Homeopathy Papers

If Homeopaths Don’t Learn From their History – 1847-2023

Written by Sue Young

Homeopathy Historian Sue Young gives glimpses of the struggles and evolution of homeopathy 1847-2023

Within the current political climate in the aftermath of the Covid 19 Pandemic 2020-2023, it is time once again for Homeopathy to stand proud of the crowd and emerge once again out of the shadows. For two decades, we have been culture cancelled and WOKED by Trolls, Spills and vested interests, spinning Fake News and adding to the deep trauma of a Pandemic, death threats and all, such is the vehemence and vitriol of their Spite Spittle.

Now, the British National Mood is reawakening, blinking into the daylight to pick up the remains of our previous ‘Normal’ lives, which in truth, no longer exist. So now our homeopathic community must unite and step forward to announce our rightful place in our ‘New Normal’ World. Or are we still ‘addicted to our own internecine Warfare?”

So what is our past history that we must learn from?

In 1835, Paul Francois Curie (1799-1853) , a French orthodox physician converted to Homeopathy to become a student of Christian Frederick Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), a German orthodox physician who developed a radical new medical method of healing called Homeopathy.

In 1842, William Laidler Leaf (1791-1873) , one of the wealthiest silk merchants in the City of London with extensive business interests in France, paid for Paul Francois Curie to open The London Homeopathic Medical Institution 17 Hanover Square Leaf (1842-1849), the first school of Homeopathy in Britain.

Two subsequent Homeopathic hospitals soon opened their doors.

The Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square Curie (1847-1853).

The Hahnemann Medical Society at 16 Bulstrode Street London Epps (1850-1859).

These three hospitals were all charitable institutions that subsidised the poor and charged the rich. Their objectives were to relieve the poor by admission as patients or to treat as outpatients. They also offered facilities for medical students to train as Professional Homeopaths and Doctor homeopaths, and for inquirers to obtain knowledge of the homeopathic doctrine and practice, at the bedside of patients or by clinical lectures in the school attached to the hospital to become Lay Homeopaths.

These homeopathic hospitals also germinated many supportive Associations and Societies.

• The English Homeopathic Association EHA (1844-1849).
• The British Homeopathic Association BHA (1847-1849) rebirthed (1902-2020) now Homeopathy UK 2020.
• The British Homeopathic Society BHS Quin (1844-1944) now the Faculty of Homeopathy 1944.

Homeopathy at this time was emergent, popular and welcoming the Heart of our country in through our doors. There were many homeopathic small subsidiary associations, societies and supporters, chemists and pharmacies sprang up across our land like daisies to cater for the demand for our remedies, services and literature to passing trade or by mail order.

Cheap and easily available booklets and remedies made homeopathy understandable to the populace, and many people became lay homeopaths, especially women nested in the heart of their homes and in charge of their children and their staff.

Many ordinary people also stepped forward to train as professional homeopaths, and large numbers of orthodox doctors apostatised to convert to homeopathy to become doctor homeopaths. This rush to convert to homeopathy attracted some extremely nasty and unpleasant terror tactics by the orthodox Old Medicine, but our New Medicine forged ahead and thrived under the onslaught of abuse they received.

Bear in mind our homeopathic ancestors of all the many different homeopathic associations, hospitals and institutions remained close and cordial, despite their difficult birth and the many internecine struggles behind the scenes. At this time, no one forgot they were a homeopathic community forged together by their detractors the moment they stepped outside of these protective enclaves.

Our first lesson from our history is the internal internecine deformation caused by our enemies. The truth of the matter is that homeopathy was tearing itself apart at this time. The truth of the matter is that we were also deforming our detractors who were also tearing themselves apart with internecine struggles.

The short version is here:

• The original London Homeopathic Medical Institution 17 Hanover Square Leaf (1842-1849) and the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square Curie (1847-1853), failed because their management boards consisted of zealous, somewhat naïve people who were not accustomed to Old World Medical Real Politik and their established etiquette. Both hospitals did allow association with doctor homeopaths, lay homeopaths and professional homeopaths, and both failed when Paul Francois Curie died.
• Formally initiated in May 1845, thirteen months after the formation of the BHS, the EHA had approximately 560 members. The BHS, the EHA and the Hahnemann Medical Society at 16 Bulstrode Street London Epps (1850-1859) did allow association with Doctor homeopaths, Lay Homeopaths and Professional Homeopaths
• By 1849, the BHA had amalgamated with the EHA and had 1300 members, sufficient to establish a hospital. This new, revamped BHA and the BHS, definitely did not allow association with Lay Homeopaths or Professional Homeopaths. Eventually, the London Homeopathic Hospital at 32 Golden Square Quin (1849-1859) then the London Homeopathic Hospital at Great Ormond Street Quin (1859-1947) then the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital (1947-2010) now the Royal London Hospital for Integrated medicine 2010 arose out of the ashes.

The long version follows here:

The roots of this thorny problem lay entangled within Hahnemann’s Founding Principles, which firmly stated lay homeopaths and professional homeopaths should practice equally alongside medically qualified doctor homeopaths.

Medical equality, medical freedom, sexual equality and social equality were the very beating heart of homeopathy from its absolute outset. These human freedoms also extended to patients who must be free to opt for the medical treatment of their choice. Human freedom was the unconditional and non-negotiable bedrock of our New Medicine, and fundamental to human mental health.

Hahnemann’s second wife Marie Melanie d’Hervilly Gohier Hahnemann (1800-1878) was a professional homeopath, as were many of Hahnemann’s disciples and students who all trained together alongside doctor homeopaths. The sexual equality granted to Melanie by Hahnemann greatly upset some doctor homeopaths and almost every Old Medicine physician, but Melanie was unconditionally essential to Hahnemann, his founding principles and his inspirational and startling professional practice in Paris.

Hahnemann had suffered acutely from Old Medicine pomposity and protectionism throughout his long life He was a radical doctor homeopath used to fighting his corner and quite at home in revolutionary France where he took refuge in the last decades of his life.

He profoundly believed that women were the natural healers of the home and should be accorded equal footing in the sick room as lay homeopaths. the moral freedom to practice medical equality was one of his unshakeable founding principles, and that, quite simply was that!
Hahnemann never forgot his revolutionary fervour, and Melanie was a fully liberated firebrand woman of her age. They chose to head directly for Paris to live and work at the very instant the French Revolution (1789-1799) took hold. This Utopian couple affrighted entrenched Old World prejudice and their jealously guarded misogynistic and xenophobic Thought bubbles which had operated as medieval guilds for centuries. Their vision of the New World was utterly terrifying.

Doctor homeopath James John Garth Wilkinson (1819-1899) was absolutely happy to encourage his wife Emma Anne Marsh Wilkinson (1814-1886) to practice as a lay homeopathand prescribe homeopathic remedies for their children, and for his patients.

Ergo, Garth was firmly in the camp of the EHA and a firm supporter of the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square Curie (1847-1853). This large herd of British homeopathic foxes amongst our British Homeopathic chickens was the core of our problem, and cleaved dissent right through the heart of our New Medicine until the formation of 4Homeopathy 2013 , when all these divisions healed completely in the face of modern Troll attacks, something we are most grateful to our detractors for.

Two lay homeopaths, William Laidler Leaf and Marmaduke Blake Sampson (1809-1876), an English journalist at The Times 1785 for thirty years and the first chairman of the BHA, proposed Paul Francois Curie, a doctor homeopath, to become the president of the London Homeopathic Medical Institution 17 Hanover Square Leaf (1842-1849), but their lay homeopaths, professional homeopaths and some of their doctor homeopaths believed they should all be equal and were not amused. They wanted communal management, unfortunately a Utopian step too far for our New Medicine at this time. Also, the title of president was nomenclature traditionally awarded to retired clinicians, but Paul Francois Curie did not want to retire from practice, or to be set up high above his egalitarian colleagues. This let loose another fox in our Homeopathic hen house.

Sampson was more used to managing a newspaper, but the subcommittee of the board of the EHA was full of Lay Homeopaths and Professional Homeopaths inexperienced at taking economic realpolitik business decisions. Lay Homeopaths, Professional and most Doctor homeopaths were deeply offended that our New Medicine should ape Old Medical practice in any fashion.

The whole affair became a complete mess, resulting in an unseemly row between Sampson, Richard Walter Heurtley (1820-1889), an English orthodox physician who converted to Homeopathy to become a patron of the BHS, and honorary secretary of the EHA , and George Napoleon Epps (1815-1874), a homeopathic druggist at 30 Upper King Street, Bloomsbury in 1840.

As a result three homeopaths promptly resigned, leaving Paul Francois Curie and George Napoleon Epps as the only Doctor homeopaths working at London Homeopathic Medical Institution 17 Hanover Square Leaf (1842-1849).

• Edward Charles Chepmell (1820-885) , a German British Physician the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square Curie (1847-1853), Physician at London Homeopathic Medical Institution 17 Hanover Square Leaf (1842-1849), member of the BHS, an honorary member of the BHA, and a member of the Hahnemann Medical Society at 16 Bulstrode Street London Epps (1850-1859).
• Edward Hamilton (1824-1899) [a British orthodox physician who converted to Homeopathy to become physician at the London Homeopathic Hospital at 32 Golden Square Quin (1849-1859), fellow of the Linnean Society and Zoological Society 1788 and treasurer of the BHS],
• Joseph Laurie (1829-1865) , an English orthodox physician who converted to Homeopathy to become a Doctor homeopath, consulting physician to the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square Curie (1847-1853), member of the BHS, member of the Hahnemann Medical Society at 16 Bulstrode Street London Epps (1850-1859).
As a consequence, Sampson and Heurtley left the EHA to form the BHA, with the sole aim of consolidating Lay Homeopaths, Professional Homeopaths and Doctor homeopaths together into one organisation. They hoped this would put some distance between their new BHA and London Homeopathic Medical Institution 17 Hanover Square Leaf (1842-1849) and achieve closer association with the BHS to support the new London Homeopathic Hospital at 32 Golden Square Quin (1849-1859). Due to this bitter infighting, Matthew James Chapman (?-?), the vice president of the BHS, advocated the dissolution of the EHA. What a mess!

In 1849, Frederick Hervey Foster Quin (1799-1879) , a British orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become a doctor homeopath, a personal student of Hahnemann, and one of the very first Homeopaths in Britain, was eventually forced into action. Though Quin completely agreed with and understood Hahnemann’s stance on this matter, he knew it simply would not wash within British Realpolitik, so he could not favour Paul Francois Currie’s steadfast approach.

The edict to only select doctor homeopaths from the ranks of the BHS, the only remaining Homeopathic professional registry, cleanly and effectively removed any lay homeopaths and professional homeopaths from the stage. This unfortunate complication caused a confusing connivance behind the formation of the London Homeopathic Hospital at 32 Golden Square Quin (1849-1859) at the expense of the London Homeopathic Medical Institution 17 Hanover Square Leaf (1842-1849), which closed its doors shortly thereafter.

Quin also extracted a condition that no Lay homeopath or Professional Homeopath would be able to ‘… meddle on matters medical (clinical)…’. Sampson and Heurtley extracted a condition from Quin that Lay Homeopaths and Professional Homeopaths could have some influence in the appointment of doctor homeopaths, though all clinicians would have to be members of the BHS. It was agreed that although lay homeopaths and professional homeopaths could not make any clinical decisions, doctor homeopaths could not make realpolitik management decisions to found, fund or run a hospital, and were in effect, dependent upon ‘… professional lay expertise…’ for this.

In other words, lay homeopaths, professional homeopaths, doctor homeopaths and their supporters needed each other and should come to a sensible professional accommodation.

As previously discussed, everybody agreed lay homeopaths, professional homeopaths and doctor homeopaths still loved and needed each other. Together, they agreed to support their collective BHA, which would operate freely until the proposed homeopathic hospital became manifest.

Members of the BHS were granted honorary membership of the BHA but not vice versa, and the two organisations became ‘joined at the hip’ until the London Homeopathic Hospital at 32 Golden Square Quin (1849-1859) finally opened its doors. In effect, Quin, Sampson and Heurtley had launched a successful coup d’etat. Shortly thereafter, in 1849, Sampson automatically transferred the membership of the EHA to the BHA, thereby actioning the conditions of the agreement reached with the BHS. Phew!

Unfortunately, this was vigorously opposed on two fronts:

1. Restricting recruitment of clinicians to the members of the BHS, eliminated from appointment elections the 1800 combined members of the BHA who could previously vote on staff recruitment.
2. The BHS was restrictive in other ways that upset everyone, because it was a ‘private’ body whose regulations further restricted membership, requiring 4/5th of its quorum membership of five to agree upon any proposed clinical member to the BHS. This was quite stringent, and could potentially exclude the ‘cream’ of British Homeopathy for no good reason other than clash of personality. It would also result in incrowding into one professional body which had no guarantee of permanence or survival in a bustling and viciously competitive professional environment, which was not good business practice for any fully functioning profession.

When it became apparent this would also be the case at the new Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square Curie (1847-1853), John Chapman (Professional Homeopath or Publisher?) (1821-1894) , Matthew James Chapman (?-?) [the Chapman story is far too complex to address here], Chepmell and Joseph Hands (1816-1865), a British orthodox physician who converted to Homeopathy to become a doctor homeopath, member of the medical council of the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square Curie (1847-1853)) , all immediately resigned and refused to have anything further to do with the BHS. David Wilson (1811-1889) , an orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become a doctor homeopath, surgeon at the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square Curie (1847-1853), member of the BHS also immediately resigned.

These internecine homeopathic political struggles were a professional necessity in our evolving and fascination New Medicine, and conversion and recruitment advanced and continued at a quick trot throughout this time. Obviously, political stew in his professional apostacy didn’t deter Garth one tiny bit, because it solved his financial crisis at a single stroke. Garth’s life had improved just enough for him to ease off and loosen his corset a tiny bit, and justify a horse and carriage. The reason for this improvement in fortune was his conversion to Homeopathy. Though forged in the heat of this fire, Homeopathy continued to grow and grown throughout the next two centuries.

Garth Wilkinson’s nephew Clement John Wilkinson junior (1860-?) . told us Garth agreed with Hahnemann’s original founding principles ‘… Perhaps, however, there was a practitioner of medicine who was less a member of the profession at heart. Almost from the first he would have dis-chartered that profession and have thrown the treatment of the sick open to all who chose to engage in it, holding them equally responsible whether formally qualified or not. Degrees and diplomas would have conveyed no privilege, had Wilkinson been allowed his way… ’ So Garth remained close to many of his Old Medicine and New Medicine colleagues of either stripe throughout his life, and had already emerged by this time as a fully-fledged diplomat of no small stature!

Nonetheless, behind the scenes, this debacle would split our Homeopathic community until the foundation of the rebirthed BHA 1902 and the Society of Homeopaths SOH 1977. Today, in the furnace of the sustained Troll attacks upon our New Medicine, 4Homeopathy 2013 forged a linking of arms. Though doctor homeopaths cannot recruit Lay Homeopaths or Professional Homeopaths into clinical settings, lay homeopaths and professional have gained a right to exist in our own skin. This has effectively melded our entire Homeopathic Fellowship back together to face another century of rancour, skirmish and vitriol from economic vested interests as our Never Ending Story swings the Celestial Pendulum on forever on.

Strange but true, we learn from our history that our first lesson and our last, enduring lesson is that homeopaths and our detractors are the two snakes twisted out of shape around the Caduceus of our medicinal art of British medicine by each other, and we forge ourselves together into a dualistic unity of imponderable uniqueness.

© Sue Young Spring 2023

About the author

Sue Young

Sue Young B.Sc., FSHoM - My name is Sue Young and my passion is homeopathic history and the history of Humanity. My sueyounghistories.com studies were inspired by the sterling work begun by Dana Ullman in his very influential book The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy.
Before I began my sueyounghistories.com website, I wrote The Lost Book of History, the first attempt by a homeopath to study the whole history of humanity as a whole from our very origins. This was followed by Three Lost Books of Healing.
I hold a BSc in Psychology and an FSHOM in Homeopathy, having been in homeopathic private practice for over 30 years, I have been writing homeopathic history constantly for nearly 50 years. In 2022, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the founding of Dr Manish Bhatia’s Hpathy.com, I was honoured to be among those recognized with an Award for Excellence in Homeopathy for my contributions to Hpathy.com.
I’m intensely pleased and proud to surrender my body of work to the Hahnemann House Trust and the very capable and precious hands of my esteemed colleague and friend Mel Draper, who will confidently carry this wonderful work into our homeopathic future.

2 Comments

  • “The roots of this thorny problem lay entangled within Hahnemann’s Founding Principles, which firmly stated lay homeopaths and professional homeopaths should practice equally alongside medically qualified doctor homeopaths” – sorry, this “thorny problem” seems to have been invented by the author. Never Hahnemann “firmly stated lay homeopaths and professional homeopaths should practice equally alongside medically qualified doctor homeopaths”. On the contrary, he firmly stated that ONLY doctor homeopaths should have full rights to treat people.

    “Until the State, in the future, after having attained insight into the indispensability of perfectly prepared homoeopathic medicines, will have them manufactured by a competent impartial person, in order to give them free of charge to homoeopathic physicians trained in homoeopathic hospitals, who have been examined theoretically and practically, and thus legally qualified. The physician may then become convinced of these divine tools for purposes of healing, but also to give them free of charge to his patients – rich and poor”. “Organon”, § 271, note.

    • Hi Alexander… a privilege to speak with you…
      Melanie was not a professionally trained Doctor Homeopath and yet she practiced alongside Hahnemann and alone for decades after his death protected by the Napoleons… in Britain our Professional Homeopaths were fully schooled as Hahnemann directed… and they treasured Lay Homeopaths in respect for Melanie’s lonely struggle… thus obeying Hahnemann’s instructions to the letter as far as they could…

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