Another “Orthodox” Prosecution!
Theosophist, April, 1882
The Asiatic nations have often been accused of holding obstinately to their old routine and customs, and of being the least progressive individuals in the whole world. Gradual civilization alone, it is urged, has the needed potentiality in it, to destroy unreasoned prejudices. Education, only, can force upon the mind of a reviving nation, the conviction that the world and everything in it has to move on, lest that people which should fall asleep over its old ways and customs be outrun by its neighbours, and left in its motionless condition to die the death of stagnation.
All this and much more is preached by the moralists of Europe and America. Unfortunately, for the practical good of humanity, while imitating theoretically that German preacher, who making his naïve declaration to the parishioners, enjoined them to “Do as I tell you and not as I do,” most of those pioneers of progress themselves, the press and others, never fail to practically rap on the knuckles of those who follow out the second part of the wise advice. Neither law, nor educated society, nor yet the majority of the people, ever go apace with the progress of civilization; never at least, so far, as to prove its good results by helping to demonstrate the benefit of an innovation in its practical applications. Old and mouldy laws are allowed to remain without revision or amendment; fetish worshipping society is permitted and even encouraged to fall foul of anyone who disregards those grim old idols of hers, called “Public Prejudice” and “Conventional Respectability”; while the common herd, the plebe, whose innate feature seems to be modelled by the law of atavism upon that of their forefathers the sheep, will follow servilely and blindly its leader—the majority—and try to hoot out of his life any innovator that society condemns as an iconoclast of their cherished routine.
Such thoughts naturally suggest themselves to one who reads the news of another recent prosecution and trial of an honest and a good man. The victim, this time, is one among the most worthy members of our Society: a true brother of the great “Brotherhood of Humanity”—Charles E. Taylor, M.D., a well-known bookseller and a very successful magnetic and homeopathic healer of St. Thomas, West Indies. A few years back, Dr. Henry Slade, a quiet unobtrusive man, a thorough gentleman in his ways and manners, and an honest and sincere Spiritualist, was prosecuted and barely escaped imprisonment with hard labour, for the sole crime of being a wonderful medium and for proving it most effectively to anyone who had a mind to investigate for himself the claim. An old law, which growing civilization had left in disuse to moulder in its archives for over a century, the law against soothsaying and palmistry, was dragged out from its hiding-place for the greater shame of the British code, and made to serve as a weapon to break the medium’s head with. Law is but too often made a convenient mantle, under the cover of which bigotry in all its protean forms revels and chuckles in its triumph over truth. In the case of Dr. Slade, it was the bigotry of dogmatic materialism, under the guise of orthodox science that floored for a short time fact; and Dr. Slade was sentenced under the provision of the wise old law. This once, it is the bigotry of professional rapacity, the envy of a mercenary apothecary that triumphs. In December last, our brother, Mr. Charles E. Taylor, was sentenced at the Town Court of St. Thomas, “for having practised animal magnetism and dispensed homeopathic medicine.” True, he had practiced the former for years gratis; he had relieved and cured hundreds of poor patients, to whom, were they to die at the door of the drugstore of the said apothecary, the complainant would not have given his allopathic drugs and pills without being paid for them, while the defendant dispensed to rich and poor his homeopathic medicine free from any charge. His treatment, moreover, as was legally shown, had never proved detrimental to those treated by him. But what does it all matter! The apothecary is a legally licensed leech for bleeding men and their pockets, while Mr. Taylor is but an unselfish practical benefactor of his fellow creatures The apothecary relieves his clients of the weight of their species, while Mr. Taylor relieved them but of their pains and aches—if not as legally at least as effectually. But Law has to countenance licensed robbery, though it has no provision made to force “orthodox” physicians and druggists to refund their money to those whom they do not cure, let alone bring back to life those whom they may legally kill in the course of their legal practice. On the other hand, having once provided for the safety of its monopolists, it is forced to put a check on all those who may be in their way; even though, they do prove, as in the case in hand, that they have alleviated the sufferings of hundreds and thousands of men, rescued more than one life precious to a number of friends and relatives, and thereby as a natural result saved the latter from months and years of cruel mental torture. All this, of course, in the eyes of the all-wise law and social prejudice counts for nothing. Christian law and Christian societies in their pre-eminently Christian lands may conveniently forget in the nineteenth century that the practice of healing by “laying on of hands,” and the “miracles” of mesmerism lie at the very bottom, and are the very cornerstone in the foundation of their faith—as it originated during the first century. Trained in, and accustomed to, as it is, to wallow in the mire of hypocrisy and false pretences, it would be useless to try and have society admit that, were there anything like logic and consistency in the laws of its respective countries, once that such a mode of healing is shown illegal, and mesmeric “miracles” proved no better than a moonshine, their creed, based upon such practices, would crumble down the first, like an edifice pulverized hollow by the white ants. This glaring contradiction between their profession of faith and their bitter opposition, coupled with an insurmountable prejudice to that old mode of healing—hence to Spiritualism and Theosophy—as shown by Christian Society and Christian Law are the legitimate outcome of fifteen centuries of cant and hypocrisy. These facts alone, that while society finds it superlatively respectable to believe in, and accepts theoretically and upon blind faith that which it scoffs at and rejects when shown its possibilities practically; and that law—one of whose duties it is to enforce and protect its state religion—shows nevertheless the most superb contempt for, and practical disbelief in, the efficacy of that which constitutes the very basis of the “miracles” claimed to have been worked by their Christ—would be preposterously ludicrous, were not its daily results so sad and so hurtful to humanity. The pointed remark in a sermon preached by Henry Ward Beecher, that could Jesus come back and behave in the streets of New York, as he did in those of Jerusalem, he would find himself confined in a jail and forced by the city authorities to take a juggler’s license—holds now as good as ever. Law and Society with their boasted civilization become with every day more “like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness.” The paradox that we now find practical Christians but among the atheists, the materialists and the infidel heretics, is rapidly becoming an indisputable theorem. Hence one more victim of disgraceful bigotry supported by the hand of Christian Law.
“Only allopaths, belonging to some recognized university are allowed to practice in these Islands” (of West Indies), writes to us Mr. Taylor. “Formerly not even an allopath was allowed here, unless he had passed an examination before the Board of Copenhagen. The Homeopathic Eclectic or magnetic physicians—not even when diploma’ed—if I may use the term—are permitted to practice here; nor does the apothecary (the complainant) keep homeopathic medicines. Thus, the old fable of the ‘Dog in the Manger’ is repeated . . . I am not unkindly disposed towards him—but there is a limit . . .”
This proves that the laws of Copenhagen need as careful a revision as those of nearly every other country now; and, that Denmark, if it expects to keep apace with progress and civilization, may be as sorely in need of a new codification as it was in the days of its Prince Hamlet. Even Russia abolished the law forbidding the homeopathic physicians to prepare their own medicines, so far back as in 1843. In nearly every large town, the world over, there are homeopathic societies. In Europe alone in 1850 there were already over 3,000 practicing homeopathists, two-thirds of whom belonged to Germany, France and Great Britain; and there are numerous dispensaries, hospitals and wealthy curative establishments appropriated to this method of treatment in every large town, even in Copenhagen itself. At this very day, a revolution is taking place in science, owing to the proofs given by the famous Professor Jaeger of Stuttgart of the marvellous efficacy of the infinitesimal homeopathic doses. Homeopathy is on the eve of being demonstrated as the most potent of curative agents. Figures cannot lie. We send the St. Thomas fogies to the newly invented application by Professor Jaeger—a most eminent physiologist—of the instrument called chronoscope by which his neural-analyses are produced.
At the incipient stage of every useful innovation, its success only increases the enmity of the opponents. In 1813, when after the withdrawal of the allied armies the typhus patients became so numerous in Leipzig that it was found necessary to divide them among the physicians of that city, of the 73 allotted to Dr. Hahnemann, the founder of the homeopathic system of medicine, and by him treated on that method, all recovered except one, a very old man; while the patients under the care of the allopaths died in the proportion of 8 men in 10. To show their appreciation of the services rendered, the authorities, at the instigation of the apothecaries, who conspired to make the former revive against Dr. Hahneman an old law—exiled the doctor who was forced to seek refuge in Köthen in the dominions of the Duke of Anhalt. Let us hope that Dr. C. E. Taylor will find his reward for his invaluable and disinterested services in the end, even as Dr. Hahnemann did for his work. For, after having been the object of ceaseless attacks for over thirty years from those whose pecuniary interests were opposed to the beneficent innovation—as those of our modern allopaths are opposed now to mesmerism in addition to homeopathy—he lived to see Leipzig atoning for its sins and repairing the injury done to his reputation by erecting a statue to him in one of the city squares.