By Myra Nissen, CCH, RHSom(NA)
Reprinted from THE AMERICAN HOMEOPATH, V. 16-2010 by permission of The North American Society of Homeopaths.
Late last year, I had the honor of meeting Gilbert von Studnitz, a direct descendant, four times removed, of Charlotte Hahnemann, Samuel Hahnemann’s eldest sister.
Gilbert was born and lived in Germany until he was four years old when he settled in Los Angeles with his mother. He became interested in his family’s history when he was eighteen and staying with his grandmother in Düesseldorf. While searching in the attic he found a suitcase that had belonged to his great-grandparents, which contained old-fashioned portraits, photos, treasures of his family’s past.
Several of the portraits were of Charlotte Hahnemann and her son, Karl Bernhard Trinius. By looking through family papers, talking to relatives, and doing some research online, Gilbert learned that his great, great, great, grandmother, was Charlotte Hahnemann, sister and favorite sibling of Samuel Hahnemann.1 Their parents were Christian Gottfried Hahnemann, a painter and decorator at the Saxon porcelain factory at Meissen, and Johanna Christiana Speiss. After this discovery Gilbert became an avid genealogist and began to research deeper into his past. Gilbert concludes, “There is one thing about genealogy: you will never get to the end of it. It is all about luck and constant research.”
Gilbert’s story sparked my interest in his great, great, great grandfather, Karl Bernard Trinius, a German homeopathic physician who, during his life time positively influenced homeopathy in Russia, and who was to have been Samuel Hahnemann’s favorite nephew.2
Charlotte Hahnemann’s first husband, Johann Anton Trinius, was a Lutheran Pastor and author. Their son, named Carl Bernhard Trinius was born on March 7, 1778 in Eisleben, Germany. Trinius became a distinguished doctor, homeopath, botanist, and poet. He began to study medicine in 1792 first in Jena, then in Halle where his interest turned to botany. Trinius graduated as a Doctor of Medicine in Göttingen in 1802 and as his career developed he become a distinguished physician, homeopath, botanist and poet.
After graduation, Trinius moved first to the German-Russian Baltic provinces and then to Russia. Later, he moved to Hasenpoth, a city in Latvia where he met poet Urlich von Schilippenbach. Trinius married Josepha Boriskovski in 1804 and with whom he had two daughters.
Trinus became the personal physician to Duchess Antoinette of Württemburg In 1808. He traveled with her through Germany and Russia. His travels with her are documented in a letter his mother wrote to Hahnemann on October 17, 1811, that she had seen Trinius: "I saw my youngest son in the cortége of the Duchess of Wurtemberg, on its way from the sea baths to Witepsk, in Russia…"3
After the death of the Duchess he became the physician to the Russian Emperor, Nicholas I .4
By 1830, Trinius had abandoned allopathy in favor of homeopathy.5
In 1831 a controversial report was published on the poor results of homeopathic medicine used in Russian medical hospitals. The report concluded that homeopathic medicine was ineffective when compared to allopathic medicine. The report resulted in a law passed by the State Council in 1833 mandating that homeopathy could be used only in private practice, not in hospitals. A subsequent law had been proposed to forbid the practice of homeopathy entirely. The proposal was rejected and a special committee was formed to investigate the matter further. Trinius was appointed to the committee. On September 26, 1883 the State Council accepted the committee’s proposal allowing the practice of homeopathy and the establishment of homeopathic pharmacies in Russia.6
His work as a botanist is well known. Trinius taught botany at St. Petersburg and later became the principle founder and first director of the Botanical Museum of St. Petersberg.7
He wrote 34 treatises and published a number of important bodies of work. In 1829 he became tutor. During his life he visited the most important botanic collections in the world on behalf of the Imperial Russian Academy.8
The C.B. Trinius Germinea Herbarium
, catalogued in 1994, is an important historical collection containing more than 8,000 sheets and over 1,200 specimens has been.9 The collection has been preserved at the Botanical Museum of St. Petersburg. In 1995, the plant genus of the Umberliferae family was named Trinia in his honor.10
Carl Bernhard Trinius was awarded the Order of St. Stanislaus by Czar Nicholas I of Russia, as well as the order of St. Anna Second Class, the Russian order of chivalry. After suffering a series of strokes, Trinius dies in St. Petersburg in 1844.
A collection of Trinius's poetry was published after his death. Gilbert shared with me a poem that Trinius wrote for his uncle, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (see below). The poem evokes the deep affection, admiration and respect Trinius had for his uncle. The following lines refer to Trinius’s wish for Hahnemann to be surrounded by those in heaven and in the future on Earth who are loyal to his work and teachings, his homeopathic family.
“Will never fading, always new, You also be surrounded by the false ring?
And loyally to the Ancestral line.
Shall the strength of the young branches entwine?”
I want to give special thanks to Lilith C. Meurer, C.Hom.
, Rose City Healing, Portland, OR, and Glibert von Studnitz
for their help translating the poem from German to English.
An meinen Oheim Dr. Samuel Hahnemann Im Namen einiger Verwandten
Karl Bernhardt Trinius
Wir grüßen feiernd diesen Tag Und legen, Vater, uns're Lieder,
Die unser herz voll Andacht sprach,'
Auf Deinen Altar betend nieder.
Und Jeder drückt in Deine Hand
Die Glut, die ihm im herzen brannte,
Wir zieh'n um Dich ein liebend Band,
Wir Deinem herzen nah Verwandte.
Wenn aller Zonen Blumenglanz Die Schimmer seiner Lenze schickte,
Und Feen Macht mit reichstem Kranz
Den Altar Deines Festes schmückte;
Wird unverwelklich, ewig neu
Dich auch der falsche Kranz umringen?
Und um den Vaterstamm getreu
Die Kraft der jungen Zweige schlingen?.
Sieh her, wie voller Jugendkraft, Der Liebe Glanz in ihren Blicken,
Mit innig süßer Leidenschaft
Sich Deine Kinder an Dich drücken,
Und Deines Festes gold'nen Strahl,
Zu Gott gewandt die nassen Augen,
Und seiner Freuden hohe Zahl
Entzückt in ihre Seele sangen.
Wie dieser duft'ge Frühlingssohn, Sanft angehaucht von Geist der Liebe
In tiefen Kelchen, sprossend schon
Die Knospe bricht mit starkem Triebe,
(Die Erde hat im kalten Schooß
Vergebens seine Kraft gehalten)
Soll deines Lebens schönes Loos
Mit junger Anmuth sich entfalten.
Und wenn, nach langgenoss'nem Glück, Die Sonne, die Dein haupt gebleichert,
Dereinst mit abendrothem Blick
Sich in die stillen Fluthen neiget,
So wird um das entblößte Haupt
Der Tochterzweige Laub sich schlagen
Und, dessen Segen Du geglaubt
Dich sanft in seinen Himmel tragen.
To my uncle, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann In the name of a few relatives
by Karl Bernhardt Trinius
We greet this day celebrating And place, father, our songs
spoken devoutly from our hearts,
down on your altar, praying.
And everyone pushes into your hand,
the blaze (passion), which burned in his heart,
we surround you in a loving circle,
we, the relatives close to your heart.
When all zones floral splendor The glimmer of his years, sent
And fairies power with richest wreath
Adorned the altar of your celebration;
Will never fading, always new
You also be surrounded by the false ring?
And loyally to the Ancestral line
Shall the strength of the young branches entwine?
Look here, how full of youthful vigor, The light of love in their eyes,
Intimately with sweet passion
Your children press to you,
And your firm golden ray
The moist eyes turned to God,
And the immense number of His joys
Delighted in their souls sang.
As this fragrant son of spring Gently suffused by the spirit of love
In deep cups, already sprouting
The bud breaks with strong instincts
(The earth's cold bosom
In vain held his strength)
Should your life’s beautiful lot
With young charm itself unfold.
And if, after long enjoyed happiness The sun, that bleached your head,
Hereafter with a gaze of evening glow
Bends itself into the quiet waters,
Thus the bare head will be entwined
by the subsidiary branches of foliage
And, He whose blessing you believed in,
carries you gently to His heaven.
1Bradford, Thomas Lindsley. The Life and Letters of Dr. Sameul Hahnemann. Boericke & Tafel. Philadelphia. 1895., p. 81.
3Bradford, Thomas Lindsley. The Life and Letters of Dr. Sameul Hahnemann. Boericke & Tafel. Philadelphia. 1895; p. 84.
4 Seror, Robert. “Dr. Trinius, C. Bernhard. (1775-1844).” from Pioneers of homeopathy, by Dr Thomas Lindsey. Bradford British Journal of Homeopathy. v. 23. p. 131. http://homeoint.org/seror/biograph/trinius.htm.
5Haehl, Richard. Samuel Hahnemann: his life & work: based on recently discovered State papers, documents, letter, etc. London. 1827, p. 207-208.
6Kotok, Alexander, M.D. The history of homeopathy in the Russian Empire until World War I, as compared to other European countries and the USA: similarities and discrepancies. http://www.homeoint.org/books4/kotok/1230.htm#1240.
7Bart, Selby, Johnston, Babington, Balfour, and Taylor. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History Including Zoology, Botany, and Geology. R. & J. E. Taylor. London. v. XVI. p.424.
81827. Haehl, Richard. Samuel Hahnemann: his life & work: based on recently discovered State papers, documents, letter, etc. London. 1845., p. 208.
9Peterson & Soreng. Trinius Herbarium. Smithsonian National Muesum of Natural History. Department of Botany. http://botany.si.edu/projects/trinius.html.
10Young, Sue. Sue Yong Homeopathy: The Website of a London based homeopath. http://homeopathy.wildfalcon.com.
© 2011 Myra Nissen.
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