We’re going back into the archives to revisit this classic post by James Norwood Pratt. This post contains the single “The Struggles of Charles Bruce” and the two-part sequence “The Adventures of Robert Fortune, Esq.”. 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!

The Struggles of Charles Bruce

. . . as I am exposed to all weathers, and at all seasons, in these unhealthy jungles, should I unfortunately be taken off by a jungle fever (I entreat) that Government would kindly make some provision for my family, as I am an uncovenanted servant.

Charles Bruce, writing to John Company superiors, 1 October 1836

Returning, as it is high time we should, to the history of tea itself, we left the Tea Committee of 1834 assuring the Honorable Company Tea not only could be grown but was actually growing in India. That this news took directors by surprise illustrates…(Read more)

The Adventures of Robert Fortune, Esq.

. . . In short, her scandalous reputation/Has shocked the whole of the Hellish nation; / And every turbaned Chinoiserie, / With whole we should sip our black Bohea, / Would stretch out her simian fingers thin / To scratch you, my dears, like a mandolin; / For hell is just as properly proper / As Greenwich, or as Bath, or Joppa!

Dame Edith Sitwell, from Facade

Part One

It was difficult, even with Chinese law enforcement breaking down, to obtain tea seeds of good quality. Even when you found a merchant willing to wink at the law and sell you some, the chances were…(Read more)

Part Two

Occasionally even Robert Fortune enjoyed moments of serenity. His second visit to China was at the behest of…(Read more)

Photo “John Company” is copyright under Public Domain “As You Please” License to Project Gutenberg and is being posted unaltered (source)