They merely followed the example of crude instinctive nature in her efforts, which are barely* successful even in the slighter cases of acute disease; they merely imitated the unreasoning life-preserving power when left to itself ill diseases, which entirely dependent as it is upon the organic laws of the body, is only capable of acting in conformity with these laws and is not guided by reason and reflection - they copied nature, which cannot, like an intelligent surgeon, bring together the gaping lips of a wound and by their union effect a cure; which knows not how to straighten and adjust the broken ends of a bone lying far apart and exuding much (often an excess of) new osseous matter; which cannot put a ligature on a wounded artery, but in its energy causes the patient to bleed to death; which does not understand how to replace a dislocated shoulder, but by the swelling it occasions round about it soon presents an obstacle to reduction; which in order to remove a foreign body from the cornea, destroys the whole eye by suppuration; which, with all its efforts can only liberate a strangulated hernia by gangrene of the bowel and death; and which, by the metaschematisms it produces in dynamic diseases, often renders them much worse than they were originally. But more, this irrational vital force receives into our body without hesitation, the greatest plagues of our terrestrial existence, the spark that kindles the countless diseases beneath which tortured mankind has groaned for hundreds and thousands of year, the chronic miasms - psora, syphilis, sycosis - not one of which can it diminish in the slightest degree far less expel single-handed from the organism; on the contrary, it allows them to rankle therein until often after a long life of misery, death at last closes the eyes of the sufferer.
* In the ordinary school of medicine, the efforts made by nature for the relief of the organism in diseases where no medicine was given, were regarded as models of treatment worthy of imitation. But this was a great error. The pitiable and highly imperfect efforts of the vital force to relieve itself in acute diseases is a spectacle that should excite our compassion, and command the aid of all the powers of our rational mind, to terminate the self-inflicted torture by a real cure. If nature is unable to cure homopathically a disease already existing in the organism, by the production of another fresh malady similar to it (§§ 43-46), which very rarely lies in her power (§ 50), and if to the organism alone is left the task of overcoming, by its own forces without external aid, a disease newly contracted (in cases of chronic miasms its power of resistance is quite inefficacious), we then witness nought but painful, often dangerous, efforts of nature to save the individual at whatever cost, which often terminate in extinction of the earthly existence, in death.
Little as we mortals know of the operations that take place in the interior economy in health - which must be hidden from us as certainly as they are patent to the eye of the all-seeing Creator and Preserver of his creatures - just as little can we perceive the operations that go on in the interior in disturbed conditions of life, in diseases. The internal operations in diseases are manifested only by the visible changes, the sufferings and the symptoms, whereby alone our life betrays the inward disturbance; so that in no given case can we ascertain which of the morbid symptoms are caused by the primary action of the morbific agent, which by the reaction of the vital force for its own relief.
Both are inextricably mixed up together before our eyes, and only present to us an outwardly reflected picture of the entire internal malady, for the fruitless efforts of unassisted vitality to terminate the sufferings are themselves sufferings of the whole organism. Hence, even in those evacuations termed crises, which nature generally produces at the termination of diseases which run a rapid course, there is frequently more of suffering than of efficacious relief.
What the vital force does in these so-called crises, and how it does it, remains a mystery to us, like all the internal operations of the organic vital economy. One thing, however, is certain: that in all these efforts more or less of the affected parts are sacrificed and destroyed in order to save the rest. These self-aiding operations of the vital force for the removal of an acute disease, performed only in obedience to the laws of organic life and not guided by the reflection of an intellect, are mostly but a species of allopathy; in order to relieve the primarily affected organ by a crisis, an increased, often violent, activity is excited in the excretory organs, to draw away the disease from the former to the latter; there ensue vomitings, purgings, diuresis, diaphoresis, abscesses, etc., in order, by this irritation of distant parts, to effect a sort of derivation from the primarily diseased part, and the dynamically affected nervous power seems to unload itself in the material product.
It is only by the destruction and sacrifice of a portion of the organism itself that unaided nature can save the patient in acute diseases, and, if death do not ensue, restore, though only slowly and imperfectly, the harmony of life - health.
The great weakness of the parts which had been exposed to the disease, and even of the whole body, the emaciation, etc., remaining after spontaneous cures, are convincing proofs of this.
In short, the whole operation of the self-aiding power of the organism when attacked by diseases displays to the observer nothing but suffering - nothing that he could or ought to imitate if he wishes to cure disease in a truly artistic manner.
In such an important affair as that of healing, which demands so much intelligence, reflection and judgment, how could the old school, which arrogates to itself the title of rational, choose as its best instructor, as its guide to be blindly followed, the unintelligent vital force, inconsiderately copy its indirect and revolutionary operations in diseases, imagining these to be the non plus ultra, the best conceivable, when that greatest gift of God, reflective reason and unfettered judgment, was given us to enable us infinitely to surpass it in salutary help to suffering humanity?
When the old school practitioners, thoughtlessly imitating the crude, senseless, automatic vital energy with their counter-irritant and derivative methods of treatment - by far their most usual plans - attack innocent parts and organs of the body, either inflicting on them excruciating pains, or as is most frequently done, compelling them to perform evacuations whereby strength and fluids are wasted, their object is to direct the morbid vital action in the primarily affected parts away to those artificially attacked, and thus to effect the cure of the natural disease indirectly, by the production of a disease much greater in intensity and of quite a different kind, in the healthy parts of the body, consequently by a circuitous way, at the cost of much loss of strength, and usually of great suffering to the patient.*
* Daily experience shows the sad effects of this manoeuvre in chronic diseases. Anything but a cure is effected. Who would ever call that a victory if, in place of attacking the enemy in front in a hand-to-hand fight, and by his destruction terminating at once his hostile assaults, we should, in a cowardly manner and behind his back, lay an embargo on everything, cut off his supplies, burn down everything for a great way round him? By so doing we would at length deprive him of all courage to resist, but our object is not gained, the enemy is far from being destroyed, - he is still there, and when he can again procure provisions and supplies, he once more rears his head, more exasperated than before - the enemy, I repeat, is far from being destroyed, but the poor innocent country is so completely ruined that it will be long before it can recover itself. In like manner acts allopathy in chronic diseases, when, by its indirect attacks on innocent parts at a distance from the seat of the disease, instead of effecting a cure, it destroys the organism. Such is the result of its hurtful operations!
The disease, if it be acute, and consequently naturally of but short duration, may certainly disappear, even during these heterogeneous attacks on distant and dissimilar parts - but it is not cured. There is nothing that can merit the honorable name of cure in this revolutionary treatment, which has no direct, immediate, pathological relation to the tissues primarily affected. Often indeed, without these serious attacks on the rest of the organism, would the acute disease have ceased of itself, sooner most likely, with fewer subsequent sufferings and less sacrifice of strength. But neither the mode of operation of the crude natural forces, nor the allopathic copy of that, can for a moment be compared to the dynamic (homopathic) treatment, which sustains the strength, while it extinguishes the disease in a direct and rapid manner.
In far the greatest number of cases of disease, however - I mean those of a chronic nature - these perturbing, debilitating, indirect modes of treatment of the old school are scarcely ever of the slightest use. They suspend for a few days only, some troublesome symptom or other, which, however, returns when the system has become accustomed to the distant irritation, and the disease recurs worse than before, because by the antagonistic pains* and the injudicious evacuations the vital powers have been depressed.
* What good results have ever ensued from those foetid artificial ulcers, so much in vogue, called issues? If even during the first week or two, whilst they still cause pain, they appear somewhat to check by antagonism a chronic disease, yer by and by, when the body has become accustomed to the pain, they have no other effect than that of weakening the patient and giving stil1 greater scope to the chronic affection. Or does anyone imagine, in this nineteenth century, that they serve as an outlet for the escape of the materia peccans? It almost appears as if this were the case!
Whilst most physicians of the old school, imitating in a general manner the efforts of crude, unaided nature for its own relief, carried out in their practice these derivations of merely hypothetical utility, just as they judged expedient (guided by some imaginary indication), others, aiming at a higher object, undertook designedly to promote the efforts of the vital force to aid itself by evacuations and antagonistic metatases, as seen in diseases, and by way of lending it a helping hand, to increase still more these derivations and evacuations; and they believed that by this hurtful procedure they were acting duce natura, and might justly claim the title of minister naturae.
As the evacuations effected by the natural powers of the patient in chronic diseases are not infrequently the precursors of alleviations - though only of a temporary character - of troublesome symptoms, violent pains, paralyses, spasms, etc., so the old school imagined these derivations to be the true way of curing diseases, and endeavored to promote, maintain and even increase such evacuations. But they did not perceive that all these evacuations and excretions (pseudo-crises) produced by nature when left to herself were, in chronic diseases, only palliative, transient alleviations which, far from contributing to a real cure, on the contrary, rather aggravate the original, internal dyscrasia, by the waste of strength and juices they occasioned. No one ever saw a chronic patient recover his health permanently by such efforts of crude nature, nor any chronic disease cured by such evacuations effected by the organism.* On the contrary, in such cases the original dyscrasia is always perceptibly aggravated, after alleviations, whose duration always becomes shorter and shorter; the bad attacks recur more frequently and more severely in spite of the continuation of the evacuations. In like manner, on the occurrence of symptoms excited by an internal chronic affection that threaten to destroy life, when nature left to its own resources, cannot help herself in any other way than by the production of external local symptoms, in order to avert the danger from parts indispensable to life and direct it to tissues of less vital importance (metastasis), these operations of the energetic but unintelligent, unreasoding and improvident vital force conduce to anything but genuine relief or recovery; they only silence in a palliative manner, for a short time, the dangerous internal affection at the cost of a large portion of the humours and of the strength, without diminishing the original disease by a hair's breadth; they can, at the most, only retard the fatal termination which is inevitable without true homopathic treatment.
* Equally inefficacious are those produced