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convenient to have the stomach of Dr. Clarke's Constantinopolitan a comfortable dram : but till Mr. Accum can accommodate us with this, what is to be done? Including himself, there are about twenty chemists in England; and about two millions of people who are exposed to poison by wine and custard, seven bv ale and crucibles, his ammonia, his muriate of barytes, and his chemical elbow, with his hydrosulphuretted muriatic water, his filtres, his knowledge? How many can command the other nineteenUn
subject, may be driven to the perusal of it by the terrific emblems that, a which he has placed in full display before them.
But it is Mr. Accum's business to create alarm, if we are not kno! greatly mistaken, and it is part of our's to see that he does not create and more than he feels himself. If he buys his bread at the baker's
, kad and his wine at the vintner's, why should not his readers! when be a gives up eating and drinking, we will do the same. That he has *** excited the fears of the brave, and the terrors of the wise, is on nevertheless certain.
That we are surrounded with death (as Mr. Accum says) in the midst of our enjoyments, is undoubtedly true ; it is pretty bu much the same, we suspect, where there are no enjoyments at all. But all our poisons are not culinary ;' nor, indeed, notwithstanding Mr. Accum's title page, are his own limited to the si porridge pot : the very air we breathe is poisonous, and alas! Mr. Accum, with
his corrosive waters, His crosslets, crucibles, and cucurbites, can neither detect the poison nor purge it. In every breeze we draw in the seeds of sciatica, catarrh, peripneumony, ferer
, dysentery, consumption and plague. Again, the best of turtle cooked in a platina kettle; venison that never strayed but from the forest to the spit ; eggs, whose shells no chemical drugs could ever penetrate ; Chateau-margot and Sillery, pure from their vegetable founts
, give us the gout, the dropsy, the palsy, the apoplexy, and the stone.
But nature boon' carries us safe over these and many other shoals that lie in the voyage of life. The
silver cord will not crack though we drink horse beans for coffee, and, for tea, ash leaves transinuted by sheep's dung, verdigris, and stone blue; though we snuff sal ammoniac, pounded glass, and hellebore, for to bacco; and though we swallow carbonic acid from the lungs of a diseased butcher in the shape of loins of veal. — If these things are, and are so terrific, it would, doubtless, be very friend Solyman, to whom an ounce of corrosive sublimate beer.' Out of these, how many can have Mr. Accum at their
doubtedly, much unsavoury gas has been sniffed at the Royal Institution, and Mr. Brande has laboured hard to impregnate his audiences with oxygen, hydrogen, and azote; with chlorine, iodine, and borium : but in spite of his science and his toils, we fear that there is not one of all his numerous hearers who could perform any of Mr. Accum's experiments, simple as they are to him, even with the terrific blue book in their hands. And even if they could, must not we go to dine with a friend, or sit down to dinner at home, without a retort and a receiver, an alembic or a test box ? Every coffee house and tavern will become a laboratory, and the cry will be "Waiter ! a bottle of port and the hydrosulphuret of ammonia.' Lord Bacon's system of prolonging life by occludents and aperients, by laxatives, astringents, and oils, would be holiday work to this.
But let us see what Mr. Accum has to say for himself on this portentous subject.
'Among the number of substances used in domestic economy, which are now very generally found sophisticated, may be distinguishedtea, coffee, bread, beer, wine, spirituous liquors, sallad oil, pepper, vinegar, mustard, cream, and other articles of subsistence. Indeed 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.
Others, however, are highly deleterious; and to this class belong the adulterations of beer, wines, spirituous liquors, pickles, sallad oil, &c.
* 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 the oilman.'
Such are the revolutions in science, and such the pursuits of our modern alchemists! The days of the Magisterium and the Alkahest are past: and instead of burning their coals, and draining their neighbours' purses, in cohobating Sol with the White Dragon in Balneo Mariæ, in projection, ablution, solution, vivification, calcination, ceration, fixation, and other terminations in ation, the Lullys and Paracelsuses of modern times, are content to turn their vitriol and aquafortis into gold by-the more authentic and received operations of ordinary cozening.
* These illicit pursuits have assumed all the order and method of a regular trade; they may severally claim to be distinguished as an art
and mystery; for the workmen employed in them are often wholly ig. norant of the nature of the substances which pass through their hands, and of the purposes to which they are ultimately applied.
• To elude the vigilance of the inquisitive, to defeat the scrutiny of the revenue officer, and to ensure the secrecy of these mysteries, the processes are very ingeniously divided and sub-divided among individual operators, and the manufacture is purposely carried on in separate establishments.'
Such are a few of the advantages arising from the division of labour: but Mr. Accum proceeds.
. 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.'
And these proceedings are carried on in dark cellars under ground.'
O night and shades,
Against our unarmed weakness ! After food, physic: and, truly, after such food as we are threatened with in every page of this work, a little physic extraordinary is likely to be acceptable. But woe unto us! neither • rhubarb, senna, nor purgative drug' escapes the alchemy of those worthies who deal in destiny and cocculus indicus.
• Nine tenths of the most potent drugs and chemical preparations used in pharmacy, are vended in a sophisticated state by dealers who would be the last to be suspected.
• Il is well known, that of the article Peruvian bark, there is a variety of species inferior to the genuine ; that too little discrimination is exercised by the collectors of this precious medicament; that it is carelessly assorted, and is frequently packed up in green hides; that much of it arrives in Spain in a half decayed state, mixed with fragments of other vegetables and various extraneous substances; and in this state is distributed throughout Europe.
• But, as if this was not a sufficient deterioration, the public are often served with a spurious compound of mahogany saw dust and oak wood, ground into powder, mixed with a proportion of good quinquina, and sold as genuine bark powder.
• It is also notorious that there are manufacturers of spurious thubarb powder, ipecacuanba powder, James's powder, and other simple and compound medicines of great potency, who carry on their diabolical trade on an amazingly large scale. Indeed the quantity of medical preparations thus sophisticated exceeds belief. Cheapness, and not genuineness and exceilence, is the grand vlesideratum wiih the unprincipled dealers in drugs and medicines. Those who are familiar with chemistry may easily convince themselves of the existence of the fraud, by subjecting to the chemical examination either spirits of hartshorr.,
magnesia, calcined magnesia, calomel, or any other chemical preparation in general demand.'
This is, indeed, justifiable matter of indignation. Even Seneca himself would allow us to be angry here. Fortunately, however, the matter is thoroughly understood by the apothecaries of this city, for they compound their draughts accordingly. If the spurious commodities are, indeed, of great potency,' as Mr. Accum says, their diabolical trade' cannot do much harm by its negative qualities : we did presume that 'potency' and 'adulteration' implied different things.
* But, happily for the science, (Chemistry) it may, without difficulty, be converted into a means of detecting the abuse; to effect which, very little chemical skill is required ; and the course to be pursued forms the object of the following pages.' Good !
Our bane and antidote are both before us, and this, it is true, is very consolatory ; but we shrewdly suspect that the chemical skill,' requisite to detect these abuses, will not be found latent behind the blue and green bottles which glare with meteoric lights across our nightly path, at every avenue of the metropolis.
• The same system of adulteration extends to artieles used in various trades and manufactures. For instance, linen tape, and various other household commodities of that kind, instead of being manufactured of linen thread only, are made up of linen and cotton. Colours for painting, not only those used by artists, such as ultramarine, carmine, and lake ; Antwerp blue, chrome yellow, and Indian ink; but also the coarser colours used by the common house painter are more or less adulterated. Thus, of the latter kind, white lead is mixed with carbonate or sulphate of barytes ; vermillion with red lead. Soap used in bousekeeping is frequently adulterated with a considerable portion of fine white clay, brought from St. Stephen's, in Cornwall. In the manufacture of printing paper, a large quantity of plaster of Paris is added to the paper stuff, to increase the weight of the manufactured article. The selvage of cloth is often dyed with a fugitive dye. The frauds committed in the tanning of skins, and in the manufacture of cutlery and jewellery, exceed belief.'
Aye, and in the manufacture of wigs too, Master Accum, as honest Strap can testify. Our very shoemaker, in spite of a special act of parliament, makes but one stitch where he should make three; the candle manufacturer puts tallow into our wax, and the oilman whale into our spermaceti: spunges are made to gravitate with sand and water, Coleraines are thickened with hasty pudding, and solid leather trunks made of pasteboard. The taylor cabbages our cloth, and the house carpenter inoculates our roofs with the dry rot; the VOL. XXIV. NO. XLVIII.
very chimney-sweeper puts dust into his soot, and the dustman carries off our hans and silver spoons in his cart; the nightman cheats the farmer by diluting his commodity, and the brickmaker blows up his bricks with cinders and sand that they may consume less fire in the baking. In short we know of no manufactures that are not adulterated, except slate pencils and ice. Nature, however, has kindly as well as happily provided a compensation in this world for all our misfortunes; in this particular case by a universal equipoise of cheating. If the baker crains the brewer with alum, he is in his turn drenched with treacle and quassia juice. If the apothecary drugs the coachmaker with sham calomel and pulverized post, he gets a bad spring, to his carriage, oversets, dislocates his cerebellum, and is in retum bled by some brother Potion with horse leeches, and vomited with ipecacuanha made of rotten coffins and white vitriol. This is, indeed, a sad world; but if Mr. Accum's re-agents and retorts, backed by a dozen acts of parliament, could be rendered a substitute for honesty, it would go on well enough. In defect of that, we fear there is nothing left for us, but to eat our dinners and swallow our boluses with what appetites we may; confident that if death does not come to us out of the pot,' or the gallipot, in the shape of acetate of lead or copper, arsevic or mercury, he will find some other mode of getting at us.
All this, however, is only prefatory matter on Mr. Accum's part, and he knows full well that he has made the most of it. It is time for us to examine the body of the book; as we have now disposed of the cover and prolegomena.
We cannot say there is much novelty in this part of the author's work, nor much of scientific knowledge displayed in his manner of treating it. The remarks on Thames water are more trite than accurate; but there is something engaging, if not strictly new, in the following hypothesis.
• The effects produced by the foreign matters which water may contain, are more considerable, and of greater importance, than might at first be imagined. It cannot be denied, that such waters as are hard, or loaded with earthy matter, have a decided effect upon some important functions of the human body. They increase the distressing symptoms under which those persons labour who are afflicted with what is commonly called gravel complaints; and many other ailments might be named, that are always aggravated by the use of waters abounding in saline and earthy substances.'
We do, indeed, remember a case in which a physician in great practice attributed the stone and gravel, under which a friend of ours laboured, to the use of water which, having been filtered through a crazy apolepsia alexicacon, had carried a portion of sand and