At the first convention of the American Hygienic and Hydropathic Association, held in 1850, the majority of the members present thought it wise that all future members of the society should have received the degree, M.D., or a legal license before being admitted to membership. There were those who held that conformity to medical usages would give the society the stamp of respectability, and others who held that they should not stand upon the musty precedent of the past, or practice the exclusiveness of the other schools by adopting a rule which would exclude from the society the founders of Hygiene and hydropathy and many of their more eminent disciples, much less that a body of Hygienists and hydropathists should make a diploma from an allopathic school, or a license from an allopathic board of examiners, the test of membership.
On the one side, the speakers contended that the old conservative ground was the highest, or at all events, more expedient. On the other hand, those dissenting held that the more liberal course of the society, being its own judge of the qualifications of its members, was the more noble, self-reliant and respectable. Dr. Thomas Low Nichols, who was secretary of the association, makes the following comment on this in his report of the transactions: "In performing my duty as Secretary of the convention and of the Society, in reporting the above proceedings, I take the opportunity of personally entering my earnest protest against the principle embodied in the second section. I view it as falling behind the spirit of the age, truckling to the low forms of the schools of medicine we are exterminating and utterly opposed to the liberal and enlightened public sentiment upon which all the success of our system of practice depends."
Had Jesus advised his followers to first graduate from a rabbinical school as preparation for preaching Christianity or had Martin Luther advised all young would-be Lutheran preachers to graduate from a Catholic college for training of priests before they could preach Protestantism, if these men had said to their followers: get your degree from a "respectable" college and earn the "right" to preach by acquiring the theology of the older and "recognized" theological schools, they would have adopted the same thing that these would-be Hygienists who study allopathic medicine as a preparation to practice Hygiene are doing. If one may best fit oneself for the fidelity and responsibility of marriage by a few years of libertinism or harlotry, then one may best fit oneself for the practice of Hygiene by graduating in allopathic medicine. First learn the techniques of poisoning the sick and you will be prepared to give them intelligent care!
In the March 1853 issue of The Esculapian, an allopathic medical journal, C. D. Griswold, M.D., its editor, records that the allopathic colleges of the period had adopted means to prevent men from getting into and graduating from such colleges who did not intend to practice allopathic medicine after graduation, but who wanted a medical degree under which to practice hydropathy or some other "healing art." He said that these men wanted the medical degree so that they might "parade it before the community as an evidence of respectability, and to obtain a living thereby," but that, "at the same time," they "turn traitor" to the "institution to which they owe their position." He accused these men of hissing and stinging the Alma Mater that gave birth to their professional existence. "Surely," he declared, "the mother has a right to protect herself against the venom of such offspring."
This determination of the allopathic colleges to protect themselves against the "venom" of men who acquired the medical degree under which to practice some non-allopathic "healing art" grew stronger and ultimately reached the point where a graduate of another school, even though possessed of the medical degree, could not graduate from an allopathic college. A homeopath who wanted to also study allopathy was denied entrance into an allopathic college. The same was true of the eclectic and the physio-medicalist. As graduates of their respective schools of medicine, they already possessed the medical degree. They did not need to enter and graduate from an allopathic college to display the degree, Doctor of Medicine. Some of these men wanted to study all the medical systems, thinking that, thereby, they would be better fitted to care for their patients. But the antagonisms between the medical cults was so great that this soon became impossible.
After his graduation from the Cincinnatti Eclectic Institute, a college of eclectic medicine, Dr. Tilden sought to enter an allopathic college in New York City. He was advised by Dr. Austin Flint, its head, that by paying the regular fee he could attend as many lectures as he might desire at the college, but that no man who had taken the degree from any school of medicine save the allopathic could graduate from the college. In those days it was not enough to be a pill roller; you had to be trained in rolling your pills in the fashion approved by "my school." This allopathic school, which keeps the uninformed public believing that it originated with Hippocrates, is actually but one of dozens of medical schools that have arisen from the days of the Father of Physic. It is but a little more than a hundred years old. But early in its career it developed a high and mighty attitude towards all the other schools of drugging.
The homeopaths, the eclectics, the physio-medicalists, the chronothermalists and the remnants of the prior schools that still existed, might have had a tendency towards liberalism--not so the allopaths. The humoralists, the solidists, the vitalists, the Brunonians, the colonists, were all still in existence when allopathy, which was given its name by Samuel Hahnemann, creator of homeopathy, emerged from a coalescence of the medical cults of the period. There were no allopathic schools at the time Dr. Jennings studied medicine and he tells us that he entered upon his professional duties under the flag of Cullen, having studied medicine under the celebrated Prof. Ives of Yale. Benjamin Rush, who was looked upon as the father of American medicine, had studied under Cullen.
Today the chiropractic profession has taken a leaf from the allopathic book and is doing much the same thing. Some of the state societies will not admit a chiropractor, even though licensed, to membership if they find that he has anything to do with Hygiene. A chiropractor may give drugs or dabble in the various modalities of so-called physical medicine, or he may humbug his victims with radionics and remain in good standing; but if he shows any signs of returning sanity, he does not belong. The chiropractic straight jacket is rapidly becoming as galling as the one in which the medical society keeps its members.
Why does a man study regular medicine as a preparation for the practice of Natural Hygiene? Why does he pour over a great mass of material that he can never use as a Hygienist and waste time learning subjects that are but rank voodooism? Primarily because he lacks the guts to stand on his two Hygienic feet and fight it out with the medical profession; secondarily, because he suffers with an inferiority complex. He thinks that the man who has studied pharmacology, therapeutics, bacteriology, etc., etc., has some advantage over the man who has studied dietetics, kinesiology, fasting, etc. He thinks that the medical degree carries with it a prestige that a degree in Hygiene lacks and he wants that prestige. He thinks if he can display M.D. after his name, he will be respected and people will patronize him. He also thinks that if he has a medical license he can practice Hygiene without any interference from the medical profession. He is so determined to obtain a medical degree and a medical license that he cannot be made to understand that the medical society will not permit him to practice Natural Hygiene.
He discovers, when he gets out of line, that the profession, ever watchful of its members who show signs of deviation, will throw him out of the medical society, will deny him hospital privileges and will deny him defense in malpractice suits. They will blacken his reputation and in other ways make life hard for him. They have even been known to frame such men and get their license revoked. Men who practiced medicine for years, who were respected members of the profession, who held high positions in the society, were professors in medical colleges, etc., found, when their eyes were opened and they tried to break away from the traditional practices, that they were driven out of the profession. Newcomers with no standing have an even more difficult row to hoe.
Writing in the September 1858 issue of the Journal, A. T. Compton, M.D., said that for medical men, with only an education in a false medical system, and for the layman, with no education at all, "to undertake to use and understand the principles and practices of 'Hygeio-Therapy' by reading a book or report of some cases treated . . . is all sheer nonsense, and in the end will prove a bitter disappointment, if not a positive injury." Thus does he emphasize the importance of a thorough Hygienic education if one wants to practice Hygiene.
In 1853 the first term of the New York Hydropathic and Physiological College, founded by Trall, was started. A few years later, when the college was chartered by the state of New York, it was chartered as a college of Hygeio-Therapy, although it gave the degree Doctor of Medicine.
Wilder's History of Medicine, 1899, says: "Colleges of Hygiene for the instruction of students have been established in St. Louis, Cincinnatti, and other places, beginning their career with encouraging prospects. The founder at St. Louis was Miss Susanna W. Dodds, a physician of merit and intelligence, abundantly capable of bringing her views into successful realization. The courses of study include the branches of knowledge usually taught in medical colleges, together with Hygiene, Sanitary Engineering and Physical Culture. But the professional hostility encountered, and the general indifference stood in the way of success, and most of these institutions now confine their operations to professional service."
The college established in St. Louis by Dr. Dodds lasted only about three years. After its closing, Dr. Robert Walter made an effort to establish a college in Pennsylvania. The effort failed. One of the greatest needs of the present is a college of Natural Hygiene. At the present time no adequate means are available for training new Hygienic practitioners. The field is ripe and ready for the reapers. There is a growing demand for Hygienists and there is need to make Hygiene available to everybody.
We would urge all those who have a love for Natural Hygiene to unite in establishing a college to equip men and women to serve our people in a truly Hygienic way. Natural Hygiene is everything that it pretends to be and, in spite of the lies about it and is spite of its enemies and the wickedness and ignorance of the wolves in sheep's clothing, who prowl upon its friends, let us show the world that we are united and that we are determined. All of you who have been snatched from the brink of death by the adoption of Natural Hygiene should be anxious to assist in the establishment of such a college. Help make it possible for your friends and relatives to secure Hygienic care and instruction. All that we ask of those who firmly believe in Natural Hygiene is that they help us establish and maintain a college for the dissemination of the principles and practices of a true Hygiene.