guard against accidents," should not the plumbing be overhauled daily? Absolute security could only in this way be attained. The public is notified, therefore, not by the writer, but by professed sanitary experts, that in this matter the price of safety is eternal vigilance.
In searching for a remedy for defective plumbing and sewer-gas, the public is still further embarrassed by the fact that the several classes of professional experts, to whom it has been accustomed to look for instruction in matters pertaining to house sanitation, seem to have lost confidence in each other, and are heard constantly, and in the most public manner, charging each other with incapacity.
The chemists, apparently, are not agreed. The plumbers have been again and again charged with incompetency, and often with intentional dishonesty, by sanitary engineers, by physicians, and by the almost universal voice of the people, until to-day it is hard to find a man with sufficient courage to utter a word in their defense. "The sins of the plumbers" has become a proverb.
An architect, writing for the "The Architect," London, complains that, by eminent doctors, men of his calling have been "sat upon, blackguarded, lectured, blamed," etc., for their supposed ignorance of matters of this sort; and one gentleman, a sanitary engineer, has said, publicly, that there was "probably only one architect in this city competent to execute the specifications for the plumbing of large houses." The same gentleman did not hesitate to say to the Academy that physicians were regarded by plumbers as their "most wrong-headed customers," and as possessing only "a dangerous smattering" of knowledge upon the subject; the Academy was permitted, also, to understand that he entertained the same opinion; while a distinguished member of the National Board of Health said publicly that he could count upon his five fingers all the sanitary engineers in this country in whom he could place any degree of confidence.
If all that representative members of these several classes say of each other were true, the outlook would be very unpromising. There is, then, no class of professed artisans or scientists concerned in the business of plumbing, architecture, or house sanitation, who can be safely trusted.
It is believed, however, that there is some mistake as to the almost total incompetency of plumbers, architects, sanitary engineers, physicians, and chemists, to discuss and act upon these subjects intelligently. In short, as I have said before, "I am much more charitable to the plumbers and architects than are the public or the sanitary engineers. It seems to me quite probable that most of them are as competent and as honest in their special departments as any other class of citizens"; and I am pleased to see that, so far as the plumbers are concerned, the President of our City Board of Health entertains the same opinion, he having recently declared, according to "The Sanitary