The Cunning of the Serpent.
Selected writings of John King.
Dr. King accuses the regulars of his day of perfidy and lack of sincerity in attempts to act covertly in the gaining of special legislation under the guise of health regulations establishing Boards of Health and Sanitary Commissions. The Eclectics and Homoeopaths of this day are no more assured of the good intentions of the promoters of such measures than were the so-called irregulars of Dr. King's time. No one can well object to measures to insure, protect, and improve the public health, so long as every man is dealt with fairly. If the advocates of the establishment of a National Bureau of Health will include in the statutory provision for it a clause stating that such a measure shall in no way infringe upon the forms or methods of medical education, then it is possible to have some uniformity of movement by which such a measure may be obtained if it is found to be demanded for the public good. If, however, it is to create places of emolument and power for certain persons of the dominant school, only continued opposition may be expected. At the present time it looks as though all such movements may be defeated through dissensions among the forces belonging to the regular school. That is their own fight, however, and all that the Eclectic and Homoeopath is concerned in is that which John King contended for, "sacred rights of the individual and constitutional liberty." Those who resort to artful cunning in this matter of regulation would do well to heed a truth from the sayings of Confucius: "Advance the upright and set aside the crooked, then the people will submit. Advance the crooked and set aside the upright, then the people will not submit."—Ed. Gleaner.
THE CUNNING OF THE SERPENT.— "Again, as an inducement to forward the successful passage of their petitions for pseudonymous State Boards of Health or State Sanitary Associations, they have held out the idea that they have no wish to disturb the colleges of 'irregular physicians' but to prevent men from practicing medicine who have not attended college lectures and received their diplomas. My friends, for us this is a battle for principle, for liberty, in which the lukewarm man is more than half a traitor. Now let us examine: when the bills heretofore presented to the Legislatures of our several States, petitioning for laws that would deprive men of that practice and that business through which they were not only doing much good to others, but also honorably and conscientiously earning bread for themselves and their families, and in which acts they had for years been protected by their State governments and by the Constitution of their country, and which laws, if enacted, would now and hereafter render these loyal citizens criminals, liable to oppression, prosecution, fines, and imprisonment—when these bills failed of being passed, these Old School petitioners ingeniously invented State Boards of Health and, more recently. State Sanitary Associations, anticipating of course that every one would consider such Boards or Associations very desirable and necessary. But, mark you, with the cunning of the serpent that betrayed humanity, they introduced sections into these bills empowering these Boards to regulate medical schools and medical practice within the State and to compel all physicians to register and thus subject themselves to the espionage of these 'regulars,' an espionage, however little to be feared, yet conducted in a perfidious and malevolent manner, or else to be punished as criminals. And indeed this is their paramount object—sanitary regulations, study of epidemics, vital and mortuary statistics, being nothing more than a thin glossing or sugar-coating of that old scheme to bolster up by legislation a school of medicine thus confessedly unable to exist by its own merits."—KING, Address on Special Medical Legislation, Eclectic Medical Journal, 1884.
The Biographies of King, Howe, and Scudder, 1912, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M. D.