The Wielobycki Brothers and Homeopathy

The Wielobycki brothers were Polish patriots who escaped Poland and came to Britain in 1839.

The brothers both trained as doctors in Edinburgh and went onto become homeopaths, one in London and one in Edinburgh.

Dionysius Wielobycki 1813 – 1882 (PHd Berlin 1837, MD LRCS Edin. 1843 dissertation on pica polonica) Member of the Cracow Astronomical Institute, House Surgeon and Assistant at the Edinburgh Lying in Hospital, Physician to the Edinburgh Homeopathic Dispensary and the Leicester Homeopathic Dispensary, and a Member of the British Homeopathic Society and the Old Edinburgh Club.

In 1831, Dionysius was a soldier in the Polish War of Independence, and forced to assume a German name, he studied for his Doctor of Philosophy in Cracow, Bonn and Berlin, where he was unmasked and imprisoned.

Escaping to Leith, he obtained his MD at Edinburgh University, working with Francis Black and John Rutherford Russell at the Edinburgh Homeopathic Dispensary, having converted to homeopathy in Poland where he had conversed with many homeopathic practitioners abroad and being treated homeopathically as a boy.

In 1851, and naturalised as a British subject, Dionysius objected strongly to meeting the difficulties allopaths put in his way, referring to an ‘auto da fe‘ by the ‘Edinburgh Vatican‘ in strident terms in his letter to the editor of The Witness, which had issued the usual batch of scurilous lies against him.

Dionysius Wielobycki resided at 25 Montague Street in 1849, 59 Queen Street Edinburgh in 1851, 55 Queen Street Edinburgh in 1855, and at George Square, Edinburgh in 1871.

Dionysius Wielobycki was a Polish patriot who escaped to Britain with his brother in 1839, and he maintained himself through his medical studies in Edinburgh by teaching French and by the good offices of his friends and his tutors.

In 1848, Dionysius worked at the Edinburgh Homeopathic Dispensary which had opened all hours to treat the cholera epidemic.

Dionysius Wielobycki was persecuted by the Edinburgh Faculty for his homeopathic practice, and the report of this incident in The Medical Times in 1852 gleefully describes the abuse meted out to the two brothers by allopaths, as the paper reports Dionysius Wielobycki and his brother’s expulsion from the Faculty with undisgused pleasure, and refers to their application as ‘a monster’.

Dionysius Wielobycki beat a hasty retreat from his Professors study with his ten shillings stuffed down his collar, a sum he later contributed to the Edinburgh Homeopathic Dispensary.

Dionysious and Severin Wielobycki were colleagues of Francis Black, John James Drysdale, Robert Ellis Dudgeon, John Epps, Thomas Engall, Edward Hamilton, Amos Henriques, Joseph Kidd, Adam Lyschinsky, Victor Massol, Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, Mathias Roth, John Rutherford Russell, James John Garth Wilkinson, George Wyld, and many others.

In 1858, Dionysius Wielobycki was accused of forgery in a famous case celebre, was prosecuted for being the beneficiary of a widow, a patient of his, who left him her fortune.

The family were not best pleased and accused him of forging her will, and Dionysius Wielobycki was sentenced to transportation for fourteen years, though this case was put before the Edinburgh Courts and then heard at the Old Bailey, the sentence was either never carried out, or had no impact on his practice, as by 1861 he was practicing at the Leicester Homeopathic Dispensary at 41.5 Granby Street, and in 1868 he was submitting articles to The British Journal of Homeopathy, and in 1871 he residing at George Square, Edinburgh in 1871, and in 1874, he was again publishing articles which were reported in The Hahnemann Monthly, an American homeopathic Journal. Dionysius, it appears, had some influential admirers and an expensive defence Council.

In 1881, Dionysius is recorded as sueing Isaac Atkinson a tailor and clothier, so he was apparently by this time well able to defend himself, and Sheriff Substitute Hallard has given judgment on the case raised by Dr. Wielobycki, George Square, Edinburgh, to recover £107, as the balance of his account.

Dionysius Wielobycki’s Obituary is in The Homeopathic World and the Transactions of the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1883 (date of death given as November 16, 1882).

Dionysius wrote On Complicated Labour from locking of the heads of twins, Phlegmonous Erysipelas of the face and neck, Cases of total placental presentations, On total placental presentation and Eclampsia Parturtientum for The British Journal of Homeopathy, and many other articles.

Severin Wielobycki (MD LRCS Edin. 1840) 1793 – 1893 was Vice President of the Society for the Study of Inebriety in 1893. Severin Wielobycki was Physician Accoucher to the Hahnemann Institute, Physician at the London Homeopathic Hospital, Member of the Botanical, Hunterian, Medical and Royal Physical Society Edinburgh, Member of the British Homeopathic Society and the Hahnemann Medical Society.

Severin was the son of a Judge in Poland and a Captain in the Polish War of Independence in 1831, having fought thirty six battles in that war. The rising was unsuccessful, and Captain Wielobycki delivered himself up to the Austrian authorities at Cracow, who gave him the choice of proceeding to Britain.

Severin Wielobycki lived  at Connaught Terrace, Hyde Park, at 11 Russell Place, Fitzroy Square in 1851, and at 4 Denmark Hill, Camberwell along with Victor Massol in 1855, in 1858/9 he was working at his brother’s practice at 55 Queen Street, Edinburgh, at in 1870 he was living at 1 Alma Villas, 99-101 London Road, Leicester (The Leicester Trade Protection Society Street, Alphabetical and Trade Directory 1870), and in 1871, he was living in Marylebone in London, and in 1893, he was living at 4 Eaton Villas, Acacia Road, St. John’s Wood,

Severin Wielobycki suffered greatly during his time as a soldier, and as a result he suffered from some deafness, and he also suffered poverty for 10 years when he got to Britain (1831 – 1841), learning English from a dictionary, he spoke French, Russian and German and eked out a living teaching French whilst he studied medicine (British Medical Journal 16.9.1893), Severin became a naturalised British citizen.

Severin practiced for the next 10 years in Nova Scotia, Canada (?1841 – 1851 Proceedings of the Society for the Study of Inebriety February 1893), before returning to Britain,

In 1851, Severin was a member of the Medical Council in support of the London Homeopathic Hospital, and in 1855, he was present at the Congress of Homeopathic Practitioners held in London.

Severin retired in 1865 and moved to Leicester, and in 1871, he was living back in Marylebone in London with his Scottish wife Helen, where he continued to write medical papers and fulfill his duties for the Society for the Study of Inebriety,

The Society for the Study of Inebriety met in 1892 to celebrate Severin’s 100th birthday,

Severin Wielbycki died in 1893,  at 4 Eaton Villas, Acacia Road, St. John’s Wood of an embolism, following influenza, though until 3 days before his death ‘he had walked 12 miles a day beginning with an ascent of Primrose Hill at 5am’. He was described as a ‘ruddy, erect, soldierly looking, vigorous man’, who ‘could read the smallest print to the last, though he never wore spectacles’, who ‘never smoked and never drank alcohol’ (Proceedings of the Society of Inebriety February 1893) (excerpts from A Polish Homeopath in Leicester by Cynthia Brown Leicester Community Newsletter Issue no. 65 Summer 2009),

Severin Wielobycki’s Obituary is in The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, the American Lancet and The Medical Age in 1893.

Severin wrote articles on abstinence and he was a member of The Vegetarian Society in 1878.

Of interest:

Capt. Rencyzynski dedicated to (his countryman) Dionysius Wielobycki (of Edinburgh); The Last of the Anakims in the Land of Moab, an Authentic Document Found in 1868 at Dhiban, the ancient Dibon. . . The Moabite Stone Inscription deciphered from a Photography. . .from original Stone as it is present in the Museum of Louvre, in Paris. London, Galigani’s Establishment, 1880, First edition, oblong 4to [20 x 26 cm]; [iv], 28, [xx] pp, 3 large folding plates or charts, plus the last 20 pages are lithographed, frontis photo, presumably of author, mounted on heavy paper, with the subscriber’s list in red, orig pictorial gilt cloth with picture of Moabite stone, gilt title lettering on cover, spine ends chipped and frayed, corner wear, lightly soiled on two margins, good. There is presentation inscription signed by Wielobycki, the dedicatee. The author spent nine years on this work, on the Moabite stone, which was later destroyed, describing the biblical era story on the stone.

One thought on “The Wielobycki Brothers and Homeopathy”

  1. Have you read my reesrch document on-line? Log n and to
    Strsthaven’ s Russian Princess which unravels the story behind the folklore attached to the wife of Dyonisius Wyliobeki. Following the death of Dyonisius, his widow married Edinburgh. Musician and composer Robert Machardy. I am interested ed to hear from you.

    Bob Currie.

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