Gyorgy Forgo 1787 - 1835
March 26, 2009
In Toeszeg, a village of the district of Pesth, Forgo was born of poor parents in the year 1787 ; in early youth he had already to look out for his own subsistence. In the year 1805 he attended the University of Pesth, where he found a benefactor in Prof. Szuecs.
Soon after Forgo determined to study medicine, and to cover his expenses he undertook the education of the son of Dr. Eckstein, the Professor of Surgery, in whose house he was treated in the most friendly manner.
On the 5th. of November, 1812, he became a Doctor of Medicine. In the year 1814, he became an assistant of the Chair of Physiology and in 1816 first Physician of the Comitat of Pesth, and member of the Medical faculty. In a short time Forgo, in consequence of his excellent qualities, was one of the most sought for physicians of Pesth.
In the year 1820, Forgo became a Homeopath - a step which at that time, and in his position of first medical officer of the Comitat, could not be taken easily nor without sacrifice, and which presupposed not only a heartfelt conviction of the superior excellence of the doctrine of Samuel Hahnemann, but also a determined firmness of character.
The first impulse toward the study of Homeopathy was given to Forgo by the army surgeon. Dr. Josef Mueller, the Nestor of Homeopathy in Hungary who has done so much toward spreading Homeopathy among the higher classes in Hungary.
Forgo made his acquaintance at a sick bed. Since Forgo, in his first attempts was very successful, and, as he often stated, far more successful than in later times, when he was much more familiar with Homeopathy and the latter was much richer in remedies, his confidence in the doctrines of Samuel Hahnemann necessarily quickly increased.
Particularly decisive for his conviction was the case of an obstruction of many years standing, which was attended by such violent symptoms that the patient at every stool had to be held by two persons.
She assured him that she would rather every time have gone through parturition. Forgo gave her Nux vomica Next day the stool came without the customary fearful pains, but the stool was diarrhoeic and attended with some colic.
Such stools she had three or four times a day and was overjoyed. But Forgo was much vexed when he heard that the army surgeon, Josef Mueller, who knew the patient, had said that the improvement would not last, because the stools were not normal and the whole was only a primary effect of Nux vomica. After sixteen days the stools, in fact, ceased, and the former torturing constipation returned.
The patient then applied to Josef Mueller. He gave her Pulsatilla in the quadrillionth attenuation, and this one dose so regulated the function of the bowels that the lady from that day onward had one stool daily without any attendant trouble.
Forgo from this learned to believe in the efficacy of the quadrillionth attenuation, and also, when his attention was called to it, that there are remedies which can operate for sixteen days, as was the ease with the Nux vomica given by Forgo.
Although Forgo is hardly known by name to homeopathic physicians of other countries, he has nevertheless contributed much to the spread and acknowledgement of the doctrines of Samuel Hahnemann, not only by his conscientious practice of pure Homeopathy, but also through his literary activity.
In the year 1830 he assisted in translating the Organon into the Hungarian tongue.
At the time of the cholera epidemic he wrote in Hungarian about the homeopathic treatment of this disease, and he was a diligent collaborator in The Orvisitàr, a Hungarian medical journal.
An ardent patriot, he was especially active in the advancement of the cultivation of his country’s language and literature; it was owing to this that he was, in 1831, made a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Connected with the office of Physician of the Comitat are inspections of the drug stores. During a journey undertaken for this purpose in the cold season Forgo had to spend the night in a room which had not been heated a long time. Scarcely had he laid down in the cold bed when he was seized with violent pains in the bladder, so that he immediately jumped up again and left his bed. From this moment began a torturing disease of the bladder which tormented him for fully eight years. Only a constitution as vigorous as his own could so long have resisted so tormenting an ailment. At first he treated himself, without any success.
Then he entreated Samuel Hahnemann to help him and under his treatment he really improved so much that he could not be kept back from attending to his official duties relapse caused thereby aggravated anew all his sufferings, and only death delivered him from his unspeakable tortures.
Forgo was a very unruly patient; he never observed homeopathic dieting, always accepted all invitations, smoked very strong tobacco, and, in general, observed neither his own prescriptions nor those of Samuel Hahnemann.
A few days before his death he desired to visit some mineral springs several days’ journey from Pesth, but he did not reach the place, but died on the way, in the house of his friend, Baron Liptay, July 17, 1835.
The post mortem showed indurated anti ulcerated places in the bladder, while its membranes were thickened to such a degree that the capacity of the bladder thus diminished would contain but a few spoonfuls of liquid.
If we had no other data concerning our deceased friend but his last will, this would be sufficient to give us a clear conception of his noble disposition. He left considerable sums to schools, to the workhouse, to hospitals, and to institutions for the blind and for the deaf and dumb: more considerable legacies he left to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, to the Hungarian Theatre, and for the publication of the work of St, Horvath “Concerning the Origin of the Hungarians.”
To the reading room of the physicians of Pesth he willed his library and to the National Museum his collection of natural curiosities. In the year 1826 Forgo came to Ketskemet (where I was stationed at the time as army surgeon) to inspect the drug store there, and he complained that his homeopathic medicines which he carried with him on his journeys acted much more intensely, and more frequently caused homeopathic aggravations than the medicines he kept at home.
Without being able to explain this peculiar experience he was not a little astonished to read two years later in Samuel Hahnemann’s Chronic Diseases the strong effect of the succussion of fluid medicines on the development of their powers, according to the declaration of Samuel Hahnemann.
This fact is, on the one side, a strong proof of Forgo’s acute powers of observation, and on the other hand, of the actual existence of homeopathic aggravations, and, finally, of the potentizing of our medicines through the treatment prescribed by Samuel Hahnemann.
For even if we should suppose the ease that Forgo belonged to those who are accustomed to see everywhere homeopathic aggravations, it remains very significant that he avers that he more frequently observed these aggravations in his traveling case and this at a time when our dilutions were viewed merely as attenuations of the doses and no one had an inkling of the effects of trituration and succussion.
Forgo had the same experience in his conversion to Homeopathy as other physicians. Doctors and apothecaries became his enemies. Especially inimical was the position of Apothecary Pregbard. Several years later this man fell sick, and the Allopaths who treated him advised him to make his last will. In the fear of death he called in Forgo, and he cured him. From this time Pregbard was a warm friend of Homeopathy and of his deliverer, and he founded the well known homeopathic pharmacy with the sign of “The great Christopher.”
In this way we might enumerate many noble actions of Forgo which did equal honor to his mind and his heart, and which were of use to Homeopathy.
In the whole of Pesth, beside his other noble qualities, his strict honesty and love of truth were so well known that the physicians recognized in the fact that Forgo remained faithful to Homeopathy even to his end, a powerful argument for the possible truth of the doctrine of Samuel Hahnemann.
The tombstone of Forgo awakens in the homeopathic physicians of Hungary a sense of double joy and of double grief, as they have lost in him a beloved patriot as well as a most able colleague.
The name is among the list of contributors at the Samuel Hahnemann jubilee of
- It is also on the Zeitung and Quin lists. He was then practicing Homeopathy at Pesth, Hungary.
Pierre Augustus Rapou says of him: Forgo, with the aid of Balogh and Professor Bugath, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, translated into the Hungarian the Organon of Samuel Hahnemann. (Archiv f. d. host, Heilk. vol. 18, Pt, 3, p, 125 Pierre Augustus Rapou, vol. 1, p, 436)
After Samuel Hahnemann’s discovery the theory found enthusiastic followers even in Hungary. The first generation of homeopathic physicians (Pal Almasi Balogh, Jozsef Bakody, Gyorgy Forgo and others) established a successful practice, although the doctrine had been banned in the Habsburg Empire from 1819 onwards.
Thanks to the activity of the so called second generation (Ferenc Hausmann, Istvan Vezekenyi Horner) Samuel Hahnemann’s main work, the Organon was translated into Hungarian (1830) and the first homeopathic hospitals were founded in Koszeg (1833) and in Gyongynos (1838).