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which those who can hardly procure what nature requires, cannot prudently habituate themselves. Its proper use is to amuse the idle, and relax the studious, and dilute the full meals of those who cannot use exercise, and will not use abstinence. That time is lost in this insipid entertainment, cannot be denied; many trifle away at the Tea-table those moments which would be better spent; but that any national detriment can be inferred from this waste of time, does not evidently appear, because I know not that any work remains undone for want of hands. Our manufactures seem to be limited, not by the possibility of work, but by the possibility of sale.
His next argument is more clear. He affirms, that one hundred and fifty thousand pounds in silver are paid to the Chinese annually, for three millions of pounds of Tea, and that for two millions more brought clandestinely from the neighbouring coasts, we pay, at twenty-pence a pound, one hundred sixty-six thousand six hundred and sixty-six pounds. The author justly conceives, that this computation will waken us; for, says he, “ The loss of health, the loss of time, the injury of “ morals, are not very sensibly felt by some, who “are alarmed when you talk of the loss of But he excuses the East-India Company, as men not obliged to be political arithmeticians, or to inquire so much what the nation loses, as how themselves may grow rich. It is certain, that they who drink Tea have no right to complain of those that import it; but if Mr. Hanway's computation be just, the importation and the use of it ought at once to be stopped by a penal law.
The author allows one slight argument in favour of Tea, which, in my opinion, might be with far greater justice urged both against that and many other parts of our naval trade. " The Tea-trade "employs (he tells us) six ships, and five or six “ hundred seamen, sent annually to China. It “ likewise brings in a revenue of three hundred “and sixty thousand pounds, which, as a tax on “ luxury, may be considered as of great utility to “ the state.” The utility of this tax I cannot find; a tax on luxury is no better than another tax, unless it hinders luxury, which cannot be said of the impost upon Tea, while it is thus used by the great and the mean, the rich and the poor. The truth is, that by the loss of one hundred and fifty thousand pounds, we procure the means of shifting three hundred and sixty thousand at best, only from one hand to another; but perhaps sometimes into hands by which it is not very honestly employed. Of the five or six hundred seamen sent to China, I am told that sometimes half, commonly a third part, perish in the voyage; so that instead of setting this navigation against the inconveniencies already alleged, we may add to them, the yearly loss of two hundred men in the prime of life; and reckon, that the trade of China has de. stroyed ten thousand men since the beginning of this century
If Tea be thus pernicious, if it impoverishes our country, if it raises temptation, and gives opportunity to illicit commerce, which I have always looked on as one of the strongest evidences of the inefficacy of our law, the weakness of our govern.
ment, 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 publick
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 use; should we not be gain“ers, 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 easily find ways to spend it.
R E P L Y
PAPER IN THE GAZETTEER
of May 26, 1757*.
IT is observed in the sage Gil Blas, that an ex
asperated 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 success. 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 of. fence, 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
* From the Literary Magazine, Vol. II. page 253.
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.