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(column IV.) from the known original gravity. To discover whether the progress
&c. In two other fermentations of cane sugar wort, the degrees of gravity lost, found to correspond to the degrees of spirit indication never differed from the numbers of the preceding experiment, or from one another, by more than 0.9 degree of gravity lost.
It was in this manner, from the average results of several experiments of the same kind, that the data embodied in table No. 4, (page 313) were obtained. The tables for Malt and Grain Worts were constructed from similar experiments on infusions of malt, &c., fermented with and without hops, and so conducted as to resemble as closely as possible, the operations of the brewer on the large scale.
The degrees of spirit indication given in the tables for the evaporation process, were derived from the same experiments as those above described, the only difference being, that the numbers placed in the column of spirit indication are in this case, the results obtained by subtracting the original gravity from the extract gravity, instead of being the differences between the specific gravity of the actual spirit distilled over and the specific gravity of water. An explanation has already been afforded (page 311) of the reason for the disparity between the two kinds of spirit indication.
Home-made sugar is chargeable with an excise duty equal in amount to the customs duty on the imported commodity, but the production of marketable sugar in the United Kingdom from beet root or other materials has not hitherto proved a remunerative undertaking, and, with a trifling exception, there has been no revenue derived from it for several years.
The legal regulations for securing the duty drawn up at the time the manufacture was first commenced (1837) were limited to the sugar made from beet-root, but have since been extended, though without any alteration, to the sugar obtained from other sources. In the event of the manufacture ever being resumed and carried on to any extent, it will probably be necessary to revise the existing law in many particulars. Two modes of assessing the duty are prescribed by the acts now in force : 1st, from the gravity, or saccharine value of the syrup;
2nd, from the weight of the sugar actually produced ; the highest of these to be taken as the charge against the trader.
A brief description of the processes that have been employed in this country in the preparation of sugar from beet-root and potatoes, is here subjoined :
Beet-root Sugar.—The manufacture of sugar from beet-root is practised to a large extent on the Continent of Eur particularly in France and Germany, but is not carried on in any part of the United Kingdom at the present time. Beet-root sugar factories have been established in Ireland, -one at Mountmellick and another at Waterford, - but, as commercial speculations, have proved wholly unsuccessful, not from the want of a sufficient supply of beet-root, but from the producers being unable to compete, in point of quality or price, with sugar, the produce of the colonies.
Beet-root is a biennial plant, of which there are several varieties. The kind most esteemed by sugar-makers is the white Silesian, usually called the “sugar beet," and of this variety, that known as the collet rose takes the precedence. The Silesian beet is much harder and less liable to injury from removal, storing, &c., than most of the other varieties; the quantity of juice yielded by it is smaller, but the specific gravity of the liquid, obtained by expression, is much higher, and ranges from 1.048 to 1.060, and has been known to reach as high a gravity as 1.100. The proportion of sugar in the juice varies from 6 to 12 per cent.
In the manufacture of beet-root sugar two methods are employed, which do not essentially differ from each other, except as regards the processes adopted for obtaining the juice from the root. Whichever mode may be resorted to that of expression or maceration—the roots are first well washed and picked ; and, if the juice is to be expressed, they are then placed in a triturating machine, and by the action of the drum, which is fitted with saw blades, from 100 to 200 in number, according to its size, and made to revolve at a speed of several hundred revolutions in a minute, are soon reduced to a pulp; the pulp is then filled into woollen bags, several of these bags are placed one upon another in a bydraulic press and subjected to great pressure, by which the fluid constituents of the roots are separated from the dry pulp. The latter may now be employed for cattle feeding ; the quantity of juice obtained is generally about 70 per cent.
In the maceration or steeping process, the roots after being cleaned are placed in a cutting machine, and divided into thin slices; the sliced beet is then removed to a steeping vessel and immersed in water or weak juice at a temperature of 212° Fah., by which method the sugar and soluble salts are alone dissolved out, the albuminous portions being retained in the root. The juice thus obtained varies in specific gravity from 1.030 to 1.040.
The juice, as procured by either of these methods, is then defecated, or purified, by being first raised to the temperature of 180° Fah. About five-tenths per cent. of milk of lime is then mixed with the juice, and the whole allowed to remain at rest a short time, the vessel being closely covered to exclude the air ; the impurities are precipitated by the action of the lime, which also subsides at the same time. The defecated juice is now strained through bag:filters, and afterwards passed through filters containing animal charcoal, whence it issues a perfectly clear fluid. From the filters, the juice is conveyed to evaporating pans, and concentrated as rapidly as poesible to the specifio gravity of about 1.340, when it is removed to the crystallizing tanks, and left at rest in order to crystallize.
As soon as the sugar is formed, a portion of it is taken from the crystallizing tanks and placed with the adhering syrup in the cavity of the drum of a centrifugal drying machine ; this drum is made to rotate with a velocity of from 1500 to 2000 revolutions in a minute, and from the great speed at which it is driven round the contents are forcibly thrown outwards, the crystals of sugar being retained by the casing, while the uncrystallizable syrup or molasses is forced through the perforations in the casing, or side of the drum, and collected in a receiver below. The sugar having been placed in a warm room and dried, is then fit for the market, or the sugar refiner, as raw sugar.
The sugar obtained from beet-root is identical in all respects with the produce of the sugar cane, but in the raw or unrefined state possesses a peculiar flavour not generally agreeable, which limits its consumption in the English market.
Starch Sugar.-Another description of sugar known as “Grape sugar," or « Glucose,” has occasionally been manufactured in this kingdom from starch, but hitherto with no greater success than that from Beet-root. Potatoo starch, on account of its cheapness, has been the material generally employed, but rice starch has been used also to a limited extent.
The conversion of starch into sugar is effected by boiling the former with water containing about one per cent. of sulphuric acid, then carefully neutralizing the acid with lime, which entirely removes the acid from the now saccharized juice, and filtering and clarifying the juice through animal charcoal; the juice is then concentrated, by boiling, to the condition of a syrup, or if required as sugar to the specific gravity of about 1•400, and allowed to crystallize, or concrete ; the sugar having been separated and dried is then fit for the market.
The sweetening property of Grape sugar is very inferior to that of canesugar, two parts of the latter being equal in this respect to five parts of the former.
When the operation has been properly conducted the sugar produced will exceed in weight the starch employed, the increase being due to the appropriation of four equivalents of water by the starch during its conversion into sugar.
Sugar used in Brewing.–When the duty on imported or home-made sugar falls short of the duty on an equivalent quantity of malt as used in brewing, an additional tax is imposed of such amount as will equalise as nearly as possible the duties on the two commodities, and thus protect the maltster against unfair competition. For calculating the duty to be charged in respect of the sugar used by brewers, it is assumed that 210 lbs. of ordinary raw sugar yield a wort of about the same quantity and gravity as is usually obtained from a quarter of malt (see page 303).
ADULTERATION OF ARTICLES SUBJECT TO EXCISE
General Observations.-Adulteration, in a fiscal sense, may be said to consist in the admixture of an article which is not subject to duty with one upon which a duty is chargeable, or in the admixture together of substances liable to different rates of duty, as for instance, tobacco and sugar. The extent of such admixture constitutes, of course, the grossness of the fraud in each instance, as it measures the amount of injury inflicted on the revenue, but the law in fixing the penalties for an act of adulteration takes no cognizance of quantity, since in certain cases it is impossible to determine the exact proportion of adulterating matter that may have been used, and even if no difficulty existed in this respect, it would be vain to attempt to carry out a system of fines adapted to every variation in the circumstances of an offence.
It is also a fraud, partaking of the character of adulteration and attended with similar effects, to sell, or keep, or offer for sale any substance prepared in imitation of one which is liable to duty, and professing either to be identical with the latter, or to serve wholly or in part as a substitute for it. All admixtures and substitutions of whatever kind, leading to a loss of revenue are, in fact, adulterations or equivalent offences within the meaning of the law. There is plainly, no penalty incurred, when an untaxed commodity is vended separately under its own proper name, although in several cases a trader is punishable by fine and forfeiture, merely for having on his entered premises certain substances which might, it is presumed, be used with advantage in the adulteration of dutiable goods.
In directing penalties against adulteration, the law seeks to protect the interests both of the revenue and the fair dealer. Indeed, the latter object is often the more important of the two, it being manifestly one of the first obligations of the state to shelter the honest tax-payer, as much as possible, from the effects of fraudulent competition in a trade carried on subject to the revenue laws.
But, except as an indirect result of proceedings instituted for these purposes, it does not enter into the administration of the public finances to afford protection to the health or the pockets of the consumers of taxable commodities. It is true that the rovenue cannot maintain its own rights without, at the same time, rendering a service to consumers generally. The benefit thus conferred, however, applies only to a limited number of articles ranking amongst the luxuries rather than the necessaries of life, and so far as it extends is an incident and not in any degree an essential part of the system of taxation.
As an example of the restricted operation of the revenue laws in this respect, it may be observed that since the abolition of the duty on hops, public brewers are allowed to employ such bitters as they think fit in the manufacture of beer, it no longer being the interest of the revenue to secure the use of any particular kind of bitter. On the other hand, substitutes for malt or sugar are still strictly prohibited, because malt and sugar continue to yield a large revenue to the state. An action for the adulteration of beer, therefore, could not now be sustained, unless it were clearly shown that the substance mentioned in the indictment was capable of taking the place of some portion of malt or sugar, or, in other words, of giving a fictitious strength and body to the beer ; while as respects all other admixtures the public are left to their own remedy against the mal-practices of brewers.
As some of the raw materials to which a duty attaches require to undergo certain processes, and to be compounded with other substances either taxed or untaxed, before they can be presented in a form suited to the taste of consumers, the law finds it desirable to permit the use of such ingredients as are actually necessary to convert the tax-paying article into the product demanded by the public ; but, in order to protect the revenue against an abuse of this provision, all the ingredients that may be legitimately introduced in each manufacture, are, with only one exception, specified by Act of Parliament, or by regulations of the Board of Inland Revenue. Cut or roll tobacco, for example, cannot be prepared without the assistance of of water, or water and oil, respectively. Alkaline salts, essential oils, and in some cases, lime water, are essential constituents of the various kinds of snuff, Accordingly, in the case of tobacco and snuff, manufacturers are specially autborised to employ water, oil, &c., without limitation as to quantivy, these materials being indispensable* in their process, while the use of all other ingredients is forbidden under heavy penalties. There is no restriction, however, imposed on rectifiers or compounders of spirits as to the substances they may choose to employ in the manufacture of spirit mixtures, since it would be impossible to legislate satisfactorily on a matter which involves so great a variety of taste on the part of consumers. These traders are left at liberty to compound spirits with any materials they think proper, so that practically there is no such thing as an adulteration of compounded spirits within the legal meaning of the term. It is found also that cocoa cannot be made to yield a generally acceptable beverage unless the seeds as imported are first mixed with variable proportions of starch and sugar. On this account, it is not the practice of the revenue to interfere in the preparation or sale of cocoa, the substance so called when fit for public use in its most commonly occurring forms, being necessarily a manufactured article of incertain composition.
Again, the duty on chicory, being now equal to that on coffee, no objection is offered by the excise to the admixture of these two substances in any proportions, or to the sale of the mixture in any manner that dealers may choose to adopt.
In short, it appears to be the governing principle of all revenue enactments on the subject of adulteration, to secure the interests of the Crown, by insisting on the purity of dutiable articles when sold in an unmanufactured state, or on the use only of certain allowed ingredients when a process of manufacture is necessary. But, since the public taste demands, in some cases, a compounded article, as well as a supply of the unmixed raw material, and as in those cases it cannot be provided beforehand what shall be the nature and quantity of the substances employed to form the compound preferred by consumers, it becomes imperative on government to sanction practices that would otherwise entail a penalty, and to consent to a loss of revenue out of deference to the wishes of the people.
The various adulterants of exciseable goods may be divided into two classes. 1st. Those which, from their nature and the manner of applying them, can be detected at any time by competent persons in the manufactured article. 2nd. Those, the use of which can only be discovered with certainty by vigilance on the part of officers when surveying the premises of the trader during the process of manufacture. Under the former class are included all the ordinary adulterants of pepper, tobacco, and snuff, and under the second class most of the substances employed to adulterate beer, or the use of raw grain, molasses, or treacle in the operation of brewing. Even when the presence of adulterating matter can be readily and conclusively established by chemical or microscopical examination, it is desirable to detect the trader, if possible, in the actual commission of fraud, and to obtain proof of his having illegal ingredients on his entered premises, as in the two latter cases all doubt is removed as to the issue of proceedings
• Very recently, an Act has been passed, allowing licensed tobacco manufacturers to prepare sweetened or flavoured tobacco in Customs bonded warehouses from the imported leaf, so as to imitate more closely the composition of foreign Cavendish and Negrohead.