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of it before it was published. How the sight of it was procured, I do not now very exactly remember ; but if my curiosity was greater than my prudence, if I laid rash hands on the fatal volume, I have surely suffered like him who burst the box from which evil rushed into the world.
I took it, however, and inspected it as the work of an author not higher than myself; and was confirmed in my opinion, when I found that these letters were not written to be printed. I concluded, however, that though not written to be printed, they were printed to be read, and inserted one of them in the collection of November last. Not many days after I received a note, informing me, that I ought to have waited for a more correct edition. This injunction was obeyed. The edition appeared, and I supposed myself at liberty to tell my thoughts upon it, as upon any other book, upon a royal manifesto, or an act of parliament. But see the fate of ignorant temerity! I now find, but find too late, that instead of a writer whose only power is in his pen ; I have irritated an important member of an important corporation ; a man who, as he tells us in his letters, puts horses to his chariot.
It was allowed to the disputant of old to yield up the controversy with little resistance to the master of forty legions. Those who know how weakly naked truth can defend her advocates, would forgive me if I should pay the same respect to a governor of the Foundlings. Yet the consciousness of my own rectitude of intention incites me to ask once again, how I have offended.
There are only three subjects upon which my unlucky pen has happened to venture. Tea; the author of the Journal ; and the Founding Hospital.
Of tea what have I said ? That I have drank it twenty years without hurt, and therefore believe it not to be poisna ;, that if it dries the fibres, it cannot soften them ; that if it constringes, it cannot relax. I have modestly doubted whether it has diminished the strength of our men, or the beauty of our women ; and whether it much linders the progress of our woollen or iron manufactures; but I allowed it to be a barren superfluity, neither medicinal nor nutritious, that neither supplied strengh, nor cheerfulness, neither relieved weariness, nor exhilarated sorrow ; I inserted, without charge or saspicion of falsehood, the sums exported to purchase it ; and proposed a law to prohibit it for ever.
Of the author I unfortunately said, that his injunction was somewhat too magisterial. This I said before I knew that he was a governor of the Foundlings ; but he seems inclined to punish this failure of respect, as the czar of Muscovy, madle war upon Sweden, because he was not treated with sufficient honours when he passed through the country in disguise. Yet was not this irreverence without extenuation. Something was said of the merit of meuning well, and the Journalist was declared to be a man whose failings might well be pardoned for his virtues. This is the highest praise which human gratitude can confer upon human merit ; praise that would have more than satisfied Titus or Augustus, but which I must own to be inadequate and penurious, when offered to the member of an important corporation.
I am asked whether I meant to satirize the man or criticise the writer, when I say that he believes, only perhaps because he has inclination to believe it, that the English and Dutch consume more tea than the vast empire of China ? Between the writer and the man I did not at that time consider the distinction. The writer I found not of more than mortal might, and I did not immediately recollect that the man put horses to his chariot. But I did not write wholly without consideration. I knew but two causes of belief, evidence and inclination. What evidence the Journalist could have of the Chinese consumption of tea, I was not able to discover. The offcers of the East India Company are excluded, they best know why, from the towns and the country of China ; they are treated as we treat gypsies and vagrants, and obliged to retire every night to their own hovel. What intelligence such travellers may bring is of no great importance. And though the missionaries boast of having once penetrated further, I think they have never calculated the tea drank by the Chinese. There being thus no evidence for his opinion, to what could I ascribe it but inclination ?
I am yet charged more heavily for having said, that he has no intention to find any thing right at home. I believe every reader restrained this imputation to the sube ject which produced it, and supposed me to insinuate only that he meant to spare no part of the tea table, whether essence or circumstance. But this line he has selected as an instance of virulence and acrimony, and confutes it by a lofty and splendid panegyric on himself.
He asserts, that he finds many things right at home, and that he loves his country almost to enthusiasm.
I had not the least doubt that he found in his country many things to please him ; nor did I suppose that he desired the same inversion of every part of life, as of the use of tea. The proposal of drinking tea sour showed indeed such a disposition to practical paradoxes, that there was reason to fear lest some succeeding letter should recommend the dress of the Picts, or the cookery of the Eskimaux. However, I met with no other innovations, and therefore was willing to hope that he found something right at home.
But his love of his country seemed not to rise quite to enthusiasm, when, amidst his rage against tea, made a smooth apology for the East India Company, as men who might not think themselves obliged to be political arithmeticians. I hold, though no enthusiastic patriot, that every man who lives and trades under the protection of a community, is obliged to consider whether he hurts or benefits those who protect him ; and that the most which can be indulged to private interest is a neutral traffic, if any such can be, by which our country is not injured, though it may not be benefited.
But he now renews his declamation against tea, notwithstanding the greatness or power of those that have interest or inclination to support it. I know not of what power or greatness he may dream. The importers only have an interest in defending it. I. am sure they are not great, and I hope they are not powerful. Those whose inclination leads them to continue this practice, are too numerous, but I believe their power is such,
as the Journalist may defy without enthusiasm. The love of our country, when it rises to enthusiasm, is an ambiguous and uncertain virtue ; when a man is enthusiastic, he ceases to be reasonable, and when he once departs from reason, what will he do but drink sour tea? As the Journalist, though enthusiastically zealous for his country, has, with regard to smaller things, the placid happiness of philosophical indifference, I can give him no disturbance by advising him to restrain even the love of his country within due limits, lest it should sometimes swell too high, fill the whole capacity of his soul, and leave less room for the love of truth.
Nothing now remains but that I review my positions concerning the foundling hospital. What I declared last month, I declare now once more, that I found none. of the children that appeared to have heard of the catechism. It is inquired how I wandered, and how I cxamined ? There is doubtless subtilty in the question ; I know not well how to answer it. Happily I did not wander alone; I attended some ladies with another gentleman, who all heard and assisted the inquiry with equal grief and indignation. I did not conceal my observations. Notice was given of this shameful defect soon after, at my request, to one of the highest names of the society. This I am now told is incredible ; but since it is true, and the past is out of human power, the most important .corporation cannot make it false. But why is it incredible ? Because in the rules of the hospital the children are ordered to learn the rudiments of religion.. Orders are easily made, but they do not execute themselves. They say their catechism, at stated times'