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ed on with a careless eye, by any one who has within himself what might keep him from the necessity of borrowing from another. He ought to say, in the words of an old poet

"Though I'me young, I scorne to flit
On the wings of borrowed wit.

I'le make my owne feathers reare me
Whither others cannot beare me.”

ART. III.-A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons, exhibiting the fraudulent sophistications of Bread, Beer, Wine, Spirituous Liquors, Tea, Coffee, Cream, Confectionary, Vinegar, Mustard, Pepper, Cheese, Olive Oil, Pickles, and other Articles employed in Domestic Economy; and Methods of detecting them. By FREDRICK ACCUM, Operative Chemist, Lecturer on Practical Chemistry, Mineralogy, and on Chemistry applied to the Arts and Manufactures; Member of the Royal Irish Academy, Fellow of the Linnæan Society, Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, and of the Royal Society of Arts of Berlin, &c. &c. London, Longman & Co. 1820. Pp. 388. 12mo.

MR. ACCUM is advantageously known to the public by several works of a character between profoundly scientific and loosely popular. His treatise on Chemical Tests embodies a great deal of useful information, in a reasonable and convenient form; and of the merits of a production under the name of Chemical Amusement," the object of which is, by a great variety of easy, safe, curious, or striking experiments, illustrated and explained on philosophical principles, to convey instruction respecting the science of chemistry, in an agreeable and interesting manner, we have a tolerably correct evidence, in its having undergone four editions in about half the number of years. Still more recently, he has published a costly, but valuable work, on the Process of Manufacturing Coal Gas; and we have seen announced, with his name, a Description of the Chemical Apparaus and Instruments employed in Chemistry, also Elements of Chemistry for Self-Instruction, after the system of Sir Humphrey Davy, neither of which has hitherto fallen into our hands. From this enumeration, conjoined with the fair inferences to be drawn from his professional designation and titular appendages quoted at the head of this article, it may be safely concluded,

that he is an experienced teacher, and that he has attained already a respectable eminence in those departments of practical science which he professes to cultivate.

The work before us will undoubtedly extend his repute, because, with perhaps equal merit as to execution with his other productions, it is of much more general interest than any of them. It furnishes intelligence of the first importance to the well-being of mankind, and in reality is addressed to every member of the community. The number of those whom the demands of society may require to be adepts in chemistry or mineralogy, is comparatively speaking small; nor will the proportion which it bears to the whole population be greatly increased, by adding to it the list of amateur students who may have the commendable ambition of reaping the honours of a Cavendish or a Playfair. But all of us must eat and drink; and besides the necessity for these operations, there are few individuals who do not occasionally regard them as sources of enjoyment. They are so naturally, indeed, independent of the art, or the folly of mankind, which, not contented with their subservience to animal existence, have apparently exalted them to a chief place among rational concerns.

That a certain degree of attention ought to be directed to the kind of substances which are introduced into our systems, under the name, and for the purposes of aliment, is quite manifest from the very different effects which are produced on our sensations and faculties, whether of mind or body, by the various materials which we are in the habit of consuming. In vain would a false philosophy, or an equally false religion, inculcate indifference to the qualities of those things which we use in diet; for while our constitutions are fabricated as they are, while they remain subject to physical causes, as we experience them to be, we cannot in reason divest ourselves of all consideration respecting the means by which alone they are to be supported and fitted for the duties of life. But there arises another, and a very cogent reason for some solicitude on the subject, in the notorious, or at least the widely-suspected sophistications of the articles of food which unprincipled men have practised for the sake of gain, and in the admitted fact of sundry impurities being occasionally allowed to mix with alimentary substances, rather through inadvertence or carelessness than design, but with equal hazard to those persons who may partake of them. It is to apprize the public of the extent of the danger to which they are exposed from both of these causes, fraud and ignorance or inattention, and to put them in possession of the means by which pernicious and spu rious ingredients may be detected in a great variety of substan

ces considered as necessaries of life, or employed as luxuries, that Mr. Accum now comes before us. The motives which have influenced him to this publication, and the highly beneficial object of his labours, would go far to disarm criticism, were it even called into action by glaring vices of a literary nature; and a journal, such as ours professes to be, would forfeit its claims to patronage, were it to deal with such a work otherwise than might ensure or promote its success. It may not, however, be improper to say, in case the author should ever peruse our pages, that we think he might have still more effectually consulted the public good, which he appears cordially, and we will add very skilfully to have meditated, had he lessened its size by the omis sion of certain newspaper notices and lists of persons convicted of fraudulent sophistications, and thus, as well as by abstaining from some ornamental appendages, rather too much ad captandum vulgus, and by exercising a little more compression, diminished the price of his treatise, while, in our judgment at least, he would have improved its character. We may add, too, that its arrangement is not very philosophical, and that its language is occasionally less perspicuous than could be wished. But these defects, we allow, are comparatively speaking of minor consequence only, and do not destroy the substantial value of the work, though they must, in some degree, influence both its reception and its applicability.

We now proceed, according to our plan, to give such an analysis of it as may partly determine our readers in the question of the purchase of it, or supply its place to those who may find it expedient to rest altogether on our information. We cannot do better, in the outset, than to quote a few passages from Mr. Accum's preface and preliminary observations, in order to awaken attention to the serious and universally-concerning topics of which it treats.


Every person is aware, that bread, beer, wine, and other substances employed in domestic economy, are frequently met with in an adulterated state; and the late convictions of numerous individuals for counterfeiting and adulterating tea, coffee, bread, beer, pepper, and other articles of diet, are still fresh in the memory of the public. To such perfection of ingenuity has the system arrived in this country, that spurious articles are every where to be found in the market, made up so skilfully as to elude the discrimination of the most experienced judges.This unprincipled and nefarious practice, increasing in degree as it has been found difficult of detection, is now applied to almost every commodity which can be classed among either the necessaries or the luxuries of life. It has been pursued by men, who, from the magnitude and apparent respectability of their concerns, would be the least obnoxious to public suspicion; and their successful example has called forth, from among the retail dealers, a multitude of competitors in the same iniquitous course. It would be difficult to mention a single article of food, which is not to be met with in an adulterated state; and there are some substances which are scarcely ever to be procured genuine.

"Some of these spurious compounds are comparatively harmless when used as food;

and as in these cases merely substances of inferior value are substituted for more costly and genuine ingredients, the sophistication, though it may affect our purse, does not injure our health. Of this kind are the manufacture of factitious pepper, the adulterations of mustard, vinegar, cream, &c. Others, however, are highly deleterious; and to this class belong the adulterations of beer, wines, spirituous liquors, pickles, sallad oil, and many others. Many instances of unconscious deception might be mentioned, which were practised by persons of upright and honourable minds."

Though there be, therefore, different descriptions of characters concerned in the sophistication of alimentary articles, it is obvious that the consequences of their improper practices may be alike injurious to the users. We may in some measure censure the careless and ignorant dealers in sophisticated goods, but our indignation is justly due to those, who, for the purpose of making money, wilfully and knowingly employ materials in the fabrication of their commodities, which have been ascertained to possess pernicious qualities. Of some of these, Mr. Accum gives us the following information:

"There are particular chemists who make it a regular trade to supply drugs or nefarious preparations to the unprincipled brewer of porter or ale; others perform the same office to the wine and spirit merchant; and others again to the grocer and oilman. The operators carry on their processes chiefly in secresy, and under some delusive firm, with the ostensible denotements of a fair and lawful establishment. To elude the vigilance of the inquisitive, to defeat the scrutiny of the revenue-officer, and to insure the secresy of their mysteries, the processes are very ingeniously divided and subdivided among individual operators, and the manufacture is purposely carried on in separate establishments. The task of proportioning the ingredients for use is assigned to one individual; while the composition and preparation of them may be said to form a distinct part of the business, and is entrusted to another workman. Most of the articles are transmitted to the consumer in a disguised state, or in such a form, that their real nature cannot possibly be detected by the unwary."

It will necessarily happen, of course, that many persons engaged in the minor departments of this trade, are unconsciously instrumental in injuring the healths and endangering the lives of their fellow-creatures.

"Indeed," says Mr. Accum, " during the long period devoted to the practice of my profession, I have had abundant reason to be convinced, that a vast number of dealers, of the highest respectability, have vended to their customers articles absolutely poisonous, which they themselves considered as harmless, and which they would not have offered for sale, had they been apprised of the spurious and pernicious nature of the compounds, and of the purposes to which they were destined."

Hitherto, it would seem, neither the enactments of the legislature, nor the diligence of official persons, has been effectual to guard the public against dangerous impositions; and hence the value of such an exposition as Mr. Accum has undertaken to furnish. He comprehends in it the varied cases of wilful or ig norant contamination of alimentary substances, and their accidental vitiation; and he has also thrown out a few observations on the adulteration of medical drugs, which, though judicious so far as they go, might have been better reserved for a special

treatise, or allowed to keep their place in the dispensatory. This leads us to remark, what we presume will naturally occur to the intelligent reader, that much of Mr. Accum's work is necessarily made up of information collected from the publications of various other authors. But in saying so, we have not the slightest intention to depreciate his merits. He has done admirably well even in this particular species of labour, and the additions which he has communicated from his own stock of knowledge impress us with a very high opinion of his industry, zeal and judg


The substance, of the various kinds, qualities, and occasional impurities of which Mr. Accum first treats, is WATER; to the consideration of which, from its primary importance and universal utility, he has allotted more than sixty pages of his work. Much originality or novelty was not to be looked for on this topic; and, indeed, we are not sure that he has made a single remark on it which is not familiar to every one who has paid the least attention to chemical science, or has ever read any of our most popular works on that part of medicine which relates to dietetics. On this account we shall not dwell long on it.

Water is rarely found in nature perfectly pure. It generally contains some foreign ingredients, derived from the mineral channels through which it has run, or some of those gaseous matters which are suspended in the atmosphere. The most common distinction of water is into hard and soft; the latter being that which is of greatest use in culinary operations, and the various chemical arts. It is well characterized by Mr. Ac


"A good criterion of the purity of water fit for domestic purposes, is its softness. This quality is at once obvious by the touch, if we only wash our hands in it with soap. Good water should be beautifully transparent; a slight opacity indicates extraneous matter. To judge of the perfect transparency of water, a quantity of it should be put into a deep glass vessel, the larger the better, so that we can look down perpendicularly into a considerable mass of the fluid; we may then readily discover the slightest degree of muddiness much better than if the water be viewed through the glass placed between the eye and the light. It should be perfectly colourless, devoid of odour, and its taste soft and agreeable. It should send out air-bubbles when poured from one vessel into another; it should boil pulse soft; and form with soap an uniform opaline fluid; which does not separate after standing for several hours."

The presence of common air and carbonic acid gas gives a sprightliness or liveliness to water which is dissipated or greatly impaired by boiling, but may be partly recovered by the water being exposed to the atmosphere, and still more speedily by its being briskly agitated. But, on the other hand, unboiled water, however brisk, will, if long exposed, lose part of its included gases; and this is particularly advantageous for washing, so may be profi

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