The principal experiment that I shall attempt will consist in taking from my kennels twenty dogs insusceptible to the disease, and placing the same in comparison with twenty ordinary dogs. I shall then have all these forty dogs bitten by a number of dogs in rabid state. If the facts that I have enunciated are exact, the twenty dogs that I believe to be proof against the disease will remain healthy, while the other twenty will become affected.

IN the April number, 1884, of the Homoeopathic World, there appeared the following communication to the Editor :.


Dear Sir,-If the italicized is not Homoeopathy, what is it ?.

Thos. Skinner, M.D.


M. Pasteur made an interesting communication to the Paris Academy of science on Monday in relation to canine madness. His experiments had shown him that an injection in the region of the skull of the virus of rabies always produced the malady in an acute form, but that an injection in the veins only occasionally had acute results, being often followed by chronic infection only, without barking or ferocity.

If a dog were inoculated with fragments of marrow or of nerve taken from a mad dog, the disease would be communicated. M. Pasteur further stated that he had rendered twenty dogs proof against the disease by inoculating them with other virus than the virus of rabies. Fowls and pigeons injected with the latter became affected, but recovered spontaneously.

“If the italicized is not Homoeopathy, what is it ?” Just so, what is it?.

I think a little reflection will show that it belongs in the sphere of preventive medicine, and is not Homoeopathy, i.e. it is an extension of the principle of similars to the prevention of disease.

Many other ardent homoeopaths besides Dr. Skinner have claimed that vaccination is a proof of the truth of homoeopathy; that it is, in fact, part and parcel of it. Evidently this is from the want of a little thought on the subject, since it must be manifest that such is quite impossible, for the simple reason that homoeopathy is a system of curing-similia similibus curantur-whereas vaccination is not a curative measure at all, but a preventive one.

And since prevention is, admittedly, better than cure, it must follow that it cannot be the same; therefore vaccination is not homoeopathy, though I shall suggest that it might fitly be termed Homoeoprophylaxis, inasmuch as vaccinia and variola are similar pustular diseases, and the former being preventive of the latter, it may be in obedience to the principle-LIKE PREVENTS LIKE. Being a question of prophylaxis it cannot be classed in any system of cure.

And that likes are prevented by likes, I could adduce very many examples to show, did the narrow limits of this little treatise admit of it. Here it must suffice to differentiate between homoeopathy and homoeoprophylaxis, and to endeavour in a very general way to study a little the true nature of the latter as exemplified in vaccination and analogous facts such as Pasteurs inoculations.

Giving a variolous patient vaccine pus, or lymph (vaccininum) wherewith to cure his small-pox, that is Homoeopathy, and we have ample testimony that it will thus act if given in refracted dose, and thus acting, it can hardly be other than homoeopathic in such action. The law of similars is the groundwork of both; in the one case to prevent, and in the other to cure.

M. Pasteur and others, by their inoculations, are empirically labouring to extend homoeoprophylaxis in the line indicated by Jennerian vaccination, or rather it is a revival of the old inoculation for small-pox, and on a line with syphilization.

We are here met by the dose question, just the same as we are in homoeopathy, or the treatment of disease by the light of the law of like. By the clear light of this same law will preventive medicine also have to march.

But the dose ?.

Jennerian vaccination is in accordance with the principle of homoeoprophylaxis, though only enunciated as an empyric fact by Jenner, and ever since practised as such. Pasteur gets, perhaps, a little farther by advancing along the line of “cultivating”; One cannot help wondering, however, how much pasteur knows of isopathy and of homoeopathy. We will return to M. Pasteurs experiments presently.

THE prevention of disease according to the law of similars – homoeoprophylaxis – is still struggling with its swaddling clothes, but we may reflect on the following:-.

Two similar diseases will affect the organism similarly; they will affect the same parts,organs, or tissues, and in a like manner.

If we call the two diseases a and b, and the organism O, then if a fall upon O, and affect it positively (positive effect = c), this effect of a upon O, c, will be like the effect of b (=d), for a and b are alike.

Now if we admit that the similarity between a and b is enough to render them effectively equal, potentially congruent, then we should say a=b, and therefore c=d. Consequently O+a = O+b, and O+c = O+d.

That is the question for the solution of which we must appeal to scientific experiment, both at the bedside and in the laboratory, as well as to abstract reasoning.

It has frequently appeared to the writer that time and quantity (dose), are not duly reckoned with in the question of the efficacy or inefficacy of Jennerian vaccination; and Pasteur seems also to lose sight of both factors in his own experiments. The great mass of medical men firmly believe that vaccination protects against variola; and, that vaccinia and variola are ALIKE is quite certain; it is only the degree of the likeness that can be subject of dispute, for both are pyrexial pustular diseases.

Statistics of a number of years, nevertheless, show that variola is, in the aggregate, about as deadly as ever, allowing for a natural decrease in its vis by age; this cannot be controverted, so much must be conceded to the anti-vaccinators.

And yet, given groups of individuals are evidently protected for the time from variola by vaccination, and the more recent the vaccinia the greater the temporary protection, provided the effect of the vaccination be not too great, in which case there will be a homoeoprophylactic aggravation, and then there will not only be no protective power, but on the contrary the vaccination will be predisposed to it, i.e. instead of a positive and a negative eliminating one another we shall have two positives to be added together.

Let us express the difference between a vaccinated and an unvaccinated individual by the algebraic quantity x. Now, what is the nature of x? Is it positive or negative? Quoad perfect health is negative, but quoad the organismic individual it is positive, if a diseased condition can be said to be a positive one.

To begin with, it is inconceivable that x should be a CONSTANT FACTOR, which is evidently the general assumption; it must be always a lessening quantity, and x might thus be initially congruent with variola, while it may be at any subsequent point be incongruous.

This really expresses the sum of human experience on the question of the efficacy or inefficacy of jennerian vaccination, though it is it not apprehended; whence the cry for re-vaccination coup sur coup on the one hand, and the want of faith in vaccination on the other, both positive being readily comprehensible if the effect of vaccination be recognized as an inconstant factor.

And from these considerations it must be manifested that the protection afforded by vaccination will be different in different individuals, and diminishingly different in the same individual, and always growing less and less until it is nil. Thus x might today be preventively equal to variola in an endemic form, but not equal to it in epidemic form, but not equal to it in epidemic form. In other words the protection afforded by x is relative and contingent. Moreover, if the vaccinosis be too great i.e., too powerfully diseasing, it not only cannot protect, but must actually add fuel to the flames.

We thus appear to arrive at the conclusion that vaccination does relatively and contingently protect from small pox as a disease, but nevertheless, mortality from small-pox remains in the aggregate the same, but in a greater percentage. That is to say, fewer people probably get small-pox but the absolute number of deaths is not affected, or is greater.

In pro-vaccinational and anti-vaccinational literature, morbility and mortality are commonly confounded together. We have no means of knowing how many people get small-pox, either absolutely or proportionately, we only know how many die of it. Therefore all the vaccination statistics are wide of the mark except perhaps those in certain hospitals.

The pro-vaccinators maintain that vaccination protects from variola, because they see that, as a general rule, the vaccinated do not get small-pox. The anti-vaccinationists say, “Oh! but a good many of your vaccinated persons do get small-pox nevertheless, and the mortality from small-pox is as greater as ever, or greater than ever!” Both sides are honest; both are apparently dealing with facts; both are striving after truth, and collectively they spend enough human energy to enrich a nation or colonize a continue. Where then is the missing link?.

While writing this, an ardent bacterist, Dr. H. Thomas of Llandudno, very kindly sends me a clipping from the Athenaeum of March 15th, 1884. It runs thus:.

M. Pasteur and his fellow labourers communicated to the Academic des Sciences on the 9th of February the important fact that by inoculation with the virus taken from mad dogs they can render all dogs absolutely safe from the effects of rabies, in whatever way and in whatever quantity the virus may be administered.

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.