HAHNEMANN, SAMUEL, a celebrated German physician, was b. in April, 1755, at Meissen, a small t. in the neighborhood of Dresden, the capital of Saxony. His father—a painter of the ware known as Dresden.chinaintended his son to follow his own occupation, but the boy displayed so ardent a love of letters that the head-master of the college (Plaretenschule) of Meissen afforded him gratuitously all the advantages of that institution, and he remained at it till he was 20 years of age. He then left Meissen, with 20 crowns as his whole fortune, and went to Leipsic, to prosecute his medical studies. Here he maintained himself by translating works out of Latin, French, and English into German. By his industry and frugality, he saved enough of money to enable him to visit Vienna, where, under the direction of Dr. Quarin, he pursued his studies, and after various vicissitudes of fortune, he returned to Saxony, and settled in Dresden in the year 1784. Here he discovered a new salt of mercury, known by the name of mercurous soiuLiits hahnemanni, and still extensively employed by physicians in Germany. He also published is monograph upon arsenical poisoning, which is distin guished by such accuracy of observation and clearness of diction as to be quoted with approval by Christison and other modern toxicologists. After spending four years in Dresden, where lie had for a time the direction of a large hospital, he returned in the year 1789 to Leipsic. In the following year, while translating Cullen's Muteria Medica out of English into German, his attention was arrested by the insufficient explanations advanced in that work of the cure of ague by cinchona bark. By way of experiment, he took a large dose of that substance, to ascertain its action on the healthy body. In the course of a few days, he experienced the symptoms of ague; and it then occurred to him that perhaps the reason. why cinchona cures ague is because it has the power to produce symptoms in a healthy person, similar to those of ague. To ascertain the truth of this con jecture, he ransacked the records of medicine for well-attested cures effected by single remedies; and finding sufficient evidence of this fact, he advanced a step further, and proposed in an article published in Hufdand's Journal, in the year 1797, to apply this new principle to the discovery of the proper medicines for every form of disease. Soon afterwards, he published a case to illustrate his method. It was one of a very severe kind of colic cured by a strong dose of reratrum album. Before this substance gave relief to the patient, it excited a severe aggravation of his symptoms. This induced Hahne
mann, instead of drops and grains, to give the fraction of a drop or grain, and he thus introduced infinitesimal doses. Some years later he applied his new principle in the treatment of scarlet fever; and finding that belladonna cured the peculiar type of that disease which then prevailed in Germany, he proposed to give this medicine as a proph ylactic, or preventive against scarlet fever. From that time it has been extensively employed for this purpose. In the year 1810 he published his great work entitled Oryanon of Medicine, which has been translated into all European languages, as well as into Arabic. In this book he fully expounded his new system, which he called hommo pathy. See HommorAviv. His next publication was a Nateria Mediett consisting of a description of the effects of medicines upon persons in health. These works were pub lished between the years 1810 and 1821, at Leipsic, where he founded a school, and was surrounded by disciples. As his system involved the administration of medicines, each separately by itself, and in doses infinitely minute, there was no longer any need of the apothecary's intervention between the physician and the patient. In consequence of this, the apothecaries' company brought to bear upon Halinemann an act forbidding physicians to dispense their own medicines, and with such effect that he was obliged to leave Leipsic. The grand duke of Anhalt-Kiithen appointed him his physician, and invited him to live at KUthen. Thither, accordingly, he removed in the year 1821, and there he prepared various new editions of his Ozganon and new volumes of his 31ateria Media& for publication. In 1835 he married a second time; his wife was a French lady of considerable position; and in the same year lie left Konen, and settled in Paris, where he enjoyed a great reputation till his death, which took place in the year 1843. On the centenary of his birth-year, in 1855, a statue was erected to his honor at Leipsic, at the expense of his disciples in Germany, France, England, and other countries, with the concurrence of the local authorities, which supplied the site in one of the public places in their handsome town.
Hahnemann is universally acknowledged to have displayed great genius, industry, and erudition. Jean Paul Richter calls him "a prodigy of philosophy and learning." He was a man of unblemished purity of morals, and his life, as well as his writings, was characterized by strong natural piety. He left a numerous family of sons and daughters.