Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- June 21, 1863City Flour Ordinance (Editorial)
In the first regular session of the City Council, Alderman Woodman introduced a flour ordinance, according to which a flour inspector was to be hired to inspect all flour sold here.
At that time the proposed ordinance was referred to the Committee on Legislation, and was favorably reported to the Council by the Committee in the last session of the Council. The aldermen decided. to publish the ordinance and to make it the subject of final discussion and pass upon it in the next meeting (today).
The duties of the inspector, whose engagement is recommended by the Mayor on advice of the Aldermen, are to inspect all flour brought here for sale at wholesale or retail prices or for local consumption. Anyone who delivers 2flour to Chicago or anyone who receives flour that is to be sold on commission will be required to submit it to the inspector before disposing or it, and he will have to keep it in an arrangement that will make the inspector's task convenient. Anyone caught violating this ordinance will be fined five dollars for every bag or barrel of flour which he did not have inspected.
The inspector is authorized to collect a fee of two cents per bag or barrel for his work, and he may claim four ounces of flour from each barrel inspected.
This ordinance is tantamount to the legal sanction of mulcting, or, to use a vulgarity, stealing.
According to our City Charter, the City Council has the right to hire any number of inspectors, but it is questionable whether the aldermen have the authority to put a tax on commerce and thus on consumers, or to make inspection compulsory, or to demand that every poor creature who buys a twenty-five pound sack of flour pay two cents, or to permit the inspector to mulct four ounces of flour 3from a barrel, thus depriving our indigent citizens, especially children, of so much bread.
Let us see how much the prospective inspector will realize.
According to the report of the Board of Trade, 165,720 barrels of flour were consumed in Chicago during the past year. A large part of this quantity was sold in quarter-barrel sacks. Computing the average sale at half a barrel, 331,440 sales were made, totaling $6,628.80 at two cents per sale. And to this sum the value of the mulcted flour must be added. Figuring two cents per ounce--and that is very conservative--the flour would be worth $1,657.20. Thus the inspector's total income would be $8,266. Verily, a dirty job with filthy pay!
And, what is more, the greater part of this ill-gotten money will be stolen, deliberately and unnecessarily stolen, from the working class, from the men who are compelled to toil in the sweat of their brows for six days of the 4week, and from their hungry wives and children.
And lest we forget, the Board of Trade, according to its charter, is obligated to hire such inspectors to inspect all flour, if buyer and seller demand it, but not against the wish of the two parties, and not merely to mulct them of their property.
We wonder how much the City Flour Inspector will have to pay for his appointment to this lucrative prospective position? No doubt he will have to hire an assistant to do his office work!
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