The English Homeopathic Association

In 1846, the English Homeopathic Association had approximately 560 members. In 1849, the British Homeopathic Association (amalgamated with the English Homeopathic Association) had 1300 member, sufficient to establish a hospital. The English Homeopathic Association[1] was formed in May 1845, thirteen months after the formation of the British Homeopathic Society.

Honorary Secretary: *William Arnum (Honorary Secretary of the English Homeopathic  Society, William Arnum ran a day and boarding school at 18 Upper Belgrave Place, Pimlico), Richard Walter HeurtleyCharles Thomas Pearce, Management CommitteeWilliam Henry AshurstEdward Bates, Donald Brown, John BurnettEdward CroninPaul Francois CurieA O DeaconRobert S DickGeorge Napoleon EppsJohn EppsRobert Frith, Peter Gardiner, Joseph GloverRobert GrosvenorGeorge HayesThomas H JohnstoneHenry KelsallJohn MillerHenry P OsmanWilliam MacOubrey,Charles Thomas PearceWilliam PerkinsGeorge K PrinceJames Stansfeld,Peter StuartAllan TempletonJames ThomsonWilliam WarneA Wilkinson,Clement John Wilkinson,  James Wilson,

Members: Arthur GuinnessJames Wilson,

The original homeopathic hospital, founded by William Laidler Leaf and Paul Francois Curie at the London Homeopathic Medical Institution at 17 Hanover Square foundered because its management board consisted of lay members who were ‘zealous’, somewhat naïve, and not ‘medically politic’, and unaware of ‘medical etiquette’. The English Homeopathic Association did allow association with lay homeopaths.

It appears that William Laidler Leaf and Marmaduke Blake Sampson proposed that Paul Francois Curie be elected President, though medical brethren present believed that all medical men should be ‘equal’. The proposal that Paul Francois Curie should be entitled Consulting Physician (a title never given until a doctor retires from his appointed position) upset everyone. Edward Charles ChepmellEdward Hamilton and Joseph Laurie promptly resigned, leaving Paul Francois Curie and George Napoleon Epps as the only doctors working at the London Homeopathic Medical Institution at 17 Hanover Square! Other homeopaths were upset that any homeopathic Society should ‘ape’ old medical practice and tradition!

The whole thing was a mess, ending in a row between Marmaduke Blake SampsonRichard Walter Heurtley and George Napoleon Epps in 1847. Marmaduke Blake Sampson was more used to managing a newspaper, and although he was successful in sending Joseph Kidd to Ireland to offer assistance with the horrors of the potato famine, the rest of the sub committee of the board of the English Homeopathic Association was full of lay men making ‘medical decisions’.

As a consequence, Marmaduke Blake Sampson and Richard Walter Heurtley deserted the English Homeopathic Association and formed the British Homeopathic Association on 31st August 1847. The sole aim of the British Homeopathic Association was to consolidate the medical and the lay homeopaths together into one organisation, and to put some distance between this new Association and the London Homeopathic Medical Institution at 17 Hanover Square, and to achieve closer association with the British Homeopathic Society, and to support the new London Homeopathic Hospital.

In 1849, John Chapman, the Vice President of the British Homeopathic Society, advocated the dissolution and reconstruction of the English Homeopathic Association due to the bitter infighting it was constantly subject to. Frederick Hervey Foster Quin eventually acted to sort it all out! Frederick Hervey Foster Quin had never favoured Paul Francois Curie, though Samuel Hahnemann had been his advocate. This debacle was a complicated connivance by several people, willing to support the London Homeopathic Hospital at the expense of Paul Francois Curie’s London Homeopathic Medical Institution at 17 Hanover Square, which closed its door shortly thereafter. It would split the homeopathic community for a generation.

The edict to select doctors for the the new London Homeopathic Hospital only from the ranks of the British Homeopathic Society and to sanction membership to the British Homeopathic Society was simply and cleanly to remove any sympathiser of Paul Francois Curie or William Laidler Leaf from applying. Frederick Hervey Foster Quin extracted a condition from Marmaduke Blake Sampson and Richard Walter Heurtley that no lay practitioner would be able to ‘meddle on matters medical’, and Frederick Hervey Foster Quin also wished to sanction certain homeopathic publications which were too ‘popular’ and which had attracted attention as ‘quack’ publications.

Marmaduke Blake Sampson and Richard Walter Heurtley also extracted a condition from Frederick Hervey Foster Quin that lay homeopaths could have some action in the appointment of medical staff (who would still have to be members of the British Homeopathic Society), and the British Homeopathic Association could act in the cause of homeopathy and in the setting up of the London Homeopathic Hospital. The members of the British Homeopathic Society were granted Honorary membership of the British Homeopathic Association, and the two organisations became ‘joined at the hip’, with the stated aims including the principle to treat the poor for free and to establish a homeopathic Hospital.

It was agreed that although lay homeopaths could not make medical decisions, medically qualified homeopathic doctors had little idea how to found and run an hospital. They would need ‘lay expertise’ for this. In other words, the professional medically qualified homeopathic doctors and the lay homeopaths and their supporters needed each other and should come to a professional accommodation.

In effect, Frederick Hervey Foster QuinMarmaduke Blake Sampson and Richard Walter Heurtley had launched a successful coup d’etat! Shortly thereafter, in 1849, Marmaduke Blake Sampson automatically transferred the membership of the English Homeopathic Association to the British Homeopathic Association, thereby actioning the conditions of the agreement reached with the British Homeopathic Society.

This was generally opposed on two fronts. Firstly, restricting the recruitment of homeopaths only to the members of the British Homeopathic Society (23 lay members of the British Homeopathic Association and 33 medical members of the British Homeopathic Society) who could vote on recruitment, eliminated the majority of the rest of the combined 1800 membership of the British Homeopathic Association and the British Homeopathic Society from appointment elections). Secondly, the British Homeopathic Society was restrictive in other ways that upset people too. It was a ‘private’ body whose regulations further restricted membership by means of requiring that 4/5th of its quorum membership of five members had to agree upon any proposed medical member of the British Homeopathic Society. This was quite stringent! It could potentially exclude the ‘cream’ of British homeopathy for no good reason other than clash of personality and it would result in incrowding. Also, the British Homeopathic Society had no guarantee of permanence in a bustling professional environment, which was not good practice for any fully functioning homeopathic hospital.

The London Homeopathic Hospital was founded at 32 Golden Square in 1849 (the London Homeopathic Hospital moved to Great Ormond Street in 1859), and Frederick Hervey Foster Quin was confirmed as perpetual President of the British Homeopathic Society, and awarded the title of Consulting Physician, which prevented him from any clinical role within the hospital. Frederick Hervey Foster Quin then acted unilaterally to dissolve the British Homeopathic Association on 10th October 1849[2].

The title of Clinical Lecturer awarded to ‘certain people’ at the London Homeopathic Hospital also caused great offense, as it implied superiority and authority, thus contravening any concept of equality within the London Homeopathic Hospital and college, when it was apparent this would be the case at the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury SquareJohn ChapmanEdward Charles Chepmell and Joseph Hands immediately resigned and refused to have anything further to do with the British Homeopathic SocietyDavid Wilson also immediately resigned from the Medical Council of the London Homeopathic Hospital.

On 10th April 1850, 200 disaffected dissenters met to protest and to raise £2000 (£117,060.00 in today’s money) to support Paul Francois Curie opening a new Hospital and School, and the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square opened in 1850 (the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square closed when Paul Francois Curie died in 1854), and all of the Medical Officers employed there were to remain in equality with each other, including the Clinical Lecturers teaching at the College.

A very great number of the members of the British Homeopathic Society merrily continued to co-operate with Paul Francois Curie and a good deal of financial support was collected to support Paul Francois Curie by members of the British Homeopathic Society despite Frederick Hervey Foster Quin’s proclamations.

The British Homeopathic Society blithely appointed medically qualified homeopaths from both sides of the debacle as if nothing had happened, though they did still have to be members of the British Homeopathic Society. The discord affected the provinces, as members not based in London could not vote due to the restrictive clauses Frederick Hervey Foster Quin had inserted. Discontent surrounded the basic set up and prematurity of opening the London Homeopathic Hospital for several more years, before peace and balance reasserted itself.

Frederick Hervey Foster Quin had taken ultimate control of the homeopathic situation in Britain. With hindsight, it is clear that Frederick Hervey Foster Quin was trying to protect homeopathy, and that in retrospect, he achieved his aims, though he managed to sideline Paul Francois Curie and remove the influence of Marmaduke Blake Sampson and Richard Walter Heurtley in passing. Any new profession needs to be pruned into shape and the trimmings will always protest. Many homeopaths remained aloof from such internecine power struggles. This struggle also centered around the establishment of a Chartered homeopathic college, of which Paul Francois Curie’s establishment at the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square obviously did not satisfy.

It was the very popularity of homeopathy that was forcing all these changes, of course. Homeopathy just had to be reputable, squeaky clean and extremely professional. Schools of homeopathy, homeopathic hospitals, professional bodies and homeopathic journals just could not spring up overnight like mushrooms and expect to command respect from old established societies and institutions, which in Britain went back all of a thousand years. Due deference was not out of place and must be accommodated. Frederick Hervey Foster Quin would have understood this in his bones, especially at a time of revolution, industrial expansion and social fervour.