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Title: The Seven Sisters of Sleep
Author: Cooke, M. C. (Mordecai Cubitt)
Language: English
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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.

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Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected. Variations
in hyphenation and accents have been standardised but all other
spelling and punctuation remains unchanged.

Footnotes are located at the end of the book.

Italics are represented thus _italic_, bold thus =bold=, spaced thus
+spaced+ and superscript thus a^x.

[Illustration: Japanese smokers.]


                             SEVEN SISTERS



                        NARCOTICS OF THE WORLD.


                             M. C. COOKE,


                  “‘How many are you, then?’ said I.
                      ‘O Master, we are seven.’”

                    “To re-create for man, whate’er
                        Was lost in Paradise.”
                                    SOUTHEY’S THALABA.


               [_The right of Translation is reserved._]


                        AND TO ALL ABSTAINERS,
                     +VOLUNTARY AND INVOLUNTARY+——

                        OF THE SEDUCTIVE DRUG——

                     IN WHATEVER FORM THEY CHOOSE+
                     TO WOO THE SPIRIT OF DREAMS——


                     FROM THE BASE TO THE SUMMIT+
                      OF THE MIGHTY CORDILLERAS——

                       HIGHLANDER, OR LOWLANDER—

                    +TO ALL SWALLOWERS OF AMANITA+,

                      +THESE PAGES COME GREETING+
                         WITH THE BEST WISHES
                      OF THEIR OBEDIENT SERVANT,

                                                          _The Author_.


“A certain miller was much annoyed by a goblin, who used to come and set
his mill at work at night when there was no grain to be ground, greatly
to the danger of the machinery, so he desired a person to watch. This
person, however, always fell asleep, but once woke up from a nap time
enough to see the mill in full operation, a blazing fire, and the
goblin himself, a huge hairy being, sitting by the side thereof. ‘Fat’s
yer name?’ said the Highlander. ‘Ourisk,’ said the unwelcome guest;
‘and what is yours?’ ‘Myself,’ was the reply; ‘her nain-sell.’ The
goblin now went quietly to sleep, and the Highlander, taking a shovel
of hot coals, flung them into the hairy lap of the goblin, who was
instantly in a blaze. Out ran the monster to his companions, making
as much noise as he could. ‘Well,’ said they, ‘who set you on fire?’
‘Myself,’ said the unlucky monster. ‘Well, then, you must put it out
yourself,’ was the consoling rejoinder.”

Some of my readers may arrive at the conclusion, that I, like the
Ourisk, have trespassed upon other people’s property, and ground my
corn at their mill. Let it not be assumed, on my account, inasmuch
as I do not myself make that assumption, that I have journeyed from
Cornhill to Cathay, in search of those who habituate themselves to
the indulgences herein set forth. Others have laboured, and I have
eaten of the fruits of their labours. Travellers numberless have
contributed to furnish my table, in some instances, without even
thanks for their pains. This is the way of the world, and I am not
a whit better than my neighbours. Let it, therefore, be understood,
that I make no pretensions to aught beyond the form in which these
numerous contributions are now presented to the reader. The tedium of
wading through volume after volume in search of information on these
subjects has been performed for him, and compacted together into a
pocket companion, saving, thereby, to him, a large amount of trouble,
and a small amount of vexation. Private correspondence has furnished
a portion of the information. Those who may recognise my own poaching
pranks upon their domains may throw coals of fire upon my lap, and
leave “Myself” to extinguish the flame.

Herein the reader will find only a popular history of the most
important Narcotics indulged in, and the customs connected with that
indulgence. Mere statistical details have as much as possible been
avoided, and those calculated to interest the more matter-of-fact
reader added in a tabulated form, as an appendix. The majority of these
tables have been compiled from official documents, trade circulars, or
commercial returns, and care has been taken to render them correct up
to the period of their dates. In this department I am largely indebted
to the valuable assistance of P. L. Simmonds, Esq., F.S.S., to whom I
thus tender my thanks.

Those who are desirous of seeing specimens of the narcotics named in
the following pages, can visit either the Museum of the Royal Botanic
Gardens at Kew, the East India House Museum, the Food Department in the
gallery of the South Kensington Museum, or the Industrial Museum in
the gallery of the central transept of the Crystal Palace, in each of
which they will meet with some of the articles named, though in none of
them will they discover all. In the former two are illustrations of the
opium manufacture, and at Kensington an interesting series of tobaccos,
and other articles connected with the indulgence therein, and also with
opium-smoking in China, together with some of the tobacco substitutes
and sophistications. None of these collections are so complete as they
might be. Public museums of this kind have every facility for doing
more to instruct the public on the common things of every-day life: why
they do not accomplish this, is as much a fault, perhaps, of the public
as of themselves. There are hopes, however, to be entertained that
one, at least, of these institutions will exhibit, in a complete and
collected form, the principal narcotics and their substitutes.

Why I should have chosen such a title for my volume, and wherefore
invested it with a legend, is matter of little importance. It was a
fancy of my own, and if any think fit to quarrel with it, they may do
so, without disturbing my peace of mind. The reply of the Ourisk to his
companions, as to who set him on fire, was, “Myself.”

Parents seldom baptize their children with a name pleasing to all their
friends and relatives, yet the child manages to get through the world
with it, and—dies at last.

  M. C. C.



 CHAPTER I.—SOMEWHAT FABULOUS.                                      PAGE

 The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus; Legend of the Seven Sisters of Sleep;
 Laureates of Sleep; Necessity of Sleep; Pleasures of Sleep; Sanctity
 of Sleep; The “Last Sleep of Argyle;” Death of Sleeping Duncan;
 Desdemona and Othello; Drowsiness, fatal alike to Devotion and
 Instruction                                                           1


 Hemp amongst the Scythians; Intoxicating vapours of the Massagetæ; the
 _Nepenthes_ of Homer; the Secret of Egyptian Thebes; The Poppy of the
 Ancients; Secret Poisoning of Aratus of Sicyon; The Acts of Locusta;
 Death of Britannicus; The Delphic Oracle; Arabian Nights; Another
 Nepenthes; Antony’s Retreat; Retreat of the Ten Thousand; Something
 unknown                                                              10


 Legendary origin of Tobacco; Use in Hispaniola; Names for Tobacco;
 First Discovery by Europeans; Introduction into France, Tuscany, Spain
 and Portugal, England; Complaints against it; Smoking taught to the
 Dutch; Studenten Kneipe; Tobacco in the East; Progress in England;
 Opposition by James I. and other monarchs in Russia, Italy, Persia,
 Turkey, Tuscany, &c.; Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth; Lovers of Tobacco;
 The Distribution of the Tobacco Plant; Consumption of Tobacco; Curious
 use of the Flowers; Tobacco Poison; Antidote to Arsenic; Finance
 questions; Religious prohibitions; King James’s “Counterblaste.”     19


 A Premier; Lord Mayor Staines; Smoking the Plague; A First Cigar;
 Infant Smokers at Vizagapatam; Burmah; Female Smokers in China;
 Smokers in Persia, Siam, Japan, Nicaragua, on the Amazon, in New
 Guinea, Havana, Manilla; The Binua of Johore; Signor Calistro’s Story;
 Cigars on the Orinoco; In Chili; The Court of Montezuma; Panama
 Smokeblowers; Rocky Mountain Indians; Salvation Yeo; Yemen Smokers;
 Smoking in Austria; Turkish Cloudland; Defeat of Napoleon; Curious
 Legend; Old Epigram; Cost of Puffing; Yankee Calculations; Smoking in
 New York; Cigar-making in the States                                 38


 Philosophy in a pipe; St. Omer pipes; English pipes; Curious Indian
 pipe; Turkish bowls; Meerschaum; Massa bowls; Amber mouth-pieces;
 Origin of amber; Modern Egyptian pipes; The Shibuk; The Nargeeleh; The
 Gozeh; Egoodu of the Zulus; Hubble-bubble of the Delagoans; Kaffir
 bowls; Sailors’ pipes; Bamboo pipes; Winna of British Guiana; Shell
 pipes; Chinese pipes; Metallic pipes; Ode to a Tobacco-pipe; Red
 pipe-stone quarry; Stone pipes of Rocky Mountains; The “Calumet;”
 The Sultan’s pipe-bearer; Wooden pipes; Modern pipeology; Pipes in
 Australia                                                            58


 The Franciscan of Sterne; Etymology of Snuff; Pouncet-boxes; The
 “Niopo” of the Ottomacs; The “Curupa” of the Omaguas; Snuffing in
 Iceland; Zulu Calabashes; Early Snuff-taking Apparatus; Origin of the
 “Mull;” Magnificent Mull; Mongrabin Cases; Strong Snuff of the Sahara;
 Plugging and Quidding; Snuff-taking Estimates; Snuff dipping; Death
 in the Box; Adulterated Snuff; Snuff Scents; Substitutes for Snuff;
 Lead Poison; Advice Gratis; Gold Snuff-boxes; Amber Snuff-boxes;
 Boxes of Hard-shelled Seeds; Chinese Flasks; Chinese Snuffing; A
 Snuff-stick; Birch-bark Boxes; Scotch Snuff-boxes; Introduction of
 Snuffing; Varieties of Snuff; Hardham’s 37; Gossip on Sneezing;
 Pseudo-philosophy of a Sneeze                                        73


 Eccentricities of Taste; Miles of Pig-tail; Tobacco and Tea
 Calculations; Chewing Ladies of Paraguay; Tchuktchi Chewers; Tobacco
 and Natron Quids; Taking the “Bucca;” Chewing Snuff; Quidding in
 Washington; Dignified Proceedings in the Senate House; The Kou of the
 Hottentots; Angelica Root; Chewing Dulse; A Quidding Monkey          94


 Adulterated Tobacco; Substitutes; Coltsfoot; Milfoil; Rhubarb;
 Bogbean; Sage; Mountain Tobacco; Cossena; Sumach; Bearberry; Maize
 Husks; Pimento; Cascarilla Bark; Polygonum; Dagga; Wild Dagga; Culen;
 Purphiok; Rope-smoking Chaplain; Farewell to Tobacco                104


 What is Opium? Indian Cultivation; The Nushtur; Cutting the Capsules;
 Collecting the Juice; Use of the Refuse; Post; Boosa; Poppy Trash;
 Pussewah and Lewah; Different Forms of Preparation; Chandu; Its
 Preparation in Singapore; Singular Workman; Adulterations; Tye and
 Samshing; Egyptian Conserves; Cordials; Modes of taking Opium; Immense
 Doses; Opium in the “Fen Country;” The Crow and the Pigeon; Estimate
 of Opium Consumption                                                114


 Paradise of the Moslems; Siamese Opium-pipes; Chinese Opium-pipe;
 Smoking the Drug; Its Effects; An Old Malay; Opium Experiences; Dr.
 Madden’s Trial; The Habit in China; Dr. Medhurst’s Report; Victims
 at Shanghae; Percentage of Smokers; Amongst the Shikhs; Influence on
 those engaged in its preparation; Chinese petition; Results in China;
 Opium-eating poultry                                                132


 Mahomet’s Ascent into Heaven; Mental Effects of Opium; An
 Opium-eater’s Reverie; At the Opera; Peeping into the Stores at
 Hong-Kong; Opium-shops; Papan Mera; Stores in Singapore; Opium in
 China; Remarks of M. Abbé Huc                                       149


 Running _amok_ in Java—in Singapore—in Batavia; Pains of opium;
 Piranesi’s dream; Confessions of crocodile visions; Horrible dreams;
 Fever phantasmagoria of “Alton Locke;” A fable; Chinese opium-smoker;
 Mustapha Shatoor; The Theriakis; Heu Naetse’s opinion; Experiences of
 a surgeon at Penang; Testimonies of Abbé Huc; Ho King Shan; Oppenheim;
 Dr. Madden; Dr. Oxley; Dr. Little; Opium and Insurance; Another side
 of the question                                                     163


 Examination of Criminals at Singapore; Income and expenditure;
 Opium-Smoking and crime; Examination of transports; Drunkenness
 compared with opium-smoking; De Quincey’s comparison; Abuse of
 opium the source of poverty; The diseased poor of Singapore; Their
 consumption of opium; Cooly smokers; Difficulty of discarding the
 habit of opium-smoking; Opinion of Dr. Eatwell                      181


 Preparations of opium; History of lettuce; Lactucarium; Narcotic
 effects of Lettuce; Lacticiferous plants; Dutchman’s laudanum;
 Syrian rue; Sterculia seeds; Beah leaves; Adulterations; Imitation
 opium-balls                                                         199


 Influence of climate on plants; Native home of hemp; Properties of
 hemp-seed; Distribution of hemp; Scythian hemp; Antiquity of hemp;
 Churrus, or hemp resin; Momeca; Gunjah; Bang, or Guaza; Majoon;
 Haschisch; Dawamese; Hashasheens and Assassins; Berch; Dacha; Hemp in
 India—in Egypt; Use of Stimulants                                   212


 “At home;” Influence of hemp extract; Intoxication; Annihilation of
 time; Happiness; M. de Saulcey’s trial; Extraordinary delusions;
 History of Genii; The Sheykh’s jinnee; Mr. Lane’s cook and the efreet;
 The captain’s sheep; Mansour’s jinnee; Experiments; The impromptu
 mjah; The fosterer of superstition amongst the Arabs                230


 Dakka smoking at Ambriz; Bushmen smokers; Curious method of the
 Bechuanas; Egoodu of the Zulus; Snuffling hemp; Hubble-Bubble of the
 Delagoans; Haschishans of Constantine; Gunjah in India; Predilection
 of “Young America” for Bang                                         250


 The Malayan race; Areca palm; Qualities of nuts; Produce of trees;
 Annual production; Preparation; How used; Local names; Chinese
 consumption; Cinghalese instruments; Confirmed habits; Estimates of
 consumption; The palm in Sumatra; Substitutes in the Philippines—in
 Ceylon; Poetical votaries                                           257


 The betel peppers; Their cultivation; _Chenai_ of Penang; Polynesian
 ava; Chewing cava at Tongataboo; Pipula moola; Gambir preparation;
 “Kutt,” or cutch; Story of an Indian “kutt” maker; Areca cutch;
 Statistics of the catechu and gambir trade                          267


 In Burmah; The Manilla doctor; Yankee adventure; Teeth colouring
 properties; Custom in Sumatra; Betel-stand of the Sultan of Moco-moco;
 Of the Sultan of Sooloo; Betel a corrective of over-doses of opium;
 Tagali maidens; A Tagal wedding; Making the buyos; Mahomedan
 abstinence; Offer to Lady Raffles                                   277


 Coca under the Incas; Origin of the name; Early history; The coca
 shrub; The harvest; Estimated production; Estimated consumption and
 consumers; Spanish protection; Method of using the coca; How to
 enjoy it; Stimulating effects; Coca tea-parties; Confirmed coqueros;
 The virtues of coca; The vices of coca; Power of allaying hunger;
 Questionable nutritive properties; Devotion of Peruvians to it;
 Narcotic rhododendrons                                              285


 Lime-eating at Paria; Among the Guajiros; White mud of the River
 Mackenzie; Edible clay of the Guanos and Ottomacs; Of Banco; Caouac
 of Western Africa; Tanaampo and ampo of Java; Edible stone of New
 Caledonia; Lime at Popayan; Leche de llanka of Quito; Russian stone
 butter; Steinbutter and bergbutter of Germany; Bergmehl of Sweden;
 Fossil infusoria; MM. Cloquet and Breschet’s experiments; Bucaro clay
 of Portugal and Spain; Pahsa of La Paz; Chaco of Chiquisaca; Red earth
 of Sikkim                                                           304


 Wherein metals are precious; Cumulative action of mineral poisons; Use
 of corrosive sublimate; Arsenic eaters of Styria; in Canada; Benefits
 claimed for it; Arseniated tobacco of China; Effects of Arsenic; Uses
 of Arsenic at home                                                  314


 Solanaceous plants and their properties; The thorn-apple of India; The
 Florispondio of Peru; Its superstitious uses; Indulgence therein in
 New Granada; Effects of thorn-apple on the Jamaica soldiers; Origin of
 Belladonna; Its effects as a poison; Influence on the brain; A family
 beneath the spell; Henbane and its effects; Jealousy caused and cured;
 Foxglove leaves                                                     323


 Kamtschatdale prospects; Poisonous fungi; The amanita-eater in
 Russia; Fatal effects of amanita; Description; Preparation of the
 fungus; Method of indulging therein; Effects produced; Its singular
 properties; “Sucking the monkey;” Narcotic symptoms of poisonous
 fungi; Narcotism of puff-ball                                       336


 Gathering the crumbs; Smoke vision of life; The Canadian herb; Legend
 of St. Betsy; Two Ottoman swains; Story of Abou Gallioun; Chinese
 designations; Smoke doth follow the fairest; The broken pipe of
 Saladin; Clerical authority; The Angel of Sleep and the Angel of Death


 Tables of chronology of tobacco; Of consumption of tobacco; Duties on
 importation of tobacco; Profits of the French Regie; Consumption of
 tobacco in Britain; Consumption of tobacco in the Austrian Empire;
 Exports from the United States in 1855; Disposition of the growth of
 the United States in 1840 and 1850; Exports from America in decennial
 periods; Analysis of tobacco; Return of opium exports; Income of East
 India Company from opium monopoly; Opium statistics of Great Britain;
 Analysis of opium; Prisoners sentenced to the House of Correction, and
 their opium habits; Opium consumed in the Singapore Hospital; Reports
 of opium smoking in China; Professor Johnston’s estimates; Synopsis of
 narcotics with their substitutes                                    357




  “Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
  Beloved from pole to pole.”——COLERIDGE.

During the Decian persecution, seven inhabitants of Ephesus retired to
a cave, six were persons of some consequence, the seventh was their
servant; from hence they despatched the attendant occasionally to
purchase food for them. Decius, who like most tyrants possessed long
ears, hearing of this, ordered the mouth of the cave to be stopped up
while the fugitives were sleeping. After a lapse of some hundred years,
a part of the masonry at the mouth of the cave falling, the light
flowing in awakened them. Thinking, as Rip Van Winkle also thought,
that they had enjoyed a good night’s rest, they despatched their
servant to buy provisions. All appeared to him strange in Ephesus; and
a whimsical dialogue took place, the citizens accusing him of having
found hidden treasure, he persisting that he offered the current coin
of the realm. At length, the attention of the emperor was excited, and
he went, in company with the bishop, to visit them. They related their
story, and shortly after expired.

Thus much chroniclers narrate of the seven sleepers of Ephesus. All are
not agreed as to the place where this extraordinary event occurred.
It has been assigned also to the “mountain of the seven sleepers,”
near Tersous. It may have been claimed by the citizens of twenty other
ancient cities, for aught we can tell: Faith removes mountains. But
the number remains intact. Mahomet wrote of seven heavens—no Mahometan
takes the trouble to believe in less. The “wise men were but seven;”
there were seven poets of the age of Theocritus; seven of the daughters
of Pleione elevated to the back of Taurus; and

  “There were seven pillars of gothic mould,
  In Chillon’s dungeon, dark and old;”

and wherefore not _seven_ sleepers at Ephesus or Tersous; or seven
sisters of

  “Nature’s sweet restorer, balmy sleep?”

Although not to be found in Livy, or Hesiod, or Ovid, or any of the
fathers of history or fable, there is a legend of the latter _seven_,
which may be considered in the light of an abstract of title of certain
seven sisters, to be included in the list of immortal sevens who have
honoured the earth by making it their abode.

It is many thousands of years since Sleep received from her parent, as
a dowry of love, an empire, unequalled in extent by any other which
the earth ever acknowledged. Her domain embraced “the round world,
and they that dwell therein.” From pole to pole, and from ocean to
ocean, she swayed her sceptre. And it was assigned her that man should
devote one-third of his existence in paying homage at the foot of her
throne. All monarchs from Ninus to Napoleon have done her honour. All
ladies from Rhodope to Cleopatra, and from Helen to Clothilde, have
admitted her claim to ascendency. And all serfs, and all captives,
from Epictetus to Abd-el-Kader, have forgotten their bonds and their
captivity, and bowed, on an equality with kings, beneath her nod.

Sleep had seven sisters. Envious of her throne, and jealous of her
power, they complained bitterly that no heritage, and no government,
and no homage was theirs. Then they strove to deceive men, and
counterfeit the blessings which Sleep conferred, and thus to steal the
affections of her subjects from the universal monarch, and transfer
them to themselves. Herein they toiled and invented many strange
devices; and though they beguiled many, these all fell back again to
the allegiance they had sworn of old.

“O my sisters!” said Sleep, “wherefore do you strive to instil
discontent into the hearts of my subjects and breed discord in my
dominions? Know ye not, that all mortals must fain obey me, or
die? Your enchantments cannot diminish my votaries, and only serve
to increase my power. And men, who for a while are cheated of the
blessings I confer, woo me at last with increased ardour, and with
songs of gratitude fall at my feet.”

Morphina first replied—

“We know full well, proud sister, how wide is your empire, and how
great your power, but we too must reign, and our kingdoms will soon
compare with yours. Let us but share with you in ruling the world, or
we will rule it for ourselves.”

“Sisters! let us be at peace with each other. Is there not two-thirds
of the life of man free from my control? Why should you not steal from
iron-handed care enough of power to make you queens as potent, or
little less than me? My minister of dreams shall aid you by his skill,
and visions more gorgeous, and illusions more splendid, than ever
visited a mortal beneath my sway, shall attend the ecstacies of your

The sisters were reconciled henceforth. And anon thousands and millions
of Tartar tribes and Mongolian hordes welcomed Morphina, and blessed
her for her soothing charms and benignant rule—blessed her for her
theft from the hours of sorrow and care—blessed her for the marvels of
dreams the most extravagant, and visions the most gorgeous that ever
arose in the brain of dweller in the glowing East.

More extended became the sway of the golden-haired Virginia, until
four-fifths of the race of mortals burned incense upon her altars,
or silently proffered thank-offerings from their hearts. Curling
ever upwards from the hearth of the Briton and the forest of the
Brazilian—from the palaces of Ispahan and the wigwams of the
Missouri—from the slopes of the eternal hills and the bosom of the
mighty deep, arose the fragrant odours of her votaries, mingled with
the hum of pæans in her praise.

Beneath the shadow of palms, in the sultry regions of the sun, the dark
impetuous Gunja held her court. There did the sons of the Ganges and
the Nile, the Indus and the Niger, own her sovereignty; and there did
the swarthy Hindoo and the ebon African hold festivals in her honour.
And, though the hardy Norseman scorned her proffered offices, she
established her throne in millions of ardent and affectionate hearts.

Not far away, the red-lipped Siraboa raised her graceful standard from
the summit of a feathery palm; and the islanders of the Archipelago, in
proa and canoe, hastened to do her homage. The murderous Malay stayed
his uplifted weapon, to bless her name; and savage races, that ne’er
bowed before, fell prostrate at her feet.

Honoured by the Incas, and flattered by priests—persecuted by Spanish
conquerors, but victorious, Erythroxylina established herself in the
Bolivian Andes and the Cordilleras of Peru. With subjects the most
devoted and faithful, she has for ages received the homage of a kingdom
of enthusiastic devotees.

Two, less favoured, less beautiful, and less successful of the sisters,
pouting and repining at the good fortune that had attended the others,
secluded themselves from the rest of the world, and rushed into
voluntary exile. Datura, ruddy as Bellona, fled to the Northern Andes;
and in those mountainous solitudes collected a devoted few of frantic
followers, and established a miniature court. The pale and dwarfish
Amanita, turning her back on sunny lands and glowing skies, sought and
found a home and a refuge, a kingdom and a court, in the frozen wastes
of Siberia.

And now in peace the sisters reign, and the world is divided between
them. When care, or woe, or wan disease, steals for a time the mortal
from his allegiance to the calm and blue-eyed Sleep, then do the
sisters ply their magic arts to win him back again, and, by their
soothing influence, lull him to rest once more, and again unlock the
portals of the palace of dreams; then issues from the trembling lips
the half-heard murmur of a whispered blessing on the


In all times Sleep has been a fertile theme with poets—one on which
the best and worst has been written. All forms in heaven and in earth
have submitted themselves to become similes; and columns of adjectives
have done duty in the service since Edmund Spenser raised his House of
Sleep, where

                      “careless Quiet lyes,
  Wrapt in eternal silence, farre from enimyes.”

No monarch has numbered so many odes in his praise, or had so many
poet laureates “all for love.” These, though not so long, are quite as
worthy as the one we heard when George III. was no longer king. Perhaps
that same little tyrant, LOVE, has come in for even a larger share
of what some would call “twaddle.” In the sunny morn of youth, these
hung upon our lips, and dwelt in our hearts, with less of doubt than
disturbs their present repose. Old age makes us sleepy, and we sing—

  “O magic sleep! O comfortable bird,
  That broodest o’er the troubled sea of the mind
  Till it is hushed and smooth! O unconfined
  Restraint, imprisoned liberty, great key
  To golden palaces, strange minstrelsy,
  Fountains grotesque, new trees, bespangled caves,
  Echoing grottoes, full of tumbling waves
  And moonlight; aye, to all the mazy world
  Of silvery enchantments!”——_Endymion._

“God gave sleep to the bad,” said Sadi, “in order that the good
might be undisturbed.” Yet to good and bad sleep is alike necessary.
During the hours of wakefulness the active brain exerts its powers
without cessation or rest, and during sleep the expenditure of power
is balanced again by repose. The physical energies are exhausted by
labour, as by wakefulness are those of the mind; and if sleep comes not
to reinvigorate the mental powers, the overtaxed brain gives way, and
lapses into melancholy and madness. Men deprived of rest, as a sentence
of death, have gone from the world raving maniacs; and violent emotions
of the mind, without repose, have so acted upon the body, that, as in
the case of Marie Antoinette, Ludovico Sforza, and others, their hair
has grown white in a single night—

  “As men’s have grown from sudden fears.”[2]

Mind and body alike suffer from the want of sleep, the spirit is
broken, and the fire of the ardent imagination quenched. Who can wonder
that when disease or pain has racked and tortured the frame, and
prevented a subsidence into a state so natural and necessary to man, he
should have resorted to the aid of drugs and potions, whereby to lull
his pains, and dispel the care which has banished repose, and woo back

                “the certain knot of peace,
    The baiting place of wit, the balm of woe;
  The poor man’s wealth, the prisoner’s release,
    Th’ indifferent judge between the high and low.”

Leigh Hunt has well said, “It is a delicious moment that of being well
nestled in bed, and feeling that you shall drop gently to sleep. The
good is to come, not past; the limbs have just been tired enough to
render this remaining in one posture delightful; the labour of the
day is gone—a gentle failure of the perceptions creeps over you—the
spirit of consciousness disengages itself once more, and with slow
and hushing degrees, like a mother detaching her hand from that of a
sleeping child, the mind seems to have a balmy lid closing over it,
like the eye—it is closed—the mysterious spirit has gone to take its
airy rounds.”

It is this universal sense of the blessing of sleep which takes hold
of the mind with such a religious feeling, that the appearance of
a sleeping form, whether of childhood or age, checks our step, and
causes us to breathe softly lest we disturb their repose. We can scarce
forbear whispering, while standing before the well-known picture of the
“Last Sleep of Argyle,” lest by louder or more distinct articulation,
we should rob the poor old man of a moment of that absence of sorrow
which sleep has brought to him for the last time.

Shakespeare has made the murder of Duncan to seem the more revolting in
that it was committed while he slept. Macbeth himself must have felt
this while exclaiming—

  “Methought I heard a voice cry, ‘Sleep no more!
  Macbeth does murther sleep, the innocent sleep;
  Sleep, that knits up the ravelled sleave of care,
  The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
  Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
  Chief nourisher in life’s feast.’”

Had Desdemona been sent to her last account at once, when her lord
entered the room and kissed her as she slept, we feel that all our
pity for the jealous Moor would have been turned to hate, and
our detestation of him been so great that no room had been left
for execration of the villanous Iago, who _now_ seems to be the
Mephistopheles, the evil genius, of the work.

“A blessing,” says Sancho Panza, “on him who first invented sleep;
it wraps a man all round like a cloak.” But neither Sancho nor any
one else will give us a blessing if we suffer ourselves to go to
sleep in thinking over it, at the very threshold of our enterprise,
and before indulging in communion with the seven sisters of whom we
have spoken. It was a trite remark of a divine that “where drowsiness
begins, devotion ends,” and needs application as much to book writers
as to sermon preachers. Although we may not have the power to check an
occasional yawn, in which there may be as much temporal relief as in a
good sneeze, let us avoid the premonitory sinking of the upper eyelids,
by calling in the aid of Francesco Berni to release us from the spell
of sleep, and introduce us to “the sisters” of the olden time.

  “Quella diceva ch’era la piu bella
      Arte, il piu bel mestier che si facesse;
  Il letto er’ una veste, una gonella
      Ad ognun buona che se la mettesse.”

  ORLAND. INNAMOR, lib. iii. cant. vii.



                    “What are these,
  So withered, and so wild in their attire;
  That look not like the inhabitants o’ the earth,
  And yet are on’t?”——MACBETH.

There is no reason to doubt that the ancients were, in a manner,
acquainted with some of the narcotics known to us, although they did
not indulge in them as stimulants or luxuries. The antiquarian, it is
true, has failed to unearth the tobacco-box of Claudius, or the pipe of
Nero—however much the latter may have been given to smoke. And no one
has as yet discovered a snuff-box bearing the initials of Marc Antony,
whence the taper fingers of Egypt’s queen drew a pinch of Princess’
Mixture or Taddy’s Violet, gazing with loving eyes on Antony the while.
In those remote times the hemp and the poppy were not unknown; and
there is reason for believing that in Egypt the former was used as a
potion for soothing and dispelling care.

Herodotus informs us that the Scythians cultivated hemp, and converted
it into linen cloth, resembling that made from flax; and he adds also,
that “when, therefore, the Scythians have taken some seed of this
hemp, they creep under the cloths, and then put the seed on the red hot
stones; but this being put on smokes, and produces such a steam, that
no Grecian vapour-bath would surpass it. The Scythians, transported
with the vapour, shout aloud.”[3] The same author also states that the
Massagetæ, dwelling on an island of the Araxes, have discovered “trees
that produce fruit of a peculiar kind, which the inhabitants, when they
meet together in companies, and have lit a fire, throw on the fire
as they sit round in a circle; and that by inhaling the fumes of the
burning fruit that has been thrown on, they become intoxicated by the
odour, just as the Greeks do by wine, and that the more fruit is thrown
on, the more intoxicated they become, until they rise up to dance, and
betake themselves to singing.”[4]

Homer also makes Helen administer to Telemachus, in the house of
Menelaus, a potion prepared from _nepenthes_, which made him forget his

  “Meanwhile with genial joy to warm the soul,
  Bright Helen mix’d a mirth-inspiring bowl;
  Temper’d with drugs of sovereign use to assuage
  The boiling bosom of tumultuous rage;
  To clear the cloudy front of wrinkled care,
  And dry the tearful sluices of despair;
  Charm’d with that virtuous draught, the exalted mind
  All sense of woe delivers to the wind:
  Though on the blazing pile his parent lay,
  Or a loved brother groan’d his life away,
  Or darling son, oppress’d by ruffian force,
  Fell breathless at its feet a mangled corse;
  From morn to eve, impassive and serene
  The man entranced would view the deathful scene.
  These drugs, so friendly to the joys of life,
  Bright Helen learn’d from Thone’s imperial wife,
  Who sway’d the sceptre where prolific Nile
  With various simples clothes the fatten’d soil.
  With wholesome herbage mixed, the direful bane
  Of vegetable venom taints the plain;
  From Pæon sprung, their patron-god imparts
  To all the Pharian race his healing arts.”

  POPE’S _Homer’s Odyssey_, b. iv.

Diodorus Siculus states that the Egyptians laid much stress on the
circumstance that the plant used by Helen had been given her by a woman
of Egyptian Thebes, whence they argued that Homer must have lived
amongst them, since the women of Thebes were celebrated for possessing
a secret whereby they could dissipate anger or melancholy. This secret
is supposed to have been a knowledge of the narcotic properties of
hemp. The plant was known to the Romans, and largely used by them in
the time of Pliny for the manufacture of cordage, and there is scarce a
doubt that they were acquainted with its other properties. Galen refers
to the intoxicating power of hemp, for he relates that in his time it
was customary to give hemp-seed to the guests at banquets as a promoter
of hilarity and enjoyment. Slow poisons and secret poisoning was an
art with which the Romans were not at all unfamiliar. What the medium
was through which they committed these criminal acts, can only be
conjectured from the scanty information remaining. Hemp, or opium, or
both, may have had some share in the work, since the poppy was sacred
to Somnus, and known to possess narcotic properties.

The latter plant is one of the earliest described. Homer speaks of
the poppy growing in gardens, and it was employed by Hippocrates, the
father of physic, who even particularizes two kinds, the black and the
white, and used the extract of opium so extensively, as to be condemned
by his contemporary Diagoras. Dioscorides and Pliny also make mention
of it; and from their time, it has been so commonly used, as to be
incorporated in all the materia medicas of subsequent medical writers.

Plutarch tells us that a poison was administered to Aratus of Sicyon,
not speedy and violent, but of that kind which at first occasions a
slow heat in the body, with a slight cough, and then gradually brings
on consumption and a weakness of intellect. One time when Aratus spat
up blood, he said, “This is the effect of royal friendship.” And
Quintilian, in his Declamations, speaks of this poison in such a manner
as proves that it must then have been well known.

The infamous acts of Locusta are noticed by Tacitus, Suetonius, and
Juvenal. This poisoner seems to have been a type of such a character as
the traditions of a later age embodied in the person and under the name
of Lucretia Borgia.

Agrippina, being desirous of getting rid of Claudius, but not daring
to despatch him suddenly, and yet wishing not to leave him time
sufficient to make new regulations concerning the succession to the
throne, made choice of a poison which should deprive him of his reason
and gradually consume him. This she caused to be prepared by an
expert poisoner, named Locusta, who had been condemned to death for
her infamous actions, but saved that she might be employed as a state
engine. The poison was given to the emperor in a dish of mushrooms,
but as, on account of his irregular manner of living, it did not
produce the desired effect, it was assisted by some of a stronger
nature. We are also further told that this Locusta prepared the drug
wherewith Nero despatched Britannicus, the son of Messalina, whom his
father, Claudius, wished to succeed him on the throne. As this poison
occasioned only a dysentery, and was too slow in its operation, the
emperor compelled Locusta, by blows, and by threatening her with death,
to prepare in his presence one more powerful. It was first tried on
a kid, but as the animal did not die till the end of five hours, she
boiled it a little longer, until it instantaneously killed a pig to
which it had been given, and this poison despatched Britannicus as soon
as he had tasted it. For this service the emperor pardoned Locusta,
rewarded her liberally, and gave her pupils, whom she was to instruct
in her art, in order that it might not be lost.

The pupils of Locusta have not left us, however, the secret which their
mistress confided to them. The demand made of the apothecary in “Romeo
and Juliet” would have suited Nero’s case, in the latter instance.

                              “Let me have
  A dram of poison; such soon speeding geer
  As will disperse itself through all the veins,
  That the life-weary taker may fall dead;
  And that the trunk may be discharged of breath
  As violently, as hasty powder fired
  Doth hurry from the fatal cannon’s mouth.”

What connection the narcotic hemp had with the famous oracle of
Delphi is not altogether certain, but it has been supposed, and such
supposition contains nothing of heresy in these days, that the ravings
of the Pythia were the consequences of a good dose of haschish, or
bang. The non-classical readers will allow us to inform them, and the
classical permit us to remind them, that the oracle at Delphi was
the most celebrated in all Greece. That it was related of old, that
a certain shepherd, tending his flocks on Mount Parnassus, observed,
that the steam issuing from a hole in the rock seemed to inspire his
goats, and cause them to frisk about in a marvellous manner. That this
same shepherd was tempted to peep into the hole himself, and the fumes
rising therefrom filled him with such ecstacy, that he gave vent to
wild and extravagant expressions, which were regarded as prophetical.
This circumstance becoming known, the place was revered, and thereon
a temple was afterwards erected to Apollo, and a priestess appointed
to deliver the oracles. This priestess of Apollo, Pythia, was seated
over the miraculous cavity upon a tripod, or three-legged stool, and
the fumes arising were supposed to fill her with inspiration, and
she delivered, in bad verses, the oracles of the deity. During the
inspiration, her eyes sparkled, her hair stood erect, and a shivering
ran over the whole body. Under the convulsions thus produced, with loud
howlings and cries, she delivered the messages, which were carefully
noted down by an attendant priest. Plutarch states, that one of the
priestesses was thrown into such an excessive fury, that not only those
who came to consult the oracle, but the priests in attendance, were
so terrified, that they forsook her and fled; and that the fit was so
violent, that she continued several days in agony, and finally died.
It has been believed that these fumes, instead of proceeding from the
earth, were produced by the burning of some narcotic herb, probably
hemp. Who shall decide?

In later times “bang” is referred to in the “Arabian Nights.” In one
of the tales, two ladies are in conversation, and one enquires of the
other, “If the queen was not much in the wrong not to love so amiable
a prince?” To which the other replied, “Certainly, I know not why she
goes out every night and leaves him alone. Is it possible that he does
not perceive it?” “Alas!” says the first, “how would you have him to
perceive it? She mixes every evening with his drink the juice of a
certain herb, which makes him sleep so sound all night, that she has
time to go where she pleases, and as day begins to appear, she comes to
him again, and awakes him by the smell of something she puts under his

The Caliph Haroun al Raschid indulged too in “bang,” and although
somewhere we have seen this word rendered “henbane,” we still adhere
to the “bang” of the text, and think the evidence is in favour of the
Indian hemp. Further accounts of the early history of this plant we
will not however forestal, as it will occur more appropriately when we
come to speak of it in particular. Henbane has been long enough known;
but it has always had the misfortune either of a positive bad name, or
no one would speak much in its favour, and therefore it has never risen
in the world.

The lettuce, which has not been known to us three hundred years, was
also known to the ancients, and its narcotic properties recognized.
Dioscorides writes of it, and so also Theophrastus. It is referred
to by Galen, and, if we mistake not, spoken of by Pliny. It was
certainly wild, in some of its species, on the hills of Greece, and was
cultivated for the tables of the salad-loving Greeks and Romans. It had
been better that some of them had spent more of their time in eating
lettuce salads, and by that means had less time to spare for other
occupations of a far more reprehensible kind.

The “nepenthes” of Homer has already been shown to have found
a representative in hemp. There have also been claims made for
considering it as the crocus, or the stigmas of that flower known to us
as saffron. Pliny states that it has the power of allaying the fumes of
wine, and preventing drunkenness; and it was taken in drink by great
winebibbers, to enable them to drink largely without intoxication.
Its properties are of a peculiar character, causing, in large doses,
fits of immoderate laughter. The evidence in favour of this being the
true “nepenthes” is, however, we consider very incomplete, and not so
satisfactory, by any means, as that given on behalf of the Indian hemp.

When the Roman soldiers retreated from the Parthians, under the command
of Antony, Plutarch narrates of them that they suffered great distress
for want of provisions, and were urged to eat unknown plants. Among
others, they met with a herb that was mortal; he that had eaten of it
lost his memory and his senses, and employed himself wholly in turning
about all the stones he could find, and, after vomiting up bile,
fell down dead. Attempts to unravel the mysteries of this plant have
ended, in some cases at least, in referring it to the belladonna, a
plant common enough in these our days, and known to possess poisonous
properties of a narcotico-acrid character.

An analogous circumstance occurred in the retreat of the Ten Thousand,
as related by Xenophon. Near Trebizond were a number of beehives, and
as many of the soldiers as ate of the honeycombs became senseless, and
were seized with vomiting and diarrhœa, and not one of them could stand
erect. Those who had swallowed but little looked very like drunken men,
those who ate much were like madmen, and some lay as if dying; and
thus they lay in such numbers, as on a field of battle after a defeat.
And the consternation was great; yet no one was found to have died;
all recovered their senses about the same hour on the following day;
and on the third or fourth day thereafter, they rose up as if they had
suffered from the drinking of poison.

This poisonous property of the honey is said to be derived by the bees
from the flowers of a species of rhododendron (_Azalea pontica_), all
of which possess narcotic properties.

Supposing that blind old Homer—if ever there was an old Homer, and if
blind, no matter—knew the secret of Egyptian Thebes, and the power
of the narcotic hemp, and yet never smoked a hubble-bubble, it is
of little consequence, except to the Society of Antiquaries, and
certainly makes no difference to Homer now. Although Diagoras condemned
Hippocrates for giving too much opium to his patients, we are not
informed whether it was administered in the shape of “Tinctura opii,”
or “Confectio opii,” or “Extractum opii,” or “Godfrey’s cordial,” or
“Paregoric elixir.” The discovery would not lengthen our own lives,
and therefore we do not repine. We think that we have some consolation
left, in that we are wiser than Homer or Hippocrates in respect of that
particular vanity, called “shag tobacco,” which, we venture to suggest,
neither of those venerable sages ever indulged in during the period of
their natural lives. And although Herodotus found the Scythians using,
in a strange manner, the tops of the hemp plant, he never got so far
as Kamtschatka, and therefore never saw a man getting drunk upon a
toadstool. If he had ever seen it, he had never slept till he had told
it to that posterity which he has left us to enlighten.



  “Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased;
  Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow;
  Raze out the written troubles of the brain;
  And, with some sweet oblivious antidote,
  Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff,
  Which weighs upon the heart?”——MACBETH.

Amongst Mahometans, the following legend is said to be accepted as an
account of the miraculous introduction of the “wond’rous weed” to the

“Mahomet, passing the desert in winter, found a poor viper frozen on
the ground; touched with compassion, he placed it in his sleeve, where
the warmth and glow of the blessed body restored it to life. No sooner
did the ungrateful reptile find its health restored, than it poked
forth its head, and said—

“‘Oh, Prophet, I am going to bite you.’

“‘Give me a sound reason, O snake, and I will be content.’

“‘Your people kill my people constantly, there is war between your race
and mine.’

“‘Your people bite my people, the balance between our kindred is even,
between you and me; nay, it is in my favour, for I have done you good.’

“‘And that you may not do me harm, I will bite you.’

“‘Do not be so ungrateful.’

“‘I will! I have sworn by the Most High that I will.’

“At the Name the Prophet no longer opposed the viper, but bade him bite
on, in the name of God. The snake pierced his fangs in the blessed
wrist, which the Prophet not liking, shook him off, but did him no
further harm, nor would he suffer those near him to destroy it, but
putting his lips to the wound, and sucking out the poison, spat it upon
the earth. From these drops sprang that wond’rous weed, which has the
bitterness of the serpent’s tooth, quelled by the sweet saliva of the

Happy Moslem! you have solved the mystery, and your heart feels no
doubt; but Christian dogs despairingly sigh for some revelation from
the past, whether through history or tradition, of the first use of
this plant. In vain we enquire who it was that first conceived and put
in practice the idea of burning the large leaves of a weed, and drawing
in the smoke to spit it out again? Who it was that discovered pleasure
or amusement in tickling the nose with that “titillating dust” to enjoy
the luxury of a sneeze, or find employment in blowing it out again?
Ye shades of heroes departed, that hover around the pine-woods of the
Saskatchewan, sail over the rolling prairies of Illinois, or roam along
the strands of Virginia, tell us to what illustrious progenitor of Cree
or Mohawk we are to accord the honour of a discovery more popular than
any since the days when “Adam delved and Eve span?”

In default of the shades giving us the required information, we must
resort to the faint footsteps which “the habit” has left imprinted
on the sands of Time. Even the name by which it is called, has been
disputed and even denied, as of right, belonging to tobacco. This word,
Humboldt informs us, like the words _savannah_, _maize_, _maguey_, and
_manati_, belong to the ancient language of Hayti or St. Domingo, and
did not properly denote the herb, but the pipe through which it was
smoked. Tobacco, according to Oveido, was indigenous in Hispaniola, and
much used by the native Indians, who smoked it from a tube in the shape
of the letter =Y=, the two branches being inserted in the nostrils,
and the stem placed in the burning leaves. The plant was called the
_cohiba_, and the rude instrument by which it was inhaled _tabaco_.

Other fabulous accounts of the origin of this mystic name, which opens
the heart and hand of the savage more readily than that of gold, trace
it to Tabacco, a province of Yucatan in New Spain, whence it is stated
to have been first brought to Europe. Or affinity is claimed for it
with the Island of Tobago, one of the Caribbees, where it grew wild in
abundance. Or its derivation is traced to Tobasco, in the island of
Florida. In Mexico it was called _yetl_, and in Peru _sagri_, meaning
in those languages “the herb,” or the herb _par excellence_, worthy of
superiority over all other herbs which the earth ever produced from her

It seems surprising that a vegetable production so universally spread
should have different names among neighbouring people. In North
America the Algonkin name is _sema_, and the Huron _oyngoua_, and the
same dissimilarity exists in the languages of South-American tribes;
the Omagua, _petema_; the Maypure, _jema_; the Chiquito, _pâis_; the
Vilela, _tusup_; and the Tamanac, _cavai_. One would have expected to
have found names with less variation among such neighbours. It might
be urged, perhaps, that these are all independent ancient names given
by each tribe to the plant before they became acquainted with the
existence of their neighbours, and an evidence that its use was not
derived from each other, nor from travellers passing among them. To
these speculations the theorist is welcome.

There is little reason to doubt that tobacco is a plant indigenous to
the New World. With the era, therefore, of Columbus, our knowledge
of it will necessarily commence. When the Spaniards landed with that
navigator in Cuba in 1492, they found the Cubans doing the same kind
of thing as the voyager would now find them occupied in, making and
smoking cigars. In the latter act, these Spaniards soon followed the
Cuban example, as did those also who landed in 1518, with Fernando
Cortez, in the island of Tobago, to a still greater extent. The honour
of introducing this, the fairest of “the Seven Sisters of Sleep,”
to European society and soil, is due, perhaps, to Hernandez, the
naturalist, who brought the first seeds from Mexico (Humboldt states,
from the Mexican province of Yucatan), in 1559, and conveyed them
to Spain. About the same time some unknown Flamingo introduced the
illustrious visitor to Portugal.

Of the introduction of tobacco into France, the more commonly-received
opinion is, that the first seeds were sent to Catherine de Medici
from Portugal in 1560, by Jean Nicot, the French ambassador to that
country, and ever since it has borne as its generic name a memento of
its patron. Other accounts attribute to Father André Thevet, or some
friend of his, the honour of introducing the raw material to the most
accomplished snuff-takers in Europe, and, perhaps, the first who ever
indulged in it to any extent.

In Tuscany, tobacco was first cultivated under Cosmo de Medici, who
died in 1574. It was originally raised by Bishop Alfonso Tournabuoni,
from seeds received from his nephew, Nicolo Tournabuoni, then
ambassador at Paris. After him it bore the name of Erba Tournabuoni,
as in France it was called Herbe de la Reine. Very early, before 1589,
the Cardinal Santa Croce, returning from his nunciature in Spain
and Portugal to Italy, carried with him thither tobacco; but he can
scarce claim the honour of its introduction, although the exploit was
commemorated by Castor Duranti in Latin verse. Thus it would appear
that this plant was brought from Mexico to Spain, whence it passed into
France, and thence into Italy, during the early part of the latter half
of the sixteenth century.

The first introduction of tobacco into England has been claimed for a
trinity of valiant knights—Sir Francis Drake, Sir John Hawkins, and
Sir Walter Raleigh. In Bancroft’s “History of the United States,” it
is said—“The exiles of a year had grown familiar with the favourite
amusement of the lethargic Indians, and they introduced into England
the general use of tobacco.” These exiles were brought home by
Drake before Raleigh visited the New World, and the period for the
introduction of tobacco into this country by Sir Francis, claims the
date of 1560. For Sir John Hawkins’ introduction, the time has been
fixed at 1565; whilst the earliest date assigned for its introduction
by Sir Walter Raleigh is 1584, the same year in which a proclamation
was issued in England against it. Humboldt states that the celebrated
Raleigh contributed most to introduce the custom of smoking among the
nations of the North. When Raleigh brought tobacco from Virginia to
England, whole fields of it were already cultivated in Portugal. It
was also previously known in France, where it was brought into fashion
by Catherine de Medici. As early as the end of the sixteenth century,
bitter complaints were made in England of this imitation of the manners
of a savage people. It was feared, that by the practice of smoking
tobacco, Englishmen would degenerate into a barbarous state.[6] The
cultivation of this narcotic plant preceded that of the potato in
Europe 120 or 140 years.

Camden, who informs us of these fears for the civilization of England,
also states that Richard Fletcher, Bishop of London, a courtly prelate
(who died in 1596), by the use of tobacco “smothered the cares he took
by means of his unlucky marriage.” According to Aubrey, the pipe was
handed from man to man round the table; and this bears, certainly, a
great resemblance to the custom of the North-American Indians—the chief
smoking two or three whiffs, then passing it to his neighbour, until
from one to another it passes round the circle, and comes back to the
first smoker again.

M. Jorevin, a Frenchman, who visited England in Charles the Second’s
time, says that the women smoked tobacco as well as the men.

From England the practice of smoking was carried to the Continent.
Dutch students were first taught the art of smoking at the University
of Leyden by students from England; hence the greatest smokers in
Europe derived their knowledge of the use of the pipe from the English.

Lilly, in his autobiography, informs us that when committed to the
guard-room in Whitehall, he thought himself in regions far below, where
Orpheus sang, and Pluto reigned, for “some were sleeping, others
swearing, others smoking tobacco; and in the chimney of the room were
two bushels of broken tobacco-pipes.” Good friend Lilly, what wouldst
thou have thought of a visit to a Studenten Kneipe, where a crowd of
students, amid fumes dense as a London fog in November, scream and
growl the well-known song—

  “And smokes the Fox tobacco?
  And smokes the Fox tobacco?
  And smokes the leathery Fox tobacco?
          Sa! Sa!
          Fox tobacco.
  And smokes the Fox tobacco.

  “Then let him fill a pipe!
  Then let him fill a pipe!
  Then let him fill a leathery pipe;
          Sa! Sa!
          Leathery pipe.
  Then let him fill a pipe!”

And then perhaps—but let the reader enquire for himself of some
descendant from the ancestors of the renowned Wouter Van Twiller, the
worthy head of the long-pipe faction. In 1601, tobacco was carried to
Java, whence it spread over the East. It was also conveyed to Turkey
and Arabia in the beginning of this century. El-Is-hákee states that
the custom of smoking tobacco began to be common in Egypt between the
years of the flight, 1010 and 1012 (A.D. 1601-1603). And from Persian
writers on _Materia medica_, it appears to have been introduced into
India in A.H. 1014 (A.D. 1605), towards the end of the reign of
Jelaladeen Akbar Padshaw. From India, tobacco probably found its way
to the Malayan Peninsula and China; although Pallas, Loureiro, and
Rumphius think that tobacco was known in China before the discovery of
the New World, and that the Chinese tobacco plant is indigenous to
that country.

From “Notes and Queries” we learn that “tobacco was first cultivated
in this country at Winchcombe in Gloucestershire, and that the natives
did suck thereout no small advantage; and before the time of James
II. the best Virginia was but two shillings the pound, and two gross
of the best glazed pipes, and a box with them, three shillings and
fourpence.” Tobacco became almost a necessary among the upper classes;
nor could the parliamentary representatives of the city of Worcester
be despatched up to town until the “collective wisdom” had smoked and
drunk sack at the “Globe,” or some other hostelry. As early as 1621,
it was moved in the House of Commons by Sir William Stroud, that “he
would have tobacco banished wholly out of the kingdom, and that it may
not be brought from any part, nor used amongst us.” And by Sir Grey
Palmes, “that if tobacco be not banished, it will overthrow 100,000 men
in England, for it is now so common, that he hath seen ploughmen take
it as they are at the plough.” At a later period of the same century,
so inveterate had the practice become, that an order appears on the
journals of the House, “That no member in the House do presume to
smoke tobacco in the gallery, or at the table of the House sitting at

But tobacco did not come into general use in Europe without great and
strenuous opposition. All kinds of weapons were called in requisition
to stay its progress. Persuasion and force were alike essayed without
effect. A German writer has collected the titles of a hundred different
works condemning its use, which were published within half a century of
its introduction into Europe. The pen was wielded by royal as well as
plebeian fingers, and the famous diatribe of the British Solomon, King
James I., of blessed memory, defender of the faith, and antagonist of
tobacco, keeps his memory still _green_ in the hearts of Englishmen.
In Russia, the snuff-taker was ingeniously cured of the habit, by
having his nose cut off, while smokers had a pipe bored through the
same useful projection. Michael Feodorovitch Tourieff kindly offered a
bastinado to the Muscovites for the first offence, cutting off the nose
for the second, and the head for the third. In 1590, Pope Innocent XII.
took the trouble to excommunicate all who used tobacco in any form in
the church of St. Peter’s in Rome. And in 1624, Pope Urban VII., the
old woman, fulminated a bull against all persons found taking snuff
during divine service; and old women, in the spirit of opposition,
have been fond of snuff ever since. The sultans and priests of Persia
and Turkey declared smoking a sin against their religion. Amurath IV.
of Persia published an edict, making the smoking of tobacco a capital
offence. Shah Abbas II. punished such delinquents equally severely.
When leading an army against the Cham of Tartary, he proclaimed that
every soldier in whose possession tobacco was found, would have his
nose and lips cut off, and afterwards be burnt alive. El-Gabartee
relates, that about a century ago, in the time of Mohammed Básha
El-Yedekshee, who governed Egypt in the years of the flight, 1156-8, it
frequently happened that, when a man was found with a pipe in his hand
in Cairo, he was made to eat the bowl with its burning contents. This
may seem incredible, but a pipe bowl _may_ be broken by strong teeth,
particularly if it be of meerschaum. In Tuscany, the growth of tobacco
was prohibited, except in a few localities, where it was allowed, under
certain restrictions, from 1645 to 1789, when the Grand Duke Peter
Leopold declared its cultivation free all over the country. Ferdinand
III. afterwards restricted it to its former localities. The number
of these were reduced in 1826, and in 1830 its growth was entirely
prohibited. In Transylvania the penalty for growing tobacco was a total
confiscation of property; and for the use of the weed, a fine of from
three to two hundred florins. In 1661, the Canton of Berne introduced
an eleventh commandment to the decalogue, and this was inserted
after the seventh, “Thou shalt not smoke!” In 1719, the wise senate
of Strasburg prohibited the cultivation of tobacco, fearing lest it
should interfere with the growth of corn. Prussia and Denmark contented
themselves with prohibiting its use. This brings us back again to
England, and the days of “good Queen Bess.” That lady, who is said to
have prohibited the use of tobacco in churches, according to certain
chroniclers, was wont to banter Sir Walter Raleigh on his affection
for his _protégé_. It is said, that on one occasion, when Raleigh was
conversing with his royal mistress upon the singular properties of this
new and extraordinary herb, he assured her Majesty that he had so well
experienced the nature of it, that he could tell her of what weight
even the smoke would be in any quantity proposed to be consumed. Her
Majesty, deeming it impossible to hold the smoke in a balance, must
needs lay a wager to solve the doubt. Raleigh procured the quantity
agreed upon, he thoroughly smoked it, and weighed the ashes, pleading
at the same time that the weight now wanting was the weight of the
smoke dissipated in the process. The Queen did not deny the doctrine
of her favourite, saying “that she had often heard of those who had
turned their gold into smoke, but Raleigh was the first who had turned
his smoke into gold.”

The Star Chamber levied a heavy duty, and Charles II. prohibited its
cultivation in England. Tobacco was first put under the excise in
1789. It was not at first allowed to be smoked in ale-houses. “There
is a curious collection of proclamations, &c.,” says Brand, “in the
archives of the Society of Antiquaries of London. In vol. viii. is an
ale-house licence, granted by six Kentish justices of the peace, at the
bottom of which is the following item, among other directions to the
inn-holder:——‘_Item._—You shall not utter, nor willingly suffer to be
uttered, drunke, or taken, any tobacco within your house, cellar, or
other place thereunto belonging.’”

Notwithstanding oppositions, imposts, anathemas, counterblasts, and
persecutions, tobacco gradually and rapidly arose in popular esteem.
The first house in which it was publicly smoked in Britain was the
Pied Bull, at Islington; but this was “alone in its glory” for a very
brief period of time. “Is it not a great vanity,” saith Royal James,
“that a man cannot heartily welcome his friend now, but straight they
must be in hand with tobacco? And he that will refuse to take a pipe of
tobacco amongst his fellows is accounted peevish, and no good company;
yea, the mistress cannot in a more mannerly kind entertain her servant
than by giving him out of her fair hand a pipe of tobacco.” Raleigh
smoked in his dungeon in the Tower, while the headsman was grinding his
axe. Cromwell loved his pipe, and dictated his despatches to Milton
over some burning Trinidado, or sweet-smelling nicotine. Ben Johnson
affirmed that tobacco was the most precious weed that the earth ever
tendered to the use of man. Dr. Radcliffe recommended snuff to his
brethren. Dr. Johnson kept his snuff in his waistcoat pocket; and so
did Frederick the Great. Robert Hall smoked in his vestry, and, it
would seem, in other places as well, for Gilfillan informs us, that
when on a visit to a brother clergyman, he went into the kitchen where
a pious servant girl, whom he loved, was working. He lighted his pipe,
sat down, and asked her—“Betty, do you love the Lord Jesus Christ?” “I
hope I do, sir,” was the reply. He immediately added, “Betty, do you
love me?” They were married. And Napoleon took rappee by the handful.
And poets wrote, and minstrels sang, in the praise of the “Divine

  “Thou glorious weed of a glorious land,
  I would not be freed from thy magical wand—
  Though a slave to thy fetters, and bound in thy chain,
  Despairing of freedom, I cannot complain.

  “Tobacco, I love thee—I bow at thy shrine!
  The longer I prove thee, the less I repine.
  The affection I cherish, no time can assuage—
  Thy joys do not perish, like others, with age.”

The mailed Spaniard and red-plumed Indian have fought around it; and
gold-seekers have drenched it with the gore of negroes. One whole
continent has been enriched by it; and to cultivate it, another
continent has been depopulated. Negroes have prayed to their Fetishes
beside it—many a Cacique now dead smoked it at the war-council, and
many a grave, grey-bearded Spaniard, who had fought at Lepanto, or
bled in the Low Countries. Old soldiers of Cromwell have smoked it;
and while Indians have bartered their gold for English beads, the
swarthy Buccaneers looked on, handling their loaded muskets. Tobacco
was for some time used as currency in Virginia, as, according to Mr.
Galton, is the case now among the Damarás, Ovampo, and other tribes of
South-Western Africa.

Forty varieties of tobacco have been described; but the differences are
mainly the result of climate, and the mode of culture. It grows well
in almost every part of the world. The northern limit in Scandinavia
is 62°-63° N. L. The different parts of America in which it is grown
include Canada, New Brunswick, United States, Mexico, the Western
Coast, as far as 40° S. L. In Africa it is cultivated by the Red Sea
and Mediterranean, in Egypt, Algeria, the Canaries, the Western Coast,
the Cape, and numerous places in the interior. In Europe, it has been
raised successfully in almost every country; in Hungary, Germany,
Flanders, and France, it forms an important agricultural product.
In Asia, it has spread over Turkey, Persia, India, Thibet, China,
Japan, the Philippines, Java, and Ceylon. In parts of Australia and
New Zealand. From the Equator to 50° N. L., it may be raised without
difficulty. The finest qualities are raised between 15° and 35° N. L.

The most noted tobacco is that of Cuba; and the most extensive growers
are the Americans of the United States. Two-thirds of our supply is
doubtless derived from the latter source.

In 1665, Virginia exported to England 60,000 pounds. Twenty-five years
afterwards, our total imports were double that amount; while in 1858,
they amounted to 62,217,705 pounds, including snuff and cigars; hence,
we may fairly calculate that, in Great Britain, eight millions of
pounds sterling are annually spent in tobacco.

It has been computed that eight hundred millions of the human race are
consumers of tobacco, and that the average annual consumption is 70
ounces per head. The total consumption would, therefore, approximate
to two millions of tons. The average annual consumption of every
male over eighteen years of age, in each of the following countries
of Europe, as collected from returns, is, in Austria, 108 ounces;
Zollverein, 156 ounces; Steurverein, including Hanover and Oldenburg,
200 ounces; France, 88 ounces; Russia, 40 ounces; Portugal, 56 ounces;
Spain, 76 ounces; Sardinia, 44 ounces; Tuscany, 40 ounces; the Papal
States, 32 ounces; England, 66 ounces; Holland, 132 ounces; Belgium,
144 ounces; Denmark, 128 ounces; Sweden, 70 ounces; and Norway, 99
ounces. In the United States of America, the consumption is 122 ounces;
and in New South Wales, where there are no restrictive duties, it is
declared to exceed 400 ounces.

  “_Jamie_, thou shouldst been living at this hour,
  Europe hath need of thee.”

To what a height of royal indignation the “Misocapnos” would have
risen, had its author postponed its publication 250 years, and
reappeared, a “new avater,” to see it through the press in these latter
days. He had then required no Spanish matches to set him on fire; and
the “horrible Stygian smoake” would have required the addition of all
Catesby’s gunpowder to have made the simile worthy of its royal master,
unless, peradventure, the weight of five millions of golden sovereigns
from the Inland Revenue Office had pressed heavily upon his conscience,
and he had purchased himself a new pair of silk stockings, and rested
in peace; then he could have returned the old pair he borrowed in his
Scotch capital, in which to meet his English Court at London.

Since the days when the green leaf of tobacco was used as a sovereign
application for wounds and bruises and the bites of poisonous
serpents, there has been no more singular use discovered for any part
of this plant than that of certain African tribes, who, Denham says,
“colour their teeth and lips with the flowers of the goorjee tree and
the tobacco plant. The former, he saw only once or twice; the latter,
was carried every day to market at Bornou, beautifully arranged in
large baskets. The flowers of both these plants rubbed on the lips and
teeth give them a blood-red appearance, which is there thought a great
beauty.” That the poison of tobacco should have been turned to account
is not surprising; and we are more prepared to hear of the bushmen of
South Africa poisoning the heads of their arrows, not with nicotine,
but with a poison taken from the head of the yellow serpent. These
serpents they kill with the oil of tobacco, one drop or two producing
spasms and death. Count Bocarmé effectually settled the question of the
poisonous property of nicotine, some years since at Mons. It remained
for future experimentalists to discover that as well as a _bane_,
tobacco was an _antidote_.

A young lady in New Hampshire fell into the mistake of eating a
portion of arsenic, which had been prepared for the destruction of
rats. Painful symptoms soon led to the discovery. An elderly lady,
then present, advised that she should be made to vomit as speedily
as possible, and as the unfortunate victim had always exhibited a
loathing for tobacco in any shape, that was suggested as a ready means
of obtaining the desired end. A pipe was used, but this produced no
nausea. A large portion of strong tobacco was then chewed, and the
juice swallowed, but even this produced no sensation of disgust. A
strong decoction was then made with hot water, of this she drank half a
pint without producing nausea or giddiness, or any emetic or cathartic
action. The pains gradually subsided, and she began to feel well. On
the arrival of physicians, an emetic was administered. The patient
recovered, and no ill consequences were experienced. Another case
occurred a few years subsequent at the same place, when tobacco was
administered and no other remedy. In this instance there was complete
and perfect recovery. From this it may be reasonably concluded, that
tobacco is an antidote of very safe and ready application in cases of
poisoning by arsenic.

Financiers and Chancellors of Exchequers or Ministers of Finance, look
with particularly favourable eyes upon the “Indian Weed.” Our own
official in that department, can now calculate on nearly six millions
of safe income in his estimates for a year, from this fertile source.
Our near neighbours of France consider four millions too good an
addition to the revenue, to denounce its use. Austria and Spain each
manages to supply the state coffers with a million and a half of money
from the tobacco monopoly. Russia, the Zollverein, Portugal, Sardinia,
and the Papal States, individually realizes from three to four hundred
thousands of pounds every year, from the use or abuse of this most
popular plant in the world.

Although this habit, in its increase, may cause throbs of ecstatic
joy in the breasts of certain officials, there are other sections of
society holding antagonistic opinions. The Maine Conference of the
Methodist Episcopal Church at a late session, passed the following
preamble and resolutions:——

“Whereas—The use of tobacco prevails to a prodigious extent in our
country, as indicated in the reports of our national treasury, and
other authentic documents, from which it appears that over 100,000,000
pounds of this article are consumed in the United States annually, at a
cost to the consumers of over 20,000,000 dollars, and whereas, we have
reason to believe that its use is rapidly increasing, and that even
ministers of the Gospel are becoming, to a great extent, guilty of this
debasing indulgence; therefore—

“I.—Resolved. That we view these facts as a matter of profound alarm,
and such an evil as to demand the serious attention of the Church.

“II.—Resolved. That we regard the use of tobacco as an expensive and
needless indulgence, unfavourable to cleanliness and good manners,
unbecoming in Christians, and especially in Christian Ministers,
and, like the use of alcohol, a violation of the laws of physical,
intellectual, and moral life.

III.—Resolved. “That we will discountenance the use of that injurious
narcotic, except as a medicine prescribed by a physician, by precept
and example, and by all proper means.”

De Lagny states that the “Old Believers”, a sect of dissenters from the
Greek Church in Russia, look with horror on the use of tobacco. The
Wahhabees, a Pharasaical sect of strict Moslems, are rigid in their
condemnation of tobacco, and in their adherence to the precepts of the
Koran, and the traditions of the Prophet.

There are to be met with nearer home, those who are inveterate against
its use, and who willingly join with Cowper in denouncing the

  “Pernicious weed which banishes for hours,
  That sex whose presence civilizes ours.”

An occasional pamphlet or letter, makes its way into the hands of
speculative publishers or into class papers, giving gratuitous advice,
and much denunciatory language, against a habit which is by far too
general, and has been tested by too many experiments not to be well
known, and equally well understood. These “counterblasts” differ but
little from the model one which each would seem to aim at imitating—the
quaint expressions, the only redeeming quality in the original, alone
being wanting.

“Surely,” saith the high and mightie Prince James, “smoke becomes
a kitchen farre better than a dining chamber; and yet it makes a
kitchen oftentimes in the inward parts of men, soyling and infecting
them with an unctuous and oyly kind of soote, as hath been found in
some great tobacco takers, that after their death were opened. Now,
my good countrymen, let us (I pray you), consider what honour or
policie can move us to imitate the barbarous and beastlie manners of
the wild, godlesse, and slavish Indians, especially in so vile and
filthy a custome. Shall we, that disdain to imitate the manner of our
neighbour, France (having the style of the greate Christian kingdome),
and that cannot endure the spirit of the Spaniards, (their king being
now comparable in largenesse of dominions to the greatest Emperor of
Turkey), shall we, I say, that have been so long civill and wealthy in
peace, famous and invincible in war, fortunate in both—we that have
been ever able to aid any of our neighbours (but never deafened any of
their ears with any of our supplications for assistance), shall we,
I say, without blushing, abase ourselves so far as to imitate these
beastlie Indians, slaves to the Spaniards, the refuse of the worlde,
and, as yet, aliens from the holy covenant of God? Why do we not as
well imitate them in walking naked as they do, in preferring glasses,
feathers, and toys, to gold and precious stones, as they do? Yea, why
do we not deny God, and adore the devils, as they do? Have you not,
then, reasons to forbear this filthie noveltie, so basely grounded, so
foolishly received, and so grosslie mistaken in the right use thereof?
In your abuse thereof, sinning against God, harming yourselves both
in person and 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 forreine civill nations, and by all strangers that
come among you, to be scorned and contemned; a custom loathsome to the
eye, hateful to the nose, harmfull to the braine, dangerous to the
lungs, and, in the blacke stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the
horrible Stygian smoake of the pit that is bottomless.”

Wise and worthy king, adieu. Gold stick, lead the way. We hasten
from your royal presence to join the Cabinet of Cloudland. _Vive la



              “A magnificent array of clouds;
  And as the breeze plays on them, they assume
  The forms of mountains, castled cliffs, and hills,
  And shadowy glens, and groves, and beetling rocks;
  And some, that seem far off, are voyaging
  Their sunbright path in folds of silver.”

“Right,” said I to myself, as I lay down the volume of Hyperion, in
which I had been glancing for repose. “I, too, have a friend, not
yet a sexagenary bachelor, but a bachelor notwithstanding. He has
one of those well oiled dispositions which turn upon the hinges of
the world without creaking, except during east winds, and when there
is no butter in the house. The hey-day of life is over with him; but
his old age (begging his pardon) is sunny and chirping, and a merry
heart still nestles in his tottering frame, like a swallow that builds
in a tumble-down chimney. He is a professed Squire of Dames. The
rustle of a silk gown is music to his ears, and his imagination is
continually lantern-led by some will-with-the-wisp in the shape of a
lady’s stomacher. In his devotion to the fair sex—the muslin, as he
calls it—he is the gentle flower of chivalry. It is amusing to see
how quickly he strikes into the scent of a lady’s handkerchief. When
once fairly in pursuit, there is no such thing as throwing him out.
His heart looks out at his eye; and his inward delight tingles down
to the tail of his coat. He loves to bask in the sunshine of a smile;
when he can breathe the sweet atmosphere of kid gloves and cambric
handkerchiefs, his soul is in its element; and his supreme delight is
to pass the morning, to use his own quaint language, ‘in making dodging
calls, and wriggling round among the ladies.’” Yet there are a few
little points in the picture which want retouching, and beyond all, one
great omission to be remedied. It is the PIPE. What would the worthy
Abbot be without his pipe? Just as uncomfortable as we should presume
a dog to be without his tail. As incomplete as a sketch of Napoleon
without his boots and cocked-hat. See him in a cloud, and he seems
the very Premier of Cloudland. It was said of Staines, Lord Mayor of
London, that he could not forego his pipe long enough to be sworn into
office, without a whiff; and a print was published representing his
lordship smoking in his state carriage; the sword bearer smoking—the
mace bearer smoking—the coachmen smoking—the footmen smoking—the
postilions smoking—and, to crown the whole—all the six horses smoking
also. The ninth of November on which this event occurred, must needs
have been a cloudy day.

Another cloudy day arose upon London when the great plague broke out,
and on this occasion, the smoke of tobacco mingled with the gloom. In
Reliquiæ Hearnianæ, it is stated that “none who kept tobacconist’s
shops had the plague. It is certain that smoking was looked upon as
a most excellent preservative, insomuch, that even children were
obliged to smoke. And I remember”, continues the writer, “that I heard
formerly Tom Rogers, who was yeoman beadle, say, that when he was that
year when the plague raged, a schoolboy at Eton, all the boys of that
school were obliged to smoke in the school every morning, and that
he was never whipped so much in his life as he was one morning for
not smoking.” We may imagine the experiences of some of these urchins
at their first or second attempt, and in remembrance, it may be, of
some similar experience of our own, see no cause for wonder at Tom
Rogers not liking to elevate his yard of clay, and view the curls of
smoke arise from the ashes of the smouldering weed. Another amateur
who flourished after the great fire had burnt out all traces of the
great plague, has left us the record of his “day of smoke,” and the
cudgelling he received for doing that which Tom Rogers was whipped for
not doing—

“I shall never forget the day when I first smoked. It was a day of
exultation and humiliation. It was a Sunday. My uncle was a great
smoker. He dined with us that day; and after the meal, he pulled out
his cigar case, took a cheroot, and smoked it. I always liked the fumes
of tobacco, so I went near him and observed how he put the cheroot into
his mouth, the way he inhaled the smoke, how he puffed it out again,
and the other coquetries of a regular smoker. I envied my uncle, and
was determined that I would smoke myself. Uncle fell asleep. Now,
thought I, here’s an opportunity not to be lost. I quietly abstracted
three cigars from the case which was lying on the table, and sneaked
off. Being a lad of a generous disposition, I wished that my brothers
and cousins should also partake of the benefits of a smoke, so I
imparted the secret to them, at which they were highly pleased. When
and where to smoke was the next consideration. It was arranged that
when the old people had gone to church in the evening, we should smoke
in the coach-house. We were six in number. I divided the three cigars
into halves, and gave each a piece. Oh, how our hearts did palpitate
with joy! Fire was stealthily brought from the cook-house, and we
commenced to light our cigars. Such puffing I never did see. After each
puff we would open our mouths quite wide, to let the smoke out. At the
performance of the first puff we laughed heartily—the smoke coming out
of our mouths was so funny. At the second puff we didn’t laugh so much,
but began to spit; we thought the cigars were very bitter. After the
third puff we looked steadfastly at each other—each thought the other
looked pale. I could not give the word of command for another pull. I
felt choked, and my teeth began to chatter. There was a dead silence
for a second. We were ashamed, or could not divulge the state of our
feelings. Charlie was the first who gave symptoms of rebellion in his
stomach. Then there was a general revolt. What occurred afterwards I
did not know, till I got up from my bed next morning, to experience the
delights of a sound flagellation. After that I abhorred the smell of
tobacco—would never look at a cigar or think of it.” All this happened,
as the narrator informed us, at the age of seven—an early age, some may
imagine, who do not know that in Vizagapatam and other places on the
same coasts, where the women smoke a great deal, it is a common thing
for the mothers to appease their squalling brats by transferring the
cigar from their own mouths to that of their infants. These youngsters
being accustomed to the art of pulling, suck away gloriously for a
second, and then fall asleep.

Howard Malcom states, “that in Burmah the consumption of tobacco for
smoking is very great, not in pipes, but in cigars or cheroots, with
wrappers made of the leaves of the Then-net tree. In making them,
a little of the dried root, chopped fine, is added, and sometimes
a small portion of sugar. These are sold at a rupee per thousand.
Smoking is more prevalent than ‘chewing coon’ among both sexes, and is
commenced by children almost as soon as they are weaned. I have seen,”
he continues, “little creatures of two or three years, stark naked,
tottering about with a lighted cigar in their mouth. It is not uncommon
for them to become smokers even before they are weaned—the mother often
taking the cheroot from her mouth and putting it into that of the

In China, the practice is so universal, that every female, from the age
of eight or nine years, as an appendage to her dress, wears a small
silken pocket to hold tobacco and a pipe.

The use of tobacco has become universal through the Chinese empire;
men, women, children, everybody smokes almost without ceasing. They go
about their daily business, cultivate the fields, ride on horseback,
and write constantly with the pipe in their mouths. During their meals,
if they stop for a moment, it is to smoke a pipe; and if they wake in
the night, they are sure to amuse themselves in the same way. It may
easily be supposed, therefore, that in a country containing, according
to M. Huc, 300,000,000 of smokers, without counting the tribes of
Tartary and Thibet, who lay in their stocks in the Chinese markets,
the culture of tobacco has become very important. The cultivation
is entirely free, every one being at liberty to plant it in his
garden, or in the open fields, in whatever quantity he chooses, and
afterwards to sell it, wholesale or retail, just as he likes, without
the Government interfering with him in the slightest degree. The most
celebrated tobacco is that obtained in Leao-tong in Mantchuria, and
in the province of Sse-tchouen. The leaves, before becoming articles
of commerce, undergo various preparatory processes, according to the
practice of the locality. In the South, they cut them into extremely
fine filaments; the people of the North content themselves with drying
them and rubbing them up coarsely, and then stuff them at once into
their pipes.

According to etiquette and the custom of the court, Persian princes
must have seven hours for sleep. When they get up, they begin to smoke
the narghilè or shishe, and they continue smoking all day long. When
there is company, the narghilè is first presented to the chief of the
assembly, who, after two or three whiffs, hands it to the next, and so
on it goes descending; but in general, the great smoke only with the
great, or with strangers of distinction. The Schah smokes by himself,
or only with one of his brothers, the tombak, the smoke of which is
of a very superior kind, the odour being exquisite. It is the finest
tombak of Shiraz.

Mr. Neale says—“Talk about the Turks being great smokers; why, the
Siamese beat them to nothing. I have often seen a child only just able
to toddle about, and certainly not more than two years of age, quit
its mother’s breast to go and get a whiff from papa’s cigaret, or, as
they are here termed, _borees_—cigarets made of the dried leaf of the
plantain tree, inside of which the tobacco is rolled up.”

In Japan, after tea drinking, the apparatus for smoking is brought in,
consisting of a board of wood or brass, though not always of the same
structure, upon which are placed a small fire-pan with coals, a pot
to spit in, a small box filled with tobacco cut small, and some long
pipes with small brass heads, as also another japanned board or dish,
with socano—that is, something to eat, such as figs, nuts, cakes, and
sweetmeats. “There are no other spitting pots,” says Kœmpfer, “brought
into the room but those which come along with the tobacco. If there
be occasion for more, they make use of small pieces of bamboo, a hand
broad and high being sawed from between the joints and hollowed.”

In Nicaragua, the dress of the urchins, from twelve or fourteen
downwards, consists generally of a straw hat and a cigar—the latter
sometimes unlighted and stuck behind the ear, but oftener lighted and
stuck in the mouth—a costume sufficiently airy and picturesque, and
excessively cheap. The women have their hair braided in two long locks,
which hang down behind, and give them a school-girly look, quite out
of keeping with the cool deliberate manner in which they puff their
cigars, occasionally forcing the smoke in jets from their nostrils.[7]

On the Amazon, all persons—men and women—use tobacco in smoking; when
pipes are wanting, they make cigarillos of the fine tobacco, wrapped
in a paper-like bark, called Towarè; and one of these is passed round,
each person, even to the little boys, taking two or three puffs in his

The Papuans pierce their ears and insert in the orifice, ornaments
or cigars of tobacco, rolled in pandan leaf, of which they are great

A Spaniard knows no crime so black that it should be visited by the
deprivation of tobacco. In the Havana, the convict who is deprived of
the ordinary comforts, or even of the necessaries of life, may enjoy
his cigar, if he can beg or borrow it; if he stole it, the offence
would be considered venial. At the doorway of most of the shops hang
little sheet-iron boxes filled with lighted coals, at which the
passer-by may light cigars; and on the balustrade of the staircase
of every house stands a small chafing dish for the same purpose.
Fire for his cigar, is the only thing for which a Spaniard does
not think it necessary to ask and thank with ceremonious courtesy.
If he has permitted his cigar to go out, he steps up to the first
man he meets—nobleman or galley slave, as the case may be—and the
latter silently hands his smoking weed; for it is impossible that two
Spaniards should meet and not have one lighted cigar between them.
The light obtained, the lightee returns the cigar to the lighter in
silence. A short and suddenly checked motion of the hand, as the cigar
is extended, is the only acknowledgment of the courtesy. This is never,
however, omitted. Women smoke as well as men; and in a full railroad
car, every person, man, woman, and child, may be seen smoking. To
placard “no smoking allowed,” and enforce it, would ruin the road.

A regular smoker in Cuba will consume perhaps twenty or thirty cigars
a day, but they are all fresh. What we call a fine old cigar, a Cuban
would not smoke.

At Manilla, the women smoke as well as the men. One manufactory employs
about 9,000 women in making the Manilla cheroots; another establishment
employs 3,000 men in making paper cigars or cigarettes. The paper
cigars are chiefly smoked by men; the women prefer the “puros,” the
largest they can get.

The Binua of Johore, of both sexes, indulge freely in tobacco. It
is their favourite luxury. The women are often seen seated together
weaving mats, and each with a cigar in her mouth. When speaking, it
is transferred to the perforation in the ear. When met paddling their
canoes, the cigar is seldom wanting. The Mintira women are also much
addicted to tobacco, but they do not smoke it.

In South America, many of the tribes are free indulgers in tobacco; and
this extends also to the female and juvenile sections of the community.
A story, which Signor Calistro narrated to Mr. Wallace whilst
travelling in the interior of Brazil, shows that it was nothing but a
common occurrence for little girls to smoke. This story is in itself
interesting considered apart from all circumstances of veracity.
“There was a negro who had a pretty wife, to whom another negro was
rather attentive when he had an opportunity. One day the husband went
out to hunt, and the other party thought it a good opportunity to pay a
visit to the lady. The husband, however, returned rather unexpectedly,
and the visitor climbed up on the rafters to be out of sight, among the
old boards and baskets that were stowed away there. The husband put
his gun by in a corner, and called to his wife to get his supper, and
then sat down in his hammock. Casting his eyes up to the rafters, he
saw a leg protruding from among the baskets, and thinking it something
supernatural, crossed himself, and said, ‘Lord deliver us from the legs
appearing overhead!’ The other, hearing this, attempted to draw up his
legs out of sight; but, losing his balance, came down suddenly on the
floor in front of the astonished husband, who, half-frightened, asked,
‘Where do you come from?’ ‘I have just come from heaven,’ said the
other, ‘and have brought you news of your little daughter Maria.’ ‘Oh,
wife, wife! come and see a man who has brought us news of our little
daughter Maria!’ then, turning to the visitor, continued, ’and what
was my little daughter doing when you left?’ ‘Oh, she was sitting at
the feet of the Virgin with a golden crown on her head, and smoking a
golden pipe a yard long.’ ‘And did she send any message to us?’ ‘Oh,
yes; she sent many remembrances, and begged you to send her two pounds
of your tobacco from the little rhoosa; they have not got any half so
good up there.’ ‘Oh, wife, wife, bring two pounds of our tobacco from
the little rhoosa, for our daughter Maria is in heaven, and she says
they have not any half so good up there.’ So the tobacco was brought,
and the visitor was departing, when he was asked, ‘Are there many
white men up there?’ ‘Very few,’ he replied; ‘they are all down below
with the _diabo_.’ ‘I thought so,’ the other replied, apparently quite
satisfied; ‘good night.’”

On the Orinoco, tobacco has been cultivated by the native tribes from
time immemorial. The Tamanacs and the Maypures of Guiana wrap maize
leaves around their cigars as did the Mexicans at the time of the
arrival of Cortes; and, as in Chili, is done at the present day. The
Spaniards have substituted paper for the maize husks, in imitation
of them. The little cigarettos of Chili are called _hojitas_. They
are about two inches and a half long, filled with coarsely powdered
tobacco. As their use is apt to stain the fingers of the smoker, the
fashionable young gentlemen carry a pair of delicate gold tweezers for
holding them. The cigar is so small that it requires not more than
three or four minutes to smoke one. They serve to fill up the intervals
in a conversation. At tertulias, the gentlemen sometimes retire to a
balcony to smoke one or two cigars after a dance.

The poor Indians of the forests of the Orinoco know, as well as did the
great nobles of the Court of Montezuma, that the smoke of tobacco is an
excellent narcotic; and they use it, not only to procure an afternoon
nap, but, also to induce a state of quiescence which they call dreaming
with the eyes open. At the Court of Montezuma the pipe was held in one
hand, while the nostrils were stopped with the other, in order that
the smoke might be more easily swallowed. Bernal Diaz also informs
us, that after Montezuma had dined, they presented to him three little
canes, highly ornamented, containing liquid amber, mixed with a herb
they call tobacco, and when he had sufficiently viewed and heard the
singers, he took a little of the smoke of one of these canes, and then
laid himself down to sleep. A tribe of Indians originally inhabiting
Panama, improved upon this method, which occupied both hands, and
involved considerable trouble; the method adopted by the chiefs and
great men of this tribe, was to employ servants to blow tobacco smoke
in their faces, which was convenient and encouraged their indolence;
they indulged in the luxury of tobacco in no other way.

Amongst the Rocky Mountain Indians, it is a universal practice to
indulge in smoking, and when they do so they saturate their bodies
in smoke. They use but little tobacco, mixing with it a plant which
renders the fume less offensive. It is a social luxury, for the
enjoyment of which, they form a circle, and only one pipe is used.
The principal chief begins by drawing three whiffs, the first of
which he sends upward, and then passes the pipe to the person next
in dignity, and in like manner the instrument passes round until it
comes to the first chief again. He then draws four whiffs, the last of
which he blows through his nose, in two columns, in circling ascent,
as through a double flued chimney; and their pipes are not of the
race stigmatized by Knickerbocker as plebeian. None of the smoke of
those villanous short pipes, continually ascending in a cloud about
the nose, penetrating into and befogging the cerebellum, drying up all
the kindly moisture of the brain, and rendering the people who use
them vapourish and testy; or, what is worse, from being goodly, burly,
sleek-conditioned men, to become like the Dutch yeomanry who smoked
short pipes, a lantern-jawed, smoke-dried, leathern-hided race. The red
people, whether of the Rocky mountains or of the Mississippi, belonged
to the aristocracy of the _long pipes_. Let us hope that they have
not degenerated, and become followers of the customs of the barbarian

Turn over the leaves of “Westward Ho!” until you reach the end of
the seventh chapter, and then read of Salvation Yeo and his fiery
reputation, and his eulogium—“for when all things were made, none was
made better than this; to be a lone man’s companion, a bachelor’s
friend, a hungry man’s food, a sad man’s cordial, a wakeful man’s
sleep, and a chilly man’s fire, sir; while, for stanching of wounds,
purging of rheum, and settling of the stomach, there’s no herb like
unto it under the canopy of heaven.” The truth of which eulogium Amyas
testeth in after years. But, “mark in the meanwhile,” says one of the
veracious chroniclers from whom I draw these facts, writing seemingly
in the palmy days of good Queen Anne and “not having (as he says)
before his eyes the fear of that misocapnic Solomon James I. or of any
other lying Stuart,” “that not to South Devon, but to North; not to
Sir Walter Raleigh, but to Sir Amyas Leigh; not to the banks of the
Dart, but to the banks of Torridge, does Europe owe the dayspring of
the latter age, that age of smoke which shall endure and thrive when
the age of brass shall have vanished, like those of iron and of gold,
for whereas Mr. Lane is said to have brought home that divine weed (as
Spenser well names it), from Virginia, in the year 1584, it is hereby
indisputable that full four years earlier, by the bridge of Pulford in
the Torridge moors (which all true smokers shall hereafter visit as a
hallowed spot and point of pilgrimage) first twinkled that fiery beacon
and beneficent loadstar of Bidefordian commerce, to spread hereafter
from port to port, and peak to peak, like the watch-fires which
proclaimed the coming of the Armada and the fall of Troy, even to the
shores of the Bosphorus, the peaks of the Caucasus, and the farthest
isles of the Malayan sea; while Bideford, metropolis of tobacco, saw
her Pool choked up with Virginian traders, and the pavement of her
Bridgeland Street groaning beneath the savoury bales of roll Trinidado,
leaf, and pudding; and the grave burghers, bolstered and blocked out
of their own houses by the scarce less savoury stockfish casks which
filled cellar, parlour, and attic, were fain to sit outside the door,
a silver pipe in every strong right hand, and each left hand chinking
cheerfully the doubloons deep lodged in the auriferous caverns of
their trunkhose; while in those fairy rings of fragrant mist, which
circled round their contemplative brows, flitted most pleasant visions
of Wiltshire farmers jogging into Sherborne fair, their heaviest
shillings in their pockets to buy (unless old Aubrey lies) the lotus
leaf of Torridge for its weight in silver, and draw from thence, after
the example of the Caciques of Dariena, supplies of inspiration much
needed then, as now, in those Gothamite regions. And yet did these
improve, as Englishmen, upon the method of those heathen savages;
for the latter (so Salvation Yeo reported as a truth, and Dampier’s
surgeon, Mr. Wafer, after him), when they will deliberate of war or
policy, sit round in the hut of the chief; where being placed, enter
to them a small boy with a cigarro of the bigness of a rolling pin,
and puffs the smoke thereof into the face of each warrior, from the
eldest to the youngest; while they, putting their hand funnel-wise
round their mouths, draw into the sinuosities of the brain, that more
than Delphic vapour of prophecy; which boy presently falls down in a
swoon, and being dragged out by the heels and laid by to sober, enter
another to puff at the sacred cigarro, till he is dragged out likewise,
and so on till the tobacco is finished, and the seed of wisdom has
sprouted in every soul into the tree of meditation, bearing the flowers
of eloquence, and, in due time, the fruit of valiant action.” And
with this quaint fact, narrated in the bombastic style of chronicles,
closeth the seventh chapter of the voyages and adventures of Sir Amyas
Leigh, under the style and title already mentioned, and after which
digression the course of our narrative proceedeth as before.

The inhabitants of Yemen smoke their well-loved dschihschi pipes, with
long stems passed through water, that the smoke may come cold to the
mouth; and which, when a few inveterate smokers meet together, keep up
a boiling and bubbling noise, not unlike a distant corps of drummers in
full performance.

In the Austrian dominions, the lovers of the pipe may be found amongst
all classes of the community. Köhl writes, that after taking two or
three pipes of tobacco with the pasha at New Orsova, he went into
the market-place, where he found several merchants who invited him
to sit down, and again he was presented with a pipe. From this place
he went to a mosque, calling in at a school on his way:——“The little
Turkish students were making a most heathenish noise, which contrasted
amusingly with the quiet and sedate demeanour of their teacher, who lay
stretched upon a bench, where he smoked his pipe, and said nothing.”
He afterwards went to look at the fortifications, and here and there
saw a sentinel, with his musket in one hand and pipe in the other.
“Twenty-five soldiers were seen smoking under a shed, and on the ground
lay a number of shells or hollow balls, which they assured us were
filled with powder and other combustibles, yet the soldiers smoked
among them unconcernedly, and allowed us to do the same.” A gentleman
from Constantinople told him that he had seen worse instances of
carelessness, in Asia Minor. He had there been one day in the tents
of a pasha, where some wet powder was drying and being made into
cartridges, and the men engaged in the work were smoking all the while.

In the “Stettin Gazette,” lately appeared a notification that the
Prussian clergy had privately been requested by the higher authorities
to abstain from smoking in public. We are not accustomed to it, and
should certainly think it odd to see clergymen perambulating the
streets with short pipes in their mouths.

In all parts of the Sultan’s dominions, the pipe or narghilè has a stem
generally flexible, about six feet in length; and at this the owner
will suck for hours. You may see a man travelling, mounted aloft on a
tall camel, with his body oscillating to and fro like a sailor’s when
he rows, but still that man has his two yards of pipe before him. You
may see two men caulking a ship’s side as she lies careened near the
shore. Up to their waists in water, they act up to the principle of
division of labour; for one will smoke as the other plies the hammer,
and then the worker takes his turn at the narghilè. Arabs sitting at
work, fix their pipes in the sand. In the potteries both hands must be
employed—how, then, can the potter smoke? Necessity is the mother of
invention. One end of the pipe is suspended by a cord from the ceiling,
the other is in the potter’s mouth.

In smoking, Lane informs us, the people of Egypt and other countries
of the East draw in their breath freely, so that much of the smoke
descends into the lungs; and the terms which they use to express
“smoking tobacco,” signify “_drinking_ smoke,” or “_drinking tobacco_;”
for the same word signifies both smoke and tobacco. Few of them spit
while smoking; he had seldom seen them do so.

It was something like drinking of smoke that Napoleon accomplished
in his unsuccessful smoking campaign. He once took a fancy to try to
smoke. Everything was prepared for him, and his Majesty took the amber
mouth-piece of the narghilè between his lips; he contented himself
with opening and shutting his mouth alternately, without in the least
drawing his breath. “The devil,” he replied—“why, there’s no result!”
It was shewn that he made the attempt badly, and the proper method
practically exhibited to him. At last he drew in a mouthful, when the
smoke—which he had discovered the means of drawing in, but knew not
how to expel—found its way into his throat, and thence by his nose,
almost blinding him. As soon as he recovered breath, he cried out—“Away
with it! What an abomination! Oh! the hog—my stomach turns!” In fact,
the annoyance continued for an hour, and he renounced for ever a habit
which, he said, was fit only to amuse sluggards.

Although Napoleon managed to fail, thousands less mighty have managed
to succeed. There is a curious kind of legend mentioned in Brand’s
Antiquities, by way of accounting for the frequent use and continuance
of taking tobacco, for the veracity of which he declares that he will
not vouch. “When the Christians first discovered America, the devil
was afraid of losing his hold of the people there by the appearance
of Christianity. He is reported to have told some Indians of his
acquaintance, that he had found a way to be revenged on the Christians
for beating up his quarters, for he would teach them to take tobacco,
to which, when they had once tasted it, they should become perpetual

Without venturing to authenticate this strange story, in the moral
of which Napoleon would have concurred—with a mental reservation in
favour of snuff—after the above defeat, let us console tobacco lovers,
that whilst the success of the first temptation closed the gates of
Paradise, the success of the second opens them again.

The following from an old collection of epigrams is, in every respect,
worthy of the theme.

  “All dainty meats I do defie,
    Which feed men fat as swine;
  He is a frugal man indeed
    That on a leaf can dine.
  He needs no napkin for his hands
    His fingers’ ends to wipe,
  That keeps his kitchen in a box,
    And roast meat in a pipe.”

In Hamburg, 40,000 cigars are smoked daily in a population scarcely
amounting to 45,000 adult males. And in London, the consumption must
be considerable to furnish, from the profits of retailing, a living
to 1566 tobacconists. In England, we may presume that the largest
smoker of tobacco must be the Queen, since an immense kiln at the
docks, called the Queen’s pipe, is occasionally lighted and primed with
hundredweights of tobacco, sea damaged or otherwise spoiled, at the
same time blowing a cloud

  “Which Turks might envy, Africans adore.”

The total number of cigars consumed in France in 1857 is stated to have
been 523,636,000; and the total revenue of the French Government from
the tobacco monopoly is estimated at £7,320,000 annually. In Russia the
revenue is £7,200,000 annually; and in Austria near £3,000,000. These
are large sums to pay for the privilege of puffing.

The _Buffalo Democracy_ estimates the annual consumption of tobacco
at 4,000,000,000 of pounds. This is all smoked, chewed, or snuffed.
Suppose it all made into cigars 100 to the pound, it would produce
400,000,000,000 of cigars. These cigars, at the usual length, four
inches, if joined together, would form one continuous cigar 25,253,520
miles long, which would encircle the earth more than 1000 times. Cut up
into equal pieces, 250,000 miles in length, there would be over 1000
cigars which would extend from the centre of the earth to the centre of
the moon. Put these cigars into boxes 10 inches long, 4 inches wide,
and 3 inches high, 100 to the box, and it would require 4,000,000,000
boxes to contain them. Pile up these boxes in a solid mass, and they
would occupy a space of 294,444,444 cubic feet; if piled up 20 feet
high, they would cover a farm of 338 acres; and if laid side by side,
the boxes would cover nearly 20,000 acres. Allowing this tobacco,
in its unmanufactured state, to cost sixpence a pound, and we have
100,000,000 pounds sterling expended yearly upon this weed; at least
one-and-a-half times as much more is required to manufacture it into
a marketable form, and dispose of it to the consumer. At the very
lowest estimate, then, the human family expend every year £250,000,000
in the gratification of an acquired habit, or a crown for every man,
woman, and child upon the earth. This sum, the writer calculates,
would build 2 railroads round the earth at a cost of £5,000 per mile,
or 16 railroads the Atlantic to the Pacific. It would build 100,000
churches, costing £2,500 each, or 1,000,000 dwellings costing £25 each
(rather small!) It would employ 1,000,000 of preachers and 1,000,000 of
teachers, giving each a salary of £125. It would support 3⅓ millions of
young men at college, allowing to each £75 a year for expenses.

What a cloud the “human family” would blow if they had each his share
of the 4,000,000,000 pounds dealt out to him in cigars on the morning
of the 25th of December, in the year of our Lord, 1860. One feels
dubious as to the number who would refuse to take their quota, if there
were nothing to pay.

Dr. Dwight Baldwin states, that in 1851, the city of New York spent
3,650,000 dollars for cigars alone, while it only spent 3,102,500
dollars for bread. The Grand Erie Canal, 364 miles long, the longest in
the world, with its eighteen aqueducts, and eighty-four locks, was made
in six years, at a cost of 7,000,000 dollars. The cigar bill in the
city of New York would have paid the whole in two years.

The number of cigar manufactories in America is 1,400, and the number
of hands employed in them 7,000 and upwards. The total estimated
weekly produce of these manufactories is 17½ millions, and the yearly
840 millions. At 7 dollars per 1,000, these would be worth 5 million
dollars, and adding 50 per cent. for jobber and retailer, the total
cost to consumers would be 7½ million dollars—add to this the sum
paid for imported cigars, 6 million dollars, and we have 13½ million
dollars, the value of cigars consumed yearly in the United States,
without adding profit to the imported cigars; so that, including the
amount expended in tobacco for smoking and chewing, and in snuff, the
annual cost of the tobacco consumed yearly, is not less than 30 million
dollars or £6,000,000. This is but little more than is realized
annually in Great Britain by the excise duty alone on the tobacco
consumed at home; but it must be remembered, that in America tobacco is
free of the duty of three shillings and twopence per pound, and free
of charges for an Atlantic passage, so that the tobacco represented by
6 millions there, would be represented here by at least six times that

Cloudland costs something to keep up its dignity after all, but beauty
is seductive, and so is tobacco.

Yes! St. John (Percy, we mean—not “the Divine”), there must be “magic
in the cigar.” Then, to the sailor, on the wide and tossing ocean,
what consolation is there, save in his old pipe? While smoking his
inch and a half of clay, black and polished, his Susan or his Mary
becomes manifest before him, he sees her, holds converse with her
spirit—in the red glare from the ebony bowl, as he walks the deck at
night, or squats on the windlass, are reflected the bright sparkling
eyes of his sweetheart. The Irish fruit-woman, the Jarvie without a
fare, the policeman on a quiet beat, the soldier at his ease, all bow
to the mystic power of tobacco[9]—all acknowledge the infatuations of



 “It was his constant companion and solace. Was he gay, he smoked—was
 he sad, he smoked—his pipe was never out of his mouth—it was a part of
 his physiognomy; without it his best friends would not know him. Take
 away his pipe—you might as well take away his nose.”——KNICKERBOCKER’S
 _New York_.

Semele, in a death by fire, became a martyr to love. Thus Virginia
suffers herself to be burnt for the good of the world. From the ashes
of the old Phœnix the young Phœnix was born. From the smoke of the
Havana spring new visions, and eloquent delights. As the altars of the
gods received honour from men, and the censers from whence ascended the
burning incense were sacred to the deities, wherefore should not the
pipe receive honour, as well as the man who uses it, or the odorous
weed consumed within it. An enthusiast writes of it thus—“Philosophers
have drawn their best similes from their pipes. How could they have
done so, had their pipes first been drawn from them? We see the smoke
go upwards—we think of life; we see the smoke-wreath fade away—we
remember the morning cloud. Our pipe breaks—we mourn the fragility of
earthly pleasures. We smoke it to an end, and tapping out the ashes,
remember that ‘Dust we are, and unto dust we shall return.’ If we are
in love, we garnish a whole sonnet with images drawn from smoking, and
first fill our pipe, and then tune it. That spark kindles like her eye,
is ruddy as her lip; this slender clay, as white as her hand, and slim
as her waist; till her raven hair grows grey as these ashes, I will
love her. This perfume is not sweeter than her breath, though sweeter
than all else. The odour ascends me into the brain, fills it full of
all fiery delectable shapes, which delivered over to the tongue, which
is the birth become delectable wit.”

The instruments by which the “universal weed” is consumed, are almost
as variable in form and material as the nations indulging in their use.
The pipe of Holland is of porcelain, and that of our own island of
unglazed clay. These latter are made in large quantities, both at home
and abroad.[10] One factory at St. Omer employs 450 work-people, and
produces annually 100,000 gross, or nearly fifteen millions of pipes;
and another factory at the same place employs 850 work-people, and
produces 200,000 gross, or nearly thirty millions of pipes, consuming
nearly eight thousand tons of clay in their manufacture. The quantity
of pipes used annually in London is estimated at 364,000 gross, or
52,416,000 pipes; it requires 300 men, each man making 20 gross four
dozen per week, for one year, to make them; the cost of which is
£40,950. The average length of these pipes is twelve and a half inches;
and if laid down in a horizontal position, end to end together, they
would reach to the extent of 10,340 miles, 1,600 yards; if they were
piled one above another perpendicularly, they would reach 135,138 times
as high as St. Pauls; they would weigh 1,137 tons, 10 cwts., and it
would require 104 tons, 9 cwts., 32 lbs. of tobacco to fill them. In
1857 we imported clay pipes to the value of £7,614, which cannot be
short of 121,000 gross, or seventeen and a half millions. But even
with us, pipes were not always of clay. The earliest pipes used in
Britain are stated to have been made from a walnut-shell and a straw.
Dr. Royle describes a very primitive kind of clay pipe used by some of
the natives of India—it is presumed only in cases of necessity. “The
amateur makes two holes, one longer than the other, with a piece of
stick in a clay soil, inclining the stick so that they may meet; into
the shorter hole he places the tobacco, and applies his mouth to the
other, and thus, as he lies upon the ground, luxuriates in the fumes of
the narcotic herb.”

Turkish pipe-bowls, or Lules, are composed of the red clay of Nish,
mixed with the white earth of the Roustchouck. They are very graceful
in form, and are in some cases ornamented with gilding. The “regular
Turk” prefers a fresh bowl daily; therefore the plain ones are resorted
to on the score of economy. In Turkey and some other parts of the
Orient, it is not unusual to compute distances, or rather the duration
of a journey, by the numbers of pipes which might be smoked in the time
necessary to accomplish it.

The pipe of the German is, almost universally, the Meerschaum, that
pipe of fame so coveted by the Northern smoker. These articles are
composed of a kind of magnesian earth, known to the Tartars of the
Crimea as _keff-til_. Pallas erroneously supposed that this kind of
earth was so denominated from Caffa, and therefore the name signified
“Caffa earth.” From “Meninski’s Oriental Dictionary” it would appear to
be a derivation of two Turkish words which signify “foam” or “froth”
of the “earth.” The French name, _écume de mer_, or “scum of the sea,”
and the Germans’ “sea foam,” have doubtless an intimate relationship
with this same “keff til” of the Crimean Tartars.

Meerschaum earth is met with in various localities in Spain, Greece,
Crimea, and Moravia. The greatest quantity is derived from Asia Minor,
it being dug principally in the peninsula of Natolia, near the town of
Coniah. Before the capture of the Crimea, this earth is stated to have
formed a considerable article of commerce with Constantinople, where it
was used in the public baths to cleanse the hair of women. The first
rude shape was formerly given to the pipe-bowls on the spot where the
mineral was dug, by pressure in a mould; and these rude bowls were
more elegantly carved and finished at Pesth and Vienna. At the present
time, the greater part of the meerschaum is exported in the shape of
irregular blocks; these undergo a careful manipulation, after having
been soaked in a preparation of wax and oil. After being finished, and
sold at the German fairs, some of them have acquired such an exquisite
tint through smoking, in the estimation of connoisseurs, that they have
realized from £40 to £50.

Attempts have not been wanting to imitate this material, hitherto not
very successfully. The large quantity of parings that are left in
trimming up the bowls, has been rendered available for the manufacture
of what are called “massa bowls,” but they do not enjoy the reputation
of the genuine meerschaum bowls.

There is yet another mineral production, the use of which Turkish
smokers, at any rate, know how to appreciate. This is amber. The Turk
will expend an almost fabulous sum in an amber mouth-piece for his
_narghileh_. Four valuable articles of this description were exhibited
in the Turkish department of the Exhibition of 1851, which were
worth together £1000, two of them being valued at £305 each. There is
a current belief in Turkey that amber is incapable of transmitting
infection; and as it is considered a great mark of politeness to offer
the pipe to a stranger, this presumed property of amber accounts in
some measure for the estimation in which it is held.

The knowledge of amber extends backwards to a remote antiquity, as the
Phœnicians of old fetched it from Prussia. Since that period it has
been obtained there uninterruptedly, without any diminution in the
quantity annually collected. The greatest amount of amber is found
on the coast of Prussia proper, between Konigsberg and Dantzic. From
the amber-beds on the coast of Dirschkeim, extending under the sea, a
storm threw up, on the 1st of January, 1848, no less than 800 pounds.
The amber fishery of Prussia formerly produced to the king about
25,000 crowns per month. After a storm, the amber coasts are crowded
with gatherers, large masses of amber being occasionally cast up by
the waves. In digging for a well in the coal-mines near Prague, the
workmen lately discovered, between the bed of gritstone which forms the
roof of that mine and the first layer of coals, a bed of yellow amber,
apparently of great extent. Pieces weighing from two to three pounds
have been extracted. There are two kinds—the terrestrial, which is dug
in mines, and the marine, which is cast ashore during autumnal storms.

Opinions vary as to the origin of amber. Tacitus and others have
considered it a fossil resin exhaled by certain coniferous trees,
traces of which are frequently observed among the amber, whilst other
theorists contend that it is a species of wax or fat, having undergone
a slow process of putrefaction; this latter view being based upon the
fact that chemists are able to convert fatty or cerous substances into
succinic acid by artificial oxidation. One thing is, however, certain,
that amber, at some period of its history, must have existed in a state
of fluidity, since numerous insects, especially of the spider kind,
are found imbedded in it; and a specimen has been shown enclosing the
leg of a toad. Toads are in the habit of living for centuries, we
are informed, cooped up in stone and rock; but we are not aware that
hitherto any of these extraordinary reptiles have been found buried
alive in a mass of amber. Masses of amber have been found weighing from
4 lbs. to 6 lbs.—more than large enough to contain a toad or two of
ordinary dimensions.

For a knowledge of the pipes of modern Egypt, we must resort for
information to Mr. Lane, from whom we gather the following notes.
The pipe (which is called by many names, as “shibuk,” “ood,” &c.) is
generally between four and five feet long. Some pipes are shorter, and
some of greater length. The most common kind used in Egypt is made of
a kind of wood called “garmashak.” The greater part of the stick is
covered with silk, which is confined at each extremity by gold thread,
often intertwined with coloured silks, or by a tube of gilt silver;
and at the lower extremity of the covering is a tassel of silk. The
covering was originally designed to be moistened with water, in order
to cool the pipe, and consequently the smoke, by evaporation; but this
is only done when the pipe is old, or not handsome. Cherrystick pipes,
which are never covered, are used by some persons, particularly in the
winter. In summer, the smoke is not so cool from the cherrystick pipe
as from the kind before mentioned. The bowl is of baked earth, coloured
red or brown. The mouth-piece is composed of two or more pieces of
opaque, light-coloured amber, interjoined by ornaments of enamelled
gold, agate, jasper, carnelion, or some other precious substance. This
is the most costly part of the pipe. Those in ordinary use by persons
of the middle classes cost from £1 to £3 sterling. A wooden tube passes
through it; this is often changed, as it becomes foul from the oil of
the tobacco. The pipe also requires to be cleaned very often, which
is done with tow, by means of a long wire. Many poor men in Cairo
gain a livelihood by cleaning pipes. Some of the Egyptians use the
Persian pipe, in which the smoke passes through water. The pipe of this
kind most commonly used by persons of the higher classes is called
“nargeeleh,” because the vessel that contains the water is the shell
of a cocoa-nut, of which “nargeeleh” is an Arabic name. Another kind
which has a glass vase, is called “sheesheh,” from the Persian word
signifying “glass.” Each has a very long, flexible tube.

A kind of pipe commonly called “gozeh,” which is similar to the
nargeeleh, excepting that it has a short cane tube, instead of the
snake, and no stand. This is used by men of the lowest class for
smoking both the “tumbak” or Persian tobacco, and the narcotic hemp.

The Zoolus of Southern Africa have a kind of pipe or smoking horn
called “Egoodu,” which is constructed on a similar principle to the
Persian pipe. The herb is placed at the end of a reed introduced into
the side of an oxhorn, which is filled with water, and the mouth
applied to the upper or wide part of the horn, the smoke passing down
the reed and through the water.

The Delagoans of Eastern Africa smoke the “hubble-bubble,” a similar
instrument, having the upper part of the horn closed, excepting a
small orifice in the centre of the covering through which the smoke is

The Kaffirs form pipe bowls from a black, and also from a green stone;
they are in shape similar to the Dutch pipes, and without ornament. The
negroes of Western Africa have pipes of a reddish earth, some of them
of very uncouth and singular forms, others close imitations of European
pipe bowls. One kind of pipe consists of two bowls placed side by side
upon a single stem. Old Indian pipes have been found in America, also
fashioned out of green stone.

The natives of the South-West coast of Africa, near Elizabeth’s Bay,
use pipes in the shape of a cigar tube formed of a mottled green or
white mineral of the magnesian family, externally carved or roughly

Sailors, when on a voyage, are often in difficulties for the want
of pipes. Under such circumstances, numerous contrivances have at
different times been resorted to to remedy the defect; such as pipes
cast out of old lead, or cut out of wood. The sailors belonging to
H.M.S. _Samarang_ having lost their pipes in the Sarawak river, set to,
and in a very little while, manufactured excellent pipes from different
sized internodes of the bamboos that grew around them. In India, simple
pipes are used composed of two pieces of bamboo, one for the bowl cut
close to a knot, and a smaller one for the tube.

The aborigines of British Guiana use a pipe, or rather a tube, called a
“Winna.” It resembles a cheroot in outward appearance, but is hollow,
so as to contain the tobacco. It is said to be made from the rind of
the fruit of the manicot palm, growing on the river Berbice. Forasmuch
as it pleaseth us to borrow fashions from nations barbarous as well as
civilized, a form of tube much resembling the “Winna,” has been made
and sold in the tobacconist shops of the metropolis of old England.

Among the Bashee group, and particularly on the island of Ibayat,
the natives form very elegant and commodious pipes from different
species of shells, the columella and septa of the convolutions being
broken down, and a short ebony stem inserted into a hole at the apex
of the spire. These are more generally formed of the shells known as
the Bishop’s mitre (_Mitra episcopalis_) and the Pope’s mitre (_Mitra
papalis_). Species of _Terebra_ and _Turbo_ are also converted into

In China, where M. Rondot calculates that there are not less than 100
millions, and Abbé Huc 300 millions of smokers, pipes are made in
immense numbers. Of these there are three kinds, the water pipe, the
straight pipe, and the opium pipe. Chinese pipes, and indeed those of
all the Indo-Chinese races, including the Tartars, Chinese, Koreans,
and Japanese, are provided with a small metallic bowl, and usually a
long bamboo stem; for with persons who are in the habit of smoking,
at short intervals, all day long, a large bowl would be inadmissible.
By inhaling but a pinch of tobacco on one occasion, they extend the
influence of a larger pipe over a greater space of time. In such cases
they suffer no inconvenience from the nature of the material of which
the bowl is composed. Nations that smoke larger pipes adopt some other
substance, as metal would become too hot; hence we have pipes of
“Samian ware” in Turkey, “Meerschaum” in Germany, and “Clay” in England
and other places. My “Uncle Toby” would have burnt his fingers with a
Chinese pipe of nickel silver many a time and often; and it would have
required a large amount of logic to have induced Doctor Riccabocca to
have exchanged his companion (his pipe, not his umbrella) for a bowl of
Japanese manufacture.

Isaac Browne thought, a century ago, that there was something in a
pipe worth writing about, or he had never given us the following


  “Little tube of mighty power,
  Charmer of an idle hour,
  Object of my warm desire,
  Lip of wax, and eye of fire;
  And thy snowy taper waist,
  With thy finger gently braced;
  And thy pretty swelling crest,
  With thy little stopper prest;
  And the sweetest bliss of blisses
  Breathing from thy balmy kisses.
  Happy thrice, and thrice again,
  Happiest he of happy men;
  Who, when again the night returns,
  When again the taper burns,
  When again the cricket’s gay
  (Little cricket full of play),
  Can afford his tube to feed
  With the fragrant Indian weed;
  Pleasure for a nose divine,
  Incense of the god of wine.
  Happy thrice, and thrice again,
  Happiest he of happy men.”

In Virginia’s native country, the pipe sticks closer to a man than his
boots. An American is no more furnished without his pipe or cigar, than
a house is furnished without a looking glass. To the native Indian,
it supplies an important place; it becomes his treaty of peace—his
challenge of war. It is the instrument of a solemn ratification, and
the subject of more than one semi-sacred legend, which has woven about
the heart of the Red-man.

“At the Red-pipe Stone Quarry,” say they, “happened the mysterious
birth of the red-pipe, which has blown its fumes of peace or war to the
remotest corners of the Continent, which has visited every warrior,
and passed through its reddened stem, the irrevocable oath of war and
desolation. And here, also, the peace breathing calumet was born, and
fringed with the eagle’s quills, which has shed its thrilling fumes
over the land, and soothed the fury of the relentless savage. The
Great Spirit, at an ancient period, here called together the Indian
warriors, and standing on the precipice of the red-pipe stone rock,
broke from its wall a piece, and made a huge pipe, by turning it in his
hand, which he smoked over them, and to the north, the south, the east,
and the west; and told them that this stone was red—that it was their
flesh—that they must use it for their pipes of peace, that it belonged
to them all, and that the war club, and the scalping knife must not
be raised on its ground. At the last whiff of his pipe, his head went
into a great cloud, and the whole surface of the rock, for several
miles, was melted and glazed. Two great ovens were opened beneath, and
two women, guardian spirits of the place, entered them in a blaze of
fire, and they are heard there yet, answering to the invocations of the
priests or medicine men, who consult them when they are visitors to
this sacred place.”[11]

  “From the red stone of the quarry
  With his hand he broke a fragment,
  Moulded it into a pipe head,
  Shaped and fashioned it with figures.
  From the margin of the river
  Took a long reed for a pipe stem,
  With its dark green leaves upon it;
  Filled the pipe with bark of willow;
  With the bark of the red willow;
  Breathed upon the neighbouring forest,
  Made its great boughs chafe together,
  Till in flame they burst, and kindled;
  And erect upon the mountains,
  Gitche Manito, the mighty,
  Smoked the calumet, the Peace Pipe,
  As a signal to the nations,” &c.

The tribes of the Missouri make their pipes of a kind of stone called
Catlinite, from the red pipe stone quarries upon the head waters of
that river, the colour of which is brick red. These stones, when first
taken out of the quarry are soft, and easily worked with a knife, but
on exposure to the air become hard and take a good polish. The pipes of
the Rocky Mountain Indians are some of them wrought with much labour
and ingenuity of an argillaceous stone of a very fine texture, found at
the north of Queen Charlotte’s Island. This stone is of a blue black
colour, and in character similar to the red earth of the Missouri

The Calumet or “pipe of peace” of the Sioux Indians is thus described
by Irving. “The bowl was of a species of red stone resembling porphyry,
the stem was six feet in length, decorated with tufts of horse hair
dyed red. The pipe bearer stepped within the circle, lighted the pipe,
held it towards the sun, then towards the different points of the
compass, after which he handed it to the principal chief. The latter
smoked a few whiffs, then, holding the head of the pipe in his hand,
offered the other end to their visitor, and to each one successively in
the circle. When all had smoked, it was considered that an assurance
of good faith and amity had been interchanged.” The use of the Uspogan
or Calumet among the Eythinyuwak, appears not to have been an original
practice of the Tinne, but was introduced with tobacco by Europeans;
while among the Chippeways, the plant has been grown from the most
ancient times.

Among the most uncultivated and uncivilized of nations, the pipe is
an object upon which is exercised all their ingenuity, and in the
decoration of which is concentrated all their taste. One might almost
classify the races of the world by means of a good collection of
their pipes, and not stray very far from the order resulting from more
scientific processes.

In the East, there is existing an almost incessant habit of smoking;
and the pipe is the prelude of all official acts, of all conversations,
and of all social relations. The Oriental seizes his pipe in the
morning, and scarcely relinquishes it till he goes to bed. Here there
is generally a special functionary—the pipe-bearer—as an appendage
to all officials. When the Sultan goes abroad, his pipe-bearer is
with him. In families of respectability, the care of the pipes is the
exclusive attribute of one or more servants, who occupy the highest
grade of the domestic establishment; and thus dignity is given to the
pipe, even in a country where less dignity is allowed to the fairer
portion of the community than in more highly cultivated countries.

In the Museum of the Botanic Gardens at Kew, are pipes and stems carved
out of boxwood, as used in Sweden; also pipe-bowls of pine and other
woods made by the native Indians near Sitka in North-West America, and
brought home from a late expedition. The latter are rude, but quite
equal in elegance to many which adorn the windows of fancy tobacconists
and cigar divans in this metropolis of the civilized world.

From a schism in tobacco-pipes, Knickerbocker dates the rise of parties
in the Niew Nederlandts. “The rich and self-important burghers, who
had made their fortunes, and could afford to be lazy, adhered to
the ancient fashion, and formed a kind of aristocracy, known as the
_Long-pipes_; while the lower order, adopting the reform of William
Kieft, as more convenient in their handicraft employments, were branded
with the plebeian name of _Short-pipes_.” Who may be considered as
the founder of the English Short-pipe school, is more difficult to
determine; it is nevertheless, of late years, a very popular one, and
considerably outnumbers the aristocracy of Long-pipes. The variety of
these instruments is almost infinite. There are all kinds of short
clays, cutties, St. Omer, Gambier, meerschaum washed, coloured clay,
and fancy clay of all shapes, grotesque, uncouth, stupid, and in some
instances graceful. Pipes also of wood, of black ebony, green ebony,
brier-root—whatever that may be—cherry-root, tulip-wood, rosewood, &c.
Glass pipes, with reservoirs and without, smokers’ friends, and, if we
may judge from their size, tobacconists’ friends; meerschaum bowls,
massa bowls, porcelain bowls, clay bowls, of uncouth and monstrous
heads, with eyes of glass and enamelled teeth, together with short
stems and mounts for broken clays. Add to these, one knows not how
many kinds of tobacco-pots, from a smiling damsel in all the glories
of crinoline, to the dissevered head of Poor Dog Tray. The windows
of retail tobacconists now-a-days more resemble a toy-shop, or a
fancy stall from an arcade or bazaar, than the sober-looking windows
of a retailer half a century ago. Mr. Frank Fowler informs us that
the same tastes have migrated to Australia. “The cutty is of all
shapes, sizes, and shades. Some are negro heads, set with rows of very
white teeth; some are mermaids, showing their more presentable halves
up the front of the bowls, and stowing away their weedy extremities
under the stems. Some are Turkish caps, some are Russian skulls,
some are houris, some are Empresses of the French, some are Margaret
Catchpoles, some are as small as my lady’s thimble, others as large as
an old Chelsea tea-cup. Everybody has one, from the little pinafore
schoolboy, who has renounced his hardbake for his Hardham’s, to the old
veteran who came out with the second batch of convicts, and remembers
George Barrington’s prologue. Clergymen get up their sermons over the
pipe; members of parliament walk the verandah of the Sydney House of
Legislature, with the black bowl gleaming between their teeth. One of
the metropolitan representatives was seriously ill just before I left,
from having smoked forty pipes of Latakia at one sitting. A cutty
bowl, like a Creole’s eye, is most prized when blackest. Some smokers
wrap the bowls reverently in leather during the process of colouring;
others buy them ready stained, and get (I suppose) the reputation of
accomplished whiffers at once. Every young swell glories in his cabinet
of dirty clay pipes. A friend of mine used to call a box of the little
black things his ‘_Stowe_ collection.’ Tobacco, I should add here, is
seldom sold in a cut form; each man carries a cake about with him, like
a card-case; each boy has his stick of Cavendish, like so much candy.
The cigars usually smoked are Manillas, which are as cheap and good
as can be met with in any part of the world. Lola Montez, during her
Australian tour, spoke well of them. What stronger puff could they have
than hers?”



 “‘Tis most excellent,’ said the monk. ‘Then do me the favour,’ I
 replied, ‘to accept of the box and all; and when you take a pinch out
 of it, sometimes recollect that it was the peace-offering of a man who
 once used you unkindly, but not from the heart.’”

  STERNE’S _Sentimental Journey_.

Everybody, of course, knows all about the Franciscan and his snuff-box,
with which this chapter begins. Sterne narrates it in his happiest
vein, and all who read it are somehow sure to remember it. Boxes are
exchanged; the traveller is left to himself. Now he moralises: “I guard
this box as I would the instrumental parts of my religion, to help my
mind on to something better. In truth, I seldom go abroad without it;
and oft and many a time have I called up by it the courteous spirit of
its owner to regulate my own in the justlings of the world. They had
found full employment for his, as I learned from his story, till about
the forty-fifth year of his age, when, upon some military services
ill-requited, and meeting at the same time with a disappointment in the
tenderest of passions, he abandoned the sword and the sex together, and
took sanctuary, not so much in his convent as in himself.”

The word “snuff” is stated by competent authorities, to be an
inflection of the old northern verb _sniff_, which latter word was in
existence long before the invention or knowledge of the substance
to which it now gives its name.[12] In its earlier signification,
it was expressive of strong inhalation through the nostrils, or
descriptive of any impatience. Hence arose the expressions in use in
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, to “snuff pepper” or “take in
snuff.” Shakespeare makes a similar use of the phrase in Henry IV., in
connection with a small box of perfume displayed by a courtier to the
annoyance of Hotspur.

  “He was perfumed like a milliner;
  And, ’twixt his finger and his thumb, he held
  A pouncet box, which ever and anon
  He gave his nose, and took’t away again;
  Who, therewith angry, when it next came there,
  Took it in snuff.”

In this quotation we also meet with the “pouncet box,” which seems
to have been a small box having a “pounced” or perforated cover,
containing perfumes, the scent of which escaping from the open work
at the top was regarded as a preservative against contagion. From the
pouncet box the perfumes were inhaled. It was probably not till a
century after the introduction of tobacco, that the triturated dust was
commonly in use, and there became any occasion for the _snuff-box_.

Humboldt gives an account of a curious kind of snuff, as well as an
extraordinary method of inhaling it, which came under his notice
while travelling in South America. “The Ottomacs,” he says, “throw
themselves into a peculiar state of intoxication, we might say of
madness, by the use of the powder of _niopo_. They gather the long pods
of an acacia (made known by him under the name of _Acacia niopo_),
cut them into pieces, moisten them, and cause them to ferment. When
the softened seeds begin to grow black, they are kneaded like paste,
mixed with some flour of cassava and lime procured from the shell of a
_helix_ (snail), and the whole mass is exposed to a very brisk fire,
on a gridiron made of hard wood. The hardened paste takes the form of
small cakes. When it is to be used, it is reduced to a fine powder,
and placed on a dish, five or six inches wide. The Ottomac holds this
dish, which has a handle, in his right hand, while he inhales the niopo
by the nose, through the forked bone of a bird, the two extremities of
which are applied to the nostrils. This bone, without which the Ottomac
believes that he could not take this kind of snuff, is seven inches
long; it appears to be the leg bone of a large species of plover. The
niopo is so stimulating, that the smallest portions of it produce
violent sneezing in those who are not accustomed to its use.” Father
Gumilla says, “this diabolical powder of the Ottomacs, furnished by
an arborescent tobacco plant, intoxicates them through the nostrils,
deprives them of reason for some hours, and renders them furious in

A custom analagous to this, La Condamine observed among the natives
of the Upper Maranon. The Omaguas, a tribe whose name is intimately
connected with the expeditions in search of El Dorado, have, like the
Ottomacs, a dish, and the hollow bone of a bird, and a powder called
_curupa_, which they convey to their nostrils by means of these, in
a manner identical with that of the Ottomacs. This powder is also
obtained from the seed of a kind of acacia, apparently closely allied
to, if not the same as the niopo.

A similar instrument to the bone of the Ottomacs and Omaguas has
already been referred to as in use in Hispaniola, for inhaling through
the nostrils the smoke of burning tobacco leaves.

The method of taking snuff in Iceland is described by Mad^e. Pfeiffer
as differing from the methods above detailed, but equally singular.
Most of the peasants, and many of the priests, have no proper
snuff-box, but only a box made of bone, and shaped like a powder flask.
When they take snuff, they throw back the head, insert the point of the
flask in the nose, and shake a dose of snuff in it. They then offer it
to their neighbour, who repeats the performance, passes it to his, and
thus it goes the round, until it reaches its owner again. Had this been
the custom in the days of the “Rape of the Lock,” Belinda had not so
readily subdued the baron, as with one finger and a thumb—

  “Just where the breath of life his nostrils drew,
  A charge of snuff the wily virgin threw;
  The gnomes direct, to every atom just,
  The pungent grains of titillating dust.
  Sudden, with starting tears each eye o’erflows,
  And the high dome re-echoes to his nose.”

The Zoolus of Southern Africa use a small gourd to carry their snuff,
and a small ivory spoon with which to ladle out the dust. We remember
many years ago an elderly gentleman who practised on the Zoolu plan,
his snuff was carried loose in his waistcoat pocket, whence it was
conveyed to his nose by means of a small silver spoon, which was always
at hand for the purpose.


As early as the beginning of the reign of James I., a “taker of
tobacco” was furnished with an apparatus resembling that of a modern
Scotch mull, when supplied with all the necessary implements. In
1609, Dekker, in his “Gull’s Horn Book,” says—“Before the meat come
smoking to the board, our gallant must draw out his tobacco-box, the
ladle for the cold snuff into the nostril, the tongs and priming iron;
all which artillery may be of gold or silver, if he can reach the
price of it.” In 1646, Howell describes the apparatus and practice of
snuff taking as quite common in other countries; since, he says—“The
Spaniards and Irish take tobacco most in powder or _smutchin_, and it
mightily refreshes the brain; and I believe there’s as much taken this
way in Ireland, as there is in pipes in England. One shall commonly
see the serving maid upon the washing block, and the swain upon the
ploughshare, when they are tired of their labour, take out their boxes
of smutchin, and draw it into their nostrils with a quill, and it will
beget new spirits in them with a fresh vigour to fall to their work

The word printed “smutchin” by Howell, is stated to be more accurately
“sneeshin,” a vulgar name for snuff which causes sneezing; and hence
“sneeshin mill” (sometimes corrupted into “mull”) is the Scottish
name for snuff-box. Dr. Jameson’s Etymological Dictionary may be
considered as an authority in these matters; and from it we learn that
the word “mill” is the vulgar name for a snuff-box, especially one of
a cylindrical form, or resembling an inverted cone. No other name was
formerly in use in Scotland; and the reason assigned for it is, that
when tobacco was first introduced into this country, those who wished
to have snuff, were accustomed to toast the tobacco leaves before the
fire, and then bruise them with a piece of wood in the box, which was
thence called a “mill,” because the snuff was ground in it. From all
this, it is easy to perceive how a ram’s horn, from its conical shape,
became one of the primitive forms of the Scottish snuff-box, although
latterly it is often one of the most costly and luxurious.

In confirmation of the latter remark, it is only necessary to refer
to an example in the Exhibition of 1851. Mr. W. Baird of Glasgow,
exhibited a ram’s head beautifully mounted, as a snuff-box and cigar
case. When alive, he must have been a noble sheep, for the circular
horns measured no less than 3 feet 4 inches from root to tip. The cigar
case was beautifully mounted, having on the top a splendid Scotch
amethyst, surmounted with thistle wreaths in gold and silver, and
set out with many fine cairngorms and small amethysts. The snuff-box
cavity, occupied the centre of the forehead, the lid surmounted by a
splendid cairngorm, and clustered with gold and silver wreaths and
small precious stones. In fact, the head presented a perfect flourish
of the most beautiful and gracefully disposed ornaments, and altogether
the article was most unique. Attached thereto was a fine ivory hammer
and silver spoon, pricker and rake, with a silver mounted hare’s foot.
It ran on ivory castors upon a rosewood platform, surmounted by a
glass shade. There were not less than nine hundred separate pieces of
precious stones and metals used in the construction of this ornate

Down to the middle of the eighteenth century, the “sneeshin horn,” with
spoon and hare’s foot attached to it by chains, appears to have been
regarded as so completely a national characteristic, that when Baddeley
played Gibby in “The Wonder,” with Garrick, he came on the stage with
such an apparatus.

The Mongrabins and other African races, according to Werne, are much
addicted to snuff taking. The snuff they usually carry in small
oval-shaped cases made out of the fruit of the Doum palm; these have
a very small opening at one end, stopped up by a wooden peg; and the
snuff is not taken in pinches, but shaken out on the back of the hand.
Mr. Campbell, while travelling in South Africa, gave a Bushman a piece
of tobacco. It was speedily converted into snuff. One of the daughters,
after grinding it between two stones, mixed it with white ashes from
the fire; the mother then took a large pinch of the composition,
putting the remainder into a piece of goat’s skin, among the hair, and
folding it up for future use.

The snuff in use in Africa is not always made from tobacco. Mr.
Hutchinson states that he saw at Panda, on the western coast, snuff
made of the powdered leaves of the monkey fruit tree (_Adansonia
digitata_). That of the Zoolus is composed of the dried leaves of
the dacca or narcotic hemp mixed with the powder of burnt aloes.
Whether or not this was the kind of snuff which Mr. Richardson was
knocked down with in his journey across the Great Desert, we are not
in a position to determine; whatever it was, it appears to have been
extremely powerful. “A merchant,” he says, “offered me a pinch of
snuff, and to please him I took a large pinch, pushing a portion of
it up my nostrils. Immediately I fell dizzy and sick, and in a short
time vomited violently. The people stared at me with astonishment, and
were terrified out of their wits, and thought I was about to give up
the ghost. They never saw snuff before produce such terrible effects.
After some time I got a little better and returned home. This snuff
was from Souf, and is called _wâr_ (difficult). I had been warned of
it, and therefore paid richly for my folly; indeed, the Souf snuff
is extremely powerful.” Some of the strict Mahometans of Ghadames
consider snuffing, as well as smoking, prohibited by their religion,
and therefore do not indulge in it. The South American traveller which
Mr. Lizars, the tobacco antagonist, once fell in with, was evidently
not a strict Mahometan, for he first filled his nostrils with snuff,
which he prevented falling out by stuffing shag tobacco after it, and
this he termed “plugging;” then put in each cheek a coil of pig-tail
tobacco, which he named “quidding;” lastly, he lit a Havannah cigar,
which he put into his mouth, and thus smoked and chewed—puffing at one
time the smoke of the cigar, and at another time squirting the juice
from his mouth. What a phenomenon! That gentleman should have politely
thanked the South American for permitting him to view an exhibition,
such as he may never have the pleasure of seeing again. And what a
capital illustration ready made to his hands. It is almost equal to
those elaborate calculations which are based upon the amount of time
consumed in taking so many pinches of snuff during the day, and so many
repetitions of the operation of blowing the nose.[13]

A correspondent of the “Petersburg (Va) Express” says:——“There are,
perhaps, in our state 125,000 women, leaving out of the account those
who have not cut their teeth, and those who have lost them from age. Of
this number, eighty per cent. may be safely set down as snuff-dippers.
Every five of these will use a two-ounce paper of snuff per day—that
is to the 100,000 dippers 2,500 lbs. a day, amounting to the enormous
quantity of 912,000 lbs. In this number of snuff-dippers are included
all ages, colours, and conditions. This practice is generally prevalent
in the pine districts of North Carolina, and in many parts of South
Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Eastern Tennessee. It may be
thus described:—A female snuff-dipper takes a short stick, and, wetting
it, dips it into her snuff-box, and then rubs the gathered dust all
about her mouth, into the interstices of her teeth, &c., where she
allows it to remain until its strength has been fully absorbed. Others
hold the stick thus loaded with snuff in the cheek, _à la_ quid of
tobacco, and suck it with a decided relish, while engaged in their
ordinary avocations; while others simply fill the mouth with the snuff,
and thus imitate, to all intents and purposes, the chewing propensities
of the men. In the absence of snuff, tobacco, in the plug or leaf,
is invariably resorted to as a substitute. Oriental betel chewing is
elegant, compared tosnuff-dipping.”

The most uncomfortable reflection to the snuffer is that which
concerns the probability of his consuming himself by a condition of
slow poisoning, not the result of the pure tobacco, but its impure
associates in the box. In boxes lined with very thin lead, but
especially in cases where the leaden lining is thicker, and which are
much used by the Paris retailers, a chemical action takes place, the
result of which is to charge the snuff with sub-acetate of lead. This
result was suspected by Chevalier, and has been confirmed by Boudet
of Paris, and Mayer of Berlin, by careful experiments. Mayer traces
several deaths and cases of saturnine paralysis to the patient’s having
taken snuff from packets, the inner envelope of which was thin sheet
lead, in constant contact with the powdered weed. The cry once heard
of “death in the pot,” requires now to be exchanged for “death in the
box,” and Holbein to give us a new plate of the skeleton form emerging
from a packet or snuff-box containing the scented rappee.

Late investigations have shown that no small amount of adulteration is
practised with snuff, and this in some instances of a most dangerous
kind. Out of forty-three samples of snuff examined by Dr. Hassell, the
majority were adulterated considerably. Chromate of lead, oxide of
lead, and bichromate of potash, all highly poisonous, were detected.
Mr. Phillips also stated to the committee of adulteration, that he
had found in different samples common peat, such as is obtained from
the bogs of Ireland, starch, ground wood of various kinds, especially
fustic, extract of logwood, chromate of lead, bichromate of potash,
and various ochreous earths. Samples of spurious snuff, it is presumed
for the purpose of mixing, were found to be composed of sumach, umber,
Spanish brown, and salt; another kind was made up of ground peat,
yellow ochre, lime, and sand, all of these being more or less scented.

The numerous varieties of snuff owe their character principally to the
peculiarity of scent and the method of preparation. The perfumes used
are either the essential oil of bergamot or otto of roses, and in some
cases powdered orris root or Tonquin beans. The powdered leaves of the
sweet-scented woodruff and the fragrant melilot have been alluded to
as used for the same purpose, also the dried leaves of some species of
orchis (_Orchis fusca_, &c.)

As a substitute for snuff, either in preference, or in cases where
tobacco snuff could not be readily obtained, different vegetable
productions have come into use. In India the powdered rusty leaves of a
species of rhododendron (_R. campanulatum_), and in the United States
the brown dust found adhering to the petioles of several species of
kalmia and rhododendron, all of which possess narcotic properties, are
used for this purpose. The powdered leaves of asarabacca have been
named as the base of some kind of cephalic snuff. “Grimstone’s eye
snuff” has long enjoyed a certain amount of popularity, although it
does not contain a particle of tobacco, but is composed mainly of such
harmless ingredients as powdered orris root, savory, rosemary, and

But to return to the subject of deleterious adulteration, we find in
Dr. Hassell’s “Adulterations detected in Food and Medicine” several
pages occupied with this really important subject. First comes the
narration of a case of slow poisoning, on the authority of Professor
Erichsen, by means of snuff containing as an adulteration 1·2 per cent.
of oxide of lead. Then follows the case of Mr. Fosbroke, of injuries
sustained from snuff containing lead. These are followed by other
instances showing that all the combinations of lead tested, exhibited
dangerous and disastrous symptoms, if indulged in, when mingled with
snuff, as too often, unfortunately, is the case, as an adulteration,
or, as before shown, liable as a result of packing the snuff in lead,
or keeping in boxes lined with lead.

ADVICE GRATIS.—Give up taking snuff; or, if you should propose slight
objections to this course, then purchase leaf tobacco, and manufacture
your own snuff, and having done so, keep it in a gold snuff-box, or if
you have weighty reasons for preferring silver, there is no objection
to that metal, or even the homely horn of the Franciscan of Calais.

Our forefathers thought of the box, as well as of the snuff, and
sometimes paid for their thought. In the early part of the eighteenth
century, fashionable snuff-boxes had reached the highest point of
luxury and variety. _The Tatler_ of March 7, 1710, notices several gold
snuff-boxes which “came out last term,” but that “a new edition would
be put out on Saturday next, which would be the only one in fashion
until after Easter. The gentleman,” continues the notice, “that gave
£50 for the box set with diamonds, may show it till Sunday, provided
he goes to church, but not after that time, there being one to be
published on Monday that will cost fourscore guineas.” These costly
articles, so happily satirized by Steele, are represented as the
productions of a fashionable toyman, named Charles Mather, popularly
known under the name of “Bubble Boy.”

Nor must we forget the amber snuff-box of which Sir Plume, in the “Rape
of the Lock,” was so justly vain; in 1711 he “spoke, and rapped the
box.” In 1733, Dodsley mentions boxes made of shell, mounted in gold
and silver. Latterly we have made the acquaintance of several shell
snuff-boxes; some of these were made of the tiger cowry, mounted in
silver; of a small species of Turbo, cleaned and polished, and of harp
shells, either mounted in silver or in baser metal. In different parts
of the globe, tastes differ as to the materials of which snuff-boxes
should be composed. A gentleman sent a piece of cannel coal from
England to China, to be there carved by the ingenious Chinese into a
snuff-box; this task was accomplished, and the box was shown in the
Exhibition of 1851; also, in the Turkish department, a snuff-box of
bituminous shale. Perhaps in the new Exhibition of 1862, there may be
found a similar article, carved out of Gravesend flint, by natives of
the Orange River Territory; or one of Suffolk coprolite, executed by
rebellious sepoy women imprisoned in the hulks at Portsmouth.

In India, snuff-boxes are made of polished cocoa-nut shell, or of the
seeds of _Entada gigalobium_, or _pursætha_; or in Nepal, of a small
kind of calabash or gourd, apparently resembling those used for the
same purpose, at the distance of 5,000 miles, in the South of Africa;
excepting, that in some instances, the gourds of Nepal and of Scinde,
are ornamented with mountings of gold or silver, a luxury in which the
African does not indulge. In the same part of Africa, among the Zoolu
Kaffirs, other kinds of snuff-boxes, of smaller size, are in common
use. These are made of the seeds of a species of Zamia, ornamented with
strings of small beads, and are worn suspended as earrings, from the
ears of the natives.

In China, flasks are used, the form and size of a smelling bottle;
these are of different kinds of material, some being cut out of rock
crystal, and others made of porcelain and similar plastic substances.
Snuff-takers are less numerous in China than smokers of tobacco; in
powder, or as the Chinese say, “smoke for the nose,” is little used,
except by the Mantchoo Tartars and Mongols, and among the Mandarins
and lettered classes. The Tartars are real amateurs, and snuff is with
them an object of the most important consideration. For the Chinese
aristocracy, on the contrary, it is a mere luxury—a habit that they try
to acquire—a whim. The custom of taking snuff was introduced into China
by the old missionaries who resided at the Court. They used to get the
snuff from Europe for themselves, and some of the Mandarins tried it,
and found it good. By degrees the custom spread; people who wished
to appear fashionable, liked to be taking this “smoke for the nose;”
and Pekin is still _par excellence_, the locality of snuff-takers.
The first dealers in it made immense fortunes. The French tobacco was
the most esteemed; and as it happened at this time, that it had for
a stamp the ancient emblem of the three _fleur de lis_, the mark has
never been forgotten, and the three _fleur de lis_ are still in Pekin,
the only sign of a dealer in tobacco. The Chinese have now, for a long
time, manufactured their own snuff, but they do not subject it to any
fermentation, and it is not worth much. They merely pulverize the
leaves, sift the powder till it is as fine as flour, and afterwards
perfume it with flowers and essences. A curious method of snuffing,
requiring neither box nor flask, is noticed in the “Voyages and
Researches of the _Adventure_ and _Beagle_.” At Otaheite, a substance,
not unlike powdered rhubarb in appearance, but of a very pleasant
fragrance, is rubbed on a piece of shark’s skin stretched on wood; and
an old man, who had one of these snuff sticks in his possession, valued
it so highly, that he could not be induced to part with it.

Boxes of very rude construction are made in France and Germany from
birch bark, and sold in the streets of Paris and other continental
cities, for about one halfpenny each. These have lately been seen in
the shops of London tobacconists, under the name of “German boxes,”
at about three times the above price. They are used abroad either for
tobacco or snuff. Boxes are also made of horn, either black buffalo or
transparent pressed horn—the latter at a much cheaper rate than the
former. St. Helena contributed to the Great Exhibition snuff-boxes made
from the willow under which the remains of Napoleon reposed, until
their removal to France, and also from a willow planted by him at
Longwood. Van Dieman’s Land contributed a box made from the tooth of
the Sperm whale, as well as boxes from several native woods.

The Scotch snuff-boxes are justly celebrated for the perfection of
their hinge, and close fitting cover. They were originally made at
Lawrencekirk, but the manufacture has now spread to various parts of
Scotland. The wood employed principally in the manufacture of these
boxes is the sycamore (or plane of the Scotch). Mr. W. Chambers states,
“that from a rough block of this wood, worth twenty-five shillings,
snuff-boxes may be made to the value of three thousand pounds.”

The _modus operandi_ in making these boxes is described as follows:—The
box is made from a solid block of wood; the first operation consists
in making a number of circular excavations in close contiguity to each
other, by means of a centre-bit, or a drill running in a lathe; the
interior is then squared out by means of gouges and chisels, and is
afterwards smoothed with files and glass-paper. The celebrated hinge
is formed partly out of the substance of the box, and partly out of
that of the lid, the greatest attention being paid in its construction
to the accurate fitting of the various parts one into the other.
The box is lined in the inside with stout tin-foil, and is painted
on the outside with several coats of colour, each of which is rubbed
down smooth with glass-paper before the succeeding coat is applied.
It is then ready to receive the various styles of ornament, which, in
some cases, are produced by the hand of the artist, and in others by
mechanical means. The most usual decoration consists of the tartan
patterns, the component lines of which are drawn separately, by pens
fixed in a ruling machine, on to the box itself, if bounded by planes
or slightly curved surfaces; although such lines were also formerly
drawn by means of a rose engine on circular boxes, it is now found
a more convenient practice to rule the lines on paper, and then to
attach the paper to the boxes. Another style of ornamentation, known
as the Scoto-Russian, is of more recent introduction, and imitates,
in a remote degree, the beautiful enamelled silver snuff-boxes for
which Russia has long been famous. In these, the outside of the box is
first covered with stout tin-foil, then completely painted all over
the surface, and afterwards placed in the ruling machine, which traces
upon it an intricate pattern of curved and straight lines, by means
of a sharp flat tool. This instrument penetrates completely through
the paint, but only scrapes the tin-foil, which is left very bright,
and resembles inlaid silver. Several coats of copal varnish, each of
which is successively polished down, are then applied to complete the

Box-wood, box-root, king-wood, ebony, and all kinds of hard wood; tin,
brass, pewter, lead, silver, and all sorts of metals, are used for
snuff-boxes, some of these cheap and rudely fashioned, others elaborate
and expensive; some lined with tortoise-shell or horn, others with tin
or lead-foil; and invention has been taxed to produce all kinds of

The practice of using snuff is said to have come into England after
the Restoration, and to have been brought from France; but it is well
known that the habit of mere snuff-taking did not originate with the
introduction of tobacco, since there are recipes for making snuff
from herbs in the oldest medicinal works extant. The use of tobacco
snuff has been referred to the age of Catherine de Medicis, and it
was recommended to her son, Charles IX., for his chronic headaches.
Snuff-taking was formerly characteristic of the medical profession; and
the gold-headed cane and gold snuff-box came to be the peculiar emblems
of those who were learned in the healing art.

There are almost an endless variety of snuffs, as of noses, the purest
kind being the “Scotch,” made either entirely from the stalks removed
from the leaf in the course of its preparation for the cigar, or of
the stalks with a small quantity of leaf. The “Welsh” and “Lundyfoot”
are affirmed to owe their qualities chiefly, if not altogether, to the
circumstance of their being dried almost to scorching; hence they have
received the appellation of “high-dried” snuffs. The “Rappees” and
other dark snuffs are manufactured from the darker and ranker leaves.
Scenting, which the dark snuffs undergo, also furnish names and procure
customers for numerous varieties. There is a story current, that the
celebrated “Lundyfoot” had its origin in an accident, one version
affirming that the man who was attending to the batches got drunk,
neglected his duty, and made his master’s fortune; another, that an
accidental fire did that for the firm which in the other case it is
affirmed that an extra glass of grog accomplished. There is nothing
surprising in this, and either narrative may be true; most inventions
of this kind, like the claying of sugar, had their origin in accidents.
A certain quantity of snuff, in the preparation, gets overdone in
some of the steps of the process, at some time or other, and the firm
resolves, perhaps, as it is not altogether useless, to try and realize
something for it. The peculiarity just tickles certain noses, and for
the future they wish for none but _spoilt_ snuff; that which was at
first spoilt accidentally, is now spoilt for the purpose, to supply
the demands of the market at even a higher rate than ordinary, and the
name of Lundyfoot becomes immortalized amongst old ladies through all
succeeding generations. What other experiments and other accidents of
over-salting or over-liming may have done, has not transpired; and who
may be the next so to turn circumstances to account, that what would
ordinarily be considered a misfortune, shall be turned to good fortune,
time alone will reveal.

John Hardham was Garrick’s under-treasurer, and kept a snuff-shop
in Fleet Street, at the sign of the Red Lion, where he contrived to
get into high vogue, a particular _poudre de tabac_, still known as
Hardham’s 37. Stevens, while daily visiting Johnson in Bolt Court, on
the subject of their joint editorship of Shakespeare, never failed
to replenish his box at the shop of a man who was for years the butt
of his witticisms. Hardham died a bachelor, September 20, 1772, and
bequeathed £6000—the savings of a busy life—for the benefit of the poor
of his native city, Chester.

As a pinch of snuff ends in a sneeze, so sniffing ends in sneezing, and
with a hearty sneeze we bring our pinch of snuff to a sudden ending.
What comfort and consolation there is sometimes in a hearty sneeze, no
one knows better than him who has just made two or three attempts, and
ingloriously failed. With half closed eyes, and open mouth, and bated
breath—once—twice—thrice—no! it will not be beguiled—psh-h-h-h-haw!
“God bless you!”

“The year 750,” says a writer in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_, “is
commonly reckoned the era of the custom of saying God bless you to one
who happens to sneeze.” It is said that, in the time of the pontificate
of St. Gregory the Great, the air was filled with such a deleterious
influence, that they who sneezed immediately expired. On this the
devout pontiff appointed a form of prayer, and a wish to be said to
persons sneezing for averting them from the fatal effects of this
malignancy. A fable contrived against all the rules of probability, it
being certain that this custom has from time immemorial, subsisted in
all parts of the known world. According to mythology, the first sign
of life Prometheus’s artificial man gave, was by sternutation. This
supposed creator is said to have stolen a portion of the solar rays,
and filling a phial with them, sealed it up hermetically. He instantly
flew back to his favourite automaton, and opening the phial, held it
close to the statue, the rays still retaining all their activity,
insinuated themselves through the pores, and set the factitious man
a sneezing. Prometheus transported with success, offered up a prayer
with wishes for the preservation of so singular a being. The automaton
observed him, remembering his ejaculations, was careful, on like
occasions to offer these wishes in behalf of his descendants, who
perpetuated it from father to son in all their colonies. The Rabbis,
also, fix a very ancient date to the custom. Pliny says, that to sneeze
to the right was deemed fortunate; to the left, and near a place of
burial, the reverse. Tiberius, otherwise a sour man, would perform this
right of blessing most punctually to others, and expect the same from
others to himself. Aristotle has a problem, “Why sneezing from noon to
midnight was good, but from night to noon unlucky.” St. Austin tells us
that the ancients were accustomed to go to bed again, if they sneezed
while they put on their shoe.

When Themistocles sacrificed in his galley before the battle of Xeres,
one of the assistants upon the right hand sneezed, Euphrantides the
soothsayer, presaged the victory of the Greeks, and the overthrow of
the Persians.

When the Greeks were consulting concerning their retreat in the time of
Cyrus the Younger, it chanced that one of them sneezed, at the noise
whereof, the rest of the soldiers called upon Jupiter Soter.

Brand tells us, that when the king of Mesopotamia sneezes, acclamations
are made in all parts of his dominions. The Siamese wish long life to
persons sneezing. And the Persians look upon sneezing as a happy omen,
especially when repeated often.

A writer lately gives us the following “Philosophy of a sneeze”
for which he alone is responsible. “The nose receives three sets
of nerves—the nerves of _smell_, those of _feeling_, and those of
_motion_. The former communicate to the brain, the odorous properties
of substances with which they may come in contact, in a diffused or
concentrated state; the second, communicate the impressions of touch;
the third, move the muscles of the nose; but the power of these muscles
is very limited. When a sneeze occurs, all these faculties are excited
to a high degree. A grain of snuff excites the olfactory nerves, which
despatch to the brain the intelligence that ‘snuff has attacked the
nostril.’ The brain instantly sends a mandate through the motor nerves
to the muscles, saying ‘cast it out!’ and the result is unmistakable.
So offensive is the enemy besieging the nostril held to be, that the
nose is not left to its own defence. It were too feeble to accomplish
this. An allied army of muscles join in the rescue—nearly one-half the
body arouses against the intruder—from the muscles of the lips to those
of the abdomen, all unite in the effort for the expulsion of the grain
of snuff.”



 “A third party sprang up, headed by the descendants of Robert
 Chewit, the companion of the great Hudson. These discarded pipes
 altogether, and took to chewing tobacco; hence, they were called
 _Quids_.”——KNICKERBOCKER’S, _New York_.

Any one who will take the trouble to read through the “Curiosities of
Food,” will soon become convinced, from the examples which Mr. P. L.
Simmonds has collected so assiduously from all parts of the world, that
there is no accounting for tastes. What extraordinary things men will
admit between their teeth to gratify their appetites, is almost enough
to set one’s own teeth on edge. Tobacco is certainly not more nauseous
or revolting, than to us would be many of the delicacies dished up for
dinner by some of the bipedal race. “Some Europeans,” observes the
author, “chew tobacco, the Hindoo takes to betel nut and lime, while
the Patagonian finds contentment in a bit of guano, and the Styrians
grow fat and ruddy on arsenic. English children delight in sweetmeats
and sugar-candy, while those of Africa prefer rock salt. A Frenchman
likes frogs and snails, and we eat eels, oysters, and whelks. To the
Esquimaux, train oil is your only delicacy. The Russian luxuriates upon
his hide and tallow; the Chinese upon rats, puppy dogs, and shark’s
fins; the Kaffir upon elephant’s foot and trunk or lion steaks; while
the Pacific islander places cold missionary above every other edible.
Why then should we be surprised at men’s feeding upon rattle snakes and
monkeys, and pronouncing them capital eating?”[14]

Nothing is more extraordinary than the habit of dirt-eating and chewing
of lime, either by themselves or in combination with other substances.
But more of this anon. Tobacco, as a masticatory, might equally cause
surprise did it not daily occur at our doors. The quantity used in
this form will not bear comparison with that consumed in smoke, but
even this is considerable. In America, the custom is carried to a very
unpleasant extent, and were it the only form in which the plant could
be indulged, there is good ground for presuming that it would fall very
far short of the popularity which it has attained.

Somebody, with a strong antipathy to pig-tail and fine cut, has entered
into certain investigations and calculations in the _Philadelphia
Journal_, which has resulted in this wise. If a tobacco chewer chews
for fifty years, and uses each day of that period two inches of solid
plug, he will consume nearly one mile and a quarter in length of
solid tobacco, half an inch thick and two inches broad, costing 2,094
dollars, or about £500. Plug ugly, sure enough! By the same process of
reasoning, this statist calculates, that if a man ejects one pint of
saliva per day for fifty years (a feat, one would presume, it would
require a Yankee to accomplish), the total would swell into nearly
2,300 gallons, quite a respectable lake, and almost enough to float the
“Great Eastern” in! Truly, Brother Jonathan, there are more things in
heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy.

Another calculation shows, that if all the tobacco which the British
people have consumed during the last three years were worked up into
pig-tail half an inch thick, it would form a line 99,470 miles long; or
enough to go nearly four times round the world;[15] or if the tobacco
consumed by the same people in the same period were to be placed in one
scale, and St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in the other, the
ecclesiastical buildings would kick the beam.

“Oh, the nasty creatures!” some lady exclaims. “Who could suppose that
they would do such a thing, and to such an extent too, as to burn
and chew and smoke in three years enough tobacco to reach round the
world four times!” It is astonishing, my dear Mrs. Partington, we must
confess; but let us compare therewith the tea consumption[16] for the
same period, and we shall find that during the past three years, we
have consumed about 205,500,000 of pounds of tea, which, if done up in
packages containing one quarter of a pound each—such packages being
4½ inches in length and 2½ inches in diameter—these placed end to
end, would reach 59,428 miles; or, upon the same principles as those
adopted for the pig-tail, would girdle the earth twice with a belt of
tea 2½ inches in diameter, or twenty-five times that of the aforesaid
pig-tail. Enough to make rivers of tea strong enough for any old lady
in the kingdom to enjoy, and deep enough for all the old ladies in the
kingdom to bathe in.

All this, we are free to confess, does not make the habit of quidding
either more justifiable or respectable, although indulged in by some of
the members of the gentler sex. In Paraguay, for instance, an American
traveller informs us that everybody smokes, and nearly every woman
and girl more than thirteen years old chews tobacco. A magnificent
Hebe, arrayed in satin and flashing in diamonds, puts you back with
one delicate hand, while with the fair taper fingers of the other she
takes the tobacco out of her mouth previous to your saluting her. An
over delicate foreigner turns away with a shudder of loathing under
such circumstances, and gets the epithet of “the savage” applied to him
by the offended beauty for his sensitive squeamishness. However, one
soon gets used to these things in Paraguay, where one is, per force of
custom, obliged to kiss every lady one is introduced to, and one half
of those you meet are really tempting enough to render you reckless of

Suppose not that Paraguay is a solitary instance in which ladies have
a predilection for this masticatory. In Siberia, which is far enough
geographically to prevent any collusion, or the influence of example
to exert its power, Captain Cochrane says that the Tchuktchi eat,
chew, smoke, and snuff at the same time. He saw amongst them, boys and
girls of nine or ten years of age who put a large leaf of tobacco into
their mouths without permitting any saliva to escape, nor would they
put aside the tobacco should meat be offered to them, but continued
consuming both of them together.

The Mintira women and other races of the great Indian Archipelago are
addicted to chewing tobacco. Amongst the Nubians, the custom is more
common than smoking. Of the South American tribes, the Sercucumas of
the Erevato, and the Caura neighbours of the whitish Taparitos, swallow
tobacco chopped small, and impregnated with some other stimulant

In Africa, the habit is not at all an uncommon one. The Turks and
Arabs of Egypt are great smokers, but not so with the other tribes.
The Mongrabins, scarcely know the use of a pipe, or the method of
manufacturing a cigar, yet tobacco is well known, and chewing is the
order of the day. With them each piece of tobacco is mixed with a
portion of natron. Master and servant, rich and poor, all carry about
them a pouch of tobacco, with pieces of natron in it. These people do
not carry the quid in their cheek, as do the Europeans who indulge in
the habit, but in front, between the teeth and the upper lip.

The blacks of Gesira have another method of enjoying this luxury. They
make a cold infusion of tobacco, and dissolve the natron in it. This
mixture is called “bucca.” The natives take a mouthful of it from the
bucca cup, which they keep rinsing and working about in their mouths
for a quarter of an hour before they eject it. So much do they delight
in it, that it is considered the highest treat a man can offer to
his dearest friends, to invite them to sip the bucca with him. Bucca
parties are given, as in some localities tea parties are honoured. All
sit in solemn silence as the cup goes round, each taking a mouthful,
and nothing is heard save the gurgling and working inside the closed
mouths. On such occasions the most important questions receive no
reply, for to open the mouth and answer would be to lose the cherished

In Iceland, tobacco is chewed and snuffed as assiduously as it is
smoked in other countries; and in the northern states of Europe, or
some of them, the powdered leaf, which, with most people is deemed
a preparation for the nose, is placed, a pinch at a time, upon the
tongue. Of Joubert’s statement we scarce know what opinion to hold.
He says, “When a stranger arrives in Greenland, he is immediately
surrounded by a crowd of the natives, who ask the favour of sucking
the empyreumatic oil in the reservoir of his pipe. And it is stated
that the Greenlanders smoke only for the pleasure of drinking that
detestable juice which is so disgusting to European smokers.” The
Finlander delights in chewing. He will remove his quid from time to
time, and stick it behind his ear, and then chew it again. This reminds
us of a circumstance narrated by a friend, which occurred when he was
a boy. His master was a chewer. After a “quid” had been masticated
for some time, it was removed from his mouth, and thrown against the
wall, where it remained sticking; the apprentice was then called to
write beside it the date at which it was flung there, so that it might
be taken down in its proper turn, after being thoroughly dried, to be
chewed over again.

  “And then he tried to sing All’s well,
      But could not though he tried;
  His head was turned, and so he chewed
      His pig-tail till he died.”

Of all tobacco chewers, none can compete with the Yankee—not even
our own Jack Tars. They are the very perfection of masticators, and
of spitters, also, if the narratives of travellers in general, and
of Dickens in particular, are to be relied on. “As Washington may be
called the head-quarters of tobacco-tinctured saliva, the time is come
when I must confess, without any disguise, that the prevalence of these
two odious practices of chewing and expectorating began, about this
time, to be anything but agreeable, and soon became most offensive and
sickening. In all the public places of America, this filthy custom
is recognized. In the courts of law, the judge has his spittoon, the
crier his, the witness his, and the prisoner his, while the jurymen
and spectators are provided for, as so many men who, in the course
of nature, must desire to spit incessantly. In the hospitals, the
students of medicine are requested by notices upon the wall, to eject
their tobacco juice into the boxes provided for that purpose, and not
to discolour the stairs. In public buildings visitors are implored,
through the same agency, to squirt the essence of their ‘quids’ or
‘plugs,’ as I have heard them called by gentlemen learned in this kind
of sweetmeat, into the national spittoons, and not about the bases of
the marble columns. But in some parts this custom is inseparably mixed
up with every meal and morning call, and with all the transactions of
social life. The stranger who follows in the track I took myself, will
find it in its full bloom and glory at Washington; and let him not
persuade himself (as I once did to my shame) that previous tourists
have exaggerated its extent. The thing itself is an exaggeration of
nastiness which cannot be outdone.

“On board the steamboat there were two young gentlemen, with shirt
collars reversed, as usual, and armed with very big walking sticks, who
planted two seats in the middle of the deck, at a distance of some four
paces apart, took out their tobacco boxes, and sat down opposite each
other to chew. In less than a quarter of an hour’s time, these hopeful
youths had shed about them on the clean boards, a copious shower of
yellow rain, clearing by that means a kind of magic circle, within
whose limits no intruders dared to come, and which they never failed to
refresh and refresh before a spot was dry. This being before breakfast,
rather disposed me, I confess, to nausea; but looking attentively at
one of the expectorators, I plainly saw that he was young at chewing,
and felt inwardly uneasy himself. A glow of delight came over me at
this discovery, and as I marked his face turn paler and paler, and saw
the ball of tobacco in his left cheek quiver with his suppressed agony,
while yet he spat and chewed, and spat again, in emulation of his older
friend, I could have fallen on his neck and implored him to go on for

“The senate is a dignified and decorous body, and its proceedings are
conducted with much gravity and order. Both houses are handsomely
carpetted; but the state to which these carpets are reduced by the
universal disregard of the spittoon, with which every honorable member
is accommodated, and the extraordinary improvements on the pattern
which are squirted and dabbled upon it in every direction, do not
admit of being described. I will merely observe, that I strongly
recommend all strangers not to look at the floor; and if they happen
to drop anything, though it be their purse, not to pick it up with an
ungloved hand on any account. It is somewhat remarkable, too, to see
so many honorable members with swelled faces; and it is scarcely less
remarkable to discover, that this appearance is caused by the quantity
of tobacco they contrive to stow within the hollow of the cheek. It
is strange enough, too, to see an honorable gentleman leaning back
in his tilted chair, with his legs on the desk before him, shaping
a convenient ‘plug’ with his penknife, and when it is quite ready
for use, shooting the old one from his mouth as from a pop-gun,
and clapping the new one in its place. I was surprised to observe,
that even steady old chewers of great experience are not always
good marksmen, which has rather inclined me to doubt that general
proficiency with the rifle of which we have heard so much in England.
Several gentlemen called upon me, who, in the course of conversation,
frequently missed the spittoon at five paces; and one (but he was
certainly short-sighted) mistook the closed sash for the open window
at three. On another occasion when I dined out, and was sitting with
two ladies and some gentlemen round a fire before dinner, one of the
company fell short of the fireplace six distinct times. I am disposed
to think, however, that this was occasioned by his not aiming at that
object, as there was a white marble hearth before the fender, which was
more convenient, and may have suited his purpose better.”

At the Cape of Good Hope grows a plant, allied to the iceplant of our
greenhouses, and which is a native of the Karroo,[17] which appears to
possess narcotic properties. The Hottentots know it under the name of
Kou, or _Kauw-goed_. They gather and beat together the whole plant,
roots, stem, and leaves, then twist it up like pig-tail tobacco; after
which they let the mass ferment, and keep it by them for chewing,
especially when they are thirsty. If it be chewed immediately after
fermentation, it is narcotic and intoxicating. It is called canna-root
by the colonists.

In Lapland, Angelica-root (_Archangelica officinalis_, Linn.) is
dried and masticated in the same way, and answers the same purpose as
tobacco. It is warm and stimulating, and not narcotic, nor does it
leave those unpleasant and unsightly evidences of its use which may be
observed about the mouth of the true votary of the quid.

The areca nut and the betle-pepper, which, in the Malayan Peninsula
and other parts of the East, are used as a masticatory, will receive
special notice hereafter.

Lightfoot says that the Scotch are very fond of “dulse,” but they
prefer it dried and rolled up, when they chew it like tobacco, for the
pleasure arising from the habit. This is the only reference to the
custom that we have met with, and requires further confirmation.

The Duke of Marlborough has the credit of being the first distinguished
man who made the chewing of tobacco famous; who was the last is not so
readily declared, since distinguished men generally do not distinguish
themselves much in this department of the “fine arts.” It is related
of a monkey, that while on the voyage home from some tropical clime
in which he had been made a prisoner, he noticed a sailor who was in
the habit of going to his trunk and taking out a quid, roll it up, and
place it in his mouth. Finding, one day, that the course was clear, and
the box unfastened, Jocko helped himself to a very respectable twist,
which he put into his mouth, and scampered therewith upon deck. He soon
commenced chewing and spitting, and, unsuccessful in the experiment,
the quid, which was not found to be so pleasant as was anticipated,
was thrown away. The poor animal soon became dreadfully sick, held its
stomach, and moaned piteously, but ultimately recovered. He learnt a
lesson, however, the impression of which never passed away; for ever
after he shunned the box, and the sight or smell of tobacco sent him
scampering into the shrouds.



 “I grant your worship that he is a knave, sir; but yet, Heaven forbid,
 sir, but a knave should have some countenance at his friends’ request.
 An honest man, sir, is able to speak for himself, when a knave is
 not.”——_King Henry IV., part 2._

It is the misfortune of kingdoms to be subject to rebellions, and of
monarchs to behold the advent of pretenders, as it is the fate of gold
to be imitated in baser metals, and bank notes to be forged. A rule is
supposed to be strengthened by an exception, and tried gold to shine in
greater splendour beside its counterfeit—

  “Than that which hath no foil to set it off.”

So, tobacco, in the midst of all its success and prosperity, has been
envied and imitated by duller pretenders to the virtue it boasts, from
among the meaner denizens of the vegetable world. Of course these
pretenders have been unsuccessful; for had they been successful, they
had no longer been branded with the baser name, but had risen to the
rank of benefactors and patriots. Such is the custom of the world.

The following are the substances which are stated to be used for the
adulteration of tobacco, principally in the form of “cut” and “roll.”
Dr. Hassell divides them—

First, into vegetable substances, as the leaves of the dock, rhubarb,
coltsfoot, cabbage, potato, chicory, endive, elm, and oak; malt
cummings, that is the roots of germinating malt; peat, which consists
chiefly of decayed moss; seaweed, roasted chicory root, wheat, oatmeal,
bran, catechu or terra japonica, oakum, and logwood dye.

Secondly, into saccharine substances, as cane-sugar, treacle, honey,
liquorice, and beetroot dregs.

Thirdly, into salts and earths, as nitre, common salt, sal ammoniac, or
hydrochlorate of ammonia, nitrate of ammonia, carbonate of ammonia, the
alkalies, as potash, soda, and lime; sulphate of magnesia, sulphate of
soda or glauber salts, yellow ochre, umber, fuller’s earth, Venetian
red, sand, and sulphate of iron.

And the experience of the excise, as may be gathered from the evidence
of Mr. Phillips before the committee of adulteration, harmonizes with
the above list. “With regard to tobacco,” he says, “we have found in
_cut_ tobacco, sugar, liquorice, gum catechu, saltpetre, and various
nitrates; yellow ochre, Epsom salts, glauber salts, green copperas, red
sandstone, wheat, oatmeal, malt cummings, chicory, and the following
leaves—coltsfoot, rhubarb, chicory, endive, oak, elm; and in _fancy_
tobacco, I once found lavender, and a wort called mugwort. It is a
fragrant herb, suggestive rather of the nutmeg. In _roll_ tobacco we
have found rhubarb leaves, endive and dock leaves, sugar, liquorice,
and a dye made of logwood and sulphate of iron.”

Let consumers of tobacco console themselves, however, in the face of
this formidable list, by the assurance of the eminent experimenter
on articles of food, &c., before named, that “not one of the forty
samples of manufactured cut tobacco which he examined was adulterated
with any foreign leaf, or with any insoluble or organic extraneous
substance of any description other than with sugar, or some other
saccharine matter, which was present in several instances.”

Leaving adulterations to take care of themselves, we find that an
article, of very ancient use, is still occasionally smoked instead of
the Virginian weed. The plant referred to is _coltsfoot_ (_Tussilago
farfar_, Linn.), a very common weed on chalky and gravelly soils.
Pliny refers to it, and directs that the foliage should be burned,
and the smoke arising from it drawn into the mouth through a reed and
swallowed. These leaves have long been smoked for chest complaints, and
are said to form the chief ingredient in British herb tobacco.

The leaves of milfoil or yarrow (_Achillœa millefolium_), another plant
equally common with the last, have been recommended to smokers in lieu
of tobacco, and occasionally used for that purpose. Added to beer, they
render it heady or more intoxicating.

Leaves of rhubarb are occasionally smoked by those who are too poor
to furnish themselves with a regular supply of tobacco, and those who
have used them state, that, although devoid of strength, they are not
a bad substitute when tobacco is not to be obtained. For the same
purpose they are collected and used in Thibet, and on the slopes of the

The leaves of a plant common in marshes and boggy soils in Europe and
North America, called Bogbean (_Menyanthes trifoliata_, Linn.) are used
in the north of Europe when hops are scarce, to give a bitter flavour
to beer, and have been recommended and adopted as a tobacco substitute.

An agricultural labourer near Blois, pretends that the leaves of the
beet make an excellent tobacco.

Undescribed plants called Akil and Trouna, are used by the Arabs of
Algeria to render their tobacco milder.

In some parts of Europe, the leaves of the common garden sage has
served the same purpose; whilst in some parts of Switzerland, the
leaves of mountain tobacco (_Arnica montana_, Linn.) are collected for
use as tobacco, or dried and powdered to be used as snuff. This is no
doubt a virulent plant, and has the reputation of being a powerful
acrid narcotic.

The tobacco substitutes in North America are more numerous than we
should have expected to have found in the native land of the true
tobacco. A decoction of the holly-leaves (_Ilex vomitoria_, Linn.) are
drunk by the native Creek Indians, under the name of “black drink,” at
the opening of their councils, on account of its peculiar properties.
This shrub is also called Cossena by the Indians, and the leaves are
used for smoking as a substitute for tobacco. “Often,” says one of the
early settlers, “I have smoked a pipe of cossena with their majesties
Toma Chaci and Senoaki his queen, at their mud-palace, about three
miles from Savanacke.”

The Virginian or Stag’s Horn Sumach,[18] which is met with almost over
the whole of the United States, supplies leaves which are dried and
used by some of the native tribes as tobacco.

The Indians of the Mississippi and Missouri use the leaves of another
Sumach (_Rhus copallina_) and Indian tobacco (_Lobelia inflata_, Linn.)
is supposed to be indebted for its name to the fact that it was one of
the plants smoked by the Indians instead of the genuine “weed.” Under
the name of “tombeki,” the leaf of a species of _Lobelia_ is smoked in
parts of Asia. It is smoked in a narghilè, and is exceedingly narcotic,
so much so, that it is usually steeped in water to weaken it before
being used; and it is always smoked whilst damp.

Not many years since, a patent was taken out at Washington for
fabricating tobacco from maize-husks, steeped in a solution of cayenne.
It was stated to be equal in flavour to true tobacco, and without any
of the deleterious properties which have been attributed to that plant.

The Miliceti Indians, New Brunswick, scrape the bark from the young
twigs of the birch, and when dry, mix it with their tobacco for
smoking. They are very partial to the admixture, the odour of which, it
is affirmed, is much more agreeable than that of pure tobacco.

Mr. Mölhausen smoked willow-leaves among the Rocky Mountains; and the
use of these leaves for the same purpose is mentioned in “Hiawatha.”

The Bearberry (_Arctostaphylus uva ursi_) common in many parts of North
America, is found in the valley of the Oregon, where the leaves are
collected by the Chenook Indians, who mix them with their tobacco.
The Crees also use them for the same purpose, and with them it is
called Tchakashè-pukh. The Chepewyans, who name it Kleh, and the
Eskimos north of Churchill (by whom it is termed Attung-ā-wi-at) turn
it to a like account. From the custom of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s
officers carrying it in bags for the same use, the voyagers gave it the
appellation of Sac-a-commis.

Latterly a writer in a West Indian paper, called attention to a novel
application of the berries of the Pimento (_Eugenia pimento_), known
commercially by that name or as Allspice. “I have been,” he says,
“a smoker for the past twenty years, and have consumed many pounds
of honey-dew within that period; but it was only a short time ago
that I discovered that Pimento forms by far a more agreeable article
for smoking; and any person who knows nothing of the fragrance of a
Pimento walk when in full bloom, may form some idea of it by a pipe
charged and lighted with the dried berry, simply crushed in coarse
bits. Every lady has a dislike to the smell of tobacco. While she may
be driven by its fumes and smell from the drawing-room, the Pimento
would, on the contrary, invite her presence. By way of experiment on
the taste of other smokers, I may mention that I had the other day two
men (great lovers of tobacco) employed in my garden. ‘Joseph,’ I said,
‘where is your pipe to-day?’ ‘Out of tobacco, massa,’ was his reply.
‘Well, here is some very costly; give me your opinion of it when you
have tried it.’ To prevent deception, I charged his pipe myself, and
directed him to light it. He did so, and up ascended a graceful curl of
smoke. Joseph was not a little pleased, and thanking me for this costly
tobacco, said it was ‘first-rate,’ and desired I should inform him what
per pound it could have cost. I told him it grew pretty near his hut,
and on opening my pouch, and disclosing to him that this ‘first-rate
tobacco’ was nothing more than dried pimento, you may imagine his
surprise. ‘A man is neber too old to larn,’ he exclaimed, and soon
imparted the good news to his fellow-labourer.” With all due deference
to the opinion of both Joseph and his master, we have experimented on
this wonderful pretender, and hold the opinion that it is unworthy
of their joint encomiums. A friend who has also tested it, thinks
it, however, very pleasant, and a fair substitute. It would appear,
therefore, that there is something to be said on both sides.

Cascarilla bark, the produce of the _Croton eleuteria_ in the Bahamas,
was first used to mix with tobacco, on account of the pleasing odour
which it diffuses in burning. It is supposed also to possess narcotic
properties, when used in this way. In South America, Humboldt states
that the leaves of _Polygonum hispida_ are used as a tobacco substitute.

The African contributions to our list are also rather extensive,
especially from the neighbourhood of the Cape. The leaves of a certain
plant (_Tarchonanthus camphoratus_, Linn.) possessing a camphorated
odour, are chewed by the Mahometans, and smoked by the Hottentots
and Bushmen instead of tobacco, and, like the “_Dagga_,” exhibit
slight narcotic symptoms. This may be owing to the camphor which they
contain. The common camphor, in quantities a little beyond a medium
dose, will produce indistinctness of ideas, incoherence of language,
an indescribable uneasiness, shedding of tears, a sensation of fear
and dread; then the body feels lighter than usual—an idea exists that
flying will not only be easy, but a source of pleasure.

The Wild Dagga (_Leonotis leonurus_, _R. Br._) grows wild on the sandy
Cape flats. It has a peculiar scent, and a nauseous taste, and seems
to produce narcotic effects if incautiously used. The Hottentots are
particularly fond of it, and smoke it as tobacco. In the eastern
districts of the Cape, an allied species (_Leonotis ovata_) has a
similar reputation, and is used for a like purpose.

In the Mauritius the leaves of the _Culen_ (_Psoralea glandulosa_) are
dried and smoked, while on the western coast of South America they are
used in decoction as a beverage, instead of tea.

In Asia, tobacco substitutes have but one or two representatives.
One of these has been already alluded to, another consists of the
long leaves of a species of _Tupistra_, called “Purphiok,” which are
gathered in Sikkim, chopped up, and mixed with tobacco for the hookah.
The leaves of the water-lily are dried, and used in China to mix with
tobacco for smoking, to render it milder.

Cigars of stramonium, henbane, and belladonna, may be purchased at
the same rate as those made of genuine tobacco, in chemists’ and
herbalists’ shops—never having tried them, we have no experience of
their flavour.

The majority of the substitutes for tobacco are, after all, very poor
pretenders—capable, perhaps, of raising a smoke, but possessed of
neither aromatic nor stimulating properties; and those which contain
any active properties at all, are of a character so dangerous, as to
make their extensive use extremely hazardous. In the former class, we
may rank coltsfoot, sage, milfoil, rhubarb, and bogbean; and in the
latter, stramonium, henbane, bella-donna, arnica, and lobelia. Those
who have been long accustomed to the use of tobacco, seldom, except in
times of scarcity or deprivation of that plant, resort to the use of
any other. This is the case at home. In the Cape Colony, the united
testimony of travellers proves that the Kaffirs are ready to make _any_
sacrifices for tobacco, and prefer it to any of their own indigenous

When the tobacco has been found to be too strong, incipient smokers
have been known to counteract its effects, and lessen its power, by
mixing therewith the flowers of chamomile, which once enjoyed great
reputation as a useful medicine. Others, in the absence of tobacco,
have resorted to brown paper or tow, which, being smoked through an
old or foul pipe, is said to carry with its smoke some of the tobacco
flavour, and to be infinitely better than no smoke at all. Juveniles
will sometimes, with a piece of cane, or a strip of clematis, imitate
their elders, and, in imagination, enjoy the luxury of an Havannah

A curious anecdote of a Buckinghamshire parson occurs in “Lilly’s
History of his Life and Times,” to which we have before referred. “In
this year, also, William Breedon, parson or vicar of Thornton in Bucks,
was living, a profound divine, but absolutely the most polite parson
for nativities in that age, strictly adhering to Ptolemy, which he
well understood; he had a hand in composing Sir Christopher Heydon’s
‘Defence of Judicial Astrology,’ being at that time his chaplain; he
was so given over to tobacco and drink, that when he had no tobacco
(and I suppose too much drink) he would cut the bell-ropes and _smoke_

Having unmasked the “race of pretenders,” and shown the titles upon
which they seek to establish their claims, with Charles Lamb we now bid
farewell to Tobacco.

  “For I must, (nor let it grieve thee,
  Friendliest of plants, that I must) leave thee;
  For thy sake, Tobacco, I
  Would do anything but die;
  And but seek to extend my days
  Long enough to sing thy praise.
  But as she, who once hath been
  A king’s consort, is a queen
  Ever after, nor will bate
  Any tittle of her state,
  Though a widow, or divorced,
  So I, from thy converse forced,
  The old name and style retain,
  A right Katherine of Spain;
  And a seat, too, ’mongst the joys
  Of the blest Tobacco boys;
  Where, though I, by sour physician,
  Am debarred the full fruition
  Of thy favours, I may catch
  Some collateral sweets, and snatch
  Sidelong odours, that give life,
  Like glances from a neighbour’s wife;
  And still live in the by-places,
  And the suburbs of thy graces;
  And in thy borders take delight,
  An unconquered Canaanite.”




  “Farewell ye odours of earth that die,
    Passing away like a lover’s sigh;
  My feast is now of the Tooba tree,[19]
    Whose scent is the breath of eternity.”

  MOORE’S _Lalla Rookh_.

That opium is the milky juice of the capsules of a species of poppy,
evaporated by exposure to light and air, is a fact so well known, as
scarce to require repetition. This species of poppy contains two well
marked varieties, the _black_ and the _white_, a circumstance noticed
by Hippocrates long enough ago. The black variety derives its name from
the colour of its seeds. The original home of the poppy is Asia and
Egypt. But it is extensively cultivated for the sake of its juice in
British India, Persia, Egypt, and Asia Minor, and might be cultivated,
were it more remunerative, in England, France, and Germany, where good
samples of opium have been obtained experimentally. Dr. Royle states
that the black variety is cultivated in the Himalayas, but generally
the white is preferred. The poppy is grown in Europe for the sake of
the capsules and seed: from the latter a mild oil is extracted.

The cultivation of the poppy in British India is confined chiefly to
the large Gangetic tract, about six hundred miles in length, and two
hundred miles in depth, extending from Goruckpore in the north to
Hazareebaugh in the South; and from Dingepore in the East, to Agra in
the West. This extent of country contains the two agencies of Behar and
Benares, the former sending to the market about treble the quantity of
the latter. In the Benares agency, there are about 21,500 cultivators,
and the total number of under cultivators of the opium poppy 106,147.

After all the preliminaries of preparing the land, sowing, and
cultivating the plant, all of which are much more interesting to the
parties concerned than ourselves, if all goes well, the whole field of
poppies presents a sheet of white bloom, which generally occurs about
the month of February. When nearly ready to fall, the white petals are
gathered, and made into circular cakes; these are preserved to form
the outer coverings of the balls of opium. In a few days after the
“leaves” of the flower are collected, the capsules or poppy heads are
ready for operation. At from three to four o’clock in the afternoon,
individuals go into the fields and scratch or cut the poppy heads with
iron instruments called “nushturs.” This instrument consists of three
or four thin narrow strips of iron, about six inches in length, and
about the thickness and width of a penknife at one end, but extending
in width to nearly an inch at the opposite extremity, where it is
deeply notched. These plates are bound together by means of thread,
each plate being kept a little distance from its neighbour by means of
thread passed between them. Thus completed, it has the appearance of a
scarificator with four parallel blades. This instrument, which has the
angles sharpened, has one of its sets of points drawn down the poppy
capsule from top to bottom, or rather upwards from the base to the
summit, making three or four parallel incisions, corresponding to the
number of blades in the poppy head. These only pass through the outer
coating or pericarp. Each capsule is scarified from two to six times,
according to its size, two or three days intervening between each
operation. In Asia Minor, a different course is pursued. One horizontal
incision is made nearly round the capsule, with a single blade. After
the scarification of the capsules, the juice exudes and thickens on
them during the night, which is collected early the next morning, by
means of little iron instruments called “seetooahs,” and which resemble
small concave trowels. When sufficient is collected into the trowel, it
is emptied into an earthen pot which the collector carries at his side.

When all the opium is collected which the plants will yield, the
capsules are gathered and broken, and the seed preserved for the
extraction of their oil. Of these seeds comfits are also made
resembling carraway comfits, and, without doubt, great comforts they
are to naked little squalling Hindoos whenever they can be obtained.
After the extraction of the oil, the dry cake, called Khari, is either
made into unleavened cakes for the very indigent, or cattle are fed
upon them, or when necessity requires, it is converted into poultices
after the manner of linseed meal.

In poor districts, where the people cannot afford the luxury of opium,
the broken capsules are made into a decoction and drank instead, says
Mr. Impey. This liquid is termed “post,” from the Persian name of the
capsule. There is also another use for the capsules. They are ground
into fine powder, and sold under the name of “boosa,” and sprinkled
over the _buttees_ of opium to prevent their adhesion. In the Benares
agency, the stems and leaves, when perfectly dry, are collected and
crushed into a coarse powder called “poppy trash” which is employed in
packing the opium cakes.

One acre of well-cultivated ground will yield from 70 to 100 lbs.
of “chick” or inspissated juice, the price of which varies from six
shillings to twelve shillings per pound; so that an acre will yield
from twenty to sixty pounds worth of opium at one crop. Three pounds of
chick will produce one pound of opium, from a third to a fifth of the
weight being lost in evaporation.

When freshly collected, the mass of juice is of a pinkish colour. This
is placed in shallow vessels to drain. A coffee-coloured liquid, called
“_pussewah_,” is drained off, which is used to cement the poppy-leaves
round the cakes of opium, under the name of _lewah_. After exposure
to the air in the Benares agency, the opium is made up into balls. In
Turkey it is the custom to beat up the juice with saliva. In Malwa it
is immersed as collected in linseed oil. In Benares it is brought to
the required consistence by exposure in the shade only.

Opium is prepared in different forms, in the various localities for
market. Bengal opium is made into balls of about 3½ lbs. weight, and
packed in chests, each containing forty balls. They are about the size
of a child’s head, coated externally with poppy petals, agglutinated
with _lewah_ to the thickness of about half an inch. Garden Patna
opium is in square cakes, about three inches in diameter, and one
inch thick, wrapped in thin plates of mica. Malwa opium is in round
flattened cakes, of about ten ounces in weight, packed in “boosa,”
or in coarsely-powdered poppy-petals, or in some instances without
any coating at all. Cutch opium is in small cakes, rather more than
an inch in diameter, enclosed in fragments of leaves. Kandeish opium
is imported in round flattened cakes, of about half a pound weight.
Egyptian opium occurs in round flattened cakes, about three inches
in diameter, covered with the vestiges of some leaf. This kind is
very dry, but it is considered inferior in quality to the Turkish
kinds. Persian opium is in the form of sticks, about six inches in
length, and half an inch in diameter, enveloped in smooth shining
paper, and tied with cotton. Smyrna opium occurs in regular rounded
or flattened masses, of various sizes, rarely exceeding two pounds
in weight, sometimes covered with the capsules of a species of dock.
Constantinople opium is either in large irregular cakes, or small,
regular, lenticular-formed cakes, covered with poppy-leaf, and from two
to two and a half inches in diameter.

Formerly the balls of Bengal opium were covered with tobacco-leaves;
but Mr. Flemming introduced the practice of covering them with
poppy-petals, which service the Court of Directors of the East India
Company acknowledged by presenting him with 50,000 rupees. Sometimes
these balls are so soft as to burst their skins, when much of the
liquid opium is lost. The quantity of opium produced annually in Bengal
exceeds five millions of pounds, and the income derived by the Hon.
East India Company from this source is not less than £5,003,162.

The kinds of opium most approved in the English market is the Smyrna,
and in China and the East generally, the preference is given to
the produce of India. Before used by the opium-smoker, the extract
undergoes a course of preparation, the following being the method
pursued in Singapore, as described by Mr. Little.

Between three and four o’clock in the morning the fires are lighted.
A chest is then opened by one of the officers of the establishment of
the opium farmer, and the number of balls delivered to the workmen
proportioned to the demand. The balls are then divided into equal
halves by one man, who scoops out with his fingers the inside or
soft part, and throws it into an earthen dish, frequently during the
operation moistening and washing his hands in another vessel, the
water of which is carefully preserved. When all the soft part is
carefully abstracted from the hardened skins or husks, these are broken
up, split, divided, and torn, and thrown into the earthen vessel,
containing the water already spoken of, saving the extreme outsides,
which are not mixed with the others, but thrown away, or sometimes sold
to adulterate chandu in Johore and the back of the island.

The second operation is to boil the husks with a sufficient quantity
of water in a large, shallow, iron pot, for such a length of time as
may be requisite to break down thoroughly the husks, and dissolve
the opium. This is then strained through folds of China-paper, laid
on a frame of basket-work, and over the paper is placed a cloth. The
strained fluid is then mixed with the opium scooped out in the first
operation, and placed in a large iron pot, when it is boiled down to
the consistence of thickish treacle. In this second operation, the
refuse from the straining of the boiled husk is again boiled in water,
filtered through paper, and the filtered fluid added to the mass, to
be made into chandu. The refuse is thrown outside, and little attended
to. It is dried and sold to the Chinese going to China for from ten to
seventeen shillings the hundredweight, who pound it, and adulterate
good opium with it. The paper that has been used in straining contains
a small quantity of opium, it is carefully dried and used medicinally
by the Chinese.

In the third operation, the dissolved opium being reduced to the
consistence of treacle, is seethed over a fire of charcoal, of a strong
and steady, but not fierce temperature, during which time it is most
carefully worked, then spread out, then worked up again and again by
the superintending workman, so as to expel the water, and, at the same
time, avoid burning it. When it is brought to the proper consistence,
it is divided into half-a-dozen lots, each of which is spread like
a plaister on a nearly flat iron pot, to the depth of from half to
three-quarters of an inch, and then scored in all manner of directions
to allow the heat to be applied equally to every part. One pot after
another is then placed over the fire, turned rapidly round, then
reversed, so as to expose the opium itself to the full heat of the red
fire. This is repeated three times, the length of time requisite, and
the proper heat are judged of by the workman, from the effluvium and
the colour, and here the greatest dexterity is requisite, for a little
more fire, or a little less would destroy the morning’s work, or eighty
or a hundred pounds’ worth of opium. The head workmen are men who have
learned their trade in China, and from their great experience, receive
high wages.

The fourth operation consists in again dissolving this fired opium in
a large quantity of water, and boiling it in copper vessels till it is
reduced to the consistence of the chandu used in the shops. The degree
of tenacity being the index of its complete preparation, which is
judged of by drawing it out with slips of bamboo.

By this long process, many of the impurities in the opium are got rid
of, and are left in the refuse thrown out, such as vegetable matter,
part of the resin and oil, with the extractive matter. By the seething
process, the oil and resin are almost entirely dissipated, so that the
chandu, as compared with the crude opium, is less irritating and more
soporific. The quantity of chandu obtained from the soft opium is about
seventy-five per cent., but from the opium, including the husk, not
more than 50 to 54 per cent.

The heat to be endured by the men during this operation is very great,
and can only be tolerated when custom has inured them to it. One of
these men, Mr. Little graphically describes. He was quite a character
in his way. “From three in the morning till ten in the forenoon he
stands before the boiling cauldron, with a fan in one hand, and a
feather in the other; with the latter he scoops off the scum that
forms, while, with the fan, he prevents the fluid from boiling over. He
never speaks, but is always smiling; nor does he move, except to quench
his thirst, from a bucket of water placed beside him. His trowsers are
his only article of dress, the floor his bed, a little rice his food.
When his labour is finished, his enjoyment is to drink arrack till he
is insensible, from which he is wakened in the morning to his work. He
has but one idea, and that is, the prospect of getting drunk on his
favourite beverage; for his work is mechanically done, and costs him
not a thought, no more than it does the dog that turns the spit. But
he smiles, as he thinks of the revel for the night; and with his whole
soul wrapped up in that fancied bliss, he heeds not the days that go
by. He is a singular being, and in another country, would be the inmate
of a mad-house.”

The method of preparation in China and Hong-Kong, is identical with
that pursued at Singapore. When the chandu or prepared extract of opium
is consumed, it leaves a refuse consisting of charcoal, empyreumatic
oil, some of the salts of the opium, and part of the chandu not
consumed. One ounce of the chandu gives nearly half an ounce of the
refuse called _Tye_ or _Tinco_. This is smoked or swallowed by the
poorer classes, who cannot afford the pure extract, and for this they
only pay half the price of chandu. When smoked, it yields a further
refuse called _Samshing_, which contains a very small quantity of the
narcotic principle. This last is never smoked, as it cannot furnish
any smoke, but is swallowed, and that not unfrequently mixed with
arrack. Samshing is used by the very poorest and most indigent class—by
beggars and outcasts, and those who, from long habit, are unable to
exist without some stimulus from the drug, but are unable to supply
themselves with any but the cheapest form in which any of the effects
of the narcotic can be obtained.

Opium is called in Arabic “Afiyoon,” and the opium-eater “Afiyoonee.”
In the crude state, opium is generally taken by those who have not long
been addicted to its use, in the dose of three or four grains, and the
dose is increased by degrees.

The Egyptians make several conserves composed of hellebore, hemp, and
opium, and several aromatic drugs which are in much more common use
than the simple opium. One of these conserves is called “magoon,” and
the person who makes or sells it, is called “magoongee.” The most
common kind is called “barsh” or “berch.” There is one kind which,
it is said, makes the person who takes it manifest his pleasure by
singing, another which will make him chatter, a third which excites to
dance, a fourth which particularly effects the vision in a pleasurable
manner, and a fifth which is simply of a sedative nature. These are
sold at certain kind of shops called “mahsheshehs,” solely appropriated
to the sale of intoxicating preparations.

Thus, in different countries, we find opium used in different ways.
In Great Britain, for instance, it is either used in the solid state,
made into pills, in which form it is somewhat extensively employed in
certain of our manufacturing districts, where druggists are affirmed
to keep a supply of these pills ready made to meet the demand, or it
is used in the form of tincture in the common state of laudanum, in
which form it is not only used medicinally, but to our knowledge,
somewhat largely as a means of indulgence, or, we should rather say,
with somewhat of qualification, largely for a country in which many are
fain to suppose that it is not used for those purposes at all. It is
also used in the form of Paregoric elixir, and is given insidiously to
children under a variety of quack forms, such as Godfrey’s cordial, &c.
On the authority of a reverend gentleman, it is stated that in the town
of Preston, in 1843, there were upwards of sixteen hundred families in
which Godfrey’s cordial was habitually employed, or some other equally
injurious compound. Professor Johnston has noticed a communication
which appeared in the “Morning Chronicle,” describing the effects
of opium upon the health of children, says—“The child sinks into a
low torpid state, wastes away into a skeleton, except the stomach,
producing what is known as pot-belly. One woman said, ‘The sleeping
stuff made them that they were always dozing, and never cared for food.
They pined away; their heads got big, and they died.’”

In India, the pure opium is either dissolved in water, and so used,
or rolled into pills. It is there a common practice to give it to
children when very young, by mothers who require to work, and cannot at
the same time nurse their offspring. The natives of the western coast
of Africa have a curious mechanical contrivance, by means of which they
get rid of the necessity for opium in these cases. The girls wear a
“kankey,” or artificial hump on their backs as soon as they can walk,
in order to learn betimes to carry their juniors, who ride astride on
the said projections. The usefulness of them consists in enabling the
mothers to work with their infants in this way _on their backs_, while
in England they excuse themselves from work on the plea of an infant
_in arms_, or else the helpless little creatures are drugged with
sleeping stuff, and their heads grow big, and they die.

In China, opium is either swallowed or smoked in the shape of _Tye_. In
Bally it is first adulterated with China paper, and then rolled up with
the fibres of a particular kind of plantain. It is then inserted into a
hole made at the end of a small bamboo and smoked. In Java and Sumatra
it is often mixed with sugar and the ripe fruit of the plantain.
In Turkey it is usually taken in pills, and those who do so, avoid
drinking any water after having swallowed them, as this is said to
produce violent colic; but to make it more palatable, it is sometimes
mixed with syrups or thickened juice; in this form, however, it is less
intoxicating, and resembles mead. It is then taken with a spoon, or is
dried in small cakes, with the words “Mash Allah,” the “Work of God,”
or the “Gift of God” imprinted on them. When the dose of two or three
drams a day no longer produces the beatific intoxication so eagerly
sought, they mix corrosive sublimate with the opium till the quantity
reaches ten grains a day.

In Singapore there are representatives of almost every Eastern nation,
indulging in the luxury according to the fashion of the country of
which he is a native. The Hindoo, fresh from the continent, prefers
the mode there in use, and swallows the soul-soothing pill; while the
Chinese, with a gusto which no worshipper of the meerschaum can compete
with, inhales the smoke, not only into his mouth, but into his lungs,
where it becomes breath of his breath, and where retained, it acts on
the nervous fibres that are spread over the extensive membrane which
lines every cell of the lungs until exhaled through nose and mouth—yea,
even in some cases, through ear and eye, it is replaced by another puff.

As the body becomes accustomed by habit to bear larger doses of opium
than before the habit has been formed, the enormous quantity which
some persons have taken are startling and surprising. Dr. Christison,
in his work on Poisons, refers to some of these cases. “A female who
died of consumption at the age of forty-two, had taken about a dram of
solid opium daily for ten years. A well-known literary character, about
fifty years of age, has taken laudanum for twenty-five years, with
occasional short intermissions, and sometimes an enormous quantity, but
enjoys tolerable bodily health. A lady about fifty-five, who enjoys
good health, has taken opium many years, and at present uses three
ounces of laudanum daily. Lord Mar, after using laudanum for thirty
years, at times to the amount of two or three ounces daily, died at
the age of fifty-seven, of jaundice and dropsy. A woman who had been
in the practice of taking about two ounces of laudanum daily for very
many years, died at the age of sixty or upwards. An eminent literary
character who died lately, about the age of sixty-three, was in the
practice of drinking laudanum to excess from the age of fifteen, and
his daily allowance was sometimes a quart of a mixture consisting of
three parts laudanum and one of alcohol. A lady now alive, at the age
of seventy-four, has taken laudanum in the quantity of half an ounce
daily between thirty and forty years. An old woman died not long ago
at Leith at the age of eighty, who had taken about half an ounce of
laudanum daily for nearly forty years, and enjoyed tolerable health
all the time. Visrajee, a celebrated Cutchee chief mentioned by Dr.
Burnes, had taken opium largely all his life, and was alive at the age
of eighty, with his mind unimpaired.” To these examples we may add
the confession of De Quincey: “I, who have taken happiness both in a
solid and a liquid shape, both boiled and unboiled, both East Indian
and Turkish—who have conducted my experiments upon this interesting
subject with a sort of galvanic battery, and have, for the general
benefit of the world, inoculated myself, as it were, with the poison
of eight thousand drops of laudanum a day—I, it will be admitted, must
surely now know what happiness is, if anybody does. Fifty and two
years’ experience of opium, as a magical resource under all modes of
bodily suffering, I may now claim to have had. According to the modern
slang phrase, I had, in the meridian stage of my opium career, used
‘fabulous’ quantities. Stating the quantities—not in solid opium, but
in the tincture (known to everybody as laudanum)—my daily ration was
eight thousand drops. If you write down that amount in the ordinary
way as 8000, you see at a glance that you may read it into eight
quantities of a thousand, or into eight hundred quantities of ten; or,
lastly, into eighty quantities of one hundred. Now, a single quantity
of one hundred will about fill a very old-fashioned obsolete teaspoon,
of that order which you find still lingering amongst the respectable
poor. Eighty such quantities, therefore, would have filled eighty
of such antediluvian spoons, that is, it would have been the common
hospital dose for three hundred and twenty adult patients.” And he adds
solemnly, that “without opium, thirty-five years ago, beyond all doubt,
I should have been in my grave.”

It is not a very easy task to ascertain the full extent of opium
indulgence at home; but there is more of truth than fiction in that
passage in “Alton Locke,” where the hero, on his way to Cambridge,
meets with a ride in the vehicle of a certain yeoman of the Fen
country, and enters into conversation with him, in the course of which
the following dialogue takes place.

“Love ye, then! they as dinnot tak’ spirits down thor, tak’ their
pennord o’ elevation, then—women folk especial.”

“What’s elevation?”

“Oh! ho! ho! Yow goo into druggist’s shop o’ market day, into
Cambridge, and you’ll see the little boxes, doozens and doozens, a’
ready on the counter; and never a ven-man’s wife goo by, but what calls
in for her pennord o’ elevation, to last her out the week. Oh! ho! ho!
Well, it keeps women folk quiet, it do; and it’s mortal good agin ago

“But what is it?”

“Opium, bor’ alive, opium!”

“But doesn’t it ruin their health? I should think it the very worst
sort of drunkenness.”

“Ow, well, yow moi say that—mak’th ‘em cruel thin, then, it do; but
what can bodies do i’ th’ ago? But it’s a bad thing, it is.”

The fact is well known, that in the Fen country, opium is extensively
used under the presumption or excuse that it is good for the ague. In
Wisbeach, as we ascertained from certain official medical documents,
more opium is sold and consumed, in proportion to the population, than
in any other part of the kingdom. In other parts of Cambridgeshire and
Lincolnshire, large quantities of opium are regularly and habitually
sold in small doses amongst the labouring population. In Manchester
some years ago, a similar run upon opium was experienced, but _not_ as
a cure for ague. Several cotton manufacturers stated to our authority,
that their work-people were rapidly getting into the practice of
opium-eating; so much so, that on a Saturday afternoon the counters of
the druggists were strewed with pills of one, two, or three grains, in
preparation for the known demand of the evening. The immediate occasion
of this practice was stated to be the lowness of wages, which, at that
time, would not allow them to indulge in ale or spirits; hence they
adopted opium as a substitute.

There was a sin of which we were guilty in the age of Butler, and from
which we are not yet freed; probably, it is somewhat of a universal
one. Whether or no, there are certainly not a few who—

  “Compound for sins they are inclined to,
  By damning those they have no mind to.”

Opium indulgence is, after all, very un-English, and never has been,
nor ever will be, remarkably popular; and if we smoke our pipes
of tobacco ourselves, while in the midst of the clouds, we cannot
forbear expressing our astonishment at the Chinese and others who
indulge in opium. Pity them we may, perhaps, looking upon them as
miserable wretches the while, but they do not obtain our sympathies.
Philanthropists at crowded assemblies denounce, in no measured
terms, “the iniquities of the opium trade,” and then go home to
their pipe or cigar, thinking them perfectly legitimate, whether
the produce of slave labour or free. It is the same sort of feeling
that the Hashasheens of the East inspire, and indeed all, who have a
predilection for other narcotics than those which Johnny Englishman
delights in, come in for a share of his contempt.

A carrion crow was once indulging in a feast upon the carcase of a
nice fat rat which had just been caught in a neighbouring barn and
thrown out into the road. A wood pigeon, who had finished his meal
in a field of peas hard by, came past at the time and saw his friend
the crow in full enjoyment of his rat. “I cannot imagine,” said the
pigeon, “how you can eat such a disgusting creature as that on which
you are making your breakfast—the sight of it turns my stomach.” “It is
quite a matter of taste,” said the crow, “and I think that I have the
advantage, my food is juicy and sweet, this rat has lived upon the best
of the farmer’s corn, and the farmer would enjoy the treat himself,
I am confident, if he only knew what a delicious breakfast it would
make. You should be welcome to an acre of peas every day, if you would
bring me such a dish as this. Besides, if I did not eat it, it would
soon putrefy, and fill the air with disgusting smells, so that I am,
in myself, a perfect board of health, working for the good of society,
you, no better than a vagabond, stealing from society your daily
bread.” “I have heard it said,” added the pigeon, “that it was you and
your companions that destroyed a whole field of turnips in grubbing
after the worms—I suppose that was a benefit to society.” “Go and eat
your peas,” said the crow, “and leave me to enjoy my rat in peace.”

Calculations as to the number of persons indulging in the use of opium
are necessarily liable to objections; one person asserting that in
China, for instance, not less than twenty millions of people indulge
in opium, whilst others consider that two millions and a half are all
that can be calculated upon. The number which Johnston estimates as
the proportion of the human race using opium is four hundred millions,
or about half the number of those who indulge in tobacco. This is,
perhaps, as near an approximation as can be made, but one which must be
based on the quantity produced, deducing therefrom the number required
to consume it, rather than on any details of consumption, which cannot
be arrived at.

There is one important and well-authenticated fact with regard to the
Chinese consumption of opium, that in the year 1854, the value of opium
imported into China exceeded the value of all the tea and silk exported
from China to Great Britain and her colonies.

As we take farewell of the “gift of God” to pass through the portals
of Paradise, let us do so in the words of that most celebrated of
English opium eaters, Thomas de Quincey:——“O just, subtle, and
all-conquering opium! that, to the hearts of rich and poor alike, for
the wounds that will never heal, and for the pangs of grief that ‘tempt
the spirit to rebel,’ bringest an assuaging balm; eloquent opium! that
with thy potent rhetoric stealest away the purposes of wrath, pleadest
effectually for relenting pity, and through one night’s heavenly
sleep, callest back to the guilty man the visions of his infancy,
and hands washed pure from blood. O just and righteous opium! that
to the chancery of dreams, summonest for the triumphs of despairing
innocence, false witnesses, and confoundest perjury, and dost reverse
the sentences of unrighteous judges; thou buildest upon the bosom
of darkness, out of the fantastic imagery of the brain, cities and
temples, beyond the art of Phidias and Praxiteles—beyond the splendours
of Babylon and Hekatompylos; and from the ‘anarchy of dreaming sleep,’
callest into sunny light the faces of long-buried beauties, and the
blessed household countenances, cleansed from the ‘dishonours of the
grave.’ Thou only givest these gifts to man, and thou hast the keys of
Paradise, O just, subtle, and mighty opium!”



 “Thou only givest these gifts to man; and thou hast the keys of
 Paradise, O just, subtle, and mighty opium.”——_Confessions of an

According to the common opinion of the Arabs, there are seven heavens,
one above another. The upper surface of each is believed to be nearly
plane, and generally supposed to be circular, five hundred years’
journey in width. The first is described to be formed of emerald; the
second of white silver; the third of large white pearls; the fourth
of ruby; the fifth of red gold; the sixth of yellow jacinth; and the
seventh of shining light. Some assert Paradise to be in the seventh
heaven; others state that above the seventh heaven are seven seas of
light, then an undefined number of veils, or separations, of different
substances, seven of each kind, and then Paradise, which consists of
seven stages, one above another. The first is the mansion of glory, of
white pearls; the second, the mansion of peace, of ruby; the third,
the garden of rest, of green chrysolite; the fourth, the garden of
eternity, of green coral; the fifth, garden of delight, of white
silver; the sixth, the garden of Paradise, of red gold; the seventh,
the garden of perpetual abode or Eden, of large pearls—this overlooking
all the former, and canopied by the throne of the Compassionate.

The most direct road and speediest conveyance to Paradise, according to
the testimony of all confirmed opiophagi, is by means of that subtle
drug, opium. The most common form in which it is taken is that of
vapour, inhaled through a peculiarly-constructed pipe. Those used by
the Siamese resemble in form the common narghilè, or hubble-bubble of
the Levant. They consist of an empty cocoa-nut shell, in an orifice
in the top of which a hollow wooden tube is inserted, and the opening
hermetically closed, so as to prevent the escape of either air or
smoke. In another hole in the side of the cocoa-nut shell, a common
little bamboo tube, about eighteen inches long, is tightly fixed; a
little earthen bowl, perforated at the bottom like a sieve, is filled
with opium, and one or two pieces of fire being placed thereon, this
bowl is fitted on the top of the wooden tube. The man who hands round
this pipe holds with one hand the bottom of the cocoa-nut (which is
half full of water), and with the other hand he presents the bamboo
tube to the smoker, who, putting it to his mouth, inhales three or
four whiffs of this most intoxicating narcotic. The effect is almost
instantaneous. He sinks gently against the cushion set at his back, and
becomes insensible to what is passing around. The pipe is passed round
from mouth to mouth, so that half an hour generally intervenes between
the first whiff taken by the first smoker, and the last sigh heaved by
the last man, as he revives from his short, pleasant dream, into which
the whiffing has thrown him. One old and inveterate Siamese smoker
declared to a recent resident among them, that if he knew his life
would be forfeited by the act, he could no more resist the temptation
than he could curb a fiery steed by a thread bridle. It carried him
into the seventh heaven—he heard and saw things no tongue could utter,
and felt as though his soul soared so high above things earthly, during
those precious moments of oblivion, as to have flown beyond the reach
of its heavy, burthensome cage.

Opium smoking is not generally conducted on a plan so social. The
Siamese may be considered as an exception to the general rule. The
method pursued at Hong-Kong, of which we have received an account from
a competent authority, is more a type of the opium-smoker in general,
and the method he pursues.

In a reclining position, on boards placed on tressels, ranged around
long, disgustingly dirty rooms, may be seen, at all hours of the day,
haggard beggars, with putrefying sores, whose miserable feelings of
desperation and woe drive them here to obtain a partial alleviation,
by steeping their senses in forgetfulness. The stem of the pipe used
for smoking is made of hard wood, and would be taken for an English
paper-ruler, about eighteen inches long, and an inch in diameter. The
earthenware bowl or head screws on and off, at about three inches from
the end. An assistant of the divan, sitting in a corner of the room, is
constantly engaged in scraping and cleaning these heads, which, from
the small size of the hole through which the opium is inhaled (about
the size of a pin’s head), are apt to get clogged. The quantity of
opium intended to be smoked, varying at a time from twenty to a hundred
grains, is dipped carefully out of small gallipots, laid on a leaf, and
charged for at the rate of a dollar per ounce. The opium is used by
dipping into it the pointed end of a small wire, which is then applied
to the flame of a lamp. In ignition it inflates into a bubble, and is
then, with a dexterity obtained only by constant practice, rolled on
the pipe head until it assumes the shape and size of a small orange-pip
cut in half, and of the hardness of wax. It is then placed over the
orifice in the head of the pipe, like a small chimney, through which
the flame of the lamp is drawn into the bowl, converting the opium, in
its passage, into a blue smoke, which is inspired by long continuous
whiffs, and without removal of the pipe from the mouth, respired
through the nostrils. Two or three pipes may be taken by persons
unaccustomed to the habit without leaving any other unpleasant feeling
than a harshness in the throat. There are in Hong-Kong ten regular
licensed divans for the smoking of opium, and nearly all these are in
the Chinese portion of the town.

This picture would, however, be incomplete, without a few more
particulars concerning the individuals who give themselves up to
indulgence in the drug. And for this we must again seek the aid of
an experienced medical man, who for years lived and laboured in the
midst of opium smokers. “Nothing on earth,” he states, “can equal
the apparent quiet enjoyment of the opium smoker. As he enters the
miserable scene of his future ecstasy, he collects his small change,
the labour, or begging, or theft of the day, with which he supplies
himself with his quantity of Chandu; then taking the pipe, which is
furnished gratis, he reclines on a board covered with a mat, and with
his head resting on a wooden or bamboo pillow, he commences filling
his pipe. As he entered, his looks were the picture of misery, his
eyes were sunk, his gait slouched, his step trembling, and his voice
quivering, with a sallow cast of countenance, and a dull unimpressive
eye. He who runs might read that he is an opium-smoker, and, diving
still deeper below appearances, would declare him an opium sufferer.
But now with pipe in hand, opium by his side, and a lamp before him,
his eye already glistens, and his features soften in their expression,
while he is preparing the coming luxury. At last it is ready, and
the pipe being applied to the lamp, there is heard a soughing noise,
as with a full and hearty pull, he draws in all that opium and air
can give. Slowly is the inspiration relaxed, but not until all the
opium that is in the pipe is consumed; then, allowing the vapour,
impregnated with the narcotic influence, to remain in his chest until
nature compels him to respire, he gently allows it to escape, seeming
to grudge the loss of each successive exit, until all is gone, when
exhausted and soothed—

  “‘Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
  About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams,’

he withdraws the pipe, reclines his head, and gives himself up to
the first calming effect of the drug. His next attempt confirms the
comfort, and now no longer does he complain of racking limbs or
aching bones; no longer does the rheum run from his eyes, and relaxed
is the tightness of the chest, as he dwells with fond affection on
the inspiring pipe. His second pipe being finished, he can now look
round, and has time to gaze on what is going on; but his soul is
still wrapped in the bliss that is anticipated from what remains of
his allowance, for not until a third or fourth whiff do the feelings
of positive pleasure arise. Then is felt a lightness of the head, a
tingling in every limb—the eyes seem to be enlarged, and the ears
sharpened to hearing, an elasticity, an inclination to mount on high is
experienced—all pains are gone, and pleasure now remains—all weariness
has left, and freshness takes its place. The loathing of food that was
lately experienced is changed to a relish for what is piquant, and a
great desire is frequently felt for some particular food. The tongue
is now loosened, and tells its tale. For whatever is secret becomes
open, and what was intended for one becomes known to all. Still there
is no excitement, but a calmness, soft, soothing, and sedative. He
dreams no dreams, nor thinks of the morrow but with a smile in his
eye; he fills his pipe with the last of his allowance; slowly inhaling
it, he seems to brighten up. The smile that was sparkling in his eye,
extends to other features, and his appearance is one of complete, yet
placid enjoyment. Presently the pipe is slowly displaced, or drops
by his side; his head, if raised, is now laid on the pillow—feature
after feature gives up its smile—the eye becomes glazed—now droops
the upper eyelid, and falls the chin with the lower lip, deeper and
deeper inspirations follow—all perception is gone; objects may strike
the eye, but no sights are seen; sounds may fall on the ear, but no
sensations are excited. So he passes into sleep, disturbed and broken,
from which the wretched being awakes to a full conception of his
misery. ‘To sleep, perchance to dream!’—and what dreams!—what ecstatic
delights!—what ravishments!—what illusions!

  Seen for the first time, and things, long ago
  Seen, which he ne’er again shall see, do blend
  Strangely and brokenly with ghastly things
  Such as we hear in childhood, scorn in youth,
  And doubt in manhood, save when seen.’”

In the narrative of the voyage of H.M.S. _Samarang_, Mr. A. Adams
informs us, that in a large caravansary belonging to the Malay village
near Singapore, he had an opportunity of observing the effects of
opium on the physical aspect of the Malay. One of these was a feeble,
worn out old man, with an unearthly brilliancy in his eye. His body
was bent forwards and greatly emaciated—his face was shrunken, wan,
and haggard—his long skinny arm, wasted fingers, and sharp pointed
nails resembled more the claw of some rapacious bird, than the hand
of a lord of the creation—his head was nodding and tremulous—his skin
wrinkled and yellow, and his teeth were a few decayed, pointed, and
black stained fangs. As he was approached, he raised his body from
the mat on which he was reposing. There was something interesting
and at the same time melancholy in the physique of the old man, who
now in rags, appeared from the silver ornaments he wore, and by his
embroidered jacket, to have been formerly a person of some distinction;
but the fascinating influence of the deadly drug had fastened on him,
and a pallet in a caravansary was the reward of self-indulgence. “In my
experience of opium,” says Mr.————, “which has not, however, been very
extensive, I cannot say I have found as much pleasure as the English
opium-eater in his Confessions would lead us to believe fell to his
lot. After three or four Chinese opium pipes, I found my brain very
much unsettled, and teeming with thoughts ill-arranged, and pursuing
each other in wanton dreamy play, without order or connection, the
circulating system being at the time much excited, the frame tremulous,
the eyeballs fixed, and a peculiar and agreeable thrilling sensation
extending along the nerves. The same succession of image crowding upon
image, and thoughts revelling in strange disorder, continues for some
time, during which a person appears to be in the condition of the
madman alluded to by Dryden in his play of the ‘Spanish Fryar.’

      “‘He raves, his words are loose,
  As heaps of sand, and scattering wide from sense
  So high he’s mounted on his airy throne,
  That now the wind has got into his head,
  And turned his brains to frenzy.’

Unutterable melancholy feelings succeed to this somewhat pleasurable
period of excitement, but a soft languor steals shortly across the
senses, and the half-poisoned individual falls asleep. The next day
there is great nausea and sickness of stomach, headache, and tormenting
thirst, which makes you curse opium, and exclaim, with Shakespeare’s
‘King John,’

  “‘And none of you will bid the winter come
  To thrust his icy fingers in my maw;
  Nor let my kingdom’s rivers take their course
  Thro’ my burnt bosom, nor entreat the North
  To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips,
  And comfort me with cold.’”

Dr. Madden tried, experimentally, the effects of opium—he commenced
with a grain, which produced no perceptible effect, to this he
afterwards added another grain. After two hours from commencing the
operation, his spirits became excited. “My faculties,” he writes,
“appeared enlarged, everything I looked at seemed increased in volume.
I had no longer the same pleasure when I closed my eyes which I had
when they were open; it appeared to me as if it was only external
objects which were acted on by the imagination, and magnified into
images of pleasure; in short, it was the faint exquisite music of a
dream in a waking moment. I made my way home as fast as possible,
dreading, at every step, that I should commit some extravagance. In
walking, I was hardly sensible of my feet touching the ground—it seemed
as if I slid along the street, impelled by some invisible agent, and
that my blood was composed of some ethereal fluid, which rendered my
body lighter than air. I got to bed the moment I reached home. The
most extraordinary visions of delight filled my brain all night. In
the morning I rose pale and dispirited, my head ached, my body was so
debilitated, that I was obliged to remain on the sofa all day, dearly
paying for my first essay at opium-eating.” Thus far, the opium-eater
and the opium-smoker seem to agree in the principal results from the
use of the drug.

From the communications of Dr. Medhurst may be learnt many important
facts relative to this habit in China. Day by day, and year by year,
the practice of opium-smoking prevails more and more among this
people, and by and by it will doubtless have a powerful effect upon
the destinies of the country. It is said, that the late Emperor used
the drug; it is certain that most of the government officers do, and
their innumerable attendants are in the same category. Opium is used
as a luxury by all classes, and to a great extent, indeed so great,
that it cannot fail to exhibit its effects speedily upon the mass of
the inhabitants. In rich families, even if the head of the house does
not use the drug, the sons soon learn to use it, and almost all are
exposed to the temptation of employing it, as many of their friends
and acquaintances are in the habit of smoking; and it is considered
a mark of politeness to offer the pipe to a friend or visitor. Many
persons fly to the use of the pipe when they get into trouble, and when
they are afflicted with chronic or painful diseases, sleeplessness,
&c. Several persons who have been attended for malignant tumours
were made victims of the drug, by the use of it to appease the pain
and distress they had to endure. The beggars are, to a great extent,
under its influence; but they use the dregs and scrapings only of the
half-consumed drug, which is removed from the pipe-head when it is
cleaned. The most common cause of the Chinese resorting to the use of
the opium-pipe is their not knowing how to employ their leisure hours
when the business of the day is over—there is no periodical literature
to engage their attention. Their families do not present sufficient
attractions to keep them at home, and sauntering about of an evening,
with nothing to employ the mind, they are easily tempted into the opium
shops, where one acquaintance or another is sure to be found, who
invites to the use of the drug.

Many of the middling classes dissipate their money in this indulgence,
and, among the lower classes, those who indulge in the use of opium
are reduced to abject poverty. Having no property, furniture, or
clothes to dispose of, their wives and children are sold to supply
their ever-increasing appetite for the drug; and when these are gone,
with greatly diminished strength for labour, they can no longer earn
sufficient for their own wants, and are obliged to beg for their daily
bread. As to the supply of opium, they must depend on the scrapings
of other men’s pipes, and as soon as they are unable, by begging, to
obtain the necessaries of life, together with the half-burnt opium, on
which their very life depends, they droop and die by the roadside, and
are buried at the expense of the charitable.

Two respectable young men, the sons of an officer of high rank,
well informed, having received a good education, accustomed to good
society, and who excited great interest in the minds of those with
whom they came in contact, lately died. So inveterate was their habit
of opium-smoking, and so large the quantity necessary to keep up the
stimulus, that their funds were exhausted. Friends assisted them, and
relieved their necessities again and again; but it was impossible to
give them bread and opium too, and they subsequently died, one after
the other, in the most abject and destitute condition.

At Shanghae, just inside the north gate, in front of a temple, one of
such destitute persons, unable to procure either food or opium, was
lying at the last gasp, while two or three others with drooping heads
were sitting near, who looked as if they would soon be prostrated too.
The next day, the first of the group lay dead and stiff, with a coarse
mat wound round his body for a shroud. The rest were lying down unable
to rise. The third day another was dead, and the remainder nearly so.
Help was vain, and pity was the only feeling that could be indulged.

It may be judged of the extent of opium-smoking in China from the
reports of the native Teapoas, inclosures in Sir J. Bowring’s Report.
The inhabitants in the Chung-wan (Centre bazaar) are about 5,800. The
number that smoke opium, merely because they like it, are upwards of
2,600. In the Hah-wan (Canton bazaar) there are upwards of 1,200. The
number that smoke opium, merely because they like it, are upwards of
600. At Sheong-wan the number of male residents are 13,000; there are
3,000 opium-smokers. At Tai-ping-shan the number of inhabitants are
5,300 men; of these upwards of 1,200 smoke opium because they like it.
The number of inhabitants in Ting-loong-chow are 2,500; the number of
opium-smokers are reported at 400. Thus, out of 27,800 inhabitants,
7,800 of whom, or 26 per cent., are smokers of opium.

Dr. McPherson, in writing of the Shikhs, informs us that most of the
Shirdars are under the influence of spirits or of opium for eighteen
hours out of the twenty-four. Their early use, both of the spirit and
the drug, renders them indispensable through life. If deprived of their
usual dose, the Shikh is one of the most wretched beings imaginable.
Before engaging in any feast, the Shikh takes his opium, by which
he is for a time excited, and this is soon followed by languor and
inactivity. Talking of Runjeet Sing, who was at that time labouring
under paralysis, from which eventually he died, he says he still used
opium, so that little could be expected from remedial means.

The Shikhs are forbidden the use of tobacco by the tenets of their
religion, but find a ready substitute for it in opium, which is
consumed in great quantities throughout the whole of the Punjaub, as
well as among the protected Shikh states. While under the effects of
this drug, the Shikh is a very different person to the same individual
before he has taken it. In the former instance, he is active and
talkative; in the latter, lazy and stupid.

It has been imagined that the preparation of opium has an injurious
effect upon those engaged therein; but Dr. Eatwell, of the Benares
Agency, states that, “amongst the thousands of individuals,
cultivators, and _employés_, with whom the factory is filled during
the receiving and manufacturing seasons, no complaints are ever heard
of any injurious effects resulting from the influence of the drug,
whilst they all remain quite as free from general sickness as persons
unconnected with the general establishment—in fact, if anything, more
so. It occasionally happens that a casual visitor to the factory
complains of giddiness or headache; but the European officers employed
in the department, who pass the greater part of the day with the
thermometer between 95° and 105° Fah. amongst tons of the drug, never
experience any bad effects from it. The native purkhea sits usually
from six A.M. to three P.M. daily, with his hand and arm immersed
nearly the whole time in the drug, which he is constantly smelling,
and yet he feels no inconvenience from it. He has informed me, that
at the commencement of the season, he experiences usually a sensation
of numbness in the fingers; but I believe this to be more the result
of fatigue, consequent upon the incessant use of the arm and fingers,
than of any effect of the opium. In the large caking-vats, men are
employed to wade knee-deep through the drug for several hours during
the morning, and they remain standing in it during the greater part of
the rest of the day, serving out the opium by armsful, their bodies
being naked, with the exception of a cloth about the loins. These men
complain of a sensation of drowsiness towards the end of their daily
labours, and declare that they are overpowered early in the evening
by sleep, but they do not complain of the effect as being either
unpleasant or injurious.

“Infants, of a few months old, may be frequently seen lying on the
opium-besmeared floor, under the vats, in which dangerous position they
are left by their thoughtless mothers; but, strange to say, without
any accident ever occurring. Here are abundant facts to show that the
health of those employed in the opium-factory, and in the manipulation
of the drug, is not exposed to any risk whatever; whilst the impunity
with which the drug is handled by hundreds of individuals, for hours
together, proves that it has no endemic action; for I am inclined
to consider the soporific effect experienced by the vat-treaders as
produced through the lungs, and not through the skin.” This may be
considered, therefore, as setting the question entirely at rest, and
demonstrating the fact that the factory labourers are not sufferers.

According to a Chinese petition presented on one occasion to the
Emperor, it is believed that the English, by introducing opium into
that country, did so as a means of its subjugation, presuming, we may
suppose, that the Celestials were invincible, except by some such
cabalistic means. “In the History of Formosa,” says this document, “we
find the following passage: ‘Opium was first produced in Kaoutsinne,
which by some is said to be the same as Kalapa or Batavia. The natives
of this place were at the first sprightly and active, and, being good
soldiers, were always successful in battle. But the people called
Hung-maou (red-haired) came thither, and having manufactured opium,
seduced some of the natives into the habit of smoking it. From these,
the mania for it spread rapidly through the whole nation; so that in
process of time the natives became feeble and enervated, submitted
to foreign rule, and ultimately were completely subjugated. Now
the English,’ it continues, ‘are of the race of foreigners called
Hung-maou. In introducing opium into this country, their purpose has
been to weaken and enfeeble the Central Empire. If not early aroused to
a sense of our danger, we shall find ourselves, ere long, on the last
step towards ruin.’”

The degradation or subjugation of the Chinese is much more likely to
be affected by a habit concerning which we hear less, but which is
infinitely more disastrous than the indulgence in opium. This is the
brandy-drinking customs of the north. This horrible drink, distilled
from millet, is the Chinaman’s delight, and he swallows it like
water. Many ruin themselves with brandy, as others do with gaming.
In company, or even alone, they will pass whole days and nights in
drinking successive little cups of it, until their intoxication
makes them incapable of carrying the cup to their lips. “Gambling and
drunkenness,” says Abbé Huc, “are the two permanent causes of pauperism
in China.”

It is unfortunately the custom for the distillers to supply brandy
on credit for a whole year, so that a tippler may go on for a long
time drawing from this inexhaustible spring. His troubles will only
begin in the last moon—the legal period of payment. Then, indeed, he
must pay, and with usury; and as money does not usually become more
plentiful with a man from the habit of getting drunk every day, he
has to sell his house and his land, if he has any, or to carry his
furniture and his clothes to the pawnbroker’s. In the south, there is
less brandy-drinking, and more gambling; but between the two there is
little to choose, as either impoverishes those who devote themselves to
its service, and to which even opium-smoking is preferable.

Mr. Meadows, the Chinese Government Interpreter at Hong-Kong, says,
“As to the morality of the opium question, I am fortunately able to
give the home reader, by analogy, and in a few words, as exact an idea
of it as I have got myself. Smoking a little opium daily, is like
taking a pint or two of ale, or a few glasses of wine daily; smoking
more opium is like taking brandy as well as beer and wine, or a large
allowance of these latter; smoking very much opium is like excessive
brandy and gin-drinking, leading to delirium tremens and premature
death. After frequent consideration of the subject during thirteen
years, the last two spent at home, I can only say that, although the
substances are different, I can, as to the morality of producing,
selling, and consuming them, see no difference at all; while the only
difference I can observe in the consequences of consumption is, that
the opium-smoker is not so violent, so maudlin, or so disgusting as the
drunkard. The clothes and breath of the confirmed and constant smoker
are more or less marked by the peculiar penetrating odour of opium,
and he gets careless in time of washing from his hands the stains
from his pipe. But all this is not more disagreeable than the beery,
vinous, or ginny odour, and the want of cleanliness that characterize
the confirmed drunkard. In all other respects, the contrast is to the
disadvantage of the drunkard.”

Without pursuing this question further, there is evidently a
fascination in the pipe to the opium-smoker, to a degree of which
the most ardent lover of a pipe of tobacco has but a faint idea. In
proportion as the indulgence in the drug produces a state of happiness
far transcending all that the votary of the weed experiences, so
does its influence over him increase; and if it is difficult for the
habitual smoker of tobacco to forego the pleasure of his accustomed
pipe, it is therefore ten times more difficult for the smoker or eater
of opium to renounce for ever, a custom which brings with it, even
in imagination though it may be, tenfold more pleasures, and a more
ecstatic enjoyment. This is the universal evidence of all who have been
inquired of, and of all who have had intercourse with opiophagi in all
parts of the world.

What fascinating influence this Paradise in prospect has upon those
who indulge in journeys thither, may be imagined from the notorious
fact, that in Bristol, Coleridge went so far as to hire men—porters,
hackney-coachmen, and others—to oppose by force his entrance into any
druggist’s shop. But as the authority for stopping him was derived
only from himself, so these poor men found themselves in a fix; for
when the time and the inclination arrived, he proceeded to the shop,
and on their offering resistance, he, the same who had instructed them
to prevent his entrance, now insisted on their allowing him to pass,
annulled all former instructions, and on the authority of one who paid
for their services, demanded its exercise as he thought fit, and the
gates of Paradise were opened.

According to Darwin, even poultry have mounted the ladder to within
a few steps of Elysium; for that worthy informs us, that they were
fed for the London market by mixing gin and opium with their food,
and keeping them in the dark, but that “they must be killed as soon
as they are fattened, or they become weak and emaciated, like human
drunkards.” We have no recording pullet to inform us of the visions
of the barn-door family under the influence of the beatific drug, nor
“Confessions of a Chanticleer,” to tell of the pains that succeeded a
too-free indulgence in the little pills; all we learn from the account
is, that the vision of Paradise very closely preceded its reality, for
the feathered bipeds were dosed and killed. The human biped for half
a century continues his dream—and all through that period it is but
a dream—yet that he is happy while under its influence there can be
no doubt; and when he has reclined on his couch, obtained his pipe,
and sunk into the beatific oblivion so coveted by the Asiatic, we may
imagine his exclaiming with the Peri, after obtaining the trickling

  “Joy, joy for ever! my task is done;
  The gates are passed, and heaven is won.
  Oh! am I not happy? I am—I am.
    To thee, sweet Eden! how dark and sad
  Are the diamond turrets of Shadukram,
    And the fragrant bowers of Amberabad.

  Joy, joy for ever! my task is done;
  The gates are passed, and heaven is won!”



  “That juice of earth, the bane
  And blessing of man’s heart, and brain—
  That draught of sorcery, which brings
  Phantoms of fair forbidden things
  Whose drops, like those of rainbows, smile
    Upon the mists that circle man
  Brightening not only earth, the while
    But grasping heaven, too, in their span.”

  _Lalla Rookh._

The Mahometan legend of their prophet’s ascent into heaven, where he
received instructions for the faith and conduct of his followers, is
thus current amongst them.

As Mahomet was reclining on the sacred stone in the temple of Mecca,
Gabriel came to him, and opened his breast from the breastbone to the
groin, and took out his heart, and washed it in a golden basin, full
of the water of Faith, and then restored it to its place. Afterwards a
white beast was brought to him, less than a mule, and larger than an
ass, called Al-Borak. It had a human face, but the cheeks of a horse,
its eyes were jacinths, and radiant as stars. It had eagle’s wings,
all glittering with rays of light, and its whole form was resplendent
with gems and precious stones. Upon this Mahomet was borne. Gabriel
proceeded with him to the first heaven of silver, and knocked at the
door, after some conversation he was welcomed, and the door opened.
Here Mahomet saluted Adam. They then proceeded to the second heaven,
all of polished steel and dazzling splendour, and saluted Noah. They
then entered the third heaven, studded with precious stones, and too
brilliant for mortal eyes. Here was seen Azrael, the Angel of Death,
writing continually in a book the names of those who are to be born,
and blotting out those who are to die. They mounted to the fourth
heaven, of the finest silver, where they saw the Angel of Tears, who
was appointed to weep over the sins of men, and predict the evils
that awaited them. The fifth heaven was of purest gold. Here Mahomet
was received and saluted by Aaron. This heaven was inhabited by the
Avenging Angel. He sat on a throne surrounded by flames, and before
him was a heap of red hot chains. The sixth heaven was composed of
a transparent stone, where dwelt the guardian angel of heaven and
earth. Here Moses wept at the sight of the prophet who was to have
more followers than himself. Mahomet then entered the seventh heaven
of divine light, where he saw many marvellous things, which he related
for the instruction of the faithful. He entered Al Mamour, the house
of Adoration, and as he entered, three vases were offered him, one
containing wine, another milk, and a third honey. He drank of the milk,
“Well hast thou done!” exclaimed Gabriel. “Hadst thou drunk of the
wine, thy people had all gone astray.” The Prophet then returned to
earth, as he had ascended to heaven.

The Al-Borak of modern Moslems is opium, by means of this most
miraculous of vehicles they mount to the heaven of heavens.

What are the true effects of opium are best described by an eminent
physician, who has studied well the results produced by all such
influences upon the brain. The imagination appears to be acted
upon, independent of the peculiar torpor, accompanied by sensations
of gratification, and the absence of all communication with the
external world. The senses convey no false impressions to the brain;
all that is seen, heard, or felt, is faithfully delineated, but
the imagination clothes each object in its own fanciful garb. It
exaggerates, it multiplies, it colours, it gives fantastic shapes;
there is a new condition arising out of ordinary perception, and the
reason, abandoning itself to the imagination, does not resist the
delight of indulging in visions. If the eyes are closed, and nothing
presented to excite the external senses, a whole train of vivid dreams
are presented. A theatre is lighted up in the brain—graceful dancers
perform the most captivating evolutions—music of an unearthly character
floats along—poesy, whose harmonious numbers, and whose exciting
themes, are far beyond the power of the human mind, is unceasingly
poured forth. Memory is, however, generally asleep—all the passions,
affections, and motions have lost their sway. It is all an exquisite
indolence, during which dreams spontaneously arise, brilliant,
beautiful, and exhilarating. There is order, harmony, tranquillity.
If a single object has been vividly impressed upon the eye, it is
multiplied a thousand times by the imagination—vast processions pass
him in his reveries in mournful pomp.

That this is the doctrine of the true church on the subject of opium,
we may learn from De Quincey, of which church he acknowledges himself
to be the Pope, and self-appointed _legate à latere_ to all degrees of
latitude and longitude.

“I often fell into such reveries after taking opium, and many a time
it has happened to me on a summer night, when I have been seated at
an open window, from which I could overlook the sea at a mile below
me, and could, at the same time, command a view of some great town
standing on a different radius of my circular prospect, but at nearly
the same distance—that from sunset to sunrise, all through the hours of
night, I have continued motionless, as if frozen, without consciousness
of myself as of an object anywise distinct from the multiform scene
which I contemplated from above. Such a scene in all its elements was
not unfrequently realised for me on the gentle eminence of Everton.
Obliquely to the left, lay the many languaged town of Liverpool;
obliquely to the right, the multitudinous sea. The scene itself was
somewhat typical of what took place in such a reverie. The town of
Liverpool represented the earth, with its sorrows and its graves left
behind, yet not out of sight nor wholly forgotten. The ocean, in
everlasting but gentle agitation, yet brooded over by dove-like calm,
might not unfitly typify the mind, and the mood which then swayed
it. For it seemed to me as if then first I stood at a distance aloof
from the uproar of life, as if the tumult, the fever, and the strife
were suspended; a respite were granted from the secret burdens of the
heart, some sabbath of repose, some resting from human labours. Here
were the hopes which blossom in the paths of life, reconciled with the
peace which is in the grave; motions of the intellect as unwearied as
the heavens, yet for all anxieties a halcyon calm; tranquillity that
seemed no product of inertia, but as if resulting from mighty and equal
antagonisms, infinite activities, infinite repose.”

And now let us follow him to the Opera. “The late Duke of Norfolk used
to say, ‘Next Monday, wind and weather permitting, I propose to be
drunk;’ and, in like manner, I used to fix beforehand how often, within
a given time, when, and with what accessory circumstances of festal
joy, I would commit a debauch of opium. This was seldom more than once
in three weeks, for at that time I could not have ventured to call
every day (as afterwards I did) for ‘a glass of laudanum negus, warm,
and without sugar.’

“No: once in three weeks sufficed; and the time selected was either
a Tuesday or a Saturday night, my reason for which was this—Tuesday
and Saturday were for many years the regular nights of performance
at the opera house, and there in those times Grassini sang, and her
voice was delightful to me beyond all that I had ever heard. Thrilling
was the pleasure with which almost always I heard her. Shivering with
expectation I sat, when the time drew near for her golden epiphany,
shivering I rose from my seat, incapable of rest, when that heavenly
and harp-like voice sang its own victorious welcome in its prelusive
_threttanelo—threttanelo_. The choruses were divine to hear; and, when
Grassini appeared in some interlude, as she often did, and poured
forth her passionate soul as Andromache at the tomb of Hector, &c.,
I question whether any Turk, of all that ever entered the paradise
of opium-eaters, can have had half the pleasure I had. But, indeed,
I honour the barbarians too much, by supposing them capable of any
pleasures approaching to the intellectual ones of an Englishman. A
chorus of elaborate harmony displayed before me, as in a piece of arras
work, the whole of my past life—not as if recalled by an act of memory,
but as if present, and incarnated in the music; no longer painful to
dwell upon, but the detail of its incidents removed, or blended in
some hazy abstraction, and its passions exalted, spiritualized, and
sublimed. And over and above the music of the stage and the orchestra
I had all around me, in the intervals of the performances, the music
of the Italian language talked by Italian women—for the gallery was
usually crowded with Italians—and I listened with a pleasure, such as
that with which Weld, the traveller, lay and listened in Canada, to the
sweet laughter of Indian women; for the less you understand a language,
the more sensible you are to the melody or harshness of its sounds.”

Let the reader who seeks to know of his other Saturday evenings’
experiences, wandering about in the market-places, and threading the
intricate mazes of bye-lanes and alleys, seek it in his “Confessions.”

An Englishman awaking one morning finds himself at Hong-Kong, in the
midst of opium and opium-smokers. He is astonished that the Chinaman
loves opium as he loves nothing else; he cannot think why his vitiated
taste had not settled upon something nobler, why he does not take a
fancy to British Brandy? But no! he loves opium. And a Parsee takes him
to see the lions, and is so civil as to convey the stranger into his
warehouse and open two chests of opium, that he may see the drug as it
passes into commerce. Of these, the first consisted of balls, which he
describes as of the size of a large apple dumpling, and when cut open
the mass is found to be solid. The other was full of objects which a
commander in the navy ordered his men to return to the owners of a
captured junk, “Ar’nt you ashamed, my lads, to loot a lot of miserable
Dutch cheeses?” The “Dutch cheeses” were Patna opium, worth about £5
each. Globes of thick dark jelly enclosed in a crust not unlike the
rind of a cheese. The Parsee tapped one with a fragment of an iron
fastening of a chest, and drew forth about a spoonful of the drug. It
was not the opium which engaged the traveller’s attention, it was the
effect it produced upon the surrounding coolies. He had never before
seen excitement in a Chinaman’s face. He had seen them tried for their
lives, and condemned to death. He had seen them test the long-suffering
patience of Mr. Tudor Davies in the Hong-Kong police court, where that
gentleman was daily engaged in laborious endeavours to extract truth
out of conflicting lies. He had seen them laugh heartily at a gesture
at a sing-song; and he once saw a witness grin with great delight, as
he unexpectedly saw his most intimate friend, a tradesman of reputed
wealth, among a crowd of prisoners in the dock. But these coolies, when
they saw that opium opened their horizontal, slit-shaped eyes, till
they grew round and starting, their limbs, so lax and limpid, when not
in actual strain of labour, were stiff from excitement, every head
was pressed forward, every hand seemed ready to clutch. There was a
possibility that it would be put down upon the window-sill, near which
the stranger and his Parsee friend were standing—and there could be
seen the shadow of fingers ready to slide in. It was almost certain
that it would be thrown aside—and there was the grand hope of an opium
debauch gratis, and this was the state of mind that hope created. And
oh what raptures, what delights, what dreams! Already, in imagination,
they revelled in scenes such as the wakeful eye of mortal man ne’er
saw, and such as never did the mind of man conceive.

        “A paradise of vaulted bowers
        Lit by downward gazing flowers,
        And watery paths that wind between
        Wildernesses calm and green,
  Peopled by shapes too bright to see
  And rest, having beheld; somewhat like thee
  Which walk upon the sea, and chaunt melodiously.”

We cannot understand this fascination in which opium holds its devotee
to its full extent; and yet, in some sort, the lover of tobacco,
deprived of his pipe or quid, can in some sort understand it better
than any other Englishman, the opiophagi excepted. Let the admirer
of his weed be placed in circumstances wherein he cannot indulge in
that luxury, and the inward longings for his cherished companion are
akin to those of the smoker of opium without his drug. Some inveterate
smokers of tobacco have been known to declare that they would rather
forego their accustomed meal than their whiff; this they will sometimes
profess, but this the opium devotee often accomplishes. Instances are
far from rare of opium-smokers dying of starvation, having denied
their bodies the sustenance they required, to procure their much loved
chandu. Martyrs to their love of opium.

As opium is generally indulged in by the lower classes, in
establishments called Opium Shops, otherwise Papan Mera, a word or
two belongs to them. In Singapore, these shops are limited by the
regulations to forty-five in town and six in the country. Each has a
red board, which the vendor ought to hang up outside his shop, with
the number thereon, as received from the opium farmer. Hence the name
of Papan Mera, or “red board,” and the shops are known by that name
by all classes of natives. They are scattered in all directions over
the island; and wherever a number of Chinese are congregated, there
you have one or more. The farmer is most interested in the sale of
opium, and the extension of shops, and of the trade. A man goes to him
generally, either previously known or recommended, and says he wishes
to open a Papan Mera; of course, the opium farmer wishes that he may do
so, and be successful, and vend plenty of opium, all the opium being
purchased of the opium farmer, no one else being allowed to sell opium
in the island, and for which privilege he contracts annually with the
Government in a handsome sum. The man gets the red board, for which he
pays two shillings. If the limited number of forty-five is completed
he does not require a board, but he is not refused the privilege of
opening a shop. In this case, he hangs a mat in the place of the door,
by which an opium shop is known to all, while the fact is announced by
a Chinese inscription. Nothing is paid for a licence, no securities
are entered into, but the new man purchases of the farmer a certain
quantity of chandu, or prepared opium, and according to his facilities
for selling it so is the price. If the shop is to be opened in town,
where there are more customers, and if near to where Chinese artificers
abound, then he pays about eight shillings a tael (1⅓ oz.), or at
the rate of six shillings an ounce. If at a little distance, about
five shillings and sixpence an ounce. Still further from town, five
shillings, then four shillings and sixpence. Nay, it even descends to a
fraction beyond three shillings an ounce. The last is the sum paid by
the Nacodah of a Chinese junk, who takes a large quantity at a time, as
two-thirds of his crew are generally consumers, and the facility for
illicit consumption is great. The proprietors of the Papan Mera are
expected to retail it to their customers at a little above the price
at which they have purchased it. If in town, where they pay tenpence a
cheen or six shillings an ounce, then they charge elevenpence a cheen
or scarcely seven shillings an ounce, to those who come to buy or use
it on the premises. The opium farmer receives nothing from the owner of
the shop, except the money for his opium; the owner receives nothing
from the farmer but the opium for his money, and sometimes a discount
of eight per cent. Nor do the opium-smokers pay more at the shops for
their opium than if they purchased it direct from the farmer. How,
then, does the owner of the “red board” manage to live? How does he pay
rent, sometimes to the extent of £2 or £3 per month? How can he keep
his wife, and the little “red boards,” and one or two coolies? Ecce! He
does all this on the refuse of the chandu, the _Tye_ or _Tinco_, sold
to the poor.

On the Tinco and Samshing, the owners of many of the opium shops almost
entirely depend for their living. By their sale the rent is paid, the
family supported, and the servants kept. If a man sells three taels, or
three ounces and three-quarters of chandu a day, there will be about
half that quantity of Tinco, or one ounce and three-quarters, this is
the unconsumed refuse left in the pipe after smoking, and which is
the property of the owner of the Papan Mera, and from the consumption
of this he gets a further refuse of little more than three-quarters
of an ounce, which is called _Samshing_. If he sells his Chandu for
twenty-five shillings, by his Tinco and Samshing he will realize nearly
twelve shillings and sixpence a day, and this is his income. Few,
however, _sell_ so much, and fewer still _receive_ as much.

The “Papan Mera” is of all kinds, from a hovel to a brick house of two
stories, for which £3 monthly is paid for rent. Generally speaking,
the luxury of the pipe is all that the smoker cares for, and all other
things, such as commodious apartments, elegant furniture, and proper
ventilation are disregarded. In some houses there are apartments beside
those entered from the street. The police regulations ordain that at
nine P.M. all shall give up their pipes. But is the sound of the curfew
always heeded? “Sooner would the panting traveller, under a burning
sun, when hours have elapsed, since his parched lips were moistened,
dash from his mouth the goblet before his thirst was half quenched,
than the opium-smoker be the slave of time.” If nine o’clock comes, and
he has not reached his climax, he then retires to an inner chamber,
where, at ease and undisturbed, he may realize that enjoyment, and
consummate that bliss, of which the owner of “blue coat and bright
buttons” would deprive him. Thus he slips into Paradise whilst the Peri
and the “peeler” remain outside disconsolate.

Our Papan Mera man is a good man, and his wife is a good woman, so we
get a peep indoors, upstairs, behind the scenes, the apartment where
ladies are at home _de jure_, not being allowed perhaps to smoke at
home _de facto_. Of course, the general visitor has no admittance. In
the centre stands a large bed, sitting up thereon a female, her back
supported with cushions. She is young, she is fair—yea, passing fair,
and dressed in the habiliments of the flowery land. Near her stands a
table, on which are tea and sweetmeats. She, too, is a votary to the
drug; with dreamy eyes half closed, she draws in the inspiring vapour,
then sinks back upon the cushions, unconscious that we are gazing upon
her, her dark dishevelled tresses hanging over, but scarce concealing
the heaving bosom, the only sign of life.

Although there are supposed to be but forty-five licensed opium shops
in Singapore town, there are upwards of eighty; wherever there are
Chinese, there may also be found the Papan Mera. Certain trades are
congregated together—you have carpenters in one street, blacksmiths in
another, gold and silver smiths in a third, and so on. Amongst some
trades, the habit of opium-smoking is more common than in others, the
principal consumers will be found amongst carpenters, blacksmiths,
barbers, huxsters, coolies, boatmen, gambier planters, and gardeners.
Full eighty-five per cent. of the persons engaged in these callings are
devoted to the drug. Shoemakers, tailors, and bakers, are generally
less addicted to the habit; amongst the two first-named, not more
than twenty per cent. are smokers. Wherever you have carpenters,
blacksmiths, &c., in abundance, there will you have opium shops in
abundance also. In many streets there are six of these shops. In one
street there are twelve. In Canton Street there are eight houses, and
two of them are licensed for opium. At Hong-Kong and at Canton, the
same thing occurs. Certain streets are devoted to certain trades, and
certain trades devoted to opium.

M. Abbé Huc communicates a few additional facts concerning opium in
China. At present this country purchases annually of the English,
opium to the amount of seven millions sterling; the traffic is
contraband, but it is carried on along the whole coast of the Empire,
and especially in the neighbourhood of the five ports which have been
opened to Europeans. Large fine vessels, armed like ships of war,
serve as depots to the English merchants, and the trade is protected,
not only by the English Government, but also by the mandarins of the
Chinese Empire. The law which forbids the smoking of opium under pain
of death, has, indeed, never been repealed; but everybody smokes away
quite at his ease notwithstanding. Pipes, lamps, and all the apparatus
are sold publicly in every town, and the mandarins themselves are the
first to violate the law, and give this bad example to the people, even
in the courts of justice. During the whole of the Abbé’s long journey
through China, he met with but one tribunal where opium was not smoked
openly and with impunity.

The Chinese prepare and smoke their opium lying down, sometimes on one
side, sometimes on the other, saying that this is the most favourable
position; and the smokers of distinction do not give themselves all the
trouble of the operation, but have their pipes prepared for them.

For several years past some of the southern provinces have been
actively engaged in the cultivation of the poppy, and the fabrication
of opium. The English merchants confess that the Chinese product is
of excellent quality, though inferior to that of Bengal; but the
English opium suffers so much adulteration before it reaches the pipe
of the smoker, that it is not in reality so good as what the Chinese
themselves prepare. The latter, however, though delivered perfectly
pure, is sold at a low price, and only consumed by smokers of the
lowest class. That of the English, notwithstanding its adulteration,
thus writes Abbé Huc dear and reserved to smokers of distinction; a
caprice which can only be accounted for from the vanity of the rich
Chinese, who would think it beneath them to smoke opium of native
production, and not of a ruinous price; that which comes from a long
way off must evidently be preferable. It is very probable that the
Chinese will soon cultivate the poppy on a large scale, and make at
home all the opium necessary for their consumption. It is certain
that the English cannot offer an equally good article at the same
price; and, should the fashion alter, British India will suffer a
great reverse in her Chinese opium trade. The Abbé makes reference
to the increased consumption of opium in England, both in the liquid
and solid form, the progress of which he characterises as alarming,
and then concludes the subject with the following extraordinary
paragraph:—“Curious and instructive would it be, indeed, if we should
one day see the English going to buy opium in the ports of China, and
their ships bringing back from the Celestial Empire this deleterious
stuff, to poison England. Well might we exclaim in such a case, ‘Leave
judgment to God.’”



                      “Sights of woe,
  Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
  And rest can never dwell, hope never comes,
  That comes to all.”——MILTON.

The night side of opium-eating and smoking must be seen, as well as
the bright and sunny day, before we lavish upon it encomiums, such
as some of its votaries have indulged in. There may be a paradise to
which the Theriaki can rise, but there is also an abyss into which
he may fall. Lord MacCartney informs us that the Javanese, under an
extraordinary dose of opium, become frantic as well as desperate. They
acquire an artificial courage; and when suffering from misfortune
and disappointment, not only stab the objects of their hate, but
sally forth to attack in like manner every person they meet, till
self-preservation renders it necessary to destroy them. As they run
they shout _Amok, amok_, which means _kill, kill!_ and hence the phrase
_running a muck_. The practice of running amok is hardly known at
Pinang or any of the three Straits settlements. Captain Low did not
recollect more than two instances at that place, including Province
Wellesley, within a period of seventeen years, and the last he had
heard of, which took place on shore at Singapore, was many years ago. A
man ran _amok_—or, as the Malays term it, _meng amok_. He had gambled
deeply, it was said, and had killed one or more individuals of his
family. He next dosed himself with opium and rushed through the streets
with a drawn kris or dagger in his hand, and pursued by the police.
Major Farquhar, the then resident, hearing the uproar, went out of his
house, where the infuriated man, who was just about to pass it, dashed
at him, and wounded him in the shoulder; but a sepoy, who was standing
as sentry at the door, received the desperado on his bayonet at the
same instant, and prevented a second blow.

Captain Beeckman was told of a Javanese who ran a muck in the
streets of Batavia, and had killed several people, when he was met
by a soldier, who ran him through with his pike. But such was the
desperation of the infuriated man, that he pressed himself forward on
the pike, until he got near enough to stab his adversary with a dagger,
when both expired together.

But the worst Pandemonium which those who indulge in opium suffer, is
that of the mind. Opium retains at all times its power of exciting
the imagination, provided sufficient doses are taken; but when it has
been continued so long as to bring disease upon the constitution, the
pleasurable feelings wear away, and are succeeded by others of a very
different kind. Instead of disposing the mind to be happy, it acts
upon it like the spell of a demon, and calls up phantoms of horror
and disgust. The fancy, still as powerful, changes its direction.
Formerly it clothed all objects with the light of heaven—now it invests
them with the attributes of hell. Goblins, spectres, and every kind
of distempered vision haunt the mind, peopling it with dreary and
revolting imagery. The sleep is no longer cheered with its former
sights of happiness. Frightful dreams usurp their place, till at last
the person becomes the victim of an almost perpetual misery.

The truth of all this is acknowledged by De Quincey, when writing of
the pains of opium. Almost every circumstance becomes transformed
into the source of terror. Visions of the past are still present in
dreams, but not surrounded by a halo of pleasure any longer. The
outcast Ann and the wandering Malay come back to torment him with their
continued presence. All this is told in language so graphic, that it
would be almost criminal to attempt its description in any other. The
Dream of Piranesi is cited as a type of those he now suffered:——“Many
years ago, as I was looking over Piranesi’s ‘Antiquities of Rome,’
Coleridge, then standing by, described to me a set of plates from
that artist, called his ‘Dreams,’ and which record the scenery of his
own visions during the delirium of a fever. Some of these represented
vast Gothic halls, on the floor of which stood mighty engines and
machinery—wheels, cables, catapults, &c.—expressive of enormous power
put forth, or resistance overcome. Creeping along the sides of the
walls, you perceived a staircase; and upon this, groping his way
upwards, was Piranesi himself. Follow the stairs a little farther,
and you perceive them reaching an abrupt termination, without any
balustrade, and allowing no step onwards to him who should reach the
extremity, except into the depths below. Whatever is to become of poor
Piranesi! At least, you suppose that his labours must now in some way
terminate. But raise your eyes, and behold a second flight of stairs
still higher, on which again Piranesi is perceived, by this time
standing on the very brink of the abyss. Once again elevate your eye,
and a still more aerial flight of stairs is descried; and there again,
is the delirious Piranesi, busy on his aspiring labours; and so on,
until the unfinished stairs and the hopeless Piranesi both are lost
in the upper gloom of the hall. With the same power of endless growth
and self-reproduction did my architecture proceed in dreams. In the
early stage of the malady, the splendours of my dreams were, indeed,
chiefly architectural, and I beheld such pomp of cities and palaces
as never yet was beheld by the waking eye, unless in the clouds. From
a great modern poet, I cite the part of a passage which describes as
an appearance actually beheld in the clouds, what, in many of its
circumstances, I saw frequently in sleep:——

  “‘The appearance, instantaneously disclosed,
  Was of a mighty city—boldly say
  A wilderness of building, sinking far
  And self-withdrawn into a wondrous depth,
  Far sinking into splendour without end!
  Fabric it seem’d of diamond and of gold,
  With alabaster domes and silver spires,
  And blazing terrace upon terrace, high
  Uplifted; here, serene pavilions bright,
  In avenues disposed; there, towers begirt
  With battlements, that on their restless fronts
  Bore stars—illumination of all gems!
  By earthly nature had the effect been wrought
  Upon the dark materials of the storm
  Now pacified; on them, and on the coves
  And mountain-steeps and summits, whereunto
  The vapours had receded—taking there
  Their station under a cerulean sky.’”

Further confessions describe the characteristics of some of these
opiatic visions in connection with tropical lands. “Under the
connecting feeling of tropical heat and vertical sunlights, I brought
together all creatures—birds, beasts, reptiles; all trees and plants,
usages and appearances, that are found in all tropical regions, and
assembled them together in China or Hindostan. From kindred feelings, I
brought Egypt and her gods under the same law. I was stared at, hooted
at, grinned at, chattered at by monkeys, by paroquets, by cockatoos.
I ran into pagodas, and was fixed for centuries at the summit, or in
secret rooms. I was the idol—I was the priest—I was worshipped—I was
sacrificed. I fled from the wrath of Brama through all the forests of
Asia—Vishnu hated me—Seeva lay in wait for me. I came suddenly upon
Isis and Osiris. I had done a deed, they said, which the ibis and the
crocodile trembled at. Thousands of years I lived, and was buried
in stone coffins, with mummies and sphinxes, in narrow chambers, at
the heart of eternal pyramids. I was kissed with cancerous kisses by
crocodiles, and was laid, confounded with all unutterable abortions,
amongst reeds and Nilotic mud.”

Again he says: “The cursed crocodile became to me the object of more
horror than all the rest. I was compelled to live with him, and (as was
always the case in my dreams,) for centuries. Sometimes I escaped, and
found myself in Chinese houses. All the feet of the tables, sofas, &c.,
soon became instinct with life; the abominable head of the crocodile,
and his leering eyes, looked out at me, multiplied into ten thousand
repetitions; and I stood loathing and fascinated. So often did this
hideous reptile haunt my dreams, that many times the very same dream
was broken up in the very same way. I heard gentle voices speaking to
me (I hear everything when I am sleeping), and instantly I awoke; it
was broad noon, and my children were standing, hand in hand, at my
bedside, come to show me their coloured shoes, or new frocks, or let
me see them dressed for going out. No experience was so awful to me,
and at the same time so pathetic, as this abrupt translation from the
darkness of the infinite to the gaudy summer air of highest noon, and
from the unutterable abortions of miscreated gigantic vermin, to the
sight of infancy and innocent _human_ creatures.”

And yet again: “Somewhere, but I knew not where—somehow, but I knew
not how—by some beings, but I knew not by whom—a battle, a strife,
an agony was travelling through all its stages—was evolving itself
like the catastrophe of some mighty drama, with which my sympathy
was the more insupportable, from deepening confusion as to its local
scene, its cause, its nature, and its undecipherable issue. I had
the power, and yet had not the power to decide it. I had the power,
if I could raise myself to will it; and yet again had not the power,
for the weight of twenty Atlantics was upon me, or the oppression of
inexpiable guilt. ‘Deeper than ever plummet sounded,’ I lay inactive.
Then, like a chorus, the passion deepened. Some greater interest was
at stake—some mightier cause than ever yet the sword had pleaded, or
trumpet had proclaimed. Then came sudden alarms, hurryings to and fro,
trepidations of innumerable fugitives, I knew not whether from the good
cause or the bad; darkness and lights; tempest and human faces; and at
last, with the sense that all was lost, female forms, and the features
that were worth all the world to me; and but a moment allowed, and
clasped hands, with heart-breakings, partings, and then—everlasting
farewells! And with a sigh such as the caves of hell sighed when
the incestuous mother uttered the abhorred name of Death, the sound
was reverberated—everlasting farewells! And again and yet again,
reverberated—everlasting farewells!

“And I awoke in struggles and cried aloud, ‘I will sleep no more!’”

These visions, and those of a like character, in which the Malay and
the outcast girl appear and re-appear, are almost repeated again in
a work of more recent years, the production of another mind and of a
widely different character. Whoever has read Kingsley’s “Alton Locke,”
cannot fail to have been struck with the vivid opium-like dreams which
pass through the brain of the hero when struck down by fever. One
could almost imagine that its author had himself suffered some of the
fearful experiences which De Quincey narrates. In these the place once
occupied by the two persons above named, are usurped by the cousin and
Lillian; change the names, and apart from the intimate connection of
the two with each other, one could almost believe himself reading a
continuation of those dreams which an unfortunate accident prevented
the English opium-eater giving to the world.

“I was wandering along the lower ridge of the Himalaya. On my right
the line of snow peaks showed like a rosy saw against the clear blue
morning sky. Raspberries and cyclamens were peeping through the snow
around me. As I looked down the abysses I could see far below, through
the thin veils of blue mist that wandered in the glens, the silver
spires of giant deodars, and huge rhododendrons, glowing like trees
of flame. The longing of my life to behold that cradle of mankind was
satisfied. My eyes revelled in vastness, as they swept over the broad
flat jungle at the mountain foot, a desolate sheet of dark gigantic
grasses, furrowed with the paths of the buffalo and rhinoceros, with
barren sandy water courses, desolate pools, and here and there a
single tree, stunted with malaria, shattered by mountain floods; and
far beyond the vast plains of Hindostan, enlaced with myriad silver
rivers and canals, tanks and rice fields, cities with their mosques and
minarets, gleaming among the stately palm-groves along the boundless
horizon. Above me was a Hindoo temple, cut out of the yellow sandstone.
I climbed up to the higher tier of pillars among monstrous shapes of
gods and fiends, that mouthed and writhed and mocked at me, struggling
to free themselves from their bed of rock. The bull Nundi rose and
tried to gore me; hundred-handed gods brandished quoits and sabres
around my head; and Kali dropped the skull from her gore-dripping
jaws to clutch me for her prey. Then my mother came, and seizing the
pillars of the portico, bent them like reeds; an earthquake shook the
hills—great sheets of woodland slid roaring and crashing into the
valleys. A tornado swept through the temple halls, which rocked and
tossed like a vessel in a storm: a crash—a cloud of yellow dust which
filled the air—choked me—blinded me—burned me—

       *       *       *       *       *

“And Eleanor came by and took my soul in the palm of her hand, as the
angel did Faust’s, and carried it to a cavern by the sea-side and
dropped it in; and I fell and fell for ages. And all the velvet mosses,
rock flowers, and sparkling spars and ores, fell with me, round me, in
showers of diamonds, whirlwinds of emerald and ruby, and pattered into
the sea that moaned below and were quenched; and the light lessened
above me to one small spark, and vanished; and I was in darkness, and
turned again to my dust.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Sand—sand—nothing but sand! The air was full of sand, drifting over
granite temples, and painted kings and triumphs, and the skulls of a
former world, and I was an ostrich, flying madly before the simoon
wind, and the giant sand pillars, which stalked across the plain
hunting me down. And Lillian was an Amazon queen, beautiful, and cold,
and cruel; and she rode upon a charmed horse, and carried behind her on
her saddle, a spotted ounce, which was my cousin; and, when I came near
her, she made him leap down and course me. And we ran for miles and for
days through the interminable sand, till he sprang on me, and dragged
me down. And as I lay quivering and dying, she reined in her horse
above me, and looked down at me with beautiful pitiless eyes; and a
wild Arab tore the plumes from my wings, and she took them and wreathed
them in her golden hair. The broad and blood-red sun sank down beneath
the sand, and the horse and the Amazon and the ostrich plumes shone
blood-red in his lurid rays.

       *       *       *       *       *

“I was a baby ape in Borneon forests, perched among fragrant trailers
and fantastic orchis flowers; and as I looked down, beneath the green
roof, into the clear waters, paved with unknown water-lilies on
which the sun had never shone, I saw my face reflected in the pool—a
melancholy, thoughtful countenance, with large projecting brows—it
might have been a negro child’s. And I felt stirring in me, germs of a
new and higher consciousness—yearnings of love towards the mother ape,
who fed me, and carried me from tree to tree. But I grew and grew; and
then the weight of my destiny fell upon me. I saw year by year my brow
recede, my neck enlarge, my jaw protrude, my teeth became tusks—skinny
wattles grew from my cheeks—the animal faculties in me were swallowing
up the intellectual. I watched in myself, with stupid self-disgust,
the fearful degradation which goes on from youth to age in all the
monkey race, especially in those which approach nearest to the human
form. Long melancholy mopings, fruitless strugglings to think, were
periodically succeeded by wild frenzies, agonies of lust, and aimless
ferocity. I flew upon my brother apes, and was driven off with wounds.
I rushed howling down into the village gardens, destroying everything
I met. I caught the birds and insects, and tore them to pieces with
savage glee. One day, as I sat among the boughs, I saw Lillian coming
along a flowery path—decked as Eve might have been the day she turned
from Paradise. The skins of gorgeous birds were round her waist; her
hair was wreathed with fragrant tropic flowers. On her bosom lay a
baby—it was my cousin’s. I knew her, and hated her. The madness came
upon me. I longed to leap from the bough and tear her limb from limb;
but brutal terror, the dread of man which is the doom of beasts, kept
me rooted to my place. Then my cousin came, a hunter missionary; and
I heard him talk to her with pride of the new world of civilisation
and Christianity, which he was organising in that tropic wilderness.
I listened with a dim jealous understanding—not of the words, but of
the facts. I saw them instinctively, as in a dream. She pointed up to
me in terror and disgust, as I sat gnashing and gibbering overhead. He
threw up the muzzle of his rifle carelessly and fired—I fell dead, but
conscious still. I knew that my carcase was carried to the settlement;
and I watched while a smirking, chuckling, surgeon dissected me, bone
by bone, and nerve by nerve. And as he was fingering at my heart, and
discoursing sneeringly about Van Helmont’s dreams of the Archæus, and
the animal spirit which dwells within the solar plexus, Eleanor glided
by again like an angel, and drew my soul out of the knot of nerves,
with one velvet finger tip.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Here are dreams which, however natural in their realisation to the
opiophagi, are enough to cause a hearty utterance of those lines by

        “O dreams of day and night!
  O monstrous forms! O effigies of pain!
  O spectres busy in a cold, cold gloom!
  O lank-eared Phantoms of black weeded pools!”

The “dream fugue” of the author of the “confessions” is a day dream—a
splendid one—but the type of many another dream, perhaps, that had
coursed through the mind of its writer while under the influence of
the subtle drug. One might almost venture the assertion that none but
the “opium-eater” could have conceived and written that “fugue.” But
“shadows avaunt,” we have stern realities yet from the Pandemonium of
opium. The mind suffers and it re-acts upon the body. Although pictures
of both the mental and bodily afflictions of indulgers in opium are
likely to be gazed upon with somewhat of scepticism, and justly too,
in these times of prejudice and outcry against opium trading, yet the
stubborn fact stares the scepticism out of countenance, in many of the
details of the excesses of the victims of the insinuating poppy juice.
Some of these facts come to us with so high an authority and are so
often repeated, that the eye and ear refuse to close and be blind and
deaf to the pains which succeed the pleasures of opium.

A young eagle said to a thoughtful and very studious owl, “It is said
there is a bird called Merops, which, when it rises into the air, flies
with the tail first and the head looking down to the earth. Is it a

“By no means” (said the owl), “it is only a silly fiction of mankind.
Man himself is the Merops, for he would willingly soar to heaven,
without losing sight of the world for a single instant.”

Dr. Medhurst thus describes the opium-smoker of China:——“The outward
appearances are sallowness of the complexion, bloodless cheeks and
lips, sunken eye, with a dark circle round the eyelids, and altogether
a haggard countenance. There is a peculiar appearance of the face
of a smoker not noticed in any other condition; the skin assumes a
pale waxy appearance, as if all the fat were removed from beneath the
skin. The hollows of the countenance, the eyelids, fissure and corners
of the lips, depression at the angle of the jaw, temples, &c., take
on a peculiar dark appearance, not like that resulting from various
chronic diseases, but as if some dark matter were deposited beneath
the skin. There is also a fulness and protrusion of the lips, arising
perhaps from the continued use of the large mouth-piece peculiar to
the opium-pipe. In fine, a confirmed opium-smoker presents a most
melancholy appearance, haggard, dejected, with a lack-lustre eye, and a
slovenly, weakly, and feeble gait.”

Mustapha Shatoor, an opium-eater of Smyrna, took daily three drachms of
crude opium. The visible effects at the time were the sparkling eyes
and great exhilaration of spirits. He found the desire of increasing
his dose growing upon him. He seemed twenty years older than he really
was—his complexion was very sallow—his legs small—his gums eaten away,
and his teeth laid bare to the sockets. He could not rise without
first swallowing half a drachm of opium. This case is detailed in the
“Philosophical Transactions,” and for its veracity the Philosophers are

Pouqueville says, “Always beside themselves, the Theriakis are
incapable of work, they seem no more to belong to society. Toward the
end of their career, they, however, experience violent pains, and are
devoured by constant hunger, nor can their paregoric in any way relieve
their sufferings; they become hideous to behold, deprived of their
teeth, their eyes sunk in their heads, in a constant tremour, they
cease to live long before they cease to exist.

Heu Naetse, a native Celestial, in his address to the Sacred Emperor,
the brother of the Sun and Moon, informs his imperial majesty, that
“when any one is long habituated to inhaling opium, it becomes
necessary to resort to it at regular intervals, and the habit of using
it, being inveterate, is destruction of time, injurious to property,
and yet dear to one even as life. Of those who use it to great excess,
the breath becomes feeble, the body wasted, the face sallow, and the
teeth black. The individuals themselves clearly see the evil effects of
it, yet cannot refrain from it. It will be found on examination that
the smokers of opium are idle, lazy vagrants, having no useful purpose
before them.”

Dr. Ball states, “that throughout the districts of China may be seen
walking skeletons—families wretched and beggared by drugged fathers and
husbands—multitudes who have lost house and home dying in the streets,
in the fields, on the banks of the river, without even a stranger to
care for them while alive, and when dead left exposed to view till they
become offensive masses.”

A Pinang surgeon says, “that the hospitals and poorhouses are chiefly
filled with opium-smokers. In one that I had charge of, the inmates
averaged sixty daily, five-sixths of whom were smokers of chandu. The
effects of this habit on the human constitution are conspicuously
displayed by stupor, forgetfulness, general deterioration of all the
mental faculties, emaciation, debility, sallow complexion, lividness
of lips and eyelids, langour and lack lustre of eye; appetite either
destroyed or depraved. In the morning these creatures have a most
wretched appearance, evincing no symptoms of being refreshed or
invigorated by sleep, however profound. There is a remarkable dryness
or burning in the throat, which urges them to repeat the opium-smoking.
If the dose be not taken at the usual time, there is great prostration,
vertigo, torpor, and discharge of water from the eyes. If the
privation be complete, a still more formidable train of phenomena
takes place—coldness is felt all over the body, with aching pains in
all parts, the most horrid feelings of wretchedness comes on, and if
the poison be withheld, death terminates the victim’s sufferings. The
opium-smoker may be known by his inflamed eyes and haggard countenance,
by his lank and shrivelled limbs, tottering gait, sallow visage, feeble
voice, and the death boding glance of his eye. He seems the most
forlorn creature that treads the earth.”

The Abbé Huc writes, “nothing can stop a smoker who has made much
progress in this habit, incapable of attending to any kind of business,
insensible to every want, the most hideous poverty; and the sight of
a family plunged into despair and misery, cannot rouse him to the
smallest exertion, so complete is the disgusting apathy to which he is

The evidence of Ho King Shan is, that “it impedes the regular
performance of business; those in places of trust who smoke fail to
attend personally even to their most important offices. Merchants who
smoke fail to keep their appointments, and all their concerns fall
behind hand. For the wasting of time and the destruction of business,
the pipe is unrivalled.”

Oppenheim declares “that when the baneful habit has become confirmed,
it is almost impossible to break it off. His torments, when deprived
of the stimulant, are as dreadful as his bliss is complete when he has
taken it. Night brings the torments of hell, day the bliss of paradise;
and after long indulgence, he becomes subject to nervous pains, to
which opium itself brings no relief. He seldom attains the age of
forty, if he has begun the practice early.”

Also Dr. Madden:——“The debility, both moral and physical, attendant
on the excitement produced by opium is terrible; the appetite is soon
destroyed, every fibre in the body trembles, the nerves of the neck
become affected, and the muscles get rigid. Several of these I have
seen in this place at various times, who had wry necks and contracted
fingers, but still they cannot abandon the custom; they are miserable
until the hour arrives for taking their daily dose; and when its
delightful influence begins, they are all fire and animation.”

A native literati of Hong-Kong affirms, “that from the robust who
smoke, flesh is gradually consumed and worn away, and their skin hangs
down like bags; the faces of the weak who smoke are cadaverous and
black, and their bones naked as billets of wood.”

Also Dr. Oxley of Singapore:——“The inordinate use of the drug most
decidedly does bring on early decrepitude, destructive of certain
powers connected with the increase of the species, and a morbid state
of all the secretions. But I have seen a man who had used the drug for
fifty years in moderation without evil effects, and one I recollect in
Malacca who had so used it was upwards of eighty. Several in the habit
of smoking assured me, that in moderation, it neither impaired the
functions nor shortened life, at the same time they fully admitted the
deleterious effects of too much.”

Dr. Little visited on one occasion an opium shop, and found there two
women smoking the drug—one had been a smoker for ten years. “In the
morning when she awakes she says, ‘I feel as one dead. I cannot do
anything until the pipe is consumed. My eyelids are glazed so that they
cannot be opened, my nose discharges profusely. I feel a tightness in
the chest, with sense of suffocation. My bones are sore, my head aches
and is giddy, and I loathe the very sight of food.’ Within an hour I
could produce a thousand of those creatures; and if I stood at the door
of an opium shop, and watched those that entered, out of the hundred
would be found at least seventy-five or eighty whose appearance would
not require the confession that their health was destroyed, and their
mind weakened, since the day that they were cursed with the first taste
of an opium-pipe. To finish this subject let me record my opinion, the
result of extensive investigation. That the habitual use of opium not
only renders the life of the man miserable, but is a powerful means of
shortening that life.”

To the last conclusion there are many objectors; and this subject
has been canvassed as much as any in connection with the habit. Some
years ago a trial took place in consequence of the death of the Earl
of Mar, who was an opiophagi, and the insurance society on this ground
objected to pay the money to his representatives. Dr. Christison, after
detailing the facts, adds, “they would certainly tend on the whole
rather to show that the practice of eating opium is not so injurious,
and an opium-eater’s life not so uninsurable, as is commonly thought.”
The result of the above-named trial was that the money had to be paid.

Before passing from this Plutonian region, the evidence of a good
authority may be taken to show how apt prejudice is to impute even
worse effects to the “subtle drug” than circumstances will warrant.
An opium den is visited; the members of this convivial society are
good-humoured and communicative. “One was a chair-cooly, a second was a
petty tradesman, a third was a runner in a mandarin’s yanum; they were
all of that class of urban population which is just above the lowest.
They were, however, neither emaciated nor infirm. The chair-cooly was
a sturdy fellow, well capable of taking his share in the porterage
of a sixteen-stone mandarin; the runner seemed well able to run, and
the tradesman, who said he was thirty-eight years old, was remembered
by all of us to be a singularly young-looking man of his age. He had
smoked opium for seven years. As we passed from the opium-dens, we went
into a Chinese tea-garden—a dirty paved court, with some small trees
and flowers in flower-pots—and a very emaciated and yawning proprietor
presented himself. ‘The man has destroyed himself by opium-smoking,’
said an English clergyman who accompanied us. The man being questioned,
declared that he had never smoked an opium-pipe in his life,—a bad
shot, at which no one was more amused than the reverend gentleman who
had fired it.

“I only take the experiment for what it is worth. There must be very
many most lamentable specimens of the effects of indulgence in this
vicious practice, although we did not happen to see any of them that
morning. They are not, however, so universal, nor even so common, as
travellers who write in support of some thesis, or who are not above
truckling to popular prejudices in England are pleased to say they are.
But if our visit was a failure in one respect, it was fully instructive
in another. In the first house we visited, no man spent on an average
less than 80 cash a-day on his opium-pipe. One man said he spent 120.
The chair-cooly spends 80, and his average earnings are 100 cash a-day.
English physicians, unconnected with the missionary societies, have
assured me that the cooly opium-smoker dies, not from opium, but from
starvation. If he starves himself for his pipe, we need not ask what
happens to his family.” (_Times._)



 _Fal._ No abuse, Hal.

 _Poins._ No abuse!

 _Fal._ No abuse, Ned, in the world; honest Ned, none. I dispraised him
 before the wicked, that the wicked might not fall in love with him;
 in which doing, I have done the part of a careful friend, and a true
 subject. No abuse, Hal; none, Ned, none;—no, boys, none.——_King Henry
 IV., part II._

Scarce a flower that graces the earth, or a tree waving in the forests,
has had its character assailed so mercilessly as the poppy. Not one of
the simples or compounds of the chemist’s store, even including arsenic
and strychnine, has been so strictly interrogated as to the honourable
and dishonourable of its intentions. It is matter of surprise that
the East India Company has not been obliged, by authority of Act of
Parliament, to imprint the decalogue, at least in the Chinese language,
upon every cake or ball of opium leaving their stores. Take upon credit
all that some men would tell you, and there would not be room for
doubt, were the next informant to state that on the arrival of a cargo
of opium, at such a port, on such a day, the entire population cut
each other’s throats, on account of the pestilential miasma diffused
by the said cargo. What are really the moral effects of opium-smoking,
can best be collected from a statement of facts, the reader drawing his
own inferences: they are, at any rate, bad enough without the aid of

At Singapore stands a house of correction, in which, during the month
of July, 1847, might be found forty-four Chinese criminals; and of
these, thirty-five were opium-smokers—not moderate smokers, but
indulgers to excess—not confining themselves to what they could obtain
with such money as they could spare from their wages, but in some
instances, swallowing or smoking them all up, and in certain instances,
even more than their wages.[20] The aggregate amount of the monthly
wages of seventeen of these men was £16 0s. 10d., or individually
18s. 10½d. The monthly consumption of opium of these men amounted in
value to £20 16s. 3d., or individually to £1 4s. 5½d., so that each of
these men, in addition to spending all his wages, begged, borrowed, or
stole 5s. 7d. monthly, to make up his quantity of opium alone, without
reference to any other necessaries. One of these men, who spent £1 5s.
monthly, and whose wages only reached half of that amount, was asked to
explain how it was to be accounted for. Was there not some error in the
calculation, or was he deceiving the person to whom the circumstances
were being detailed? How was it possible that, with an income of only
12s. 6d., he could spend £1 5s.? The answer was a graphic one and much
to the point:——“What am I in here for?” Of course, the tenants of a
jail can account for such discrepancies in arithmetic. The offences
for which these persons were confined were such as would stand in a
calendar under the rank of vagrants, suspicious characters, persons
attempting to steal, and such like—the crimes committed being against
_property_ and not _persons_. This distinction deserves notice, as it
will serve as the basis of some future suggestions.

In looking down the column of the table in which the above instances
occur, it will be seen that one planter, whose income was twelve
shillings and sixpence, expended in opium six times that amount; and
another, whose income is not stated, but which would not far exceed
the former, expended twelve times that amount in the drug. Occasional
instances occur in which, where the income reached twelve shillings and
sixpence, the expenditure amounted only to a trifle beyond; and where
the income was sixteen shillings and eightpence, the expenditure was
only eight shillings and fourpence or ten shillings.

The inspector of the above institution states: “During the course
of these investigations, I found some opium-smokers, who declared
that their wages only equalled the value of the opium consumed, and
in the majority of cases but little exceeded their consumption; yea,
I found instances, and these not few, where the value of the opium
consumed monthly, was more than the whole wages received. The idea
then suggested itself to me, that there must be an affinity betwixt
opium-smoking and crime; for when once the habit is formed, it cannot
be broken off, while the desire increases with the consumption. It must
happen that the wages of the individual will at last be inadequate
to supply his desire, even supposing that, after a lengthened career
of indulgence, he was able to earn the same amount of money as when,
strong, vigorous, and unimpaired, he commenced his dissipation.
I, therefore, was not at all surprised when I went to the house
of correction, to find that three-fourths of the prisoners were

An examination of the prisoners in jail in July of the same year, under
different sentences, showed that out of fifty-one Chinese prisoners,
fifteen only were not opium-smokers. Seventy per cent. were addicted to
the vice, each consuming quantities ranging from twelve to one hundred
and eighty grains per day. The same jail was again visited, and the
prisoners examined a month afterwards, several fresh criminals had
entered, others had been enlarged. At this time, there were sixty-nine
criminals, and of these only thirty-one were opium-smokers, being only
forty-five per cent. against the seventy per cent. of the former visit.

A quantity of criminals from Pinang under sentence of transportation
showed, on examination, the following results:—Out of twenty-one
criminals, Chinese and Malays, eight did not smoke. The crimes of
these men were murder, stabbing with intent to murder, burglary, and
larceny. Ten of these men were Chinese, all of whom smoked but one. Of
these nine, eight were condemned for offences against property, one
only against the person. Of the nine persons out of the twenty-one who
were convicted for offences against the person, four did not smoke,
three smoked but little. Hence the conclusion is inevitable, that the
criminals of the worst degree, or those committing offences against the
person, are either not smokers at all, or are so only to a moderate
extent. Other statistics show that, for crimes of this character,
highway robbery, and burglary, forty to fifty per cent. only indulge in
opium; whilst for vagrancy, misdemeanour, and petty larceny, seventy to
eighty per cent. indulged in the use of the drug, and often to a very
extraordinary extent.

Why do we find that those charged with the gravest offences are the
least addicted to opium? May it not be that this class of criminal
requires a certain ingenuity, an amount of method and calculation, and
mental vigour and excitement of the passions, greater than the debased
opium-smoker is possessed of, the want of which, therefore, unfits him
for carrying out any such enterprise requiring such adjuncts, leaving
him only capable of being a criminal on a small scale. It is well known
that the Chinese are inveterate gamblers; but it is not in connexion
with the pipe, but with the arrack-cup, that this vice is indulged in.
The influences of opium are sedative and soothing, those of arrack
stimulating and exciting; the latter, therefore, as may be supposed, is
the companion of the gambler, rather than the former. There are other
phases in which the two vices of opium-smoking and intoxication may
be compared. The abuse of ardent spirits leads to crimes against the
person; the abuse of opium leads to crimes against property. The victim
of ardent spirits commits his crimes while under their influence; the
devotee to opium, while under its influence, is at peace with all
mankind, and dreams only of his own happiness. The drunkard, when not
under the influence of liquor, may be a moral member of society, and
often a contrite one; the opium-smoker at that time is often scheming
the violation of moral and social laws, which, when effected, makes him
a criminal, but enables him to gratify his appetite.[21]

De Quincey compares the two habits, not so much for the purpose of
showing the tendency of either of them to crime, but for the proving
that opium does not produce intoxication any more than would a rump
steak. “The pleasure given by wine is always rapidly mounting, and
tending to a crisis, after which as rapidly it declines; that from
opium, when once generated, is stationary for eight or ten hours. The
first—to borrow a technical distinction from medicine—is a case of
acute, the second of chronic pleasure; the one is a flickering flame,
the other a steady and equable glow. But the main distinction lies in
this, that whereas wine disorders the mental faculties, opium, on the
contrary (if taken in a proper manner) introduces amongst them the
most exquisite order, legislation, and harmony. Wine robs a man of
self-possession; opium sustains and reinforces it. Wine unsettles the
judgment, and gives a preternatural brightness and a vivid exaltation
to the contempts and the admirations, to the loves and the hatreds
of the drinker; opium, on the contrary, communicates serenity and
equipoise to all the faculties, active or passive, and with respect
to the temper and moral feelings in general, it gives simply that
sort of vital warmth which is approved by the judgment, and which
would probably always accompany a bodily constitution of primeval
or antediluvian health. Wine constantly leads a man to the brink of
absurdity and extravagance, and beyond a certain point, it is sure to
volatize and disperse the intellectual energies; whereas opium always
seems to compose what had been agitated, and to concentrate what had
been distracted. In short, to sum up all in one word, a man who is
inebriated, or tending to inebriation is, and feels that he is in a
condition which calls up into supremacy the merely human, too often
the brutal part of his nature; but the opium-eater, simply as such,
assuming that he is in a normal state of health, feels that the divine
part of his nature is paramount, that is, the moral affections are in a
state of cloudless serenity, and high over all, the great light of the
majestic intellect.”

It is not to be wondered at that the abuse of opium should be a fertile
source of poverty, when so much of the wages of many of its votaries
are devoted to it. This diseased habit is progressive, and the quantity
taken must be daily increased to produce the necessary effects; but the
capability of furnishing the means does not keep pace with the desire
of consumption. The cooly, who, when strong and vigorous, could earn
twenty-five shillings per month, has only to commence opium-smoking,
and in two years he will not receive more than two-thirds of that
amount, whilst he still smokes his quantity of opium; and as years roll
on, he finds that, mainly on account of the vice he has adopted, he
can no longer endure the toil that formerly was to him only as child’s
play, the amount of excitement having still to be kept up under a
decreased income, he has to lessen his expenditure for clothes, and
then for food, and lastly, the quantity of opium itself; until worn
out, exhausted, and diseased, he finds himself the inmate of a jail or
a poorhouse. A sad reflection, truly, but a history repeated over and
over again, with but little variation, in the lives of thousands of
Chinamen and Malays.

Were poverty to be succoured in places where this description of
persons most do congregate, as it is at home, thousands would become
public burdens; but there the hand of charity has been closed, and
the springs of compassion for the poor dried up. In Singapore, it was
not until the horrid spectacle of miserable Chinese daily crawling
in front of their doors, exposing their loathsome sores and leprous
bodies, and polluting the air they breathed; it was not until these
wretched beings, without food or friends, and deprived of the power
of supporting themselves, laid them down to die in the streets, of
disease and starvation, that by the active philanthropy of two or three
individuals a shed was erected to keep these paupers out of sight. When
the novelty passed away, the philanthropy declined, and the monthly
contribution dwindled down to about three pounds, which was the sum
total of the public charity of the European residents in behalf of the
diseased poor of Singapore. In this shed were to be found two classes
of persons, united in the same individuals, the _diseased poor_. These
are the only kind of poor that excite _any_ sympathy in such places,
and an examination of the inmates of the _shed_ will give some insight
into the propensities of this class. Out of 125 under relief at the
time, 70 were opium-smokers and 55 were not (or would not acknowledge
it). Of these 70, some before their admission, were reduced to the
alternative of _Tye_ or _Samshing_, or no opium at all. The total
consumption of these paupers before their admission amounted to upwards
of four pounds (2022 grains) daily, giving an average daily consumption
to each smoker of upwards of 28 grains, being nearly the average
consumption of the opium-smoker in general, under more favourable
circumstances. The greatest consumption of any one of these individuals
had amounted to 120 grains, but at that rate his finances soon failed
him, and he had to be content with one fourth of that amount shortly
before he became an invalid. Sixty-two of these men consumed opium to
the monthly value of £38 7s. 6d., while their aggregate income amounted
in the same period to but £50 11s. 3d.; or, individually, the value of
each man’s monthly consumption of opium was 12s. 4½d., and his income
was but 16s. 6d., leaving only about 4s. monthly, or 1s. per week to
feed, clothe, and house himself, and in fact, for every other purpose
for which money is required. Some of these did not confine themselves
to this. Fifteen of them (as will be seen from Table XVI.) consuming
all, or more than their income in opium. Surely such men were worthy
not only of a pauper hospital, but also of a jail.

These paupers at one time all received even more than the average
amount of wages, sufficient to have clothed and fed them and their
families, and kept them comfortable, whilst at that time they were
dependent on a charity which allowed them to exist on the rice which
was supplied to them, and five doits a day or about a shilling per
month. Thousands more, not incapacitated so much by disease as to be
unable to work and not therefore inmates of the hospital, were no
better off, for what they had they spent in chandu.

The Dutch Commissioners report that, “the use of opium is so much
more dangerous, because a person who is once addicted to it can never
leave it off. To satisfy that inclination he will sacrifice everything,
his own welfare—the subsistence of his wife and children, and neglect
his work. Poverty is the natural consequence, and then it becomes
indifferent to him by what means he may content his insatiable desire
after opium; so that at last he no longer respects either the property
or life of his fellow creature.”

A Chinaman, who himself is a smoker and consumes opium to the monthly
value of £2, says, that in one hundred Chinese about Hong-Kong and
Singapore, seventy of them smoke, and that all the coolies do so
more or less. If a cooly earns £1 monthly, 4s. goes for food, l0d.
for house rent, a small outlay for a jacket and trowsers once in six
months, and all the rest goes in opium. From his own experience, and
what he has seen of others, he would say if a man had been accustomed
to smoke opium for seven or eight years, and gives it up for a day
he is attacked with diarrhœa, while during the time he is smoking
the opposite is the case. And he who uses six grains a day will soon
require twelve.

To give up opium-smoking, after it has once been commenced, all declare
to be a very difficult achievement. A Malay who was apprehended on some
criminal charge some years ago, when locked up, previous to examination
was, as a matter of course, deprived of opium for some days, he pined
away so rapidly that, although only four or five days in the lock-up
house, he could not leave it when released, but was carried out, having
entered the place as strong and muscular a man as can be met with.

Dr. Oxley states, “that the lower class of Chinese when deprived of
their allowance, are very liable to become dropsical. The effect of
deprivation at first appears to produce desperation, a heart-rending
despondency, something like the low state of delirium tremens, but
differing in many respects from that malady. Death certainly does occur
from deprivation, and generally by dropsy.”

A great many women smoke, generally the wives of opium-smokers. A
woman was discovered by a surgeon in Singapore in an opium shop up
stairs smoking away, as she had done for three years, at the rate of
thirty-six grains a day. She stated that she had two children, but
that they were very sickly and always crying. And how did she stifle
their cries? She conveyed from her lips to those of the child the fresh
drawn opium vapour, which the babe inspired. This was repeated twice,
when it fell back a senseless mass into its mother’s arms, and allowed
her quietly to finish her unholy repast. This practice she had often
recourse to, as her child was very troublesome, adding that it was no
uncommon thing for mothers to do so.

Another inveterate opium-smoker makes his “confession,” that after his
quantity is consumed, he feels no desire for sleep until twelve or
two in the morning, when he falls into disturbed slumbers, which last
till eight or nine. When he awakes, his head is giddy, confused, and
painful—his mouth is dry, he has great thirst, he has no appetite, can
neither read nor write, suffers pains in all his bones and muscles,
gasps for breath; he wishes to bathe, but cannot stand the shock. This
state continues till he gets his morning pipe, when he can eat and
drink a little, and after that attend to his business. The force of
example taught him this habit, and he knows no class of people exempt
from it except Europeans. “Look,” says he, appealing to himself, “I
was, ere I gave way to this accursed vice, stout, strong, and able
for anything. I loved my wife and children, attended to my business,
and was happy; but now I am thin, meagre, and wretched. I can receive
enjoyment from nothing but the pipe, my passions are gone, and if I am
railed at, and abused like a dog, I return not an angry word.”

Although opium-smoking is carried to such an excess among some of the
Chinese coolies, yet there is no gambling amongst them at the opium
shops at Singapore. It is true that this vice has been suppressed,
but it is not secretly indulged in; and a gentleman who was formerly
the opium farmer, says, “that the consumption of opium is but little
affected by gambling, from arrack or samshu being the intoxicating
medium used, a much better instrument for raising excitement and
stimulating to excessive play than opium, whose effects are much more
sedative than exciting.”

The consideration of the morals and influence of these customs leads
us to a remarkable passage in one of M. Quetelet’s works, it refers to
the certainty of natural laws in states as well as individuals:——“All
those things which appear to be left to the free will, the passions,
or the degree of intelligence of men, are regulated by laws as fixed,
immutable, and eternal as those which govern the phenomena of the
natural world. No one knows the day or the hour of his own death; and
nothing appears more entirely accidental than the birth of a boy or of
a girl in any given case. But how many out of a million of men living
together in one country, shall have died in ten, twenty, forty, or
sixty years, how many boys and girls shall be born in a million of
births; all this is as certain, nay, much more certain, than any human

The statistics of courts of justice have disclosed to us the
regular repetition of the same crimes, and have established the
fact—incomprehensive to our understandings, because we do not know the
connecting links—that in every large country, the number of offences,
and of each kind of offence, may be predicted for every coming year,
with the same certainty as the number of the births and of the natural
deaths. Of every 100 persons accused before the supreme tribunal in
France, 61 are condemned; in England, 71. The variations, on an
average, amount hardly to 1/100th part of the whole. We can predict
with confidence, for fifteen years to come, the number of suicides
generally—that of the cases of suicide by fire-arms, and that of the
cases of suicide by hanging.

Every large number of phenomena of the same kind, which rise and
fall periodically, leads to a fixed proportion. This is the law of
large numbers to which all things and all events without exception,
are subject. These laws have nothing to do with the essence of vice
and virtue in the moral world, but with the external causes, and the
effects they produce in human society. No one denies the influence of
education, and of habits of labour and order on the conduct of men, but
no one thinks of regarding this moral conduct as a mere result of those
habits. Good education and improved cultivation diminish the number
of offences, as well as that of the annual deaths in our tables of

The results, therefore, of a collection of statistical information
carefully arranged for Singapore, one of the most inveterate of opium
localities, should, on comparison with the results obtained from
other quarters, show that the per centage of deaths is greater, the
per centage of births less; the per centage of criminals higher, and
of suicides larger, in this population of opium-smokers, than in any
other equally conditioned country in which opium is indulged, or it is
not proven that the habit tends to shorten life, decrease production,
increase crime, and induce suicide, all of which charges have been made
against it.

With this evidence we are not at present satisfactorily supplied. That
opinion has an influence, though probably only a minor one, on moral
and social development, is not to be denied. Because man is so entirely
a creature of relation, that nothing is unimportant to him. “If the
movements of the remotest star that glitters in the heavens affect
those of our earth, assist in determining its position in space, its
climate, its productions, and thus influence the lot of man, who is the
creature of these circumstances; what combinations subsisting upon the
surface of the earth, or developing themselves in the bosom of society,
can be deemed wholly indifferent to his conduct, and without power over
his well being and happiness?”

If, as Dr. Lyon Playfair recently noticed, it is worthy of observation,
that the character of the nations through which Dr. Livingstone passed
in his recent travels, depended upon the habits of the people, in the
acquisition of their food, as well as upon the food itself, we may
expect to find opium exerting also its influence. If, for instance,
the Kaffirs who lived by hunting, and were flesh-eaters, were wild
and warlike; and the Wampoos, who lived principally on grain, were of
a more quiet and peaceable disposition. Then again, the Bechuanos,
who lived upon grain, were more civilized than the Kaffirs, and the
Macololas, who combined as their food both grain and flesh, did not
lose the warlike character, and made incursions upon their more feeble
neighbours. It was an axiom amongst the latter people, that if it were
not for the gullet (alluding to their appetites) there would be no war
or fighting amongst mankind. In those parts, such as Loando, where the
people lived upon starchy varieties of food, they had become diminutive
in their stature; and this applied not merely to the natives, but
also to the Portuguese settlers there, for they had lost the physical
characters of their ancestors, and had become feminine in their frames
and habits, and this extended even to their handwriting. Where more
nitrogenous food was taken, the physical character of the people had
not undergone that very marked change. If food exerts this influence
upon the people of a country or district, we cannot doubt that any
habit, such as smoking tobacco or opium, chewing betel or coca, must
exert some influence upon the nations so indulging, whether that
influence be good or bad.

Who will say that tobacco has no portion in the formation of the German
character? Yet the subtle and profound Germans exhibit no extraordinary
evidence in their national character of the baneful influences on
their moral and social development, by their indulgence in this habit.
Compare with them the Turks and Chinese, and let the balance be shown
in favour of the most elevated in the ranks of civilization. Yet
the most deficient must claim the influence of other equally potent
circumstances in extenuation, for neither opium nor tobacco moulds the
entire national character, it is only one of many influences. Let the
Papuan stand beside the Chinaman and the Turk, and in spite of opium,
the Papuan standard will exhibit a woeful short-coming. The waters of
the great Amazon river must exert some influence on the currents of the
Atlantic, but none will venture to assert that therefore the influx of
such a body of water, vast in itself, but small in comparison to the
whole, is the cause of the gulf stream. The drinking of tea will bear
just such a relation to the currents in the life of nations who indulge
in that luxury, but who will declare that the Chinese soldiers fly from
the points of the British bayonets, or are expert in the carving of
ivory balls, because they indulge in a beverage admired by other old
ladies who can neither run nor carve. Neither because certain Javanese
or Malays, under the influence of an over dose of opium, will “run
amok,” or other Arabs, intoxicated with “haschish,” have made the name
of assassin to become an object of dread, is it to be concluded hence
that all men who indulge in the use of either of these narcotics will
be dangerous members of society, or that they will rush into the jaws
of death without a shudder at the sight of his fangs?

Is it because the Scot loves whisky that he is generally so cautious
and shrewd in his business transactions as to win himself a name? Is it
because the Cockney imbibes sundry deep potations of London porter or
gin, that the enterprise and commerce of those great citizens of the
world have become the envy of surrounding nations? Or is it because
the Russian persisted in his love of raw turnip and sour quass, that
the Malakoff and Sebastopol passed into the hands of the frog-eating
Frenchman, and the beef-eating Englishman?

May we not impute to beef and tobacco, gin and opium, porter and hemp,
results infinitely in advance of their power?

Dr. Eatwell writes, “It has been too much the practice with narrators
who have treated on the subject, to content themselves with drawing
the sad picture of the confirmed opium debauchee, plunged in the last
stage of moral and physical exhaustion, and having formed the premises
of their argument of this exception, to proceed at once to involve
the whole practice in one sweeping condemnation. But this is not the
way in which the subject can be treated; as rational would it be to
paint the horrors of _delirium tremens_, and upon that evidence, to
condemn at once the entire use of alcoholic liquors. The question for
determination is not what are the effects of opium used to excess, but
what are its effects on the moral and physical constitution of the mass
of the individuals who use it habitually, and in moderation, either as
a stimulant to sustain the frame under fatigue, or as restorative and
sedative after labour, bodily or mental. Having passed three years in
China, I may be allowed to state the results of my observation, and I
can affirm thus far, that the effects of the abuse of the drug do not
come very frequently under observation; and that when cases do occur,
the habit is frequently found to have been induced by the presence of
some painful chronic disease, to escape from the sufferings of which
the patient has fled to this resource. That this is not always the
case, however, I am perfectly ready to admit, and there are, doubtless,
many who indulge in the habit to a pernicious extent, led by the same
morbid impulses which induce men to become drunkards in even the most
civilized countries; but these cases do not, at all events, come before
the public eye. It requires no laborious search in civilized England to
discover evidences of the pernicious effects of the abuse of alcoholic
liquors: our open and thronged gin-palaces, and our streets, afford
abundant testimony on the subject; but in China this open evidence of
the evil effects of opium is at least wanting. As regards the effects
of the habitual use of the drug on the mass of the people, I must
affirm that no injurious results are visible. The people generally are
a muscular and well-formed race, the labouring portion being capable
of great and prolonged exertion under a fierce sun, in an unhealthy
climate. Their disposition is cheerful and peaceable, and quarrels
and brawls are rarely heard amongst even the lower orders, whilst in
general intelligence, they rank deservedly high amongst orientals.

“The proofs are still wanting to show that the moderate use of opium
produces more pernicious effects upon the constitution, than does the
moderate use of spirituous liquors, whilst at the same time, it is
certain, that the consequences of the abuse of the former are less
appalling in their effect upon the victim, and less disastrous to
society at large, than are the consequences of the abuse of the latter.
Compare the furious madman, the subject of _delirium tremens_, with the
prostrate debauchee, the victim of opium; the violent drunkard, with
the dreaming sensualist intoxicated with opium; the latter is at least
harmless to all except to his wretched self, whilst the former is but
too frequently a dangerous nuisance, and an open bad example to the
community at large.”



              “If your wish be rest,
  Lettuce and cowslip wine _probatum est_.”


Before describing any of the imitations of opium, or substitutes
for it in any form, it will not be out of place to notice briefly
the tinctures in popular use in which that drug forms a prominent
ingredient. _Laudanum_ is the spirituous infusion, and contains the
active ingredients of a twelfth part of its weight of opium. Scotch
_paregoric elixir_ is a solution in ammoniated spirit, and is only
one-fifth of the strength of laudanum, containing, therefore, one
part in sixty of opium. English _paregoric_ is a tincture of opium
and camphor, and is four times weaker still. The _black drop_, and
_Battley’s sedative liquor_, are believed to be solutions of opium in
vegetable acids, and to possess, the one of them, four, and the other,
three times the strength of laudanum. Although some good authorities
consider this an exaggerated computation of the strength of the latter
two, and that they are not more than half that strength. There are
several other pharmaceutical preparations into which opium enters as
a component, but to which it is unnecessary to refer. Those already
named, as has before been intimated, are used not a little, to still
the sounds of those miniature human organs so distasteful to bachelor
ears. The practice, unfortunately so prevalent, of soothing infants
with preparations of opium, cannot be too strongly deprecated. We are
ready to express our surprise that oriental mothers should transfer
their cigars from their own mouths to those of their infants, that the
helpless little creatures may enjoy the luxury of a suck, while, at the
same time, we are inuring them to the use of a far more insidious and
deadly poison. Rather let us for the future, when inclined to charge
this as a crime upon others, remember that scene which took place
eighteen hundred years ago, and the rebuke with which it closed, in
words written with the finger upon the ground, “Let him that is without
sin amongst you cast the first stone at her.”

One of the most important of opium substitutes is derived from a plant
in itself not only harmless, but extensively used as an article of
food: it is _Lactucarium_ or Lettuce Opium, and is prepared generally
from the wild lettuce, although similar properties exist to a more
limited extent in the cultivated varieties which find their way to our

There is no certainty about the period at which lettuce was introduced
into this country, although the time has been fixed at 1520, when it
is stated to have been brought from Flanders. In the early part of
the reign of Henry VIII., when Queen Katherine wished for a salad,
she despatched a messenger to Holland or Flanders; at that period,
therefore, very few English tables could ever boast the honour of a
salad. In the privy purse expenses of Henry VIII., in 1530, an item
occurs from which we learn that the gardener of York Place received a
reward for bringing “lettuze” and cherries to Hampton Court. This was
policy on the part of the King, his royal consort having a liking for
salads, for it was rather expensive as well as tedious, to send for
them to the gardens of Brabant.[22] In 1600, peas, beans, and lettuce
were in common use in England; and in 1652, a writer of the time speaks
of lettuce as a plant with which the public generally had been long
familiar. One variety of the cultivated lettuce was doubtless derived
from the island of Cos, inasmuch as it still bears that name.

Lettuces were known to the ancients. Dioscorides and Theophrastus
speak of them as cultivated by the Greeks, and also used in medicine;
the prickly lettuce is still found wild on the higher hills of
Greece, and was probably one of the species to which the above-named
ancient authors refer. Several varieties of the garden lettuce were
used in salads by both Greeks and Romans. The pride of the garden of
Aristoxenus was his lettuces, and he irrigated them with wine.

Two species of wild lettuce are found in Britain, the acrid and the
prickly lettuce, both of which possess similar properties, yielding a
juice from which lactucarium may be prepared. Two other wild species
are only occasional. The lactucarium of the London Pharmacopœia is
prepared only from the garden lettuce, but the acrid lettuce is stated
to yield a much larger quantity and of superior quality. A single
plant of the garden lettuce will yield only 17 grains of lactucarium,
on an average, while a plant of the acrid lettuce yields no less than
56 grains, or more than three times that quantity; and although the
milkiness of the juice increases till the very close of the time of
flowering, or till the month of October in this climate, the value
of the lactucarium is deteriorated after the middle of the period
of flowering, for subsequently, while the juice becomes thicker, a
material decrease takes place in the proportion of bitter extract
contained in it.

Lactucarium is a reddish brown substance with a narcotic odour and
bitter taste, having a considerable resemblance to opium. On analysis
it yields a snow white crystalline substance called _lactucin_,
which is narcotic in its effects. Dr. Duncan recommended the use of
lactucarium as a substitute for opium, the anodyne properties of which
it possesses, without being followed with the same injurious effects.
In France, a water is distilled from lettuce, and used as a mild
sedative. Experiments of the effects of lettuce-opium upon animals are
detailed by Orfila, who states that three drachms introduced into the
stomach of a dog killed it in two days, without causing any remarkable
symptoms; two drachms applied to a wound in the back induced giddiness,
slight sopor, and death in three days; and thirty-six grains injected,
in a state of solution, into the jugular vein caused dulness, weakness,
slight convulsions, and death in 18 minutes.

In North America the prickly lettuce is more common than with us, and
from it the American lactucarium is extracted. In Guinea a species of
lettuce is found wild, possessing precisely similar properties, and
applicable to a like use. This plant is largely used by the negroes as
a salad and also as an opiate.

The plants cultivated for the sake of the juice are grown in a
rich soil, with a southern aspect. In such a situation they thrive
vigorously, and send up thick, juicy, flower stems. As soon as these
have attained a considerable height, and before the flowers expand, a
portion of the top is cut off. The milky juice quickly exudes from the
wound, while the heat of the sun renders it so viscid that, instead of
flowing down, it concretes on the stem in a brownish flake. After it
has acquired a proper consistence it is removed. As the juice closes
up the vessels of the plant, another slice is taken off lower down the
stem, and the juice again flows freely and another flake is formed. The
same process is repeated as long as the plant affords any juice. To the
crude juice, thus obtained, the name of lactucarium has been given.

“This,” says Johnston, “is one of those narcotics in which many of us
unconsciously indulge. The eater of green lettuce as a salad, takes a
portion of it in the juice of the leaves he swallows; and many of my
readers, after this is pointed out to them, will discover that their
heads are not unaffected after indulging copiously in a lettuce salad.
Eaten at night, the lettuce causes sleep; eaten during the day, it
soothes and calms and allays the tendency to nervous irritability. And
yet the lover of lettuce would take it very much amiss if he were told
that he ate his green leaves, partly at least, for the same reason as
the Turk or the Chinaman takes his whiff from the tiny opium pipe:
that, in short, he was little better than an opium-eater, and his
purveyor than the opium smuggler on the coast of China.”

Lest this should occasion some alarm in the breasts of those who prefer
their lobsters with a salad, let us strive to administer a little
consolation. We have seen that the cultivated or garden lettuce does
not contain so much as one third the quantity of lactucarium yielded
by the wild species, ten good lettuces must therefore be eaten before
sufficient extract will have been consumed to have killed a dog in two
days. This is upon the presumption that the lettuces eaten as salad
are in precisely the same condition, and capable of affording the same
amount of the extract as when cultivated specially for that purpose;
but this is not the case, it is not until just before flowering that
the full amount of juice is contained in the plant, a per centage only
of which exists in the younger plants as gathered for the table. Nor
is that quantity of the same narcotic quality as in the more matured
plant, which has collected, at that period, all its strength properly
to produce, and bring to perfection, its flowers and fruit.

            “Nothing hath got so far,
  But man hath caught and kept it as his prey.
      His eyes dismount the highest star,
    He is in little all the sphere.
  Herbs gladly cure our flesh, because that they
    Find their acquaintance there.

    “More servants wait on man
  Than he’ll take notice of: in every path
    He treads down that which doth befriend him,
    When sickness makes him pale and wan.
  Oh, mighty love! Man is one world, and hath
    Another to attend him.”

The lacticiferous or milk bearing plants are nearly all of them
connected by very important ties with man and civilization. The
phenomena themselves are well worthy of study, and their association
with humanity replete with interest. These plants are by no means
restricted to one genus or family, nor are their properties of the
same character. The one circumstance of their secreting a white juice
resembling milk in appearance is almost all they have in common. In the
poppy it becomes _opium_, in the lettuce _lactucarium_. It constitutes
refreshing beverages, obtained in large quantities, in the sunny
climes of Asia, from the cow-tree of South America, the kiriaghuma and
hya-hya of British Guiana, the _Euphorbia balsamifera_ of the Canary
Islands, the juice of which as a sweet milk, or evaporated to a jelly,
is taken as a great delicacy, and the Banyan tree, all of which, to a
certain extent, supply the place of the cow, in places and conditions
wherein cows are not to be found. Similar juices are collected in the
form of India rubber or caoutchouc, a substance so invaluable in the
arts of life. They exude from figs, euphorbiæ, and cacti, in the East
Indies, South America, and Africa, from all of which places a large
quantity of the consolidated juice is exported to the markets of Europe
and North America. The greater quantity of these lactescent juices
are elaborated in the Tropics. Gutta percha and allied substances
are similarly produced, and indeed, numerous plants are possessed of
this kind of secretion, which have not yet been made available for
economical purposes, but which may become equally well known, and
useful, to succeeding generations. Narcotic properties do not appear to
be so common in these juices as the irritant or acrid, which abound in
some euphorbiaceous plants, and the inert, and when coagulated and dry,
elastic properties found in the siphonias, figs, and sapotaceous plants.

In St. Domingo, a species of _Muracuja_ is believed to possess
qualities very similar to opium, from which, and from an allied plant,
Dr. Hamilton believes, that the concentrated sap, collected at a proper
time, strained, evaporated, and properly prepared, would prove an
excellent substitute for the expensive opium, at a cheaper rate. The
species indigenous to Jamaica, is known as bull-hoof or Dutchman’s
laudanum. At a time when opium was scarce, from some accidental cause,
in the island of Jamaica, a Dutch surgeon found in this plant a
successful substitute. The plant is common in Jamaica and some other
of the West Indian islands. It is an elegant climber, bearing bright
scarlet blossoms, somewhat resembling a passion flower. Browne says,
that the flowers are principally employed, and when infused, or mixed
in a state of powder with wine or spirits, are regarded as a safe and
effectual narcotic.

Dr. Landerer states that the Syrian rue is a highly esteemed plant in
Greece. This plant appears to have been known to the ancients, and
mentioned by Dioscorides. Its properties are narcotic, resembling
those of the Indian hemp. The Turks macerate the seeds in scherbet
or boosa, administering the infusion internally. It also serves in
the preparation of a yellow dye. The seeds are sometimes used by the
Turks as a spice, and the same people also resort to them to produce a
species of intoxication. The Emperor Solyman, it is stated kept himself
in a state of intoxication by their use. The peculiar phenomena of this
intoxication has not, that we are aware, been described, but we are
informed that the property of producing it exists in the husks of the
seeds, from which a chemical principle of a narcotic nature has been

There is another plant, a native of Arabia, and of the nightshade
family, so prolific in narcotics, the seeds of which are used by some
of the Asiatics to produce those mental reveries and excitement so
much coveted. These seeds, the produce of a plant known to botanists
under the name of _Scopolia mutica_, are also roasted and infused to
form a sort of drink, in which the Arabs and some others indulge.

The seeds of a species of _Sterculia_ are said to be used by the
natives of Silhet as a substitute for opium. The Cola nuts, so highly
esteemed by the negroes of Guinea, are the produce of a Sterculia.
The natives attribute very extraordinary properties to these seeds,
somewhat analogous to those claimed by the Peruvians for the leaf of
the coca, stating, that if chewed, they satisfy hunger, and prevent the
natural craving for food, that for this purpose they carry some with
them when undertaking a long journey. They are also affirmed to improve
the flavour of anything that may be subsequently eaten, if a portion
of one of them is taken before meals. Formerly they were even more
esteemed than at the present day. In those times, fifty of them were
sufficient to purchase a wife. These seeds are flat, and of a brownish
colour and bitter taste. Their tonic properties have been supposed
equal to those of the famed Cedron seeds of Guiana and the more famous
Cinchona bark of the Andes. Probably further and more elaborate
investigation will prove that these wonderful seeds possess slightly
beneficial properties as a tonic, it may be even inferior to those of
the roots of Gentian, or other parts of some of our indigenous plants.

In the Straits, the leaves of the “Beah” tree are used by the
opium-smokers as a substitute for opium, when that drug is not
procurable. These serrated leaves, the produce of we know not precisely
what tree, except under the above native name, are occasionally sold in
the bazaars or markets at a quarter of a rupee per catty, or at the
rate, Anglicised, of fourpence halfpenny per pound.

In addition to the substances which do duty for opium knowingly and
wittingly, there are others which enter into its composition in the
form of adulteration, to which writers on materia medica have drawn
attention, and ultimately Dr. Hassell. These also deserve, with far
greater appropriateness, the designation of false prophets, since,
promising the glimpses of paradise which opium is believed to give,
they only

  Keep the promise to the lip
  And break it with the heart.

The first sophistication, says Pereira, which opium receives, is that
practised by the peasants who collect it, and who lightly scrape the
epidermis from the shells or capsules to augment the weight. This
operation adds about one-twelfth of foreign matters, which are removed
by the Chinese in their method of preparing the opium and forming it
into chandu.


According to Dr. Eatwell, the grosser impurities usually mixed with
the drug to increase its weight are mud, sand, powdered charcoal,
soot, cow dung, pounded poppy petals, and pounded seeds of various
descriptions. All these substances are readily discoverable in breaking
up the drug in cold water, decanting the lighter portion, and examining
the sediment. Flour is a very favourite article of adulteration, but
is readily detected. Opium so adulterated becomes sour, breaks with
a short ragged fracture, the edges of which are dull, and not pink
and translucent as they should be. The farina of the boiled potato is
not unfrequently made use of; ghee and ghour (an impure treacle) are
also occasionally used, as being articles at the command of most
of the cultivators. Their presence is revealed by the peculiar odour
and consistence which they impart to the drug. In addition to the
above, a variety of vegetable juices, extracts, pulps, and colouring
matters are occasionally fraudulently mixed with the opium, such as
the inspissated juice of the prickly pear, the extracts prepared from
the tobacco plant, the thorn apple, and the Indian hemp. The gummy
exudations from various plants are frequently used; and of pulps, the
most commonly employed are those of the tamarind, and of the Bael
fruit. To impart colour to the drug various substances are employed, as
catechu, turmeric, the powdered flowers of the mowha tree, &c. Here is
a list long enough to satisfy any antiquarian, containing delicacies
of all kinds, the essence of which would improve any soothing syrup or
Godfrey’s cordial, with which, under the name of opium, they may be
incorporated, whether they may consist of tobacco juice, cow dung, or
bad treacle.

Let us still enlarge the collection from the experience of Dr.
Normandy, eminent in chemical analysis—“Opium is often met with in
commerce from which the morphine has been extracted; on the other
hand, this valuable drug is often found adulterated with starch,
water, Spanish liquorice, lactucarium, extract of poppy leaves, of
the sea-side poppy, and other vegetable extracts, mucilage of gum
tragacanth, or other gums, clay, sand, gravel. Often the opium is mixed
in Asia and Egypt, when fresh and soft, with finely bruised grapes,
from which the stones have been removed; sometimes also a mixture,
fabricated by bruising the exterior skins of the capsules and stalks
of the poppy together with the white of eggs, in a stone mortar, is
added in certain proportions to the opium. In fact, this most valuable
drug, certainly one of the most important, and most frequently used in
medicine, is also one of the most extensively adulterated.”

Dr. Landerer has described an adulteration of a sample of opium
obtained direct from Smyrna; it consisted of salep powder in large
proportions, and he was afterwards informed that this is a very common
adulteration, practised in order to make the opium harder, and to
hasten the process of drying. Dr. Pereira speaks of an opium which
contained a gelatiniform substance, and Mr. Morson met with opium in
which a similar substance was present. Dr. Landerer also states that
the extract obtained by boiling the poppy plants is commonly added to
Smyrna opium.

Dr. Hassell found “that out of twenty-three samples of opium analysed,
nineteen were adulterated, and four only genuine, many of these as
shown by the microscope, being adulterated to a large extent; the
prevailing adulterations being with poppy capsules and wheat flour,” in
addition to which adulteration two samples of Smyrna opium, and two of
Egyptian opium were adulterated with sand, sugar, and gum.

From the analysis of forty samples of powdered opium, he found also,
“that thirty-three of the samples were adulterated, and one only
genuine; the principal adulterations, as in the previous case, being
with poppy capsule and wheat flour. That four of the samples were
further adulterated by the addition of powdered wood, introduced, no
doubt, in the process of grinding.”

Dr. Thomson stated in his evidence before the Parliamentary Committee,
that he had known extract of opium mixed with extract of senna, and
from thirty to sixty per cent. of water.

Dr. O’Shaughnessy found from 25 to 21 per cent. of water in Indian
opium (Behar agency), and 13 per cent. in Patna opium.

Dr. Eatwell, the opium examiner in the Benares district, finds that the
proportion of water varies from 30 to 24-5 per cent. in the opium of
that district.

In 1838, a specimen of opium resembling that of Smyrna was presented
to the Société de Pharmacie of Paris, being part of a considerable
quantity which had been introduced into commerce at Paris and Havre.
It did not exhibit the least trace of morphia. It was in rolls, well
covered with leaves, had a blackish section, and a slightly elastic
consistence. It became milky upon contact with water. Its odour and
taste were analogous to opium, but feebler. It was adulterated with so
much skill, that agglutinated tears appeared even under a magnifier—a
character which had hitherto been regarded as decisive in detecting
pure opium, but which with this occurrence lost its value. The same
article appears to have been met with also in the United States.

A writer from Singapore states, “I lately saw a Chinaman brought
to the police for fabricating opium balls. The imitation balls were
composed of a skin or husk formed from the leaves of Madras tobacco,
inside was sand, which was evidently intended to form the shape of
the balls till the outer covering had sufficiently set, the whole was
neatly sewed with bandages of calico, which would be removed when the
tobacco was able to retain its proper shape, the sand would then be
abstracted, and a mixture of gambier and opium substituted, while the
outside would be rubbed over with a watery solution of chandu. By these
means the native traders are much and often imposed upon.”



  “Bright Helen mixed a mirth-inspiring bowl,
  Tempered with drugs of sovereign use, to assuage
  The boiling bosom of tumultuous rage;
  To clear the cloudy front of wrinkled care,
  And dry the tearful sluices of despair.”

  POPE’S _Homer_.

The influence of climate in modifying the characters of plants is
a circumstance known to all botanical students. The same plant, in
temperate regions and under the tropics, exhibits different properties,
or, we should rather say, in one instance developes more highly certain
properties which in the other lie nearly dormant. The newly-introduced
sorghum, from which we have been promised an unfailing supply of
excellent sugar, fails in the North of France to reach that degree of
maturity, or to develope in such manner its saccharine secretions as to
be available for the manufacture of a crystallizable sugar. The sweet
floating grass (_Glyceria fluitans_) in Poland and Russia supplies
farinaceous seeds, which, under the name of manna croup, are consumed
as food; but no seeds at all available for that purpose are produced at
home from the same plant, although it grows freely. The flavour of the
onion, as grown in Egypt, is, we are assured, far milder, and vastly
different from the bulbs cultivated in Britain. The odour of violets
and other flowers grown for perfumery and other purposes at Nice,
have a scent more rich and delicious than when grown in English soil,
subject to our variable climate. But the most extraordinary effect of
all, produced by these influences upon plants, occurs in the case of
hemp, which in Europe developes its fibrous qualities to such an extent
as to produce a material for cordage hitherto unsurpassed; but in
India, while deficient in this respect, developes narcotic secretions
to such an extent as to occupy a prominent position among the chief
narcotics of the world.

It was for some time supposed that the Indian or narcotic hemp was a
different species to that which is cultivated for textile purposes; and
even now it is often characterised by a different specific name, which
would seem to assume that the species are distinct. This, however, the
most celebrated of our botanists deny. The difference is declared to
be, not one of species, but of climate, and of climate only. The native
home of the hemp plant is assigned by Dr. Lindley to Persia and the
hills in the North of India, whence it has been introduced into other
countries. Burnett says, “Hemp seed is nutritious and not narcotic; it
has the very singular property of changing the plumage of bullfinches
and goldfinches from red and yellow to black, if they are fed on it for
too long a time or in too large a quantity.” Never having tried the
experiment, we have no ground for disputing or authority for verifying
these remarks. If such, however, is the case, hemp seed possesses some
property, if not narcotic, which canary and poppy seeds, we should
presume, do not.

Johnny Englishman, with his usual genius for discovery and invention,
has been discovered filling his pipe on board ship with oakum, when
the stores of tobacco have been exhausted, but not being satisfied
from his own experiments of the superiority of hemp, in that form, to
his brother Jonathan’s tobacco, he therefore adheres to the latter. He
considers hemp an excellent thing when twisted into a good hawser, but
does not like it as “twist” in the masticatory acceptation of the term;
nor does he at all admire the twist of Ben Battle, when

  “Round his melancholy neck
    A rope he did entwine,
  And for his second time in life,
    Enlisted in the line.

  “One end he tied around a beam,
    And then removed his pegs;
  And as his legs were off, of course
    He soon was off his legs.

  “And there he hung till he was dead
    As any nail in town;
  For though distress had cut him up,
    It could not cut him down.”

Hemp is one of those plants which adapts itself well to any climate:
there is scarce a country in Europe where it cannot, or might not, be
cultivated. From Poland and Russia in the North, to Italy in the South,
the fibre is supplied to our markets. In North America it is grown for
its fibre, and in South America for its narcotic properties. Throughout
Africa, it may be found chiefly as an article for the pipe. In most of
Asia it is known, and it has been cultivated in Australia. Thus, in its
distribution, it may now be considered as almost universal.

Twenty-five centuries ago, Herodotus wrote of its cultivation by the
Scythians:——“They have a sort of hemp growing in this country very
like flax, except in thickness and height; in this respect the hemp
is far superior—it grows both spontaneously and from cultivation, and
from it the Thracians make garments very like linen, nor would any
one who is not well skilled in such matters distinguish whether they
are made of flax or hemp; but a person who has never seen this hemp,
would think the garment was made of flax.” Then follows a description
of the use of the hemp as a narcotic: “The Scythians, transported with
the vapour, shout aloud.” Antiquity is in favour of this narcotic, and
its use for that purpose before any other, except perhaps the poppy,
was known, or at least of those now in use. The _nepenthes_ of Homer
has been supposed to have been this plant, or one of its products. The
use of hemp had become so general amongst the Romans at the time of
Pliny, that they commonly made ropes and cordage of it. The practice
of chewing the leaves to produce intoxication existed in India in very
early ages, whence it was carried to Persia, and before the middle of
the thirteenth century, this custom was adopted in Egypt, but chiefly
by persons of the lower orders.

The narcotic properties of hemp become concentrated in a resinous
juice, which in certain seasons and in tropical countries exudes, and
concretes on the leaves, slender stems, and flowers. This constitutes
the base of all the hemp preparations, to which all the powers of
the drug are attributable. In Central India, the hemp resin called
_churrus_, is collected during the hot season in the following manner.
Men clad in leathern dresses run through the hemp fields, brushing
through the plants with all possible violence; the soft resin adheres
to the leather, and is subsequently scraped off and kneaded into
balls, which sell at from five to six rupees the seer, or about five
or six shillings per pound. A still finer kind, the _momeca_ or waxen
churrus, is collected by the hand in Nepaul, and sells for nearly
double the price of the ordinary kind. Dr. McKinnon says—“In Nepaul,
the leathern attire is dispensed with, and the resin is collected
on the skin of naked coolies.” In Persia the churrus is obtained by
pressing the resinous plant on coarse cloths, and then scraping it from
these and melting it in a pot with a little warm water. Mirza considers
the churrus of Herat the most powerful of all the varieties of the
drug. The hemp resin, when pure, is of a blackish grey colour, with a
fragrant narcotic odour, and a slightly warm, bitterish, acrid taste.

The dried hemp plant which has flowered, and from which the resin has
been removed, is called in India _gunjeh_. It sells at from twelve
annas to a rupee the seer, or from ninepence to a shilling per pound,
in the Calcutta bazaars. It is sold chiefly for smoking, in bundles two
feet long and three inches in diameter, containing twenty-four plants.
The colour is dusky green, the odour agreeably narcotic, the whole
plant resinous and adhesive to the touch.

The larger leaves and capsules without the stalks, are called _Bang_,
_Subjee_, or _Sidhee_ in India, and have been brought into the
London market under the name of _Guaza_. They are used for making an
intoxicating drink, for smoking, and in the conserve called _Majoon_.
Bang is cheaper than Gunjeh, and though less powerful, is sold at
so low a price that for one halfpenny enough can be purchased to
intoxicate an habituated person.

The Gunjeh consumed in Bengal comes chiefly from Mirzapore and
Ghazeepur, being extensively cultivated near Gwalior and in Tirhoot.
The natives cut the plant when in flower, allow it to dry for three
days, and then lay it in bundles averaging two pounds each which are
distributed to the licensed dealers. The best kinds are brought from
Gwalior and Bhurtpore, and it is cultivated of good quality in gardens
around Calcutta.

The _Majoon_ or hemp confection, is a compound of sugar, butter, flour,
milk, and bang. The mass is divided into small lozenge-shaped pieces;
one dram will intoxicate a beginner, three drams one experienced in its
use. The taste is sweet and odour agreeable. Most carnivorous animals
will eat it greedily, and very soon become ludicrously drunk, but
seldom suffering any worse consequences.

The confection called _el mogen_ in use amongst the Moors appears to be
similar to, if not identical with, the _majoon_ of India.

The ancient Saracens and modern Arabs in some parts of Turkey and
generally throughout Syria, use preparations of hemp still known by the
name of _haschisch_ or _Hashash_. M. Adolph Stuze, the court apothecary
at Bucharest, thus describes the haschisch, by which general name all
intoxicating drugs whose chief constituent is hemp, are well known all
over the East. The tops and all the tender part of the hemp plant are
collected after flowering, dried and kept for use. There are several
methods of using it.

I. Boiled in fat, butter, or oil, with a little water; the filtered
product is employed in all kinds of pastry.

II. Powdered for smoking. Five or ten grains of the powder are smoked
from a common pipe with ordinary tobacco, probably the leaf of a
species of Lobelia (Tombuki) possessing strong narcotic properties.

III. Formed with tragacanth mucilage into pastiles, which are placed
upon a pipe and smoked in similar doses.

IV. Made into an electuary with dates or figs and honey. This
preparation is of a dark brown or almost black colour.

V. Another electuary is prepared of the same ingredients, with the
addition of spices, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, amber, and musk. This
preparation is used as an aphrodisiac.

The confection most in use among the Arabs is called _Dawamese_. This
is mingled with other stimulating substances, so as to administer to
the sensual gratifications, which appear to be the _summum bonum_ of
oriental existence.

The _haschisch_ extract is about the consistence of syrup, and is of a
dark greenish colour, with a narcotic odour, and a bitter, unpleasant

A famous heretical sect among the Mahometans bore the name of
Assassins, and settled in Persia in 1090. In Syria they possessed a
large tract of land among the mountains of Lebanon. They assassinated
Lewis of Bavaria in 1213, were conquered by the Tartars in 1257, and
extirpated in 1272. Their chief assumed the title of “Ancient of
the Mountain.” These men, some authorities inform us, were called
_Haschischins_ because the use of the haschish was common among them
in the performance of certain rites, and that the ancient form has
been corrupted into that now in use. M. de Sacy states that the word
“assassin” has been derived from the Arabic name of hemp. It has also
been declared, that during the wars of the Crusades, certain of the
Saracen army while in a state of intoxication from the use of the
drug, rushed madly into the Christian camp, committing great havoc,
without themselves having any fear of death, and that these men were
called _Hashasheens_, whence has arose our word “assassin.” The term
“hashash,” says Mr. Lane, signifies “a smoker or an eater of hemp,”
and is an appellation of obloquy; noisy and riotous people are often
called “hashasheen,” which is the plural of that appellation, and the
origin of our word “assassin.”

Benjamin of Tudela says, “In the vicinity of Lebanon reside the people
called Assassins, who do not believe in the tenets of Mahommedanism,
but in those of one whom they consider like unto the Prophet Kharmath.
They fulfil whatever he commands them, whether it be a matter of life
or death. He goes by the name of Sheikh-al-Hashishin, or, their old
man, by whose command all the acts of these mountaineers are regulated.
The Assassins are faithful to one another, by the command of their old
man, and make themselves the dread of every one, because their devotion
leads them gladly to risk their lives, and to kill even kings, when

In the centre of the Persian, as well as the Assyrian territory of
the Assassins, that is to say, both at Alamut and Massiat, were
situated, in a space surrounded by walls, splendid gardens—true
eastern paradises—there were flower-beds, and thickets of fruit trees,
intersected by canals; shady walks and verdant glades, where the
sparkling stream bubbles at every step; bowers of roses and vineyards;
luxurious halls, and porcelain kiosks, adorned with Persian carpets and
Grecian stuffs, where drinking vessels of gold, silver, and crystal
glittered on trays of the same costly materials; charming maidens and
handsome boys, black-eyed and seductive as the houris and boys of
Mahommed’s paradise, soft as the cushions on which they reposed, and
intoxicating as the wine which they presented; the music of the harp
was mingled with the songs of birds, and the melodious tones of the
songstress harmonised with the murmur of the brooks—everything breathed
pleasure, rapture, and sensuality.

A youth who was deemed worthy, by his strength and resolution, to
be initiated into the Assyrian service, was invited to the table
and conversation of the grand master or grand prior; he was then
intoxicated with henbane (haschish) and carried into the garden, which,
on awakening, he believed to be paradise. Everything around him, the
houris in particular, contributed to confirm his delusion. After he had
experienced as much of the pleasures of paradise—which the prophet has
promised to the blessed—as his strength would admit, after quaffing
enervating delight from the eyes of the houris and intoxicating wine
from the glittering goblets, he sank into the lethargy produced by
debility and the opiate, on awakening from which, after a few hours, he
again found himself by the side of his superior. The latter endeavoured
to convince him that corporeally he had not left his side, but that
spiritually he had been wrapped into paradise, and had then enjoyed
a foretaste of the bliss which awaits the faithful, who devote their
lives to the service of the faith and the obedience of their chief.
Thus did these infatuated youths blindly dedicate themselves as the
tools of murder, and eagerly sought an opportunity to sacrifice their
terrestrial, in order to become the partakers of eternal life.

To this day, Constantinople and Cairo show what an incredible charm
opium with henbane exerts on the drowsy indolence of the Turk and
the fiery imagination of the Arab, and explains the fury with which
those youths the enjoyment of these rich pastiles (haschish), and
the confidence produced in them, that they are able to undertake
anything or everything. From the use of these pastiles they were called
Hashishin (herb-eaters,) which, in the mouths of Greeks and Crusaders,
has been transformed into the word Assassin, and as synonymous with
murder, has immortalized the history of the order in all the languages
of Europe.[23]

This is the account given by Marco Polo, as repeated by Von Hammer in
his “History of the Assassins.” To this let us further add M. Sylvestre
de Sacy’s, from a memoir read before the Institute of France:——“I have
no doubt whatever, that denomination was given to the Ismaelites, on
account of their using an intoxicating liquid or preparation, still
known in the East by the name of hashish. Hemp leaves, and some other
parts of the same vegetable, form the basis of this preparation, which
is employed in different ways, either in liquid or in the form of
pastiles, mixed with saccharine substances, or even in fumigation.
The intoxication produced by the haschish, causes an ecstasy similar
to that which the orientals produce by the use of opium; and from
the testimony of a great number of travellers, we may affirm that
those who fall into this state of delirium, imagine they enjoy the
ordinary objects of their desires, and taste felicity at a cheap rate.
It has not been forgotten that when the French army was in Egypt the
General-in-chief Napoleon, was obliged to prohibit, under the severest
penalties, the sale and use of these pernicious substances, the habit
of which has made an imperious want in the inhabitants of Egypt,
particularly the lower orders. Those who indulge in this custom are to
this day called Hashishin, and these two different expressions explain
why the Ismaelites were called by the historians of the Crusades
sometimes Assissini and sometimes Assassini.”

As an instance of the blind submission of these devoted followers to
the will of their chief, it is narrated that Jelaleddin Melekshah,
Sultan of the Seljuks, having sent an ambassador to the Sheikh of
the Assassins, to require his obedience and fealty, the son of Sahab
called into his presence several of the initiated. Beckoning to one of
them, he said, “Kill thyself,” and he instantly stabbed himself: to
another, “Throw thyself down from the rampart;” the next instant he lay
a mutilated corpse in the moat. On this the grand master, turning to
the envoy, who was unnerved by terror, said—“In this way am I obeyed by
seventy thousand faithful subjects. Be that my answer to thy master.”

From comparison of these notes, it will therefore appear that the order
of Hashishans used the haschish, as a means whereby to induce young
men to devote themselves to their cause. That it was used by the chief
for its intoxicating and illusionary properties, probably without the
knowledge of the members of the order, but as a secret, the divulging
of which would have defeated his design, and that it was not indulged
in habitually by the order; but that from its use in these initiatory
rites they came to be called Haschishans, afterwards corrupted into
Assassins. And ultimately, that their murderous acts procured for all
those who in future times imitated them, the honour of their name.

But to return from this long digression, we still meet with the name of
Haschisch and Hashasheen in Egypt, and also with preparations of hemp,
which are believed as of old to transport those who indulge therein to
scenes such as paradise alone is supposed to furnish.

      “Where’er his eye could reach,
    Fair structures, rainbow-hued, arose;
  And rich pavilions through the opening woods
  Gleamed from their waving curtains sunny gold;
    And winding through the verdant vale,
      Flowed streams of liquid light,
    And fluted cypresses reared up
      Their living obelisks,
  And broad-leaved plane trees in long colonnades,
    O’er arched delightful walks,
  Where round their trunks the thousand-tendril’d vine
  Wound up, and hung the boughs with greener wreaths,
    And clusters not their own.”

M. Rouyer, of the Egyptian Commission, says, with the leaves and tops,
collected before ripening, the Egyptians prepare a conserve, which
serves as the base of the _berch_, the _diasmouk_, and the _bernaouy_.
Hemp leaves reduced to powder and incorporated with honey or stirred
with water, constitute the _berch_ of the poorer classes.

Dr. Livingstone found hemp in use among the natives of Southern Africa
under the name of _mutokuane_.

With the Hottentots it is known as _Dacha_, and another plant used for
similar purposes among them is called the _wild Dagga_ or Dacha. The
use of hemp as a narcotic appears to be very general in all parts of

The D’amba possesses numerous native titles, but it is only
understood by those distinctive terms which the negroes give it in
their respective countries. By the people of Ambriz and Musula it is
pronounced as D’yambah, while to the various races in Kaffraria, it
is more generally known under the Hottentot name of Dakka or Dacha.
This plant is extensively cultivated by the Dongós, Damarás, and other
tribes to the southward of Benguela. Among the Ambundas or aborigines
of Angola, the dried plant is duly appreciated, not only for its
narcotic effects, but likewise on account of some medicinal virtues
which it has been reputed to enjoy. The markets of St. Paul de Loanda
are mostly supplied from the Dongós, and other adjacent tribes, and
from St. Salvador, and the towns in the vicinity of Upper Kongo.

The mode in which it is prepared for sale, consists in carefully
separating from the leaves and seeds, the larger stalks, retaining only
the smaller stems, which are compressed into a conical mass, varying
from two to four inches in diameter, and from one to two feet in
length, the whole being covered by some dried vegetable, firmly secured
by thin withes. The substance thus manufactured is ordinarily employed
for the purpose of smoking, and is endowed with powerful stimulant and
intoxicating principles, consequently it is proportionately prized by
those nations who are familiar with those peculiar qualities, and is
probably viewed more in the light of a luxury owing to the absence of
all other sources of excitement, for which, perhaps, it was the only
available substitute.

The Zulu Kaffirs and Delagoans of the South Eastern Coast use it under
the same or like names. Amongst the former the herb is powdered and
used as snuff. The true tobacco is known amongst them, and is grown to
a certain extent, but the use of hemp both for smoking and snuffing,
is far more common. Perhaps, requiring less cultivation, it suits best
their indolent habits.

The most eminent of the Persian and Arabian authors refer the origin of
hemp intoxication to the natives of Hindostan. But few traces, however,
of its early use can be found in any part of India.

In the “Rajniguntu,” a treatise on materia medica, the date of which
is vaguely estimated at about six hundred years ago, there is a clear
account of this drug. The names under which it is there known are,
“_Bijoya_,” “_Ujoya_,” and “_Joya_,” meaning promoters of success;
“_Brijputta_,” or the strengthener; “_Chapola_,” the causer of a
reeling gait; “_Ununda_,” or the laughter-moving; “_Hursini_,” the
exciter of sexual desire.

In another treatise in Sanscrit, of later date, the above is repeated;
and in a religious treatise, called the Hindu Tantra, it is stated that
_Sidhee_ is more intoxicating than wine.

In the fifth chapter of the Institutes of Menu, Brahmins are prohibited
to use Pabandoo or onions, _Gunjara_ or _Gunjah_, and such condiments
as have strong and pungent scents.

Persian and Arabic writers give, however, a fuller and more particular
account of the early use of this substance. Makrisi treats of the hemp
in his description of the ancient pleasure-grounds in the vicinity of
Cairo. This quarter, after many vicissitudes, is now a mass of ruins.
In it was situated a cultivated valley, named Djoneina, which was the
theatre of all conceivable abominations. It was famous, above all,
for the sale of the _Hasheesha_ or Haschisch, which is still consumed
by certain of the populace, and from the consumption of which sprung
those excesses which gave rise to the name of “assassin,” in the time
of the Crusades. This author states that the oldest work in which hemp
is noticed is a treatise by Hassan, who states that in the year of the
Hegira 658, the Sheikh Djafar Shirazi, a monk of the order of Haider,
learned from his master, the history of the discovery of hemp. Haider,
the chief of ascetics and self-chasteners, lived in rigid privation on
a mountain between Nishabor and Rama, where he established a monastery
of Fakirs. Ten years he had spent in this retreat, without leaving it
for a moment, till one burning summer’s day, when he departed alone
to the fields. On his return, an air of joy and gaiety was imprinted
on his countenance; he received the visits of his brethren, and
encouraged their conversation. On being questioned, he stated that,
struck by the aspect of a plant which danced in the heat as if with
joy, while all the rest of the vegetable creation was torpid, he had
gathered and eaten of its leaves. He led his companions to the spot—all
ate, and all were similarly excited. A tincture of the hemp-leaf in
wine or spirits, seems to have been the favourite formula in which the
Sheikh Haider indulged himself. An Arab poet sings of Haider’s emerald
cup—an evident allusion to the rich green colour of the tincture of
the drug. The Sheikh survived the discovery ten years, and subsisted
chiefly on this herb, and on his death his disciples, by his desire,
planted an arbour in which it grew about his tomb. From this saintly
sepulchre, the knowledge of the effects of hemp is stated to have
spread into Khorasan. In Chaldea it was unknown until the Mahommedan
year 728, during the reign of the Caliph Mostansir Billah. The kings of
Ormus and Bahrein then introduced it into Chaldea, Syria, Egypt, and

In Khorasan, it seems that the date of the use of hemp is considered,
notwithstanding the foregoing, to be far prior to Haider’s era.
Biraslan, an Indian pilgrim, contemporary with Cosroes (whoever this
same Cosroes may be, for it is a name often occurring, and applied
as Cæsar or Czar to more than one generation), is stated to have
introduced and diffused the custom through Khorasan and Yemen.

In 780 M.E. very severe ordinances were passed in Egypt against this
practice of indulging in hemp. The Djoneina garden was rooted up,
and all those convicted of the use of the drug were subjected to the
extraction of their teeth. But in 792 M.E. the custom re-established
itself with more than original vigour. A vivid picture is given by
Makrisi of the vice and its victims:——“As a general consequence, great
corruption of sentiments and manners ensued, modesty disappeared, every
base and evil passion was openly indulged in, and nobility of external
form alone remained to those infatuated beings.” In the “Sisters of
Old,” some further memoranda will be found of the early history of this
extraordinary narcotic.

Not only was its intoxicating power, but many other properties—some
true, some fabulous—were known at the above periods. The contrary
qualities of the plant—its stimulating and sedative effects—are dwelt
on:——“They at first exhilarate the spirits, cause cheerfulness,
give colour to the complexion, bring on intoxication, excite the
imagination into the most rapturous ideas, produce thirst, increase
appetite, excite concupiscence; afterwards, the sedative effects begin
to preside, the spirits sink, the vision darkens and weakens, and
madness, melancholy, fearfulness, dropsy, and such like distempers are
the sequel.” Mirza Abdul Russac says of it: “It produces a ravenous
appetite and constipation, arrests the secretions, except that of the
liver, excites wild imagining, a sensation of ascending, forgetfulness
of all that happens during its use, and such mental exaltation that the
beholders attribute it to supernatural inspiration.” To which he also
adds: “The inexperienced, on first taking it, are often senseless for a
day, some go mad, others are known to die.”

Whether for the purpose of increasing its power, or for what other
reason we know not, in India the seeds of Datura are mixed with hemp,
in compounding some of the confections, as well as the powder of _nux
vomica_. This is, however, exceptional, neither of these substances
entering into the composition of the Majoon of Bengal any more than
does corrosive sublimate form a proportion of the pills in general use
by the opium-eater of Constantinople.

It is a custom with some people to blame, without limit, those who
indulge in nervous stimulants of a nature differing from their own,
while serving the same purpose. Thus, one who thinks that Providence
never designed his corporeal frame to become a perambulating
beer-barrel, eschews all alcoholic drinks, but at the same time
eschews not the abuse of those who think fit to indulge in a little
wine for their stomach’s sake, or a draught of porter for their
bodily infirmities. These same abstainers still adhere to their tea
and coffee, and though harmless enough as these dietetics may be, yet
they in part serve the purposes for which others employ alcoholic
stimulants. An eminent chemist states that persons accustomed to
the use of wine, when they take cod liver oil, soon lose the taste
and inclination for wine. The Temperance Societies should therefore
canonise cod liver oil.

It is true that thousands have lived without a knowledge of tea or
coffee; and daily experience teaches, that under certain circumstances
they may be dispensed with without disadvantage to the merely animal
vital functions. “But it is an error,” writes Liebig, “certainly,
to conclude from this that they may be altogether dispensed with in
reference to their effects; and it is a question whether, if we had no
tea and no coffee, the popular instinct would not seek for and discover
the means of replacing them. Science, which accuses us of so much in
these respects, will have, in the first place, to ascertain whether
it depends on the sensual and sinful inclinations merely, that every
people of the globe has appropriated some such means of acting on the
nervous life—from the shore of the Pacific, where the Indian retires
from life for days, in order to enjoy the bliss of intoxication with
coca, to the Arctic regions, where the Kamtschatdale and Koriakes
prepare an intoxicating beverage from a poisonous mushroom. We think
it, on the contrary, highly probable, not to say certain, that
the instinct of man, feeling certain blanks, certain wants of the
intensified life of our times, which cannot be satisfied or filled
up by mere quantity, has discovered, in these products of vegetable
life, the true means of giving to his food the desired and necessary
quality. Every substance, in so far as it has a share in the vital
processes, acts in a certain way on our nervous system, on the sensual
appetites, and the will of man.” So, although some have no tobacco,
they find in the use of hemp or opium a substitute for that vegetable
which nature has denied them. There can be no doubt that had we never
become acquainted with tobacco or gin, we should have discovered and
used some other narcotic in the place of the one, and a no less fiery
and injurious form of alcohol instead of the other. To talk of the
_degraded_ Chinese as _barbarians_, indulging to an awful extent in
opium, and the _ignorant_ Hindoo and Arab, as in madness revelling
in debauches of hemp confections, is an evidence of the workings of
the same narrow-minded prejudices under which some who abstain from
alcoholic stimulants rail and rave at those whose feelings and habits
lay in an opposite direction, charging upon the enjoyments of the
many the excesses of the few. Friend Brooklove, drink thy tea, and
re-consider thy verdict!



 “Oh, kind and blissful mockery, when the manacled felon, on his bed
 of straw, is transported to the home of his innocent boyhood, and
 the pining and forsaken fair, is happy with her fond and faithful
 lover—and the poor man hath abundance—and the dying man is in joyous
 health—and despair hath hope—and those that want are as though they
 wanted not—and they who weep are as though they wept not.—But the
 fashion of these things passeth away.”

“At home” may mean, that quarter-day has passed with all its terrors,
accounts settled, bills filed, tax-collectors satisfied, and the
horizon of finance clear and cloudless. There is no fear of duns or
doctors, and John Thomas announces “at home.” Or it may mean, that
having enrobed oneself in morning gown and slippers, filled and lighted
our pipe, seated ourselves in an easy chair, placed our feet firmly
and contentedly on the hearthrug, and commenced enveloping ourselves
in a cloud like that in which Juno conveyed the vanquished Paris from
the field to the presence of the fairest of the daughters of Greece,
we _feel_, with reference to ourselves, and in despite of the rest
of the world—“at home.” Or it may mean, that having made the “grand
tour,” crossed the desert on a camel, or seen the lions of Singapore,
Hong-Kong, and Shanghai, we are once more on our native soil, and
no longer fear Italian banditti or Turkish plague, sandstorms or
crocodiles, Chinese poisoners or bow-wow pie, that we breathe again,
and are “at home”. Or it may mean half-a-dozen things beside. But to
see a man at home, is to see him in all the gradations of light and
shade, of sunlight and shadow, brighter and deeper, than when he covers
his head and walks abroad to look at the sun.

Gunja is not at home in Europe. Notwithstanding the efforts made in
England and France to introduce the Indian hemp into medical practice,
and the asseverations of medical practitioners in British India,
who have extolled its power as a narcotic and anodyne, it has never
settled upon European soil. The drugs already in use to produce sleep
and alleviate pain, still occupy their old popularity, undisturbed
by the visit of a stranger, who, finding the reception too cold, has
retreated. In France, certain experiments were made, and by leave of
Dr. Moreau, we shall take advantage of them, and of the Journal of
Psychological Medicine, to ascertain the effects of this drug on those
who have used it.

Since the days of Prosper Albinus, both learned and unlearned have
listened with wonder to the marvellous effects of those “drowsy syrups
of the East,” when—

      “Quitting earth’s dull sphere, the soul exulting soars
  To each bright realm by fancy conjured up,
  And clothed in hues of beauty, there to mix
  With laughing spirits on the moonlit green;
  Or rove with angels through the courts of heaven,
  And catch the music flowing from their tongues.”

In Asia Minor an extract from the Indian hemp has been from time
immemorial swallowed with the greatest avidity, as the means of
producing the most ecstatic delight, and affording a gratification even
of a higher character than that which is known there to follow on the
use of opium. A small dose seems only to influence the moral faculties,
giving to the intellectual powers greater vivacity, and momentary
vigour. A larger dose seems to awaken a new sensibility, and call into
action dormant capabilities of enjoyment. Not only is the imagination
excited, but an intensity of energy pervades all the passions and
affections of the mind. Memory not only recurs with facility to the
past, but incorporates delusions with it, for with whatever accuracy
the facts may be remembered, they are painted with glowing colours,
and made sources of pleasure. The senses become instruments also of
deception, the eye and the ear, not only are alive to every impression,
but they delude the reason, and disturb the brain, by the delusions to
which they become subject. Gaiety, or a soothing melancholy, may be
produced, as pleasant or disagreeable sights or sounds are presented.

So much alive are the swallowers of haschisch to the effect of external
objects upon the perceptive powers, that they generally retire to
the depths of the harem, where the almas, or females educated for
this purpose, add, by the charms of music and the dance, to the false
perceptions which the disordered condition of the brain gives rise to.
Insensibly the reason and the volition are entirely overcome, and yield
themselves up to the fantastic imagery which affords such delight. Can
we wonder at such people producing and admiring all the extravagancies
of the “Arabian Nights’ Entertainments?” Can we be surprised at
their belief in a paradise for the future, which is at best but a
voluptuary’s dream?

At the commencement of the intoxication produced by the hemp, there
is the most perfect consciousness of the state of the disordered
faculties. There exists the power of analyzing the sensations, but the
mind seems unwilling to resume its guiding and controlling power. It is
conscious that all is but a dream, and yet feels a delight in perfect
abandonment to the false enjoyment. It will not attempt to awaken
from the reverie, but rather to indulge in it, to the utmost extent
of which it is capable. There seems an ideal existence, but it is too
pleasurable to shake off—it penetrates into the inmost recesses of the
body—it envelopes it. The dreams and phantoms of the imagination appear
part of the living being; and yet, during all this, there remains the
internal conviction that the real world is abandoned, for a fictitious
and imaginative existence, which has charms too delightful to resist.
To the extreme rapidity with which ideas, sensations, desires, rush
across the brain, may be attributed the singular retardation of time,
which appears to be lengthened out to eternity. Similar effects,
proceeding, doubtless, from the same or similar causes, are noticed
in the “Confessions of an Opium-Eater,” wherein he speaks of minutes
becoming as ages.

Dr. Moreau gives singular illustrations of this peculiar state. On one
occasion he took a dose of the haschisch previously to his going to the
opera, and he fancied that he was upwards of three hours finding his
way through the passage leading to it. M. de Saulcy partook of a dose
of haschisch, and when he recovered, it appeared to him that he had
been under its influence for a hundred years at least.

Whilst an indescribable sensation of happiness takes possession of
the individual, and the joy and exultation are felt to be almost too
much to be borne, the mind seems totally at a loss to account for
it, or to explain from what particular source it springs. There is a
positive sensation of universal contentment, but it is vain to attempt
to explain the nature of the enjoyment. The peculiar motion appears
to be wholly inexplicable. A sense of something unusual pervades
every fibre, but all attempts to analyze or describe it are declared
to be in vain. After a certain period of time the system appears to
be no longer capable of further happiness, the sensibility seems
thoroughly exhausted, a gentle sense of lassitude, physical and moral,
gradually succeeds—an apathy, a carelessness, an absolute calm, from
which no exterior object can arouse the torpid frame. These are the
great characteristics of this stage. The most alarming or afflicting
intelligence is listened to without exciting any emotion. The mind
is thoroughly absorbed, the perception seems blunted, the senses
scarcely convey any impression to the brain. A re-action has taken
place, yet the collapse is unattended with any disagreeable feeling.
The energies are all prostrate, yet there are none of those depressing
symptoms which attend the last stages of ordinary intoxication. All
that is described is an ineffable tranquillity of soul, during which
it is perfectly inaccessible to sorrow or pain. “The haschisch eater
is happy,” continues Dr. Moreau, “not like the gourmand, or the
famished man when satisfying his appetite, or the voluptuary in the
gratification of his amative desires; but like him who hears tidings
which fill him with joy, or like the miser counting his treasures,
the gambler who is successful at play, or the ambitious man who is
intoxicated with success.”

All those who have tried the experiment do not speak in such glowing
terms of the results. M. de Saulcey, who tried it at Jerusalem,
says:——“The experiment, to which we had recourse for passing our time,
turned out so utterly disagreeable that I may safely say, not one of us
will ever be tempted to try it again. The haschisch is an abominable
poison which the dregs of the population alone drink and smoke in the
East, and which we were silly enough to take, in too large a dose, on
the eve of New Year’s-day. We fancied we were going to have an evening
of enjoyment, but we nearly died through our imprudence. As I had taken
a larger dose of this pernicious drug than my companions, I remained
almost insensible for more than twenty-four hours, after which I found
myself completely broken down with nervous spasms, and incoherent

It is not uncommon for illusions and hallucinations to occur during the
early stage, when the senses have lost their power of communicating
faithfully to the brain the impressions they receive.

Dr. Auber, in his work on the plague, narrates various instances
of delusions occurring in the course of his administering hemp
preparations as a relief in that disease. An officer in the navy saw
puppets dancing on the roof of his cabin—another believed that he was
transformed into the piston of a steam-engine—a young artist imagined
that his body was endowed with such elasticity as to enable him to
enter into a bottle, and remain there at his ease. Other writers speak
of individuals similarly affected: one of a man who believed himself
changed entirely into brittle glass, and in constant fear of being
cracked or broken, or having a finger or toe knocked off; another, of
a youth who believed himself growing and expanding to such an extent,
that he deemed it inevitable that the room in which he was would be
too small to contain him, and that he must, during the expansion,
force up the ceiling into the room above. Dr. Moreau, on one occasion,
believed that he was melting away by the heat of the sun, at another,
that his whole body was inflated like a balloon, that he was enabled
to elevate himself, and vanish in the air. The ideas that generally
presented themselves to him of these illusions were, that objects
wore the semblance of phantasmagoric figures, small at first, then
gradually enlarging, then suddenly becoming enormous and vanishing.
Sometimes these figures were subjects of alarm to him. A little hideous
dwarf, clothed in the dress of the thirteenth century, haunted him for
some time. Aware of the delusion, he entreated that the object which
kept up the illusion should be removed—these were a hat and a coat
upon a neighbouring table. An old servant of seventy-one, was, upon
another occasion, represented by his eye to the brain as a young lady,
adorned with all the grace of beauty, and his white hair and wrinkles
transformed into irresistible attractions. A friend who presented him
with a glass of lemonade was pictured to his disordered imagination as
a furnace of hot charcoal. Sometimes the happiness was interrupted by
delusions that affrighted him. Thus, having indulged himself with his
accustomed dose, every object awoke his terror and alarm, which neither
the conviction of his own mind nor the soothing explanations of his
friends could diminish, and he was for a considerable length of time
under the most fearful impressions.

          “Through the darkness spread
  Around, the gaping earth then vomited
  Legions of foul and ghastly shapes, which
  Hung upon his flight.”

These are the immediate effects produced by this most extraordinary
substance. There are others, however, still more singular, which
have attracted the attention of travellers, and become the objects of
intense curiosity. These are of a nature unknown in connection with
any other substance, and have formed the basis of numerous marvellous
narrations, that have astonished even the incredulous. Those who have
seen the fearful symptoms betrayed during delirium tremens, and have
heard the sufferers declare that they saw before them genii, fairies,
devils, know how the senses may become the source of delusion, and
hence may judge to _what_ a disordered state of the intellect may
lead. When the brain has once become disordered by the use of the
narcotic hemp, it becomes ever afterwards liable to hallucinations and
delusions, unlike those produced by anything else, save intoxicating
liquours after an attack of delirium tremens. The mind then believes
that it sees visions, and beholds beings with whom it can converse.
The phenomena gradually develop themselves, until illusions take the
place of realities, and hold firm possession of the mind, which would
seem on all other points to be healthy and vigorous, but on this point,
insane. So firm and so fixed becomes the belief, that neither argument
convinces, nor ridicule shakes, the individual from his faith, in which
a prejudiced or too credulous nature confirms him but the more.

The Arabs, especially those of Egypt, are exceedingly superstitious,
and there is scarce a person, even among the better informed, who does
not believe in the existence of genii. According to their belief there
are three species of intelligent beings, namely, angels, who were
created of light, genii, who were created of fire, and men, created of
earth. The prevailing opinion is that Sheytans (devils) are rebellious
genii. It is said that God created the genii two thousand years before
Adam, and that there are believers and infidels among them as among
men. It is held that they are aerial animals with transparent bodies,
which can assume any form. That they are subject to death, but live
many ages. The following are traditions of the Prophet concerning
them. The genii are of various shapes, having the forms of serpents,
scorpions, lions, wolves, jackals, &c. They are of three kinds, one
on the land, one in the sea, one in the air. They consist of forty
troops, each troop consisting of six hundred thousand. They are of
three sorts, one has wings and fly; another, are snakes and dogs; and
the third move about from place to place like men. Domestic snakes on
the same authority, are asserted to be genii. If serpents or scorpions
intrude themselves upon the faithful at prayers, the Prophet orders
that they be killed, but on other occasions, first to admonish them
to depart, and then if they remained to kill them. It is related that
Aisheeh, the prophet’s wife, having killed a serpent in her chamber,
was alarmed by a dream, and fearing that it might have been a Muslim
Jinnee, as it did not enter her chamber when she was undressed, gave
in alms, as an expiation, about three hundred pounds, the price of the
blood of a Muslim. The genii appear to mankind most commonly in the
shapes of serpents, dogs, cats, or human beings. In the last case, they
are sometimes of the stature of men, and sometimes of a size enormously
gigantic. If good, they are generally resplendently handsome, if
evil, horribly hideous. They become invisible at pleasure (by a rapid
extension or rarefaction of the particles which compose them) or
suddenly disappear in the earth or air, or through a solid wall.

The Sheykh Khaleel El Medabighee related the following anecdote of a
Jinnee. He had, he said, a favourite black cat, which always slept
at the foot of his musquito curtain. Once, at midnight, he heard a
knocking at the door of his house, and his cat went and opened the
hanging shutter of the window, and called, “Who is there?” A voice
replied, “I am such a one,” (mentioning a strange name) “the jinnee,
open the door.” “The lock,” said the Sheykh’s cat, “has had the name
pronounced upon it.” It is the custom to say, “In the name of God, the
compassionate, the merciful,” on locking the door, covering bread,
laying down their clothes at night, and on other occasions, and this
they believe protects their property from genii. “Then throw me down,”
said the voice, “two cakes of bread.” “The bread-basket,” answered
the cat at the window, “has had the name pronounced upon it.” “Well,”
said the stranger, “at least give me a draught of water.” But he was
answered that the water-jar had been secured in the same manner, and
asked what he was to do, seeing that he was likely to die of hunger
and thirst. The Sheykh’s cat told him to go to the door of the next
house, and went there also himself, and opened the door, and soon
after returned. Next morning the Sheykh deviated from a habit which he
had constantly observed; he gave to the cat half of the fateereh upon
which he breakfasted instead of a little morsel which he was wont to
give, and afterwards said, “O my cat, thou knowest that I am a poor
man; bring me then a little gold,” upon which words the cat immediately
disappeared, and he saw it no more. Such are the stories which they
believe and narrate of these genii; and there is scarce an indulger in
haschisch whose imagination does not lead him to believe that he has
seen or had communication with some of these beings.

Mr. Lane, translator of the “Arabian Nights,” had once a humourous
cook addicted to the intoxicating haschisch, of whom he relates the
following circumstance:——“Soon after he had entered my service, I
heard him, one evening, muttering, and exclaiming on the stairs as
if surprised at some event, and then politely saying, ‘But why are
you sitting here in the draught? Do me the favour to come up into the
kitchen, and amuse me with your conversation a little!’ The civil
address not being answered, was repeated, and varied several times,
till I called out to the man, and asked him to whom he was speaking.
‘The efreet of a Turkish soldier,’ he replied, ‘is sitting on the
stairs, smoking his pipe, and refuses to move; he came up from the well
below; pray step and see him.’ On my going to the stairs, and telling
the servant that I could see nothing, he only remarked that it was
because I had a clear conscience. My cook professed to see this efreet
frequently after.”

Dr. Moreau enumerates many instances, from his own immediate followers,
of genii seers among the haschisch eaters. His dragoman, who had
been attached in that capacity to Champollion, the captain of the
vessel, and several sailors, had not only a firm belief in, but had
actually received visits from genii or efreets, and neither argument
nor ridicule could shake their conviction. The captain had, on two
occasions, seen a jinnee, he appeared to him under the form of a sheep.
On returning one evening somewhat late to his house, the captain found
a stray sheep bleating with unusual noise. He took him home, sheared
him for his long fleece, and was about to kill him, when suddenly the
sheep rose up to the height of twenty feet, in the form of a black man,
and in a voice of thunder, announced himself as a jinnee.

One of the sailors, Mansour, a man who had made nearly twenty voyages
with Europeans, recounted his interview with a genius under the guise
of a young girl of eight or ten years of age. He met her in the evening
on the banks of the Nile, weeping deplorably because she had lost her
way. Mansour, touched with compassion, took her home with him. In
the morning he mounted her on an ass, to take her to her parents. On
entering a grove of palms, he heard behind him some fearful sighs; on
looking round to ascertain the cause, he saw, to his horror, that the
little girl had dismounted, that her lower extremities had become of an
enormous length, resembling two frightful serpents, which she trailed
after her in the sand. Her arms became lengthened out, her face mounted
up into the skies, black as charcoal, her immense mouth, armed with
crocodile’s teeth, vomited forth flame. Poor Mansour fell suddenly upon
the earth, where, overcome with terror, he passed the night. In the
morning he crawled home, and two months of illness attested the fact of
disorder of the brain.

Many such tales are recounted, and all told by the sufferers with
the firmest belief, and the most earnest conviction of their truth;
each, by his own delusion, strengthening and confirming others. All
those who had seen visions had their minds diseased through the use
of haschisch, while those who did not indulge in the habit were free
from these extraordinary illusions. These hallucinations seem to be
manifested independently of any then existing affection of the brain,
and the individual appears, under other circumstances, fitted for the
usual avocations of life. They may be only symptoms of a previously
disordered intellect, but they may also be the starting point,
from which insanity is developed. In all instances in which these
hallucinations occur, watchfulness is necessary, since, in the majority
of cases they terminate finally in derangement of the brain to the
extent generally denominated _madness_.

Other curious results from the use of this narcotic are detailed by
Dr. O’Shaughnessy, as exhibited by patients in India, to whom he had
prescribed it, in his capacity of medical practitioner, and other
experiments he made.

A dog, to whom some _churrus_ was given, in half an hour became stupid
and sleepy, dozing at intervals, starting up, wagging his tail as if
extremely contented; he ate food greedily, on being called he staggered
to and fro, and his countenance assumed the appearance of utter and
helpless drunkenness. In six hours these symptoms had passed away, and
he was perfectly well and lively.

A patient to whom hemp had been administered, on a sudden uttered a
loud peal of laughter, and exclaimed, that four spirits were springing
with his bed into the air. Attempts to pacify him were in vain, his
laughter became momentarily more and more uncontrollable. In a short
time he exhibited symptoms of that peculiar nervous condition, which
mesmerists have of late years made us more acquainted with, under the
name of _catalepsy_. In whatever imaginable attitude his arms and legs
were placed, they became rigid and remained. A waxen figure could not
be more pliant or stationary in each position, no matter how contrary
to the natural influence of gravity on the part. A strong stimulant
drink was given to him, and his intoxication led to such noisy
exclamations, that he had to be removed to a separate room, where he
soon became tranquil, in less than an hour his limbs had gained their
natural condition, and in two hours he said he was perfectly well, and
very hungry.

A rheumatic cooly was subjected to the influence of half a grain
of hemp resin. In two hours the old gentleman became talkative and
musical, told several stories, and sang songs to a circle of highly
delighted auditors, ate the dinners of two persons, subscribed for him
in the ward, and finally fell soundly asleep, and so continued until
the following morning. At noon he was perfectly free from headache, or
any unpleasant sequel; at his request, the medicine was repeated, and
he was indulged with it for a few days, and then discharged.

A medical pupil took about a quarter of a grain of the resin in the
form of tincture. A shout of loud and prolonged laughter ushered in the
symptoms, and a state of catalepsy occurred for two or three minutes.
He then enacted the part of a Rajah giving orders to his courtiers;
he could recognize none of his fellow students or acquaintances—all
to his mind seemed as altered as his own condition; he spoke of many
years having passed since his student’s days, described his teachers
and friends with a piquancy which a dramatist would envy, detailed
the adventures of an imaginary series of years, his travels, his
attainment of wealth and power. He entered on discussions on religious,
scientific, and political subjects, with astonishing eloquence, and
disclosed an extent of knowledge, reading, and a ready apposite wit,
which those who knew him best were altogether unprepared for. For three
hours and upwards he maintained the character he at first assumed,
and with a degree of ease and dignity perfectly becoming his high
situation. This scene terminated nearly as abruptly as it commenced,
and no headache, sickness, or other unpleasant symptoms followed the

Without detailing instances in which its virtues as a medicinal agent
are set forth, or naming cases of hydrophobia in which it was given
and failed, or of tetanus in which it was resorted to with success, we
can scarce forbear noticing the fact, that to an infant only 60 days
old, 130 drops of the tincture had to be given to produce narcotism,
whilst 10 drops produced those effects in the student above named, who
believed himself an important Rajah.

The most recent information we have of the effects of haschisch is
supplied by Professor K. D. Schroff. It relates to a kind called
“Birmingi,” the laughter producer (“macht keif”) obtained from

This preparation was in the form of tablets, hard and difficult to
break, externally almost black and smooth, with but a slight smell. The
taste was neither bitter nor aromatic, but rather insipid. On prolonged
mastication, the very tough mass became gradually pappy, and eventually
dissolved in the saliva, leaving a crumbling solid substance. It
produced irritation in the throat, when chewed for a long time.

Dr. Heinrich took ten grains of this preparation in May, 1859, at about
half-past five in the afternoon. He chewed this quantity for about an
hour, during which it gradually dissolved and was swallowed; only the
insoluble residue, about two grains, was spit out. Irritation of the
throat, and slight nausea, succeeded. The attempt to smoke a cigar in
the open air had to be given up on account of dryness and roughness
in the throat. Dr. H. walked into town, and looked at the print-shops
without perceiving any change in himself. At the end of an hour and a
half, about seven o’clock, he met an acquaintance, to whom he talked
all kinds of nonsensical trash, and made the most foolish comparisons;
henceforth, everything he looked at seemed to him ridiculous. This
condition of excitement lasted about twenty minutes, during which
his face and eyes grew redder and redder. Suddenly a great degree of
sadness came over him; everything was too narrow for him—he acquired
a disturbed appearance, and became pale. His sadness increased to a
feeling of anxiety, accompanied by the sensation as if his blood was
flowing in a boiling state up to his head; the feeling as if his body
was raised aloft, and as if he was about to fly up, was particularly
characteristic. His anxiety and weakness overcame him to such a degree,
that he was obliged to collect all the power of his will, and his
companion had to seize him firmly under the arm, in order to bring him
on, which was done in all haste, as he feared a new attack, and wished,
if possible, to reach a place where he could be taken care of; but in
the course of three minutes, while he was still walking, the attack set
in with increased violence.

It was only with great difficulty he reached the Institute—here he
immediately drank two pints of cold water, and washed his head, neck,
and arms with fresh water, on which he became somewhat better. The
improvement, however, lasted only about five minutes. He sat down
on a chair and felt his pulse, which he found to be very small and
slow, with very long intervals. He was no longer in a state to take
out his watch to ascertain more exactly the frequency of his pulse,
for the feeling of anxiety came over him again, and with it he traced
the premonitory symptoms of a new and violent attack. He was taken
into the adjoining chamber, stripped himself partly of his clothes,
and gave over his things, directing what was to be done with them
after his death, for he was firmly convinced that his last hour had
struck, and continually cried out, “I am dying; I shall soon be
undergoing dissection in the dead-room.” The new attack was more
violent than the former were, so that the patient retained only an
imperfect degree of consciousness, and at the height of the paroxysm,
even this disappeared. After the fit, too, consciousness returned but
imperfectly: only so much remained in his recollection, that the
images which arose within him constantly increased in ghastliness,
until they gave way to the unconscious state, and that gradually,
with returning consciousness, less formidable figures appeared in
their stead. Subsequently he stated that it appeared to him as if he
were transported from the level surface to a hill, thence to a steep
precipice, thence to a bare rock, and lastly to the ridge of a hill,
with an immense abyss before him. From this time, he could no longer
control the current of ideas following one another with impetuous
haste, and he could not avoid speaking uninterruptedly until a fresh
attack came on, which quite deprived him of consciousness for some
minutes. The flow of his ideas had now free course; and notwithstanding
his loquacity, he could only utter a few words of what he imagined.
All his thoughts and deeds from his childhood came into his mind. The
senses of sight and hearing were unimpaired, for when he opened his
eyes, he knew all who were standing about him, and recognized them by
their voices when his eyes were closed. Towards ten o’clock—that is,
four hours and a half after the seizure—the storm was somewhat allayed;
he obtained control over his imagination, ceased to speak incessantly,
and traced where he felt pain. During the night he drank a great deal
of lemonade; nevertheless, sleep fled from him, and his imagination
was constantly at work. Next morning he dressed, and was conveyed
home, but could not set to his daily work, because, notwithstanding
the greatest efforts, he could not collect his scattered thoughts,
and he also felt bodily weak. He was obliged to take to bed, where
he remained till the morning of the third day. During this time, he
drank four pints of lemonade, and took soup only twice, as he had no
appetite. On the third day he was led about, supported by a second
person, but was still rather confused and giddy. This day he ate but
little, and drank lemonade. During the second and third nights, his
sleep was tranquil. On the fourth day he felt well again, regained
his appetite, his strength increased, and his appearance became less
unsettled. Nevertheless, walking about for half an hour tired him
much. The depression which came on after the excitement gave way only

The incautious use of hemp is also noticed as leading to, or ending
in, insanity, especially among young persons, who try it for the first
time. This state may be recognised by the strange balancing gait of
the victim, a constant rubbing of the hands, perpetual giggling, and a
propensity to caress and chafe the feet of all bystanders, of whatever
rank. The eye wears an expression of cunning and merriment which can
scarcely be mistaken. In a few cases, the patients are violent—in all,
voraciously hungry.

Under the influence of this drug, its devotees exhibited, doubtless,
to the astonished gaze of the early travellers from this, and other
northern countries, strange freaks and antics, which filled them
with wonder, and sent them home brim-full of wonderful legends and
marvellous stories gathered from the lips of the votaries of Hemp. The
ready and active brain of the oriental—always associating places and
people, actions and accidents, men and manners, with the unseen agency
of ghosts and genii—under the influence of haschisch, gave full scope
to their imaginations, letting loose upon the traveller a torrent
of romance, and peopling every corner of his route with legions of
spirits, set him wondering to himself whether he had really escaped
from the common-place world of his nativity into another sphere
specially devoted to the occupation of etherial beings. Now listening
to the narrative of a reputed communicant with spirits, he hears of
the concentrated genii, confined in the narrow form of a little dog,
or smaller still, in a little fish, gradually expanding, and towering
higher and higher, till his head reached to the clouds, and then
with a voice of thunder communicating his message to the terrified
and superstitious Arab crouching at his feet. Anon, he hears of the
plague, and his credulous dragoman informs him that once upon a time a
pious Moslem was worshipping at sunrise, when he saw a hideous phantom
approaching him, and the following conversation passed between them.

“Who art thou?”

“The Plague.”

“Whither goest thou?”

“To Cairo.”


“To kill ten thousand.”

“Go not.”

“It is destined that I should.”

“Go then, but slay not more than thou hast said.”

“To hear is to obey.”

After the plague was over, at the same hour, and in the same place, the
phantom once more appears to him, and the holy man again addressed him

“Whence comest thou?”

“From Cairo.”

“How many persons hast thou destroyed?”

“Ten thousand, according to my orders.”

“Thou liest, twenty thousand are dead.”

“’Tis true, I killed ten thousand, _fear_ carried off the remainder.”

Shortly, and the traveller passes a tree, a mound, or a mass of ruins.
The dragoman narrates the story of confined treasures and protecting
genii, and marvels of the days long gone, and of deeds of sin, and
ends with the universal ejaculation, “God is great, and Mahomet is
his prophet.” From these people of mysteries and land of marvels the
traveller returns, and though he only narrates, for fear of shame,
the more credible of the stories he has heard, from that day forth,
poor man, his friends shake their heads, and mutter their fears that a
tropical sun has addled his brains.

Naturally and nationally superstitious and credulous, the use of the
narcotic assists in adding to his store of legendary lore, and the
Arab or Turk becomes in himself not only a new edition of the “Arabian
Night’s Entertainments,” but it also becomes in him a living belief,
and the narration comes from his lips with all the earnestness of
positive truth, impressing itself upon the auditor as a circumstance
in which the narrator was a principal actor. And father to son, and
generation to generation, tell the tales, recount the marvels, and
swallow the haschisch of their forefathers, and Allah is praised, and
Mahomet is still “the Prophet.”



  “This is a strange repose, to be asleep
  With eyes wide open, standing, speaking, moving,
  And yet so fast asleep.”——_The Tempest._

The _Hubble-bubble proper_ is a smoking apparatus so contrived that
the smoke, in its passage from the point of consumption to that of
inhalation, shall pass through water, which performs the office of
a cooler. The _Hubble-bubble common_ consists of a cocoa-nut shell,
with two holes perforated in one end, at about an inch apart, through
the germinating eyes of the nut. Through these orifices the kernel
is extracted, and a wooden or bamboo tube, about nine inches long,
surmounted by a bowl, is passed in at one opening to the bottom of
the shell, which is partly filled with water, and the smoke is either
sucked from the other hole, or a tube is inserted into that opening
also, as an improvement on the ruder practice, through which to imbibe
the smoke. The hubble-bubble is used generally for smoking hemp, but in
Siam occasionally for opium.

Smoking the hemp is indulged in, with some variations, from the course
usually pursued with tobacco. In Africa this mode of indulgence seems
to be more universal than that of the Indian weed. The inhabitants
of Ambriz seek with avidity the solace of this preparation; they,
nevertheless, appear to employ it in moderation, and are not so
passionately addicted to its influence as other native tribes—they
therefore suffer less from those pernicious effects which result from
intemperate indulgence in it. The Aboriginal method of smoking this
narcotic consists in fixing the clay bowl of a native pipe into the
centre of a large gourd, and passing it to each individual composing
the community, who in succession take several inhalations of the
smoke, which is succeeded by violent paroxysms of coughing, flushed
face, suffused eyes, and spasmodic gestures, with other symptoms
indicative of its dominant action on the system. Upon the subsidence
of this excitement, the party experience all those soothing sensations
of ease and comfort, with that pleasing languor stated to constitute
the potent charm, that renders it in such universal request. If the
inhaling process is carried beyond this stage, inebriation shortly


The Hottentots and Bushmen smoke the leaves of this plant, either
alone or mixed with tobacco; and as they generally indulge to excess,
invariably become intoxicated. When the Bushmen were in London
exhibiting themselves, they smoked the hemp, from pipes made from the
tusks of animals.

The Bechuanas have a curious method of smoking the _Dacha_. Two holes
the size of the bowl of a tobacco-pipe are made in the ground about a
foot apart; between these a small stick is placed, and clay moulded
over it, the stick is then withdrawn, leaving a passage connecting
the two holes, into one of which the requisite material and a light
is introduced, and the smoking commenced by the members of the party,
each in turn lying on his face on the ground, inhaling a deep whiff,
and then drinking some water, apparently to drive the fumes downward.
It is a singular circumstance, that a similar method of smoking is
employed by certain of the tribes of India, as already described, on
the authority of Dr. Forbes Royle.


Among the Zoolus the _dacha_ is placed at the end of a reed introduced
into the side of an oxhorn, which is filled with water, and the mouth
applied to the upper part of the horn. The quantity of smoke which is
inhaled through so large an opening, unconfined by a mouth-piece, often
affects the breath, and produces much coughing, notwithstanding which
the natives are very fond of it; this kind of pipe is called _Egoodu_.
Tobacco composed of the dried leaf of the wild hemp is in general use,
and has a very stupifying effect, frequently intoxicating, on which
occasions they invariably commence long and loudly to praise the king.

Though some of the Zoolus indulge in smoking, all, without exception,
are passionately fond of snuff, which is composed of dried “dacca”
leaves mixed with burnt aloes, and powdered. No greater compliment can
be offered than to share the contents of a snuff calabash with your
neighbour. The snuff is shovelled into the palm of the hand, with a
small ivory spoon, whence it is carefully sniffed up. Worse than a Goth
would that barbarian be who would wantonly interrupt a social party
thus engaged.

The Delagoans of the eastern coast, consider the smoking of the
“hubble-bubble” one of the greatest luxuries of life. A long hollow
reed or cane, with the lower end immersed in a horn of water, and the
upper end capped with a piece of earthenware, shaped like a thimble,
is held in the hand. They cover the top, with the exception of a small
aperture, through which, by a peculiar action of the mouth, they draw
the smoke from the pipe above by the water below; they fill the mouth,
and after having kept it some time there, eject it with violence from
the ears and nostrils. “I have often,” says Mr. Owen, “known them
giddy, and apparently half stifled from indulging in this fascinating
luxury—it produces a violent whooping and coughing, accompanied by
a profuse perspiration, and great temporary debility, and yet it is
considered by the natives highly strengthening, and is always resorted
to by them previously to undertaking a long journey, or commencing work
in the field. To the hut of an old man who was thus indulging himself,
I was attracted by the loudness of the cough it had occasioned, and as
I entered I observed that his feeble frame had almost fallen a victim
to the violent effects of the bang or dakka he was smoking. He had
thrown himself back on some faggots, and it was not until I had been
some time there that he appeared at all conscious of my presence; yet,
as soon as the half inebriated wretch had obtained sufficient strength,
he commenced his devotions to the pipe again, and by the time I quitted
the hut was reduced to the same state as that in which I had found him.”

“I have seen the opium-eaters of Constantinople,” writes the _Times’_
correspondent, “and the hashish-smokers of Constantine. I recollected
having a taboosh in the bazaars of Smyrna from a young Moslem whose
palsied hand and dotard head could not count the coins I offered him.
I recollect the hashish-smokers of Constantine, who were to be seen
and heard every afternoon at the bottom of the abyss which yawns under
the Adultress Rock—lean, fleshless Arabs—smoking their little pipes
of hemp-seed, chaunting and swaying their skeleton forms to and fro,
shrieking to the wild echoes of the chasm, then sinking exhausted under
the huge cactus—sights and sounds of saturnalia in purgatory.”

Hemp, of all narcotics, appears to be the most uncertain in its
effects. It is so in the form of haschisch or alcoholic infusion, and
doubtless is so also when smoked. Professor Schroff says of it—“I
have seen patients take from one to ten, or, in one case, even so
much as thirty grains of the alcoholic extract in the course of an
evening and night, sometimes within a few hours, without producing
any particular symptoms, except some determination to the head; even
the so much wished for sleep, on account of which the remedy was
taken, was not obtained, while in other cases, one grain of the same
preparation, from the same source, produced violent symptoms, bordering
on poisoning—delirium, very rapid pulse, extreme restlessness, and
subsequently, considerable depression. I must, therefore, repeat, that
Indian hemp, and all its preparations, exhibits the greatest variety
in the degree and mode of action, according to the difference of
individuality, both in the healthy and diseased condition, that they
are, therefore, to be classed among uncertain remedies, to be used with
great caution.”

In India, _Gunjah_ is used for smoking alone. About 180 grains and a
little dried tobacco are rubbed together in the palm of the hand with a
few drops of water. This suffices for three persons. A little tobacco
is placed in the pipe first, then a layer of the prepared Gunjah, then
more tobacco, and the fire above all. Four or five persons usually join
in this debauch. The hookah is passed round, and each person takes a
single draught. Intoxication ensues almost instantly; from one draught
to the unaccustomed, within half an hour; and after four or five
inspirations to those more practised in the vice. The effects differ
from those occasioned by drinking the _Sidhee_. Heaviness, laziness,
and agreeable reveries ensues, but the person can be readily roused,
and is able to discharge routine occupations, such as pulling the
punkah, waiting at table, and divers similar employments.

Young America is beginning to use the “Bang,” so popular among the
Hindoos, though in rather a different manner, for young Jonathan must
in some sort be an original. It is not a “drink,” but a mixture of
bruised hemp tops and the powder of the betel, rolled up like a quid
of tobacco. It turns the lips and gums of a deep red, and if indulged
in largely, produces violent intoxication. Lager beer and schnaps will
give way for “bang,” and red lips, instead of red noses, become the



  “He took and tasted, a new life
  Flowed through his renovated frame;
  His limbs, that late were sore and stiff,
  Felt all the freshness of repose;
    His dizzy brain was calmed,
  The heavy aching of his lids
    At once was taken off;
  For Laila, from the bowers of Paradise,
    Had borne the healing fruit.”——_Thalaba._

The widely distributed race of Malays, occupy not only the Malayan
Peninsula, and, though not exclusively, the islands of the Indian
Archipelago, but has penetrated into Madagascar, and spreads itself
through the islands of the Pacific from New Zealand, the Society, the
Friendly Isles, and the Marquesas, to the distant Sandwich and Easter
Isles. Whatever may have been the starting point, it is essentially a
shore-dwelling race, peopling only islands, or such portions of the
continent as border the ocean, and never penetrating into the interior,
or passing the mountains running parallel to the coast. Their energies
are most conspicuous in maritime occupations, and to this predilection
their extensive diffusion may be attributed. These people, supposed by
some to have an affinity to, or alliance with the Hindoo and Chinese
races, whence they have been called Hindoo-Chinese, present as many
points of difference as of resemblance; and while some of the customs
of the inhabitants of southern or eastern Asia may be found amongst
them, they have also others peculiarly their own. The indulgence
in opium is not unknown to the Malays, but the national indulgence
of the race is the areca or betel nut, a habit characteristic of a
sea-loving people. The use of a pipe, and especially an opium-pipe,
would be a hindrance to the freedom of their motions on board their
vessels, and require a state of inactivity or repose incompatible with
a maritime life, in order to be enjoyed. This may in part account for
the prevalence of chewing tobacco in our navy, and of the “buyo” by the

The areca palm is one of the most beautiful of the palms of India.
It has a remarkably straight trunk, rising forty or fifty feet, with
a diameter of from six to eight inches, of nearly an equal thickness
throughout. Six or seven leaves spring from the top, of about six feet
in length, hanging downwards from a long stalk in a graceful curve.
This palm is cultivated all over India, in Cochin-China, Java, and
Sumatra, and other islands of the Archipelago, for the sake of the
nuts. The fruit is of the size and shape of a hen’s egg, and consists
of an outer, firm, fibrous rind or husk, about half an inch thick, and
an inner kernel, somewhat resembling a nutmeg in size, but more conical
in shape. Internally the resemblance to a nutmeg, with its alternate
white and brown markings, is even greater. When ripe, the fruit is of
a reddish yellow colour, hanging in clusters among the bright green
leaves. If allowed to hang until fully ripe, it falls off and sows
itself in the ground, but this is not allowed. The trees are in blossom
in March and April, and the fruits may be gathered in July and August,
when the sliced nut can be prepared from them, but they do not fully
ripen till September and October.

The nuts vary in size, their quality, however, does not at all depend
upon this property, but upon their internal appearance when cut,
intimating the quantity of astringent matter contained in them. If the
white or medullary portion which intersects the red, or the astringent
part be small, has assumed a bluish tinge, and the astringent part is
very red, the nut is considered of good quality, but when the medullary
portion is in large quantity, the nut is considered more mature, and
not possessing so much astringency, is not deemed so valuable.

This palm is cultivated in gardens and plantations. The latter are
usually close to the villages, and are extremely ornamental. Like the
Malays themselves, the areca palm prefers the neighbourhood of the
sea, which is most conducive to the perfection of the fruit, as the
coca shrub of the Peruvian mountaineers delights in the slopes of the
Andes. It is stated that a fertile palm will produce, on an average,
eight hundred and fifty nuts annually, the average production in the
plantation is about fourteen pounds weight for each palm, or ten
thousand pounds per acre. The price they realize to the grower is about
two shillings the hundredweight.

The _addaca_, or betel nut, is a staple product of Travancore. In
1837 the number of trees growing there was stated in the survey to be
10,232,873, which, at the average rate named, would produce 63,000 tons
of nuts. Nearly half a million trees are in cultivation in Prince of
Wales’ Island, which would produce about 3,000 tons more. The Pedir
coast of Sumatra produces annually about 4,700 tons, of which half is
exported. The Chinese import near 3,000 tons annually, exclusive of
their supplies from Cochin-China, the amount of which is not known,
but, without doubt, more than another 3,000 tons. Many ships freighted
solely with these nuts sail yearly from the ports of Sumatra, Malacca,
and Siam.

When there is no immediate demand for the areca nuts they are not
shelled, but preserved in the husk, to save them from the ravages of
insects, which attack them nevertheless, almost as successfully. Of the
nuts produced in Travancore, upwards of 2,000 candies,[26] prepared
nuts, are annually exported to Tinnevelly and other parts of the
country, and about 3,000,000 of ripe nuts are shipped to Bombay and
other places, exclusive of the quantity consumed in the country, and
for the inland trade.

From the report of P. Shungoomry Menowen, we derive the following
account of the preparation of the nuts. There are various kinds in use.
That used by families of rank is collected while the fruit is tender;
the husk, or outer pod, is removed, the kernel, a round fleshy mass, is
boiled in water. In the first boiling of the nut, when properly done,
the water becomes red, thick, and starch like, and this is afterwards
evaporated into a substance like catechu. The boiled nuts being now
removed, sliced, and dried, the catechu-like substance is rubbed
thereto, and dried again in the sun, when they become of a shining
black colour, and are ready for use. Whole nuts, without being sliced,
are also prepared in the same form for use. Ripe nuts, as well as young
nuts in the raw state, are used by all classes of people, and ripe nuts
preserved in water are also used by the higher classes.

Nuts prepared in Travancore for exportation to Trichinopoly, Madura,
and Coimbatore, are prepared in thin slices, coloured with red catechu
or uncoloured. For Tinnevelly and other parts of the country, the nuts
are prepared by merely cutting them into two or three slices and drying
them. For Bombay, and other parts of the Northern Country, the nuts are
exported in the form of whole nuts dried with the pods.

The nut is chewed by both sexes indiscriminately in Malabar as well
as on the Coromandel coast. In Malabar they mix it with betel leaf,
chunam, and tobacco; but in Tinnevelly and other parts, tobacco is
never added. The three ingredients for the betel, as commonly used,
are, the sliced nut, the leaf of the betel pepper, in which the nut is
rolled, and chunam, or powdered lime, which is smeared over the leaf.

The areca nut is commonly known by the Malay name of _Pinang_, but in
the Acheenese language it is called _Penu_, and the palm producing it
_Ba Penu_. The ripe nut is called also _Penu massa_, and the green
_Penu mudr_. The leaf of the betel pepper is called either _Ranu_ or
_Siri_, and the lime _Chunam_ or _Gapu_. Tobacco, when used, is called

In China, the principal consumption of the nut as a masticatory is
in the provinces of Quangton, Quang-se, and Che-keang; and it may be
seen exposed for sale on little stalls about the suburbs of Canton
with the other additional articles used in its consumption. It is also
used in dyeing. In the central provinces of Hoo-kwang and Kang-si the
nut is, after being bruised and pounded, mixed with the green food of
horses as a preventive against diarrhœa, to which some kinds of food
subjects them. The Chinese state that it is used as a domestic medicine
in the North of China, some pieces being boiled, and the decoction
administered. From them is also prepared a kind of cutch, or catechu,
which is exported in great quantities, and is now used largely in this
country, together with other kinds, as a tanning and dyeing material.

In Ceylon these instruments are used: the Girri (No. 1.) for cutting
the areca nut, and the Wanggedi (No. 2) and Moolgah (No. 3), a kind of
mortar and pestle for mincing and intimately mixing the ingredients

                                No. 1.
                   GIRRI, FOR CUTTING ARECA.

                    No. 2.                 No. 3

                     FOR MIXING THE INGREDIENTS.]

In Virginia, tobacco was at one period used as a currency at a fixed
value per pound. In Peru, the labourer is paid in coca, and in the
Philippines, betel rolls have been used in the same manner as a
currency. To the Malay it is as important as meat and drink, and many
would rather forego the latter than their favourite _Pinang_. The
same thing might also be said of the inveterate quidder of tobacco;
we remember one of this description, who for years used one ounce per
day, and declared often that he had rather be deprived of his dinner
than his quid, although he liked both. Without his leaf, the confirmed
“coquero” is the most miserable of beings, and when deprived of his
customary pipe, the opium-smoker becomes sullen, ill, and utterly
incapacitated for his employment. Habits of indulgence of this kind,
when once commenced, are not so easily thrown off. It has been said
that a “coquero” was never reclaimed from the use of his coca.

No estimate can be given of the absolute quantity of areca nuts which
are used as a masticatory. Johnston calculates that they are chewed
by not less than fifty millions of people, which, at the rate of ten
pounds per year, or less than half an ounce per day, would amount to
two hundred and twenty thousand tons, or five hundred millions of
pounds, a quantity greater than that of any other narcotic except

Areca nuts have been strung and made into walking sticks,[27] and, in
this country, turned and formed into ornamental bracelets, as well as
burnt into charcoal for tooth powder. We have engirdled the earth with
pig-tail, let us apply the same kind of calculation to the estimated
annual consumption of areca nuts, and strung together in the form of a
bracelet, we have a string 505,050 miles in length, enough to go round
the world 21 times; or, supposing these nuts to be arranged side by
side, they would cover a road fourteen feet wide for the distance of
not less than 3,000 miles. If arranged in like manner in the form of a
square, they would occupy at least 5,000 acres of land.

The areca palm has given its name to the island of Penang, not from
its growing there in larger numbers, or more luxuriant than elsewhere,
but because it was the tree chiefly cultivated by the Malays who first
occupied the island. It now better deserves the title, being the
emporium for the betel nut raised on the east coast of Sumatra.

In Sumatra many of the common drinking and baking utensils in the
boats, and vessels for holding water, not dissimilar to those made by
the Australian natives from the bark of the gum trees, are made from
the spathe of this palm, it is also nailed upon the bottoms of the
boats, and often small bunches of the abortive fruit may be seen placed
as an ornament at the stem and bows of the native vessels. The male
flowers are deliciously fragrant, and are in request in the island
of Borneo on all festive occasions; they are considered a necessary
ingredient in the medicines and charms employed for healing the sick.
In Malabar an inebriating lozenge is prepared from the sap of this palm.

Manuel Blanco thinks that the areca might be used for making red ink,
and it is not improbable that it is thus employed in India. With other
combinations it makes black ink of moderate quality. The lower part of
the petiole is used for wrapping instead of paper, for which purpose
it is sold in the Philippines. The heart of the leaves is eaten as a
salad, and has not a bad flavour. The convicts confined in the Andaman
Islands masticate the nuts of another species of areca. The Nagas and
Abors of Eastern Bengal, use those of a third species, and the natives
of the mountainous districts of Malabar those of a fourth. There are
about twenty species of the areca genus, of which several are thus used.

When betel nuts are scarce in the Philippines, the natives substitute
the bark of the Guayabo and the Antipolo.

It is confidently affirmed to us, that in Ceylon the natives sometimes
masticate the roots of the cocoa-nut palm, instead of, and as a
substitute for, the areca nut, and that it answers the purpose very

The root of a plant known botanically as _Derris pinnata_, is also
occasionally used amongst certain Asiatics, in the same manner, in
cases of deficiences in the supply of genuine betel.

The consumption of the areca-nut being confined to an area of no
very wide extent, and that principally in the neighbourhood of the
producing countries, or _in_ those countries themselves, the necessity
for providing a substitute does not often arise; hence, those of which
we have any knowledge, as having been at all generally used for that
purpose, are confined to two or three substances. Some years, however,
are not so productive as others, and instances have occurred in which
the average price of areca nuts for mastication has been doubled. If
the Yankees persist in their betel and hemp chewing propensities, which
have lately been developed amongst them, probably the Chinese and Malay
will have to pay a higher price for their nuts, or provide something
which shall thenceforth fulfil its duties, and we may hear of other

Ardent as the admirers of the areca may be in their admiration of the
“buyo,” we have never seen more than one translation of a Malayan
poem in which the masticatory was extolled, and this, unfortunately,
we are unable to present to our readers. The gods have either not made
the votaries of betel so poetical as the servants of the pipe, or
the paeans in praise thereof are locked up from us in the cabalistic
characters of their national language. The unmistakable marks left
by the habit on the lips, teeth, and gums, are certainly extolled by
them as marks of beauty. In the poem already referred to, the lover
addresses his mistress in praise of the redness of her teeth and lips,
and the fragrant odour of her breath, produced by the sweet “buyo”
secreted in the hollow of her cheek. White teeth are therefore held in
abomination, and as this is also the opinion of certain African tribes,
who stain theirs with the juice of flowers, ours _must_ be a barbarous
nation to respect such albino masticators.

       *       *       *       *       *

 N.B.—The average annual export of areca nuts from Ceylon is 50,000
 cwts., and the price a fraction below 20s. per cwt.



 “A wind blew warm from the east, and it lifted its arms hopelessly;
 and when the wind, love-laden with most subtle sweetness, lingered,
 loth to fly, the palm stood motionless upon its little green mound,
 and the flowers were so fresh and fair, and the leaves of the trees so
 deeply hued, and the native fruit so golden and glad upon the boughs,
 that the still warm garden air seemed only the silent, voluptuous
 sadness of the tree; and had I been a poet my heart would have melted
 in song for the proud, pining palm.”——G. W. CURTIS.

Two species of a kind of pepper vine are extensively cultivated,
with the areca palm, in all the countries of the East where chewing
the betel is indulged in. These belong to the same family of plants
as those producing the common black pepper and the long pepper of
commerce. They are known to botanists as _Chavica betle_ and _Chavica
siraboa_. They are similar in their habits, being trailing plants,
with some resemblance to the ivy, but more tender and fragile. The
betel palms may be often seen with the pepper, climbing and twining
around their tall, straight, slender trunks, or they are trained about
poles of bamboo in the manner of hops in the hop gardens of Kent.
Almost every one with a piece of land cultivates the pepper for his
own consumption. In the markets incredible quantities of the leaves
are offered for sale, in piles carried about in baskets. In Northern
India, sheds are constructed for the growth of the pepper. These are
from twenty to fifty yards in length, and eight or twelve broad, of
bamboo, to shelter the plants from the sun. Great attention is paid to
the cultivation, and the plants are carefully attended to, and cleaned
every morning.

Betel leaf cannot be preserved in a sound state beyond eight days
without preparation, but by being prepared over a fire, and rolled into
balls, in which state it is called _chenai_, it will keep a year, only
the quality is much deteriorated. In Penang the old men carry about
with them a sort of metal tube, having a ramrod-looking pestle, with
which they busy themselves in pounding the mixture for chewing. The
young daily make nut-crackers of their jaws, and although the mixture,
perhaps, rather tends to preserve the teeth, still the exercise on
the nut must be a little too violent for them, and the Malays say it
injures the sight. The Chinese are not much addicted to the use of the

The consumption of betel by the inhabitants of Penang and Province
Wellesley may be stated at 6,211,440 bundles of 100 leaves each, equal
in value to 31,057 Spanish dollars, which would be the produce of 98
orlongs of land, or about 130 acres, planted regularly. But allowing
for the various distances given by different cultivators between the
plants 110 orlongs may be assumed, or about 147 acres.

The Chinese colonists of Singapore used the leaves of the common
pepper, instead of those of the betel pepper in compounding this

The Ava pepper, or _Macropiper methysticum_, is even more celebrated
for its narcotic properties than the two just referred to. This plant
has a thick aromatic wood stalk, and a large root, and cordate or
heart-shaped leaves. It is a native of the Society, Friendly, and
Sandwich Islands, where it is largely consumed. Macerated in water, the
stems and root form an intoxicating beverage, and the leaves are used
with the areca nut and lime, in the same manner as the leaves of the
other peppers.[28]

Mariner gives an account, in his “History of the Tonga Islands,” of the
use of this plant. The root is split up with an axe into small pieces,
and after being scraped clean with mussel shells, is handed out to
those in attendance to be chewed. There is then a buzz in the assembly,
contrasting curiously with the silence which reigned before, several
crying out, “Give me some cava! give me cava,” each of those who intend
to chew it crying out for some to be handed to him. No one offers to
chew the cava but young persons who have good teeth, clean mouths, and
no colds. Women frequently assist. It is astonishing how remarkably dry
they preserve the root during the process of mastication. In about two
minutes, each person having chewed his quantity, takes it out of his
mouth with his hand, and puts it on a piece of plantain or banana leaf,
or he raises the leaf to his mouth, and puts it off from his tongue,
in the form of a ball of tolerable consistence. The different portions
of cava being now chewed, which is known by the silence that ensues, a
large wooden bowl is placed on the ground before the man who is to make
the infusion. Each person passes up his portion of the chewed root,
which is placed in the bowl, wherein they are laid in such a manner
that each portion is distinct and separate from the rest, till the
whole inside of the bowl becomes studded, from the bottom up to the
rim, on every side. The man, before whom the bowl is placed, now tilts
it up a little towards the chief, that he may see the quantity of its
contents, saying, “This is the cava chewed.” If the chief thinks there
is enough, he says, “Cover it over, and let there come a man here.” The
bowl is covered over with a plantain or banana leaf, if there is not
enough, and a man fetches more root to be chewed. If there is enough,
the chief says “mix.” The two men, who sit on each side of him, who is
to prepare the cava, now come forward a little, and making a half turn,
sit opposite to each other, the bowl being between them, one of these
fans off the flies with a large leaf, while the other sits ready to
pour in the water from cocoa-nut shells, one at a time.

Before this is done, however, the man who is about to mix, having first
rinsed his hands with a little of the water, kneads together the chewed
root, gathering it up from all sides of the bowl, and compressing it
together. Upon this an attendant says, “Pour in the water,” and the man
on one side of the bowl continues pouring, fresh shells being handed
to him, until the attendant thinks there is sufficient, and says,
“Stop the water.” The mixture is stirred together at the command of
the attendant, who then says, “Put in the fow,” which is the bark of
a tree stripped into small fibres, and has the appearance of willow
shavings. A large quantity of this substance, enough to cover the whole
surface of the infusion, is now put in by one of those seated beside
the bowl, and it floats upon the surface. The man who manages the bowl
now begins his difficult operation. In the first place, he extends his
left hand to the further side of the bowl, with the fingers pointing
downwards and the palm towards himself; he sinks that hand carefully
down the side of the bowl, carrying with it the edge of the fow; at the
same time his right hand is performing a similar operation at the side
next to him, the fingers pointing downwards and the palm presenting
outwards. He does this slowly from side to side, gradually descending
deeper and deeper, till his fingers meet each other at the bottom, so
that nearly the whole of the fibres of the root are by these means
enclosed in the fow, forming, as it were, a roll of about two feet in
length, lying along the bottom from side to side, the edges of the
fow meeting each other underneath. He now carefully rolls it over, so
that the edges overlapping each other, or rather intermingling, come
uppermost. He next doubles in the two ends and rolls it carefully over
again, endeavouring to reduce it to a narrower and firmer compass. He
now brings it cautiously out of the fluid, taking firm hold by the two
ends, and raising it breast high, with his arms extended; by a series
of movements the mass is more and more twisted and compacted together,
while the infusion drains from it in a regular decreasing quantity,
till, at length, it denies a single drop. He now gives it to the person
on his left side and receives fresh fow from the one on the right. The
operation is again renewed, with a view to collect what might before
have escaped him, and even a third time till no dregs are left which
this process can remove.

During the above operation, various people are employed in making
cava cups from the unexpanded leaves of the banana, folded and tied
in a peculiar manner. The infusion being strained, the performance
generally occupying a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes, the man at
the bowl calls out, “The cava is clear.” The infusion is now filled
into the cups by means of a bundle of fow which is dipped into the
bowl, and when replete with the liquid, held over the cup, and being
compressed, the liquid runs out till the cup is filled. With certain
other ceremonies the cups are passed round amongst the company.

From this account it will be seen that the beverage is drank
immediately after it is prepared, without being in any manner
fermented, its intoxicating and narcotic properties must, therefore, be
due to the root. This liquor is indulged in to a large extent in the
islands of Oceanica, where the natives are generally passionately fond
of it.

Another substance entering into the composition of the “buyo” is the
extract of the leaves of the gambir (_Uncaria gambir_). There are
different qualities of extract: the first and best is white, brittle,
and has an earthy appearance when rubbed between the fingers, which
earthy appearance gave it the name of Terra Japonica, being supposed,
at first, also, to come from Japan, and is formed into very small round
cakes. This is the most expensive kind, and most refined, but it is
not unfrequently adulterated with sago; this kind is brought in the
greatest quantity from the island of Sumatra. The second quality is of
a brownish yellow colour, is formed into oblong cakes, and when broken
has a light brown earthy appearance; it is also made into a solid cubic
form; it is sold in the bazaars in small packets, each containing five
or six. The third quality contains more impurities than the preceding,
is formed in small circular cakes, and sold, in packages of five or
six, in the bazaars.

The method employed in making the extract is thus described in the
_Singapore Chronicle_:—The leaves are collected three or four times a
year; they are thrown into a large cauldron, the bottom of which is
formed of iron, the upper part of bark and boiled for five or six
hours, until a strong decoction is inspissated, it is then allowed to
cool, when the extract subsides. The water is drawn off, a soft, soapy
substance remains, which is cut into large masses; these are further
divided by a knife into small cubes, about an inch square, or into
still smaller pieces, which are laid in frames to dry. This catechu
has more of a granular uniform appearance than that of Bengal, it is,
perhaps, also less pure. The younger leaves of the shrub are said to
produce the whitest and best gambir, the older a brown and inferior
sort. The men employed in the gambir plantations generally indulge
freely in the use of opium.

Another extract made in India from the wood of _Acacia Catechu_,[29]
and which bears the name of Cutch or “Kutt,” is used in combination
with the betel nut. The trees are cut down, and the heart-wood chopped
and boiled in water, strained off, and evaporated. This is poured into
clay moulds and dried in the sun. Dr. Hooker gives a sketch from the
life of one of the native “Kutt” makers of India:——

“At half-past eight a.m. it suddenly fell calm, and we proceeded to
Chakuchee, the native carts breaking down in their passage over the
projecting beds of flinty rocks, or as they hurried down the inclined
planes which cut through the precipitous banks of the streams. Near
Chakuchee we passed an alligator, just killed by two men—a foul beast
about nine feet long, and of the Mager kind. More interesting than
its natural history was the painful circumstance of its having just
swallowed a child that was playing in the water, while its mother was
washing her domestic utensils in the river. The brute was hardly dead,
much distended by its prey, and the mother standing beside it. A very
touching group was this! the parent with hands clasped in agony, unable
to withdraw her eyes from the cursed reptile, which still clung to life
with that tenacity for which its tribe is so noted, and beside her the
two men leaning on their bloody bamboo staves with which they had all
but despatched the animal.

“The poor woman who had lost her child earns a scanty maintenance by
making catechu. She inhabits a little cottage, and has no property but
her two oxen to bring wood from the hills, and a very few household
chattels, and how few these are is known only to persons who have
seen the meagre furniture of the Dangha hovels. Her husband cuts the
trees in the forest and drags them to the hut, but he is now sick, and
her only son, her future stay, was he whose end is just related. Her
daily food is rice, with beans from the beautiful flowered dolichos,
trailing round the cottage, and she is in debt to the contractor, who
has advanced her two rupees, to be worked off in three months, by
the preparation of 240 lbs. of catechu. The present was her second
husband, an old man; by him she never had any children, and in this
respect alone did the poor creature think herself very unfortunate,
for her poverty she did not feel. Rent to the Rajah, tax to the
police, and rates to the Brahminee priest, are all paid from an acre
of land, yielding so wretched a crop of barley, that it more resembled
a fallow field than a harvest field. All day long she is boiling down
the catechu-wood cut into chips, and pouring the decoction into large
wooden troughs, where it is inspissated.”

From the areca nut another kind of catechu is prepared, which is
generally preferred as a masticatory. Heyne thus describes the process
of its manufacture, “Areca nuts are taken as they come from the tree,
and boiled for some hours in an iron vessel. They are then taken out
and the remaining water is inspissated by continued boiling. This
process furnishes _kassu_, or most stringent _terra japonica_, which is
black, and mixed with paddy husks and other impurities. After the nuts
are dried, they are put in a fresh quantity of water, boiled again,
and the water, being inspissated like the former, yields the best or
dearest kind of catechu, called _coury_. It is yellowish brown, has an
earthy fracture, and is free from the admixture of foreign bodies.” It
is probable that the flat round cakes, covered with paddy husks, met
with in commerce is the _kassu_ of Heyne.

The husk which surrounds the nut, and which is of a fibrous nature,
resembling the coir of the cocoa nut is thrown away by tons, and
allowed to rot. This substance has lately been experimented upon for
the manufacture of paper, for which purpose it appears to be available,
and, as there is no want of the raw material, perhaps at some future
time it will become utilized as extensively as the “coir” of Ceylon.

The Bombay catechu is obtained from _Acacia catechu_, and the Bengal
catechu from _Uncaria Gambir_. The Bombay produce is of a dark brownish
red colour, and is stated to be the richer of the two in tannin. The
Bombay variety is commonly called “cutch,” while the Bengal produce
is of a lighter brown colour, and is termed “terra.” Catechu of good
quality is also obtained from Pegu.

The catechu exported from Madras to England, Bombay, France, and Ceylon

             1853-4—  484 cwt.      valued at £199 4s.
             1864-5—1,364  ”          ”        698 8
             1855-6—2,908  ”          ”      2,297 2
     part of 1856-7—  658  ”          ”        270 8
                     ——————                   ————————-
     Or in 3½ years—5,414  ”          ”     £4,265 2

But this is only a small proportion of the catechu consumed in England
alone, since in 1849 we imported 169,140 cwts. of that substance for
tanning purposes, and the quantity has since increased.

The totals of cutch and gambier imported in

  1856 was 8,536 tons.
  1857  ” 11,047  ”
  1858  ” 11,205  ”
  1859  ” 13,762  ”

Of this quantity we exported in—

  1856—1,031 tons.
  1857—1,427   ”
  1858—  974   ”
  1859—1,809   ”

These articles, therefore, make no insignificant item in our East
Indian trade, which, valued at the intermediate rate of 15s. and 30s.
per cwt., would amount to the sum of £153,375 in 1858.



 “It ascends me into the brain, dries me there all the foolish, and
 dull, and crudy vapours which environ it; makes it apprehensive,
 quick, forgetive, full of nimble, fiery, and delectable shapes, which,
 delivered over to the voice (the tongue), which is the birth, becomes
 excellent wit.”——_Sir John Falstaff._

“In Burmah,” says Howard Malcolm, “almost every one, male and female,
chews the singular mixture called _coon_, and the lacquered or gilded
box containing the ingredients is borne about on all occasions. The
quid consists of a slice of areca nut, a small piece of cutch, and
some tobacco rolled up in a leaf of betel pepper, on which has been
smeared a little tempered quicklime. It creates profuse saliva, and so
fills up the mouth that they seem to be chewing food. It colours the
mouth deep red, and the teeth, if not previously blackened, assume the
same colour. From the combination of the three ingredients this colour
seems to proceed, since the leaf and nut, without the lime, fail to
produce it. This hue, communicated to the mouth and lips, is esteemed
ornamental, and an agreeable odour is imparted to the breath. The
juice is usually, though not always, swallowed. A curious circumstance
connected with the expectoration of the red juice is related at
Manilla, where it is narrated with strong protestations and firm belief
in its veracity.

Some years ago a ship from Spain arrived in the port of Manilla. Among
the passengers was a young doctor from Madrid, who had gone to the
Philippines with the design of settling in the colony and pushing his
fortune by means of his profession. On the morning after he had landed,
our doctor sallied forth for a walk on the pasco. He had not proceeded
far when his attention was attracted to a young girl, a native, who was
walking a few paces ahead of him. He observed that every now and then
the girl stooped her head towards the pavement which was straightway
spotted with blood. Alarmed on the girl’s account, our doctor walked
rapidly after her, observing that she still continued to expectorate
blood at intervals as she went. Before he could come up with her the
girl had reached her home, a humble cottage in the suburbs, into which
she entered. The doctor followed close upon her heels, and summoning
her father and mother, directed them to send immediately for the priest
as their daughter had not many hours to live. The distracted parents,
having learned the profession of their visitor, immediately acceded to
his request. The child was put to bed in extreme affright, having been
told what was about to befal her. The nearest padre was brought, and
everything was arranged to smooth the journey of her soul through the
passes of purgatory. The doctor plied his skill to the utmost, but in
vain. In less than twenty-four hours the girl was dead.

As up to that time the young Indian had always enjoyed excellent
health, the doctor’s prognostication was regarded as an evidence
of great and mysterious skill. The fame of it soon spread through
Manilla, and in a few hours the newly-arrived physician was beleagured
with patients, and in a fair way of accumulating a fortune. In the
midst of all this, some one had the curiosity to ask the doctor how he
could possibly have predicted the death of the girl, seeing that she
had been in perfect health a few hours before. “Predict it,” replied
the doctor, “why, sir, I saw her spit blood enough to have killed her
half a dozen times.”

“Blood! how did you know it was blood?”

“How! from the colour, how else?”

“But every one spits red in Manilla.”

The doctor, who had already observed this fact, and was labouring under
some uneasiness in regard to it, refused to make any further confession
at the time, but he had said enough to elucidate the mystery. The thing
soon spread throughout the city, and it became clear to every one that
what the new _medico_ had taken for blood, was nothing else than the
red juice of the buyo, and that the poor girl had died from the fear
of death caused by his prediction. His patients now fled from him
as speedily as they had congregated; and to avoid the ridicule that
awaited him, as well as the indignation of the friends of the deceased
girl, our doctor was fain to escape from Manilla, and return to Spain
in the same ship that had brought him out.

The ladies who work in the government cigar factory at Manilla,
all, more or less, chew the betel nut, and any one daring enough to
disregard the warning not to touch anything, when passing as a visitor
through the rooms, must stand the assault from the mouths of a hundred
or two of these dames, in the shape of a deluge of the decoction of
this nut. The captain of an American vessel at Manilla, although warned
of the consequences, with American impudence, infringed the rule, and
paid the penalty. He was compelled to beat a retreat, and being dressed
in the white garb of the East, resembled a spotted leopard, in the room
of a free and enlightened citizen of the great Republic.

The mastication of the betel is considered very wholesome by those
who are in the habit of using it, and it may be so, but the black
appearance it gives to the teeth, although it is said to be an
excellent preserver of them, together with the brick red lips and
mouth, cause anything but an agreeable appearance. Its use certainly
does not impart additional beauty to the native females, who habituate
themselves to an extent equal to that of the opposite sex.

The custom, Marsden states, is universal among the Sumatrans, who
carry the ingredients constantly about them, and serve them to their
guests on all occasions; the prince in a gold stand, and the poor man
in a brass box or mat bag. The betel-stands of the better ranks of
people are usually of silver, embossed with rude figures. The Sultan of
Moco-Moco was presented with one by the India Company with their arms
upon it, and he possesses another besides, of gold filagree. The form
of the stand is the frustum of an hexagonal pyramid, reversed, about
six or eight inches in diameter. It contains many smaller vessels,
fitted to the angles, for holding the nut, leaf, and chunam, with
places for the instruments employed in cutting the first, and spatulas
for spreading the last.

Captain Wilkes also describes that of the Sultan of Sooloo. “On the
left hand of the Sultan sat his two sons, on the right his councillors,
while immediately behind him sate the carrier of his betelnut casket.
The casket was made of filagree silver, about the size of a small
tea-caddy, of oblong shape, and rounded at the top. It had three
divisions, one for the nut, another for the leaf, and a third for the
lime. Next to this official was the pipe-bearer, who did not appear to
be held in equal estimation.”

A circumstance is also narrated in connection with the son of this same
Sultan, which exhibits the use of betel in another phase. This son,
shortly after taking a few whiffs from the opium-pipe was overcome, and
became stupid and listless. When partially recovered, he called for
his betel nut to revive him by its exciting effects, and counteract
the influence of the opium. The pinang or buyo was carefully chewed by
his attendant to a proper consistency, moulded into a ball, and then
slipped into his mouth. Hence we may learn two things. First, that
chewing the betel counteracts the ill effects of an over-dose of opium.
Secondly, that it is extremely convenient to have an attendant with
a good set of teeth, since he could not only masticate betel nut for
you, and relieve you from a large amount of labour; but in the event of
your joint not being so tender as it should be, the amount of milling
to be expended at dinner could be divided between you, the attendant
masticating the tough dishes, and yourself the tender, and thus,
by division of labour, a good dinner could be procured with little
expenditure of your own muscular strength.

In Sumatra, when the first salutation is over, which consists in
bending the body, and the inferior putting his joined hands between
those of the superior, and then lifting them to his forehead, the
betel is presented as a token of hospitality and an act of politeness.
To omit it on the one hand, or to reject it on the other would be an
affront, as it would be, likewise, in a man of subordinate rank to
address a great man without the precaution of chewing it before he

The Tagali maidens, says Meyen, regard it as a proof of the uprightness
of the intentions of a lover, and of the strength of his affection, if
he takes the buyo from his mouth. In Luçon, a little box or dish is
kept in every house, in which are kept the betel rolls prepared for the
day’s consumption, and there a buyo, or betel roll, is offered to every
one who enters, just as a pinch of snuff or a pipe might be with us.
Making the buyo is a part of the occupation of the females, who may be
seen in the forenoon stretched on the ground rolling them. Enough for
the day’s consumption is generally carried, in a siri box of metal or
japanned ware, by those whose occupations call them from home; every
one who can afford the expense, puts a fresh roll in his mouth every
hour, which he continues to chew and suck for about half an hour or

Betel holds an important place in the marriage ceremonies of the
Tagals. When once a young man has informed his father and mother that
he has a predilection for a young Indian girl, his parents pay a visit
to the young girl’s parents upon some fine evening, and after some
very ordinary chat, the mamma of the young man offers a piastre to the
mamma of the young lady. Should the future mother-in-law accept, the
young lover is admitted, and then his future mother-in-law is sure to
go and spend the very same piastre in betel and cocoa wine. During the
greater portion of the night, the whole company assembled upon the
occasion, chews betel, drinks cocoa wine, and discusses upon all other
subjects but marriage. The young men never make their appearance till
the piastre has been accepted, because in that case they look upon it
as being the _avant-courrier_, that is, the first and most essential
step towards their marriage.

During the fast of Ramadan, the Mahometans abstain from the use of the
betel while the sun continues above the horizon, but, except at this
time, it is the constant luxury of both sexes from an early period of
childhood till old age, when, becoming toothless, they are unable to
masticate the nut, and are reduced to the alternative of having all
the ingredients previously reduced to the form of a paste for them, so
that, without effort, they may dissolve in the mouth.

When Lady Raffles had reached Merambung in Sumatra, being much fatigued
with walking, and the rest of the party having dispersed in various
directions, she lay down under the shade of a tree, when a Malay girl
approached, with great grace of manner, and on being asked if she
wanted anything, replied, “No! but as you were quite alone, I thought
you might like to have a little talk, so I came to offer you some
_siri_ (betel), and sit beside you.”

The darker the teeth the more beautiful is a Siamese belle considered;
and in order that their gums should be of a brilliant red, to form
a pleasant contrast to the black lips and teeth, they resort to the
pastime of chewing betel from morning till night. The constituents of
the betel being rolled up into something very much like a sailor’s
quid, it is then thrust into the lady’s cheek, and is munched, and
crunched, and chewed so long as the slightest flavour is to be
extracted, and, as they never swallow the juice, the results are very
detrimental to the cleanliness of the floors of the houses, and of
themselves generally. They commonly make use of two such quids during
the day, and this mixture has the effect of dyeing their gums and the
whole of the palate and tongue of a blood-red colour. Old crones, and
very ancient _chronoses_ (for both men and women use the betel), who
have no longer any teeth to masticate the mixture with, are attended by
servants, who have a species of small pestle and mortar always about
them, wherein they reduce the betel into a proper form for the delicate
gums of their aged patrons.[30]

The betel pepper is cultivated at Zanzibar, where the use of betel
prevails, as it does at the Comoro Islands and at Bombay. But the
custom is not in vogue in Arabia. The betel palm is also grown for the
sake of its fruits in the island of Zanzibar.

The habit of masticating betel nut in combination with hemp has of late
come into vogue in the United States of America, and doubtless Brother
Jonathan will soon eclipse Malaya in his predilection for the “buyo.”



  And all my days are trances;
    And all my nightly dreams
  Are where thy dark eye glances,
    And where thy footstep gleams:
      In what etherial dances,
      By what eternal streams.

  E. A. POE.

To the Peruvian the province of Yongas de la Paz in the North-East
of Bolivia is an El Dorado, because _there_ grows in the greatest
profusion and luxuriance his favorite Coca. We may look with delight
towards the island of Ceylon, and, in imagination, snuff the fragrant
breezes that have passed over the cinnamon groves and coffee
plantations; or direct the gaze of our children across the map of the
world to South-Eastern China, and inform them that from thence our
good dames receive their tea; and thence to the United States, and add
that from this place their worthy sires receive the greater part of
their tobacco. But the affections of the Peruvian are not so divided;
they are located upon one spot, and _that_ the province of the “warm
valleys,” or the Yungas de la Paz; there dwells his patron saint, and
from thence _he_ receives the “keys of Paradise.”

At the time of the conquest the Coca was only used by the Incas, and
those of the royal, or rather solar, blood. It was cultivated for the
monarch and for the solemnities of their religion; none might raise it
to his mouth, unless he had rendered himself worthy by his services to
partake of this honour with his sovereign. The plant was looked upon as
an image of divinity, and no one entered the enclosures where it was
cultivated without bending the knee in adoration. The divine sacrifices
made at that period were thought not to be acceptable to Heaven, unless
the victims were crowned with branches of this tree. The oracles
made no reply, and auguries were terrible if the priest did not chew
_coca_ at the time of consulting them. It was an unheard of sacrilege
to invoke the shades of the departed great without wearing the plant
in token of respect, and the Coyas and Mamas who were supposed to
preside over gold and silver, rendered the mines impenetrable unless
propitiated by it. In the course of time its use extended, and
gradually became the companion of the whole Indian population. To this
plant the native recurred for relief in his greatest distress; no
matter whether want or disease oppressed him, or whether he sought the
favours of Fortune or Love, he found consolation in the “divine plant.”

The word by which this plant is known has been referred, for its
etymology, to the Aymara language, in which _Khoka_ signifies _tree_ or
_plant_. It is known that the shrub producing the Matè or Paraguay tea,
the favourite beverage of many South American nations, is called _la
Yerba_, i.e. _the plant_. As also in Mexico tobacco was called _yetl_,
and by the Peruvians _Sagri_, meaning in those languages _the herb_, so
we, occasionally, are apt to designate the latter article _the weed_.
Showing, that to those persons or nations who have appropriated such
names, trivial in themselves, to the different articles of consumption,
these plants were in themselves pre-eminent in the vegetable creation,
as, in another instance, we have shown our appreciation of one book
above all others, century after century, by the simple designation of
_The Book_.

In Europe, the historians of the conquest gave the first information
of the sacred plant of the Peruvians; this was, however, merely
superficial. In 1569, Monardes, and in 1605 Clusius, wrote concerning
it, but the leaves of the plant itself were not seen until brought over
by one of the companions of La Condamine, Joseph de Jussieu, who nearly
lost his life in 1749, while crossing the Cordilleras in search of this
plant. He was compelled to cross the mountains, covered as they were
with snow, on foot, descending by means of paths cut out like ladders,
and overhanging frightful precipices. The intensity of the sun’s
rays, reflected by the snow, caused him the most distressing pains in
the eyes, and almost blinded him, but the success of his expedition
consoled him for the misfortunes that he had endured.

This shrub rises to the height of from four to eight feet, the stem
covered with whitish tubercles, which appear to be formed of two curved
lines set face to face. The leaves are oblong, and acute at each end,
from an inch and a half to two inches in length. The leaves are the
only parts used, for which purpose they are collected and dried. The
shrub is found wild in Peru, according to Pöppig, in the environs of
Cuchero, and on the stony summit of the Cerro de San Christobal. It is
cultivated extensively in the mild, but very moist climate of the Andes
of Peru, at from 2,000 to 5,000 feet above the sea level; in colder
situations it is apt to be killed, and in warmer to lose the flavour
of the leaf.

The coca plant is propagated from seed sown in nursery beds and
carefully watered. When about sixteen or eighteen inches high they
are transplanted into plantations called _cocals_, in terraces upon
the sides of the mountains. At the end of a year and a half the plant
affords its first crop, and from this period to the age of forty years
or more it continues to yield a supply. Instances have been noticed
of coca plantations that have existed for near a century; but the
greatest abundance of leaves is obtained from plants between the third
and sixth years. There are four gatherings in the season; the first
takes place at the period of flowering, and consists of the lower
leaves only. These are larger and less finely flavoured than those
afterwards collected, and are mostly consumed at once. The next and
most abundant harvest takes place in March; the third and most scanty,
in June or July, and the last in November. The leaves are collected
similarly to those of tea. Women and children are employed for this
purpose. The gatherer squats down, and holding the branch with one
hand, plucks from it the leaves, one by one, with the other. These
are deposited in a cloth, from which they are afterwards collected
into sacks to be conveyed from the plantation. The sacks of leaves
are carried to the _haciendas_, where they are spread upon a floor of
black slate to dry in the sun. They are then packed up in bales made
of banana leaf, closely pressed together, each bale containing on an
average twenty-four pounds. The price realised to the cultivator is one
shilling per pound.

Dr. Weddell endeavoured to obtain reliable information as to the
quantity of coca cultivated and collected in the province of Yongas,
and states, as a result, that the annual produce is about 400,000
bales, or 9,600,000 Spanish pounds. There is also a large cultivation,
not only in other parts of Bolivia, and in Peru, but also in parts
of Brazil, so that this cannot represent more than half the amount
of the annual consumption of coca. It is true that Pöppig estimated
fifteen millions of pounds as the quantity consumed, but this would
be too small. On the other hand, Johnston estimates the consumption
at thirty millions of pounds; this is, probably, erring rather on the
contrary side. Of this quantity he estimates the value at one million
and a half sterling, and concludes that the chewing of coca is indulged
in by about ten millions of the human race. This again is rather a
“long bow;” the use of coca seems to be confined to Peru, Bolivia, and
Brazil—at any rate, it is confined to South America, and there is no
mention of its indulgence in Chili to the South, or in the Columbian
Republics to the North. It would, moreover, confer upon us somewhat
of a personal favour, were some one to convince us that the male
population of South America amounts to the number which the professor
has estimated as that of the indulgers in coca. Our own impression is,
that the entire population has only been estimated at seventeen and a
quarter millions: this is, at least, the mean of four very respectable
authorities. Suppose half of these to be children, and half of the
residue females, and we have only an adult male population of less than
four and a half millions in the southern half of the New World. Ye
shades of Cocker and De Morgan! tell us how from these we can subtract
ten millions who indulge in coca, and yet show a remainder, be it ever
so small, of abstainers. But it has never been affirmed that coca was
indulged in, except in Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. The population of
these three countries amount, according to the higher authorities, only
to ten millions, so that every man, woman, and child, must be a coquero
to reach the estimated number. Viewing this subject in another of its
phases—Johnston states that the average consumption of the coquero
is from one ounce to one ounce and a half per day, or, according to
ordinary computation, twenty-two to thirty-three pounds per year,
whereas the estimated production, which we have presumed to be too
large, is, in fact, too small for the number estimated as indulging
therein, as it only allows each coca masticator three pounds per annum.
In all deference to so high an authority, we will venture to suggest
that were the number indulging in coca limited to two millions, and the
supply to twenty millions of pounds, or ten pounds annually to each
person, some of these difficulties would be removed; but, out of regard
for the patience of our readers, we will forbear detailing any further
calculations, or the bases on which they rest.

At first the Spaniards strenuously opposed the use of the coca—it
was anathematized by them everywhere, as tobacco was by its zealous
opponents in the old world, but this opposition only seemed to produce
an extension of the habit. Then the Spaniards, appreciating the
advantages which might accrue to them in a monopoly of the plant, took
the culture into their own hands, and by force, enrolled the Indians of
the Cordilleras in their service, much to the discomfort of the latter,
who suffered extremely from the change of climate. Complaints to the
government being so numerous, the Viceroy, Don Francisco de Toledo,
espoused the cause of the Indians, published seventy-one decrees in
their favour, and the speculation was abandoned. It is said, that in
1583 the government of Potosi derived a sum not less than £100,000
from the consumption of 90,000 to 100,000 baskets of this leaf. The
cultivation of coca is therefore an important feature in Peruvian
husbandry, and so lucrative, that a coca plantation, whose original
cost and current expenses amounted to £500 during the first twenty
months, will, at the end of ten months more, bring a clear income of

The coca possesses a slightly aromatic and agreeable odour, and when
chewed, dispenses a grateful fragrance, its taste is moderately bitter
and astringent, and somewhat resembles green tea; it tinges the saliva
of a greenish hue. Its effects on the system are stomachic and tonic,
and it is said to be beneficial in preventing intermittents, which have
always prevailed in this country.

The mode of employing coca is to mix with it in the mouth a small
quantity of lime prepared from shells, much after the manner that
the betel is used in the East. With this, a handful of parched corn,
and a ball of arrow-root, an Indian will travel on foot a hundred
leagues, trotting on ahead of a horse. On the frequented roads, we are
informed, that the Indian guides have certain spots where they throw
out their quids, which have accumulated into little heaps, that now
serve as marks of distance; so that, instead of saying, one place is so
many leagues from another, it is common to call it so many quids. Dr.
Weddell states that the Bolivians are in the habit of using instead of
lime with their leaf, a substance called _llipta_, which consists of
the ashes of the Quinoa plant; in other parts the ashes of other plants
are used, as on the Amazon, those of the leaves of the trumpet-tree.
These alkaline ashes are made into little cakes, and sold in the

“The Peruvian ordinarily keeps his coca in a little bag called
_chuspa_, which he carries suspended at his side, and which he places
in front whenever he intends to renew his _chique_, which he does
at regular intervals, even when travelling. The Indian who prepares
himself to chew, in the first place sets himself as perfectly at ease
as circumstances permit. If he has a burden, he lays it down; he seats
himself, then putting his _chuspa_ on his knees, he draws from it,
one by one, the leaves which are to constitute his fresh ‘quid.’ The
attention which he gives to this operation is worthy of remark. The
complaisance with which the Indian buries his hand in the leaves of a
well-filled _chuspa_, the regret he seems to experience when the bag
is nearly empty, deserve observation, for these little points prove
that to the Indian the use of coca is a real source of enjoyment,
and not the simple consequence of want.” We remember an elderly
lady[31] who was in the habit of taking snuff with the same amount of
ceremony. First, she comfortably seated herself, arranged her dress,
and smoothed her apron. The most important occupations always being
for the time put aside, and apparently forgotten. The next operation
consisted in drawing from some capacious receptacle, the entrance
to which was enveloped in the folds of her outer garment, a large
brown handkerchief, studded with small yellow spots, just visible, we
remember it for years, and never any other; this was laid upon the lap
prepared to receive it. Another step consisted in drawing out from the
same mysterious receptacle, a black japanned box, circular in shape,
and of the diameter of a shaving-box, but scarce an inch in thickness;
this was carefully wiped with the handkerchief already named, and
then grasped in the left hand, resting on the palm, and pressed by the
thumb on one side, and the extremities of the fingers on the other. A
slight, but smartly repeated rap or two on the top of the box with the
knuckles of the right hand constituted the commencement of the fourth
operation, which ended by taking hold of the upper portion of the box
with the fingers of the right hand, in the same manner that the lower
was held by the left, and gently raising it obliquely, as it were,
upon a hinge, although it possessed none, and leaving it, when nearly
perpendicular, in charge of the now disengaged fore-finger and thumb of
the left hand, whilst the right hand was entirely free. How radiant was
the smile when the yellow dust filled at least a moiety of the cavity
of the opened box. How disconsolate the expression when this devout
consummation was not attained. Witness next the extended fingers, and
the adroit dexterity with which the finger and thumb collected its
accustomed dole, and conveyed it to the olfactory organs. How carefully
it was carried, first to the right nostril, and then to the left, and
with two hearty inspirations imbibed. The returning fingers now closed
the box, which received another wipe, and was then returned into the
receptacle. The fingers first, and then the nose, underwent the same
purifying process by means of the brown handkerchief. Then, although no
particle of dust could anywhere be seen, the whole frontispiece, from
the chin to the knees, underwent a regular dusting; the handkerchief
was replaced among the folds of the dress, the apron smoothed down with
both hands, a half-uttered exclamation of satisfaction, and the work
which had been temporarily laid aside was now resumed, until another
occasion of a like character should arise to demand its suspension.

But to return to coca, the effects of which are described as of the
most extraordinary nature, totally distinct from those produced by any
other known plant in any part of the world. The exciting principle
is said to be so volatile, that leaves, after being kept for twelve
months, entirely lose their power, and are good for nothing.

Large heaps of the freshly-dried leaves, particularly while the warm
rays of the sun are upon them, diffuse a very strong smell, resembling
that of hay in which there is a quantity of melilot. The natives never
permit strangers to sleep near them, as they would suffer violent
headaches in consequence. When kept in small portions, and after a few
months, the coca loses its scent, and becomes weak in proportion. The
novice thinks that the grassy smell and fresh hue are as perceptible
in the old state as when new. Without the use of lime, which always
excoriates the mouth of a stranger, the natives declare that coca has
not its true taste, a flavour which can only be detected after long
use. It then tinges green the carefully swallowed saliva, and yields
an infusion of the same colour. Of this infusion Pöppig made trial,
and found that it had a flat, grass-like taste, but he experienced the
full power of its stimulating principles. When taken in the evening,
it was followed by great restlessness, loss of sleep, and generally
uncomfortable sensations, while from its exhibition in the morning,
a similar effect, though to a slight degree arose, accompanied
with loss of appetite. Dr. Archibald Smith of Huanaco, when on one
occasion unprovided with Chinese tea, made a trial of the coca as a
substitute for it, but experienced such distressing sensations of
nervous excitement, that he never ventured to use it again. It is not
at all uncommonly used in this way; and the Indians have tea-parties
or _tertulias_, for taking the infusion of the leaves, as well as for
chewing them. Some affirm that in the coca-tea drinkings the effects
are agreeably exhilarating. It is usual to say on such occasions,
“_Vamos à coquear y acullicar_”——“Let us indulge in coca.”

Chewing the coca becomes quite a passion in those who indulge in it;
and when the habit is once commenced, it is affirmed that it is never
discontinued, and that an instance of a reclaimed _coquero_ has never
been known. To indulge in the enjoyment of this narcotic, the Peruvian
will expose himself to the greatest dangers. As its stimulus is most
fully developed when the body is exhausted with toil, or the mind with
conversation, “the victim then hastens to some retreat in a gloomy
native wood, and flinging himself under a tree, remains stretched
out there, heedless of night or of storms, unprotected by covering
or by fire, unconscious of the floods of rain, and of the tremendous
winds which sweep the forest, and after yielding himself for two or
three entire days to the occupation of chewing coca, returns home
to his abode, with trembling limbs, and a pallid countenance, the
miserable spectacle of unnatural enjoyment. Whoever accidentally meets
the coquero under such circumstances, and by speaking interrupts the
effects of this intoxication, is sure to draw upon himself the hatred
of the half-maddened creature. The man who is once seized with the
passion for this practice, if placed in circumstances which favour its
indulgence, is a ruined being. Many instances were related to Pöppig
while in Peru, where young people of the best families, by occasionally
visiting the forests, had begun using the coca for the sake of passing
the time away, and acquiring a relish for it, from that period been
lost to civilization; as if seized by some malevolent instinct, they
refused to return to their homes, and resisting the entreaties of
their friends, who occasionally discovered the haunts of these unhappy
fugitives, either retired to some distant solitude, or took the first
opportunity of escaping, when they had been brought back to the towns.”
So seductive becomes this habit, for we cannot doubt the veracity of
these statements, that neither home, nor friends, nor family, nor
society, nor fear, nor love, nor respect, nor any other creature, nor
passion, would seem to have the power of winning them back from their
monomania to a rational state of existence.

The virtues of the coca must be of the most astonishing character.
The Indians, who are addicted to its use, are declared to be thereby
enabled to withstand the toil of the mines amidst noxious metallic
exhalations without rest, food, or protection from the climate. They
run hundreds of leagues over deserts, and plains, and craggy mountains,
sustained only by the coca and a little parched corn; and often too,
acting as mules in bearing loads through passes where animals cannot
go. Some have attributed this frugality and power of endurance to
the effects of habit, and not to the use of coca; but the Indian is
naturally voracious, and it is known that many Spaniards were unable to
perform the Herculean tasks of the Peruvians until they habitually used
the coca; moreover, it is affirmed, that without it, the Indians lose
both their vigour and powers of endurance. During the siege of La Paz
in 1781, when the Spaniards were constantly on the watch, and destitute
of provisions, in the inclemencies of winter, they were saved, as
chroniclers narrate, from disease and death by resorting to this plant.
Some of those who deny many of the effects, said to be produced by
its use, admit that the coca is useful medicinally as a preservative
against the fevers which are consequent to a climate like that of Peru.

Hallucinations result from the use of the coca as from that of the
narcotic hemp, but not, as it would appear, to the same extent. The
inordinate use of this plant, as indeed of all the narcotics, seems to
be attended with fearful results. One description with which we are
acquainted, gives details of no very desirable character. It affirms
that the abuse speedily occasions bodily disease, and detriment to
the moral powers, but that still the custom may be persevered in for
many years, especially if frequently intermitted, and the coquero
sometimes attains the age of fifty with comparatively few complaints.
But the oftener the orgies are celebrated, especially in a warm and
moist climate, the sooner are their destructive effects made evident.
For this reason, the natives of the cold and dry districts of the
Andes are more addicted to the consumption of coca than those of the
close forests, where undoubtedly other stimulants do but take its
place. Weakness in the digestive organs, which, like most incurable
complaints, increases continually in a greater or less degree, first
attacks the unfortunate coquero. This complaint, which is called
“opilacion,” may be trifling at the beginning, but soon attains an
alarming height. Then come bilious obstructions, attended with all
those thousand painful symptoms which are so much aggravated by a
tropical climate, jaundice and derangement of the nervous system
follow, along with pains in the head, and such a prostration of
strength, that the patient speedily loses all appetite. The whites of
the eyes assume a leaden colour, and a total inability to sleep ensues,
which aggravates the mental depression of the unhappy individual, who,
spite of all his ills, cannot relinquish the use of the herb, to which
he owes his suffering, but craves brandy in addition. The appetite
becomes quite irregular, sometimes failing altogether, and sometimes
assuming a wolfish voracity, especially for animal food. Thus do years
of misery drag on, succeeded at length by a painful death.

This property of dispelling sleep, as a result of the inordinate use
of coca, was noticed by Weddell, as the result also of the moderate
indulgence, by way of experiment, in an infusion of the leaves, and
which led him to suppose that the chemical principle of tea, called
theine, would be found present in them. Professor Frémy analyzed them
accordingly, but found no such principle present, although an active
bitter principle was found, peculiar to this plant, the full properties
of which are still unascertained.

Coca has the reputed power of sustaining strength in the absence of
any other nutriment. The Indians declare, that when using it they
feel neither the pains of hunger nor of thirst, that they are enabled
to perform the most laborious operations with little or no food,
insensible either to cold or weariness; that by its use they can
ascend the steep passes of the Andes, carrying with them heavy loads,
and without lassitude or loss of breath. When Tschuddi was in the
Puna, he drank always before going out to hunt, a strong infusion of
coca-leaves. Then, he states, he could during the whole day climb the
heights, and follow the wild animals without experiencing any greater
difficulty of breathing than he would have felt in similar movements
along the coast. One account states, that a native, who was employed
in laborious digging for five days and nights, tasted no food during
that period, and only slept two hours each night. He regularly chewed
the coca-leaves, to the extent of about half an ounce every two or
three hours, and kept a quid of them constantly in his mouth. The work
being finished, he went a two days’ journey of twenty-three leagues
across the level heights, keeping pace with a mule, and only halting
to replenish his quid. At the end of all this labour, he was willing
to engage for the performance of as much more without food, but with a
plentiful allowance of coca. This man was sixty-two years of age, and
was never known to have been ill in his life. For this reason, that it
appears to act as a substitute for food, several learned and ingenious
authors have lamented that it has not been introduced into countries
like our own, where it would be a boon so valuable to the poor in times
of scarcity and distress.

What says science concerning this extraordinary power? One of two
things is certain: either that the coca contains some nutritive
principle which directly sustains the strength, or it does not contain
it, and, therefore, simply deceives hunger while acting on the system
as an excitement. As to the existence of a nutritive principle in coca,
although it cannot positively be denied, on account of the quantity of
nitrogen, together with assimilable carbonized products, which have
been found to exist in the leaf; yet their proportion is so small
compared with the mass, and especially with the quantity that a coquero
consumes at once, that they can scarcely be taken into consideration.
Moreover, it has also been affirmed that coca, as it is habitually
taken, does not satiate hunger. The Indians who accompany travellers,
will chew the leaves during the day, but, on the arrival of evening,
they will fill their stomachs like fasting men, devouring, at a single
meal, enough to satisfy an ordinary man for two days. The Indian of
the Cordillera is like the vulture of his mountains, when provisions
abound, he gorges himself greedily, when they are scarce, his robust
nature enables him to content himself with very little. This is
the evidence—what is the verdict? That the use of the coca assists,
perhaps, to support the abstinence; but that its action is confined
to an excitement of a peculiar kind, very different from that of the
ordinary excitants, and especially alcohol. Brandy gives strength,
but that strength is only a loan, at the expense of strength reserved
for the future. The stimulus produced by coca is slow and sustained,
in part owing to the manner of its employment, as the infusion acts
differently from the leaf as taken in the ordinary way. Tea and coffee
act specially on the brain, on which they produce an anti-soporific
effect; but while coca produces a little of this effect when taken in
large doses, it does not act perceptibly upon the brain in small doses.
To account for the ordinary effects of the leaf, one must suppose
that its action, instead of being localized, as in the case of tea
and coffee, is diffused, and bears upon the nervous system generally,
producing a sustained stimulus, calculated to impart to those under
its influence, that support which has been attributed erroneously to
peculiar nutritive properties.

Superstition and prejudice combined have, however, ennobled this plant
in the mind of the Peruvian, and he looks upon it as a true “gift
of God.” Its influences and effects are magnified in his own mind
into something miraculous, and, indeed, miraculous powers have been
attributed to it, for in what other light can we regard the belief
current amongst them, that if the miner throws the masticated leaves
upon the hard and impenetrable veins of metal, the ore will thereby
become softened and be more easily worked? or that the leaves when
placed in the mouth of a dead person, ensures it a more favourable
reception into the world of spirits? or that when a mummy is met with
disentombed from its narrow home, the presentation of a few leaves
propitiates its disengaged spirit, and is accepted as a pious offering?

Much of the fidelity of the Indian to his coca, as with the smoker to
his pipe of tobacco, is due to habit, and in this case the influence of
the habit is more powerful, inasmuch as it has been handed down through
a long line of ancestors, and is almost the only one which has been
preserved. Finally, he finds in its use a distraction, and the only
one, which breaks the monotony of his existence. The Peruvian Indians
are of a gloomy temperament, and subject to fits of melancholy. When
not engaged in out-door work, they will sit in their huts chewing coca
and brooding gloomily over their own thoughts; indeed, the combined
testimony of travellers establish the fact, that there is in their
features an expression of concentrated melancholy, which seems to
speak of an undefined but constant suffering; we cannot be astonished
at finding such people seeking for comfort in the best substitute for
opium that their country will furnish.

Coca appears to enjoy an undisputed reign in the Cordilleras; no other
narcotic starts up to share the throne, and this is almost the only
one which has not been imitated, or for which some substitute has not
either been proposed or used. The antipodes, or nearly so, of this
country possesses a plant, which, had it grown freely in other parts of
the world might have been heard of more extensively as an indulgence.
In Siberia, however, there seems to be little use made of the small
indigenous rhododendron, which claims to be one of the most powerful
narcotics in the world. Steller, the Russian botanist, had a tame deer
which became so intoxicated by browsing on about ten of its leaves,
that, after staggering about for some time, it dropped into a deep but
troubled sleep for four hours, after which it awoke, apparently free
from pain, but would never touch the leaves again. Steller’s servants,
after this, took to intoxicating themselves with the leaves without any
evil effects. We have also been informed that certain of the Russians
have been charged with the habit of following the example of these
experimentalists, by getting drunk upon the leaves, which have been
used in infusion, as Pallas states, with good effect in the cure of
chronic rheumatism. The flowers of another species of rhododendron are
eaten as a narcotic by the Hill people of India, but in these instances
the extent of their use is so small, and the persons indulging in them
so few, that no claim can be set up for them, except as minor narcotics
occasionally employed, when the other and more important substances
cannot readily be obtained.

For the basis of much which this chapter contains, we are indebted
to the Travels in Bolivia and Peru of that worthy trio of doctors,
Pöppig, Weddell, and Tschuddi, besides three times as many more, less
noted and less known, but whose information was not less to be relied
upon on the points concerning which they have spoken. Whether the
votaries of our Lady of Yongas are as numerous as has been asserted,
or only of the number we have suggested—whether the influence of
this plant over the stomachic regions is sufficient to subdue the
pangs of hunger, or allay the cruelties of thirst, or these are only
effects due to the imagination—whether it has the marvellous power of
softening the adamantine rock, or strengthening and supporting the
lungs in the ascent of Andean summits, or whether these, and all of
these, are fictions proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain, it is,
nevertheless, certain, that a great amount of interest gathers around
this plant, which associates itself so intimately with the country in
which it flourishes, that, as for centuries past, so for centuries to
come, coca will remain the characteristic plant of the Peruvian nation,
as tea was, and is, of the Chinese.



 “Alexander died. Alexander was buried. Alexander returneth into
 dust; the dust is earth: of earth we make loam. And why of that
 loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer

The fact, at one time doubted, but now established beyond dispute,
that some tribes indulge in the habit of dirt-eating, is one which,
from its singularity, claims notice. The Malayan uses lime as an
ingredient in compounding his favourite masticatory, and the coquero
of the Andes mixes it with his leaves of coca. The Nubians mingle the
saline natron with their quid of tobacco, and the blacks of Gesira
the same material to compound their “bucca.” The Ottamacs and Omaguas
avail themselves of the assistance of shell lime to give pungency to
their intoxicating snuffs. The tribes on the coast of Paria, according
to Gomara, stimulated the organs of taste by caustic lime, as other
races employ tobacco, coca, or betel. In our own days this practice
exists among the Guajiros at the mouth of the Rio de la Hacha. Here the
still uncivilized Indians carry small shells, calcined and powdered,
in a box made from the husk of a fruit. This box is suspended from
their girdle, and serves a variety of purposes. The powder used by
the Guajiros is an article of commerce, as formerly was that of the
Indians of Paria. What could first have induced these people to use by
itself, or other races to mingle with vegetable substances, a mineral
only known to us as a whitewash, or for somewhat similar vulgar uses,
and to metamorphose it into a luxury, is difficult to understand.
We comprehend the value of lime when stirred about in a pail, with
sufficiency of water to reduce it to the consistence of cream, and
then by the aid of a broad flat brush transferred to the ceilings of
our dwellings. We cannot so well comprehend or appreciate the luxury
of rolling it into a pellet, and transferring it to our mouths, as a
whitewash for regions where the curious eye of man does not penetrate.


The residents at the fur-posts on the Mackenzie River, have a mineral
in use among them, known by the appellation of _white mud_, which
is used for whitewashing, and, when soap is scarce, it supplies the
place of that article for washing clothes. It resembles pipe-clay,
and exists in beds from six to twelve inches in thickness. It is of
a yellowish white colour, sometimes with a reddish tinge. On the
Arkansas also a similar substance has been met with, called _pink
clay_. The clay of the Mackenzie is smooth, and, when masticated, has
a flavour, we are told, resembling the kernel of a hazel nut. Sir
John Richardson obtained some of this clay in his journey to Prince
Rupert’s Land, and had it examined, but could not discover in it any
nutritious properties, or detect the remains of infusorial animalculæ,
such as are found in other edible clays. The natives of the locality
in which this substance is found, eat it in times of scarcity, and
suppose that by its use they prolong their lives. There are certain
physiological reasons known to us whereby we account for fowls, and
other winged bipeds indulging in the singular propensity of swallowing
small pebbles, fragments of lime or mortar, sand and clay; but as
we cannot apply these same arguments to the cases of other “bipeds
without feathers” who indulge in the same propensity, we naturally seek
for some signs of nutritious value in the substance itself. In this
instance the remote probability of its containing decayed animal matter
does not apparently exist, for the microscope detects no infusoria. And
unless we argue, as did Hamlet with his friend Horatio, that in this
clay are the remains of a previous generation, we can scarce account
for its being a good article of food.

  “Imperial Cæsar, dead and turned to clay,
  Might stop a hole to keep the wind away;”

or dead Indians turned to clay to appease the hunger of their living
descendants. Thus, if the imagination may trace the noble dust of
Alexander, till we find it stopping a bunghole, may it not also follow
this same clay from the bunghole into the veins of a new Alexander?

Richardson states that the above is a kind of pipe-clay. If made into
pipes for smoking, Hamlet might argue still further, “may we not trace
the dust of the dead Indian, till we find a man smoking his weed from
the leg or arm of his great grandfather.”

Clay eating exists in South America, among the Guamos, and by the
tribes between the Meta and the Apure. The natives here speak of the
custom as one of great antiquity. The Ottomacs are, however, great
clay-eaters. Humboldt found amongst them heaps of earth-balls, piled up
in pyramid three or four feet high, and these balls five or six inches
in diameter. This clay was of a yellowish grey colour, and did not
contain magnesia, but silex and alumina, and three or four per cent. of
lime, no trace of organic substance, either oily or farinaceous, could
be found mixed with it. If the Ottomac is asked what he lives upon
during the two months of the inundation of the rivers, he shows you his
balls of clayey earth. It is asserted that far from becoming lean at
that season, they are, on the contrary, extremely robust.

At the village of Banco, on the Rio Magdalena, the same traveller found
Indian women making pottery, who continually swallowed great pieces of

On the coast of Guinea, the negroes eat a yellowish earth, which they
call _caouac_, the taste of which is said to be agreeable, and to cause
no inconvenience. When these Africans are carried to the West Indies,
they still indulge in the custom, for which purpose Chanvalon states
that it is sold in the markets, but that the West-Indian clay does not
agree with them so well as that of their native country.

Labillardière saw between Surabaya and Samarang little square reddish
cakes, called _tanaampo_, exposed for sale, which were slightly baked,
and eaten with relish.

Leschenault states that the reddish clay (_ampo_) which the Javanese
are fond of eating occasionally, is spread on a plate of iron and
baked, after being rolled into little cylinders in the form of cinnamon
bark. In this state it is sold in the markets. It has a peculiar taste,
which is owing to the baking, is very absorbent, and adheres to the
tongue. The Javanese women eat the _ampo_ in order to grow thin, the
absence of plumpness being there regarded as a kind of beauty.

In times of hunger or scarcity, the savages of New Caledonia eat great
pieces of a friable stone, which contains magnesia and silex, with a
little oxide of copper.

The African negroes of Bunck and Los Idoles eat a kind of white and
friable steatite, or soapstone, from which custom they are said to
suffer no inconvenience.

At Popayan and several of the mountainous parts of Peru,
finely-powdered lime is sold in the public markets with other articles
of food. This powder is, however, generally mixed with the leaves of
the coca, and used as a masticatory. In other parts of South America,
lime is swallowed alone, the Indians carrying with them a little box of
lime, as other people carry their tobacco-box, snuff-box, or siri-box.

In the kingdom of Quito, the Tigua natives eat from choice, and without
any ill consequences, a very fine clay mixed with sand. This clay,
mixed with water, renders it milky. Large vessels filled with this
mixture, called _agua de llanka_, water of clay, or _leche de llanka_,
milk of clay, may be seen in most of their huts, where it serves as a

On the banks of the river Kamen-da-Maslo, there is produced a fossil,
or an earthy substance, called in Russian _kamennoye maslo_, stone
butter, which is eaten in various ways, as well by the Russians as the
Tongousi, it is of a yellowish cream colour, and not unpleasant in
taste, but it is forbidden as pernicious in its effects. This earthy
matter is stated to be a fossil, or salt oozing out of rocks, in many
parts of Siberia, but chiefly from those near the river Irtish and
Yenissei. When it is exposed to the air in dry weather it hardens, but
in wet weather it again becomes soft or liquid. The Russian hunters use
it also as a bait. The animals scent it from afar, and are fond of the

In Germany, the workmen employed in the quarries of sandstone at
Kiffhauser, spread a fine clay upon their bread instead of butter,
which they call _steinbutter_ (stone butter). There is another
substance, called _bergbutter_, or mountain butter, which is a saline
substance produced by the decomposition of aluminous schists.

On the shores of a lake near Urania, in Sweden, is found a deposit,
called by the peasants “mountain meal” (_bergmehl_) which they use,
mixed up with flour, as an article of food. This deposit consists
chiefly of fossil infusoria.

In Finland also, a similar kind of earth is mixed with bread stuff, as
also in parts of Northern Germany in cases of scarcity or necessity.
In Lapland also, this fossil farina has been found, and applied to a
like use. The Tripoli or rotten stone of commerce is an infusorial
earth of this description, composed of fossils of extraordinary minute

A poor man, in the neighbourhood of Dejufors, Sweden, some years since,
found an earth of this description, which had much the appearance of
meal. The people being at that time in a state of privation, and living
upon bark bread, this man took some home, mixed it with rye meal, baked
it into bread, and found it palatable, hereupon there was a general run
upon this earth, and some of it found its way to Stockholm. On analysis
it was found to contain flint and feldspar, finely pulverized with
lime, clay, oxide of iron, and some organic substance resembling animal
matter, and yielding ammonia, and an oil.

Ehrenberg found that a hill in Bohemia was one mass of the siliceous
fossil shells of these minute creatures, and that in a stratum
fourteen feet in thickness, one cubic inch contained the remains of
41,000,000,000 of individuals.

These kind of deposits are continually accumulating, and producing
important changes, in the bed of the Nile, at Dongola, and in the Elbe,
at Cuxhaven, and even choking up some of the harbours in the Baltic Sea.

Dr. Trail analyzed a bergmehl from the North of Sweden, and found it to
be composed of the minute shields of infusoria, about one thousandth
of an inch in size, consisting chiefly of siliceous earth and alumina.
A small quantity of this curious substance was found in County Down,
Ireland, by Dr. Drummond, twenty years ago, while sinking a pit near

MM. Cloquet and Breschet ate experimentally as much as five ounces of a
silvery green laminar talc. Their hunger was completely satisfied, and
they felt no inconvenience from the use of a kind of food to which they
had not been accustomed. In parts of the East, use is still made of the
Bole earths of Lemnos, which are clay mixed with oxide of iron.

In Portugal and Spain, _bucaro_ clays are made into vessels, from which
many are fond of drinking on account of the smell of the clay; and the
women of the province of Alentejo acquire a habit of masticating the
bucaro earth, and feel it a great privation when unable to indulge in
this vitiated taste.

In the Bolivian markets, Dr. Weddell saw a grey-coloured clay which was
offered for sale. It is called _pahsa_, and the Indians of La Paz eat
it with the bitter potato of the country. It is steeped in water, made
into a kind of gruel, and seasoned with salt.

At Chiquisaca a kind of earth called _chaco_ is made into little pots,
and eaten like chocolate. Although their moderate use is not calculated
to injure the system, their contribution to the nourishment of the body
must be but small.

In the valleys of the Sikkim Himalayas, a kind of red earth is chewed
as a cure for the goître, but it is not stated to be regularly indulged
in as an article of food either there or in any other part of India.

Mr. Wallace relates that a little Indian boy died from the habit of
dirt-eating—a very common and destructive habit among Indians and half
breeds in the houses of the whites in the Amazon valley. All means had
been tried to cure the lad of the habit. He had been physicked and
whipped, and confined in doors; but when no other opportunity offered,
he would find a plentiful supply in the mud walls of the house. The
whole body, face, and limbs swelled, so that he could with difficulty
walk, and not having so much care taken of him, he ate his fill and

Those who have had much to do with children, will have noticed amongst
some of them the germs of this propensity, which will occasionally
develop itself in chewing pieces of pipe, slate pencil, chalk, and
other substances of a like nature. Although not carried to so great an
extent as to become injurious, cases of this kind are far from being,
among school children, either exceptional or uncommon.

In the mission of San Borja, Humboldt found the child of an Indian
woman, which, according to the statement of its mother, would hardly
eat anything but earth. It was very thin and emaciated.

These instances are not, after all, so singular as those of habitual,
national dirt-eating which we find amongst the tribes of South America
and the negroes of Africa. Children are not always the most particular
in the choice of their articles of food, or we should not read of such
instances as occur in tropical America of these youngsters drawing
immense centipedes out of their holes and eating them; or, as related
by Captain Cochrane, of a child devouring several pieces of tallow
candle, which was succeeded by a large lump of yellow soap, all of
which he seemed to enjoy.

Chroniclers often make mention of the employment, during times of
war, of kinds of infusorial earth as food, under the general term of
mountain meal. This was the case in the Thirty Years War, at Camin in
Pomerania, Muskau in the Lausitz, and Kleiken in the Dessau territory;
and subsequently in 1719 and 1733 at the fortress of Wittenberg. But in
times of war and scarcity, one is prepared to hear of men satisfying
their hunger by every legitimate means.

M. S. Julien sent to the Academy of Sciences at Paris some few years
since, specimens of a peculiar mineral substance from the province
of Kiang-si in China, on which, in times of famine, the inhabitants
have been said to be able to support themselves as a nutriment. It
has a disagreeable taste, and produces dryness in the mouth. It is
nevertheless used by the natives mixed with flour, and is even esteemed
by them.

It may appear somewhat singular to refer to these dirt-eating customs,
in connection with those relating to narcotics. The connection is,
however, more intimate than at the first glance might appear. Two kinds
of substances are mostly resorted to, either to gratify these depraved
tastes, or satisfy the cravings of hunger—lime and clay, or, as we
have designated them—_clay_ and _whitewash_. It is, or has been matter
of dispute, whether the stimulating properties of the betel and coca,
and the intoxicating snuffs of the Orinoco, are to be attributed to
the vegetable substances themselves, or to the lime used with them, or
both in conjunction; hence the introduction of lime is not considered
inappropriate. As for the clay, it is not only intimately associated
with the other, from the similarity of the use to which it is thus
strangely applied, but the connection of it in some of its forms with
the consumption of one or two of the narcotics, as the means whereby
they are indulged in, must serve as an apology, if such be needed.



 “The virtues of the noble metals are, moreover, of such a nature that
 they inspire respect even in those who do not seek these qualities in
 higher spheres, but ask after the common and every-day usefulness of a
 thing.”——VON KOBELL.

Some consider those metals most precious which, like gold and
silver, have earned that reputation by acting in the capacity of
representatives of wealth, as the current coins of civilized nations.
To some men these have been esteemed more precious than health, or even
than life itself; others, calculating on the grounds of utility, have
considered iron and copper, so universally applicable to the wants of
civilized life, such mighty agents in the cause of civilization, as the
most precious of metals; and these may be right in their calculations,
for although we might manage to get on without the former, we can
hardly imagine for ourselves the condition occasioned by the loss of
the latter. There are yet a few to whom it would seem, however strange
the fact may appear, that two metals are the most precious which the
rest of the world have no idea of considering as of but a very low
rate of value, and without which they can readily conceive of the
world moving on without any very great sense of their loss. These two
are Arsenic and Mercury. The very names are almost sufficient to send
a shudder of horror through us as we write or repeat them; and to
elect them into the highest place in our affections is the last act we
should, in a state of sanity, deem ourselves likely to perform. The
one suggests images of Aqua Tophana and the Middle Ages, and our teeth
loosen in our gums with unpleasant reminiscences of black draught and
blue pill as associated with the other. For one we can think of no
better employment than the extirpation of rats, or the preservation
of mummies; and for the other no more exalted an occupation than to
coat the backs of our mirrors, or inform us of the conditions of
the atmosphere. That any one could indulge in them as luxuries, or,
by their habitual use, elevate them to a companionship with tobacco
and opium, with haschish and coca, would appear to be a gross libel
upon the “Seven Sisters of Sleep,” and a satire upon the cherished
companions of millions of the human race.

Medical men, foremost amongst whom is Dr. Christison, consider that
these minerals cannot be indulged in without exercising a deleterious
effect upon the system. The cumulative action of mineral poisons is a
great point of difference between them and those of vegetable origin,
for although the same eminent physician is of opinion that tobacco may
be indulged in without injury, he does not believe such a possibility
to exist with regard to mercury and arsenic.[32]

The use of corrosive sublimate, the bichloride of mercury, is certainly
restricted within very confined limits, and even within those limits,
the information we have is very meagre. At Constantinople, the
opium-eater, who finds his daily dose insufficient in time to produce
those results which at first accrued from its use, resorts to the
expedient of mixing therewith a small quantity of corrosive sublimate,
to increase the potency of the drug. By itself, it is never indulged
in as a passion in the same manner as vegetable narcotics, nor can the
same pleas be urged in favour of its use, or in extenuation of its
abuse. An opium-eater at Broussa is stated to have been accustomed
to swallow daily with his opium, forty grains of corrosive sublimate
without any apparently injurious effects. In South America its use is
affirmed to be very extensive.

Arsenious acid, or white arsenic, is a more popular irritant than
mercury. The arsenic-eaters of Styria are now historical individuals,
and the custom there and in the neighbouring districts appears to be
a common one among the labouring population. Itinerant pedlars vend
it for this purpose, and it becomes a necessary of life to those who
commence the practice. It is taken every morning as regularly as the
Turk consumes his opium.

One of the benefits said to accrue from its use is, that it gives
a plumpness to the figure, softness to the skin, freshness to the
complexion, and brilliancy to the eye. For this purpose, young men and
maidens resort to it, to increase their charms, and render themselves
acceptable and fascinating to each other. A friend, recently returned
from Canada and the United States, informs us, positively, that it is
largely consumed by the young ladies, in those regions of the civilized
world, for the same purposes above described, to which it is resorted
by the Austrian damsels. He declares that the custom is so common that
no surprise is excited on discovering any one addicted to its use, and
that amongst the fairer sex it is the rule rather than the exception.

The principal authority for its use in the European districts, is
the celebrated traveller Von Tschuddi, who has published an account
of several cases which have come to his knowledge. In one instance,
a pale, thin damsel, anxious to attach herself to her lover, by
presenting a more prepossessing exterior, took the “precious metal,”
in the form of its oxide, several times a week, and soon became stout,
rosy, and captivating; but in her over-anxiety to heighten her charms,
and rival the fabled beauties of old, and having experienced the
benefit of small doses of the poison, ventured upon a larger quantity,
and died from its effects, the victim of her vanity. The habit is
generally commenced with small doses, starting with about half a grain
or less, each day, and gradually increasing it to two or three grains.
The case of a hale old peasant is mentioned, whose morning whet of
arsenic reached the incredible quantity of four grains.

Another singular benefit is supposed to arise from the use of this
substance, similar to that claimed by the Peruvians for their coca,
namely, that of rendering the breathing easier in toiling uphill, so
that steep heights may be climbed without difficulty or exhaustion.
It is curious that the mountaineers of the Andes and the Alps, at
distances so remote, should deem themselves possessed of the means of
assisting nature in surmounting difficulties, by preventing exhaustion
in climbing the mountain side: in one instance, by chewing a quid of
leaves which grow plentifully on the mountain slopes, and in the other,
by swallowing a small fragment of a mineral obtained from the mines at
the mountain side.

Whilst the practice of arsenic eating is continued, no evil effects
would seem to be experienced, everything connected with the body of
the eater seems to be in a flourishing condition, the appearance is
healthy, plump, and fresh, no symptoms of poisoning are manifested
until the regular dose is discontinued, when a great feeling of
discomfort arises, the digestion becomes deranged, burning sensations
and spasms are present in the throat, pains in the bowels commence,
and the breathing becomes oppressed. From these unpleasant sensations
there is no relief but by an immediate return to the habit of arsenic
eating, and hence, when once commenced, the use of this article becomes
a necessity of life, and the poisonous mineral a “precious metal.”

Dr. Macgowan of Ningpo, says, “We are told that Mongolian hunters,
beyond the wall, eat arsenic to enable them to endure cold when
patiently lying on the snow to entrap martins. In this part of China
arsenic is taken by divers, who in cold weather plunge into still water
in pursuit of fish, which are then found hybernating among stones at
the piers of bridges. We perceive with regret, that the modern Chinese
have added arsenic to their habitual stimulants. The red sulphuret in
powder is mixed with tobacco, and their joint fumes are smoked in the
ordinary manner. We have met with no habitual smokers of this compound
of mineral and vegetable poisons; but persons who have made trial state
that dizziness and sickness attend first attempts. After a few trials,
arseniated tobacco may be taken without any apparent inconvenience.
From reports given of it, we infer that its effects on the Chinese are
analogous to what is observed among the arsenic-eating peasants of

“At Peking, where arseniated tobacco is most in use, it costs no more
than the unmixed article; it may be known by the red colour imparted
to the vegetable by the powdered proto-sulphuret. Its introduction
is attributed to Cantonese from Chauchau. If this be correct, it is
probable that these southerners, unable at the north to procure the
masticatory to which they are addicted, sought to appease a craving
for the pungent but harmless lime and betel nut, by substituting the
deleterious mineral gas. Many of the miserable victims of opium, to
whom that narcotic is a necessity, and not a pleasure, have eagerly
employed the new stimulant to prop and exhilarate their exhausted
bodies, and, perhaps, have thereby meliorated and prolonged their
existence. We would fain hope that the use of arsenical stimulants
will not become general; yet that pernicious custom is extending, and
we know our race too well not to entertain fears on that subject. It
is even stated that, for a time at least, the reigning Emperor in his
boyhood preferred tobacco thus mineralized. In domestic economy, the
red sulphuret is employed for making away with rats and husbands.”[33]

One of the best things that Hahnemann ever did was to write a treatise
on arsenic. This he did well, and therefore deserves to be remembered;
but for this he is often forgotten, and is only extolled for a less
important labour—the introduction of homœopathy. Chemists deserve well
of mankind for the assiduity with which they have studied this subtle
poison, so that now it may be detected in the minutest quantities. One
point, however, seems to be hardly clear, and on this, perhaps, the
Styrian peasant could enlighten us, namely, the taste of arsenic, some
declaring that it has no distinguishable taste, others, that it is
sweetish, and others saline. The only means of arriving at the truth is
rather too hazardous a one to be ventured upon.

The effects of arsenic upon the human frame, were illustrated in a
curious case which occurred a few years since in the northern part of
France. A domestic at a country seat wished to cause the death of his
mistress, and mixed arsenic in small quantities with her food, hoping
that the slow operation of the poison would prevent any suspicion of
murder. To his great astonishment, she gained rapidly in health, flesh,
and spirits. At length he gave her a larger quantity, which occasioned
serious illness, and led to the discovery and punishment of the crime.

We have as yet applied arsenic only to some of the purposes for which
it is applicable. The roses of England possess enough of bloom without
resorting to the bloom of the smelting furnace. Although we use it
to preserve with all the appearances of life the deceased zoological
curiosities of our museums, we do not seek its aid to enhance the
charms of those living specimens of beauty which are the glory and the
pride of our hearths and homes. Fortunately, we have no Andes to climb,
and no Alps to scale, and the summits we have to gain are arrived at by
dint of perseverance, and no small amount of puffing, in which latter
circumstance it seems to be our nature to glory as much as the Peruvian
or the Austrian in its absence. Now and then we become suspicious of
its presence in our green paper hangings, and in that menial office are
almost content to dispense with its services. Or anon, we are treated
to a scramble of Bradford drops, which, finding the temperature of the
climate uncongenial, melt away to a stray ghost or two that haunt the
stoppered bottles of our chemical museums. Grumble as we may at _our_
precious metals, we—

  “Rather bear those ills we have,
  Than fly to others that we know not of.”

Animals have not escaped arsenic-eating, for the Austrians, having
discovered its property of plumping up, and putting into good
condition the human animal, have resorted to it, as an improver of
their ill-conditioned horses. Gentlemen’s grooms bestow it upon the
animals in their charge, and pronounce its effects as certain and
as marvellous, as upon thin and sickly-looking damsels. A pinch of
the white powder is sprinkled like pepper over the “feed of corn,”
or tied up in a piece of rag and fastened to the “bit,” before that
instrument is introduced into the animal’s mouth. The same two
properties are said to be exhibited in the case of the horses, as are
affirmed to take place in man. The body is plumped out, and rounded
into fair proportions, the skin rendered sleek and glossy, and the
breath is improved, so that long journeys, steep and rugged ascents,
and heavy loads, are readily overcome by its potency. If this secret
were communicated to some of our London omnibus and cabmen, it would
probably be of advantage to the appearance of some of the poor animals
doomed for a certain time to _walk_ this earth, and increase their
facility for moving through a space of three or four miles in less time
than a pedestrian could accomplish the feat.

The teamsters in mountainous countries frequently add a dose of arsenic
to the fodder, which they give their horses, before a laborious ascent.
The practice of giving arsenic to horses may continue for years without
accident, but as soon as the animal passes into the hands of a master
who does not use arsenic, he becomes thin, loses his spirits, and,
in spite of the most abundant nourishment, never recovers his former

The use of arsenic for horned cattle is less frequent; it is only given
to oxen and calves intended for fattening. In Austria, hogs and other
animals are also fattened by a careful use of arsenic.

Precious metals, like precious stones, are subject to misfortunes. As
of the latter, a learned professor saith, “Patents of nobility are
distributed here in the most arbitrary manner, and outward aspect and
character, weigh heaviest in the scales by which they are determined.
To such an extent is this the case, that the stones which have
literally and truly fallen from the skies, are not reckoned among
the precious stones, although they have been in all times objects of
curiosity to the most cultivated minds, and certainly are of _very
high descent_, since they came, at least, from the moon, and are even
imagined to be young worlds, little princes, which would in time have
come to reign as planets. And whence this injustice? Because these
little strangers, which, perhaps, are pleased to travel _incognito_,
have an inconspicuous exterior, are enveloped in a dark weather-proof
cloak, because from under this cloak, only a greyish suit, without gold
lace, with merely a little iron scattered about it, comes to light;
because this aspect does not show from afar off that they have fallen
from the skies, and because they do not say to everybody, ‘My mother
lives in the mountains of the moon.’”

And although Mercury, not only in name, but also in its volatile and
skyward tendencies, claims kindred with the planetary system, which
tendencies are likewise shown in the behaviour of the other metallic
substance, of which this chapter discourses. Yet their _high_ claims
are disregarded, and, like the aerolites, they are condemned by the
majority of men to a plebeian rank and menial offices.



  “That skulk in the depths of the measureless wood
  ’Mid the Dark’s creeping whispers that curdle the blood.
  Where the wolf howls aloof, and the wavering glare
  Flashes out from the blackness the eyes of the bear.”

The thorn-apple and nightshade are types of a class of narcotics,
which, though not largely employed either for their intoxicating
effects or their medicinal virtues, are, notwithstanding, extremely
powerful in their effects, and, when used, exercise a wonderful
influence upon the brain. The majority of them belong to that family
of plants, of which, not only tobacco, but the potato, are members;
so that, if only from their family connections, independently of any
other right, they have a claim upon our attention and respect. Beyond
this, even, we shall find them insinuating themselves into the good
graces of that portion of the creation who have taken the two members
of the family already named under its protection, and adopted them as
companions, the one to soothe and console after the hours of labour are
past, the other to aid in giving strength to perform that labour, or
satisfy the cravings of hunger.

The solanaceous plants have, in general, narcotic qualities. In some
species these are developed in a great degree, so as to render them
extremely poisonous; in others, they are obscured by the prevalence
of starchy matter. In some instances parts of the plant have narcotic
properties, whilst other parts are used as articles of food. The Bitter
Sweet (_Solanum dulcamara_) has slightly narcotic properties, and
the scarlet berries are considered poisonous. The Common Nightshade
(_Solanum nigrum_) has more active narcotic properties. The Potato
(_Solanum tuberosum_) has slight narcotic qualities in its leaves
and fruit, but its tubers are edible and nutritious. The Deadly
Nightshade (_Atropa belladonna_) is a highly poisonous plant, narcotic
in all its parts. Henbane (_Hyoscyamus niger_) contains also similar
properties. Many species of Thorn Apple are powerfully narcotic,
especially the seeds or fruit; this is especially the case with our
common thorn-apple (_Datura stramonium_), with the thorn-apple of the
Andes (_Datura sanguinea_), and of North America (_Datura tatula_), the
thorn-apples of India (_Datura metel_, _D. ferox_, and _D. fatuosa_).
Several species of _Nicotiana_ furnish tobacco. The fruit of different
species and varieties of _Capsicum_, which are used as pepper, possess
irritant properties which obscure the narcotic action. Other species
are used as narcotics, or as poisons, and some, as the Tomato and other
Lycopersicums, as articles of food; but the majority give evidence, in
some of their parts, of the existence of a narcotic principle.[34]

The Kala dhatoora (_Datura fatuosa_) and Sada dhatoora (_Datura alba_)
are very common species of thorn-apple over the peninsula of India,
where they are also called _mazil_ or _methel_. For the purpose of
facilitating theft and other criminal designs, the seeds are very
commonly given in Bengal, with sweetmeats, to stupify merely, but not
with the intention of killing. Intoxication or delirium is seldom
produced. The individual sinks into a profound lethargy, with dilated
pupils, but natural respiration. These symptoms have been known to
continue for two days. The vision often becomes obscured long after
the general recovery takes place. Graham says that the seeds are often
fatally used for these purposes in Bombay. The narcotic action is more
speedy and powerful on an empty stomach than after a meal; hence death
often ensues from the effects when the intention was only to produce

In some parts of South America, especially in Peru, where a species of
thorn-apple (_Datura sanguinea_) grows wild, the natives, in certain
cases, drink a decoction of the leaves or seeds, which produces such
violent effects as to cause them to fall into a state nearly resembling
death, and lasting frequently two or three days. Every malady is there
ascribed to enchantment, and this very singular plan is resorted to
to discover by whom the mischief may have been wrought. In cases of
extreme illness the decoction is given, not to the sick person, but to
the nearest relative, who devotes himself for this purpose, to discover
during his sleep the sorcerer or Mohari who has inflicted the disease.
The medicine soon causes the relative to fall under its influence, and
he is placed in a fit position to prevent suffocation. On returning
to his senses he describes the sorcerer he has seen in his dreams,
and the whole family set out to discover the Mohari who bears the
nearest resemblance to the description, who, when found, they compel
to undertake the cure of the sick person. When no sorcerer has been
seen in the vision, or no one is found resembling the one which has
been seen, the first Mohari they meet with is obliged to undertake the
office of physician. Should the patient die during the vision of the
relative, the sorcerer whose image is then supposed to be presented is
subjected to the same fate.

This plant, which is called “Florispondio” in tropical America, appears
always to have played, and still continues to play, a prominent part
in the superstitions of the natives. The Indians of Darien, as well
as those of Choco, according to Seemann, prepare from its seeds
a decoction, which is given to their children to produce a state
of excitement, in which they are supposed to possess the power of
discovering gold. In any place where the unhappy patients happen to
fall down, digging is commenced; and as the soil nearly everywhere
abounds with gold dust, an amount of more or less value is obtained. In
order to counteract the bad effects of the poison, some sour _chica_, a
beer made of Indian corn, is administered.

It is this same thorn-apple which is used amongst the Andes of New
Granada, and even as far south as Peru, for the purpose of preparing
therefrom a drink, with very strong narcotic properties, which they
call “Tonga.” Dr. Von Tschuddi has given a description of the effects
of this narcotic upon an old Indian. “Shortly after swallowing the
beverage he fell into a heavy stupor. He sat with his eyes vacantly
fixed on the ground, his mouth convulsively closed, and his nostrils
dilated. In the course of about a quarter of an hour his eyes began
to roll, foam issued from his half-opened lips, and his whole body
was agitated by frightful convulsions. These violent symptoms having
subsided, a profound sleep of several hours succeeded. In the evening,
when I saw him again, he was relating to a circle of attentive
listeners the particulars of his vision, during which he alleged he had
held communication with the spirits of his forefathers. He appeared
very weak and exhausted.”

By means of this plant they believe that they can hold communication
with their ancestors, and obtain a clue to the treasures concealed in
their _huacas_ or graves—hence it is called huaca-cacha or grave plant.
It has been supposed that the frenzied ravings, called prophecies, of
the Delphic oracles were produced by this plant, which has been used,
as Dr. Lindley asserts, in the temple of the sun at Sogamossa, near
Bogota, in New Granada, for the same purpose. Already we have alluded
to the Delphic oracles more fully, when writing of the “Sisters of Old.”

The cunning few acquainted with some of the extraordinary properties of
certain plants, which were unknown to the superstitious and barbarous
multitude in days gone by, had ample means at their disposal for
imposing on their credulity, by the performance of wonderful cures,
working apparent miracles, and gulling the less informed into the
belief that they were either in direct communication with the spiritual
world, or had received a divine commission by which to govern. Most
of the marvels of ancient times were no greater than the little
experiments which the schoolboy now performs for his amusement and that
of his companions, with a few crystals and powders, contained in as
many pill-boxes.

The pots or gourds, in which cocoa-nut sap to make arrack is drawn off
in Ceylon, are sometimes visited and the contents carried off during
the night. To detect the thief, the leaves of a species of datura or
thorn-apple are occasionally put into some of the pots. By means of
the highly intoxicating effect of this compound the marauder is often
discovered. On the Coromandel coast the retailers of toddy sometimes
rub the inside of the pots with the seed-vessel or leaves of this
highly poisonous plant, to increase the intoxicating influence of the

The phrase “pariah-arrack” is often used to designate a spirit
distilled in the peninsula of India, which is said to be rendered
unwholesome by an admixture of Gunja, and a species of Datura, with
the intention of increasing its intoxicating quality. It is not clear
whether the term pariah-arrack be colloquially employed to designate an
inferior spirit or an adulterated compound. It is curious that a system
of “doctoring” beverages, to make them heady, should obtain abroad, as
it does at home, and in both cases perhaps independently: for it does
not seem probable either that we borrowed the system from the Hindoos,
or that they copied it from us.

While under the influence of these narcotics the mind seems to be
subjected to a troubled dream, and the person suffering from it
indulges in fits of uncontrollable laughter. Beverley, the historian
of Jamaica, quaintly describes the effects of the thorn-apple. Some
soldiers, who were sent to quell the rebellion in the island, ate of
it: “the effect was a very pleasant comedy, for they turned natural
fools upon it for several days. One would blow up a feather in the air,
another would dart straws at it with much fury. Another, stark naked,
was sitting up in a corner grinning like a monkey, and making mouths at
them. A fourth would fondly kiss and paw his companions, and sneer in
their faces with a countenance more antic than a Dutch doll. In this
frantic condition they were confined, lest in their folly they should
destroy themselves. A thousand simple tricks they played; and, after
eleven days, returning to themselves again, not remembering anything
that had occurred.”

The extract of Stramonium or common thorn-apple has occasionally,
when injudiciously administered, produced similar effects upon
the individual to whom it has been given, affecting the senses,
particularly that of sight. “Imaginary objects are seen to play before
the eyes, at which the victim strikes, as they seem to terrify him.
And similar results have occurred from the use of the seeds.” Fowler
relates a case of a child who supposed that cats, dogs, and rabbits
were running along the tops and sides of the room. Dr. Winslow says
“that when inhaled, the smoke conveys a sense of gentle tranquillity,
the muscles of the thorax, and those which have been called into
action to assist them, in the paroxysms of asthma which the smoking is
resorted to to relieve, are rendered less irritable and the fibre is
relaxed, sleep is induced, but there is rarely any disturbance of the

In France and Germany, this plant has been resorted to for the basest
of purposes, and many unhappy victims have been consigned to hopeless
insanity by its means, details of which would be far more horrible than
interesting. Faber also speaks of its use by the ladies of the Turkish
harems; but there is doubt whether this is not one of those marvels,
of which many may be met with in connection with medicinal agents,
containing more of romance than reality. Dr. Ainslie states that the
seeds form one of the ingredients of the confection of hemp and opium
known under the name of _madjoun_ in India; as henbane is asserted
to enter into the composition of that in use under the same, or a
similar name, in Egypt. The proportion of either of these when used is
doubtless small, and is in most cases dispensed with.

Etymologists declare that the name of belladonna, which has been given
to the deadly nightshade (_Atropa belladonna_) was so given because
those to whom it was administered fancied they saw beautiful females
before them.[35] There is no doubt that it produces illusions of a
singular character, and cases of impulsive insanity have resulted from
its use in repeated doses. The effect of belladonna upon the brain
is more extraordinary than those usually attendant upon the use of
other narcotics. Persons who have been poisoned by the berries of the
plant have become restless and delirious, complained of dimness of
vision, and subsequently loss of sight. There were observed frequent
spasmodic contractions of the muscles of the eyeballs and the throat,
with strong symptoms of mania. Six soldiers who were poisoned by the
plant exhibited delirium the most extravagant, and commonly of the most
pleasing kind, accompanied with immoderate and uncontrollable paroxysms
of laughter, sometimes with constant talking, but occasionally with
complete loss of speech. Buchanan relates that the Scots mixed a
quantity of the juice of belladonna with the bread and drink which, by
their truce, they were to supply the Danes with, which so intoxicated
them, that the Scots killed the greater part of Sweno’s army while

The effects of belladonna on the brain are well described by Dr.
Winslow, than whom no better authority can be desired. “One of the
marvellous effects of continued doses is the production of a singular
psychological phenomenon. A delirium supervenes, unaccompanied by
any fantasia, or imaginary illusion, whose marked characteristic is
somnambulism. An individual who has taken it in several doses seems
to be perfectly alive to surrounding objects, his senses conveying
faithfully to the brain the impressions that they receive; he goes
through his usual avocations without exhibiting any unwonted feeling,
yet is he quite unconscious of his existence, and performs mechanically
all that he is accustomed to do, answers questions correctly, without
knowing from whom or from whence they proceed, looks at objects
vacantly, moves his lips as if conversing yet utters not a sound,
there is no unusual state of the respiratory organs, no alteration
of the pulse, nothing that can bespeak excitement. When this state
of somnambulism passes away, the individual has not the slightest
recollection of what has occurred to him; he reverts to that which
immediately preceded the attack, nor can any allusion to his apparent
reverie induce him to believe that he has excited any attention. The
case of the tailor who remained on his shopboard for fifteen hours,
performing all his usual avocations, sewing with great apparent
earnestness, using all the gestures which his business requires,
moving his lips as if speaking, yet the whole of the time perfectly
insensible, has been frequently quoted. It was produced by belladonna.”

The use of this plant has been recommended as a preventive of
scarlatina. An instance is recorded of a family consisting of eleven
persons who took it for this purpose, in small quantities, twice a day.
Five of these persons were domestics. On the fourth day, almost all
of them became under the influence of the drug, two or three of them
very slightly, simply complaining of having the vision disturbed by
objects which they in vain attempted to remove, for they were fully
persuaded that they existed. Two had singular fits of laughter which
nothing could control. All complained of being in an unusual state.
The servants were all of them able to go through their work, but all
seemed to act mechanically, each independent of the other. Of this
the most ludicrous example was in the course of the fourth evening.
A carriage arrived at the street door, and the street bell was rung
with considerable violence. They all immediately left their business,
quietly walked up stairs as if they had not the slightest idea that
they were all upon the same errand. They went to the door; two of them,
however, only opened it; one of these walked away without waiting to
know what was the reason of the ringing, and the other seemed not
disposed to trouble himself with anything beyond the opening and
shutting of the door. On the discontinuance of the medicine, they all
soon returned to their usual state, and two of them had scarlatina,
though only in a mild form.

From this descriptive account of the action of belladonna, and its
singular effects upon the mind, approaching to a form of insanity,
it will appear strange that this drug should be recommended by
Hahnemann and his followers for the cure of insanity. But this is the
very principle upon which that school operates.[36] That drug which
produces, in its effects the worst forms of mania, is the best adapted
for its cure. We are not, however, either apologists, exponents, or
opponents of homœopathy, and will leave its supporters to champion
their own cause.

Henbane (_Hyoscyamus niger_) is another of these powerful narcotic
agents, educing symptoms analogous to insanity. In small doses, its
effect is to produce a pleasant sleep and soothe pain. In larger
doses, the effects are extremely deleterious. Two soldiers who ate the
young shoots dressed with olive oil, became giddy and stupid, lost
their speech, had a dull and haggard look. The limbs were cold and
palsied, and a singular combination of delirium and coma manifested
itself. As the palsy and somnolency decreased, the delirium became
extravagant. Others who partook of the same species of plant by mistake
were affected in a similar manner. Several were delirious and danced
about the room like maniacs, and one appeared as if he had got drunk.
A French physician gives an account of nine persons who were nearly
poisoned by eating the roots of henbane. The effects of this poison
were horrible in the extreme; in five, out of the nine, it produced
raving madness. The madness of all these was so complete, and their
agitation so violent, that in order to give one of them an antidote,
six strong men had to be employed to hold him down, while his teeth
were being separated to pour down the remedy. For two or three days
after their recovery, every object appeared to them as red as scarlet.

Henbane, which is often administered as a substitute for opium, and
in the East occasionally mixed with it, has the extraordinary faculty
of producing jealousy. Many authenticated cases are recorded of the
power of the leaves, and the fumes of the seeds, over the more intense
passions. A disposition to quarrel and fight is decidedly produced. One
case is that of a young couple, who had married from affection, had
lived upon terms of the most perfect mutual regard—indeed, had been
noticed for the warmth and strength of their attachment; but suddenly,
to the surprise of the surrounding neighbours, their harmony was not
only interrupted, but they became bitter antagonists, fighting and
beating each other most unmercifully. What seemed most surprising was,
that in one particular room appeared to spring their most determined
quarrels, and that they soon subsided elsewhere. This mystery was
at length explained, and their days of happiness restored, by the
discovery that to the effects of a considerable quantity of henbane,
stored up for drying, their miseries were owing, and on the removal of
this, the source of their feuds appeared to vanish. Hahnemann, as might
be expected, considers this as one of the most potent medicines for the
cure of jealousy, since it is so effective in causing it.

The leaves of the three plants lately noticed—namely, thorn-apple
or stramonium, belladonna, and henbane—are made up in the form of
cigarettes; and the first of these also as cigars, to be smoked by
asthmatic persons, for their soothing and sedative effects. These are
all made and consumed extensively on the continent, and may be procured
in many parts of London. They have also been recommended to those _not_
asthmatical, as pleasant, harmless, and containing all the narcotising
influences of a good cigar. They may be considered as truly narcotic
substitutes for tobacco; but at the present rate at which they are
sold, although not subject to either customs or excise, there is but
little fear of their interfering prejudicially with the sale of the
genuine article. In face of the facts already detailed, a good amount
of courage seems necessary to make the attempt, lest they should prove
cumulative in their action. Dr. Christison says, when writing of
these narcotics, “The action of such poisons is not always, however,
entirely thrown away; they still produce some immediate effect; and
further, by being frequently taken, they may slowly bring on certain
diseases, or engender a predisposition to disease. A very singular
exception to this rule prevails in the instance of tobacco, which,
under the influence of habit, may be smoked daily to a considerable
amount, and, so far as appears, without any cumulative effect on the
constitution, like that of opium-eating or drinking spirits.”

It does not appear that hitherto the leaves of the purple foxglove
(_Digitalis purpurea_) have been used in the same form, or for any
other than purely medicinal purposes; but it possesses narcotic powers
equal to the others, and, in excess, produces equally fatal results,
such as delirium, convulsions, and insensibility. A fatal case which
occurred in 1826 became the ground of a criminal trial, in which death
took place in twenty-two hours, having been preceded by convulsions and

An enumeration of the various other narcotics which enter into
combination with other substances in the production of beverages, such
as the hop and its substitutes, forming no part of the plan of this
work, would be uninteresting without further details. Nor would a
list of such narcotics as are used merely in _materia medica_ answer
any useful end. Fuller particulars would only convert this into a
toxicological treatise, interesting to none but medical students, for
whom ample information is provided in the libraries to which they have



  “Vilibus ancipites fungi ponentur amicis;
  Boletus domino.”——JUVENAL.

The rage for scampering half over the world in search of the
picturesque has scarcely got far enough to tempt any, except a stray
traveller or two, into the chilly regions of Siberia and Kamtschatka,
and in these exceptional cases, perhaps, more from force than choice.
These are regions, therefore, concerning which our information is
remarkably limited. It is true that Captain Cochrane informs us that
he married a wife from Kamtschatka—a virtuous maiden, who knew more of
that region, perhaps, than he or she cared to tell; for the one tells
us very little, and the other nothing, of yon strange land, with an
almost unpronounceable name. We are told, moreover, that the capital
is called by the names of St. Peter and St. Paul. Fearing lest one
patron saint should not be sufficient to immortalize the metropolis
of all the Kamtschatkas, the founders and inhabitants have wisely
adopted two. This city also is stated to contain forty-two dwellings,
besides fifteen edifices belonging to the government, an old church,
and the foundation of a new one. The winters are declared to be mild,
compared with those of Siberia; but even these are not very inviting,
as the snow lies on the ground seven or eight months, and the soil,
at the depth of twenty-four to thirty inches, being frozen at all
seasons. Potatoes never ripen, cabbages never come to a head, and
peas only flower. But the gallant captain adds: “I am certainly the
first Englishman that ever married a Kamtschatdale, and my wife is
undoubtedly the first native of that peninsula that ever visited happy

In such a land, there is little hope of cultivating poppy, tobacco,
betel, coca, hemp, or thorn-apple; and the poor native would have been
compelled to have glided into his grave without a glimpse of Paradise
beforehand, if, on the one hand, the kindly Russian pedlar had not
found a way to smuggle a little bad spirits into the country, to the
great annoyance of all quietly-disposed persons, or, on the other,
nature had not promptly supplied an indigenous narcotic, in the form of
an unpretending-looking fungus or toadstool, to stimulate the dormant
energies of the dwellers in this region of ice and snow.

That some kinds of mushrooms are poisonous is a truth of which every
farm labourer seems aware. But that some of those which have been
reputed poisonous are inert, is beyond their philosophy, and only
receives at present the sanction of some of the more scientific, who
have directed their studies thitherward. The fly agaric is one of those
justly-reputed poisonous species, occasionally found in this country,
but which grows plentifully in Kamtschatka and Siberia. A recent author
of an account of Russia states, “that mushrooms virulently poisonous
in one country are eaten with safety in another, is well known in
other cases, as, for instance, in that of the fly mushroom (_Amanita
muscaria_), which is common in England, and always poisonous there,
while in Kamtschatka it is used as a frequent article of food.” Then
he inquires into the reasons wherefore this should be the case:——“It
is not enough to say that difference of soil and climate explain the
mystery; for though we know that culture changes the properties of
plants, converting what is poisonous in the wild state into a wholesome
esculent when raised in the garden—as in the case of the common celery,
for example—yet throughout the whole of the vegetable kingdom we find
almost no other instance of a plant which is poisonous in one country
becoming wholesome, without culture, when transplanted to another, and
left entirely to itself, and in both placed in apparently the same
circumstances as to soil, &c. After all, a great part of the secret may
lie, not in the plant, but in the mode of preparing it for the table.
So far as we can judge, the Russian cook, on first cutting up these
spoils of the forest, makes a much more copious use of salt than is
done with us; and the efficacy of this agent in deadening the poisonous
quality, is sufficiently proved by the melancholy case recorded in
medical treatises, of a French officer and his wife, both of whom died
in thirty-two hours after eating certain mushrooms, while the person
who supplied them, and his whole family, made a hearty and wholesome
meal from the same gathering.” In this case, it appears that while
the former took them without addition, the latter first salted them
strongly, and then squeezed them well before using them. M. Roques says
distinctly that this plant has not its poisonous properties modified
by any climate. The Czar Alexis lost his life by eating this mushroom.
The details of its effects upon the Kamtschatkans by Krascheminikow,
in his natural history of that country are explicit, respecting the
delirious intoxication induced by it, Gmelin and Pallas also equally
certifying its intoxicating powers. Roques reports seven different sets
of observations respecting its deleterious effects on man.

Unless we accept some such explanation of the phenomena as this, how
can we reconcile the fact of their being eaten by the Russians without
injury, whilst, on the authority of Dr. Christison, we have such a
fatal case as the following, from eating the same kind of fungus, the
growth of the same country and climate. Several French soldiers in
Russia ate a large quantity of _Amanita muscaria_, some were not taken
ill for six hours and upwards. Four of them who were very powerful men
thought themselves safe, because, while their companions were already
suffering, they themselves felt perfectly well and refused to take
emetics. In the evening they began to complain of anxiety, a sense of
suffocation, frequent fainting, burning thirst, and violent gripes. The
pulse became small and irregular, and the body bedewed with cold sweat,
the lineaments of the countenance were singularly changed, the nose and
lips acquiring a violet tint, they trembled much, the belly swelled,
and a profuse diarrhœa followed. The extremities soon became livid and
cold, and the pain of the abdomen intense, delirium ensued, and all the
four died. Two of the others suffered coma for twenty-four hours.

This proves that the mushroom in question is possessed of undoubtedly
poisonous properties, which are fatal in their effects, unless
counteracted or dispelled by the method of preparing them for the
table. That this method is known to the Russians and to some other
nations, and is believed to consist in well saturating the fungi with
salt before cooking them. The Muscovite seems to have no greater dread
of ill effects from the fly agaric than has the Brazilian from his
cassava or mandioca flour, which is prepared from the equally poisonous
root of the mandioca plant, the deleterious qualities of which are
destroyed by the heat used in its preparation. Dr. Pouchet of Rouen
seems to have clearly proved that the poisonous property of the fly
agaric and _a venenata_ may be entirely removed by boiling them in
water. A quart of water in which five plants had been boiled for
fifteen minutes, killed a dog in eight hours; and, again, another in a
day; but the boiled fungi themselves had no effect at all on two other
dogs; and a third which had been fed for two months on little else than
boiled amanitas, not only sustained no harm, but actually got fat on
the fare.[37] Pouchet is inclined to think that the whole poisonous
plants of the family are similarly circumstanced.

The most singular circumstance connected with the history of this
fungus, is the place it occupies as a substitute for those narcotics
known in other parts of the world, and which an ungenial northern
climate fails to produce. What the coca is to the Bolivian, and opium
to the Chinese—the areca to the Malay, and haschisch to the African—the
tobacco to the inhabitants of Europe and America, and the thorn-apple
to those of the Andes—is the fly agaric to the natives of Siberia and
Kamtschatka. Why it has been called by this name has arisen from its
use as a fly poison. Never having seen those dipterous insects while
under its influence, we cannot detail the symptoms it produces.

This poisonous fungus has some resemblance to the one generally eaten
in this country, yet there are also striking points of difference. As,
for instance, the gills are white instead of pinkish red, inclining to
brown, and the cap or pileus, which is rather flat, is generally of a
livid red colour, sprinkled with angular lighter coloured worts. These
are distinctions broad enough to prevent any one having the use of his
eyes, and who has ever seen the edible mushroom being deceived into the
belief that the fungus thus briefly described is identical with the
delicacy of our English tables.

These fungi are collected by those who indulge in them narcotically,
during the hot, or rather summer months, and afterwards hung up to
dry in the open air. Or they may be left to ripen and dry in the
ground, and are afterwards collected. When left standing until they
are dried, they are said to possess more powerful narcotic properties
than when dried artificially. The juice of the whortleberry in which
this substance has been steeped, acquires thereby the intoxicating
properties of strong wine.

The method of using this singular substance is to roll it up in the
form of a bolus and swallow it without any mastication, as one would
swallow a large pill. It is swallowed thus on principle, not that
its flavour would be unpleasant, as compound colocynth might be when
masticated, but because it is stated to agree ill with the stomach when
that operation is performed. Nature is jealous of her rights, and it
would appear from experience, that the gastronomic regions expect to
receive all other supplies well triturated, except these—amanita and
pill colocynth—which are both expected equally alike to arrive at the
regions below without mutilation.

A day’s intoxication may thus be procured at the expense of one good
sized bolus, compounded of one large or two small toadstools; and
this intoxication is affirmed to be, not only cheap, which is a
consideration, but also remarkably pleasant. It commences an hour or so
after the bolus has been swallowed.

The effects which this singular narcotic produces are, some of them,
similar to that produced by intoxicating liquors; others resemble the
effects of haschisch. At first, it generally produces cheerfulness,
afterwards giddiness and drunkenness, ending occasionally in the entire
loss of consciousness. The natural inclinations of the individual
become stimulated. The dancer executes a _pas d’extravagance_, the
musical indulge in a song, the chatterer divulges all his secrets,
the oratorical delivers himself of a philippic, and the mimic
indulges in caricature. Erroneous impressions of size and distance
are common occurrences, equally with the swallower of amanita and
hemp. The experiences of M. Moreau with haschisch are repeated with
the fungus-eaters of Siberia; a straw lying in the road becomes a
formidable object, to overcome which, a leap is taken sufficient to
clear a barrel of ale, or the prostrate trunk of a British oak.

But this is not the only extraordinary circumstance connected
therewith. There is the property imparted to the fluid excretions, of
rendering it intoxicating, which property it retains for a considerable
time. A man having been intoxicated on one day, and slept himself sober
by the next, will, by drinking this liquor, to the extent of about a
cupfull, become as intoxicated thereby as he was before. Confirmed
drunkards in Siberia preserve their excretionary fluid as a precious
liquor, to be used in case a scarcity of the fungus should occur. This
intoxicating property may be again communicated to every person who
partakes of the disgusting draught, and thus, also, with the third,
and fourth, and even the fifth distillation. By this means, with a
few boluses to commence with, a party may shut themselves in their
room, and indulge in a week’s debauch at a very economical rate. This
species of “sucking the monkey” is one that Mungo never contemplated.
Persons who are fond of getting liquor at the expense of others take
every opportunity of “sucking the monkey,” which process has been
thus explained. It consists in boring a hole with a gimlet in a keg
or barrel, and putting a straw therein, to suck out any quantity, at
any given time. Persons who are accustomed to receive real Devonshire
cider, or genuine Wiltshire ale, or the pure Geneva, in London,
experience the liberties those take who “suck the monkey,” by either
liberally diminishing the quantity, or diluting it with water on the
road, so as to make the quantity what the quality should be. It is
said that the origin of the term “sucking the monkey” is derived from
the prolific invention of a black, who, in order to find an excuse
to the captain for his being caught lying with a favourite monkey so
often near the rum puncheons on board, from which he daily drank,
said—“Massa, you ask what Mungo do here?—do here, massa? You say monkey
hab de milk ob human kindness, massa. Mungo like dat milk, massa, and
Mungo suck de monkey, massa. Dat’s all.”

Chemical investigations have not yet been directed into the channel
leading towards the elucidation of the mysteries of these poisonous
fungi, and hitherto we know of no experiments having been made with a
view to ascertain whether any of our indigenous fungi, other than the
one already referred to, can be used in the same way, and with the same
results, as we have described. Doubtless such experiments would be
successful, so far as realizing the results, since one of the effects
produced by eating poisonous fungi is narcotic in its character. M.
Letellier found in certain of these fungi a chemical principle which is
fixed, and resists drying, and which he calls Amanitine. Its effects
on animals appear to resemble considerably those of opium.[38] Dr.
Christison states that “the symptoms produced by them in man are
endless in variety, and fully substantiate the propriety of arranging
them in the class of narcotico-acrid poisons. Sometimes they produce
narcotic symptoms alone, sometimes only symptoms of irritation, but
much more commonly, both together.” A person gathered in Hyde Park a
considerable number of mushrooms; which he mistook for the species
commonly eaten, stewed them, and proceeded to eat them; but before
ending his repast, and not more than ten minutes after he began it,
he was suddenly attacked with dimness of vision, giddiness, debility,
trembling, and loss of recollection. In a short time he recovered so
far as to be able to go in search of assistance. But he had hardly
walked 250 yards when his memory again failed him, and he lost his way.
His countenance expressed anxiety, he reeled about, and could hardly
articulate. He soon became so drowsy, that he could be kept awake only
by constant dragging. Vomiting was produced; the drowsiness gradually
went off, and next day he complained merely of languor and weakness.

The smoke of the common puff-ball when burnt, has been used to
stupify bees when their hive was about to be robbed; and similar
narcotic effects have been observed in other animals when subjected
to its fumes. The action bears a resemblance to that of chloroform by
producing insensibility to pain. If future generations do not deem
it desirable to indulge in a narcotic of this kind for the purpose of
producing pleasurable sensations, or to smother the carking cares of
life, yet they may learn more than we at present know of the peculiar
characteristics which distinguish this from all the others of the
“Seven Sisters of Sleep.”

Night draws on apace; let us gather together all the straggling members
of the family, sweep up the crumbs, call in the cat, bar the door, wind
up the clock, and go to bed—

  “To sleep, perchance to dream.”



  “And our poor dream of happiness
          Vanisheth, so

After a feast, the prudent and thrifty housewife will gather up the
fragments that remain, if for no other purpose than to distribute them
amongst the poor.

It was the constant habit of a certain elderly man of business, so long
as he could stoop for the purpose, to pick up and stow away every pin
and scrap of paper, or end of string, which he saw lying about on his
premises. And when he could bend no longer to perform the operation
himself, he would stand by the truant fragment, and vociferate loudly
for one of his apprentices to come and “gather up the cord and string,”
adding “’tis a pity they should spile.”

Approaching to the conclusion of our task, we have followed the old
gentleman’s advice, and collected the odd pieces that have fallen
to the ground in the course of our work, convinced that thrift is
praiseworthy, and although only “Odds and Ends,” there may be enough
of interest in them to warrant you in adding “’tis a pity they should

Tobacco ends in smoke. We began with the former, it is but a natural
consequence that we should end with the latter. Somewhere we have
read a “smoke vision of life.” Some people have but a smoky or foggy
vision of life—they have sad eyes, poor travellers, and can see nothing
for the fog that surrounds them—they live in a mist, and die without
being missed. Forgive the transgression, good friend, the obscurity
of the subject is to blame, and the pun was written before we had
made ourselves aware of its presence. Let it pass on, it will soon
be lost in the smoke. An old piper believes that there is generally
something racy, decided, and original in the man who both smokes and
snuffs. Outwardly, he may have a kippered appearance, and his voice
may grate on the ear like a scrannel pipe of straw, but think of the
strong or beautiful soul that body enshrines! Do you imagine, oh,
lean-hearted member of the Anti-Snuff and Tobacco Club, that the dark
apostle standing before us will preach with less power, less unction,
less persuasive eloquence, because he snuffs over the psalm book, and
smokes in the vestry between the forenoon and afternoon service? Does
his piety ooze through his pipe, or his earnestness end in smoke?
Was Robert Hall less eloquent than Massillon or Chalmers, because he
could scarcely refrain from lighting his hookah in the pulpit? Answer
us at your leisure—could Tennyson have brought down so magnificently
the Arabian heaven upon his nights; dreamed so divinely of Cleopatra,
Iphigenia, and Rosamond; pictured so richly the charmed sleep of the
Eastern princess in her enchanted palace, with her “full black ringlets
downward rolled;” or painted so soothingly the languid picture of the
Lotos-eaters, if he had never experienced the mystic inspiration of
tobacco? Could John Wilson—peace to his princely shade—have filled
his inimitable papers with so much fine sentiment, radiant imagery,
pathos, piquancy, and point, without the aid of his silver snuff-box?
Deprive the Grants and Macgregors of their mulls and nose spoons of
bone, and you cut the sinews of their strength—you destroy the flower
of the British army. Pluck the calumet of peace from the lips of the
red Indian, and in the twinkling of an eye your beautiful scalp will be
dangling at his girdle. Tear his “gem adorned chibouque” from the mouth
of the Turk, and the Great Bear by to-morrow’s dawn will be grinning
on his haunches in Constantinople. Clear Germany of tobacco smoke, and
Goethe would groan in his grave, Richter would revisit the glimpses of
the moon, philology would fall down in a fatal fit of apoplexy over
the folios of her fame, and poetry would shriek her death-shriek to
see the transcendental philosophy expire. Shake the quids from the
mouths of the merry mariners of England—cast their pig-tail upon the
waters, and commerce would become stagnant in all our ports—our gallant
war-fleet would rot at its stations, and Britain would never boast the
glories of another Trafalgar. Tell Yankeedom that smoking is no more
to be permitted all over the world, under penalty of death, and soon
the melancholy pine forests would wave over the dust of an extinguished
race. In fine, were the club to which you belong to succeed in its
attempt, which it cannot, the earth would stand still, like the sun of
old upon Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, and the planets
would clothe themselves with sackcloth for the sudden death of their
sister sphere!

There is extant, in an old work written three centuries since, a
curious paragraph which we had well nigh forgotten. It refers to
Canada. “There groweth a certain kind of herbe, whereof in summer they
make great provision for all the yeere, and only the men use of it;
and first they cause it to be dried in the sunne, then wear it about
their neckes, wrapped in a little beaste’s skinne, made like a little
bagge, with a hollow peece of stone or wood like a pipe; then, when
they please, they make poudre of it, and then put it in one of the
ends of the said cornet or pipe, and laying a coal of fire upon it, at
the other end suck so long, that they fill their bodies full of smoke,
till that it cometh out of their mouth and nostrils, even as out of the
tonnell of a chimney.”

Methinks it had been well had every Canadian been also favoured with
a Saint Betsy, as a companion in life, otherwise there had been fire
as well as smoke. It is now some time since the inimitable _Punch_
introduced Saint Betsy to the world, and that she may not altogether be
excluded from our future “fireside saints,” we will give her legend a
place in our “Odds and Ends.”

“St. Betsy was wedded to a knight who sailed with Raleigh, and had
brought home tobacco, and the knight smoked. But he thought that
St. Betsy, like other fine ladies of the Court, would fain that he
should smoke out of doors, nor taint with tobacco smoke the tapestry,
whereupon the knight would seek his garden, his orchard, and, in any
weather, smoke _sub Jove_. Now it chanced, as the knight smoked, St.
Betsy came to him and said, ‘My lord, pray ye come into the house;’ and
the knight went with St. Betsy, who took him into a newly cedared room,
and said, ‘I pray my lord henceforth smoke here, for is it not a shame
that you, who are the foundation and prop of your house, should have
no place to put your head into and smoke?’ And St. Betsy led him to a
chair, and with her own fingers filled him a pipe; and from that time
the knight sat in the cedar chamber and smoked his weed.”

No pipe, no smoke, no dreams! Never again, on a beautiful summer’s day
would two young Ottoman swains sit smoking under a tree, by the side
of a purling stream, hearing the birds sing, and seeing the flowers
in bloom, to become the actors in a scene like that described in one
of their own songs. By and bye came a young damsel, her eyes like two
stars in the nights of the Ramazan. One of the swains takes his pipe
from his mouth, and “sighing smoke,” gazes at her with delight. The
other demands why his wrapt soul is sitting in his eyes, and he avows
himself the adorer of the veiled fair. “Her eyes,” says he, “are black,
but they shine like the polished steel, nor is the wound they inflict
less fatal to the heart.” The other swain ridicules his passion, and
bids him re-fill his pipe. “Ah, no!” cries the lover, “I enjoy it no
more; my heart is as a fig thrown into a thick leafy tree, and a bird
with bright eyes has caught it and holds it fast.”

Hearken to the story of Abou Gallioun, the father of the pipe-bowl,
and then laugh if you will at the votaries of the marvellous weed. A
mountaineer of Lebanon, a man young and tall, and apparently well to
do, for his oriental costume was rich and elegant, established himself
at Tripoli, in Syria. He resided at an hotel, and astonished every
one with a bowl at the end of his pipe stem of enormous dimensions.
Some days after his arrival he was seen to seat himself at the corner
of a street, to rest the bowl of his pipe on the ground, and to take
from his pocket a little tripod and a coffee-pot. Having filled his
coffee-pot, he put the tripod upon the bowl of his pipe, and stood his
coffee-pot thereon. He then proceeded to smoke, and at the same time
to boil the water for his coffee. This sight caused the passers-by
to stop, and a crowd collected in the street so as to obstruct the
thoroughfare. The police came to clear the passage, and, at the same
time, the Pacha was informed of the circumstance, and consulted as to
what should be done. The Pacha gave instructions that as the stranger
did harm to no one, he was to be allowed to make his coffee in the
street, for the street was open to all, hoping that when it rained he
would certainly go away. The police were, therefore, ordered to prevent
any crowding around the mountaineer, and to take especial care that he
received no insult, lest he should then complain to the Emir of the
mountain of his ill-treatment. The mountaineer having heard of the
instructions of the Pacha, continued to drink his coffee and smoke his
pipe as before, in the presence of numbers of curious spectators. This
exhibition continued daily, till the news penetrated into the harems,
and the women came to see a man make his coffee upon the bowl of his
pipe—a thing they had never before heard of, and which, till now, had
never occurred.

The mountaineer loved to converse with the passers-by, when he told
them that his pipe served him also at home for his baking oven, and
that he had no other chafing dish in winter; that he filled the bowl
twice a day, in the morning on rising, and in the evening on going to
rest, to last him through the night; that he stopped very little, and
during the night drank five or six cups of coffee. This stranger was
surnamed Abou Gallioun, “father of the pipe-bowl,” and is still known
by that name in Tripoli when they speak of him and his extravagance.

In general, the pipe bowls are of a certain size, so that they may last
at least a quarter of an hour, and with slow smoking they will last
half an hour, The tobacco does not burn rapidly if the smoker does not
pull hard—this quiet kind of smoking generally characterizes the grave
orientals. Their pipes are seldom extinguished of themselves unless
laid down, because the tobaccos of the East have more body than other
tobaccos. Abou Gallioun might then always rest assured that his pipe
would never go out, although he held long conversations by day, and
rose occasionally at night to take his coffee.

Tobacco is stated to have been imported into the Celestial empire by
the Mantchoos; and the Chinese were much astonished when they first
saw their conquerors inhaling fire through long tubes and “eating
smoke.” By a curious coincidence this plant is called by the Mantchoos
_tambakou_; but the Chinese designate it simply by the word meaning
“smoke.” Thus they say they cultivate in their fields the “smoke-leaf,”
they “chew smoke,” and they name their pipe the “smoke-funnel.”

The old proverb that “smoke doth follow the fairest,” is thus commented
upon:——“Whereof Sir Thomas Brown says, although there seems no natural
ground, yet it is the continuation of a very ancient opinion, as Petrus
Victorius and Casaubon have observed from a passage in Athenæus,
wherein a Parasite thus describes himself—

  ‘To every table first I come,
  Whence Porridge I am called by some;
  Like whips and thongs to all I ply,
  Like smoak unto the fair I fly.’”

There is extant in the East, an Arabian tale concerning the Broken Pipe
of Saladin, which is taken from an author named Ali-el-Fakir, who lived
in the times of Saladin, a tale which is often repeated among smokers
in Syria. The Sultan, Salah-el-Din (called by us Saladin), was a great
warrior, a lover of the harem, and at the same time pleasant. His
court abounded with officers, servants, and slaves. Among his servants,
who could best amuse him in his leisure moments, was a simple man to
whom he had confided the care of his pipes, and whom he had made his
pipe-bearer. All the Sultan’s pipes were of great value, owing to
the oriental luxury which prevails in everything, and especially in
everything belonging to the Sultan, who is considered the master of the

Saladin, in consequence of the climate of the south of Syria, generally
passed his time in the gardens of Damascus, luxuriously seated upon
rich Persian carpets and soft cushions, under a tree surrounded by
his guards, and a numerous band of servants, who promptly obeyed his

Under another tree, not far off, was the coffee-maker, ready to serve
his master on the instant, for, like all other orientals, he was fond
of this beverage; and Ramadan, the pipe-bearer, was commanded to be at
hand, that he might execute his sovereign’s orders.

Between the tree under which the Sultan was reposing, and that under
which was the stove of the coffee-maker, stood another tree, to which
was tied a watch-dog, who was only let loose at night.

Saladin said to Ramadan—“Take my pipe, fill it, and bring it to me
directly.” At that time tobacco was not smoked in the East, instead
thereof they used Tè bégh. Ramadan hastened to obey his master, but
the dog, not well knowing him, set to barking at him as he passed on
his way to the coffee-maker’s stove for the purpose of preparing there
the Sultan’s pipe, and in return Ramadan shook his fist at him. When
the pipe-bearer came back, the dog, recognizing in him the man who
had lately menaced him, not being securely tied, loosened himself and
sprang at him. Ramadan used the pipe to defend himself, the dog was
beaten back, but the bowl, the stem, and the rich mouth-piece of the
pipe were all broken in the encounter.

The facts were related to Saladin, who immediately ordered the dog
to be summoned before him. The animal said nothing while Ramadan
was continually charging him with the blame. “Thou seest,” said the
Sultan, “that the dog appears docile. If thou hadst not threatened or
frightened him he would have said nothing to thee. Thou shalt be tied
up as the dog was, and the dog shall dwell with me.”

The guards chained up poor Ramadan to the tree where the dog had been
fastened, and his appearance was very disconsolate. The dog became the
favourite of the Prince, whom he recognized by his natural instinct,
and for ever afterwards the Sultan swore by his dog.

The Mussulman delights in comparing the wisdom of this decision with
the judgment of Solomon.

The recent remarks of one high in clerical authority, which came to
light but too lately to have a more honourable position assigned them,
must accordingly be scattered among the fragments. “Heaven forbid,”
writes the reverend gentleman, “that I should ever see in England
what I have more than once seen in France—a fine and gorgeously
arrayed lady, with lavender coloured kid gloves, and a delicate little
cigarette between her lips, expectorating in the most refined manner
into a polished spittoon, and accompanying her male friends in inhaling
the fumes of this noxious weed! No, our ladies have not countenanced
the custom by example, but they have fostered it, cherished it,
promoted it by their too much good nature, and allowed their husbands,
brothers, and sons, and perhaps, their intended husbands, to enjoy
their cigars in their presence, and even in their houses.”

  “Oh horrible, most horrible!”

Hearken still further. “I don’t scruple to confess that I sat down to
the consideration of this subject strongly prejudiced, personally and
socially, against this evil practice; but I rise from the examination
of the facts of the case surprised at the magnitude of the abomination
to which it gives rise. I cordially throw any influence I possess into
the scale of those who are labouring to promote the total abolition of
the custom among us, and I earnestly entreat all who think with me to
exert their utmost efforts to stay the plague.”

King James is dead, poor man, otherwise this worthy Dean, most
assuredly, would soon have become a Bishop. How unfortunate a
circumstance it is that wise men _will_ be born at a time when the
generation who would have appreciated them most, is either extinct or
in embryo.

We remember to have once heard an equally estimable clerical gentleman
declare that he thought those words of Longfellow’s very descriptive of
the effects of his customary “whiff:”——

  “And the night shall be filled with music,
    And the cares that infest the day,
  Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,
    And as silently steal away.”

With a fable of Krummacher’s, let this basket of fragments be filled,
and finished—

“The angel of sleep and the angel of death, fraternally embracing each
other, wandered over the earth. It was eventide. They laid themselves
down beside a hill not far from the habitations of men. A melancholy
silence reigned around, and the evening bell of the distant hamlet had

“Silently and quietly, as is their wont, the two kindly genii of the
human race lay in confidential embrace, and night began to steal on.

“Then the angel of sleep rose from his mossy couch, and threw around,
with careful hand, the unseen grains of slumber. The evening wind bare
them to the quiet dwellings of the wearied husbandmen. Now the feet
of sleep embraced the inhabitants of the rural cots, from the hoary
headed old man who supported himself on his staff, to the infants in
the cradle. The sick forgot their pains, the mourners their griefs, and
poverty its cares. All eyes were closed.

“And now, after his task was done, the beautiful angel of sleep lay
down again by the side of his sterner brother. When the morning dawn
arose, he exclaimed in joyous innocency—‘Men praise me as their friend
and benefactor. Oh what a bliss it is, unseen and secretly to befriend
them! How happy are we, the invisible messengers of the good God! How
lovely is our quiet vocation!’

“Thus spake the friendly angel of sleep. And the angel of death sighed
in silent grief; and a tear, such as the immortals shed, trembled in
his great dark eye. ‘Alas!’ said he, ‘that I cannot as thou, delight
myself with cheerful thanks. Men call me their enemy and pleasure

“‘Oh, my brother,’ rejoined the angel of sleep, ‘will not the good
also, when awaking, recognize in thee a friend and benefactor, and
thankfully bless thee? Are not we brothers and messengers of one

“Thus spake he, and the eyes of the angel of death sparkled, and more
tenderly did the brotherly genii embrace each other.”





 1496 Romanus Paine published the first account of tobacco, under the
 name _cohoba_.

 1519 Tobacco discovered by the Spaniards near Tabasco.

 1535 Negroes cultivated it on the plantations of their masters.

   ”  It was used at this time in Canada.

 1559 Tobacco introduced into Europe by Hernandez de Toledo.

 1565 Conrad Gesner became acquainted with tobacco.

   ”  Sir John Hawkins brought tobacco from Florida.

 1570 Tobacco smoked in Holland out of tubes of palm-leaves.

 1574 Tobacco cultivated in Tuscany.

 1575 First figure of plant in André Thevot’s Cosmographie.

 1585 Clay pipes noticed by the English in Virginia.

   ”  First clay pipes made in Europe.

 1590 Schah Abbas, of Persia, prohibited the use of tobacco in his

 1601 Tobacco introduced into Java. Smoking commenced in Egypt about
 this time.

 1604 James I. laid heavy imposts on tobacco.

 1610 Tobacco-smoking known at Constantinople.

 1615 Tobacco first grown about Amersfort, in Holland.

 1616 The colonists cultivated tobacco in Virginia.

 1619 James I. wrote his “Counterblast.”

   ”  Sale of tobacco prohibited in England till the custom should be
 paid, and the royal seal affixed.

 1620 Ninety young women sent from England to America, and sold to the
 planters for tobacco at 120 lbs. each.

 1622 Annual import of tobacco into England from America, 142,085 lbs.

 1624 The Pope excommunicated all who should take snuff in church. King
 James restricted the culture of tobacco to Virginia and the Somer

 1631 Tobacco-smoking introduced into Misnia.

 1634 A tribunal formed at Moscow to punish smoking.

 1639 The Assembly of Virginia ordered that all tobacco planted in that
 and the succeeding two years should be destroyed.

 1653 Smoking commenced at Appenzell (canton) in Switzerland.

 1661 The police regulations of Berne made, and divided according to
 the ten commandments, in which tobacco was prohibited.

 1669 Adultery and fornication punished in Virginia by a fine of 500 to
 1000 lbs. of tobacco.

 1670 Smoking tobacco punished in the canton of Glarus by fines.

 1676 Customs on tobacco from Virginia collected in England, £120,000.

   ”  Two Jews attempt the cultivation of tobacco in Brandenburg.

 1689 Dr. J. F. Vicarius invented tubes containing pieces of sponge for
 smoking tobacco.

 1691 Pope Innocent XII. excommunicated all who used tobacco in St.
 Peter’s Church at Rome.

 1697 Large quantities of tobacco produced in the palatinate of Hesse.

 1709 Exports of tobacco from America, 28,858,666 lbs.

 1719 Senate of Strasburg prohibited the culture of tobacco.

 1724 Pope Benedict XIV. revoked Pope Innocent’s Bull of

 1732 Tobacco made a legal tender in Maryland, at one penny per lb.

 1747 Annual exports of tobacco to England from the American colonies,
 40,000,000 lbs.

 1753 The King of Portugal farmed out the tobacco trade for about

   ”  The revenue of the King of Spain from tobacco, £1,250,000.

 1759 Duties on tobacco in Denmark amounted to £8,000.

 1770 Empress of Austria derived an income of £160,000 from tobacco.

 1773 Duties on tobacco in the two Sicilies, £80,000.

 1775 Annual export of tobacco from the United States 1,000,000 lbs.

 1780 King of France derived an income of £1,500,000 from tobacco.

 1782 Annual export of tobacco during the seven years revolutionary
 war, 12,378,504 lbs.

 1787 Tobacco imported into Ireland, 1,877,579 lbs.

 1789 Exports of tobacco from the United States, 90,000,000 lbs.

   ”  Tobacco first put under the excise in England.

 1820 Quantity of tobacco grown in France, 32,887,500 lbs.

 1828 Tobacco revenue in the State of Maryland, £5,400.

 1830 Revenue from tobacco and snuff in Great Britain was 2¼ millions
 of pounds.

 1834 Value of tobacco used in the United States estimated at

 1838 Annual consumption of tobacco in the United States estimated at
 100,000,000 lbs.

 1840 It was ascertained that 1,500,000 persons were engaged in the
 cultivation and manufacture of tobacco in the United States.



                                    | Average consump.   |
            COUNTRIES.              | of male population | Nett Revenue
                                    | per head, over 18  | from Tobacco.
                                    |   years of age.    |
  Austria                           |         6·75 lbs.  | £1,212,530
  Zollverein                        |         9·75   ”   |    296,560
  Steurverein, including Hanover }  |        12·50   ”   |     12,420
    and Oldenburg                }  |                    |
  France                            |         5·50   ”   |  3,058,356
  Russia                            |         2·50   ”   |    284,280
  Portugal                          |         3·50   ”   |    304,140
  Spain                             |         4·75   ”   |  1,268,082
  Sardinia                          |         2·75   ”   |    246,192
  Tuscany                           |         2·50   ”   |     84,860
  Papal States                      |         2·00   ”   |    297,252
  Two Sicilies                      |         ...        |    168,422
  Britain                           |         4·10   ”   |  5,272,471
  Holland                           |         8·25   ”   |      6,210
  Belgium                           |         9·00   ”   |     28,014
  Denmark                           |         8·00   ”   |     10,488
  Sweden                            |         4·37   ”   |     14,766
  Norway                            |         6·40   ”   |     23,322
  United States                     |         7·60   ”   |    ...



  United States      30·    per cent. ad valorem.
  Belgium            13·9           do.
  Great Britain     933·3           do.
  Hanover             9·6           do.
  Holstein           10·            do.
  Holland             3·5           do.
  Russia            161·            do.
  Switzerland         3·            do.
  Zollverein         45·            do.


 Nett Profits of the French Regie on Tobacco, after paying all expenses
 of purchase, transportation, manufacture, and sale. Showing the
 increased consumption, in decennial periods, from 1811 to 1851.

           Years.        |  Francs.
   1811                  | 26,000,000
   1821                  | 42,219,604
   1831                  | 45,920,930
   1841                  | 71,989,095
   1851                  | 92,233,729
   Total gross revenue } |
     in 1857           } |185,000,000


Consumption of Tobacco in Britain, with rate of Duty and Revenue

  Years.|  Consumption.  |   Duty.    | Revenue.  |Population.
   1821 |15,598,152 lbs. |4s. per lb. |£3,122,583 |21,282,903
   1831 |19,533,841  ”   |3s.   ”     | 2,964,592 |24,410,459
   1841 |22,309,360  ”   |3s.   ”     | 3,580,163 |27,019,672
   1851 |28,062,978  ”   |3s.   ”     | 4,485,768 |27,452,262
   1856 |32,579,166  ”   |3s.   ”     | 5,216,770 |  [39]
   1857 |32,677,059  ”   |3s.   ”     | 5,231,455 |  [39]
   1858 |34,110,850  ”   |3s.   ”     | 5,272,471 |  [39]
[39] Owing to extensive emigration, especially from Ireland, the
population must be considered as but little above that of 1851.


Consumption of Tobacco in the Austrian Empire.

  Years.|Quantity consumed.
   1850 | 34,457,513 lbs.
   1851 | 54,217,578  ”
   1852 | 61,805,697  ”
   1853 | 57,926,925  ”
   1854 | 62,020,333  ”
   1856 | 85,161,030  ”


Statement exhibiting the quantities of Tobacco exported from the United
States into the countries named, during 1855.

  Countries.       |   Quantities.
  Bremen           | 38,058,000 lbs.
  Great Britain    | 24,203,000 ”
  France           | 40,866,000 ”
  Holland          | 17,124,000 ”
  Spain            |  7,524,000 ”
  Belgium          |  4,010,000 ”
  Sardinia         |  3,314,000
  Austria          |  2,945,000 ”
  Sweden and Norway|  1,713,000 ”
  Portugal         |    336,000 ”


Disposition of Tobacco the growth of the United States in 1840 and in
1850, with the Home Consumption at each period.

  Years.|     Growth.    |    Exports.    | Consumption.  | Rate pr.
        |                |                |               |  Head.
   1840 |219,163,319 lbs.|184,965,797 lbs.|34,543,557 lbs.|32½ oz.
   1850 |199,532,494  ”  |122,408,780  ”  |81,933,571  ”  |56   ”


 Statement showing the Exports of Tobacco from America (United States)
 in decennial periods, from 1820 to 1850, and in 1855.

  Years.|Quantity exported.
   1820 | 66,000 hogsheads.
   1830 | 83,810     ”
   1840 |119,484     ”
   1850 |145,729     ”
   1855 |150,213     ”



  Nicotina                                       0·06
  Concrete vegetable oil                         0·01
  Bitter extractive                              2·87
  Gum, with malate of lime                       1·74
  Chlorophylle                                   0·267
  Albumen and gluten                             1·308
  Malic acid                                     0·51
  Lignin and a trace of starch                   4·969
  Salts (sulphate, nitrate, and malate of     }
    potash, chloride of potassium, phosphate  }  0·734
    and malate of lime, and malate of ammonia)}
  Silica                                         0·088
  Water                                         88·280
      Fresh leaves of tobacco                  100·836


Return showing the quantity of Chests of Opium exported by the East
India Company between 1846 and 1858.

   Years.   | No. of Chests.[40]
  1846-47   |    22,468
  1847-48   |    22,879
  1848-49   |    33,073
  1849-50   |    35,919
  1850-51   |    32,033
  1851-52   |    31,259
  1852-53   |    35,521
  1853-54   |    42,403
  1854-55   |    49,979
  1855-56   |    49,399
  1856-57   |    66,305
  1857-58   |    68,004


Amount of Income derived by the East India Company from the Opium

   Years. |   Amount.
  1840-41 |  £874,277
  1841-42 | 1,018,765
  1842-43 | 1,577,581
  1843-44 | 2,024,826
  1844-45 | 2,181,288
  1845-46 | 2,803,350
  1846-47 | 2,886,201
  1847-48 | 1,698,252
  1848-49 | 2,845,762
  1849-50 | 3,309,637
  1850-51 | 3,043,135
  1851-52 | 3,139,247
  1852-53 | 3,717,932
  1853-54 | 3,359,019
  1854-55 | 3,333,601
  1855-56 | 3,961,975
  1856-57 | 3,860,390
  1857-58 | 5,918,375



  Years.|  Imports.  |Consumption.
   1826 | 79,829 lbs.| 28,329 lbs.
   1827 |113,140  ”  | 17,322  ”
   1830 |209,076  ”  | 22,668  ”
   1833 |106,846  ”  | 35,407  ”
   1836 |130,794  ”  | 38,943  ”
   1839 |196,247  ”  | 41,632  ”
   1842 | 72,373  ”  | 47,432  ”
   1845 |259,644  ”  | 38,229  ”
   1848 |200,019  ”  | 61,055  ”
   1849 |105,724  ”  | 44,177  ”
   1850 |126,318  ”  | 42,324  ”
   1851 |118,024  ”  | 50,682  ”
   1852 |205,780  ”  | 62,521  ”
   1853 |159,312  ”  | 67,038  ”
   1854 | 97,427  ”  | 61,432  ”
   1855 | 50,143  ”  | 34,473  ”
   1856 | 51,479  ”  | 38,609  ”
   1857 |136,423  ”  | 56,174  ”
   1858 | 82,085  ”  | 77,639  ”



  Morphia           10·842    4·106
  Narcotina          6·808    8·150
  Codeia             0·678    0·834
  Narceine           6·662    7·506
  Meconine           0·804    0·846
  Meconic acid       5·124    3·968
  Fat                2·166    1·350
  Caoutchouc         6·012    5·026
  Resin              3·582    2·028
  Gummy extractive  25·200   31·470
  Gum                1·042    2·896
  Mucus             19·086   17·098
  Water              9·846   12·226
  Loss               2·148    2·496
                   ———————  ———————
      Total        100·000  100·000
                   =======  =======



             |  Quantity of |  Number of  |          |            |
     Class.  |Opium consumed|    years    |  Trade.  |  Monthly   |
             |     daily.   | habituated. |          |   Wages.   |
             |    Grains.   |             |          |    s.  d.  |
   1 Chinaman|      60      |   10        |Cooly     |    16  0   |
   2    ”    |             Does not smoke.           |     ...    |
   3    ”    |             Does not smoke.           |     ...    |
   4    ”    |             Does not smoke.           |     ...    |
   5    ”    |     180      |   10        |Planter   |     ...    |
   6    ”    |      90      |   12        |  ...     |     ...    |
   7    ”    |      60      |   20        |Cooly     |    16  0   |
   8    ”    |     180      |    7        |Planter   |    12  0   |
   9    ”    |      90      |    6        |  ...     |    20  0   |
  10    ”    |      60      |   20        |Cooly     |    16  0   |
  11    ”    |      48      |    4        |Cooly     |    16  0   |
  12    ”    |  300 to 350  |   16        |Planter   |     ...    |
  13    ”    |      30      |   10        |Cooly     |    16  0   |
  14    ”    |      90      |    6        |  ...     |    16  0   |
  15    ”    |      60      |   16        |Cooly     |    16  0   |
  16    ”    |             Does not smoke.           |     ...    |
  17    ”    |      24      |    9        |Cooly     |    16  0   |
  18    ”    |   60 to 180  |   30        |  ...     |    20  0   |
  19    ”    |      36      |    5        |  ...     |24s. to 30s.|
  20    ”    |      30      |    5        |  ...     |    16  0   |
  21    ”    |      60      |   12        |  ...     |    16  0   |
  22    ”    |      48      |    5        |Cooly     |    12  0   |
  23    ”    |             Does not smoke.           |     ...    |
  24    ”    |             Does not smoke.           |     ...    |
  25    ”    |             Does not smoke.           |     ...    |
  26    ”    |      60      |   15        |  ...     |    16  0   |
  27    ”    |             Does not smoke.           |     ...    |
  28    ”    |      36      |    6        |  ...     |    12  0   |
  29    ”    |      48      |    5        |Shopkeeper|     ...    |

      |                |
      | Value of Opium |                   Appearances.
      | smoked monthly.|
      |    £  s. d.     |
   1  |    1  4  0     |Heavy, listless, but not sleepy.
   2  |      ...       |Looks well and fat.
   3  |      ...       |Looks well, but not stout.
   4  |      ...       |Looks well.
   5  |    3 12  0     |Looks well; given up smoking; drinks Tinco in
      |                | arrack.
   6  |    1 10  0     |Sickly, with cough.
   7  |    1  4  0     |Sickly, thin, and miserable looking.
   8  |    3 12  0     |Sick and herpetic.
   9  |    1 10  0     |Sickly looking, and complains.
  10  |    1  4  0     |Thin, sickly; complains of pain in the stomach.
  11  |    0 16  4     |Yellow, sickly; pain in the abdomen.
  12  |   £6 to £7     |Thin, sickly; complains of cough.
  13  |    0 12  0     |Complains of pain in abdomen.
  14  |    1 10  0     |Thin, but not sickly.
  15  |    1  4  0     |Thin, cough, and sickly.
  16  |      ...       |
  17  |    0 10  0     |Complains of pain in abdomen; does not look
      |                | sickly.
  18  |24s. to £3 12 0 |Sickly looking; does not complain.
  19  |   0 12  0      |Diarrhœa, and complains.
  20  |    0  8  0     |Complains, but does not look sickly.
  21  |    1  4  0     |Complains, but does not look sickly.
  22  |    1  0  0     |Looks sickly, and complains.
  23  |      ...       |Looks sickly.
  24  |      ...       |Looks well.
  25  |      ...       |Looks well.
  26  |    1  4  0     |Complains much, being without chandu.
  27  |      ...       |Looks well.
  28  |    0 15  0     |Pale, sickly looking; complains much.
  29  |    1  0  0     |Thin and sickly.

Besides which, there were 15 men in the hospital, of whom all smoked
but one.



     |Quantity|           |       |
     |of Opium|  Years    |Monthly|Excess of expenditure over
     |consumed|habituated.| Wages.|       income.
     |daily.  |           |       |
     |Grains. |           |  s. d.|       s. d.
   1 |  36    |     7     |  11 6 |       5  8 excess
   2 |  36    |     3     |   8 0 |       6  6   ”
   3 |  24    |     5     |   8 0 |       1  8   ”
   4 |  36    |     8     |  12 0 |       2  6   ”
   5 |  42    |    20     |  16 0 |       0 10   ”
   6 |  30    |    10     |  10 0 |       2  1   ”
   7 |  24    |     7     |   8 0 |       1  8   ”
   8 |  30    |    10     |  12 0 |Income and expenditure equal
   9 |  24    |     5     |   8 0 |       1  8 excess
  10 |  30    |    10     |   8 0 |       4  0   ”
  11 |  30    |     8     |  12 0 |Income and expenditure equal
  12 |  36    |    10     |  12 0 |       2  6 excess
  13 |  30    |    15     |  12 0 |Income and expenditure equal
  14 |  30    |    25     |  12 0 |   ”            ”
  15 |  42    |    22     |  12 0 |       4 10 excess



In the Chung-wan (centre bazaar) there are about 5,800 inhabitants.

The number that smoke opium merely because they like it are upwards of

The number that smoke opium are upwards of 300.

In the Hah-wan (Canton bazaar) there are upwards of 1,200 inhabitants.

The number that smoke opium merely because they like it are upwards of

The number that smoke opium are upwards of 100.

The number that died for cause of smoking opium very few.


  _Dated Yuet-man year, 11th month, 20th day_
  (_December 29th, 1855_).

The number of male residents at Sheong-wan are estimated as following:——

 This year have ascertained the number of male residents are 13,000.

 There are 3,000 opium-smokers; 300 smoke 8 mace a-day; 700 smoke 5
 mace each day; 1,000 smoke 3 mace each day; the rest smoke 1 mace,
 more or less.

 The number that smoke opium merely because they like it are upwards of

 The number that got sick for cause of opium-smoking went home, and did
 not die here.


  _Dated December 29th, 1855._

       *       *       *       *       *

 By order, have ascertained the number of inhabitants of Tai-ping-Shan.

 There are upwards of 5,300 men.

 The number that smoke opium because they like it are upwards of 1,200.

 The number that smoke opium are upwards of 600.

 The number that died for cause of opium-smoking very few.


  _Dated Yuet-man year, 11th month, 20th day_
  (_December 29th, 1855_).

       *       *       *       *       *

By order, have ascertained that in Wan-tsai there are upwards of 1,600

Those that smoke opium merely because they like it are upwards of 500

Those that smoke opium are upwards of 200 men.

Those that died for cause of smoking opium, none.


  _Dated Yuet-man year, 11th month, 20th day_
  (_December 29th, 1855_).

       *       *       *       *       *

By order, have ascertained that in Wang-nai-choon there are upwards of
200 men.

The number that smoke opium are upwards of 10 men.

The number that smoke opium merely because they like it are few only.

The number that died for cause of smoking opium, very few.


  _Dated Yuet-man year, 11th month, 20th day_
  (_December 29th, 1855_).

       *       *       *       *       *

By order, have ascertained the number of inhabitants of Ting-loong-chow
(east point).

There are upwards of 2,500 inhabitants.

The number that smoke opium merely because they like it are upwards of

The number that smoke opium are upwards of 100.


  _Dated Yuet-man year, 11th month, 20th day_
  (_December 29th, 1855_).


Professor Johnston’s estimate of the number of persons indulging in the
Seven principal Narcotics of the world.

  Tobacco                      800,000,000
  Opium                        400,000,000
  Hemp                         200,000,000 to 300,000,000
  Betel                        100,000,000
  Coca                          10,000,000
  Thorn-Apple (no estimate)    Less than Coca.
  Amanita           ”               ”




                    |                          |Where used or|  How
    Vulgar Name.    |    Botanical Name.       | cultivated. | used.
  Virginian tobacco |Nicotiana tabacum         |U. States    |Smoked &
  Orinoko      ”    |   ”     macrophylla      |   ...       |   ”
  European     ”    |   ”     rustica          |Europe       |   ”
  Javanese     ”    |   ”      ” var           |Java         |Smoked.
  Billah       ”    |   ”      ” var Asiatica  |Malwa        |   ”
  Guzerat      ”    |   ”      ” var           |Guzerat      |   ”
  Chinese      ”    |   ”      ” var Chinensis |China        |   ”
  Thibetian    ”    |   ”      ” var           |Thibet       |   ”
  Persian      ”    |   ”     Persica          |Persia       |   ”
  Latakia      ”    |   ”      ” var           |Syria        |   ”
  Djiddar      ”    |   ”     crispa           |  ”          |   ”
  Indian       ”    |   ”     quadrivalvis     |N. America   |   ”
     ”              |   ”     multivalvis      |    ”        |   ”
     ”         ”    |   ”     nana             |Rocky Mts.   |   ”
  Cuban        ”    |   ”     repanda          |Cuba         |   ”
  Columbian    ”    |   ”     loxensis         |America      |   ”
  Brazilian    ”    |   ”     glauca           |Brazil       |   ”
  Peruvian     ”    |   ”     andicola         |Andes        |   ”
  Coltsfoot leaves  |Tussilago farfar          |Europe       |Smok’d for
  Yarrow      ”     |Achillœa millefolium      |   ”         |   ”
  Rhubarb     ”     |Rheum emodi, &c.          |Himalayas    |   ”
  Bogbean     ”     |Menyanthes trifoliata     |Britain      |   ”
  Sage        ”     |Salvia officinalis        |Europe       |   ”
  Mountain tobacco  |Arnica montana            |Switzerland  |   ”
  Black holly       |Ilex vomitoria            |N. America   |   ”
  Stag’s horn sumach|Rhus typhina              |Mississippi  |   ”
  Copal sumach      |Rhus copallina            |     ”       |   ”
  Water lily leaves |Nelumbium speciosum       |China        |Mix’d with
  Pucha-pat         |Marrubium odoratissimum   |India        |Mix’d with
  Tombeki           |Lobelia sp.               |E. Asia      |Smoked as
  Indian tobacco    |Lobelia inflata           |N. America   |    ”
  Maize husks       |Zea Mays                  |U. States    |Patented
                                                               for cigars
  Birch bark        |Betula excelsa            |N. Brunswck  |Mix’d with
  Willow leaves     |Salix sp.                 |N. America   |Smoked as
  Bearberry leaves  |Arctostasphylus uva-ursi  |Chenook Ind. |Mix’d with
  Pimento berries   |Eugenia pimento           |W. Indies    |Smoked
  Cascarilla bark   |Croton eleuteria          |    ”        |Mix’d with
  Polygonum leaves  |Polygonum hispida         |S. America   |Smoked
  Camphor leaves    |Tarchonanthus camphoratus |Cape         |   ”
  Wild dagga        |Leonotis leonurus         |  ”          |   ”
      ...           |Leonotis ovata            |  ”          |   ”
  Culen             |Psoralea glandulosa       |Mauritius    |   ”
  Purphiok          |Tupistra sp.              |Sikkim       |Mix’d with
  Camomile flowers  |Anthemis nobilis          |Britain      |   ”
  Beet leaves       |Beta vulgaris             |France       |Recommended
                                                              as substitute
  Akel              |  ...                     |Algeria      |Mix’d with
  Trouna            |  ...                     |    ”        |    ”
  Kauw goed         |Mesembryanthemum tortuosum|Cape         |Chewed
  Angelica root     |Archangelica officinalis  |Lapland      |   ”
  Monkey bread
    leaves          |Adansonia digitata        |W. Africa    |Snuffed.
    leaves          |Rhododendron campanulatum |India        |Snuffed.
  Brown dust of
    petioles of     |Kalmia and Rhododendron sp.| N. America |   ”
  Asarabacca        |Asarum Europœum           |Europe       |   ”
  Grimstone’s eye  }|Various plants            |Britain      |   ”
    snuff          }|                          |             |
  Various indigenous|plants                    |Erzegebirge  |   ”
  Woodruff          |Asperula odorata          |Britain      |Mixed with
  Amadou ashes      |Polyporus igniarius       |Kamtschatka  |Snuffed.


  Smyrna opium      |Papaver somniferum.    |Levant       |Smoked, &c.
  Constantinople do.|          ”            |Turkey       |    ”
  Egyptian do.      |          ”            |Egypt        |    ”
  Trebizond do.     |          ”            |Persia       |    ”
  Bengal do.        |          ”            |India        |    ”
  Garden Patna do.  |          ”            |  ”          |    ”
  Malwa do.         |          ”            |  ”          |    ”
  Cutch do.         |          ”            |  ”          |    ”
  Kandeish do.      |          ”            |  ”          |    ”
  English do.       |          ”            |England      |    ”
  French do.        |          ”            |France       |    ”
  German do.        |          ”            |Germany      |    ”
  Lactucarium       |Lactuca sativa         |Britain      |Subs. for
       ”            |   ”    virosa         |   ”         |    ”
       ”            |   ”    scariola       |   ”         |    ”
       ”            |   ”    altissima      |   ”         |    ”
       ”            |   ”    sylvestris     |   ”         |    ”
       ”            |   ”    elongata       |   ”         |    ”
       ”            |   ”    taraxacifolia  |Guiana       |    ”
    laudanum        |Murucuja ocellata      |Jamaica      |    ”
  Ditto             |   ”     orbiculata    |Barbadoes    |    ”
  Syrian rue seeds  |Peganum harmala        |Turkey       |To produce
  Seeds of          |Sterculia alata        |Silhet       |Subs. for
  Seeds of          |Scopolia mutica        |Arabia       |To produce
  Juice of          |Chondrilla juncea      |Lemnos       |Subs. for


  Gunjah and Bang   |Cannabis indica        |India, Africa|Smoked, &c.
  Churrus (resin)   |       ”               |Nepaul, &c.  |   ”
  Powdered dacca   }|       ”               |S. W. Africa.|Snuffed.
    and aloes      }|                       |             |


  Betel nuts        |Areca catechu          |Malay Penin. |Chewed.
      ”             |Areca laxa             |Andaman Is.  |   ”
      ”             |Areca Nagonsis         |E. Bengal    |   ”
      ”             |Areca Dicksoni         |Malabar      |   ”
  Kassu (extract)   |Areca catechu          |India        |   ”
  Cowry (extract)   |Areca catechu          |Mysore       |   ”
  Kutt or catechu   |Acacia catechu         |India        |   ”
  Gambir            |Uncaria gambir         |Singapore &c.|Chewed.
    ”               |Uncaria sp.            |    ”        |   ”
  Betel pepper      |Chavica betle          |Malay Penin. |Chewed with
    leaves          |                       |             |   betel
      ”             |Chavica siraboa        |    ”        |    ”
  Blk. pepper leaves|Piper nigrum           |Singapore    |    ”
  Ava pepper        |Macropiper methysticum |S. Seas      |    ”
  Roots of          |Derris pinnata         |   ”         |Subs. for
  Roots of          |Cocos nucifera         |Ceylon       |    ”
  Guayabo bark      |Psidium guayaba        |Phillippines |    ”
  Antipolo bark     |       ”               |    ”        |    ”


  Coca leaves       |Erythroxylon coca      |Peru         |Masticatory


  Florispondio seeds|Datura sanguinea       |N. Granada.  |Drank in
  Thorn Apple leaves|   ”   stramonium      |Europe       |Smoked.
        ”     seeds |   ”   arborea         |Peru         |   ”
        ”       ”   |   ”   fatuosa         |Egypt        |   ”
        ”       ”   |   ”   ferox           |China        |   ”
        ”       ”   |   ”   tatula          |Asia         |By the
                                                           Delphic oracle.
        ”       ”   |   ”   metel           |W. Asia      |As an opiate.
  Belladonna leaves |Atropa belladonna      |Europe       |Smoked.
  Henbane leaves    |Hyoscyamus niger       |India        |Mixed with
  Leaves of         |Rhododendron chrysanthum|Siberia     |Chewed.
  Flowers of        |Rhododendron arboreum  |India        |  ”
  Foxglove leaves   |Digitalis purpurea     |  ”          |Mixed with


  Fly agaric        |Amanita muscaria          |Siberia   |Swallowed.



[1] The learned in the lore of ancient Rome may charge us, if they
will, with a grievous wrong in considering Sleep as one of the softer
sex, inasmuch as Somnus was one of the elder of the “_lords_ of the
creation.” We confess to an inclination towards the “_ladies_ of the
creation;” and in this matter especially

  “We have a vision of our own,
  And why should we undo it?”

[2] A correspondent of the _Medical Times_ having asked for authentic
instances of the hair becoming grey within the space of one night, Mr.
D. F. Parry, Staff-Surgeon at Aldershott, transmitted the following
account, of which he made memorandum shortly after its occurrence.
“On February 19, 1858, the column under General Franks, in the south
of Oude, was engaged with a rebel force at the village of Chamda,
and several prisoners were taken. One of them, a sepoy of the Bengal
army, was brought before the authorities for examination, and I,
being present, had an opportunity of watching from the commencement
the fact I am about to record. Divested of his uniform, and stripped
completely naked, he was surrounded by the soldiers, and then first
apparently became alive to the danger of his position; he trembled
violently, intense horror and despair were depicted in his countenance,
and although he answered all the questions addressed to him, he seemed
almost stupified with fear; while actually under observation, within
the space of half-an-hour, his hair became grey on every portion of his
head, it having been, when first seen by me, the glossy jet black of
the Bengalee, aged about twenty-four. The attention of the bystanders
was first attracted by the serjeant, whose prisoner he was, exclaiming,
‘He is turning grey;’ and I, with several other persons, watched its
progress. Gradually, but decidedly, the change went on, and a uniform
greyish colour was completed within the period above named.”

[3] Herod., lib. iv. cap. 74-75.

[4] Ib., lib. i. cap. 202.

[5] The Ansayrii and the Assassins, by the Hon. F. Walpole.

[6] “Ex illo sane tempore [tabacum] usu cepit esse creberrimo in
Angliâ, et magno pretio dum quam plurimi graveolentem illius fumum per
tubulum testaceum hauriunt et mox e naribus effiant; adeo ut Anglorum
corporum in barbarorum naturam degenerasse videantur quum iidem ac
barbari delectentur.”——CAMDEN, _Annal. Elizab._, p. 143. (1585.)

[7] Squier’s “Nicaragua.”

[8] Edwards’ “Voyage up the Amazon.”

[9] Bentley’s Magazine.

[10] For the art of making tobacco pipes of clay, the Dutch are
indebted to this country, in proof of which, Mr. Hollis, who passed
through the Netherlands in 1748, states that the master of the Gouda
Pipe Works informed him, that, to that day, the principal working tools
bore English names.

[11] Catlin’s North American Indians, vol. ii., p. 160.

[12] Tooke says “SNUFF is the past participle of to _sniff_, that which
is _sniffed_.”

[13] Lord Stanhope makes the following curious estimate:——“Every
professed, inveterate, and incurable snuff-taker, at a moderate
computation, takes one pinch in ten minutes. Every pinch, with the
agreeable ceremony of blowing and wiping the nose, and other incidental
circumstances, consumes a minute and a half. One minute and a half out
of every ten, allowing sixteen hours to a snuff-taking day, amounts to
two hours and twenty minutes out of every natural day, or one day out
of every ten. One day out of every ten amounts to thirty-six days and
a half in the year; hence, if we suppose the practice to be persisted
in for forty years, two entire years of the snuff-taker’s life will
be dedicated to tickling his nose, and two more to blowing it.” The
expense of snuff, snuff-boxes, and handkerchiefs, is also alluded to;
and it is calculated that “by a proper application of the time and
money thus lost to the public, a fund might be constituted for the
discharge of the national debt.”

[14] Curiosities of Food, by P. L. Simmonds. Bentley, 1859.

[15] Tobacco entered for home consumption—

      1856                 1857                 1858
  32,579,166 lbs.      32,851,365 lbs.      34,110,850 lbs.
            Total      99,541,381 lbs.—or 44,438 tons.

[16] Tea entered for home consumption in—

      1856                 1857                 1858
  63,295,643 lbs.      69,159,640 lbs.      73,217,483 lbs.

[17] _Mesembryanthemum tortuosum_, Linn.

[18] _Rhus typhina._

[19] “The tree Tooba that stands in Paradise, in the palace
of Mahomet.”——_Sale._ “Tooba signifies beatitude or eternal

[20] See Table XV. in the Appendix.

[21] Dr. Hobson states, in an official communication to the Government,
“I do not know of any mortal disease from opium corresponding to
_delirium tremens_ from alcohol. I have never been called to attend
to any accidents resulting from opium similar to those occurring so
frequently from habits of intoxication from liquor. The opium-smoker,
when under the full influence of his delicious drug, brawls and
swaggers not in the public streets, like a drunkard, to the annoyance
of bystanders, but reposes quietly on his couch, without molesting
those around him.”

Also Dr. Traill, of Singapore, from his own experience, has not found
opium-smoking in any way so powerful a promoter of disease as the
habitual use of intoxicating liquors.

[22] Dr. Doran says that a salad was so scarce an article during the
early part of the last century, that George I. was obliged also to send
to Holland to procure a lettuce for his queen. These vegetables must,
therefore, have become unpopular before that time, or the cultivation
had been for some cause discontinued, otherwise we cannot reconcile
this with the fact that lettuces were common enough a century before a
George sate upon the English throne.

[23] Von Hammer’s History of the Assassins.

[24] “Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science.”

[25] Dr. Daniell in “Pharmaceutical Journal.”


  1850—1,734 candies.
  1851—1,983 candies.
  1852—2,953 candies.
  1853—2,073 candies.
  1854—1,954 candies.
  The candy is 433½ lbs.

[27] There is a stick of this kind in the Museum of Economic Botany at
Kew Gardens.

[28] The stem and roots of long pepper, cut in pieces and dried under
the name of _Pipula moola_, are exposed for sale in all the bazaars of
India, but these are not used with the areca nut, nor are the leaves
applied to that purpose.

[29] From _cate_ a tree, and _chu_ juice.

[30] Neale’s Residence in Siam.

[31] Why are ladies who indulge in this habit universally described as
_elderly_ ladies?

[32] This name, derived from the Greek, indicates _strong_, _powerful_.

[33] “Edinburgh Medical Journal,” 1857.

[34] The potato, the tomato, and egg plant possess, when uncooked, in a
mild degree, the properties of the nightshade, the stramonium, and the
henbane, confirming the remark of De Candolle “that all our aliments
contain a small proportion of an exciting principle, which, should it
occur in a much greater quantity, might become injurious, but which is
necessary as a natural condiment.” In fact, when food does not contain
some stimulating principle, we add it in the form of spices.

[35] Another fanciful origin for the name, which signifies “beautiful
woman,” is, that it was bestowed in consequence of the use once made of
its berries by the Italian ladies as a cosmetic.

[36] “Similia similibus curantur.”

[37] “Journ. de Chim. Méd.,” 1839, p. 322.

[38] “Archives Gén. de Méd.,” t. xi., p. 94.

[40] Each Chest of Opium contains about 140 lbs.

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