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rendon, as a criterion of the prices of wine in each country, by asking for a bottle of 1820 port: the price of it in England would probably be found to be 408.

“But I could take him to numerous restaurants in Paris, where, for 38. or 48., he would get an excellent dinner, in a room fit for a prince, and with his dinner a bottle of wine which satisfies French ladies and gentlemen who have been accustomed to wine from their infancy. Mr. Standen's assertion, that Englishmen are more choice in their selection than other nations, is open to much doubt. That they pay very high prices is unquestionable ; but there is no country in Europe where such ignorance of pure, natural wines exists. Not long ago the favourite clarets drunk in England were half hermitage, and champagnes were nearly the colour and strength of brown sherries; and ever since the Methuen Treaty, in 1703, people have been driven to the use of such kinds as have made them generally unable to appreciate any others in their natural state. Wine-merchants talk of their “experience” to prove that the English will never drink French wines; but it must be replied that there has been no “experience" to justify any such assertion, because, during the fifteen years from 1688 to 1703, the duty on the wines of France was raised 360 per cent., while those of Portugal, until 1831, were admitted at a rate of one-third less. This, and the lowest duty on French, from 1811 to 1820, having been 138. 9d., and as high as 198. 8d. per gallon, necessarily drove it almost entirely out of use; so that the consumption fell at one period to about 120,000 gallons for the whole United Kingdom, the percentage to the total quantity being less than 2 per cent. In 1859 it was 9:58 per cent. (It was, in 1863, 1,939,555 gallons, 18:51 per cent. T. G. S., September 28, 1864.)

• Although still little known, there are probably as good light wines in other countries as in France; but, with the enormous duty which has so long prevailed, it has suited neither seller nor buyer to import them. It is a gross

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misapplication of the word to call this “experience" of the taste of the British nation. The Battle of Waterloo is not more a historical fact than that almost the only wine drunk in England until the Revolution of 1688 was from France; while the duty was raised during a century from that period, from 4d. to 9s. 5d. per gallon. We learn that before the immense increase of duty, not less than 200 vessels loaded wines in Bordeaux for England in one year. Scotland cannot be said to be a very warm country for “light French wines;" yet so general was its use there, that when several vessels arrived in Leith about the same time, casks were carried in Edinburgh and other towns on wheelbarrows, and wine sold to those who came with jugs, &c., as is now the case with milk.

* These are incontrovertible facts, and it is well known that, notwithstanding the endeavours of Governments to stop it, a great deal of French wine was smuggled both into Scotland and Ireland, long after it had been almost excluded from England. It seems almost impossible to convince English people that as strong, powerful wines are grown in France, as in Portugal or elsewhere; and that if the excellent growths of the south had the same amount of spirit added as ports get, they would be quite as strong and as intoxicating.

• It is not necessary, however, to refer to olden times to prove that it is not only in hot countries that the wines of France are liked, for we may instance Norway, Sweden, Hamburg, &c., where they are preferred to the strong kinds; and surely we may thence infer by analogy that such will be the case with us.

• Even already since the late reduction from 58. 9d. to 38. per gallon, the increase has been considerable, although, by deferring the further reduction till January, most of those who would have purchased are delaying to do so.

• One of the most important political, commercial, and financial measures ever carried has been that of reducing the duty on wine; but, although the proposal to make it

AUTHOR'S LETTER TO THE TIMES' IN 1860. 513

18. per gallon on every description, which emanated from myself, and has been urged and advocated against the opposition of every wine-merchant, is at length admitted to be the best, and it might therefore be thought that I ought to be satisfied, I am grieved to feel compelled to add that I never saw a fine thing more thoroughly spoiled.

'I cannot believe that a man of Mr. Gladstone's knowledge and ability can have yielded to the representations of the officials of the Customs and Excise without great regret; but I have no hesitation in repeating what I expressed and endeavoured to prove while the question was under discussion, that he has acted on advice given in ignorance, which must inevitably prove very injurious to the success of the measure; and I have not heard any wine-merchant, whether opposed to, or in favour of a reduction, express another opinion than that the differential rates are unnecessary for the protection of the revenue, that they will be a source of continual disputes and confusion, and will greatly interfere with the trade and consumption.

'During my stay in the wine districts of France I have met with many of the principal wine-growers and merchants, who all express the deepest sorrow at this regulation.

"The professed object has been to prevent loss to the revenue by the introduction of strongly alcoholised wine, not from the fear of illicit distillation (for of this they say they have no fear), but from its conversion into compounds which, as they allege, will be drunk instead of spirits, so that the revenue will thereby suffer.

'Others, as well as myself, have done all in our power to get the revenue officers to show a specimen of this alarming compound, but they evidently cannot; and thus, from a phantom held up before the Chancellor of the Exchequer, there is to be a duty on wine of 18. per gallon, up to 18 per cent. of proof spirit; above 18, to 26, 18. 9d.; above 26, to 40, 28. 5d. ; above 40, to 45, 28. 11d.; above 45, the spirit duty; and, owing to the same cause, the very

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weakest vin ordinaire, as well as the cheapest and dearest champagne and burgundy, and every wine imported in bottle, must all pay the high rate of 28. 5d. per gallon, or 48. 10d. per dozen, while no drawback is to be allowed on exportation.

'Independently of other objections, these enactments seem to have been made almost for the purpose of diminishing the success of the measure; because the very kind of wines which are both cheap and stout—and which therefore at the outset will be generally preferred in England for family consumption—are subjected to a rate of nearly 150 per cent. more than the light kinds; while a uniform rate of 18. would have been simple, and have enabled all to drink on equal terms whatever they prefer.

'As to the taste which has arisen for pale ale, it is an excellent thing: but so is wine; though, unfortunately, almost all have been debarred from the use of the latter, the consumption not having been above one bottle and a half for each person per annum, though the total quantity and the revenue (with more than double the population, and probably fifty-fold the wealth) are almost the same as they were at the beginning of the century. Last year there was an apparent increase in quantity, but this arose from the use of wretched Cape, under the name of South African; which, moreover, as well as the substitution of British brandy for Cognac, proves that Englishmen, although willing to pay high prices for good, are also ready to drink what is bad, if procurable at a low price.

"You have already inserted so many letters from me on this subject during the last ten years, that I feel almost ashamed to be again obtruding myself; but when statements such as are contained in the letter referred to, are published to the world, and allowed to remain uncontradicted, it is naturally inferred that they are incontrovertible.

• Your obedient servant,

'THOMAS GEORGE SHAW.'

INDEX.

ANG

A

-

6

ACI
CID Rhine wines, mode of treat- Alto Douro Company-continued
ing, 400

traffic in the Company's bilhetes,
Acids in wine, 35

or certificates of goodness, 126
• Ada,' the ship, and her freight, 33 the Company's criteria of good
Adelaide, vines sent in 1835 to, 457 port, 126, 127
Adulterations of wines, 30

. quantity of low bad wine they
- Lord Palmerston's joke, 30

allow to be exported, 142
methods of adulterating wine, 32 recommendations of the Com-
- an operation' in mixing in pany for establishing the com-
London 32

mercial credit of Oporto, 165
— punishments for adulterations in Amber colour, mode of imparting
France, 379

the, to Rhine wines, 400
Advertisers in the wine trade, 25, 28 America, wines of, 467
African, South. See Cape.

· Longfellow's song in praise of
Agents, wine merchants', in 1822, 3 Catawba, 467
in the hunting-field, 23

agents in the States, 469
Aidanil, Crimean wine of, 436

hotel charges before the time of
Air-conductor for decanting, 489 greenbacks,' 470
Albarizza soil of Marsala, 405

the most important vineyards in
Albury, in New South Wales, wine America, 470
grown at, 458, 459

drinks' in demand in the States,
Alcohol in wine, 35

470
- table of relative degrees of alco- - Californian wine, 471

holic strength of wines, by the Amontillado, meaning of the word,
hydrometers of Gay-Lussac and 223
Sykes respectively, 115

Amsterdam, cellars of, 259
Alcoholic test, the, 82

Anacreon's description of a vintage
Aldrich, Dean, and French wines, quoted, 362
143

his ode Εις το δείν Πίνειν quoted,
Alicante, town of, 240

426
dark coarse wine of, 240

Analysis of the great proportion of
Aliso wine, 471

port wine, 141
Almeria, grapes of, 239

Anecdote of Lord Pembroke, 30
- population of, 239

of the Prince Regent and the
Aloupka, Crimean wine of, 436

Duke of Norfolk, 69
Alto Douro Company, its power of - of Archie Campbell and the

fixing the quantity for exporta- neeps,' 247
tion to Europe, 126

Angelico wine, 471
- injury done by the Company to Angelos (in California), vineyards
the port wine trade, 126

of, 471

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