Sue Young Histories

Charles William Luther 1811 - 1876

September 27, 2008

Charles William Luther (Carl (Karl) (Karrol) Wilhelm Luther) 1811? - 1876 was a German orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy, and he was the first person to introduce homeopathy to Ireland in 1839.

Charles William Luther was a colleague of Michael Greene, Joseph Kidd, William Barclay Browne Scriven, Arthur de Noe Walker and many others.

The history of Charles William Luther has been expanded by the *amazing detective work done by Rhoda Ui Chonaire in her article The Luther Legacy: homeopathy in Ireland in the 19th Century in the The Journal of the Irish Society of Homeopaths Anniversary Issue October 2010 pages 17 – 24.

Charles William Luther was the house doctor to John Campbell 1st Baron Campbell in Nice in 1833, where he had ’so many cures that the Medical College of the University of Nice ‘prohibited his practice”, so he moved to Paris in 1935.  Samuel Hahnemann and his wife Melanie also moved to Paris in 1835, and *Charles William Luther was a friend of Samuel Hahnemann there.

*In 1836, Charles William Luther published Allopathy and Homeopathy or the usual medicine and the Hahnemannian doctrine (published in English). *In 1838, Charles William Luther brought homeopathy to Ireland. *In 1840 Charles William Luther may have spent some time in England as his pamphlet Homeopathy Explained and Objections Answered was published there.

Charles William Luther *returned to Ireland and set up his homeopathic practice in 1841 when John Campbell 1st Baron Campbell became Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

Charles William Luther worked at the Dispensary of the Irish Homeopathic Society (Dublin Homeopathic Dispensary) at 31 South Anne Street Dublin with Arthur Guinness, William Barclay Browne Scriven and Arthur de Noe Walker,

In 1845, Charles William Luther was a *founder member of the Irish Homeopathy Society and he wrote A Concise View of the System of Homeopathy.

In 1848, Charles William Luther and the Sisters of Mercy had instituted a Homeopathic Hospital in Dublin with sixty beds for the treatment of the poor.

In 1849, Charles William Luther and Gustavus Adolphus Luther *inherit an estate in Nudersdorf in Germany.

In *1853, Charles William Luther was practicing in England where he was a Medical officer at 1 Southwick Crescent Oxford Square (?London ) and 18 Orchard Street (?London), where he was very active in trying to establish a Metropolitan Homeopathic Hospital for the Diseases of Children, writing for various homeopathic journals, and he was involved in the establishment of the British Institute of Homeopathy in 1853 - he was their 1st Chairman.

In 1856, Charles William Luther *retired from practice and returned to Germany, though he eventually died in Southwick near Brighton. His Obituary is in the London Homeopathic World and written by Richard Tuthill Massey.

The first English translation of the Organon was done by Charles H Devrient and edited by Samuel Stratten in Dublin in 1833.

The Irish Homeopathic Society was founded on April 10, 1845. A book published in 1848 lists 40 members of the Committee of the Irish Homeopathic Society and three medical attendants of the Homeopathic Institution: Charles William Luther, Gustav A Luther and William Walter.

In the 1895 Homeopathic Medical Directory we find two homeopaths in Ireland. By 1930 the number rose to four. The Irish Homeopathic Society was (re) formed in 1990 to represent the professional homeopaths in Ireland. In the mid 1990s there were almost 30 physicians using homeopathy in Ireland, 89 professional homeopaths on the Society Register, and an unknown number of lay prescribers.

In 1835, Charles William Luther wrote an essay which was included in John EppsHomeopathy and Its Principles Explained.

In 1852 Charles William Luther wrote:

Luther also writes regarding this bust, as follows: I have just seen last week’s Homeopathic Times, and hasten, both for the sake of the credit of Homeopathy and as a mater of pious duty towards the memory of our great and good master, to correct the erroneous impression which your correspondent in your last number seems to have received with regard to the person of the name of Hahnemann, who was in Dublin in 1823.

This personage was not the ” great Hahnemann ” himself, but his only son, Frederick Hahnemann, a man of a certain amount of talent, but very eccentric in his opinions and conduct. When shortly after the appearance of the Organon, Hecker criticized the new doctrine with great severity in his Annalen, Samuel Hahnemann as usual remained silent; but his son Frederick Hahnemann undertook the defense of Homeopathy, 1811).

This task he performed but indifferently. He also occasionally assisted his father in his investigations of the pathogenetic properties of various medicines; however, he does not seem to have risen above mediocrity. His restless disposition and eccentric habits, as well as domestic circumstance, induced him to leave Germany.

He went to Dublin, not to practice Homeopathy, but for the avowed and exclusive purpose of curing epilepsy. In this, if report can be trusted, he frequently succeeded; but his professional conduct exceeded even the ordinary limits of oddity and eccentricity, to make use of the mildest terms.

He soon left Dublin again, and when Samuel Hahnemann, for the last time, heard anything about him he was somewhere in the West Indies. You may rely upon this account, as I have heard, during my long sojourn in Dublin, and from the most authentic sources, a great many particulars which were very far from flattering, and always embarrassing, as people, like your correspondent, were apt to confound the two Hahnemanns.

Besides this I had, in April, 1843, a long conversation with Samuel Hahnemann himself on this very subject. I was on the point of starting on a tour through North America, and intended to return by the West Indies.

Although Samuel Hahnemann had great reason to be dissatisfied with his son, and seldom spoke of him, it would seem that his then weak state of health, from which he told me he would never rally, had softened his paternal heart, and he evinced great anxiety that I should make extensive inquiries in the West Indies about his lost son. Circumstances, however, prevented my returning by that route.

Possibly Frederick Hahnemann is still alive, and may be met with by some of our numerous transatlantic friends. When I asked Samuel Hahnemann how I should know him, he said: He cannot deny his father as to features; he is humpbacked and eccentric in dress, manner and habits. These brief particulars about Frederick Hahnemann will, I trust, be sufficient for all public purposes. I remain your obedient servant, Charles William Luther. Dublin, Aug. 28, 1852.

In 1853, Charles William Luther wrote to Edward Bulwer Lytton about this satirical sketch “My Novel”, Or, Varieties in English Life.

The Lung Disease of Cattle; or pleuro pneumonia cured by homeopathy, Henry Turner 1856 discussed some work done by William Haycock, who first noticed this disease in 1842, George Edward Allshorn, Charles William Luther and John Rush, who also had experience treating this disease.

Farmers had been losing thousands of cattle to this disease, Charles William Luther estimated that 6 out of every 10 cattle so affected could be cured. Peter Stuart also was using homeopathy at this time and treated up to 180 cows with this disease, saving about 130 of them. George Edward Allshorn used aconite and bryonia and estimated he had saved 17 out of every 20 cows he treated.

Charles William Luther wrote A Concise View of the System of Homeopathy, & Refutation of the Objections,

Of interest:

Gustavus Adolphus Luther - 1856, brother of Charles William Luther, Heinrich Waldemar Luther and John Christian Luther, *accompanied Charles William Luther to Dublin and also became a founder member of the Irish Homeopathic Society. Gustavus Adolphus Luther and Charles William Luther were the 3 Medical Attendants of the Dublin Homeopathic Dispensary alongside Arthur Guinness.

*John Christian Luther 1816 - 1849, MD St. Andrews 1846 was the 3rd son of J C W Luther (a close friend of Samuel Hahnemann) and the brother of Charles William Luther, Gustavus Adolphus Luther and Heinrich Waldemar Luther. John Christian Luther moved to live in Ireland in 1844, and thence to England in 1845 where he settled in Bath as a homeopathic physician in 1846 (at the Bath Homeopathic Dispensary), but unfortunately contracted typhus and died aged 33 in 1849.

Heinrich Waldemar Luther **- 1896, brother of **Charles William Luther, Gustavus Adolphus Luther and John Christian Luther.  In 1850, he was a *Medical Officer at the Bath Homeopathic Dispensary

  • *taking over from his brother after John Christian Luther’s untimely death), Heinrich Waldemar Luther was also a colleague of William Barclay Browne Scriven at the South Anne Street Dispensary alongside Charles William Luther, and he was the *proprietor of a Hydropathic establishment at Johnville, near Tallaght, and the Medical Officer at the Cardiff Homeopathic Dispensary in 1861, and he was a practicing homeopath in Cork in 1872, where he was associated with a Turkish Bath specifically established for the poor. (The history of Heinrich Waldemar Luther has been expanded by the *amazing detective work done by Rhoda Ui Chonaire in her article The Luther Legacy: homeopathy in Ireland in the 19th Century in the The Journal of the Irish Society of Homeopaths Anniversary Issue October 2010 pages 1__7 – 24).