« AnteriorContinuar »
weakness of our government, and the corruption of our people, let us at once resolve to prohibit it for ever.
“ If the question was, how to promote industry most advantageously, in lieu of our tea trade, supposing every branch of our commerce to be already fully supplied with men and money ? If a quarter the sum now spent in tea, were laid out annually in plantations, in making public gardens, in paving and widening streets, in making roads, in rendering rivers navigable, erecting palaces, building bridges, or neat and convenient houses where are now only huts ; draining lands, or rendering those which are now barren of some 230 ; should we not be gainers, and provide more for health, pleasure, and long life, compared with the consequences of the tea trade ?"
Our riches would be much better employed to these purposes ; but if this project does not please, let us first resolve to save our money, and we shall afterwards very casily find ways to spend it.
A PAPER IN THE GAZETTEER,
OF MAY 26, 1757.*
IT is observed in the sage Gil Blas, that an exasperata ed author is not easily pacified. I have, therefore, very little hope of making my peace with the writer of the Eight Days Journey ; indeed so little, that I have long deliberated whether I should not rather sit silently down under his displeasure, than aggravate my misfortune by a defence of which my heart forebodes the ill suc
Deliberation is often useless. I am afraid that I have at last made the wrong choice ; and that I might better have resigned my cause, without a struggle, to time and fortune, since I shall run the hazard of a new offence, by the necessity of asking him why he is angry.
Distress and terror often discover to us those faults with which we should never have reproached ourselves in a happy state. Yet, dejected as I am, when I review the transaction between me and this writer, I cannot find that I have been deficient in reverence. When his book was first printed, he hints that I procured a sight 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.
* From the Literary Magazine, Vol. II. page 253.
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.
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, he 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,
i am asked whether I meant to satirize the inan or criticise the writer, when I say that he believes, only perhaps because he has inclination to believe it, that the Eng. lish 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 officers 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 inissionaries 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 subject 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.