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which succeeds through their support has its representation their efforts have deserved.
I cannot close, Mr. President, without giving expression to a sentiment to which Southerners in the West are peculiarly alive-the sentiment of sympathy and fraternity which exists between the South and the West. [Applause.) The course of historical development which I have outlined of the Western man has wrought a bond of friendship between them, and that bond is not a reminiscence, but a living, vital, and efficient fact. Only but yesterday, politicians, thank God not the people, sought for selfish ends to cast back the South into Stygian gloom from which she had slowly and laboriously but gloriously emerged, to forge upon her again hope-killing shackles of a barbarous rule. In that hour of trial which you and I, sir, know to have been a menace and a reality to whom did she turn for succor? To this man of the West, and quick and glorious was the response.
SAMUEL BALDWIN WARD
THE MEDICAL PROFESSION
(Speech of Dr. Samuel B. Ward at the annual banquet of the New York State Bar Association, in the City of Albany, January 18, 1887.)
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN:—That a medical man should be asked to be in attendance at a banquet such as this was natural, and when I looked over the list of toasts and found that the clergymen had been omitted, I took it as an intended though perhaps rather dubious compliment to my profession, the supposition being that the services of the clergy would not of course be required. When I was asked to respond to this toast, in an unguarded moment of good nature, which is remarkable even in me, I was beguiled into consenting by the persuasive eloquence of your worthy President and Secretary, and a day or two after I visited the Executive chamber with the view of endeavoring to make "a little bargain” with his Excellency. Being myself neither a lawyer, a politician, nor the editor of a Brooklyn newspaper [laughter], I was totally unacquainted with such things, but still I am the reader of a weekly Republican newspaper (that is spelled with two e's and not an a, and has no reference to the “ Albany Evening Journal”), and have ascertained that among a certain class of men, these
bargains were exceedingly common. Respecting the exact nature of the proposition I shall not reveal, but suffice it to say I failed most ignominiously.
After leaving the executive chamber I spent a good part of the morning in reflection as to the cause of the failure. Among other things it occurred to me that perhaps the newspaper statement, that “bargains ” were so common
among officials was untrue, but when I reflected that my newspaper was a republican organ and that the Executive was a democratic official I knew that every word that organ would say about a political opponent must be absolutely true. It occurred to me that perhaps inasmuch as I was not a politician, his Excellency might have feared to trust me, but I recollected to have read of the dire misfortune that befalls certain politicians in New York from trusting each other. As the Governor's shrewdness was well-known, I knew that he felt that if he could trust any one, it would be one of my profession, and therefore that excuse would not answer. It also occurred to me, that perhaps I was somewhat green and unwise in consenting to make this bargain in the
presence of witnesses, but when I thought of all the sagacity and shrewdness and reticence that was concealed behind Colonel Rice's outspoken countenance, and of the numerous arrangements " of which he was cognizant, and in relation to which he had never said a word, I felt assured that that was not the reason. I finally came to the conclusion that the Governor was a man to be trusted; that if there still be cynics who believe that “every man has his price,” they would find the Governor's price far too high for them ever to reach. [Applause.]
In the play of King Henry VI occurs an expression by Dick, the butcher, which is so short and so pointed that I may be pardoned for reproducing it in its completeness. It runs thus: “ The first thing we do, let's kill the lawyers.” This is not at all the attitude
of our profession toward yours. On the contrary the most stupid charge that is ever laid to the door of the medical man is that he intentionally, or ever either by luck or intention, kills his patients. Ere the coffin-lid closes the doctor's harvest is reaped, but how different it is with you gentlemen. [Laughter.] Not more than a few days after the debt of nature has been paid by the unfortunate patient, your harvest-and especially if he has had the unusual fortune to make a will-begins, and oh! how we are sometimes tempted to envy you. Through how many seasons this harvest will be prolonged no one can foretell. That it will be carefully garnered to the last we can fully rely upon.
There is perhaps only one state of circumstances under
which the medical man is likely to re-echo the sentiment, and that is when he steps down from the witness-stand, having served as an “expert.” You lawyers have a duty to discharge to your clients which necessitates your “ taking a part.” Even though a man be guilty, there may be “extenuating circumstances," and it is your right, as it is your duty, to do all that lies within your power in his behalf.” The“ medical expert" should go upon the stand in a purely judicial frame of mind, and as a rule I believe he does. But by the manner in which questions are propounded to him, and by the exercise of every little persuasive art incident to your calling, he is inevitably led into taking“ sides.” He is surrounded by circumstances that are to him entirely strange. He is more or less annoyed and flurried by his surroundings, and then comes the necessity of making a categorical answer to questions that are put to him more especially upon the cross-examination, which cannot be correctly answered categorically. Unfortunately in a profession like ours, in a science of art like ours, it often is absolutely impossible to answer a question categorically without conveying an erroneous impression to the jury.
In addition to this, we are subjected at the close of the examination to what you are pleased to term a “hypothetical question.” The theory of this “ hypothetical question” is that it embraces or expresses in a few words, and not always so very few either (laughter), the main features of the case under consideration. In nine cases out of ten if the expert makes a direct and unqualified answer to the question he leaves an absolutely erroneous idea upon the minds of the jury, and this is the explanation of why so many experts have made answers to questions which have elicited adverse criticism.
In my judgment, after a not very long experience I must admit, but a sorry one, in some instances, there is but one way in which this matter of expert evidence should be conducted. The judge should appoint three experts, one of them at the suggestion of the counsel upon either side, and the third one at his own discretion. These three appointees should present their report in writing to the court, and the compensation for the service should be equally divided between the parties interested. In that way can expert evidence escape the disrepute now attaching to it, and the ends of justice be furthered. Now, gentlemen, the hour is getting late, and I have but one wish to express to you. The medical profession of the State of New York has an organization very similar to your own, which has now reached very nearly its ninetieth year, with a membership of almost 1,000, and with an annual attendance something double that of your own. I can only hope that your Association may live on and develop until it reaches as vigorous and flourishing an old age as that of the medical profession. [Applause.]