Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

“ sickly, and young children begging their bread;

nor would compassion be abused by those who 6 have reduced it to an art to catch the unwary.

Nothing is wanting but common sense and how nesty in the execution of laws.

To prevent such abuse in the streets, seems “ more practicable than to abolish bad habits with in doors, where greater numbers perish. We see “ in many familiar instances the fatal effects of ex- ample. The careless spending of time among servants, who are charged with the care of in“ fants, is often fatal: the nurse frequently destroys the child! the

poor infant being left ne“ glected, expires whilst she is sipping her Tea! “ This may appear to you as rank prejudice or jest; but I am assured, from the most indubitable " evidence, that many very extraordinary cases of “ this kind have really happened among those 16 whose duty does not permit of such kind of ha“ bits.

“ It is partly from such causes, that nurses of “ the children of the publick often forget themselves, " and become impatient when infants

the next “ step to this, is using extraordinary means to quiet “ them. I have already mentioned the term killing

nurse, as known in some workhouses: Venice "treacle, poppy water, and Godfrey's cordial, have “ been the kind instruments of lulling the child to - his everlasting rest. If these pious women could “ send up an ejaculation when the child expired,

all was well, and no questions asked by the superiors. An ingenious friend of mine informs me, " that this has been so often the case, in some

workhouses, that Venice treacle has acquired

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

cry:

[ocr errors]

« the appellation of the Lord have mercy upon me, “ in allusion to the nurses backneyed expression of pretended grief when infants expire! Farewell!

I know not upon what observation Mr Hanway founds his confidence in the Governors of the Foundling Hospital, men of whom I have not any knowledge, but whom I intreat to consider a little the minds as well as the bodies of the children. I am inclined to believe Irreligion equally pernicious with Gin and Tea, and therefore think it not unseasonable to mention, that when a few months ago I wandered through the Hospital, I found not a child that seemed to have heard of his creed, or the commandments. To breed up children in this manner, is to rescue them from an early grave, that they may find employment for the gibbet; from dying in innocence, that they may perish by their crimes.

Having considered the effects of Tea upon the health of the drinker, which, I think, he has aggravated in the vehemence of his zeal, and which, after soliciting them by this watery luxury, year after year, I have not yet felt; he proceeds to examine how it may be shewn to affect our interest, and first calculates the national loss by the time spent in drinking Tea. I have no desire to appear captious, and shall therefore readily admit, that Tea is a liquor not proper for the lower classes of the people, as it supplies no strength to labour, or relief to disease, but gratifies the taste without nourishing the body. It is a barren superfluity, to 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 want of 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 sixtysix 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 money.” 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 them. selves 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 like. “ wise brings in a revenue of three hundred and

sixty thousand pounds, which, as a tax on lux

ury, may be considered as of great utility to the “6 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 inconvenie ces 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 destroyed 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 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 ba

“ 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 gainers, and provide more “ for health, pleasure and long life, compared with 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.

« the

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »