According to Truth the War Office has selected Mr. C. C. DUNCAN, F.I.C., the Public Analyst for the County of Worcester, for a special post, in which “ he will be responsible for the examination of the water supply for the troops.” “It might be supposed,” our contemporary observes, “that the services of this scientific expert would be worth at least the pay of a Captain. The War Office thinks differently. It is giving Mr. Duncan the pay of a private soldier, a piece of parsimony in no wise excused by the fact that the difference between his military pay and his regular salary will be made up by the Worcestershire County Council.” It appears that MR. DUNCAN has been selected for the post in question on the recommendation of a body described by Truth as “ The Institute of Analysts.” As no such body exists we presume that either the Institute of Chemistry or the cumbrously‐named “ Society of Public Analysts and Other Analytical Chemists” is referred to. It would be interesting to know what the Councils of either or both of these concerns have got to say about the treatment of this member of the profession which they are supposed to represent and whose dignity and interests they are supposed to maintain. The monstrous advertisement issued by the Woolwich Arsenal authorities about a year ago in which scientific chemists with University degrees were invited to apply for appointments at the munificent remuneration of £2 per week is a sufficient illustration of the value put upon scientific attainments by Government Departments in this country. But even this example of fatuous ignorance and inane parsimony has been eclipsed by the present arrangements for the employment of scientific chemists in the Royal Engineers, in which they are invited to enlist with the rank of Corporal and with Corporal's pay and “allowances.” The sulphuric acid scandal recently exposed by The Globe makes it once more abundantly clear that where scientific advice even of an elementary kind is needed no attempt is made to obtain reliable guidance. The wrong people are invariably applied to for advice and the wrong men are appointed to fill responsible posts. The following remarks appear in The Globe of September 23rd :—“We have evidence of the incompetence of the High Explosives Department which thought it fitting to appoint as the comptroller of the shipment of oleum” (i.e., a form of sulphuric acid shipped from America) “a young man, wholly inexperienced, at a handsome salary, his only qualification apparently being that he was the son of his father. This young man was completely ignorant of the properties of oleum. His first introduction to the acid was when he was called upon to advise as to the best method of shipment.” According to the facts stated in The Globe the result of this bungling has been a loss of some hundreds of thousands of pounds to the taxpayers of this country.
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