John Ozanne M.D. [Paris, 1840] B.L. (13 February 1816 – 13 December 1864) was an orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy.
John Ozanne was a student of Paul Francois Curie. Along with fellow doctors William Henry Mayne, Samuel Thomas Partridge, Graf von Viettinghoff, and Thomas Engall, Ozanne received instruction from Paul Curie at his Homoeopathic Dispensary in Ely Place, Holborn, established in 1839. Ozanne took over as Resident Physician at the Ely Place Dispensary after Curie relocated to Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, in 1841.
John Ozanne was the original editor of The Monthly Homeopathic Review and The Medical Observer and was an early member of the British Homeopathic Association.
Francis Bellamy was a student and colleague of John Ozanne. American-educated Scottish homeopath Robert MacLimont also practiced in Guernsey, where he was for a time in partnership with John Ozanne, but the two fell into disagreement over MacLimont’s use of allopathic methods.
The Ozanne family had been in Guernsey for many years.
In 1820, the young John Ozanne was a member of the Society for the Promotion of Permenent and Universal Peace, and was active in Guernsey public life, including the history of Guernsey and the Channel Islands.
In 1841, John Ozanne converted to homeopathy and went to London to study under Paul Francois Curie. Ozanne was Resident Physician at Curie’s Homeopathic Dispensary in Ely Place, and in 1843 joined him as Physician at a new institution in Hanover Square. There Curie attempted to establish a new homeopathic medical school where Ozonne lectured in pathology.
In 1844, Ozanne moved back to Guernsey, where he practiced for twenty years. He married Martha Amelia Chepmell (1826 – 1856), sister of his homeopathic colleague Dr. Edward Charles Chepmell, in June 1845. They had five children: James William (1846 – 1931), Rev. William John (1847 – 1944), Margarette Heinekin (1849 – ?), John Henry (1850 – 1902), and future Guernsey bailiff, Sir Edward Chepmell Ozanne (1852 – 1929).
1849 was a notable year for John Ozanne. That year the Guernsey Homeopathic Dispensary at 2 Clifton New Town was founded, with Ozanne as physician and Francis Bellamy as surgeon.
Also in 1849, John Ozanne took out a libel action against De Beauviour de Lisle. De Lisle was an allopathic physician, who Ozonne complained had abused him verbally in front of his patient because he was a homeopath. The Jury at Guernsey Royal Court lost no time in upholding John Ozanne’s defence and fined the prejudiced Dr. De Lisle £5 and 2 shillings in damages to be paid to Ozanne, plus 2 shillings and 6 pence to the Queen, and costs. Eminent physicians John Forbes and William Henderson of the University of Edinburgh came to give evidence for John Ozanne.
In 1851, John Ozanne was on the committee which formed The Association for the Protection of Homeopathic Practitioners and Students.
In 1853, Ozanne travelled to Paris to witness the clinical research comparing homeopathy with allopathy conducted by Jean Paul Tessier, research which lasted for 15 years over many thousands of patients at three hospitals, and clearly favoured homeopathy over allopathy.
John Ozanne was also an early subscriber and contributed to the foundation of the London Homeopathic Hospital.
In 1858, Ozanne was briefly in a rather contentious medical partnership with Robert MacLimont.
In 1862, Colonel Slade, Governor of the Channel Islands, appointed John Ozanne to Surgeon of the Royal Guernsey Militia, much to the chagrin of the Militia allopathic physicians who resigned en masse in protest. Nine months later, the resignations of the allopathic physicians were accepted by the Home Secretary, Henry Austin Bruce, 1st Baron Aberdare, though the regimental officers who had protested were told to resume their duties. John Ozanne was retained as head and sole representative of the medical staff of the Guernsey Militia.
In addition to his thriving practice, John Ozanne was well regarded within the homeopathic community for his mastery of statistics and their application in medical science.
After the death of his first wife, Martha, Ozonne married Rose Thorpe (1816 – 1905), with whom he had a son, Robert John Thorpe Ozanne (1862 – 1946).
John Ozanne died at the early age of 48 at his home, 22 Saumarez Street, Guernsey in 1864. His obituary is in The British Journal of Homeopathy in 1864, and in The British Homeopathic Review.
- A Complete Statement of the Facts Connected with the Dissolution of Partnership Recently Existing Between Drs. Ozanne & Maclimont, Together with Remarks Upon Medical Eclectism (1858)
- A Refutation of Dr. Maclimont’s Reply to Dr. Ozanne’s Statement (1858)
Ozanne vs De Lisle – 9 March 1850
On Guernsey in 1849, John Ozanne, a homeopathic practitioner, was in consultation with his patient William Wakley.
An allopathic physician De Beauviour De Lisle was also present.
De Lisle was prejudiced against homeopathy, and he abused John Ozanne in front of his patient.
From Anon, The Journal of Health and Disease, (1849). Page 301. “You are no professional man, you are an impostor”. “You are only a quack, you are no professional man”. “You are no medical man or no professional man”. “One of us must leave, I cannot meet you“. “I don’t want to meet you anywhere“.
John Ozanne came from a reputable Guernsey family, and he had obtained his MD from the University of Paris, and he had obtained permission from the Royal Court of Guernsey to practice medicine. Subsequently, he had studied homeopathy in London under the famous Paul Francois Curie, the grandfather of Pierre Curie.
The case was heard at the Royal Court of Guernsey.
Witnesses for the Defense were called. William Wakley, his son and his wife. His son was distressed at the time. “O gentlemen I can’t bear this; I beg you will stop that”.
Colonel De Havilland gave witness that he had been cured of the gout by John Ozanne, after suffering much under allopathic physicians, including De Lisle for eight years previously. His weak eyes were also better.
The next witness was an allopathic practitioner Dr. Magrath, who was unfavourable to homeopathy, but whom The Journal of Health and Disease notes that ‘”he has put himself beyond the notice of men who perceive truth by ascertaining that no professional man could practice homeopathy,” and he added that “homeopathy and allopathy were incompatible“.
At this point, the Court decided to exclude homeopathy, and the Baliff declared that opinions on homeopathy could not influence the decision of the Court in the case before them.
Mr. Tupper, De Lisles’ Defense Council, though not in favour of homeopathy explained that it would be difficult to define quack medicine as James’s Powder, which had a secret composition was prescribed by allopaths.
The next few witnesses were all hostile to homeopathy, but on cross examination, the Court heard that most of these doctors had not read about or studied homeopathy, though Dr. Mansell had read about it and declared “that if their system was true, all he had learnt was false.”
There followed a series of quotes from allopathic publications defaming homeopathy.
Mr. Tupper explained by comparing De Lisle, who stood in relation to John Ozanne in the same manner as a Minster of the Church of England would stand towards another Minster who had left the Church, therefore he asked the Court to deny John Ozanne’s case against his client.
The Queen’s Comptroller explained that the Law presumed malice when the words used were insulting. As John Ozanne was not claiming financial damages, he was claiming reparation for the insult offered to him. The words spoken were injurious, and they were spoken without provocation.
The merits of homeopathy had nothing to do with the case, and the assertion that homeopathy was condenmed by the allopaths was “no defense whatsoever.”
Every man was considered to be honest until the opposite was proved.
The Queen’s Comptroller was surprised that:
‘The practitioners of medicine, above all men, ought to hesitate in pronouncing positive opinions on the science they professed. That science was, more than any other, undefined in its principles.
“It was even at the present moment a mass of doubts and obscurities. Its Professors were still walking in the dark, and so uncertain was their science that it changed from day to day. What were considered indisputable truths twenty years ago, were now condemned and proscribed as errors.
“And yet the Professors of this vague science ventured to dogmatise, and to pronounce authoritatively on the doctrines of others. This however, had always been the case in medicine as well as in other sciences. The regular Professors of those sciences have always been found the antagonists of new truths.
“All great discoverers in morals and science had been treated by those who assumed to be the guardians of knowledge and truth, as impostors.
“Such was the case in respect to Harvey’s circulation of the blood, and Jenner’s theory of vaccination, and in the present day, we have seen Richard Cobden and the other great discoverers in political science treated in the same manner.”
The Queen’s Comptroller strongly denounced Mr. Tupper for comparing the disagreement to the Church. It “was monstrous” to assert that a religious Dissenter became an impostor.
“Were illiberality of this kind to be indulged in we might just as well say that a medical man who changed his opinion on any point of practice was an imposter.”
The Queen’s Comptroller condemned the allopathic witnesses who condemned without authority, study or in most cases, knowledge of homeopathy, and when pressed most of them did not even know what homeopathy was. Their opnions therefore, were worthless.
The articles and publications read before the court defaming homeopathy were “a mass of scurrilous expressions of party feeling which was entitled to no attention.”
The authorities who were better informed on this subject, such as the celebrated John Forbes, admitted that it was “but simple justice to admit that Hahnemann was a man of profound learning and perfect integrity, and that many of his disciples were sincere, honest and learned men.”
The Queen’s Comptroller declared that the defense of De Lisle was a “great aggravation” to the original offense, and thus he was “obliged to ask him for much heavier damage than he originally contemplated,” and sentenced him to pay £5 10 shillings to John Ozanne.
The Baliff declared that the words charged in the action had been proved. Had De Lisle confined himself to claiming that homeopathy was quackery and not applied those terms to John Ozanne, and that using this Court case to defame homeopathy was not applicable. De Lisle used his words to defame John Ozanne, which were not justified.
The Baliff presented a precedent, and said further:
“The opinion of the profession was declared to be that homeopathy was quackery, but if an individual took on himself to say that a person practicing homeopathy was a quack, he made himself liable to an action unless he proved his assertion.”
Thus the Court awarded damages of £5 to John Ozanne and 2 shillings and 6 pence damages to the Queen.
From Roy Ozanne – founder of Whole Health Programs, Whidbey Island, Washington 18.1.11
My grandfather, Irving Eugene Ozanne, was born in 1865 in Summer, Wisconsin to James Ozanne and Maria Kellog. James came from Guernsey with his father, also James. These James Ozannes were millers, preachers and “frontier” doctors, having taken a medical course in England before sailing to the US. Irving and his brother, Henry, both studied Homeopathic Medicine in Chicago about 1900. Irving set up his homeopathic medical practice in Neenah, Wisconsin, his brother in nearby Oshkosh, WI.
Irving was not remembered by us as a homeopathic doctor, but as a well respected and well liked MD. His reputation included not having lost a single patient during the 1919 flu and never loosing a mother in childbirth his whole carrer. He had 4 children, my uncle Brice became an Allopathic MD, and gradually got his father to use antibiotics late in his career.
My father, Robert, became an Economist, but strongly urged (read pushed) me into medical school. I was appalled at the modern practice of medicine for many reasons and through my own illness was forced to investigate “alternative medicine” where I eventually discovered homeopathy, which I have followed ever since, studying mostly with Henny Heudens of Leuven, BE.
Interestingly, my father was very critical of me for “throwing away” my great education and income to pursue homeopathy. It was at my uncle’s funeral where my aunt came to my defense by reminding my father that he had been raised on “belladonna, nux vomica and bryonia”. She then talked about his fine reputation and many accomplishments as a homeopath. I was very touched and my father silenced.
March 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm
Many thanks Sue for producing this very interesting history of the life of Dr John Ozanne. I have been helping my wife research her family and John Ozanne (her great great grandfather) is certainly one of her most interesting ancestors. I hope you will allow me to produce an edited version of your text for our family web site, and of course I will refer to your web site.
I am very happy for you to quote from my bio as long as you include the references to the original source material in my hyperlinks…