Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

REVIEW

OF

• A JOURNAL OF EIGHT DAYS JOURNEY,

FROM PORTSMOUTH TO KINGSTON UPON THAMES,

THROUGH SOUTHAMPTON, WILTSHIRE, &c.

-- With Miscellaneous Thoughts, moral and religious ; in

sixty four letters ; addressed to Two Ladies of the Partie. To which is added, An Essay on Tea, considered as pernicious to health, obstructing industry, and imzoverishing the nation ; with an account of its growth, and great consumfition in these kingdoms ; with several political Reflections ; and Thoughts on Public Love i in thirty tivo letters to Two Ladies., By Mr. H **".

I'rom the Literary Magazine, Vol. Il. No. xiii. 1757.

OUR readers may perhaps remember, that we gave them a short account of this book,* with a letter exa tracted from it, in November, 1756. The author then sent us an injunction to forbear his work till a second edition should appear ; this prohibition was råther too magisterial ; for an author is no longer the sole master of a book which he has given to the public ; yet he has been punctually obeyed ; we had no desire to offend him, and if his character may be estimated by his book, he is a man whose failings may well be pardoned for his virtues.

* The short account is in these words. “This book is generally known to be the work of Mr. Hanway, a man who has formerly travelled to a greater distance, and whose travels have been for several years in the hands of the public. The author has not printed it for sale, but distributes it among his acquaintance. It may be wondered how a large quarto should arise from a ramble

The second edition is now sent into the world, corrected and enlarged, and yielded up by the author to the attacks of criticism. But he shall find in us no maliga nity of censure. We wish, indeed, that among other corrections he had submitted his pages to the inspection of a grammarian, that the elegancies of one line might not have been disgraced by the improprieties of another; but with us to mean well is a degree of merit which overbalances much greater errors than impurity of style.

We have already given in our collections, one of the letters, in which Mr. Hanway endeavours to show, that the consumption of tea is injurious to the interest of our country. We shall now endeavour to follow him regularly through all his observations on this modern luxury;

of eight days. The account of what he has seen fills but a small part. We are told much that might have been as well told without the journey. Digression starts from digression, and one subject follows another with or without connection. It is said that those letters were not written to be printed; they were printed, perhaps, only because they had been written. Of such a book it imports little which part is first read, or first examined. For the entertainment of the present month, we have selected letters from a long and vehement invective against tea. Perhaps we may hereafter exhibit some of his descriptions, for we are far from thinking the relation less curious or useful, for being confined to our own country.”. .......

C.

[ocr errors]

but it can scarcely be candid, not to make a previous declaration, that he is to expect little justice from the author of this extract, a hardened and shameless tea drinker, who has for twenty years diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant, whose kettle has scarcely time to cool, who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and with tea welcomes the morning.

He begins by refuting a popular notion, that bohca and green tea are leaves of the same shrub, gathered at different times of the year. He is of opinion, that they are produced, by different shrubs. The leaves of tea are gathered in dry weather ; then dried and curled over the fire in copper pans. The Chinese use little green tea, imagining that it hinders digestion and excites « fevers. · How it should have either effect is not easily discovered ; and if we consider the innumerable preju. dices which prevail concerning our own plants, we shall very little regard these opinions of the Chinese vulgar, which experience does not confirm.

When the Chinese drink tea, they infuse it slightly, and extract only the more volatile part ; but though this seems to require great quantities at a time, yet the au-, thor believes, perhaps only because he has an inclination to believe it, that the English and Dutch use more than all the inhabitants of that extensive empire. The Chinese drink it sometimes with acids, seldom with sugar ; and this practice our author, who has no intention to find any thing right at home, recommends to his country. men.

The history of the rise and progress of tea drinking is truly curious. Tea was first imported from Holland by the earls of Arlington and Ossory, in 1666; from their ladies the women of quality learned its use. Its price was then three pounds a pound, and continued the same to 1707. In 1715, we began to use green tea, and the practice of drinking it descended to the lower class of the people. In 1720, the French began to send it hither bỹ a clandestine commerce. From 1717 to 1726, we imported annually seven hundred thousand pounds. From 1732 to 1742, a million and two hundred thousand pounds were every year brought to London ; in some years afterwards three millions ; and in 1755, near four millions of pounds, or two thousand tons, in which we are not to reckon that which is surreptitiously introduced, which perhaps is nearly as much. Such quantities are indeed sufficient to alarm us ; it is at least worth inquiry, to know what are the qualities of such a plant, and what the consequences of such a trade.

He then proceeds to enumerate the mischiefs of tea, and seems willing to charge upon

it

every mischief that he can find. He begins, however, by questioning the virtues ascribed to it, and denies that the crews of the Chinese ships are preserved in their voyage homewards from the scurvy by tea. About this report I have made some inquiry, and though I cannot find that these crews are wholly exempt from scorbutic maladies, they seem to suffer them less than other mariners in any course of equal length. This I ascribe to the tea, not as possessing any medicinal qualities, but as tempting them to drink more water, to dilute their salt food

more

copiously, and perhaps to forbear punch, or other strong liquors.

He then proceeds in the pathetic strain, to tell the ladies how, by drinking tea, they injure their health, and, what is yet more dear, their beauty,

“ To what can we ascribe the numerous complaints which prevail ? How many sweet creatures of your sex languish with a weak digestion, low spirits, lassitudes, melancholy, and twenty disorders, which in spite of the faculty have yet no names, except the general one of nervous complaints ? Let them change their diet, and among other articles, leave off drinking tea, it is more than probable the greatest part of them will be restored to health.

“ Hot water is also very hurtful to the teeth. The Chinese do not drink their tea so hot as we do, and yet they have bad teeth. This cannot be ascribed entirely to sugar, for they use very little, as already observed ; but we all know that hot or cold things which pain the teeth, destroy them also. If we drank less tea, and used gentle acids for the gums and teeth, particularly sour oranges, though we had a less number of French dentists, I fancy this essential part of beauty would be much better preserved.

" The women in the United Provinces, who sip tea from morning till night, are also as remarkable for bad teeth. They also look pallid, and many are troubled with certain feminine disorders arising from a relaxed habit. The Portuguese ladies, on the other hand, entertain with sweetmeats, and yet they have very good teeth ; but their food in general is more of a farinaceous and

« ElőzőTovább »