1871: "architects of Ireland are not sufficiently united"

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    • #711352
      Paul Clerkin

      THE days of chivalry have returned, and a knight with “Guerre a toutrance” on his shield has gone forth to attack no fancied enemies like Don Quixote, or an ignoble rabble like Hudibras, but to wage war against a monster as pestilent as any which romancer ever conceived. In plain words, the Irish Builder has inaugurated a crusade against the obnoxious advertisements which deface many journals, both in Britain and in the sister-country, and in its columns a writer who adopts the formidable nom de plume of “Guerre a toutrance” has not only already made some startling disclosures thereanent, but threatens to make many more. It is not often that we gratuitously advertise our contemporaries; but we think that the Irish Builder has fairly earned the distinction, and we cheerfully accord it.

      We agree with our contemporary that the medical press his done great and good service in exposing many of the charlatans who thrive upon the vices of the community, and in tearing the veil from quacks and quackery. We also deplore the degradation of journalism to base usis by unworthy members of an honourable profession; but we fail to see the reason for which the Irish Builder constitutes itself the Nemesis of the offending journals, and the exposer of the pernicious system. We have hitherto had faith in its title-page, have believed it to be devoted to building and engineering, and have considered its mission limited to architects, builders, engineers, and members of kindred trades. Being a class journal, its circulation is naturally limited to the members of those professions and trades with which it is associated; it cannot profess to arouse public opinion on this matter, and its weak fulniinations will have no effect on the delinquents against whom they are directed. We are at a loss to know what has caused this aberration from its proper course. Are the morals of Irish builders peculiarly susceptible to evil influences that this solemn warning is addressed to them; or does the Irish Builder, under pretence of reproof and exposure, supply vicious juveniles with a very complete list of the quacks of Dublin and London, for use should occasion arise? Has the editor been hard pushed for ” copy,” and so accepted a discarded magazine contribution; or is he, like some metropolitan class journals, endeavouring, by extending the range of his subjects, to increase the number of his subscribers? Upon no other hypotheses can we comprehend the insertion of an article on such a subject. The work of exposing this basest sort of rascality is undoubtedly good; but it ought to be done by other hands, and more especially by the medical press. As for the Irish Builder, “Que diable allait-il faire dans cette golire!” In the same number in which this article appears there is a complaint that the architects of Ireland are not sufficiently united, and lack esprit du corps; and no better task could devolve upon any professional journal than to promote unity and stimulate professional pride. It is not our business to lay down a programme for our contemporary; but we hope that this aberration will be the last, and that the subsequent papers of ” Guerre a toutrance ” will be relegated to the Social Science Association, or to the waste-paper basket.

      The Architect, Oct 7 1871

    • #816766
      Paul Clerkin

      The Irish Builder has, it appears, a grievance against Irish medical officers of health in general, and those of Dublin in particular; and a special marked copy of our contemporary having been forwarded to us, we are, we presume, expected to reply or submit to judgment against us by default. We plead incapacity to answer, because having read the statement of the case by the Builder, we fail completely to comprehend its meaning. The Builder does our profession the distinguished honour of acknowledging that medical officers of health, when they are men of long experience, are a very useful class of public officials, but thinks “it will never be tolerated that medical men are to become directors-in-chief in all sanitary matters, including building construction, and that architects and engineers are to act as their clerks of works.”

      The Builder also requires to know “how many doctors know the constituents of good mortar, and what are the properties of sand and lime comprising it.” From these quotations we derive the conception that our contemporary is jealous of the doctors. We hasten to reassure it. Irish medical officers of health have not the remotest ambition to undertake a larger field of duty than they have—being almost unpaid for that—and they gladly leave to the composition of bricks, mortar, and plaster— except sticking-plaster—to architects and engineers. In the absence of any circumstance which justifies the Builder’s complaint, it seems to us an unmeaning grumble.

      1878 – Medical Press& Circular, April 24

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