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ence depend upon the abnormal principle of making interest on their debt payable, and degrading the currency. "Who would not issue “ bills payable," without limit
, if he could be permitted by law to charge interest thereon, and how is such a power to be restrained?
A great fact, like the general bankruptcy now prevailing in the commercial world, does not spring suddenly into existence by accident. Like every other fact of human history it has its primal element, or ultimate atom. That element or atom is the dollar of debt added to the natural volume of the currency, and all remedies for the financial evils, of such frequent occurrence in this country, must be directed to the removal of this destructive principle.
I think it would not be difficult to establish in New York the legitimate system of banking with coin, if the Legislature of the State would modify the usury law in favor of institutions conducted upon that principle, so as to permit them to borrow and lend money, and nothing else, without restriction as to the rate of interest. But the restraint upon their loans must apply to their credits as well as their circulation. The credits to lenders would be payable at stipulated dates; the credits to borrowers must not be loaned for a dollar or a moment. They would be merely the safe keeping of coin, liable to be drawn out at any moment.
But to facilitate this system of banking, I think a law of Congress is necessary authorizing the deposit of coin in the Sub-Treasury, and issues of certificates for the same, of the denomination of $20, and upwards. A paper currency being necessary, it should be so much superior to any other as to have the preference in circulation. It should be free from doubt and subject to no evasion.
Small payments for remittances would be necessary, for which coin would not be convenient, such as subscriptions to newspapers, etc. These could be paid in coin to the postmasters, who should be authorized to draw for the amount on the Sub-Treasurer in the city, to order. The national government can well afford to be put to some charges, and ought to take every available measure to relieve the country from the present system of banking with debt, which is continually piling debt upon the people and spreading bankruptcy and wretchedness over the land.
With these measures on the part of the State and the United States, I do not see why a currency of money might not be established in New York, and if there, its adoption by every other State would, I think, be a necessity—for the exchanges would be so constantly and so largely in favor of New York, that she would infallibly take the coin for every convertible note or credit issued in the other States without value. It would be necessary to place this system under the supervision of a strong board of currency, for the whole State, to enforce the law,
I am clearly of opinion that when, if ever, New York shall establish a specie currency, with no evasions, the present ruinous system of banking upon debt will be at an end in this country forever.
C. H. C.
Art. II.--GARBLINGS: OR, COMMERCIAL COMMODITIES CHARACTERIZED.
DEFINITION - CHARACTERISTICS — TARTAR-NON-ACIDITY-SUGAR-NATURAL PERMENT-AROMA XUST-ANTIQUITY AND VARIETIES-WINE OF THE SCRIPTURES—THE JEWISH WINE-WINES OF CANAAN WINES OF THE ROMANS, GRECIANS, ITALIANS, AND THE BRITISH-PORT-OPORTO COMPANY OTHER PORTUGUESE WINES -- MADEIRA--SERCIAL AND TINTA SICILY - AFRICAN CAPE WIRES, ETC.
Wine is the product of grape juice. And although this name is frequently applied to alcoholic liquors, obtained by the fermentation of various other juices, such liquors are wholly devoid of the true properties of wine.
There is a peculiar principle pertaining to grape juice, which stamps the character of wine on its product exclusively, and no modification of conditions can apply this to other fermentable substances. Grape juice, indeed, differs in several particulars from that of all other fruits or juices. Its chief distinction depends upon the presence of tartaric acid, in suchwise combined as to form the substance called tartar—the tartrate of potash. And it is the presence of this salt in a state of combination with the juice of the grape, which constitutes true verjuice, and this it is—the combination—not the simple solution of tartar with the juice of the fruit, which causes wine to differ from all other fluids.
The quantity of tartar in grapes is greatest before they are ripe, and it decreases in proportion as they approach maturity. When the juice of grapes begins to ferment, tartar is precipitated in the form of lees. This is owing to the insolubility of tartar in alcohol, so that in proportion as it is formed, tartar is precipitated. With the tartar there is united a very small proportion of lime, which serves to increase its power of neutralizing, whatever acids may be present. Hence it follows that, if the
grapes are of good quality, the presence of tartar serves to prevent the presence of any free acid, and if fermentation be properly conducted, wine should be entirely free from acid of every kind.
Elderberries, gooseberries, currents, &c., from which "wine" is sometimes made, contain acetic, malic, and citric acids, which are in part free and in part formed into salts. These are all soluble in alcohol." Consequently the so called “ wines” from these fruits always contain free acids, which cannot be separated nor neutralized. And as these acids are both unpalitable and unwholsome, their taste is usually concealed by the addition of sugar, which has the effect of rendering them still more deleterious. Such preparations, therefore, cannot with any propriety be called wines, and their manufacture should be discouraged.
All grapes, however, are not free from acid other than the tartaric, and hence their unfitness sometimes, for making good wine.
Sugar is also more abundant in grapes than in any other fruit, in con
• For number i, see Merchants' Magarinc for July, 1857, (vol. xxxvil., pp. 19-23;) for number ii. see same for August, (PP. 166-171 ;) for number iii, see same for September, (pp. 298–303;) for number iv, see same for November, (pp. 542–654.)
sequence of which they are capable of producing more alcohol than any other. The proportion of sugar in grapes is in the inverse ratio with the tartar, that is to say, the riper the grapes the more abundant the sugar.
They also contain mucilage, which has the peculiar quality of being a natural ferment. And an essential oil peculiar to each variety of grape, which gives the aroma to wine.
When grape juice or must as it is technically called by the wine manufacturer, is subjected for a short tiine to a temperature of 60°, it begins to ferment spontaneously. No yeast or other ferment is necessary, as in beer, because of the natural ferment in the must. It is, however, remarkable, that although must spontaneously ferments, this process never takes place in the fruit unless it is bruised. This is owing to tae circumstance, that the ferment and the sugar are entirely separate in the grape,
and cannot get together unless the grape is mashed.
Antiquity and varieties. As of most other fruits, Asia seems to have been the first division of the globe in which the vine was cultivated, and vinyards and the manufacture of wine abounded in Palestine from the most remote periods. The Sacred Writings particularly celebrate the wines of Abel, Sorek, Jazer, and Sibnah, and profane writers extol the wines of ancient Tyre, Libanus, Sarepta, and Gaza. In Palestine, the valleys of Eschol and Hebron are noted for the productiveness of the vine, and the enormous size of the clusters. Doubdan states, that in the valley of Eschol, bunches are produced which weigh ten or twelve pounds. This accounts for the surprise of the Israelites in Egypt, where they were only accustomed to see small grapes, when they belield the bunch brought by the spies from the valley of Eschol. But Forster tells us that, in his travels he was informed by a religious from Palestine, that the clusters of grapes in the valley of Hebron were so large, that two men could scarcely carry one of them. In the early part of the last century, Hebron annually sent three hundred camel loads-about three hundred thousand pounds of grape juice to Egypt alone, besides large quantities of it, and also of grapes and raisins, to other places. Bochart informs us, that the vines of Hebron produce three harvests. First, in March the first clusters are produced, when the old barren wood is cut away. In April, new shoots bearing fruit spring up, and the barren wood in like manner lopped; in May appear shoots loaded with the latter
grapes. These arrive at maturity successively in August, September, and October.
The Jews considered the vine the noblest of all plants, and a type of all that is excellent, powerful, fruitful, and fortunate. And in the SCRIPTURES the prophets compared the Jewish nation and church to a great vine, adored with beautiful fruit, planted, tended, and guarded by God, who was the dresser of the vinyard :—Israel was the vinyard and vine, and every true Israelite the branches, and the might and the power of the nation, the full swelling bunches.
In the Temple at Jerusalem, above and around the gate, seventy cubits high, which led from the porch to the holy place, a richly carved vine was extended as a border and decoration. The branches, tendrils, and leaves were of the finest gold; the stalks of the length of the bunches were of the length of man, and the bunches banging upon them were of costly jewels. Xerod first placed it there, and after him rich and patriotic Jews continued to add embellishments. One contributing a new grape, another a leat, and a third a whole bunch of the most costly materials.
The value of this decoration has been computed at not less than 12,000,000 of dollars.
When in the evening, this magnificent decoration was illumined by ten thousand tapers, it shone with majestic splendor. And finally it came to be regarded with uncommon importance and significance.
The patriotic Jews as they contemplated it, were elated with the dignity and pre-eminence of their nation. And to go out and to enter under the vine, signified peace and contentment. Hence each one contributed to increase its magnificence, and so ingraft himself as a worthy member of so holy and glorious a nation.
Among the Jews, the season of the vintage was a season of great mirth. It occured about the first of July, when the clusters were gathered with the sickle, and carried in baskets to the wine-vats, where they were first trodden by men, and then pressed. The juice of the squeezed grapes was made into wine without fermentation. The expressed juice was made into common wine and vinegar. The wine was abundant and weak, and commonly used by laborers. It was probably of such as this, with which Solomon was to supply twenty thousand baths to Hiram for his servants, while they cut timber in Lebanon. The vinegar was acid and pungent"disagreeable to the teeth, and smoke to the eyes."
The wines of Canaan were strong, and generally mixed with water before using them. They also had aromatic wines, so made by the addition of pomegranite, frankincense, myrrh, calainus, &c.
The varieties of wine, both ancient and modern, are almost innumerable. They chiefly depend upon the difference in the grapes producing them; but besides this, different varieties of wine are made from the same species of grape, according to culture, soil, and climate.
In the Hebrew language, different words indicate different kinds of wine; and from the context of their use, we are made acquainted with a classification of wine according to the qualities it possessed. In the Bible, for example, "Corn shall make the young men cheerful and new wine the maids,” the word wine is derived from tirosh, which denotes the fruit in the cluster, the press, and the vat, or grape-juice. But in “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise," the word wine is derived from yayin, which comprehends wine of every kind. “Strong drink,” is derived from shechar, which denotes drink prepared from trees and fruits other than the vine.
“ Their vine is the vine of Sodom and of the fields of Gomorrah. Their wine (yayin,) is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of the asps." “ Who hath woe; who hath sorrow; who hath contention; who hath babbling; who hath wounds without cause ; who hath redness of eyes ! They that tarry long at the (yayin) wine; they that go to seek (mesech) mixed wine, look not thou upon thé (yayin) wine when it is red; when it giveth his color in the cup; when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder," etc.
By these and other words used to designate wine in the ancient languages
, we are clearly justified in the opinion that good and bad wines have in all ages been alike prevalent, and that ours is not the only age which have in the strongest language condemned the use of yayin, sechar, and mesech. Among the ancients, a quality of wine was used for the purpose of speedily producing stupefaction and insensibility in criminals condemned to death. Probably of such were those mixed wines of which kings might not drink, lest they should forget the law.
Pliny informs us that in his day there were no less than ninety-five different kinds of wine, and judging from their intoxicating qualities, some of these at least, were in no respect lacking in the now essential principle-alcohol. Yet there were others which seem to have possessed no alcohol whatever.
These were prepared from the preserved juice of the most luscious grapes kept from fermentation by excluding the air. It is said to have retained the entire flavor of the
grape. One means of preparing this wine was to totally fill large vessels with the fresh pressed must, and after making them perfectly air-tight, they were coated with pitch and sunk in the sea. By thus keeping it a long while must looses its tendency to ferment, and acquires keeping qualities. Such wine possesses no alcohol. Another means of preparing wine free from alcohol, was to boil the fresh must until reduced to a syrupy consistence. This requires dilution before drinking. Pliny also tells us of wines as thick as honey, which it was necessary to dissolve in warm water and filter, before they could be drunk. And Horace boasts of drinking wine as old as himself. This was the ancient Falernian, produced by fermentation, and probably very similar to pure sherry.
But the best wines of the ancients were not the product of fermentation, and therefore contained no alcohol. These were the pure juice. The next most highly prized were those flavored by the addition of aromatic substances, which for the most choice varieties, were kept secret by the proprietors.
Virgil who lived about the same time as Pliny, seems to have considered the variety more particularly. But after beginning to enumerate them, he abruptly concludes the residue by declaring them innumerable.
Other authors refer to particular kinds, and by some, recipes are given for their production. From all which we are led to infer that our word wine was almost as unlimited in its meaning among the ancients as among the moderns. It appears to have indicated not only the pure juice of the grape,
any modification or mixture of it by or with other juices, or the juice of any other fruit, seed, leaves, stems, etc., which were used as common beverages or at bacchinal feasting. It is, at any rate, very certain that the ancients were well acquainted with various processes for making wines possessing the different characters which now distinguish them into dry, moist, sparkling, etc., notwithstanding our inability to trace out the particular flavor or taste of any one of these varieties. This arises from the incapability of words sufficiently expressive to convey a perfect idea of the various nice distinctions of which the taste only is cognisant.
Grecian Wines.—By the ancient Greek poets the virtues of wine are constantly extolled, and in the time of Homer their wine was very intoxicating; and it was in such high estimation as to be exported to Rome. But since the conquest of Greece by the Turks, their wines have lost their ancient celebrity. During the latter part of the sixteenth century, when under the Venetians, Candia, and Cyprus, supplied the whole of Europe with wines, which were then deemed the best in the world. Good red wine is still made in these islands, and the wine of Cyprus is particularly noted for its extraordinary keeping qualities. The muscadine wine of Cyprus is the sweetest of all wines, and drinks best after it is two years old. After sixty or seventy years old this wine is thick as syrup. It