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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 infufe it flightly, 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 any thing 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 Osory, 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 leven 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 scorbutick 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 falt food more copiously, and perhaps to forbear punch, or other strong liquors.
He then proceeds in the pathetick 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 afcribe the numerous com“ plaints which prevail ? How many sweet crea“ tures of your sex languish with a weak digestion, “ low spirits, lassitudes, melancholy, and twenty dis“ orders, which in spite of the faculty have yet no « names, except the general one of nervous com“ plaints? 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 fo hot as we do, and “ yet they have bad teeth. This cannot be ascribed “ entirely to fugar, 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 four 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 fip “ 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 gene“ ral is more of a farinaceous and vegetable kind “ than ours. They also drink cold water instead of “ fipping hot, and never taste any fermented liquors; “ for these reasons the use of lugar does not seem to “ be at all pernicious to them.”
« Men seem to have lost their stature and come. " liness, and women their beauty. I am not young, “ but methinks there is not quite so much beauty “ in this land as there was. Your very chamber“ maids have lost their bloom, I suppose by fipping “ Tea. Even the agitations of the passions at cards « are not so great enemies to female charms. What " Shakespeare ascribes to the concealment of love, is VOL. II.
“ in this age more frequently occafioned by the use of “ Tea." - To raise the fright still higher, he quotes an account of a pig's tail scalded with Tea, on which however he does not much infift.
Of these dreadful effects, some are perhaps innaginary, and some may have another cause. That there is less beauty in the present race of females, thai in those who, entered the world with us, all of us are inclined to think on whom beauty has ceased to ímile; but our fathers and grandfathers made the same complaint before us ; and our pofterity will still find beauties irresistibly powerful.
That the diseases commonly called nervous, tremors, fits, habitual depression, and all the maladies which proceed from laxity and debility, are more frequent than in any former time, is, I believe, true, however deplorable. But this new race of evils will not be expelled by the prohibition of Tea. This general langour is the effect of general luxury, of general idleness. If it be most to be found among Tea-drinkers, the reason is, that Tea is one of the stated amusements of the idle and luxurious. The whole mode of life is changed; every kind of voluntary labour, every exercise that strengthened the nerves, and hardened the muscles, is fallen into difuse. The inhabitants are crowded together in populous cities, fo that no occasion of life requires much motion ; every one is near to all that he wants; and the rich and delicate seldom pass from one street to another, but in carriages of pleasure. Yet we eat and drink, or strive to eat and drink, like the hunters and huntresses, the
farmers and the housewives of the former generation ; and they that pass ten hours in bed, and eight at cards, and the greater part of the other fix at the table, are taught to impute to Tea all the diseases which a life unnatural in all its parts may chance to bring upon them.
Tea, among the greater part of those who use it most, is drunk in no great quantity. As it neither exhilarates the heart, nor stimulates the palate, it is commonly an entertainment merely nominal, a pres tence for assembling to prattle, for interrupting business, or diversifying idleness. They who drink one cup, and who drink twenty, are equally punctual in preparing or partaking it ; and indeed there are few but discover by their indifference about it, that they are broughi together not by the Tea, but the Teatable. Three cups make the common quantity, so Nightly impregnated, that perhaps they might be tinged with the Athenian cicuta, and produce less effects than these Letters charge upon Tea.
Our author proceeds to shew yet other bad qualities of this hated leaf.
“ Green Tea, when made strong even by infusion, " is an emetick; nay, I am told it is used as such in “ China ; a decoction of it certainly performs this “ operation : yet by long use it is drank by many " without such an effect. The infusion also, when “ it is made strong, and stands long to draw the gros“ ser particles, will convulse the bowels: even in the " manner commonly used, it has this effect on some “ constitutions, as I have already remarked to you " froin my own experience.