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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/490

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470
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

By a statute passed in 1887 the manufacture of alcoholic liquors was made a state monopoly; The net proceeds of the business as thus conducted are considerable, but the entire net receipts are distributed among the several Cantons in proportion to their population. Smuggling and other evasions of the law under the new system are acknowledged to be extensive and irrepressible, so that the measure in question is yet generally regarded in the light of an experiment.

As this subject is one of special interest in other countries, it is thought expedient in this connection to submit a presentation and review of it as recently made by Prof. John Martin Vincent, Professor of History in Johns Hopkins University, and published in a book entitled State and Federal Government in Switzerland, 1894:

"The right to manufacture the higher grades of distilled spirits belongs exclusively to the Federal Government of Switzerland. This is effected by contract either with home or foreign distillers, but at least one fourth of the quantity required must be manufactured by domestic companies to whom the Government makes allotments from time to time. In order to encourage agriculture, the distillation of certain native fruits and roots is exempted from the monopoly and made free to any one. The Government is also the distributer of liquors in quantities not less than one hundred and fifty litres (a litre = 1ยท05 quart), and fixes the prices. Spirits used for technical and household purposes must be sold at cost of manufacture, and before delivery must be reduced by the addition of wood sprits or other mixtures which render them unfit for drinking. The peddling of liquor from house to house is entirely forbidden except for the kind last mentioned. Retail dealers require a license from the cantonal authorities, and pay a graduated tax according to the amount of their sales. The traffic in quantities above forty litres is considered wholesale and under no restriction. The administration of the liquor business is therefore entirely in the hands of the Federal authorities until the spirits reach the retail dealers; there the Cantons step in to regulate the number and the character of the dramshops, to make the necessary sumptuary and police laws, and exact such license fees as may seem best. The net profits of the government management are collected by the Federal authorities, but divided entirely among the Cantons in proportion to population. The Cantons on their part are obliged to expend at least ten x>er cent of this dividend in suppressing the evils of intemperance, and to report annually to the Federal Government. Distilleries, in order to continue operations, must be large enough to supply one hundred and fifty hectolitres (a hectolitre 26.4 gallons) a year. The monopoly is protected from competition by foreign countries by