The Common Interest.
Selected writings of John King.
If equal rights are vouchsafed by the Constitution to every citizen of the United States, then no qualified physician should be debarred from service in the medical departments of the Government, no matter where he received his medical education. These rights were most flagrantly violated during the Civil War. All should have equal opportunity, for the service is for the common interest. Let Dr. King again speak from The Coming Freeman, p. 13: "The object and the duty of a free government should be, not to annoy, oppress, distress, rob, or persecute its citizens, but to employ all reasonable and consistent measures for the protection of each and every citizen in his rights, privileges, and welfare, and in his business up to a sufficient degree. And all laws that are oppressive upon even one member of its population should be at once repealed. Hence, each and every person, while receiving benefits from his fellow-citizens, owes it to them as a sacred duty to faithfully perform his part towards advancing their interests and prosperity, both physically and mentally. No one of us can, or should, expect to receive the protection, the respect, the good-will, the humanity of our fellow-creatures unless we bestow the same regards upon them and consider their interests equally with those of our own. This constitutes the basis of a true, free government, not 'the greatest good to the greatest number,' but the greatest good to all and to each one individually—and anything aside from this is inhuman, despotic, barbaric."—Ed. Gleaner.
THE COMMON INTEREST.— "During our Civil War, Old School physicians perseveringly used every effort with a determination that none but themselves should occupy the position of army surgeons; and though Homoeopaths and Eclectics with every qualification equal to their own, who were extremely desirous of giving the benefits of their own treatment to our brave soldiers, had been given such positions in the early part of the strife, the insulting and oppressive course pursued toward them by the Old School medical men and the spirit of vindictiveness manifested by these towards all persons of other medical schools compelled the latter, as a matter of self-respect alone, but strongly against their wishes, to resign and withdraw into private life. In the meantime our Old School colleges hastened into the army and throughout the country hordes of newly-fledged, inexperienced medical graduates. The restoration of peace turned these adrift, and that they may now obtain practice and salaries is one among the other reasons why the special legislation in every State should be sought and procured. We wish it to be expressly understood during this entire discourse that we refer to 'regularism' or 'old-schoolism' only in its mass as a huge machine of usurpation and despotism, and not to any of its individual followers, many of whom are gentlemen and patriots in the truest sense of these terms and who form honorable exceptions to the general rule.
"In reference to the present subject, a departed patriot though dead still speaks and admonishes us as follows: 'Let me exhort and conjure you never to suffer an invasion of your political constitution, however minute the instance may appear, to pass by without the most determined and persevering resistance. One precedent creates another. They soon accumulate and constitute law. What yesterday was fact to-day is doctrine. Examples are supposed to justify the most dangerous measures; and where they do not suit exactly the defect is supplied by analogy. Be assured that the laws which protect our civil rights grow out of the Constitution, and they must fall or nourish with it. This is not the cause of faction or of party, or of any individual, but the common interest of every man in the Nation.' " —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.