M. Pasteur made an interesting communication to the Paris Academy of Sciences 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 affection 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 soon 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 different 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 Pasteur’s inoculation.
Given 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 initiated 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 likes. 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 empiric fact by Jenner, and ever since practised as such. Pasteur gets, perhaps, a little further 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. Pasteur’s experiments presently.