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wherein the wines were exported. Thus, the pernicious practice is sometimes carried on without regard either to science or humanity ; and many compounds, sold in Lon. don, and elsewhere, intended to imitate Port and other wines, agree with them only in astringency. Hence the practical paradox of more Port wine being manufactured in the vaults beneath the streets of London, than is procured from the vineyards of Oporto ?”
That the Spaniards are quite as great adepts in the art of brandying, as the Portuguese, seems also certain.
A comparatively recent traveller in Spain, in speaking of the wine of Xeres, says, “That which is sent to England is always mixed with brandy, which occasions a further augmentation in the price. Most of the wine merchants in Xeres, have distilleries to make brandy, to add to the wine, but do not export any."-Jacob's Trav. in Spain, 4to. 1809.
A few years, since, the frauds in Port wine were indisputably exposed by Mr. Brande, an eminent chemist, in a valuable paper, on fermented liquors, read before the Royal Society, in which he says, that “ Port wine appears to contain about one-half its bulk of pure brandy." But, accord. ing to his own analysis, Sherry does not contain a great deal less; and Madeira quite as much, at least, within one part out of a hundred.
by measure. Brandy contains of Alcohol ....
53:39 Port, the strongest
25.83 Madeira, ditto
24:42 Sherry, ditto ..
19.83 But Cape wine, no more than our Ports and Sherries, can escape this brandying process. Sir John Sinclair, in a paper on the “ Improvement of the Cape,” dated January, 1829, observes, “ It would be advantageous, were premiums offered for wine, made on a pure and good system, instead of being mixed with Cape brandy, sulphuric acid, &c. Notwithstanding all these disadvantages, Cape wine is generally sold in England, under the name, and at the prices of Madeira, Sherry, Teneriffe, Stein, Pontac, and above all, of Hock !"
Brandying, however, is not the only fraud practised upon the wine-drinkers of England. On the contrary, while flattering themselves that they are drinking the delicious liquor, which has been commended by the pen of inspira. tion, they are not only impairing their health by the use of a poisonous spirit, but are sucking in a combination of ingredients, which bear no sort of resemblance to the grape.
“ It is estimated," says Morewood, on Inebriating Liquors, “ that one-half of the Port, and five-sixths of the white wines, consumed in London, are the produce of the home presses.”
Speaking of the adulteration of wines, the writer of • The Wine Drinker's Manual," (published 1830,) observes, The practice is of considerable antiquity; and, as in most ways of sin, succeeding generations have progressed in the custom, till they have made a compound of adulteration, and thus lost the original produce, which they intended to imitate or qualify. Indeed, the moderns have reached a refinement of vice, which the scientific fraud of future ages will probably never transcend."
“One of the most common adulterations is by means of lead, which, when dissolved in acids, has the power of sweetening them.". Now Dr. Johnstone, in his “ Essay on Poisons," observes, that “ Lead, in its metallic state, like all the other metals, is probably inert ; but is so easily acted upon by the weaker acids and alkalies, that it cannot be taken in this form without imminent danger.” Hence it is justly remarked, by Mr. Accum, that “the merchant or dealer who practises this dangerous sophistication, adds the crime of murder to that of fraud, and deliberately scatters the seeds of disease and death among those customers who contribute to his emolument !"
“ It is sufficiently evident," says this eminent chemist, " that few of these commodities which are the objects of commerce, are adulterated to a greater extent than wine, allum, Brazil-wood, gypsum, oak sawdust, and husks of filberts are used to brighten, colour, clear, and make astringent wines. A mixture of spoiled foreign, and home made wines is converted into the wretched compound, frequently sold under the name of genuine old Port.
“ Many thousand pipes of spoiled cider are annually brought hither from the country, for the purpose of being converted into factitious Port wine.”
The following is a chemical analysis of some of the stuff, which is sold for the juice of the grape :Spirits of wine, or alcohol
3 oz. Cider.....
2 scru. Tartaric acid..
1 Strong decoction of logwood Orfila, in his work on Poisons, testifies, that “ sugar of lead, cerusse, and still more frequently, litharge, are mixed
with acids, or sharp tasted wines, in order to render them less so;" and he describes the effects of such adulterations to be foetid eructations, hiccup, difficulty in respiration, thirst, cramp, coldness of limbs, convulsions, change of features, delirium."
Dr. J. Stevenson, in his work on “Alimentary Drinks," declares that “ Brazil wood, and the husks of elderberries, and bilberries, are employed to impart a rich purple ; but to red port of a pale faint colour that gypsum is used, to render it transparent—that astringency is imparted by means of oakwood, sawdust, and the husks of filberts ; and that the banquet of high-flavoured wines is produced by sweet-briars, orris-root, daisy, cherry laurel water, (rankest poison, and deleterious, in its smallest proportions) and elder flowers.”
Such are some of the delicious articles palmed upon English wine-drinkers for the pure juice of the grape. Who would not be a Total Abstainer, from all that goes by the name of wine, rather than spend money in the purchase of such trash, and, at the same time, run the risk of being poisoned.
The following amusing anecdote will somewhat relieve the dryness of the foregoing details, and still further illustrate the subject :
A Frenchman, making the tour of London, writes to his friends in Paris to the following effect, “There is a liquor sold in this country, which they call wine (most of the inhabitants call it wind.) Of what ingredients it is composed I cannot tell; but you are not to conceive, as the word seems to import, that this is a translation of our word vin, a liquor made of the juice of the grape; for I am well assured there is not a drop of any such juice in it. There
must be many ingredients in this liquor from the many different tastes ; some of which are sweet, others sour, and others bitter ; but though it appeared so nauseous to me and my friend, that we could not swallow it, the English relish it very well ; nay, they will often drink a gallon of it at a sitting ; sometimes, in their cups, for it intoxicates, they will wantonly give names of all our best wines." -Advice on Alim. Drinks, by J. Stevenson, M.D., 1830.
It has never been denied, that the intoxicating material, whether existing in beer, or brandy, is what chemists and medical men denominate Alcohol. It is the product, solely, of the fermentation of saccharine, or sugary substances; and is found to exist when any such substances have passed into the state of vinous fermentation, which is the first stage towards putrefaction. In the next, or acetous stage, it becomes destroyed. Thus it exists in wine, but not in vinegar. Although its poisonous property had been demonstrated, by its destructive influence, on human health, for ages prior to the discovery of it, in the form of a spirit, by means of the art of distillation, it had never received a name, until that of ALCOHOL was given to it, by the Arabian chemists, about eight or nine hundred years ago.
The Greeks, indeed, had the wisdom to perceive, that their fermented wines contained a poisonous property-hence, instead of saying, “the man is