The Sanitary Committee of a certain County Council, strong with the strength of recent creation, have lately been animated by a desire to distinguish themselves in some way, and, proceeding along the lines of least resistance, they appear to have selected the Public Analyst as the most suitable object for attack. The charge against this unfortunate official was not that he is incompetent, or that he had been in any way negligent of his duties as prescribed by Act of Parliament, but simply and solely that he has the temerity to reside in London, which city is distant by a certain number of miles from the much favoured district controlled by the County Council aforesaid. The committee were favoured in their deliberations by the assistance of no less an authority than the “Principal” of a local “Technical School”;—and who could be more capable than he to express an opinion upon so simple a matter? This eminent exponent of scientific truths, after due and proper consideration, is reported to have delivered himself of the opinion that “scientifically it would be desirable that the analyst should reside in the district, as the delay occasioned by the sending of samples of water to London is liable to produce a misleading effect upon an analysis.” Apparently appalled by the contemplation of such possibilities, and strengthened by another expression of opinion to the effect that there were as “good men” in the district as in London, the committee resolved to recommend the County Council to determine the existing arrangement with the Public Analyst, and to appoint a “local analyst for all purposes.” Thus, the only objection which could be urged to the employment of a Public Analyst resident in London was the ridiculous one that the composition of a sample of water was likely to seriously alter during the period of its transit to London, and this contention becomes still more absurd when it is remembered that the examination of water samples is no part of the official duty of a Public Analyst. The employment of local scientific talent may be very proper when the object to be attained is simply the more or less imperfect instruction of the rising generation in the rudiments of what passes in this country for “technical education”; but the work of the Public Analyst is serious and responsible, and cannot be lightly undertaken by every person who may be acquainted with some of the uses of a test‐tube. The worthy members of this committee may find to their cost, as other committees have found before them, that persons possessing the requisite knowledge and experience are not necessarily indigenous to their district. Supposing that the County Council adopts the recommendation, the aspirations of the committee may even then be strangled in their infancy, as the Local Government Board will want to know all about the matter, and the committee will have to give serious and valid reasons in support of their case.
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