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homœopathic, it is unnecessary to tell them what we are. We will only say that if we increase during the next forty years as we have during the last forty, the medical profession will be made up almost entirely of" sordid wretches who wring their bread from the cold giasp,"
Dr. Holmes, in these Lectures on Homœopathy, in order to cast upon it all possible odium, marshals it in the bad company of the Weapon Ointment, the King's Touch for scrofula, the Tar-water mania of Bishop Berkeley, Perkins's Metallic Tractors. Astrology, Alchemy, etc. He. argues from one to the other, and thinks that they are all equally delusions and snares. He seems to have a particular faculty for searching out and emphasizing the imperfections and weaknesses of the new system, for twisting and distorting facts in such a way as to make a great display of such as are needed for his argument, and for quietly ignoring the solid substratum upon which the whole edifice rests, rotten planks as well as sound. Would it not be utterly ridiculous to suppose that a new system of medicine could be suddenly evolved by one man, no matter how able, without many crudities clinging to it, which have to be cleared away by others? And is it characteristic of the highest order of a philosophical mind to be so blinded by those crudities as to be rendered incapable of discerning the great underlying truths? Holmes is a brilliant man, and others have always enjoyed his brilliancy. Probably he himself could no more restrain the exercise of his peculiar faculties when tempted by a superficial glance at (not thorough study of) the new homœopathic doctrines, than a boy with a new, sharp jackknife could help cutting every piece of wood or other sufficiently soft material within his reach, even including the rosewood piano. If there should happen to be dirt on the piano, possibly the boy might have some excuse. This is just where the trouble is with homoeopathy. We have underneath, as we have often proved, a good piano, but there is dirt on the piano. The really able men in the allopathic profession, the advance guard, who will ultimately lead by the nose the common herd, the Ringers, the Phillipses, the Barthalows, etc., are every month coming nearer to the central, underlying truth of homoeopathy, whether they acknowledge it or not. On the other hand, many of our own body will have to throw overboard before long (as many already have) some really ridiculous notions, handed down from the originator of our system, or started by some of those ultra-enthusiasts who will be found in any body of men. They will have to leave off deifying Hahnemann, and see if they cannot, in the light of the present day, impious as it may seem to them, make such new discoveries or improvements as will put homœopathy-not necessarily Hahnemannism - on a firmer
basis. One of the first things to do will be to disown universally, as most now do individually, such trash, so disgusting to a sensible man with any love of science in his soul, as the following from Hering's proving of Coca, published in the “Hahnemannian Monthly” a few years ago: Symptom 774. Woke at 7 A. M. with very vivid recollections of a dream in which he held a beetle of the largest kind by the upper part of its body in the agony of death, firmly grasped between the index finger and the thumb, so that it could not hurt him, and wondered at the great power it exercised to get loose and bite him."
Ibid., Symptom 776. "Dreamed of fighting for a long time with six or seven black generals, who at last succeeded in garroting him, binding his arms with ropes, preventing his further defence, and causing him great agony of mind."* We are told that Lippe gave as a symptom produced by Antim. crud. "ecstatic love by moonlight." Whoever this spooney prover was, the symptom was considered of sufficient value to appear in “ Hering's Condensed Materia Medica." From anything else that might have appeared before condensation" Good Lord, deliver us." We find in the " Analytical Therapeutics" recorded under Natr. Mur. the strange feeling, "inclination to lie down after dinner." These are merely samples.
What with such symptoms and the millionth potency, if you had the tenth part of the wit and sense of the ridiculous that Holmes has, would n't you laugh?
WE learn from Boericke & Tafel that there is an opening in New Orleans for a good German homoeopathic physician. The population is estimated at 200,000, of which from 25,000 to 30,000 are Germans. There are only ten homœopathic physicians practising in the city, and none of them speak German. An energetic man speaking French could also soon establish a paying practice.
THE A. L. Chatterton Publishing Company are making preparations to publish a directory of homeopathic physicians in New York, New Jersey, and New England. We hope that all the postal cards they have sent out asking for information will be promptly answered, as we really need such a work, and nothing is more disappointing than an inaccurate directory.
* Query, What would be the remedy for six or seven black majors?
VOL. XIV. NO. XI.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE NEW ENGLAND MEDICAL GAZETTE :
Having made the acquaintance of Dr. Hughes, he very kindly invited Dr. G. F. Forbes and myself to attend the meeting of the British Homœopathic Congress, which was held at Great Malvern on the 11th of September, and I regret that we were unable to attend, and so send an account of the proceedings; but my time has been so fully occupied with my own favorite study that I have had time for little else. I cannot give you an account of the many interesting cases which I have seen, neither would it be wise to do so, as I am aware of the fact that the busy practitioner cares only for those things which are new, or the questions which are still debatable, and these condensed as much as possible; for what is received as truth to day may by the clearer light of to-morrow's knowledge, be regarded as false. It may therefore be of interest to some of the many readers of the GAZETTE to know what are some of the bones of contention in the surgical schools of the Old World at the present time. It was said by some, when the ligation of arteries first began to be practised, that it was foolish to hang human life upon a thread when boiling pitch had stood the test for ages; but the thread even is now discarded by some, they relying entirely upon torsion, while other ligate the most minute branches. The former class, among whom are some of the staff of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, of London, claim that it is better not to ligate at all, except where there are small arteries, embedded in hard, indurated tissue, where torsion cannot be applied; while upon the other hand such men as Prof. Czarney, of Heidelberg, ligate every artery that is large enough to be found. The Esmarch bandage, which was in such vogue at one time, has fallen much into disuse, except in cases where careful dissections are required, as the pressure upon the blood-vessels produces paralysis of their walls, and as a result, a large amount of oozing of blood afterwards. It is very seldom used in cases of amputation.
Lister's antiseptic method, like many other good things, is believed in by many and practised by few, as it requires such a vast amount of care and continued painstaking. I am informed upon good authority that only two out of the multitude who have been his students now follow strictly his teaching, while a majority of the surgeons of London use the spray in many cases, and more or less of the dressing; but whether this half-way method of using it is of any material value is still a question.
The subject of nerve-stretching, as well as of reuniting the ends where they have been severed and the wound allowed to heal without the ends being in apposition, is exciting considerable interest at the present time, and although the success has not been marked, it has inspired the hope that some good may yet result. In all cases where nerves have been thus severed, there has been found a bulbous enlargement of the upper end of the nerve, showing signs of an effort upon the part of nature to repair the injury. The operation in these cases consists in dissecting up the ends of the nerve, freeing them from indurated tissues, then by stretching, bringing them together and holding them in position by stitching the sheath.
J. K. WARREN, M. D.
LONDON, Sept. 22, 1879.
HOMEOPATHIC MEDICAL SOCIETY OF NORTHERN NEW
REPORTED BY H. M. PAINE, M. D., ALBANY, NEW YORK.
THE annual meeting of the society was held at Saratoga, July 8, 1879. The following officers were elected for the ensuing year: President, Dr. J. F. Niver; Vice-President, Dr. F. E. Hale; Secretary and Treasurer, Dr. J. A. Pearsall Delegates to the American Institute, Drs. J. F. Niver and S. I. Pearsall.
The president and secretary were authorized to assign subjects to the members of the society, for consideration and discussion at the next meeting.
Dr. H. M. Paine read a paper on "The Ventilation of Soil and Waste Pipes and Under Drains." The following resolution was adopted :
"WHEREAS, Numerous instances of serious and frequently fatal diseases are directly traceable to imperfect construction or defective arrangement of soil or waste pipes in dwelling-houses, factories, and all habitable buildings; and
WHEREAS, Such defects are frequently the result of erroneous views of well-established principles of ventilation on the part of owners of buildings or those to whom the work is intrusted; therefore
"Resolved, That in the opinion of this society, it is exceedingly important that the construction of plumbing work in all cities and villages should be done under the supervision of competent authority."
Dr. Paine read a paper entitled
"The Law of Potencies: The Minimum vs. The Small Dose."
The following extracts set forth the more salient points: "This theory of dynamization, if it means anything, means that the medicinal activity of drugs is increased by subdivision and succussion. While prepared to admit, to a certain extent, the utility of subdivision and the increased rapidity of action obtained thereby, the other idea — that of increased power through succussion—is one unsupported by any known facts in physics or physiology.
"If we accept the views of modern chemists and physicists, that matter is not infinitely divisible, and accept the asserted weight of the ultimate atom of hydrogen, we find when homoeopathic dilutions have reached to about their tenth attenuation that the last molecule of the drug is somewhere in the bottle; but in going to their next higher dilution the chances are just ninety-nine to one it will be kept out of the succeeding vial, and all after that will be well-shaken alcohol, with no drug left.
"It was to escape this obvious dilemma that the dynamization theory was invented. Granting the gradual extinction of the material portions of the drug, Hahnemann claimed that there yet remained a spiritual essence capable of infinite diffusion, which, when stirred up (by shaking), was enabled to produce the most extraordinary results. It is this theory that this society at its last annual meeting formally abandoned.
"Dr. Samuel Potter, in his admirable and unanswerable argument, entitled The Logical Basis of the High Potency Question, page 9, states substantially: That chemistry is unable to furnish proof of the material presence of the medicine beyond the third potency; the spectroscope gives no evidence beyond the fifth; the microscope none beyond the seventh; and the theory of molecular magnitudes (mathematical demonstration) stops at the eleventh centesimal dilution.
Science, therefore, fails to demonstrate the presence of the drug in any higher attenuation than the tenth or eleventh. Notwithstanding this fact, we are expected to accept the unsupported asseverations of Hahnemannians to the effect that attenuations, carried infinitely beyond these reasonable limits, act homoeopathically. We are repeatedly urged to accept, as homœopathic facts, alleged cures by potencies ranging from many hundreds or thousands to the fifteen millionth, a case purporting to have been cured by that preparation being reported in the April number of the 'Medical Investigator.'
"The causes which have led to the adoption of this strange and visionary phase of homoeopathy have originated in the acceptance,