Contributions to the history of homoeopathy

Allg. hom. zeit., vol. xxxix, page 339

A notice to Dr. V. Boenninghausen to cease from homoeopathic veterinary practice.

We have been informed, noble sir, that when Commissary Henschen, of Holzhausen, applied to you for medical advice for a hog bitten by a mad dog, you gave him powders for the animal, and that later on the hog became mad, wherefore it had to be killed in the presence of a veterinary physician, Steinkühler, together with its litter of three pigs, born after the event.
We take occasion from this event to communicate to you in copy the Order of the Royal Minister of Spiritual,  Educational and Medical Affairs, issued on December 6, 1840 (Ministerial Journal for the Interior, 1840, p. 476).

This orders that persons who have not been approved for the practice of the veterinary art should not undertake the treatment of domestic animals in diseases belonging to the category of infectious diseases and of epidemics. Since you have not obtained the qualifications demanded in this Order by the Order of the Royal Cabinet of July 11, 1843, which granted you permission to provide patients in single cases with homoeopathic advice and corresponding medicines, we must forbid you to medically treat mad animals or such domestic animals as have been bitten by mad animals, or such as are suspected of madness, as also in general cattle taken with an infectious or epidemic disease, if you would avoid a fine of from 5 to 10 dollars. Münster, June 24, 1850.
Royal Minister of the Interior.
To the Royal Councilor, retired,
Dr. phil von Boenninghausen,
Nobleman in this city.
No. 404. I. M.

Hereupon follows
The Rescript issued by the Ministry of the Interior.
To the Honorable Royal Government here.
Münster, July 10, 1850.

The Order issued to me lays upon me the imperative duty, not on my own account, but on account of the cause, not to receive this order in silence, and thereby, as it were, confess a guilt of which I am entirely innocent as well in a material as in formal respect. The whole honorable college will not refuse me the testimony that I have never stood among the complainers, but have always devoted all my time and strength to studying, advising and bringing aid, whenever and wherever I was able, in a faithful and honest manner. I have not to fear, therefore, from this side that my present  address will be misinterpreted since I sincerely desire and strive for merely what is truly good; but, at the same time, as is proper, I am determined to oppose every obstruction to this endeavor with zeal and determination.

Although it is an undeniable truth, proved by numberless facts, that the cure of the diseases of animals is accomplished according to one and the same law as the cure of men, I would yet hardly have thought of reaching out also to them, if the objections of the adherents of the old school, repeated ad nauseam, had not, as it were, compelled me to it. After so many striking facts, which left them no denial possible, the only objection was left them: “The cures of homoeopaths are caused merely by diet and by a confident imagination, because the naughts administered by them are entirely unable to effect cures.” If such ridiculous statements were merely made as a cheap and somewhat silly joke every rational man would at most have compassionately shrugged his shoulders or left it unnoticed as a transitory folly. But after all the other objections, mostly drawn from an absurd theory, were of no more avail, this nonsense was at last seized upon, and because it was uttered with such a mien of wisdom there were silly men enough who actually believed it.

In order to make this last loophole impracticable for the opponents of the new and natural methods of cure nothing is more suitable than the application of Homoeopathy to animals. For here nothing can be ascribed to diet, which remains the same, much less to the influence of imagination and faith; when animals, therefore, with such treatment recover, and, indeed, in a very brief time, it cannot be denied that their cure is due to these derided “naughts,” unless all reason is set aside and skepticism should increase even to insanity. The 38th volume of the Allgemeine hom. Zeitung, by Hartmann and Rummel, contains in No. 23 a treatise on this subject, with an appendix on the cures effected on animals with such “naughts,” and, indeed, with “naughts” in the superlative degree.

Purely for this reason and based on the principle of similia similibus! I did not consider myself too aristocratic where my aid was invoked “in single cases,” and in the beginning only in cases where the present veterinary methods had shown no success, not to deny my assistance also to animals of various kinds. Since January 18, 1849, I have also kept a formal journal, and am therefore ready at all times to give account concerning every case treated, just as I am able to do about my treatment of sick persons, though the former account is not so full. In this journal there is, therefore, also found an account of the sow big with young, belonging to Hensche, on May 8th of this year, with a notice of the usual remedies used against the biting by mad dogs. Later on, according to subsequent information, there is the remark, that “the sow nevertheless was said to have become hydrophobic, though it had not bitten or gored as mad sows always do.” It is, therefore still very questionable whether said sow actually had hydrophobia when she was killed, and from many scientific reasons I have a perfect right to question this and deny it until a complete account of a dissection made should prove the assertion of veterinary doctor Steinkuehler, who is altogether unknown to me.

But even in that case it would not matter much if, from some unknown cause, hydrophobia should exceptionally have broken out in this one case, as such cases, even among men, when treated allopathically occur but too frequently, as the yearly statistical tables plainly show. Two sad examples of this occurred in the last two years here before the gates of the city of Münster and in the town of Coesfeld. On the other hand, not a single well authenticated case has come to my knowledge where a man who had been bitten by a mad dog, and who had actually become hydrophobic, has been saved by Allopathy, but I can show a case of a person thus saved by Homoeopathy. The records of the Royal Government from the beginning of the year 1830 contain the reports of Dr. Sentrup, then district-physician, concerning hydrophobia having broken out with Louise Klusemann, born in Iburg, twenty-one years old, and living as a servant on Menken’s farm, near Alveskirchen, as also the allopathic treatment of this person for several days without effect. But from what the Court published about the matter later on, I doubt that my homoeopathic cure of this person, who else would have died without chance of rescue, has been entered on the records. But I am able, even at this day, to give a detailed and exact account of the matter as it was published in the Archiv für die hom. Heilkunst, Vol. X,
No. 3, page 85, which is confirmed by a communication of the pastor there, as well as by the statement written down according to the words of the cured person in the presence of the late Privy Councilor, Baronet von Korff, a few weeks after the event. The fame of this cure, which has not yet been forgotten, as well as many remarkable cures since, have brought to me a great number of persons who had been bitten by dogs alleged to be mad, and with none of these persons who have used my homoeopathic remedies did hydrophobia break out, though I saw several of them who had been dreadfully bitten and mangled, and some of these persons by dogs whose bite caused hydrophobia with other animals. These remedies are not, however, secret remedies, as they are sold and used without obstruction in many places; nor has their publication caused any expense to the State as has been the case with several other remedies,
but they have been made known unselfishly in my own works and others, together with directions showing how to use them. These remedies, also, are the only and true prophylactics against hydrophobia, as they have the virtue of curing the whole disease, even when it has broken out. This latter condition is indispensable, and where a prophylactic has not been put to this proof it is, by homoeopaths, relegated at once to the limbo of the doubtful and unsafe, if not into that of secret remedies and humbugs. For the time of the empty authority of opinions and assertions is gone by never to return, and in future only that will be accepted as true which has been proved correct by repeated experience, and which corresponds with a law of nature which is no less irrefragable than the law of gravitation established by Newton. But we have the more reason to apply a strict criticism to the old practice of medicine as even among the most decided adherents of the old school there are a number of honest men whohave recognized and designated it as a collection of fallacies and falsities.

So much I thought it my duty to say concerning the order issued by the honorable Royal Government, dated on the 24th of this month. I will not mention the rank into which homoeopaths have placed me, nor the many honors that have been paid to me, diplomas, etc., which have come, and are still coming, to me from the most remote countries, but will pass on to the conclusions to be drawn from it.

In this respect it is not to be overlooked that the supreme royal cabinet order concerning my homoeopathic activity is dated July 11, 1843, but the ministerial order cited bears date of December 6, 1840. Therefore, this ministerial order cannot affect the other, even if a minister should have the power to nullify or arbitrarily to limit a royal cabinet order.

Secondly, in the royal cabinet order there is nowhere to be found a restriction or exception as to any sort of disease. Therefore, there can be no interpretation of this order, least of all one that would place the life of a sow above that of a human being.

Finally, the above said cabinet order distinctly declares that no obstruction is to be put in my way based on my lack of Qualification, and yet the order cited by you, in direct conflict therewith, says that I had not obtained the Qualification demanded in that (ministerial) rescript, and therefore am forbidden, etc., threatening a fine of from five to ten dollars.

There are cases of interpretation which do not tally with common sense, but such a bald and plain contradictory interpretation as this I never met before, and I cannot, therefore, submit myself to the honourable order of the Royal Government in this case.
Dr. C. von Boenninghausen,
Royal Councilor (Retired).

We have found ourselves moved by the reasons given in your answer of July 10th, this year, to our order of June 24th of this year to depart from our position, and we particularly direct you, with reference to the treatment of mad dogs or those bitten by them, to the direction given in paragraph 100 of the regulation confirmed by royal authority October 28, 1835, (Lawb. No. 27, page 239), according to which every one not a physician is strictly warned against treating such cases, and which is even permitted to physicians and veterinary doctors only under conditions involving strict limitations. From the royal cabinet order of July 11, 1843, giving you permission to give homoeopathic advice and to administer homoeopathic medicines to patients who, in single cases, apply to you from their special confidence in you,
you can in no wise derive more extended privileges for yourself than are granted even to approved physicians.
The Royal Government.
Münster, September 6, 1850.
To the Royal Councilor (Retired),
Dr. Phil. v. Boenninghausen, here.
459. I. M.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.