By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: St Nicotine - Or The Peace Pipe
Author: Heward, Edward Vincent
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "St Nicotine - Or The Peace Pipe" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)

Transcriber’s Note: The title of this book is given both as ‘St
Nicotine _of_ the peace pipe’ and ‘St Nicotine _or_ the peace pipe’.
Readers may decide for themselves which is most fitting.




[Illustration: Drawn & Engraved by F. W. Fairholt


_1. Nicotiana Tabacum; 2. N. Rustica; 3. N. Persica._

[_By permission of Messrs. Chapman & Hall, Ld._]

                               ST NICOTINE
                             THE PEACE PIPE

                          EDWARD VINCENT HEWARD



                      GEORGE ROUTLEDGE & SONS, LTD.
                      NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON & CO.


The history and associations of tobacco carry the thoughts back to the
jubilant days when Good Queen Bess was the idol of her people, to the
stirring times when bounding gaiety and lusty banter found expression
in unrestrained mirth as readily in the open street as within doors.
The writer’s aim in the following chapters has been to bring together
(in a somewhat desultory way, it may be) the chief features of interest
which the story of the ‘Indian’s herb’ presents to us to-day. The
social element undoubtedly dominates all others; this, coupled with the
primitive belief in its medicinal properties, at once secured for it the
good-will of men longing for knowledge of the New World and ever ready
to adopt an indulgence so alluring. That this feeling was universal is
shewn by the rapidity with which the smoking habit spread over the Earth
wherever there was a human habitation. No less remarkable is the sturdy
tenacity with which men everywhere stuck to it despite the determined
opposition of potentates and pontiffs.

In the eyes of her votaries St Nicotine’s virtues are rare and manifold.
Indeed all sorts of pretty things have been said and sung in her praise,
and as becomes a faithful devotee at her shrine the writer believes
them all as implicitly—well, as a child believes fairy tales. Many
a non-smoker when questioned about his indifference to her gracious
influence has heaved a pensive sigh and lamented Dame Nature’s ill-usage
in denying him the taste for the nicotian incense. Consolation comes not
to him when told that the good genius has knit together a brotherhood
who, regaled with her balmy breath, realize the touch of nature which
makes the whole world kin; that on her approach petty vexations vanish
into space, and fancy, untrammelled, roves in Parnassian bowers, or sees
in the vapour rising from the bowl nebulous forms resembling those in the
far-off starry sky.

The demon of insomnia flies from her presence, and upon the sleepless she
breathes ‘tired nature’s sweet restorer.’ Faith born of experience bears
willing testimony to this priceless virtue. Once upon a time, too remote
to recall the year, it befell the writer of these lines to suffer from
the effects of insomnia. Wakeful nights followed by comatose days passed
into months, and the relief the poet Young had wooed in vain still held
aloof. At last fortune smiled. Walking with a friend one evening a cigar
was proffered him. Not being a smoker he declined the weed. Again urged
to try it (without any suggestion of its narcotic properties) he did so
and smoked it to the end. That night he fell into a sleep so profound
that on waking the next morning the hours that had fled seemed but as a
moment. Years have rolled by since then, but not an evening has passed
unsolaced by the gentle anodyne.

Opponents of tobacco-smoking generally base their objection on the rather
shaky ground of what they with emphasis term, ‘principle.’ A case of the
kind cropped up a few years ago when Professor Huxley related the story
of how he had become a convert to the creed of the tobacconist. It runs
as follows:—

‘When I was a young man I went with a party of my friends to Holland. It
happened that they were smokers and I was not. I did my best to fortify
myself in determined resistance to the pernicious habit, which from
my standpoint I looked upon as wholly indefensible. The tobacco plant
belongs to a family of poisoners—certainly a poisonous family, what then
could be said in its favour? Science and reason being opposed to it how
could intelligent beings submit to its sway, and with so much assumed
pleasure? Thus I mused with my back propped against the hotel wall where
in a cosy room inside my friends were quietly enjoying themselves with
their weeds and social gossip. I fought with myself. I fought against the
seductive influence of the goddess, and failed. The flesh was too strong
for philosophy: I crept in and joined them with my first cigar.’

A lady once confessed to the writer that she had all unwittingly followed
in the wake of a smoker whose cigar shed on the air a fragrance so
delicate that for a time it was quite irresistible. Doubtless many
another could, if so minded tell of a similar experience. A good
cigar indeed—Havana or Cuban leaf for preference—is an inspiration.
A meerschaum pipe when ‘mellow, rich and ripe’ is a treasure; but
cigarettes are becoming, if they have not already become, a nuisance.

Grateful memories of the weed are enshrined in the literature of every
language; and many an old and odd volume have yielded to the gleaner
the materials of which the following pages are made up. Some parts
have already seen the light in the form of magazine articles, and for
permission to republish these the writer tenders his thanks to Sir James
Knowles, of the Nineteenth Century Review, to the Editor of Macmillan’s
Magazine, and to Sylvanus Urban of the Gentleman’s Magazine.

And this may be the fitting place to acknowledge the courtesy and
kindness of the principal (Mr. A. C. Wood) of the Statistical Office of
H.M. Customs, who has furnished the tabular statement, which appears
below, shewing the latest facts and figures on importations of tobacco,
on the rate of consumption per head of population in the United Kingdom,
and the revenue derived therefrom.

                                                      STATISTICAL OFFICE,
                                                            H.M. CUSTOMS.

Since the date of your article there have been some considerable changes
in the fiscal position of Tobacco and the following are the chief changes
in rates of duty per lb. since 1898:—

           Unmanufactured      Cigars.   Foreign      Other
              Tobacco.                  Cavendish.    Sorts.
                S  D            S  D      S   D       S   D

    1898        2  8            5  0      3  10       3   5
    1900        3  0            5  6      4   4       3  10

              { 3  3  }                             { 4  10  Cigarettes.
              {       } Strips  6  0      4   4     {
    1904      { 3  1½ }                             { 3  10  Other Sorts.
              { 3  0    Whole Leaf.

The maximum limit of moisture allowed in manufacture of Tobacco was fixed
in 1887 at 35 per cent., and was changed in 1898 to 30 per cent., and
again raised in 1904 to 32 per cent.

The moisture naturally present in the kinds of Tobacco now imported
averages about 14 per cent. I mention these facts because they are as you
know of considerable importance in making calculations of the quantities
sold over the counters of retailers to consumers.

Perhaps I may add that in 1904 differential rates were levied on Stripped
or Stemmed Tobacco, that is upon Leaf from which the ‘midrib’ had been
removed. The duty on ‘strips’ imported before the Budget was fixed at 3s.
1½d. the lb., and at 3s. 3d. on Strips brought here afterwards, while the
duty on whole leaf Tobacco was settled at 3s. 0d. the lb.

                                                I am, Sir,

                                             Your obedient servant,

                                                          A. C. WOOD,

    E. V. HEWARD, ESQ.



                                      Quantity     Consumption
         Imports     Value          Retained for   per head of   Revenue
           all                        Home use     Population
          kinds                      (All kinds)                  1904-5

           Lbs.        £                Lbs.         Lbs.           £

    ** 107,862,489  4,356,779      * 83,374,670      1.95       13,184,767
    ** 103,847,897            * Raw  80,896,242
         4,014,592                    2,478,428
       -----------                   ----------
       107,862,489                   83,374,670
       ===========                   ==========


                                INTRODUCTORY                             v

    An Indulgence which promotes sociality, mirth, and
    day-dreams—Men hold to the weed regardless of opposition—St
    Nicotine’s manifold virtues—The non-smoker’s incapacity for
    enjoyment of smoking—Brings sleep to the sleepless—Opponents
    base their objection on principle—Prof. Huxley’s
    experience—Havana cigar the ideal smoke—Acknowledgments to
    Editors and H.M. Customs.

                              _A SYMPOSIUM_

                                CHAPTER I                                1

                                 PART I

    Tobacco smoking thought much of in Elizabeth’s reign—Drawing
    the smoke into the lungs and ejecting it through the nostrils
    provokes hilarity in the city—Sir John Beaumont’s Metamorphosis
    of Tobacco—Conceives the idea of a Parliament of the immortals
    to determine upon the composition of tobacco—Drayton on
    Beaumont’s early death—Jupiter calls a council to consider the
    odic essence which has calmed his anger—England’s great smokers
    from Raleigh to Dr. Parr give an account of their experiences.

                                CHAPTER II                              15

                                 PART II

    Carlyle as a persistent preacher of the gospel of silence with
    his pipe—Frederick the Great’s Tobacco Parliament—Carlyle’s
    early experience in smoking and his first pinch of
    snuff—Charles Lamb and his associates over the pipe—Bismarck’s
    Bund story—Divergent French views on the use of tobacco—Robert
    Hall, Spurgeon, Capt. Marryat, Fairholt, Inglis, Thackeray,
    and Bulwer Lytton, all express opinions favourable to tobacco

                               CHAPTER III                              29

                       THE HOME OF THE INDIAN WEED

    Columbus secures Queen Isabel’s good-will and help—Overcomes
    all difficulties and sets sail in three small vessels from
    Palos on his great enterprise westward—Mutiny suppressed—San
    Salvador reached after three months’ toil—The officers
    land—Natives friendly—Two captured and brought on board
    the Santa Maria—A gladsome sight meets their eyes—Cuba
    reached; the most beautiful island ever beheld—Clothed with
    perennial verdure—Two of the crew sent to explore—Natives
    discovered smoking fire-brands—They conceive a passion for
    smoking—Columbus collects rarities to take with him to
    Spain—Reports to the king and his consort the achievement of
    his project—Is received with honour and made high admiral
    of a new and powerful fleet with which he returns to the
    West Indies—Gonzalo Oviedo, Inspector-general of the newly
    discovered country—Fra Ramono Pane sends Peter Martyr the
    first written account of tobacco and native method of using
    it—Snuff-taking in France—The origin of the name tobacco—Red
    Indian’s use of the weed—Oviedo dislikes tobacco—The discovery
    of South America—The Aztecs of Mexico—The Italian traveller
    Benzoni describes the plant and its uses among the natives—His
    strong aversion to it—The origin of the plant related by the
    chief of the Susquehanna tribe.

                                CHAPTER IV                              47


    The Chancellor of the Exchequer on the consumption of
    tobacco—His condemnation of the smoking habit by those who
    have enough to eat—Board of Trade returns—Statistics on the
    past and present rate of consumption per head of population in
    England and other countries—The quantity of tobacco consumed
    compared with the average consumption of wheat and the money
    value of each—The use made of cast-away cigar-ends—The
    opinions of Michael Drayton and Robert Burton—Case against
    youths smoking—The Cuban leaf—The effects of smoking on
    the character of the Turks—Mr. E. W. Lane on the Oriental
    method of smoking—Clarendon’s views on tobacco’s influence in
    diplomacy—The three kinds of tobacco used in commerce—Botanical
    description—The chemist’s account of the composition of the
    weed—Shakespeare’s ‘hebenon’—Sir B. W. Richardson’s experiments
    with the smoke of tobacco—Tobacco innoxious compared with
    alcohol—Prof. Johnston’s experiments and observations—Observed
    effects on German thinkers—Pre-eminent among great smokers
    stand Hobbes, Newton, Parr, Aldrich, Hall, Carlyle and
    Tennyson—Experience the true guide.

                                CHAPTER V                               73

                      THE USE AND ABUSE OF TOBACCO

    Differences of temperament interfere with general enjoyment of
    the weed—Ground upon which all can agree—Its germicidal action
    demonstrated in laboratory experiments—Faith of our forefathers
    in tobacco’s all-healing properties—Particularly as a destroyer
    of insect life on plants and animals—Liebault’s account of
    Nicot’s introduction of tobacco into France and experiments
    on old sores and wounds—Fame of throughout Portugal,
    France—Catherine de Medici plants seeds of in her garden—George
    Buchanan’s distrust of anything which bears her name—Italy’s
    first instalment of the weed received from Spain—Spenser in
    the Faërie Queene speaks of ‘divine tobacco’—William Lyly
    calls it the ‘holy herb nicotian’—Henry Buttes on tobacco as a
    dietetic—Dr. Gardiner describes its use in medicine—Harleian
    Miscellany on tobacco—Dr. Thorius’s Hymnus Tabac—Pepys’
    experience with tobacco—Dr. Willis on its prophylactic effects
    in the plague of 1666—Dr. Diemerbroeck finds it kills contagion
    during plague in Holland 1635-6—Coleridge in Cologne—Medical
    profession’s changed attitude towards tobacco—Mr. Solly, of
    St. Thomas’s Hospital, proclaims a crusade against smoking—Dr.
    Murray at a later date speaks highly in its favour from army
    experience—Private McCarthy’s quiet pipe in the hospital
    yard—Soldiers’ experiences in South Africa—Government’s
    changing practices in regard to contraband tobacco—Soldiers
    sent out in troop-ships have first claim.

                                CHAPTER VI                              95


    The beginnings of history—Ancestor worship—Man’s instinctive
    craving for narcotics and stimulants—Ancient historic
    allusions to smoking or burning of vegetable substances—Lieut.
    Walpole’s account of an Arabic MS. which came into his hands
    at Mosul—Nimrod a tobacco-smoker—Assyrian cylinders in the
    British Museum—Noah a smoker, a Greek Church tradition—The
    Moslem sage and the origin of the tobacco plant—Eulia Effendi’s
    story of a tobacco pipe found in an old wall—Tobacco unknown
    in Turkey before 1610—Dr. Yates mistakes an Egyptian painting
    representing glass-blowers for a smoking party—Both Greeks and
    Romans inhaled fumes of tussilago through a reed or pipe for
    the cure of coughs and difficult breathing—Abbé Cocket and Dr.
    Bruce on old clay pipes found in Normandy and among ruins in
    Britain—Clay pipes found in Scotland and Ireland—Legendary lore
    respecting their origin and use—The weed and the Portuguese
    in India and Java—Palias and Meyen on the plant in India and
    China—The Lazarists, Gabet and Huc, in Tartary and Thibet—The
    cultivation and use of tobacco in China—The supposed antiquity
    of the habit among the Chinese, who in their prehistoric
    migrations may have carried seeds of the plant to America.

                                CHAPTER VII                            117


    The Japanese—Marco Polo’s mention of Japan and its
    people—Pinto, Portugal’s pioneer in eastern seas—Lands at
    Nagasaki in 1545—Friendly reception—News of the event reaches
    Manila and Goa—Spanish merchant vessels with Francis Xavier
    speedily arrived at Bungo—Warm welcome—Tobacco and smoking,
    a new revelation to these primitive people—Good work done
    by Xavier and his coadjutors among the sick and needy—The
    Shogun, Iyeyasu, permits free intercourse and unrestricted
    trade—Spaniards and Portuguese accused of overreaching
    practices, and of draining the country of its gold—Jesuits and
    Friars swarm in Japan and bring upon themselves disgrace and
    ultimate expulsion—William Adams the first Englishman to set
    foot in Japan—His rapid rise in favour and fortune—The arrival
    of Dutch merchantmen—Helped by Adams to secure a trade basis
    at Firando—Adams desires to return home, but is put off from
    time to time—He writes letters to England telling of himself,
    and inviting London merchants to trade with Japan—They do so,
    and vessels laden with merchandise are despatched under the
    command of Captain Saris, who bears a letter from King James to
    the Emperor of Japan, resulting in England’s first commercial
    treaty with that country—Adams dies in Japan after twenty
    years’ residence, loved and honoured by all.

    An Edict against smoking falls into abeyance—Family records
    of smoking in 1605-7—Excellent properties of tobacco-smoking
    enumerated by an old writer—Objections to its use—The theft
    of the golden pipe—Smoking now universal in Japan—An ‘At
    Home’—Men’s revolt against women’s authority as to when and
    where to smoke—Primitive habits among the peasantry—Cultivation
    and revenue—Sir Earnest Satow statistics—Reflections.

                              CHAPTER VIII                             142


    The late Poet Laureate’s (Tennyson) love of
    tobacco-smoking—Science detects poisonous elements in the
    exotic—The philosophy of smoking—The only thing in life that
    fumes without fretting and assuages the fretful—The bachelor’s
    love of seclusion with his pipe—Napoleon’s first and last
    attempt at smoking—A distraught youth and an Oriental sage,
    an eastern view of the virtue of the weed—Raleigh and the New
    World—His expedition to explore the coast of the El Dorado and
    win renown for England and his idolized Queen Bess—England’s
    first smokers—Hawkins, not Raleigh, the first to bring tobacco
    to this country—Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth—The wager as to
    the weight of the smoke exhaled from a pipeful of tobacco—King
    James’s ‘Counterblaste to Tobacco’—Its home cultivation
    and manufacture—Ben Jonson’s ‘Alchemist’—‘Bartholomew
    Faire’—Dr. Barclay on sophistication of tobacco—Old Rome
    smoked coltsfoot and leaves of the lettuce—Paper warfare over
    the virtues or vices of the Indian weed—Joshua Sylvester
    sends a ‘volley of holy shot’ against the ‘idolatrous
    weed’—Samuel Rowland’s ‘Knave of Clubbs,’ a humorous satire on
    tobacco-smoking—Eastern potentates’ treatment of smokers of
    the Frankish novelty—Russian atrocities inflicted on users of
    the weed—Foreign Governments begin to see in it an easy means
    of augmenting revenue—Peter the Great invites English tobacco
    merchants to Moscow in order to establish a factory there for
    the manufacture of tobacco—Queen Anne in Council disapproves
    of the scheme, and orders our Envoy to destroy the works and
    return the workmen to their homes.

                                CHAPTER IX                             169

                      SOCIAL GOSSIP ABOUT THE WEED

    George Wither’s song on tobacco-smoking—Undergoes numerous
    alterations by later writers—Mr. Chappell, through Mr. Payne
    Collier, traces the original song to Wither—Bishop Fletcher
    succumbs to over-indulgence in the pipe—Rev. W. Bredon resorts
    to the hemp cut off the ends of the church bell-ropes as a
    substitute for tobacco—Raleigh carries the novelty to Court
    and makes smoking popular—Merriment in the city over the
    ‘tobacconists’—Ben Jonson’s mention of smoking—‘Every Man
    out of his Humour’—‘The Gipsies Metamorphosed’—‘Bartholomew
    Faire’—Dekker’s ‘Gull’s Horn Book’—His ‘Satiromastix’—Women
    smokers—The daughters of Louis XIV. smoke in their private
    apartments—England’s paper warfare over the merits or
    demerits of the weed—Joshua Sylvester supports the King’s
    ‘Counterblaste’—Heavy duty on tobacco and its ruinous cost
    to the consumer—Peter Campbell’s will—Sir Edwin Sandys on
    the sum paid for tobacco received from Spain—Dr. Everard
    on the ‘Wonderful Vertues of Tobacco taken in a Pipe’—Dr.
    Barclay’s Nepenthes—De Rochefort tells of smoking in rural
    England—Mentions the case of a Spaniard using a bit of the
    cable end in lieu of tobacco—Of smoking in bed—Mission’s
    remarks about the effects of tobacco on Englishmen—His verses
    in praise of smoking—Dr. Aldrich, Dean of Christchurch,
    Oxford—His song on tobacco, to be smoked while singing—His
    higher claims to admiration.

                                CHAPTER X                              184


    Various kinds and sources of supply—Qualities due to
    climate, soil or other causes—Natural qualities determine
    destination—Strong kinds find favour in North America,
    mild in Europe—Cuba’s leaf richest in excellences desired
    by smokers—Cuba’s make-up the model for the rest of the
    tobacco producing world—The effect of the McKinley tariff
    on Cuban cigar manufacture—The highly prized and priced
    Havana legitimas—Small area over which the Havana plant is
    grown—Harvesting and curing operations in Florida—Packing
    of bales for exportation—Bonded warehousing accommodation
    and its regulations—Different kinds of cigars suited to
    different seasons and climates—Manila cheroots, their kinds
    and manufacture—Government monopoly and its removal—Illicit
    growth of the plant by mountaineers—Number of employés,
    their work and wages—Cheroots used in lieu of coin—Various
    kinds of tobacco offered to the consumer—Invisible life
    infests tobacco leaves—Tobacco culture prohibited in England
    except in Physic Gardens—Removed in 1886—Failure of English
    cultivation—Manufacture of cigars—Inequality of Customs
    duty—Historical view of tobacco pipes—Clay pipes—Meerschaum,
    its origin and manufacture—Briar-root and other materials used
    for pipes.


    TOBACCO PLANT                                      _frontispiece_

                                                        _face p._

    SIR WALTER RALEIGH                                     ”       6

    DEPARTURE OF COLUMBUS (_from a rare old painter_)      ”      22

    QUEEN ELIZABETH                                        ”     132

    A CHINESE PIPE                                               112

    INDIAN PIPE—Heads found in Mound City, Ohio                  113

    A JAPANESE PIPE                                              129

    DUC DE SULLY                                                 153

    EARLY SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY SMOKERS                            173





    Let me adore with my thrice happy pen
    The sweet and sole delight of mortal men;
    The cornucopia of all earthly pleasure,
    Where bankrupt nature hath consumed her treasure;
    A worthy plant springing from Flora’s hand,
    The blessed offspring of an uncouth land.


In the early days of her advent in these isles St Nicotine stood high in
the land. For she had come bearing credentials from France and Portugal
testifying to her many virtues as a healer of the sick as well as a
social comfort. And sober-minded folk would sit outside their doors,
pipe in hand, placidly inhaling the grateful vapour of the precious herb
a kind Providence had sent them to assuage the ills flesh is heir to.
But the quick eye and ready wit of the city wags saw the matter in a
different light. The Spanish fashion of smoking, namely, of drawing the
smoke into the lungs and ejecting it through ‘the organs of the nose,’
afforded them endless amusement, and sportive jests were heard on all
sides about the men who made chimneys of their noses. The important
part the exotic played in life’s comedy led the youthful aspirant to
literary fame, Sir John Beaumont, to think that he could not do better
than soar on the wings of the weed to the Parnassus he had already in
view. Barely twenty, full of exuberance and lofty ideals, he poured forth
his musings in a grand imitation of heroic verse. His work is entitled,
‘The Metamorphosis of Tobacco,’[1] (1602) and is dedicated to his friend
‘Maister Michael Drayton,’ whom he asks to take up the lines,

                        Tobacco like, unto thy brain
    And that divinely touched, puff out the smoke again.

Ambitious to excel and full of noble endeavour he exclaims,

    Let me the sound of great Tobacco praise
    A pitch above those love-sick poets raise.

He conceives the idea of a parliament of the elements assembled to hear
the complaint of Prometheus that his work is imperfect. He calls for
help, and the Earth is invoked. But ‘Grandame Ops her grieved head did
shake.’ She declares however that,

    A plant shall from my wrinkled forehead spring
    Which once enflamed with the stolne heavenly fire
    Shall breath into this lifeless corse inspire.

Despite of Fate the elements combine to form the plant. Their work
accomplished, it is found that Tellus had tempered too much terrene
corruption in its composition. But for this

    The man that tasted it should never die
    But stand in record of eternitie.

Jupiter is enraged at the daring attempt to usurp his divine prerogative
and banishes the plant to an unknown region. After long searching the
graces discover it in the palace of the great Montezuma. They are royally
entertained and wish for no greater happiness than to remain eternally
regaling themselves with the vapour of the divine herb. Another flight
of fancy reveals the ‘sweet and sole delight of mortal men’ as a nymph
of Virginia receiving the visits of Jupiter clad in the garb of a
shepherd. Juno, ever watchful over the movements of her lord, discovers
the intrigue, and with threatening gesture storms at the poor thing and
transforms her into the Indian weed.

It may be that the divine afflatus which Drayton, speaking of Marlowe,
says, ‘rightly should possess a poet’s brain,’ imaging ‘those brave
translunary things that the first poets had,’ had not yet descended
upon the young poet of Grace Dieu. But it cannot be denied him that his
diction is stately, and that at times he displays flashes of grandeur.
Chalmers remarks of him that he brought to his task ‘a genius uncommonly
fertile and commanding.’ All through his brief career he had yearned
after a true poet’s renown. ‘No earthly gift,’ he wrote, ‘lasts after
death but fame.’ And he sighed over the thought that all his labour
should be left incomplete—‘That’s my vexation, that’s my only grief.’ His
longing for posthumous fame Drayton tenderly notices in the following

    Thy care for that which was not worth thy breath.
    Brought on too soon thy much lamented death.
    But heaven was kind and would not let thee see
    The plagues that must upon this nation be.

It is hard to say what plagues Drayton refers to, but it does seem
unkind of Elizabethan scholars to have so neglected Sir John Beaumont,
the purity and simplicity of whose life and elevated tone of work place
him in marked contrast to his more versatile and distinguished brother,

Leaving the domain of the poet let us turn our gaze for a moment towards
the heavens. Night’s sable mantle shrouds a sleeping world, and all
is repose save the spirit of our dreams. Freed from control the ever
active one flits at will in the realms of fairy-land, overleaping all
difficulties, revelling in phantasms new and wonderful till day dawns,
when she returns to her abode in man’s heavy brain to lighten the labour
of his daily toil, and to store up memories of a world closed to mortal

A distant murmur as of an approaching storm disturbs the stillness of
the night, from gathering clouds serpent-tongued lightning flashes
across the sky; the furies rage, the curtains of the heavens open and
lo! Jupiter appears glowing with unwonted fire. He vows he will suffer
no longer the flouting scorn of imperious Juno, and with anger-distended
nostrils he sniffs the ethereal air. But what is this that steals over
his heated senses? Subduing, soothing, consoling more sweetly than
incense from Aphrodite’s favoured altars. It ascends in cloudy wavelets
from the abodes of mortals. He determines to hold a council of the gods
and summons thereto the heroes of Earth famed throughout Elysium for
their knowledge of the odic essence whose spirit has entered his own and
quelled the rising of a conjugal storm.

Silently there glides into view a host of genial witnesses to St
Nicotine’s balmy influence over the troubled spirits of mortals. Leading
the spectral throng are Ben Jonson and Drummond, Beaumont and Fletcher,
Dekker and Overbury, swathed in clouds of vapour as if comforting
themselves with the old delectable pastime. A little to the rear, pale in
the majesty of thought, are Shakespeare and Bacon, Spenser and Newton.
Leaning to his friend Shakespeare, Bacon whispers, ‘No doubt the weed
hath power to lighten the body of mortals and enable them to shake off
uneasiness. But where is Raleigh? He paid devotion to his divinity most
constantly, and ought to be able to speak of what return he got for all
his worship.’

‘You know, Drummond, as well as I do, that I always did love the weed, in
spite of all that King James said against it. Did I not make my prince
of swaggerers, Captain Bobadil (who was to me what Falstaff was to Will
Shakespeare) descant on the fragrant theme, thus:—

‘“I have been in the Indies where neither myself nor a dozen gentlemen
more of my knowledge have received the taste of any other nutriment in
the world for over a space of one-and-twenty weeks, but the juice of
this simple only. Therefore it cannot be but ’tis divine—especially your
Trinadado; your Nicotian is good also. By Hercules! I do hold it before
any prince in Europe to be the most sovereign and precious herb that ever
the earth tendered for the use of man.”’

‘But, O worthy Ben, did not the master over-charge his ‘prentice when he
allowed the braggart to lay on the tinsel with so heavy a hand?’

‘Listen to me, my masters, let Ben Jonson read the _Untrussing of the
Humorous Poet_ without blenching if he can, for that might advance him in
merit; he would acknowledge that Thomas Dekker can kick.’

‘Hist! feather-brained gossip; proclaim not so loudly thy kinship with
the asinine family.’

Advancing with measured step the noble Raleigh appears and is greeted
with the cry:—

    Hail, mighty Raleigh! to whose name we owe
    The use and knowledge of this sovereign plant.

To which the illustrious knight made answer, ‘Not so, gentle spirits of
the past; to me it was not given to be the discoverer, or the first to
bring to my countrymen a knowledge of the blessed herb whose sobering
and soothing virtues lend man strength to bear with tranquility the
injustice of the powerful. The honour you would do unto me belongs of
right to others who were before me in the fray of battle and adventure.
Humble service have I rendered at her shrine, receiving thereby sweet
refreshment unstinted, even when on the threshold of thy domain, O mighty

‘Yet, by your leave, I will relate something of the wonderful tales
told of this weed by the adventurers who first brought tidings of it to
Europe, and of the New World and its people they had discovered in the
far-off western seas.

[Illustration: SIR WALTER RALEIGH.]

‘The chiefs and headmen of the Indians avow that the herb is a most
precious gift of the Great Spirit who created them, and who rules over
the affairs of their daily lives. He it was in ages long past, when
all the different tribes were warring one against another, had taught
them the peace-inspiring virtues of the plant. He it was who, out of a
fragment broken from the red rock, had fashioned for their guidance the
first peace-pipe. And it came to pass in this wise: The Master of Life,
the Great Spirit that broods over creation, descended to the summit of
the mountain; he called his children together, and they obedient to the
divine command assembled in infinite numbers to hearken to his will.
Then there came forth from the mountain a voice, crying, “Listen, O
children of the redskin, to the words of your Great Father. Let your
deliberations, domestic as well as public, be conducted under the
soothing influence of the herb of life, the divine uppówoc. Let the pipe
be to you a symbol of peace between you yourselves and all the tribes of
men. In loving brotherhood let it be passed from the lips of those famous
in the war of words as in the strife of battle; from those seated on the
front bench in the possession of treasure to those of the hungry of the
assembled senators who have nought but who fain would have all. Let the
smoke-cloud that ascends from the calumet be to you a pledge of peace, of
personal amity and good-will. Then shall your compacts one with another
be held sacred before me, and the war-club be buried deep in the earth.
Henceforward shall friendship and fraternity be yours for evermore—till,
alas, they of the pale face have grabbed from you your lands, and the red
man hath become a stranger and an outcast in the country of his birth.”

‘Thus spoke the Master of Life to his children of the redskin. Having
fashioned with wondrous curves the emblem of happiness out of stone of
the red rock, he filled the bowl with the leaves of the sacred herb, and
commanded the lightning to kindle it into flame. High up on the mountain
over their heads he smoked the first great symbol of peace among the
nations. He told the assembled multitude that the rock, out of which the
pipe was made, was formed of the flesh of their grandfathers, long ages
ago, when the world was deluged and the people of the earth destroyed.
Seeing the gathering of the waters, the children of the forest and of
the prairie fled to the high lands, thinking thus to save themselves.
The waters pursued them; they were overwhelmed in one mighty mass and
their bodies were converted into the red sandstone rock of the mountain,
therefore is it good medicine.

‘Yet one escaped the flood. A maiden, Kwaptahw, finding herself bereft
of kindred, lay disconsolate on the mountain ridge. Then it came to pass
that espying her from afar, the great war-eagle came to her side. She
clung to the lord of the air, and he carried her to a place of safety
high up on an adjacent cliff.

‘Then like the murmur of distant waters, the voice of the great spirit
gradually melted away.

    “—The Master of Life ascending
    Through the opening of cloud curtains,
    Through the doorways of the heaven,
    Vanished from before their faces,
    In the smoke that rolled around him
    The pukwana of the peace-pipe.”’

The shadowy form of great Elizabeth’s gallant courtier gives place to
the Shepherd of the Muse, who, as he passes, beams upon his friend a
countenance of supernal sweetness. Then in a voice of dreamy reverie the
genius of the _Faërie Queene_ addresses the Olympian deity after this

‘While musing on the loves and adventures of chivalrous knights and
ladies fair, away from the busy haunts of men in the wilds of Kilcolman,

      Under the foot of Mole, that mountain hoar,
    Keeping my sheep among the cooly shade
      Of the green alders, by the Mulla’s shore;
    There a strange shepherd chanced to find me out;
      Whether allurèd with my pipe’s delight
    Whose pleasing sound yshrilled far about,
      Or thither led by chance, I know not right;
    Whom, when I askèd from what place he came,
      And how he hight, himself he did ycleepe
    _The shepherd of the ocean_ by name,
      And said he came from main-sea deep.
    He, sitting me beside in that same shade,
      Provokèd me to play some pleasant fit,
    And when he heard the music that I made,
      He found himself full greatly pleased at it;
    Yet, æmuling my pipe, he took it in hond
      My pipe—before that æmulèd of many—
    And played thereon (for well that skill he conned):
      Himself as skilful in that art as any.
    He piped, I sung; and when he sung, I piped;
      By change of turns each making other merry;
    Neither envying other nor envied,
      So piped we, until we both were weary.

‘Thus, O Jupiter, and you my fellow-denizens of Elysium, would we hold
sweet communion of soul. And then it was I learnt of the right noble and
valorous knight, the exceeding comfort of the “soverane weed,” which the
elements in aforetime had formed for the solace of men and gods; for
nothing loth am I to say that I drew from the pipe a foretaste of the
peaceful joys of the blessed, and therefore did I recognise in the divine
herb a gift from heaven, treasured up for mortals in Nature’s bounteous
store. It seemeth, however, that the immortal powers swayed by imperious
Juno had disowned the Virginian nymph and had lost the healing balm she
breathes upon the chafed and fretful; yet, methinks, even Juno might find
a piquant pleasure in a few whiffs of the weed.

‘But if Raleigh denies himself the renown of being the first to bring
the Indian’s herb to his native country, he can fairly lay claim to
the pleasure of having first planted it in Ireland. When he was Mayor
of Youghall, and his abode the manor-house, he smoked his first pipe
of tobacco in his garden, sheltered by the spreading branches of four
yew trees that still may be seen forming a thatch-like covering for a
summer-house. And in this Youghall garden he planted Ireland’s first
instalment of the Indian weed. Ever foremost among the high-souled and
adventurous, he neglected not other like humble things that he thought
would be of service to his fellow-creatures, for here, too, he planted
and cultivated Ireland’s greatest blessing, the potato, which fostered
by prudence, rapidly gave to that wild and lawless land an abundance of
food for the impoverished peasantry. He planted likewise, the affane
cherry, and the sweetly perfumed wall-flower, which he had brought from
the Azores, and which may still be seen growing on the banks of the

‘Much doubting me if aught I have said can profit this goodly company,
I will call upon one who has seen the plant in its native soil and can
describe its uses among the Indians. For the herb, which is commonly
called tobacco, hath many names and divers virtues.’ Then rose before
the recumbent throng, the historian of England’s first colony in the New
World, Thomas Harriot, mathematician and astronomer. He began:—

‘A brief and true report I will render you of what I learned of the herb,
the truth of which can be attested by Ralf Lane, the worthy governor
of the new found land of Virginia. It befel me that I went out with a
number of my countrymen to that far-off land in the Western Seas the
great Columbus had discovered, that I might make record of all that
happened concerning us on that perilous venture. It was undertaken by the
orders of Sir Walter Raleigh, and was under the command of Sir Richard
Grenville. Soon after we had made our peace with the natives, and they
were of a peaceful race, not caring for bloody strife or for plunder,
we found them making a fume of a dried leaf, which they rolled up in a
leaf of maize, of the bigness of a man’s finger. By rubbing a stone with
a stick, in a cunning way they had learned from some divine power, they
contrived to kindle fire and putting a light to the leaf they smoked it,
as is done by mortals in these days. It was the leaf of an herb which is
sowed apart by itself and is called by the inhabitants uppówoc. They use
it also in powder. The leaves thereof being dried and crushed small, they
take the fumes or smoke thereof by sucking it through pipes made of clay
into their stomach and head, from whence it purgeth superfluous humours,
and it openeth all the pores and passages of the body, by which means
the use thereof preserveth the body in health, and they know not many
grievous diseases, wherewithal people in England were oftentimes affected.

‘This herb is of so precious estimation amongst them that they think
their gods are marvellously delighted therewith. Whereupon they sometimes
make hallowed fires and cast some of the powder therein for a sacrifice;
being in a storm upon the waters, to pacify their gods they cast some
into the air and into the water: so a wear for fish being newly set
up they cast some therein and into the air; also after an escape from
danger they cast some into the air likewise; but all is done with strange
gestures, stamping, sometimes dancing, clapping of hands, holding
up hands, and staring up into the heavens, uttering therewithal and
chattering strange words and noises.

‘We ourselves, during the time we were there, used to smoke it after
their manner, as also we did when we returned home and found many rare
and wonderful experiments of the virtues thereof, of which the relation
would require a volume by itself. The use of it by men and women of
great calling as else, and many learned physicians bore testimony to
its exceeding good qualities as a healer of the sick and a comforter in

Then rose England’s unexampled smoker, Dr. Parr, renowned throughout
Europe for his profound learning, theology and Greek. Smiling benignantly
under the voluminous wig which furnished Sydney Smith with a droll figure
of speech, he recounts the story of how his smoking had caused royalty
to sneeze. This had happened on the occasion of a dinner given in honour
of the Duke of Gloucester at Trinity College, Cambridge. Immediately the
cloth had been removed the doctor began his usual practice of smoking his
pipe. In the warmth of conversation he blew clouds so vigorously that a
general rising in revolt took place led by his Royal Highness sneezing
and holding his nose.

As to its effect upon the learned doctor, his physician, Dr. John
Johnstone, explains that tobacco-smoking acted upon his patient like a
charm, allaying his abnormally irritable nervous system. ‘It soothed him
and assisted his private ruminations; it was his consoler in anxiety,
and helpmate in composition. All who knew him had seen the air darkened
with the fumes from his pipe when his mind was labouring with thought.
Yet he lived the span of years allotted to mortals, falling ripe at the
age of seventy eight.’ Thereupon a voice was heard protesting against the
practice of smoking, in all hours and all occasions, even in the presence
of ladies. ‘Were you then the divine who refused to dine out or spend
an evening with a friend unless privileged to smoke when and where you
pleased, even in the drawing-room of ladies, nay, would oftentimes single
out the handsomest one to light your pipe?’

‘Truly your apprehension in this is in no wise at fault, nor would I
mislead you as to pressing the ladies into the service of my pipe. I
recognised that it was nature’s behest to woman to impart to duller
mortals light and leading, and by watchful eye and ready wit to keep the
flame aglow. You did not profit by observation or experience, else you
would have learned this lesson.’

‘Your pardon, Dr. Parr, but I cannot conceive that you properly
maintained the dignity of your calling by such discourtesy to the ladies.
Of this am I conceived that had you so behaved in the presence of my wife
she would have called you to better manners, unless, indeed, you had been
entreated by the ladies to smoke as you did and blow fumes into their

‘Gently, gently, my sapient critic, mistake not the significance of the
argument, which is this: Woman by divine command is man’s companion
and helpmate through their earthly career. Shut her out from all
participation in man’s social enjoyments, particularly one which like the
Indian weed brings to the ruffled mind solace and an abiding peace, and
there will spring up in her heart a feeling of resentment, as of a rival,
which may find vent in lost tobacco or broken pipes. Therefore is it not
well to teach the ladies to take pleasure in your smoking habit rather
than leave them to find pleasure in putting your pipe out? And to thee, O
troubled one, whose throne is the mighty Olympus, would I say that in St
Nicotine’s soothing charm dwells an antidote to Juno’s censorious tongue,
and in her clouds a shield against Aphrodite’s gracious influence.’

A smile plays across the countenance of Jupiter, but scorn flashes from
Juno’s lustrous eyes. And Aphrodite flutters her wings in dissent, for
already she feels her sway over mortals yielding to the rising power of
St Nicotine of the peace-pipe. Casting her longing gaze towards the place
of her birth.

    To the Cyprian shores the goddess moves
    To visit Paphos and her blooming groves,
    Where to the Power an hundred altars rise,
    And fragrant odours scent the balmy skies.



Part II

    A few more whiffs from my cigar
    And then in Fancy’s airy car
        Have with thee to the skies.
    How oft the fragrant smoke upcurl’d
    Hath borne me from this little world
        And all that in it lies.

                                   THOMAS HOOD.

Like a sun-gleam seen through a Scotch mist the hoary head and set visage
of the veteran thinker, Thomas Carlyle, appears. As a persistent preacher
of the gospel of silence he will himself talk and talk on, seemingly
oblivious to its application to himself. Turning to his friend, Dr.
Calvert, he asks, ‘Why are we here? Really, I think it shocking that we
should run to Rome, to Greece, and leave all at home lying buried in
nonentity. Were I supreme chief there should be a resurrection of the old
English ages. I will pit Odin against Jupiter, and find sea-kings that
will put Jason to shame. Ah, tobacco! It is one of the greatest benefits
that ever came to the human race. Nobody ever came near me whose talk
was half so good as silence with my pipe. I would fly out of the way of
everybody, and would much rather smoke a pipe of wholesome tobacco than
talk to anybody just now. I saw in the weed the one element in which by
European manners men could sit silent together without embarrassment,
and no man was bound to speak one word more than he had actually and
veritably got to say. Nay, every man was admonished and enjoined by the
laws of honour, and even of personal ease, to stop short at that point;
at all events, to hold his peace and take to his pipe the instant he
had spoken his meaning—if he chanced to have any. The results of which
salutary practice, if introduced into constitutional parliaments, might
evidently be incalculable. Take for example, the Tobacco Parliament
of Friedrich Wilhelm. It had not the least shadow of a constitutional
parliament, nor even a privy council, as we understand it, his ministers
being mere clerks to register and execute what he had otherwise resolved
upon. But he had his _Tabako-Collegium_; his _Tabagie_, or Smoking
Congress, and which made so much noise in the world and which in a
rough, natural way afforded him the uses of a Parliament on most cheap
terms and without the formidable inconveniences attached to that kind
of institution. In short, he had a parliament reduced to its simplest
expression; instead of parliamentary eloquence he had Dutch clay pipes
and tobacco provided in abundance. And this was the essence of what
little intellect and insight there was in a parliament; all that can be
got out of any parliament. Sedatives gently soothing, gently clarifying
tobacco-smoke, with obligation to a minimum of speech, surely give human
intellect and insight the best chance they can have.’

It was noticeable that the stern denouncer of talk did not say how he,
personally, would have liked a seat in a ‘parliament reduced to its
simplest expression.’ Electrical glances passed from one to another of
the immortals, which clearly indicated that the inflexible one would
have kicked the seat from under him, and, taking his stand on the eternal
verities, would have lashed with the scorn of his tongue the drowsy dogs
into a full recognition of their own worthlessness; would have compelled
them to realise that a deliverer was at hand, and that Carlyle was
synonymous with Cromwell.

Yet he would not overlook tobacco’s failings. Tobacco he averred had
done to the German populations important multifarious functions. ‘For
truly in politics, morality and all departments of their practical
and speculative affairs its influence, good and bad, could be traced;
influences generally bad; pacificatory but bad, engaging them in idle
cloudy dreams—still worse, promoting composure among the palpably chaotic
and discomposed—soothing all things into lazy peace that all things
might be left to themselves very much and to the laws of gravity and
discomposition, whereby German affairs came to be greatly overgrown
with funguses and symptoms of dry and wet rot.’ Here Germany’s great
chancellor broke in with hilarity, and said how he was reminded—

‘Hold your tongue, Furst, till I have done.’ Relaxing into a more social
vein, Carlyle described how he became a smoker from the age of eleven,
and how his mother would fill his long clay pipe, light it, take a whiff
or two, and then hand it to him. ‘And as to snuffing, I will tell you
what happened to me when I was a very little boy, perhaps not more than
four years old, and before I was admitted to the dignity of trousers.
I went to the house of two old ladies who were fond of snuff. Their
box to me was something wonderful. Either as a cruel jest, or in utter
foolishness, they asked me to take a pinch, I, really, not knowing what
snuff was. Urged and instructed by the ladies, I took a very big pinch
indeed. An explosion, or rather a succession of explosions followed, and
I thought my head was blown off. My first experience of snuff was my
first tragedy.’ Whereupon there fell upon the ear strange sounds as of
distant revelry re-echoed through ancient halls untenanted, and Olympus
rocked under a burst of Jovian laughter.

Charles Lamb, beaming with smiles, is ready to Lamb-pun (lampoon) anybody
or everybody, if he will but wa-wa-wait a bit. And Leigh Hunt, aside to
Wordsworth, whispers, ‘Lamb will crack a jest in the teeth of a ghost,
and then melt into thin air at the awful thought.’ While Coleridge, of
moody brow, brightens under the genial influence of old comrades, and
casting reflective glances around him, lives again in the memory of those
delightful evenings spent with them, their pipes aglow, in the old hostel
where genial Elia and a host of genius loved to foregather.

Sincere, affectionate, loving Charles Lamb, whose child-like heart, so
easily touched with the sufferings of others, was full of chivalrous
devotion to the sufferer. He turns to Wordsworth and explains his
attitude towards the weed. ‘Tobacco was for years my evening comfort and
my morning curse. For two years I had it in my head to write a poem on
the charmer, but she stood in her own light by giving me headaches that
prevented me singing her praises.’

‘But, my worthy Lamb, you know that headaches come not so much of smoking
as of imbibing too freely of that cheery October you like so well? And
what strong coarse stuff you would smoke to be sure! Do you remember that
even Dr. Parr was amazed at your prodigious powers, and asked how you had
acquired the habit?’

‘Ah, yes, I remember, I told him I had acquired it,’ (and here a sparkle
of humour plays across his face) ‘by toiling after it, as some men toil
after virtue.’

‘And when your physician wisely admonished you, and would have stopped
further indulgence in the weed, at least for a time, confess, naughty
man, what was your reply?’

‘May my last breath be drawn through a pipe and exhaled in a pun! And yet
I would readily admit that,

    For thy sake, tobacco, I
    Would do anything but die!’

The eloquent Robert Hall, England’s greatest pulpit orator, takes up
the social theme and recounts his first experience of the pipe. ‘My
association with the fraternity of smokers happened when I was a young
man at Cambridge under the guidance and somewhat severe admonition of the
learned Dr. Parr, whose pre-eminence among smokers we all acknowledged.
Thus early in life brought under the soothing influence of the weed
by so profound a scholar, whose knowledge of Greek was the terror and
admiration of young men, and feeling the natural desire of youth to
imitate the great, I thought I could not in any better way fit myself for
his society than by adopting his habit of smoking, and out of a long clay
pipe like his. It was then I developed a taste for tobacco which from
that time onward never left me. Being pressed on one occasion to explain
why I began the practice, I made answer that I was qualifying myself for
the society of a Doctor of Divinity, and that my pipe was the test of my
admission. Indeed, I began to experience an ill-at-ease feeling whenever
the weed and its instrument were not within my reach. I did not care to
argue with those people who thought evil things of smoking. If they did
not like it I would merely advise them to keep from it. For myself, I was
perfectly contented if they would let me alone, and allow me the mild
indulgence during my sojourn among mortals.’

The shade of Charles Spurgeon, the hero of the Tabernacle, glides into
view, holding to his lips a churchwarden of ample proportions, as if
inhaling the herb’s perfumed breath with serene enjoyment. A veteran
devotee at the shrine of St Nicotine he claimed a foremost place among
Victorian smokers. Morning, noon and night, in season, and, as many
thought, out of season, he might be found ensconced in some quiet nook,
or perched on a wall, diligently like a devout Parsee keeping the sacred
fire aglow, and drawing inspiration from the spiral wreaths as they
ascended heavenwards. It was to his nostrils as frankincense, leading
his thoughts to cerulean quarries in the sky where gems of sparkling wit
(or broad humour) were to be gathered for the delectation of multitudes
hungering for even his smallest joke, or it might be, an oracular
utterance on the ‘Scarlet Lady.’ The Tabernacle towered high in the land
in those days, and the churchwarden put forth a lengthening stem. And yet
there were limits, outside which even the High Priest of the Tabernacle
could not be permitted to roam, or to smoke the idolatrous Indian weed
unchallenged. Here he relates how a worthy dame of his fold brought him
to book on the subject—his everlasting breathing of ’bacco—and demanded
of him whether the practice was orthodox: could he put his finger on any
part of the Bible and say, here is my authority? Whereupon the pastor
meekly answered, ‘no, madam. But we do read in the Bible of the people
passing through the valley of Baca.’ ‘The valley of Baca! yes, here it
is!’ From the clouds leisurely blown around her a new light dawned on her
troubled conscience; the gage of battle was withdrawn, and she believed
with the implicit faith of a convert in her prophet, priest and king.
Others might stray from the beaten track to gain a greener mouthful, ‘but
for myself,’ she exclaimed, ‘henceforward I shall rejoice in the path
that leads to the Tabernacle through the valley of Baca!’

‘I love thee!’ exclaimed Captain Marryat, in the impassioned strain
of a Troubadour for the lady of his heart, ‘I love thee! whether thou
appearest in the form of a cigar, or diest away in sweet perfumes
enshrined in a meerschaum bowl. I love thee with more than a woman’s
love; thou art a companion to me in solitude; I can talk and reason with
thee, avoiding loud, obstreperous argument. Thou art a friend to me when
in trouble, for thou advisest in silence, and consolest with thy calm
influence over the perturbed spirit. I know not how thy power has been
bestowed upon thee; yet, if to harmonize the feelings, to allow the
thoughts to spring without control, rising, like the white vapour from
the cottage hearth on a morning that is sunny and serene; if to impart
that sober sadness over the spirit which inclines us to forgive our
enemies; that calm philosophy which reconciles us to the ingratitude and
knavery of the world; that heavenly contemplation whispering to us, as we
look around, that all is good—if these be merits, they are thine, most
potent weed.’

‘A truce to superfine sentiment. Tobacco is all very well as a check
to over-vehemence in men, just as a snaffle-bit is to a rampant
horse; applied to the wrong person, it will turn a sluggard into a
seventh sleeper. But it has a higher significance, such as you in your
speculative dreaming may never have thought of. Herr Carlyle, the friend
of the Fatherland, has told you his story of the use and abuse of tobacco
in Germany, now I will tell you mine, just as the incident occurred in
the old Bund of the times that are past.

‘I went to see Rechberg, who was at work and smoking at the same time.
He begged me to excuse him for a moment. I waited a little while.
By-and-by I got rather tired of waiting, and, as he did not offer me a
cigar, I took one out of my case and asked him for a light, which he gave
me with a somewhat astonished expression of countenance. But that is not
all. At the meetings of the Military Committee, when Rochow represented
Prussia at the Federal Diet, Austria was the only member who smoked.
Rochow, who was a desperate smoker, would have dearly liked to smoke too,
but did not venture to do so. When I came in I also felt that I wanted
to smoke, and, as I did not see in the least why I should not, I asked
the Presiding Power for a light, which appeared to be regarded both by it
and the other powers with equal wonder and displeasure. Obviously it was
an event for them all. Upon that occasion, therefore, only Austria and
Prussia smoked. But the other gentlemen considered it such a momentous
matter that they reported upon it home to their respective governments.
The affair demanded the gravest consideration, and fully six months
elapsed during which only the two great powers smoked. Then Schrenkh,
the Bavarian Envoy, began to vindicate the dignity of his position by
smoking. Nostitz, the Saxon, yearned to do so too, but he had not as
yet received permission from his minister; but as, at the next meeting,
he saw that Bothmer, the Hanoverian, lit a cigar, he (who had strong
Austrian proclivities, and some of his sons in the Austrian army) came
to an understanding with the Rechberg, for he also drew a weed from its
leathern scabbard, and blew a cloud. The only ones now remaining were the
Würtemberger and the Darmstädter, neither of them smokers. But the honour
and importance of their respective States imperatively exacted that they
should smoke; and so, at the very next meeting, the Würtemberger brought
out a cigar. I can see it now—a long, thin, light-yellow thing! and
smoked at least half of it, as a burnt offering for his fatherland!


(_From a rare old painting._)]

The important part tobacco has played in state affairs would be amazing
were it not so laughable; the weed seems to break down barriers with a
puff, and to clear the way to mutual understandings where jealousy and
_infra dig._ blocked up the path. It once reached my ears that England’s
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lord Clarendon, made his office reek like
a cabman’s shelter with the fumes of the strongest tobacco. He would
never listen to a word against his favourite indulgence without rising
in assumed wrath in its defence, and would stoutly maintain that tobacco
possessed a potent spell over men’s minds, disposing them towards the
good side in all the important affairs of life. And Lord Canning, too,
could seldom be seen without a cigar in his mouth.

‘But as to smoking in colleges and among youths generally, I am firmly
convinced that the practice is bad in every way. No youth under the age
of sixteen should be permitted to take tobacco in any form, under pain of
physical chastisement or public prosecution.’

Prince Bismarck having thus delivered himself, the honour of France
demanded that the Grand Nation should not remain silent in the halls of
the immortals. An animated chatter among the spectral throng ensues, and
mutterings which mark dissension are audible above the general hum.

‘Indulgence in tobacco and alcohol are leading directly to the total
annihilation of conscience … the moral sense is blunted, and degeneracy
is spreading throughout Christendom. Count Tolstoy is perfectly certain
of it, according to communications which have reached me through a
medium of highly purified spiritual affinities.’

‘After dinner nothing ever was so good as a pipe, taken with a glass or
two of brandy—not that I cared for alcohol, O dear no! but this I do say,
that the more I smoked the better I worked.’

‘The depopulation of France is directly involved in the use of the
pernicious plant called tobacco, as was proved by my experiments on
cocks and rabbits (Dr. Depierris). The manufacture and sale of tobacco
are, very properly, entirely in the hands of the government; it can,
therefore, regulate the output, increase or diminish the quantity, or cut
off the supply altogether, if either one or the other course be deemed
advisable in the public interest. My argument was, in the first place,
based upon experiments on animal organisms conducted under my own eyes,
and in the second place, on reports furnished by Prefects of Departments.
Those reports demonstrated the alarming fact that in ten departments
where each inhabitant smoked on an average 1490 grammes of tobacco in
the year, the families having seven children and upwards were in the
proportion of sixty-eight in every 100,000 of the population; while in
ten other departments where the average consumption of tobacco was only
451 grammes per head, the proportion of families of seven children for
every 100,000 inhabitants rose to eighty-one; the still-born children
numbered only 156, against 1124 in the former case. Hence the significant
inference that the use of tobacco led directly to degeneracy of the human

‘But tobacco may be used in moderation without injury, if men would but
keep away from the little glasses of brandy, absinthe, and other similar

‘Tobacco produces sluggishness and loss of will power.’

‘On dit, et c’est passé en proverbe; Le tabac c’est l’ami de l’homme, il
le console de la femme.’

‘Fumer, c’est obtenir une trêve à la tristesse, aux préoccupations
irritantes, aux petites misères de la vie, aux chagrins domestiques,
aux tracasseries d’un ménage mal assorti; c’est aussi, en matiere de
travaux intellectuels et artistiques, se procurer, au moyen d’une
surexcitation légere, un développement, une clairvoyance d’idées qui
souvent vous fuient, c’est un refuge contre ce qui blesse ou choque,
contre le mécontentement de soi-meme ou d’autres; c’est dans les
professions manuelles, une diminution des sensations de fatigue, d’ennui,
de découragement; c’est aussi, une annihilation du mal qui cause une
atmosphere froide, humide, malsaine, c’est enfin une jouissance émanant
d’une faible congestion au cerveau, un étourdissement passager, une sorte
d’ivresse légere qui caresse les idées et les empeche de vagabonder.

‘En résumé, après tout ce qui s’est dit et écrit pour ou contre le tabac,
l’usage de cette plante est aujourd’hui général; il constitue de nos
jours une branche très importante de culture, d’industrie et de commerce,
et une source de revenus considérable pour les Etats.’

The voice of Fairholt, of rare tobacco fame, claims attention. ‘Let us
get out of the region of captious criticism and come to the solid ground
of fact. For is it not surpassing strange that man still exists on earth
if there be death in the pipe? Is his life shorter, his morals worse, his
intellect weaker, than in the days of, say, Henry VIII. before tobacco
was known in Europe? For three hundred years the poisonous drug, if such
it be, circulated in the veins of Europeans, and where is the degeneracy?
They are at this day, the most active, energetic and intellectual beings
that have ever peopled the planet. The learned doctor’s awful array of
afflictions attested by experiments on small forms of animal life have
no terrors for them; experiment and demonstrate as he may, experience is
a better teacher. Is there any reason why men should apply to themselves
the results of operations made upon creatures that perish of old age
while human beings are still in their infancy?’

‘No, surely not,’ responds Inglis of Indian frontier fame. ‘Often did
I regale my weary body and brain with a pipe after a hard day’s sport
with rifle and hound on the track of the beasts of the jungle, or after
a fierce bout with the courageous wild boar, whose splendid fighting
qualities are little known out of India. It happens occasionally that the
huntsman finds himself far out on a desolate track when

                        The night-cloud has lowered
    And the sentinel star sets her watch in the sky.

At such times he turns with joy to his ready comforter, the peace-pipe.
Breathing in the fragrant breath his thoughts are set free to wander at
will; old places are revisited, and lost memories revived, always tinged
with pleasing thoughts of the things most cherished and the faces most
loved. At peace with himself and the world, he gazes into the starlit
heavens and exclaims, “Hail! thou invigorator of the weary, consoler of
the sorrowful, uncomplaining, faithful friend.’”

‘I too, would add my experience of the weed’s healthful influence on
weary humanity battling with plague and pestilence in tropical lands.’
Here Sir Samuel Baker relates how African savages had taught him the
virtues of the plant.

‘On that continent of dreadful night, yet so fascinating to the European
explorer, where death in one form or another confronts the traveller at
every step, it fell to my lot to be detained at the native village of
Obbo during the rainy season, in the midst of an indescribable steam of
poisonous vapours arising from a rank luxuriance of vegetation to be seen
in no other part of the world. Fever and dysentery were carrying off the
natives in large numbers. My wife and myself were both down with fever,
when the old chief persuaded me to smoke tobacco, which in the countries
bordering on the Nile is cultivated and manufactured in large quantities.
I had never smoked in my life, but I then commenced with Obbo tobacco
and pipes, and lived to bless the day I was wise enough to make the

‘During our pleasant sojourn in the valley of Albara it was my misfortune
not to be a smoker. In the cool of the evening we used to sit by the
bamboo table outside the door of our house and drink our coffee amidst
the beautiful scenery of a tropical sunset, with deep shadows falling
into the valley. But a pipe, the long chibouk of the Turk, would have
made our home a paradise. On our return to Gondokora I found that the
plague had visited the town during our absence, and that the vessel
we were to go in to Khartoum was plague-stricken, many of the crew
having died of disease. I was so thoroughly convinced of the purifying
properties of tobacco that upon the circumstance coming to my knowledge I
at once ordered several pounds of tobacco to be burnt on board, chiefly
in the cabin, and with the satisfactory result that we all escaped the

William Makepeace Thackeray grows pugnacious in defence of his favourite
indulgence, and asks, ‘What is this smoking, that it should be considered
a crime! I believe in my heart that women are jealous of it, as of a
rival. The fact is that the cigar is a rival to the ladies and their
conqueror too. Do they suppose they will conquer? Let them look over the
wide world and see for themselves that their adversary has overcome it.
Germany has been puffing for over three-score years and more, France
smokes to a man. Do they think they can keep the enemy out of England?
Pshaw! Look at Nicotiana’s progress. Ask the club-houses. I, for my part,
think it not at all unlikely that a bishop may be seen now and then
lolling out of the Athenæum with a cheroot in his mouth, or at any rate,
a pipe stuck in his shovel hat.’

Bulwer Lytton waxes warm over the inestimable blessings of the pipe. He
declares that it is a great comforter, and a pleasant soother! ‘Blue
devils fly before its honest breath! It ripens the brain, it opens
the heart; and the man who smokes thinks like a sage, and acts like a
Samaritan. He who doth not smoke hath either known no great grief, or
refuseth himself the softest consolation, next to that which comes from
heaven. What, softer than woman? Yes, for the woman teases as well as
consoles. Woman makes half the sorrows which she boasts the privilege to
soothe. Woman consoles us it is true, while we are young and handsome,
when we are old and ugly, woman snubs and scolds us. On the whole, then,
woman in this scale and the weed in that; Jupiter, hang out thy balance
and weigh them both; and if thou give preference to woman, all I can say
is, the next time Juno ruffles thee—O Jupiter! try the weed.’



    The white man landed—need the rest be told?
    The new world stretch’d its dusk hand to the old.
    Each was to each a marvel, and the tie
    Of wonder warmed to better sympathy.

                                               THE ISLAND.

Looking back towards the source whence the old world derived the Indian
weed and the habit of smoking it, the career of Columbus presents
itself crowded with marvellous exploits and instances of indomitable
courage that have left their imprint on men’s minds for all succeeding
generations. Though an old and oft-repeated story it has an abiding
interest for adventurous explorers whose highest glory is to link
themselves with the free and fearless Vikings. His imagination aglow with
the wondrous story Marco Polo had told of his voyages in the far east,
and possibly under the prompting of Toscanelli whose map was his guide,
Columbus conceived the bold idea of reaching India by sailing west.
Difficulties inevitable to so daring a project were met and overcome with
the patience born of genius. At last he gained the ear of Queen Isabel,
and to her he poured out his heart’s grief, and made her acquainted with
the dream of his life. Pointing to his chart he pictured a new world
teeming with every precious thing of earth, where wealth, and power, and
majesty, were to be won by courage and enterprise; and all should be hers
were he but equipped with royal authority and means of transport. The
sincere, impassioned eloquence with which he pleaded the reasonableness
of his cause and its triumphant success enlisted the sympathy of the
noble-hearted Queen. She entered with spirit into the grand scheme that
was to bring renown and riches to her impoverished country. ‘I will
assume the undertaking for my own kingdom of Castile,’ she exclaimed, ‘I
will pawn my jewels if the money you raise is not sufficient.’

On Friday, August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from the bar of Saltos,
near the little maritime town of Palos (Andalusia), as admiral of the
three small ships his indomitable energy had brought together. His own
vessel, the _Santa Maria_, had been built expressly for the voyage, and
was manned by a crew of fifty ruthless, unskilful adventurers. The two
others were caravels named the _Pinta_ and the _Niña_; they were owned
by the Pinzon family, and were commanded, respectively, by Martin Alonzo
and his brother Vicente Yañez. In all one hundred and twenty men embarked
under the inspiriting influence of Columbus on their perilous adventure
into unknown seas. Three months have well-nigh passed and yet no sign
is visible of the promised land. After enduring hardships the severest,
worn out by storm and tempest in regions leading they knew not whither,
their murmurs deepen into open mutiny; the crew gathers round the great
captain with threats to throw him overboard unless he will turn the
rudder and sail home. The vision of Columbus rises before us: tall, fair,
blue-eyed, beaming with the confidence of a life’s devotion to a great
purpose, he confronts his boisterous crew, and, with chart in hand, once
more subdues them with an enthusiasm fired by profound conviction. On the
morning of October 12, a sailor, Rodirego de Triano on board the _Niña_
scanning the horizon, calls to his mates to look out for land, pointing
to a dark mass looming in the distance. Then there breaks forth from the
mast-head the wild cry, _Tierra! Tierra!_ and the helmsmen steer their
course into the calm waters of San Salvador.

Here among the fair Bahamas where on Nassau’s most conspicuous site
is reared a statue to Columbus, let us linger a moment while the
great navigator and his adventurers prepare for landing in order to
take possession of the new territory in the names of their Majesties,
Ferdinand and Isabel. Richly attired in scarlet and plumes, and
accompanied by the two Pinzons, with a chosen escort bearing the standard
of Spain, they enter their boats and are rowed to the shore. With tears
of joy Columbus kneels and kisses the ground, while thanking Heaven for
the great mercy vouchsafed to him and his companions. Very soon they
become aware that the island is populated; they see natives running
hither and thither, peering from among the trees that stretch down to
the shore, and making gestures to one another in evident amazement.
By-and-by they approach nearer and nearer to the white men; now they
throw themselves on the ground in attitudes of wonder and supplication.
Columbus is struck with their child-like simplicity; he reassures them,
offering to each some trifling article—beads, buttons, etc.—which they
take with eager delight. Their curiosity leads them to touch the hands
and faces of the white men, whose garments are a great surprise. From
a creek hard by canoes shoot out into the open, but the moment the
occupants see the towering vessels of the Spaniards with their flapping
sails, amazement strikes them dumb and motionless. Columbus directs his
men to capture them, but the spell broken, they struggle desperately and
plunge into the water. Two, however, are secured and brought on board,
where they are treated with the utmost kindness by Columbus, for he
wishes to learn from them something of their language, their country, and
its products, particularly about gold and where it is to be obtained.

The gladsome sight that everywhere met their eyes must have been very
refreshing to the weary mariners. As far as the eye could reach there
was a luxuriant vegetation, and a forest of trees bearing an amplitude
of rich and varied fruit stretching down to the shore temptingly
over-hanging its sides, as if inviting the strangers to feast and enjoy
the good things of this Elysium. Perennial springtime seemed to reign
over the happy island, whose inhabitants knew no want nor suffering. Its
waters were liquid sapphire and malachite, looking through which could
be seen graceful branching corals; sky-blue fishes playing hide-and-seek
with golden ones among a delicate network of purple and yellow; there,
too, were miniature willows of lilac, and many another rare thing in the
mermaids’ pleasure gardens. Here and there the coast was strewn with
shells of exquisite beauty—trumpets for Tritons; the king conch, out of
whose pink lining lissome fingers create lovely cameos; tiny rice shells,
pink ones like ladies’ finger-nails, and cowries, and many another rare
shell that, in the days of England’s shell mania, would have realised a
handsome fortune for the happy possessor.

Sailing amidst these scenes of wondrous beauty they, sixteen days later,
October 28, sighted the island of Cuba, to which Columbus gave the name
of Juana, in honour of Prince Juan. In his selected letters, translated
by R.H. Major, F.S.A., Columbus says: ‘I followed the coast westward, and
found it so large that I thought it must be the mainland, the province of
Cathay, China.’ Continuing his narrative he says, ‘And as I found neither
towns nor villages on the coast, but only a few hamlets with the natives
of which I could not hold conversation because they immediately fled,
I kept on the same route, thinking I could not fail to light upon some
large cities and towns.… Returning to the harbour I had remarked, I sent
two men ashore to ascertain whether there was any king or large cities in
that part.’

Cruising in this region of enchantment, Cuba had fallen upon his
enraptured gaze like a vision of Eden. Soft and gentle breezes, an
azure sunlight sky, a rich luxuriant landscape, the carolling of birds,
exercised a powerful influence over his imagination. He exclaims: ‘It
is the most beautiful island the eyes ever beheld. I am told that the
trees never lose their foliage, and I can well understand it, for I
observed they were all as green and luxuriant as in Spain in the month
of May. Some were in blossom and others bearing fruit, others otherwise,
according to their nature. The nightingale was singing as well as other
birds of a thousand different kinds, and that in November, the month in
which I myself was roaming amongst them.’

After an absence of three days, the two men whom Columbus had sent to
explore returned. They had found no king nor large city, but had come
upon many small hamlets with numberless inhabitants; yet nothing could be
seen that in any way corresponded to their ideas of settled government.
On their way back they for the first time witnessed the use of a herb
which, says Washington Irving, ‘the ingenious caprice of man has since
converted into an universal luxury in defiance of the opposition of the
senses.’ Among other tales, strange and wonderful, the two men told
how they had come upon naked Indians with lighted fire-brands in their
mouths, from which they drew in the fumes, expelling them again through
their nostrils! They were simple, inoffensive people, and well disposed
towards the white men, whom they allowed to examine their fire-brands.
They had found them to be composed of the dried leaves of a herb rolled
up tightly in a leaf of maize. Lighting one end of the roll, they put the
other end between their teeth, and inhaled the fragrant vapour with an
air of placid enjoyment which seems to have produced in the Spaniards a
craving for the weed that to this day has never left them.

Here was a race of beings living in happy ignorance of the strifes and
ambitions, the anxieties and vexations of civilised man, reclining in
every posture of ease while breathing the fragrant odours of their
treasured weed: civilised man, indeed, gazed with amazement and longing.
Sweeter far than incense from Arabi was this new delight to the
Spaniards, it became a necessity; it was their morning comforter that
fortified them for the combat of the day, and their evening solace. Thus
it happened that the new world gave to the old its first lesson in the
art of regaling tired nature with her own anodyne. Navarrete says: ‘The
habit has since become universal, and hence the origin of the so much
prized and so far celebrated havanas.’

With the experiences of a new world just dawning upon them, the
explorers were prepared at every step to encounter prodigies of a
startling character. So far, however, they had seen nothing to cause
them apprehension; nothing had yet fallen in their way more interesting
than these primitive people clad merely in nature’s copper-coloured
cuticle, and adorned with ornaments of pure gold and rare and curious
shells intermingled with their braided locks. And yet still more strange,
these very simple-minded children of nature looked up to the white men as
visitors from the spirit-land of their dreams, and with awe and wonder
made offerings to them of whatever things they esteemed most precious.
The ships in the offing with flapping wings had come from the blue
beyond their ken, and the white men were denizens of the skies. This
curious idea—so soon to be dispelled by the rapacity and cruelty of the
Spaniards—which the natives had conceived of the strangers is alluded to
by many early writers who afterwards visited the new world. Sir Francis
Drake, in _The World Encompassed_ (1572-73), speaking of the North
American Indians, says: ‘They brought to the ship a little basket made
of rushes and filled with a herb which they called tabah.… They came now
a second time bringing with them as before had been done, feathers and
bags of tabah for presents, or rather, indeed, for sacrifice, upon this
persuasion that we were gods.’

The chief object Columbus had in view, that indeed which had secured him
the powerful influence of the Church, was not merely the discovery of the
marvellous country of the East Indies, mentioned by Marco Polo, but the
conversion to Christianity of the Grand Khan who ruled over the land. To
this end, and to obtain for him friendly treatment, he bore for the Khan
a royal letter of introduction signed by their Christian majesties of

Meanwhile, Columbus had been busily occupied in collecting the spoils of
his easily acquired possessions in the West India Islands, in readiness
to return home and render an account to his magnanimous friend and
protectress, Queen Isabel, of the perils of his voyage and the ultimate
realisation of his dreams. His own vessel, the _Santa Maria_, having run
aground had to be abandoned, but the _Niña_ was soon made ready for him,
and without undue delay the little craft weighed anchor on January 16,
1493. On his arrival in Spain the Court was at Barcelona, and thither
Columbus journeyed, attended by his train, bearing the trophies of his
adventure. He was received by the king and queen with every mark of royal
favour. Seated in their presence, he displayed to their eager gaze the
specimens he had brought for their acceptance of various products of
the new found land: virgin gold, cotton, mysterious plants (assuredly
the tobacco plant would be here), birds of rare plumage, and animals of
unknown species. But rising in importance above all these things were
nine native Indians for conversion and baptism to attest to the reality
of his triumph. Though the Grand Khan had not been seen, yet in presence
of these Indians even the learned Bishop of Talavera could no longer look
askance at the great navigator as a vain dreamer not altogether free from
suspicion of magic. In grateful remembrance of Her Majesty’s bounty and
enthusiastic protection, Columbus presented to her the casket which had
contained the jewels she so generously gave up for his use, now filled
with pure gold, as an earnest of what was in store for Spain in their
Majesties’ new dominions. The casket is preserved to this day in the
sacristy of the cathedral at Grenada.

Columbus was of too active a disposition to indulge his well-earned
repose; the old craving for adventure and exploration left him no peace.
Under royal command a fleet worthy of his grand scheme of conquest and
colonisation was prepared for him, consisting of three large galleons and
fourteen caravels, carrying 1,500 men, and all things necessary for the
establishment of a new colony. He was invested with supreme authority
as admiral, viceroy, and captain-general of all islands and continents
in the Western Ocean. Second in authority was Gonzalo Fernandez de
Oviedo, who accompanied the expedition bearing the royal commission of
inspector-general of the West India Islands. By the end of September 1493
the fleet was speeding its way towards the Far West, and with favouring
gales was wafted straight amongst the Windward Islands. Had some good
genius guided their course across the deep in order to disclose to them
the beauties of the new world, no fairer island could have been found
than the one which, on that bright morning in January 1494 lay before the
adventurers as the great master mariner steered his vessel into the safe
harbour of Hayti—land of mountains. The climate was perfect; a perpetual
summer was tempered by cool mountain breezes and periodical showers,
which swept in from the Atlantic. By the banks of this beautiful harbour,
on the north shore, Columbus planted the first Spanish settlement, and in
grateful tribute to the Queen he named it Isabella. The country, which
in all probability he believed to be the continent he was in search of,
he named San Domingo, a name which soon disappears from the records,
substituted by that of Hispaniola. From this island came to Europe the
first written allusion to the use of tobacco by the natives. It is from
Fra Ramono Pane, a Franciscan, whom Columbus had left at Hayti. In a
letter to his friend Peter Martyr, Queen Isabel’s secretary, he tells
him of a curious practice said to be common among the natives of rubbing
the dried leaves of a herb into a powder, and then with a hollow forked
tube, two prongs of which they put up their nostrils while holding the
lower one in the powder, ‘they drew the powder into their noses, which
purges them very much of humours.… The cane or tube is about half a
cubit long.’ This description would seem to indicate snuffing rather than
smoking. It seems clear that we have here come upon the origin of the
practice of titillating the olfactories which towards the close of the
sixteenth century, had become, says Molière, ‘la passion des honnetes
gens.’ Catherine de Medici became one of the earliest devotees to the new
indulgence; fashion led the _poudre à la Reine_ through the courts of
Europe, where elegant dilettanti vied with each other in the display of
jewelled snuff boxes filled with _odeur de Rome_, or other right puissant
sternutatories, not always of a harmless kind. Prelates and abbés were
enamoured of the delightfully-scented refresher, and in Spain they did
not scruple to place their brilliant boxes on the altar for their use,
in spite of Pontifical ordinances and anathemas from Urban VIII. and
Innocent XII. Physicians, carried away with the belief that a grand
sternutatory had been discovered, proclaimed its advent to a grateful
people, and prescribed its use liberally; for, said they, ‘it must needs
do good where the brain is replete with many humours, for senselessness
or benumming of the brains, and for a hicket that proceedeth of
repletion.’ Yet there were divisions in the ranks of medical men; there
were different sides of the question, different interests or tastes to
be considered. Had not the Duc d’Harcourt suffered martyrdom in the new
cause in order to please Louis le Grand? The Court physician, Monsieur
Fagon, devoted his brilliant talents to a public denunciation of the
new vice which, springing from heathen soil, was fast spreading over
Christendom! Unhappily for the success his eloquence merited, in the
warmth of his oratory he so far forgot himself as to dip his fingers into
his waistcoat pocket and take copious pinches of _tabac en poudre_ in
order to refresh his fickle brain.

The early writers on the smoking habit were perplexed about the origin of
the name given to the weed. Many favoured the opinion that the plant and
its use had first come under the observation of Europeans in the island
of Tobago. This notion is shewn to be incorrect in a work bearing the
rather long and ambitious title of _Tobago: a Geographical Description,
Natural and Civil History, together with a full Representation of the
Produce and other Advantages arising from the Fertility, excellent
Harbours, and Happy Situation of that Famous Island_. The author says, ‘I
do not recollect any author who has given a clear account of this name;
and as many have expressed a doubt whether the island was so called from
the herb, or the herb from the island, I hope the curious and inquisitive
reader will be well pleased to see that matter set in its true light; for
the fact is that neither the island received its name from the herb, nor
the herb from the island. The appellation is, indeed, Indian, and yet was
bestowed by the Spaniards. The thing happened thus: the Caribbees were
extremely fond of tobacco, which in their language they called _kohiha_,
and fancied when they were drunk with the fumes of it the dreams they
had were in some sort inspired. Now their method of taking it was this:
they first made a fire of wood, and when it was burnt out they scattered
upon the living embers the leaves of the plant, and received the smoke
of it by the help of an instrument that was hollow, made exactly in
the shape of the letter Y, putting the larger tube into the smoke, and
thrusting the shorter tubes up their nostrils. This instrument they
called _tabago_, and when the Admiral Christopher Columbus passed to
the southward of this island he judged the form of it to resemble that
instrument, and thence it received its name.’

Among the continental tribes, however, smoking instruments were found
which, in variety of form, originality of design, and skilful execution,
equal the best productions of Europe; indeed, they have to the present
day served as models for the rest of the world. Those who, inspired
by Cooper born-ideals of the noble savage in his native wilds, long
for a sight of real Indian life, unspoiled by contact with civilised
man, will now look in vain across the American continent. The Indian,
to his sorrow, soon learnt the vices of the white man who, by craft
and arms, ousted him from his heritage. Occasionally, however, far up
the Mississippi valley, or on the confines of the Canadian forests,
the desire may, to some extent, be appeased. The observer may with
admiration note the fine physique, the strongly marked physiognomy, the
untrammelled freedom of these primitive lords of the land. Old chiefs
may be seen gravely smoking by their wigwams, while reclining against
the trunk of a fallen tree and discussing among themselves the prospects
of war or peace, or perhaps congratulating themselves on the accession
to their numbers of some neighbouring tribe. A little way off young
warriors are furbishing up arms for the chase, or war as may be. Others
are elaborately ornamenting with carving and paint their curious tobacco
pipes, some of wood with long stems adorned with feathers, some cut out
from the treasured red pipe-stone brought from the mountain quarry.
Economy of the precious weed is not overlooked, and the inner bark of the
red willow is peeled into fine shavings and when dried over a low fire is
mixed with the tobacco leaves. Their tobacco pouches well filled they may
start on the chase or the war path, assured that they are well provided
with refreshment for many days.

Europe, however, is indebted to Oviedo for the most intelligent account
of the tobacco plant, and the method commonly adopted by the Caribs of
preparing and using it. During his tenure of office in the West Indies he
collected an immense amount of information relating to the inhabitants,
their country and its products, the results of which he published in
1526, under the title of _Historia natural y general de las Indias_. In
the Seville edition of 1535 is an engraving of the smoking instrument
used by the Caribs. It is of the form already described. Oviedo says of
it that ‘it is about a span long; when used the forked ends are inserted
in the nostrils, the other end being applied to the burning leaves
of the herb. In this manner they inhale the smoke until they become
stupefied. And when forked canes cannot be procured, they make use of
a straight reed or hollow cane, and this implement is called _tabaco_
by the Indians.’ Oviedo speaks disparagingly of the smoking habit, and
classes it amongst their evil customs as a thing very pernicious, and
done in order to produce insensibility. Remarking on the prevalence of
the habit, he says that the consumption of tobacco by the various tribes
of the Indians is of universal and immemorial usage, in many cases bound
up with the most significant and solemn tribal ceremonies. No matters
of importance to the tribe or the family can be conducted, no compact
can be held binding, that has not been ratified by the passage of the
great pipe, be it the pipe of peace or the pipe of war—the calumet or
the tomahawk—from the lips of one chief to those of the others of the
conference. The pipe, then, is their great seal, the solemn pledge of
friendship, good faith, and such qualities as the chivalry of the forest
suggests to the untutored mind. Although Oviedo regards unfavourably
the practice of smoking, he evidently prized the plant, as we read
that on his return home he cultivated it in his private gardens. This
is but one step removed from its enjoyment in the pipe, and who can
say that in his retirement he did not take that step? Las Casas speaks
so slightingly of his work as to say that it contains almost as many
lies as pages. Las Casas, the renowned friend and protector of the poor
oppressed Indians, could certainly speak with confidence on matters
relating to the West India Islands. He had gone to the colony in the
train of Nicolas de Ovando in 1502, and settled in Cuba as parish priest
and vicar-apostolic of the islands. Possibly his intimate knowledge of
the cruelties practised by his countrymen on the unoffending natives and
their insatiable greed of gold, had turned him against all highly-placed
officials in the colonies. He agrees with Oviedo, however, in dislike of
tobacco-smoking. He says: ‘I cannot see what benefit can be derived from
it.… However extensive it may be in other countries (and common no doubt
it is there) the habit has become so general in this [Spain] that, to
the discredit of parents, it is even followed by children.… The eternal
cigar is seen in the mouths of old and young, even in that of the ragged

The third voyage of Columbus to the Far West, resulting in the discovery
of the South American continent, brought the Spaniards into contact with
new races well advanced in the arts of civilisation as compared with
the condition of the inhabitants of the islands, and opened the way for
intercourse and the development of mutual interests of no common order.
What use they made of this brilliant opening, leading to the conquest
of Mexico and Peru, is told in the fascinating pages of Prescott. Well
might the eyes of the Spaniards be dazzled by the splendours they beheld
in the palace of the great Montezume, where, on the occasion of their
reception by the Emperor, cigars were handed to the guests inserted in
tubes of richly-carved gold, tortoise-shell, or silver; or they imbibed
the soothing pleasures of the ‘intoxicating weed called tobacco mingled
with liquid amber.’ And while thus engaged a troop of almost phantom-like
tumblers and jugglers gaily disported themselves before their wondering
eyes. The after-dinner smoke, so dear to middle age, is a vestige of that
civilisation which, before the onward march of the Spaniards, vanished
like the mist of the morning. Our excellent guide through these realms of
a shadowy past relates how the Aztecs would smoke after dinner to prepare
for the siesta with as much regularity as an old Castilian does now. When
dinner was over they rinsed the mouth with scented water, and an officer
of the Court would then with much ceremony hand to the king his pipe.
They smoked out of pipes made of polished and richly-gilt wood, inhaling
the fragrant fumes of tobacco mixed with other aromatic herbs.

Girolamo Benzoni of Milan took a strong dislike to the Indian weed, and
saw in it only a noxious plant whose fumes poisoned the pure breath of
heaven. Like every European who visited the newly discovered countries
of the West, he had his attention drawn to the herb the Indians loved,
and in his _History of the New World_ through some portion of which
he travelled in 1642-45, he describes the tobacco plant as growing in
‘bushes, not very large, like reeds, that produce a leaf in shape like
that of a walnut, though rather larger.’ He says it is greatly esteemed
by the natives and the slaves whom the Spaniards have brought from
Ethiopia. He then describes the method of preparing it for smoking, which
corresponds pretty nearly with the process in operation at the present
day in America, and tells us that ‘when the leaves are in season they
pick them, tie them up in bundles, and suspend them near their fireplaces
till they are very dry; and when they wish to use them, they take a
leaf of their grain (maize) and putting one of the others into it they
roll them round tightly together; then they set fire to one end, and
putting the other end into the mouth they draw their breath up through
it, wherefore the smoke goes into the mouth, the throat, the head, and
they retain it as long as they can, for they find a pleasure in it; and
so much do they fill themselves with this cruel smoke that they lose
their reason. And there are some who take so much of it that they fall
down as if they were dead, and remain the greater part of the day or
night stupefied. Some men are found who are content with imbibing only
enough of this smoke to make them giddy, and no more. See what a wicked
and pestiferous poison from the devil this must be! It has happened to
me several times, that going through the provinces of Guatemala and
Nicaragua, I have entered the house of an Indian who had taken this
herb, which, in the Mexican language, is called tobacco, and immediately
perceiving the sharp fetid smell of this truly diabolical and stinking
smoke, I was obliged to go away in haste and seek some other place.’
These strong words call forth the remark from his translator, Admiral
Smith, that ‘surely the royal author of the famous _Counterblast_ must
have seen this graphic and early description of a cigar!’ Though in the
same key, Benzoni’s is but a feeble breath compared with the fulmination
of our British Solomon against the ‘lively image and pattern of hell,’
or the ‘Stygian fumes from the pit that is bottomless!’ The fame of the
Indian weed as a healer of the sick had not reached Europe when Benzoni
published his travels through the Spanish possessions of the West, but
its medicinal property had not escaped his acute observation. He gives
a drawing of the medicine man putting three of his patients through a
course of his tobacco treatment. The first is represented freely imbibing
the fumes of tobacco, the second is just dropping his pipe, and himself
off to sleep, and the third swings in a hammock attended by the doctor.
Benzoni relates how in La Espanola and the adjacent islands sick men went
to the place where the smoke was to be administered, and when they were
thoroughly intoxicated by it, the cure was mostly effected. ‘On returning
to his senses the patient told a thousand stories of his having been at
the council of the gods, and other high visions.’

And as to the origin of the plant, let the old chieftain of the
Susquehanna tribe himself relate the story. It will merely be necessary
to introduce him to the reader seated with his family, and a few braves
gathered around him, listening to the words of a Swedish missionary, who
expounds to them the creed of the Christian and the scriptural narrative
of our first parents. The sermon over, the old chief, with easy grace and
measured words, replies: ‘What you have told us is very good, we thank
you for coming so far to tell us those things you have heard from your
mothers; in return we will tell you what we have heard from ours.

‘In the beginning we had only flesh of animals to eat, and if they failed
they starved. Two of our hunters having killed a deer and broiled part of
it, saw a young woman descend from the clouds, and seat herself on a hill
hard by. Said one to the other, “It is a spirit, perhaps, that has smelt
our venison; let us offer some of it to her.” They accordingly gave her
the tongue. She was pleased with its flavour, and said, “Your kindness
shall be rewarded, come here thirteen moons hence and you shall find it.”
They did so, and found where her right hand had touched the ground maize
growing, where her left hand had been, kidney-beans, and where she had
sat they found tobacco!’



    But oh, what witchcraft of a stronger kind,
    Or cause too deep for human search to find,
    Makes earth-born weeds imperial man enslave,
    Not little souls, but e’en the wise and brave?


Is smoking injurious to health? is an old and oft-repeated question which
has agitated men’s minds for fully three centuries, and out of which
has grown a literature of peculiar interest, now signalised by royal
Counterblasts and Papal Bulls, now rising in grateful pæans for the
blessing conferred on weary humanity by the weed whose—

          quiet spirit lulls the lab’ring brain,
    Lures back to thought the flights of vacant mirth,
    Consoles the mourner, soothes the couch of pain,
    And breathes contentment round the humble hearth.

The utterances of the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Michael Hicks
Beach, calling attention to the vast consumption of tobacco in these
islands have given force and significance to the question, and naturally
they suggest the further inquiry as to how we stand in the matter in
relation to the past and to other civilised nations. On the threshold
of the inquiry figures present themselves pointing directly to the
conclusion that the British nation is spending upon the indulgence
almost as much money as it does on the time-honoured staff of life, our
daily bread. Certainly this aspect of the subject is somewhat startling.
If the consumption of tobacco has grown to such a magnitude that it
threatens to exceed that of wheat, then, clearly its consideration has
become a question of national importance. It is the purpose of this
chapter to lay before the reader some facts, statistical, botanical, and
chemical, relating to this Indian weed which has done more to set good
people by the ears than the whole world of Flora besides. To this end it
will be necessary to ponder for a brief space on the skeleton forms and
figures embalmed in State Blue Books.

Board of Trade returns are not what may be called recreative reading
for leisure hours, but looked at good-naturedly we soon come to regard
them as we should sure-footed sumpter mules carrying the account books
of commerce. A little searching and sifting among their packs, brings us
upon figures which plainly tell the story of a steady, constant growth
of the smoking habit, and that it has, within the last half-century,
increased in strength more than two-fold. The ratio per head of the
population, briefly stated, is as follows: In 1841, when the population
of Great Britain, and approximately of Ireland, was 26,700,000, the
quantity of tobacco cleared through the Custom-house for consumption in
this kingdom was 23,096,281 lbs., or 13¾ ounces for each inhabitant. In
1861, with a population of 28,887,000, the quantity of tobacco imported
for home consumption amounted to 35,413,846 lbs., showing that its
use had increased to 19½ ounces per head. Ten years later (1871) the
proportion was 23 ounces for each person. And in 1891 the ratio per head
had risen to 26 ounces; the quantity imported being 60,927,915 lbs. for a
population of 38,000,000. Put plainly, this increase of consumption may
only mean that the man who, in 1841, smoked only one pipe a day, in 1891
found himself so much better off that he could afford to smoke two.

Here, however, we come upon an important factor which, in calculating
the weight of tobacco actually consumed, must be taken into account. Dr.
Samuel Smiles, in the course of his investigations into the subject,
discovered that in the process of manufacturing the leaf into the tobacco
of commerce, water was added to the extent of 33 per cent. of the whole.
The Statistical Office of the Customs has courteously furnished the
writer of these lines with the further information that ‘Raw tobacco when
imported contains naturally 13 per cent. of moisture, but when it is cut
up for sale, the total moisture must not exceed 33 per cent.’[2]

In estimating the weight of the weed actually consumed, it will be
necessary to make an addition of 20 per cent. to the weight of the
manufactured leaf imported. Since 1891 there has been a gradual increase
in the quantity imported. In the financial year 1904-5 the total of all
kinds amounted to 107,862,489 lbs. Of this 83,374,670 lbs. was retained
for Home use, giving 1.95 lbs. per head of the population, and yielding a
revenue to the national exchequer of £13,184,767.

As to the cost to the nation of this enormous quantity of tobacco,
the official returns state that the declared value in 1895 was, for
manufactured £1,256,313, and for unmanufactured £2,097,603, together
£3,353,916. It is clear, however, that these figures can have little or
no significance from the consumer’s standpoint. Besides the declared
value and the Customs duty, there is to be taken into account the cost of
manufacture and all the expenses incidental thereto; the retail dealer’s
profits, varying from about 20 per cent. in the poorer districts, to 75
per cent. in the best west-end shops. It may be mentioned also that the
Customs duties vary, according to the kind of the tobacco imported, from
3s. 6d. to 5s. a pound weight, and that the price for which it is sold
to the merchant, ranges from 1s. 6d. per pound. No satisfactory data
upon which a fair estimate can be based are to be found here. But, if
an average price per ounce be taken, as a starting point, of the charge
made by the tobacconist to the consumer of all the various kinds, from
the patrician Havana to the plebeian ‘rough-cut,’ then we may arrive at
a fairly reasonable estimate. Sixpence an ounce is rather below than
above the average price paid for the weed. At this rate, however, a total
annual expenditure is reached of £31,304,108. Then there is the almost
endless variety of nick-nacks which accompany the use of tobacco, from
the dhudeen and metal tobacco box of the Irish peasant, to the lordly,
gold-mounted meerschaum and amber pipe, with cases, pouches, jars,
pipe-racks, and all the paraphernalia the nicotian epicure demands for
the use and adornment of his favourite indulgence. And how is the cost of
these accessories to be obtained? If, out of the 40,000,000 inhabiting
these islands there should be 10,000,000 smokers, each spending on an
average 2s. 6d. only a year on these things, then would the annual outlay
to the consumer mount up to the grand total of £32,554,108.

Again the writer has to acknowledge his indebtedness to the statistical
branch of the Customs for the interesting information that the quantity
of wheat consumed in this kingdom in 1895 was about 27,500,000
quarters—770,000,000 lbs.—and that the average value was 24s. a quarter,
making a total value of £33,000,000. Thus we see how nearly the sum
expended upon tobacco-smoking approaches to the sum spent upon wheat.
Comparing the quantities of the two commodities we can only say, so
much the better for the consumer of wheat, who obtains in weight about
fifteen times more of bread than he could purchase of tobacco for the
same sum—bearing in mind that wheat requires 45 per cent. of water for
its conversion into bread. And herein lies the secret of the large
consumption of tobacco: bread is so cheap, the poor man can afford to
indulge in a little more of his comforter than he could formerly.

Commenting upon the vast increase in the consumption of tobacco, the
Chancellor of the Exchequer was so mindful of the public interest as
to give expression to his matured conviction that ‘Everything spent on
tobacco by those who have enough to eat is waste.’ Acknowledging himself
to be a non-smoker, and perhaps prejudiced, he would only appeal to
smokers whether this was not waste: ‘It is calculated,’ said Sir Michael,
‘by the Customs authorities that no less a value than £1,000,000 is
literally thrown into the gutter in the shape of the ends of cigarettes
and cigars. It is all the better for the revenue, but I think it may be a
subject of consideration for smokers.’

Looked at broadly, all such considerations are relative—relative to the
numbers who smoke and to their ability to spend. Naturally we turn to
our neighbours across the silver streak and ask what they are doing; are
they more frugal than we are in the use of the weed? Germany, always to
the fore where painstaking and close attention to minutiæ is required,
tells us that Holland uses the leaf at the rate of a trifle over 7 lbs.
per head of her population; Austria, 3.8 lbs.; Denmark, 3.7 lbs.;
Switzerland, 3.3 lbs.; Belgium, 3.2 lbs.; Germany, 3 lbs.; Sweden and
Norway, each 2.3 lbs.; France, 2.1 lbs.; Italy, Russia, Spain may be
classed together with a consumption of 1¼ lb.; while the United States
rises in the scale to 4½ lbs. for each inhabitant. There is much virtue
in figures; they give us the comforting assurance that after all we are
not so bad as our neighbours by a pound or more, taking the average
consumption of the leading nations of the world. So we may be permitted
a little longer to smoke our pipe in peace undeterred by fearful
forebodings of evil to come.

But then the whole world smokes, and what the whole world does must
surely have some show of justification. It is estimated that two thousand
millions of pounds weight are consumed every year, and that its money
value far exceeds five hundred million pounds sterling; its production
finds remunerative employment for countless thousands of families. In
America alone the tobacco plantations cover an area of 400,000 acres, and
in the labour of cultivation 40,000 persons win their daily bread. And
what of the million of money wantonly thrown into the gutter every year?
The smoker may well pause over his pipe and consider what this may really
mean. One million pounds divided among forty million people would give
sixpence to each. That every man, woman, and child should in this manner
waste sixpence a year is doubtless much to be deplored; in the eyes of
our excellent guardian of the public purse it is reprehensible. But is
the whole of this money or money’s worth really lost past recovery?
Investigations made at the instance of the Board of Inland Revenue
concerning the fate that befalls cigar ends have been the means of
revealing a curious aspect of our complex social system. Amid the crowd,
the bustle and din of struggling humanity, glimpses may be caught of a
quiet fellow-being plodding along the highways and byways of the great
metropolis, with a bag slung over his shoulder, and his eyes fixed on the
gutters intent upon picking up these unconsidered trifles, or wending
his way to the side door of some hotel or hall where convivial souls do
congregate of an evening, and there doing a little private business with
the janitor, who pours into his bag these spoils of the night’s revelry.
And so it comes about that out of the gutters and waste places of the
earth there ultimately return to the manufacturer the sorry remains of
the once-treasured Indian weed. Many a young hopeful of slender purse
hugs with pride his penny or twopenny cigar clad in a new coat, little
dreaming of its having in a former existence shone, glow-worm like, in
another sphere. Then there are ‘fancy mixtures’ made up for the pipe,
enticingly scented with an odour unknown to the weed, and which, as if
ashamed of the connection, vanishes in the burning, leaving not a trace
behind, save wonder at what can have become of it, for the smoker gets
none. And have we not always in view the lowly wayfarer along life’s
by-paths, whose feet have trodden thorny places and stumbled, maybe? He
sees in the castaway an emblem of himself, and fraternally picks out of
the gutter a little consolation for the buffets of the day; for tobacco
has been aptly called the poor man’s anodyne. And so life is rounded off
with a smoke. Possibly thoughts such as these mingle with the smoker’s
reflections on the subject of waste to the consideration of which Sir
Michael invited their attention. But the economic phase the question
presents may be safely left to settle itself; for, after all, the cost of
the indulgence is the merest trifle compared with the price paid for it
in, say, Jacobean time, when paternal governments, out of a too tender
regard for the interests of their loving subjects of mean estate, levied
a tax upon tobacco which if converted into the coinage of the present
day would be equivalent to six or seven times the sum for which it may
now be purchased from the tobacconist. Curiously enough, another Michael
(Drayton), well-nigh three hundred years ago (_Polyolbion_, 1613), raised
his voice more in sorrow than in anger against the extravagance of his
times, as compared with the days

    Before the Indian weed so strongly was embrac’t,
    Wherein such mighty summes we prodigally waste.

In this love of the weed, and the extravagant sums expended upon it,
is to be found the key to Robert Burton’s high praise and vigorous
condemnation, uttered in one breath, of tobacco. As an example of
Elizabethan nervous vigour the passage is worth quoting:

    Tobacco! divine, rare, super-excellent tobacco! which goes
    far beyond all the panaceas, potable gold, and philosopher’s
    stones; a sovereign remedy to all diseases; a virtuous herb,
    if it be well qualified, opportunely taken, and medicinally
    used; but as it is commonly abused by most men, who take it as
    tinkers do ale, ’tis a plague, a mischief, a violent purge of
    goods, lands, health, hellish, devilish, and damned tobacco,
    the ruin and overthrow of body and soul.

Democritus Junior did not mince matters, either in writing or when
indulging in lusty banter with bargemen on the Thames.

Of more vital importance than the price paid for it is the consideration
of its effects on health and character, and, if we would view the
subjects in its larger bearings, on our physical and moral organisation
it is obviously necessary that we should

    Survey the whole nor seek slight faults to find
    Where nature moves, and rapture charms the mind.

At the outset, however, it cannot be too strongly emphasised that there
is no question as to the baneful action of tobacco in any form on growing
youths. Until the age of adolescence is safely passed, or till the riper
age of one and twenty has been attained, there should be no thought
of smoking. The tests and experiments of physiologists, the untrained
observation of laymen, and the accumulated experience of civilised
nations are agreed in this conclusion. Remarks pointing to the rapid
growth of the smoking habit among youths were made by the Chancellor
of the Exchequer in his recent Budget speech, where, commenting upon
the augmented revenue from tobacco, he said it was mainly due to the
vast consumption of cigarettes, which were specially attractive to our
youthful population. ‘I am told,’ Sir Michael added, ‘of one manufacturer
who makes two millions of cigarettes a day who hardly made any a few
years ago.’

Every-day observation bears out the statement that the cigarette is the
chosen smoke of youths. Go where we will, in crowded streets or country
lanes, boys of the tender age of from nine or ten years upwards are
almost constantly met with, smoking paper cigarettes, who were they
better advised would prefer toffy, as was the case a few years ago.
Surely every one knows that children cannot go on smoking tobacco with
impunity, without, in fact, doing themselves life-long injury. Since
parents are too heedless of their children’s welfare to prevent them from
pursuing a practice the inevitable results of which will, by-and-by,
appear in stunted, weakly growth and the train of evil which follow on
deranged nerve-tissue, it would seem to be no more than humane that the
Legislature should step in and prohibit the sale of tobacco in any form
to children under the age of say, sixteen. Already some of the states
of North America have instituted penal enactments for the protection of
children against the indulgence, which to them is pernicious.

But what shall be said of the young man whose downy lip bears testimony
to his approaching majority—the age when life is a romance and the future
aglow with roseate dreams? He knows himself to be the hope and pride of
his parents, that in him is centred all sorts of brilliant possibilities.
Nothing could be more fitting, he thinks, than that he should proclaim to
the world that he is now a man by airing the park with his first cigar.
And who so heartless as to say him nay? He now becomes confidential with
the tobacconist, and learns from him the names of the choicest brands,
as the Vegueras, the kind specially prepared for the Prince of Wales,
selected from the finest growths of the plant raised in the Veulto Abajo
district of Cuba, as well as the outer signs of many another rich and
rare leaf from the gardens of the Queen of the Antilles, or from the
plantations of the Indian Archipelago. By-and-by his whole energies will
be devoted to the service of his king and country, doing the world’s
roughest work away out in the wilds of Africa, or administering justice,
it may be, among lawless tribes in Imperial India; and many a time, when
belated on a desolate track with nothing to cover him but a blanket
borrowed from his trusty peon, he will draw from the recesses of a deep
pocket or knapsack a homely briar-root with more real pleasure than he
ever felt when smoking the choicest cigar on the Mall.

The temperament of each individual or of a race is an important factor
in a judicious consideration of the subject; it opens out a field of
inquiry of no ordinary interest, more particularly as regards eastern
nations. By temperament physiologists mean certain physical and mental
characteristics arising from the predominant humours of the body. Galen
in the second century was perhaps the first to employ the term to
designate, according to the teachings of the old school, the condition
of the four elements of the body—the blood, choler, phlegm, gall—and
the varying combinations of these, recognised to-day as the sanguine,
lymphatic, nervous, or bilious temperaments. Interest in this aspect of
the subject is heightened when we consider the marvellous effect the
consumption of tobacco has had on races inhabiting Western Asia. Speaking
on this curious point in the Indian Section of the Imperial Institute
in February, 1896, Sir George Birdwood called attention to the change
wrought in the character of the Turks by its use. He remarked that

    in ancient times the Scythians were a ceaseless scourge to
    the neighbouring nations; that they were referred to by the
    prophet Jeremiah as a ‘seething caldron,’ ever boiling over in
    fierce and cruel eruptions from the North. Where are they now?
    They have become the modern Turks; and the magic which changed
    them from restless, destructive nomads into the quiet and only
    too conservative sedentary Turks, Von Moltke tells us in his
    _Letters from Turkey_ was none other than the acquired American
    habit of smoking tobacco.

Coming from so profound an observer of men as the great German
strategist, this testimony to the influence of the Indian weed on human
character is to be accepted as a valuable contribution to our knowledge.
And yet, viewed in the light of recent events in Turkey, the marvellous
transformation mentioned would seem to be hardly yet completed. Besides,
may not other influences tending to modify the character of the Turks
be found in their four centuries of intermarriage with tribes of a
less turbulent disposition, as with Persians and Circassians, than the
fiery, stubborn mountaineers from whom they had descended? It seems
but reasonable to think so. Let us hasten, however, to note that other
distinguished travellers in Turkey speak to the same effect, and that
they, too, attribute the change to the sobering and soothing action of
tobacco upon them. Dr. Madden, whose _Travels in Turkey and Egypt_ were
published in 1829, says (i. 16) that

    the pleasure the Turks had in the reverie consequent on the
    indulgence in the pipe consisted in a contemporary annihilation
    of thought. The people really cease to think when they have
    been long smoking. I have asked Turks repeatedly what they have
    been thinking of during their long reveries, and they replied
    ‘Of nothing.’ I could not remind them of a single idea having
    occupied their minds; and in the consideration of the Turkish
    character there is no more curious circumstance connected with
    their moral condition.

Further testimony to Nicotiana’s benign sway over human character is
borne by Mr. E. W. Lane, the talented translator of the _Arabian Nights_
and author of the _Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians_. In this
latter work Mr. Lane says that

    in the character of the Turks and Arabs who have become
    addicted to its use it has induced considerable changes,
    particularly rendering them more inactive than they were in
    earlier times, leading them to waste over the pipe many hours
    which might be more profitably employed; but it has had another
    and better effect—that of superseding in a great measure the
    use of wine, which, to say the least, is very injurious to the
    health of the inhabitants of hot climates.… It may further be
    remarked in the way of apology for the pipe, as employed by the
    Turks and Arabs, that the mild kinds of tobacco generally used
    by them have a gentle effect; they calm the nervous system,
    and, instead of stupefying, sharpen the intellect.

He next pays a high tribute to the Oriental method of smoking, and
assures the reader that the pleasures of Eastern society are considerably
enhanced by the use of the pipe, adding, ‘It affords the peasant, too,
a cheap and sober refreshment, and probably often restrains him from
less innocent indulgences.’ Mr. Layard and Mr. Crawfurd, whose large
experience of Eastern peoples is known to the world, have each recorded
his opinion to the effect that the use of tobacco has contributed very
much towards the present sobriety of Asiatics. The presence of an array
of witnesses such as these to the power of the pipe to subdue the savage
breast naturally suggests the thought of a new field of operations for
its use. That laudable organisation, the Peace Society, which seeks to
combat man’s militant instincts by such persuasions as fall short of the
shillelagh, ought certainly to find in the Indian’s peace-pipe with a
well-filled tobacco-pouch a coadjutor for the propagation of its amiable
doctrines; at any rate, a pioneer that would prepare the soil for the
seed and the advent of the millennium. Lord Clarendon, when Minister
of Foreign Affairs, used to excuse his room reeking with the fumes of
tobacco by declaring that diplomacy itself was a mere question of the
judicious application of tobacco between opposing plenipotentiaries. The
pipe, indeed, has always been recognised as a good diplomatist. If you
want time to consider well before committing yourself to an answer you
find that the pipe won’t draw, though you puff and puff; then, having
gained time and cleared your thoughts, the pipe mends, a cloud is formed,
and out of chaos comes light, and now you are ready with your argument,
though you may begin with, ‘your pardon, friend, but what were we talking
about?’ If diplomacy can be soothed and led out of thorny paths into
pleasant ways, then assuredly a useful career awaits the weed in the
House, where the magic of its suasive breath would subdue a bellicose
Parliament into easy complaisance, and so confer an inestimable blessing
on a weary Legislature.

But it would be well to take a closer view of this marvellous weed which
enters so largely into our domestic economy, dipping into our purses,
affecting in some measure our health and habits, in a way, too, that
leads people to think that surely a mischief-loving Puck lurks among
its alluring leaves, delighting to send its votaries, some into dreams
of Elysium, others into visions of—another place. Nicotiana, the name
science has bestowed on the plant in recognition of the services of Jean
Nicot in spreading a knowledge of it over Europe, more particularly
as regards its supposed medicinal properties, is a member of a large
and varied family of the natural order _Solanacæ_, one of the largest
genera, containing about 900 species. The whole family is more or less
suspicious; some members are decidedly bad, as, for example, the deadly
nightshade, henbane, and mandrake, evil names which startle the timorous
and all self-respecting people. Relief, however, comes, and confidence is
restored, when we learn that linked with Nicotiana as twin sister is our
old and esteemed favourite the potato, whose humble services to hungry
humanity are incalculable. Yet out of the leaves and fruit of this useful
and innocent member of the family chemists extract a deadly poison
called _solanine_, which they describe as an acrid narcotic poison, two
grains of which given to a rabbit caused paralysis of the posterior
extremities, and death in two hours. Traces of this poison are also found
in healthy tubers. And yet nobody was ever poisoned by eating potatoes;
far from this, many in times of scarcity have died for want of them.
Considering these things, smokers may possibly comfort themselves with
the thought that tobacco does not stand alone in evil repute, that even
a vegetable which enters so largely into the composition of humanity as
does the potato contains a portion—an infinitesimal portion it is true,
but still some portion—of the element of evil which seems to permeate
more or less all things earthly. But let them reserve their judgment
until the evidence of the chemist has been heard. It may be urged, too,
that the highly prized virtues of the tomato, a family connection, might
be taken into account in estimating the sins of the shady ones. The
love-apple of Eris, far from creating discord, gives unalloyed pleasure,
affording the epicure a gastronomic delight.

The genus _Nicotiana_ comprises upwards of forty species, of which
five only are cultivated for tobacco, and, of these, three stand out
conspicuously as the best and most favoured ones of commerce. In botany
they are designated:—(1) _Nicotiana Tabacum_; (2) _N. rustica_; (3) _N.
persica_. They differ one from another chiefly in the degree of thickness
of the midrib and fibres, and in the evenness of the leaves, which are
usually hairy and somewhat clammy feeling. The first mentioned is the
typical tobacco plant of America, whose home is still where Raleigh’s
first colonists to the New World found it, in Virginia. From its leaves
is prepared the great bulk of the tobacco consumed in this country, as
well as in America. It is a strong, handsome, flowering perennial,
growing in latitudes varying from about 40° Fahr. to the tropics. And a
most voracious feeder, it quickly exhausts the richest soils, yet it is
so hardy that it will thrive in almost any soil and anywhere. In tropical
lands, however, particularly such as are light, dry, and rich in potash,
it flourishes most luxuriantly, and attains its fullest and healthiest
development, sometimes rising to the grand altitude of 15 feet, though 6
feet is the usual limit of its upward growth. The root is large, long,
and fibrous; the stalk or central stem is erect, strong, of the thickness
of a man’s wrist, and hairy; towards the top it divides into branches.
The leaves embrace the stem from the base; they are large, symmetrical,
lanceolated, and of a pale-green colour, measuring usually 2 feet by 18
inches. From the summit of the branching stalks clusters of rose-coloured
flowers are produced of a bell-shape, the segment of the corolla being
tapering and pointed; the seeds are contained in long sharp-pointed
pods, and are so small that in one ounce no fewer than 100,000 have been

Next in order of importance in a commercial sense ranks the Syrian
plant, _N. rustica_. It is nevertheless a native of America which
transplantation into Syrian soil has greatly improved in all those
qualities which commend themselves to delicate smokers. It differs from
its sister plant of Virginia chiefly in its dwarf-like stature, for it
seldom attains a higher growth than three or four feet, and its leaves
are not so symmetrical; they are of an ovate shape, and are not attached
to the centre stem, but issue from the branching stalks, which in the
season bear green flowers; the segment of the corolla is rounded. This,
too, is a hardy plant, flourishes well in almost any latitude, and
ripens earlier than the _N. Tabacum_. For some years back it has been
largely cultivated in Germany, Holland, and the countries bordering on
the Mediterranean; indeed, it at one time flourished rapaciously in our
own fields, flowering from midsummer to Michaelmas. From its leaves are
obtained, under the varying conditions of soil and climate, the kinds of
tobacco vended to the consumer under the names of Turkish, Syrian, and
Latakia. And on account of its retaining much of its primitive colour
all through the process of drying and manufacture it is recognised in
commerce as ‘green tobacco.’

In the third variety we have the beautiful white flowering Persian plant,
from whose oblong stem-leaves is prepared the famous Shiraz tobacco,
_N. persica_. It is now recognised as a native of Persia, though its
original home is undoubtedly across the Atlantic. Being slow to ignite,
this aromatic weed does not lend itself readily to the cigar; but surely
the difficulty might be overcome by using an Indian wrapper. The planters
of Dindigul, or, as Sir W. W. Hunter gives the name in the _Imperial
Gazetteer of India_, Dindu-Kal (Rock of Dindu), are now sending to Europe
large quantities of their fine flavoured tobacco leaf which would form a
very good wrapper for this fragrant but slow-burning weed.

There is a fourth variety named _Nicotiana Finis_, which has found much
favour in the private gardens of England. It is not so symmetrical as
those just mentioned, its leaves are small, widely separated, in fact,
rather straggling; but under the training of a skilled gardener it
is made to assume a bushy form. Its chief attraction is found in the
delicate white flowers which it produces; these during the daytime droop,
but at sundown they generally assume an erect posture and become firm,
then the petals expand and the flower emits a delicious perfume, sweeter
far than jessamine. In the tobacco plant English florists and gardeners
have found an accessory for filling up vacant spots in their shrubberies
with good effect; and the side-beds along a carriage drive, or the
shelves in a greenhouse, can be pleasingly diversified by selections
from the varying kinds the genus _Nicotiana_ presents. As an ornamental
flowering plant it is certainly worthy of a place among the many charming
indigenous and exotic shrubs which nowadays adorn private grounds. Then
its uses either as a fumigator or as a wash are such as all experienced
gardeners know well how to appreciate; in either form it is a powerful
prophylactic, readily destroying insect pests and the germs of blight.

Let us now pass into the domain of the chemist and view for a while the
operations of this modern magician as he summons the genii of the Indian
weed to appear before him in all their naked deformity, and compels them
to yield up their secrets. There is no poetry in the chemist’s crucible;
imagination fails to lend a transient charm to the grim constituents of
the bewitching leaf. Here, in his silent retreat, the analyst weighs
and measures, tests and resolves into their original elements whatever
things, foul or fair, come into his hands. He weighs a pound of the
prepared leaves, steeps them in water, and subjects them to distilation;
presently there rises to the surface a volatile, fatty oil which congeals
and floats. It has the odour of tobacco and is bitter to the tongue; on
the mouth and throat it produces a sensation similar to that caused by
long-continued smoking. Taking a minute particle on the point of a needle
he swallows it, and immediately experiences a feeling of giddiness,
nausea, and an inclination to vomit. And yet the quantity obtained of
this evil thing from the pound of leaves is barely two grains. Now he
adds a little sulphuric acid to the water, and distils with quicklime;
soon there is dislodged from the hidden cells of the leaves a small
quantity of a volatile, oily, colourless, alkaline fluid, the prince
of the genii—nicotine. The odour of an old clay pipe grown black with
age hangs about it: it is acrid, burning narcotic, and scarcely less
poisonous than prussic acid, a single drop having the power to kill a
dog. It boils at a temperature of 482° Fahr., and rises into vapour at a
point below that of burning tobacco, consequently it is always present
in the smoke. Evaporating one drop of this subtle essence you are at
once seized with a feeling of suffocation, and experience difficulty in
breathing. Distilled alone in a retort yet another element is called up
of an oily nature, which resembles in its chief characteristics an oil
obtained by a similar process from the leaves of the foxglove (_Digitalis
purpurea_). This also is acrid and poisonous; one drop applied to the
tongue of a cat brought on convulsions, and, in two minutes, death. All
these evil things the chemist tells us dwell in the heart of the Indian
herb, and, mingling with other unseen elements, lure men on to their
fate. In the mystical glare of his laboratory there looms into shape
before our mental vision the spectral form of the King of Denmark, in
_Hamlet_, telling of the dark deeds done

    With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,
    And in the porches of my ears did pour
    The leprous distilment; whose effect
    Holds such an enmity with blood of man
    That swift as quicksilver it courses through
    The natural gates and alleys of the body.[3]

And memory recalls the case of the Comte de Bocarmé who was executed at
Mons, in 1851, for poisoning his brother-in-law with nicotine, in order
to obtain reversion of his property. The simple though crafty Hottentot,
too, finds in the juice of tobacco a potent agent wherewith he can rid
himself of the snake that, unbidden, glides into his kraal. Under the
influence of one drop the reptile dies as instantly as if struck by an
electric spark.

A distinguished physician and man of science, Sir B. W. Richardson, has
tested the tobacco leaf and all its component parts with a thoroughness
which puts to flight all doubts as to what it is ‘men put into their
mouths to take away their brains.’ The chief results of his experiments
may be briefly summarised. Although evident differences prevail in
respect to the products arising from different cigars, different tobacco,
and different pipes, there are certain substances common to all varieties
of tobacco-smoke. Firstly, in all tobacco-smoke there is a certain amount
of watery vapour which can be separated from it. Secondly, a small
quantity of free carbon is always present; it is to the presence of this
constituent that the blue colour of tobacco is due. It is this carbon
which in confirmed and inveterate smokers settles on the back part of the
throat and on the lining of the membrane of the bronchial tubes, creating
often a copious secretion which it discolours. Thirdly, the presence of
ammonia can be detected in small quantity, and this gives to the smoke
an alkaline reaction that bites the tongue after long smoking; it is
the ammonia that makes the tonsils and throat of the smoker so dry, and
induces him to quaff as he smokes, and that partly excites the salivary
glands to secrete so freely. This element also exerts an influence on the
blood. Fourthly, the test of lime-water applied to the leaf shows the
presence of carbonic acid. In the smoke the quantity differs considerably
in different kinds of tobacco; to the action of this constituent Sir B.
W. Richardson traces the sleepiness, lassitude, and headache which follow
upon prolonged indulgence of the pipe. Fifthly, the smoke of tobacco
yields a product having an oily appearance and possessing poisonous
properties; this is commonly known as nicotine, or oil of tobacco, which
on further analysis is found to contain three substances, namely, a fluid
alkaloid (the nicotine of the chemist), a volatile substance, having an
empyreumatic odour, and an extract of a dark resinous character, of a
bitter taste. From this comes the smell peculiar to stale tobacco which
hangs so long about the clothing of habitual smokers—if the smell be
from good Eastern-grown tobacco many persons think it wholesome. It is
nevertheless this extract which creates in those unaccustomed to its use
a feeling akin to sea-sickness. Hence it appears that the more common
effects are due to the carbonic acid and ammonia liberated in the process
of smoking, while the rarer and more severe symptoms are due to the
nicotine, the empyreumatic substance, and the resin.

As to the effects of tobacco-smoking upon the human body Sir Benjamin
Richardson would appear to see no reason for thinking that it can produce
any organic change, though it may induce various functional disturbances
if carried to excess. These are such as all young smokers experience
more or less severely, according to their temperament and the quality or
strength of the tobacco they use. There can be no question that the first
attempt at smoking reveals phenomena which plainly show that to become
one of the initiated in the service of Nicotina a certain ordeal must be
passed through if the novice would rank among her votaries. It may be
of use to remark that the stronger kinds of tobacco are the products of
the Virginian and Kentucky plantations; French tobacco too is quite as
strong, they contain from six to eight per cent. of nicotine; Maryland
and Havanna tobaccos, also those of the Levant, generally average two per
cent., while the products of Sumatra and China barely contain one per
cent. of nicotine. The general conclusion Sir Benjamin Richardson deduces
from his experiments is such as might be fairly expected from an eminent
physician of large experience, unbiassed by prejudice. In this judicial
sense he remarks that tobacco ‘is innocuous as compared with alcohol; it
does infinitely less harm than opium, it is in no sense worse than tea,
and by the side of high living altogether it compares most favourably.’
But on the question of youths smoking he speaks most decisively against
even the smallest indulgence in tobacco before the system is matured.
His words are: ‘With boys the habit is as injurious and wrong as it is
disgusting. The early “piper” loses his growth, becomes hoarse, effete,
lazy, and stunted.’

The late Professor Johnston, of Durham, gave his attention to the
subject, and in the eminently useful work on the _Chemistry of Common
Life_ he minutely describes the results he obtained from a careful
analysis of tobacco leaves. These in all essential particulars are such
as have already been mentioned. Although he points out the highly
poisonous nature of some of the constituents of tobacco, he yet speaks
regretfully of his inability to derive from smoking the soothing
pleasures mentioned by others, particularly by Dr. Pereira, who remarking
on its tranquillizing effects when moderately indulged in, says that ‘it
is because of these effects that it is so much admired and adopted by all
classes of society, and by all nations, civilised and barbarous.’ Mr.
Johnston continues:

    Were it possible amid the teasing, paltry cares, as well as
    the more poignant griefs of life, to find a mere material
    soother and tranquillizer productive of no evil after-effects
    and accessible alike to all—to the desolate and the outcast
    equally with him who is rich in a happy home and the felicity
    of sympathising friends—who so heartless as to wonder or regret
    that millions of the world-chaffed should flee to it for
    solace? I confess, however, that in tobacco I have never found
    this soothing effect. This no doubt is constitutional, for I
    cannot presume to ignore the united testimony of the millions
    of mankind who assert from their own experience that it does
    produce such effects.

He draws attention to the effects of tobacco on the Turks, and speaking
of the drowsy reverie they fall into under its influence, asks if it is
really a peculiarity of the Turkish temperament that makes tobacco act
upon them as it does, sending the body to sleep while the mind is alive
and awake.

    That this is not its general action in Europe (he remarks)
    the study of almost every German writer can testify. With
    the constant pipe diffusing its beloved aroma around him the
    German philosopher works out the profoundest of his results
    of thought. He thinks and dreams, and dreams and thinks,
    alternately; but while his body is soothed and stilled, his
    mind is ever awake. From what I have heard such men say, I
    could almost fancy they had in practice discovered a way of
    liberating the mind from the trammels of the body, and thus
    giving it a freer range and more undisturbed liberty of action.
    I regret that I have never found it act so upon myself.

These reflections of the sympathetic Professor may be very grateful to
the habitual smoker, who influenced by a natural feeling of attachment,
looks lovingly on his pipe and pouch, as he would on old friends grown
dearer with time; the older and more worn the closer he clings to them,
till by-and-by he talks to them as would primitive man to his fetish. But
this amiable weakness needs to be looked firmly in the face, and if it
cannot bear scrutiny, if the indulgence be found hurtful to body or mind,
it must go; thrown out of the window if need be, with a resolve not to go
out and look for it, to restore it to its old niche, though the old pouch
may contain Mr. J. M. Barrie’s beloved, Arcadia Mixture.

Undoubtedly we have among us, and have had in England since the days when
Raleigh introduced the ‘Indian’s herb’ into the royal palace and made
it agreeable to his queen and fashionable everywhere, some remarkable
examples of great smokers occupying the highest positions in the domain
of intellect. Instances crowd the memory. The tall, dark figure of Thomas
Hobbes of Malmesbury presents itself, he whose _Leviathan_ and other
philosophical works stirred into activity the intellect of Europe, and
who attained the ripe age of ninety-two. Sir Isaac Newton smoked, even
in the presence of the lady who honoured him with well-meant attentions.
Seated one day quietly by his side, happy in anticipation of what
the future might bring forth, Sir Isaac suddenly seized her hand—now
the blissful moment had arrived!—but, instead of tenderly pressing
it within his own, he probed her little finger into the bowl of his
pipe to remove some obstruction. The story told by Sir David Brewster
points a moral—ladies should be chary of lavishing their affection on
philosophers, they are so very absent-minded. Divinity furnishes a host
of devotees to the pipe. Leading the throng are Dr. Henry Aldrich, of
Christ Church, Oxford; Dr. Parr, whose Greek was the admiration of ripe
scholars and the terror of little boys; who overwhelmed his friends
with torrents of eloquence and clouds of tobacco-smoke; Robert Hall,
England’s greatest pulpit orator, and many another divine burned incense
continually at the shrine of Nicotiana; while towering in the forefront
of the great tobacco-smokers of the Victorian age are the figures of
Carlyle and Tennyson. But these illustrious examples of great tobacco
smokers are, in respect to the whole community, altogether exceptional,
and may be regarded as having no more bearing on any general rule
applicable to all men than had their individual capacity for imbibing,
say, ‘sweet waters.’ It may be observed, however, that those who pass
severe censure on the smoking habit seem to overlook the fact that men do
not eat or drink tobacco; that the prudent smoker is quite contented if
its ambient fumes gently float about him, regaling his olfactory sense.
It can never satisfy reasonable inquiry to be told that deadly results
follow the administration, not of the smoke, but of a single drop of the
essential oil of tobacco to a dog, that dies of old age at fifteen years;
or to a rabbit, that breeds seven times a year and dies at the age of
five. Far above theorising there is the teaching of experience, and if
each would-be smoker will in this, as in other things, be guided by this
unfailing monitor, and act upon the dictates of common sense, no harm
will come to him.

There are people of so gloomy a temperament that they would not let a man
cultivate a flower-garden or listen to the songs of birds on the Sabbath;
who look upon music as a sensuous indulgence, and reading as idleness.
To these we have nothing to say; it is their misfortune to think and
feel so. Stripping the argument of the puerilities and exaggerations of
prejudice, let us recognise the broad fact that men of every nation and
in every climate do smoke; a fact that is universal needs no apology.

The prophylactic properties of tobacco will be considered from an
historical point of view in the next chapter, headed, ‘The Use and Abuse
of Tobacco.’

    This chapter first appeared in _The Nineteenth Century_ for May
    1897. Mr. W. T. Stead, commenting upon it in his _Review of
    Reviews_, agreed with the writer’s firm stand against juvenile
    smoking, and expressed the opinion that ere long an act of
    Parliament would be entered in the Statute Book prohibiting
    the sale of tobacco to youths under the age of 16. Unavailing
    efforts to this end were subsequently made by private members
    of the House of Commons. At last the Legislature has taken up
    the subject, and under the tactful conduct of the measure of
    Mr. Herbert Samuel, the Under-Secretary for the Home Office, a
    Bill has passed the third reading making the sale of cigarettes
    to children illegal. This step in the right direction will have
    the effect of awakening public attention to the subject, and of
    stirring up parents to a more watchful supervision over their
    children’s habits.



    Ye hot, ye cold, ye Rheumatick draw nigh;
    In this rich leafe a sovereign dose doth lie.
    We’ll cure ye all; Physick ye need not want,
    Here, ’tis i’ th’ gummy inside of a plant.


Though differences of temperament may not allow everyone the mild
indulgence of the pipe, all are interested in learning that in the
leaves of the Indian’s weed dwells a friendly genius ready to protect
us from the virulent attacks of the myriad host of invisible life which
floats around us, in some cases infecting the air we breathe, the
food we eat, and the water we drink. This assurance comes to us from
the bacteriologist, whose experiments conducted under the microscope,
demonstrate that contact with the smoke of tobacco destroys the vitality
of microbes. Especially comforting is it to know this at the season of
the year when the air lies heavily upon the land.

Here, then, we come upon ground interesting alike to the smoker and the
non-smoker, for both will agree that it is infinitely better to let the
weed spread its wings on the blast and breathe in the face of the foe
than to go unprotected through unwholesome air laden, it may be, with
noxious germs.

It is also gratifying to learn that our forefathers, in whose wisdom all
right-minded people, of course, fondly believe, were not wholly wrong
in their estimate of the manifold virtues of their beloved herb. With
the largeness of faith which belongs equally to the infancy of research
and the springtime of life, they believed with the implicit faith of
childhood in its all-healing powers. And the learned in the secrets of
Nature proclaimed to suffering humanity that out of the heart of the
New World had come a remedy for all the ills that flesh is heir to. But
if facts grew too strong for faith to grapple with, and overthrew their
Dagon, this one consolation remains to testify to their just appreciation
of the weed, namely, that it can, and does, destroy contagious germs.

Early in the seventeenth century, physicians at home and abroad had
observed a connection between the use of tobacco and freedom from the
dread pestilence which at times swept over the land. Doctors Gardiner and
Lewis, Thorius and Diemerbroeck, Hoffman and Willis have left records
of their experience of cases where tobacco proved to be efficacious,
administered either in fume or liquor, lotions or unguents. No doubt
their treatment was somewhat crude, and their concoctions (marvels of
simplicity) were not always successful, and, needless to say, that modern
therapeutics takes no account of their remedies. But their discovery
that tobacco was destructive of insect life on animals as well as on
vegetables, that it cleansed old wounds and sores and suffered them
to heal ‘comfortably,’ surely redeems them from a multitude of sins
committed in the name of tobacco.

Glancing back to the early records of its advent in Europe we come
upon Liebault in 1570 discoursing pleasantly on the marvellous virtues
of the herb, and learn of him that it owes its introduction into the
fashionable world to Jean Nicot. He says, ‘Although it be not long since
it hath been known in France, notwithstanding, deserveth palm and price,
and among all other medicinable herbs it deserveth to stand in the front
rank, by reason of its singular virtues, and, as it were, almost to be
held in admiration, as hereafter you shall understand.… The herb is
called Nicotiane, of the name of him that gave the first intelligence
thereof into this realm—as many other plants have taken their name from
certain Greeks and Romans, who, having been in strange countries for
service of their commonweals, have brought into their countries many
plants which were before unknown. Some have called it the Queen’s herb,
because it was first sent to her, as hereafter shall be declared by the
gentleman that was the first inventor of it, and since has by her been
given to divers people for to sow, whereby it might be planted in the
land. Others have named it the Grand Prior’s herb, for that he caused it
to multiply in France, more than any other, and for the great reverence
that he bears to his herb, because of the divine effects therein
contained. Notwithstanding, it is better to name it Nicotiane, the name
of him that sent it into France, first, to the end that he may have the
honour thereof, according to his desert, for that he hath enriched our
country with so singular an herb.’

Jean Nicot, Lord of Villemain, and Master of the Requests of the French
King’s household, was sent as ambassador to the Portuguese Court in
1559, remaining there until 1561. On the occasion of his visiting the
state prisons of Lisbon, the keeper, being a gentleman, as Liebault
states, presented him with specimens of a strange herb, which had just
arrived in Port from Florida, shipped by a Flemish merchant. Nicot’s
curiosity was aroused and he took an early opportunity of purchasing
from the merchant a quantity of the prepared leaves, and some seeds of
the plant. Learning from him what use the Indians made of the weed, and
their manner of smoking it, he began to experiment, first upon himself
(as all good practitioners should do) and liking it, he caused some of
the seeds to be sown in his garden, where to his great joy they grew
and multiplied exceedingly. There can hardly be a doubt that Nicot had
been told by the merchant that the Indians expressed a juice from the
leaves with which they cured the wounds received in battle, and that he
had made this known to his domestics. For Liebault says that the Lord
Ambassador was one day advertised of a young man of kin to his page who
had made assay of the herb, bruised and in liquor, upon an ulcer he had
upon his cheek near unto the nose, coming of a _Noli me tangere_, which
began to take root already at the gristle of the nose, wherewith he found
himself marvellously eased. Whereupon Nicot caused the said young man
to be brought before him, and after a minute inspection he ordered the
sufferer to continue the treatment eight or ten days longer. Nicot now
hurried off to the King of Portugal’s physician and informed him of the
case, and together they watched the progress of the cure. By the end of
ten days the physician was enabled to certify that the _Noli me tangere_
was ‘utterly extinguished’ and the face ‘comfortably healed.’ Shortly
afterwards Nicot’s cook almost cut off his thumb with a great chopping
knife, and he too, flew to the new remedy for relief, and after five or
six dressings was likewise comfortably healed. A captain presented his
son to the Lord Ambassador and besought him to exert his healing art upon
the boy, who was grievously afflicted with the King’s evil. And unto
him was assay made of the liquor of the herb, and again its curative
powers were asserted in the complete removal of the disease. Next came
a gentleman from the fields, craving the Lord Ambassador to cure him
of a wound in his leg, which for a space of two years had tortured him
and rendered the limb useless. Nicot, filled with generous enthusiasm,
readily acceded to his appeal, and lotions and unguents were prepared
for him, with instructions how to apply them. In ten days’ time he again
presented himself, and with overflowing gratitude declared that the ulcer
had disappeared, and that he had now perfect use of his leg. Many other
similar _Noli me tangere_ cases and their comfortable cure are recorded
by Liebault and Monardes. News of the potent influence of the weed, now
commonly called the Ambassador’s herb, over bodily infirmity spread with
amazing rapidity, and out of every nook and corner of the kingdom there
flocked to the Ambassador sufferers of all sorts and conditions, praying
to be healed of their _Noli me tangere_. Nicot’s garden was now a centre
of attraction for fashionable loungers: his house had already become an
infirmary; and great was the rejoicing when the maimed, the sick, and the
wounded threw away their crutches, sound of body and full of faith. From
the recital whereof it plainly appears that though names may change, poor
humanity remains pretty much what it was in the beginning, and none wax
so fat in fame or fortune as those who minister to its weaknesses.

But Nicot’s work as a healer of the sick with the Indian weed was not
yet completed; there were patients at home demanding his immediate
attention. Hearing that Lady Montague was dying at St. Germains of an
ulcer ‘bred in the breast,’ which of course was none other than our old
friend _Noli me tangere_ in the form of cancer, and for which no remedy
could ever be found, though the Countess of Russe had consulted on her
friend’s behalf the most eminent physicians of the realm, Nicot, with
commendable promptitude, despatched to the king a quantity of the weed,
sending therewith precise instructions how to prepare and administer
it. With this first instalment he wrote describing it as having a
peculiarly pleasant taste, and oddly enough, he bestowed upon it his own
name, saying, ‘Nicotiane est une espèce d’herbe de vertu admirable pour
guérir toutes ulcères et autres tels accidents au corps humain.’ This
letter is said to be still preserved in the Chateau Belem. To the Queen
Mother he presented seeds of the plant which she caused to be sown in
the royal gardens. This wondrous product of the new-found world, where
all was strange and clothed in the garb of mystery, created a lively
interest in France. But Europe had hardly yet emerged from the glamour
of the Dark Ages, when every important event was governed by invisible
agencies, and magic alone could explain the inexplicable. Catharine de
Medici would secretly consult her magician before entering upon any of
her numerous dark designs. Parenthetically it may be mentioned that
George Buchanan, the Scotch philosopher and tutor to our James I., had
so strong an aversion to Catharine de Medici that in one of his Latin
epigrams, where he alludes to tobacco being called _d’herbe Medici_, he
warns all who value their health to shun the herb, not that in itself
it is hurtful, but being called by so vile a name it must needs become
poisonous. A single instance may suffice to indicate the kind of interest
the weed on its first introduction into France awakened in the French
court. Gathered round the queen’s table are some of the brightest wits
of the gay capital, discussing with eager curiosity the marvellous story
told of the Indian’s herb in the despatch just received from Nicot.
Listening to these things the Comte de Jarnac felt irresistibly impelled
to do something significant of the occasion, and springing from his seat
he hastened to the house of his dearest friend to repeat the story. His
friend was ‘short-breathed,’ suffering indeed from a severe attack of
asthma. Unfolding the packet containing his share of the precious herb,
Jarnac directed an attendant to distil it; this done, he added to the
liquor some euphrasy (eyebright). Then presenting the decoction to the
patient, he explained to him with the eloquence born of a new faith that
the spirit of the herb would enter into his own and would assuredly expel
the demon of asthma. Thus urged and entreated, the sufferer swallowed
the potation, and wonderful to relate, if we are to believe the zealous
chronicler, the man who but a little while before was gasping for breath
was now comfortably healed!

Clearly then tobacco owes its introduction into the highest ranks of
European society to its credentials as a healer of the sick. Immediately
after France had received her first instalment, along with Nicot’s
laudatory account of its marvellous virtues, Italy obtained the herb
direct from the hands of Cardinal Santa Croce on his return from his
nunciature in Spain, and for years it bore in his honour the name of Erba
Santa Croce. Castro Duranti celebrated the event in Latin verses, wherein
he ascribes to the Indian’s herb the efficacy of a charm over every
malady, and extols the cardinal for his service in bringing it, coupling
his name with his distinguished ancestor, who brought to Rome a portion
of the true cross. He assures the reader that their services rightly

    Procure, as much as mortal man can do,
    The welfare of our souls and bodies too.

Tidings of the pleasing delusion of tobacco’s wonderful curative
properties reached these shores towards the close of the sixteenth
century, when the pipe was already installed in almost every
chimney-nook. Needless to say that lovers of the weed received the
intelligence with warmth, and held to the new belief with a steadfastness
nothing could shake. Some of England’s foremost poets and dramatists
signalized their high appreciation of the exotic’s rare attributes
in imperishable literature. Edmund Spenser, for example, was a great
smoker, and as we have already seen, when he and Raleigh met in Ireland
they would sit together by the hour over a soothing pipe, while holding
delightful contests of responsive versifying. In the _Faërie Queene_ is
a sweet passage telling how Belphœbe hastened into the woods to gather
herbs to heal the wounded Timais:

    For she of herbs had great intendiment,
    Taught of the Nymph which from her infancy
    Her nursed had in true nobility:
    There, whether it divine Tobacco were,
    Or Panachea, or Polygony,
    She found and brought it to her patient dear,
    Who all this while lay bleeding out his heart-blood near.

In a similar vein William Lyly, Queen Elizabeth’s court-poet, speaks of
the weed in his play entitled _The Woman in the Moone_. Pandora, having
wounded a lover with a spear, urges her attendant to gather

    … Balm and cooling violets,
    And of our holy herb nicotian,
    And bring withal pure honey from the hive,
    To heal the wound of my unhappy hand.

Ben Jonson, Thomas Dekker, and a host of other playwrights and
pamphleteers found in the new indulgence a source of endless amusement,
and belaboured ‘Tobacconists’ with rare sallies of wit and humour.

Authors learned in the materia medica of those days tell of wonderful
cures wrought by this _Sana Sancta Indorum_. In a booklet bearing the
rather droll title of _Dyet’s Dry Dinner_ (1599) Henry Buttes informs the
reader that ‘Tobacco cureth any grief, dolour, imposture, or obstruction
proceeding of cold or wind, especially in the head or breast. The fume
taken in a pipe is good against rumes, hoarseness, ache in the head,
stomach, lungs, breast, etc., also in want of meat, drink, sleep, or
rest.’ The dyspeptic and the sleepless are invited to banquet upon a dry
dinner, and they will assuredly find in the pipe a never-failing remedy
for their several ailments. The uplifted author feels himself impelled to
give expression to his high appreciation of the new regimen in verse, and

    Fruit, herbs, flesh, fish, whitemeats, spice, sauce, all,
    Concoct are by Tobacco’s Cordiall!

Proceeding with his description of a dry dinner and elaborating many
mysterious complications of the human system and their complete removal
by the use of tobacco, he says that he ‘names his book, _Dyet’s Dry
Dinner_, not only _Caminum Prandium_, without wine, but _Accipritinum_,
without all drink, except tobacco, which also is but dry drink.’ And as
to the first introduction of tobacco into this kingdom, he informs us
that it was ‘translated out of the Indies in the seed or root, native or
sative in our own fruit-fullest soil. The Indian name for the plant is
Peicelt, surnamed tobacco, by the Spaniards of the Ile Tabago. Yet we
are not beholden to their tradition. Our English Ulisses, renowned Syr
Walter Rawleigh, a man admirably excellent in navigation and Nature’s
privy counsell, and infinitely read in the wide boke of the worlde, hath
both farre fetcht it and deare bought it, the estimate of which I leave
to other; yet this all know, since it came into request, there hath been
_Magnus Fumi Questus_; and _Fumi-Vendulus_ is the best Epithite for an

How enraptured medical men were with the new herb, believing that at
last they had discovered the panacea of their happiest dreams, may be
learned from Dr. Gardiner’s _Trial of Tobacco_. On the title page of this
rare quarto volume, published in London in 1610, the author describes in
prolix detail the contents of his book, thus:—‘Wherein his (tobacco’s)
worth is most worthily expressed: as in the name, nature, and qualitie
of the same hearb—his speciall use in physick, with the right and
true use of taking it, as well for the seasons and times, as also the
complexions, dispositions, and constitutions of such bodies and persons
as are fittest, and to whom it is most profitable to take it.’ He asks:
‘What is a more noble medicine, or readier at hand, than tobacco?’ And he
informs the reader that although he is an old man he undertakes the task
of compiling the book in order to supply a proper knowledge of the plant
so much in use among Englishmen. For the cure of the asthmatical, and
such persons as are of a consumptive tendency, he prescribed liberally of
_Foliorum Sana Sancta Indorum_ combined with other medicaments unknown
to modern therapeutics, and which may be readily accredited with very
effectual properties—effectual, one would think, in dispelling the
extravagant belief of the learned leeches of those days in tobacco as a
‘soverane remedy.’ How people managed to take such concoctions as Dr.
Gardiner prescribed and live is beyond conception: their Spartan-like
endurance shines out conspicuously under a treatment which embraces
‘tobacco gruel,’ ‘tobacco wine,’ also, tobacco made up into a kind of
soup, or syrup, with sufficient sugar. The patient is recommended to
drink the decoction hot, as a medicine good against the plague.

A glimpse of the strange notions which entered the heads of our
forefathers respecting the medicinal virtues of the Indian weed may
be gained from a perusal of the curious collection of odds and ends
of social and literary gossip, contained in the Harleian Miscellany.
Under the head of _Tobacco_ the writer says he once knew some persons
who every day ate several ounces of the herb without experiencing any
sensible effect; and from this he infers that, ‘Use and custom will
tame and naturalize the most fierce and rugged poison, so that it will
become civil and friendly to the body.’ In the hands of the chemist it
is perfectly true that some of the most virulent poisons can be made
subservient to the healing art, and yield to the physician some of the
most helpful medicines known to pharmacy; but it would be unwise to
the last degree for the uninitiated in the mysteries of the laboratory
to experiment upon himself in the vain belief that use and custom will
carry him safely through the ordeal. The writer goes on to say that,
‘Some anatomists tell us most terrible stories of sooty brains and black
lungs, which have been seen in the dissection of dead bodies, which when
living had been accustomed to tobacco. I know a curious woman in the
North, that does very great feats in healing the sick by a preparation
of tobacco. And our learned and most experienced countryman, Mr. Boyle
(experimental philosophy) does highly recommend tobacco for pains, which
are often epidemical in cities and camps.’ He appears, however, to have
a wholesome dread of such experimenting, for he consoles himself now and
then by remarking that ‘custom and conversation will make the fiercest
creature familiar.’ Yet he seems quite unable to break away from the
common belief, that, ‘the qualities, nature, and uses of tobacco may
be very considerable in several cases and circumstances, although King
James himself hath both writ and disputed very smartly against it.’ The
reader is next informed that a French author in the Journal of Science
(1681) has ‘writ a peculiar tract on tobacco, wherein he commends it for
bringing on sleep;’ an idea probably derived from Dr. Thorius’ _Hymnus
Tabaci_ (1625) which passed through many editions in London, Paris, and
Utrecht. In this elegant Latin poem Thorius playfully alludes to the
drowsiness tobacco-smoking produced upon the gods:—

    … The gods Bacchus, Liber,
    Jove, Mars, Vulcan, Mercury, Apollo,
    Lustily through their nose the smoke did take,
    As if another Ætna they would make.
    The goddesses, pleas’d with the novelty,
    Laugh’d all the while, but when they did see
    How much to sleep that night the gods were given,
    Angry, decreed it should be banish’d Heav’n.

The purifying action of tobacco-smoke on unwholesome air was fully
recognised in Pepys’ time, when during the Great Plague of 1665-6 the
pipe was to be seen in almost every mouth. Pepys like others sought
protection in the weed, and purchased roll-tobacco to ‘chaw.’ Alas, poor
man, it took away his apprehension! In his immortal diary is a note under
date, June 7th. 1665:

    This is the hottest day that I ever felt in my life. This day,
    much against my will, I did in Drury Lane, see two or three
    houses marked with a red cross upon the doors, and, ‘Lord, have
    mercy upon us,’ writ there, which was a sad sight to me, being
    the first of the kind that to my remembrance I ever saw. It put
    me in an ill-conception of myself and my smell, so that I was
    forced to buy some roll-tobacco to smell and chaw, which took
    away my apprehension.

Clearly Pepys was not a ‘tobacconist,’ but surely he should have known
better than to have ‘chawed’ the black twist.

Dr. Willis, physician in ordinary to Charles the Second, speaks highly
of the valuable antiseptic properties of tobacco. In his work entitled,
_A Plain and Easy Method of Preserving (by God’s Blessing) Those That
are Well From the Infection of the Plague_ (1666) he remarks upon the
exemption from the pestilence of houses where tobacco was stored for
manufacture or sale.

    Nor indeed were those persons affected who smoked tobacco,
    especially if they smoked in the morning, a time when the body
    is more susceptible to outer influences than it is later in
    the day. For the smoke of the plant secures those parts which
    lie most open, namely, the mouth, nostrils, etc., and at once
    intercepts and keeps the contagion that floats in the air from
    the brain, lungs, and stomach. It also stirs the blood and
    spirits all over, and makes them throw off any contagion that
    may adhere to them.

In another treatise on the subject Dr. Willis makes equally shrewd
remarks on the use of tobacco among soldiers and sailors. He says,
‘Tobacco taken in the vulgar way at the mouth through a pipe has effects
not only manifold but diverse,’ and he explains that its use, when it
may be had, seems not only necessary but profitable for soldiers and
mariners, for that it renders them both fearless of any danger, and
patient of hunger, cold, and labour.’ Army experiences of recent years
bear testimony to the beneficial use of tobacco in almost the same words.

The learned Dutch Physician, Dr. Diemerbroeck, of Utrecht, in his
_Tractatus de Peste_ (1635-6) lays stress on the good which he found
to come of smoking tobacco. So fully was he persuaded of its powers to
kill contagion that for his own sake he smoked almost continuously while
attending upon his patients in the hospitals at Nimeguen during the
prevalence of the great plague in Holland. He began the day with a pipe;
after dinner he would take two or three more, and a like number after
supper; and if at any time he felt himself affected by his surroundings
he immediately had recourse to the weed, which he regarded as his
comforter in affliction and preserver from the plague. Dr. Diemerbroeck
would seem to have been a model officer of health. Armed with his
chosen instrument he gallantly charged the enemy at all hours and in
all places, striding along the aisles of death unscathed. His services
were invaluable, and ought surely to have been utilised over a larger
area than they were. As Smoking Sanitary Commissioner he might have
visited, say, Cologne, where much to the advantage of the inhabitants,
more particularly to visitors, he doubtless would have founded a
_Tabako-Collegium_. Coleridge would then most likely have been spared his
discomfiture and precipitate rout on his encountering there ‘seventy-two
separate and well-defined stinks.’ The Farina Brothers doubtless loved
their quaint city whose quainter smells have passed into a proverb, and
were animated with sublime ideas of patriotism when they concocted their
sweet-smelling waters which were to bring back to it wealth and renown.
Their success has equalled their genius: all the world is grateful for
Eau de Cologne.

We now approach the threshold of new and more enlightened views of the
uses of tobacco. From the first inception of the idea of its possessing
curative properties it passed through two distinct phases in the medical
world. First it was received as a heaven-sent boon to suffering humanity,
and was applied with a lavish hand for the cure of every malady. Then
followed bitter experiences of pain and even death inflicted in cases
where it had been fondly hoped relief would be obtained. We see medical
practice struggling in a dim uncertain light towards fuller knowledge,
yet baffled at every step. Reluctantly the doctor is driven to forsake
his new love, and again we see him turning to the plants of his native
soil for the realisation of the great dream of his life,—a panacea,
which to him meant all that the philosopher’s stone could signify to
the alchemist; and once more we hear of Solar Elixirs, and of occult
medicaments prepared from herbs gathered in the glimpses of the moon;
for it was argued that the ruling heavenly bodies from whose energy
divine had sprung all life, must assuredly have provided remedies for
the evils with which life is burdened. The reaction which followed upon
the disappointment was so strong that tobacco became the shibboleth of
the profession, whose leading spirits denounced as charlatans all who
ventured to remain faithful to the creed of the tobacconist. This second
stage reached its culmination half a century ago, when Mr. Lizars,
and Mr. Solly, of St Thomas’s Hospital, inaugurated a crusade against
tobacco, holding forth on the physical and mental misery, leading to
insanity, which must inevitably follow its use in any form. One instance
among many may suffice to indicate Mr. Solly’s method of terrifying
smokers. He speaks of a young clergyman of his acquaintance who could
only write his sermons under the stimulus of a pipe; he admits that
his discourses were eloquent, even brilliant, and profitable to listen
to. Then Mr. Solly, pointing an admonitory finger, utters the solemn
warning—‘but the end of that man is not yet!’

Fortunately there is no longer need to consider whether the weed deserves
the hard things said of it, or whether it is to be ranked among the
chief blessings a beneficent Providence has conferred upon this nether
world. These things are settling themselves in their proper places under
the critical eyes of modern science, and the larger and more rational
views derived from experiences in the field, the camp, and the hospital.
Conspicuous among medical treatises of recent years, wherein the subject
is dispassionately surveyed, may be mentioned that of Dr. John C. Murray,
of Newcastle-on-Tyne. Remarking upon the observed curative effect of
tobacco-smoking on the sick and wounded in the Franco-German war, he
says that its healing virtues were so obvious to an army surgeon of his
acquaintance that from being strongly opposed to the use of tobacco
he became a convert, in so far that he actually purchased cigars and
presented them to the wounded, in consequence of having observed that
their smoking assisted recovery. ‘This experience,’ adds Dr. Murray, ‘is
contrary to what has been enunciated as theory, or deduced from isolated
examples taken from the hospitals. Practical observation from previously
healthy men must, however, be allowed precedence of speculation when
inferred from disease.’ This admission marks a decided advance towards
harmonising the faults of speculative reasoning with the actual
experience of every-day life.

Taking a general survey of army medical officers’ reports of work done in
the hospital-camps, he finds evidence in abundance supporting the view
that tobacco-smoking does in some indefinable way mitigate suffering and
help to a speedy recovery. Not only were the good effects manifest in
the comfort it afforded the men on the march, but chiefly in the camp and
the hospital, where under its soothing influence the wounded were often
snatched from death and the sick restored to health. An amusing incident
of a wounded soldier’s love for his pipe is noted in a lady’s diary kept
while occupied as a nurse in a British hospital. Private McCarthy while
under chloroform had just had one of his toes amputated by the surgeon.
The wound bled freely, and the surgeon, after binding it up, left strict
injunctions that the man was not to put his foot down. It happened that
the nurse was called away to another patient for a few minutes, but
before leaving she reminded the patient of the doctor’s orders about
remaining still. On her return, to her astonishment the man was nowhere
to be seen. After some searching she discovered him by traces of blood on
the floor, quietly seated in the yard smoking his pipe. To her admonition
about disobeying orders, and concern for the injury he was likely to do
himself, he paid no heed, and continued smoking in happy indifference.
Better success attended her endeavour to bring him to a repentant frame
of mind when she told him of how he had disfigured the floor with his
blood. Then he rose and quietly returned to his bed, saying, ‘Indeed,
ma’am, I could not help going to have a pipe, for sure, that was the
nastiest stuff I ever got drunk on,’—alluding to the taste of the

Besides being a social comfort to the soldier on the march and in camp,
the wholesomeness of the weed has long been recognised in the Army. Lord
Wolseley on the occasion of his rapid dash to Coomassie gave proof of
his belief in its prophylactic properties when on landing at Cape Coast
Castle he caused pipes and tobacco to be dealt out to the men. George
Gilham, of the 2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade, writing from the ranks
tells of his experiences on the march, and says, ‘The climate about Cape
Coast Castle is bad, and the stenches we came upon almost knocked us
over. But the General had pipes and tobacco served out to us with orders
to smoke for protection. I was then no smoker, but I soon managed to
learn the art.’ And Corporal J. C. Ives, of the Buffs, bears pathetic
testimony to the soldiers’ love of a pipe of tobacco during some hard
service, fighting the Zulus. After describing a fierce encounter with
the enemy he concludes with this lament: ‘The worst of all was we had no
tobacco, the last having been already issued. We did not know we had so
little in our possession when we sold some to the Kaffirs in charge of
the track oxen. When we found all was gone we would have given double the
value of it, but it was too late, and we were induced to try experiments
with dry tea-leaves, grass, and coffee grounds. Some of the men found a
herb which they smoked, but this had the effect of making their heads
swell to such an extent that they had to be attended by the doctor.’
On another occasion when the 91st Highlanders came within sight, and
greeting cheers had resounded on the still night air, he says, ‘When our
friends arrived the first question from the Ekowe garrison was, “Have
you any tobacco?” Oh, that smoke! The same night we were served out with
a tot of rum, white biscuits and a small piece of tobacco, luxuries
subscribed for by the inhabitants of Port Natal.’

With innumerable experiences such as these before them it is difficult to
understand the action of the Home authorities in dealing with contraband
tobacco seized by Custom-house officers. Some years ago a ton of tobacco
and cigars was seized at Portsmouth, the whole of which was buried in
order to get rid of it. A protest was made, and the reasonableness of
distributing, instead of wasting, such seizures of tobacco among the
men of the Army and Navy could not be gainsaid; and it was satisfactory
to learn that the Revenue Department had been moved to issue directions
to the proper officers to, in future, supply troop-ships with seized
tobacco at the rate of one ounce per diem for each man. But this humane
practice was soon discontinued; indeed, the arrangements for the disposal
of seized tobacco present some curious features, and have varied
considerably from time to time. The course pursued with such seizures,
including that unreleased by consignees from the bonded warehouses at
the London Docks, had been the very primitive one of burning it in an
instrument known and recognised as the ‘Queen’s tobacco-pipe.’ Possibly
some outdoor officer of Customs hit upon the device in order to shield
himself from blame for thus wasting good stuff. It was a huge instrument
of enormous ventrical capacity and would fume away hundreds of tons in
a few hours. Then an afterthought of economy crept in, and suggested
that the ashes might make good manure. They were accordingly sold to
agriculturists for what they would fetch; a ton of the ashes it was found
served as tillage for four acres of ground. But this monster pipe is now
put out; it was arranged that future seizures of contraband tobacco,
and also such as remained in Bond unclaimed on account of its having
sustained damage in transit from the place of exportation, should be
thrown upon the market for sale, a course which did not commend itself to
the trade, nor to the palate of dainty smokers. In face of the difficulty
another arrangement was made for its disposal; the criminal lunatics
confined in certain Government asylums were thought of, and gratuitously
provided with tobacco from this source. Large quantities were also
supplied to certain public botanical gardens where tobacco is required
for the destruction of insect life, and which would otherwise have to
be purchased at the public expense. If after meeting these demands a
sufficient quantity of tobacco was available, then troops ordered on
foreign service were furnished with a supply for use on the voyage.
Strange to say, even this small chance of obtaining a little comfort for
the men who are to fight our battles in foreign lands under hardships
which tax the strongest powers of endurance has ceased. Troop-ships at
the best of times are none too comfortable, and anything that can be done
towards making those on board contented would be a distinct gain to the
Service. Both policy and humanity indicate a little generous treatment
of the men upon whose prowess the existence of the Empire so largely
depends. It is hard to believe that criminal lunatics can have a better
claim to the indulgence than our soldiers.

Referring to the antiseptic properties of tobacco, Dr. Murray says that
he is fully convinced from close observation, that though it does not
produce ozone it is an excellent disinfectant; and he mentions instances
of ladies who, while attending upon their relatives laid up with a
fearful epidemic malady, recognised, as if by intuition, the advantage
of smoking. On one occasion a lady came into the sick-room where he was
seeing a confluent case of epidemic small-pox puffing a cigar, and upon
his remarking it she pointed to the patient with a triumphant air more
eloquent than words. Whereupon Dr. Murray with a touch of old-fashioned
chivalry says, ‘I immediately bent to her as a Master.’ In the same gay
vein he continues: ‘I have myself seen, and also been informed, that
many ladies during the current epidemic have given pronounced evidence
of their faith in the antiseptic virtues of tobacco by selecting the
smoking compartments when travelling by rail, and not a few have even
in severe cases while waiting upon their relatives trusted to tobacco
as a safeguard. I am happy to add that so far they have rejoiced in an
immunity from the most contagious disease with which the present age is

Drs. Klein, Tassinari, Werke and other distinguished bacteriologists have
carried their investigations into this interesting field of research with
marked success.

Dr. Klein, of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, says that ‘direct experiment
proves that tobacco-smoke has a decided germicidal effect; it is not
known, however, which is the active principle in the tobacco-smoke.’ He
also remarks that the popular idea which has again sprung up of tobacco’s
prophylactic powers, ‘is well supported by laboratory experiment.’ Dr.
Tassinari, adopting the microscopical methods of Pasteur, illustrates
his investigations into the subject and the results obtained by a series
of charts. These results may be briefly summarised. He found that the
smoke of tobacco in some cases entirely destroyed, in others retarded
the development of, micro-organisms. For example, the bacilli of Asiatic
cholera and pneumonia were in every instance destroyed by the smoke of
tobacco irrespective of the kind or quality of the tobacco used. Anthrax
bacilli and the bacilli of typhoid offered greater resistance, the latter
indeed were but little affected by the smoke. He makes an odd remark
about the surprising growths of germs found by the microscope adhering to
the coating of the teeth, and says that as tobacco-smoke destroys them,
it is a preventive of decay; should it darken the enamel, the ashes of
the weed used as a dentifrice will make them whiter than before.

Similar investigations have been made in Spain and Germany. Werke
saturated a cigar with a liquid fully impregnated with cholera bacilli
and found that in twenty-four hours every germ was destroyed. He next
placed bacilli upon dry tobacco leaves; in this case they were rendered
harmless in half an hour. In other trials a contact with the leaf of
three hours was required for their destruction. Strange to say, damp
tobacco was the least effective; the germs struggled hard for existence,
and held out for three days before yielding up their lives to the
superior genius of the weed. A fifty per cent. solution of tobacco
over-mastered them in twenty-four hours. But it is in burning tobacco,
when its elements are liberated from their confinement, that the battle
is most decisive. Werke says, that when he tested them with the smoke of
tobacco every germ was rendered incapable of propagating disease in less
than five minutes.

Though the medical man whom duty calls to densely-crowded, unwholesome
districts fortifies himself against attack from the invisible foe with a
Manila or Cuban leaf, he protests emphatically against the smoking habit
which has recently cropped up among boys. The boy-smoker, besides being
a nuisance, is rendering himself physically and mentally unfit for the
duties of life.



Like Horace’s greybeard, we are all more or less prone to look lovingly
towards the past, to regard the days of our forefathers as the good old
times in which they played their part in life’s drama on a larger and
nobler scale than we do, or are capable of doing. In this spirit of
admiration for antiquity we see the beginnings of that hero-worship which
with the Greeks gradually developed into their beautiful mythology. They,
above all other people, delighted to extol the powers and achievements
of their ancestors; they clothed them with the attributes of deity, and
strove to emulate and honour them in all manly deeds; thus they exalted
their own conceptions of life, and idealised the course of their national
existence. And yet this innate tendency to magnify and extend into the
dim, illimitable regions of antiquity whatever of human effort is deemed
most worthy, is a source of difficulty to the conscientious student.
Amid the wild growth of myth and marvel the antiquary or archæologist
warily treads his way to surer ground, and out of scattered fragments of
a by-gone age constructs anew an old order of existence, or opens a vista
to the mind’s eye through which glimpses may be gained of the habits
and inner life of our remote ancestors. Then it is we see the present
linked with the past in one unbroken chain; our knowledge is enlarged,
and we recognise the unity of our race. Needless then to say that it is
in no narrow spirit of mere curiosity that the wise men of Europe have
devoted much labour and learning to the task of discovering if the habit
of tobacco-smoking, now so common all over the world, existed in Eastern
countries before the discovery of America by Columbus.

It is justly claimed for the subject that it possesses interest for a
much larger class than professed ethnologists; that it is invested with
an absorbing fascination for every earnest student of the history and
habits of mankind. For it is maintained that nothing but a deep-seated
craving in the nature of human beings for narcotics and stimulants can
explain the immediate, rapid, and over-mastering success with which the
passion for tobacco spread over the world after its introduction into
Europe by the Spaniards. That this should have been so, seems to point
directly to the conclusion that before the discovery of the New World the
tobacco-plant and the habit of smoking its leaves were unknown elsewhere.
Let it be remembered, however, that we have to take into account the
farther East, more particularly China, the Cathay of our forefathers,
who had found every approach leading into the interior jealously guarded
against intrusion from the barbarian of the outer world.

Scattered through the pages of ancient historians and naturalists are
some curious allusions to a practice occasionally indulged in of inhaling
the fumes of burning vegetable substances, either for pleasure’s sake or
for medicinal purposes. A few of these may suffice to indicate the shifts
men were put to in remote times in order to appease their longing for
narcotics of one kind or another.

Herodotus says that the Messagetæ, or Scythians, possessed a tree
bearing a strange fruit which, when they met together, they cast into
the fire and inhaled its fumes till they became intoxicated, in much the
same way as the Greeks did with wine. What this strange produce was we
learn in book IV., cap. 78, where he relates the story of the Scythians
making themselves drunk with hemp-seed. They crept with it under their
blankets, and, throwing it on red-hot stones, inhaled the fumes arising
therefrom. Simple narrations such as these fall in quite naturally with
one’s ideas of primitive man adapting himself to his circumstances.
The Father of History never indulges in flights of fancy or creations
of the imagination; it is enough for him to render a straightforward
account of such things as came under his own eyes, or of events as they
had been related to him. But when we come to a modern writer who tells
a smoking-story of far-back times, relating, indeed, to none other than
the ‘mighty hunter before the Lord,’ (enjoying, we may assume, a quiet
pipe after a day’s hard riding across country), then doubt begins to take
possession of the mind, and we are inclined to let that tale go for what
it is worth. Lieutenant Walpole is responsible for the story that, when
he was at Mosul, there came into his hands a very old Arabic manuscript,
in the opening chapter of which the ancient scribe declared that Nimrod
used tobacco. Application of the higher criticism to this relic of
antiquity would be quite out of place; why, indeed, should men seek to
be wise above what is written? But let us look a little farther into
what Mr. Walpole has to narrate of the people among whom he sojourned,
respecting their indulgence in the social pleasure of the pipe. From his
highly interesting work on _The Ansayrii, or The Assassins_ (published
in 1851) we gather that while at Mosul he was so impressed by the
prevalence of the habit of smoking among all classes, that he made
diligent inquiry of the learned of the land respecting its origin; for he
felt convinced that nothing European, much less American, could possibly
have crept into this remote district of the Old World, whose inhabitants
were living as their fathers had lived for ages. ‘In the East,’ he
writes, ‘it is rare to find a man or a woman who does not smoke. Enter
a house, and a smoking-instrument is put into your hand as naturally as
you are asked to sit down.’ Mr. Walpole had not long to wait before his
new friends found means of satisfying his curiosity and of quickening
the interest already awakened within him as to the antiquity of the
habit. A venerable sage disclosed to his wondering eyes the manuscript
aforesaid. It filled over a hundred closely-written pages, and was
divided into eight chapters, in the first of which was related the story
of Nimrod. The origin of the different opinions for and against tobacco
are enlarged upon in its pages; this, by the way, seems to imply that
the Koran had not settled the disputed point; but then these Hashishins,
who had found tobacco a far more grateful comforter than their fiery
hashish, were not good Moslems. Unfortunately for Mr. Walpole, the happy
owner of the priceless document, this inestimable relic of antiquity,
was a bibliomanist whom nothing could induce to part with it; but he
tells the reader that it was being copied—a lengthy process. Youthful
exuberance of spirit marks Mr. Walpole’s joy at the discovery. ‘Lovers of
the weed,’ he exclaims, ‘may reasonably hope that the elucidation of the
Assyrian history will show us Nimrod making _kief_ over the _chibouk_,
and Semiramis calling for her _nargilleh_. It would enhance the grace
of Cleopatra could we imagine her reclining on a divan of eiderdown
toying with Marc Antony as she plays with her jewelled _narpeesh_.’ His
enthusiasm is kindled by glowing tales of Eastern life, stretching back
to the remotest ages; he sees the folly of entertaining for a moment the
thought that Asia could be indebted to America for the luxury of the
pipe. ‘We can hardly suppose,’ he writes, ‘that in the comparatively
short space of time since the continent of America was discovered by us,
the habit could have spread through Europe to the very utmost corners of
Asia; that the Burman would smoke his cigar as he does, and the wild man
of the forest of Ceylon would make his hand into a bowl and smoke out of
it. These people, perfect wild beasts, double up the hand, curving the
palm, and thus form a species of pipe; a green leaf protects the hand;
within this the weed is placed, and thus they smoke. This is certainly
the youth of smoking. Adam may have practised this method, even in the
days of his innocence.’

It is, perhaps, a pity Mr. Walpole did not feel satisfied with this
display of youthful gaiety. Possibly he saw that something was still
wanting; that his new-born idea of an Eastern origin for the weed
he loved was too weak to stand without support. At that very moment
some evil genius whispered in his ear the fun of sending the reader
a wool-gathering to the British Museum. Then it dawned upon him that
among the marvels of antiquity the excavations of Botta and Layard were
laying bare to an astonished world was an Assyrian relic which would
bear oracular testimony to the truth of the old Arabic manuscript found
at Mosul, and that henceforth Nimrod must be regarded as the paladin of
the pipe. So Mr. Walpole goes on to say: ‘If the curious reader will
go to the British Museum he will there see an Assyrian cylinder, found
at Mosul, and presented to the Institution by Mr. Badger, whereon is
represented a king smoking from a round vessel, attached to which is
a long reed.’ Hours have been spent in vain at the British Museum in
making careful search for this interesting object. Doctor Wallis Budge,
who presides over the Egyptian and Assyrian antiquities, knows nothing
of a cylinder bearing an inscription of a king smoking a pipe. He has,
however, a record to the effect that Mr. Badger, on February 8th, 1845,
gave the Museum ‘the squeeze of an inscription, the impression of a seal,
and a bronze object.’ Doctor Budge warily remarked: ‘I must remind you
that in 1845 all sorts of nonsense was talked about Assyrian objects;
but that two men [a second writer had been mentioned who had evidently
copied, on faith, from Mr. Walpole] should state such a thing without
verification is remarkable. I am sorry for your wasted time—and my own!’
Assyrian cylinders in the British Museum are numerous, and interest in
them is heightened by written explanations in our own tongue placed by
the side of each of the markings upon them, giving also the date or
period to which the object belongs. The student is thus enabled to grasp
with his senses lessons in history which, without this aid, would be
vague and unreal. Yet, so grotesque are some of the figures, that little
need for wonder if the eye of faith should discover what it seeks for.

The ascetic of the Greek Church, however, can eclipse this story of
Nimrod and the Assyrian monarch who loved his pipe, with a tradition
carefully preserved in its archives of Noah himself, tempted by the Evil
One, having fallen under the intoxicating fumes of tobacco. The ingenuous
scribe relates (though this may be apocryphal) that Noah, resting upon
the summit of Mount Ararat after his toils on the swollen waters,
happened to place his hand on a tobacco-pipe charged with the comforting
herb, and Satan, envious of his happiness, urged the patriarch to prolong
the indulgence until sleep fell upon his eyes. Where the soil is ready
for the seed the merest figment takes root and flourishes abundantly.

Persons of a poetic temperament who find in speculative dreaming pleasure
more satisfying than aught they can derive from the study of prosaic
reality, usually turn their thoughts towards the East, to the land of
mystery and gorgeous imagery, where man first awoke to a wondering
contemplation of the phenomena of nature, asking himself what the earth
and sky could be, and marking out in bold outline as he gazed into the
star-lit firmament the signs by which we to-day recognise the zodiac.
Entering these regions of hoary tradition, the marvel-loving wanderer
from the West finds his path strewn with relics of our early progenitors;
here he may revel in endless variety of legendary lore garnered from rich
fields of poetic fancy. Does he wish to learn of the Moslem sage the
origin of the weed whose balmy breath

    From East to West
    Cheers the tar’s labour, or the Turkman’s rest?

Let him listen to his words as he relates how the Prophet, walking in his
garden at early dawn, came upon a viper stiff with cold, lying in the
grass. ‘Full of compassion, he took it up and warmed it in his bosom; but
when the reptile recovered, it bit him. “Why art thou thus ungrateful?”
asked the Prophet. The viper answered: “Were I to spare thee, another of
thy race would kill me, for there is no gratitude on earth. By Allah, I
will bite thee.” “Since thou hast sworn by Allah, keep thy vow,” said the
Prophet, and held out his hand to be bitten. But as the reptile bit him,
the Prophet sucked the poison from the wound, and spat it on the ground.
And lo! there sprang up a plant in which the serpent’s venom is combined
with the Prophet’s mercy, and men call it tobacco.’

Unhappily for the champions of Asia’s prior claim to the weed, those
enchanted mirrors of Arabian social life, _The Thousand And One Nights_,
reflect no sign, not the faintest shadow of aught resembling circling
eddies from the tobacco-bowl. In the early days of the new indulgence
its lawfulness was warmly disputed in Mahomedan countries. Both Sultan
and Shah looked with suspicion at this new device of the Giaour, and
inflicted the severest punishment upon all who ventured to console
their sorrows with the pipe. In the warmth of conflicting opinion, the
Koran was appealed to, and a Moslem ascetic was found who read to the
faithful a passage (from a revised version, no doubt) wherein it was
foretold that, ‘In the latter days there shall be men bearing the name
of Moslem, but who are not really such, and they shall smoke a certain
weed which shall be called tobacco.’ A device so simple, giving the
American name of the plant, could deceive no one but those who were
willing to be deceived. It helped, however, to smooth the way towards the
desired reconciliation; and then the Turkish traveller, Eulia Effendi,
contributed towards a peaceful solution of the much-vexed question the
best fruits of what little ingenuity he possessed. He declared that
he had found, deeply embedded in the wall of an old edifice, so old
that it must have been reared long before the birth of the Prophet, a
tobacco-pipe which even then smelt of tobacco! The pious frauds of Moslem
ascetics could not go beyond this. Here was the sanction of antiquity,
if not of the Prophet, for the indulgence they all loved, before which
Sultan, and Shah, and Koran gradually gave way, yielding to St Nicotine
the mild sway she holds over her votaries. And it must needs be admitted
that the claim for a knowledge of tobacco in Western Asia before the
days of Columbus has no stronger prop to rest upon than this pipe found
in the crevice of an old wall, and which still smelt of tobacco,—dropped
in by some poor Turk fearful of the torture in store for him if caught
smoking. Russell, in his narrative of a visit to Aleppo in 1603, says
that tobacco-smoking, then so commonly indulged in at home, was unknown
there. And Sandys, writing of the Turks as he found them in 1610, speaks
of tobacco as just introduced into Constantinople by the English. How
rapidly the taste for the weed spread over the countries of the near
East, and the hold it had taken upon all classes, is shown in many a
homely saying among the people, such as, ‘A pipe of tobacco and a dish of
coffee are a complete entertainment;’ or, in the Persian proverb that,
‘Coffee without tobacco is meat without salt.’

Doctor Yates had gone to the land of the Pharaohs for enlightenment on
things hidden from the vulgar; and among other things rare and wonderful
which presented themselves to his astonished gaze, he gravely assures
the reader of his _Modern History and Condition of Egypt_ (published in
1843) that on the wall of an ancient tomb at Thebes he saw a painting in
which was represented a smoking-party; beings of our own species sitting
together enjoying, possibly, social chat over the fragrant weed. Here was
indeed one of those touches of nature which makes the whole world kin.
Standing in the mystic glow of an Egyptian sky, in the living presence
of the marvellous works of men’s hands wrought six thousand years ago,
his imagination bridges the space of ages, and he realises the unity
of our race in the familiar scene before him. The uplifted doctor did
not recognise in the painting a representation of the ancient art of
glass-blowing. The tricks the imagination plays upon us at times would
be very amusing were it not for the ruffle they give to one’s self-love.
Some men, rather than admit they were, or could be deceived, will hold to
their error through all time and in the face of every rebuff.

It is not improbable that some varieties of the tobacco-plant may be
indigenous to the Old World. There are about forty, of which seldom more
than three are cultivated for consumption as tobacco; Virginia (_Nicotina
tabacum_), Syrian (_Nicotina rustica_), and Shiraz (_Nicotina Persica_).
Diligent research, however, extending over many years, has failed to
bring to light any evidence of the existence in Europe or western Asia
of either of these plants before the Spaniards discovered America. The
allusions made by Dioscorides, Strabo, and Pliny to a practice common
among both the Greeks and the Romans of inhaling the fumes of tussilago
and other vegetable substances, have no bearing on tobacco-smoking, nor
on any general habit. They refer rather to the use of certain herbs as
remedies for affections of the throat and chest, used much in the same
way as our forbears used certain other herbs for the cure of similar
ailments. Most people condemned to suffer the rigours of an English
winter have experienced kitchen-treatment of the kind, when shrouded in a
blanket over a bowl of steaming medicaments they lay siege to the citadel
held by the bacteria of influenza. From Pliny we learn that a tribe of
unknown barbarians burned the roots of a species of cypress, and inhaled
the fumes for the reduction of enlarged spleen—a malady very common
among the inhabitants of the plains of southern India. He tells us also
(xxiv., 84) that the Romans smoked coltsfoot through a reed or pipe for
the relief of obstinate cough and difficult breathing. Here it may be of
interest to mention the discovery in recent years of a small description
of smoking-pipes, resembling in size and form the cutty of the Scot or
the dhudeen of the Irish peasant, among Roman structures, both in these
islands and on the Continent.

Dr. Bruce, in his _History of the Roman Wall_, speaking of these pipes,
asks: ‘Shall we enumerate smoking-pipes amongst the articles belonging
to the Roman period? Some of them have, indeed, a medieval aspect; but
the fact of their being frequently found in Roman stations along with
pottery and other remains, undoubtedly Roman, should not be overlooked.’
The Abbé Cocket had found similar clay pipes in the Roman Necropolis near
Dieppe, and in his work on subterranean Normandy he says they must surely
have belonged to the seventeenth century. But, on subsequently hearing
of Doctor Bruce’s discovery of similar pipes in his exploration of the
Roman Wall, he reverted to his first opinion, that those he had himself
found were indeed Roman. Since then Baron de Bonstetten has investigated
the subject; and in his work entitled _Recueil des Antiquités_ he gives
drawings of these pipes, and declares his opinion to be that they are
fair specimens of European smoking-instruments in use before the days of
Columbus, and possibly before those of Julius Cæsar. That smoking-pipes
have been found among authentic Roman remains is beyond question. What
use the Romans made of them we have already learned from Pliny; and
doubtless the Roman soldier, on outpost duty in this fog-begirt island,
would often have need of whatever little comfort he could get out of his
small pipeful of coltsfoot.

Both in Ireland and Scotland somewhat similar pipes have been picked up
in remote places, and have been attributed by imaginative country folk to
the fairies and elves, to the Celts and to the Danes. Raleigh’s sowing
the seeds of Ireland’s first tobacco-plant in his garden at Youghal is
lost sight of in a desire to yield to antiquity the credit due to modern
enterprise. About a century ago (to be exact, in the year 1784), the fine
Milesian imagination was afforded an opportunity of soaring into the
glorious region of an indefinable past, when the headman of every village
was indeed a king. In an ancient tomb—far too old to bear the vulgar
indication of a date—which had been opened at Bannockstown in Kildare,
there was found firmly held between the teeth of the silent occupant a
tobacco-pipe, small, but perfectly formed. Here, then, was positive proof
of the antiquity of smoking in Ireland, ages, possibly, before the Saxon
or Danish barbarian had invaded her shores. This important discovery
naturally created a commotion among the learned of the Emerald Isle,
which soon found mellifluent expression in the _Journal of Anthologia
Hibernica_. Visions of a revivified Celtic history, clothed in the poetic
vestments which properly belong to a venerable, half-forgotten past, rose
to cheer young Ireland’s aspirations; and now could be sung with renewed

    Let fate do her worst, there are relics of joy,
    Bright beams of the past, which she cannot destroy.

It is not pleasant to be robbed of a cherished belief. The awakening
breaks upon the shores of romance as would a London fog on a Swiss
lake; yet it must needs be said that under the critical eye of the
expert the vision dissolved, and left but an Elizabethan pipe behind.
For such, indeed, was the fate that befell the famous Celtic tumulus
and pipe of Bannockstown in Kildare. Stories, fanciful and fairy-like,
relating to small pipes found in Irish by-paths, are mentioned in Mr.
Crofton Crocker’s _Fairy Legends of Ireland_. The peasant who picked up
one of these always knew that it belonged to the Cluricaunes, ‘a set
of disavin’ little devils,’ he would explain, ‘who were always playing
their thricks on good Christians;’ and with a few words of choice brogue
he would break it and throw the bits away. Ireland, however, does not
stand alone in that legendary lore wherein pipes have played their
little part in life’s romance. In Worcestershire there still lingers,
or did linger until the scream of the locomotive startled the woods out
of their sylvan dream, a fairy tale of Queen Mab having held her court
at a spot near old Swinford, where a number of smoking-pipes had been
found, so small that none other than fairy fingers could have made them
for fairy mouths. So there grew up among the country folk gifted with a
light fancy, the belief that Queen Mab had presided at her revels in the
dell, distributing among her troop the fairy pipes they had found, while
sighing on the breeze,

    Come away elves, while the dew is sweet,
    Come to the dingles where the fairies meet.

Leaving the aerial domain of fairy-land, our thoughts are wafted to
Central Asia, still in search of an Eastern birthplace for the weed. In
the writings of a Hindoo physician, examined by Doctor Mayer of Konisberg
in the course of his Eastern researches, it is stated that tobacco was
first brought into India by the Franks in the year 1609, that is to say,
nearly a century after its introduction into Europe. The date agrees well
with the progress the Portuguese had at that time made in establishing
themselves in India. For nearly a century they had been in possession
of Goa; they held important seats of commerce in various other parts of
India, and had command of the greater part of the oriental trade. These
earliest of European explorers in the far East, having about the close of
the fifteenth century made a successful passage round the Cape of Good
Hope, were not slow to secure for themselves a footing on the western
shores of Asia, and onward to the Indian Archipelago. Wherever they
settled they introduced the American habit of smoking, and eagerly was
it adopted by the different peoples with whom they had dealings. In the
annals of Java, tobacco is stated to have been imported into that island,
and the habit of smoking it taught to the natives by the Portuguese
in 1601. To the Portuguese and the Spaniards, fortified later by the
prodigious puffing powers of the Dutch, may be fairly ascribed whatever
credit may be due for spreading a knowledge in the Eastern World of the
habit which, for weal or for woe, has exercised a more potent witchery
over man’s life than probably any other indulgence, largely modifying and
usually soothing and sobering his temperament. It seems but reasonable
to suppose that if the plant and its use as a narcotic had been known in
the East generally, independently of Europe, the indefatigable Jesuits,
who penetrated into almost every nook of the Old World likely to afford
a see to Rome, would have made the discovery and noted the fact with
their usual accuracy. The illustrious traveller and naturalist, Palias,
however, takes a different view of the question. ‘Amongst the Chinese,’
he writes, ‘and amongst the Mongolian tribes who had the most intercourse
with them, the custom of smoking is so general, so frequent, and has
become so necessary a luxury, the form of the pipes, from which the Dutch
seem to have taken theirs, so original; and lastly, the preparation of
the dried leaves, which are merely rubbed to pieces and then put into
the pipe, so peculiar that they could not possibly have derived all this
from America by way of Europe, especially as India, where the practice
of smoking is not so general, intervenes between Persia and China.’
But surely this reasoning is merely an example of drawing inference
from insufficient data; from what at best bears the appearance only of

The learned botanist, Meyen, speaking of China in relation to the habit
of smoking, deals with another and more pertinent aspect of the question.
‘It has long been the opinion,’ he remarks, ‘that the use of tobacco, as
well as its culture, was peculiar to the people of America; but this is
now proved to be incorrect by our present more exact acquaintance with
China and India. The consumption of tobacco in the Chinese Empire is of
immense extent, and the practice seems to be of great antiquity, for on
very old sculptures I have observed the very same tobacco-pipes which
are still used. Besides, we know the plant which furnishes the Chinese
tobacco; it is even said to grow wild in the East Indies. It is certain
that this tobacco plant of eastern Asia is quite different from the
American species.’ The tobacco grown in China is very light in colour and
almost tasteless, possessing a very small amount of the essential oil,
one or two per cent. as against seven or eight per cent. yielded by the
Virginian plant. Experiment, however, has brought to light the fact that
climate and soil are really answerable for all the difference between
the two kinds; that the _Nicotiana tabacum_ of America for example, when
transplanted into Syrian soil, has after a few years’ cultivation lost
its marked characteristics and become a light-coloured, mild tobacco,
like the Shiraz herb. Meyen’s argument would have had more value if he
had been able to assign a date to the sculpture on which he had observed
representations of tobacco-pipes, or if he himself had seen and examined
specimens of the tobacco-plant said to grow wild in the East Indies.
As his statement lacks the certainty which authenticated facts alone
can give, it leaves the question still unanswered. The two Lazarists,
MM. Gabet and Huc, whose zeal and heroic enterprise carried them safely
through the wildest districts of Tartary and Thibet, make no mention
of the practice of smoking among the inhabitants of those countries;
though in China they had noticed outside tobacconists’ shops an effigy
of the tobacco plant, which they took to be a representation of the
royal insignia of France, for they speak of it as the _fleur-de-lis_.
Doubtless China rose in their estimation when they beheld so flattering
an acknowledgment of its indebtedness to the grand nation for the
blessing the herb conferred on an unworthy people. But if such were their
impression they greatly erred. The inhabitants of the Celestial Empire
(Tin-shan) entertained notions of a very different character. Their
country (Chung-tow) occupied the centre of the earth, and all beings
outside their borders they regarded as Fan-qui, barbarian wanderers,
or outlandish demons. The exalted ideas they had formed of themselves
led them into the happy delusion that they were the lower empire of the
celestial universe. ‘In the heavens,’ says M. Pingré, ‘they beheld a
vast republic, an immense empire, composed of kingdoms and provinces;
these provinces were the constellations: there was supremely decided all
that should happen, whether favourable or unfavourable, to the great
terrestrial empire, the empire of China.’ Their historians carry back
the traditions of their country to a period so remote (millions of
years) that Europe can only be conceived of as primeval forest, and its
inhabitants as barely emerging from their protoplasmic swamps. It is,
moreover, a country of fantastic oddities, of topsy-turvy notions of the
proprieties of every-day life; where you are constantly meeting with
gentlemen in petticoats and ladies in trousers, the ladies smoking and
the gentlemen fanning themselves: where ladies of quality may be seen
toddling like animated walking-sticks, while stout fellows sit indoors
trimming dainty head-dresses for them. Go outside the city and you find
greybeards playing shuttlecock with their feet or flying curious kites,
and others chirruping and chuckling to their pet birds which they have
brought out to take the air, while groups of youths gravely look on
regarding these juvenile pastimes of their elders with becoming approval.

Early in the course of European adventure in the far East, travellers
who, under various disguises had succeeded in penetrating into the
interior of China, found in some provinces the cultivation of tobacco
ranking among the foremost of their agricultural productions. Bell, in
his _Travels in Asia_ (Pinkerton’s Edition, 1811), speaking of China,
says: ‘I also saw great plantations of tobacco which they call “Tharr,”
and which yield considerable profits. It is universally used in smoking
in China by persons of all ranks and both sexes; and besides, great
quantities are sent to the Mongols, who prefer the Chinese method of
preparing it before any other. They make it into gross powder like
sawdust, which they keep in a small bag, and fill their little brass
pipes out of it without touching it with their fingers. The smoke is
very mild, and has a different smell from ours. It is reported that the
Chinese have had the use of it for many ages.’ Tobacco and the habit
of smoking it are mentioned in the annals of the Yuen dynasty, about
two centuries before Columbus had discovered America. Those who cry
down every other than an American origin for the weed, assert that the
Chinese product is not tobacco, but some other herb used in the same
way. Botanists, however, have shown this opinion to be erroneous. The
great plain of Ching-too Foo is noted as the region where the culture
and manufacture of tobacco are conducted on a more extensive scale than
in any other part of the empire. In this plain the district of Sze-Chuen
stands out prominently as the great centre and mart of the industry; from
its plantations are exported large quantities of tobacco to other parts
of China, to Yun-nan, Hoo-nan, Han-Kow, and also to Se-fan in Thibet. To
Han-Kow alone are annually exported about fifty thousand _piculs_,—say,
about three thousand tons. The best is grown in the district of Pe-Heen:
the next quality is the product of Kin-lang Heen; and an inferior kind is
grown in the plantations of She-fang Heen.

[Illustration: A CHINESE PIPE.]

Europeans who have visited this tobacco-producing district speak of a
practice common among the inhabitants of rolling up tobacco for smoking
in a separate leaf into cylindrical form, of the size of a large cigar.
This simple circumstance is suggestive; it recalls to the memory what the
first European adventurers in the New World have told us of the way the
natives made up their herb for smoking. The Spaniards had observed the
natives of Cuba and of Central America doing precisely the same thing;
rolling up tobacco in a leaf of maize, or of the tobacco-plant, for
smoking in the same way as do these denizens of the Flowery Land. And our
countryman, Thomas Harriot, the historian of Raleigh’s first colonists,
in his _Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia_, says:
‘Soon after we made our peace with the natives we found them making a
fume of a dried leaf, which they rolled up in a leaf of maize, of the
bigness of a man’s finger … putting a light to the leaf as they smoked
it, as is done by all men in these days.’ This identity of practice and
habit points to a new link in the chain of evidence, connecting the
inhabitants of the New World with the nations of eastern Asia, more
particularly with China.


Bearing on the ethnological aspect of the subject is the fact that
pipes have been found on many different occasions in the ancient
earth-mounds of Ohio, in the valley of the Mississippi, and in Mexico,
some of which are carved in the form of human heads of an unmistakably
Mongolian type. Soon after the discovery of America the question of
the origin of its inhabitants became a fertile source of conjecture
among speculative thinkers. Probably Gregorio Garcia, a missionary who
had for twenty years lived in South America, was the first to reject
the general opinion that they were a new race of beings sprung from
the soil they inhabited, and to suggest for them an Asiatic source. He
published his views on the question in a work entitled _The Origin of
the Indians of the New World_ (Valencia, 1607), wherein he expresses
himself as opposed to the autochthonous character of the inhabitants,
and points out reasons for thinking that the country had been peopled by
Tartars and Chinese. Brerewood also, in his _Diversities of Languages
and Religions_ (1632-5), assigned the American people an Eastern, and
chiefly Tartar, origin. But Hugh Grotius argued that North America was
peopled from a Scandinavian stock, though probably the Peruvians were
from China. Coming to more recent times may be mentioned Professor Smith
Barton of Pennsylvania, who, in his _New Views of the Origin of the
Tribes and Nations of America_, contends that they are descended from
Asiatic nations, though he is unable to point to any particular source
from which they have emanated. And John Delafield’s _Enquiries into the
Origin of the Antiquities of America_ lead him to the conclusion that
the Mexicans were from the riper nations of Hindustan and Egypt, and
that the more barbarous red men were from the Mongol stock. Alexander
von Humboldt during his travels in South America gave the weight of
his vast knowledge and shrewd observation to a consideration of the
subject. In their habits of life, in their arts and leading ideas,
and in their form of government, in their personal appearance—as the
yellowish hue of their complexions and the Chinese cast of features,
more particularly as noticed among the tribes of Peru and Brazil—he
saw indubious evidence of an Asiatic origin. Everywhere he discerned
indications, not of a primitive race, but of the scattered remnants of a
civilisation early lost. It is to be earnestly hoped that an inquiry so
full of deep interest may not be allowed to die out for want of organised
effort to examine and establish the prehistoric connection of these early
inhabitants of America with the Old World, possibly with the earliest
dynasties of Egypt, before the ravages of time and advancing civilisation
have effaced all traces. These traces are still visible and within reach;
they are revealed in the buried cities of Central America, in elaborate
inscriptions on the massive stonework of Mexico and Guatemala, and in
other decorative masonry of a people who have left behind no other
vestige of their existence, saving the outcast wanderers who still haunt
the forest and prairie.

The question, then, naturally arises, may not the Chinese and other
half civilized nations of Asia, in their prehistoric migrations to the
shores of America, have carried with them not only a knowledge of the
tobacco-plant and its use, but also the seed of the plant? Certainly
they would do so at one period or another with such things as could be
conveniently carried for the supply of their immediate wants. A knowledge
and use of the tobacco-plant in China, before the days of Columbus, is
established; incidental mention is made of tobacco or some other plant
that may be used in like manner, in their national records of the year
1300. It has been the custom of every writer on the subject to decry
all attempts to seek for the origin of the habit in any part of the
Old World. Doctor Cleland, in his learned treatise on _The History and
Properties of Tobacco_ (Glasgow, 1840), dismisses the inquiry as the
growth of wild assertions by Eastern travellers, or, at best, a mere
tradition of the people among whom they travelled, and ‘obviously of no
conceivable weight, from the love of antiquity which is so well known a
mania of the inhabitants of oriental countries.’ This summary treatment
may be convenient, but it is not convincing; nor is it consistent with
the open spirit of fair inquiry which would characterise all endeavour to
arrive at truth, or to extend the sphere of knowledge.

After all, then, we find ourselves in presence of the not improbable
hypothesis of an Eastern origin for the tobacco-plant and the habit of
smoking its leaves. Let it be conceded that in this we have an instance,
among many other of the Chinaman’s way of forestalling the rest of
mankind; that it was he who, long ages ago, first planted in American
soil the perennial weed which Europe to-day presents to him as a new
indulgence discovered by Western enterprise.

It must be borne in mind, however, that we have still to deal with
another Eastern nation, namely Japan, whose history and associations are
closely interwoven with the commerce, customs and culture of China. China
in the past was to Japan what Greece in olden times was to Rome. The
younger nation derived from the elder much of its knowledge in the arts
and habits of life. Viewed in this light it seems altogether reasonable
to suppose that if the tobacco plant and the practice of smoking its
leaves were known in China before the discovery of America the Japanese
would not be ignorant of these things. The question will be considered in
the next chapter.



Extending our survey to Japan we come among a people who interest us
greatly in many ways. Their dress is neat and picturesque, their personal
appearance pleasing, and closer acquaintance makes us feel well-disposed
towards these children of the Rising Sun. For they are very polite and
show great solicitude towards the Western stranger, and do all they
can for his comfort. We observe with sympathy, and perhaps a touch of
amusement, their primitive simplicity of manners and habits, which are
all the more piquant because of their naturalness. Their native genius
has in recent years revealed itself in a ready apprehension of immediate
circumstances and in an intelligent adaptability to new conditions, as
well as in wise forethought. Their devotion to duty and disregard of
self when the honour and interests of their country are at stake shone
out brilliantly during the great conflict now happily ended. But this
brief observation would be incomplete without mention of the animating
and sustaining principle of their religion, Shintoism. Their child-like
belief in a spirit-world where their ancestors are looking down upon them
cannot fail to influence them for good in every thought and deed.

We must go back six hundred years for the earliest European mention of
Japan. In 1298, Marco Polo, at the end of his long wanderings in eastern
countries, found himself a prisoner at Genoa. The enforced leisure
brought him the happy thought that he would put in writing an account
of his experiences. Of Japan he says, ‘Zipangu is an island towards the
East,’ and adds, ‘The inhabitants are civilized and well-favoured.’
But Europe had not yet awakened to the glorious career of conquest and
commerce which fate had in store for her. Two and a half centuries later
the Portuguese explorer, Fernao Mendez Pinto, while cruising in Eastern
waters bound for Macao, was driven by storm on to the Japanese coast
near Nagasaki. The people with whom he came in contact were friendly and
willing to barter for such things as he had for disposal. Tidings of the
place and the people and of the favourable reception accorded him were
not long in reaching the Portuguese at Goa and the Spaniards at Manila,
and vessels laden with merchandise were speedily on their way to the new
and promising mart of commerce.

With the Spanish expedition of 1549 came the good and pious Jesuit,
Francis Xavier, full of zeal, bent upon the conversion of the natives to
the true faith. On their arrival at the port of Bungo they were received
with open arms by a people who seemed to know no guile. So favourably
was the good missionary impressed that he exclaims in the narrative
of his sojourn among them,[4] ‘I have never found a nation among the
infidels which has pleased me so much. They are men endowed with the
best of dispositions, of excellent conduct, free from malice and gall.
I know not when to have done when I speak of them. They are truly the
delight of my heart.’ And there is abundant evidence, speaking of the
deep impression the saintly Xavier and his colleagues made upon the
receptive minds of the gentle Japanese. For these good men had come
to them well provided with medicines, and were not unskilled in the
treatment of disease. Their untiring labours among the sick and needy,
their sympathy with the poor and destitute won all hearts, and gratitude
spread their praises throughout the land. The wise Shogun, Iyeyasu, was
not unobservant or unmindful of his people’s interests. Fully alive to
the good work the strangers were doing he granted them permission to go
where they pleased throughout his dominions. To the merchants also he
granted similar privileges, allowing them to carry on unrestricted trade
with the inhabitants. From the first the merchants had done well. As they
unfolded package after package of their wares for inspection wonder waxed
into childish delight, and the shredded leaves of the tobacco-plant which
the sailors smoked in pipes was to these primitive people a revelation.
Fancy pictures the little people taking to the new indulgence with an
amused twinkle in the eye like youngsters just come into possession of
a new toy. And here we come upon evidence, full and convincing, that
before the arrival of the Portuguese and Spaniards tobacco was unknown
in Japan. Testimony to the foreign origin of the plant is borne by the
people themselves, who knew no name for it and readily adopted the West
Indian word ‘tabaco.’ It is remarkable that this Carib name, with slight
variations in the spelling, should have spread to every country.

The story of Europe’s early intercourse with Japan in regard to the
conduct of both the Spaniards and Portuguese contains much that is
painful and humiliating. For a few years the priests in the propagation
of the gospel, and the merchants in their trade, prospered equally well.
By-and-by it became too glaringly apparent for even the simplest of
the natives to mistake that they were being deceived and robbed by the
strangers. The first serious mischief began in 1597. Xavier had left
Japan for China, and his just and accomplished coadjutors had been
succeeded by a host of Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustine and other
friars who had flocked in from Goa, Malacca, Macao and other Portuguese
settlements, all of whom commenced their career by setting the Japanese
laws and usages at defiance. Speaking of the foreign traders, an old
writer declares that they were by dishonest means rapidly draining away
the golden marrow of Japan. And the progress made in proselytising is
shown in the fact that within a few years of their arrival there were
in Nagasaki alone no fewer than twelve parish churches and several
monasteries, presided over by a bishop. Merited retribution, stern and
swift, came in 1616 with the accession to the Shogunate of Hidetada, and
eventually ended in 1637 in the total expulsion of the Portuguese and
Spaniards from Japan. It is noteworthy that the Dutch residents sided
with the Japanese and gave of their best and bravest during the prolonged
sanguinary conflict.

A gleam of brighter vision breaks upon the scene when we touch upon
the period which brought the first Englishman to Japan. The story of
the Elizabethan mariner, William Adams, in relation to the place and
the people, does something to redeem Europe’s ill fame in that faraway
land. He was a Kentish man, who, in his youth, had been apprenticed to
a shipbuilder at Limehouse. At the end of the term he entered the Royal
Navy as navigating officer. We next find him in his thirty-second year
(1598) seized with an overmastering passion for foreign adventure. In the
capacity of pilot-major he joined a Dutch merchant fleet of five vessels
bound for the East Indies. Their course lay by way of Cape Horn, in
rounding which stormy seas scattered the ships. Two were lost, two found
their way back to Holland, the remaining one called the _Charity_ alone
reached the far East. This latter was commanded by Adams. Tempest-tossed
and worn-out, he, with his crew of twenty-four men were cast ashore on
the Japanese island of Kiushiu, after a voyage which had lasted two
years. He landed on Japanese soil on the 19th of April 1600, and in such
a plight that out of a crew of twenty-four Adams, in one of his letters
home, says, ‘There were no more than six besides myself that could stand
upon their feet.’ They were taken to Osaka in order to give an account
of themselves to the great Shogun, Iyeyasu. Adams speaks of the house
in which the potentate dwelt as wonderful and costly, and gilded with
gold in abundance. Called upon to declare his nationality and business
he produced his charts and explained through an interpreter (doubtless
a Portuguese), whence he had come, adding, ‘We are a people that seek
friendship with all nations.’ The Portuguese, jealous of their interests
in the island, represented the English and the Dutch as pirates living by
plunder on the high seas, having no country of their own. At the close of
the examination Adams was placed under arrest and detained thirty-nine
days. He says that he was well treated. Something in his manner gained
upon the Shogun; he gradually rose in favour, notwithstanding the efforts
of his enemies to damage him and his country. Their motives were seen
through; the sagacious Iyeyasu in a moment of exasperation declared
that, ‘if devils from hell visited his country they should be treated
like angels from heaven so long as they behaved like gentlemen.’ The
Shogun was not slow in forming a just estimate of Adams. Indeed, his
manly bearing and simple straightforwardness gained him friends among
high and low. We next hear of him at Court teaching Iyeyasu the craft of
shipbuilding, the outcome of which was the construction of two ships on
the European model. Adams says, ‘Now being in such grace by reason, I
learned him some points of geometry and the understanding of the art of
mathematics, with other things. I pleased him so much that what I said
he would not contrary.’ It is pleasant to read of this manly Elizabethan
sailor coming into honours and wealth in this far-off country by sheer
native honesty of purpose and scholastic attainments. His royal master
raised him to the rank of Samurai, and bestowed upon him an estate at
Phebe, near Yokosuka. Richard Cocks, a merchant adventurer and member of
the East India Company, describes the place, and says that it consisted
of ‘above one hundred farms or households, besides others under them,
all of which are his vassals; and he hath power over them, they being
his slaves; and he hath absolute power over them as any tono or King in
Japan hath over his vassals.’ Needless to say that the feudal system was
then in full force in Japan. To the end of his life Adams maintained
the character which had earned him this responsible position. Let us
hope that three centuries after Iyeyasu the Great the Japanese discern
in our people something of the same steadfastness that in those early
days won their good-will. William Adams stood thus in favour when in
1609 two armed Dutch ships put into the harbour of Denzin. The commander
sought out Adams, and, reminding him of his former connection with the
Dutch merchant service, claimed his good offices for the advancement
of Holland’s commercial interests with Japan. No more was desired
than a footing for trade such as had been granted to the Portuguese.
So reasonable a request appealed to the fair-minded Englishman, and
he readily gave his word to do what he could for them. Again the
Portuguese interfered and denounced the Dutch as heretics and outlaws
from Christendom, and altogether untrustworthy. This calumny, however,
had no effect. Adams succeeded in obtaining the desired privilege. But
the distrust of all Europeans, created by the artifice and unscrupulous
dealings of the Portuguese, led the Shogun to restrict the Dutch to the
port at which they had landed. They, however, established a factory at
Firando. Mr. W. E. Griffis in his admirable history of Japan, commenting
upon the influence of the Dutch in that country, says, ‘After a hundred
years of Christianity and foreign intercourse the only apparent results
of this contact with another religion and civilization were the adoption
of gunpowder and firearms as weapons, and the use of tobacco and the
habit of smoking.’

To round off the story of our countryman in Japan, it may be well to
tell of the great yearning that came over him to return home to the wife
and two children he had left at Limehouse. The Shogun, however, was loth
to part with him, and his appeals for leave to do so, made, he says,
‘according to nature and conscience,’ were put off from time to time.
When at last permission was granted, circumstances had arisen which
prevented acceptance. Adams, however, was not unmindful of the interests
of his native country. His desire to get into communication with England
is shown in a letter which he addressed as follows:

‘To my unknown friends and countrymen, desiring this letter by your good
means, or news, or copy of this, may come into the hands of one or more
of my acquaintances in Limehouse, or elsewhere, or in Kent, in Gillingham
by Rochester.’ His description of Japanese character might have been
written to-day, so well does it accord with our present knowledge of the
inhabitants of the Great Britain of the East. Adams says, ‘The people of
this Island of Japan are of good nature, courteous above measure, and
valiant in war; their justice is severely executed without any partiality
upon transgressors of the law. They are governed in great civility:
I mean not a land better governed in the world by civil policy.’ In
October, 1611, he addressed a letter to ‘The Worshipful Company of London
Merchants,’ urging them to send merchandise to the ports of Japan. In the
simple words of a sailor he tells them that he is a ‘Kentish man, born
in a town called Gillingham, two English miles from Rochester and one
mile from Chatham, where the Queen’s ships do lie.’ Before the letter
reached them they had heard through the Dutch of Adams and his position
in Japan, and had sent him letters, advising him of their intention to
despatch goods to Japan. In April, 1612, three English vessels laden with
merchandise, and commanded by Captain John Saris, sailed from the London
Docks for the far East. They arrived at Bantam (Java) in October of the
same year. How little time was reckoned with in those days is shown in
the circumstance that Saris thought well to remain at Bantam until the
beginning of the following year, knowing all the while that he bore a
letter from King James to the Emperor of Japan. He sailed in the _Clove_
with a crew of seventy, and sighting the coast near Nagasaki, he, two
days later, anchored in the haven of Firando. Here Adams met him and
arranged for a visit to the Shogun, who was then at Sumpu. Thither they
repaired, accompanied by a Japanese interpreter and two followers. They
carried with them presents to the value of 720 dollars for Iyeyasu and
the State officers. They started on their journey on the 7th of August,
and arrived at their destination on the 6th of September. On the 8th
they had an audience of the Shogun, to whom they delivered the English
King’s letter for the Emperor. They were graciously received, and Iyeyasu
in return sent to King James five screens and a letter for His Majesty,
conveying a free licence to English subjects to enter any of the ports of
Japan for trade purposes. Thus was established in the year 1613 the first
treaty of commerce between England and Japan.

In the midst of all these things our hero had met with a fair damsel in
Japan with whom he mated, and who bore him a son and a daughter—Joseph
and Susanna. And, to complete the romance, we are told that there are
to-day Japanese who pride themselves on being able to trace their descent
from this Elizabethan mariner whom the greatest of their Shoguns loved to

In Japan, however, as in other countries into which the Indian weed had
been introduced, it was not allowed to take root and flourish unopposed.
Protests, strong and loud, were got up by the old-fashioned folk against
the new-fangled indulgence from the ‘Nanban’—country of the southern
barbarians. So strenuously did they proclaim it to be the ‘fool’s plant,’
the ‘poverty weed,’ the ‘barbarian’s herb,’ that at last they won over
the Shogun to their side. In 1612 he issued an edict forbidding his
subjects to either use tobacco or to plant seeds of it. It is curious to
notice how, in this remote region, the witchery of the weed set good men
and true warring over its virtues or vices on exactly the same lines as
were being fought over at the same time in England, and in each case with
a precisely similar result. Like the historic _Counterblaste_ of our
British Solomon and the fulminations of two popes, their efforts to put
out the pipe were unavailing. Indeed, as usually happens in conflicts of
the kind, opposition begat opposition, till at last the will of the many
triumphed over the prejudice and power of the few. The people had tasted
the forbidden leaf and liked it so well that each offered to share with
his neighbour the pleasure and, if need be, the punishment attached to
the indulgence. So in course of time the edict died a natural death, and
was decently buried under a mild ceremonial wherein the Shogun enjoined
his loving subjects to be careful and not let themselves be seen smoking
outside their houses. Rein, in his _Industries of Japan_, says of this
edict, ‘of all the laws of the Tokugawa rule probably none has proved
so ineffectual as the edict of 1612 against the smoking and planting of

The earliest native record of tobacco is found in an old family chronicle
of an eminent physician named Saka, of Nagasaki; it is dated 1605, and
runs as follows: ‘In this year tobacco was brought in ships of the
Nanban people, and was shown near Nagasaki; it was known in Bungo (the
Portuguese settlement) from the beginning and in Sasuma’—a district noted
to this day for the superior quality of its tobacco. A further note on
the subject occurs two years later, 1607, and is to the effect that, ‘of
late a thing has come into fashion called tabako; it is said to have
originated out of the Nanban, and consists of large leaves which are cut
up, and of which one drinks the smoke.’ In the same record incidental
allusion is made to the supposed medicinal properties of the Indian
weed, a notion derived from the natives of America and propagated in
Europe with much insistence by Jean Nicot. The writer is never weary of
chronicling the fact that, ‘a thing has been coming out of the Nanban
called tabako, with which all classes of Japanese regale themselves. It
is said to be a cure for all diseases; but, notwithstanding this, some
people have got sick through drinking the smoke. Now, since no medical
work contains directions for the treatment of such patients, no medicine
for their relief could be offered them.’

The distinguished writer, Kaibard, protested loudly against the barbarian
novelty; he compares it with tea and with saké—a beer made from rice—and
roundly condemns tobacco-smoking, saying, that far from yielding benefit
to anyone it injures the consumer in many ways. It is not worth while,
he considers, to chide the common people for smoking, but he expresses
surprise and indignation that gentlemen and superior persons should
take pleasure in a custom imported from over the seas and taught them
by strangers. On the other hand, a learned treatise called ‘Ensauki,’
translated by Sir Ernest Satow, enumerates some of the excellences
discovered in the weed. These are:

(1) It dispels the vapours and increases the energies.

(2) It is good to produce at the beginning of a feast.

(3) It is a companion in solitude.

(4) It affords an excuse for resting now and then from work, as if in
order to take breath.

(5) It is a storehouse of reflection, and gives time for the fumes of
wrath to disperse.

But on the other hand are objections to its use such as the following:

(1) There is a natural tendency to hit people over the head with one’s
pipe in a fit of anger.

(2) The pipe comes sometimes to be used for arranging the burning
charcoal in the hibacki.

(3) An inveterate smoker has been known to walk among the dishes at a
feast with the pipe in his mouth [the dishes resting on mats ranged along
the floor].

(4) People knock the ashes out of their pipes while still alight and
forget to extinguish the fire; hence clothing and mats are frequently
scorched by burning ash.

(5) Smokers spit indiscriminately in the hibacki, foot warmers, or
kitchen fire; also, in the crevices between the tatami which covers the

(6) They rap the pipe violently on the edge of the fire-pot.

(7) They forget to have the ash-pot emptied till it is full to

It is easy to see how pointed admonitions such as these, thrown broadcast
upon Japanese smokers, would yield a handsome crop of good manners.
The Japanese are, and have always ranked among, the foremost of polite
people—a grace natural to their fine sensibility. Rather than hit his
friend over the head with his pipe in a fit of temper, the valiant
Japanese will put his fingers into the burning hi-ire in order to change
the venue of his annoyance. A trait of their child-like character comes
well into view in a story told of one, Oka, a famous judge, whose book of
anecdotes and wise decisions Sir Ernest Satow has rendered into English.
The work is entitled _Oka Inseidan_, and the story is of,


Once upon a time a wealthy man was the happy owner of a rich and rare
kiseru (tobacco pipe) made of silver, inlaid with gold and precious
stones. It happened on one occasion, after calling to his servants to
bring him the tobacco-bon that he might indulge in a breath of fragrance
from his treasured kiseru, that he was told the pipe was gone, and no
one knew whither. Search was made for it high and low, in likely and
unlikely places, but all in vain. Then did they remember their renowned
Oka, the wise. They appealed to him for counsel, and made him acquainted
with the cause of their grief. He, shrewd man, questioned the household,
and on learning that a poor fellow living in the neighbourhood had been
seen smoking a pipe of great value he found out the truth respecting
it in the following ingenious manner. But here, in order to better
understand the story, it will be well to explain the Japanese method of
smoking. It is the custom of each smoker to roll the tobacco between his
fingers into a ball of the exact size required to fit the bowl of the
pipe, so that when turning the pipe sideways to light it at the live
charcoal it should not fall out; after every two or three whiffs a fresh
ball is introduced. The smoker will thus occupy himself by the hour
listlessly making fresh ones while he smokes, utterly oblivious it may
be to what he is doing, but from constant practice his nimble fingers
with automatic precision invariably makes the tiny ball of the size
needed to fix it securely in the bowl. And now, let us hearken to the
words of Oka, and learn of the sage how he recovered the lost pipe and
brought the culprit to justice. ‘Unseen by the suspected one, I found out
a way of watching him while seated on his mat idly toying with a pipe.
Snugly hidden behind a paper screen I made slits in it for my eyes, for
thought I, if the pipe be not his own he will make up tobacco balls too
large or too small to fit the bowl, then shall I know the truth. Thus
ensconced, peering through the holes I had made for my eyes, I beheld in
the man’s hands a pipe of surpassing beauty. I saw that he took from his
tobacco-pouch some shreds of the weed and rolled them up, and in blissful
ignorance of other eyes than his own to see and admire his chased kiseru
he caressingly handled it, and fed it with the pabulum of peace. But when
he bent forward to the brazier and turned the bowl on one side to catch a
light from the live coal the little ball of tobacco fell out—it was too
small for the bowl! Again and again this same thing happened.’ Then did
Oka reveal himself to the already convicted felon and charge him with
the theft, saying, ‘Had the pipe been thine own, O son of infamy, long
and constant usage would have taught thy fingers to make up the tobacco
balls of the size needed to fit the bowl.’ This process of reasoning was
conclusive. The culprit was taken before the tribunal of justice and
punished according to the enormity of his offence. That no shadow of
unworthy doubt may rest upon the seat of wisdom, the veracious chronicler
adds, that when the unhappy man was formally charged with the crime, he,
with deep humility confessed his guilt; whereupon the judge restored to
the rightful owner the lost golden pipe, and the fame of Oka, the wise
spread throughout the land.

[Illustration: A JAPANESE PIPE.]

To-day the smoking of tobacco in Japan is universal; so completely has
the practice entered into the daily habits of Japanese life that high
and low, rich and poor—and of both sexes—have come to look upon the
introduction of the tabako-bon—containing all their curious smoking
apparatus—on the occasion of the arrival of a visitor, as a social
function which could not be neglected without giving offence. Even in
the poorest man’s house the tobacco tray, with its fire-pot and ash-pot,
is an essential part of the furniture. Visit the humblest abode and
there will be placed before you all the tiny equipment for a smoke; but
their weed is almost tasteless; certainly, it can do nobody any harm.
Formerly the tiny cup of tea was always the prelude to social gossip;
now, however, for some reason or other the pipe takes precedence of the
cup. Surely a wise choice, for in the pipe he had found a soother of the
ruffled frame, calming the unruly member which the tea-cup sets free to
dilate with eloquence on the virtues—or their opposite—of the dear absent
ones; helping the fair devotee to unbosom herself of old confidences too
heavy to be longer borne, and to form new and undying friendships—till
the next tea meeting. Assuredly, wherever Eve’s daughters congregate
there will the tea-pot—the genius of quickened sensibilities—be the
favourite fetish.

[Illustration: QUEEN ELIZABETH.]

Let us take a peep at a reception, an ‘At Home,’ where a dark-eyed
daughter of Japan reposes luxuriantly on a carpet of many colours. By her
side is an arm-rest, and a gorgeous screen adorned with wondrous figures
in prismatic hues protects her from obtrusive view. Two English ladies
are her visitors; they are ushered through a long corridor, covered with
thick matting of a fine texture, into the reception hall. Passing into
a large well-proportioned room, they are agreeably surprised with the
simplicity and tasteful character of the furniture, which consists of
a row of small lacquer tables and chairs, placed at intervals of a few
yards; by the side of each chair is a large bronze urn of ornamental
design, filled with symmetrically shaped pieces of glowing charcoal.
Raising the eyes to the walls they see that these are covered with a
heavy yet delicate paper artistically painted with birds and flowers; and
the wainscoting, panels and window-frames, are of a highly polished black
lacquer. Over all there seems to hang a drowsy luxurious atmosphere,
quite in keeping with the old-world ease and courtly manners of their
truly polite hostess. Meanwhile female servants have noiselessly placed
before them the tabako-bon, upon which rests a gold-dotted lacquered
case, delicately made of leather-paper; it is about eighteen inches long,
and twelve broad, and stands the height of three fingers. On the removal
of the lid the first things which strike the eye are three chased little
tobacco-pipes, each enclosed in a silk lined case, which in form so
nearly resembles the _calausilia_ that it is called the kiseru-gai—pipe
snail. The bowl of the pipe is a fairy-like thing of the size and shape
of an acorn-cup, and is of finely wrought silver; the stem, about
six inches long, is of thin lacquered bamboo, and the mouthpiece is
of brightly polished metal. The pouch holding the tobacco is also of
stamped leather, and is finely decorated with lacquer and silver work.
But the tobacco is something wonderful; though an exotic of the genus
_nicotina-tobacum_ of America, it has cast off its native characteristics
and become a light-coloured delicate weed, which lissome fingers have cut
into flossy shreds as fine as gossamer and as soft as cocoon silk. As
the usages of polite society in Japan require that the visitors should
smoke while chatting, the hostess taking a few shreds of the weed between
her fingers and rolling them up into pellets to fit the tiny bowls urges
her guests to join in the grateful pastime. One of the ladies, however,
declines the proffered pipe, saying, ‘Arigato, tabako-o nomimasen,’
(thank you, I don’t drink tobacco) at which the hostess with wondering
eyes asks if she is under a vow! She thinks that ladies everywhere
smoke; that to do so is a binding rule of the unwritten law of social
intercourse. But on the other guest accepting a pipe, saying, ‘tabako-o
nomimas,’ (I drink tobacco) the charming hostess nods and laughs, and
with her own delicate fingers tries her best to light the pipe with an
English match, and only after repeated attempts can she accomplish the
difficult feat. While thus occupied a sprightly, intelligent, little
gentleman enters, and is introduced as the husband of the hostess. He
is brimful of Western ideas, and readily joins his wife in ceaseless
questions concerning England and the English; more particularly he seeks
information about the habits, manners and government of the country; for
he is most anxious to learn whether what he has just heard in the city is
really true, namely: that in England no gentleman is allowed to smoke in
the presence of a lady without first obtaining her permission. He cannot
credit it, but he explains that the question is greatly perturbing men’s
minds in Japan. It is feared that if this Western custom should spread
and take root amongst them, men’s authority over women would be gone;
certainly their pre-eminence would be seriously imperilled. The visitors
try to reassure him. They tell him that as a rule gentlemen do pay this
deference to ladies out of considerations of delicacy, as behoves men
towards women, as well as from a chivalric regard for ladies generally.
But this was a line of argument he seemed unable to follow; he was
dominated with the idea that the custom if adopted in Japan would be the
thin end of the wedge which ultimately would sever men from their proper
control over their wives and women-folk generally. With a countenance
expressive of perplexity and dismay he foretold of endless domestic
storms issuing from the fuming pipe. It was not without amusement that
the English ladies witnessed this curious reflex of a Western spectre
which a few idle people have raised for their diversion, and it required
some effort to suppress their feelings. They did their best, however, to
smother the emotion; but the spectacle presented to their imagination of
wives boxing their husbands’ ears for daring to smoke in their presence
without leave, and all the varied scenes of the battle of the pipes
fought over the domestic hearth, was too much for them. Warming to the
subject the bellicose little gentleman exclaimed, ‘The enemy outside our
gates we can grapple with and overthrow, but a Western idea, and a fickle
one like this, who can seize and vanquish? I have myself but recently
suffered through this innovation, but it shall be the last time.’ And he
so far forgot his native politeness as to declare that he would smoke
when and where he pleased, and if the ladies did not like it they might
leave the room. He added, ‘I do so in virtue of my right as a man. The
assumed right of the women in Europe to determine whether a man may
smoke or not is an unwarrantable licence, and is all put on in order to
bring men under their authority in other and more important affairs; in
any case, it subtracts from the power of men, and there can surely be
no reason in this, as it involves limitations to their authority which
must inevitably provoke confusion and conflict. I can find no reason for
making distinctions—for smoking before men and not before women when it
is not a thing forbidden by law or morals.’ The ladies endeavoured to
soothe the ruffled feelings of their irate host; they assured him that
nothing is farther from the thoughts of intelligent gentlewomen than
the folly of trying to subvert the order of nature; that the deference
paid to ladies in such matters by their kinsmen is the outcome of good
breeding, and it is always appreciated in that sense. ‘There are a few
women, perhaps, who having much time and little to do make it their hobby
to cry out for the unattainable, and whom the gods may some day punish by
giving them what they crave for; but these women are of no account in
the general estimate of the sum of Western domestic life; their voices
are loud, but their judgment is weak. On the other hand, there are in
Europe ladies of the highest rank who, out of pure love of doing good,
devote the best part of their lives and fortunes to the noble purpose of
relieving the needs of the destitute, and raising the lowly and suffering
into better estate. Little room then for wonder that Englishmen are
proud to do them honour.’ Though appeased in some measure, he was not
wholly convinced that danger was not somewhere lurking in their alluring
argument. Let it be noted, however, that young Japan is outgrowing such
apprehensions; he is no longer restive under the restraints imposed upon
his primitive habits, and his conception of the relationship of the
sexes is in accord with European ideas. Western ideas, indeed, are his
ideas; and, he shows how fully he recognises the superiority of European
civilization, by equipping himself with all the most destructive engines
of warfare.

Like the workmen of the busy cities, the Japanese peasant carries with
him wherever he goes his pipe and tobacco-pouch slung to his obi,
a bright-coloured girdle, made usually of a peculiar kind of silk
interwoven with flowers. They hang behind, suspended from a silken cord
fastened to the obi by means of a netzuke—a sort of carved button made of
cornelian or agate. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, their peculiar
smoking apparatus does not lend itself readily to indulgence while at
work or when walking. To enjoy the solace of the weed, the smoker must
squat on the ground and array his smoking utensils in order; but this
little drawback seldom hinders him. When the desire for the pipe comes
upon him it must be appeased; and is it not written in the learned
_Ensauki_ that the pipe ‘affords an excuse for resting now and then from
work, as if to take breath?’ Certainly, the intelligent Japanese never
suffers an opportunity to pass unimproved by rest and reflection over
the vapour of his beloved pipe as it ascends on high, mingling with the
pure breath of heaven; while possibly the lingering ashes suggest to his
contemplative mind the mutability of all things earthly—for who can price
for another the thing which his soul valueth?

Passing along the unbeaten tracks of Japan the wayfarer from the West
occasionally comes upon picturesque scenes of peasant life of a character
which combines primitive simplicity of manners with something of the
art and refinement of what we are accustomed to associate with advanced
civilization, but which with them springs from a gentle, susceptible
nature, always kindly, but quick to resent affront. Turning into a
roadside inn he may meet with a party of well-to-do peasants on their
homeward way from the market of a neighbouring town, and observe with
quiet amazement the public exhibition they make over the bath; they are
very fond of bathing, but in their manner of using the tub they have
views peculiar to themselves. Fish and rice are in large demand, and of
these, with a plentiful supply of vegetables, they make a hearty meal.
After dinner tiny cups of tea are served to each guest by dark-eyed
damsels whose appearance recalls to memory the nursery pictures of our
childhood representing our first parents in the garden of Eden. When the
candles are brought in smoking and story-telling follow till bed-time.
Then, spreading blankets on the floor, and with a block of wood hollowed
to fit the head for a pillow, they are soon on their way to the land of
Nod, announcing their arrival in a fine symphony of cracked bassoons.

As everybody smokes in Japan the rate of consumption per head of the
population is considerably greater than with us. And shops for the sale
of tobacco and all its accessories are to be seen in every street in the
big towns, and in every village which has shops at all; even along the
country roads there are stands where all these things can be had for
the merest trifle. On the sign the tobacconist exhibits to denote his
vocation is painted a leaf of the plant, and by the side there are two
hieroglyphics which are understood to intimate that he keeps only the
best tobacco, procured from the famous kokubu in the Osumi district. The
name bears a significance similar to that of Virginia with us. But the
taste of the weed grown in this favoured district is not such as commends
itself to English smokers; it is too sweet, and on this account is but
little exported to Europe. It is used here for mixing with other kinds of
a more pungent character: French tobacco would be all the better for the
admixture. But to do this in France, where the cultivation, manufacture
and sale of tobacco is a Government monopoly, would perhaps interfere
with the public revenue.

The Japanese method of raising crops of tobacco, of curing and
manufacture, is in all essentials similar to that of other countries
where tobacco-culture is a staple industry. The seed-beds of the
young plants are protected against too great cooling from radiation
on spring nights by straw roofs about a metre high. Towards the end
of April, in the warmer districts, the shoots are strong enough to
be transplanted into the open fields, where they are placed in rows
usually along the sides of crops of barley which by this time has
passed its bloom. In cooler districts this operation is delayed until
June. But, as tobacco-culture is widely spread throughout the islands,
the seasons for planting and reaping necessarily differ according to
the varying temperatures of this plutonic region of sulphurous springs
and earthquakes. Besides the pleasure of smoking, the Japanese, like
ourselves, have found many uses for tobacco. For destroying insects on
plants, nothing is so effectual as dosing them with a liberal decoction
of the juice. Like all other orientals the Japanese have to wage
perpetual warfare with those plagues of the flesh that invade every
house. In order to check their ravages, he places leaves of the plant in
crevices where they usually hide in ambush against the hour for making
their nocturnal attack. Mosquitoes, too, are numerous, hungry, and of
good size, but in the magic breath of the weed he has found a potent
spell which soon overcomes the enemy and lays him low. All he finds it
needful to do, is simply to seat himself on his mat in his toy-like
house and enjoy the double pleasure of knowing that he is vanquishing
the foe while puffing his wee pipe and twirling up pellets to fit
the thimble-like bowl. He has discovered, too, that Saint Nicotine
is a dispenser of other inestimable blessings. As a healer of many
maladies—cutaneous affections, some forms of eye disease, and other like
disturbers of a tranquil life—he believes in her implicitly, and lotions
made of the juice extracted from the leaves of the plant are in almost
daily use among the poorer classes.

Young Japan having entered with a light heart and buoyant into the
stream of European life no longer cares for the old ways of his fathers,
and finds his chosen smoke in the new paper cigarette fashioned in the
Western world. Of these he partakes so liberally that many millions
are imported every year, the total value of which, according to the
Consular Report, comes to about £40,000. To such proportions has the
tobacco industry grown that in Osaka (the Manchester of Japan) no fewer
than forty factories provide remunerative employment for thousands of
work-people—chiefly women and girls. In 1895 Japan exported close upon
three million pounds weight of tobacco, the estimated value of which was
£23,466. Under the influence of an overmastering passion to mould their
institutions on the model of those of Europe, the Government have thought
well to lay hands upon the tobacco industry; henceforward it is to be a
Government monopoly. Referring to the _Japanese Budget_ of 1897-8, Sir
Ernest Satow, in the Diplomatic and Consular Report on Trade and Finance
for the fiscal year 1897-8, discusses the question. The Bill was passed
in the session of 1896, and the monopoly is to come into force at the
beginning of 1898. The principle of the scheme is, that tobacco grown
in Japan shall be delivered in the leaf to the Government at a fixed
rate. The Government will then sell it to the manufacturers at rates
which will ensure substantial relief to the depleted exchequer, to the
extent, possibly, after all expenses of collection, etc. are met, of
about half a million sterling. The annual yield of the tobacco fields
of Japan is estimated at 90,000,000 lbs., its market value of £90,000,
and the gross revenue therefrom at £1,000,000. Here Sir Ernest Satow’s
incisive criticism comes into play. He shows that to realize this sum a
tax of over 100 per cent. must be levied, and that this would bring up
the price to the consumer to double what it is now. He points out that
tobacco leaf can be imported into Japan at 10c. per lb., add to this
the import duty, namely 35 per cent., and the result will be that the
Government will try to sell its tobacco at 21⅑c. and this, too, in face
of the fact that imported tobacco can be sold for 13.5c. per lb. There
is a further important consideration telling against the Government
scheme, namely: that as the tobacco intended for exportation does not
come under the monopoly the producer can send his unmanufactured leaf out
of the country, have it prepared for use and brought in again ready for
the retail dealer, and still compete successfully with the Government.
Sir Ernest adds that, ‘Were the simple system adopted, in operation in
England, of warehousing, it is estimated that with the same tax a revenue
of at least £1,000,000 could be obtained.’ The monopoly scheme was
severely criticised in the Senate, and it was thought that it would be
amended, but up to the date of Sir Ernest’s report nothing had been done
in this direction.

The marvellous transformation which has taken place in Japan within the
last thirty-five years has hardly left a vestige behind of the old order
of things which so charmed the eyes of the stranger from the West. Even
in the remote villages the peasantry, as if ashamed to be themselves, are
entering upon new paths and disguising their primitive habits of social
life under the garb of Western modes and manners. The graceful native
costume is supplanted by the distortions of dress which the caprice of
art sends forth from Paris as if to render humanity ridiculous. It is not
a pleasing sight to look upon Japanese ladies enduring torture in their
efforts to accommodate themselves to Western fashion and finery. And the
men, skewered up in sombre broad-cloth, lose the ease and dignity which
by nature’s gift is theirs. Would it not be well, while gathering the
fruits of old European culture, for this Eastern people to preserve their
native habits, works and ways, all those things which are the natural
product of their race and climate? Of course, in commerce, the observance
of the eternal verities, as Carlyle would say, forms the basis of all
healthy and lasting good.

There is, however, one cheerful sign in the present-day habits of this
most interesting people: through all the toils and vicissitudes of their
new and exalted path in life they resolutely keep the pipe aglow, mindful
of the wise words of the _Ensauki_ that in the vapour of the fragrant
weed is a storehouse of reflection where the fumes of anger are suffered
to disperse.



    The pungent, nose-refreshing weed,
    Which, whether pulverised, it gain
    A speedy passage to the brain,
    Or, whether touched with fire, it rise
    In circling eddies to the skies,
    Does thought more quicken and refine
    Than all the breath of all the nine.


How dearly the late Poet Laureate, Tennyson, treasured his briar-root;
how with his ‘silent friend’ he would seek seclusion, drawing unfailing
solace from an inexhaustible tobacco jar, belongs to the social history
of our times. In the fulness of their hearts, lovers of the weed have
declared that in it they have found ‘the only thing in life that fumes
without fretting.’ If to this excellence be added the further one of
assuaging the fretful, we shall have the whole philosophy of smoking in
a nutshell. Because of these rare virtues paterfamilias will now and
then forego the social distinction of occupying the paternal chair that
he may enjoy the comforts of a quiet pipe away from all the blessed
cherubs of domesticity. For these, the idolised bachelor, weary of loving
attentions (the ungrateful being!) will watch his opportunity for flight,
and slipping away unseen, will make off to his favourite hiding-place.
Briskly entering his den he surveys with twinkling eye his own undisputed
domain, with pipe-rack and weeds, benches and books, rifle and rod, all
in undisturbed (dis)order. Tenderly he handles his favourite calumet,
bestows the pabulum of peace, and awaits the sweet solace which will soon
dispel the worries and passions born of strife in life’s warfare.

Many an over-wrought brain has thus received the balm that stays the rash
hand or the fevered spirit from hurrying to a reckless end. Surely no one
need wonder at the smoker’s devotion to his pipe, nor be so uncharitable
as to class his troubles and trials and their happy deliverance with
the mere fancies of a lazy man in search of excuse for an idle habit.
Let us not be hard on the smoker. Do we not all know men who would fain
indulge in a social whiff now and then with their friends were it not for
the warnings of an inward monitor who will not be trifled with? The man
who had conquered Europe was himself conquered by a pipe of tobacco. An
oriental pipe of wonderful beauty and inventive skill was presented to
Napoleon by a Persian ambassador. Though he was an immoderate snuff-taker
he had never smoked, but he would try this pipe. It was duly charged with
tobacco and lighted, says Constant, but His Majesty, instead of drawing
up the smoke in the usual way, merely opened and shut his mouth with
mechanical regularity. Losing patience, he exclaimed, ‘Devils! There
is no result!’ It was remarked that he had made the attempt badly, and
he was shown how to smoke properly. But the Emperor simply reverted to
his automatic performance; the pipe went out, and Constant was desired
to relight it. This done, he again instructed his master in the proper
method of smoking. Determined not to be balked again, the Emperor
resolutely drew up the smoke, and, swallowing it, it came out by his
nostrils and blinded him. As soon as he recovered breath he cried out,
‘Away with it! Oh, the hog! Oh, my stomach! My stomach turns!’ This was
Napoleon’s first and last experience of smoking. Then let those whom St
Nicotine favours thankfully own her benign sway and be comforted. The
placid oriental, when his wives rave, or affliction smites him, will
stroke his beard—if he have one—and thank Allah for the good gift

    Which on the Moslem’s ottoman divides,
    His hours, and rivals opium and his brides.

An old Persian legend, brought to light by Lieutenant Walpole, tells
the story of a virtuous youth distraught at the loss of a loving wife.
A holy man looks tenderly upon the disconsolate one, and tells him of a
balm for his affliction. ‘Go to thy wife’s tomb, son of sorrow,’ says
the anchorite, ‘and there thou wilt find a weed. Pluck it, place it in a
reed, and put fire to it, then inhale the smoke thereof. This will be to
thee wife and mother, father and brother, and, above all, will be a wise
counsellor, and teach thy soul wisdom and thy spirit joy.’ The Homeric
strain of this Eastern sage breathes of implicit faith in his native
Shiraz tobacco. For doubtless he, a dweller in

    … the land where the cypress and myrtle
    Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime;
    Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle,
    Now melts into sorrow, now maddens to crime,

had often experienced its influence on a wounded heart. Indeed, the
history and associations of the plant, from its wild Indian home to the
remotest East, are full of romance of more than ordinary interest. For,
like most things transatlantic, whether products of the soil or of the
brain, it rapidly became universal, spreading literally like wild-fire
wherever man was to be found. Everywhere it was esteemed a close comfort,
a priceless possession, and to its rare qualities were ascribed almost
miraculous powers. The persistency with which men have stuck to the
weed, after once experiencing its soothing effects, ranks among the most
remarkable examples history affords of the rapid development of a new
taste and the formation of a new habit; a habit that, after the lapse
of three centuries and more, grows stronger day by day, keeping full
pace with the increase of population, until now it is too deeply rooted
ever to be extirpated, even by taxation, however weighty. Viewed in its
political aspect, the career of the Indian weed presents a striking
illustration of popular opinion ultimately triumphing over prejudice and

Here let us take a cursory glance back to the heroic age when the
marvellous weed which has almost revolutionised men’s habits all over the
world, and created a new industry giving employment to millions of human
beings, was first imported into these islands.

A halo of romance surrounds those jubilant days; but, in the eyes of
Englishmen generally, Sir Walter Raleigh stands out prominently as the
hero to whom the honour is due of giving his countrymen their first
instalment of tobacco. England had just awakened to the reality of a new
world of wonders and boundless wealth lying unexplored in the far West; a
land where everything touched turned to gold. The far-famed discoveries
and conquests of the Spaniards, their fabled El Dorado, drew forth the
daring and enterprising from every corner of Europe. Stirred by an
overpowering desire to see the marvels, and share in the treasures of the
_terra incognita_ which was in all men’s mouths, our hardy sea captains,
Hawkins, Drake, Raleigh, and a host more of England’s sturdy sons,
sailed the Spanish main, bent upon achieving fame or fortune, yet caring
little what lot befell them if only renown were won for their idolised
Queen Bess. They encountered the mild Indian, and explored a portion of
his glorious land, teeming with a rich luxuriance of vegetation such as
their eyes had never before beheld. But what of El Dorado, the famed
city of gold and precious stones, hemmed in by golden mountains, whose
splendour and immense treasure beckoned them onward? Alas! the gorgeous
phantasm of the New World, like the glories of the setting sun, melted
away before their advancing steps. And yet many a poor, dispirited
wayfarer in the pursuit of the alluring _ignis fatuus_ found comfort
and consolation in the humble weed which the natives supplied to him
and taught him how to use. In testimony whereof, listen to honest Jack
Brimblecombe in _Westward Ho!_ ‘Heaven forgive me! but when I get the
leaf between my teeth, I feel tempted to sit as still as a chimney and
smoke to my dying day.’ And faithful old Yeo pours forth his pent-up
gratitude for the comfort he derives from the Indians’ herb in a stream
of consolation for the lonely and afflicted, assuring us that when all
things were made none was made better than this. And here he enumerates
the blessing breathed upon the weary and worn traveller in those far-off
lands by the herb, like unto which there is not another under the canopy
of heaven.

In the summer of 1584, Raleigh, his imagination aglow with brilliant
colonisation schemes which should eclipse those of Spain, sent out
an expedition to explore the coast of the new continent. On July 13,
the party, under Captains Amadas and Barlowe, took possession of the
territory which Raleigh subsequently named Virginia, in honour of
the Queen. In the following year a second expedition was despatched,
conveying one hundred and seven souls, whom, with Master Ralph Lane at
their head as the governor of the new colony, Raleigh had inspired with
his own ardent hopes and plans for the founding of a new settlement that
should, in course of time, rival the Spanish conquests. The adventure,
however, was not attended with the success anticipated. The party
remained in the new territory from August 17, 1585, to June 18, 1586,
when Sir Francis Drake, with his fleet, returning along the coast from
his victorious raid in the West Indies, called at their port, and,
learning their discontent, brought them back to England. They took care,
however, not to return empty-handed; a large quantity of tobacco, which
the natives had prepared for them, was stowed on board the vessels,
with a variety of instruments for preparing and using it. It can well
be imagined that Master Lane would take pride in exhibiting himself to
London’s gazing multitude smothered in Indian clouds. The learned Camden
speaks of Lane as the original English smoker. It is remarkable that
there should have been so much uncertainty, even in Eliza-Jacobean times,
as to the date when tobacco was first received in this country and the
person by whom it was first introduced. The painstaking annalist, Stow,
says that tobacco came into England about the twentieth year of Queen
Elizabeth (1577). But Aubrey, speaking of Sir Walter Raleigh, says that
‘he was the first that brought tobacco into England and into fashion
(1686). In our part of North Wilts—_e.g._ Malmesbury Hundred—it came
first into fashion by Sir Walter Long. They had first silver pipes. The
ordinary sort made use of a walnut shell and a straw. I have heard my
grandfather, Lyle, say that one pipe was handed from man to man round
the table. Sir Walter Raleigh, standing in a stand at Sir Ro. Poyntz
parke at Acton, took a pipe of tobacco, which made the ladies quitte it
till he had donne.’ The author of a gossipy _Tour in Wales_ (Pennant), in
1810, speaking about the great houses and their associations, says that
Captain Price, of Plasyollin, with Captains Myddelton and Koet, on their
return from the Azores in 1591, ‘were the first who had smoked or (as
they called it) drank tobacco publicly in London, and that the Londoners
flocked from all parts to see them. Pipes were not then invented, so they
used the twisted leaves, or segars. The invention is usually ascribed
to Sir Walter Raleigh. It may be so, but he was too good a courtier to
smoke in public, especially in the reign of James.’ Again, in the 1659
translation of Dr. Everard’s _Panacea_ (Antwerp, 1587), it is remarked
that ‘Captain Richard Grenfield and Sir Francis Drake were the first
planters of it here (England), and not Sir Walter Raleigh, which is the
common error; so difficult is it to fix popular discoveries.’ These few
selections show us how easily origins are lost sight of.

It seems ungracious to pluck a plume from one so eminently distinguished
for important services rendered to his Queen and country as Sir Walter
Raleigh; yet nothing in history is more certain than that the common
belief crediting him with the first introduction of tobacco into this
country is a myth. History, whilst awarding him the palm for potatoes,
points to Sir John Hawkins as the first to bring to his countrymen the
peaceful pleasures of the pipe. Certainly, the weight of probabilities
are in his favour. Taylor, the Water Poet, says: ‘Tobacco was first
brought into England in 1565, by Sir John Hawkins.’ And Edmund Howes, in
his continuation of Stow’s _Annals_ says: ‘Tobacco was first brought
and made known by Sir John Hawkins about the year 1565, but not used by
Englishmen for many years after, though at this day it is commonly used
by most men and many women.’ These accounts correspond with Hawkins’s
second voyage, viz., October 18, 1564, returning September 20, 1565.
Confirmatory evidence comes from John Sparkes, the younger, who, in his
account of this voyage, says that Hawkins, ranging along the ‘coast of
Florida for fresh water, in July 1565, came upon the French settlement
there under Landoniere, where the natives, when they travel, have a kind
of herbe dryed, which with a cane and an earthen cup in the end, with
fire and the dryed herbe put together, they do suck through the cane
the smoke thereof, which smoke satisfieth their hunger, and therewith
they live four or five days without meat or drink, and this all the
Frenchmen used for the purpose.’ Hearing these wonderful stories told
of the Indian’s herbe, nothing could be more natural than that Hawkins
should make trial of it for himself, and, liking it, secure specimens of
the plant for cultivation and use at home. To see and hear and get all
he could, was the sole end and aim of his ploughing the Spanish main.
Bearing in mind that he got back to England in September 1565, we see
that the statements of Taylor, the Water Poet, and Howes, the annalist,
that tobacco was brought by Sir John Hawkins in 1565, are consistent and
reliable. Collateral evidence on the point is to be found in L’Obel’s
work on Botany,[6] written in 1570, wherein he says: ‘Within these few
years the West Indian tobacco-plant has become an inmate of England.’
This of itself is conclusive against the Raleigh theory. But let us
look a little further into the matter. In 1570, Raleigh was a youth of
eighteen, and had just gone to France to fight in the Huguenot cause.
Again, in the State Archives, there is still extant an edict issued by
Queen Elizabeth against the use and abuse of tobacco, dated 1584—the year
Raleigh’s first expedition sailed to the New World.

It is amusing to find Queen Elizabeth fulminating against the pipe she
afterwards so willingly countenanced in the mouth of her favourite
knight. But then Sir Walter was in every way a splendid man, the typical
gallant and hero in England’s heroic age. Tall, dark, handsome, a noble
brow, commanding voice and mien, he drew to his side willing hands ready
to do his behest, be it what it might. A gay courtier, his dress was
of the richest, and priceless gems sparkled on every finger. And so it
came about that his proud Queen would quietly sit by his side, would
playfully call him Walter, and listen to his tales of daring deeds and
sufferings endured all for Good Queen Bess. And had he not won for her a
new land full of rich promise, which, for her sake, was named Virginia?
And thus they would talk on, Sir Walter smoking his finely-wrought silver
pipe in peace, forgetful of the fair, if frail, Maid of Honour, Bessy
Throgmorton, listening, maybe, behind the arras. Alas! poor mortal man.
The untoward affair at last broke upon Elizabeth like a thunderstorm in a
serene sky, and our gallant hero became an outcast from the favour of his

Among the many anecdotes told of Raleigh’s practices with his pipe may
be mentioned that of his outwitting the Queen in a wager she laid with
the gallant knight respecting the weight of the smoke which exhaled from
a pipeful of tobacco. ‘I can assure your Majesty,’ said Raleigh, ‘that I
have so well experienced the nature of it that I can exactly tell even
the weight of the smoke in any quantity I consume.’ ‘I doubt it much,
Sir Walter,’ replied Elizabeth, thinking only how impossible it must be
to catch the smoke and put it in a balance, ‘and will wager you twenty
angels that you do not solve my doubt.’ Whereupon Raleigh drew forth a
quantity of the weed, placed it in finely adjusted scales, and having
ascertained its weight, commenced to smoke it, carefully preserving the
ashes. These at the finish he weighed with great exactness. Then would
it dawn upon her Majesty how the wager was to end. ‘Your Majesty,’ said
Raleigh, ‘cannot deny that the difference hath evaporated in smoke.’
‘Truly, I cannot,’ was her reply. Then, turning to those around her, who
were eying with amusement this curious play on the pipe, she continued,
‘Many labourers in the fire have I heard of (alluding to alchemists) who
turned their gold into smoke, but Sir Walter is the first who has turned
smoke into gold.’

But the Indian weed had a hard fight to hold its ground in Europe and
Asia in face of the most resolute opposition from potentates, statesmen,
and priests. In England

    The gentleman called King James
    In quilted doublet and great trunk breeches,
    Who held in abhorrence tobacco and witches,[8]

signalised himself and his reign by profound learning and ponderous
invective hurled against the innocent plant, amongst whose alluring
leaves there lurked the ‘lively image and pattern of hell.’ His
_Counterblaste_ to tobacco[9] is of itself an historic monument to his
genius, which posterity does well to preserve that there may be something
in hand to attest the just appreciation of his ‘loving subjects’ in
early recognising in him a Solomon! Though, to be sure, some will have
it that the irreverent Henri Quatre was the first to see the fitness of
the designation, Solomon, for the son of Mary, Queen of Scots. And yet
his astute minister, the Duc de Sully, professed to have discovered in
the flickering illuminations of this northern light ‘the wisest fool in
Christendom.’ Historians who think it incumbent upon them to explain
every human phenomenon or prodigy, have perplexed themselves with vain
endeavours to unravel this curious compound of Machiavellian craft,
fussy self-conceit and imbecility. Looking to his preternatural insight
into the uncanny domain of the Black Arts, his mental conflicts with the
de’il, witches and warlocks, and long nebbit things, the problem his
character presents might perhaps form a fitting study for the modern
school of psychology.

With the beginning of the seventeenth century commenced a literary
warfare over the virtues and vices of St Nicotine, which lasted
intermittently down to the present day. Mr. Solly, of St. Thomas’s
Hospital, in the middle of last century strove valiantly in the columns
of the _Lancet_ to get up a crusade against smoking. All the leading
members of the medical profession took part in the affray; irrefragable
statistics were piled up one upon the other as ramparts from behind which
Mr. Solly proclaimed that there was death in the pipe; and the rapid
degeneracy of the human race, to him everywhere apparent, was to be
regarded as the inevitable consequence of indulgence in the pernicious
weed. Had Mr. Solly referred to the text-book left by the royal founder
of his faith, he would have learned the right use and value of trenchant
utterance, and as a physiologist, would have gained knowledge never
imparted in St. Thomas’s Hospital.

[Illustration: DUC DE SULLY]

The royal _Counterblaste_ proclaims that ‘smoke becomes a kitchen far
better than a dining-chamber; and yet it makes a kitchen oftentimes in
the inward parts of men, soyling and infecting with an unctuous and
oyly kind of soote, as hath been found in some great tobacco takers,
that after death were opened.’ ‘Have you not reason then to be ashamed
and to forbear this filthie noveltie, so basely grounded, so foolishly
received, and so grossly mistaken in the right use thereof? In your abuse
thereof sinning against God, harming yourselves both in person and in
goods, and raking also thereby the marks and notes of vanitie upon you;
by the custom thereof making yourselves to be wondered at by all forraine
civil nations, and all strangers that come among you, to be scorned
and contemned.’ King James clinches his argument with a logical acumen
there is no resisting. ‘Why,’ he asks, ‘since we imitate the beastly and
slavish Indians in taking tobacco, do we not imitate them in _walking
naked_? as they do’—an extraordinary idea to occur to one accustomed to
wear dagger-proof quilted dress—‘preferring glass beads and feathers to
gold and precious stones? as they do; yea, why do we not deny God and
adore the devil? as they do.’ Then comes his famous climax: ‘A custom
loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the orgain (brain),
dangerous to the lungs, and in the black stinking fume thereof nearest
resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless.’ If,
after this display of royal indignation, stiff-necked ones still cast
fond looks at the ‘emblem of hell,’ let them turn their attention to the
King’s words of wisdom stored up in a _Collection of Witty Apothegms_.
Things that before were obscure to mental vision are here illuminated
with a new radiance; it is made clear to us that ‘tobacco was the lively
image and pattern of hell, for that it had, by illusion, in it all the
parts and vices of the world whereby hell may be gained—to wit, first: It
is a smoke; so are the vanities of this world. Secondly: It delighteth
them that take it; so do the pleasures of the world delight the men of
the world. Thirdly: It maketh men drunken and light in the head; so do
the vanities of the world, men are drunken wherewith. Fourthly: He that
taketh tobacco saith he cannot leave it, _it doth bewitch him!_… And,
further, besides all this, it is like hell in the very substance of it,
for it is a stinking, loathsome thing, and so is hell.’ But James had his
moments of gaiety; he could jest over the arch enemy, and it would be
most unfair to his memory to pass by any playful attempt at jocularity
that for an instant flickered over his dreary brain. In the treasury of
wisdom already mentioned, we are told that his Majesty once remarked that
‘if he were to invite the devil to dinner he should have three dishes:
1. A pig; 2. A pole of ling and mustard; and (3) a pipe of tobacco for

There is a passage in the _Counterblaste_ which seems to point directly
to Raleigh; it runs as follows: ‘Now the corrupt baseness of the use
of this tobacco doeth very well agree with the foolish and groundless
first entry thereof into this kingdom. It is not so long since the first
entry of this abuse amongst us here, as this present age can very well
remember both the first author and the form of the first introduction
of it amongst us. It was neither brought in by king, great conqueror,
nor learned doctor of physick. With the report of a great discovery
for a conquest, some two or three savage men were brought in, together
with this savage custom. But the pity is, the poor, wild, barbarous
men died; but that vile, barbarous custom is yet alive, yea, in fresh
vigour, so as it seems a miracle to me how a custom springing from so
vile a ground, and brought in by a father so generally hated, should be
welcomed on so slender a warrant.’ The mention of ‘two or three savage
men’ clearly indicates the return of Raleigh’s first expedition in 1584,
when Captain Amadas and Barlowe brought with them two American Indians,
whose appearance in the streets was regarded as one of the sights of
London. James’s inveterate enmity towards Raleigh would seem to have
originated at their first encounter at Burghly, in Lincolnshire, when the
King faltered out: ‘On my soul, mon, I hae heard but rawley o’ thee,’
a clumsy attempt at a pun. Doubtless Raleigh’s noble bearing and rich
attire would touch James’s inordinate self-importance, which seems to
have at all times blinded him to a proper sense of decency, according
to Sir Anthony Weldon’s simple, graphic presentation of him. On the
King boasting that, had the English crown not been offered to him, his
Scotch army would have taken it for him, Raleigh, indignant, made the
injudicious remark: ‘Would God that had been put to the test.’ ‘Why?’
asked James. Raleigh recovering himself replied, ‘Your Majesty would then
have known your friends from your foes.’ Aubrey says that James never
forgave this speech. One by one, Raleigh was stripped of all his offices;
and before the end of the first year of James’s reign (November 4, 1603)
he was lodged in the Tower on a false charge of treason, and after
fifteen years’ imprisonment was judicially murdered by order of the King.
Speaking of this event, Sir Anthony Weldom remarks, ‘How this kingdom
was gulled in the supposed treason of Sir Walter Rawley and others who
suffered as traytors, whereas to this day it could never be knowne that
there ever was such treason, but a mere trick of State to remove some
blotches out of the way.’ When Raleigh’s fate drew nigh, ‘he took a pipe
of tobacco a little before he went to the scaffolde,’ says Aubrey, ‘which
some female persons were scandalised at; but I think ’twas well and
properly donne to settle his spirits.’

Speaking of this noble victim of James I., Sir Walter Besant, in his
handsome volume on _Westminster_, says, ‘Raleigh was brought to Old
Palauce Yard to die. The day chosen for his execution was Lord Mayor’s
Day, so that the crowd should be drawn to the pageant rather than to his
execution.’ The body lies buried in the chancel of St. Margaret’s Church,
Westminster, where, near by, a tablet informs the visitor that

    Within the walls of this church was deposited the body of the
    great Sir Walter Raleigh, Knt., on the day he was beheaded in
    Old Palace Yard, Westminster, 29 October, Ann. Dom. 1618.

        Reader, should you reflect on his errors,
        Remember his many virtues,
        And that he was a mortal.

Considering the deep sympathy the nation has always evinced for the
ill-fated yet illustrious knight, it is almost incredible that no
monument has ever been erected to his memory. Raleigh was truly great in
all those things which mankind loves to honour and perpetuate. In him
patriotism, valour, and magnanimity stand out conspicuously in an age
of heroes. Though endowed with a glowing, wildly-romantic imagination,
he has left in his various writings evidence of extensive reading, keen
insight, and sound judgment. The improvements he effected in naval
architecture alone entitle him to the lasting gratitude of his country.
The concluding lines of his _History of the World_ written when the
death sentence had been passed upon him and all his hopes of life had
fled, are considered to be the finest and grandest example of prose
in the English language. That Raleigh would not surrender his natural
nobility of character to flatter the most abject monarch[10] that ever
sat on the throne is to his everlasting honour, and marks him as a
typical Englishman.

Through the medium of the notorious Star Chamber, the King, in 1614,
directed his efforts ostensibly to restrain the consumption of tobacco;
in effect, to put an end to the infant colony of Virginia. For this
purpose a bill was drawn up, addressed to ‘Our Right Trustie and right
well beloved Cousin and Counsellor, Thomas, Earle of Dorset, our High
Treasurer of Englande, Greeting.’ Then follows a rather perplexing,
verbose preamble, the drift of which seems to be the hatching up of
excuses for heaping upon tobacco a monstrous load of taxation for the
avowed purpose of relieving ‘many mean persons’ of the heavy expense the
habit of smoking entailed.

He tells his ‘loving subjects’ that smoking is an ‘evil vanitie, whereby
the health of a great number of people is impayered, and their bodies
weakened and made unfit for labour, and the estates of many mean persons
so decayed and consumed, as they are thereby driven to unthriftie
shiftes onley to maintain their gluttonous exercise thereof.’ After
further admonition and warning of evils in store for the obdurate, the
Act proceeds: ‘We do therefore will and command you, our Treasurer of
Englande, and herebye also warrant and authorise you to give orders to
all Customers, Comptrollers, Searchers, Surveyors and other officers of
our Portes, that from and after the six-and-twentieth Day of October
next comynge, they shall demand and take to our use, etc., etc., the
sum of Sixe shillings and 8d. upon every pound weight thereof, over and
above the custome of 2d. upon the pound weight usually paid heretofore.’
The penalties for evading payment were, forfeiture of cargo, ‘and such
further Penalties and coporal punishments as the qualitie of suche so
high a Contempt against Our Royal and Expresse Commandmente in this
manner published shall deserve.’

The imposition, equivalent to about thirty shillings of our present
money, had a startling effect on the tobacco trade of the country; but
when merchants found out that it was meant to apply only to the tobacco
imported from Virginia, they naturally had recourse to other markets,
as Spain and Portugal, whence it was brought in at the old rate of
twopence on the pound that had satisfied Elizabeth. Agriculturists, too,
saw in the change an opportunity for extending the home cultivation
and manufacture of tobacco, and readily availed themselves of it,
particularly in Yorkshire, where all the operations connected therewith
were well understood. On the King learning what they were doing, he
hastened to promulgate a further edict forbidding husbandmen ‘to misuse
and misemploy the soyle of this fruitful kingdom,’ beginning with
the words, ‘Whereas we, out of the dislike we have to tobacco.’ Thus
expressed, his case against the weed is placed in a more intelligible
light than that which he had in the first instance thought it expedient
to disclose. However absurd his reasoning, his policy succeeded only
too well. Besides dealing a crushing blow to the young colony, his
action had other far-reaching effects. It created a daring race of
smugglers, who did a thriving contraband trade in tobacco with pirates
on the Spanish main; and home dealers saw in the greatly enhanced price
of the weed a temptation to ‘sophisticate’ too powerful to be resisted.
Scattered through the literature of that period may be found some curious
allusions to the practice, as in Ben Jonson’s _Alchemist_, where Abel
Drugger, speaking in praise of his tobacconist, says:

    He lets me have good tobacco, and he does not
    Sophisticate it with sack-lees or oil;
    Nor washes it in muscadel and grains,
    But keeps it in fine lilly pots, that, opened,
    Smell like a conserve of roses, or French beans.
    He has his maple block, his silver tongs,
    Winchester pipes, and fire of juniper.

In _Bartholomew Faire_ he presents us with a picture of one, Ursula, a
vendor of roast pig, bidding her servant ‘Look to’t, sirrah, you had
best! three pence a pipe full I will ha’ made of all my whole half pound
of tobacco, and a quarter of a pound of coltsfoot, mixed with it too,
to eke it out.’ That sophisticating practices were growing apace may be
gleaned from Dr. Barclay, of Edinburgh, who in his _Nepenthes_ (1614)
speaks of ‘tobacco merchants apparelling European plants with Indian
coats and enstalling them in shops as righteous and legitimate tobacco.’
(How very conservative we English are!) ‘Some others, indeed, have
tobacco from Florida that they sophisticate and farde in sundrie sorts
with black spice, galanga, aqua-vitæ, Spanish wine, anise seedes, oyle of
spicke, and such like.’ Less expensive materials than these were more
commonly used (and perhaps still are), as the leaves of rhubarb, dock,
burdock, plantain, oak and elm, also chickory and cabbage leaves steeped
in tar-oil.

If the manufacturers of these and less innocent ‘mixtures’ really
find themselves unable to withstand the pressure from without for a
cheap smoke, let them confine their sophisticating ingenuity to simple
vegetable products, such, for instance, as satisfied Dame Ursula.
Coltsfoot or the leaves of the lettuce, being slightly narcotic, would
form a harmless make-belief for the good folk who persuade themselves
that they could not sleep a wink were they deprived of their evening
comfort. Ages ago both Greeks and Romans, according to Dioscorides and
Pliny, found comfort in smoking through a reed or pipe the dried leaves
of coltsfoot, which relieved them of old coughs and difficult breathing.
We can picture the legionary in Britain’s bleak atmosphere, while pacing
the Roman Wall, trying to console himself in his lonely vigil with the
vapour from his ‘elphin pipe,’ fragments of which have been found among
the ruins of those early memorials to the Scots’ persistent determination
to travel southwards. And as to the lettuce, it has been famous since
the time of Galen (Claudius Galenus), who asserts that he found relief
from sleeplessness by taking it at night. Regardless of these things,
the Nicotian epicure of to-day enjoys the inestimable advantage of
luxuriating in the delicate aroma of the Cuban leaf, while fancying
himself wafted on his upward way to Nirvana. The charming simplicity that
leads to this ideal conception of existence is most refreshing; the being
so lost to the outer world can hardly be blamed if he says rude things
when compelled to touch Mother Earth.

But King James had not yet done with tobacco. A monarch of his remarkable
idiosyncrasy, as displayed in his creation of a new and lucrative
business for the sale of distinguished titles and high offices of State,
where he himself possessed the sole monopoly, would naturally see his
way to a further stroke of ‘good business’ in the tobacco market.
Accordingly, we are not surprised to learn that, viewing with a jealous
eye the flourishing state of the new industry, the idea occurred to him
that the State coffers might be replenished by taking a still deeper
interest in the weed. Hence the issue of a royal proclamation to his
loving subjects that they were forbidden to deal in tobacco unless they
purchased Royal Letters Patent granting them a license to do so. These
could only be procured, on payment of a yearly sum, from the persons who
farmed from the King the right to enforce and collect the tax. In the
_Stafford Letters_, compiled by Gerrard, relating to the collection of
the new tax, it is stated that ‘some towns have yielded twenty marks,
£10, £5, £6, fine and rent; none goes under. I hear that Plymouth hath
yielded £100 and as much yearly rent.… The tobacco licences go on apace;
they yield a good fine, and a constant yearly rent.…’ In some instances
a life-lease to deal in tobacco was granted on payment of a lump sum. As
to the King’s method of dealing with State affairs of the kind, let Sir
Anthony Weldon speak from personal knowledge. He says of the King that
‘he was so crafty and cunning in petty things, as the circumventing any
great man. He had a trick of cousen (cozen) himself with bargains under
hand, by taking £1,000 or £10,000 as a bribe, when (at the same time)
his Counsel was treating with his Customers to raise them to so much
more yearly; this went into his Privy purse; wherein he thought he had
over-reached the Lords, but consented himself; but would as easily break
the bargain upon the next offer, saying he was mistaken and deceived,
and therefore no reason he should keep the bargain. This was often the
case with the Farmers of the Customs.’

There is a document in the State Archives which throws a curious
side-light on the King’s ideas of statecraft. The settlers in Guiana had
become tobacco-planters, and required a trade-charter with this country.
A charter was granted them, in which a clause was inserted to the effect
that one-tenth of the tobacco grown there should go to the King. Thus, in
a roundabout way, the King became a tobacco merchant.

The concern which the King had professed for the ‘many mean persons’ of
decayed fortune in debt for tobacco had not resulted in helping them out
of their difficulties, but rather the contrary. From Aubrey we learn
that its cost had risen to the value of silver. He says, ‘I have heard
some of our old yeomen neighbours say that when they went to Malmesbury
or Chippenham market they culled out their biggest shillings to lay in
the scales against the tobacco. Now (1680) the Customes of it are the
greatest his majestie hath.’ In various documents of the period, tobacco
is mentioned amongst the most expensive luxuries. Even in Elizabeth’s
reign its price ranged from 10s. to 18s. a pound, according to the

Meanwhile, jovial spirits were amusing themselves with a lively paper
warfare over the virtues and vices of the rare Indian plant that,
according to the King, had bewitched them. Early in the fray (1602),
appeared anonymously a booklet entitled, _Work for Chimney Sweepers_,
or a _Warning to Tobacconists_, calling the smoker’s attention to the
necessity for securing the services of one of those useful members of the
community. At that time it was the fashion among gallants of the weed
to draw the smoke into the lungs and to eject it ‘through the organs of
the nose, with a relish that inviteth,’ says the gay, laughing, Doctor
Barton Holiday, who took such a wicked delight in tormenting King James
at Woodstock in his play of the _Marriage of the Arts_. This was speedily
answered by _A Defence of Tobacco_, printed by Richard Field for Thomas
Man, wherein the author shows that the ‘warning’ should have roosted at
home, where, in its absence, zeal had outrun discretion, and had thereby
damaged the cause it would fain have served.

Verbose titles, full of alliteration, fire and fun, were much appreciated
by the militant writers of this period. Witness the following heading to
a poem against tobacco by Joshua Sylvester, Gent., the favourite poet of
King James: ‘Tobacco battered, and the pipes shattered (about their eares
that idely idolize so base and barbarous a weed; or leastwise over-love
so loathsome a vanitie), by a volley of Holy shot, thundered from Mount
Helicon.’ After this brave warning we are prepared to hear that

                      Hell hath smoake
    Impenitent tobacconist to choake.
    Though never dead, there shall they have their fill;
    In heaven is none, but light and glory still.

Samuel Rowlands in his _Knave of Clubbs_ (1611) writes in a lighter
strain, and asks:—

    Who durst dispraise tobacco whilst the smoke is in my nose,
    Or say, but fah! my pipe doth smell! I would I know but those
    Durst offer such indignity to that which I prefer;
    For all the brood of blackamoors will swear I do not err,
    In taking this same worthy whiff with valiant cavalier,
    But that will make his nostrils smoke, at cupps of wine or beer,
    When as my purse can not afford my stomach flesh or fish,
    I sup with smoke, and feel as well and fat as one can wish.
    Much victuals serve for gluttony, to fatten men like swine,
    But he’s a frugal man indeed that with a leaf can dine,
    And needs no napkins for his hands his fingers’ ends to wipe,
    But keeps his kitchen in a box, and roast meat in a pipe.
    This is the way to help down years, a meal a day’s enough;
    Take out tobacco for the rest by pipe, or else in snuff,
    And you shall find it physical; a corpulent, fat man,
    Within a year shall shrink so small that round his waist you’ll span.
    It’s full of physic’s rare effects, it worketh sundry ways:
    The leaf green, dried, steep’t, burnt to dust, have each their several

While Englishmen smoked, and laughed at their King’s wondrous ways, or
growled at his tenacious grip upon their pockets, Eastern potentates
were treating their subjects, as only despots can, for daring to indulge
in the Frankish novelty. In Persia, where but recently jealous strife
raged for sole possession of the tobacco industry, Abbas I., of dread
memory, cut off the lips of those who smoked, and the noses of any who
ventured to snuff. On one occasion he threw an unfortunate man, whom
he discovered selling tobacco, into a fire along with his goods. Yet,
by-and-by, this demon of cruelty himself was enthralled by Nicotiana’s
charms, and became one of her most fervent devotees. The Turks, under
Amurath IV., were similarly punished for infringing his edict against
smoking. Sir Edwin Sandys, of Pontefract, in his travels in 1610, bears
testimony to similar acts of cruelty by Mahomet IV. During his stay
in Constantinople he witnessed the punishment of a Turk who had been
caught solacing the burden of life with the vapour of his new-found joy.
Short-lived was the sturdy beggar’s happiness; he was dragged before the
tribunal, and condemned to the torture of having a hole pierced through
the cartilage of his nose, and a pipe inserted therein. Then, in order
to render the punishment more impressive to the multitude, he was seated
on the back of an ass with his face to the tail, and driven through the
streets of the city, while criers proclaimed his offence and its merited
punishment, according to the law of the Sultan. Not less cruel were the
punishments inflicted upon Russian smokers, who, under the Tsar Michael
Fedorowitz, were publicly knouted for using tobacco in any form; in some
instances their nostrils were split open. If guilty of a second offence,
death alone could wipe out the crime. The ambassadors of the Duke of
Holstein, who visited Moscow in 1634, relate that they were eye-witnesses
of a public exhibition of this kind, where eight men and one woman were
punished with the knout for selling tobacco. By way of palliating this
Russian atrocity, they were informed that houses in Moscow had been set
on fire by smokers falling asleep and dropping their lighted pipes.

Oppression, however, like persecution in another sphere, brought succour
to the smoker; for, despite every form of opposition and punishment, men
quietly went on comforting themselves with the weed, until at last their
bitterest foes became their best friends, and gratefully acknowledged the
benign sway of St Nicotine.

There is a peculiar interest, not without instruction, in observing the
change that came over governments with regard to the consumption of
tobacco. One after another they began to recognise a new and most useful
virtue in the outcast weed, one which had too long remained hidden.
Straightway they took the exotic under their paternal protection, and
handsomely were they rewarded for their acknowledgment of her value to
mankind. By-and-by, many an anxious custodian of an empty treasury came
to look upon St Nicotine as a divinity

              … that cures, a vapour that affords
    Content more solid than the smile of lords,

and as they gathered in their golden harvest of taxation, blessed the
name of their benefactress.

In illustration of this change may be mentioned the action which Peter
the Great took with the view of establishing tobacco culture and
manufacture in his dominions. In the tenth volume of M. de Martin’s
magnificent work on the treaties and conventions concluded by Russia with
other nations from 1710 to 1801, there is a paragraph which states that
Peter the Great, having determined that tobacco should be cultivated
and manufactured in Russia, sought in England the necessary workmen,
machinery, implements, etc., for transmission to Moscow. Englishmen knew
little at that time of the remote Tsardom of Muscovy, but on learning
the wants and wealth of the monarchy, enterprising merchants were not
slow to undertake the performance of all that was required of them.
Accordingly, a party of skilled workmen, with engineers, was soon on its
way to Moscow with all necessary material for setting up and working a
tobacco factory. When, later, the English Government was apprised of
what had been done, ‘Her Majesty, Queen Anne, in Council, was pleased to
manifest her profound dissatisfaction, especially in that they proceeded
to the realm of Moscow to the cultivation of the native products of her
Majesty’s dominions, and in that they have brought to Moscow for this
purpose the requisite English workmen and material, which is contrary to
the interests and usages of the kingdom of Great Britain.’ Orders were
immediately sent to our envoy at Moscow to not only return the workmen
to their homes, but to privately and secretly destroy all the materials,
machines and instruments of production.

It is not a little amusing to learn how energetically the envoy carried
out the order of destruction. He relates at considerable length in his
home despatch how he and his secretary (a private secretary undoubtedly)
spent a _night_ in breaking up all the machinery and laying waste the
material; how he afterwards explained to the Tsar that the object of his
zealous operations in smashing up the plant was to save his Majesty’s
subjects from a burdensome monopoly and thus, really, to encourage and
enhance the tobacco trade in Russia. Remembering that the Tsar was Peter
the Great, we are not surprised to learn that our excellent envoy was
listened to with impatience.



    Why should we so much despise
    So good and wholesome an exercise
    As early and late, to meditate?
      Thus think, and drink tobacco.

                                    G. W.

Ancient and delightful George Wither, while suffering for conscience’
sake imprisonment in the Marshalsea, found a never-failing comfort in his
beloved Indian weed. Its soothing vapours moved him to meditation; the
earthen pipe, the burning weed, the vanishing fumes, and the ashes left
behind, were to him emblems of the transitory nature of man’s earthly
career. Musing thus, he poured forth his thoughts in a poem which has
taken a firmer hold on the popular taste than any other of the countless
songs composed on the subject of tobacco. It has undergone numerous
alterations, but in every instance for the worse. In a mutilated form,
and with a second part added, it is found among the ‘Gospel Sonnets’
of the Rev. Ralph Erskine, of the Scottish Church. It is the ‘Smoking
Spiritualized’ which is still in print among the ballad-vendors of the
east end of London. It reappeared with variations in Mr. J. H. Dixon’s
‘Songs and Ballads of the Peasantry of England’; and again in the Rev.
James Plumptre’s ‘Tobacco is an Indian weed.’ So popular had the song
become that Dr. Hague, in 1805, set the words to music, and Mr. Samuel
Wesley, at a later date, adapted them to a tune said to be still in
vogue. Yet, out of the multitude of admirers who so readily adopted and
adapted Wither’s song, no one seems to have cared to acknowledge the
source of his inspiration. But for the diligent research of Mr. Payne
Collier, the student might have remained forever in ignorance of its true
parentage. Turning to Mr. Chappell’s ‘Popular Music of the Olden Time’
we come upon the following passage relating to this song:—‘The earliest
copy’ says Mr. Chappell, ‘I have seen is in a manuscript volume of poetry
transcribed during James’s reign and which was kindly lent to me by Mr.
Payne Collier. It there bears the initials of G[eorge] W[ither] a very
likely person to have written such a song. A courtier poet would not have
sung the praises of smoking—so obnoxious to the King as to induce him
to write a _Counterblaste to Tobacco_—but Wither despised the servility
which would have tended to his advancement at Court.’ The original song,
the first verse of which is at the head of this chapter, runs as follows:—

    The earthen pipe so lily white
    Shows that thou art a mortal wight;
    Even such—and gone with a small touch:
          Thus think, and drink tobacco.

    And when the smoke ascends on high,
    Think on the worldly vanity
    Of worldly stuff—’tis gone with a puff;
        Thus think, and drink tobacco.

    And when the pipe is foul within
    Think how the soul’s defiled with sin—
    To purge with fire it doth require:
        Thus think, and drink tobacco.

    Lastly, the ashes left behind
    May daily shew to move the mind,
    That to ashes and dust return we must:
        Thus think, and drink tobacco.

As a soother of sorrow in wedded life, the story told by Camden of good
Richard Fletcher, Bishop of London, shews how over-indulgence in the weed
may carry its votary farther than he wots of. For his sins, people would
say, the Bishop had to endure the plague of a scolding wife. The burden
became greater than he could bear; he sighed for the peace that failed
him, and in his distress he fell to smoking so immoderately that at last
his weary spirit took flight on the wings of the weed to the realms of
rest he longed for. There is a pathos in the story that awakens a kindred
feeling; one can see the peace-loving prelate quietly slipping away from
the domestic storm, and, finding sanctuary in his attic, yielding himself
a willing martyr to the solace of St Nicotine. Indeed, if the truth must
be told, the clergy, ever since her advent in these islands, have been
noted votaries at her shrine. Instances crowd upon us.

A curious example is found in the pages of the astrologer Lilly’s
_Memoires_ published in 1715, thirty-four years after his death. We are
told of one, William Bredon, vicar of Thornton, in Buckinghamshire, who
was so far given over to the taking of tobacco in a pipe that when his
supply was run out he would cut off the ends of the bell-ropes and smoke
the bits. But this unworthy lover of his pipe was profoundly learned in
Eastern lore, particularly that which related to judicial astrology. It
may well be, that, along with his learning, he derived from the same
source his knowledge of hashish. The practice of inhaling the fumes of
burning hemp, was, as we have already seen, common in the near East,
before tobacco had reached the Moslem.

It is next to impossible to dip into the pages of the early playwrights
and pamphleteers without coming upon mirthful allusions to the new
indulgence. Ben Jonson, Thomas Dekker, Samuel Rowlands, and a host of
other writers in those jubilant days, found in the weed and the habits of
smokers a never-failing source for good-natured raillery.

In _Every Man out of his Humour_ we learn that the rage for tobacco had
spread to the provinces. One, Sogliardo, is described as essentially a
clown, yet so enamoured of the name of gentleman that he will have it
though he buys it. He comes to town every term to learn the manners of
polite society, and readily falls a victim to men of the Bobadil type,
who sees in the novelty a new field of enterprise. Jonson describes their
methods, and speaks of a bill posted in St. Paul’s churchyard notifying
fledglings from the country that instruction in the art of taking tobacco
can be arranged for. It affords us a glimpse of the smart men-about-town
three centuries ago who lay in wait for inexperienced youth. It runs as

    ‘If this city, or the suburbs of the same, do afford any young
    gentleman of the first, second, or third head, more or less,
    whose friends are but lately deceased, and whose lands are but
    new come into his hands, that, to be as exactly qualified as
    the best of our ordinary gallants are, is affected to entertain
    the most gentleman-like use of tobacco; as first to give it the
    most exquisite perfume, then to know all the delicate sweet
    forms for the assumption of it, as also the rare corollary and
    the practice of the Cuban ebolition, Euripus, and Whiffe, which
    he shall receive or take in here at London, and evaporate
    at Uxbridge, or farther, if it pleases him. If there be any
    such generous spirit that is truly enamoured of these good
    faculties, may it please him but by a note of his hand, to
    specify the place or ordinary where he uses to eat and lie, and
    most sweet attendance with tobacco and pipes of the best sort
    shall be ministered. _Stet, quæso, candide lector._


After King James had sent forth his famous _Counterblaste_ in 1604,
declaring to the world that tobacco was the ‘lively image and pattern
of hell,’ it was not unusual to hear the weed associated with the
arch enemy. And rare Ben would seem to have been nothing loth to trim
his sails to the new breeze. In his masque entitled _The Gipsies
Metamorphosed_ he is so considerate as to wish that his Majesty’s nose
may be protected from the smell of

    Tobacco with the type
    Of the Devil’s glyster pipe.

The play accorded so well with the King’s humour that he commanded a
repetition of the performance. At that time tobacco-smoking was commonly
indulged in at theatres. In _Bartholomew Fair_ a pleasure seeker, named
Coke, enters a puppet show and asks of the master, ‘Ha’ you none of your
pretty impudent boys, now, to bring stools, fill tobacco, fetch ale, and
beg money, as they have at other houses?’

We pass on to the pages of Thomas Dekker—Dekker the gay, the
light-hearted, and always good-humoured, who says of himself that, ‘the
imagination runs to and fro, the fantasie flies round about, the vital
spirits walk up and down, yea, the very pulses shew activities, and
with their hammers are still beating, so that in my very dreams it is
whispered in my ears that I must be up and doing something.’ Among his
many delightful sketches of social life in London, the _Gulls Hornbook_
may well rank first. He makes sport of the young gallants of the city who
affect the fashionable habit of ‘taking tobacco,’ and instructs them how
to handle, in the most approved style, the implements with which they
are to be provided. In the same bantering tone he apostrophises tobacco
thus: ‘Make me thine adopted heir, that, inheriting the virtues of thy
whiffs, I may distribute them among all nations, and make the fantastic
Englishman above all the rest more cunning in the distinction of thy
roll-Trinidado, leaf and pudding, than the whitest toothed blackamore in
all Asia.’

In one of those unaccountable freaks of temper which at times seem
to take possession of genius Jonson, in the _The Poetaster_ made an
unprovoked attack upon Dekker, who, in no way daunted, flew to arms, and
in his _Satiromastix_ or the _Untrussing of the Humerous Poet_, proved
himself to be no unworthy match for his more ponderous assailant. In
this masterpiece of Dekker’s we come upon the earliest allusion to women
smokers. Asinius Babo meeting with friends proffers his pipe saying,
‘’tis at your service, gallants, and the tobacco too; ’tis right good
pudding I can tell you: a lady or two took a pipeful or two at my hands
and praised it ’fore the heavens.’ We learn from Aubrey that in his day
(1680) it was considered very improper for ‘feamale persons’ to take
tobacco. But women’s curiosity respecting the new allurement to indolence
with which men were so greatly enamoured very naturally led them to
taste the forbidden leaf. Bearing on this point is a piquant story told
by Miss Pardoe in her admirable _History of the Court of Louis XIV_.
The Grand Monarque had a great aversion to tobacco, and no one ventured
to smoke in his presence. But his daughters had noticed how comfortable
and cosy the men of the Swiss Guard looked while smoking their pipes,
and longed for a more intimate acquaintance with the novelty. They
grew weary of the restraints of the court circle and sought freedom in
their own apartments. On one occasion, when the Dauphin had at a late
hour quitted the card-table, he heard noises of revelry while passing
their quarter of the Palace. Entering to ascertain the cause, he was
astonished to find the princesses engaged in smoking. Their pipes had
been borrowed from the officers, who doubtless were instructing them how
to make clouds, rings and squirts. Miss Pardoe speaks strongly; she says
that when the princesses became weary of the ‘gravity and etiquette of
the court circle they were accustomed to celebrate a species of orgie in
their own apartments, after supper.’ But after all were they not Eve’s
daughters—what else could be expected?

In England the paper warfare over the merit or demerit of the ‘Indian’s
weed,’ signalized by King James, lasted well through two centuries.
Beginning with some slight skirmishing, as in _Work for Chimney Sweepers_
we come to a doughty champion of the royal cause in the person of ‘Josuah
Sylvester, Gent:’ he who with quixotic valour sent forth a ‘Volley of
Holy Shot Thundered from Mount Helicon.’ In dedicatory lines addressed to
George, Duke of Buckingham, he invokes the aid of the royal favourite to
enable him to overthrow the

                    … Proud oppression
    Of th’ Infidel, usurping faith’s possession,
      That Indian tyrant, England’s only shame
    Thousands of ours he here hath captive taken,
      Of all degrees kept under slavish yoke
    Their God, their good, King, country, friends, forsaken,
      To follow follie, and to feed on smoke.

Scanning the horizon he discovers Satan, enraged, working in short
circuit two smoky engines—‘guns and tobocco pipes vented from the
infernal pit.’ In this turgid style he pours out his puerile conceits
much in the manner of his royal patron, whose good opinion he won so
fully that James made him his Court poet.

The levy of a duty on tobacco so excessive as that which King James
imposed namely, six shillings and tenpence—equivalent to about thirty
shillings of our present money—upon every pound weight imported or grown
in the country, coupled with great extravagance in its use brought ruin
to many families, just as does over-indulgence in strong drink to those
who are not satisfied with the moderation which reason dictates. In the
case of tobacco the ruin was in money, whereas with alcohol in excess
ruin comes to body and mind as well as purse. Our excellent guide along
the by-paths of literature, John Aubrey, from whom we have gleaned many
things respecting the use of tobacco, says, ‘In my early days (temp.
Charles the First) tobacco was sold for its weight in silver.’ And in
the family account-books of well-to-do people that have come to light
we get occasional glimpses of its cost. A book of household expenses
kept by Sir Henry Oglander, of Nunwell, in the Isle of Wight (1626),
contains an entry of five shillings paid for eight ounces of tobacco. The
price varies on different dates, according to the quality of the weed.
Virginian seems to have been the favourite growth, though Spanish is the
more frequently mentioned. A worthy old gentleman named Peter Campbell,
living in Derbyshire, was so incensed against the smoking habit that in
his Will, making over his household goods to his eldest son, Roger, he
inserted a special clause to the effect that if at any time either his
brothers or his sisters ‘fynd him smoking of tobacco he shall forfeit all
or their full valew.’ Roger, who loved his pipe, would be lucky indeed if
he escaped the watchful eyes of his five brothers and three sisters.

Sir Edwin Sandys, Member of Parliament for Pontefract, (1620) grew
alarmed at the prodigious quantity of tobacco consumed in this country,
and inquiring into the matter found that Spain was sending to England
tobacco to the value of £100,000 a year for which in payment ‘we sent our
cloths and other merchandise.… Nay, that sum will not pay for all the
tobacco we have from thence; they have more from us every year: £20,000.
So that there goes out of this kingdom as good as £120,000 for tobacco
every year!’ He would have opened wide his eyes with amazement if some
genius had whispered in his ear that under Edward VII. the duty alone on
the quantity consumed in these islands would amount to over £13,000,000
a year. The increased and constantly increasing consumption of tobacco,
prodigious as it was in the eyes of our forefathers, was not peculiar to
England. Dr. Everard in his treatise on the _Wonderful Virtues of Tobacco
taken in a Pipe_[11] says that its use had spread with amazing rapidity
all over the known world, and that its cultivation and manufacture gave
employment to millions of people who, were the consumption stopped, would
probably perish for want of food. He likens the rise and progress of the
industry to Elias’s cloud, ‘which was no bigger than a man’s hand.… It
hath suddenly covered the face of the Earth: the low countries, Germany,
Poland, Arabia, Persia, Turkey; almost all countries drive a trade in
it, and there is no commodity that hath advanced so many small fortunes
to gain great estates in the world.’ The translator adds, ‘Scholars take
it much, and many grave and great men take tobacco to make them more
serviceable in their callings.… Soldiers and seamen cannot but want it
during their arduous duties in cold and tempestuous weather. Farmers,
ploughmen, porters, labourers, plead for it, saying, they find great
refreshment by it.’

English smokers cared little for the fulminations against the indulgence
issued from high places. Even a taxation which in these days would
provoke a riot merely drew from them a mild growl. An example of this
more excellent way is found in Dr. Barclay’s _Nepenthes_, or the _Vertues
of Tobacco_. In the tranquil spirit of a devotee of St Nicotine he
addresses to ‘My Lord Bishop Murray’ the following lines:

    The statelie, rich, late conquer’d Indian plaines,
      Foster a plant, the princess of all plants,
    Which Portugall, after peril and paines,
      To Europe brought, as it most justly vaunts;
    This plant at home the people and priests assure,
      Of his goodwill, whom they as God adore;
    Both here and there it worketh wonderous cure,
      And hath much heavenlie vertue hid in store.
    A stranger plant shipwrecked on our coast,
      Is come to help this colde phlegmatic soyle,
    Yet cannot live for calumnie and boast,
      In danger daylie of some greater broyle.
    My Lord, this sacred herbe which never offendit,
      Is forced to crave your favour to defend it.

The author’s exalted idea about the great value of the weed was a reflex
of the Indian’s belief in its all-healing properties, a notion which
through the Spaniards and Portuguese had become the common property
of Europe. This is the animating thought running through the work. He
has set his heart upon curing suffering humanity of every malady, and
he complacently likens himself to Hercules going out into the world to
wage war on disease and corruption. ‘I have armed myself with a box for
his bag,’ says the learned doctor, ‘and a pipe for his club; a box to
conserve my tobacco, and a pipe to use it.’ He foresees a time coming
when the medicinal virtues of the herb will be so well understood that
the services of physicians may be dispensed with, particularly in cases
of defluxion and catarrh. Warming to his work and holding up the native
home of the plant to be a ‘Country which God hath honoured and blessed
with this holy herbe,’ he flourishes his club defiantly in the face of
‘the unlearned leiches’ who dare to say evil things about Nicotiana;
‘God willing,’ he means to ‘overcome many maladies.’ In practical
work, however, though equally earnest, he is a long way behind his
contemporary, Dr. Gardiner, whose _Trial of Tobacco_ has already been

By the middle of the seventeenth century, tobacco-smoking had become a
confirmed habit even in remote rural districts, and was duly recognised
and provided for by every housewife. Monsieur Jorevin de Rochefort in
his travels in England (1672) tells a homely story of his sitting down
to supper with a friend in Worcester, where, on the meal being finished,
they set on the table half a dozen pipes and a packet of tobacco for
smoking. On inquiry he was told that it was a common practice to smoke
after supper, indulged in by both men and women, who said that without
tobacco one cannot live in England, for the smoke dissipates the evil
humours of the brain. He goes on to relate his further experience on the
next day, saying:

‘Whilst we were walking about the town he asked me if it was the custom
in France, as in England, for children on setting out for school to carry
in their satchel along with their books a pipe of tobacco, which their
mother had taken care to fill early in the morning, in the belief that
it would serve them instead of breakfast.’ Surely our French friend was
grossly imposed upon. No English mother would for a moment entertain
such a notion. We are next told that at the accustomed hour every one
laid aside his book to light his pipe; and that the master smoked with
them and taught the youngsters how to hold their pipes and draw in
the tobacco-smoke; thus using them to the habit from youth, believing
it absolutely necessary for health’s sake. The story told him by his
Worcester friend put him in mind of a Spaniard whom he had met at the
seaport of Calabria. The man, not being able to procure tobacco, cut
off a piece of the cable with which he filled his pipe and drew down the
smoke thereof as if it were the precious weed. He speaks, also, of an
Irishman who falling ill was not allowed his usual pipe of tobacco. He
submitted for some time, but he became so low and so melancholy that he
could take nothing but a little tobacco, which was at last permitted him,
with the result that in a short time he recovered perfect health. ‘I have
known,’ says Rochefort, ‘several persons who, not content with smoking in
the day, went to bed with their pipes in their mouths. Others who have
risen in the night to take tobacco with as much pleasure as they would
have received in drinking Alicant or Greek wine.’ Profligate smokers such
as these deserve no encouragement or sympathy; they rank in the class of
the besotted.

Rarely do we meet with more sympathetic words in favour of the weed than
in Mission’s _Memories of Travels over England_, which he published in
1697. Tobacco-smoking, he says, was commonly practised both by men and
women, particularly in country places. His observations led him to remark
that smoking makes the generality of Englishmen taciturn, thoughtful,
and, alas, melancholy; he adds that the use of tobacco ‘not only breeds
profound theologists, but also begets moral philosophers.’ And in a
sonnet, which bears some resemblance to the verses of George Wither, he
shows us that he had himself imbibed something of the melancholy and
philosophic spirit he speaks of. The lines run as follows:

    Sweet smoking pipe; bright glowing stove,
      Companion still of my retreat,
    Thou dost my gloomy thoughts remove,
      And purge my brain with gentle heat.
    Tobacco, charmer of my mind,
      When like the meteor’s transient gleam,
    Thy substance gone to air, I find,
      I think, alas, my life’s the same!
    What else than lighted dust am I?
      Thou show’st me what my fate will be;
    And when thy sinking ashes die,
      I learn that I must end like thee.

A more robust, nay, hilarious, spirit pervades the utterances of Dr.
Henry Aldrich, Dean of Christchurch, Oxford, who in devotion to the
weed surpassed even Dr. Parr of cloud-compelling fame. The genial don
had found in the pipe a solace for his somewhat fretful temperament; it
disposed him to look upon life with the benevolent composure of a mind
at peace with the world. Indeed, the love he bore his pipe, says his
biographer, Sir John Hawkins, was so excessive as to be an entertaining
topic of discourse in the University. The belief that the Dean and his
pipe were inseparable, led to wagers being laid on the chance of finding
him without it. With the keen wits for fun and mischief, characteristic
of schoolboys, students would now and then warily peer into his sanctum
at early morn or dewy eve, in the hope of settling the disputed point. On
one occasion the doctor, learning the object of their visit at an early
hour in the morning, readily fell in with their humour, and declared to
the foremost boy, that, ‘Your friend has lost. I am not smoking, only
filling my pipe.’ The Dean’s geniality comes out well in his humorous
‘Catch on Tobacco,’ which appeared in his second book of _The Pleasant
Musical Companion_, published in 1687. He tells us that it is ‘to be sung
by four men at the time of smoking their pipes.’ The first verse is as

                Good! good, indeed!
                The herb’s good weed;
    Fill thy pipe, Will, and I prithee, Sam, fill,
    For sure we may smoke and yet sing still;
    For what say the learned? _Vita fumus_,
    ’Tis what you and I, and he and I, and all of us _sumus_.

If the so-called ‘Smoking Concerts’ of to-day were carried out in strict
accordance with the founder’s instructions, each being supplied with the
legitimate materials, the public would then get the amusement implied in
the designation, ‘Smoking Concert.’

Before taking leave of the amiable Dean, it is but just to his memory
to say a word on his higher claims to admiration. It is recorded of
him that he distinguished himself in every branch of divine and human
learning; that he promoted religion and virtue with application and zeal
during his tenure of office at the noble college of Christchurch, much of
whose present lustre and beauty it owes to his efforts. His biographer
ranks him among the greatest masters in the composition of church music;
his anthems number about twenty. Yet, being a man of genial humour, he
found diversion for his leisure moments in the production of pieces of a
lighter description, as, ‘Hark! the bonny Christchurch Bells,’ which at
one time had a great vogue.



The various kinds of tobacco and the sources of supply are exceedingly
numerous. Every country, indeed, has attempted to cultivate the plant
and reap a share of the rich harvest it yields to the planter and to
the government. Special qualities, as of wine, belong to particular
localities, outside of which they cannot, by any skill or coaxing, be
raised. A puzzling example of nature’s fickle moods in the production
of the plant was found a few years ago in Sumatra, where on one side of
a field a leaf was yielded rich in all the qualities delicate smokers
desire, and on the other side, but a few yards off, a very inferior plant
grew. So far as an experienced cultivator could see the conditions were
alike: seed, soil, and culture and aspect were the same. And as is the
case with wines, the crops vary in richness and delicacy of flavour with
the seasons of their growth, so that in some years the yield is of much
greater value than in other years, though tobacco of the ‘Comet year’ has
not yet been proclaimed in commerce. The natural properties of certain
classes of tobacco render them especially suited for cigar-making;
others are best fitted for smoking in pipes, and there are numerous
qualities which are valuable for snuff-making. National tastes and
habits again frequently determine the destination of the weed. Thus,
heavy, full-flavoured cigars and strong pipe-tobacco are in favour in
North America, while in Europe, lighter, and more brisk-burning are
sought after. By far the most valuable tobaccos in the world are grown
in Cuba, and the richest of all is found in the gardens of Vuelta Abajo
in the north-west district; after which come the products of Partidas
and Vuelta Arriba. A large portion of the tobacco is made into cigars
in the island, but considerable quantities are exported to Europe for
mixing with commoner kinds to give Havana flavour to home-made cigars.
Cuba, though no longer the emporium of the tobacco world, still ranks
first among the favoured places of the earth for the finest growths of
the plant. In culture and make-up, in classification and nomenclature
of the different kinds of tobacco, the Queen of the Antilles is, as she
has always been, a model to the tobacco-producing world. Foremost among
her thousand factories stands the Royal and Imperial of La Hondradez.
It occupies a whole square, and is looked upon as one of the sights of
Havana. Before the McKinley tariff cast gloom over the Home industry,
this factory, alone, produced nearly two millions of cigarettes daily;
and the total number of cigars exported in 1889 was about two hundred
and fifty millions. Under the McKinley tariff the exportation of cigars
declined rapidly to about one half this number, with the consequent
loss of employment for factory operatives. On the other hand, however,
the exports of unmanufactured leaf rose in like proportion. The highest
class of Cuban cigars called ‘Vegueras,’ are prepared from the finest
growths of the plant raised in Vuelta Abajo. Here, the plant growing in
its native soil attains its richest perfection. The soil is a light sandy
loam, very rich in potash and lime, and as the heat and humidity are
great it is an ideal site for the tobacco plant. In the preparation this
valuable leaf is never damped with water, as is done with the inferior
kinds, but when it is just half dry it is rolled, and thus the full,
natural and most delicately flavoured qualities are retained. Next come
the ‘Regalias’ which are treated in a similar way; but genuine Havanas
are seldom to be had in Europe. The area in which these plants are grown
is so small that it is physically impossible all the cigars sold under
these names can be real Havana ‘legitimas’; and the price they command
places them beyond the reach of ordinary smokers. So it happens that
the cigars made in Europe from any Cuban tobacco are usually classed as

Of the many different methods of harvesting and preparing the leaves
of the plant for commerce, one of the best is said to be that recently
adopted in Florida. The latest results would seem to justify the sanguine
hopes of the planters that by-and-by they will produce a tobacco in all
essential particulars equal to Havanas. They trust mainly to a new method
of reaping. Instead of waiting, as in the old way, until the whole field
is ripe, they keep a close watch on the crop, and as each leaf becomes
ripe, which a skilled eye readily detects, it is taken from the stalk and
placed with other fully ripened ones in a broad-bottomed basket, or tray,
and carried to the curing-house. Here the leaves are sorted and sized,
strung and hung up in rows and tiers, and when all the field has been
gathered leaf by leaf, and the other operations completed, the steaming
apparatus is brought into action—hot-water pipes leading to evaporating
pans—and the proper degree of heat secured to produce the desired
fermentation. By dint of care in the regulation of the heating apparatus,
so as to secure the proper temperature in the curing rooms, and in the
collection of the leaves undergoing the process of curing at the proper
moment, the delicate aroma considered to be peculiar to the best Cuban
growths is secured in greater perfection than could be attained under the
old method of leaving the gathering until the whole field had ripened.
It is reported from the district that the longer time expended in the
somewhat tedious operation of collecting each leaf separately as it
becomes ripe, is more than compensated by the lessened labour of indoor
work. Then there is the superior texture, colour, weight and richness
over those which the old plan yielded. There still remains, however,
for consideration, the all-important factors of soil and climate, and
whatever else in nature may go towards determining the ultimate fate of
the plant. It is thought that all the favouring conditions are in Florida
harmonized more perfectly than in any other part of the United States.

Housing and curing operations completed, the leaves being quite dry
and crisp, they are loosely tied in bundles (a leaf being used for the
purpose) of about a dozen, called ‘hands,’ and lightly packed together
for the Home market. The tobacco intended for exportation receives much
more care in the packing. Each bundle is placed carefully in a hogshead
or other large receptacle in such a manner as not to injure the leaf
in any way. In some cases the midrib—the fibre which runs through the
leaf—is removed before exportation, an operation which has given rise in
commerce to the designation ‘stripes,’ a term by which large quantities
of tobacco is known in the market. When a hogshead is about one quarter
filled a powerful lever-press is employed to compress and consolidate
the tobacco. This pressing is repeated at each successive stage of the
packing till the whole is a dense and compact mass, weighing from a
thousand to twelve hundred pounds. On arrival at the London Docks, where
immense bonded warehouses extend as far as the eye can reach, unshipment
takes place among some hundreds of other similar imports. Here it remains
until the duty demanded by the Custom House officer is paid. The period
of bondage may last three years, a small rent being charged for the
accommodation. Before releasing it from bond the consignee will unpack
the tobacco for the purpose of ascertaining whether it is perfectly
sound, or has sustained damage in course of transit; for it happens
sometimes that the material is found to be hardly worth the duty imposed.
In this case the consignee is not compelled to release it; it is left
with the Crown officials to make such use of it as they may deem fit. How
they dispose of such tobacco is remarked upon in the chapter headed, ‘The
Use and Abuse of Tobacco.’

In looking over the various sorts of tobacco presented by the
tobacconists to the consumer we need not touch upon the delicate ground
of ‘vested interests.’ It will suffice our present purpose if we notice
merely that from the same hogshead a selection and classification is made
of the leaves according to the shade of colour, and that the lightest
coloured (the mild) ones are reserved for less liquoring and pressure
than is given to the darker coloured leaves. ‘Returns,’ for example, is
the product of the lightest leaves and less pressure. A large quantity
of water used in the process of liquoring has the effect of darkening
the colour and giving strength to the flavour of the tobacco. By extreme
watering and pressure is produced the kind so dear to the sailor called
‘pigtail,’ as well as the less pungent ‘sag,’ of which there are two
sorts, fine and common, the difference consisting of the fineness or
coarseness of the shreds into which the leaf is cut. These and many
other odd circumstances in the manufacture give the different degrees of
strength and flavour sought for by the varying tastes of smokers.

In the opinion of experienced smokers a new cigar is never good; like
wine, the weed requires age to bring it to perfection—the highly prized
excellences, a mild, cool aromatic smoke. Curiously enough, the marks
of a mite on the outer leaf are the true signs of matured years, when
the cigar is fitted to regale the jaded senses and dispose the most
obdurate of men to relax into sociality. But these seductive touches by
an invisible hand are well known to the manufacturer, and are sometimes
artificially produced by means of acid. Fancy or experience has suggested
different kinds of cigars for different seasons of the year, or climates.
The Havana is thought by connoisseurs to be the most agreeable for
summer or hot countries, and for winter or cold climates a principe is
preferred; while the thoughtful and imaginative are assured that there
is no leaf like the Manila. And as regards the Manila there is something
to warrant the suggestion. The tobacco of Luzon when mixed with that of
the Gapanian plantation is considered to make the very perfection of all
cheroots. Its excellences consist in a delicate flavour combined with
a slightly soporific quality: properties which render it so pleasantly
alluring to the imaginative, and which to some smokers suggest the use of
opium in its preparation; this, however, is not so; to the climate and
soil alone are due the grateful pleasures of this most solacing smoke.
There are three different and distinct growths of the tobacco-plant in
the Philippines. A strong, aromatic tobacco is grown in great abundance
in the province of Cagayan in the island of Luzon, and the district of
Gapan in Pampanga produces a leaf of a very mild and agreeable flavour,
while from Bisayas a tobacco much inferior to either is raised. In the
manufacture of the poorer kind it is a common practise to use a leaf
of the best as an envelope wrapped round, in order to impart to it a
better appearance. From the first planting of tobacco in the Philippines
until July, 1881, the entire industry had been in the hands of the
Spanish Government, who visited illicit production with severe pains and
penalties. Yet, notwithstanding the vigilance of the mounted police who
scoured the country districts to strike terror into the lawless, the
natives living far up the mountain glens of Ylocos and Pangasinan, though
leading the roving life of huntsmen, contrived to cultivate patches
of the tobacco-plant, for which they always found a ready sale to the
traders who at the proper season visited the neighbourhood.

Since the monopoly was abolished, private enterprise, stirred by the
wholesome stimulus of competition, has developed and improved the
tobacco industry very considerably, with the help of large numbers of
diligent hard-toiling Chinamen. This important branch of commerce in
Manila provides employment for twenty thousand women and sixteen thousand
men. The men are employed almost wholly in making cigarillos for Home
consumption; while to the women is allotted the more important task of
cheroot-making for exportation. Here the great factories are situated,
each of which affords accommodation for about a thousand work-people. The
men and women work in separate factories; those for the women are divided
into long rooms along the whole length of which are ranged low tables.
At each table a dozen young women are seated, presided over by an old
woman whose duty is to try and maintain order among the girls and see
that there is no waste of material, for to each table a certain quantity
of tobacco is weighed out. If the proportionate number of cigars is not
produced, woe betide the hapless one: on pay day deductions for waste
come into the reckoning.

But however interesting the workers and their work may be, the visitor
seldom cares to prolong his stay where a thousand voices are in full
chatter and stone hammers are incessantly beating, on wooden tables,
leaves of the plant in readiness for the lissom fingers of the girls who
roll them up into cheroot form. These women of weeds earn good wages—from
eight to ten dollars a month—which amply suffices to get them all the
comforts they need and leave a fair margin for dress, of which they are
as proud, if not as prodigal, as the gayest of their European sisters. A
novel use for cigars was found in the Philippines some years ago. Copper
money being very scarce, quite inadequate to the daily requirements,
cigars were passed from one person to another in lieu of coin, to the
small satisfaction of the one in whose hands they had from friction
become unsaleable.

It is noteworthy that even tobacco-leaves, the avowed destroyers of
insect life, should themselves be the prey of some form of the ubiquitous
microbe. Besides the mite just mentioned that speckles the outer leaf
of old cigars, a more ravenous one has been discovered working its will
on Indian cigar-leaf. In a recent issue of _Indian Museum Notes_, Mr.
Cote gives an interesting account of the works and ways of an insect
that drills tiny round holes in tobacco-leaves, so small indeed that
they had escaped observation until the havoc wrought awakened alarm.
The pest tunnels its way through the leaf, irrespective of strength or
flavour, even the Trichinopoli is not beyond its taste. And it multiplies
so rapidly that much valuable leaf is soon rendered worthless for
smoking. Its method of working has suggested the name of weevil. The
Indian tobacco industry, therefore, has now to reckon with a new and
unscrupulous competitor in the form of the ‘cigar weevil.’ It would be a
boon to long-suffering humanity and a triumph for the bacteriologist if
he could manage to set one tribe against another of these evil-doers, to
their mutual destruction. If they are like living things in the natural
world they will have their foes and their struggles for existence. The
old lady’s belief that microbes have pink eyes and ravenous teeth may
not be perfectly accurate, yet judging from their insidious attacks on
unsuspecting mortals we are warranted in assuming that they have other
very effective means of combat. The spectacle of internecine warfare
going on in their little world, as revealed under the microscope, would
afford from its novelty an exhibition worth going miles to see.

The tobacco-plant is not now cultivated in England. James the First
thought it shameful that so pernicious a plant should be permitted to
take root in our rich and fruitful soil, and caused an edict to be issued
prohibiting its cultivation within the British Islands. The King’s
apologists find reason for the prohibition in his Majesty’s concern
for the interests of the young colony of tobacco planters settled in
Virginia. Be this as it may, Adam Smith (Wealth of Nations) on economic
grounds condemns the enactment, saying, ‘Home cultivation of tobacco has
on this account most absurdly been prohibited through the greater part
of Europe which necessarily gives a monopoly to the countries where its
cultivation is allowed.’

To the impoverished treasury of Charles the Second its importation was
made to yield revenue at a rate equivalent to about thirty shillings
a pound weight of our present money, and through the agency of his
ministers enacted in ‘Laws and Regulations concerning Tobacco’ (15 Car.
II. c. 7. 12. Par. II. c. 34.) that, ‘Tobacco is not to be planted in
England on a forfeiture of 40s. for every rood of ground thus planted.’
This restriction however was ‘not to extend to the planting of tobacco
in Physic Gardens, in quantities not exceeding half a pole, and also,
on forfeiture of £10 for every rood of ground.’ These prohibitory
measures remained in force until April 1886, when English farming being
in _in extremis_ the Government granted permission to grow the plant
in the United Kingdom, under certain precautions and restrictions for
the purpose of safe-guarding the revenue. Several land-owners in Kent,
Norfolk and Essex, tried their prentice hand in the new husbandry,
notably, Messrs. James Carter & Company of Bromley, whose first
crop seemed to give fair promise of future success. Their sanguine
expectations however were short-lived. What with hampering restrictions
on the one hand and our fickle climate on the other, it soon became too
apparent that English agriculturists must not look to the Indian weed for
the much needed succour. The crops raised proved to be unmarketable. The
cultivation of the tobacco-plant in these islands is no longer authorized.

The Home manufacture of cigars from foreign leaf however increased by
leaps and bounds, and now affords remunerative employment for many
thousands of work-people in London alone. There are also large tobacco
factories in the chief seats of industry and commerce throughout the
kingdom. This is due in great measure to the heavy tax levied upon
foreign made cigars imported into this country, namely, six shillings on
every pound weight—_i.e._, double the sum charged on tobacco in the leaf.
This great difference would seem to afford the unscrupulous an incentive
to fabricate spurious high-priced cigars under foreign names. Looked at
in this light it may be a question worth the consideration of the Board
of Customs whether or not it would be well to lessen the difference
between the two rates of duty—to raise the one and lower the other—with
advantage to both the consumer and the revenue.

Our gossip about the Indian weed may now be brought to a close with a
few words about its co-partner, the pipe. For even tobacco-pipes, like
all other products of men’s ingenuity, awaken interest all the more
engrossing when little else remains to tell the story of those who made
them and used them. They carry the imagination back to those shadowy
palaces of the Incas and Aztecs, where equally shadowy potentates
smoked out of pipes made of precious metals, or of highly polished and
richly-gilt wood. Pipes indeed, present features highly interesting to
a much larger class than to professed ethnologists. The wide region
over which they are found, buried in mounds and tumuli extending from
the north-west coast of America to the plains of Patagonia, tell us
how universal was the habit of smoking on that vast continent; while
similarity of structure suggests a common origin. Curious specimens
have been found in the States of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Iowa, and in
the great Mississippi valley, varying from the simplest forms made out
of baked clay with a plain cylinder or urn, to others of a class, very
uniform in type, cut out of porphyry in a single piece. These latter have
a slightly convey base measuring about four inches in length, and one
inch broad, with the bowl on the centre. A fine hole pierces the pipe
from end to end of the base to the bottom of the bowl, the opposite end
being obviously designed for the smoker to hold in the hand. Others are
remarkable for a fine display of artistic skill in the carving of birds,
mammals, reptiles and human heads, often fanciful and grotesque, but
always vigorously expressed. In Mexico elaborately moulded and ornamented
pipes have been found, along with others of a type almost identical with
our common clay pipe. And in British Columbia pipes are occasionally
met with in the possession of the native Indians, moulded and carved by
themselves in almost every variety of fantastic form, and with tracery
that would do no discredit to modern art. These are for the most part
made of blue slate-clay, and have intricate pierced work carried through
the tube. In old Indian grave-mounds Messrs. Squier & Davis, in the
course of their explorations in 1846-7, found pipes cut into the form
of human heads, the features on which were singularly truthful and
expressive; and what was still more remarkable was their strikingly
Mongolian type, a circumstance which lends support to the hypothesis that
in the remote past the American continent was peopled from the eastern
part of Asia. Some of the pipes found in these mounds represented animals
peculiar to the lower latitudes. On one pipe the otter is shown in the
attitude of holding a fish in its mouth: on another the heron has seized
a fish; the hawk is grasping a small bird, and with its beak is in the
act of tearing it to pieces. Almost every bird and animal common to the
country is found boldly carved on the pipes of the aborigines of America.

The material for pipes mostly sought after by the natives is the
beautiful and easily wrought red sandstone of the Coteau des Prairies.
The calumet, which plays an important part in their civil and religious
observances, is made from this source, chiefly on account of the legend
respecting its origin and the origin of smoking, mentioned in the first
chapter. One can hardly help seeing in the handiwork shown in the make
of these curious smoking instruments points of contact with the social
condition and intelligence of the makers. From the short nostril tube of
the Caribs to the feathered peace-pipe of the continental tribes is an
advancement in the social scale, such as we see in the difference between
the hole in the ground for a bowl made by natives of central India,
who use a leaf for a tube, and the richly adorned chibouk of the Turk.
This view affords us a glimpse of primitive man struggling to adapt his
surroundings to his needs, according to the degree of intelligence to
which he has attained.

The ordinary pipe so extensively used in England is made from white
clay, found chiefly at Purbeck, in Dorsetshire, and Newton Abbot, in
Devonshire. But, in recent years, the heath briar-root of France for
pipes has come largely into use. Perhaps no material for pipe bowls
stands in higher favour than meerschaum—a fine, white clay consisting
chiefly of magnesia, silica and water. The best kinds are found in pits
in the Crimea and along the peninsula of Heracleati in Asia Minor. It
is soft and porous: the finest specimens are almost transparent. When
first taken out of the pits it makes lather like soap-suds. The workmen
employed in digging it up say that if left for long lying about it
forms itself into froth. Thus the foam of the sea of past ages, driven
by the winds into sheltered cavities and hollow places of the earth,
comes at last to render service to St Nicotine; and in our meditative
moods is brought vividly before the mind the fabled birth of the goddess
of love, laughter and beauty. According to the old Greek myth it was
just off the coast of Paphos (Cyprus) that Aphrodite arose from amid
sea-foam that covered the mutilated body of old, sleepy, Uranus, who in
a drowsy moment had rolled down the cliff into the sea. Springing thus
into being she was seen by the three daughters of Zeus (the seasons) who
carried her to Olympus, and all the gods admired her for her beauty.
There are connoisseurs who fancy that the meerschaum pipes coming
from this region impart to the tobacco a peculiarly delicate flavour.
Constantinople is the great mart for the sale of meerschaum, as Vienna is
for its manufacture into pipes. The material is so extremely difficult
to manipulate that the uncertainty attending its successful manufacture
gives a high value to the better kinds. The meerschaum is soaked in water
for twenty-four hours and then turned in a lathe. In this process the
clay often proves to be too porous, and is on this account rejected: this
will happen as many as seven times out of ten.


[1] On the title-page is a picture of a bi-forked hill with a tall
Virginian tobacco plant growing in the cleft. A scroll bears the motto,
_Digna Parnasso et Apolline_. There is an excellent copy of the work in
the long-room of the British Museum.

[2] In 1904 the maximum limit of moisture was fixed at 32 per cent. The
moisture naturally present in the kinds now imported averages 14 per cent.

[3] Possibly hebenon is here employed for henbane, a name sometimes
applied to tobacco by writers in Jacobean times. William Strachey, in his
Historie of _Travaile into Virginia Britannica_ (1610), speaks of the
tobacco-plant as ‘like to henbane.’ John Gerard in his description of the
plant calls it ‘henbane of Peru.’ French writers of the same period had
an unlimited vocabulary for tobacco, and among their names for it may be
found ‘Peruvian henbane’ (_jusquiame de Peru_). If this view be admitted,
then we have in ‘hebenon’ the only reference to tobacco the whole of
Shakespeare’s works contain.

[4] _Japan and her People._ By Andrew Steinmetz, 1860.

[5] Adams died full of honours in 1620, and was buried on the summit of a
little hill at the end of an inlet called Goldsborough.

[6] _Stirpium Adversaria Nova._ Dedicated to Queen Elizabeth, by Mathias
de L’Obel, Botanist, London, 1571. Another edition was published at
Antwerp in 1576.

[7] The Queen could not brook the least defection of a courtier from
absolute devotion to herself.

[8] “The Witches’ Frolic,” _Ingoldsby Legends_.

[9] This work first appeared anonymously in 1604, and it is doubtful
if an original copy is extant. Dr. Richard Garnett courteously informs
the writer of these lines that there is not one in the British Museum.
Professor Arber, however, has preserved a copy of it in his English
Reprints. Arber says, ‘How early its royal authorship was avowed I
know not, but it was generally known long before its insertion in the
collected edition of the King’s works’ in (1616).

Since the above was written Mr. Thomas Arnold, of Hong-Kong, has informed
the author that he possesses a copy—the only one extant—of the original
edition, supplied to him by the late Mr. Bernard Quaritch, of Piccadilly.

[10] It is difficult to speak of James I. in measured terms. The reader
is referred to Sir Anthony Weldon’s _Court and Character of King James_
(Smeeton’s reprint, 1817). Raumer, ii. p. 200, says of James: ‘He was a
slave to vices which could not fail to make him an object of disgust.’
Also, Winwood’s _Memorials_.

[11] Published at Antwerp, 1659, and translated by I.R. Dedicated to the
Merchants and Planters of Tobacco.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "St Nicotine - Or The Peace Pipe" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.