We’re going back into the archives to revisit these classic posts by James Norwood Pratt. This post includes one single post and one three-part sequence: “…We Have Renounced Tea…” and “An Empire Brewed From Tea Leaves”. 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!

…We Have Renounced Tea…

There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment
in a chest of tea.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-83),
Letters And Social Aims

Amidst the roar of cannon and musketry, this great Republic was born–with a prenatal disinclination for tea. The colonists had…(Read more)

An Empire Brewed From Tea Leaves

Our (1770) voyage from China to England, including the stay at St. Helena, and notwithstanding the week we lay to in the chops of the Channel in Bad weather, was performed in four months and four days, then the shortest that ever had been made by an Indiaman.

William Hickey, Memoirs of William Hickey

Part One

For sheer majesty, the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries offered few sights to compare with a fleet of East Indiamen gliding down the English Channel, twenty or more great three-masters under…(Read more)

Part Two

Tea was in demand everywhere as soon as it was introduced, Europe or America, Indians or Laplanders, commoners or quality, but England’s thirst for tea surpassed the rest. The first quantum leap in demand came after…(Read more)

Part Three

The Company’s returning China fleet laden with eight million pounds’ worth of tea, silk and porcelain found an imposing French squadron laying in wait at the mouth of the Strait of Malacca (where fifteen years later Sir Stamford Raffles was to found Singapore for the Company). Commodore Nathaniel Dance had the Indiamen…(Read more)

Photo “Beige Analog Compass” is copyright under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic License to the photographer Ylonite Koppens and is being posted unaltered (source)