We’re going back into the archives to revisit these classic posts by James Norwood Pratt. This post includes two different three-part sequences: “John Company” and “Tea Reaches England At Last”. We have added a link to the end of each one to take you to the next if you would like to read them as a sequence, or you can choose which you want to peruse below. Enjoy!

John Company

The ledgers and Minute Books are all extant and can be read. Great modern cities, Calcutta, Bombay, even Hong Kong, can be visited. The evidences of the Company lie scattered about Europe and Asia. Yet one has an odd feeling that the Company was not exactly that, and that the attempt to make the East mercantile on the European model ended by altering Europe and leaving the East, under the surface, untouched….

R.H. Mottram, Trader’s Dream

Part One

Sixty years before Samuel Pepys first tells his Diary he “did send for a cup of tea” in London, Queen Elizabeth had had to face up to one of the most important decisions of her reign. Her valiant little navy… (Read more)

Part Two

John Company, as this group came to be called, was granted a monopoly on all trade beyond the shores of the Atlantic, east of the Cape of Good Hope and west of Cape Horn (for all intents everything except western Europe, western Africa, and South America). This organization of wealthy merchants… (Read more)

Part Three

By 1600 around two hundred ships had sailed from Europe for the Far East and perhaps half of them had returned. The Portuguese had secured way stations or factories from Angola in Africa to Goa in India and beyond, while the Dutch… (Read more)

Tea Reaches England At Last

Tea, which refreshes and quietens, is the natural beverage of a taciturn people, and being easy to prepare, it came as a godsend to the world’s worst cooks.

C.R. Fay, English Economic History

Part One

Tea finally arrived on the English scene in September of 1658, the very month that Oliver Cromwell died and presumably went to hell. There is an interesting connection between these two events… (Read next)

Part Two

The son of the martyred king had in the meantime been restored to the English throne as Charles II, after having grown up in exile at The Hague. He had brought home with him a taste for tea and soon… (Read more)

Part Three

Thus, seven years after Mr. Pepys drank his first cup of tea, Mrs. Pepys enjoyed a similar experience. Quoth his Diary of 1667: “Home and found my wife making of tea; a drink Mr. Pelling, the potticary, tells her is good for her cold and defluxions.” Defluxions notwithstanding, it must be a matter of regret that… (Read more)

Photo “Chá Inglês” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License to the photographer Mark Hillary and is being posted unaltered (source)