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the Old World cannot have occurred earlier than the sixteenth century. We owe it to a Spanish missionary named Fray Romano Pane, who had been taken to America by Christopher Columbus, to convert the natives to Christianity. The worthy friar having remarked, in the priests of the god Kiwasa, the fanatic excitement produced by the vapour of tobacco leaves in fermentation or combustion, took it into his head to send seeds of the plant to Charles V., in all probability little suspecting that he was transmitting to his Sovereign the germs of a revolution destined one day to overrun the world.
Such at least appears to be the origin of the culture of tobacco by Europeans. Spain had it first. This occurred in 1518, an epoch equally fruitful in superstitious frivolities and historical events. Cuba was the first spot selected, on account of the superiority of its produce. Portugal soon followed Spain's example, by growing tobacco in several districts of Brazil. Portugal also, observing how its sale increased, was the first to draw a revenue from a tax on tobacco. About that time, Cardinal Della Santa Croce, then the Pope's nuncio in Portugal, imported tobacco into Italy. At the instigation of Admiral Drake, the Anglo-Americans had already broken up portions of wilderness in Virginia and Maryland for the special culture of tobacco. All this implies a certain demand, which, though partial and limited at first, must have been steadily on the increase.
Tobacco, therefore, was not only grown by, but afforded a revenue to a portion of Europe, when Jean Nicot, French Envoy at Lisbon, who had cultivated it in his garden, and had experimented on himself with tobacco powder as a cure for headache, offered it, in 1560, to Queen Catherine de Medicis, as a sovereign remedy against that complaint.
Hitherto tobacco had only been employed as a fumigator, by the aid of various apparatus, which have undergone sundry modifications before reaching the state in which we see them at present. But this time it was no longer a question of in
haling the smoke of the plant; its powder had to be snuffed in by the nose. And it was thus that, after journeying by sea and by land, and traversing a portion of Europe, tobacco made its entry into France by the narrow passage of her nostrils.
The moment could not be better chosen nor more opportune. The queen who, as well as her son Francis II., suffered from obstinate headaches, received the remedy with the hearty welcome always given to new and far-fetched specifics. Of its success nothing is recorded. All we know is that, from that date, headaches have often been the pretext for snuff-taking.
The custom soon spread, with incredible rapidity, throughout all classes of society. There was a mania, a rage for snuff. Rich and poor, men and women, healthy and sick, every one, furnished with their little roll of tobacco, and the grater wherewith to reduce it to powder, strove who should offer it and take it the most eagerly. Far from falling into neglect as time wore on, as often happens with the best of things, the use of snuff was constantly on the increase; to such an extent that, during the reigns of Louis XIII. and Louis XIV., it was almost the etiquette to present one's self at court grater in hand, the shirt frill bespattered with snuff, the nose more or less stuffed with the precious powder, the cheeks slightly tinged with its hue, and the clothing thoroughly scented with its smell. Some few of our aged contemporaries may have seen the last relics of that memorable epoch.
But the tobacco graters (although articles of finery which rivalled the most expensive fans) could not long survive the improvements in the art of reducing tobacco to dust by machinery. They were succeeded by snuff-boxes, displaying in turn the marks of extravagant luxury. Both graters and snuff-boxes are alike responsible for the immense consumption of tobacco in France. No nation ever snuffed to such an excess; and that in spite of criticism and raillery, in spite of the advice of physicians, in spite even of the authority of kings and popes.
The Sultan and the Muscovite Sovereign threatened death, the King of Persia amputation of the nose, Urban VIII. excommunication, Christian IV. of Denmark the milder punishments of fines and whippings, to persons guilty of tobacco-taking. But we know what little influence both laws and reason, either singly or in combination, have in checking the spread of a foolish fashion. We need not search history for examples -we need not go back to Rome, nor even to Venice-having cotemporary "The instances before our eyes. mode' will ever manifest its despotism by forcing society to adopt some new-fangled folly of the day.
Nothing, indeed, proves better than the history of tobacco the strange turns taken by human affairs -by the ways and doings of men and women. An acrid, fetid, and repulsive plant, unused by and unknown to all except the savages of America, is brought over to Europe. One would say, before the experiment was tried, that it was sure to be despised and rejected, or at least let alone, and consigned to a corner in a druggist's shop with other nauseous and medicinal articles. But instead of that, presto! it suddenly finds favour as if by enchantment. The habits of nations are changed in consequence; a new indulgence is created; a new want, of primary necessity, makes itself felt by the world at large. Tobacco's triumphant march in advance shows the power of imitation not only on the human mind, but over the destinies of a people.
Nevertheless, the French did not yet smoke, although smoking was already common in Spain, Holland, Switzerland, and Prussia. And although France tolerated foreign smokers in the spirit of her habitual courtesy, she still kept exclusively to her pinch of snuff, seemingly in protest against what appeared incompatible with national manners.
As to the time consumed in smoking, by way of parenthesis, I say nothing, because in many cases the amusement is adopted avowedly as a means of killing time. Snuffing, it has been calculated, is even a greater waste of time than smoking.
People can smoke and go on with
Somebody asked Abernethy whether the moderate use of snuff would injure his brain.
No, sir,' replied the irritable doctor; for nobody with an ounce of brains in his head would ever think of taking snuff.'
Louis XIV. did not smoke, but at least he tolerated smokers, Jean Bart was one of the first personages who introduced the pipe to Court, whither he had been sent for by the king. As it was not yet daylight when he presented himself, he had to wait in the antechamber before admission to the presence. Knowing nobody at Versailles, he found the time long; so he took out his pipe, struck a light with flint and steel, and set to smoking in right good earnest. Such conduct was naturally considered extremely improper-the height of impudence. Nobody had ever before smoked in the king's apartment. The courtiers were shocked; the guards wanted to turn him out.
He coolly replied, puffing away, 'I have contracted this habit in the king my master's service, and it has become a necessity. I believe him to be too just a monarch to be angry at my satisfying it.'
As he had never appeared at Court, there was only the Comte de Forbin who knew him; and he, fearing the consequences of the freak, dared not acknowledge him as his friend. So somebody went and told the king that a strange
fellow had presumed to smoke, and refused to quit the antechamber.
'Let him do as he likes,' said the king, with a laugh; 'I bet anything that it is Jean Bart.' Adding soon afterwards, 'Let him come in.'
On entering, his Majesty received him cordially, remarking, 'You, Jean Bart, are the only person allowed to smoke here.'
The name of Jean Bart and the king's gracious reception made a strange alteration in the courtiers' manners. When he left the king, they thronged about him, asking how he managed to get out of Dunkerque with his little squadron in spite of the fleet blockading the port. Ranging them close together in a line before him, he pushed his way through, elbowing right and left and pommeling them with his fists. Then, turning round, he said, That is the way I managed it.'
Sailors elsewhere had already indulged themselves both with the pipe and the quid, and so distinguished themselves from the rest of the service. But examples like these spread quickly, if only for the gratification of curiosity-as happened even to the daughters of the Grand Monarque. One day, when they were indulging in the novelty, without asking their governess's permission, they were surprised by the entrance of their royal father, who was struck all of a heap at the sight.
Copying the navy, the army soon smoked, beginning with the officers and not ending with the common soldiers; for now all France smokes like one man, with a single mouth, keeping millions upon millions of pipes alight. The pastime is not confined to the bivouac, but is practised everywhere, at all times, in all weathers, in all ranks of society, from the imperial throne to the meanest hovel. Princes and ministers, masters and valets, rich and poor, great and little, everybody smokes, ALL SMOKE. Smoking is perpetrated on foot, on horseback, in private carriages, in railway ditto, at work, during repose, always and everywhere. Almost the only interruption are the hours devoted to rest and sleep; and that inter
ruption will shortly cease, when France shall be as advanced as Germany. Tender youth is not held a sufficient reason for abstaining from the use of tobacco. The adolescent smokes; the child, the schoolboy would also smoke were he not prevented rather by paternal surveillance and scholastic discipline than by the giddiness, nausea, and intoxication which are consequent on his precocious attempts.
Declamation is powerless in the face of stubborn facts, and when people have resolved to do a thing, it is of no use advising them not to do it. Still, we cannot conceal from ourselves that England, as far as tobacco is concerned, is beginning to rival the social state above described. From the Continent doubtless we have imported smoking to excess, just as we have imported moustaches, beards, white tablecloths at dessert, and dinners à la Russe. The one may be as irresistible as the others; but, unfortunately, it is neither so inexpensive nor so harmless, for it involves the whole question of national hygiène, of the popular health, of the dwarfing of our race and the spread of disease.
Hardened smokers will go on in their own way, in spite of all they may read or hear; but beginners would do well to peruse attentively Dr. Richardson's able treatise 'For and Against Tobacco.' Although it is more Against than For, it is sufficiently impartial to command respect; witness the following passages:
The influence of tobacco on the heart has been very differently estimated by different writers. Some have conceived that its influence is entirely imaginary-others that it is most dangerous. The truth again lies, in this case, in separating functional from organic mischief. I do not think there is any evidence to show that tobacco alone is capable of producing structural change either on the valvular mechanism or the muscular fibre of the heart; on the contrary, I believe that in persons strongly disposed to rheumatism and gout-diseases which arise from the presence and accumulation
of acid matters in the blood-the tobacco, from its alkaline reaction, is rather a preventative to structural change in the heart than otherwise. I speak with diffidence on a subject which scarcely admits of demonstration; but yet I feel that I have had evidence and actual experience of the fact named. Once more; in persons who, either from necessity or ignorance, subject themselves to an unnatural degree of muscular exercise, and who make, as a consequence, egregious demands for labour on that pulsating organ which knows no rest; in such, I believe the influence of a pipe daily (I do not mean of many pipes), is beneficial rather than otherwise. In these, the tobacco puts a curb on the extra excitement, and, acting as a sedative on the heart, prevents its over-action and arrests its excessive development.
'Nay, strange as it may appear, I am inclined to believe that tobacco, instead of increasing the evil effects of alcohol on the heart,
renders them less determinate; for alcohol tends to create fermentative changes in the stomach and alimentary system, and to give rise to those acid modifications of the blood on which the more serious organic diseases of the heart mainly rest; while the tendency of tobacco is to stop those changes. Alcohol also excites the action of the heart: tobacco subdues it. Thus, if two men sit down together and take an equal quantity of spirituous drink, and if one smoke and the other do not, the action of the heart will be much less increased in the smoker. I do not, of course, put this forward as an advantage, because it is very foolish for any one to take alcohol in excess; but I name the fact, in its simple meaning, as a fact.'
Finally, the writer is not, nor likely to be, a member of any antitobacco society. He is neither a slave to the cigar, nor an utter stranger to it. When he wants one, he takes it; when he does not feel to want one, he goes without it.
of squalid want, improvidence, and vice-of fashionable dissipation and vulgar crime-is that curious document of many-handed signatures and fabulous nomenclature, called the 'Charge Sheet,' which is placed before the magistracy every morning, and faithfully reports the misdoings of the district-or rather such of them as are 'found out'during the preceding night. You might almost fancy, on glancing at the names of the offenders, that the criminality of London is about equally divided among the Smiths, the Joneses and the Johnsons of the town.
Here is the hopeful son and heir of my Lord Screwby taking his turn in the dock with Opera Jack,' 'Seven Dial Sam,' and 'Bedfordbury Bill,' just out on ticket-ofleave. And the women, too! The bearded stranger from a foreign land, who has just stepped in to get a taste of London life 'under lock-and-key,' may well look startled to see the proportion which the fair and tender sex maintains in that sad collection of 'night-charges;' for it is a fact that nearly two-thirds of the daily complaints for rioting and
drunkenness, are preferred against
But the sanguine believer in the popular notion that there is a law for the rich, and none for the poor, must wait till the night-charges are disposed of, and the 'summonsbusiness' begins, if he would learn how the said 'poor' would be likely to improve their shining hours, if greater facilities were afforded them for taking legal proceedings' against one another.
To-day there are sixteen summonses on the list, having relation to sixteen assaults, committed by sixteen people (nearly all women) against sixteen other people each of the complainants and defendants being armed with at least half a dozen witnesses, ready to swear point blank against each other: and, oh, gentle reader, if you would see the oath-swearing system in all its fulness of perfection, take thyself unto Bow Street or Worship Street some thirsty July afternoon, and behold a well-educated gentleman sitting in open court, and receiving 1200l. a year, chiefly for adjusting the squabbles arising daily among the female denizens of his district, who have parted with their only