« السابقةمتابعة »
equivocal proof of an increased demand for the article. The progress of this nefarious trade is described by Mr Accum in the following passage.
. It was at the period to which we have alluded, that the preparation of an extract of cocculus indicus first appeared, as a new saleable commodity, in the price-currents of brewers'-druggists. It was at the same time also that a Mr Jackson, of notorious memory, fell upon the idea of brewing beer from various drugs, without any malt and hops. This chemist did not turn brewer himself; but he struck out the more profitable trade of teaching his mystery to the brewers for a handsome fee. From that time forwards, written directions, and receipt-books for using the chemical preparations to be substituted for malt and hops, were respectively sold; and many adepts soon afterwards appeared everywhere, to instruct brewers in the nefarious practice first pointed out by Mr Jackson. From that time, also, the fraternity of brewers'-chemists took its rise. They made it their chief business to send travellers all over the country with lists and samples exhibiting the price and quality of the articles manufactured by them for the use of brewers only. Their trade spread far and wide; but it was amongst the country brewers chiefly that they found the most customers ; and it is amongst them, up to the present day, as I am assured by some of these operators, on whose veracity I can rely, that the greatest quantities of unlawful ingredients are sold.'
Not only is the use of all these deleterious substances strictly prohibited to the brewer under severe penalties; but all druggists or grocers convicted of supplying him with any of them, or who have them in their possession, are liable to severe penalties; and Mr Accum gives a list of twenty-nine convictions for this offence, from the year 1812 to 1819. From the year 1813 to 1819, the number of brewers prosecuted and convicted of using illegal ingredients in their breweries, amounts to thirtyfour. Numerous seizures have also been made during the same period at various breweries and in the warehouses of brewers'druggists, of illegal ingredients, to be used in the brewing of beer, some of them highly deleterious.
Malt liquors, after they are delivered by the brewer to the retail-dealer, are still destined to undergo various mutations before they reach the consumer. It is a common practice with the retailers of beer, though it be contrary to law, to mix tablebeer with strong beer; and, to disguise this fraud, recourse is had to various expedients. It is a well known property of genuine beer, that when poured from one vessel into another, it bears a strong white froth, without which professed judges would not pronounce the liquor good. This property is lost, however, when table-beer is mixed with strong beer; and to restore it, &
mixture of what is called beer-heading is added, composed of common green vitriol, alum, and salt. To give a pungent taste to weak insipid beer, capsicum and grains of paradise, two highly acrid substances, are employed; and, of late, a concentrated tincture of these articles has appeared for sale in the prices-current of brewers’-druggists. To bring beer forward, as it is technically called, or to make it hard, a portion of sulphuric acid is mixed with it, which, in an instant, produces an imitation of the age of eighteen months; and stale, half-spoiled, or sour beer, is converted into mild beer, by the simple admixture of an alkali or an alkaline earth; oyster-shell powder, and subcarbonate of potash, or soda, being usually employed for that purpose. In order to show that these deceptions are not imaginary, Mr Accum refers to the frequent convictions of brewers for those fraudulent practices, and to the seizures which have been made at different breweries of illegal ingredients-a list of which, and of the proprietors of the breweries where they were seized, he has extracted from the Minutes of the Committee of the House of Commons, appointed to Inquire into the Price and Quality of Beer. It may be observed, that while some of the sophistications of beer appear to be perfectly harmless, other substances are frequently employed for this purpose which are highly deleterious, and which must gradually undermine the health of those by whom they are used.
Many others of the most ordinary articles of consumption, are mentioned by our author as being the object of the most disgusting and pernicious frauds. Tea, it is well known, from the numerous convictions which have lately taken place, has been counterfeited to an enormous extent; and copper, in one form or another, is the chief ingredient made use of for effecting the imitation. The practice of adulterating coffee, has also been carried on for a long time, and to a considerable extent; while black and white pepper, Cayenne pepper, mustard, pickles of all sorts, have been all of them debased by an ad mixture of baser, and, in many cases, poisonous ingredients. Ground pepper is frequently sophisticated by an admixture from the sweepings of the pepper warehouses. These sweepings are purchased in the market under the initials P. D., signifying pepper dust. An inferior sort of this vile refuse (Mr Accum observes), or the sweepings of P. D., is distinguished
among venders by the abbreviation of D. P. D., denoting dust, or dirt of pepper dust.'
Of those various frauds so ably exposed in Mr Accum's work, and which are so much the more dangerous, as they are
committed under the disguise of an honourable trade, it is impossible to speak in terms of too strong reprobation; and in the first impulse of our indignation, we were inclined to avenge such iniquitous practices by some signal punishment. We naturally reflect, that such offences, in whatever light they are viewed, are of a far deeper dye than many of those for which our sanguinary code awards the penalty of death and we wonder that the punishment hitherto inflicted, has been limited to à fine. If we turn our view, however, from the moral turpitude of the act, to a calm consideration of that important question, namely, What is the most effectual method of protecting the community from those frauds ?--we will then see strong reasons for preferring the lighter punishment. We do not find from experience, that offences are prevented by severe punishments. On the contrary, the crime of forgery, under the most unrelenting execution of the severe law against it, has grown more frequent. As those, therefore, by whom the offence of adulterating articles of provision is committed, are generally creditable and wealthy individuals, the infliction of a heavy fine, accompanied by public disgrace, seems a very suitable punishment: And if it be duly and reasonably applied, there is little doubt that it will be found effectual to check, and finally to root out, those disgraceful frauds.
ART. VIII. A Sicilian Story. With Diego de Montilla ; and
other Poems. By Bary CORNWALL. 12mo. pp. 180. London, 1820.
good imitation of what is excellent, is generally preferable
to original mediocrity :-Only it provokes dangerous comparisons—and makes failures more conspicuous—and sometimes reminds us that excellent things are imitable by their faultsand that too diligent a study of the wonders of Art, is apt to lead into some forgetfulness of the beauties of Nature.
In spite of all these dangers we must say that the author before us is a very good imitator and unquestionably, for the most
very good models. His style is chiefly moulded, and his versification modulated on the pattern of Shakespeare, and the other dramatists of that glorious age-particularly Marlow, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Massinger. He has also copied something from Milton and Ben Jonson, and the amorous cavaliers of the Usurpation—and then passing disdainfully over all the intermediate writers, has flung himself fairly into the
arms of Lord Byron, Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Leigh Hunt. -This may be thought, perhaps, rather a violent transition ; and likely to lead to something of an incongruous mixture. But the materials really harmonize very tolerably; and the candid reader of the work will easily discover the secret of this amalgamation.
In the first place, Mr Cornwall is himself a poet—and one of no mean rate ; -and not being a maker of parodies or centos, he does not imitate by indiscriminately caricaturing the prominent peculiarities of his models, or crowding together their external or mechanical characteristics—but merely disciplines his own genius in the school of theirs--and tinges the creatures of his fancy with the colouring which glows in theirs. In the next place, and what is much more important, it is obvious, that a man may imitate Shakespeare and his great compeers, without presuming to rival their variety or universality, and merely by endeavouring to copy one or two of their many styles and excellences. This is the case with Mr C. He does not meddle with the thunders and lightnings of the mighty poet; and still less with his boundless humour and fresh-springing merriment. He has nothing to do with Falstaff or Silence; and does not venture himself in the lists with Macbeth, or Lear, or Othello. It is the tender, the sweet, and the fanciful only, that he aspires to copy--the girlish innocence and lovely sorrow of Juliet, Imogen, Perdita, or Viola—the enchanted solitude of Prospero and his daughter-the etherial loves and jealousies of Oberon and Titania, and those other magical scenes, all perfumed with love and poetry, and breathing the spirit of a celestial spring, which lie scattered in every part of his writings.- The genius of Fletcher, perhaps, is more akin to Mr C's muse of imitation, than the soaring and extravagant spirit' of Shakespeare; and we think we can trace, in more places than one, the impression which his fancy has received from the patient suffering and sweet desolation of Aspatia, in his Maid's tragedy. It is the youthful Milton only that he has presumed to copy- the Milton of Lycidas and Comus, and the Arcades, and the Seraphic Hymns-not the lofty and austere Milton of the Paradise. From Jonson, we think, he has imitated some of those exquisite songs and lyrical pieces that lie buried in the rubbish of his masks, and which continued to be the models for all such writings' down to the period of the Restoration. There are no traces, we think, of Dryden, or Pope, or Young, -or of any body else , indeed, till we come down to Lord Byron, and our other tuneful contemporaries.-From what we have already said, it will be unelerstood, that Mr C. has not thought of imiteting all Byron, arty' VOL. XXXIII. NO. 65.
more than all Shakespeare. He leaves untouched the mockery and misanthropy, as well as much of the force and energy of the noble Lord's poetry-and betakes himself only to its deep sense of beauty, and the grace and tenderness that are so often and so strangely interwoven with those less winning characteristics.
- It is the poetry of Manfred, of Parisina, of Haidée and Thyrsa, that he aims at copying, and not the higher and more energetic tone of the Corsair, or Childe Harold, or Don Juan. He has indeed borrowed the manner of this last piece in two of the poems in this little volume—but has shown no great aptitude for wit or sarcasm, and has succeeded only in the parts that are pathetic and tender. There is a great deal of the diction of Wordsworth and Coleridge, and some imitation of their beauties : But we think the natural bent of his genius is more like that of Leigh Hunt than any other author. He has the same play of fancy, and the same capacity of deep and delicate feeling, together with the same relish for the old Italian poetry, and the plain and simple pathos of Dante and Boccacio.-We doubt, however, whether he has equal force of original talent, or whether he could have written any thing so good, on the whole, as the beautiful story of Rimini: But he has better taste and better judgment—or, what perhaps is but saying the same thing, he has less affectation, and far less conceit. He has scarcely any
other affectation, indeed, than is almost necessarily implied in a sedulous imitator of difficult models--and no visible conceit at all. On the contrary, we cannot help supposing him to be a very natural and amiable person, who has taken to write poetry, more for the love he bears it, than the fame to which it may raise him—who cares nothing for the sects and factions into which the poetical world may be divided—but, regarding himself as a debtor to every writer who has given him pleasure, desires nothing better than to range freely over the whole Parnassian garden, stealing and giving odour' with a free spirit and a grateful and joyous heart.
It is this apparent devotion to the purer part of his art—and the total exclusion of all contentious and dogmatical matter, that constitutes the great charm of his writing. The fever of party spirit, and the bitterness of speculative contention, have of late years infected all our literature; and Poetry itself, instead of being the balm and anodyne of minds hurt and ruffled with the rugged tasks and angry struggles of the world, has too often been made the vehicle of moral and political animosity, religious antipathy and personal offence. We cannot always, with all our philosophy, escape the soil and tarnish of those contagious pursuits ; but it is delightful to turn from them awhile, to the unalloyed