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jects are consigned, with a contemptuous sneer, to that class of medical men whom they term "political doctors." Whoever has been interested in those measures which contemplated such social reforms as would improve the health and happiness of the people, but required the aid of legislation to give them form and force, and has sought the aid of medical men, has found too frequent exhibitions of this false pride of professional dignity. He has met with physicians from whom he anticipated a cordial support, who have signed petitions with a manner indicating that they tacitly protested against such desecration of their names and influence. In the recent crisis of our national government, was heard, though in subdued tones, the reproachful terms of these wiseacres of our profession; the adoption of patriotic resolutions by some of our county societies, the organization of medical bodies for the supply of hospital and other materials to the army, and the enlistment of surgeons into the country's service, were regarded as acts unworthy of high-bred physicians. They have no sympathy or fellowship with those who entertain such unprofessional subjects, and engage in such menial service. Patriotism and treason are, to them, meaningless words; for, governed by the catholic spirit of medicine, they regard only scientific attainments as the test of membership in their exalted social state. It is not a little singular that in a free government, where the duties as well as prin


ciples of the citizen are indefinitely extended; where practically, as well as theoretically, he is the sovereign, there should be a class of persons who lightly esteem their civil obligations. And it is still more remarkable, nay marvelous, that such a class should be found in a profession which holds the most intimate relations to those influences through which the most beneficial results to society may be secured. In European countries medical men regard it as a proud distinction to be engaged in the service of the State; here it is well-nigh sufficient cause for expulsion from a medical society. Abroad, the most prominent physicians labor for years to attain courtly rank, or positions in government service; while with us an intimation of such a penchant is evidence that the aspirant for political favor has abandoned all claims to professional respectability, and is gravitating to the lowest rank and level of his profession. American medicine will have but half fulfilled its mission when it attains the rank it seeks only as a science. Upon it are also laid the burden and responsibility of important social reforms, which it alone can accomplish. Preventive medicine, or the practical application of the principles of sanitary science to the art of living, is yet to engage the earnest attention of medical men in this country. But whoever enlists in this great work, must for the time incur the odium that many foolishly and most unjustly attach to those public movements

of medical men necessary to the establishment of proper organizations. But let them not be disheartened. Preventive medicine will yet be recognized, we believe, as the noblest branch of the science, and those who succeed in systematizing its operations among our people, will be regarded as the most worthy of the profession, as well as public benefactors. Says Dr. Rush: "Permit me to recommend to you a regard to all the interests of your country. It was in Rome, where medicine was practised only by slaves, that physicians were condemned by their profession 'mutam exercere artem.' But in modern times, and in free governments, they should disdain an ignoble silence upon public subjects. The American revolution has rescued physic from its former slavish rank in society. For the honor of our profession it should be recorded, that some of the most intelligent and useful characters both in the cabinet and the field, during the late war, have been physicians." An active participant in most of the political measures of the Revolution; with such colleagues as Morgan, Warren, Shippen, Jones, and Bartlett; Rush was led to believe that this great event would form an era in the social and political history of his profession. And contemplating the influences and privileges which citizenship under a free government conferred, he foresaw that medical men, by their intimate social relations, might and should be an important element of political power.




HE value of medical evidence in questions involving the causes and nature of deaths by unknown means has now been recognized nearly three centuries and a half. During this long period it has frequently demonstrated its accuracy of investigation of the subtle forces which destroyed life, and led with unerring certainty to the detection of the criminal or the exculpation of the innocent. In this field of research no other class of scientific experts can supersede the medical expert. His conclusions are based on an accurate knowledge of physi ology, pathology, anatomy, chemistry, and the physical sciences, together with those attendant circumstances which are open to the observation of every one. The special knowledge which he is supposed and admitted to have, gives him the position of a skilled person, or one who is capable of deciding questions beyond the comprehension of ordinary witnesses. The position of the medical witness, therefore, becomes one of great importance to the cause of justice and truth, as well as of great responsibility. The courts of law are accustomed to accord to his

testimony great value, and to regard his opinions with the most profound respect. To sustain well the high character of the medical expert in courts is not a trivial undertaking. In the first place, no small amount of knowledge of the medical sciences in general is requisite to cope with the abstruse and obscure questions to which medico-legal questions give rise. There was a time indeed when surgeons only were allowed to testify as to the wounds of murdered persons in English courts; but that period has passed, and to-day the medical witness is expected to bring to the stand the most profound knowledge of his profession in all its departments of scientific investigation. In the second place, he must be an acute and logical reasoner in order to place the facts which he has drawn from science and from the surrounding circumstances in such harmony of relation as to make an unbroken chain of logical sequences. We might add as a third qualification, and which is the most important of all in the interest of justice-a perfectly disinterested mind, devoted only to the discovery of the truth. We have frequent and painful proofs that medical men do not always appreciate the responsible and truly dignified position which they are called to fill in courts of justice. Forgetful that they are presumed to be experts, or persons whose scientific attainments give their opinions great weight, and above all that they are unbiased by any circumstance connected

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