« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Mr. COBB. I will include that. Mr. STEVENS. I thought this was passed over till to-morrow,
Mr. COBB. Only the word "alcohol." Mr. INGERSOLL. I beg pardon, the whole subject.
No objection being made, the section was accordingly passed over.
The Clerk read as follows:
nue; and shall take charge of the bonded warehouse established for the distillery in conformity to law; and such warehouse shall be in the joint custody of such inspector and the owner thereof, his agent or superintendent; and when any spirits shall be placed in such warehouse, an entry therefor, in such form as shall be prescribed by regulations, shall immediately be made and signed by the owner of said spirits, and shall have indorsed thereon a certificate of the inspector that the spirits mentioned have been duly inspected and received in said warehouse, and such entry and certificate shall be filed with the collector of the district; and whenever such warehouse is within the limits of any port of entry where there shall be a superintendent of exports, a duplicate of such entry and certificate shall forthwith be filed in the office of such superintendent; and said inspector shall also certify to the returns to be made by the distiller to the assessor; and shall not engage in any other business while holding the office of inspector; and he shall be paid such compensation as the Secretary of the Treasury may deem just and reasonable, at a rate not exceeding $1,500 per annum, for the time during which he is engaged; and the amount of compensation thus paid for inspection shall be assessed by the assessor upon the distiller, and returned to the collector monthly; and in addition to the above compensation, such inspector shall receive one eighth of one cent for each and every proof gallon of distilled spirits inspected by him and removed to the bonded warehouse, which shall be paid by the distiller or owner of the spirits; but no compensation shall be allowed to such inspector for more than one inspection of such spirits. And in case the duties of such inspector shall be greater at any time than he can perform, upon the joint application of the inspector and owner of such distillery, the collector may appoint an assistant inspector; and upon the refusal of the distiller to join in such application, the collector shall decide as to such necessity; and such assistant inspector shall qualify in the same manner and be subject to the same penalties as the inspector, and he shall be paid in the same manner as the inspector, at a rate not exceeding the sum of three dollars per day while so employed; and in case of disagreement as to the necessity of retaining the services of such assistant, between the owner of the distillery and the inspector, the collector shall decide as to such necessity, and his decision in the matter shall be final. And in case of absence by sickness, or from any other cause, of such inspector or assistant, the collector may appoint an officer to take temporary charge of such distillery and warehouse, who shall receive the same rate of pay as said inspector or assistant for the time he may be so employed, such amount to be deducted from the pay of the absent officer: Provided, That the owner, agent, or superintendent of any distillery who shall use, cause, or permit to be used, any materials for the purpose of producing spirits, or shall distill and remove any spirits in the absence of the acting inspector or assistant, without permission granted by the collector of the district, shall forfeit and pay double the amount of taxes on the spirits so produced, distilled, or removed, and in addition thereto a fine of $1,000, to be recovered in the manner provided for other penalties imposed by this act: Provided further, That any person who shall ship, transport, or remove any spirituous or fermented liquors or wines, under any other than the proper name or brand known to the trade as designating the kind and quality of the contents of the casks or packages containing the same. or who shall cause the same to be done, shall forfeit the same, and shall, on conviction thereof, be subject to and pay a fine of $500.
SEC. 30. And be it further enacted. That every rectifier or wholesale dealer in distilled spirits shall enter daily, in a book or books kept for the purpose, under such rules and regulations as the Commissioner of Internal Revenue may prescribe, the number of proof gallons of spirits purchased or received, of whom purchased or received, and the number of proof gallons sold or delivered; and every rectifier or wholesale dealer who shall neglect or refuse to keep such record shall forfeit all spirits in his possession, together with the apparatus, tools, and implements used, and be subject to a fine of $500, or an imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than a year, in the discretion of the court. And every rectifier shall mark with a stencil-plate on each package of five gallons or more of distilled or rectified spirits sold by him his name and place of business.
No amendment being offered,
The Clerk read as follows:
SEC. 31. And be it further enacted, That the owner or owners of any distillery shall provide, at his or their own expense, a warehouse suitable for the storage of bonded spirits, of their own manufacture only; or he or they may provide a secure room, in a suitable building, to be used as such warehouse; and no door, window, or other opening shall be made or permitted in the walls thereof, leading to any other room or building used for any other purpose, or into the distillery; and after a bond has been given, as hereinafter provided, such warehouse or room, when approved by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, on report of the district collector, is hereby declared to be a bonded warehouse of the United States, and shall be used only for the storing of spirits manufactured by the owner, agent, or superintendent thereof, and shall be under the custody of the inspector as hereinafter provided; and shall be kept locked up by the proper officer in charge, at all times, except when he shall be present; and the tax on the spirits stored in such warehouse shall be paid before removal from such warehouse, unless removed in pursuance of law. And the owner or owners of such warehouse shall execute a general bond to the United States with two or more sureties, to be approved by the collector; and such bond shall be for not less than the amount of duties on the spirits to be covered thereby, and in such form, and containing such conditions, as shall be approved by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and may be changed from time to time by the collector in regard to the amount and sureties thereof.
No amendment being offered, The Clerk read as follows:
SEC. 32. And be it further enacted, That general bonded warehouses, for the storage of spirits or other merchandise allowed by law to be placed in bond to secure the payment of the internal revenue tax thereon, or the exportation thereof, may be established under such rules and regulations and upon the execution of such bonds as the Commissioner of Internal Revenue may prescribe, and shall be in the immediate custody of store-keepers who shall be ap pointed for that purpose, whose compensation shall be paid monthly to the collector of the district by the owners or proprietors of such warehouse, and shall not exceed the rates which may be allowed to store-keepers of bonded warehouses established under the laws and regulations relating to customs.
SEC. 33. And be it further enacted, That there shall be appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury an inspector for each and every distillery established according to law, who shall take an oath faithfully to perform his duties; and who shall take an account of all the meal and vegetable productions or other substances to be used for the purpose of producing spirits, when put into the mash-tub or otherwise used; and shall inspect, gauge, and prove all the spirits distilled, under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Commissioner of Internal Reve
39TH CONG. 1ST SESS.-No. 178.
Mr. HARDING, of Kentucky. I move to strike out this whole section down to the last
proviso. If the object is to break up the small distilleries throughout the country the adoption of this section will effectually accomplish it. It is utterly impossible that one out of a thousand of them can survive the operation of this provision. In addition to a provision for the appointment of a general inspector in each collection district, which has been regarded as sufficient heretofore, in addition to requiring every little distiller to build at his own expense a bonded warehouse and a receiving cistern, this section requires him to pay a salary for an inspector for his own distillery. After going to all the expense of building a warehouse and cistern he is to pay a salary "not exceeding $1,500" and one eighth of a cent a gallon for the glorious privilege of distilling spirits, and paying two dollars a gallon on every gallon that he distills and sells. Now every man will see at once that this will crush all the small distillers, and the consequence will be the creation of a few large distillers, thus giving them the monopoly. You will compel all the small distillers to sacrifice their stillhouses and all the machinery they have on hand.
Sir, the national bank system was no more successful in crushing out all the State banks than the large distilleries will be in crushing out all the smaller ones under this law. There are thousands of these small distilleries that cannot afford to pay a salary to an inspector
besides building a bonded warehouse and a receiving cistern at their own expense. This inspector is allowed to engage in no other business while he holds that office, but is to receive a salary at the expense of the distiller. Many of these distilleries run only six months, some of them only three months in the year, and during all this time there is to be a Government overseer or agent to see that each one of them measures his grain, to watch him when he is stirring his mash-tub, and inspect all his movements; and the balance of the year he is to do nothing but receive his salary. Where is the necessity of this when the bill provides that there shall be a general inspector for every collection district?
Mr. ALLISON. I desire to say a word in reference to this section. The object of the section, as of nearly every other section relating to this subject, is to prevent fraud, if possible, in the manufacture of distilled spirits. While in some degree the objections made by the gentleman from Kentucky [Mr. HARDING] may be true, that the tendency of this section will be to concentrate the business of distilling in the larger distilleries, yet that is not the absolute effect of this section. As to the pay
of these inspectors, it is only at the rate of $1,500 per year for the time during which they may be engaged.
Mr. HARDING, of Kentucky. But you do not allow them to be engaged in any other business while they hold the office of inspector.
Mr. ALLISON. Undoubtedly while the inspector is performing this duty, while the distillery is in operation, he is expected to be just where the gentleman from Kentucky [Mr. HARDING] says he will be, examining the mealbags, the mash-tubs, and the corn-room, to ascertain the amount of material used. Of course, if the distillery is running only two months a year, the inspector will be paid for only the two months. The object of this section is to have every distillery supplied with an inspector, so that the Government may know at all times what amount of spirits are distilled in that distillery, and what amount of materials goes into it and is used in the distillery.
Mr. GRIDER. Will the gentleman from Iowa [Mr. ALLISON] allow me to ask him a question?
Mr. ALLISON. Certainly.
Mr. GRIDER. The distilleries in the West, especially in Kentucky, operate during the three winter months. It is proposed to have an inspector at each of these distilleries, and during the rest of the year he will have nothing to do.
Mr. ALLISON. That is very true. These inspectors are only employed, as I said before, during the time when the distilleries are in operation, and they are only paid for that time.
Mr. GRIDER. Then the result will be that if, in any particular county, there should be fifty distilleries you will have fifty inspectors on duty for three months of the year, and for the rest of the year you will have no use for
Mr. ALLISON. Very well; they are not paid except while employed.
Mr. STEVENS. I am not exactly satisfied with this section, and therefore I move to amend by striking out the words "such compensation as the Secretary of the Treasury may deem just and reasonable, at a rate not exceeding $1,500 per annum," and inserting in lieu thereof the words "two cents per gallon for all spirits inspected.' It is to be observed that by this section the cost of inspecting spirits is to be assessed upon the distiller. The inspector is to be paid $1,500 a year; and the small distiller who distills only one hundred or two hundred gallons is bound to pay it, while the distiller who distills his one thousand or five thousand a day pays no more, except so far as the one eighth of one per cent. may go. Each one must pay a salary of $1,500 a year to an inspector. Each distillery is to have an inspector placed in it, whether the amount distilled is five hundred or five thousand gallons a day. Now, I am
gentleman from Pennsylvania will prevail; but it seems to me open to a very obvious objection. He proposes that the pay shall be at the rate of two cents per gallon for all that is distilled, not to exceed, however, in the aggregate, $1,500 a year. The operation of this would be that the inspector would continue on duty about a week, during which he would have made his $1,500, and as after that he must work for nothing, he would then resign. Thus we should have in each of the different distilleries some fifty or sixty inspectors per
willing to have the inspector paid according to the amount of whisky he may inspect, but not that he shall be paid the same for inspecting for a small distillery as for one that distills three or four times as much. Therefore I think that this section of the bill should be carefully examined, as I cannot see that there is any justice in it.
Mr. HOOPER, of Massachusetts. I rise to oppose the amendment of my friend from Pennsylvania, [Mr. STEVENS.] I think there is very great objection to it. If it should be adopted I am afraid that we might lose the services of our friend from Illinois, [Mr. INGERSOLL.] He might wish to be appointed the inspector for some large distillery in his district, where they make, as I understand, from two thousand to six thousand gallons a day, for his compensation would then be from forty to one hundred dollars a day. I am afraid that might lead him or some other gentleman to withdraw from his place in this House for the purpose of getting such a position.
Mr. STEVENS. I will modify my amendment so that it shall be to strike out the words "such compensation as the Secretary of the Treasury may deem just and reasonable, at a rate, "and inserting "two cents a gallon for all distilled spirits inspected, but." That portion will then read, "and he shall be paid two cents per gallon for all distilled spirits inspected, but not exceeding $1,500 per annum." Mr. HOOPER, of Massachusetts. Then I withdraw my objection. I think that is very fair.
Mr. MORRILL. Imove pro formâ to amend so as to reduce the compensation to one cent per gallon.
I think, Mr. Chairman, that there ought to be no objection to this section as it stands. I think it is even an improvement upon the present law; nor does it vary greatly from that law. The present law requires these inspectors to be paid by the party employing them, and the rate of their compensation is fixed by the Secretary of the Treasury. He fixes it, I have no question, at as high a rate as is fixed in this bill. It is important that these inspectors should not be interested one way or the other as to the amount to be distilled, and that their pay should be sufficient to place them above temptation. The compensation should be ample and such as will enable the Government to engage the proper kind of men-competent, faithful, vigilant. The rate proposed is $1,500 a year, and they will he paid at that rate, whether employed for thirty days, or sixty days, or six months, or twelve months. The proposition made by the gentleman from Pennsylvania is an extraordinary one. Even in the very smallest distilleries the pay would amount to a larger sum than the aggregate for the largest distilleries.
I trust, Mr. Chairman, that we shall leave the provision contained in the bill untouched. Certainly, judging from our past experience, it is of very great importance that we should frame such a law as will effectually collect the revenue. In years past, while nearly one hundred million gallons per annum have been distilled and only ten to fifteen million gallons were ever exported, we have obtained a tax the past year upon only ten or fifteen millions. The balance has been consumed either for drinking purposes or in the arts and manufactures. Everybody knows that we ought to obtain twice or three times the amount which we have here
tofore received; and one of the first requisites in order to obtain any revenue whatever is to have a proper inspector in every distillery.
[Here the hammer fell.]
Mr. SCHENCK. I propose to amend by striking out "$1,500 a year" and inserting "five dollars a day.' The CHAIRMAN. The amendment, in that form, is not in order.
Mr. SCHENCK. Well, then, for the purpose of saying what I wish to say I move to amend the amendment by striking out "two cents" and inserting in lieu thereof "one cent." It may be that the amendment of the
If the gentleman would make the aggregate a per diem aggregate, he would obviate this objection. If he would provide that the inspectors shall receive a compensation in the shape of a percentage upon each gallon distilled, but that it shall be limited for each day that the inspector is on duty, the proposition would not be open to the objection I have stated. But unquestionably, under the proposition in its present form, after the inspector has made his $1,500, which in a large distillery he will do in about a week, he will resign and make way for some other inspector, for he must work the rest of the year for nothing.
Mr. STEVENS. May I correct the gentleman? After they get above the $1,500 they get in addition thereto one eighth of one per cent. for every gallon they inspect. This is intended only for the small ones.
Mr. SCHENCK. I would like the Clerk to read the amendment again.
The Clerk read the amendment.
Mr. SCHENCK. I do not know how that computation is to be made. An aggregate which is to be made at the rate of! What is it? I withdraw my amendment.
Mr. INGERSOLL. I renew the amendment. I believe, Mr. Chairman, this section, as reported by the committee, is in the best possible shape in which it can be passed, so far as the interests of the revenue are concerned. It is objected to this section by the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. STEVENS] and the gentleman from Kentucky [Mr. HARDING] that it will have a tendency, if passed, to crush out the small stills. If that be so it is the best legislation which Congress can enact for the benefit of the revenue; for instead of these small stills being for the benefit of the revenue, under any circumstances, they are steals rather than stills. [Laughter.] I will say, so far as Peoria is concerned, it is willing that every still should go into Pennsylvania or anywhere else, provided you buy our corn. Buy our corn, and you may manufacture whisky where ever you please.
Now, sir, this ought to pay $80,000,000 a year of revenue to the Government; and yet the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means tells us for the last year it was only seventeen millions. In the southern States, where we have slight supervision of these stills, they are increasing like mushrooms in a night. Fifteen hundred are reported in one district in Georgia, where there was not one a little while ago. If you allow a law to go on the statutebook weak and loose, you will not have the rightful revenue returned. If you strike out $1,500 a year, and pay two cents a gallon, in some distilleries the inspectors will receive $1,500 in a few weeks. Peoria is not the only place where thousands of gallons are made in one day; but in Lawrenceburg, Brooklyn, and New York they have distilleries which manufacture from six to ten thousand gallons a day. Ten thousand gallons at two cents per gallon would be $200; and of course when the inspector received his full pay he would resign. The Government demands good inspectors in order to make the proper calculations. It requires scientific accomplishments to make the calculations. It is made at different proofs; some at forty, some at sixty, and some at eighty, which is alcohol proof. If you pass the section as it is you will get your revenue. I admit you will to some extent drive out the small distilleries. I say so much the better for the country. [Here the hammer fell.]
Mr. GARFIELD. Mr. Chairman, I am free to say, as I understand the nature of the business upon which this law rests and the purpose of the House in getting revenue from spirits, the section now under consideration is most vital to the efficiency of the law. Unless we can have a thorough system of inspection by which the Government may reach all distilled spirits we may abandon all hope of having complete returns of revenue from this source. We may, by making these provisions efficient, greatly relieve many other industries of the country. We may, as they have done in England, make this one of the six articles to pay the entire revenues of the country. We may relieve the agricultural interest, the mechanical, and other small industries of the country by laying the burden upon this article.
This article has this peculiarity in comparison with every other on which we lay tax: on this, as the tax now stands, the Government owns nine tenths interest in every gallon which is distilled, or near that. If one gallon escapes the tax the distiller saves nine tenths. It therefore becomes necessary to double and quadruple provisions to prevent illicit distillation. It has been said it would be a troublesome arrangement to put an inspector into every small distillery. Take a small distillery in Kentucky of five barrels a day, and that is a small distillery. Two hundred and fifty gallons a day would pay to the Government $500. Allow three hundred working days in a year, and we have $150,000 revenue derived from one distillery of five barrels a day. Now, there are distilleries which, if honestly administered, will pay the Government $20,000 a day.
Now, the owner of a five-barrel still that pays to the Government $150,000 a year, most cer tainly can afford to put an inspector over it and pay $1,500 per annum for the performance of his duties. It has been found out in the progress of the operation of this law that these little copper distilleries have manufactured a great quantity of spirits. They are scattered all over the country, and especially in the South. In a single collection district of Georgia there are fifteen hundred such small stills. [Here the hammer fell.]
Mr. INGERSOLL. I withdraw my amend
Mr. BROMWELL. I renew it. What I wish to say will not take me five minutes. This is the first time I ever heard a measure advo cated calculated to crush out a common business, a certain pursuit, and to pile it up in the hands of a few. That is the argument of the gentleman from the Peoria district, [Mr. IsGERSOLL. Now, if the business of distilling is a lawful pursuit, the man who has not the good fortune to be possessed of a princely capital has a right at least to ordinary protection. But this bill comes in and literally devours him; it leaves a man with a small establishment nothing. What would be his fate under this bill? He might as well burn his property to-morrow if he cannot use it, or sell it or give it away. Now, while that is all true, I admit that it is also true that there is great difficulty in hunting down the little distilleries. But have we a right to destroy a man's property and business in order to make other men who are dishonest do right?
The gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. GARFIELD,] who is a member of the Committee of Ways and Means, says that even a small distillery would distill $500 worth a day, and that the Government owns nine tenths of it. Why should not the Government then foot the bill for the inspection of its own interest?
Now, sir, the idea of this bill is that an inspector shall be appointed for every distillery. Think of the swarm of officers that will be required! If the distillery be small, it would swamp the man's business. If the distillery be large, he must be a very incompetent man to run a large distillery who cannot have an inspector appointed who will be convenient for his purposes. You will fill the country with inspectors who will be just such men as the owners and the distillers are. Why cannot
there be an inspector for a region of countrypended, and that the House resolve itself into for these small distilleries? Why not have the Committee of the Whole on the state of the such an arrangement that the large distilleries Union on the special order. doing a great business shall be compelled to furnish an inspector, but that the small establishments shall be exempted? This paragraph provides that he shall hold no other office, engage in no other business while he holds this office, and shall have a compensation of $1,500.
[Here the hammer fell.]
Mr. HALE. I rise to oppose the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Illinois, [Mr. BROMWELL. I beg leave to call the attention of the committee to the proposition which is before us in the consideration of this whisky tax, and to the revenue we have a right to expect from that one item, and to the receipts that the returns of last year show should have come from it. We are seeking here, not to affect any moral question, not to regulate the habits of the people, but simply to raise the greatest possible amount of revenue from the article that we believe of all others best able to sustain it.
Now, the returns for the last year show that forty-five million gallons of whisky, or about that, were consumed in this country, which should have produced, under the law, $90,000,000. The returns show that we received a revenue of about seventeen million dollars, a tax on eight and a half million gallons, or less than one sixth of the whole amount.
Now, that revenue must either be made up by the enforcement of the law upon this arti cle, or, as was well put by the gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. GARFIELD,] we must make it up upon other branches of industry. How is it to be done? Simply and only by an enforcement of the law most rigidly. The British Government from its excise realizes $60,000,000 a year. Shall we be satisfied with a law so loosely drawn, so poorly enforced, as only to realize a revenue on one gallon out of every six we manufacture?
Now, let us take the small distilleries which it is urged are to be crushed out by this provision; this rate of tax simply makes an expense, for this inspector, of five dollars on every $500 of revenue to the Government, taking $500 as a basis. Is that an oppressive tax?
[Here the hammer fell.]
Mr. MORRILL. I move an amendinent, to insert in lieu of the compensation now provided by the paragraph the words "five dollars per day. But, sir, as I am desirous to make as much progress in the bill as possible this evening, and as there are many provisions here that may excite some discussion, I move that the committee rise for the purpose of terminating debate.
The motion was agreed to. So the committee rose; and the Speaker having resumed the chair, Mr. DAWES reported that the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union had had under consideration the
Union generally, and particularly the special order, being bill of the House No. 513, to amend an act entitled "An act to provide internal revenue to support the Government, to pay interest on the public debt, and for other purposes," approved June 30, 1864, and acts amendatory thereof, and had come to no resolution thereon.
The motion was agreed to.
So the rules were suspended; and the House accordingly resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, (Mr. DAWES in the chair,) and resumed the consideration of the special order, being a bill of the House (No. 513) to amend an act entitled "An act to provide internal revenue to support the Government, to pay interest on the public debt, and for other purposes," approved June 30, 1864, and acts amendatory thereof.
The pending question was upon the amendment of Mr. MORRILL, to strike out the words "such compensation as the Secretary of the Treasury may deem just and reasonable, at a rate not exceeding $1,500 per annum, and inserting "five dollars per day;" so that it will read, "and he shall be paid five dollars per day for the time during which he is engaged."
Mr. HOOPER, of Massachusetts. I move to amend the amendment by striking out the words holding the office of inspector; and he shall be paid such compensation as the Secretary of the Treasury may deem just and reasonable, at a rate not exceeding $1,500 per annum," and insert "employed as an inspector; and he shall be paid five dollars per day;" so that the clause will read, "and shall not engage in any other business while employed as an inspector; and he shall be paid five dollars a day."
Mr. MORRILL. I will accept that amend
Mr. STEVENS. I will not insist upon my amendment but will withdraw it.
The question was upon the amendment of Mr. MORRILL as modified.
The amendment was agreed to.
Mr. DARLING. I move to amend by striking out the words "assessed by the assessor upon the distiller, and returned to the collector monthly," and insert "paid out of the public Treasury;" so that it shall read, "and the amount of compensation thus paid for inspection shall be paid out of the public Treasury.
I hold it to be clearly the duty of the Government to pass such laws as may be necessary to protect itself against frauds on the revenue by the illicit distillation of spirits. But I contend that it is also the duty of the Government to pay the expenses of enforcing these provisions of its own laws, and not impose upon the class of small distillers this onerous and oppressive burden. I contend that there is as much honesty in the small distiller as there is in the large distiller. There is less incentive or motive to defraud the Government on the part of the man who distills but a few barrels a day than there is on the part of the man who distills fifty or a hundred barrels a day. In my own district there are large numbers of these small distillers; and I have yet to learn that there has been among them anything like the proportion of frauds discovered that have been perpetrated by the large distillers.
Now, I think the Government has no right to pass laws discouraging a man in the prosecution of any particular business because he is not able to employ the same amount of capital in pursuing that business that the large distiller has. I therefore trust that my amendment will prevail, and that the Government will pay from the public Treasury the expenses of this restriction, as the Government is to be benefited by their operation. I maintain that the revenue from this source will be largely increased by a diminution of the tax. I hold that a dollar tax upon whisky would produce a larger amount of revenue than the two dollar
distiller. If that be so then they can have no objection to the amendment now offered by the gentleman from New York. If you will have an inspector over every distillery, then give him a compensation of five dollars a day, and pay him out of the public Treasury. Then this provision will not break down the small distillers, but they will still be able to go on with their business.
[Here the hammer fell.]
Mr. HARDING, of Kentucky. I move pro forma to strike out the last word of the amendment of the gentleman from New York, [Mr. DARLING.] I think the amendment proposed by him will test the soundness and sincerity of the argument used by gentlemen here that this tax is paid by the consumer and not by the
But the idea that in order to guard against illicit distillation it is necessary to adopt a provision which will break down these small distillers is wholly fallacious. I venture to assert that the larger the establishment the more fraud and villainy you will find in it. What is the necessity at all for this inspection? You provide for the appointment of an inspector in every collection district. And in addition to that you propose to provide for an inspector for every little distillery at an annual salary of $1,500, to be paid by the distiller. It has been said by the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. GARFIELD] that some of these distillers do not produce more than four or five hundred gallons a day. He must know very little about the subject or he would know that there are thousands of distilleries that do not make more than one hundred gallons a day each. Now, it is not necessary to disguise this matter at all. The object of this proposition is to crush out all these small distilleries and put the whole business in the hands of the large distilleries.
Mr. MORRILL. I would remind the gentleman that we have already adopted an amendment providing that these inspectors shall be paid five dollars a day while employed.
Mr. HARDING, of Kentucky. And why not also provide that they shall be paid out of the public Treasury? And if it is necessary to guard all these little establishments, why not have an inspector in every manufacturing establishment in the North and East, to be paid at their own cost? Gentlemen say it will cost but little more. Now, does the gentleman undertake to say that, under the old law, every distiller has to pay the salary of an inspector? No, sir; under the old law there are inspectors for each collection district; and this bill retains them just as they are. The object, sir, is to break up all those little distilleries throughout the West. There is not one in a thousand that can stand out under such legislation. This is known to every man who is acquainted with the subject. Another object is to place the grain market within the grasp of those large monopolies, so that they can take the farmers' produce at their own price and distill it in their large establishments. The amendment will obviate to some extent the objection to the provisions of the section. If it is deemed necessary on the part of the Government to watch these little establishments, let it be done; but do it at Government expense, and not by a process that will crush out and destroy these small establishments, root and branch. I withdraw my amendment to the amendment.
Mr. SLOAN. I move to amend by striking out after the word "monthly" in the thirtythird line the following:
And in addition to the above compensation, such inspector shall receive one eighth of one cent for each and every proof gallon of distilled spirits inspected by him and removed to the bonded warehouse, which shall be paid by the distiller or owner of the spirits; but no compensation shall be allowed to such inspector for more than one inspection of such spirits.
The CHAIRMAN. That amendment is not germane to the pending amendment. and is not in order.
On the amendment of Mr. DARLING there were-ayes 42, noes 51.
Mr. HARDING, of Kentucky, called for
Tellers were ordered; and Messrs. DARLING and GARFIELD were appointed.
The committee divided; and the tellers reported-ayes 42, noes 51.
So the amendment was not agreed to.
serting after the word "spirits' in the fortieth line the following words:
number of gallons of spirits distilled, and also the number of gallons removed to bonded warehouse and the proof thereof-which said account shall be verified by affidavit prescribed by law, and be certified by the inspector-and shall immediately forward to the collector of the district one of said accounts, and shall pay to the collector the taxes on the spirits so distilled before removing the same from the bonded warehouse, unless removed as provided by law. The entries to be made in the books of the distiller, as aforesaid, shall, upon the several days when the returns are to be made, as provided, be verified by the signature of the person or persons by whom such entries shall have been made, in the presence of the assessor or assistant assessor, or other proper officer, who shall append thereto his certificate of the execution of the same. The owner, agent, or superintendent of any distillery shall, in case the original entries required to be made in his books by this act shall not have been made by himself, subjoin to the certificate of the person by whom they were made the following certificate: "I do certify that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the foregoing entries are just and true, and that I have taken all the means in my power to make them so." And any owner, agent, or superintendent who shall neglect or refuse to furnish the account and duplicate thereof, as herein provided, or who shall refuse to permit the said assessor or assistant assessor, collector or deputy collector, or inspector, to examine the books in the manner herein provided for, when requested, shall, for every such neglect or refusal, forfeit and pay the sum of $500.
The question recurring on the motion of Mr. HARDING, of Kentucky, to strike out the section, the motion was not agreed to.
The Clerk read as follows:
Mr. Chairman, the committee having voted down an amendment offered by me earlier in the evening with a view of decreasing the countless inspections to which distilleries are daily subjected, I now submit this one. The purpose in view is to require the person making the inspection to give a certificate to the distiller. This involves some trouble to the inspector, and would, perhaps, satisfy a subse-by quent one that the prior inspection showing the law had not been disregarded was sufficient, and thus his duties were rendered unnecessary. While we must protect the Government, we should strive to make the law as little irksome as possible, and avoid, if we can, the too numerous visitations of officials.
The amendment was not agreed to.
SEC. 34. And be it further enacted, That there shall be appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury, in every collection district where the same may be necessary, one or more general inspectors of spirits, who shall each take an oath faithfully to perform his duties, in such form as the Commissioner of Internal Revenue may prescribe, and who shall be entitled to receive one quarter of one cent for each and every wine-gallon gauged and proved by him; and any owner, agent, or superintendent of any distillery or bonded warehouse who shall refuse to admit an inspector upon such premises, so far as it may be necessary for the performance of his duties, or who shall obstruct an inspector in the performance of his duties, shall forfeit and pay the sum of $500, to be recovered in the manner provided for recovery of other penalties imposed by this act.
No amendment being offered, The Clerk read as follows:
Mr. HOOPER, of Massachusetts. I move to amend by striking out in line thirty-one the words" to be.'
The amendment was agreed to.
The Clerk read as follows:
SEC. 35. And be it further enacted, That every owner of any still, boiler, or other vessel, used or intended to be used for the purpose of distilling spirits, as hereinbefore provided, or who shall have such still, boiler, or other vessel under his superintendence, either as agent for the owner or for his own account, or who shall use any still or other vessel as aforesaid, either as owner, agent, or otherwise, shall from day to day make true and exact entry, or cause to be entered, in a book, to be kept in such form as the Commissioner of Internal Revenue may prescribe, the number of pounds or gallons of materials used for the purpose of producing spirits, and the number of gallons of spirits distilled, and also the number of gallons placed in warehouse and the proof thereof, which book shall always be open for the inspection of any assessor, assistant assessor, collector, deputy collector, supervisor, or inspector, who may take minutes, memorandums, or transcripts thereof; and shall render to the assessor or assistant assessor of the district, on the 1st, 11th, and 21st days of every month, or within five days thereafter, an account in duplicate, taken from his books, of the number of pounds and gallons of material used in producing spirits, the
SEC. 36. And be it further enacted, That, in addition to the special tax provided, there shall be levied, collected, and paid on all spirits that may be distilled and removed from the bonded warehouse for consumption or sale, of first proof, on and after the passage of this act, a tax of two dollars on each and every proof gallon; and the said tax shall be a lien on the spirits distilled, on the distillery used for distilling the same, with the stills, vessels, fixtures, and tools therein, and on the interest of said distiller in the lot or tract of land whereon the said distillery is situated, until the said tax shall be paid: Provided, That the tax on all spirits shall be collected at no lower rate than the basis of first proof, and shall be increased in proportion for any greater strength than the strength of first proof.
Mr. HARDING, of Illinois. I move to amend striking out "two dollars" in line five, and inserting in lieu thereof one dollar."
Mr. Chairman, in offering this amendment, I am actuated by the purest of motives in reference to the attainment of a large amount of revenue from this source. I have no interest in any distilling establishment, nor have many of my constituents. They are generally a sober, agricultural people, who produce very largely the gross grains which are grown upon the western prairies-mainly corn and rye. Heretofore in our isolated condition we have found a large market for our products in these distilleries which manufactured grains into spirits. They enabled us in a much easier way to transport our products to market. The effect of the tax of two dollars a gallon is to destroy the legitimate manufacture of any large quantities of these grains into high-wines and alcohol.
And let me say another thing. The premium is too high for legitimate manufacture, and so long as we continue it we can provide no legal machinery which will enable us to collect the full revenue. I notify the House that the experience of last year will be the experience of next year. With the temptations held out by this law we can have no expectation of a faithful performance of duty on the part of these inspectors. I have no expectation of it. I believe that a tax of two dollars a gallon on spirits is too great a temptation to be guarded against. If gentlemen will look into the machinery of this bill they will see it is required that the whole product of these distillations shall be run into vats every day. Some of these vats will contain six thousand gallons. Do gentlemen expect the temptation will be resisted by men who are receiving only five dollars a day? They have only to shut their eyes
[Here the hammer fell.]
Mr, MORRILL. Our experience has shown that the cheating commenced about as rapidly at twenty cents and sixty cents as at two dollars. Believing the mind of every gentleman in the House is made up on this question, and that we do not want any discussion, I only rise to oppose the amendment pro forma.
Mr. HALE. I move to substitute one dol lar and one cent.
Mr. Chairman, while I have had so far, and still have, every disposition to sustain the Committee of Ways and Means in the bill which is before the committee, it does seem to me, after the very elaborate argument reported by the revenue commissioners on this subject of the taxation of whisky, in which they very strongly demonstrate the impropriety of the present high tax and the propriety of lessening it, the question ought to be considered in a fuller House than we have to-night. I rise to suggest the propriety of passing over this section so that we may take it up in a day session when the House is fuller and an opportunity may be afforded for an interchange of views. Without expressing the intention of taking one side or the other, it seems to me to be a question which should not be voted on in a thin House.
Mr. MORRILL. If it were an original question very likely I might not disagree with the gentleman from New York, but I do not suppose any different result would be obtained if the House were fuller. I think it is the purpose of a very large majority of the House, as well as of the country, to try the two dollar rate until the law has been fully tested.
Mr. HALE, by unanimous consent, withdrew his amendment to the amendment. The amendment was then disagreed to. The Clerk read as follows:
SEC. 37. And be it further enacted, That proof spirit shall be held and taken to be that alcoholic liquor which contains one half its volume of alcohol of a specific gravity of .7939 at sixty degrees Fahrenheit, and the tax on all spirits shall be levied according to their equivalent in proof spirits; and the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized to adopt, procure, and prescribe for use, such hydrometers, weighing and gauging instruments, meters, or other means for ascertaining the strength and quantity of spirits subject to tax, and to prescribe such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary to insure a uniform and correct system of inspection, weighing, and gaug ing of spirits subject to tax throughout the United States. And in all sales of spirits hereafter made, where not otherwise specially agreed, a gallon shall be taken to be a gallon of first proof, according to the foregoing standard set forth and declared for the inspection and gauging of spirits throughout the United States.
No amendment being offered, The Clerk read as follows:
SEC. 38. And be it further enacted, That the owner, agent, or superintendent of any distillery established as hereinbefore provided, shall erect, in a room or building to be provided and used for that purpose, and for no other, two or more receiving cisterns, each to be at least of sufficient capacity to hold all the spirits distilled during the day of twenty-four hours, into one of which shall be conveyed each day all the spirits manufactured in said distillery during that day: and such cisterns shall be so constructed as to leave an open space of at least three feet between the tops thereof and the floor or roof above, and of not less than eighteen inches between the bottoms thereof and the floor below, and shall be separated in such a manner as will enable the inspector to pass around the same, and shall be connected with the outlet of the stills, boilers, or other vessels used for distilling, by suitable pipes or other apparatus so constructed as always to be exposed to the view of the inspector: such cisterns and the room in which they are contained shall be in charge of and under the lock and scal of the inspector: and on the third day after the spirits are conveyed into such cisterns the same shall be drawn off into casks or other packages, under the supervision of the inspector, and shall be immediately inspected, gauged, and proved, and the casks or packages marked, as herein provided, and be removed directly to the bonded warehouse before mentioned: Provided, That the spirits may be drawn off from said cisterns at any time previous to the third day, if so desired by the owner, agent, or superintendent of such distillery: and all locks and seals required under this act shall be provided by the Secretary of the Treasury, at the expense of the owner of the distillery, and shall be combination locks and susceptible of at least ninety-six changes, and the bits of the keys thereof shall be changed at least once a week, and shall always be in the custody of the inspector or assistant inspector, or the officer having charge of the distillery and warehouse.
Mr. STEVENS. I move to strike out that section. It is the most extraordinary contriv ance I ever heard of since I read of the cells under old feudal castles. The man who invented it ought to have a patent. We are to have locks with ninety-six combinations and creepings in and about and around until it becomes a labyrinth more involved than Crete ever had. A man who went into it would have to take a thread with him to find his way out. Mr. GARFIELD. I hope this section will
not be stricken out. I acknowledge that the provision is a stringent one, but it does not require them to rebuild. They have their cisterns already and it only requires that they shall inclose them and that the inspectors may have a key to the locks of the room in his possession and be able to go around and see that there are no secret pipes leading out by which a few barrels may be drawn out and sold without paying the tax. I know of no way except by some such thorough, stringent measure as this by which an inspection shall be made, so that we shall absolutely know what is done, how much is manufactured daily, and where it goes. It thus comes under the supervision of the Government itself. matter of course to do this we have got to point out with a great deal of particularity the mode of inspecting and securing the revenue from distilled spirits.
paragraph. I withdraw my amendment to the amendment.
If any gentleman here knows any better way to do this as thoroughly and with less trouble and annoyance to the owner of the distillery, I shall be very glad to hear it, and should be very willing to adopt it. But the revenue commission that looked into this matter and compared it with the system in other countries have been able to devise no better, more simple, or cheaper means of effecting the object, and I hope it will prevail.
I will say, however, before I sit down, that a thing greatly desired by all countries, not yet attained, but which I hope is to be reached in this country, is the invention of a meter that may be fixed to a still by which all the fluid shall be measured as it is manufactured. It is declared that such an invention has been made by a citizen of the United States, and it is now being examined by the officers of the Coast Survey and the Smithsonian Institute; but it cannot be determined in time for the action of the internal revenue department or Congress this year. Therefore I hope we shall be permitted to use this system, however cumbrous it may appear to be, until another session of Congress, when, perhaps, we shall have found that the invention is a success, and will very much simplify this whole matter and render our revenue from this source more certain. But until that is done I hope this House will stand by the committee in maintaining this system of thorough inspection.
Mr. BROMWELL. I move to insert the word " three" in the place of "two" in line
I wish to ask the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. GARFIELD] if this section does not materially interfere with the business of carrying on distillation of alcohol. If the business of distillation is not to be put under the ban of moral considerations, which I think influences some minds, if it is to be left like any other business in this country, as a matter of money and business, we certainly do not wish to hamper and disturb it in its most profitable form.
Now, sir, in regions remote from market, the corn which is manufactured into whisky is also made into alcohol, and I would ask the chairman of the committee, or the gentleman who last addressed the committee, if the requirement of these cisterns and warehouses is not going to materially interfere with the business, of distilling alcohol. I do not know enough about this business to give any information as to it myself, but I understand that it is a great convenience and saving of labor and expense if the distiller is allowed to run his whisky directly into alcohol at his pleasure, without having it barreled or stored up in a bonded warehouse.
Now, sir, this will affect the western distillers injuriously, I think; for it is a great deal cheaper to ship alcohol to New York or the eastern market than it is to ship corn and let it be distilled at the East. Every western man can see that if a distillery is worth anything to the West, it is worth more for the purpose of making alcohol than whisky. I should, therefore, from my understanding of it, favor the motion of the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. STEVENS] to strike out the
The question was taken on Mr. STEVENS'S amendment, and it was disagreed to-ayes twenty-three, noes not counted.
The Clerk read as follows:
SEC. 39. And be it further enacted, That any person who shall knowingly and fraudulently use any false weights and measures in ascertaining, weighing, or measuring the quantities of grain, meal, or vegetable materials, molasses, or beer, or other substances to be used for distillation, or who shall fraudulently make false record of the same, or who shall destroy or tamper with any locks or seal which may be placed on any cistern, rooms, or buildings, by the duly authorized officers of the revenue, shall be guilty of a felony, and on conviction thereof shall be imprisoned for the term of two years, and pay a fine not exceeding $1,000, in the discretion of the court; and any person who shall use any molasses, beer, or other substances, whether fermented on the premises or elsewhere, for the purpose of producing spirits, before an account of the same shall have been registered in the proper record book provided for this purpose, shall forfeit and pay the sum of $1,000 for each and every offense so committed.
SEC. 40. And be it further enacted, That on all wines, liquors, or compounds known or denominated as wine, made in imitation of sparkling wine or champagne, and put up in bottles under the label, name, designation, or similitude of any imported wine, or wine of foreign growth or manufacture, or with the appearance or pretense of being imported wine, or wine of foreign growth or manufacture, there shall be levied and paid a tax of six dollars per dozen bottles, each bottle containing more than one pint, or three dollars per dozen bottles, each bottle containing not more than one pint; and the returns, assessment, collection, and time of collection of the tax on such imitation wines shall be subject to the regulations of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. And any person who shall willfully and knowingly sell or offer for sale any such wine made after the passage of this act, upon which the tax herein imposed has not been paid, or which has been fraudulently evaded, shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a penalty of $1,000, or to imprisonment not exceeding one year, at the discretion of the court.
That on all wines, liquors, or compounds known or denominated as wine, made in imitation of sparkling wine or champagne and put up in bottles in imitation of any imported wine, &c.
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. I accept that as a modification of my amendment.
The amendment, as modified, was agreed to. Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. I move, also, to strike out in line six the words "appearance or. It seems to me that if a man puts up wine in bottles and it has the appearance of foreign wine, it is rather sharp to subject him to these penalties. It might be very difficult to put up wine in bottles that might not have the appearance of foreign wine.
The amendment was agreed to.
Mr. HOOPER, of Massachusetts. At the request of my critical friend from Maine, [Mr. BLAINE,] I move to amend the section in line six by striking out the letter "c" in the word "pretence" and inserting "s" in place of it. [Laughter.]
The amendment was not agreed to. The Clerk read as follows:
casks, barrels, and other vessels not under the control of the inspector, when required so to do by any duly authorized officer, under a penalty of $200 for any refusal or neglect so to do.
SEC. 42. And be it further enacted, That all spirits distilled shall, before the same are removed to the bonded warehouse, be inspected, gauged, and proved by the inspector appointed for that purpose, after the same has been drawn into casks or packages, each of not less capacity than twenty gallons, wine measure, and said inspector shall mark, by cutting or branding, upon the cask or package containing such spirits, in a manner to be prescribed by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the quantity and proof of the contents of such cask or package, with the date of inspection, the collection district, the name of the inspector, and the name of the distiller, and also the number of each cask in progressive order, such progressive number, for every distiller, to begin with number one with the first cask or package inspected after this act, and subsequently with number day of January in each year, and no two or more one with the first cask inspected on or after the 1st casks warehoused in the same year by the same distiller shall be marked with the same number, and the officer in charge of the warehouse shall refuse to allow any cask of spirits to be taken out therefrom which has not cut or branded thereon all the several particulars aforesaid, and in the manner required by this act. And the inspector or other revenue officer in charge of any distillery shall make a prompt return of all spirits inspected by him in accordance with the provisions of this act, and the name of the distiller, to the collector, and a duplicato thereof to the assessor of the district; and any person who shall fraudulently evade or attempt fraudulently to evade the payment of the tax upon any spirits distilled as aforesaid, by changing any marks upon any such cask or package, or in any other manner whatever, or who shall fraudulently put into such cask or package spirits of greater strength than that inspected and certified to by the inspector, shall pay double the amount of tax on each proof gallon of the quantity of such spirits, and forfeit and pay as a penalty the additional sum of $500 for each cask or package so altered or changed, to be recovered as herein provided; and any inspector who shall knowingly put upon any such cask or package any false or fraudulent marks shall, on conviction, be imprisoned one year, and be liable to a fine of $500, in the discretion of the court; and any person who shall fraudulently use any cask or package bearing inspection marks, for the purpose of selling any other spirits than that so inspected, or for selling spirits of a quantity or quality different from that so inspected, shall be imprisoned for a term of six months, or shall pay a fine of $100 for each cask or package so used, in the discretion of the court; and any person who shall knowingly purchase or sell, with inspection marks thereon, any cask or package, after the same has been used for distilled spirits, or who shall fraudulently omit to erase or obliberate the inspection marks upon any such package or cask at the time of emptying the same, shall forfeit and pay the sum of fifty dollars for every cask so purchased or used, or on which the marks are not so obliterated. And any person who shall, with fraudulent intent, use any inspector's brands or plates upon any cask or package containing or purporting to contain distilled spirits, except in the employ of the inspector, or who shall knowingly make or use any counterfeit or spurious brand or plate upon any cask or package of distilled spirits, as aforesaid, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and on conviction thereof shall forfeit the same, and shall pay a fine of $1,000, and be imprisoned for not less than two nor more than five years. And any inspector who shall permit any person not employed by him to use any of his brands or plates, or who shall negligently or willfully leave such brands or plates where they can be used by any other person than those who may be in his employ, shall pay a fine not exceeding $1,000, in the discretion of the court. And any inspector who shall employ any owner, agent, or superintendent of any distillery or warehouse under his supervision, or who shall employ any person in the service of such owner, agent, or superintendent, to use his plates or brands, or to discharge any of the duties imposed by this act upon such inspector, shall, for each offense so committed, be subject to the same fine last mentioned.
SEC. 41. And be it further enacted, That every owner, agent, or superintendent of any distillery shall, at all times when required, supply all assistance, lights, ladders, tools, staging, or other things necessary for inspecting the premises, stock, tools, and apparatus belonging to such person or persons having paid the special tax aforesaid, and shall open all doors, and open for examination all boxes, packages, and all
Mr. HOOPER, of Massachusetts. On line thirty-nine, in the forty-second section, I move to insert the words "not less than fifty dollars nor more than ;" so that the clause will read:
And any inspector who shall knowingly put upon any such cask or package any false or fraudulent marks shall, on conviction, be imprisoned one year, and be liable to a fine of not less than fifty nor more than five hundred dollars, in the discretion of the court.
The amendment was agreed to.
Mr. THAYER. I move to insert in line thirty-eight, before the words "shall, on conviction, be imprisoned one year," the following:
And any inspector, assistant inspector, or officer temporarily in charge of any distillery under this act, who shall conspire with the proprietor of any distillery or with any other person or persons to defraud the United States of any revenue or tax derived from distilled spirits or any part thereof, or who shall with intent to defraud the United States of such revenue or tax make any fraudulent return, or entry of certificate of return, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, &c. The committee have prepared a very elabo rate system of defenses here in regard to the payment of this tax to protect the Government