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The New York World tells a good story of a medical action in a Kentucky Court. A doctor named Royston had sued a farmer named Peter Bennett for an account long over due for attending Bennett’s wife. The doctor proved his number of visits, their value according to local custom, and his own authority to do medical practice. The counsel for the defence told his client that the physician had made out his case, and as there was nothing wherewith to rebut or offset the claim, the only thing left to do was to pay it. “No,” said Peter ; “I hired you to speak to my case, and now speak.” The lawyer told him there was nothing 0 say ; he had looked on to see that it twas made out, and it was. Peter was obstinate, and at last the learned gentleman told him to make a speech himself, if he thought one could be made. “I will,” said Peter, and proceeded forwith : “Gentlemen of the jury : You and I is plain farmers, and if we don’t stick together these ’ere lawyers and doctors will get the advantage of us. I ain’t no_ lawyer nor doctor, and I ain’t no to them in their proper place ; but they ain’t farmers, gentlemen of the jury. Now, . this man Royston was a new doctor, and I went for him for to come an’ doctor my wife’s sore leg. And he come an’ put some salve truck onto it and some rags, but never did it one bit of good, gentlemen of the jury. I don’t believe he is no doctor, no way. There is doctors as is doctors.sure enough, but - this man don’t earn his money ; and if you send for him, as Mrs. Sarah Atkinson did, for a negro boy as was worth SI,OOO, he just kills him, and wants pay for it. ” “ I don’t,” thundered the doctor. ■ “ Did you cure him ?” asked Peter, with the slow accents of a judge with the black ' cap on. The doctor was silent, and Peter proceeded ; “ As I was sayin’, gentlemen of the jury, has we farmers when we sell our cotton, got to give rally for the money we ask, and doctors ain’t none to good to be put to the same rule. And I don’t believe this Sam Royston is no doctor, nohow. ” The physician again put in his oar, with, “ Look at my diploma if you think 1 am no doctor.” “His diploma !” exclaimed the newfledged orator with great contempt. “His diploma ! Gentlemen, this is a big word for printed sheepskin, and it didn’t make no doctor of the sheep as first wore it, nor does it of the man as now carries it. A good newspaper has more in it, and I p’int out to ye that he ain’t no doctor at all.” The man of medicine was now in a fury, and screamed out, ‘ ‘ Ask my patients if I am not a doctor?” “ I asked my wife,” retorted Peter, “ an’ she said as how she thought you wasn’t.” “Ask my other patients,” said Dr. Royston, This seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, for Peter replied with look and tone of unutterable sadness : “ That is a hard sayin’, gentlemen, of the jury, and one that requires me to die, or to have powers as I’ve hearn tell ceased to be exercised since the Apostles. Does he expect me to bring the Angel Gabriel down to toot his horn before his time, and .cryaloud, ‘ Awake, ye dead, and tell this court and jury your opinion of Royston’s practice V Am Ito go to the lonely churchyard and rap upon the silent tomb, and say to them as is at last at rest from physic and doctor-bills, ‘ Git up here, you, and state if you died a natural death, or was hurried up some by doctors V He says, ask his patients, and, gentlemen of the jury, they are all dead! Where is Mrs. Beasley’s man, Sam 7 Go ask the worms in the graveyard where he lies. ■ Mr. Peake’s woman, Sarah, was attended by him, and her funeral was app’inted, and he had the corpse ready. Where is that likely Bill as belonged to Mr. Mitchell 'I Now in glory an’ espressin’ his opinion of Royston’s doctorin’. Where . is that baby girl of Harry Stephens’'? She ■ are where doctors cease from troublin’, . and the infants are at rest.” “Gentlemen of the jury, he has et chicken enough at my house to pay for his salve ; and I furnished the rags, and I don’t suppose he charges for matin’ of her worse, and even he don’t pretend to ‘ charge for curin’ of her, and lam humbly thankfull that he never give her nothin for her inwards, as he did his other patients, for somethin’ made um all die mighty sudden —” Here the applause made the speaker sit down in great confusion, and in spite of a logical restatement of the case by the counsel on the other side the doctor lost, and Peter Bennett won.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 132, 29 July 1880

Word Count

TESTING THE DOCTOR. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 132, 29 July 1880