By eliminating the tax of over 100 percent, the Company directors were sure to undersell the Dutch in America. The threepenny colonial tax seemed to them a silly issue–even a Dr. Johnson living in Charleston or Philadelphia and paying the maximum could trim his tea budget enormously. For the colonists, however, the issue remained the same: taxation without representation was illegal under the British Constitution. “They have no idea,” wrote another great tea lover of the time, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, “that any people can act from any other principle but that of interest; and they believe that threepence on a pound of tea, of which one does not perhaps drink ten pound in a year (!), is sufficient to overcome the patriotism of an American.” As a point at issue, it was silly–a saving to American tea drinkers and of no appreciable value to the British treasury. But as a cause, tea, “farfetched and dear bought,” assumed an enormous importance to both sides. And even thus, our harmless, necessary tea was dragged into the conflict, all for a projected annual income of a mere million dollars to the Crown.
About The Author
James Norwood Pratt published his first book on tea in 1982 and is widely acknowledged as an instigator and prophet of America's present tea renaissance. With numerous columns, articles and interviews in overseas tea periodicals and books which have been translated into French, German, Czech and Chinese, he is perhaps the world's most widely read author on the subject today. He was made Honorary Director of America's first traditional Chinese tea house, was instrumental in creating APTI (precursor of the current Specialty Tea Institute), has been editor-in-chief of two tea magazines and leads tea tours to China and India. In 2005 he was chosen International Juror in India's first-ever tea competition. His entertaining talks and tea classes reach growing audiences each year and James Norwood Pratt's "New Tea Lover's Treasury", his now classic "bible of tea", remains the most comprehensive compendium on tea in English. Besides his "International Tea Dictionary" for the tea trade, his works in progress include "All About Black Tea: For those who've given tea a thought but not a try." T Ching will preview selected excerpts.