George Henry Bute 1792 – 1876 became a homeopath after Constantine Hering cured him of spotted fever in Suriname. He went on to become one of the major provers of homeopathic remedies, and he contributed many well loved remedies to our modern Materia Medica.
George Henry Bute was born in the Duchy of Schaumburg Lippe Bueckeburg, on the 20 th of May, 1792. During the latter period of French dominion in Germany, he was obliged to leave his parental roof in order to escape military conscription. He then led a roving life for several years, serving, for instance, on a Dutch man-of-war.
He visited during this service the southern parts of Europe, even Constantinople, deserted at Genoa, traversed all Germany on foot, and embarked for the United States, where he landed at Philadelphia in August, 1810.
He obtained a situation with and worked for some time in the then famous garden of Mr. Pratt ; got acquainted with the Moravians through their bishop, R. Rud. Herman, and entered, in 1822 the Moravian Boarding School at Nazareth, Pa., called Nazareth Hall, as teacher.
He married, at Nazareth, Miss Mary Bardill, daughter of a Moravian missionary, in April, 1825, returned to Philadelphia, where he was employed in a store until after the arrival from Germany of his younger brother Charles, when the two started a sugar refinery.
In 1828 he received a special commission to proceed to Suriname (Dutch Guiana) as a missionary, and accordingly departed for that country. (George H. Bute, formerly a Moravian missionary at Surinam, and a pupil of Hering, had settled in Philadelphia, and was engaged in the practice of Homoeopathy.)
Being stationed in the city of Paramaribo, he became acquainted with Dr. Constantine Hering, who, having been sent there by the Saxon government as botanist and geologist, was practising Homoeopathy also. (Constantine Hering cured George Henry Bute of spotted fever with homeopathy).
Young Bute placed himself under Dr. Hering’s tuition, studied with great zeal and enthusiasm, but was obliged, on account of feeble heath, to return, in 1831, to the United States. (Learning, however, from Dr. Bute that Philadelphia offered a good field ; Hering left Paramaribo, and landed at Philadelphia, January, 1833.)
He soon went to Philadelphia, where the Asiatic cholera had broken out in a virulent form, and in the treatment of which he met with great success, and demonstrated the truth of Hahnemann’s system.
The Cholera Hospital of Philadelphia was the first public charity of the homœopathic school of medicine in this country, and was established by the authorities of that city during the cholera epidemic of 1832. It was located in a building on Cherry street, and was placed in charge of Dr. George Bute, one of the homœopathic pioneers of the city and state. The hospital was established for a temporary purpose and when the period of the epidemic had passed the institution was closed.
He acquired a widespread reputation and great practice. and was joined in 1833 by his friend, Dr. Hering, from Paramaribo, and they worked together for some time. (This led to Constantine Hering’s return to Philadelphia, where he engaged in practice with Dr. Bute, locating on Vine street, below Fourth.)
In 1835, together with Drs. Henry Detweiller, William Wesselhoeft, George Henry Bute and John Romig, Constantine Hering founded in Allentown the North American Academy of the Homoeopathic Healing Art. Dr. Hering became the first President and principal instructor. This was the first Homoeopathic School in the world. Constantine Hering and his colleagues also established the Hahnemannian Society, the first formal homeopathic society in America, and the second publication on homeopathy in America.
Soon George’s health gave way, and aster six years of active service in Philadelphia he was obliged to withdraw to the country, and again selected Nazareth, which was his residence up to the time of his decease.
George never ceased to labor by writing, experimentation, and practice, to advance the great cause of Homoeopathy.
The death of his faithful partner, his wife, in 1869, affected him very deeply, and he began to show signs of failing strength in body, his mind and intellect, however, remaining bright and clear.
He failed rapidly from the commencement of last winter, and it soon became plain that his days were numbered.
At the beginning of last November he visited his much loved garden for the last time (he was an enthusiastic friend of gardening), and from the latter part of that month he never left his room or bed, until he passed away to his eternal rest, at the age of 83 years, 8 months, 23 days, after a long and tedious, and often very painful and distressing, sickness, with sleepless nights and restless days, on February 13th, 1876.
The following notes as to Dr. Bute’s contributions direct to Homoeopathy, were kindly furnished by his old friend and colleague, Constantine Hering :
He was the first prover of the indigenous plants, Sanguinaria Canadensis, Cistus Canadensis, Chimaphila umbellata, Chimaphila maculata, Rhus venenata, and Rhus glabra. He also proved Rhus tox. and Rhus radicans, and made comparisons of the different Rhus.
He was the introducer of the West Indian Mancinella, and made some of the provings of Juglans cinerea. He proved Sarracenia asimina and Ustilago maidis in 1840. He made provings of Cypripedium humile and Phallus impudicus.
A lady whom he had cured with Daphne mezereum, on being told the remedy, handed him from her flowerpot a twig of the Daphne Indica, with the request that he would prove it. He did so, and it has been of great use in many cases.
Some of his symptoms of Alum he sent to Samuel Hahnemann, who inserted them in his Chronic Diseases. He also observed valuable symptoms of Conium maculatum. (His proving symptoms of Alum were accepted by Hahnemann and inserted into The Chronic Diseases.)
A Baptist minister from Canada, suffering from an old intermittent, for which he had taken all that the old school and Homoeopathy, as far as tried, could furnish, applied to Dr. Bute for relief. General anasarca having set in, he asked, in his extremity, for a tincture to prove.
Bute, remembering that his mother had always been in the habit of carefully pouring away the water in which she had boiled eggs, because, she said, “people got the fever from such water”, and recollecting once having witnessed a cure of intermittent in a man who opened an egg and poured brandy into one-half of the shell and drank it off, he now proceeded to make a tincture by breaking a newly laid egg, taking away the yolk and greater part of the white, and putting the rest in a bottle with alcohol.
This albumen ovi, as it was called, made a complete cure of the clergyman’s intermittent, and has been found of great service in many desperate cases since.
In a letter concerning himself Dr. Bute says :
“I am a native of North Germany and was born May 27th, 1792. In the year 1829, I received a special commission to proceed to Surinam (Dutch Guiana), and while in the city of Paramaribo, fortunately became acquainted with Dr. C. Hering, established there as a homoeopathic physician.
“This meeting was doubtless the most important event of my life, the turning point, as it were, of my mind. He here cured me of spotted fever, a disease which in that climate is always death. I therefore craved a knowledge of that wonderful new medical system.
“Convinced of the soundness of Hahnemann’s doctrine I placed myself under the tuition of my friend, Dr. Hering, studying arduously until I became a proficient in the theory and practice of Homoeopathy.
“My constitution, however, being unable to withstand the insalubrious climate of Surinam, I was compelled to leave the country after a stay of nearly two years. With shattered health I sailed for Boston in 1831, thence proceeded to Nazareth, Pa., where I settled and practiced.
“The Asiatic cholera having broken out in a virulent form in Philadelphia, I considered it my duty to repair to that city immediately, both by knowledge and skill to assist the thousands of sick and dying, and at the same time to demonstrate to the world the truth of Hahnemann’s system, by proving beyond cavil that Homoeopathy is the best and, indeed, the only true practice for that fatal disease.
“My reputation became so widely spread that at the end of two years practice in that city I was so overwhelmed with patients that in spite of the utmost activity, I found it impossible to properly attend to all.
“While in this strait I wrote to my friend, Dr. Hering, in Paramaribo, urging him to come to Philadelphia, and assuring him of a large field for is talents and labor. But as Dr. Hering found it difficult to leave his work in Paramarabo, he did not arrive until March, 1883, and then in ill health, with a fistula in the thigh.
“He soon after joined me in practice, we two establishing our office on Vine street. After some years of active practice in Philadelphia, my own health became so impaired that I was obliged to withdraw to the country.
“I again selected the village of Nazareth as my abode, and since that period I have never flagged in my efforts by writing, experiment and practice to advance the great cause of Homoeopathy, and disseminate its truth among the people.
Dr. Hering in one of his magazine articles says :
“All the homoeopathicians had in this awful (cholera) epidemic the greatest success ; even here in Philadelphia ; Dr. George Bute, my first student, had in 1832, been trusted by the authorities with a hospital in Cherry street.