You do not expect to play chess without learning the game but do expect to able to treat homeopathically without even knowing the homeopathic pawn! Hence my writing you all these reasons for my being a homeopath is a futile farce.



You take exception to the number of remedies used in my last case, and want to know “which cured the case ?”.

Will you get a long ladder and put it up against the side of your house, and mount it so as to get into your house by the top window; and when you have safely performed the feat, write and tell me which rung of that ladder enabled you to do it.

I sympathize with your objection, because it was once my own great stumbling-block in accepting the results of Homoeopathic treatment; it may perhaps be adequately explained somewhere in the literature of the homoeopathic fraternity, but I have never come across such an explanation, and hence have had to work it out for myself.

I will put it to you thus:- In difficult, chronic, complicated cases of disease you require not a remedy but a ladder (series) of remedies, not one of which can of itself effect the cure, but each of which works cure-wards, their cumulative action eventuating in cure-THAT is how I cure cataract, and many other chronic diseases that are currently held to be incurable by most men of all shades of therapeutic opinion.

I regard this power of utilizing a long series of remedies for the cure of difficult chronic cases as only second in importance to the law of cure itself. I originally learned the thing in conversation with Dr. Drysdale of Liverpool, though not formulated by him, and I doubt if Dr. Drysdale ever did formulated it. In my own mind I call it the ladder of remedies plan. It is what I often heard Dr. Drysdale call ” a course of medicines:.

I often compare the cure of a difficult case of disease to a game of chess in which you have king, queen, bishops, knights rooks, and pawns, the various powers of which you must learn before you can play chess.

You do not expect to play chess without learning the game but do expect to able to treat homoeopathically without even knowing the homoeopathic pawn! Hence my writing you all these reasons for my being a homoeopath is a futile farce. I am, in fact, writing to you about chess without your knowing the pieces or even the board !! Still here is my thirty seventh reason.

It is more than a dozen years ago that I, in the North, attended a very wealthy lady, about seventy years of age for acute mania. The friends had, under the advice of the local practitioner, decided to send her to an asylum, but I objected to that course, being very sure she would never come out again. I have had of an asylum myself, and know well that, therapeutically, anyone that goes to an asylum is lost.

They are treated with great kindness, and kept from harm and mischief, but as to curing them well, the “mad doctors” never even try! and, indeed, it is useless to treat the demented allopathically. But good genuine homoeopathy would cure half the inmates of our asylums. You will question my statement, I dare say, but it is the bare simple truth all same. It has been well and learnedly argued in theory and often proved in practice, as you my find for yourself if you will refer to our hereto-relative literature.

Homoeopathic (and other!) practitioners are often hoodwinked by the personal surrounding of a patient, and desperate case is verily no pleasant position to be in, as any physician of the homoeopathic ilk knows but too well.

Now my patient had a lady companion who cast a withering glance at my humble self, and I knew instantly the she would baulk me efforts to cure, unless I prevented it. So I informed her that either she or I must go, or she must solemnly promise to obey all my orders with regard to the patient, “for,” said I, “you do not believe in homoeopathy, do you?” “No indeed, I do not!” And that young ladys look of scorn and contempt!.

Thanks to Baptisia and other common homoeopathic remedies my patient made a complete recovery, and never hand a relapse.

This is my thirty-seventh reason for being a homoeopath, and if ever I lose my reason and become maniacal, great Father in heaven, send me a homoeopathic brother, who will treat me as I treated Mrs. B-.


If you really wish to know the remedies that “did the trick” in my last reason, you have only to look into our literature with humble receptive mind, and you will soon spot them!.

I must get on with task, which is beginning to pall upon me, and I really cannot spare the time.

Not very long after I said goodbye to ex-maniacal patient I was one afternoon sitting in my consulting-room, when who should appear on the scene but the before mentioned lady companion of my said ex-maniacal patient.

James Compton Burnett
James Compton Burnett was born on July 10, 1840 and died April 2, 1901. Dr. Burnett attended medical school in Vienna, Austria in 1865. Alfred Hawkes converted him to homeopathy in 1872 (in Glasgow). In 1876 he took his MD degree.
Burnett was one of the first to speak about vaccination triggering illness. This was discussed in his book, Vaccinosis, published in 1884. He introduced the remedy Bacillinum. He authored twenty books, including the much loved "Fifty Reason for Being a Homeopath." He was the editor of The Homoeopathic World.