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South-the brewers distinguished themselves by their willingness to give active support to the Union cause. Many of them gave their services and part of their wealth with an alacrity that greatly stimulated the patriotic spirit and prompted emulation.
The example of such men as the late Colonel Stifel, the St. Louis brewer, who at his own expense equipped a Union regiment (5th Missouri Infantry) which he led into the field;-or of the Richmond brewer, E. Richter, who, too manly to conceal his loyalty, was compelled to leave the business and the home he had established in the Confederate capital-reflects faithfully the sentiments of the brewers.
We might, if space permitted, give a long list of brewers who served in the army, and of others who organized companies of Union soldiers. Among the latter, Frederick Lauer deserves special mention, because his case may serve as an illustration of our assertion.
As a delegate to the National Democratic Convention, held at Charleston, S. C., in 1860, he vigorously opposed secession and on his return to his home in Reading, Pa., at once began an active union campaign. He declined a nomination to Congress. When the war broke out, being himself physically incapacitated for military service, he equipped, at his own expense, a company of union soldiers who served in the 104th Pennsylvania Infantry to the end of the war.
At the first brewers' convention this man fairly leaped into leadership, was elected Chairman of the Washington Committee and as such wielded powerful influence, and all this for the very reason that he voiced the patriotic sentiments of his fellow-manufacturers.
A skeptic might ask, "What had patriotism to do with a taxlaw as an incentive to industrial organization?" We answer: A great deal, in this case, if not everything. The revenue reports show that in many instances there was a veritable scramble among certain manufacturers: first to prevent the imposition of a tax and next to evade the payment of it. Even "rings" were formed for the latter purpose.
BREWERS AID THE GOVERNMENT.
The first revenue laws were crude and defective, and frauds were inevitable. The lawmakers sought remedies for these defects;
but, above all, they looked for a tax-method ensuring safe and easy collection and the prevention of fraud. It was the organized brewers' avowed purpose to assist the Government in the accomplishment of these objects.
Between 1862 and 1865 they endeavored to render the faulty law as effective as possible, so far as their own industry was concerned. At every convention they appealed to their trade, by suitable resolutions, "to support the Government and attest their loyalty by the prompt payment of the tax." In order to impart compelling force to their appeals, they caused the appointment of local committees whose duty it was to prevent evasions of the law by all legitimate means, even to the extent of taking the initiative in the legal prosecution of delinquents.
Had they been guided by any other motive than a sense of duty, their heads might have been turned by the praise showered upon them by Secretary McCulloch and many lawmakers.
When in 1865 Congress created a Special Revenue Commission with a view to perfecting the system, the United States Brewers' Association again volunteered its assistance, and at its own expense sent a committee to Europe for the purpose of studying the excise methods in the various beer-producing countries.
Under special instruction from the Treasury Department, the Special Revenue Commissioner attended the brewers' convention at which this committee reported. So deeply was this officer impressed with the report, its remarkable wealth of economic and statistical information, and the sound conclusions based upon it as to our country, that he recommended its transmission to Congress in its original form.
This was done, and thus the brewers' report became a public document, not inferior, as impartial critics admit, in any respect to the official dissertations on revenue of which that period was so prolific.
The opinion of the Department, that the "report would be of great benefit to the revenue," proved to be correct, as history attests. Congress adopted the system which was proposed by the brewers and which in its essential features remains in force to the present day.
In view of many systematic tax-evasions, this evidence of patriotism on the part of the brewers could not but create a very favorable impression generally. At the same time, public discus
sions on the use of fermented drinks engaged the attention of our people and many eminent authors and scientists advocated the popularization of beer. The memorable inquiry into the operations of Prohibition in Massachusetts, with its well-known result, had not yet begun, but the wide-spread agitation in its favor stimulated this movement, and imparted to American brewing a powerful impetus.
One of the principal achievements of the United States Brewers' Association in the interest of their own trade during this brief period of its activity was the abolishment of the irksome method of supervision which the stamp-system rendered unnecessary; also the allowance of a rebate of 71% for losses of tax-paid beers. In many other ways, mention of which lack of space forbids, the Association protected the trade from unreasonable or arbitrary interpretations of the law. Its chief merit, however, in an industrial sense, was the prevention several years earlier of a tax-increase to $1.50, the government declaring officially that "one dollar must be considered fully up to the revenue standard," and this at a time when the price of beer was $12.50 per barrel.
In its minor details the amended law proved far less satisfactory and the trade was exposed to many inconveniences and tribulations at the hands of ignorant or dishonest subordinate officers. Again the Association initiated direct negotiations with the Department and the proper Congressional Committees, and, although unsuccessful during several years, it finally succeeded in having the law again amended in the desired manner.
Anyone familiar with our country's history knows that many years before the war Knownothingism and Prohibition were driven. out of the arena by the mass of liberal voters who had so ardently devoted themselves to the Union cause.
THE WORK OF EDUCATION.
Shortly after the termination of the war, Prohibitionists again began, timidly and sporadically at first, to agitate the Maine idea. The United States Brewers' Association at once perceived the necessity of a counter-agitation designed to correct prejudices, errors and wilful misrepresentations.
At the St. Louis Convention held in October, 1866, the Association laid the foundation for its educational activity which since then has been carried on without interruption. The fact that the
brewery workmen of St. Louis had enjoyed a very remarkable immunity from infection during the cholera epidemic in that city, could not escape medical observation, and the Association based its first pamphlet on this incident. Its second publication, which appeared at the same time, dealt with the cause, effect and cure of a disease of the hop plant.
The latter publication opened a new field for the activity of the Association. While brewing forged ahead rapidly, the American production of maltable barley and hops lagged behind, and it became the brewers' duty to devote their attention to this subject, all the more so because the protective policy was ultimately extended to barley and malt, a large quantity of which had formerly been obtained from Canada, free of duty, under the reciprocity agreement.
Without attempting even a superficial review of the several acts by which the brewers sought to protect their interests in this respect, it may be stated, in a general way, that they availed themselves of every opportunity to bring about an increased production and a suitable enhancement of the quality of American hops and barley. At the same time their efforts were necessarily aimed at every attempt (and there were many) to make the import duty on these materials prohibitive.
One of the most important successes of the Association was the defeat of a proposition to impose a tax on malt which would have been equivalent to an additional beer tax. Here again, its arguments were deemed of such weight as to cause the Committee on Ways and Means to have them printed as a separate public document.
The question of hop-tare was also discussed thus early and an agreement was effected, but not carried out, to pay only for the actual weight of the hops exclusive of the packing material. It required many years of incessant labor and tactful agitation to secure for this informal agreement the force of a commercial rule, which no one would dream of violating to-day. And that is another achievement to the credit of the Association.
Between the years 1868 and 1878 the work of the Association increased at a marvelous rate; its Washington Committee had to be constantly on the alert; many commercial questions arose which rendered necessary the formation of local associations; the Prohibitionists organized nationally and initiated a vigorous
campaign; and old prejudices were revived against those engaged in the trade.
Fortunately, at the beginning of this period Massachusetts abolished Prohibition on the strength of a voluminous official report, the outcome of an investigation which resulted in a complete negation of every argument and presumption in favor of compulsory total abstinence. Following this came the famous scientific enquiry conducted by Dr. Bowditch, which induced thousands of physicians, journalists, clergymen and authors to advocate the use of wine and beer.
The Centennial Exposition of 1876 was justly regarded by the Association as a splendid opportunity of familiarizing the public with the nature of malt liquors, the mode of manufacture, the place of beer in dietetics, etc. For this purpose the brewers erected their own magnificent exposition building in which were exhibited all machineries and appliances used in brewing and its more closely related kindred trades. Samples of malt liquors were distributed freely, together with an excellent pamphlet on the drink question. As an object lesson, actually reaching millions of people, this exhibition exercised a profound influence upon the public, and was never equalled here or elsewhere before or since.
LEARNING THROUGH DEFEAT.
In spite of such efforts of enlightenment, Prohibition gained the ascendency in Iowa. Supported in every possible way by the United States Brewers' Association, the brewers of Iowa carried on a vigorous campaign; nevertheless, they were ultimately beaten. But the experiences gathered during this agitation and the Kansas campaign of a later period proved to be of inestimable value. They taught the brewers that by literary and educational efforts they must endeavor to induce the liberal elector to exercise his franchise; for it was clearly demonstrated that in no instance had Prohibition been supported by a majority of those entitled to vote.
The necessity for such a course became all the more manifest at a later period, on account of several Supreme Court decisions sustaining Prohibition under the States' police power. The Association expended large sums of money and engaged the most eminent lawyers in order to test every constitutional principle involved in this question. All this naturally had the effect of invigorating the popular campaigns.