Sue Young Histories

David MacNish 1850 - 1920

September 26, 2008

David MacNish 1850? - 1920? MA, MB, CM Edinburgh was an orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become Assistant Physician to the London Homeopathic Hospital in 1897.

David MacNish was Camille Pissarro’s London homeopath.

David MacNish practiced from 4, Leinster Square, London, W and also at 10, Harley Street, London, W.

David MacNish was a colleague of Edwin Awdas Neatby, Charles Edwin Wheeler, John Weir, Robert Thomas Cooper, R M Le Hunt Cooper, James Johnstone, Ethelbert Petrie Hoyle, Edward M Madden, Henry R Madden, David Dyce Brown, Dudley d’Auvergne Wright and C T Knox Shaw.

David MacNish was Vice President to Edwin Awdas Neatby at the Homeopathic Congress in 1906. David MacNeish was recorded as a Freemason in the Organon Lodge in the Iowa Homeopathic Journal_ _in 1911

David McNish was active in the British Homeopathic Society in 1894, when he read a paper at their meeting. in 1911, he is recorded as a Freemason at the Organon Lodge in the Iowa_ Homeopathic Journal_.

In 1865 Joseph Laurie recorded in his Elements of Homeopathic Practice of Physic that:

DISEASES OF THE DIGESTIVE FUNCTION. The insufficient  supply of food furnished to the inmates of prisons and poor houses causes derangement of the stomach and bowels, want of appetite, from defective secretion of the  gastric fluid.

Chossat says, birds fed with too little corn, but plentifully supplied with water, fail to digest what they take; it is thrown up by vomiting, carried off by diarrhoea, or retained undigested. In cotton factories the hurried manner in which the children eat, and the meagre quantity of food allowed them, prevents their physical development and shortens their lives.

“The greater part of the time allotted them for dinner, and often the whole of it” is occupied by the children in cleaning the machinery; ” no time,” says one author, “was allowed for the breakfast or afternoon meals, which were snatched in mouthfuls during the progress of uninterrupted labor; the refreshments not unfrequently remaining untouched till they became cold, and covered with dust and dirt from the cotton flyings.”

The temperature of many mills is “uniformly 80, 85 or 90 degrees.” As a specimen of the results of this system it was shown before a committee of Parliament that the number of operatives who reach the age of forty is incredibly small.

In 1831 of 1665 persons who “struck” for wages, and whose ages ranged from fifteen to sixty, 1584 were below forty five, three only had attained the age of between fifty five and sixty; and not more than fifty one between forty five and fifty were counted fit to work.

MacNish says, that of 1600 men in the factories of Lanark and Renfrew, no more than ten had reached the age of forty five. Before this age they are too infirm to do the required amount of work, their eyesight fails, and they are turned off to make room for; younger men.

David MacNish was involved with the The Anglo French American Hospital, apparently leaving the London Homeopathic Hospital to work at the Neuilly Hospital in France, and in 1913 he was treating soldiers injured in War alongside Ethelbert Petrie Hoyle.

Homeopathy … was widely practiced during WWI because orthodox management of disease had the capacity to cause iatrogenic illness as a result of the toxic effects of the drugs that were commonly prescribed and were not particularly effective in any case.

It would be true to say that very few medications were truly effective, certainly not in the way that modern medications are today. There was no specific treatment for pneumonia, tuberculosis, angina pectoris, bacterial infections nor a host of illnesses that can now be significantly improved by medication.

A glance at the list of diseases treated by the Anglo French Homeopathic Hospital reveals that nearly all the medical complaints were incurable by the orthodox treatments of the time and all would fare as well as they would if they were admitted to the orthodox General Hospitals. Many would do better because of care that they were given by the dedicated nurses and doctors.

These doctors were all trained in orthodox medicine and knew when to treat by Homeopathic principles and when to treat by standard methods. The Hospital was opened at Neuilly in late 1914 and was disbanded on 15th. March, 1916 because so many of their staff were called up for military service in the RAMC.

During its existence many surgical patients were treated in their operating room as well as medical patients; the Hospital had a particular interest in the care of indigent civilians as well as military patients…

At a meeting of the Acting Committee of the International Homeopathic Council held in London late in 1914, its deliberations included a proposition for the establishment of a Homeopathic Hospital, under military control, for medical cases, on the Western front of the Allies.

The President of the British Homeopathic Society (Harold Wynne Thomas), the President of the previous British Homeopathic Congress (James Johnstone), together with the Vice President of the International Homeopathic Council George Henry Burford, met by arrangement the Chairman of the London Homeopathic Hospital, Robert Henryson Caird, Esq., J.P., to consider the necessary preliminaries.

Their consultation issued in the nomination of a Provisional Committee constituted by representatives of the principal homeopathic activities in Great Britain, and the publication of a statement of the case, with an appeal for funds to those favourably inclined to the work.

Thus did the leaders of British Homeopathy lead, and the response of the English speaking homeopaths the world over was immediate and maintained. Fortified by this support, the Provisional Committee nominated two Commissioners (Dr. Hoyle and Dr. MacNish) to proceed to France to confer with the military authorities there, as well as with the principal homeopathic physicians in Paris.

MacNish wrote about a case of arthritis for The Homeopathic World in

  1. MacNish also contributed to Homeopathic Treatment for Sick Soldiers, an Open letter addressed: ”To the friends of homeopathy in Great Britain” and signed by George Wyatt Truscott and eleven other names, and David MacNish, Secretary to the Provisional Committee in the Homeopathic Treatment for Sick Soldiers by British Homeopathic Society 1915.

Of interest:

History of the Clan MacNeish from The History of the Clan Neish Or MacNish of Perthshire and Galloway By David MacNish, William A Tod (there is no date given for this publication so it is not possible to tell if this is our David MacNish). The Clan MacNish website is here.


Any views or advice in this site should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment, especially if you know you have a specific health complaint