Kenneth William Millican 1853 – 1915

Kenneth William Millican 1853 – 1915, BA Cantab, MRCS England 1879, LRCP Edinburgh 1880, Assistant Editor of The Lancet, was a British orthodox physician with ‘friendly connections (Anon, The North American Journal of Homeopathy, Volume 53, (American Medical Union, 1905). Pages 479-480)’ to homeopathy, Physician at the Margaret Street Infirmary (Anon, Transactions of the … Session of the American Institute of Homœopathy, Volume 44, (American Institute of Homeopathy. Session, The Institute, 1891). Page 937), who also wrote for the Monthly Homeopathic Review, Vice President of the American Homeopathic Ophthalmological, Otological and Laryngological Society (Anon, Homeopathic Eye, Ear, and Throat Journal, Volume 13, (1907). Page 348),

In 1887, Millican was summarily dismissed (Anon, Chemist and Druggist: The Newsweekly for Pharmacy, Volume 31, (Benn Brothers, 1887). Pages 771,772 and 799) from his post at the Queen’s Jubilee Hospital by the allopathic community due to his ‘… liberal views towards homeopathy… (Anon, The California Homoeopath, Volume 6, (1888). Page 104. See also Thomas Hawksley, British Medical Journal, 1887 March 5; 1(1366): 541.PMCID: PMC2534240. Resignation of the Medical Staff of the Margaret Street Infirmary for Consumption)’, which caused a great storm of debate about homeopathy in The Times, which spread around the World, the whole affair was written up in John Henry Clarke‘s Odium medicum and homeopathy (John Henry ClarkeOdium medicum and homoeopathy: “The Times” correspondence, reprinted by permission of the proprietors of “The Times.”, (Homeopathic Pub. Co., 1888)).

In 1888, Millican wrote an article on Infinitesimal Doses for the Nineteenth Century, when he claimed Samuel Hahnemann was a ‘scientist‘, and he was summarily dismissed from his post at the Queen’s Jubilee Hospital, because of this article and due to his association with homeopaths at the Margaret Street Infirmary, (he accepted a position there and participated on the Board of the Margaret Street Infirmary with homeopaths), hired by an unrepentant Edmund Becket Lord Grimthorpe. Millican’s defence was immediately supported by Edmund Becket Lord Grimthorpe (who had initially proposed his name as a Physician at the Margaret Street Infirmary (an Institution boycotted by allopaths due to its homeopathic connections)(Anon, Transactions of the … Session of the American Institute of Homoeopathy, Volume 40, (American Institute of Homoeopathy, 1887). Page 129),

The Monthly Homeopathic Review immediately established a Millican Defence Fund,

This prejudice ultimately resulting in Millican’s decision to leave Britain in 1892 to travel abroad, eventually settling in America where he worked with many homeopathic colleagues in medical publishing (Anon, Proceedings Fortieth Annual Meeting, (American Medical Editors Association, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 92 William Street, New York,June 5th and 7th June 1909)).

Millican practiced in Kineton Warwickshire, and at 58 Welbeck Street, and in America,

Edmund Becket Lord Grimthorpe was an enthusiastic and ardent devotee of homeopathy, and he wrote to The Times in 1888 to protest against the prejudice of the allopathic physicians in dismissing Kenneth Millican, which resulted in a month long battle of words in The Times, and the whole affair was written up in John Henry Clarke’s Odium medicum and homeopathy, (John Henry ClarkeOdium medicum and homoeopathy: “The Times” correspondence, reprinted by permission of the proprietors of “The Times.”, (Homeopathic Pub. Co., 1888)).

From http://www.homeoint.org/morrell/londonhh/dailpres.htm ‘… In the 40 years ending 1890 during which homeopathy had been practised in England, the columns of the daily Press had but rarely been opened to discussions upon it.

This prolonged silence with regard to a matter that was so intimately connected with the vital interests of the whole community, was broken by The Times in 1881, at the period when Benjamin Disraeli (who was a patient of homeopath Joseph Kidd) lay dangerously, ill; and again in December, 1887, on account of the high handed action of the committee of a newly established institute called the Queen’s Jubilee Hospital against Kenneth Millican, who had been duly elected its surgeon for throat diseases.

The only grievance the committee of the Jubilee Hospital had against Kenneth Millican was that he belonged to an institution where liberty of opinion on therapeutics was accorded to the medical officers.

The committee of the Jubilee Hospital could not find any fault with the practice of Kenneth Millican, but they, nevertheless expelled him and appointed another in his place. Kenneth Millican brought all action against the committee for wrongful dismissal and got judgment in his favour, which judgment, however, was reversed on appeal.

Lord Grimthorpe in a letter to The Times called attention to the bigotry of the committee of the Jubilee Hospital in dismissing an able and competent member of their medical staff for no other cause than his acceptance of a post in another institution where liberty of opinion and practice was allowed to its medical officers.

This conduct he characterised as a flagrant instance of the Odium medicum. A considerable number of representatives of allopathy replied to the letter, protesting that Lord Grimthorpe was altogether wrong in attributing to their side and Odium medicum, and unconsciously proving his accusation up to the hilt by the very strong language they used against homeopathy and its adherents.

After the controversy had gone on for ten days the editor of The Times joined in the fray with a leading article in favour of homeopathy.

This elicited an outburst of still more violent denunciations of homeopathy.

When the discussion had raged in the columns of The Times for another fortnight, the editor closed it with another leading article claiming that Lord Grimthorpe had been successful in establishing his original contention.

The good example set by The Times in treating of homeopathy with the respect and deference it merited was followed by many newspapers and periodicals, both at home and abroad.

The subject excited great interest, even in Australia, and the beneficial effect that this prolonged discussion had on the proper understanding of homeopathy by the general community is felt even at the present day.

Our facetious friend Punch published (January 28, 1888) a humorous account of the battle of the rival schools, in which the partisan of the globule was represented as having the best of the fray… (Mark Lemon, Henry Mayhew, Tom Taylor, Shirley Brooks, Sir Francis Cowley Burnand, Sir Owen Seaman, Punch, Volume 94, (1888))’

Millican was born in Leicester to a father who was an architect and a leading member of the Conservative Party and on the Council of Volunteers. He was educated at Atherstone Grammar School and Emmanuel College Cambridge. His medical training began at St. Mary’s Hospital, and on graduation he became Surgeon to the Ocean Steamship Company, before he began his practice in Kineton Warwickshire, before moving to practice in London.

Millican became the Surgeon and Larygologist at the Margaret Street Infirmary and at the West End Hospital for Paralysis, where he wrote several books and became an amateur actor. He was also Captain of the 9th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps and took a n interest in the Volunteer Movement and in Military administration.

In 1892, he became a Ship’s Surgeon and travelled to Mexico and California (Anon, The British Medical Journal: Kenneth William Millican, B.A.Cantab., M.R.C.S.Eng., L.R.C.P. Edin, Vol. 2, No. 2867 (Dec. 11, 1915). Page 878), where in 1897 he became Assistant Editor for the New York Medical Journal. In 1903, he was the Editor of the St. Louis Medical Journal (where he was elected to the Board (Anon, The British Medical Journal: British Medical Benevolent Fund, Vol. 1, No. 2561 (Jan. 29, 1910). Page 274) of the Municipal Commission on Tuberculosis) (and where he published ‘… liberal and enlightened views on homeopathy…'(Anon, The North American Journal of Homeopathy, Volume 53, (American Medical Union, 1905). Pages 479-480)), and in 1903 he was on the staff of the American Medical Association Journal (where he worked with many homeopathic colleagues), and in 1911, he joined the staff of The Lancet (Anon, Proceedings Fortieth Annual Meeting, (American Medical Editors Association, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 92 William Street, New York, June 5th and 7th June 1909)).

He died in 1915, having been married twice and leaving a wife, a son and two daughters.

Kenneth Millican’s Obituary is in the British Medical Journal 11.12.1915,

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