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Review Of A Journal Of Eight Days’ Journey
by [?]

From Portsmouth to Kingston upon Thames, through Southampton, Wiltshire, etc. 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 impoverishing the nation; with an account of its growth, and great consumption in these kingdoms; with several political reflections; and thoughts on publick love: in thirty-two letters to two ladies. By Mr. H. —–.

[From the Literary Magazine, vol. ii. No. xiii. 1757.]

Our readers may, perhaps, remember, that we gave them a short account of this book, with a letter, extracted 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 rather too magisterial; for an author is no longer the sole master of a book, which he has given to the publick; 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 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 malignity 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 errours 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; 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 bohea 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 prejudices, 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 parts; but though this seems to require great quantities at a time, yet the author 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 anything right at home, recommends to his countrymen.

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 by 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.