Sacred Rights and Constitutional Liberty.
Selected writings of John King.
"When any kind of business whatever, designed by its originators for what they represent or suppose to be the public good, is not appreciated and supported by the said public, it should not be forced upon this public through the erroneous and dangerous method of a special legislation therefor, but should be permitted to rise or fall upon its own intrinsic merits, the same as with a hatter, a tailor, a bootmaker, etc. So with every institution, the same as with every business or professional man, it should be allowed to rise or fall upon its individual merits alone, and not upon legislative favor, which can neither furnish nor control brains and intellect. The rights of every citizen should be held sacred; he should be allowed to 'go when and where he pleases,' to pursue such 'business or calling as best suits his interests or tastes,' provided he 'does not infringe on the same rights of others,' nor effect personal injury in his calling. In a free country it is no person's right or business to know how or where one has received his education in any trade, business, or profession, nor to interfere with him in its pursuit, so long as he accomplishes good,—this alone is desirable; but when he effects wrong or injury, he should then be held accountable for it, school or no school, parchment or no parchment." —John King, in The Coming Freeman, p. 69.
SACRED RIGHTS AND CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY.—"As heretofore remarked, it must not be supposed from our statements that we are opposed to learning and science. On the contrary, we wish they were more common, not only among physicians, but among our merchants, bankers, grocers, bakers, tailors, shoemakers, blacksmiths, and those of other professions and trades; it would tend greatly to add to the worth, honor, and dignity of our country, as well as of its individual citizens. And though it would not make them better physicians, bankers, grocers, or blacksmiths, it would nevertheless be a condition greatly to be desired. Yet, because a large proportion of these persons are not scientific or highly educated, we ask for no special legislation to make them so. Recollect, my friends, this is not a warfare for the diffusion and protection of ignorance, nor for the furtherance of education or of science—these have naught to do with it—we repeat that we are simply contending for a great principle, personal right and constitutional liberty. 'Science asks for truth, not legislation; it never desired or required protective statutes, which simply legalize charlatanry inside and proscribe manhood outside. Science asks only for a free field, and what asks for espionage, for expulsion, is not science. I may not like a man nor his doctrine, but his rights are sacred, and in this matter of medical legislation there is principle as well as rights at stake.' " —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.