David Wilson 1811 – 1889

David Wilson LRSC Edin. MRCS Edin. 1811 – 1889 was an orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become Surgeon at the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square, member of the Westminster Medical Society, Medical officer of the Westminster and St. George Free Dispensary for consumption and diseases of the chest at 22 Davies Mews, member of the British Homeopathic Society and the Hahnemann Society.

David Wilson was also a Medical Officer at the Metropolitan Homeopathic Hospital for the Diseases of Children and Vaccine establishment at 18, Orchard Street and New Road in 1855.

David Wilson was an orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy after thirteen years practice as an allopath.

David Wilson was a severe skeptic against homeopathy who wrote to the Lancet to contribute an article called grandmother meddlesome. David Wilson explains that his conversion to homeopathy was due to John Forbes, the editor of The British  and Foreign Medical Review and Physician to the Queen’s Household, who was himself converted by William Henderson of Edinburgh, Physician of the Royal Infirmary who wrote a book on homeopathy which David Wilson read.

David Wilson practiced at 22 Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, London. He was the Treasurer of the British Institute of Homeopathy in 1855.

From Some Abiding Themes Hewn from British Homeopathic History by Peter Morrell. ‘… In contrast to devotees of high potency, for doctors like ‘… John James Drysdale… low dilutions did best and he found no advantage above the 3rd decimal…’ (Frank Bodman, Richard Hughes Memorial LectureBritish Homeopathic Journal 59, (1970). Page184). Thus the 3x became the officially approved and standard tool of UK homeopathic practice from 1830 to 1900. The early UK homeopaths therefore comprised ‘… a remarkably able cohort of 3x men –  Stephen YeldhamJohn Galley BlackleyJohn Moorhead Byres MoirWashington EppsC T Knox Shaw, etc…’ to which we can also add the names of ‘… John EppsPaul Francois Curie, David Wilson as well as Alfred Crosby PopeRichard HughesDavid Dyce Brown,… William BayesThomas Robinson Leadam and Robert Ellis Dudgeon…’’ (A Taylor Smith, letter re Dr Borland’s ObituaryBritish Homeopathic Journal 50.2, (July 1961). Page 119 and page 123).

On 22.1.1852, The Homeopathic Times records a schism in the Hahnemann Hospital, caused by an advertisement placed for Clinical lecturers in the local newspapers, and the appointment of Paul Francois Curie andAmos Henriques.

These appointments led to the resignation of John Chapman, Edward Charles Chepmell, Joseph Hands and David Wilson. The grounds for contention were that the Hahnemann Hospital was founded to eliminate medical cliques, and to promote medical equality. It was felt that by awarding Paul Francois Curie andAmos Henriques the title of Clinical Lecturer and Professor, this rule was breached.

The Association for the Protection of Homeopathic Practitioners and Students had just been founded in 1851, and its members included George Atkin, Francis Black, John Chapman, Paul Francois Curie, John James Drysdale, Robert Ellis Dudgeon, George Fearon, Edward Hamilton, William Hering, C. B. Kerr, Joseph Laurie, John Ozanne, John Rutherford Russell, David Wilson and many others.

John Chapman, Edward Charles Chepmell, Joseph Hands and David Wilson felt strongly enough about the issue of medical cliques and elitism to resign, but the overwhelming feeling of the rest of the staff was in full support of these principles. Apparently, there had been some ill feeling inherited from the earlier establishment under William Leaf, and as Paul Francois Curie andAmos Henriques were not prepared to abandon their titles as Clinical lecturers, a schism occurred.

David Wilson was active in the foundation of the London Homeopathic Hospital, which was established at 32 Golden Square in 1851. He was a was a colleague of Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, the first President of the British Homeopathic Society, and Marmaduke Blake Sampson, the Chairman of the British Homeopathic Association, and many other homeopaths.

David Wilson was also a colleague of William Edward Ayerst, Hugh Cameron, John Chapman, Matthew James Chapman, Edward Charles Chepmell, Paul Francois Curie, William Vallancy Drury, George Napoleon Epps, James Epps, John Epps, James Manby Gully, Edward Hamilton, George Calvert Holland, Richard Hughes, Joseph Kidd, Thomas Robinson Leadam, Victor Massol, J Bell Metcalfe, Samuel Thomas Partridge, Henry Reynolds, John Rutherford Russell, Stephen Yeldham and many others.

In 1851, David Wilson was on the committee of the Association for the Protection of Homeopathic Students and Practitioners.

In 1860, homeopath David Wilson wrote to the Editor of The Morning Advertiser offering to assist St. George’s hospital in its desperate financial troubles by offering homeopathy instead of the very expensive allopathic regime.

In 1863, he was formally invited by George Henry Charles Byng 3rd Earl of Strafford to sponsor beds at St. George’s Hospital in return for conducting clinical trials into homeopathy.

David Wilson offered to conduct clinical trials into homeopathy at St. George’s Hospital over a three year period, funded by Henry Edmund Gurney – all expenses would be met by his bank, using 50 beds at St. George’s hospital for this said trial, and should these trials be successful, Henry Edmund Gurney offered to fund a further 30 beds at St. George’s Hospital.

David Wilson explained that a similar offer had been made by Lord Bougham to University College Hospital, who had 70 beds standing empty for lack of funds. The Lancet commented pithily that this offer would not even have been published were it not for the use of the name Henry Edmund Gurney associated with it.

When the offer was refused, David Wilson approached St. Mary’s Hospital with a similar offer, which was also refused. Mrs. Gurney then increased her offer of help from £1000 to £6000, if David Wilson could have access to only 10 beds for his clinical trials, but even this generous offer was still refused.

In 1864 David Wilson became an Honorary member of the Homeopathic Society of the State of New York.

David Wilson was the homeopath of Elizabeth Cady Stanton when she visited England in 1883, on the recommendation of her brother in law Edward Bayard. Elizabeth Cady Stanton also consulted Edward William Berridge (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ann Dexter Gordon (Ed.), Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony: When Clowns Make Laws for Queens, 1880 to 1887, (Rutgers University Press, 25 Sep 2006). Page 297).

David Wilson was an active contributor to The British Journal of Homeopathy in 1863, the Homeopathic Times and The Lancet (in 1843), The British Homeopathic Review, and his articles and cases were widely quoted around the World.

With thanks to Peter Morrell: David Wilson:

In contrast to devotees of high potency, for doctors likeDrysdale…low dilutions did best and he found no advantage above the 3rd  decimal,” [3; 184]. Thus the 3x became the officially approved and standard tool of UK homeopathic practice from 1830 to 1900.

The early UK homeopaths therefore comprised “a remarkably able cohort of 3x men – Stephen Yeldham, John Galley Blackley, John Moorhead Byres Moir, Washington Epps, C T Knox Shaw… to which we can also add the names of “John Epps, Paul Francois Curie, David Wilson as well as Alfred Crosby Pope, Richard Hughes, David Dyce Brown,” [4; 123], “William Bayes, Thomas Robinson Leadam and Robert Ellis Dudgeon,” [4; 119].

Robert Ellis Dudgeon, for example, was “critical of Hahnemann’s Psora theory and of dynamisation,” [3; 181], and he was not very happy either about the increasing use of nosodes. In reporting to colleagues on his US trip to the American Institute of Homeopathy Congress in 1876, Richard Hughes “was discouraging about Robert Thomas Cooper’s introduction of new remedies…Adolph Lippe and Constantine Hering…came in for unfavourable comment, and so did Charles Julius Hempel, who was accused of Swedenborgian mysticism,” [3; 187]

David Wilson’s obituary was in The Homeopathic World in 1889.

Of Interest:

Alderman Wilson is mentioned in The concluding task of the disciples of homeopathy by Marmaduke Blake Sampson in 1849.

A Dr Wilson of Bristol was mentioned in The British Journal of Homeopathy in 1851.

James Wilson 1806 – 1867 partner of James Manby Gully, is listed as a member of The English Homeopathic Association in The British and Foreign Homeopathic Medical Directory and Record in 1855.

Studied medicine in London and Paris. Practised in Liverpool and then in London until 1840. Studied the water cure at Graefenberg, Silesia, 1841. Returned to England in 1842 and set up a hydropathic establishment in Malvern where he was joined by James Manby Gully. Practised the water cure in Malvern until his death.

James Wilson MP was on the Committee of the English Homeopathic Association in 1849.

S Wilson was on the Medical Board of the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square.

Thomas Wilson of 14 North Street, Charlotte Street Hull is mentioned in The British and Foreign Homeopathic Medical Directory and Record in 1855.

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