulties overcome. In face of all these things the disease has been rendered quiescent; practically stamped out; and the fright in the public mind is almost wholly dissipated. It is a brave story, and one which will greatly tend to breed healthy confidence in modern resources against the visitations of epidemic diseases.
THE FORTHCOMING MEETING OF THE MASSACHUSETTS HOMEOPATHIC MEDICAL Society will be in several respects a unique occasion. It will occur on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 11th and 12th; covering, contrary to custom, a part of two days; certain of the exercises to be held in the evening. The place of meeting will be the new buildings of the Boston University School of Medicine, on East Concord Street. An exceedingly interesting feature will be the holding of several special surgical clinics, at such hours that the visiting physicians can conveniently be present, without interfering with their attendance on the sessions of the society. Opportunity will thus be given to see the
many conveniences of the fine new surgical amphitheatre of the adjoining hospital in active use. The entire buildings of hospital, college and dispensary will be thrown open to the inspection of the members of the society. Both hospital and college are, in the largest sense, representative institutions; the one of the clinical side of Massachusetts homeopathy, the other of its student side. Both are inseparably bound up with the welfare and progress of homeopathy in our State. No Massachusetts homeopathic physician can afford to be, or should willingly be ignorant of the work these institutions are doing, or the fashion in which they are doing it. The bringing into close accord, as will be done by the October meeting, of our representative State society, with our representative State institutions cannot fail to have healthful result, in fostering that esprit de corps which is the greatest single factor in the success of any cause or movement. It is to be hoped that every member of the society will recognize the unique interest and importance attaching to the October session, and will make an earnest effort to aid, by his presence and cordial co-operation, what should be the occasion's signal success.
THE TEACHING OF MATERIA MEDICA.
Honorary Member A. I. H. [Read before the American Institute of Homæopathy, Washington, D. C., June 1892.]
I write under pressure of a grave anxiety, and I trust that those on whose work my comments bear will not repel me as one who interferes, but will receive my suggestions as the fruit of brotherly interest.
There are now, it seems, sixteen Homeopathic Medical Colleges in the United States. Judging from last year's statistics these institutions may be expected to graduate some four hundred students annually, a large propotion of whom will, in the natural course of things persevere in the vocation thus entered on, and will, ultimately, form the bulk of our section of the profession in this country, and indeed in the world.
The teaching and training given in these Colleges is thus a mat. ter of vital interest to all who have the welfare of Homeopathy at
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heart, and it is only fitting that the American Institute, as the foster-mother of the method of Hahnemann in this new home beyond the sea, should exert over the several institutions some disciplinary control. This it has done, on the wise counsel of its Intercollegiate Committee, and all of us who watch its proceedings from this side of the water applaud and are made glad by what has been accomplished. It is necessarily, however, with the external aspect of collegiate work that the Institute dealsthe number of years to be spent in study, the courses to be taken, and so forth. I am inviting it to-day to look further within upon one branch of such work, and to influence it, not by the passing of binding resolutions, but by expression of opinion which will (I doubt not) have hardly less weight, and whose timely utterance may make a great difference in our future.
It will be admitted by all, that if there is one chair in Homeopathic Colleges more important than the rest, it is that of Materia Medica. I do not doubt that the governing bodies endeavour to obtain, and often succeed in obtaining the best men available to fill them. But from books that have lately been published, from articles I have read in our journals, and opinions I have seen expressed, I have grave doubts whether the subject is always taught in the best possible manner, and whether justice is done in the process, either to the master or to his methods. Let me explain.
It is recognised at the present day that any adequate treatment of a subject must be historical. Thus only can its rationale be understood ; and a thing must be approached in its original form, and at its nascent stage if it is to impress with all its possible force. Now in the matter of materia medica, we homeopathists have unique advantages in this respect. Hahnemann, after discovering, propounding, and to a great extent elaborating his therapeutic method, set himself to provide the means of carrying it out. The Organon (1810), was quickly followed by the Materia Medica Pura (1811 - 1821). The object of this work, and the meaning of its title, are defined by the author himself in his preface. “In the Organon” he writes : “I have taught this truth, that dynamically acting medicines extinguish diseases only in accordance with the similarity of their symptoms. He who has understood this will perceive that if a work on materia medica can reveal the precise qualities of medicines, it must be one from which all mere assumption and empty speculation about the reputed qualities of drugs are excluded, and which, only records what medicines express concerning their true mode of action in the symptoms they produce in the human body."'* Hahnemann's aim was thus to furnish a
* Mat. Med. Pura, Dudgeon's Translation, Vol. 1, p. 3.