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The Revenue in Jeopardy From Spurious Chemistry

The Revenue in Jeopardy From Spurious Chemistry

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Excerpt from The Revenue in Jeopardy From Spurious Chemistry: Demonstrated in Researches Upon Wood-Spirit and Vinous-Spirit

The well-being of the country, amidst the financial difficulties which now oppress it, the protection of the national revenue, and the vindication of the principal Board for administering its laws, constrain me most reluctantly to make the present appeal to men of business and science. Placed in the painful predicament of either betraying my professional functions, or of exposing the mischievous errors of two individuals whom I have been always accustomed to esteem both as gentlemen and men of science, no alternative is left to an honest man, but to sacrifice private feelings to public duty.

During the preceding ten years, I have been occasionally consulted as an analytical Chemist, concerning various commodities of importation, by the Hon. Commissioners of Customs, and have had the good fortune to merit and obtain their confidence in the results of my analyses, and in my professional reports. In this long period of probation, out of several hundred cases, some of them delicate and complex, not one has been found in fault, so as to put either the revenue or its collectors in jeopardy. I hold, however, no official appointment, and receive no salary, being paid, as other Chemists were paid before me (and in some special instances since my employment), two guineas for each analysis, whether difficult or easy, whether costing the labour of two days or two hours. In some years, twenty or thirty cases may have occurred, in others, as in the last year, only five or six, so that the emolument cannot be an object of cupidity to a professional man of any respectability. If the employment be deemed an honour, it is not without its anxieties and its dangers, as will presently appear.

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