Page images

throbbing, &c.); then sharp (shooting, cutting, &c.); then peculiar pains. This arrangement seems to me the most simple, and hence the most useful; it involves no theory and causes no confusion.

"In italicizing and starring symptoms, great care will be taken to refer to all clinical verifications, from the earliest period of homoeopathic literature. Dr. Carroll Dunham has very generously consented to furnish verifications from his own experience, and a like offer has been made by many of my colleagues in the profession. Dr. Hering has very kindly supplied several valuable notes of errors (typographical and others) found in the original provings.

"The editor expects the valuable aid of Dr. Richard Hughes, of England, who has liberally offered to verify or correct (in the London libraries) the citations found in Hahnemann's provings.

"We regret to announce that Dr. 8. A. Jones has found it necessary (on account of recent changes in business) to withdraw from this work. Dr. Manning's work on Hahnemann's provings has also, for the present at least, been suspended. The retirement of these gentlemen throws the sole responsibility upon the editor, through whose hands the work will pass. The amount of labour requisite for a work of this character is obviously very great, but the urgent need of it is so very pressing, that the editor has presumed to undertake it with the assistance of several who are in various ways interested with him. We shall be glad to receive any unpublished provings or clinical verifications from any member of the profession, as we desire the work to be as complete and reliable as possible.—T. F. Allen, M.D."

The several points here touched upon will come before us as we examine the features of the article itself.

First, as to material; to which Dr. Allen's four opening sentences refer. That he should add to the two great provings of Aconite we possess—those of Hahnemann and of the Austrian Society—any later provings on record, and cases of poisoning, only entitle him to our thanks. But we hold the "on record" to be a sine qud non here. We may take the symptoms furnished by Hahnemann on his own authority; but we cannot so deal with "H. N. S., 40th dil.; T. C. D., 60th dil.," which are Dr. Allen's 39th -and 40th specified sources. In the absence of any detailed account of such experiments which might enable us to weigh their value, it is simply nil; and they are rather a weakness to the collection.

A still more important matter is the treatment of the symptoms cited by Hahnemann from authors. Dr. Allen promises that these shall be " verified or corrected" from the original sources. But unless this is allowed to be done with a bolder hand than the editor's own the result will be very ineffective, and the opportunity will be lost for removing one of the most crying faults of our Materia Medica. Dr. Allen speaks of using the revised list of the cited symptoms of Aconite which appeared in the Monthly Homoeopathic Review for November, 1873. He cannot bring himself to omit auy; but he has bracketed a few (i. e. marked them as doubtful) and corrected a few more, as indicated in that article. We have nothing to say against the substitution of bracketing for expunging, though we ourselves should have preferred the more thorough course. But when we consider that Hahnemann himself bracketed every symptom of his provers that could not be considered decisively genuine,* surely such marks should not be omitted where any symptom is decisively doubtful (not to say non-genuine). Thus:—S. 251 of Hahnemann's proving is "profuse, tenacious, yellowish leucorrhcea.'' The article in the Monthly Review tells us that this discharge coincided with the disappearance of a considerable swelling in the left iliac region, for which a patient was being treated with Aconite. The inference seems plain that this could not be a pathogenetic effect of the drug; yet Dr. Allen leaves it unbracketed. Again, the symptom following (252) is also expunged in the revised list given in the article. It is—" Rage, at the time of the appearance of the menses.'' It occurred in a maniac, who was being treated for indurated cervical glands by Aconite; and surely her furor might well appear at the * Preface to first vol. of Mat. Med. Para, 3rd edit.

time of the catamenial nisus, without its occurrence being set down as the effect of the medicine she was taking. Yet this symptom too stands in Dr. Allen's list without any note of its dubiousness.

This (to our minds) mistaken tenderness is defended on the ground that though symptoms obtained upon patients "are often treacherous, Hahnemann seemed to possess the keen perception of the master mind, for it is found that those symptoms are remarkably corroborated by those obtained from provings on the healthy." Where there is no decisive evidence one way or the other, such perception and corroboration might fairly avail. But in the face of such facts as those stated above, "perception" has no place; and in these instances at least corroboration is wanting. No other woman but this maniac was furious while taking Aconite at the appearance of her catamenia; no other than this sufferer from ovarian tumours had profuse, tenacious, yellowish leucorrhoea.

One other weak element in Dr. Allen's collection consists of the "very few clinical symptoms" which he has "reluctantly admitted." The grounds of his reluctance, which he goes on to state, are substantial-enough; but there is a further reason which should convert it into an absolute refusal. These "clinical symptoms" (i. e. symptoms which have disappeared in the sick while the medicine was being taken) have no place whatever in the Homoeopathic Materia Medica, which is a collection of pure pathogenetic effects from which the rule similia similibus curantur may be worked. Hahnemann never admitted them; and we hope that Dr. Allen may set his face against the practice.

We come now to the arrangement of the material hitherto described, which gives Dr. Allen 1656 symptoms (Hahnemann has but 541). It is to be regretted that these could not, as in the Materia Medica Pura and Chronic Diseases, stand one under another separately; but exigencies of space compel their being printed continuously. Another expedient towards this end, and one involving less sacrifice, is the representing the authority for or subject of each symptom by a number. This is a great improvement upon Hempel's total omission of such information, which Hahnemann so assiduously gives. The result is that the whole 1656 symptoms take up only twenty-nine octavo pages of fair-sized type, which is just the number occupied (with but slight differences of page and print) by Hahnemann's 541.

At the outset we have a list of provers and authorities. Of this we note the great paucity of information given. To be told, that the first nineteen names belong to Hahnemann's Materia Medica Pura is enough: but "Austrian provings" is a very insufficient heading for the next sixteen. We should have been informed that these are to be found in vol. i of the Oesterreichische Zeitung. And so with the " additional provings." Where are Jousset's and West's to be found? We know not; and there are many who would not recognise the sources indicated as Schneller and J. C. Peters. Again, surely the information which has been collected and presented in the articles on Aconite in the Oesterreichische Zeitung, in the Hahnemann Materia Medica, and in the Monthly Review, regarding the sources of the cited symptoms in Hahnemann's pathogenesis, should be given (however briefly) here. "Greding" and "Stoerck" convey no idea to the mind; but a catalogue of the patients to whom they gave Aconite, and who had the symptoms selected, is full of illumination. Then also we are told that "toxicological symptoms are marked with t." If this were in addition to a reference to their source, the information conveyed by it would be useful; and it is so in the poisonings used by Hahnemann. But to authenticate a symptom simply by a t, without any other reference, cannot be commended; and this occurs very frequently in Dr. Allen's collection (e. g., eight times in the first fifty symptoms). Lastly, we miss Hahnemann's introduction to the medicine, as also his notes to several of his symptoms. If the former is inconsistent with the compressed plan of the work, the latter at any rate must be retained, as indispensable to the understanding of his statements.

Coming now to the body of the pathogenesis,—the principles on which the symptoms are ordered are explained by Dr. Allen, and seem very good. They apply, however, to the intimate structure of the schema. Its large outline is that of Hahnemann, as he altered it for his Chronic Diseases, i. e. putting the mental and moral symptoms first instead of last. We cannot complain of this; though we do think that the time has arrived for a revision of some parts of the Hahnemanuian order. We refer especially to making it more consistently anatomico - physiological throughout ("fever," for instance, is a pathological heading); and to breaking up the chapter "generalities" into certain defined sections. But this is only a suggestion. The indications given by asterisks and variations of type will doubtless be valuable to students; and another useful addition from the editor is a chapter of conditions of aggravation and amelioration. We wish he had also given, where the records enable him so to do, references from one symptom to another, to show connection and coincidence. This is carried out largely in Dr. Hering's monographs; and the same end is obtained by a system of grouping in the Hahnemann Materia Medica.

Our criticism of Dr. Allen's work has necessarily taken the form mainly of fault finding. But we gladly end with the more grateful task of expressing the great obligation under which homoeopathy will be to him if he carry through the labour of which the pathogenesis of Aconite is an earnest and sample. It exhibits such industry and research, so much thought and knowledge; it is such a complete collection of all that is known of the physiological action of the drug, that to have a whole Materia Medica like it will be the greatest boon we have received since Hahnemann's pen fell from his hands. We hope that Dr. Allen will feel our animadversions only as additional evidence of our interest in and appreciation of his work; and that he will enhance its value by giving them his unprejudiced consideration. Let us briefly sum up what we recommend :—

1. That the materials of the collection shall consist only of such provings, &c., as are on record. If anything exist

« PreviousContinue »