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'gross state of superstition” in which many“ benighted savages” live, and willingly subscribe their money for its eradication. The superstition so generally connected with Friday, may easily be traced to its source. It undoubtedly and confessedly has its origin in scriptural history: it is the day on which the Saviour suffered. The superstition is the more revolting from this circumstance; and it is painful to find that it exists among persons of education. There is no branch of the public service, for instance, in which so much sound mathematical knowledge is to be found, as in the Navy. Yet who are more superstitious than sailors, from the admiral down to the cabin boy? Friday fatality is still strong among them. Some years ago, in order to lessen this folly, it was determined that a ship should be laid down on a Friday, and launched on a Friday; that she should be called “ Friday," and that she should commence her first voyage on a Friday. After much difficulty a captain was found who owned to the name of Friday; and after a great deal more difficulty men were obtained, so little superstitious, as to form a crew. Unhappily, this experiment had the effect of confirming the superstition it was meant to abolish. The “Friday” was lost—was never, in fact, heard of from the day she set sail.
Day-fatality, as Miss Nippers interprets it, is simply the expression of an undisciplined and extremely weak mind; for, if any person will stoop to reason with her on her aversion to Mondays, he may ask her whether the death of the poodle, or the catching of her cold, are the two greatest calamities of her life; and, if so, whether it is her opinion that Monday is set apart, in the scheme of Nature, so far as it concerns her, in a black character. Whether for her insignificant self there is a special day accursed! Mrs. Carmine is such a strong-minded woman, that we approach her with no
small degree of trepidation. Wednesday is her dies ater, because, in the first place, on a Wednesday sbe imprudently exposed herself, and is suffering from the consequences ; and, in the second place, on a Wednesday her Maria took the scarlet fever. So she has marked Wednesday down in her calendar with a black character; yet her contempt for stars and ghosts is prodigious. Now there is a consideration to be extended to the friends of ghosts, which Dayfatalists cannot claim. Whether or not deceased friends take a more airy and flimsy form, and adopt the invariable costume of a sheet to visit the objects of their earthly affections, is a question which the shrewdest thinkers and the profoundest logicians have debated very keenly, but without ever arriving at any satisfactory conclusion.
The strongest argument against the positive existence of ghosts, is, that they appear only to people of a certain temperament, and under certain exciting circumstances. The obtuse matter-of-fact man, never sees a ghost; and we may take it as a natural law, that none of these airy visitants ever appeared to an attorney. But the attorney, Mr. Fee Simple, we are assured, holds Saturday to be an unlucky day. It was on a Saturday that his extortionate bill in poor Mr. G.’s case, was cut down by the taxing master; and it was on a Saturday that a certain heavy bill was duly honoured, in which he had hoped to reap a large sum in shape of costs. Therefore Mr. Fee Simple believes that the destinies have put a black mark against Saturday, so far as he is concerned.
The Jew who thought that the thunder-storm was the consequence of his having eaten a slice of bacon, did not present a more ludicrous picture, than Mr. Fee Simple presents with his condemned Saturday.
We have an esteem for ghost-inspectors, which it is
utterly impossible to extend to Day-fatalists. Mrs. Piptoss, too, may be pitied; but Mog, turning her money when the moon makes her re-appearance, is an object of ridicule. We shall neither be astonished, nor express condolence, if the present, which Miss Caroline anticipates from the knot in her lace, be not forthcoming; and as for Miss Amelia, who has extinguished the candle, and to the best of her belief lost her husband for a twelvemonth, we can only wish for her, that when she is married, her lord and master will shake her faith in the prophetic power of snuffers. But of all the superstitions that have survived to the present time, and are to be found in force among people of education and a thoughtful habit, Day-fatalism is the most general, as it is the most unfounded and preposterous. It is a superstition, however, in which many powerful thinkers have shared, and by which they have been guided; it owes much of its present influence to this fact; but reason, Christianity, and all we have comprehended of the great scheme of which we form part, alike tend to demonstrate its absurdity, and utter want of all foundation.
HE history of tea, from its first introduction to Eng
land, may be read in the history of taxation. It appears to have escaped the notice of nearly all writers on tea, that the first tax is a curious illustration of the original mode of its sale. By the act of the 22d and 23d Charles II., 1670-1, a duty of eighteenpence was imposed upon
every gallon of chocolate, sherbet, and tea, made and sold, to be paid by the makers thereof.' It is manifest that such a tax was impossible to be collected without constant evasion; and so, after having remained on the Statute Book for seventeen years, it was discovered, in 1688, that the collecting of the duty by way of Excise upon the liquors of coffee, chocolate, and tea, is not only very troublesome and unequal upon the retailers of these liquors, but requireth such attendance of officers as makes the neat receipt very inconsiderable.' The excise upon the liquor was therefore repealed, and heavy Custom's duties imposed on the imported tea.
The annals of tea may be divided into epochs. The first is that in which the liquid only was taxed, which tax commenced about ten years after we have any
distinct record of the public or private use of tea. In 1660, dear old Pepys writes, 'I did send for a cup of tea (a China drink) of which I never had drank before.' In 1667, the herb had found its way into his own house ; 'Home, and there find my wife making of tea; a drink which Mr. Pelling, the Potticary, tells her is good for her cold and defluxions.'
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. Pelling, the Potticary, has sold her at a most 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 beverage only for the highest. If tea should become fashionable, it will cost in housekeeping as much as their claret. However, 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 ; for the worthy merchant says, that although tea in England hath been sold in the leaf for six pounds, and sometimes for ten pounds the pound weight, he'by continued care and industry in obtaining the best tea, now sells tea for 16s. to 50s. a pound.' Garway not only sells tea in the leaf, but many noblemen, physicians, merchants, &c., daily resort to his house to drink the drink thereof.' The coffee-house soon ran away with the tea-merchant's liquid customers. They sprang up all over London ; they became a fashion at the Universities. Coffee and tea came into England as twin-brothers. Like many other foreigners, they received a full share of abuse and persecution from the people and the state. Coffee was denounced as “hell broth, and tea as 'poison. But the coffee-houses became fashionable at once; and for a century were the exclusive resorts of wits and politicians. “Here,' says a pamphleteer of 1673, haberdashers of political small wares meet, and mutually abuse each other and the public, with bottomless stories and headless notions.' Clarendon, in 1666, proposed, either to