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was a limited one; that tea would become
scarcer and dearer. The Government knew
better than this. It repealed the Excise duty
with all its cumbrous machinery of permits;
and it imposed a Customs' duty at per pound,
which exists now, as it did in 1830, with the
addition of five per cent. Had the duty of
1833 been continued,—the hundred per cent
dutythe great bulk of tea, which is sold at
an average of a shilling a pound would have
been only taxed a shilling a pound; it is now
taxed 2s. 2¼d. By a side-wind, the Government,
with what some persons may call financial foresight,
doubled the tax upon the humbler
consumers. But it may be fairly questioned
whether, if the tax of 1833 had continued, the
Government would not have secured as much
revenue by the poor doubling their consumption
of tea. The demand for no article of
general use is so fluctuating as that for tea.
In seasons of prosperity, the consumption
rises several millions of pounds above the
average; in times of depression it falls as
much below. Tea is the barometer of the
poor man's command of something more than
bread. With a tax of 2s. 2¼d. a pound, it is
clear that if sound commercial principles,
improved navigation, wholesale competition,
and moderate retail profits, had not found
their way into the tea-trade, since the abolition
of the monopoly in 1833, the revenue
upon tea would have been stationary, instead
of having increased a million and a half. All
the manifold causes that produce commercial
cheapness in generalscience, careful employment
of capital in profitable exchange,
certainty and rapidity of communication,
extension of the markethave been especially
working to make tea cheap. Tea is more and
more becoming a necessary of life to all
classes. Tea was denounced first as a poison,
and then as an extravagance. Cobbett was
furious against it. An Edinburgh Reviewer
of 1823, keeps no terms with its use by the
poor: 'We venture to assert, that when a
labourer fancies himself refreshed with a mess
of this stuff, sweetened by the coarsest black
sugar, and with azure blue milk, it is only
the warmth of the water that soothes him for
the moment; unless, perhaps, the sweetness
may be palatable also.' It is dangerous even
for great reviewers to 'venture to assert.'
In a few years after comes Liebig, with his
chemical discoveries; and demonstrates that
coffee and tea have become necessaries of life
to whole nations, by the presence of one and
the same substance in both vegetables, which
has a peculiar effect upon the animal system;
that they were both originally met with
amongst nations whose diet is chiefly vegetable;
and, by contributing to the formation
of bile, their peculiar function, have become
a substitute for animal food to a large class
of the population whose consumption of meat
is very limited, and to another large class
who are unable to take regular exercise.

Tea and coffee, then, are more especially
essential to the poor. They supply a void
which the pinched labourer cannot so readily
fill up with weak and sour ale; they are
substitutes for the country walk to the factory
girl, or the seamstress in a garret. They
are ministers to temperance; they are home
comforts. Mrs. Piozzi making tea for Dr.
Johnson till four o'clock in the morning, and
listening contentedly to his wondrous talk, is
a pleasant anecdote of the first century of tea;
the artisan's wife, lingering over the last
evening cup, while her husband reads his
newspaper or his book, is something higher,
which belongs to our own times.



THE new clergyman was, as the landlord
had supposed he would be, a very different
person from Mr. Finch. If he had not been
a fearless man, he would not have come: much
less would he have brought his wife, which
he did. The first sight of this respectable
couple, middle-aged, business like, and somewhat
dry in their manner, tended to give
sobriety to the tone of mind of the Bleaburn
people; a sobriety which was more and more
wanted from day to day; while certainly the
aspect of Bleaburn was enough to discourage
the new residents, let their expectations have
been as dismal as they might.

Mr. and Mrs. Kirby arrived when Bleaburn
was at its lowest point of depression and woe.
The churchyard was now so full that it could
not be made to hold more; and ten or eleven
corpses were actually lying unburied, infecting
half-a-dozen cottages from this cause.
There was an actual want of food in the place
so few were able to earn wages. Farmer
Neale did all he could to tempt his neighbours
to work for him; for no strangers would
come near a place which was regarded as a
pesthouse; but the strongest arm had lost its
strength; and the men, even those who had
not had the fever, said they felt as if they
could never work again. The women went
on, as habitual knitters do, knitting early and
late, almost night and day; but there was no
sale. Even if their wares were avouched to
have been passed through soap and water
before they were brought to O——, still no
one would run the slightest risk for the sake
of hose and comforters; and week after week,
word was sent that nothing was sold: and at
last, that it would be better not to send any
more knitted goods. In the midst of all this
distress, there was no one to speak to the
people; no one to keep their minds clear and
their hearts steady. For many weeks, there
bad not been a prayer publicly read, nor a
psalm sung. Meanwhile, the great comet
appeared nightly, week after week. It seemed
as if it would never go away; and there was
a general persuasion that the comet was sent