left thumb over his shoulder. “My name’s Hartung, Hugh
"Now, these examining boards were all members of the leading medical schools. If the Legislature had taken the usual precaution, and had added a clause _compelling_ those boards to examine worthy applicants, the act would have been a sound public measure; but for want of that foresight--and without foresight a lawgiver is an impostor and a public pest--the State robbed women of their old common-law rights with one hand, and with the other enabled a respectable trades-union to thrust them out of their new statutory rights. Unfortunately, the respectable union, to whom the Legislature delegated an unconstitutional power they did not claim themselves, of excluding qualified persons from examination, and so robbing them of their license and their bread, had an overpowering interest to exclude qualified women from medicine. They had the same interest as the watchmakers' union, the printers', the painters' on china, the calico-engravers', and others have to exclude qualified women from those branches, though peculiarly fitted for them; but not more so than they are for the practice of medicine, God having made _them,_ and not _men,_ the medical, and unmusical, sex.
"Wherever there's a trades-union, the weakest go to the wall. Those vulgar unions I have mentioned exclude women from skilled labor they excel in, by violence and conspiracy, though the law threatens them with imprisonment for it. Was it in nature, then, that the medical union would be infinitely forbearing, when the Legislature went and patted it on the back, and said, you can conspire with safety against your female rivals. Of course the clique were tempted more than any clique could bear by the unwariness of the Legislature, and closed the doors of the medical schools to female applicants. Against unqualified female practitioners they never acted with such zeal and consent; and why? The female quack is a public pest, and a good foil to the union; the qualified doctress is a public good, and a blow to the union.
"The British medical union was now in a fine attitude by act of Parliament. It could talk its contempt of medical women, and act its terror of them, and keep both its feigned contempt and its real alarm safe from the test of a public examination--that crucible in which cant, surmise, and mendacity are soon evaporated or precipitated, and only the truth stands firm.
"For all that, two female practitioners got upon the register, and stand out, living landmarks of experience and the truth, in the dead wilderness of surmise and prejudice.
"I will tell you how they got in. The act of Parliament makes two exceptions: first, it lets in, _without examination_-- and that is very unwise--any foreign doctor who shall be practicing in England at the date of the act, although, with equal incapacity, it omits to provide that any future foreign doctor shall be able to _demand examination_ (in with the old foreign fogies, blindfold, right or wrong; out with the rising foreign luminaries of an ever-advancing science, right or wrong); and, secondly, it lets in, without examination, to experiment on the vile body of the public, any person, qualified or unqualified, who may have been made a doctor by a very venerable and equally irrelevant functionary. Guess, now, who it is that a British Parliament sets above the law, as a doctor-maker for that public it professes to love and protect!"
"The Regius Professor of Medicine?"
"The Archbishop of Canterbury."
"This is no joke. Bright monument of British funkyism and imbecility, there stands the clause setting that reverend and irrelevant doctor-maker above the law, which sets his grace's female relations below the law, and, in practice, outlaws the whole female population, starving those who desire to practice medicine learnedly, and oppressing those who, out of modesty, not yet quite smothered by custom and monopoly, desire to consult a learned female physician, instead of being driven, like sheep, by iron tyranny--in a country that babbles Liberty--to a male physician or a female quack.