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Å OM E/O P A T H Y.
Pigmæi Gigantum bumeris impositi plus quam homines vident. Burton.
J. G. WESSELHEFT:
@ za Busarbeitun
Cuentung Cinare) Cito Tuto et
11 11. M.
I am exceedingly desirous of calling attention to a question of the greatest importance to the best interests of mankind, which has been neglected for many years, and will probably remain doubtful for many more unless the public insist on its being set at rest without delay. We all entertain the greatest possible respect for the medical Practitioners of our own country, and not without good reason: nor ought they to be Inentioned without an expression of that respect. Excellent however as they unquestionably are, it is nevertheless rather too much to expect of them that they should voluntarily step forth to assure you that they have hitherto misunderstood their art, and treated their patients erroneously. We ourselves are startled at the very mention of such a thing. It seems to us impossible that those whose presence has so often been our consolation: to whose meritorious labours we have so otten paid the humble but honest tribute of our admiration: whose career has been as honourable as their aim is noble: it seems impossible, I repeat, that these excellent men should have been all the while as mistaken as ourselves. The system of investigation which has been pursued from the time of Hippocrates; the “Baconian principles especially, on which medical science has of late years become firmly based in England," (as they themselves express it) cannot surely be erroneous. The many great men who have dedicated their lives and talents to the study of the art of healing-who have ever shewn themselves such diligent observers, such honest enquirers, such fearless experimenters — who have so long and so zealously exerted their best energies of mind and body in the cause of suffering humanity — who have faced the most contagious plagues with the same indifference with which they
would prescribe for the gouty finger of a noble: men illustrious for science, eminent for sagacity, renowned for diligent research; the accumulated knowledge of many centuries,
the records of the past, and the labours of the present -- all cannot be wrong! Nevertheless an opinion has been started
a bold one surely — but it is gaining ground that such is the case. The propagators and advocates of that opinion affirm that there is a much shorter, safer, and better method of curing diseases than that which is at present practised;
any medical man, they assure us, may readily convince himself of the truth of their assertion. “If,” they say, (and one scarcely knows how to reply to them) “if those who reject our system would but be good enough to read and learn some little about it before they talk about it; if they would but hear before they pronounce, and try before they decide, we should have no ob jection to let the system rest altogether on their experiments; they are honourable men, and they can discriminate between what is real and what is merely specious; let them come forward, and by their experiments we are willing to abide."
A fairer challenge could not possibly be given: it only remains so enquire whether the rank of the challengers will justify attention to it. For it is certainly by no means incumbent on men eminent for their scientific attainments as are our medical men, and fully occupied as they are in the labours of their profession, to give up their valuable time to investigate every idle appeal of this nature. They are too usefully employed already. It would be too much to expect such men to stoop from that pride of place to which their talents have raised them, to study and refute every whimsical theory and bold assertion to which crazed intellects or crafty speculation may give birth. They have other and nobler occupations than to expose the impudent forgeries of every shameless charlatan.
Circumstances nevertheless might possibly arise, which would render it incumbent on them for their own sakes, for
our sakes, for the sake of truth, to institute those experiments which are demanded. We may conceive a case in which neglect would be culpable, and protracted silence positively criminal. The number and character of its adherents are a fair criterion, not certainly of the truth, but of the importance of any new heresy; and while the frantic leader of half a dozen shouting boys may be contemptuously consigned to the constable and the stocks, it would seem wanton trifling to take no measures against the leader of armies, however unjustifiable his object, however bad his cause. There was, then, a time when no blame could be with justice imputed to the members of the medical profession in England, for not seeking out this new heresy of which we have been speaking, in order to refute the arguments and expose the fallacies by which it was supported. They left it to the contempt of the world: they left it to sparkle and expire with ten thousand other spe.. cious schemes of which no trace remains. Be it so. The progeny. of error are a numerous, but by no means a longlived generation
Bat it is now nearly six lustres * that they have so left it unnoticed. And if in the course of those years, that despised heresy has struck root in the land of its birth as deep as if it had flourished ten centuries; if in spite of all opposition, and all argument, and all interests, it be spreading rapidly and steadily across the whole of the continent: ** if every week is signalized by some new. conversion, and every day adds new adherents: if journals many in number are published, detailing cases of every species of disease triumphantly cured by its aid: if we constantly meet in those publications the frank avował of some seceding medical Practitioner, whom the force of facts has compelled , against his will, to confess how completely erroneous is the ordinary system of medicine: if pro
* Homeopathy may be said to date from 1803, in which year Hahnemann published his experiments on twenty-seven medicinal substances.
** Fire years ago the very name of Homeopathy was unknown in France, Now the presses there teem with works on the subject.