ARE BACILLI ANYTHING NEW?
[Lucifer, Vol. VIII, No. 44, April, 1891, p. 111]
Truly may one query in the words of Solomon: “Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new?” Thus, it is to the modern discoverer and the proud patentee, that the wise words in Ecclesiastes apply: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done, is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the Sun” [i, 9-10]. Koch and Kochists, and all ye modern Attilas of that interesting creature called Microbe and Bacillus, and what not, down with your diminished heads, you are not its discoverers! Like as the heliocentric system was known thousands of years before the Christian era to be re-discovered by Galileo, so the invisible foreigners on which you are now making a raid, were known in dark antiquity. The infinitesimal insect you are insectating is spoken of by a Latin poet in the first century B.C. Just turn to the pages of P. Terentius Varro (Rerum Rusticarum, I, xxi, 3, 39 B.C.) and see what the famous Atacinus says of your tubercular and other bacilli:—
“Small creatures, invisible to the eyes, fill the atmosphere in marshy localities, and penetrating with the air breathed through the nose and mouth, into the human organism, cause thereby dangerous diseases.”
Just so: the thing that hath been, it is that which is.