Sue Young Histories

Pierre Joseph De Moor 1787 - 1845

February 06, 2009

Pierre Joseph De Moor 1787 - 1845 was an orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy, and he then introduced homeopathy into Belgium.

Pierre Joseph De Moor translated and wrote books on homeopathy, and he found the time to visit Brussels every week to administer to the poor.

However, it was the Cholera epidemic of 1832 that exploded homeopathy onto the World stage.

Pierre Joseph De Moor introduced homeopathy in Belgium. He practiced medicine in his birth town of Aalst and sent his son Charles Justin De Moor to Paris in order to follow the classes given by Samuel Hahnemann and Simon, the founders of homeopathy (**Charles Justin De Moor **graduated in 1835).

Pierre Joseph De Moor wrote or translated several books on homeopathy. He also worked freely one day per week in a people’s dispensary in Brussels, where he trained young doctors. He was so estimated in Aalst that all factories of the town closed on his funeral’s day.

In the beginning of the 1830s, the interest for the therapeutic system of Samuel Hahnemann increased within the elite of the medical profession and the upper middle class in the cities.

J G van Rotterdam, the first rector of Gent’s University, his colleagues of Louvain: J M Baudet, V J  Francois, Pierre Joseph De Moor, physician in Alost, L J  Variez, physicians of King Guillaume I in Brussels (chief of the military hospital after 1830 and founder member of the Royal Academy of medicine en 1841) and Dr Frankinet, chief physician at Bavière Hospital in Liège, are the first partisans of homeopathy…

The epidemic of cholera in 1832 brought homeopathy to the fore. Pierre Joseph De Moor and the physicians at the hospice of Alost had been experimenting with homeopathy since 1829, and De Moor had been using homeopathy for his private patients as well as patients of the hospital. Pierre Joseph De Moor can be considered the father of the Belgian homeopathy…

Born at Alost on the 19 th October, 1787, imbued perhaps with the revolutionary spirit that epoch of renewal, Pierre Joseph De Moor was brought up in an atmosphere of agitation. He early devoted himself to his studies, and at the end of a competitive examination he entered, still young, as a boarding pupil in the civic hospital at Biloque Ghent.

He passed brilliant examinations, obtained in the year 1807 the prizes in anatomy, physiology, medicine and surgery, in 1808 the prizes in anatomy, physiology and medicine, and was proclaimed in the same year, laureate in the competition in surgery.

On the 19th of February, 1815, the administrative commission of the civic hospitals of Alost created for his benefit the position of assistant surgeon of the hospital, and in the year 1825, at the (death) of the incumbent, Dr. Roucel, the learned author of the “Flora of the North of France,” his assistant took his place.

In 1817 Pierre Joseph De Moor was nominated with his colleague, Vanderelen, a member of the Committee of Vaccination. Having a spirit accessible to all new discoveries, he contributed by his authority to propagate and cause to be accepted in his native town the immense benefit which Edward Jenner had bestowed on mankind.

Ten years afterward, having been a member of the medical commission ever since its formation, Pierre Joseph De Moor introduced himself a very elementary knowledge of homeopathic medicine by the reading of the domestic and foreign medical journals.

He saw new spheres opening to his spirit. Although has reputation as an allopath was firmly established, and though his practice was large and extended, he did not hesitate to return to his studies by applying himself with ardor to meditate on the vast labors of Samuel Hahnemann and the leading disciples of his school.

It return after two years of assiduous labor that he ventured to speak his application of the homeopathic method. This was in the year 1829. The first attempts of this learned man astounded him through their results, and gave him the conviction that only from this moment he entered on a rational view.

In the year 1832, when the first invasion of the epidemy of cholera broke out, Pierre Joseph De Moor had made sufficient experiences in other diseases to have entire confidence in the homeopathic treatment of cholera.

Charged by the commercial administration with the direction of the infirmary specially devoted to cholera, he treated all his patients according to the new method, and he so much distinguished himself by his zeal, his devotion, his disinterestedness, and particularly by his brilliant success, that the Communal Council resolved by vote that he was a benefactor of his fellow citizens, and besides charged the burgomaster to report to the Government as to the distinguished manner in which the medical director of the infirmary had acquitted himself of his difficult task.

But the unorthodox opinions of Pierre Joseph De Moor were no secret to any one, and it was due to this circumstance, that he did not receive at this time the decoration of the order of Leopold, solicited for him by the communal magistracy.

From that time, Pierre Joseph De Moor formally renounced the ancient allopathic practice, and devoted himself exclusively to the practice of Homeopathy, which, in his opinion, had conclusively proved its superiority in the treatment of cholera. He, therefore, established a homeopathic pharmacy with the intelligent and devoted assistance of the pharmacist Moons; this was the first establishment of the kind opened in Belgium.

The gauntlet was thus thrown down to the ancient method which Pierre Joseph De Moor repudiated publicly, and then there broke out a desperate conflict between him and the allopaths of Alost and of its district.

But Pierre Joseph De Moor, luckily, was cut out for conflicts. He was a man endowed with a rare energy and with an incomparable firmness of character. Armed with strong convictions, founded on a profound and extended knowledge, possessing a vast erudition and great practical ability, and being, finally, a man of consummate experience, he boldly bared his head to the storm.

He remained unshakably true to his opinions, and did not allow himself to be cast down, either by injustice, or by ingratitude, thus recalling the words of Horace: “Impavidum ferient ruinea.”

The mischievous persecutions of all kinds raised up against him were, unspeakable. Being at the same time a liberal, a learned man and a homeopath, he saw himself attacked with an unheard of violence at all points of the compass, and so powerful were these attacks that they called forth the following publication, which emanated from an administration that thereby ignored the service which the homeopath and Homeopathy had rendered to the inhabitants of the town during the epidemic of cholera.

Alost the 18th of October 1837, Administration of the town of Alost, No. 5972. Object: Board of Public Health.


“According to the reports that have come to us, Pierre Joseph De Moor treats the sick under your care homeopathically. We hasten to inform you of this abuse, so that you may at once take measures to put an end to it.

“While these statements appear certain, it also appears that Pierre Joseph De Moor allows himself to practice medicine outside of the circle which is allotted to him. As the oversight of this branch of the service belongs to us, we invite you, gentlemen, to exercise in this regard as far as your establishment is concerned, the strictest surveillance, and to report to us every deviation he may allow himself.”

The college of the burgomaster and the aldermen. Van der Noot. Secretary, D’ Huyghelaere.

To the president and members of the commission of the civic hospitals of Alost.

“The administration of civic hospitals made known this communication to the Surgeon in charge of the hospital and naively expressed to him “the hope that he would be pleased to conform to its contents.”

But no one who knew Pierre Joseph De Moor could hope to intimidate him by such means. He took a firm hold of the public opinion in this matter, and cane forth triumphantly with flying colors after a lively polemic that ensued in the journals of that date in which the physicians of Brussels took part and notably as supporters of the courageous champion of Homeopathy, the Drs. Varlez and Jean Francois Dugniolle.

Pierre Joseph De Moor died on the 4th of December, 1845, far too soon for science, as a consequence of a traumatic disease of the spinal marrow. He has only left behind him n manuscript notes, by which his son and pupil, who is now the learned president of the Belgian Society of Homeopathic Medicine, has large profited.

Dr. Stockman in his History of Homeopathy in Belgium says Pierre Joseph De Moor was about the year 1829 at the head of the courageous men who were rebuffed neither by the difficulties of the under taking nor by the railleries to which they were exposed.

Pierre Joseph De Moor was titular surgeon of the Civil Hospital at Alost (L’ Hom. Militante, vol. I, p. 30. World’s Conv., vol. 2, page 30)

During the year 1871, returning by train after a lesson at the clinic of Gottlieb Heinrich Georg Jahr, Rue de Laeken, in Brussels, some physicians of Flanders decides to found in Gent a Homeopathic Medical Society where, like in the Society of Allopathic Medicine, the physicians homeopaths of the two Flanders would meet, would communicate themselves their interesting cases and by reciprocal advises, would learn mutually.

This idea was a proposition of doctor De Keghel. Doctors Van Ootegem, Prosper Schepens, Lados and De Keghel took part in this decision. Each of them assigned to warn, one or the other colleague of Gent and the other localities of the two Flanders, of the date agreed for one first meeting dedicated to the constitution of the new Society.

Doctors Dumont, Stockman, Van den Neucker, Charles Justin De Moor, Van Ootegem, Prosper Schepens, Lados, Van Peene and De Keghel attended this inaugural meeting…

In 1885, a banquet was offered to (honour the memory of) Charles Justin De Moor on the occasion of his fiftieth anniversary as physician… In January 1889 Charles Justin De Moor is elected honorary president of the Belgian Homeopathic Society…

Pierre Joseph De Moor wrote a Translation of the Hahnemann book, Chronic Diseases, The provings and curative effects of the venom of snakes (translation of Hering), The proving of the Sulphate of quinine, The proving of Cactus Grandiflorus, The proving of Oenanthe Crocata.