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Explanation Required from Dr. Saunders

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Explanation Required from Dr. Saunders

Post by Karen on Wed 20 Jul 2011 - 1:08


At the meeting of the City Commissioners of Sewers on Tuesday last, Mr. Elias Davis drew the attention of the Court to a statement which, if true, shows that the position of public analyst is being utilised for a purpose certainly not contemplated at the time the office was created. Messrs. J.C. Sillar and Co. recently announced in their trade circular that about 150 half chests of re-dried teas, which had been under water in the Thames, were publicly sold on the 29th ult. But the cream of the information communicated by Messrs. Sillar was that it was declared in the catalogue of the sale that these teas had been analysed by William Sedgwick Saunders, M.D., public analyst for the City of London, and pronounced by him fit for sale; and the auctioneer further stated that the Customs authorities were prepared to receive duty upon them as sound teas. The fact being, if we may believe Mr. Davis, that the whole of this tea had for a long time been covered with the stinking bilge-water of the ship, contained, besides, 20 per cent of iron filings, and was quite unfit for use. No wonder the retail grocers are kicking against the restrictions attempted to be enforced against them by conscientious officials performing the same duties as those which Dr. William Sedgwick Saunders is engaged to perform. This kiln-dried tea, unfit as it is for consumption, is, from its cheapness, chiefly bought for use in hospitals, workhouses, and other public institutions, while the lot of 150 half chests in question is but a handful compared with the quantity for which this too facile analyst has opened the English market. The port of London is the only port in the world into which putrid tea can be imported; and, according to Mr. Davis, there are millions of pounds of it in the wharves and warehouses of the City, some of which has been accumulating for thirty or forty years. Messrs. Sillar announce the arrival of the Gordon Castle with 100 tons of submerged tea on board; 1,400,000 lb. in a similar state have been sold at Lisbon for 500 pounds. At the price at which that guaranteed by Dr. Saunders went, this would bring the enterprising purchasers a profit of some 70,000 pounds. The City Commissioners of Sewers deserve the thanks of the public for the persistence with which they have kept this matter of re-dried tea before the Government; and it is high time that Ministers and officials alike should understand that the Customs, the Post Office, and the other departments of Government are not trading speculations, and that the public safety is of more importance than a surplus of a few thousands in the balance sheet. As regards the City analyst, it was unanimously resolved to call the attention of the Sanitary Committee to the Mincing Lane sale. That body, will doubtless, seek an explanation from Dr. Saunders, wo, we regret to learn, is at present seriously ill, from it is believed, the inhalation of sewer gas, in the performance of his duties.

Source: Iron, October 24, 1874, Page 516

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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