Selected writings of John King.
Special legislation and might makes right were synonymous to John King. To him the one was as equally hateful and oppressive as the other. He is not alone concerning the dangers of class legislation, for the note of danger is always sounded by writers upon jurisprudence when referring to this subject.
"From the earliest times these two principles [Might and Right] have been at variance. The possession of power creates a desire for more, hence the tendency of all governments has been and is to ignore the people. All the great nations of antiquity more than once have experienced the horrors of civil war simply because of the tyranny of their governments. The growing intelligence of the race constantly quickened among the people the desire for greater liberty." ("Civil Government," by J. R. Flückinger, p. 7.)
"A nation in which any one or more of its citizens have, in their business, certain rights and privileges granted to them by law that are not accorded to all, can hardly be considered a free nation. Such grants tend to the formation of dangerous monopolies, to enrich a few and impoverish many, to occasion the 'I am better, greater, and richer than thou art' people, and to develop a class of opulent, 'high-blooded' masters and mendicant, 'low-blooded' servants; they are the initiatory steps towards monarchy and absolutism. The people become gradually accustomed to them and to their influences, soon ignore the fact that they can bite and dangerously, too, and are unconsciously beguiled, step by step, to surrender their liberties to them. Special legislation is a curse to any country, and especially so to a Republic." (The Coming Freeman, p. 55.)—Ed. Gleaner.
SPECIAL LEGISLATION A CURSE TO ANY COUNTRY.— " 'The liberty of expressing our sentiments and feelings by the use of the tongue and pen while we keep the peace and keep the truth on our side is one of the privileges which we enjoy as freemen. But he whose feelings and actions are limited to a circle prescribed by others is not a freeman, but a slave. It may be the shackles of a party which are upon him, but still he is in bondage.'
"Guided by the views heretofore referred to, our several Legislatures in time repealed these arbitrary laws in their respective States, the sole law relative to medicine (and the only one that should exist upon our statute books) being penalty for malpractice. The law can not furnish brains nor skill, nor has it any claim to recognize how or where an individual obtained his knowledge or ability so long as this knowledge proves useful and not injurious. And here let us ask, if special medical legislation was found to be unconstitutional forty years ago, is it any less unconstitutional now? or are those citizens who have availed themselves of these constitutional contracts between the people and past Legislatures by practicing medicine without diplomas to be robbed at the present era of their rights under such contracts? "Might makes right" is the basis upon which the Spanish Inquisition was founded.
"This deprivation of legal backing was greater than our Old School physicians could bear; it did not give them that superiority over other schools of medicine which they would have the public believe; consequently, considering it a good epoch after our late war which had freed the blacks, enslave the (white) public and physicians not of their school, they have been assiduously occupied for the last fifteen or twenty years as though engaged simultaneously throughout the country in an extensive conspiracy against the constitutional liberties of the people in devising shrewd measures for regaining what they consider their lost power and authority, and in endeavoring by specious representations and sophistical reasonings to secure special legislation to suit their own ends—carefully ignoring the fact that special legislation is a curse to any country." —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.