In a volume of the Cornhill Magazine published in the year 1860 we have discovered an article entitled “Adulteration and its Remedy” which well deserves the attention of those persons who imagine that we have made “wonderful progress” during the past half century and that the trade morality of to‐day is infinitely superior to the trade morality of the past. The unknown author of this article must have had a very clear appreciation of the nature of the gigantic evil upon which he wrote and of the character and probable effectiveness of the remedies to be applied. The adulteration of the period is described by him as a “strange, disgusting and poisonous demon” and while it is true that at the time, as shown by the revelations of the “Lancet Sanitary Commission,” there existed many forms of gross, disgusting and poisonous adulteration which are but rarely detected nowadays, our author's somewhat hyperbolic definition may still be regarded as applicable. For many of the grosser forms of adulteration prevalent fifty years ago were largely due to the ignorance of the adulterator. His prototype of the present day is no more troubled with moral scruples than he was. The dissemination and absorption of knowledge has not been accompanied, as some rabid “educationalists’ would have us believe, by any improvements in morality and virtue. The “faker ” of to‐day is merely a more skilful “faker” than his predecessor. He knows the value and makes full use of “expert” assistance, both scientific and legal, for the purpose of facilitating his escape—easy enough in any case—from what grip there is in that cranky and lumbering legislative machinery which is innocently supposed by the majority of people in this country to act as a sufficiently effective deterrent and repressant.
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