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direction of which the entire regular profession of the State was carefully canvassed, with results that have been reported to you this evening. Subsequently, at a meeting of the County Society, called to fill vacancies in the number of delegates to the State Society, we were able to elect three delegates pledged to uphold the National Code; and from this we took no little courage.
Our next move was an endeavor to save to the regular profession the New York Academy of Medicine. Although the Academy has in force, as one of its by-laws, which every member has in writing pledged himself in honor to uphold, the National Code of Ethics, the public appearance of its President in support of the "New Code," and the presentation, as candidates for fellowship, of physicians known to be actively opposed to its constitution and by-laws, excited among its Fellows who remained loyal the gravest apprehensions. It is unnecessary for me to give more than a brief sketch of what was done in the Academy. At a stated meeting, resolutions were introduced and carried, re-affirming the bylaws and instructing the Committee on Admissions to do their duty and to report for election as Fellows no candidates known to be in opposition to the Code of Ethics of the Academy. These resolutions were violently attacked by certain members of the opposition, who undoubtedly saw in them a serious obstacle to the success of the plot to revolutionize the Academy as they had revolutionized the State and County Societies. They professed to be unable to see the inconsistency and dishonor of new members signing a pledge to support a constitution and by-laws to which they were known to be actively opposed. At a subsequent meeting, however, having in their interest the President and most of the officers, they rescinded these resolutions, in violation of all recognized rules of order, as well as of the special rules of the Academy. The rulings of the President on this occasion need little comment. They were unfair and unparliamentary, and simply illustrated the desperate methods which the conspirators are always prepared to adopt. I believe the action rescinding these resolutions to be null and void, and that it will be so decided in due time.
The next conflict was at the annual meeting for the election of officers of the Medical Society of the County of New York. Here the issue was sharply made in the nomination of candidates. This meeting was the largest ever held by the Society. Just be
fore the election of officers, the names of upward of eighty new members were proposed. A motion was promptly made to lay these nominations on the table until after the election. The motion to lay on the table was decided by the President to be out of order! Not content with this extraordinary and unnecessary ruling-for the motion would undoubtedly have been lost-the eighty odd candidates voted for their own admission. The "New Code" officers were then elected by a majority considerably in excess of eighty votes.
The loyal members of the profession in the County of New York, having thus exhausted all proper means of resistance in the existing societies, and with an untarnished record as regards the methods employed by them in the contest, have organized, on a permanent basis, the New York County Medical Association, composed exclusively of those who uphold the National Code of Ethics.
To-night we should organize a New York State Medical Association. The issue has been forced upon us. We stand in the presence of the actual fact of a divided profession. The State Society and the Society of the County of New York have seceded from the regular profession of the United States. We made no movement looking to the formation of a loyal State Association until the most vigorous efforts to redeem the existing societies had signally and hopelessly failed. We are now cast out of fellowship with the regular profession of this great country, as represented in the American Medical Association and in the medical societies of other States. We must redeem the State of New York. There remains but one course to pursue, and that is to form an association of our own. The bitter fight, the disgraceful spectacle of a contest between members of a devoted and honorable profession, are things of the past. The war is ended. Let us organize and live together in peace, working hand in hand for the advancement of the science of medicine. Let the men who are so blind or misguided as to think their course is right, or who can not resist the temptation to take tribute from those who persist in supporting the enemies of truth and of our universal science of medicine, go their own way and consult on terms of equality with any and all legally qualified practitioners of medicine, whatever form of charlatanism they may assume!
I hope, Mr. Chairman, that a New York State Medical Asso
ciation will be organized to-night, in affiliation with the regular profession of the United States; that the existing county societies whose membership is loyal will put themselves at once in affiliation with the new State Association; and that, in counties in which the existing societies can not be brought in bodily, new associations will be promptly organized, to be composed exclusively of members of the profession who uphold the National Code of Ethics.
While holding to these views, I am cordially in favor of the resolution offered by Dr. Ferguson, simply in order that we may put ourselves on record in the State Society, as I believe, for the last time.
DR. C. G. BACON, of Oswego County, was in favor of Dr. Ferguson's resolution, and of continued efforts from year to year until success should be achieved.
DR. FERGUSON, with the consent of Dr. Rochester, temporarily withdrew his resolution.
DR. AUSTIN FLINT, of New York County, after stating that he thought it improbable that a two-thirds vote could be obtained in the State Society in favor of re-enacting the National Code of Ethics, and that consequently the time had arrived for the formation of a new State Association, introduced the following preamble and resolution :
The following facts and remarks are submitted as a preamble to a resolution: At the annual meeting of the Medical Society of the State of New York in 1881, a committee was appointed to present to the Society, at its next annual meeting, "suggestions" in regard to changes in the code of medical ethics.' Without hav
1 The subject referred to was presented by the committee on the President's address, on the second day, at the morning session, 1881, of the Medical Society of the State of New York. A part of the report of this committee is now quoted from the Transactions of 1881, p. 25.
.."3d. Relating to such changes in the code of ethics of the State Society as shall bring it into harmony with the present and changed condition of the profession."
"The Committee present that this suggestion of the President opens up an immense range of inquiry, and do not feel that it would be competent or prudent to make at this time any radical propositions, but the Committee offer the following resolution for the consideration of the Society:
"Resolved, That a special Committee of Five be appointed by the President, to be designated a 'Committe on the Code of Ethics,' whose duty it shall be to consider
ing brought the subject to the attention of the medical profession throughout the State by means of discussions in medical journals and local societies, this committee reported, not "suggestions," but a "New Code" of ethics as a substitute for the code which was adopted by the Society in 1850. A large part of the latter code was omitted in the new code, and a radical change as regards. professional relations with irregular practitioners was introduced. This new code was adopted by a two-thirds vote, fifty-two voting in the affirmative and eighteen in the negative, the number of voters thus being seventy. It is at once evident that, under the circumstances, this number of voters could not be regarded as fairly representing the sentiments of the Society; and still less could it be considered as representing the sentiments of the medical profession of the State. The Society, however, at that meeting, against the earnest solicitations of members who were present, refused to defer the action just stated.
This action of the Society was received with not less disapprobation than surprise, and was deemed of such great importance that pains were taken to ascertain the opinions of members of the profession throughout the State. The State has been thoroughly and fairly canvassed; and the result shows a large majority in favor of upholding the code of ethics for which the "New Code" was substituted.
The "New Code" in effect removes the barrier dividing members of the regular profession from irregular practitioners; and, in this point of view, it is the sentiment of a large majority of the medical profession of the State that the adoption of the "New Code" will prove greatly detrimental to the honor, the interests, and the usefulness of the profession.
An effect of the adoption of the "New Code" is the disfranchisement of the Society from its affiliation with the American Medical Association and other associations at home and abroad. It is the sentiment of a large majority of the members of the medi
the whole question of desirable changes in the code, and who shall present to the Society, at the session of 1882, such suggestions on this subject as their observations and investigations may direct."
cal profession of the State, that this effect is an evil of no small importance.
Another effect, and an evil of great magnitude, is a division into two parties of the members of the State Society and of the medical profession of the State. This division actually exists; and it must continue if the action of the State Society be not reversed, inasmuch as disapproval of the action involves principles which carry with them moral obligations.
The reversal of this action, two years having elapsed, has not been effected; and, owing to the constitution of the membership of the State Society and the necessity for a two-thirds majority in order to secure this end, it does not seem probable that the action will be speedily rescinded.
In view of the foregoing facts, an unavoidable conclusion is that, among the delegates and permanent members of the Medical Society of the State of New York, there can not be the harmony and co-operation which are essential in order to carry out the objects of the Society, so long as an irreconcilable conflict of opinion on such an important matter as medical ethics shall continue. The organization of a distinct State Association has become a necessity.
A distinct association is demanded in order that a large majority of the members of the medical profession in the State of New York shall not be placed in a false position-disloyal to the National Code of Ethics.
It is demanded by a sense of respect, in the minds of the majority of the members of the medical profession in the State, for the status of legitimate medicine.
It is demanded by a due regard for the public good as dependent on the character and usefulness of the medical profession.
Justice, to the majority of the members of the medical profession of the State in respect of the right to be represented by delegates in our National Medical Association, and in other associations, demands it.
It is demanded as the only mode now available of securing to the majority of the members of the medical profession of the State the advantages of an association composed of members united by community of sentiment in matters relating to the honor, the interests, and the usefulness of our profession.