(Published in SDHA Chronicle - April 2009)
As the days, gone by, there was situated in Upper Saxony a beautiful town called Meissen ; it was the capital of the Margravate of Misnia, and was located on the little river Meisse, near its junction, with the stately Elbe, in a fertile valley rich in corn and vineyards, and was about twelve miles northwest of the city of Dresden.
Upon the outskirts of the village, not far from the old Albrecht Castle, stood a long, plain building of three stories in height, that towered high above its neighbors, and was known as the Eck-haus.
(Hahnemann’s Birth Place, Meissen)
This house, on the 6th of April, 1753, one Christian Gottfried Hahnemann bought from the master-smith Lohse, for the sum of 437 thalers, and set up his household gods within its walls.
On the ground floor, in a corner room whose two large-shuttered windows looked out on the Market Place, there was born upon the 11th of April, 1755, to the wife of the painter Hahnemann, a son, whose wonderful fortunes in life are now to be related.
Wait.. wait.. wait….. Was it 11th of April or 10th of April 1755?
We have been reading from the very first year of BHMS that Hahnemann was born on 10th of April 1755. We have been celebrating Hahnemann’s birthday on 10th April…. But was it really 10th of April or was it 11th of April.
There’s a controversy about the date of birth of Hahnemann from so many years. Here’s an attempt to solve this controversy…
The baptismal register of Meissen contains the following record:
(British Journal of Homeopathy, Vol. 13, p. 525)
"Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, born on the morning of the 11th of April, of 1755 ; baptized the thirteenth day of April of the same year, by M. Junghanns.
Father, Christian Gottfried Hahnemann, painter.
Mother, Johanna Christiana, born Spiess."
The worthy pastor, M. Junghannes, was of the Lutheran faith, and the infant was baptized on the Sabbath after its birth according to those tenets.
The date of Hahnemann's birth has usually been given as the 10th, and not the 11th of April. The town register gives the 11th, and at the celebration at Meissen, in 1855, of the hundredth birthday, the 11th was the day selected.
The physicians of Saxony have claimed the 11th of April 1755 as Hahnemann’s date of birth, because it is thus entered in the church register of Meissen.
The entry in the church register in the Frauenkirche in Meissen is however, irrefutably positive and clear; for the sign ♀ after “born” indicates the day of the week, the day of the planet to which thish sign belongs – Venus – that is Friday; and the 11th of April was actually a Friday. The keeper of the register had therefore entered this date quite intentionally, and it cannot be accounted for as merely an error or matter of negligence, even though the reliability of this register is not above question (see his careless way of writing the name Hahnemann, sometimes with, sometimes without “h”, sometimes with one “n”, sometimes with double “n”; also the way in which his data do not tally concerning the “eldest” son of Christoph Hahnemann in supplement 2, and the false entry of the father’s Christian name – “ Christian Friedrich” instead of “ Christian Gottfried”, in Supplement 4). It may be supposed, however, that the entry was based upon the midwife’s report. This is supported by the fact that the godfathers were not entered directly, although the baptism took place on the second day, which was Sunday. That is so unusually soon, that we must conclude the condition of the child’s health must have necessitated a hurried baptism. Under these circumstances it is possible that the father did not make the notification himself.
While Samuel Hahnemann, probably according to the tradition in his home, gave the time of his birth as shortly before midnight, the entry in the church register speaks of “early” morning on the 11th April, there is, therefore, only a difference of less than an hour between them. It is regrettable, and remains so, that this difference in the announcement of the time has been rendered immortal; for instance in the Hahnemann monument at Washington, the 11th of April has been retained as the date of birth.
( Hahnemann’s Monument at Washington
Dr. Arthur Lutze writes in his report of the celebration of Hahnemann’s hundred birthday:
“On the 10th of April, 1855, the actual hundredth birthday of Samuel Hahnemann was celebrated in Cothen, by the solemn unveiling of a magnificent statue of the Master which is a good representation; it is situated in the Park of the Clinic. The physicians of Saxony have claimed the 11th as his birthday, because it is thus entered in the church register of Meissen. But I have ascertained from Hahnemann’s own daughter that he, hahnemann, was actually born on 10th of April. It would, therefore, be incorrect and unsuitable that on account of an error, committed by a beadle one hundred years ago, it should be postponed. Every true follower of Hahnemann will celebrate it like his Master on the 10th.”
The Life and Letters of Dr Samuel Hahnemann by Thomas Lindsley Bradford
British Journal of Homeopathy, Vol. 13, p. 525
Samuel Hahnemann: His Life and Works, Richard Haehl