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"partiality imbibed in infancy and long incul"cated, where predilection for the seats of "education, preference for those to whose skill "health is confided,—pardonable biases when "they do not prejudice the rights of others,— "may imperceptibly warp the best intentioned * men, when they venture to decide legal claims "upon the fallacious ground of constructive ex"pediency. The ablest men are sometimes be"trayed into error, and the most upright misled, "when partialities combine with prepossessions "to influence their judgment."
After the question was thus decided, and partial admission to licentiates, coming within the description of the bye-law, was thought to be secured, Dr. Wells determined to apply under it. He was proposed, at the first comitia majora, subsequent to the trial, by Dr. Pitcairn, and to obviate all pretence for the objection made in the ease of Dr. Sims, the proposition, although that had been declared unnecessary by Lord Kenyon, was seconded by Dr. Baillie. Will it be credited? The previous question was proposed and carried: namely, that Dr. Pitcairn's proposal of Dr. Wells should not be submitted to. .
out much reference to their comparative medical fitness, are the guardians of h«alth to many of our venerable Judges, as well as legislators.
a ballot. Thus we find a bye-law, which had just been brought forward in the affidavits of the college, and urged by their council as a strong plea for their success, a bye-law on which the Lord Chief Justice founded a decision in their favour, and which he declared they were bound to abide by; this law I say, thus sacredly secured to the licentiates, we find, when it did not seem to suit their purposes, remorselessly trampled on by its framers. In the case of Dr. Sims, the college alleged that the proposal was not seconded; in the case of Dr.Wells, that they had not received sufficient notice, although neither the one nor the other is required, even by their own bye-law! But to obviate every pretence, $uch notice had been given by Dr. Wells that twenty-three fellows were actually present, nearly all that could possibly have been collected. A licentiate within the precise terms of the bye-law, more advanced in age, and of longer standing as a licentiate than required by it, a physician to St. Thomas's Hospital, a fellow of the Royal Society, proposed by a fellow of the college of high standing, and that proposal seconded by another of the first respectability, was not even allowed a ballot to determine whether he might be permitted to have his qualifications examined*!
* Stanger's Justification HI.
The bye-law of admission through favour, enacts that the president may, once in two years, and not oftener, propose a licentiate for admission 5nto the fellowship, who has been ten years licensed, and previously approved by a majority of the preceding comitia minora, or lesser assembly, on one particular day alone in the year. This and the bye-law, professing to admit licentiates of seven years standing, were both made in 1771, soon after the last trial of Dr. Fothergill. During nearly forty years, which have since elapsed, one of these bye.laws has been entirely withheld, and only six or eight licentiates have been admitted under the other! But, however this bye-law of admission, by favour, may be nugatory in respect to all good purposes, it is extremely efficacious in respect to bad ones. It tends powerfully to delude and divide the licen« tiates, and to render them grossly subservient. This law is both machiavelian and Jesuitical in the highest degree: it is a proof that, however deficient they may be in views of medical amelioration, the college of physicians are sufficiently skilled in policy to be no mean successors to the suppressed institution of the Society of Jesus. The real inT tention of this law is to delude the public, as it seems to have deluded the Court of King's Bench. It is allowed to lie dormant, until, for some political purpose, one or more licentiates are to be gained over to the views of the College, and the
body sufficiently divided, weakened, and disgraced. It has the popular appearance of extending the franchise to the licentiates, while in reality, so far as they may trust to the chance of incorporation, it tends only to render them humble expectants or servile dependants. Since the College have brought themselves afresh into public notice, in the affair of Dr. Campbell, a case has occurred precisely in point to shew the selfish purposes, to which this engine of influence may be, and almost always is, applied.— Dr, Cooke, who, with Dr. Wells and Dr. Stanger, formed the Committee appointed by the licentiates to act against the College in 1796, has lately been admitted, I presume speciali gratia, to the honours of the Fellowship. If so, was this mark of favour designed to procure popupularity, to divide and diminish hostile force, or to conciliate a formidable opponent? The grace comes at least aj: a questionable period. Why was Dr. Cooke particularly selected? In this choice of a former opponent, the College, perhaps, would display to the world an instance of rare magnanimity. Besides, if he had sinned, they might, in their lenity, have considered ten years of additiqnallicentiateship a sufficient atonement. The transaction may not be dishonorable to the College. But will not Dr. Cooke incur the imputation of having received those favours, as the price of a dishonorable abandonment of prin. ciple? However this may be, it is very certam that of him we shall hear no more in the ranks of those who oppose the College monopoly: and if he have the usual indiscretion of apostates, he will even be the loudest in its praise.
When, however, we consider the great many good things of which a favoured licentiate may partake, by becoming a fellow of the College, we ought to make some allowances for the frailty of human nature. Dr. Stanger, whom I consider as pledged never to partake of them spciali gratia, has the following enumeration:
"The College of Physicians is an institution which derives dignity from the importance of its objects, which are, the safety of the public; the advancement of the science of physic; and the guardianship and promotion of the honour and interests of the profession. It becomes venerable from its antiquity, having been established nearly three centuries, by a charter confirmed by act of Parliament, during which period its privileges have been repeatedly extended by the legislature. It derives celebrity from the many eminent physicians, who have been its members, and lustre from the dignity of their stations, as they have always filled and now enjoy the most honorable and lucrative professional appointments in this kingdom. The college possesses a noble edifice