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THE question of the influence of tea, as well 
as that of alcohol and tobacco, has occu- 
pied the attention of the author for some 
time. Apart from its physiological aspect, 
the subject of tea-drinking is extremely 
interesting ; and in the following pages an 
attempt has been made to describe its intro- 
duction into England, to review the evidence 
)f its friends and foes, and to discuss its 
influence on mind and health. An account 
is also given of the origin of tea-meetings, 
ind of the methods of making tea in 
various countries. Although the book does 
::ot claim to be a complete history of tea, 
yet a very wide range of authors has been 
consulted to furnish the numerous details 
which illustrate the usages, the benefits, and 
rJhe evils (real or imaginary) which sur- 
round the habit of tea-drinking. 




Introduced by the East India Company Mrs. Pepys 
making her first cup of tea "Virtues of tea Thomas 
Garway's advertisement Waller's birthday ode 
Tea a rarity in country homes Introduced into 
the Quaker School Extension of tea-drinking The 
social tea-table a national delight England the largest 
consumer of tea. 

" I SENT for a cup of tee a China drink 
of which I had never drank before/ 5 writes 
Pepys in his diary of the 25th of September, 
1660. It appears, however, that it came 
into England in 1610 ; but at ten guineas a 
pound it could scarcely be expected to make 
headway. A rather large consignment was, 
however, received in 1657; this fell into the 
hands of a thriving London merchant, Mr. 


2 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

Thomas Garway, wlio established a house for 
selling the prepared beverage. Another 
writer states that tea was introduced by the 
East India Company early in 1571. Though 
it may not be possible to fix the exact date, 
one fact is clear, that it was a costly beverage. 
Not until 1667 did it find its way into Pepys 5 
own house. "Home," he says, "and there 
find my wife making of tea, a drink which 
Mr. Felling, the potticary, tells her is good for 
her cold and defluxions." Commenting upon 
this entry, Charles Knight said, " Mrs. Pepys 
making her first cup of tea is a subject to be 
painted. How carefully she metes out the 
grains of the precious drug which Mr. Pelliiig, 
the potticary, has sold her at an enormous 
price a crown an ounce at the very least; 
she has tasted the liquor once before, but 
then there was sugar in the infusion a be- 
verage only for the highest. If tea should 
become fashionable, it will cost in their 
housekeeping as much as their claret. How- 
ever, Pepys says the price is coming down, 
and he produces the handbill of Thomas 
Garway, in Exchange Alley, which the lady 
peruses with great satisfaction." 

Introduction of 7#z. 3 

This handbill is an extraordinary pro- 
duction. It is entitled " An exact description 
of the growth, quality, and virtues of the leaf 
tea, by Thomas Gar way, in Exchange Alley, 
near the Royal Exchange in London, to- 
bacconist, and seller and retailer of tea and 
coffee." It sets forth that 

" Tea is generally brought from China, and groweth there 
upon little shrubs and bushes. The branches whereof are 
well garnished with white flowers that are yellow within, 
of the lightness and fashion of sweet-brier, but in smell 
unlike, bearing thin green leaves about the bigness of 
scordiuni, myrtle, or sumack ; and is judged to be a kind 
of sumack. This plant hath been reported to grow wild 
only, but doth not ; for they plant it in the gardens, about 
four foot distance, and it groweth about four foot high ; 
and of the seeds they maintain and increase their stock. 
Of this leaf there are divers sorts (though all one shape) ; 
some much better than others, the upper leaves excelling 
the others in fineness, a property almost in all plants ; 
which leaves they gather every day, and drying them in 
the shade or in iron pans, over a gentle fire, till the humidity 
be exhausted, then put close up in leaden pots, preserve 
them for their drink tea, which is used at meals and upon 
all visits and entertainments in private families, and in 
the palaces of grandees ; and it is averred by a padre of 
Macao, native of Japan, that the best tea ought to be 
gathered but by virgins, who are destined for this work. 
The particular virtues are these ; it maketh the body active 
and lusty; it helpeth the head ache, giddiness and 
heaviness thereof ; it removeth the obstructiveness of the 
B 2 

4 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

spleen ; it is very good against the stone and gravel, clean- 
ing the kidneys and ureters, being drank with virgin's 
honey, instead of sugar ; it taketh away the difficulty of 
breathing, opening obstructions ; it is good against tipitude, 
distillations, and cleareth the sight ; it removeth lassitude 
and cleanseth and purifieth acrid humours and a hot liver ; 
it is good against crudities, strengthening the weakness 
of the ventricle, or stomach, causing good appetite and 
digestion, and particularly for men of corpulent body, and 
such as are great eaters of flesh ; it vanquisheth heavy 
dreams, easeth the frame and strengtheneth the memory ; 
it overcometh superfluous sleep, and prevents sleepiness 
in general, a draught of the infusion being taken ; so that, 
without trouble, whole nights may be spent in study 
without hurt to the body, in that it moderately healeth 
and bindeth the mouth of the stomach." 

Other remarkable properties are attributed 
to the Chinese herb ; but the extracts we 
have given sufficiently indicate the efforts 
made to arrest attention and to induce people 
to buy tea. As a further inducement, this 
enterprising dealer assures his readers that 
whereas tea " hath been sold in the leaf for 
six pounds, and sometimes for ten pounds 
the poundweight, the said Thomas hath ten 
to sell from sixteen to fifty shillings in the 
pound." This clever puff had the desired 
effect; for, according to the Diurnal of Thomas 
Rugge, " There were at this time (1659) a 

Introduction of Tea. 5 

Turkish drink, to bo souled almost in every 
street, called coffee, and another kind of drink 
called tea ; and also a drink called chocolate, 
which was a very hearty drink." It w r as 
advertised in the public journals. The 
Mercur-iusPoliticus, of the 30th of September, 
1658, sets forth : " That excellent, and by all 
physicians approved, China drink, called by 
the Chineans Teha, by other nations Tay, alias 
Tee, is sold at the ' Sultaness Head ' coffee- 
house, in Sweeting's Rents, by the Royal 
Exchange, London." It was sold also at 
" Jonathan's " coffee-house, in Exchange 
Alley. In her " Bold Strike for a Wife" 
Mrs. Centlivre laid one of her scenes at 
"Jonathan's." "While the business goes on 
she makes the coffee boys cry, " Fresh coffee, 
gentlemen ! fresh coffee ! Bohea tea, gentle- 
men ! " But the most famous house for tea 
was Gar way's, or, as it appears in " Old and 
New London," " Garraway's Coffee-house," 
which was swept away a few years ago in the 
" march of improvement." For two centuries, 
however, it had been one of the most cele- 
brated coffee-houses in the city. Defoe men- 
tions it as being frequented about noon by 

6 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

people of quality who had business in the city, 
and " the more considerable and wealthy 
citizens ;" but it was also the resort of 
speculators. Here the South Sea Bubblers 
met, as well as the lovers of good tea. Dean 
Swift, in his ballad on the South Sea Bubble, 
calls 'Change Alley "a narrow sound, though 
deep as hell;" and describes the wreckers 
watching for the shipwrecked dead on 
" Garraway's Cliffs." 

But the influence of Royalty did more than 
anything else to maketea-drinkingfashionable. 
"In 1662," remarks Mr. Montgomery Martin, 
in a treatise on the ' Past and Present State of 
the Tea Trade/ published in 1832, "Charles II: 
married the Princess Catherine of Portugal, 
who, it was said, was fond of tea, having 
been accustomed to it in her own country, 
hence it became fashionable in England." 
Edmund Waller, in a birthday ode on her 
Majesty, ascribes the introduction of the herb 
to the queen, in the following lines : 

" Venus her myrtle, Phoebe has his bays ; 
Tea both excels, which she vouchsafes to praise. 
The best of Queens and best of herbes we owe, 
To that bold nation which the way did show 

Introduction of Tea. 7 

To the fair region, where the sun does rise, 
Whose rich productions we so justly prize. 
The Muse's friend, tea, does our fancy aid, 
Repress those vapours which the head invade, 
And keeps that palace of the soul serene, 
Fit on her birthday to salute the Queen." 

Waller is believed to have been the first 
poet to write in praise of tea, and no doubt 
his poem did much to promote its use among 
the rich. In Lord Clarendon's diary, 10th of 
February, 1688,'occurs the following entry : 

" Le Pere Couplet supped with me; he is 
a man of very good conversation. After 
supper we had tea, which he said was as good 
as any he had drank in China. The Chinese, 
who came over with him and Mr. Eraser, 
supped likewise with us." 

In the Taller, of the 10th of October, 1710, 
appears the following advertisement : 

" Mr. Favy's 16s. Bohea tea, not much in- 
ferior in goodness to the best foreign Bohee 
tea, is sold by himself only at the ' Bell/ 
in Gracechurch Street. Note. The best 
foreign Bohee is worth 30s. a pound; so that 
what is sold at 20s. or 21s. must either be 
faulty tea, or mixed with a proportionate 
quantity of damaged green or Bohee, the 

8 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

worst of which will remain black after in- 

Tea continued a fashionable drink. Dr. 
Alex. Carlyle, in his " Autobiography," de- 
scribing the fashionable mode of living at 
Harrowgate in 1763, wrote: "The ladies 
gave afternoon's tea and coffee in their turn, 
which coming but once in four or six weeks 
amounted to a trifle." Probably the ladies 
did not drink so much as their servants, who 
are reported to have cared more for tea than 
for ale. In 1755 a visitor from Italy wrote : 
" Even the common maid-servants must have 
their tea twice a day in all the parade of 
quality ; they make it their bargain at first ; 
this very article amounts to as much as the 
wages of servants in Italy." This demand 
was a serious tax upon the purses of the 
rich ; for at that time tea was still exces- 
sively dear. According to Read's Weekly 
Journal, or British Gazetteer, of the 27th of 
April, 1734, the prices were as follows : 

Green tea ... 9$. to 12s. per lb. 

Congou . . . . 10s. 12s. 

Boliea . . . 10s. 12s. 

Pekoo .... 14-5. ,, 16s. 
Imperial . . . . 9s. ,, 12s. 

Hyson .... 20s. 25s. 

Introduction of Tea. 9 

Gradually, however, the prices came down 
as the consumption increased. In 1740 a 
grocer, who had a shop at the east corner of 
Chancery Lane, advertised the finest Caper at 
24s. a pound; fine green, 18s.; Hyson, 16s.; 
and Bohea, 7s. The latter quality was np 
doubt used in the " Tea-gardens " which at 
that time had become popular institutions in 
and around London. The u Mary-le-Bon 
Gardens" were opened every Sunday evening, 
when " genteel company were admitted to 
walk gratis, and were accommodated with 
coffee, tea, cakes, &c." The quality of the 
cakes was an important feature at such gar- 
dens : " Mr. Trusler's daughter begs leave 
to inform the nobility and gentry that she 
intends to make fruit tarts during the fruit 
season ; and hopes to give equal satisfaction 
as with the rich cakes and almond cheese- 
cakes. The fruit will always be fresh gathered, 
having great quantities in the garden ; and 
none but loaf-sugar used, and the finest 
Bpping butter." In one respect the " good 
old times " were better than these. Gone are 
the " fruit tarts," the " rich cakes/' and the 
fragrant cup of tea from the suburban " Tea- 
gardens," which rarely supply refreshment 

io Tea and Tea-drinking. 

either for man or beast. At any rate, it is a 
misnomer to call them " Tea-gardens." We 
think " Beer-gardens " would more accu- 
rately indicate their character. Some day, 
probably, the landlords of " public-houses " 
and of " tea-gardens," will endeavour to meet 
the wants and tastes of all persons. At 
present they utterly ignore the existence of 
a large class, not necessarily teetotalers, to 
whom a cup of tea is more cheering than a 
glass of grog after a long walk from the 

Among the most famous tea-houses is 
Twining's in the Strand. It was founded, 
Mr. E. Walford says, "about the year 1710, 
by the great-great-grandfather of the present 
partners, Mr. Thomas Twining, whose por- 
trait, painted by Hogarth, ' kitcat-size,' hangs 
in the back parlour of the establishment. 
The house, or houses for they really are 
two, though made one practically by internal 
communication stand between the Strand 
and the east side of Devereux Court. The 
original depot for the sale of the then scarce 
and fashionable beverage, tea, stood at the 
south-west angle of the present premises, on 

Introduction of Tea. 1 1 

the site of what had been ' Tom's Coffee- 
house/ directly opposite the c Grecian.' A 
peep into the old books of the firm shows that 
in the reign of Queen Anne tea was sold by 
the few houses then in the trade at various 
prices between twenty and thirty shillings 
per pound, and that ladies of fashion used to 
flock to Messrs. Twining's house inDevereux 
Court, in order to sip the enlivening beverage 
in their small China cups, for which they paid 
their shillings, much as now-a-days they sit 
in their carriages eating ices at the door of 
Gunter's in Berkeley_^uare on hot days. 
The bank was gradually engrafted on the old 
business, after it had been carried on for more 
than a century from sire to son, and may be 
said as a separate institution to date from the 
commercial panic of 1825." 

Although tea was extensively used in 
London and some of the principal cities, it 
did not become popular in country houses. 
" For instance, at Whitby," writes the his- 
torian of that town, " tea was very little used 
a century ago, most of the old men being very 
much against it ; but after the death of the 
old people it soon came into general use/' 

1 2 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

Old habits die hard. The stronger beverage 
of English ale had been so long in use that 
the old folks could not be induced to relin- 
quish it for a foreign herb. A striking in- 
stance of the force of habit is related by Dr. 
Aikin, in his history of Manchester (1795). 
"About 1720," he says, "there were not 
above three or four carriages kept in the town. 

One of these belonged to Madame , in 

Salford. This respectable old lady was of a 
social disposition, and could not bring herself 
to conform to the new-fashioned beverage of 
tea and coffee ; whenever, therefore, she made 
her afternoon's visit, her friends presented 
her with a tankard of ale and a pipe of 
tobacco. A little before this period a country 
gentleman had married the daughter of a 
citizen of London; she had been used to tea, 
and in compliment to her it was introduced 
by some of her neighbours ; but the usual 
afternoon's entertainment at gentlemen's 
houses at that time was wet and dry sweet- 
meats, different sorts of cake, and ginger- 
bread, apples, or other fruits of the season, 
and a variety of home-made wines/' At that 
time it was the custom for the apprentices to 

Introduction of Tea. 1 3 

live with their employers, whose fare was far 
from liberal ; but " somewhat before 1760," 
remarks Dr. Aikin, (( a considerable manu- 
facturer allotted a back parlour with a fire 
for the use of his apprentices, and gave them 
tea twice a day. His fees, in consequence, 
rose higher than had before been known, from* 
250Z. to 300Z., and he had three or four 
apprentices at a time." Tea was evidently a 
costly beverage, for " water pottage " appears 
to have been the usual dish provided for 
apprentices. Those who could afford it, 
however, drank the Chinese herb. There are 
many references to tea in cc The Private 
Journal and Literary Remains of John 
Byrom," a famous Manchester worthy; and 
these clearly indicate that in the middle of 
the eighteenth century tea was very generally 
provided for visitors. But in some towns the 
older people were much opposed to tea. The 
prejudice against it was, however, gradually 
overcome ; the young took kindly to it, and 
the women, especially, found it an agreeable 
substitute for alcoholic drinks. 

Not until 1860 was tea introduced into the 
Quaker School at Ackworth, where John 

14 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

Bright received a portion of his early educa- 
tion. When a boy the great orator was unable 
to endure the Spartan system of training in 
force there, and after twelve months' ex- 
perience he was removed to a private school. 
For breakfast both boys and girls had porridge 
poured on bread ; for dinner little meat, but 
plenty of pudding. For a third meal no pro- 
vision seems to have been made. Mr. Henry 
Thompson, the historian of the school, thus 
describes the circumstances under which tea 
was introduced into the school : 

"In the autumn of 1860, Thomas Pumphrey's health 
having been in a failing condition for some months, he was 
requested to take a long holiday for the purpose of recruit- 
ing it, if possible. On his return, after a three months' 
absence, learning that the conduct of the children had 
been everything that he could desire, he devised for them 
a treat, which was so effectively managed that we believe 
it is looked upon by those who had the pleasure of par- 
ticipating in it as one of the most delightful occasions of 
their school-days. He invited the whole family boys, 
girls, and teachers to an evening tea-party. The only 
room in the establishment in which he could receive so 
large a concourse of guests was the meeting-house. In 
response to his kind proposal, willing helpers flew to his 
aid. The room where all were wont to meet for worship, 
and rarely for any other purpose, was by nimble and 
willing fingers transformed, in a few days, into a festive 

Introduction of Tea. 1 5 

hall, whose walls and pillars were draped with evergreen 
festoons and half concealed by bosky bowers, amidst whoso 
foliage stuffed birds perched and wild animals crouched. 
Amidst the verdant decorations might also be seen 
emblazoned the names of great patrons of the school and 
of the five superintendents who for more than eighty years 
had guided its internal economy. They who witnessed the 
scene tell us of two wonderful piles of ornamentation 
which were erected at the entrances to the minister's 
gallery the one symbolic of the activities of the physical, 
the other of the intellectual, moral, and religious life, as 
its good superintendent^ would have them to be. . . . 
The village having been requisitioned for cups and saucers 
for this great multitude, the whole school sat down to a 
genuine, social, English tea table for the first time in its 

There can be no doubt that milk is better 
than tea for the young, but tea now forms 
part of the dietary at almost every school, 
and we question whether there is a house in 
England where tea is unknown. Dr. Edward 
Smith, writing in 1874, said, 

" No one who has lived for half 'a century can have 
failed to note the wonderful extension of tea-drinking 
habits in England, from the time when tea was a coveted 
and almost unattainable luxury to the labourer's wife, to 
its use morning, noon, and night by all classes. The 
caricature of Hogarth, in which a lady and gentleman 
approach in a very dainty manner, each holding an oriental 
tea- cup of infantile size, implies more than a satire upon 

1 6 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

the porcelain-purchasing habits of the day, and shows that 
the use of tea was not only the fashion of a select few, 
but the quantity of the beverage consumed was as small 
as the tea-cups." 

In another chapter we have given some 
interesting statistics showing the extent of 
the consumption of this wonderful beverage, 
which has exercised such an influence for 
good in this country. 

"A curious and not uninstructive work might be written," 
Dr. Sigmond said in 1839, "upon the singular benefits which 
have accrueTl To this country from the preference we have 
given to the beverage obtained from the tea-plant; above all, 
those that might be derived from the rich treasures of the 
vegetable kingdom. It would prove that our national impor- 
tance has been intimately connected with it, and that much 
of our present greatness and even the happiness of our social 
system springs from this unsuspected source. It would 
show* us that our mighty empire in the east, that our 
maritime superiority, and that our progressive advancement 
in the arts and the sciences have materially depended upon 
it. Great indeed are the blessings which have been 
diffused amongst immense masses of mankind by the 
cultivation of a shrub whose delicate leaf, passing through 
a variety of hands, forms an incentive to industry, con- 
tributes to health, to national riches, and to domestic 
happiness. The social tea-table is like the fireside of our 
country, a national delight; and if it be the scene of 
domestic converse and agreeable relaxation, it should 
likewise bid us remember that everything connected with 
the growth and preparation of this favourite herb should 

Introduction of Tea. 

awaken a higher feeling that of admiration, love, and 
gratitude to Him who * saw everything that He had made, 
and behold it was very good.'" 

Tea is the national drink of China and 
Japan ; and so far back as 1834 Professor 
Johnston, in his " Chemistry of Common 
Life," estimated that it was consumed by no 
less than five hundred millions of men, or more 
than one-third of the whole human race ! 
Excluding China, England appears to be the 
largest consumer of tea, as shown in the fol- 
lowing table compiled by Mr. Mulhall, and 
printed in his "Dictionary of Statistics:" 

Consumption of luxuries per inhabitant per year. 





United Kingdom 



France ... . 



Germany ... . 



Eussia ... . 



Austria ... . . 



Italy ... 



Spain ... . . 



Belgium and Holland 



Denmark ... . 



Sweden and Norway . 



United States . . 



1 8 Tea and Tea-drinking. 



Description of the tea-plant Indigenous to China - 
Introduced into India Work in a tea-garden 
Tea-gatherers in China A Chinese tea-ballad How 
tea is cured How the value of tea is determined. 

THE tea-plant formerly occupied a place of 
honour in every gentleman's green-house; but 
as it requires much care, and possesses little 
beauty, it is now rarely seen. Linnaeus, the 
Swedish naturalist, was greatly pleased at a 
specimen presented to him in 1763, but was 
unable to keep it alive. Dr. Edward Smith 
describes the plant as being closely allied to 
the camellias ; but states that the leaf is more 
pointed, is lance- shaped, and not so thick and 
hard as that of the camellia. Dr. King 
Chambers suggests the spending of an after- 
noon at a classified collection of living 

The Cultivation of Tea. 19 

economic plants ; such, for instance, as that at 
the Botanical Gardens, Regent's Park. It 
is much pleasanter, he points out, to think of 
tea as connected with the pretty little camellia 
it comes from, than with blue paper packets, 
and the despised " grounds " which for ever 
after acquire an interest in our minds. The 
tea-plant, although cultivated in various parts 
of the East, is probably indigenous to China ; 
but is now grown extensively in India. In 
consequence of the poorness of the quality of 
the tea imported by the East India Company, 
and the necessity of avoiding an entire depen- 
dence upon China, the Bengal Government 
appointed in 1834 a committee for the pur- 
pose of submitting a plan for the introduction 
and cultivation of the tea-plant ; and a visit 
to the frontier station of Upper Assam ended 
in a determination on the part of Government 
to cultivate tea in that region. 1 In 1840 the 

1 Russia, also, lias become impressed with the impor- 
tance of growing its own tea ; but the efforts of its agri- 
culturists appear to have been unsuccessful. Samples of 
the produce of the tea-plants which have been acclimatized 
in Georgia were lately exhibited in the hall of the Agricul- 
tural Society of the Caucasus at Tiflis, and appear to have 
excited considerable interest. The local journals, however, 

c 2 

2o Tea and Tea-drinking. 

" Assam Company " was formed, and it is 
claimed for them that they possess the largest 
tea plantation in the world. Some idea of the 
progress of tea cultivation in India may be 
gathered from the folio wing official figures. In 
1850 there was one tea-estate, that of the Assam 
Company, with 1876 acres under cultivation, 
yielding 216,000 Ibs. In 1870 there were 
295 proprietors of tea-estates, with 31,303 
acres under cultivation, yielding 6,251, 143 Ibs. 
In 1872-73 the area of land held by tea- 
planters covered 804,582 acres, of which 
about 75,000 were under cultivation, yielding 
14,670,171 Ibs. of tea, the average yield per 
acre being 208 Ibs. Every year thousands of 
acres are being brought under cultivation, and 
in a short time it seems likely that we shall lv 
independent of China for our supplies of tea. 
In the year 1879-80 the exports of Indian 
tea to Great Britain rose to 40,000,000 Ibs., 

admit that the samples proved to be rather poor in flavour, 
and that their aroma resembled that of Chinese teas of 
very inferior quality. It is pleaded, however, that these 
specimens were grown by a planter of little experience in 
the Chinese methods of cultivation and preparation, and 
hopes are entertained of ultimate success. jl 
Examiner, April 23, 1884. 

The Cultivation of Tea. 2 1 

and in the following year to 42,000,000 Ibs. 
In Ceylon, also, a proportionate increase is 
taking place. The plant appears to be a 
native of the island. In Percival's " Account 
of Ceylon," published in 1805, occurs the 
following paragraph : 

" The tea-plant has been discovered native 
in the forests of Ceylon. It grows spon- 
taneously in the neighbourhood of Trin- 
comalee and other northern parts of Ceylon. 
... I have in my possession a letter from 
an officer in the 80th Regiment, in which he 
states that he found the real tea-plant in the 
woods of Ceylon of a quality equal to any 
that ever grew in China." 

Alarge quantity of tea is now imported from 
this island, and new plantations, it is reported, 
are being made every month ; day by day more 
of the primeval forest goes downbefore the axe 
of the pioneer, and before another quarter of 
a century has passed it is anticipated that the 
teas of our Indian empire will become the 
most valuable of its products. 

The cultivation of tea in India, and the 
processes to which it is subjected after the 
leaf is gathered, differ from those of China. 

22 Tea and Tea- drinking. 

According to Dr. Jameson, the great difficulty 
of the Indian tea-planter arises from the won- 
derful fertility of the soil and the strength 
of the tea-plant. As soon as the plants 
" flush" the leaf must be plucked, or it 
deteriorates to such an extent as to become 
valueless, and at the next " flush " the plant 
will be found bare of the young leaves. The 
delay of even a single day may be fatal. 
The leaf when plucked must be roasted forth- 
with, or it ferments and becomes valueless, as 
is also the case in China. There, however, 
the tea-harvest occurs only four or five times 
a year, but in Indiq, once a fortnight during 
some seven months of the year. The number 
of work-people required on a tea-farm may 
be estimated from the figures given by Dr. 
Rhind, who says that to manufacture eighty 
pounds of black tea per day twenty-five 
tea-gatherers are requisite, and ten driers 
and sorters ; to produce ninety-two pounds of 
green tea, thirty gatherers and sixteen driers 
and sorters. 

From " A Tea-Planter's Life in Assam " 
we take the following account of work in 
a tea-garden : 

The Cultivation of Tea. 23 

" After the soil has been deep-hoed and is quite ready, 
transplanting from the nursery begins ; few men sow the 
seed at stake. The nursery is made and carefully planted 
with seed on the first piece of ground that is cleared, so 
that by the time the remainder of the garden is ready to 
be planted out the seed has developed into a small plant, 
with strength enough to stand being transplanted. Holes 
are prepared at equal distances, into which the young 
plants are carefully transferred. The greatest caution is 
exercised in both taking them up and putting them in 
their new places, that the root shall be neither bent up 
nor injured in any way. For this work women and 
children are employed, as it is light, but requires a gentle 
hand to pat down the earth around the young plant. It 
speedily accommodates itself to its new circumstances, and 
thrives wonderfully if the weather is at all propitious. A 
succession of hot days with no rain has a most disastrous 
effect on transplants ; their heads droop and but a small 
percentage will be saved, which means that most of the 
work will have to be done over again. Once started, 
plenty of cultivation is the only thing required to keep the 
plant healthy, and it is left undisturbed for a couple of 
years to increase in size and strength. At the end of the 
second year, when the cold season has sent the sap down, 
the pruning knife dispossesses it of its long, straggling top 
shoots, and reduces it to a height of four feet ; every 
plant is cut to the same level. The third year enables the 
planter to pluck lightly his first small crop. Year succeeds 
year, and the crop increases until the eighth or ninth year, 
when the garden arrives at maturity and yields as much 
as ever it will. During the rains the gong is beaten at 
five o'clock every morning, and again at six, thus allowing 
an hour for those who wish to have something to eat 

24 Tea and Tea drinking. 

before commencing the labours of the clay. In the cold 
weather the time for turning out is not so early ; even the 
Eastern sun is lazier, and there is not so much work to 
get through. Few of the coolies take anything to eat 
until eleven o'clock, when they are rung in. The leaf 
plucked by the women is collected and weighed, and most 
of the men have finished their allotted day's work by this 
time, so they retire to their huts to eat the morning meal 
and to pass the remainder of the day in a luxury of idle- 
ness. For the ensuing two or three hours there is perfqct 
rest, except for the unfortunate coolies engaged in the 
tea-house ; their work cannot be left, and as fast as the 
leaf is ready it must be fired off, else it would be completely 
ruined. At two o'clock the women are turned out again 
to pluck, and those men w T ho have not finished their hoeing 
have to return to complete their task. About six o'clock 
the gong sounds again, the leaf is brought in, weighed, and 
spread, and outdoor work is over for the day. 1 No change 
can be made in the tea-house work, which goes on steadily, 
and if there has been much leaf brought in the day before, 
firing will very frequently last from daybreak until well 
into the night, or small hours of the morning." 

At present, however, the greater propor- 
tion of tea consumed in England comes from 
China and Japan, which prodiice no less than 
325,000,000 Ibs. annually, against 52,000,OcO 
Ibs. by India. 

India may be the tea-country of the future, 
but China still supplies nearly all the world. 
Millions of acres are devoted to its culti- 

1 he Cultivation of Tea. 2 5 

vation, and the late Dr, Wells Williams 
states that the management of this great 
branch of industry exhibits some of the 
best features of Chinese country life. It is 
only over a portion of each farm that the 
plant is grown, and its cultivation requires 


but little attention, compared with rice and 
vegetables. The most delicate kinds are 
looked after and cured by priests in their 
secluded temples among the hills ; these have 
often many acolytes, who aid in preparing 
small lots to be sold at a high price. But 
the same authority tells us that the work of 

26 Tea and Tea- drinking. 

picking the leaves, in the first instance, is 
such a delicate operation that it cannot be 
intrusted to women. Female labour is paid 
so badly that they cannot afford to exercise 
the gentleness which characterizes their 
general movements ; and when they come 
upon the scene of operations they make the 
best of their short harvest. 

The second gathering takes place when the 
foliage is fullest. This season is looked for- 
ward to by women and children in the tea- 
districts as their working time. They run 
in crowds to the middle-men, who have bar- 
gained for the leaves on the plants, or apply 
to farmers who need help. " They strip the 
twigs in the most summary manner," remarks 
Dr. Williams, " and fill their baskets with 
healthy leaves, as they pick out the sticks and 
yellow leaves, for they are paid in this man- 
ner : fifteen pounds is a good day's work, 
and fourpence is a day's wages. The time 
for picking lasts only ten or twelve days. 
There are curing houses, where families who 
grow and pick their own leaves bring them 
for sale at the market rate. The sorting 
employs many hands, for it is an important 
point in connection with the purity of the 

The Cultivation of Tea. 27 

various descriptions, and much care is taken 
by dealers, in maintaining the quality of their 
lots, to have them cured carefully as well as 
sorted properly." 

Like hop-picking in this country, tea- 
picking is very tedious work, but its mono- 
tony is relieved by singing during the live- 
long day. The songs of the hop-pickers are 
not generally characterized by loftiness of 
tone or purity of sentiment, but travellers in 
China speak highly of the songs of the tea- 
pickers. For instance, Dr. Williams quotes 
in his book on " The Middle Kingdom " a 
ballad of the tea-picker, which he considers 
one of the best of Chinese ballads, if regard 
be had to the character of the sentiment and 
metaphors. One or two verses will give an 
idea of this charming ballad, 

" Where thousand hills the vale enclose, our little hut 

is there, 
And on the sloping sides around the tea grows 


And I must rise at early dawn, as busy as can be, 
To get my daily labour done, and pluck the leafy tea. 

" The pretty birds upon the boughs sing songs so sweet 

to hear, 

And the sky is so delicious now, half drowsy and half 
clear ; 

28 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

While bending o'er her work each maid will prattle of 

her woe, 
And we talk till our hearts are sorely hurt and tears 

unstinted flow," 

The method of curing is thus described : 

"When the leaves are brought in to the curers they are 
thinly spread on shallow trays to dry off all moisture 
by two or three hours' exposure. Meanwhile the roasting- 
pans are heating, and when properly warmed some hand- 
iuls of leaves are thrown on them, and rapidly moved and 
shaken up for four or five minutes. The leaves make a 
slight crackling noise, become moist and flaccid as the 
juice is expelled, and give off even a sensible vapour. 
The whole is then poured out upon the rolling-table, when 
each workman takes up a handful and makes. it.iilLo a 
manageable ball, which lie rolls back and forth on t he- 
rattan table to get rid of the sap and moisture as the 
leaves are twisted. This operation chafes the hands even 
with great precaution. The balls are opened and shaken 
out, and then passed on to other workmen, who go through 
the same operation till they reach the head-man, who exa- 
mines the leaves, to see if they have become curled. 
When properly done, and cooled, they are returned to the 
iron pans, under which a low charcoal fire is burning 
in the brickwork which supports them, and there kept in 
motion by the hand. If they need another rolling on the 
table it is now given them. An hour or more is spent in 
this manipulation, when they are dried to a dull-givi n 
colour, and can be put away for sifting and sorting. This 
colour becomes brighter after the exposure in sifting the 
cured leaves through sieves of various sizes; they are also 
winnowed to separate the dust, and afterwards sorted into 

The Cultivation of Tea. 29 

the various descriptions of green tea. Finally, the finer 
kinds are again fired three or four times, and the coarser 
kinds, as Twankay, Hyson, and Hyson-skin, once. The 
others furnish the young Hyson, gunpowder, imperial, &c. 
Tea jpured in this way is called lull clia, or ' green tea,' by 
the Chinese, while the other, or black tea, is termed humj 
cha, or 'red tea,' each name being taken from the tint of 
the infusion. After the fresh leaves are allowed to lie 
exposed to the air on the bamboo trays over night or 
several hours, they are thrown into the air and tossed 
about and patted till they become soft ; a heap is made 
of these wilted leaves, and left to lie for an hour or more, 
when they have become moisj} and dark in colour. They 
are then thrown on the hot pans for five minutes and rolled 
on the rattan table, previous to exposure out of doors for 
three or four hours on sieves, during which time they are 
turned over and opened out. After this they get a second 
roasting and rolling, to give them their final curl. "When 
the charcoal fire is ready, a basket, shaped something like 
an hour-glass, is placed end- wise over it, having a sieve in 
the middle, on which the leaves are thinly spread. When 
dried five minutes in this way they undergo another roll- 
ing, and are then thrown into a heap, until all the lot has 
passed over the fire. When this firing is finished, the leaves 
are opened out and are again thinly spread on the sieve 
in the basket for a few minutes, which finishes the drying 
and rolling for most of the heap, and makes the leaves 
a uniform, black. They are now replaced in the basket 
in greater mass, and pushed against its sides by the hands, 
in order to allow the heat to come up through the sieve 
and the vapour to escape ; a basket over all retains the 
heat, but the contents are turned over until perfectly dry 
and the leaves become uniformly dark." 

3O Tea and Tea-drinking. 

When this process is completed, every 
nerve is strained to put the tea into the market 
quickly, u and in the best possible condition ; 
for, although it is said that the Chinese do not 
drink it until it is a year old, the value of 
new tea is superior to that cf old ; and the 
longer the duration of a voyage in which a 
great mass of tea is packed up in a closed 
hold, the greater the probability that the 
process of fermentation will be set up. 
Hence has arisen the great strife to bring 
the first cargo of the season to England, 
and the fastest and most skilfully com- 
manded ships are engaged in the trade, both 
for the profit and honour of success." 

Dr. E. Smith, an authority upon the sub- 
ject, showed that the value of tea is deter- 
mined in the market by its flavour and body ; 
by the aromatic qualities of its essential oil 
and the chemical elemental the leaf, rather 
than by the chemical composition of its 
juices. Delicacy and fulness of flavour, with 
a certain body, are the required character- 
istics of the market. The same authority 
tells us that the tea -taster prepares his 
samples from a uniform and very small 

The Cultivation of Tea. 31 

quantity, viz. the weight of a new sixpence, 
and infuses it for five minutes with about 
four ounces of water in a covered pottery 
vessel ; and in order to prevent injury to his 
health by repeated tasting, does not swallow 
the fluid. He must have naturally a sensi- 
tive and refined taste, should be always in 
good health, and able to estimate flavour 
with the same minuteness at all times. 

32 Tea and Tea-drinking. 



The teetotalers and tea Extravagance of ladies Joseph 
Livesey Reformed drunkards as water-carriers 
One thousand two hundred persons at one tea-party - 
How they brewed their tea How the Anti-Corn- 
Law League reached the people Singing the praises 
of tea Tea-drinking contests " Tea-fights " Hints 
on tea-meeting fare Tea as a revolutionary agent. 

How did tea-meetings originate ? According 
to a writer in the Newcastle Chronicle, the 
teetotalers were the first to introduce these 
popular social gatherings. " Originally 
started as a medium of raising funds/' he 
says, "they were conducted in a very dif- 
ferent style from that so widely adopted at 
the present day. Our friends kne\v of no 
such thing as a contract for the supply of 
the viands at so much a head, and they had 
no experience to teach them how many square 

Tea-Meetings^ 33 

yards of bread a pound of butter could be 
made to cover. Our wives and sweethearts 
then undertook the purveying and manage- 
ment of our tea-parties. Each took a table 
accommodating from sixteen to twenty per- 
sons, and presided in person, And, oh ! 
what hearty, jolly, comfortable gatherings, 
we used to have in the old Music Hall in 
Blackett Street, amidst the abundance o 
singing hinnies, hot wigs, and spice loaf, 
served up in tempting display, tea of the 
finest flavour served in the best china from 
the most elegant of teapots, accompanied 
with the brightest of spoons, the thickest of 
cream, and the blandest of smiles ! It is 
much to be regretted that this excess of 
gratification should have produced an evil 
which ultimately changed the character of 
these pleasant assemblies. A spirit of rivalry 
among the ladies as to who should have the 
richest and most elegantly-furnished table 
became so prevalent that their lords and 
masters were obliged to protest against the 
excessive expenditure ; and thus the ladies, 
not being allowed to have their own way, 
declined to take any further share in the 


34 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

work. This was a great misfortune, as 
the proceeds considerably augmented the 
resources of the Temperance Society." 

No such fate met these popular gatherings 
in other towns. They were conducted on 
a scale of great magnitude, especially in the 
birthplace of the temperance movement in 
England, the town of Preston. Here lives 
Joseph Livesey, the patriarch of the move- 
ment, now in his ninety-first year. The 
third tea-party of the Preston Temperance 
Society in 1833, at Christmas, is thus 
described : 

" The range of rooms was most elegantly fitted up for 
the occasion. The walls were all covered with white cam- 
bric, ornamented with rosettes of various colours, and 
elegantly interspersed with a variety of evergreens. The 
windows, fifty-six in number, were also festooned and 
ornamented with considerable taste. The tables, 630 feet 
in length, were covered with white cambric. At the 
upper and lower ends of each side-room were mottoes in 
large characters, * temperance, sobriety, peace, plenty/ 
and at the centre of the room connecting the others was 
displayed in similar characters the motto, 'happiness/ 
The tables were divided and numbered, and eighty sets 
of brilliant tea-requisites, to accommodate parties of ten 
persons each, were placed upon the table, with two candles 
to each party. A boiler, also capable of containing 200 
gallons, was set up in Mr. Hallibiirton's yard, to heat 

Tea-Meetings. 3 5 

water for the occasion, and was managed admirably by 
those reformed characters. About forty men, principally 
reformed drunkards, were busily engaged as waiters, 
water-carriers, &c. ; those who waited at the tables wore 
white aprons, with ' temperance ' printed on the front. 
The tables were loaded with provisions, and plenty 
seemed to smile upon the guest. A thousand tickets were 
printed and sold at 6d. and Is. each, but the whole com- 
pany admitted is supposed to be about 1200 ; 820 sat 
down at once, and the rest were served afterwards. The 
pleasure and enjoyment which beamed from every coun- 
tenance would baffle every attempt at description, and 
the contrast betwixt this company and those where in- 
toxicating liquors are used is an unanswerable argument 
in favour of temperance associations." 

A tea-party at Liverpool, in 1836, was 
attended by a greater number, and the 
account shows very clearly that the early 
temperance gatherings will contrast favour- 
ably with the large Blue Ribbon meetings 
held at the present time : 

" The great room where tea was provided was fitted up 
in a style of elegance surpassing anything we could have 
imagined. The platform and the orchestra for the band 
were most tastefully decorated. The beams and walls of 
the building were richly ornamented with evergreens and 
appropriate mottoes. The tables were laid out with tea- 
equipages interspersed with flower-pots filled with roses. 
When the parties sat clown, in number about 2500, a 
most imposing sight presented itself. Wealth, beauty, 
D 2 

36 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

and intelligence were present ; and great numbers of re- 
formed characters respectably clad, with their smiling 
partners, added no little interest to the scene, which was 
beyond the power of language to describe." 

In 1837 the Isle of Man Temperance 
Guardian reported a tea-meeting Bt Leeds, 
at which nearly 700 persons sat down ; 
another at Bury, where " 500 of both sexes 
sat down." A tea-party at Exeter is thus 
described : " The arrangements were very 
judicious, and nearly 400 made merry with 
the ' cup that cheers, but not inebriates/ 
among whom were numbers of highly re- 
spectable ladies and citizens of Exeter. This 
novel feature presented a most interesting 
and gratifying sight, from the spirit of cor- 
diality and good-feeling which pervaded it, 
and cannot but have the most beneficial 
effect upon society." For the benefit of 
societies which had not adopted this new 
and successful method of reaching the public, 
the secretary of the Bristol Society gave the 
following account of a Christmas tea-party: 
" The tables were provided with tea-services, 
milk, sugar, cakes and bread and butter, and 
one waiter appointed to each, who was fur- 

Tea-Meetings. 3 7 

nished with a bright, clean tea-kettle, while 
the tea, which was previously made, stood in 
a corner of the room in large barrels, with a 
tap in each, from which each waiter drew his 
supply as required, and filled the cups when 
empty, without noise, confusion, or delay." 
The following receipt for tea-making was 
given in the Preston Temperance Advocate, 
of July, 1836 : 

" At the tea-parties in Birmingham they made the tea 
in large tins, about a yard square, and a foot deep, each 
one containing as much as will serve about 250 persons. 
The tea is tied loosely in bags, about jib. in each. At 
the top there is an aperture, into which the boiling water 
is conveyed by a pipe from the boiler, and at one corner 
there is a tap, from which the tea when brewed is drawn 
out. It may be either sweetened or milked, or both, if 
thought best, while in the tins. Being thus made, it can 
be carried in teapots, or jugs, where those cannot be had. 
Capital tea was made at the last festival by this plan." 

Considering the high price of tea and of 
bread at that time, it is scarcely credible 
that a charge of 9d. per head for men and 
women, and of 6d. for " youths under four- 
teen," was found sufficient to defray the 
cost, as well as to benefit the funds of the 
Temperance Society. The value of such 

38 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

gatherings to the temperance movement it is 
impossible to estimate. "Weaned from the 
use of fiery beverages, the reformed drunkard 
needed a substitute which would be at once 
harmless, as well as stimulating. In tea he 
found exactly what he wanted. He needed, 
moreover, company of an elevating kind ; 
and in the tea-party he found the craving for 
the companionship of men and women fully 
satisfied. It was by this agency chiefly 
that the converts to teetotalism were kept 
together and instructed in the principles of 
total abstinence from all intoxicating liquors; 
and we are not surprised that the consump- 
tion of drink fell off largely in consequence. 
Dr. J. H. Curtis, writing in 1836, contended 
that the introduction of tea and coffee into 
general use had done much towards reducing 
the consumption of intoxicating drinks ; and, 
although the expenditure upon intoxicating 
drinks still remains a formidable amount, 
there can be no doubt that the general use of 
tea has lessened the consumption of alcohol. 
These gatherings continue very popular, 
but do not draw such large numbers as in 
the early days of the movement ; but it is 

Tea-Meetings. 39 

open to question whether the time spent upon 
them might not be more profitably employed. 
A writer in the Band of Hope Chronicle 
(January, 1882) calls attention to this aspect 
of tea-meetings: " There should be," -he 
contends, " moderation even in tea-drinking, 
and when we hear of four or five hours at a 
stretch being spent over this process at 
public gatherings, as it seems the good folks 
do in some parts of the Isle of Man, one 
cannot but feel there is need for improvement. 
What would be thought if the time were 
occupied with the consumption of stronger 
beverages than tea. There would be little pro- 
spect of orderliness in the after-proceedings 
then; so, anyhow, the tea-drinkers have the 
best of it even when they are at their worst." 
The example of the teetotalers was followed 
by other reformers. The Preston Temperance 
Advocate, of October, 1837, says: "A tea- 
party was held at Salford, in honour of the 
return of Joseph Brotherton, Esq., M.P., for 
this town, to which he was invited. It was 
attended by 1050 persons, nearly 900 of 
whom were ladies, and the spectacle presented 
to the eye by such an assemblage was one of 

40 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

the most pleasing which I have ever wit- 
nessed." The Anti-Corn-Law League also 
adopted similar means of bringing their 
friends and subscribers together. " On the 
23rd of November, 1842," writes Mr. Archi- 
bald Prentice, the historian of the movement, 
u the first of a series of deeply-interesting 
soirees in Yorkshire, in furtherance of the 
great object o Corn-Law Repeal, was cele- 
brated in the saloon, beautifully decorated 
for the occasion, of the Philosophical Hall, 
Huddersfield. The occasion, says the Leeds 
Mercury, was one of high importance, not 
only for the dignity and benevolence of the 
object contemplated, but for the enthusiastic 
spirit manifested by the assembly of both 
sexes, of the first respectability, extensive in 
number, and intelligent and influential in its 
character. More than GOO persons sat down 
to tea, and more than double that number 
would have been present had it been possible 
to provide accommodation." Mr. Prentice 
records many other tea-meetings attended 
by GOO and 800 persons. " In Manchester," 
writes Mr. Henry Ashworth, " a number of 
ladies took up the Corn-Law question, and 

Tea-Meetings. 4 1 


held an Aiiti-Corii-Law tea-party, which was 
attended by 830 persons." 

A hymn w r as specially composed for use at 
temperance gatherings, its purport being to 


show the superiority of tea-meetings over 
public-house meetings. It consisted of eight 
verses, and was printed in the Moral Reformer 
of February, 1833. One verse will give an 
idea of its character : 

42 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

" Pure, refined, domestic bliss, 
Social meetings such as this, 
Banish sorrow, cares dismiss, 
And cheer all our lives." 

Total abstinence has not yet found much 
favour among artists, who too often paint 
the fleeting pleasures of the wine-cup rather 
than the enduring pleasures of temperance ; 
but in Mr. Collingwood Banks we have an 
artist who can sing the praises of a cup of 
tea as well as paint the charms of a fire- 
side tea-table. To him we are indebted for 
the following song, which ought speedily 
to become popular among temperance so- 
cieties : 


" Let others sing the praise of wine, 
Let others deem its joys divine, 
Its fleeting bliss shall ne'er be mine, 

Give me a cup of tea ! 
The cup that soothes each aching pain, 
Restores the sick to health again, 
Steals not from heart, steals not from brain, 

A friend when others flee. 

" When sorrow frowns, what power can cheer, 
Or chase away the falling tear 
Without the vile effects of beer, 
Like Pekoe or Bohea ? 

Tea- Meetings. 43 

What makes the old man young and strong, 
Like Hyson, Congou, or Souchong, 
Which leave the burthen of his song 

A welcome cup of tea. <, 

" Then hail the grave Celestial band, 
"With planning mind, and planting hand, 
And let us bless that golden land 

So far across the sea ; 
Whose hills and vales give fertile birth 
To that fair shrub of priceless worth, 
Which yields each son of mother earth 
A fragrant cup of tea." 

Another hymn in praise of tea was used in 
Cornwall, and often sung at tea-meetings by 
the Rev. J. G. Hartley, a minister of the 
United Methodist Free Churches. The lines 
possess little poetical merit, but are worth 
quoting on account of the pleasure with 
which they have been received by tens of 
thousands of people, and of their influence 
in unlocking the pockets of the people when 
the box went round. 

" When vanish'd spirits intertwine, 
And social sympathies combine, 
What of such friendship is a sign ? 
A cup of tea, a cup of tea. 

" When dulness' seizes on the mind, 
And thought no liberty can find, 
What can the captive powers unbind ? 
A cup of tea, a cup of tea. 

44 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

" If one has given another pain, 
And distant coldness both maintain, 
What helps to make them friends again 1 
A cup of tea, a cup of tea. 

' ' And if discourse "be sluggish growing, 
Whate'er the cause to which 'tis owing, 
What's sure to set the tongue a-going ? 
A cup of tea, a cup of tea. 

' ; If things of use or decoration 
Require a friendly consultation, 
What greatly aids the conversation ? 
A cup of tea, a cup of tea. 

" And lastly let us not forget 
The occasion upon which we're mot, 
What helps to move a chapel-debt 1 
A cup of tea, a cup of tea.' ; 

" It lias served us many a good turn/' 
writes Mr. Hartley, " and has helped to clear 
many a chapel-debt." It would be difficult, 
no doubt, in our day to cite a single case of 
a tea-party attended by 500 persons ; but if 
large gatherings are fewer, small ones are 
more frequent. Every chapel, every church, 
every day-school, every Sunday-school, every 
religious association has at least four tea- 
parties a year : and thus not only is a very 
large amount of tea consumed, but a very 

Tea-Meetings. 45 

large number of people are brought under 
good influences. 

In rural districts tlie Christmas tea-party 
is the event of the year. It is attended by 
all the lads and lasses in the neighbourhood ; 
by the milkmaids and the ploughmen, who 
make sad havoc with the cake. Wonderful, 
also, is the amount of tea consumed. In fact 
a tea-drinking contest takes place at these 
annual reunions. At any rate he is the 
hero of the table who can drink the most. 

We have referred to the decreasing popu- 
larity of tea-meetings, and believe that one 
way of reviving the interest in these festivals 
would be to provide better refreshments, as 
well as a greater variety. From the Land's 
End to John O'Groats, the bill of fare is 
limited to currant-cake and bread and butter 
of the cheapest kind. In some cases, where 
the charge is a shilling per head, beef and 
sandwiches are provided. An announcement 
of " a knife and fork tea " at a Primitive 
Methodist Chapel never fails to secure a good 
attendance of the members and friends. In 
Lancashire such meetings are not unfre- 
quently called " tea-fights," probably on 

46 Tea and Tea -drinking. 

account of the scramble for sandwiches which 
characterizes the proceedings. But neither 
cake nor sandwich is sufficient to tempt all 
who are interested in these social entertain- 
ments. The promoters would do well to 
follow the example of the Vegetarian Society, 
and provide more fruit and substantial bread, 
both white and brown. In summer all the 
fruits in season should be placed upon the 
tables, and in winter stewed fruits. The 
following hints on " Tea-Meeting Fare," 
written by the late Mr. R. N. Sheldrick, who 
was an active missionary agent of the Vege- 
tarian Society, may prove of service to all 
who cater for tea-meetings : 

" 1. Provide good tea, pure, fresh-ground coffee, cocoa, 
&c. Let the making of these decoctions be superintended 
by an experienced friend ; serve up nice and hot, but with- 
out milk or sugar, leaving these to be added or not, accord- 
ing to individual tastes. 

" 2. Procure a plentiful supply of good whole-meal 
wheaten (brown) broad, some white bread, some currant- 
cake home-baked if possible, without dripping or lard ; 
two or three varieties of Reading biscuits, such as Osborne, 
tea, picnic, arrowroot, &c. 

" 3. Purchase from the nearest market sufficient lettuce, 
kale, celery, cress, and other fresh salads according to 
season ; also provide a liberal supply of figs, muscatels 
almonds, nuts, oran;.;vs, apples, poors, plums, cherries. 

Tea - Meetings. 4 7 

strawberries, peaches, or such other fruit as may be in 

" 4. Take care, whatever arrangement be adopted, not to 
let these things be hidden away until the latter part oJ 
the feast. Fruits should have the place of honour. The 
plates or baskets of fruit should have convenient positions 
along the tables with the bread and butter, biscuits, &c. 

" 5. Place the arrangements under the control of a well- 
selected committee of ladies, who will see that the tables 
are tastefully laid out, and that everybody is supplied. 
Let there be also, if possible, a profusion of fresh-cut 

Tea, it is true, has not yet worked a com- 
plete revolution in the habits of the people, 
but it has done much to lessen intemperance. 
Dr. Sigmond, writing nearly half a century 
ago, referred to its influences for good : " Tea 
has in most instances," he said, " been sub- 
stituted for fermented or spirituous liquors, 
and the consequence has been a general im- 
provement in the health and in the morals of 
a vast number of persons. The tone, the 
strength, and the vigour of the human 
body are increased by it ; there is a greater 
capability of enduring fatigue; the mind is 
rendered more susceptible of the innocent 
pleasures of life, and of acquiring infor- 
mation. Whole classes of the community 
have been rendered sober, careful, and pro- 

48 7^ea and Tea-drinking. 

violent. The wasted time that followed upon 
intemperance kept individuals poor, who are 
now thriving in the world and exhibiting 
the results of honest industry. Men have 
become healthier, happier, and better for the 
exchange they have made. They have given 
up a debasing habit for an innocent one. 
The individuals who were outcasts, miserable, 
abandoned, have become independent and a 
blessing to society. Their wives and their 
children hail them on their return home from 
their daily labours with their prayers and 
fondest affections, instead of shunning their 
presence, fearful of some barbarity, or some 
outrage against their better feelings ; cheer- 
fulness and animation follow upon their 
slumbers, instead of the wretchedness and 
remorse which the wakening drunkard ever 

This picture, it will be observed, is a 
little over-coloured; but, in the main, it 
will be granted that tea and other similar 
beverages have done a good deal to displace 
spirituous and fermented liquors. The use 
of tea has certainly resulted in great benefit 
to the health and morals of the people. 

How to make Tea. 49 



The Siamese method of making tea- A three-legged tea- 
pot Advice of a Chinese poet How tea should Le 
made How Abernethy made tea for his guests 
The " bubbling and loud-hissing urn " Tate's de- 
scription of a tea-table The t'ea of public institu- 
tions Eev. Dr. Lansdell on Kuskian tea The art of 
tea-making described The kind o\f water to be used. 
The Chinese method of making tes^-Invalids' tea 
Words to nurses, by Miss Nightingale. 

THE mode of preparation of tea for the table 
has always given rise to discussion. Dif- 
ferent nations have different methods. In 
Siam one method was thus described in a 
book entitled " Relation of the Voyage to 
Siam by Six Jesuits/ 5 which was published in 
1685. " In the Bast they prepare tea in this 
manner : when the water is well boiled, they 
pour it upon the tea, which they have put 

50 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

into an earthen pot, proportionally to what 
they intend to take (the ordinary proportion 
is as much as one can take up with the 
finger and thumb for a pint of water) ; then 
they coyer the pot until the leaves are sunk 
to the bottom of it, and afterwards serve it 
about in china dishes to be drunk as hot as 
can be, without sugar, or else with a little 
sugar-candy in the mouth ; and upon that 
tea more boiling water may be poured, and 
so it may be made to serve twice. These 
people drink of it several times a day, but 
do not think it wholesome to take it fasting." 
In " Kecreative Science " (vol. i.,1821) there 
appears a very curious note relating to the 
translation of a Chinese poem. The editor 
says, " Kien Lung, the Emperor of the 
Celestial Empire, which is in the vernacular 
China, was also a poet, and he has been 
good enough to give us a receipt also 
would that all didactic poetry meddled with 
what its author understood. The poet Kien 
did, and he has left the following recipe how 
to make tea, which, for the benefit of the 
ladies who study the domestic cookery, is 
inserted : ' set an old three-legged teapot 

How to make Tea. 5 1 

over a slow fire ; fill it with water of melted 
snow ; boil it just as long as is necessary to 
turn fish white or lobsters red; pour it on 
the leaves of choice, in a cup of Youe. Let 
it remain till the vapour subsides into a thin 
mist, floating on the surface. Drink this 
precious liquor at your leisure, and thus 
drive away the five causes of sorrow.' ' 

Poets, as everybody knows, are allowed a 
good deal of licence, and tea-maids may be 
pardoned if they are sceptical of the value 
of the advice of the Chinese poet. How, 
then, should tea be made ? First and fore- 
most, remarks Dr. Joseph Pope, it should be 
remembered that tea is an infusion, not an 
extract. An old verse runs thus : 

"The fragrant shrub in China grows, 

The leaves are all we see, 
And these, when water o'er them flows, 
Make what we call our tea." 

Dr. Pope lays emphasis on the wordfloivs; 
it does not say soak. There is, he contends, 
an instantaneous graciousness, a momentary 
flavour that must be caught if we would 
rightly enjoy tea. Assuredly Dr. Abernethy, 
the celebrated surgeon, must be credited 
E 2 

52 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

with the possession of this " instantaneous 
graciousness." "Abernethy,"said Dr.Carlyon, 
in his " Early Years and Late Reflections/' 
" never drank tea himself, but he frequently 
asked a few friends to come and take tea at 
his rooms. Upon such occasions, as I infer 
from what I myself witnessed, his custom 
was to walk about the room and talk most 
agreeably upon such topics as he thought 
likely to interest his company, which did not 
often consist of more than two or three 
persons. As soon as the tea-table was set 
in order, and the boiling water ready for 
making the infusion, the fragrant herb was 
taken, not from an ordinary tea-caddy, but 
from a packet consisting of several en- 
velopes curiously put together, in the centre 
of which was the tea. Of this he used at 
first as much as would make a good cup 
for each of the party; and to meet fresh 
demands I observed that he invariably put 
an additional tea-spoonful into the teapot ; 
the excellence of the beverage thus prepared 
insuring him custom. He had likewise a 
singular knack of supplying each cup with 
sugar from a considerable distance, by a jerk 

How to make Tea. 53 

of the hand, which discharged it from the 
sugar-tongs into the cup with unerring 
certainty, as he continued his walk around 
the table, scarcely seeming to stop whilst 4e 
performed these and the other requisite 
evolutions of the entertainment." 

If every woman had treated her guests in 
the same manner, there would have been 
little outcry against tea. The innovation of 
a " bubbling and loud-hissing urn" was 
strongly condemned by Dr. Sigmond, who, 
writing in 1839, after quoting Cowper, re- 
marked : " Thus sang one of our most 
admired poets, who was feelingly alive to 
the charms of social life ; but, alas ! for the 
domestic happiness of many of our family 
circles, this meal has lost its character, and 
many of those innovations which despotic 
fashion has introduced have changed one of 
the most agreeable of our daily enjoyments. 
It is indeed a question amongst the devotees 
to the tea-table, whether the bubbling urn 
has been practically an improvement upon 
our habits ; it has driven from us the old 
national kettle, once the pride of the fireside. 
The urn may be fairly called the offspring 

54 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

of indolence; it has deprived us, too, of 
many of those felicitous opportunities of 
which the gallant forefathers of the present 
race availed themselves to render them 
amiable in the eyes of the fair sex, when 
presiding over the distribution 

" Of the Soumblo, the Imperial tea, 
Names not unknown, and sanative Boliea." 

The consequence of this injudicious change is, 
that one great enjoyment is lost to the tea- 
drinker that which consists in having the 
tea infused in water actually hot, and securing 
an equal temperature when a fresh supply is 
required. Such, too, is what those who have 
preceded us would have called the degeneracy 
of the period in which we live, that now the 
tea-making is carried on in the housekeeper's 
room, or in the kitchen 

" For monstrous novelty, and strange disguise, 
We sacrifice our tea, till household joys 
And comforts cease." 

What, he asks, can be more delightful than 
those social days described by Tate, the 
poet-laureate ? 

How to make Tea. 55 


" When in discourse of nature's mystic powers 
And noblest themes we pass the well-spent hours, 
Whilst all around the virtues sacred band, 
And listening graces, pleased attendants stand. 
Thus our tea-conversations we employ. 
Where, with delight, instructions we enjoy, 
Quaffing, without the waste of time or wealth, 
The sovereign drink of pleasure and of health." 

Fortunately for the lovers of the teapot and 
the kettle, a change in the fashion of making 
tea is taking place, the " loud-hissing urn " 
being now confined almost exclusively to a 
public tea-party and the coffee tavern. The 
quality of tea and coffee supplied by the 
latter institution has long been considered 
the blot upon an otherwise excellent move- 
ment. Not too severely did the Daily 
Telegraph speak a short time ago against the 
atrocious stuff supplied under the name of 
tea in public institutions. The editor said, 

" The very look of it is no longer encouraging. It is 
either a pale, half-chilled, unsatisfactory beverage, or it 
contains a dark black-brown settlement from over-boiled 
tea-leaves. The consumption of tea, no doubt, in England 
is enormous, and we boast to foreigners that we are fond 
of our tea ; the fashion of tea- drinking, owing mainly 
to our example, has extended to France, once extremely 
heretical on the point ; and yet where is the foreigner to 

56 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

find a good cup of tea in England '? At tho railway 
stations ? Yery rarely. At the restaurants ? Scarcely 
ever. And at the newly-started tea and coffee palaces, 
which are to promote sobriety, the great and crying com- 
plaint is that the tea and coffee are so poor that the best- 
intentioned people are forced back to the dangerous public- 
house, in order to obtain a little stimulant, for it is idle 
to deny that both tea and coffee are stimulating to the 
constitution. Everywhere a great reform in tea is required. 
Once on a time no confectioner, railway-station, or re- 
freshment-house could rival the home-made brew, made 
under the eye of the mistress of the household, with the 
kettle on the hob and the ingredients at hand ; but now 
that the good old custom of tea-making is considered un- 
ladylike, and the manufacture has been handed over to 
the servants, the great charm of the beverage has virtually 
departed. No one can conscientiously say that they like 
English tea as at present administered, for the very good 
reason that it is no longer prepared scientifically. The 
English fashion of drinking tea would be laughed to scorn 
by the educated Chinaman or the accomplished Russian. 
Indeed, it is surprising in how few houses a good cup of tea 
can be obtained now that it has become unfashionable for 
the mistress of the establishment, not only to preside over 
her own tea-table, but to have complete sway over that most 
necessary article, a kettle of boiling water. The Chinese 
never dream of stewing their tea, as we too often do in 
England. They do not drown it with milk or cream, or 
alter its taste with sugar, but lightly pour boiling water 
on a small portion of the leaves. It is then instantly 
poured off again, by which the Chinaman obtains only the 
more volatile and stimulating portion of its principle. The 
most delicious of all tea, however, can be tasted in Russia 

How to make Tea. 


supposed to import tlie best of the Chinese leaves, as 
it imports the best of French champagne." 

According to the Rev. Dr. Lansdell, how- 
ever, the Russians clo not pay extravagantly 
for their tea, " When crossing the Pacific/ 5 


he says, " I fell in with a tea-merchant home- 
ward bound from China, and from him I 
gathered that three-fourths of the Russian 
trade is done in medium and common teas, 
such as are sold in London in bond from Is. 2d. 

58 7*ea and Tea-drinking. 

down to 8d. per English pound, exclusive of 
the home duty. The remaining fourth of 
their trade includes some of the very best teas 
grown in the Ning Chou districts teas which 
the Eussians will have at any price, and for 
which in a bad year they may have to pay as 
much as 3s. a pound in China, though in 
ordinary years they cost from 2s. upwards. 
The flowery Pekoe, or blossom tea, costs also 
about 85. in China." But Dr. Lansdell heard 
of some kind of yellow tea which cost as much 
as five guineas a pound, the Emperor of China 
being supposed to enjoy its monopoly ; but a 
friend of the doctor told him that he did not 
think it distinguishable from that sold at 5s. 
a pound. 

The excellence of the Eussian tea is attri- 
buted, in part, to the fact that it is carried 
overland. "Whilst travelling eastwards," 
says Dr. Lansdell, " we had frequently met 
caravans or carts carrying tea. These cara- 
vans sometimes reach to upwards of 100 
horses ; and as they go at walking pace, and 
when they come to a river are taken over by 
ferry, it is not matter for surprise that mer- 
chandise should be three months in coming 

How to make Tea. 59 

from Irkutsk to Moscow." Whatever the cause, 
all travellers eulogize the Russians as tea- 
makers. Dr. Sigmond, for instance, says, 

(l My own experience of the excellence of tea in Russia' 
arose out of a curious incident, which occurred to me 
during a hasty visit I made to that highly-interesting 
country. Previous to this adventure, I had been in the 
habit of taking coffee as my ordinary beverage, and was 
by no means satisfied with it. I had no idea of the pre- 
vailing habit of tea-drinking, previous to my arrival, at 
Moscow. In the course of the afternoon I left my hotel 
alone, obtaining from my servant a card, with the name 
of the street, La "Rue de Demetrius, written upon it. I 
wandered about that magnificent citadel, the Kremlin, until 
dark, and I found myself at some distance from the point 
from which I started, and I endeavoured to return to it, 
and asked several persons the way to my street, of which 
they all appeared ignorant. I therefore got into one of 
the drotzskies, and intimated to my Cossack driver that 
I should be enabled to point out my own street. Al- 
though we could not understand each other, we did our 
mutual signs ; and with the greatest cheerfulness and 
good-nature this man drove me through every street, but I 
could nowhere recognize my hotel. He therefore drove 
me to his humble abode in the environs ; he infused the 
finest tea that I had ever seen in a peculiarly-shaped 
saucepan, set it on a stove, and this, when nearly boiled, 
he poured out ; and a more delicious beverage, nor one 
more acceptable after a hard day's fatigue and anxiety, I 
have not tasted. " 

Other travellers refer to the excellence of 

60 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

tea in Russia. If we could have an improve- 
ment in the quality of tea made in England, 
we feel sure that a decrease in the consump- 
tion of intoxicating drinks would result. 

Some reform has already taken place at 
railway-stations. For the reduction of the 
price of a cup of tea from sixpence to four- 
pence on the Great Northern Railway the 
public are indebted to the Hon. Reginald 
Capel, Chairman of the Refreshment-Rooms 
and Hotels' Committee of that company. On 
the Midland Railway, also, a reduction in the 
price of non-intoxicating beverages has been 
made. At the present time the coffee taverns 
stand most in need of reform. 

With the object of inducing our tea-makers 
to reform their methods of tea-making, we quote 
some important recommendations of leading 
physicians. Dr. King Chambers, in his valu- 
able manual of " Diet in Health and Disease," 
remarks that the uses of tea are (1) to give an 
agreeable flavour to warm water required as 
a drink ; (2) to soothe the nervous system 
when it is in an uncomfortable state from 
hunger, fatigue, or mental excitement. The 
best tea therefore is, he contends, that which 

Hoiv to make Tea. 61 

is pleasantest to the taste of the educated 
consumer, and which contains most of the 
characteristic sedative principles. As Dr. 
Poore has pointed out, tannic acid, which 
is one of the dangers as well as one of the 
pleasures of tea, is largely present in the 
common teas used by the poor. " The rich 
man," he says, " who wishes to avoid an 
excess of tannic acid in the ' cup that cheers,' 
does not allow the water to stand on the tea 
for more than five, or at most eight minutes, 
and the resulting beverage is aromatic, not 
too astringent, and wholesome. The poor 
man or poor woman allows the tea to simmer 
on the hob for indefinite periods, with the 
result that a highly astringent and unwhole- 
some beverage is obtained. There can be no 
doubt that the habit of drinking excessive 
quantities of strong astringent tea is a not 
uncommon cause of that atonic dyspepsia, 
which seems to be the rule rather than the 
exception among poor women of the class 
of sempstresses." The late Dr. Edward 
Smith devoted considerable attention to this 
subject, and we cannot do better than quote 
his observations : " The aim should be to 

62 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

extract all the aroma and dried juices con- 
taining theine, with only so much of the sub- 
stance of the leaf as may give fulness, or, as it 
is called, body to the infusion. If the former 
be defective, the respiratory action of the tea 
and the agreeableness of the flavour will be 
lessened, whilst if the latter be in excess there 
will be a degree of bitterness which will 
mash the aromatic flavour. As the theine is 
without flavour, its presence or absence cannot 
be determined by the taste of the tea. All 
agree, therefore, that the tea should be cooked 
in water, and that the water should be at 
the boiling-point when used; but there is 
not an agreement as to the duration of the 
infusing process. If the tea be scented or 
artificially flavoured, the aroma may be ex- 
tracted in two minutes, but the proper 
aromatic oil of the tea requires at least five 
minutes for its removal. If flavour is to be 
considered, it is clear that an inferior tea 
should not be infused so long as a fine tea. 

" The kind of water is believed to have 
great influence over the process ; soft water is 
preferred. The Chinese direction is, ' Take it 
from a running stream; that from mill- springs 

How to make Tea. 63 

is the best, river-water is the next, and well- 
water is the worst ;' that is to say, take water 
well mixed with air. Hence avoid hard water, 
but prefer tap-water or running water to well- 
water. It is the practice of a good housewife 
in the country to send to a brook for water 
to make tea, whilst she will use the well water 
for drinking/' The mode of making tea in 
China is to put the tea into a cup, to pour hot 
water upon it, and then to drink the infusion 
off the leaves. While wandering over the tea- 
districts of China, Mr. Fortune only once met 
with sugar and a tea-spoon. " The merchant 
invited us to drink tea," writes the Rev. Dr. 
Lansdell, who recently visited the Mongolian 
frontier at Maimatchin, " and told us that the 
Chinese use this beverage without sugar or 
milk three times a day ; namely, at rising, at 
noon, and at seven in the evening. They 
have substantial meals at nine in the morning 
and four in the afternoon." Dr. King 
Chambers considers tea most refreshing to 
the dyspeptic if made in the Russian fashion, 
with a slice of lemon on which a little sugar- 
candy has been sprinkled, instead of milk or 
cream. One small cup of an evening is 

64 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

enough. He also gives the following receipt 
for making invalids' tea : 

" Pour into a small china or earthenware 
teapot a cup of quite boiling water, empty it 
out, and while it is still hot and steaming put 
in the tea and enough boiling water to wet 
it thoroughly, and set it close to the fire to 
steam three or four minutes. Then pour 
in the quantity of water required, boiling from 
the kettle, and it is ready for use." Miss 
Nightingale offers a word of advice to nurses 
upon the amount of tea which should be 
given. " A great deal too much against tea 
is," she remarks, " said by wise people, and 
n great deal too much of it is given to the 
sick by foolish people. "When you see the 
natural and almost universal craving in Eng- 
lish sick for their tea, you cannot but feel that 
Nature knows what she is about. But a little 
tea or coffee restores them quite as much as 
a great deal ; and a great deal of tea, and 
especially of coffee, impairs the little power 
of digestion they have ; yet a nurse, because 
she sees how one or two cups of tea or 
coffee restore her patient, thinks three or 
four cups will do twice as much. This is 

How to make Tea. 


not the case at all: it is, however, certain 
that there is nothing yet discovered which 
is a substitute to the English patient for 
his cup of tea." 

66 Tea and Tea-drinking. 



Tea and dry bread versus porter and beefsteak Tea for 
soldiers Opinion of Professor Parkes Tea versus 
spirits Tea and Tel-el-Kebir Lord Wolseley's 
testimony Pegs and teapots Temperance in the 
navy Drinking the health of her Majesty in a bowl 
of tea Cycling and tea-drinking Mountain-climb- 
ing Tea in the harvest-field Cold tea as a summer 

TEA is not only a valuable stimulant to the 
mind, but is tlie most beneficial drink to 
those engaged in fatiguing work. Dr. Jack- 
son, whom Buckle quotes as an authority, 
testified in 1845, that even for those who 
have to go through great fatigues a break- 
fast of tea and dry bread is more strengthen- 
ing than one of beefsteak and porter. " I 
have been," says Dr. Inman, "a careful 
reader of all those accounts which tell of 
endurance of prolonged fatigue, and have 

Tea and Physical Endurance. 67 

been touched with the almost unanimous 
evidence in favour of vegetable diet and tea 
as a beverage, that I have determined in 
every instance where long nursing, as of a 
fever patient, is required, to recommend 
nothing stronger than tea for the watcher." 
In the army, as well as in the hospital, tea 
is slowly, but surely, supplanting the use of 
grog. " As an article of diet for soldiers," 
remarked Professor Parkes, "tea is most 
useful. The hot infusion, like that of coffee, 
is potent both against heat and cold ; is most 
useful in great fatigue, especially in hot 
climates, and also has a great purifying effect 
on water. Tea is so light, is so easily car- 
ried and the infusion is so readily made, that 
it should form the drink par excellence of the 
soldier on service. There is also a belief 
that it lessens the susceptibility to malaria, 
but the evidence on this point is imperfect." 
Admiral Inglefield, writing in January, 
1881, strongly commended the use of tea 
and coffee as heat producers. 

" During this almost Arctic weather, and in the midst 
of these almost Arctic surroundings, permit me as an old 
Arctic officer to plead for a short hearing in behalf of 
P 2 

68 Tea and Tea-drinking* 

those whoso lives may still be in jeopardy for want of 
some practical experience how to take care of themselves. 
Among the working classes there is an all-prevailing idea 
that nothing is so effectual to keep out cold as a raw 
nip of spirits, and this delusion is to their minds justified, 
because they find the " raw nip " setting the heart and 
blood in more rapid motion ; and heat being generated 
while the influence remains, a sensation of warmth is the 
natural result, but after a short space reaction sets in, 
and a slower circulation must ensue. In the evidence 
given before the last Arctic Committee, of which I was a 
member, all the witnesses were unanimous in the opinion 
that spirits taken to keep out cold was a fallacy, and 
that nothing was more effectual than a good fatty diet, 
and hot tea or coffee as n drink. Seamen who journeyed 
with me up the shores of "Wellington Channel, in the 
Arctic Kegions, after one day's experience of rum-drink- 
ing, came to the conclusion that tea, which was the only 
beverage I used, was much preferable, and they quickly 
derived great advantage from its use while undergoing 
hard work and considerable cold. If cabmen, watchmen, 
railway servants, and those who from the nature of their 
duties are compelled to expose themselves during this 
inclement weather could be persuaded to give up entirely 
the use of spirituous liquors and use hot tea or coffee 
for a beverage, I can promise that they would be better 
fortified to withstand the cold, they would experience 
more lasting comfort, and there would be more shillings 
to take to their homes on a Saturday night; happily, 
also, the trial of temperance for a time, to meet the present 
emergency, might become with some the habit of a life." 

The soldiers who captured Tel-el-Kebir 

Tea and Physical Endurance* 69 

drank nothing but tea. It was served out 
to them three times a day. Tlie correspon- 
dent of the 'Daily Neivs (12th. of September, 
1882) wrote, " Sir Garnet Wolseley having 
ordered that the troops under his command 
should be allowed daily a triple allowance of 
tea, extra supplies of tliat article are being 
sent out from the commissariat stores to 
Ismailia. It is stated that the extra issue of 
tea is very acceptable to the men, who find a 
decoction of the mild stimulant in their can- 
teen-bottles the most refreshing and invigo- 
rating beverage they can carry with them on 
the march." 

Lord Wolseley having been asked for his 
temperance testimony, replied in an interest- 
ing letter, in which he strongly commended 
the use of tea. " Once during my military 
career," he says, " it fell to my lot to lead 
a brigade through a desert country for a dis- 
tance of over 600 miles. I fed the men as 
well as I could, but no one, officer or private, 
had anything stronger than tea to drink 
during the expedition. The men had pecu- 
liarly hard work to do, and they did it well, 
and without a murmur. We seemed to have 

70 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

left crime and sickness behind us with the 
'grog,' for the conduct of all was roost 
exemplary, and no one was ever ill. I have 
always attributed much of our success upon 
that occasion to the fact that no form of 
intoxicating liquor formed any portion of the 
daily ration." 

Evidence from other quarters shows very 
conclusively that soldiers would rather drink 
tea than grog. In an account of the return 
march through the Khyber Pass, the Rev. 
Gelson Gregson states that they were very 
kindly and hospitably received by the medical 
officer in charge, " who had a good brew of 
tea ready, with cheese and biscuits, much 
more sensible than another medico, who 
came round with a brandy-bottle as soon as 
we got in. Every one enjoyed the tea, and 
did not even call for a peg. I believe," he 
adds, "that pegs would soon go out of 
fashion if teapots were only oftener intro- 
duced." Tea, unfortunately, requires some 
trouble to make ; but doubtless this difficulty 
is in a fair way of being removed by the 
pressure from without. Total abstinence is 
increasing greatly both in the army and 

Tea and Physical Endurance. 7 1 

Miss Weston, whose labours amongst tlie 
blue jackets are well known, claims that one 
man out of every six is a teetotaler ; and 
the Hong-Kong Telegraph recently gave an 
account of a tea-meeting held with the men 
of H.M.S. Orontes and their successors in 
the port, at which between 300 and 400 
sat down in the Temperance Hall. Mr. 
James Francis, Organizing Agent of the 
Royal Naval Temperance Society, having 
asked Admiral "Willes to say a few words, 
his Excellency advanced to the top of the 
room and said, " Soldiers, sailors, and 
marines, I am going to ask you to drink the 
health, in a flowing bowl of tea, of her 
Gracious Majesty, the Queen, and in so doing 
I take the opportunity of bidding the 
marines and sailors going home on the 20th 
farewell. I wish them a pleasant passage 
and a happy meeting with their friends. I 
invite those lately come out to support by 
example those who are going away. I con- 
sider this an excellent institution. Drunken- 
ness is the cause of nearly all the crimes in 
the navy, and I dare say also in the army. I 
ask you to drink the health of the Queen, and 

72 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

give her Majesty three cheers." The toast 
was duly drunk in sparkling Bohea, three 
rounds of cheers being given for her Majesty 
and "one more" for the gallant admiral. 
Mr. Haly, R.N., then proposed " The health 
of his Excellency, the Governor/ 5 the toast 
receiving like treatment. Mr. Chisham, R.N., 
next proposed " The health of Miss Agnes 
Weston," and said that no words of his 
could make her dearer than she already was 
to the British sailor. The toast was duly 
honoured, as was also that of Mr. Francis. 

The use of tea among cricketers, scullers, 
pedestrians, cyclists, and others is also 
becoming more general; for instance, Mr. 
"Wynter Blyth, Medical Officer of Health for 
Marylebone, says, " I have studied the diets 
recorded as in use, and find that those who 
have done long journeys successfully have 
used that class of diet which science has 
shown most suitable for muscular exertion 
viz. one of a highly nitrogenized character : 
plenty of meat, eggs, and milk, with bread, 
but not much butter, and no alcohol. I have 
cycled for over fifty miles, taking frequent 
draughts of beer, and in these circumstances, 

Tea and Physical Endurance. 73 

although there has been no alcoholic effect, 
it has caused great physical depression. The 
experience of others is the same. However 
much it may stimulate for a little while, a 


period of well-marked depression follows. I 
attribute this in part to the salts of potash 
which some beers contain, in part to injurious 
bitters, and in part to the alcohol. My own 
experience as to the best drink when on the 

74 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

road is most decidedly in favour of tea. Tea 
appears to rouse both the nervous and mus- 
cular system, with, so far as I can discover, 
no after-depressing effect." 

The use of alcohol is almost invariably 
condemned in the various handbooks on 
training; but the use of tea is always com- 
mended. Mr. C. J. Michod, late Hon. Sec. of 
the London Athletic Club, in his " Guide to 
Athletic Training," considers tea preferable 
for training purposes, as it possesses less 
heating properties, and is more digestible. 
The greatest pedestrian of our time, Mr. 
Edward Payson Weston, finds in tea 
and rest the most effective restoratives. 
Lately he walked 5000 miles in 100 days, 
and after each day's work, lectured on 
" Tea versus Beer." Even the publicans on 
the roads, he says, used to meet him with 
cups of tea and basins of milk. A Nor- 
wich physician, Dr. Beverley, testified to 
the value of tea iu mountain-climbing. 
" The hardest physical work I have done," 
he says, "has been mountain-climbing in 
Switzerland, and on such occasions after a 
breakfast, of which coffee and milk and bread 

Tea and Physical Endurance. 75 

formed the chief articles of food, it was my 
custom to fill my flask with an infusion of 
cold tea, made over-night from a stock kept 
for the purpose in my knapsack, and this I 
invariably found to be the most refreshing 
drink for such purposes. This is confirmed 
by all experienced in Alpine ascents, who 
know only too well that the man who has 
recourse to his flask of brandy or sherry 
seldom gains the mountain-top." 

In the harvest-field, also, tea is being sub- 
stituted for beer. At a conference of the 
members of the Newbury Chamber of Agri- 
culture, held in July, 1878, Mr. T. Bland 
Garland maintained that nothing can be more 
unsuitable as a thirst-quenching beverage 
during hard work in hot weather than beer, 
and stated that in 1871 he determined to sup- 
ply no more beer to his labourers under any 
circumstances. He had agreed as an alterna- 
tive, to pay the men 18s. instead of 14s. , and 
the women 9s. instead of 7s. ; but reflecting 
that the people would probably find it impos- 
sible to supply themselves with a suitable 
substitute for the beer, and would, in a mea- 
sure, be driven to the public-house, he deter- 

76 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

mined to supply them with tea. He thus 
describes his method of brewing tea, 

" I purchased a common flat-bottomed 8|-gallon iron 
boiler, with a lid, long spout, and tap ; this is taken in a 
cart to the field, with a few bricks to form a temporary 
fireplace, a few sticks for the fire, some tea in 7-oz. 
packets, and sugar in 4-lb. packets. The first thing in 
the morning a woman lights the fire, boils the water, 
the bailiff puts on the 7 ozs. of tea in a small bag, to 
boil for ten to fifteen minutes, then removes it and puts 
in 4 Ibs. of sugar ; if skim milk can be spared, two to 
four quarts are added, but this is not a necessity, al- 
though desirable. All the labourers are then at liberty 
to take as much as they like at all times of the day, 
beginning at breakfast-time, and ending when they leavi- 
off work at night. If the field is large, they send large 
cans to the boiler for it ; so soon as the quantity in the 
boiler is reduced to two gallons, it is drawn off in a pail 
for consumption, whilst another boilerful is being pre- 
pared. The knowledge that they have at their disposal 
as much good tea as they choose to drink during every 
minute of the day materially lessens their thirst. 

The cost of tea in my case is as follows : 

s. d. 
7 ozs. of tea ......... 1 

4 Ibs. of sugar 12 

Skirn milk about . ... 2 

2 4 
or 8| gallons of tea, at 3^7. per gallon. 

I had twenty-eight men and women employed in hay- 
making this year, and the consumption was, 

Tea and Physical Endurance. 77 


Generally, 2 boilers full per day 17 
Occasionally, 2^ ,, ,, 21j 

On one day, 3 ,, 25^ 

My calculation is, that they drink on the average two- 
thirds of a gallon each per day, at a cost of 2d. Thus I 
pay them, in lieu of beer, Sd. per day in money, and 
2d. in tea, or lOcL in all. But if the change involved 
a much larger expenditure than the cost of the beer, 
employers would be amply remunerated in the better 
and larger amount of work done, the better disposition 
of their labourers, the decrease of pauperism, and the 
general well-being of the people." 

Mr. Garland, having benefited so much by 
the substitution of tea for beer, was naturally 
anxious that other farmers should follow his 
example, and urged them to " let the addi- 
tional wages be given to the full value of the 
beer; let the tea be good, and made with 
care in the field, not sent out from the house, 
or there will not be enough ; be sure that it 
is always within the reach of every labourer, 
without stint. See to this yourself: trust it 
to no one ; beer has many friends. Be firm 
in carrying out the change, and it will be a 
source of great satisfaction to you and to 
your labourers, with very little trouble and 
at no extra expense." The late Sir Philip 

78 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

Rose testified that the men on his farm " were 
in better condition at the conclusion of the 
day, less stupid and sullen, and certainly 
much better fitted the next morning to 
resume their labours, than with the old 
system of beer." It would be easy to mul- 
tiply extracts, but enough has been said to 
prove the benefit of tea over alcohol, whether 
in marching or fighting, cricketing or sculling, 
cycling or mowing. We may add that cold 
tea is considered by many writers on the 
subject one of the most refreshing and satis- 
factory summer drinks, provided it be not 
spoiled by the addition of milk and sugar. It 
ought to be made early in the day, and left 
to stand in a stone jar until thoroughly cool, 
and should then be flavoured, in the Russian 
fashion, with slices of fresh lemon. 

Tea as a Stimulant. 79 



Rum-punch and poets Alcohol as a stimulant The 
king of the tea-drinkers Dr. Johnson's teapot 
Jonas Hanway's attack Eloquence inspired by tea- 
drinking A delightful tea-story An absent-minded 
poet George Dyer's break fast- party An empty 
cupboard Hazlitt a prodigious tea-drinker Barry 
Cornwall disgusted with Hazlitt's teetotal principles 
Wordsworth's love of sugar in his tea Testimony 
of other authors Tea as a tonic Tea denounced 
Tea at St. Stephen's Lord Palnierston, Mr. Glad- 
stone, and M. Clemenceau quoted Hartley Cole- 
ridge's poem on tea. 

WHEN James Hogg, the " Ettrick Shepherd/' 
visited Keswick, he invited Southey to his 
inn. The invitation was heartily accepted. 
Southey stayed half an hour, but showed no 
disposition to imbibe. "I. was," says Hogg, 
" a grieved as well as an astonished man 
when I found that he refused all participation 

8o Tea and Tea-drinking. 

in my beverage of rum-punch. For a poet 
to refuse his glass was to me a phenomenon, 
and I confess I doubted in my own mind, 
and doubt to this day if perfect sobriety and 
transcendent poetical genius can exist to- 
gether ; in Scotland I am sure they cannot." 
No doubt ; but, since Burns and Hogg have 
passed away, a new generation has arisen. 
The poet, the essayist, the historian, and the 
journalist no longer write under the influence 
of alcohol. As Mr. George R. Sims says, 
the idea that drink quickly excites the brain 
is exploded. Healthier stimulants have 
taken its place. It cannot be denied that 
some good work has been done under the 
influence of tea. Look at Dr. Johnson, for 
instance. That fine old Tory is worthy of 
the title of the king of the tea-drinkers. He 
loved tea quite as much as Porson loved gin. 
Tea was Johnson's only stimulant. He drank 
it in bed, he drank it with his friends, and 
he drank it while compiling his dictionary. 
One of his friends thus describes his mode of 
life : " About twelve o'clock I commonly 
visited him, and frequently found him in bed, 
or declaiming over his tea, which he drank 

Tea as a Stimulant. 8 1 

very plentifully. He generally had a levee 
of morning visitors, chiefly men of letters. 
He declaimed all the morning, then went to 
dinner at a tavern, where he commonly 
stayed late, and then drank his tea at some 
friend's house, over which he loitered a great 
while, but seldom took supper." At his house 
in Gough Square, off Fleet Street, he fre- 
quently drank tea with his dependants, some 
of whom were blind, and some were deaf. 
Boswell has left us a graphic picture of these 
interesting gatherings : " We went home to 
his house to tea. Mrs. Williams made it 
with sufficient dexterity, notwithstanding 
her blindness," though he describes her 
putting her fingers into the cups to feel if 
they were full; but then it was Johnson's 
favourite beverage, and he adds, " I willingly 
drank cup after cup, as if it had been the 
Heliconian Spring. There was a pretty large 
circle there, and the great doctor was in very 
good humour, lively and ready to talk upon 
all sorts of subjects." Mr. F. Sherlock, a 
fertile writer on the temperance question, 
claims Dr. Johnson as a teetotaler, and has 
placed him in his gallery of " Illustrious 


82 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

Abstainers." If the learned doctor was an 
abstainer from alcoholic drinks, he made up 
for his abstinence from wine by indulging to 
excess in the milder and less dangerous 
stimulant of tea. If he did not write his 
dictionary by the aid of the Chinese drink, 
his teapot was never far away from his 
writing-tab] e. " I suppose," said Boswell, 
" that no person ever enjoyed with more 
relish the infusion of that fragrant leaf than 
Johnson. The quantities which he drank 
at all hours were so great, that his nerves 
must have been uncommonly strong not 
to have been extremely relaxed by such an 
intemperate use of it ; but he assured me he 
never felt the least inconvenience from it." 

Johnson's indulgence did not escape the 
notice of Jonas Han way, who was so alarmed 
for the safety of the nation that he wrote an 
essay on " Tea and its Pernicious Conse- 
quences," pronouncing it the ruin of the 
nation, and of every one who drank it. 
Johnson replied to the attack, and described 
himself as a " hardened and shameless tea- 
drinker, whose kettle has scarcely time to 
cool ; who with tea amuses the evening, with 

Tea as a Stimulant. 83 

tea solaces the midnight, and with tea wel- 
comes the morning." Johnson's defence 
did not, however, silence his critics. Sir 
John Hawkins characterized tea-drinking as 
unmanly, and, like John Wesley, almost gave 
it the colour of a crime. The worthy lexico- 
grapher, it must be confessed, was a thirsty 
soul, for his teapot held at least two quarts. 
But Mr. Philip Gilbert Hamerton writes of a 
clergyman whose tea- drinking indulgences ex- 
ceeded those of Johnson. This self-denying 
Christian, who " from the most conscientious 
motives denied himself ale and wine, found a 
fountain of consolation in the teapot. His 
usual allowance was sixteen cups, all of 
heroic strength, and the effect upon his 
brain seems to have been altogether favour- 
able, for his sermons were both long and 

Dr. Gordon Stables offered prizes for 
original anecdotes about this delightful and 
healthful beverage, but he laments that he 
obtained none worthy of printer's ink, and 
has come to the conclusion that tea is not the 
drink of his beloved country ; that, had he 
offered prizes for anecdotes about whisky- 
G 2 

84 Tea ana Tea-drinking. 

drinking, " Scotia, my auld, respected mither, 
would have shown out in a different light." 
No doubt ; Scotland has long been famous 
for rigid orthodoxy, combined with a love 
of whisky; but Mr. Stables must have 
forgotten the delightful tea-story told by 
Barry Cornwall about George Dyer. Dyer 
seems to have been as absent-minded as 
Bowles, 1 the poet. 

1 " Bowles was in the habit of daily riding through a 
country turnpike-gate, and one day he presented his 
twopence to the gatekeeper as usual. 'What is that 
for, sir?' he asked. * For my horse, of course/ 'But, 
sir, you have no horse.' * Dear me ! 7 exclaimed the 
astonished poet ' am I walking ? ' Mrs. Moore also told 
me that Bowles gave her a Bible as a birthday present. 
She asked him to write her name in it ; he did so, in- 
scribing it to her as a gift From the Author. ' I never, 7 
said he, ' had but one watch, and I lost it the very 
first day I wore it.' Mrs. Bowles whispered to me, 
' And if he got another to-day, he would lose it as 
quickly. 7 - I met not long ago, near Salisbury, a gentle- 
man farmer who had been one of his parishioners, and 
cherished an affectionate remembrance of the good parson. 
He told me one story of him that is worth recording : 
one day he had a dinner-party ; the guests were kept 
waiting for the host ; his wife went upstairs to see by 
what mischance he was delayed. She found him in a 
sad ' taking, 7 hunting everywhere for a silk stocking. 
After a minute search Mrs. Bowles found that he had 

Tea as a Stimulant. 85 

Barry Cornwall says, 

"Poor George Dyer whom Lamb lias celebrated 
formed one subject of conversation this evening. He 
invited some one I think it was Llanos, the author of 
' Esteban ' and f Sandoval ' to breakfast with him one 
day in Clifford's Inn. Dyer, of course, forgot all about 
the matter very speedily after giving the invitation ; and 
when Llanos went at the appointed hour, he found no- 
thing but little Dyer, and his books, and his dust the 
work of years at home. George, however, was anything 
but inhospitable, as far as his means or ideas went ; and 
on being told that Llanos had come to breakfast, pro- 
ceeded to investigate his cupboard. He found the rem- 
nant of a threepenny loaf, two cups and saucers, a little 
glazed teapot, and a spoonful of milk. They sat down, 
and (Dyer putting the hot water into the teapot) com- 
menced breakfast. Llanos attacked the stale crust, which 
Lazarillo de Tomes himself would have despised, and 
waited with much good-humour and patience for his tea. 
At last, out it came. Dyer, who was half blind, kept 
pouring out nothing but hot water from the teapot, until 
Llanos, who thought a man might be guilty of too much 
abstinence, inquired if Dyer had not forgot the tea. 
c God bless me ! ' replied Dyer, f and so I have.' He began 
immediately to remedy his error, and emptied the con- 
tents of a piece of brown paper into the teapot, deluged 
it with water, and sat down with a look of complete 

put the two stockings on one leg ! Once when his own 
house was pointed out to him, he could not by any pos- 
sibility call to mind who lived there." Hall, " Book 
of Memories of Great Men and Women of the Age" 

86 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

satisfaction. ' How very odd it was that I should make 
such a mistake ! ' said Dyer. However, he now deter- 
mined to make amends, and filled Llanos' cup again. 
Llanos thought the tea had a strange colour, but not hav~ 
ing dread of aqua tofana before his eyes, he thrust his 
spoon in and tasted. It was ginger ! Seeing that it was 
in vain to expect commonplaces from the little absentee, 
Llanos continued cutting and crumbling a little bread 
into his plate for a short time, and then departed. He 
went straight to a coffee-house in the neighbourhood, and 
was just finishing a capital breakfast when Dyer came 
in, to read the paper, or to inquire after some one who 
frequented the coffee-house. He recognized Llanos, and 
asked him how he did ; but felt no surprise at seeing 
him devouring a second breakfast. He had totally for- 
gotten all the occurrences of the morning 

Hazlitt, like Dr. Johnson, was a prodigious 
tea-drinker, and his peculiar habits and 
manners were minutely photographed by his 
friends. His failings were, no doubt, greatly 
exaggerated, but we believe ourselves on safe 
ground in quoting Patmore's account of his 
friend's devotion to the teapot : 

" Hazlitt usually rose at from one to two o'clock in the 
day scarcely ever before twelve ; and if he had no work 
in hand, he would sit over his breakfast (of excessively 
strong black tea, and a toasted French roll) till four or 
five in the afternoon silent, motionless, and self-absorbed, 
as a Turk over his opium-pouch ; for tea served him 
precisely in this capacity. It was the only stimulant he 

Tea as a Stimulant. 87 

ever took, and at the same time the only luxury ; the 
delicate state of his digestive organs prevented him from 
tasting any fermented liquors. He never touched any but 
Hack tea, and was very particular about the quality of 
that, always using the most expensive that could be got ; 
and he used, when living alone, to consume nearly a 
pound in a week. A cup of Hazlitt's tea (if you happened 
to come in for the first brewage of it) was a peculiar 
thing ; I have never tasted anything like it. He always 
made it himself, half filling the teapot with tea, pouring 
the boiling water on it, and then almost immediately 
pouring it out, using with it a great quantity of sugar 
and cream. To judge from its occasional effect upon 
myself, I should say that the quantity Hazlitt drank of 
this tea produced ultimately a most injurious effect upon 
him, and in all probability hastened his death, which 
took place from disease of the digestive organs. But its 
immediate effect was agreeable, even to a degree of fasci- 
nation ; and not feeling any subsequent reaction from it, 
he persevered in its use to the last, notwithstanding two 
or three attacks, similar to that which terminated his life." 

From Barry Cornwall, also, we have similar 
testimony concerning Hazlitt's indulgence. 
Proctor was as much disgusted with Hazlitt's 
spare diet as Llanos was with Dyer's, and 

" I saw a great deal of Hazlitt during the last twelve 
or thirteen years of his stormy, anxious, uncomfortable 
life. In 1819 he resided in a small house in York Street, 
Westminster, where I visited him, and where Milton had 
formerly dwelt ; afterwards he moved from lodging to 

88 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

lodging, and finally went to live at JSTo. 6, Frith Street, 
Solio, where he fell ill and died. I went to visit him 
very often during his late breakfasts (when he drank tea 
of an astounding strength), not unfrequently also at the 
Fives Court, and at other persons' houses ; and once I 
dined with him. This (an unparalleled occurrence) was in 
York Street, when some friend had sent him a couple of 
Dorking fowls, of which he suddenly invited me to par- 
take. I went, expecting the usual sort of dinner ; but it 
was limited solely to the fowls and bread. He drank 
nothing but water, and there was nothing but water to 
drink. He offered to send for some porter for me, but; 
being out of health at the time, I declined, and escaped 
soon after dinner to a coffee-house, where I strengthened 
myself with a few glasses of wine." 

Proctor would have fared little better had 
he visited the Lake poets ; for, according to 
Miss Mitford, " the Words worths have no 
regular meals, but go to the cupboard when 
hungry, and eat what they want/' "Words- 
worth, by the way, appears to have liked his 
tea well sweetened ; for, when he visited 
Charles Lamb, at his lodgings in Enfield, one 
of the extra " teas " in the week's bill was 
charged sixpence. On Lamb's inquiry what 
this meant, the reply was, that " the elderly 
gentleman ' ' meaning Wordsworth " had 
taken such a quantity of sugar in his tea." 
Proctor, on the other hand, seems to have 


Tea as a Stimulant. 9 1 

had a deep-rooted antipathy to tea, and to 
have found a wife who shared his feelings. 
Writing to his " lady-love/ ' he said, "Will 
your friend give me some blanc-mange ? but 
no, I don't like blanc-mange. I hate nothing 
but green tea, and my enemies, and insincerity, 
and affectation, and undue pretence. It is 
partly, I believe, because you have none of 
these that I love you so much." No ; he 
liked something stronger than tea, and wrote 
of " brains made clear by the irresistible 
strength of beer." But some of the sweetest 
poems, the brightest novels, and the finest 
essays have been written without the aid of 
either wine or beer. Shelley's beverage, for 
instance, consisted of copious and frequent 
draughts of cold water, but tea was always 
grateful. Bulwer Lytton's breakfast con- 
sisted of dry toast and a cup of cold tea, or 
hot tea impatiently tossed into a tumbler half 
full of cold water. De Quincey said that he 
usually drank tea from eight o'clock at night 
to four in the morning. Kant's breakfast 
consisted of a cup of tea and a pipe of to- 
bacco, and on these he worked eight hours. 
Motley, the historian, usually rose before 

92 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

seven, and, with, the aid of a cup of tea or 
coffee, wrote until the family breakfast- 
hour. That revolutionary poet, Victor Hugo, 
drinks tea, but fortifies it with a drop of 

More than three hours a day at the work 
of literary production is generally considered 
destructive; but a case is known to the 
author in which a well-known writer has 
been engaged in literary composition from 
seven to ten hours a day for at least ten 
years. The work he has accomplished in 
every department of literature during this 
period is truly astonishing: and its quality 
is admittedly high. Yet his only stimulant 
is tea. He is practically a life abstainer, and 
has never used tobacco. After a spell of 
work extending over three hours, a cup of 
tea and a break of half an hour have enabled 
him to resume his work and to continue 
writing far into the night. Tea is becom- 
ing the favourite stimulant of brain-workers ; 
and although De Quincey drank laudanum 
for some time, he was enthusiastic in his 
praise of tea. He said, 

" For tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally 

Tea as a Stimulant. 93 

coarse in their nervous sensibilities, or are become so from 
wine-drinking, and are not susceptible of influence from 
so refined a stimulant, will always be a favourite beverage 
of the intellectual ; and, for my part, I would have joined 
Dr. Johnson in a helium internecinum against Jonas 
Hanway, or any other impious person who should have pre- 
sumed to disparage it. But here, to save myself the trouble 
of too much verbal description, I will introduce a painter, 
and give him directions for the rest of the picture. . . . 
Paint me, then, a room seventeen feet by twelve, and not 
more than seven and a half feet high, . . . and near the 
fire paint me a tea-table ; and (as it is clear that no crea- 
ture can come to see one on such a stormy night), place 
only two cups and saucers on the tea-tray ; and if you 
know how to paint such a thing, symbolically or other- 
wise, paint me an eternal teapot eternal a parte ante 
and a parte post ; for I usually drink tea from eight 
o'clock at night to four in the morning. And as it is 
very unpleasant to make tea, or to pour it out for oneself, 
paint me a lovely young woman sitting at the table." 

But even a " lovely young woman " would 
have failed to satisfy tlie tastes of the historian 
Buckle, who was a most fastidious tea-drinker. 
" No woman/' he declared, " could make tea 
until he had taught her." The great thing, he 
believed, was to have the cups and even the 
spoons warmed. Commenting upon the con- 
fession of William Cullen Bryant, that he 
never took coffee or tea, William Howitt 
said, "I regularly take both, find the 

94 Tea and Tea- drinking. 

greatest refreshment in both, and never ex- 
perienced any deleterious effects from either, 
except in one instance, when by mistake I 
took a cup of tea strong enough for ten men. 
On the contrary, tea is to me a wonderful 
refresher and reviver. After long-continued 
exertion, as in the great pedestrian journeys 
that I formerly made, tea would always, in a 
manner almost miraculous, banish all my 
fatigue and diffuse through my whole frame 
comfort and exhilaration, without any subse- 
quent evil effect. I ana quite well aware that 
this is not the experience of many others my 
wife among the number on whose nervous 
system tea acts mischievously, producing in- 
ordinate wake fulness, and, its continuous use, 
indigestion. Yet," he wisely adds, " this is 
one of the things that people should learn and 
act upon, namely, to take such things as suit 
them, and avoid such as do not." This is, as 
a rule, the safest course to pursue, and it is 
adopted by all sensible persons. 

To that brilliant historian, Mr. Justin 
McCarthy, M.P., tea is not only the most 
useful stimulant, but the best .defence against 
headache. "I have/' he writes, " always 

Tea as a Stimulant. 95 

been a liberal drinker of tea. I have found 
it of immense benefit Jn keeping off head- 
ache, my only malady. Probably tea-drink- 
ing, even if not immoderate, does some hurt 
to the nerves: but I have never been 
able to satisfy myself that this is so in 
my case. Certainly, fey/" men have worked 
harder and suffered less from ill-health than 
myself." Another famous man of letters 
testifies to the value of tea : " The only 
sure brain-stimulants with me," writes 
Professor Dowden, " are plenty of fresh 
air and tea; but each of these in large 
quantities produces a kind of intoxication ; 
the intoxication of a great amount of air 
causing wakefulness, with a delightful con- 
fusion of spirits, without the capacity of steady 
thought ; tea intoxication unsettles and en- 
feebles my will ; but then a great dose of tea 
often does get good work out of me (though 
I may pay for it afterwards), while alcohol 
renders all mental work impossible." " Tea 
is my favourite tonic when I am tired or 
languid," confesses Mr. George R. Sims, "and 
always has a stimulating effect." And the 
Rev. John Clifford, an able and scholarly 

96 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

Baptist minister, testifies that tea lias enabled 
liim to accomplish some very hard work. 
He says, 

" For at least a quarter of a century I have attempted 
to solve the problem how to get the maximum of power 
out of a somewhat feeble body, and retain the maximum 
of health ; but having been a total abstainer for nearly 
twenty-eight years, I have no experience of the relation of 
alcoholics and narcotics to the solution of the problem. 
In preparing for a succession of examinations (B.A., 
M.A., LL.D., and B.Sc.) at the London University, 
whilst I had to discharge the duties of a London pas- 
torate, I drank tea somewhat copiously, on an average 
thrice a day. I worked twelve and sometimes fourteen 
hours a day over extended periods, preached regularly to 
the same congregation thrice a week, directed the affairs 
of an aggressive church, conducted several classes for young 
men, and at the same time matriculated in the First Class, 
took a First Class B.A., was bracketed first at the M.A., 
took honours at the LL.B. and at the B.Sc. in three 
subjects ; and I found that on tea I could work longer, 
with a clearer Jhead, and with more sustained intensity, 
than on any other beverage. But I am convinced that 
good as tea-drinking is for prolonged mental strain, it was 
very prejudicial to me, and has permanently lowered the 
digestive force. Eaisins (as suggested by Sir W. Gull) 
and grapes I have found in more recent years a most con- 
venient and effective method of reinforcing mental 
strength whilst at work ; but the wisest course is to keep 
as robust health as possible, by horse exercise, or daily 
walks in the early morning, and before retiring to rest, 
by the use of dumb-bells and the gymnastic bat." 

Tea as a Stimulant. 97 

Harriet Martineau strongly condemned the 
use of alcohol by brain-workers, and said that 
her stimulants were fresh air and cold water ; 
but this remarkable old maid dearly loved a 
cup of tea. Maclise sketched her sitting by 
the fireside, her feet on the fender, steadying 
with one hand a pan on the fire, teapot, cup 
and saucer and milk -jug on the table by her 
side, and her cat nestling on her shoulder. 
Miss Ellen Terry also finds tea the best 
stimulant. In reply to the question, " What 
do you drink ? " put to her by a Chicago re- 
porter, she stated that her favourite beverage 
was tea. She takes tea after every meal, and 
also the first thing in the morning. 

Professor Everett, of Belfast, on the other 
hand, says that he has frequently suffered more 
from nervous excitability due to tea or coffee, 
than from any other kind of stimulant. Mr. 
Philip Gilbert Hamerton, the artist, con- 
fesses that at one time he did himself harm 
by drinking tea, but has given up coffee as 
well as tea. The Eev. Henry Solly, who has 
laboured for many years among working- 
men, has abstained from tea and coffee dur- 
ing the last fifteen years, as they caused 


98 Tea and Tea- drinking. 

nervous excitement, prostration, sleepless- 
ness, and great inequality of spirits. He 
hardly likes, however, denouncing the use 
of tea, as it seems to him the only refuge 
(except coffee, which to some constitutions 
is more injurious) for those persons who, 
though of a nervous and excitable tempera- 
ment, cannot persuade themselves to give up 
all stimulants, and yet desire to discountenance 
the use of alcohol. But he is quite sure that 
it causes or promotes many nervous diseases, 
particularly neuralgia, and not seldom leads 
to that " sinking M and depression which is 
so frequent a cause of resort being had to 
" nips " in the shape of glasses of wine or 

Mr. Solly is not alone in his unwillingness 
to denounce the use of tea, because, whatever 
maybe said against tea-drinking, its objectors 
cannot but admit that it is the least harmful 
of stimulants. 2 What is there to take its 

2 " With reference to the tea-drinking, of course there 
was such a thing as excess and indigestion but nobody 
ever heard of a man kicking his wife to death because 
he had drunk tea ; and no wife ever complained of her 
home being made unhappy through her husband drinking 
tea. There was not a judge on the bench who had not 

Tea as a Stimulant* 99 

place? " Once/ 'remarks Dr. Inrnan, of Liver- 
pool, " I was an unbeliever in tea, and during 
the many days of solitary misery which I had 
to endure in consequence of the delicacy of 
children and their absence with mamma at 
the seaside, I tried to do without it. Hot 
water and cold, milk and cream, soda water 
and brandy, water and nothing at all, were 
tried in succession to sweep those cobwebs 
from the brain, which a dinner and a con- 
sequent snooze left behind them. It was all 
in vain I was good for nothing, and the 
evenings intended to be devoted to work 
were passed in smoking, gossip, or novel- 
reading. I took to tea, and all was changed ; 
and now I fully believe that a good dinner, 
' forty winks, 5 and a cup of strong tea after- 
wards will enable a man to c get through ' 
no end of work, especially of a mental kind." 
Replying to the argument that as the 
lower animals do without tea and coffee, so 

borne witness to the fact that drunkenness was an in- 
centive to crime. When the judges began to admit that 
tea-drinking was increasing the criminal statistics of the 
country, then Mr. Ford could come forward with his 
amusing statement." Rev. Dr. Chadivick, speech at the 
piocesan Synod at Armagh, October 24, 1883, 
H 2 

ioo Tea and Tea-drinking. 

ought we. Dr. Poore emphasizes the fact that 
we are not lower animals ; that we have 
minds, as well as bodies; and that since 
these substances have the property in com- 
mon of enabling us to forget our worries 
and fatigues, to make light of misfortunes, 
and generally to bear " the stings and arrows 
of outrageous fortune/' let us accept them, 
make rational use of them, and be thankful. 
The super-dietetic-purists, who caution us 
against " those poisonous liquids, milk, water, 
and tea," have furnished Mr. George E. 
Sims with a congenial topic for his facile 
pen. From " The Drinker's Dirge " we quote 
the following lines : 

"In trying from all things our lips to debar, 
Hasn't Science just gallop'cl his hobby too far 1 
Let the nervous go thirsting, they shan't frighten me 
With this nonsense concerning milk, water, and tea." 

Turning from literature to politics, we 
find that Lord Palmerston resorted to tea to 
refresh him during the midnight hours he 
spent at St. Stephen's. Mr. Gladstone con- 
fessed a short time ago at Cannes, that he 
drank more tea between midnight and four 
in the morning than any other member of 

Tea as a Stimulant. 101 

the House of Commons ; and strange to say, 
the strongest tea, although taken imme- 
diately before going to bed, never interferes 
with his sleep. M. Clemenceau, the leader 
of the French Radicals, is also reported to 
have owned himself an intemperate bibber 
of tea. Both wondered how, before tea was 
imported into Europe, our forefathers got on 
without it. 3 It was remarked that manners 
had become more polite and nations more 
humane since the introduction of the Chinese 
beverage, on hearing which Mr. Gladstone 
exclaimed, " Oh ! there were great and ad- 
mirable characters in the Middle Ages." 

Although Sir Charles Dilke grows wine, 
he never drinks it, finding in tea a better 
stimulant. At one time Cobden was an 

3 "As tea did not come into England until 1610, and 
coffee until 1652, beer or wine was taken at all meals. 
The queen would only take beer regularly. Her maids 
of honour breakfasted, or rather dined, off meat and beer. 
Single and double beers were on all tables. In the year 
1570 the scholars of Trinity College, Cambridge, con- 
sumed 2250 barrels of beer, as appears from the State 
Papers of the time. Two tuns of wine a month were 
accredited to the suite of Mary Queen of Scots during 
her confinement in England." " The England of Shake- 
speare" by E. Goadby. 

IO2 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

abstainer from intoxicating drinks, which he 
declared useless for sustaining strength ; 
" for the more work I have had to do, the 
more I have resorted to the pump and the 
teapot." The hero of the Anti-Corn-Law 
League felt more at home drinking tea than 
dining with great people. The formalities 
of dinner parties were extremely irksome to 
him. "I have been obliged," he says, "to 
mount a white cravat at these dinner-parties 
much against my will, but I found a black 
stock was quite out of character." In another 
letter he writes, " I assure you I would rather 
find myself taking tea with you than dining 
with lords and ladies." But as the leader 
of a great movement, he found it necessary 
to sacrifice personal tastes and to endure the 
afflictions of dinner-parties, for the sake of 
securing the support of the aristocracy. 

Turning to the literature of the subject, it 
is interesting to learn that Hartley Coleridge 
was in his youth fond of tea. In Black- 
wood's Magazine (vol. 55, 1857) appears 
"An Unpublished Poem," by Hartley Cole- 
ridge, with the following note by the editor : 
" This early production of the late Hartley 

Tea as a Stimulant. 103 

Coleridge may not be without interest, as it 
describes a state of social manners which is 
already passing away, in a style of composi- 
tion which belongs in some measure to the 
past." The poem commences thus : 

" Though all unknown to Greek and Koman song, 
The paler Hyson and the dark Souchong, 
Though black, not green, the warbled praises share 
Of knightly troubadour or gay trouvere. 
Yet deem not thou, an alien quite to numbers, 
That friend to prattle, and that foe to slumbers, 
Which Kian-Long, imperial poet praised 
So high that cent, per cent, its price was raised ; 
Which Pope himself would sometimes condescend 
To plead commodious at a couplet's end ; 
Which the sweet bard of Olney did not spurn, 
Who loved the music of the * hissing urn,' 
Let her who bade me write, exact the Muse, 
Inspire my genius and my tea infuse, 
So shall my verse the hovering sylphs delight, 
And critic gnomes relinquish half their spite, 
Clear, warm and flowing as my liquid theme, 
As sweet as sugar and as smooth as cream." 

Happy would it have been for the young 
poet if he had remained a tea-drinker, and 
had never known the taste of alcohol. 

But Cowper is the poet of the tea-table. 
He it is whom the amateur reporters love to 
quote, or, rather, misquote, when they de- 

JO4 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

scribe the friends at a tea-party, " partaking 
of the cup that cheers, but not inebriates." 
What the poet really said is found in Book 
the Fourth of the " Task." 

" Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast, 
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round, 
And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn 
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups 
That cheer, but not inebriate, wait on each, 
So let us welcome peaceful evening in." 

The Friends and the Foes of Tea. 105 



A learned Dutchman's opinion of tea Two hundred cups 
a day recommended Tea the universal panacea 
Tea-merchants greedy as hell Degeneracy of the 
race through tea-drinking Appeal to women Tea 
a slow poison Experiment upon a dog John Wes- 
ley's attack upon tea "Why he preached against it 
Dr. Lettsom's thesis Accuses tea of leading to 
intemperance The essential principle of tea The 
value of experiments upon animals Tea-drinking 
among women The Anti-Teapot Society The bene- 
fits of tea-drinking Dr. Kichardson's condemnation 
The Dean of Bangor as a joker Life without 
stimulants Dr. Poore's description of the good and 
bad effects of tea-drinking Injurious to children 
A properly controlled appetite the safest guide. 

LIKE tobacco, tea received on its introduction 
very different treatment by different people. 
It was extravagantly praised by some, and 
extravagantly denounced by others. " Some 

io6 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

ascribe such sovereign virtues to this exotic," 
remarks one author, "as if 'twas able to 
eradicate or prevent the spring of all diseases. 
. . . Others, on the contrary, are equally 
severe in their censures, and impute the 
most pernicious consequences to it, account- 
ing it no better than a slow but efficacious 
poison, and a seminary of diseases." A 
learned Dutchman pronounced it the infalli- 
ble cure for bad health, and declared that 
" if mankind could be induced to drink a 
sufficient quantity of it, the innumerable ills 
to which man is subject would not only be 
diminished, but entirely unknown." He 
went so far as to express his conviction that 
200 cups daily would not be too much. It 
is scarcely surprising, therefore, to find the 
Dutch East India Company liberally reward- 
ing this eloquent apostle of the new drink. 
Scarcely less enthusiastic was the professor 
of physic in a German University, who de- 
clared tea "the defence against thq enemies 
of health ; the universal panace^which has 
long been sought for." This opinion, in- 
deed, prevailed very extensively in the East. 
The following notice is copied from the 

The Friends and the Foes of 7>#. 107 

" Eelation of the Voyage to Siam by Six 
Jesuits, in 1685 :" " It is a civility amongst 
them to present betel and tea to all that 
visit them. Their own country supplies 
them with betel and areca, but they have 
their tea from China and Japan. All the 
Orientals have a particular esteem for it, 
because of the great virtues they find to be 
in it. Their physicians say that it is a 
sovereign medicine against the stone and 
pains of the head, that it allays vapours, 
that it cheers the mind, and strengthens the 
stomach. In all kinds of fevers they take 
it stronger than commonly, when they begin 
to feel the heat of the fit, and then the 
patient covers himself up to sweat, and it 
hath been very often found that this sweat 
wholly drives away the fever." A similar 
belief in the virtues of opium existed until 
very recently in the minds of the people of 
the Fen counties. 

The enemies of tea appear to have been 
quite as active as its friends. A German 
physician declared it a cause of dropsy and 
diabetes, and the introducer of foreign 
diseases, and he charged the merchants with 


Tea and Tea-drinking. 

" inexpressible frauds, calling them greedy 
as hell, the vilest of usurers, who lie in wait 
for men's purses and lives/' According to 
Mr. Mattieu Williams, drunkenness serves 
one useful purpose ; for it helps to get rid 
of the surplus population. A French phy- 


sician held similar views of the use of tea 
and coffee ; for, writing at the close of the 
seventeenth century, he expressed his belief, 
" that they are permitted by God's providence 
for the lessening the number of mankind by 
shortening life, as a kind of silent plague." 
Coming down to more recent times, the 

The Friends and the Foes of Tea. 109 

most remarkable production against tea 
appeared in 1722. The mind of the author 
seems to have been seriously disturbed at 
the prospect of the deterioration of the race, 
which would inevitably follow indulgence in 
tea. His treatise, which is addressed to 
ladies, is entitled " An Essay on the Nature, 
Use, and Abuse of Tea, in a Letter to a Lady ; 
with an Account of its Mechanical Operation. 
London : printed by J. Bettenham for James 
Lacy at the Ship, between the Two Temple 
Gates, Fleet Street, 1722. Price Is." This 
book contains some curious information 
about the diseases liable to follow the use of 
tea. The author begins : 

" Madam, an earnest desire, which all ages have 
shown, to serve your sex will, I hope, be sufficient 
warrant for my troubling you with these papers. To be 
assisting towards the preservation of that form and beauty 
with which God has adorned you, is certainly a work not 
less pious than pleasant ; for while we indulge ourselves 
in our greatest pleasure (which is to serve your sex), would 
also show our love and gratitude to the Almighty Being, 
whose form you so nearly represent, and to whom we are 
so much indebted for the blessing we received when He 
gave man so agreeable an helpmate. Though the value 
which we ought to set on this blessing is a sufficient 
motive to us to endeavour by all means to dissuade you 
from anything which may be to your detriment, yet there 

i io Tea and Tea-drinking. 

are other motives which oblige us to have a more par- 
ticular regard to the health of your sex. For when by 
any means you ignore your constitutions and impair your 
healths, though you yourselves suffer too severely for it, 
yet the tragedy does not end here, for the calamity is 
entailed on succeeding ages, perhaps to the third and 
fourth generations." 

The author then notes the fact that Ly- 
curgus thought the Spartan women not in 
the least unworthy of his care and direction, 
and proceeds to remark : 

" If this lawgiver lived in these our days, what a mean 
opinion, what a little hope, would he have of the next 
age, when the women of this age fell so very short of that 
regularity and healthy way of living, which he looked on 
as necessary for the preservation of a state ! With what 
an uneasiness would he have seen the many errors which 
we daily commit ! errors which are introduced by luxury, 
suffered through ignorance, and supported by being fashion- 
able. He would soon have condemned the exorbitant use 
of tea, and upon the first observing its ill effects would 
certainly have prohibited the importation of it. But the 
present age has other considerations : tea pays too great a 
duty, and supports too many coaches, not to be preferred 
to the health of the public. Tea has too great interest 
to be prohibited, and I wish reason itself may be sufficient 
to dissuade the world from the use of it. I must confess 
I have so little hope from, these papers, that though (to 
me and some others, who have had the perusal of them) 
they seem just and satisfactory, yet I should never have 
presented them to the public, had not I thought it an 

The Friends and the Foes of Tea. 1 1 1 

indispensable duty to acquaint the world with the many 
disorders which may possibly arise from its too frequent 

This worthy benefactor of his species con- 
tends that tea is a slow but sure poison, 
and that it is " not less destructive to the 
animal economy than opium, or some other 
drugs which we have at present learned to 
avoid with more caution." He does not deny 
that tea is " useful as physic," but lays down 
the following propositions, which he en- 
deavours to prove. First, that tea may 
attenuate the blood to any degree necessary 
to the production of any disease, which may 
arise from too thin a state of the blood. 
Secondly, that tea may depauper the blood, 
or waste the spirits, to any degree necessary 
to produce any disease, which may arise from 
too poor a blood. Third, that tea may bring 
on any degree whatsoever of a plethora 
necessary to the production of any disease, 
which may arise from a plethoric state of 
body. From an experiment upon a dog the 
author concludes that " tea abounds with a 
lixiviate salt, by whose assistance it attenuates 
the blood," The author draws some terrible 

1 1 2 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

pictures of the evils of tea-drinking, but does 
not presume to dictate how his readers should 
act. " Whether or not we ought to abandon 
the use of what may possibly be of so vast 
injury to us, I leave to every reasonable man 
to judge, having myself done the duty of a 
man and Christian in warning them of what 
dangers they may fall into." 

On the other hand, Thomas Frost, M.D., 
wrote a " Discourse on Tea, with Plain and 
Useful Rules for Gouty People," in 1750. In 
this he contended that, 

" A moderate use of tea of a due strength seems better 
adapted to the fair sex than men, for they, naturally being 
of a more lax and delicate make, are more liable to a fulness 
of blood and juices ; as also because they have less exer- 
cise or head-labours, than which nothing braces better, or 
gives the fibres a greater springiness ; and because they 
are less accustomed to drink wine, whose astringency cor- 
rugates the fibres, and enables the vessels to act with 
greater briskness and force, so in some measure answers 
the end of the labour." 

He holds that tea in a dietetic point of 
view seems in general not only harmless, but 
very useful, but considers it impossible to 
say "beforehand with what healthy persons 
tea will disagree, till they have used it; 

The Friends and the Foes of Tea. 1 1 3 

where it disagrees, it should immediately be 
left off, for there is no altering or compel- 
ling a constitution. However, where it agrees, 
it excels all other vegetables, foreign or 
domestic, for preventing sleepiness, drowsi- 
ness, or dulness, and taking off weariness or 
fatigue, raising the spirits safely, corrobo- 
rating the memory, strengthening the judg- 
ment, quickening the invention, &c. ; but then 
it should be drank moderately, and in the 
afternoon chiefly, and not made too habitual/' 
John Wesley, a few years later, attacked the 
use of tea. In 1748 he published a small tract, 
"Letter to a Friend concerning Tea," in 
which he accused tea of impairing digestion, 
unstringing the nerves, involving great and 
useless expense, and in his own case, and that 
of others, inducing symptoms of paralysis. 
But, in the first instance, he preached against 
tea, not because he thought it injurious, but 
because he wanted money. The whole of the 
London Methodists were at that time very 
poor. The Rev. L. Tyerman, in his " Life 
and Times of the Rev. John Wesley/' says, 

" The number of members in the London Society on 
the 12 tli of April, 1746, was 1939, and the amount of 


1 1 4 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

their quarterly contributions 113Z. 9s., upon an average 
fourteenpence per member. Considering the high price 
of money, and that nearly the whole of the London 
Methodists were extremely poor, the amount subscribed 
was highly creditable. Wesley also believed its use to be 
injurious. He tells us that when he first went to Oxford, 
with an exceedingly good constitution, and being other- 
wise in health, he was somewhat surprised at certain 
symptoms of a paralytic disorder. His hand shook, espe- 
cially after breakfast ; but he soon observed that if for 
two or three days he intermitted drinking tea, the shaking 
ceased. Upon inquiry, he found tea had the same effect 
upon others, and particularly on persons whose nerves 
were weak. This led him to lessen the quantity he took, 
and to drink it weaker ; but still for above six and twenty 
years he was more or less subject to the same disorder. 
In July, 1746, he began to observe that abundance of the 
people of London were similarly affected ; some of them 
having their nerves unstrung, and their bodily strength 
decayed. He asked them if they were hard drinkers ; 
they replied, * No, indeed, we drink scarce anything but 
a little tea morning and night ! ' . . . Having set the ex- 
ample (of abstinence from tea) "Wesley recommended the 
same abstinence to a few of his preachers ; and a week later 
to above a hundred of his people, whom he believed to be 
strong in faith, all of whom, with two or three exceptions, 
resolved by the grace of God to make the trial without 
delay. In a short time he proposed it to the whole 
society. Objections rose in abundance. Some said, ' Tea 
is not unwholesome at all.' To these he replied that 
many eminent physicians had declared it was, and that, if 
frequently used by those of weak nerves, it is no other 
than a slow poison. Others said, ' Tea is not un whole- 

The Friends and the Foes of Tea. \ 1 5 

some to me ; why then should I leave it off ? ' Wesley 
answered, 'To give an example to those to whom it is 
undeniably prejudicial, and to have the more wherewith 
to feed the hungry, and to clothe the naked.' Others said, 
' It helps my health, nothing else will agree with me.' 
To such Wesley's caustic reply was, ' I suppose your 
body is much of the same kind with that of your grand- 
mother, and do you think nothing else agreed with her, 
or with any of her progenitors? What poor, puling, 
sickly things must all the English then have been till 
within these hundred years ! Besides, if, in fact, nothing 
else will agree with you if tea has already weakened 
your stomach, and impaired your digestion to such a 
degree, it has hurt you more than you are aware. You 
have need to abhor it as deadly poison, and to renounce 
it from this very hour.' What was the result of Wesley's 
attempt to form a tea-total society 1 We can hardly tell, 
except that he himself abstained from tea for the next 
twelve years, until Dr. Fothergill ordered him to resume 
its use. Charles Wesley began to abstain, but how long 
his abstinence lasted we are not informed. About 100 
of the London Methodists followed the example of their 
leader ; and, besides these, a large number of others 
began to be temperate and to use less than they had 

"This was, to say the least," adds Mr. 
Tyerman, " an amusing episode in Wesley's 
laborious life. All must give him credit for 
the best and most benevolent intentions, and 
it is right to add that, ten days after his 
proposal was submitted to the London Society, 
I 2 

1 1 6 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

he had collected among his friends thirty 
pounds for a lending stock, and that this 
was soon made up to fifty, by means of 
which, before the year was ended, above 250 
destitute persons had received acceptable 

The most noteworthy opponent after 
Wesley was Jonas Hanway, who, in 1756, 
wrote a bulky volume under the title of " A 
Journal of Eight Days' Journey from Ports- 
mouth to Kingstoii-upon-Thames, to which 
is added an Essay on Tea, considered as Per- 
nicious to Health, obstructing Industry, and 
impoverishing the Nation." The effects of 
tea-drinking formed the subject of Dr. Lett- 
som's inaugural thesis, when he sought the 
medical doctorate of the University of Ley den 
in 1767. He accused tea of inducing " excess 
in spirituous liquors, by reason of the weak- 
ness and debility of the system brought on 
by the daily habit of drinking tea, seeking 
a temporary relief in some cordial ; of pro- 
ducing in some excruciating pains about the 
stomach, involuntary trembling and flutter- 
ing of the nerves, destruction of half your 
teeth at the age of twenty, without any hopes 

The Friends and the Foes of Tea. 117 

of getting new ones, depression, loss of 
memory, tremblings and symptoms of para- 
lysis ; and of bringing on a gradual debility 
and impoverished condition of the entire 

Tea contains an active principle called 
theine, which, according to Dr. Sinclair, was 
discovered so recently as 1827. Adopting 
one of the methods of the opponents of 
tobacco, the enemies of tea conclude it to be 
a deadly poison from its effect upon animals. 
A New York dentist is reported to have 
boiled down a pound of young Hyson tea 
from a quart to half a pint, ten drops of 
which killed a rabbit three months old ; and 
when boiled down to one gill, eight drops 
killed a cat of the same age in a few minutes. 
" Think of it ! " exclaims an opponent of tea, 
"most persons who drink tea use not less 
than a pound in three months, and yet a 
pound of Hyson tea contains poison enough 
to kill, according to the above experiment, 
more than 17,000 rabbits, or nearly 200 a 
day ! and if boiled down to a gill, it contains 
poison enough to kill 10,860 cats in the same 
space of time ! How can any one in his 

1 1 8 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

senses believe that any human being can take 
poison enough into the stomach in one day to 
kill 185 rabbits and not suffer from it ? or 
that the uses of this poison can be continued 
from day to day without injury to health 
and life ? l 

The Americans appear the most ener- 
getic in their opposition to tea. An or- 
ganization called the " American Health and 
Temperance Association " was formed in 
1879 against tobacco, tea, and coffee; and, 
according to one of its publications, has a 
membership of more than 10,000. It believes 
that more harm is done at the present time 
by tobacco, tea, and coffee, than by all forms 
of alcoholic drinks combined, and " the tee- 
total pledge of the association requires 
abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee, 
opium, and all other narcotics and stimu- 
lants." The " Good Health Publishing Com- 
pany," at Battle Creek, also issues tracts on 
the " Evil Effects of the Use of Tea and 

1 " It is not safe, in regard to the action of a drug on 
animals, to conclude that its effect will be the same on 
men. For instance, belladonna, which is a deadly poison 
for men, does not hurt rabbits." Professor Rolleston. 

The Friends and the Foes of Tea. 1 19 

Coffee/ 3 in which it is contended that these 
beverages waste vital force, and injure diges- 
tion and the nervous system ; and that they 
irritate the temper, and encourage gossip and 
scandal. 2 

A New York magazine, the Herald of 
Health, is equally unsparing in its attacks 
on tea-drinking : " The habit of tea-drink- 
ing among women is one of the worst 
with which the hygienic physician has to 
contend. Very few women, comparatively, 
among civilized peoples are free from this 
vice for vice it is and as pronounced in its 
effects as either whisky or tobacco. ... It 
is a common custom among women who do 
hard manual labour to depend upon their cup 
of tea, when they are tired, to rest them, as 
they say, and thus the wearied nerves are 

2 There may be some truth in this statement. " I do 
not remember any mention of tea in Wycherley, but in 
Congreve's * Double Dealer 7 (Act 1, Scene 1, p. 175 a), 
the scene is laid at Lord Touchwood's house ; and when 
Careless inquires what has become of the ladies, just 
after dinner, Mellefont replies, " Why, they are at the 
end of the gallery, retired to tea and scandal, accord- 
ing to their ancient custom." BucTde, Common-Place 

I2O Tea and Tea-drinking. 

lulled to sleep and the warning voice of 
nature hushed, that the work may be done 
and the system taxed to the utmost that it 
is able to bear without complete exhaustion. 
Is it any wonder that women once broken 
down are so hard to restore to health again ? 

" On- women and children its worst con- 
sequences fall. To the use of tea may be 
traced directly most of the prostrating 
nervous headaches with which so many 
women are afflicted ; also most of the neu- 
ralgic and nervous affections. Of course 
children inherit the tendency to these and 
similar conditions, and many a puny, ema- 
ciated nervous little one is so because its 
mother was a tea-drunkard, and its whole 
system has been narcotized from the time 
its being began/' 

In England the opposition against tea has 
never taken an organized form, but a good 
deal has been said and written on the ques- 
tion. In 1863 or 1864 an Anti-Teapot 
Society was formed, but not against tea- 
drinking. It published a quarterly magazine 
called the Anti-Teapot Review. A corre- 
spondent of Notes and Queries stated that it 

The Friends and the Foes of Tea. 1 2 1 

was no enthusiastic wish, to convert tea- 
topers into anything else that called this body 
into existence ; it was rather a desire to 
oppose and to cast scorn on the narrowness 
of mind that seems to be encouraged in 
circles which, by no very violent figure of 
speech, may be described around a teapot. 
In other words, he says, the A. T. S. was 
a combination against modern Pharisaism, 
and he quotes the following extract from 
No. 1 of the Review, May, 1864, as proving 
his point : 

" Many persons either do not, or pretend not to, know 
what teapotism is. In consequence of this ignorance or 
affectation we shall, in a few words, try to describe the 
leading features of the male and female teapot. Teapotism 
is a magnificent profession, but a very sorry practice ! It 
professes a large-hearted liberality, unbounded piety, and 
the enunciation of true principles ; but its practice is that 
of a narrow-minded clique, who condemn all who go not 
with them. Its piety consists in hero-worship and the 
circulation of illiterate tracts,, calculated to attract the 
strong and to confound the weak ; it is bounded on the 
north by the platform and meeting-house, and on the 
south by scandal, hassocks and tea, whence the name of 
teapots, c." 

The article ends with the assurance that 
" The society will go on as it began : it 

122 Tea and Tea- drinking. 

will remain strictly private, enforce the same 
rules, and show that it is the enemy, not of 
tea, but of teapots." The Bevieiv professed 
to be edited by members of the universities, 
and written only by members of the Anti- 
Teapot Society of Europe. The qualifica- 
tions for membership were, to read the rules, 
to fill up the form of admission to be had 
in English, French, German, Dutch, and 
other languages ; to be nominated and 
seconded by any two officers ; " the latter 
(sic) wholesome rule was introduced so that 
inquisitive people might be prevented from 
joining the society out of sheer curiosity." 
The society appears to have made no con- 
verts, and had but a very short existence. 

Tea-parties have always been popular 
institutions among Dissenting bodies, and 
it is therefore not surprising to find ministers 
taking part in meetings advocating a re- 
duction of the tea duties. In 1848 the Eev. 
Dr. Hume, attending a meeting in Liverpool 
for this purpose, warmly defended tea, on the 
ground of health, and quoted with great 
satisfaction the evidence of Dr. Sigmond, 
given before the Committee of the House of 

The Friends and the Foes of Tea. 123 

Commons. Asked what had been the result 
of the medical inquiries into the effect of 
tea upon the human frame, Doctor Sigmond 
replied, " I think it is of great importance 
in the prevention of skin disease, in com- 
parison with any fluid we have been in the 
habit of drinking in former years, and also 
in removing glandular affections. I think 
scrofula has very much diminished in this 
country since tea has been so largely used. 
To those classes of society who are not of 
labouring habits, but who are of sedentary 
habits, and exercise the mind a good deal, 
tea is of great importance/ 5 

On the other hand, a famous physician of 
our time takes an entirely opposite view of 
the question. At the Sanitary Congress last 
year Dr. Richardson delivered an address 
on " Felicity as a Sanitary Research," and 
charged tea with being a promoter of in- 
felicity. "As a rule," he says, "all agents 
which stimulate that is to say, relax the 
arterial tension, and so allow the blood a 
freer course through the organs, promote for 
a time felicity, but in the reaction leave de- 
pression. The alkaloid in tea, theine, has this 

124 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

effect. It causes a short and slight felicity. It 
causes in a large number of persons a long 
and severe and even painful sadness. There 
are many who never knew a day of felicity, 
owing to this one destroying cause. In our 
poorer districts, amongst the poor women of 
our industrial populations, our spinning, our 
stocking-weaving women, the misery incident 
to their lot is often doubled by this one 

The Dean of Bangor is the latest clerical 
opponent of tea-drinking. Speaking at a 
meeting held to further the establishment of 
courses of instruction in practical cookery in 
the elementary schools, he said that if he 
had his own way there would be much less 
tea-drinking among people of all classes. 
Oatmeal and milk produced strong, hearty, 
good-tempered men and women; whereas 
excessive tea-drinking created a generation 
of nervous, discontented people, who were 
for ever complaining of the existing order of 
the universe, scolding their neighbours, and 
sighing after the impossible. Good cooking 
would, he firmly believed, enable them to 
take far higher and more correct views of 


The Friends and the Foes of Tea. 127 

existence. In fact, lie suspected that too 
much tea-drinking, by destroying the calm- 
ness of the nerves, was acting as a dangerous 
revolutionary force among us. Tea-drinking, 
renewed three or four times a day, made men 
and women feel w r eak, and the result was 
that the tea-kettle went before the gin- 
bottle, and the physical and nervous weak- 
ness, that had its origin in the bad cookery 
of an ignorant wife, ended in ruin, intem- 
perance, and disease. 

The worthy Dean's denunciation of tea- 
drinking formed the subject of numerous 
leading articles in the press, followed by 
letters from correspondents, several of whom 
referred to the difficulty of finding any satis- 
factory substitute for the fragrant and re- 
freshing beverage which, during the present 
century, has come to be regarded almost as 
a necessary of life in English homes, both 
rich and poor. One gentleman pathetically 
describes his feelings on being presented one 
afternoon in a drawing-room, where he had 
been in the habit of being served with " at 
least three cups of supernatural tea," with 
" a glass brimful of a dim, opaque, greyish- 

128 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

white liquid," which turned out to be cold 

Admitting that tea-drinking leads to in- 
digestion, the St. James's Gazette points out 
that " tea-drinking is still, in itself, better 
than drunkenness ; and there is always a 
chance that the first factor in the fatal series 
may not lead to the second, nor the second 
to the third. What numbers of persons of 
both sexes every one must know who drink 
tea three times a day morning, afternoon, 
and evening without ever getting drunk at 
all ! Every one, again, must have met with 
cases in which men have brought themselves 
to utter grief through the abuse of spirituous 
liquors; but who ever heard of a man 
ruining himself or his family through ex- 
cessive indulgence in tea? The confirmed 
tea-drinker never commits murder in his cups 
never even goes home in a frantic con- 
dition to beat his wife. It is certain, 011 the 
other hand, that tea drunk in immoderate 
quantities does not good, but harm ; and it 
is very desirable that, both in drinking and 
eating, people should on all occasions be 
temperate. It is difficult, however, to get 

The Friends and the Foes of Tea. 129 

through existence without stimulants of 
some kind; and tea is probably as little 
injurious as any yet discovered. c Life with- 
out stimulants/ as a modern philosopher has 
remarked, ' would be a dreary waste.' ' 

Reviewing the discussion, the Lancet 
doubted whether the abuse of tea-drinking is 
prevalent in the country, and maintained 
that hard-worked minds and fatigued bodies 
are the better for some gentle stimulant that 
rouses into activity the nerves, and which 
ministers to animal life and comfort. The 
editor concluded that the worthy dean's 
" conclusions are drawn from insufficient 
premises, which in their turn can scarcely 
be regarded as scientific truths." 

The latest medical contribution to the 
literature of the question is a lecture on 
" Coffee and Tea," by Dr. Poore, Vice-Chair- 
man of the Council of the Parkes Museum, 
given at the Parkes Museum on the 6th of 
December, 1883. He thus describes the 
good and bad effects of these luxuries : 

" The peculiar effects of tea and coffee are due to the 
alkaloid. These effects are of a refreshing character. The 
circulation of the blood is increased ; the elimination of 


1 30 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

C0 2 by the lungs is heightened. The reflex excitability of 
the nerve centres is roused, thereby increasing the im- 
pressionability of the consumer, and great wakefubxesa 
results ; it also excites the peristalsis of the intestines. 
Tea and coffee, then, are stimulants ; they rouse the 
tissues to increased action, make us insensible to fatigue, 
and enable us to do more work than we otherwise could. 
The differences between these stimulants and alcoholic 
stimulants are worth noticing. Tea and coffee keep us 
awake and attentive, and those who have taken either for 
the purposes of midnight study, will know how under 
their influence the receptive powers of the brain seem to 
be at its maximum. They cause 110 mental * elevation/ 
and do not rouse the imaginative faculties as a glass of 
wine seems to do. They enable a man to work, and often 
rob him of sleep, and do not, like a glass of wine, tend to 
increase the power of sleep after the work has been accom- 
plished. The tannic acid in tea is doubtless one of the 
causes why it is as a drink so attractive. It is slightly 
astringent, and clean in the mouth, and does not ' cloy the 
palate,' an expression for which I can find no scientific 
equivalent ; tannic acid is also one of the dangers and 
drawbacks of tea. It is largely present in the common 
teas used by the poor. . . . Excessive tea-drinkers are more 
common than excessive coffee -drinkers, because the heavier 
coffee more easily produces satiety than the lighter tea ; 
and it is not possible for ordinary stomachs to tolerate 
more than a certain amount of coffee, even when pure, and 
only a very small amount of the thick, sweet, adulterated 
stuff which too often passes for coffee in this country. . . . 
Tea is more of a pure beverage than coffee, has less dietetic 
value, and is less stimulating ; it is more capable of being 
used as a pure luxury (it is indeed the tobacco of women), 

The Friends and the Foes of Tea. 131 

but its great astringency is one reason which makes its 
excessive use highly undesirable." 

The question of the action of tea, as well 
as of tobacco and other stimulants, has 
occupied the attention of Professor Mante- 
gazza, an Italian physiologist of high repute. 
This eminent scholar places tea amongst 
the nervous foods ; and his enthusiasm for 
it is unbounded. He credits it with the 
power of dispelling weariness and lessening 
the annoyances of life. He considers it the 
greatest friend to the man of letters, enabling 
him to work without fatigue ; an aid to 
conversation, rendering it pleasant and easy. 
His own experience of tea is, that it revives 
drooping intellectual activity; and he re- 
gards it the best stimulus to exertion. 
" Without its aid/ 5 he says, " I should be 
idle." His general conclusions are that it 
is beneficial to adults, but injurious to chil- 
dren; and he pronounces it one of the 
greatest blessings of Providence. 

Whatever may be urged in favour of tea, 

it is undeniable that excess is injurious, and 

that children would be better without it. It 

contains no strength, and therefore ought to 

K 2 

132 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

be forbidden to the young. In an inquiry 
into the sickly condition of tlie children in 
many of the cotton factories of Lancashire, 
Dr. Ferguson, of Bolton, found that children 
between thirteen and sixteen years of age, 
who had been brought up on tea or coffee, 
increased in weight only about four pounds 
a year, while those fed on milk increased at 
the rate of about fifteen pounds a year. For 
this evil the blame rests entirely upon the 
mothers, who exceed the bounds of modera- 
tion in the use of tea. Though doctors 
differ widely in their views of the action of 
tea, they all agree that few things are more 
certain to produce " flatulence in the over- 
worked female " than this beverage. Their 
views are shared by other authorities. Miss 
Barnett, speaking at the National Health 
Society's Exhibition last year, said, "I am 
constantly preaching against tea, as it is 
taken by the vast majority of the working 
women of England. They drink it at every 
meal, and suffer from indigestion before they 
come to middle age. They try to get the 
blackest fluid out of the tea, and in doing so 
draw out the tannin, which, though it has its 

The Friends and the Foes of Tea. 133 

virtues, acts upon the coats of the stomach 
and produces indigestion by middle life/ 5 

But the argument that tea shortens the 
life of every man who drinks it is absurd. 
"It is said," remarked Win. Howitt, "that 
Mithridates could live and flourish on poisons, 
and, if it is true that tea or coffee is a poison, 
so do most of us. Wm. Hutton, the shrewd 
and humorous author of the histories of 
Birmingham and Derby, and also of a life 
of himself, scarcely inferior to that of Frank- 
lin in lessons of life-wisdom, said that he 
had been told that coffee was a slow poison, 
and he added that he had found it very 
slow, for he had drunk it more than sixty 
years without any ill effect. My experience 
of tea, as well as coffee," added Howitt, 
" has been the same." Howitt's experience 
is the experience of tens of thousands 
of people. The moral in this, as in other 
matters, is that people must judge for them- 
selves whether tea is injurious or beneficial. 
As Dr. Poore candidly admits, " a properly 
controlled appetite, or instinct, is as safe a 
guide in the matters of diet as a physiologist 
or a moralist." 

134 Tea and Tea-drinking. 



Tea heavily taxed How it was adulterated in the ' ' Good 
Old Times " Efforts to secure a reduction in the 
duty Why crime and ignorance prevail Mr. Dis- 
raeli's proposal to reduce the duty on tea, opposed 
by Mr. Gladstone Mr. Gladstone's legislation 
The Chancellor of the Exchequer memorialized to 
reduce the duty on Indian tea The annual expen- 
diture on tea Professor Leoni Levi's estimate of 
its consumption by the working classes. 

TEA had not been in use many years before 
the government discovered in it a valuable 
means of replenishing the national exchequer. 
Accordingly they passed a law, in 1660, im- 
posing a duty of eightpence per gallon on 
all tea made and sold in coffee-houses, which 
were visited twice daily by officers. It would 
occupy too much space to describe subse- 
quent legislation, but the subject appears at 

Tea as a Source of Revenue. 135 

times to have been almost as perplexing as 
the liquor traffic to the various govern- 

The tea duties have, however, always been 
excessively heavy, and it is therefore not 
surprising that a great deal of smuggling 
was carried on in the " G-ood Old Times," and 
that deceptions were practised to a very 
large extent by unscrupulous tea-dealers. 
Parliament at last interfered. In the reign 
of George II. an Act of Parliament recites 
that " several ill-disposed persons do fre- 
quently fabricate, dye, or manufacture very 
great quantities of sloe-leaves, liquorice- 
leaves, and the leaves of tea that have before 
been used, or the leaves of other trees, 
shrubs, or plants, in imitation of tea, and 
do likewise mix, colour, stain and dye such 
leaves with terra japonica, sugar, molasses, 
clay, logwood and with other ingredients, 
and do sell and vend the same as real tea, to 
the prejudice of the health of his Majesty's 
subjects, the diminution of his revenue, and 
to the ruin of the fair trader." The Act 
then declares, "that the dealer in and seller 
of such sophisticated teas shall forfeit the 

136 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

sum often pounds for every pound-weight." 
In a report of the Committee of the House 
of Commons, in 1783, it is stated that 
" the quantity of fictitious tea annually 
manufactured from sloe, liquorice, and ash- 
tree leaves, in different parts of England, to 
be mixed with genuine teas, is computed at 
four millions of pounds, and that at a time 
when the whole quantity of genuine tea sold 
by the Bast India Company did not exceed 
more than six millions of pounds annually.' * 
The Act does not seem, however, to have 
done much to check the evil, for in the year 
1828 the existence of several tea manu- 
factories was disclosed, the penalties for 
defrauding the revenue amounting in one 
case to 840Z. It is impossible to estimate 
the amount of smuggled tea consumed, but 
the official accounts indicate a large con- 

It appears that from 1710 to 1810 not 
fewer than 750,219,016 Ibs. of tea were sold 
at the East India Company's sales, the value 
of which was 129,804,5952. The duty alone 
amounted to 104,856,858Z. In 1828 the 
revenue amounted to 3,302,252?. The ex- 


Tea as a Source of Revenue. 139 

elusive right of trading in tea, so long en- 
joyed by the East India Company, terminated 
on the 22nd of April, 1834, when an altera- 
tion was made in the method of collecting 
the dues. Under the old system a tax was 
levied on the value of the tea ; but under 
the new it was levied upon the weight and 
quality, the duties ranging from Is. 6d. on 
Bohea, and 3s. 011 Pekoe and other kinds. 1 

The transfer did not, however, secure the 
approval of the tea-dealers, who continued to 
petition Parliament for a reduction of the 
duty. A society was formed at Liverpool 
with this object in view, and in 1846 its 
officers published a letter addressed to Sir 
Eobert Peel, contending that, as tea was an 

1 Hyson means before rain, or flourishing spring ; 
therefore it is often called " young Hyson." " Hyson 
Skin " is composed of the refuse of other kinds, the 
native term being "tea-skins." Refuse of still coarser 
descriptions is called " tea-bones." Boliea is the name 
of the hills in the region where it is gathered. Pekoe, or 
Poco, means " white hair," or the down of tender leaves ; 
Powchong, "folded plant;" Souchong, "small plant." 
Ticankay is the name of a river in the region where it is 
bought. Congo, from a term signifying " labour," for the 
care required in its preparation. "Notes and Queries" 
Third Series, vi. p. 264. 

140 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

object of the first importance to the labour- 
ing classes, " the duty on it should be such 
in amount and principle as to induce the 
greatest consumption." The memorialists 
argued : 

" That the duties have been imposed without any re- 
ference to the encouragement of its consumption ; that 
the quantity required by the public for their wants and 
comforts has never entered into the consideration of the 
legislature ; that all they have looked to has been to get 
a certain amount of revenue from tea, treating it, impor- 
tant as it is to the people's sustenance and well-being, as 
a subject unworthy of consideration, per se, and for their 
benefit ; that it has been taxed from time to time, heavier 
and heavier, as its consumption increased; so that, look- 
ing at the changes which have taken place in these 
duties, it would appear as if their object had been to 
check, if not altogether destroy, the use of tea amongst 
us, as though it were a poisonous or noxious thing, a 
species of opium, which, on moral and political grounds, 
ought to be prohibited. The memorialists found, by a 
return to an order of the House of Commons, dated the 
llth of February, 1845, that in 1784 the tax was 12f 
per cent.; in 1795 it was raised to 20 per cent.; in 1797 
to 20 per cent, under 2s. 6d. per lb., and 30 per cent, at 
and above that price ; in 1798 to 20 and 35 per cent, 
respectively; in 1800 to 20 and 40 per cent. ; in 1801 to 
20 and 50 per cent. ; in 1803 to 65 and 95 per cent.; in 
1806 to 96 per cent, on all prices; and in 1819 to 96 per 
cent, under 2s. per lb., and 100 per cent, at and above that 
price, continuing to the termination of the company's 

Tea as a Source of Revenue. 141 

charter. In 1834, the trade being thrown open, the duty 
was attempted to be levied according to a scale which 
was supposed to mark quality, being Is. 6d. per Ib. on the 
lowest tea, 2s. 2d. per Ib. on the middle, and 3s. per Ib. 
on the finest kinds. This scale was also constructed on 
the principle of taxing as near as may be the article with 
an average duty of 100 per cent., but was abandoned in 
1836, and succeeded by a uniform duty of 2s. Id. per Ib. 
until 1840, when the additional 5 per cent, imposed on all 
Customs duties brought it up to 2s. 2^d. per Ib." 

In the following year, 1846, a towns' 
meeting was held at Liverpool for the 
purpose of " taking into consideration the 
measures which should be adopted to pro- 
cure as speedily as possible a material re- 
duction of the present duty on tea." A 
resolution was passed declaring the duty of 
2s. 2d. exorbitant, impolitic, and oppressive. 
In supporting a resolution that a reduction 
of duty would remove inducements to in- 
temperance and thereby diminish crime, an 
employer of labour felt assured that if the 
legislature would cheapen tea, coffee, sugar, 
and soap, it would give the means of pro- 
longing lives instead of shortening them, and 
keep a man at his own fireside instead of 
his going to the tavern, with the ten thou- 
sand evils in its train. The speaker, how- 

142 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

ever, caused considerable amusement when 
lie expressed the opinion that if the Irish 
population could get tea at a cheap rate, 
they would, to a considerable extent, abandon 
whisky. Put a cup of tea and a glass of 
whisky side by side, we venture to say that 
ninety-nine out of every hundred Irishmen 
would prefer the whisky. " An Irishman/' 
says Dr. Pope, " was requested by a lady to 
do some work for her, which he performed to 
her complete satisfaction. c Pat, 5 she said, 
c I'll treat you.' ' Heaven bless your honour, 
ma'am,' says Pat. ' What would you prefer ? 
A pint of porter or a tumbler of grog?' 
' Well, ma'am,' says Pat, c I don't wish to 
be troublesome, but I'll take the one awhilst 
you're making the other.' ' This is, we fear, 
a type of the average Irishman, whose love 
of whisky is the greatest blot upon his 

Notwithstanding the great outcries against 
the Government duty, the consumption of 
tea steadily increased, and in 1844 the duty 
alone amounted to 4,524,193?. There were, 
it must be admitted, some inequalities in the 
system of taxation. The question attracted 

Tea as a Source of Revenue. 143 

the notice of Mr. Leitch Kitchie (then editor 
of GJiambers's Journal), who suggested that 
the moral reform and social improvement for 
which the present age is remarkable have 
had their basis in tea. But if Great Britain 
is so large a consumer of tea, why, he asks, 
" do crime and ignorance still prevail amongst 
the body of the people ? Because," he 
answers, " the poorer classes still drink bad 
tea, imitation tea, or no tea at all. The 
tea that is now in bond at tenpence pays a 
duty of two shillings and a penny, while the 
tea that is sold in bond at several shillings 
pays no more. Thus the poor are charged 
at least three times more, according to value, 
than the rich." An illustration of this 
anomaly was given by a speaker at a second 
meeting held at Liverpool in 1848, for the 
purpose of securing a reduction in the duties. 
" Tea," says the speaker, " must be con- 
sidered in a two-fold light, not merely as an 
article of luxury to some, but as an article 
of necessity to all classes of her Majesty's 
subjects. But do all classes procure this 
necessity on equal terms ? No ; for though 
it is in general use with the peer as well as 

144 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

the peasant, we yet find the same duties 
levied on teas of the lowest as on teas of the 
highest description." 

It was urged by those who defended the 
policy of the Goyernment that tea was a 
stimulant, and that therefore it was injurious. 
" We admit the fact," said the Rev. Dr. 
Hume, " but we strenuously deny the in- 
ference. A stimulant is not necessarily in- 
jurious, though the more violent always are. 
Heat is a stimulant, and so is water in par- 
ticular circumstances ; food is a stimulant ; 
the light of heaven is a stimulant, whether 
in animal or in vegetable nature, and so is 
the beaming countenance and kindling heart 
of a sympathetic friend." 

Neither meetings nor memorials, however, 
seemed to have any influence with the 
Government; but in 1852 Mr. Disraeli pro- 
posed to reduce the duty on tea to Is. Wd., 
and ultimately to Is., the reduction to be 
spread over six years. This reduction, with 
other reductions of the dues ori shipping and 
the malt tax, would have involved a loss of 
more than 3.000,000/., to supply which, he 
proposed, among other things, to impose the 

Tea as a So^lrce of Revenue. 145 

income tax on industrial incomes over 100?. 
His proposals were, however, strongly opposed 
by Mr. Gladstone, and rejected by a large 
majority. When, however, Mr. Gladstone 
returned to power, in 1853, he proposed the 
very same reductions which he had when out 
of office rejected. He proposed to reduce 
the duty to Is. lOd. during the following 
year, and by 3d. a year until the limit of Is. 
was reached. Including reduction of other 
taxes, the loss to the revenue would have 
amounted to 5,315, 0001. , which he proposed 
to meet by renewing the income tax for 
seven years, extending the stamp duties, and 
increasing the duty on spirits ; but owing to 
the Crimean War the proposed reduction 
was not effected. The expenses of this war 
were so heavy, amounting to 70,000,000?., 
that the duty on tea was increased 3d. a 

When the war was over, Mr. Gladstone 
desired that the added duties on tea, sugar, 
and other necessaries of life, should be 
taken off; but on the 6th of March, 1857, 
"the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir 
George Lewis, announced a modification of 


146 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

the Budget resolutions so far as the tea 
duties were concerned, and proposed that 
the amount of the tax, which he had arranged 
for three years, should be applicable for one 
year only. Mr. Gladstone moved an amend- 
ment to the effect that after April 5, 1857, 
the duty should be Is. od., and after the 5th 
of April, 1858, Is. The amendment was 
negatived by 187 to 125, and the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer's resolution, fixing the duty 
at Is. 5d. was carried." In 1865 the duty 
was reduced to 6d. under Mr. Gladstone's 
Government, and at this figure it remains. 
But the attention of the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer has recently been called to the 
disadvantage under which the Indian tea- 
industry is placed by the imposition of the 
English Customs duty of 6d. per Ib. on all 
tea imports, and the object of the memorialists 
was to induce him to consider the expediency 
of abolishing or modifying this duty when 
framing his financial budget. It was pointed 
out that the Indian tea-industry is greatly in 
want of such relief, as evidenced by recent 
Calcutta reports showing the market value of 
the shares of the joint-stock tea companies. 

Tea as a Source of Revenue. 147 

Out of a total of 116 companies forty-six 
only gave any dividend on the crop of 
1882, and of these forty-six only twenty 
paid over five per cent. Of the seventy which 
gave no dividend not a few have paid nothing 
for several years, and many are struggling 
on under the incubus of borrowed capital, 
with the hope of improvement in the markets, 
the cause of this depression being directly 
traceable to the heavy fall in prices during 
the last few years. The opinion was ex- 
pressed that if the trade could be relieved of 
the present heavy tax of from 50 to 100 
per cent, on the value, it might be fairly 
assumed that a reduction of, say, 4d. per Ib. 
to the consumer would lead to a large in- 
crease in the consumption, and leave a return 
of the remaining 2d. per Ib. more to the 
producer, which would in many cases prove 
a working profit to gardens now being carried 
on at a loss. 

Reference was also made to the argu- 
ment, of which doubtless the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer is aware, that inasmuch 
as the average value of Indian teas is higher 
than that of China teas, the present duty 

L 2 

148 Tea and Tea-drinking. 

weighs more heavily on the latter, and 
consequently that its abolition would deprive 
the Indian importer of a certain amount of 
protection ; but at the same time the opinion 
was expressed that a general reduction of 
prices to the consumer all round would in- 
duce on the part of the public a more general 
preference for the superior quality of the 
Indian produce, and that the increased de- 
mand for it thereby engendered would more 
than counterbalance any loss of protection 
which might be sustained. 

As will be seen from the following table 
of the duties, the consumers of tea contribute 
very largely to the revenue of the country : 


1874 3,248,446 

1875 . . 3,568,634 

1876 . . . 3,706,831 

1877 ... . 3,723,147 

1878 ... . 4,002,211 

1879 .... 4,162,221 

1880 . . . 3,698,338 

1881 .... 3,865,720 

1882 3,974,481 

1883 4,230,341 

The annual expenditure on tea amounts to 

Tea as a Source of Revenue. 149 

about 11 5 000,QOOZ. Large as this amount 
appears, it sinks into insignificance when, 
compared with the expenditure upon intoxi- 
cating drinks. During the last year it 
amounted to no less than 125,477,275?. 
There are few who would regret to see this 
formidable amount reduced to a fourth of its 
present dimensions ; and no one surely will 
deny that if everybody drank tea, instead of 
alcoholic drinks, a great reform in the habits 
of the people w^ould take place. Drunken- 
ness, and its attendant evil, pauperism, would 
cease ; plenty would take the place of poverty, 
joy for sadness, health for sickness; and 
happiness would reign throughout the land. 

Reference has already been made to the 
fact that England stands next to China as 
the greatest tea-drinking nation; and it- 
appears that the working classes consume 
the largest proportion of tea imported. Pro- 
fessor Leoni Levi compiled in 1873 an 
elaborate estimate of the amount of taxation 
falling on the working classes of the United 
Kingdom; and in his report he shows that 
from consumption of tea alone they con- 
tributed 2,200,000?. to the revenue, as against 

Tea and Tea-drinking. 

900,000/. by the middle and upper classes. 
At the present time, however, the working 
classes contribute over 3,000 9 000/. as their 
proportion of the duty upon tea. A clearer 
light is thrown upon their contributions to 
the national exchequer by the following 
table showing the proportion for every pound 
of taxes paid from each item : 

As falling on the Working 

A s falling on the Middle and 
Upper Classes. 

s. d. 

s. d. 

Spirits . 
Malt . 

7 5 

Local taxes, land, houses 
Ac. . 


Local taxes a 

ad ho 


2 9 

Stamps . 

3 3 


Sugar . 

1 5 


Spirits . 
Malt . 

1 10 

Other taxes 


Sugar and tea 
Land and hou 





Total .100 

Other taxes 



The Professor classes tea as a necessary, 
but confesses that it is difficult to define 
whether certain articles in daily use are 
necessaries or luxuries. Many articles, he 
points out, such as white bread, tea, sugar, 
which not long ago were considered luxuries, 
are now, with the improved condition of the 

Tea as a Source of Revenue. 151 

people, regarded as absolute necessaries. He 
refers, in particular, to the effect of indirect 
taxes in greatly enhancing the cost of the 
taxed article to the consumer. " The whole- 
sale import price of tea, for example, may be 
Is. a pound, and upon this there is 6d. duty. 
But immediately as it passes from the im- 
porter to the dealer, and from the dealer to 
the retailer, the whole price, duty paid, is 
charged first with ten, and then with thirty 
per cent, to meet expenses and profits of trade, 
whereby the retail price is increased probably 
from 2,s. to 3s. 6d. or 4s. per Ib. This trad- 
ing, therefore, constitutes so much extra tax, 
and it is a tax which the working classes pay 
to the middle and higher classes, through 
whose hands such articles pass." "Whether 
we shall ever have a free breakfast-table, it 
is impossible to say ; but if the tax on tea 
were abolished, it is obvious that it would be 
necessary to impose some other tax, probably 
even more objectionable. 


ABERNETHY, Dr., 51. 
Ackworth School, 13. 
Aikin, Dr., 12. 

Alchohol and endurance, 72, 75. 
Alchohol and genius, 80, 91, 94. 
Ale, use of, 12, 73, 101. 
American Health and Tempe- 
rance Association, 118. [117. 
Animals, experiments upon, 111, 
Anti-Corn-Law League, 40, 102. 
Anti-Teapot Society, 120. 
Apprentices, 13. 
Arctic weather, 67. 
Artists and temperance, 42. 
Assam tea, 19, 20, 22. 

Sand of Hope Chronicle, 39. 
Banks, Collingwood, 42. 
Barnett, Miss, 132. 
Beer-gardens, 10. 
Beer, use of, 12, 73, 101. 
Betel, 107. 
Beverley, Dr., 74. 
Blacktvood's Magazine, 102. 
Blue Ribbon meetings, 35. 
Blyth, Dr. Wynter, 72. 
Boswell, 81, 82. 
Botanical Gardens, 19. 
Bowles, 84. 
Bright, John, 13. 
Brotherton, Joseph, 39. 
Bryant, William Cullen, 93. 
Buckle, 66, 93, 119. 
Burns, 80. 
Byrom, John, 13. 

CAKES and tea, 9. 

Camellia, the, 18. 

Capel, Hon. Reginald, 60. 

Carlyle, Dr. Alexander, 8. 

Carlyon, Dr., 52. 

Catherine, Princess, 6. 

Centlivre, Mrs., 5. 

Ceylon tea, 21. 

Chadwick, Rev. Dr., 99. 

Chambers, Dr. King, 18, 60, 63, 

Chambers's Journal, 143. 

Chapel-debts. 44. 
Charles II., 6. 

China, use of tea in, 17, 50, 58, 
Chinese ballads, 27. [59, 63. 
Chocolate, 5. 

Christmas tea-parties, 36, 45. 
Clarendon, Lord, 7. 
Clemenceau, M., 101. 
Clifford, Rev. Dr., 95. 
Coffee, 5, 97, 98, 133. 
Coffee taverns, 55, 
Coleridge, Hartley, 102. 
Converted drunkards as water- 
carriers, 35. 
Cornwall, Barry, 84. 
Couplet, Le Pere, 7. 
Cowper, 53, 103. 
Crimean War, 145. 
Curing tea, 28. 
Curtis, Dr. J. H., 38. 
Cycling, 72. 

Daily Neivs, 69. 

Daily Telegraph, 55. 

Dean of Bangor, 124. 

Defoe, 5. 

De Quincey, 91, 92. 

" Dictionary of Statistics," 17. 

Dilke, Sir Charles, 101. 

Dinner-parties, 102. 

Disraeli, Mr., 144. 

Diurnal of Thomas Rugge, 4. 

" Doctors differ," 132. 

Dowden, Professor, 95. 

Drunkards, converted, 35. 

Drunkenness, uses of, 108. 

Dutch physician, advice of a, 106. 

Dyer, George, 84. 

Dyspepsia, cause of, 61. 

EAST India Company, 2, 19, 106, 
Epping butter, 9. [136. 

Everett, Professor, 97. 

FAVY'S, Mr., tea, 7. 
Ferguson, Dr., 132. 



Fortune, Mr., 63. 
Francis, James, 71. 

GARLAND, T. Bland, 75. 
Garway, Thomas, 2, 3, 4, 5. 
Genius, 80. 

Gladstone, Mr., 100, 145, 146. 
Goadby, E., 101. 
Good Health Publishing Corn- 
Gout, 112. [pany, 118. 
Great Northern Eailway, 60. 
** Grecian," the, 11. 
Gregson, Gelson, 70. 
Gunter's, 11. 

HABIT, force of, 12. 
Hamerton, Philip Gilbert, 83, 97. 
Hanvvay, Jonas, 82, 116. 
Harrowgate, mode of living at, 8. 
Hartley, Eev. J. G., 43. 
Harvest-field, tea in, 1, 75. 
Hawkins, Sir John, 83. 
Hazlitt, 86. 
Headache, 94. 
Healths, drinking, 71. 
Herald of Health, 119. 
Hogarth, 15. 
Hogg, James, 79. 
Hong -Kong Telegraph, 71. 
Hop-pickers, 27. 
Howitt, William, 93, 133. 
Hume, Eev. Dr., 144. 
Hutton, William, 133. 
Hymns, tea-meeting, 41, 42, 43. 

INDIAN tea, 19, 24, 147. 
Ingletield, Dr., 67. 
Tnman, Dr., 66, 99. 
Intoxicating drink, 149. 
Invalids' tea, 63. ^ [39. 

Isle of Man, tea-drinking in, 1, 
Isle of Man Temperance Guar- 
dian, 36. 

JACKSON, Dr., 66. 
Jameson, Dr., 22. 
Johnson, Dr., 80, 83. 
Jonathan's coffee-house, 5. 
Journalist, the, 80. 

KANT, 91. 

Kettle, the national, 53. 

Knight, Charles, 2. 

LADIES, extravagance of, 33. 
Lamb, Charles, 88. 
Lancet, the, 129. 
Lansdell, Eev. Dr., 57, 58, 63. 
Leeds Mercury, 40. 
Lettsom, Dr.,' 116. 
Levi, Leoni, 149. 
Lewis, Sir George, 145. 
Linnaeus, 18. 
Liquor traffic, 135. 
Literary composition, 92. 
Livesey, Joseph, 34. 
London Athletic Club, 74. 
Lung, Kien, 50. 
Lytton, Bulwer, 91. 

Malaria, 67. 

Manchester, use of tea in, 12. 
Mantegazza, 131. 
Martin, Montgomery, 6. 
Martineau, Harriet, 97. 
Mary-le-Boii Gardens, 9. 
McCarthy, Justin, M.P., 94. 
Michod, C. J., 74. 
Midland Eailway, 60. 
Mitford, Miss, 88. 
Moral Reformer , 41. 
Motley, 91. ^ 
Mountain-climbing, 74. 
Mulhall, 17. 

NATIONAL Health Society, 132. 
Nervous excitability, 97. 
Newbury Chamber of Agricul- 
ture, 75. 

Nightingale, Miss, 64. 
Notes and Queries, 120, 139. 
PALMERSTON, Lord, 100. 
Parkes, Professor, 67. 
Parliament petitioned, 139. 
Patmore, 86. 
Pedestrianism, 72, 94. 
Peel, Sir Eobert, 139. 
Pepys, 1, 2. 

Percival's *' Account of Ceylon," 
Poets, fare of, 88. [21. 

Poets, licence of, 51. 
Poore, Dr., 61,100,129,133. 
Poorson, Dr., 80. 
Pope, Dr. Joseph, 51, 142. 



Prentice, Archibald, 40. [37, 39. 
Preston Temperance Advocate, 
Preston Temperance Society, 34. 
Priests as tea-gatherers, 25. 
Public-houses, 10. 

QUAKER School, 13. 
Queen, the, 71. 

EACE, deterioration of the, 109. 
Railway stations, tea at, 56, 60. 
Eead's Weekly Journal, 8. 
" Recreative Science," 50. 
Ehind, Dr., 22. 
Eitchie, Leitch, 143. 
Eolleston, Professor, 118. 
Eose, Sir Philip, 78. 
Eoyalty, influence of, 6. 
Eugge, Thomas, 4. 
Eum-punch, 80. 
Eussia, tea in, 19, 56, 57, 59. 

SCANDAL, 119. 
Scotland, 84. 

Servants, use of tea by, 8. 
Sheldrick, E. K, 46. 
Sherlock, F., 81. 
Siam, tea in, 50. 
Sigmond, Dr., 47, 53, 59. 
Sims, G. E., 80, 95, 100. 
Sinclair, Dr., 117. [61. 

Smith, Dr. Edward, 15, 18, 30, 
Soldiers, tea for, 67, 68, 69, 70. 
Solly, Eev. Henry, 97. 
South Sea Bubblers, 6. 
Southey, 79. 
Spirits, value of, 68. 
St. James's Gazette, 128. 
Stables, Dr. Gordon, 83. 
Stimulants, necessity of, 129. 
Swift, Dean, 6. 

TEA a cause of intemperance, 
Tea a poison, 111, 117. [116. 
Tea adulterated, 135. 
Tea and cake, 9. 
Tea as a revolutionary agent, 47. 
Tea as a stimulant, 79. 
Tea, benefits of, 3, 16, 47, 70, 99, 
102, 106, 130, 131. 

Tea, cold, 78. 

Tea, consumption of, 16. 

Tea, cultivation of, 18, 19, 22. 

Tea, evils of, 61, 82, 98, 107, 111, 

Tea-farms, 22, 25. [114. 

Tea-fights, 45. 

Tea for invalids, 64. 

Tea-gardens, 9. 

Tea in the harvest-field, 75. 

Tea-meeting fare, 45, 46. 

Tea-meeting hymns, 41, 42, 43. 

Tea-meetings, 33. 

Tea, methods of curing, 28. 

Tea, methods of making, 37, 49, 

Teapots, 33, 53. [58. 

Tea, price of, 4, 11, 58. 

Tea-tasting, 31. 

Tea, taxation of, 135, 142, 148, 

Tea unnecessary, 99. [151. 

Tea versus beer, 74, 128. 

Tel-el-Kebir, 69. 

Terry, Miss Ellen, 97. 

Thompson, Henry, 14. 

Toasts, 7. 

" Tom's Coffee-house," 11. 

Trusler's, Mr., daughter, 9. 

Twining, Thomas, 10. 

Tyerman, Eev. L., 113. 

URN, tea, condemned, 53. 
VEGETARIAN Society, 46. 

WALFORD, E., 10. 
Waller, Edmund, 6. 
Wesley, John, 83, 113. 
Weston, Edward Payson, 74. 
Weston, Miss, 71. 
Whisky, 142. 
Whitby, 11. 
Willes, Admiral, 71. 
Williams, Dr. Wells, 25. 
Williams, Mattieu, 108. 
Williams, Mrs., 81. 
Wolseley, Sir Garnet, 69. [27. 
Women, employment of, 23, 26, 
Women, tea injurious to, 61, 109, 

119, 120, 132. 
Wordsworth, 88. 

A dvertisements. i v 



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