Page images
PDF
EPUB

commonly called the Reports of the Select and Secret Committees, with Appendixes of Letters, Minutes, and Narratives written by Mr. Hastings himself. Or they may consult the History of Alexander the Great, contained in Major John Scott's Narrative of the Administration of Mr. Hastings. Though we would rather refer them to the latter work, as in our opinion it is one of the most satisfactory defences ever published; and proves to demonstration, that Mr. Hastings never committed a single act of injustice or cruelty, but he constantly ob- · tained forty or fifty lacks for the Company or himself—That an inquiry into past abuses is an impolitic order; because "much valuable time must be lost, and much odium incurred, by the attempt;" and therefore Mr. Hastings of course ought not to have been censured at all, unless he had been censured before he had done any thing to deserve it-That it was right for Mr. Hastings to keep up the good old custom of receiving presents, in defiance of a positive law; because his predecessors had received as large sums when they were authorized by custom, and not prohibited by any law

D

-That Mr. Hastings was justified in disobeying the orders of the Directors, because he could no otherwise have convinced the Country Powers of his superiority over his Masters, which was, and is, absolutely necessary―That, though it may be questioned if Nundcomar was legally condemned, it was proper to execute him, in order to show the justice and impartiality of the Judges in hanging the natives, whom they were sent especially to protect-That a Treaty of Peace between two nations is of no force, if you can get one of the indi viduals who officially signed it, to consent to the infraction of it-together with many other positions, equally just and novel, both in Ethics and Politics.

But to return to our Poet. MERLIN now drops his apostrophe, and eulogizes the India-bench in the third person for the blessings of Tea and the Commutation Tax. The following passage will show our author to be, probably, a much better Grocer than Mr. Pitt; and perhaps little inferior to the Tea-Purchaser's Guide,

A What tongue can tell the various kinds of Tea?
Of Blacks and Greens, of Hyson and Bohea;

With Singlo, Congou, Pekoe, and Souchong;
Cowslip the fragrant, Gunpowder the strong;
And more, all heathenish alike in name,
Of humbler some, and some of nobler fame.

The prophet then compares the breakfasts of his own times with those of ours: attributes to the former the intractable spirit of that age; and from the latter fervently prays, like a loyal subject, for the perfect accomplishment of their natural effectsthat they may relax the nerves of Englishmen into a proper state of submission to the superior powers. We shall insert the lines at length.

On mighty beef, bedew'd with potent ale,
Our Saxons, rous'd at early dawn, regale;
And hence a sturdy, bold, rebellious race,
Strength in the frame, and spirit in the face,
All sacred right of Sovereign Power defy,
For Freedom conquer, or for Freedom die.
Not so their sons; of mauners more polite,
How would they sicken at the very sight!
O'er Chocolate's rich froth, o'er Coffee's fume,
Or Tea's hot tide, their noons shall they consume.
But chief, all sexes, every rank and age,
Scandal and Tea, more grateful, shall engage;
In gilded roofs, beside some hedge in none,
On polish'd tables, or the casual stone.

Be Bloom reduc'd; and PITT, no more a foe,
E'en PITT the favourite of the fair shall grow:
Be but Mundungus cheap; on light and air
New burdens gladly shall our peasants bear,
And boil their peaceful kettles, gentle souls!
Contented, if no tax be laid on coals.
Aid then, kind Providence, yon' generous Bench,
With copious draughts the thirsty realm to drench;
And oh! thy equal aid let PRESTON find,
With musty-sweet and mouldy-fresh * combin'd,
To palsy half our isles: till, wan and weak,
Each nerve unstrung, and bloodless every cheek,
Head answering head, and noddling through the street,
The destin'd change of Britons is complete;
Things without will, like India's feeble brood,
Or China's shaking Mandarins of wood.
So may
the Crown in native lustre shine,
And British Kings resume their right divine.

We have been thus prolix in giving the whole of this quotation, as we think it glances very finely at the true policy, why it is expedient to encourage the universal consumption of an article, which some factious people have called a pernicious luxury. And our readers, we are persuaded, will agree with us, when we de

* The Tea-dealers assure us, that Mr. PRESTON's Sweet and fresh Teas contain a great part of the musty and mouldy chests which the Trade rejected.

cidedly pronounce this as good a defence of the Commutation Tax, as we have yet

seen.

We must observe however, that our author is probably indebted to the extensive information of Lord Sydney, for the hint of the following couplet:

In gilded roofs, beside some hedge in none,
On polish'd tables, or the casual stone.

The Secretary of State, in the discussion of the above-mentioned tax, very ably calculated the great quantity of tea consumed under hedges by vagrants, who have no houses; from which he most ingeniously argued to the justice and equity of laying the impost on persons who have houses, whether they consume it or not,

We shall conclude this number, as the Poet concludes the subject, with some animated verses on Mr. Fox and Mr. PITT.

Crown the froth'd Porter, slay the fatted Ox,
And give the British meal to British Fox,
But for an Indian minister more fit,
Ten cups of purest Padrae pour for PITT,
Pure as himself; add sugar too and cream,
Sweet as his temper, bland as flows the stream

« PreviousContinue »