Can drinking tea turn you into a whore?

The History of Love

moll

In eighteenth-century England, there were many reasons why families might have been torn apart, or why dutiful wives and hardworking husbands could suffer a fall from grace. Heart-rending tales of orphaned children, abandoned lovers and destitution fill the pages of contemporary newspaper columns and court records. For some, one of the prime suspects behind the nation’s idleness and debauchery was quietly, steadily taking root in almost every street in the country.

This terrible foreign invader encouraged young men to stay “a lurking in the bed” rather than earning an honest wage. It turned women to harlotry and insolence, caused atrocious child neglect, and was armed to carry everyone off to their grave a decade early. This enemy of virtue? Why, tea, of course.

The philanthropist Jonas Hanway lamented that “Men seem to have lost their stature, and comliness; and women their beauty. Your very chambermaids have lost their bloom…

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