Léon Francois Adolphe Simon (27 November 1798 – 13 May 1867) was a French Jewish orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy when he met Paul Francois Curie.
Léon Simon became a student of Samuel Hahnemann, and he was a major editor of Samuel Hahnemann‘s writings, and a major advocate of homeopathy, giving a series of promotional lectures at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1834 titled “Lecons de Medicine Homoeopathique.”
Léon Simon was also a follower of Henri de Saint Simon (1760-1825), and Secretary of the Homeopathic Central Commission, alongside Antoine Henri Petroz. He was also the Secretary General of the Hahnemann Hospital in Paris.
Léon Simon was a colleague of Victor Arnaud, Francois Cartier, Paul Francois Curie, Simon Felix Camille Croserio, Giraud, Hureau, Gottlieb Heinrich Georg Jahr, Pierre Jousset, Libert, Daniel Parenteau, Perry, Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, and he taught Charles Justin De Moor.
Léon Simon was the homeopathic physician of Frederic Chopin, Francois Marie Charles Fourier and Camille Pissarro and his son Lucien Pissarro, alongside Dr Francois Cartier.
The distinguished Doctors Antoine Hippolyte Desterne, Boyer, Leon Francois Adolphe Simon, and Cramoisy, have been decorated with a cross, as Chevaliers of the Order of Charles III.
Léon Simon was Doctor of Medicine of the Faculty of Paris and of the University of Cleveland (Ohio); Formerly President and Secretary General of the Society of Homeopathic Medicine of Paris, and of the Hahnemannian Society: formerly President of the Homeopathic Medical Society of France; Corresponding Member the Society of Science and Belles Lettres of Blois; of the British Homeopathic Society of London; of the Hahnemannian Society of Madrid; of the Homeopathic Society of Palermo, and of that of Brazil: of the Netherland Society of Homeopathic Medicine, and of the pharmacodynamic Society of Brussels.
Léon Simon promoted homeopathy enthusiastically, especially as it was so much cheaper than allopathic medication and was therefore of enormous benefit to the poor.
Léon Simon also corresponded abroad widely, notably with Mahendra Lal Sircar, the most prominent of the early Indian homeopaths.
Léon Simon’s name is on the Frederick Hervey Foster Quin list of 1834. Another of the early disciples of the illustrious Hahnemann has been suddenly called away from the scene of his earthly labor. On the night of the 21st of April, Dr. Léon Simon died suddenly. He was buried on the 23d; the respect in which he was universally held in Paris was testified by the large number of gentlemen, ecclesiastics and members of religious orders, who followed his corpse to the cemetery, to render their last homage to a man who, during his long career, had been equally noted for his devotion and his scientific attainments.
At the tomb Pierre Jousset, President of the Homeopathic Medical Society of France, delivered the following short address:
“Gentlemen, it is but a very few days since Dr. Léon Simon, in full health, sat with us at the anniversary banquet in honor of Samuel Hahnemann, and today we have met together to follow him to his last home.
“This unexpected stroke has in no way surprised physicians, accustomed as they are to see death strike his victims in so many different modes; but it profoundly afflicts the children, the disciples, and the friends of Dr. Léon Simon.
“In the midst of our affliction two circumstances console us. The first is, that the career of Dr. Léon Simon has been one of great usefulness. How many men arrive at their last hour without the power to bear the testimony that they have fulfilled their career and have fought the good fight!
“An enterprising spirit, an ardent nature, a firm character, Dr. Léon Simon was born for profound convictions. He was one of the first who adopted the reform of Samuel Hahnemann; and consecrated his whole life to the propagation of this doctrine.
“His public life, his discussions in the learned societies, his says in the medical journals, his works, all bear witness to his ardor for the defense of the truths which he had embraced.
“Dr. Léon Simon was a wrestler whom death seized in the midst if his combat. Well, I have no hesitation in saying, that to generous spirits it is of all deaths the one most to he desired.
“The second circumstance which consoles us is that Dr. Léon Simon was a Christian. This man, who passed his life in doing good, in spreading truth, and in exercising charity towards the pick, was a practical Christian; he was one whom death could never surprise, because he was always ready.
“It is therefore with confidence that we are able to say, adieu, Léon Simon, adieu.
“We hope in a future number to be able to give a short memoir of Dr. Léon Simon, who was one of the first to propagate Homeopathy in France. It was not only as an able physician that this eminent man, whose loss Homeopathy has to deplore, ought to be remembered, he was also remarkable as an orator and distinguished as a writer.
“Léon Francois Adolphe Simon was born at Blois on the 27th of November, 1798. His parents, who were honorable tradespeople, had the laudable ambition to give their young son an education which should fit him, at a later period, to choose among the different professions that for which he showed the greatest aptitude. His vocation called him to the study of medicine, and he commenced his career in the hospital of his native town.
“He went to Paris in 1817, and after lengthened study took his doctor’s degree on the 22nd of April, 1822. His thesis was brilliant and gave great promise from its elegant facility of language.
“At this epoch all men were infatuated with the doctrines of the illustrious Francois Joseph Victor Broussais. Our young doctor was taken with them at first, but very soon his scrupulously careful observation put him on his guard against a system of therapeutics so sanguinary and so uniform.
“Nosography had still its nomenclature, and, in consequence, its classes, its genuses, and its species; but therapeutics only recognized the lancet, the leeches and its dietings all carried to a deplorable excess. All indications lost themselves in the bleedings and in the strangest illusions of low diet. Alterations in treatment consisted only in the greater of less quantity of blood to be taken, and the only variety allowed, in diet, was that of more or less gum added to the water.
“A method so uniform, so little conceivable as coming from a man of such gigantic talent as Francois Joseph Victor Broussais, could not stand the test of a scrupulously careful observer of excellent judgment and hard logic. The young doctor was very soon disenchanted. The celebrated innovator very soon lost a choice disciple.
“Happily his taste for serious labor soon compensated Léon Simon for the void which the loss of belief in Francois Joseph Victor Broussais‘ doctrine had left in his mind. He sated his ardor for work by participation in the editorship of the Bulletin of Sciences of M de Ferussac, and upon that of the Journal des Progrès, conducted by M Buchez.
“It was at this time that he published a treatise on private hygiene, and as Secretary General of the Société de Médecine Pratique, he wrote a memoir on the law of the practice of medicine (1827). In 1830 he entered very warmly into many of the questions of social and economic reform which then agitated France, and became distinguished as an orator.
“In 1833 Léon Simon made the acquaintance of Paul Francois Curie. Freed from the illusions of ancient medicine, the success which he saw obtained by Paul Francois Curie from Homeopathy charmed the unoccupied orator: he soon became a convert to the new doctrine.
“His time being his own he employed it profitably in the study of Samuel Hahnemann‘s doctrine, and it was not long before he became an intelligent and fully convinced apostle.
“At the end of 1833 he founded with Paul Francois Curie the first journal of Homoeopathy under the title of Journal de la Médecine Homoeopathique. This bimonthly periodical lived but one year.
“In 1834 he was a contributor to the Archives de la Médecine Homoeopathique, of which he became the director in 1838 with Dr. Libert.
“In 1842 he published the Annales de la Medicine Homoeopathique, in conjunction with Gottlieb Heinrich Georg Jahr and Simon Felix Camille Croserio.
“In 1845 he founded the Société Hahnemannienne, and the Journal de la Medicine Homoeopathique, edited by the members of the Société Hahnemannienne; afterwards he published some articles in the Journal de la Société Gallicane, and in that of the Société Homoeopathique de France.
“His talents as a writer and as an orator often called him to occupy the office of Secretary General or President of the Société Hahnemanienne, of the Société Gallicane de Médecine Homoeopathique, and of the Société Médicale Homoeopathique de France.
“He took part in all the Homoeopathic Congresses since that of 1835, presided over by Samuel Hahnemann, until the last of all, that of Bordeaux, of which he was the brilliant President.
“These different labors added to the practice of his profession, were not sufficient to satisfy his ardor for the propagation of the doctrine to which he had devoted the rest of his life. He bore n mind his success as an orator and determined to use it for the advancement of the cause which he embraced.
“From 1835 to 1848 he continued every winter to give a course of lectures on Homeopathy. The events of 1848 and the new laws on public instruction prevented him from giving these lectures from 1848 until the year 1865.
“We ought to revert to the year 1835, the commencement of his professoriate at the hall in the Rue Saint Guillaume. All those who attended his lectures will remember, and can bear me out in the remembrance, of the brilliant contest he there maintained; for he did not content himself with an exposition of the doctrine, but very readily accepted controversy after his lectures.
“I still remember many occasions when he had to sustain very lively and sometimes passionate attacks; never in his replies did he abandon perfect propriety, moderation and logic. I still seem to see him, in one of these conferences, disputing with an adversary worthy of him, a disputant whose name is a sufficient warranty for his scientific position, for his talent and his ardor in discussion, the late Dr. Requin. It was a delight to his numerous audience to see with what calmness, with what spirit, with what justice and vigor his reply in defence of the new doctrine was couched.
“I venture to affirm that in the numerous attacks which he brought upon himself by his attestation to the truth of the new system of medicine, during the earlier days of his lectureship, no single adversary had cause to complain of any want of courtesy on his part.
“Dr. Léon Simon had great command of language, even without previous preparation; often he became very eloquent. Sober in his planner, methodical in his expositions, it was easy to remember that which he said. These qualities made him as distinguished as an orator as he was remarkable as a physician.
“Admirably endowed as a speaker, he had above all the art of giving conviction. Thus Homeopathy owes to him a certain number of its practitioners.
“Among his lesser writings was a letter to the Minister of Public Instruction (1835), concerning the summary condemnation which the Academy of Medicine had pronounced against Homeopathy; and a letter to the members of the Faculty of Medicine of Paris ( 1847).
“A notice of the life and works of Samuel Hahnemann, prefacing the 4th edition of The Organon (1856).
“The memoir in answer to the note of MM. Gallard and Reibelot, who had attacked Homeopathy in a manner showing their own ignorance of its principles.
“Instructions on the cholera published by the Hahnemannian Society (1849).
“A memoir on scrofulous diseases (1857).
“But his principal works are, in my opinion, his Cours de Médecine Homoeopathique (1836); his Commentaires sur l’Organon (last edition, 1856).
“It is here that we are able to perceive him to be the philosopher, the physician, the thinker, and the writer. It is here that we can appreciate the constancy and firmness of his medical convictions which he never changed.
“Here we find the practitioner, the professor, the writer everywhere courageously defending the principles and the doctrine of Homeopathy, not as a slave to its letter, but as a faithful disciple who had seized the spirit and the true character and teachings of The Organon.
“One single quotation will prove my point. As I have said in the commencement of this notice, in 1832 the Journal de la Médecine Homoeopathique appeared, and we read in the introduction this phrase of Léon Simon: ‘If we have received Samuel Hahnemann‘s idea as a thing of value, it is under the condition of attempting to aid in all the developments that it admits of.’“This rule stated publicly in the early days of his appearing al a disciple of the doctrine of Samuel Hahnemann, was that which he constantly followed; this rule he proposed to follow also in the new periodical which he was about to produce this year, an co-editorship with his son, Léon Simon.
“I have hitherto said nothing of the title of Mr. Léon Simon, because titles do not make the man: they do not even always do him honor unless he holds them honor.
“Dr. Léon Simon gave honor to the following titles: Doctor of Medicine of the Faculty of Paris and of the University of Cleveland (Ohio); Formerly President and Secretary General of the Society of Homeopathic Medicine of Paris, and of the Hahnemannian Society: formerly President of the Homeopathic Medical Society of France; Corresponding Member the Society of Science and Belles Lettres of Blois; of the British Homeopathic Society of London; of the Hahnemannian Society of Madrid; of the Homeopathic Society of Palermo, and of that of Brazil: of the Netherlands Society of Homeopathic Medicine, and of the Pharmacodynamic Society of Brussels.
“This short notice reveals to us a man whose loss the homeopathic school has to deplore. It permits us to show the amount of work which this physician had to pass through at the same time he was engaged in the duties of a very large practice, in those of lectureship, those of learned societies, of the publication of his works, and of his contributions to different periodical publications.
“And this was not even all, for in addition to the theoretical demonstrations of his course he added during many years practical demonstrations in the public dispensaries. Meanwhile he also found time to fulfill every family duty.
“He was certainly one of the most folly occupied practitioners of the capital; and in the application of the doctrines, which he taught so well, his success was equal to his promise.
“Familiar with the difficulties of diagnosis, he knew, after the example of all great practitioners, how to draw from each form of disease such indications as it could furnish, just as a logician draws deductions from principles. But this was not making common cause with the school of the past in its application of routine treatment.
“Homeopathic therapeutics has less grand words than its rival. We know that there are alternatives, anti-spasmodics, neurotonics, counter-stimulants. We know that it has all been too often repeated.
“But we know better still that all that classification is hypothetical, that it proceeds from great generalizations; that the indications of the old school are not precise; that they proceed from a vague synthesis to make them correspond to deductions more vague still with grand words, which give us no real knowledge of the value of the medicines.
“Our regretted colleague taught and practiced another method; he knew that the indications ought to be individualized to enable us to choose the medicine. He knew that in place of antiphlogistics, anti periodics, anti-all-the-fantasies of an imagination excessively hyperbolical, medicines well studied are neither more nor less than real pictures of extremely varied morbid states, corresponding symptom for symptom to all the varieties that disease can assume in each individual.
“Léon Simon was a successful physician, and enjoyed a very great reputation among his colleagues, especially among those elder homeopaths, the honor of the younger school, who were the direct pupils of Samuel Hahnemann.
“The high consideration of those men is truly a title of honor and a great recompense. M. Leon Simon had the honor of meriting and of obtaining these advantages.
[Sources: Allg. hom. Zeit., vol. 74, p 152. Mo. Hom. Rev., vol. 11, pp. 383, 761. Kleinert, 299. Pierre Augustus Rapou, vol. 2, p. 69.]
Léon Simon (1820 – 1894) was the son of Léon Francois Adolphe Simon and followed his father in becoming a practicing homeopathic physician.
Vincent Léon Simon M.D. (1846 – 1911), son of Léon Simon and grandson of Léon Francois Adolphe Simon, was also a homeopath. He was the General Secretary of the International Congress at Paris in 1900.
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