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for §s meetings: A medical library, which it has the means of rendering the first in Europe. It enjoys, within itself, degrees of rank to distinguish and reward merit; lectureships and literary appointments to excite emulation, and afford an honourable field for the display of genius and learning; and the disposal of gratuities to remunerate exertion. It establishes an advantageous intercourse betwixt rising merit and mature experience, and enables the deserving aspirer to obtain the friendship and profit by the good offices of his seniors, who are the best judges of his claims, and the most able to promote his interests. It raises its members to rank and precedency in the profession, and consequently elevates them in the estimation of the public, and facilitates their success.
"These direct advantages, which the college confer upon its members, are too important to the interests of a physician to be passively relinquished. But when, under the interested management of a party, all their indirect consequences are considered, their influence in promoting the fellows, and depressing the licentiates, will be found so powerful, that it becomes an obligation of private interest, as well as of professional honour, to regain, if possible, the right of admission. From the operation of the college monopoly a prejudice is diffused that its members, if not the only real physicians in London, are,at least,greatly superior in education, learning, and skill, as well as rank, to those whom they only tolerate. This is by no means an extraordinary delusion, when countenanced and insinuated, by a body, who, actuated by a corporate spirit and interested zeal, unite with collegiate power and rank, with distinctions, titles, and ceremonies, the symbols of superiority, the actual possession of the most dignified and lucrative appointments. This prejudice, however unfounded, is too specious not to mislead a great part of the public, too beneficial to the fellows not to be encouraged by them, and too flattering not to deceive even themselves. This prepossession necessarily leads to the assumption of that simulated superiority, which promotes the delusion; and the habit of ostentation not unfrequently betrays the actor into a notion of the actual existence of the rank he attempts to display. The College monopoly has thus the strongest tendency, and frequently the effect, of inflating the fellows with arrogance, and of humiliating and depressing the licentiates, of exciting mutual jealousies, of raising an obstacle to all bonds of friendship, and even to a liberal and social intercourse.
"In addition to the vulgar grounds of prejudice, apothecaries, who have so much influence on the success of physicians, have peculiar motives for preferring members of the college. They them-» selves form a corporation, and corporate bodies sympathize with each other. The charter of the apothecaries was obtained with the concurrence and by the joint interest of the college, to which it secures great authority and controul. The two corporations have always been intimately connected, and the apothecaries accustomed to consider the fellows of the college, as their superiors and patrons. Besides, the natural pride of man unwillingly allows priority of rank, where pretensions are of a similar nature, if the line of distinction is faintly drawn j more especially, where the admission implies superiority in learning, judgment, and skill. Apothecaries naturally prefer those who confer, and who can extend to them the privilege of acting as physicians, to a subordinate class, only practising by permission, whom they are encouraged to consider as scarcely raised above themselves. There can be no doubt that men of discernment and candour, and particularly apothecaries of that description, who are acquainted with the licentiates, do justice to their merits, and rank them with the ablest of the profession. But however numerous the exceptions, the multitude will always be influenced by names, appearances, pretensions, and fashion. Independently of their real power and advantages, the ©stensible and assumed superiority of the fellows operates forcibly and extensively to the prejudice of the licentiates.
"The preference arising from this unjust prepossession, is not the only unfair advantage derived from their monopoly. In consequence of a community of interests, a combination of influence, and uniformity of system, they have also got possession of the most lucrative and dignified appointments and situations in the profession, which they transfer, transmit, and perpetuate, in their own party. For this their powers are nearly as infallible, as their conduct is invaririably directed by the corporate interest. Their dominion in medical appointments is so extensive, that they can generally decide the contests of licentiates for those inferior situations, which fellows decline, in favour of the candidate they patronize. The success of a licentiate, however superior his merit, against another supported by the college, is very rare j against a fellow, almost without example. But if they should even fail in obtaining for a member of the college any appointment, which is contested, they can associate the successful opponent, and transfer his power and credit to their own party, if interest inclines them. The same corporate spirit and common interest, which cement the fellows in obtaining for each other public appointments, render them equally zealous in advancing each other, in private practice, in preference to the licentiates. If they do not absolutely enter into an engagement to recommend each other exclusively on consultations, as substitutes, as successors, in every situation of advantage, their attachment to the corporate interest has all the force of a bond.
"It is scarcely conceivable what influence a public body, endowed with power, possessed of wealth, elevated by popular prepossession, and united by interest, has, to promote their joint and individual interests. Their power and profits are equally concentrated. What the individual loses or declines, the corporation preserves. The licentiate is Carefully excluded. After the fruitless toils and disappointed expectations of many years, he still sees a new succession of younger fellows exalted above him, by college influence. No wonder, while he has to struggle against so powerful and zealous a combination, if his advancement be slow, and his desert unrewarded. No wonder if the fellow be raised into distinction and affluence, while the licentiate is depressed by neglect, or even pines in indigence. There can be no doubt that some of the licentiates enjoy a beneficial practice, and that many fill respectable and even profitable situations. The fellows are too few to engross every thing. Extraordinary talents, exertions, connections, or fortune, sometimes advance licentiates to advantageous ap«