Hahnemann’s Death and Burial…
For certain is death for the born
And certain is birth for the dead;
Therefore over the inevitable
Thou shouldst not grieve.
Bhagavad-Gita (250 BC – 250 AD), Chapter 2
OnMarch 24, 1843, Hahnemann fell ill with bronchitis, gradually loosing his strength. He as usual prescribed for himself and when he became too weak to do this recommended the remedies that his wife and Dr. Chatran should use. Patiently he suffered the severe paroxysms of difficult breathing peculiar to his disease. This last attack set in with serious bilious diarrhoea, succeeded by an intermittent fever that exhausted him very much. The end came early in the morning, 5 a.m. of Sunday, July 2, 1843 after an illness of six weeks.
It is said that the widow of Hahnemann applied for and received permission to retain his body for twenty days beyond the usual time of interment.
The time of burial was kept a secret by Madame Hahnemann. Many of Hahnemann’s friends inPariswere desirous of testifying their respect for him by attending his body to the grave, but the widow disappointed this wish. Early one morning, a common hearse drove into the courtyard of the mansion; the coffin was put into it and the hearse was speedily driven off to the Montmartre cemetery. The hearse was followed on foot by the bereaved widow; by Hahnemann’s daughter, Madame Leibe and her son; and a young doctor named Lethiere. These were the only mourners. The body was consigned to an old vault, without any ceremony, religious or otherwise.
Hahnemann’s body was embalmed and laid in an exceedingly plain wooden coffin, lined with zinc. A monumental stone, with the inscription: ‘Chretian Frederic Samuel Hahnemann’, on the left side of Section 16 of Montmartre Cemetery, marks the spot where the deceased was laid in his eternal resting place. The grave he was placed in belonged to Melanie Hahnemann. When his widow died 35 years later in 1878, she was buried in a plot next to this atMontmartreCemetery.
Melanie kept the funeral private, and his biographer Haehl implies that she forgot him as soon as he was buried; but this seems at variance with the fact that when Hahnemann’s body was disinterred in 1896 a lock of Melanie’s hair was found round his neck.
By the year 1896, upkeep for the grave of Hahnemann owed 110 francs ($22) was owed to the city of Parisfor care of the grave-site of Hahnemann. Without payment, the grave was to be exhumed. The French authorities could not find the persons responsible for this debt.
Thirty francs a year is the cost of annual upkeep and it was suggested by Dr. Platt, a lecturer at Hahnemann College visiting Paris, to write to his colleagues in Philadelphia and suggest their assistance. The faculty of Hahnemann College commissioned Platt to pay the debts, and to restore the grave, and insure that it was in fact the grave of Samuel Hahnemann. After payment of the debt, Hahnemann’s grave was then registered as the property of Hahnemann College in Philadelphia.
At the meeting of the International Congress of Homeopathic physicians in London in 1896, the proposition was presented by Dr. Brazol of Russia about providing a monument at the newly restored grave. But the plot at Montmartre was not suitable, so it was suggested that his remains be moved to Pere Lachaise, the most beautiful cemetery in Paris. It took 2 years for the arrangements to be complete.
On May 24, 1898, Samuel Hahnemann was exhumed and transferred to Pere Lachaise Cemetery, among “The immortals of France”, along with the remains of his second wife, Marie Melanie d’Hervilly Gohier Hahnemann. Also buried at Pere Lachaise are Jim Morrison, Collete, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Moliere, Chopin, Nijinski, Hector Berlioz, Edgar Degas, Francois Truffaut, Emile Zola and many others.
A monument was raised on his grave in 1900. A similar memorial had been erected in his honour in Leipzigin 1851. The inscription on his monument at the Pere La Chaise, in Paris is as follows,
“STANDING BETWEEN THE INORGANIC
AND THE ORGANIC WORLD
UNITING THEM FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE SICK;
EARNING THEIR GRATITUDE.
LOOKING TOWARDS ETERNITY
BENEFACTOR OF MANKIND.”
Thomas L Bradford, Life and Letters of Hahnemann, 1895
Robert E Dudgeon, The Lesser Writings of Samuel Hahnemann
Richard Haehl, Samuel Hahnemann: His Life and Works, 2 volumes, 1922.