McKenzie Scott was the first homeopath in Glasgow.
Dr. Scott died at Stonebridge Park, Willesden, on the 11th of April, 1887, aged 82. His original intention in studying medicine was that he thought it would be a great aid to his usefulness as a clergy man, which was the profession he had resolved to adopt.
Whilst travelling on the continent he made the personal acquaintance of Samuel Hahnemann, and was so much struck with the scientific character of his system that he resolved henceforth to devote himself to its practice and propagation.
He took his degree at Glasgow in 1836 and delivered a course of lectures on Homeopathy in that city. He was the author of several works and papers on Homeopathy and the History of Medicine which appeared in the British Journal of Homeopathy and the Homeopathic Times.
He will be best remembered by the essay which gained the prize offered by the Parisian Homeopathic Society on this theme: A Logical and Experimental Demonstration that it is by Homeopathy Alone that the Principles and Machinery of the Science and Art of Medicine Have Attained a Definite Foundation.’
This masterly. essay contained original and well argued views, and was published in The British Journal of Homeopathy, volume 6. Dr. Scott also translated for the The British Journal of Homeopathy several of Samuel Hahnemann‘s minor writings.
All who had the happiness to know Dr. Scott were charmed with his gentle manners and his earnest and fascinating conversation. He had long retired from practice before his last illness which eventually assumed the form of general paralysis.
Dr. Scott introduced Homeopathy into Glasgow. An interesting letter front Dr. Scott was published in the The British Journal of Homeopathy in October, 1849, of the employment of auxiliaries, and from which we quote:
“To the Editors of The British Journal of Homeopathy,
“If you think the following observations calculated to be useful, I shall he happy to see them inserted in the Journal; if they appear adapted only to keep up unprofitable discussion, pray sentence them to the just doom of all such communications.
“In the July number of the fourth Vol. of the Journal occurs a correspondence between Drs. Arthur Guinness, William Henderson and John James Drysdale, and in the October number a letter from Robert Walker to the editors, on the question whether a homeopathic physician is at liberty to treat a patient allopathically’ (at his own request) and in more recent numbers have appeared communications on an allied subject, hilt in a different form: The propriety of employing certain allopathic auxiliaries.
“Now, though these two questions are widely and essentially different, I apprehend that they may he resolved by one and the same consideration – that is, by simply enlarging to a universal rule of ditty that which is stated, in the editors’ note to Robert Walker’s letter, as an exceptional case: ‘We can conceive that the case may occur in which a surgeon’s duty as a man is superior to his duty as the partisan of a special therapeutic truth.’
“Now, for my part, I cannot conceive a case where it is otherwise. We are bound constantly to remember our graduation oath, ‘to recommend that which we believe to be best for the patient’ and, therefore, whenever consulted we are held by the most solemn duty to dismiss every party question, every question of personal interest or reputation, and to consider what, in this particular case and in these particular circumstances, is the best thing to do or to advise.
“Let this be our constant rule and guide, and then our hands are free. If we adopt any other guide – as that of consistency, party spirit, or self interest, we instantly degrade ourselves into sectarians, and instead of holding the position of true physicians, guided as we believe by the one only curative law (a law which may have proclaimed its existence by its results, where we may not have been able to trace its characteristic feature), we become the members of a small and (if thus influenced) a very unworthy sect.
“But I have never acknowledged, and I trust I never shall acknowledge, Homeopathy to be a sectarian doctrine; if I discover it to be so, I hope I shall have grace to relinquish it.
“This appears to be the real and only theoretical answer to the question; but the practical application of it to individual cases may not be free from difficulty.
“I remember having proposed the question to the Venerable Founder of our method (whom we, a disjointed band, follow at so great an interval and with such tottering and unequal steps), whether in any case we ought to resort to bleeding?
“He answered, with his wonted animation, “Jamais! Jamais!” and in further conversation on the subject he came to the conclusion that if the homeopathic physician could not dispense with this operation, ”C’est un mauvais homeopathe.”
“And here lies the whole truth of the matter; it is our deficient knowledge and unskillful application of the homeopathic method and resources that keep us in difficulty –
“Nous sommes de mauvais homeopathes,” and the deeper we feel it and the more frankly we own it, the better. I do not mean to insinuate that those who adopt means called allopathic are inferior to those who do not; far from it; my impression is rather the reverse, because the former are less likely to be sectarian than the latter; my practice certainly is guided by no such conviction; but I think we are taught by every day’s experience to walk with increasing humility and to treat with increasing respect and courtesy those who have not received what we reckon the universal law of cure, but whose resources we are constrained, from time to time, to borrow.
“And, in general, when practicable, I would suggest it to be highly expedient, when our methods fail, and we are in consequence inclined or rather constrained to adopt others, that we should consign the else to a practitioner of the ordinary school, who, by reason of frequent use, is much more likely to handle his weapons skillfully than we who take them up merely occasionally and as a last resort.
“I remain, gentlemen, yours very truly, G. M. Scott. Glasgow, July 12, 1849. (Monthly Homeopathic Review, volume 31 page 319. World’s Convention Volume 2, page 107. British Journal of Homeopathy, Oct., 1849).