JAMES TYLER KENT
By Julia C. Loos [One of the most devoted contributors and the backbone behind the publishing of THE HOMEOPATHICIAN.]
If each one of our readers could sit for a while beside Dr. Kent on the bench in his garden, and have a professional that with him, it would not take long to learn why he is, today, considered the foremost homœopath in the world. There is no question regarding the various phases of sickness, Materia Medica study, or application of the principles of Homœopathy, that one would wish to have discussed that this scientific student is not prepared to handle, in a rational manner.
In 1868, at the age of nineteen, years, James Tyler Kent graduated at Madison University, and in 1870 received the degree of A.M. After receiving a medical degree at Bellevue Medical College, he attended two courses of lectures in the Eclectic Medical Institute in Cincinnati, and began practice, accordingly, in St. Louis, in 1874. While thus engaged, he was active, not only in practice, but also as a writer, a member of the National Society, and Professor of Anatomy in the College in St. Louis. It was while thus engaged that he had the opportunity of observing the difference, in procedure and in results, of the Hahnemannian and other methods of study and treatment of the sick. Dr. Phelan cured his wife, and thus led this earnest student to investigate the fundamentals of the system by which the result was attained.
Thoroughness and directness are the characteristics of this master mind. In whatever he undertakes, he masters the steps, from the foundation to the pinnacle; and so it proved with Homœopathy. After relinquishing all connection with the Eclectic system and institutions, he filled the chair of surgery in the consolidated colleges for Homoeopathy, in Missouri, until Dr. Uhlemeyer, Professor of Materia Medica, resigned and urged that Dr. Kent assume charge of this department, for which his special adaptation was recognized. Ever since that time, while he taught in St. Louis, in Philadelphia (1890-1899), and in Chicago, his lectures on Materia Medica have been eagerly read in whatever publications they have appeared, presenting the peculiarities of each remedy in a most vital form.
Recognizing the doctrines of Hahnemann to be revelations of Truth, he loves them devotedly, and, in his clear perception and true teacher’s communication of them, he claims only that he is faithful to that which has been demonstrated to be Truth. Thus, this able master and wise physician honors the founder of Homœopathy, and urges allegiance to his teaching. His latest studies have been in mental derangement. Many cases of pronounced insanity have been restored by him, and incipient cases checked before their friends realized where the disorders would lead.
A master in whatever he undertakes, Dr. Kent is always most willing to help others who seek his aid, as teacher, consultant, or prescriber. His beneficiaries are to be found in all parts of the United States, and in all countries of the world. His pupils are acknowledged superior in their grasp of Homœopathy and in prescribing, wherever they are following his instructions. These are most appreciative of his work, and count it a privilege to associate as the Society of Homœopathicians, with Dr. Kent as their leader.
An Address Preliminary to the Study of Homeopathics
By Dr. James Tyler Kent A.M., M.D
The Homoepathician, Vo1.1, JANUARY. 1912
It is not an easy grade to the pinnacle of pure Homœopathy, or as it should be admissible to say, to Homœopathy. I know that the statement admits that there is a quality of Homœopathy prevailing not strictly pure, which is so true that argument opposing it is unnecessary.
The condition of medicine leading up to the new system nearly a century ago could scarcely be written or spoken of forcibly enough to impress the mind with the gravity of the situation, or to portray the injury to the human race. At that time medicine was in a state of chaos. Hardly can it be said that there was any good in it, and, as to its history, it was entirely traditional. It was composed of powerful and drastic measures, and its only claim to respect was that its measures were sure to kill speedily or to cure lingeringly. These measures were bleeding, cupping, leeching, vomiting, cathartics, sudorifics, soporifics, etc.
To what extent has medicine advanced? Have the numerous fads and fancies furnished the world with a better system of old medicine than then existed? Is the deadly administration of concentrated compounds, alkaloids and resinoids a better and safer system? Then, drugs in massive doses were hurled through, but now they are administered in such a form that they are diffused throughout the body, depressing the vital energy and ultimating disease forms. Then they used coarse forms of crude drugs and now they use the dangerous, concentrated forms of deadly drugs, and, as much now as then, without law or principle. Then the physician compounded his own medicines, now the chemist and pharmacist prepare the nostrums and inform the learned (?) doctor in regard to the fullest particulars and uses, in order that he may be prepared to administer these potent concentrates to the dying sick. These new agents come from the laboratories so rapidly that the druggist can no longer keep posted as to the names – much less the physician as to the properties of the medicines he uses. No sooner has a flooring of concentrates been threshed out than a new one comes, go that every year an entire Materia Medica, new and clean, is manufactured for the use of this highly learned profession.
How different is this front the remedies used by the New School! Remedies once proved and verified stand as a fixture, under the same specific indications, so long as man dwells upon the earth and needs aid for sickness. The remedies discovered by Hahnemann will stand the test of experience for the ages to come, as they have grown stronger by use since their discovery. Fifty years have built and confirmed the Homœopathic Materia Medica, while the Old School has had many new ones, and, like the shifting sands, no man can predict where the next one will come from, nor the ending of the one now in use.
Many changes have come over this system of traditional medicine. Its adherents, falling, by their methods, to obtain the expected results, and jagged by the thorn in the flesh – Homœopathy’s success – have betaken themselves to profound research, which has been heralded –by mighty leaders: Koch, Pasteur and others. The chaotic jumble now denominated scientific medicine is a stench in the nostrils of rational men, and ought to be patented for a modem medical kaleidoscope. Such is the boasted medicine of experience. A microcephalic of Philadelphia some years ago offered one hundred dollars as a prize for the best essay exposing the fallacies of Homœopathy ; so great is the task, he makes a great offer. But how inexpensive it would be to secure an essay on the fallacies of traditional medicine ! So-called « regular medicine » has made many changes, as silly as they are numerous, because not based upon law. Its votaries speak of progress. What can they mean ! – with no principles to conserve, no law to obey, and only speculation to offer as the foremost elephant of the advancing juggernaut? Il is the medicine of lawless experience and speculation. Il is not a result of discoveries, but the opposition of disgusted patrons and Homœopathic statistics, that has impelled the apparent industry in this so-called science. It has not been for the love of the dear people whom they mock in the wards of public hospitals that they have changed, but the spur of comparative failure and chagrin following the useless experiments upon the sick à la Koch, Pasteur, etc.
The moderation observed in dosage has been so worthy of imitation that even the pseudo-homœopath finds consolation in the fact that lie can hoodwink a confiding public with these deceptions – they so resemble homœopathic forms of medication from which they were taken. But the simple only are thereby deceived.
For the deceptions practised by pretenders in our own ranks there can be no need of apology. They and their faults are too well known, and the causes are :
- First, The increasing demand for the genuine.
- Second, The comparative infancy of the new system.
- Third, The imperfection of the machinery of instruction.
- Fourth, The imperfection of books.
- Fifth, To generalize, want of opportunity, capacity and desire.
Allopathy concerns us very little; its way and that of Homœopathy have long since parted. Homœopathy has made grand strides. We recognize Hahnemann as a great master, a loving father and a God-fearing man.
In 1833 he finished his masterpiece, the ORGANON, of which there are many translations, it having gone through five editions, the first of which appeared in 1810. The growth and prosperity of this great system of medicine have gone on until thousands of physicians are practising it, and colleges, hospitals, dispensaries and journals are spreading it to the ends of the civilized world. The continued study of the doctrines of this new system is leading to better application, and the unsettled questions of the part are rapidly diminishing. Hundreds of practitioners now scattered over the land rise up to testify to the fullness of the law and the success following obedience to principle. Their testimony is a satisfactory demonstration that Homœopathy pure and simple is all that is desired in the cure of the sick, that the law is universal, and that failure must come from causes above enumerated. Obedience demonstrates that Homœopathy rests upon fixed principles – on a law-and not on a mere rule of practice, to be changed for something better, or when fancy dictates a new whim. (ORGANON § 2.) As well say or suppose that the apple could do otherwise than fall to the earth when its stem is disconnected from its mother tree.
There can be but one great system of Homœopathy. Men who rise to the fullness of uses in its application have broken the fetters of prejudice, bigotry, intolerance and self conceit, and have followed on alter the light – never faltering though often stumbling, never sneering though often doubting – until the full heat and light of the mid-day sun hold them spellbound in the knowledge and love of uses. These attainments are within the grasp of all who love knowledge for uses and not for selfish ends.
Homœopathy exists in varying degrees as to application, from the crude, with admixture of traditional methods, up to the highest results of absolute obedience to known law. Every practitioner admits the value of the law by his efforts to follow it, inasmuch as lie practises to the fullest extent of his knowledge and turns aside only where knowledge of law is defective. Then it follows that the degrees are only the shadings from ignorance to knowledge, and they are almost infinite in number from the kind – hearted mother – with her family medicine case to the discriminating master, all honestly seeking the happiness of human kind or mercenarily grasping to sell relief of pain for filthy cash.
The inexperienced must be assisted and instructed in order to practise Homœopathy without resort to traditional medicine. But assistance can be of use only when desired and appreciated.
To acquire the knowledge necessary to conduct a practice without resort to doubtful methods demands arduous toil and constant application, while the mind is held in a receptive attitude and the longing of the heart is for truth because it leads to what is good and not to sell it for a price.
The doctrines of Homœopathy are elevating and simple to the mind that is right, and, when known, following their dictates is easy ; for it .is easier to follow well-marked paths than to flounder in the mire of traditional medicine. It is hardly necessary to affirm that one who knows how to be obedient to fixed principles has no incentive to, and will not, depart from them. It cannot be denied that many seek, and few discover, the pure doctrines of Homœopathy. That many would call the necessary labor too great a sacrifice cannot be disputed. That the Creator knows to whom to intrust His sacred truths I have no doubt. That any man who seeks the elevation of man and will work earnestly shall receive his portion should not be disputed. It is impossible for him who is ignorant of the principles of Homœopathy to realize the great good to man that can come from a full knowledge and application of the law of similars.
They who are ignorant of the higher and fuller uses of Homœopathy assume that they are wise, or that knowledge of fixed principles does not exist, and declare that the use of anodynes is justifiable when the appropriate homœopathic remedy is not known. They often use such agents to the detriment of the patient and of the system which they profess to believe is founded on law. They are unable to see that obedience to law is liberty, and suppose that license to violate law can be granted by themselves.
Obedience to principle must stand before the pocketbook, reputation or other selfish motives, or the physician cannot rise to the constant and perfect reliance upon law with the feeling of satisfaction, and that it is right and all that is good to do. In every instance where disobedience is urged, the impulse is ignorance and selfishness, to the end that man pays tribute in some way to the physician, instead of the physician serving man. The question: « Why not rely on law? » has never been answered but in two ways : « I do not know, » or « It is not profitable. »
When we comprehend the wonderful work that Hahnemann performed and the magnitude of the ORGANON (which was so complete, as he left it, that no man has been able to add to it, nor, in spite of sneers, been able to take from it), can we refrain from reference and the tacit belief that he was aided by all-wise Providence ? When we consider how ably he opposed the pathological theories of his day (the pathological notions of a century ago, now abandoned, were advocated then with as much assurance and pertinacity as those now in vogue, as the Old School accepts and abandons theories as flippantly, and with as profound reason, as a siren, her lovers) ; when we realize the extent of his learning in all branches of science, the wonderful physical endurance that enabled him to remain every third night in reflection, and the love that, under all circumstances, he manifested toward the human race and God ; and when it is known that the source of man’s love is the fountain of inspiration ; then may we comprehend the depth of truth in, and properly revere, his masterwork, the ORGANON OF HEALING.
Indeed, bas it been said by all masters since its writing that new truths come out of it, after every reading, to suit the varying degrees of advancement in the progress of each faithful observer, no difference how old nor how wise. The masters of these living doctrines and the materia medica have been constant readers of this great work. Not one of the great prescribers has ever claimed a discovery not fully set forth in this work, but all in their greatest accomplishments have said that they based their successes upon the ORGANON. It is the first book for the student to read, and the last for the old and busiest physician to ponder over.
When Lippe, Wells and scores of others advocated a continuous reading of this book during their long careers, should we not similarly look upon it with a feeling of profound respect ? Should we not crave the hidden truths that have made these faithful followers of law so successful ? To whom would a rational man apply for light when desiring to follow law in healing the sick and, measuring out uses to man ? Naturally to Hahnemann and his faithful adherents, and not to those who smile at what they choose to consider the ravings of an aged man.
There are some professed homœopaths who, by words and actions, denounce Hahnemann as a theorist, a fanatic, and as visionary, but these have never cured sick people as Hahnemann did. Let all men learn of him until they can do as he did ; for he was, and still is, the teacher above all others. He was the first advocate of Homœopathy, and we must look to him, and all deviation from his teachings should receive another name.
There should be no controversy with men when principles are the things considered. The truth often cuts men deeply and urges to dispute, and wounds thus made seldom heal by first intention or without loss of blood. Controversy seldom teaches him who does not seek the truth. The rational man accepts the truth because he is prepared – for it and because it is truth. The sick come in distress after all else has failed, and they are in a receptive attitude ; while the old and hardened follower of traditional methods comes in the attitude of rebellion, and his egotism and bigotry cannot be overcome. To him the sunlight is as dark as smoke.
Hahnemann formulated the principles of Homœopathic therapeutics. Isolated statements had been made previous to his labors, showing that glimmerings of truth had occasionally appeared, but not bright enough to permit the arrangement into doctrines. He so arranged the rules of practice in the ORGANON and CHRONIC DISEASES that the system of homœopathic therapeutics may be considered complete.
Homœopathy rests not upon theory nor opinion, but upon facts. Hypotheses and reasonings have no place in a treatise on that upon which human life depends. It is, of course, impossible for the medical theorist to reflect upon medical facts, because he bas no knowledge of facts to consider; hence he reasons that perhaps the vomiting is caused by a disordered brain, or by a congested liver, or is reflex from the uterus, and so on, indefinitely. This theorist is more likely than any other to think that an exact diagnosis is of great moment, and yet every hypothesis shows the shifting basis of his false conclusion.
The minds thus perverted by false reasonings are outnumbered only by fluctuating opinions, and with them there is no substantial way and roadbed because the wandering, the confusion and the mental fluctuation prevent settlement upon any course or path of continued operation. With them there is no indicated remedy, and a continuous whirl of medicaments comes before the mind. The sickroom is filled with bottles and the patient’s stomach distended with things too numerous to mention : from home-made decoctions to an Irish stew.
The more accurate the diagnosis and the more substantial its basis, the more inaccurate the prescription that is based upon it. The diagnosticians are the poorest prescribers, yet, in spite of all this, no harm can come from the finest sagacity in naming diseases. It must be understood, however, that the diagnosis does not reveal the nature of a disease in a manner to image a remedy. The diagnosis is the name of ultimates and exteriors, while it is the interior nature that must be perceived through the peculiar, characterizing signs and symptoms, in order to discover the remedy that will cure. (ORGANON §§ 6-8.) The highest order of this peculiar insight leads to selection of remedies of the highest degree of similarity, hence, to the highest order of healing.
Medical opinions concerning a given sickness are as plentiful as doctors. Even in this day of medical sunlight, there prevall the lightning changes in medical opinions, as an afflicted mortal rambles over a large city among the medical luminaries ; to receive their costly and worthless diagnoses. This might not appear so hazardous were it not a fact that treatment is supposed to rest upon the diagnosis. Fortunately, for the patient as for the doctor, the supposition is not criminal. Our own Chapman, with his prescription test case, bas demonstrated that the simplest case cannot secure two similar prescriptions, even when the greatest minds in allopathy are consulted. The result was quite different with the New School, as all the physicians named the same remedy. The same test can ever be repeated with similar results.
The epidemics in the last twenty-five years have revealed wonderful similarity of methods and remedies. The Yellow Fever Commission portrays the certainty of method and results, in the records forming the statistics for Memphis and New Orleans. These men had no connection with each other. They labored and gained results that demonstrate that they were inspired by principles, as the same remedies were used in the different cities for the same symptoms, and with similar results.
Exactitude of methods, and similar remedies for similar symptoms the world over, with the same good old materia medica which becomes better with age and use, should appeal to the minds of men in a way to secure a hearing. The statistics furnished by Boericke & Tafel should be scrutinized before the back is turned upon this thoroughly tested system of therapeutics.
It has been said that men are born cowards ; but scarcely can this be appreciated until it is known that Old School physicians dare not purchase ; dare not read ; dare not possess ; dare not keep in their libraries a book written by Samuel Hahnemann, from the fear they hold of being convicted of this crime by their fellows and the societies to which they belong.
Recently a physician, while dining with a family of friends, ventured to sneer at Homœopathy. He was asked if he had ever read a book on Homœopathy ; if he had ever looked into one of Hahnemann’s books ; if he possessed any written brochure on the subject. To all of these he frankly answered in the negative. He was then asked if it is not the custom of the « regular school » of medicine to smile at the New School, to which he answered in the affirmative. He was then asked if he was acquainted with a « regular physician » who possessed any literature of Homœopathy. To this he answered that he was not. The questioner then remarked that by the answers it appears to be the custom with the so-called « regular school » to sneer at the things about which they know the least. Such is always the case with bigots and the ignorant. Self-conceit manifests itself by sneering at the doctrines of Homœopathy.
If the one hundred dollars offered by Dr. Gould had been accepted by men of reading, we should have had another accession to the New School. Every honest man, every learned man, who has attempted expose the fallacies of Homœopathy, has himself become its advocate. The honest reviewer must read thoughtfully the writings of Hahnemann. Scarcely could the works of Hahnemann otherwise find excuse for reaching the libraries of these intolerant dogmatists. The more rapid the growth of the New School, the more rigid has been the quarantine against Hahnemann’s writings.
In the practice of Homœopathy, a master, wherever he may be, has something on which to base a prescription. When else was this ever so marked as by Hahnemann, when, after his study of the cholera epidemic, and reference to the symptoms of the materia medica, he decided that Veratrum, Cuprum and Camphor were the remedies suited to the epidemic ; yet he had never seen a case of cholera ? When asked what remedies would correspond to this disease, he simply recalled the provings. The nature of the disease appeared similar to what he had seen in the provings of Camphor, Veratrum and Cuprum. He therefore concluded that these remedies ought to cure this sickness. They were thereupon successfully used. They are our sheet-anchors in cholera today, and they ever will be. This was no opinion of Hahnemann. No, he had simply obtained the symptoms of the provings, and compared them and those of the disease. From this he said that these would be the remedies. Homœopathists thus have a power that is not found elsewhere in medicine, viz., that of prevision.
Positive principles should govern every physician when he goes to the bedside of the sick. (ORGANON, §§ I-2.) The sick have a right to it. Before the time of Hahnemann there was no such thing. The sick were villainously treated. Since the advent of this most beautiful and perfect system, the people have a right to demand exactitude in methods and knowledge. Better to do nothing than to do something useless. It is better to watch and wait than to do wrong. Every action in Homœopathy must be based on a positive principle. Every action of the physician using Homœopathy should be based on the principles of the system. He should say: « Thus saith the principle, as doth the grammar in every word of your speech. » Some say, « I do not believe ; » but let it be known that belief has no place in the study of Homœopathy. The inductive method of Hahnemann gives no place for unbelief ; hence it is that Hahnemann has formulated the first paragraph of the ORGANON :
The first and the sole duty of the physician is to restore health to the sick. This is the true art of healing.