Friedrich Jakob Rummel 1793 – 1854

Friedrich Jakob Rummel 1793 – 1854 was a German orthodox physician and a fierce opponent of homeopathy before he converted to homeopathy.

Rummel was Samuel Hahnemann‘s great rival until 1826, when Rummel capitulated and converted to homeopathy.

With Georg August Heinrich Muhlenbein, he founded the North German Provincial Homeopathic Union, and he became President of the Central Society of Homeopathic Physicians, and founder and co-editor of Allgemeine homöopathische Zeitung.

Rummel worked to secure for homeopathy the recognition of the State in Austria and Prussia.

Schneider thus writes of this eminent physician: Friedrich Jacob Rummel (Allgemeine homöopathische Zeitung, Vol. XLIX., p. 9.) was born April 26th, 1793, in Lauchstaedt, where his father was merchant and deputy postmaster.

He received his preparatory training for the university in the Monastery school at Rossleben and after its completion in 1812, he went to the university to study medicine.

After paring pursued these studies for one year at Halle and three fourths of a year at Leipsic, he followed (after the battle of Leipsic) the call to the Saxon people to take part in the war for the liberation of the German fatherland, and he entered among the volunteers, but later on, as there was a lack of military surgeons, he was employed on account of his classification, as company surgeon in another detachment of troops.

After the peace at Paris he left the military service, and to complete his academic studies he went to Gottingen. He wrote a dissertation De corneitide, and was promoted in 1815 to Doctor of Medicine and Surgery. He first practised a year in Lauchstaedt, then went to Berlin to undergo the State examination.

Having received his diploma as physician of obstetrician he settled in the city of Merseburg. He soon found here ample occupation, but was after a time compelled to give up his obstetrical practice which he had successfully carried on; this was because he was so much affected by attending a severe delivery that he was prostrated for several days after it.

Convincing facts changed our friend Rummel in the year 1825 from an opponent into a friend of Homeopathy, and he at once devoted himself to it with the warmth and real of a man true to his calling and free from prejudice, seeking but for light and truth.

As early as 1826 he sent an article to Christoph Wilhelm von Hufeland‘s Journal: Observations concerning Hahnemann’s system. (5 pt., pp. 4374). Soon after this he wrote a larger work which is more generally known: Homeopathy with its Lights and Shadows.

During this literary activity he also more and more perfected himself in the practice of Homeopathy, for which he gained an ever increasing number of adherents.

Through the intervention of John Ernst Stapf he now came into closer relations with the founder of Homeopathy and became a member of the small circle of younger physicians who with Samuel Hahnemann, and under his direction, formed the first Prover’s Union, to which we all owe the pure Materia Medica, so replete with blessings to all futurity.

In the year 1832 he in conjunction with Gustav Wilhelm Gross and Frantz Hartmann founded the Allgemeine homöopathische Zeitung, and furnished very many excellent articles for it.

In June, 1833, he followed a call to Magdeburg where he was assailed and frequently maligned and persecuted by the numerous enemies of homeopathy, for his opponent there, in company with Alexander Simon, of Hamburg, still dared to present the leading stars of the new school as fools, and to accuse them of the sin of omission, a medical criminal misdemeanor, when they in cases of disease which became fatal had not used the prescriptions of the school of medicine recognized by the State.

Nevertheless, Rummel here continued to gain more and more friends and adherents to homeopathy, and also vindication from the assaults of his opponents, and finally compelled even these to respect him. Besides he introduced several young men to homeopathy.

In the year 1834 in conjunction with Georg August Heinrich Muhlenbein he founded the North German Provincial Homeopathic Union. In the years 1836 and 1845 he was President of the Central Society, and always exercised a beneficent influence through his friendly fellowship, his practical tact and mediating toleration.

Besides this he was restlessly at work to secure for homeopathy the recognition of the State, and he contributed with equal zeal in the years 1842 and 1843 to secure for homeopathic physicians in Prussia the right of dispensing their own homeopathic medicines under milder legal restrictions. In consequence he was chosen, in Magdeburg, a member of the committee for examining homeopathic physicians who desired to acquire the authority to dispense their own medicines. His honest efforts were recognized on the part of the State, as Rummel was appointed, in 1846, is Royal Sanitary Counsellor.

To his energetic efforts the monument of Samuel Hahnemann, solemnly unveiled at Leipsic in 1851, owes its existence, and the last act showing his love for the common good was the foundation, out of  the surplus of the monies collected for the monument, of a fund, the interest of which is to be used for premiums for the prize essays on Pharmacodynamics, which the Central Society for Homeopathy may from time to time designate.

In his private life Rummel always showed a cheerful, kindly, lovable character. As domestic physician he was a sympathizing friend, to his patients a careful conscientious physician, besides he was a highly honored colleague, a faithful husband and a loving father.

Only one distraction and recreation from the labors of his calling he loved exceedingly – the enjoyment of the beauties of nature. He was therefore accustomed to make a journey every year.

The strokes of  fate he bore with manly resignation. Even the total deafness from which he suffered, from the year 1846 till his death, was unable to disturb the kindliness and cheerfulness of his spirit, though it compelled him to relinquish by far the greater part of his practice, and to concentrate his active mind more upon himself.

In the year 1832 the cholera in Merseburg fell in all its malignancy almost the first upon his own family, so that he fist from it his wife and a daughter, and was himself brought to death’s door by the same disease; but he recovered with the assistance of Heinrich Heine, who was paying him a visit.

In the fall of 1846 he was seized with a typhus fever with rheumatic troubles, which again brought grim near the grave and completed the loss of his hearing.

On the 28th of September at last his final illness occurred. At his return from business calls in the forenoon, after having heed previously quite well, he was suddenly seized with weakness and fatigue, and in the evening he frequently felt a slight chill. At night there came vivid dreams and dryness of the tongue. On the 29th there was a more decided feeling of illness with inclination to diarrhea and thickly coated tongue.

Still by using a carriage he made some professional calls. But from the 30th of September the patient remained in his room and prescribed for himself what seemed suitable. (A foot note states that Frantz Hartmann and Carl Haubold were also with him.)

It was not before October 4th that I was requested to visit him. This was the first time since I had been located here with him, for he had only suffered in 1846 a few times from a swollen cheek owing to toothache. I found a violent typhus gastric fever (tongue coated thickly and tenaciously, with tendency to small diarrheic stools, lassitude, languor, irritability, decrepitude, restless nights, with lively talking in his sleep, and at night so great dryness of the tongue that the patient compared it to an old highway of stones on which not a drop of water could stay, with normal pulse. During the day more drowsiness, but otherwise the same state.

On the 6th of October the patient had risen as usual in the morning and had taken a cup of tea with toast, when he was suddenly (about seven o’clock) seized with violent colic and with two profuse, very fetid, diarrhoeic stools and a violent chill which drove him to bed. As soon as I called I gave him Veratrum. The pains in the abdomen were soon relieved, nor did the diarrhoea recur soon, and the chill was followed by heat, which soon brought quite a copious sweat.

The pulse now became feverish and was at times intermittent (which was also said to have been the case at the beginning of the illness). The patient who, however, seemed to retain his cheerfulness, at times talked deliriously and once there was singultus. Under these circumstances I invited my colleague Rath, who had also visited the patient, to visit him with me.

The disease had enormously developed up to October 9th, when also Heinrich Auguste Fielitz, from Brunswick, had hastened to a consultation. The use of Arsenicum which had followed upon Veratrum was of no avail in checking the disease; at six P. M. the traces of incipient paralysis of the lungs and skin were unmistakably present.

The stupefaction of the brain had in the meantime reached so high a degree that the patient never uttered any foreboding about his condition, and passed away in the night between the 9th and 10th of October at 2:30A. M., without suffering.

Numberless are the tears of love, friendship and gratefulness that are shed for this noble man. H G Schneider.

Carl Gustav Puhlmann in his The History of Homeopathy in Germany thus mentions Rummel: (Trans. ” World’s Hom. Convention,” Vol. II, p. 25.) – Frederick Jacob Rummel was born April 26, 1793 and died October 10, 1854. In 1826, after seven years, of Allopathic practice, he adopted homeopathy and joined the Provers’ Society.

In 1833, while co editor of the Allgemeine homöopathische Zeitung, he removed to Magdeburg, and there worked unceasingly for the recognition of homeopathy by the government. He was particularly assisted in 1842 and 1843 by the fact that the Prussian physicians were under milder legal restrictions and were allowed to dispense homeopathic medicines.

By his efforts Samuel Hahnemann‘s monument was erected at Leipsic in 1851 and he was also the originator of the “Hahnemann Fund “which is controlled by the Central Society, and out of which prizes are awarded for the best essays on certain subjects prepared by the members of the society.

Pierre Augustus Rapou says: (Histoire de la doctrine médicale homéopathique Vol., II, p.p. 405, 419, 421) – In 1824 Rummel practised the old system of medicine at Merseberg, near John Ernst Stapf, and such of his patients as were not cured went to seek aid from the celebrated homeopathist of Naumburg, from whom many obtained the aid that the old method had failed to give.

Rummel, excellent man, of great honesty, of true heart and lofty intellect, waited upon John Ernst Stapf to study his system of medication; he only yielded step by step to the clinical results, and in his legitimate doubt evidenced the same tenacity that had characterized the blind resistance of others.

I cannot refrain from quoting here that which he wrote a little time after he commenced to practice the new system. To physicians who, like him, abandoned their ordinary methods of practice, it will be of interest:

‘It has been two years since homeopathy claimed my attention, a very short time to surmount the difficulties it offers to beginners, time sufficient, nevertheless, to comprehend its principles and to understand its spirit.

“Very often I was surprised by my remarkable success in the treatment of old chronic cases; often I could only relieve or palliate them; sometimes also I was obliged to return to Allopathic measures lest my patients grow weary of my futile attempts.

“This last event satisfied the that I knew but little of the resources of my new method. I became convinced that this system of healing was more direct and more speedy than Allopathy; still there are, I thought, a great class of maladies, the nervous for example, that do not yield to its powers.”

Rummel gives then the various diseases where he found homeopathy most useful.

Rummel however, soon became an active and faithful follower of Samuel Hahnemann.

Pierre Augustus Rapou continues – Ten years after his entrance into homeopathy, Rummel was called to Magdeburg, where he settled; there an action was brought against him for dispensing remedies, a suit that caused some comment. He defended with energy that which he considered the right of all homeopathists, and a condition of the existence of our school. He gained the suit and was happy to furnish so favorable a precedent to those of his confreres who were less active in taking the matter before the courts.

Rummel was now less intimate with John Ernst Stapf, his ancient master but lead for some time been associated with Gustav Wilhelm Gross and Frantz Hartmann in founding a weekly homeopathic journal, the Allgemeine homöopathische Zeitung, a journal devoted to facts and shunning polemics, so perpetually in our school in the last dozen years.

Rummel, who is of a very conciliating temperament, and who readily yields accessory points to those who accept fundamental truths, was, at the time of my second journey, the object of a particular proselytism; he lead been induced by argument to make concessions that his experience did not warrant. The partisans of exact homeopathy already mourned the loss of one of their best defenders.

Rummel wrote letter after letter in the Allgemeine homöopathische Zeitung in response to Philip Wilhelm Ludwig Greisselich, where he clearly expressed his opinions in regard to the new method, and declined all communication with the partisans of the pretended specific reform.

Rummel employed the high dilutions. On my last journey I visited him at Magdeburg. I found him suffering with deafness, but he understood the aim of my visit and kept me and talked to me for three hours on practical subjects of interest. He was at this time considered in Germany to be the representative of sound homeopathic doctrine.

He is of the number of homeopathic physicians who have examined dilutions under the microscope and found visible molecules of the diluted substance.

His confreres doubting this observation he bade me send to C G Kallenbach for examination two preparations of the 200c one of Arsenicum, the other of Platina. Arriving in Berlin, I took them to the microscopists.

Pierre Augustus Rapou then gives a very interesting account of these early microscopic trials of homeopathic dilutions.

Rummel as is well known was one of the first to rush into the lists and to deny most emphatically that Samuel Hahnemann considered the Organon the sum total of all the medical sciences and declared superfluous all other studies.

He maintained that a thorough and intimate knowledge of all the various branches and studies taught by the Allopaths was absolutely necessary to fit a man for the successful practice of homeopathy.

“Far removed,” he said, “from waging destructive warfare upon science, homeopathy is bound to acknowledge nothing but true science, and to free medicine from the purely conjectural. We do not propose to ignore the experience of the Allopaths when they stand the test of reliable experience, but we want to throw light upon their explanations and hypotheses.

“We do not propose to deny the usefulness of their method of cure in any case, but we are bound to show where physicians interfered with nature instead of studying it after the manner of Hippocrates: where they rudely suppressed the curative powers of nature, while prating constantly about guiding these efforts: where they cared symptomatically, and yet talked of methods suggested by the first cause: we propose to show them how little common sense is hidden beneath their high sounding phrases; how true common sense here is a recognition of the limit set its, enabling its to recognize the laws, but not the primary causes of vital phenomena.” (Kleinert, p. 150. Med. Couns., Vol. XI, p. 307.)

In an article published in the British Journal of Homeopathy (Vol. XXXIII., p. 608) the author thus speaks of Rummel – Rummel of Magdeburg, the first of the converts to homeopathy.

“Brilliantly gifted with suitable acquirements, penetrated by genuine humanity, and consequent gentleness and kindness, he had soon recognized the importance and significance of Samuel Hahnemann‘s doctrine, and at once his life was devoted to the perfecting, defending and extension of it.

“As a watchful warrior he stood unwearied at his post to repel the attacks of the enemy with sharp weapons, and never allowed himself to swerve in the strife from the various personal attacks and annoyance, which he had to endure.

“It is especially due to him that homeopathy found legitimate recognition and protection in Prussia. He took as lively a part in all controversial questions within as he did in the battle without, and sought to decide them.

“One of the most interesting passages in this category is his discussion with one who was in all respects his equal, and who represented the South German party, Philip Wilhelm Ludwig Greisselich of Carslruhe, when he sought to shake the foundations of homeopathy.

“The course of this controversy carried on with so much spirit and good sense will give great pleasure to every reader, and it were to be wished that it should serve as a model in all scientific disputes.

“His work, The Bright and Dark Sides of Homeopathy, is of special importance for the emancipation of homeopathy from the person of Samuel Hahnemann, as well as a series of articles in the Archiv and the Allgemeine homöopathische Zeitung, which he, in conjunction with Frantz Hartmann and Gustav Wilhelm Gross, established, and which he continued to edit till his death.

“The last part of his life was devoted to exertion for the purpose of giving a visible expression to the general respect for the Master by erecting a monument. With unwearied real lie set on foot subscriptions for this purpose, and had the great happiness during the evening of his life (when he was afflicted with total deafness) to attend the unveiling of this monument.

“He obtained a lasting souvenir in homeopathy by establishing out of the surplus of the subscriptions a prize for the physiological proving of a medicine.

In the Allgemeine homöopathische Zeitung (Vol. XLVIII, p. 161) an obituary notice appears on the first page of the number – Died of typhus fever in the early morning hours of October 10, 1854, Dr. Rummel, of Magdeburg, on the first anniversary of the day on which his friend and fellow-editor, Frantz Hartmann died.

Rummel wrote Remarks concerning the Hahnemannian System Christoph Wilhelm von Hufeland‘s Journal, 1820, Cure of Cholera Merseburg. Nulandt. 1831, Homeopathy viewed in its Lights and Shadows Leipsic Reclam, 1826, Review of the history of Homeopathy in the Last Decennium, with a Biography of Georg August Heinrich Muhlenbein Leipsic Schumann. 1839-40, Necessity for the Equalization of Homoeopathy with the older ‘Medical School. A petition of several Homeopathic physicians of Prussia to the Ministry of Education, etc. For consideration in the intended medical reform. Magdebourg: Heinrichshofen 1848 (Reprint from Allgemeine homöopathische Zeitung)

Concerning the Festival at the Unveiling of Samuel Hahnemann‘s Monument. Magdeburg: Baensch. 1851. Co-editor Allgemeine homöopathische Zeitung. 1832-53.

This biography is extracted from the book of Thomas Lindsley Bradford: The Pioneers of Homeopathy 678 pages, Boericke Tafel (Philadelphia, 1897).

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