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Transcriber's Note: A number of obvious typographical errors have been corrected in this text. For a complete list, please see the bottom of this document. Greek has been transliterated and marked with + marks
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BY THE SAME AUTHOR
BYGONE LONDON LIFE
BY G.L. APPERSON, I.S.O.
LONDON MARTIN SECKER NUMBER FIVE JOHN STREET ADELPHI
First published 1914
PRINTED AT THE BALLANTYNE PRESS LONDON
J.H.M. AND R.W.B.
GOOD FRIENDS AND
This is the first attempt to write the history of smoking in this country from the social point of view. There have been many books written about tobacco—F.W. Fairholt's "History of Tobacco," 1859, and the "Tobacco" (1857) of Andrew Steinmetz, are still valuable authorities—but hitherto no one has told the story of the fluctuations of fashion in respect of the practice of smoking.
Much that is fully and well treated in such a work as Fairholt's "History" is ignored in the following pages. I have tried to confine myself strictly to the changes in the attitude of society towards smoking, and to such historical and social sidelights as serve to illuminate that theme.
The tobacco-pipe was popular among every section of society in this country in an amazingly short space of time after smoking was first practised for pleasure, and retained its ascendancy for no inconsiderable period. Signs of decline are to be observed during the latter part of the seventeenth century; and in the course of its successor smoking fell more and more under the ban of fashion. Early in the nineteenth century tobacco-smoking had reached its nadir from the social point of view. Then came the introduction of the cigar and the revival of smoking in the circles from which it had long been almost entirely absent. The practice was hedged about and obstructed by a host of restrictions and conventions, but as the nineteenth century advanced the triumphant progress of tobacco became more and more marked. The introduction of the cigarette completed what the cigar had begun; barriers and prejudices crumbled and disappeared with increasing rapidity; until at the present day tobacco-smoking in England—by pipe or cigar or cigarette—is more general, more continuous, and more free from conventional restrictions than at any period since the early days of its triumph in the first decades of the seventeenth century.
The tracing and recording of this social history of the smoking-habit, touching as it does so many interesting points and details of domestic manners and customs, has been a task of peculiar pleasure. To me it has been a labour of love; but no one can be more conscious of the many imperfections of these pages than I am.
I should like to add that I am indebted to Mr. Vernon Rendall, editor of The Athenaeum, for a number of valuable references and suggestions.
HAYWARDS HEATH. September 1914.
I. THE FIRST PIPES OF TOBACCO SMOKED IN ENGLAND 11
II. TOBACCO TRIUMPHANT: SMOKING FASHIONABLE AND UNIVERSAL 25
III. TOBACCO TRIUMPHANT (continued): SELLERS OF TOBACCO AND PROFESSORS OF THE ART OF SMOKING 39
IV. CAVALIER AND ROUNDHEAD SMOKERS 57
V. SMOKING IN THE RESTORATION ERA 69
VI. SMOKING UNDER KING WILLIAM III AND QUEEN ANNE 83
VII. SMOKING UNFASHIONABLE: EARLY GEORGIAN DAYS 99
VIII. SMOKING UNFASHIONABLE (continued): LATER GEORGIAN DAYS 119
IX. SIGNS OF REVIVAL 137
X. EARLY VICTORIAN DAYS 155
XI. LATER VICTORIAN DAYS 179
XII. SMOKING IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY 193
XIII. SMOKING BY WOMEN 205
XIV. SMOKING IN CHURCH 225
XV. TOBACCONISTS' SIGNS 235
THE FIRST PIPES OF TOBACCO SMOKED IN ENGLAND
Before the wine of sunny Rhine, or even Madam Clicquot's, Let all men praise, with loud hurras, this panacea of Nicot's. The debt confess, though none the less they love the grape and barley, Which Frenchmen owe to good Nicot, and Englishmen to Raleigh.
There is little doubt that the smoke of herbs and leaves of various kinds was inhaled in this country, and in Europe generally, long before tobacco was ever heard of on this side the Atlantic. But whatever smoking of this kind took place was medicinal and not social. Many instances have been recorded of the finding of pipes resembling those used for tobacco-smoking in Elizabethan times, in positions and in circumstances which would seem to point to much greater antiquity of use than the form of the pipes supports; but some at least of these finds will not bear the interpretation which has been put upon them, and in other cases the presence of pipes could reasonably be accounted for otherwise than by associating them with the antiquity claimed for them. In any case, the entire absence of any allusions whatever to smoking in any shape or form in our pre-Elizabethan literature, or in mediaeval or earlier art, is sufficient proof that from the social point of view smoking did not then exist. The inhaling of the smoke of dried herbs for medicinal purposes, whether through a pipe-shaped funnel or otherwise, had nothing in it akin to the smoking of tobacco for both individual and social pleasure, and therefore lies outside the scope of this book.
It may further be added that though the use of tobacco was known and practised on the continent of Europe for some time before smoking became common in England—it was taken to Spain from Mexico by a physician about 1560, and Jean Nicot about the same time sent tobacco seeds to France—yet such use was exclusively for medicinal purposes. The smoking of tobacco in England seems from the first to have been much more a matter of pleasure than of hygiene.
Who first smoked a pipe of tobacco in England? The honour is divided among several claimants. It has often been stated that Captain William Middleton or Myddelton (son of Richard Middleton, Governor of Denbigh Castle), a Captain Price and a Captain Koet were the first who smoked publicly in London, and that folk flocked from all parts to see them; and it is usually added that pipes were not then invented, so they smoked the twisted leaf, or cigars. This account first appeared in one of the volumes of Pennant's "Tour in Wales." But the late Professor Arber long ago pointed out that the remark as to the mode of smoking by cigars and not by pipes was simply Pennant's speculation. The authority for the rest of the story is a paper in the Sebright MSS., which, in an account of William Middleton, has the remark: "It is sayed, that he, with Captain Thomas Price of Plasyollin and one Captain Koet, were the first who smoked, or (as they called it) drank tobacco publickly in London; and that the Londoners flocked from all parts to see them." No date is named, and no further particulars are available.
Another Elizabethan who is often said to have smoked the first pipe in England is Ralph Lane, the first Governor of Virginia, who came home with Drake in 1586. Lane is said to have given Sir Walter Raleigh an Indian pipe and to have shown him how to use it. There is no original authority, however, for the statement that Lane first smoked tobacco in England, and, moreover, he was not the first English visitor to Virginia to return to this country. One Captain Philip Amadas accompanied Captain Barlow, who commanded on the occasion of Raleigh's first voyage of discovery, when the country was formally taken possession of and named Virginia in honour of Queen Elizabeth. This was early in 1584. The two captains reached England in September 1584, bringing with them the natives of whom King James I, in his "Counter-blaste to Tobacco," speaks as "some two or three Savage men," who "were brought in, together with this Savage custome," i.e. of smoking. It is extremely improbable that Captains Amadas and Barlow, when reporting to Raleigh on their expedition, did not also make him acquainted with the Indian practice of smoking. This would be two years before the return of Ralph Lane.
But certainly pipes were smoked in England before 1584. The plant was introduced into Europe, as we have seen, about 1560, and it was under cultivation in England by 1570. In the 1631 edition of Stow's "Chronicles" it is stated that tobacco was "first brought and made known by Sir John Hawkins, about the year 1565, but not used by Englishmen in many years after." There is only one reference to tobacco in Hawkins's description of his travels. In the account of his second voyage (1564-65) he says: "The Floridians when they travel have a kinde of herbe dryed, which with a cane, and an earthen cup in the end, with fire, and the dried herbs put together do smoke thoro the cane the smoke thereof, which smoke satisfieth their hunger, and therewith they live foure or five days without meat or drinke." Smoking was thus certainly known to Hawkins in 1565, but much reliance cannot be placed on the statement in the Stow of 1631 that he first made known the practice in this country, because that statement appears in no earlier edition of the "Chronicles." Moreover, as opposed to the allegation that tobacco was "not used by Englishmen in many years after" 1565, there is the remark by William Harrison, in his "Chronologie," 1588, that in 1573 "the taking in of the smoke of the Indian herbe called Tobacco, by an instrument formed like a little ladell, whereby it passeth from the mouth into the head and stomach, is gretlie taken up and used in England." The "little ladell" describes the early form of the tobacco-pipe, with small and very shallow bowl.
King James, in his reference to the "first Author" of what he calls "this abuse," clearly had Sir Walter Raleigh in view, and it is Raleigh with whom in the popular mind the first pipe of tobacco smoked in England is usually associated. The tradition is crystallized in the story of the schoolboy who, being asked "What do you know about Sir Walter Raleigh?" replied: "Sir Walter Raleigh introduced tobacco into England, and when smoking it in this country said to his servant, 'Master Ridley, we are to-day lighting a candle in England which by God's blessing will never be put out'"!
The truth probably is that whoever actually smoked the first pipe, it was Raleigh who brought the practice into common use. It is highly probable, also, that Raleigh was initiated in the art of smoking by Thomas Hariot. This was made clear, I think, by the late Dr. Brushfield in the second of the valuable papers on matters connected with the life and achievements of Sir Walter, which he contributed under the title of "Raleghana" to the "Transactions" of the Devonshire Association. Hariot was sent out by Raleigh for the specific purpose of inquiring into and reporting upon the natural productions of Virginia. He returned in 1586, and in 1588 published the results of his researches in a thin quarto with an extremely long-winded title beginning "A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia" and continuing for a further 138 words.
In this "Report" Hariot says of the tobacco plant: "There is an herbe which is sowed a part by itselfe and is called by the inhabitants Vppowoc: In the West Indies it hath divers names, according to the severall places and countries where it groweth and is used: The Spaniardes generally call it Tobacco. The leaves thereof being dried and brought into powder: they use to take the fume or smoke thereof by sucking it through pipes made of claie into their stomacke and heade: from whence it purgeth superfluous fleame and other grosse humors, openeth all the pores and passages of the body: by which meanes the use thereof, not only preserveth the body from obstructions: but if also any be, so that they have not beane of too long continuance, in short time breaketh them: wherby their bodies are notably preserved in health, and know not many greevous diseases wherewithall wee in England are oftentimes afflicted."
So far Hariot's "Report" regarded tobacco from the medicinal point of view only; but it is important to note that he goes on to describe his personal experience of the practice of smoking in words that suggest the pleasurable nature of the experience. He says: "We ourselves during the time we were there used to suck it after their maner, as also since our returne, and have found maine [? manie] rare and wonderful experiments of the vertues thereof: of which the relation woulde require a volume by itselfe: the use of it by so manie of late, men and women of great calling as else, and some learned Physitians also, is sufficient witness."
Who can doubt that Hariot, in reporting direct to Sir Walter Raleigh, showed his employer how "to suck it after their maner"?
All the evidence agrees that whoever taught Raleigh, it was Raleigh's example that brought smoking into notice and common use. Long before his death in 1618 it had become fashionable, as we shall see, in all ranks of society. He is said to have smoked a pipe on the morning of his execution, before he went to the scaffold, a tradition which is quite credible.
Every one knows the legend of the water (or beer) thrown over Sir Walter by his servant when he first saw his master smoking, and imagined he was on fire. The story was first associated with Raleigh by a writer in 1708 in a magazine called the British Apollo. According to this yarn Sir Walter usually "indulged himself in Smoaking secretly, two pipes a Day; at which time, he order'd a Simple Fellow, who waited, to bring him up a Tankard of old Ale and Nutmeg, always laying aside the Pipe, when he heard his servant coming." On this particular occasion, however, the pipe was not laid aside in time, and the "Simple Fellow," imagining his master was on fire, as he saw the smoke issuing from his mouth, promptly put the fire out by sousing him with the contents of the tankard. One difficulty about this story is the alleged secrecy of Raleigh's indulgence in tobacco. There seems to be no imaginable reason why he should not have smoked openly. Later versions turn the ale into water and otherwise vary the story.
But the story was a stock jest long before it was associated with Raleigh. The earliest example of it occurs in the "Jests" attributed to Richard Tarleton, the famous comic performer of the Elizabethan stage, who died in 1588—the year of the Armada. "Tarlton's Jests" appeared in 1611, and the story in question, which is headed "How Tarlton tooke tobacco at the first comming up of it," runs as follows:
"Tarlton, as other gentlemen used, at the first comming up of tobacco, did take it more for fashion's sake than otherwise, and being in a roome, set between two men overcome with wine, and they never seeing the like, wondered at it, and seeing the vapour come out of Tarlton's nose, cryed out, fire, fire, and threw a cup of wine in Tarlton's face. Make no more stirre, quoth Tarlton, the fire is quenched: if the sheriffes come, it will turne to a fine, as the custome is. And drinking that againe, fie, sayes the other, what a stinke it makes; I am almost poysoned. If it offend, saies Tarlton, let every one take a little of the smell, and so the savour will quickly goe: but tobacco whiffes made them leave him to pay all."
In the early days of smoking, the smoker was very generally said to "drink" tobacco.
Another early example of the story occurs in Barnaby Rich's "Irish Hubbub," 1619, where a "certain Welchman coming newly to London," and for the first time seeing a man smoking, extinguished the fire with a "bowle of beere" which he had in his hand.
Various places are traditionally associated with Raleigh's first pipe. The most surprising claim, perhaps, is that of Penzance, for which there is really no evidence at all. Miss Courtney, writing in the Folk-Lore Journal, 1887, says: "There is a myth that Sir Walter Raleigh landed at Penzance Quay when he returned from Virginia, and on it smoked the first tobacco ever seen in England, but for this I do not believe that there is the slightest foundation. Several western ports, both in Devon and Cornwall, make the same boast." Miss Courtney might have added that Sir Walter never himself visited Virginia at all.
Another place making a similar claim is Hemstridge, on the Somerset and Dorset border. Just before reaching Hemstridge from Milborne Port, at the cross-roads, there is a public-house called the Virginia Inn. There, it is said, according to Mr. Edward Hutton, in his "Highways and Byways in Somerset," "Sir Walter Raleigh smoked his first pipe of tobacco, and, being discovered by his servant, was drenched with a bucket of water."
At the fifteenth-century Manor-House at South Wraxall, Wiltshire, the "Raleigh Room" is shown, and visitors are told that according to local tradition it was in this room that Sir Walter smoked his first pipe, when visiting his friend, the owner of the mansion, Sir Henry Long.
Another tradition gives the old Pied Bull at Islington, long since demolished, as the scene of the momentous event. It is said in its earlier days to have been a country house of Sir Walter's, and according to legend it was in his dining-room in this house that he had his first pipe. Hone, in the first volume of the "Every Day Book" tells how he and some friends visited this Pied Bull, then in a very decayed condition, and smoked their pipes in the dining-room in memory of Sir Walter. From the recently published biography of William Hone by Mr. F.W. Hackwood, we learn that the jovial party consisted of William Hone, George Cruikshank, Joseph Goodyear, and David Sage, who jointly signed a humorous memorandum of their proceedings on the occasion, from which it appears that "each of us smoked a pipe, that is to say, each of us one or more pipes, or less than one pipe, and the undersigned George Cruikshank having smoked pipes innumerable or more or less," and that "several pots of porter, in aid of the said smoking," were consumed, followed by bowls of negus made from "port wine @ 3s. 6d. per bottle (duty knocked off lately)" and other ingredients. Speeches were made and toasts proposed, and altogether the four, who desired to "have the gratification of saying hereafter that we had smoked a pipe in the same room that the man who first introduced tobacco smoked in himself," seem to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Wherever Raleigh is known to have lived or lodged we are sure to find the tradition flourishing that there he smoked his first pipe. The assertion has been made of his birthplace, Hayes Barton, although it is very doubtful if he ever visited the place after his parents left it, some years before their son had become acquainted with tobacco; and also with more plausibility of his home at Youghal, in the south of Ireland. Froude, in one of his "Short Studies," quotes a legend to the effect that Raleigh smoked on a rock below the Manor House of Greenaway, on the River Dart, which was the home of the first husband of Katherine Champernowne, afterwards Raleigh's wife; and Devonshire guide-books have adopted the story.
Perhaps the most likely scene of Raleigh's first experiments in the art of smoking was Durham House, which stood where the Adelphi Terrace and the streets between it and the Strand now stand. This was in the occupation of Sir Walter for twenty years (1583-1603), and he was probably resident there when Hariot returned from Virginia to make his report and instruct his employer in the management of a pipe. Walter Thornbury, in his "Haunted London," referring to the story of the servant throwing the ale over his smoking master, says: "There is a doubtful old legend about Raleigh's first pipe, the scene of which may be not unfairly laid at Durham House, where Raleigh lived." The ale story is mythical, but it is highly probable that Sir Walter's first pipes were smoked in Durham House. Dr. Brushfield quotes Hepworth Dixon, in "Her Majesty's Tower," as drawing "an imaginary and yet probable picture of him and his companions at a window of this very house, overlooking the 'silent highway':
"'It requires no effort of the fancy to picture these three men [Shakespeare, Bacon and Raleigh] as lounging in a window of Durham House, puffing the new Indian weed from silver bowls, discussing the highest themes in poetry and science, while gazing on the flower-beds and the river, the darting barges of dame and cavalier, and the distant pavilions of Paris garden and the Globe.'" This is a pure "effort of the fancy" so far as Bacon and Shakespeare are concerned. Shakespeare's absolute silence about tobacco forbids us to assume that he smoked; but of Raleigh the picture may be true enough. The house had, as Aubrey tells us, "a little turret that looked into and over the Thames, and had the prospect which is as pleasant perhaps as any in the world"; and it would be strange indeed if the owner of the noble house did not often smoke a contemplative pipe in the window of that pleasant turret.
The only mention made of tobacco by Raleigh himself occurs in a testamentary note made a little while before his execution in 1618. Referring to the tobacco remaining on his ship after his last voyage, he wrote: "Sir Lewis Stukely sold all the tobacco at Plimouth of which, for the most part of it, I gave him a fift part of it, as also a role for my Lord Admirall and a role for himself ... I desire that hee may give his account for the tobacco." As showing how closely Sir Walter's name was associated with it long after his death, Dr. Brushfield quotes the following entry from the diary of the great Earl of Cork: "Sept. 1, 1641. Sent by Travers to my infirme cozen Roger Vaghan, a pott of Sir Walter Raleighes tobackoe."
In the Wallace Collection at Hertford House is a pouch or case labelled as having belonged to and been used by Sir Walter Raleigh. This pouch contains several clay pipes. It was perhaps this same pouch or case which once upon a time figured in Ralph Thoresby's museum at Leeds, and is described by Thoresby himself in his "Ducatus Leodiensis," 1715. Curiously enough, a few years ago when excavations were being made around the foundations of Raleigh's house at Youghal a clay pipe-bowl was dug up which in size, shape, &c., was exactly like the pipes in the Wallace exhibit. Raleigh lived and no doubt smoked in the Youghal house, so it is quite possible that the bowl found belonged to one of the pipes actually smoked by him. In the garden of the Youghal house, by the way, they used to show the tree—perhaps still do so—under which Raleigh was sitting, smoking his pipe, when his servant drenched him. Thus the tradition, which, as we have seen, dates from 1708 only, has obtained two local habitations—Youghal and Durham House on the Adelphi site.
In November 1911 a curiously shaped pipe was put up for sale in Mr. J.C. Stevens's Auction Room, Covent Garden, which was described as that which Raleigh smoked "on the scaffold." The pipe in question was said to have been given by the doomed man to Bishop Andrewes, in whose family it remained for many years, and it was stated to have been in the family of the owner, who sent it for sale, for some 200 years. The pipe was of wood constructed in four pieces of strange shape, rudely carved with dogs' heads and faces of Red Indians. According to legend it had been presented to Raleigh by the Indians. The auctioneer, Mr. Stevens, remarked that unfortunately a parchment document about the pipe was lost some years ago, and declared, "If we could only produce the parchment the pipe would fetch L500." In the end, however, it was knocked down at seventy-five guineas.
The form and make of the first pipe is a matter I do not propose to go into here; but in connexion with the first pipe smoked in this country Aubrey's interesting statements must be given. Writing in the time of Charles II, he said that he had heard his grandfather say that at first one pipe was handed from man to man round about the table. "They had first silver pipes; the ordinary sort made use of a walnut shell and a straw"—surely a very unsatisfactory pipe. Tobacco in those earliest days, he says, was sold for its weight in silver. "I have heard some of our old yeomen neighbours say that when they went to Malmesbury or Chippenham Market, they culled out their biggest shillings to lay in the scales against the tobacco."
TOBACCO TRIUMPHANT: SMOKING FASHIONABLE AND UNIVERSAL
Tobacco engages Both sexes, all ages, The poor as well as the wealthy; From the court to the cottage, From childhood to dotage, Both those that are sick and the healthy.
Wits' Recreations, 1640.
This chapter and the next deal with the history of smoking during the first fifty years after its introduction as a social habit—roughly to 1630.
The use of tobacco spread with extraordinary rapidity among all classes of society. During the latter part of Queen Elizabeth's reign and through the early decades of the seventeenth century tobacco-pipes were in full blast. Tobacco was triumphant.
Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about smoking at this period, from the social point of view, was its fashionableness. One of the marked characteristics of the gallant—the beau or dandy or "swell" of the time—was his devotion to tobacco. Earle says that a gallant was one that was born and shaped for his clothes—but clothes were only a part of his equipment. Bishop Hall, satirizing the young man of fashion in 1597, describes the delicacies with which he was accustomed to indulge his appetite, and adds that, having eaten, he "Quaffs a whole tunnel of tobacco smoke"; and old Robert Burton, in satirically enumerating the accomplishments of "a complete, a well-qualified gentleman," names to "take tobacco with a grace," with hawking, riding, hunting, card-playing, dicing and the like. The qualifications for a gallant were described by another writer in 1603 as "to make good faces, to take Tobacco well, to spit well, to laugh like a waiting gentlewoman, to lie well, to blush for nothing, to looke big upon little fellowes, to scoffe with a grace ... and, for a neede, to ride prettie and well."
A curious feature of tobacco-manners among fashionable smokers of the period was the practice of passing a pipe from one to another, after the fashion of the "loving cup." There is a scene in "Greene's Tu Quoque," 1614, laid in a fashionable ordinary, where the London gallants meet as usual, and one says to a companion who is smoking: "Please you to impart your smoke?" "Very willingly, sir," says the smoker. Number two takes a whiff or two and courteously says: "In good faith, a pipe of excellent vapour!" The owner of the pipe then explains that it is "the best the house yields," whereupon the other immediately depreciates it, saying affectedly: "Had you it in the house? I thought it had been your own: 'tis not so good now as I took it for!" Another writer of this time speaks of one pipe of tobacco sufficing "three or four men at once."
The rich young gallant carried about with him his tobacco apparatus (often of gold or silver) in the form of tobacco-box, tobacco-tongs—wherewith to lift a live coal to light his pipe, ladle "for the cold snuffe into the nosthrill," and priming-iron. Sometimes the tobacco-box was of ivory; and occasionally a gallant would have looking-glass set in his box, so that when he took it out to obtain tobacco, he could at the same time have a view of his own delectable person. When our gallant went to dine at the ordinary, according to the custom of the time, he brought out these possessions, and smoked while the dinner was being served. Before dinner, after taking a few turns up and down Paul's Walk in the old cathedral, he might look into the booksellers' shops, and, pipe in mouth, inquire for the most recent attack upon the "divine weed"—the contemporary tobacco literature was abundant—or drop into an apothecary's, which was usually a tobacco-shop also, and there meet his fellow-smokers.
In the afternoon the gallant might attend what Dekker calls a "Tobacco-ordinary," by which may possibly have been meant a smoking-club, or, more probably, the gathering after dinner at one of the many ordinaries in the neighbourhood of St. Paul's Cathedral of "tobacconists," as smokers were then called, to discuss the merits of their respective pipes, and of the various kinds of tobacco—"whether your Cane or your Pudding be sweetest."
Of course he often bragged, like Julio in Day's "Law Trickes": "Tobacco? the best in Europe, 't cost me ten Crownes an ounce, by this vapour."
An amusing example of the bragging "tobacconist" is pictured for us in Ben Jonson's "Bobadil." Bobadil may perhaps be somewhat of an exaggerated caricature, but it is probable that the dramatist in drawing him simply exaggerated the characteristic traits of many smokers of the day. This hero, drawing tobacco from his pocket, declares that it is all that is left of seven pounds which he had bought only "yesterday was seven-night." A consumption of seven pounds of tobacco in eight days is a pretty "tall order"! Then he goes on to brag of its quality—your right Trinidado—and to assert that he had been in the Indies, where the herb grows, and where he himself and a dozen other gentlemen had for the space of one-and-twenty weeks known no other nutriment than the fume of tobacco. This again was tolerably "steep" even for this Falstaff-like braggart. He continues with more bombast in praise of the medicinal virtues of the herb—virtues which were then very firmly and widely believed in—and is replied to by Cob, the anti-tobacconist, who, with equal exaggeration on the other side, denounces tobacco, and declares that four people had died in one house from the use of it in the preceding week, and that one had "voided a bushel of soot"!
The properly accomplished gallant not only professed to be curiously learned in pipes and tobacco, but his knowledge of prices and their fluctuations, of the apothecaries' and other shops where the herb was sold, and of the latest and most fashionable ways of inhaling and exhaling the smoke, was, like Mr. Weller's knowledge of London, "extensive and peculiar." It was knowledge of this kind that gained for a gallant reputation and respect by no means to be acquired by mere scholarship and learning.
The satirical Dekker might class "tobacconists" with "feather-makers, cobweb-lawne-weavers, perfumers, young country gentlemen and fools," but he bears invaluable witness to the devotion of the fashionable men of the day to the "costlye and gentleman-like Smoak."
It was customary for a man to carry a case of pipes about with him. In a play of 1609 ("Everie Woman in her Humour") there is an inventory of the contents of a gentleman's pocket, with a value given for each item, which displays certainly a curious assortment of articles. First comes a brush and comb worth fivepence, and next a looking-glass worth three halfpence. With these aids to vanity are a case of tobacco-pipes valued at fourpence, half an ounce of tobacco valued at sixpence, and three pence in coin, or, as it is quaintly worded, "in money and golde." Satirists of course made fun of the smoker's pocketful of apparatus. A pamphleteer of 1609 says: "I behelde pipes in his pocket; now he draweth forth his tinder-box and his touchwood, and falleth to his tacklings; sure his throat is on fire, the smoke flyeth so fast from his mouth."
It may be noted, by the way, that the gallant had no hesitation about smoking in the presence of ladies. Gostanzo, in Chapman's "All Fools," 1605, says:
And for discourse in my fair mistress's presence I did not, as you barren gallants do, Fill my discourses up drinking tobacco.
And in Ben Jonson's "Every Man out of his Humour," 1600, Fastidious Brisk, "a neat, spruce, affecting courtier," smokes while he talks to his mistress. A feather-headed gallant, when in the presence of ladies, often found himself, like others of his tribe of later date, gravelled for lack of matter for conversation, and the puffing of tobacco-smoke helped to occupy the pauses.
When our gallant went to the theatre he loved to occupy one of the stools at the side of the stage. There he could sit and smoke and embarrass the actors with his audible criticisms of play and players.
It chaunc'd me gazing at the Theater, To spie a Lock-Tabacco Chevalier Clowding the loathing ayr with foggie fume Of Dock Tobacco friendly foe to rhume—
says a versifier of 1599, who did not like smoking in the theatre and so abused the quality of the tobacco smoked—though admitting its medicinal virtue. Dekker suggests, probably with truth, that one reason why the young gallant liked to push his way to a stool on the stage, notwithstanding "the mewes and hisses of the opposed rascality"—the "mewes" must have been the squeals or whistles produced by the instrument which was later known as a cat-call—was the opportunity such a prominent position afforded for the display of "the best and most essential parts of a gallant—good cloathes, a proportionable legge, white hand, the Persian lock, and a tolerable beard." Apparently, too, serving-boys were within call, and thus lights could easily be obtained, which were handed to one another by the smokers on the points of their swords.
Ben Jonson has given us an amusing picture of the behaviour of gallants on the Elizabethan stage, in his "Cynthia's Revels." In this scene a child thus mimics the obtrusive beau: "Now, sir, suppose I am one of your genteel auditors, that am come in (having paid my money at the door, with much ado), and here I take my place, and sit downe. I have my three sorts of tobacco in my pocket, my light by me, and thus I begin. 'By this light, I wonder that any man is so mad, to come to see these rascally tits play here—they do act like so many wrens—not the fifth part of a good face amongst them all—and then their musick is abominable—able to stretch a man's ears worse than ten—pillories, and their ditties—most lamentable things, like the pitiful fellows that make them—poets. By this vapour—an't were not for tobacco—I think—the very smell of them would poison me, I should not dare to come in at their gates. A man were better visit fifteen jails—or a dozen or two hospitals—than once adventure to come near them.'" And the young rascal, who at each pause marked by a dash had puffed his pipe, no doubt blowing an extra large "cloud" when he swore "by this vapour," turns to his companions and says: "How is't? Well?" and they pronounce his mimicry "Excellent!"
Smoking was not confined to the auditors on the stage, who paid sixpence each for a stool. There was the "lords' room" over the stage, which seems to have corresponded with the modern stage boxes, the price of admission to which appears to have been a shilling, where the pipe was also in full blast. Dekker tells how a gallant at a new play would take a place in the "twelve penny room, next the stage, because the lords and you may seem to be hail fellow, well met"; and Jonson, in "Every Man out of his Humour," 1600, speaks of one who pretended familiarity with courtiers, that he talked of them as if he had "taken tobacco with them over the stage, in the lords' room."
Among the general audience of the theatre smoking seems to have been usual also. The anti-tobacconists among those present, few of whom were men, must have suffered by the practice. In that admirable burlesque comedy by Beaumont and Fletcher, "The Knight of the Burning Pestle," 1613, the citizen's wife, addressing herself either to the gallants on the stage, or to her fellow-spectators sitting around her, exclaims: "Fy! This stinking tobacco kills men! Would there were none in England! Now I pray, gentlemen, what good does this stinking tobacco do you? Nothing, I warrant you; make chimneys a' your faces!" But many women viewed tobacco differently, as we shall see in the chapter on "Smoking by Women." Moreover, this good woman herself, in the epilogue to the burlesque, invites the gentlemen whom she has before abused for smoking, to come to her house where she will entertain them with "a pottle of wine, and a pipe of tobacco."
Hentzner, the German traveller, who visited London in 1598, speaks of smoking being customary among the audience at plays, who were also supplied with "fruits, such as apples, pears and nuts, according to the season, carried about to be sold, as well as ale and wine." He was struck with the universal prevalence of the tobacco-habit. Not only at plays, but "everywhere else," he says, the "English are constantly smoking tobacco," and then he proceeds to describe how they did it: "They have pipes on purpose made of clay, into the further end of which they put the herb, so dry that it may be rubbed into powder; and putting fire to it, they draw the smoak into their mouths, which they puff out again through their nostrils, like funnels, along with it plenty of phlegm and defluxions from the head." This suggests that the unpleasant and quite unnecessary habit of spitting was common with these early smokers, a suggestion which is amply supported by other contemporary evidence.
Tobacco was smoked by all classes and in almost all places. It was smoked freely in the streets. In some verses prefixed to an edition of Skelton's "Elinour Rumming" which appeared in 1624, the ghost of Skelton, who was poet-laureate to King Henry VIII, was made to say that he constantly saw smoking:
As I walked between Westminster Hall And the Church of Saint Paul, And so thorow the citie, Where I saw and did pitty My country men's cases, With fiery-smoke faces, Sucking and drinking A filthie weede stinking.
Tobacco-selling was sometimes curiously combined with other trades. A Fleet Street tobacconist of this time was also a dealer in worsted stockings. A mercer of Mansfield who died at the beginning of 1624, and who apparently carried on business also at Southwell, had a considerable stock of tobacco. In the Inventory of all his "cattalles and goods" which is dated 24 January 1624, there is included "It. in Tobacco 19.li 0. 0." Nineteen pounds' worth of tobacco, considering the then value of money, was no small stock for a mercer-tobacconist to carry.
But the apothecaries were the most usual salesmen, and their shops and the ordinaries were the customary day meeting-places for the more fashionable smokers. The taverns and inns, however, were also filled with smoke, and taverns were frequented by men of all social grades. Dekker speaks of the gallant leaving the tavern at night when "the spirit of wine and tobacco walkes" in his train. On the occasion of the accession of James I, 1603, when London was given up to rejoicing and revelry, we are told that "tobacconists [i.e. smokers] filled up whole Tavernes."
King James himself is an unwilling witness to the popularity of tobacco. He tells us that a man could not heartily welcome his friend without at once proposing a smoke. It had become, he says, a point of good-fellowship, and he that would refuse to take a pipe among his fellows was accounted "peevish and no good company." "Yea," he continues, with rising indignation, "the mistress cannot in a more mannerly kind entertain her servant than by giving him out of her fair hand a pipe of tobacco."
Smoking was soon as common in the country as in London. On Wednesday, April 16, 1621, in the course of a debate in the House of Commons, Sir William Stroud, who seems to have been a worthy disciple of that tobacco-hater, King James I, moved that he "would have tobacco banished wholly out of the kingdom, and that it may not be brought in from any part, nor used amongst us"; and Sir Grey Palmes said "that if tobacco be not banished, it will overthrow 100,000 men in England, for now it is so common that he hath seen ploughmen take it as they are at plough." Perhaps this terrible picture of a ploughman smoking as he followed his lonely furrow did not impress the House so much as Sir Grey evidently thought it would; at all events, tobacco was not banished.
Peers and squires and parsons and peasants alike smoked. The parson of Thornton, in Buckinghamshire, was so devoted to tobacco that when his supply of the weed ran short, he is said to have cut up the bell-ropes and smoked them! This is dated about 1630. In the well-known description of the famous country squire, Mr. Hastings, who was remarkable for keeping up old customs in the early years of the seventeenth century, we read of how his hall tables were littered with hawks' hoods, bells, old hats with their crowns thrust in, full of pheasants' eggs; tables, dice, cards, and store of tobacco-pipes.
Sir Francis Vere, in the account of his services by sea and land which he wrote about 1606, mentions that on an expedition to the Azores in 1597, the Earl of Essex, waiting for news of the enemy at St. Michael, "called for tobacco ... and so on horseback, with those Noblemen and Gentlemen on foot beside him, took tobacco, whilst I was telling his Lordship of the men I had sent forth, and orders I had given." Presently came the sound of guns, which "made his Lordship cast his pipe from him, and listen to the shooting."
Another famous nobleman, Lord Herbert of Cherbury—
All-virtuous Herbert! on whose every part Truth might spend all her voice, fame all her art!—
was a smoker, as we know from a very curious passage in his well-known autobiography. He appears to have smoked not so much for pleasure as for supposed reasons of health. "It is well known," he wrote, "to those that wait in my chamber, that the shirts, waistcoats, and other garments I wear next my body, are sweet, beyond what either can easily be believed, or hath been observed in any else, which sweetness also was found to be in my breath above others, before I used to take tobacco, which towards my latter time I was forced to take against certain rheums and catarrhs that trouble me, which yet did not taint my breath for any long time." The autobiography was written about 1645, so as Lord Herbert did not smoke till towards the latter part of his life—he died in 1648—he clearly was not one of those who took to tobacco in the first enthusiasm for the new indulgence.
When Robert, Earl of Essex, and Henry, Earl of Southampton, were tried for high treason in Westminster Hall on February 19, 1600-1, the members of the House of Lords, who with the Judges formed the Court, if we may believe the French Ambassador of the time, behaved in a remarkable and unseemly manner. In a letter to Monsieur de Rohan, the Ambassador declared that while the Earls and the Counsel were pleading, their lordships guzzled and smoked; and that when they gave their votes condemning the two Earls, they were stupid with eating and "yvres de tabac"—drunk with smoking. This was probably quite untrue as a representation of what actually took place; but it would hardly have been written had smoking not been a common practice among noble lords.
Queen Elizabeth's Secretary of State, Sir Robert Cecil, would appear to have been a smoker. In a letter addressed to him, John Watts, an alderman of London, wrote: "According to your request, I have sent the greatest part of my store of tobaca by the bearer, wishing that the same may be to your good liking. But this tobaca I have had this six months, which was such as my son brought home, but since that time I have had none. At this period there is none that is good to be had for money. Wishing you to make store thereof, for I do not know where to have the like, I have sent you of two sorts. Mincing Lane, 12 Dec. 1600."
A curious scene took place at Oxford in 1605 when King James visited the University. Two subjects were debated by learned dons before his Majesty, and one of them, at his own suggestion, was, "Whether the frequent use of tobacco is good for healthy men?" Among those who spoke were Doctors Ailworth, Gwyn, Gifford and Cheynell. The discussion, needless to say, being conducted in the presence of the author of the "Counterblaste to Tobacco," was not favourable to the herb. The King summed up in a speech which hopelessly begged the question while it contained plenty of strong denunciation. After his Majesty had spoken, one learned doctor, Cheynell, who is described by the recorder, Isaac Wake, the Public Orator of the University, as second to none of the doctors, had the courage to rise and, with a pipe held forth in his hand, to speak both wittily and eloquently in favour of tobacco from the medicinal point of view, praising it to the skies, says Wake, as of virtue beyond all other remedial agents. His wit pleased both the King and the whole assembly, whom it moved to laughter; but when he had finished, his Majesty made a lengthy rejoinder in which he said some curious things. He objected to the medicinal use of tobacco, and quite agreed with previous speakers that such a use must have arisen among Barbarians and Indians, who he went on to say had as much knowledge of medicine as they had of civilized customs. If, he argued, there were men whose bodies were benefited by tobacco-smoke, this did not so much redound to the credit of tobacco, as it did reflect upon the depraved condition of such men, that their bodies should have sunk to the level of those of Barbarians so as to be affected by remedies such as were effective on the bodies of Barbarians and Indians! His Majesty kindly suggested that doctors who believed in tobacco as a remedial agent should take themselves and their medicine of pollution off to join the Indians.
TOBACCO TRIUMPHANT (continued)—SELLERS OF TOBACCO AND PROFESSORS OF SMOKING—ABUSE AND PRAISE OF TOBACCO
This is my friend Abel, an honest fellow; He lets me have good tobacco.
BEN JONSON, The Alchemist.
The druggists and other tradesmen who sold tobacco in Elizabethan and Jacobean days had every provision for the convenience of their numerous customers. Some so-called druggists, it may be shrewdly suspected, did much more business in tobacco than they did in drugs. Dekker tells us of an apothecary and his wife who had no customers resorting to their shop "for any phisicall stuffe," but whose shop had many frequenters in the shape of gentlemen who "came to take their pipes of the divine smoake." That tobacco was often the most profitable part of a druggist's stock is also clear from the last sentence in Bishop Earle's character of "A Tobacco-Seller," one of the shortest in that remarkable collection of "Characters" which the Bishop issued in 1628 under the title of "Micro-Cosmographie."
"A Tobacco-Seller," says Earle, "is the onely man that findes good in it which others brag of, but do not; for it is meate, drinke, and clothes to him. No man opens his ware with greater seriousnesse, or challenges your judgement more in the approbation. His shop is the Randevous of spitting, where men dialogue with their noses, and their communication is smoake. It is the place onely where Spaine is commended, and prefer'd before England itselfe. He should be well experienc'd in the world: for he ha's daily tryall of mens nostrils, and none is better acquainted with humors. Hee is the piecing commonly of some other trade which is bawde to his Tobacco, and that to his wife, which is the flame that follows this smoke."
This brief "Character" is hardly so pointed or so effective as some of the others in the "Micro-Cosmographie," but it would seem that the Bishop was not very friendly to tobacco. In the character of "A Drunkard" he says: "Tobacco serves to aire him after a washing [i.e. a drinking-bout], and is his onely breath, and breathing while." In another, a tavern "is the common consumption of the Afternoone, and the murderer, or maker away of a rainy day. It is the Torrid Zone that scorches the face, and Tobacco the gunpowder that blows it up."
The druggist-tobacconists were well stocked with abundance of pipes—those known as Winchester pipes were highly popular—with maple blocks for cutting or shredding the tobacco upon, juniper wood charcoal fires, and silver tongs with which the hot charcoal could be lifted to light the customer's pipe. The maple block was in constant use in those days, when the many present forms of prepared tobacco and varied mixtures were unknown. In Middleton and Dekker's "Roaring Girl," 1611, the "mincing and shredding of tobacco" is mentioned; and in the same play, by the way, we are told that "a pipe of rich smoak" was sold for sixpence.
The tobacco-tongs were more properly called ember-or brand-tongs. They sometimes had a tobacco-stopper riveted in near the axis of the tongs, and thus could be easily distinguished from other kinds of tongs. An example in the Guildhall Museum, made of brass, and probably of late seventeenth-century date, has the end of one of the handles formed into a stopper. In the same collection there are several pairs of ember-tongs with handles or jaws decorated. In one or two a handle terminates in a hook, by which they could be hung up when not required for use. In that delightful book of pictures and gossip concerning old household and farming gear, and old-fashioned domestic plenishings of many kinds, called "Old West Surrey," Miss Jekyll figures two pairs of old ember-or brand-tongs. One of these quite deserves the praise which she bestows upon it. "Its lines," says Miss Jekyll, "fill one with the satisfaction caused by a thing that is exactly right, and with admiration for the art and skill of a true artist." These homely tongs are fashioned with a fine eye for symmetry, and, indeed, for beauty of design and perfect fitness for the intended purpose. The ends which were to pick up the coal are shaped like two little hands, while "the edges have slight mouldings and even a low bead enrichment. The circular flat on the side away from the projecting stopper has two tiny engraved pictures; on one side of the joint a bottle and tall wine-glass, on the other a pair of long clay pipes crossed, and a bowl of tobacco shown in section." This beautiful little implement bears the engraved name of its Surrey maker, and the date 1795.
Country-folk nowadays often light their pipes in the old way, by picking up a live coal, or, in Ireland, a fragment of glowing peat, from the kitchen fire, with the ordinary tongs, and applying it to the pipe-bowl; but the old ember-tongs are seldom seen. They may still be found in some farmhouses and country cottages, which have not been raided by the agents of dealers in antique furniture and implements, but examples are rare. This is a digression, however, which has carried us far away from the early years of the seventeenth century.
It is pretty clear that not a few of the druggists who sold tobacco were great rascals. Ben Jonson has let us into some of their secrets of adulteration—the treatment of the leaf with oil and the lees of sack, the increase of its weight by other artificial additions to its moisture, washing it in muscadel and grains, keeping it in greased leather and oiled rags buried in gravel under ground, and by like devices. Other writers speak of black spice, galanga, aqua vitae, Spanish wine, aniseeds and other things as being used for purposes of adulteration.
Trickery of another kind is revealed in a scene in Chapman's play "A Humorous Day's Mirth," 1599. A customer at an ordinary says: "Hark you, my host, have you a pipe of good tobacco?" "The best in the town," says mine host, after the manner of his class. "Boy, dry a leaf." Quietly the boy tells him, "There's none in the house, sir," to which the worthy host replies sotto voce, "Dry a dock leaf." But the diner's potations must have been powerful if they had left him unable to distinguish between the taste of tobacco and that of dried dock-leaf.
Sometimes coltsfoot was mixed with tobacco. Ursula, the pig-woman and refreshment-booth keeper in Bartholomew Fair, in Ben Jonson's play of that name, says to her assistant: "Threepence a pipe-full I will have made, of all my whole half-pound of tobacco and a quarter of a pound of coltsfoot mixt with it too to eke it out."
The fumes of dried coltsfoot leaves were used as a remedy in cases of difficulty of breathing, both in ancient Roman times and in Tudor England. Lyte, in his translation, 1578, of Dodoens' "Historie of Plants," says of coltsfoot: "The parfume of the dryed leaves layde upon quicke coles, taken into the mouth through the pipe of a funnell, or tunnell, helpeth suche as are troubled with the shortnesse of winde, and fetche their breath thicke or often, and do [sic] breake without daunger the impostems of the breast." The leaves of coltsfoot and of other plants have often been used as a substitute for tobacco in modern days. A correspondent of Notes and Queries, in 1897, said that when he was a boy he knew an old Calvinist minister, who used to smoke a dried mixture of the leaves of horehound, yarrow and "foal's foot" intermingled with a small quantity of tobacco. He said it was a very good substitute for the genuine article. Similar mixtures, or the leaves of coltsfoot alone, have often been smoked in bygone days by folk who could not afford to smoke tobacco only.
The number of shops where tobacco was sold in the early days of its triumph seems to have been extraordinary. Barnaby Rich, one of the most prolific parents of pamphlets in an age of prolific writers, wrote a satire on "The Honestie of this Age," which was printed in 1614. In this production Rich declares that every fellow who came into an ale-house and called for his pot, must have his pipe also, for tobacco was then a commodity as much sold in every tavern, inn and ale-house as wine, ale, or beer. He goes on to say that apothecaries' shops, grocers' shops, and chandlers' shops were (almost) never without company who from morning to night were still taking tobacco; and what a number there are besides, he adds, "that doe keepe houses, set open shoppes, that have no other trade to live by but by the selling of tobacco." Rich says he had been told that a list had been recently made of all the houses that traded in tobacco in and near about London, and that if a man might believe what was confidently reported, there were found to be upwards of 7000 houses that lived by that trade; but he could not say whether the apothecaries', grocers' and chandlers' shops, where tobacco was also sold, were included in that number. He proceeds to calculate what the annual expenditure on smoke must be. The number of 7000 seems very large and is perhaps exaggerated. Round numbers are apt to be over rather than under the mark.
Another proof of the extraordinary popularity of the new habit is to be found in the fact that by the seventeenth year of the reign of James I—the arch-enemy of tobacco—that is, by 1620, the Society of Tobacco-pipe-makers had become so very numerous and considerable a body that they were incorporated by royal charter, and bore on their shield a tobacco plant in full blossom. The Society's motto was happily chosen—"Let brotherly love continue."
A further witness to the prevalence of smoking and to the enormous number of tobacco-sellers' shops is Camden, the antiquary. In his "Annales," 1625, he remarks with curious detail that since its introduction—"that Indian plant called Tobacco, or Nicotiana, is growne so frequent in use and of such price, that many, nay, the most part, with an insatiable desire doe take of it, drawing into their mouth the smoke thereof, which is of a strong scent, through a pipe made of earth, and venting of it againe through their nose; some for wantownesse, or rather fashion sake, and other for health sake, insomuch that Tobacco shops are set up in greater number than either Alehouses or Tavernes."
One result of the herb's popularity was found in frequent attempts by tradesmen of various kinds to sell it without being duly licensed to do so. Mr. W.G. Bell, in his valuable book on "Fleet Street in Seven Centuries," mentions the arrest of a Fleet Street grocer by the Star Chamber for unlicensed trading in tobacco. He also quotes from the St. Dunstan's Wardmote Register of 1630 several cases of complaint against unlicensed traders and others. Four men were presented "for selling ale and tobacco unlicensed, and for annoying the Judges of Serjeants Inn whose chambers are near adjoyning." Two other men, one of them hailing from the notorious Ram Alley, were presented "for annoying the Judges at Serjeants Inn with the stench and smell of their tobacco," which looks as if the Judges were of King James's mind about smoking. The same Register of 1630 records the presentment of two men of the same family name—Thomas Bouringe and Philip Bouringe—"for keeping open their shops and selling tobacco at unlawful hours, and having disorderly people in their house to the great disturbance of all the inhabitants and neighbours near adjoining." The Ram Alley, Fleet Street, mentioned above, was notorious in sundry ways. Mr. Bell mentions that in 1618 the wardmote laid complaint against Timothy Louse and John Barker, of Ram Alley, "for keeping their tobacco-shoppes open all night and fyers in the same without any chimney and suffering hot waters [spirits] and selling also without licence, to the great disquietness and annoyance of that neighbourhood." There were sad goings on of many kinds in Ram Alley.
It is uncertain when licences were first issued for the sale of tobacco. Probably they were issued in London some time before it was considered necessary to license dealers in other parts of the country. Among the Municipal Records of Exeter is the following note: "358. Whitehall, 31 August 1633. The Lords of the Council to the Chamber. 'Whereas his Ma^tie to prevent the excesse of the use of Tobacco, and to set an order to those that regrate and sell or utter it by retayle, who observe noe reasonable rates or prizes [prices], nor take care that it be wholsome for men's bodyes that shall use it,' has caused letters to be sent to the chief Officers of Citties and towns requiring them to certify 'in what places it might be fitt to suffer ye retayleing of Tobacco and how many be licenced in each of those places to use trade'; and the City of Exeter having made a return the Lords sent a list of those which are to be licensed, and order that no others be permitted to sell."
In the neighbouring county of Somerset the Justices of the Peace sent presentments to the Council in 1632 of persons within the Hundred of Milverton and Kingsbury West thought fit to sell tobacco by retail; and for Wiveliscombe, Mr. Hancock says in his book on that old town, a mercer and a hosier were selected.
It would seem, from one example I have noted, as if in some places smoking were not allowed in public-houses. In the account-book of St. Stephen's Church and Parish, Norwich, the income for the year 1628-29 included on one occasion 20s. received by way of fine from one Edmond Nockals for selling a pot of beer "wanting in measure, contrary to the law," and another sovereign from William Howlyns for a like offence. This is right and intelligible enough; but on another occasion in the same year each of these men, who presumably were ale-house keepers, had to pay 30s.—a substantial sum considering the then value of money—for the same offence and "for suffering parishioners to smoke in his house." I have been unable to obtain any information as to why a publican should have been fined an additional 10s. for the heinous offence of allowing a brother parishioner to smoke in his house.
Penalties for "offences" of this fanciful kind were not common in England; but in Puritan New England they were abundant. In the early days of the American Colonies the use of the "creature called Tobacko" was by no means encouraged. In Connecticut a man was permitted by the law to smoke once if he went on a journey of ten miles, but not more than once a day and by no means in another man's house. It could hardly have been difficult to evade so absurd a regulation as this.
It has been already stated that the Elizabethan gallant was acquainted with the most fashionable methods of inhaling and exhaling the smoke of tobacco. A singular feature of the enthusiasm for tobacco in the early years of the seventeenth century was the existence of professors of the art of smoking.
Some of the apothecaries whose shops were in most repute for the quality of the tobacco kept, took pupils and taught them the "slights," as tricks with the pipe were called. These included exhaling the smoke in little globes, rings and so forth. The invaluable Ben Jonson, in the preliminary account of the characters in his "Every Man out of his Humour," 1600, describes one Sogliardo as "an essential clown ... yet so enamoured of the name of a gentleman that he will have it though he buys it. He comes up every term to learn to take tobacco and see new motions." Sogliardo was accustomed to hire a private room to practise in. The fashionable way was to expel the smoke through the nose. In a play by Field of 1618, a foolish nobleman is asked by some boon companions in a tavern: "Will your lordship take any tobacco?" when another sneers, "'Sheart! he cannot put it through his nose!" His lordship was apparently not well versed in the "slights."
Taking tobacco was clearly an accomplishment to be studied seriously. Shift, a professor of the art in Jonson's play, puts up a bill in St. Paul's—the recognized centre for advertisements and commercial business of every kind—in which he offers to teach any young gentleman newly come into his inheritance, who wishes to be as exactly qualified as the best of the ordinary-hunting gallants are—"to entertain the most gentlemanlike use of tobacco; as first, to give it the most exquisite perfume; then to know all the delicate sweet forms for the assumption of it; as also the rare corollary and practice of the Cuban ebolition, euripus and whiff, which he shall receive, or take in here at London, and evaporate at Uxbridge, or farther, if it please him."
Taking the whiff, it has been suggested, may have been either a swallowing of the smoke, or a retaining it in the throat for a given space of time; but what may be meant by the "Cuban ebolition" or the "euripus" is perhaps best left to the imagination. "Ebolition" is simply a variant of "ebullition," and "ebullition," as applied with burlesque intent to rapid smoking—the vapour bubbling rapidly from the pipe-bowl—is intelligible enough, but why Cuban? "Euripus" was the name, in ancient geography, of the channel between Euboea (Negropont) and the mainland—a passage which was celebrated for the violence and uncertainty of its currents—and hence the name was occasionally applied by our older writers to any strait or sea-channel having like characteristics. The use of the word in connexion with tobacco may, like that of "ebolition," have some reference to furious smoking, but the meaning is not clear.
If one contemporary writer may be believed, some of these early smokers acquired the art of emitting the smoke through their ears, but a healthy scepticism is permissible here.
The accomplished Shift promises a would-be pupil in the art of taking tobacco that if he pleases to be a practitioner, he shall learn in a fortnight to "take it plausibly in any ordinary, theatre, or the Tiltyard, if need be, in the most popular assembly that is." The Tiltyard adjoined Whitehall Palace and was the frequent scene of sports in which Queen Elizabeth took the greatest delight. Here took place, not only tilting properly so called, but rope-walking performances, bear- and bull-baiting, dancing and other diversions which her Majesty held in high favour. Consequently the Tiltyard was constantly the scene of courtly gatherings; and if smoking were permitted on such occasions—as Shift's boasting promises would appear to indicate—then it may be reasonably inferred that Queen Elizabeth did not entertain the objections to the new practice that her successor, King James, set forth with such vehemence in his famous "Counterblaste to Tobacco." There is, however, no positive evidence one way or the other, to show what the attitude of the Virgin Queen towards tobacco really was. A tradition as to her smoking herself on one occasion is referred to in a subsequent chapter—that on "Smoking by Women."
Although tobacco was in such general use it yet had plenty of enemies. It was extravagantly abused and extravagantly praised. Robert Burton, of "Anatomy of Melancholy" fame, like many other writers of his time, was prepared to admit the medicinal value of the herb, though he detested the general habit of smoking. Tobacco was supposed in those days to be "good for" a surprising variety of ailments and diseases; but to explore that little section of popular medicine would be foreign to my purpose. Burton believed in tobacco as medicine; but with regard to habitual smoking he was a worthy follower of King James, the strength of whose language he sought to emulate and exceed when he denounced the common taking of tobacco "by most men, which take it as tinkers do ale"—as "a plague, a mischief, a violent purger of goods, lands, health, hellish, devilish, and damned tobacco, the ruin and overthrow of body and soul." No anti-tobacconist could wish for a more whole-hearted denunciation than that.
Thomas Dekker, to whose pictures of London social life at the opening of the seventeenth century we are so much indebted for information both with regard to smoking and in respect of many other matters of interest, was himself an enemy of tobacco. He politely refers to "that great Tobacconist, the Prince of Smoake and Darkness, Don Pluto"; and in another place addresses tobacco as "thou beggarly Monarche of Indians, and setter up of rotten-lungd chimney-sweepers," and proceeds in a like strain of abuse.
One of the most curious of the early publications on tobacco, in which an attempt is made to hold the balance fairly between the legitimate use and the "licentious" abuse of the herb, is Tobias Venner's tract with the long-winded title: "A Brief and Accurate Treatise concerning The taking of the Fume of Tobacco, Which very many, in these dayes doe too licenciously use. In which the immoderate, irregular, and unseasonable use thereof is reprehended, and the true nature and best manner of using it, perspicuously demonstrated." Venner described himself as a doctor of physic in Bath, and his tract was published in London in 1637. Venner says that tobacco is of "ineffable force" for the rapid healing of wounds, cuts, sores and so on, by external application, but thinks little of its use for any other purpose. Like others of his school, he attacks the "licentious Tobacconists [smokers] who spend and consume, not only their time, but also their health, wealth, and witts in taking of this loathsome and unsavorie fume." He admits the popularity of the herb, but expresses his own personal objection to the "detestable savour or smack that it leaveth behind upon the taking of it"; from which one is inclined to surmise that the doctor's first pipe was not an entire success. With an evident desire to be fair, Venner, notwithstanding his dislike of the "savour," refuses to condemn tobacco utterly, because of what he considers its valuable medicinal qualities, and he goes so far as to give "10 precepts in the use of" tobacco. The sixth is "that you drink not between the taking of the fumes, as our idle and smoakie Tobacconists are wont"—there must be no alliance, in short, between the pipe and the cheerful glass. The tenth and last precept is "that you goe not abroad into the aire presently [immediately] upon the taking of the fume, but rather refrain therefrom the space of halfe an houre, or more, especially if the season be cold, or moist." The suggestion that the smoker, when he has finished his pipe, shall wait for half an hour or so before he ventures into the outer air is very quaint.
Venner goes on to give a terrible catalogue of the ills that will befall the smoker who uses tobacco "contrary to the order and way I have set down." It is a dreadful list which may possibly have frightened a few nervous smokers; but probably it had no greater effect than the terrible curse in the "Jackdaw of Rheims."
Another tract which may be classed with Venner's "Treatise" was the "Nepenthes or the Vertues of Tobacco," by Dr. William Barclay, which was published at Edinburgh in 1614. This is sometimes referred to and quoted, as by Fairholt, as if it were a whole-hearted defence of tobacco-taking. But Barclay enlarges mainly on the medicinal virtues of the herb. "If Tabacco," he says, "were used physically and with discretion there were no medicament in the worlde comparable to it"; and again: "In Tabacco there is nothing which is not medicine, the root, the stalke, the leaves, the seeds, the smoake, the ashes." The doctor gives sundry directions for administering tobacco—"to be used in infusion, in decoction, in substance, in smoke, in salt." But Barclay clearly does not sympathize with its indiscriminate use for pleasure. "As concerning the smoke," he says, "it may be taken more frequently, and for the said effects, but always fasting, and with emptie stomack, not as the English abusers do, which make a smoke-boxe of their skull, more fit to be carried under his arme that selleth at Paris dunoir a noircir to blacke mens shooes then to carie the braine of him that can not walke, can not ryde except the Tabacco Pype be in his mouth." He goes on to say that he was once in company with an English merchant in Normandy—"betweene Rowen and New-haven"—who was a merry fellow, but was constantly wanting a coal to kindle his tobacco. "The Frenchman wondered and I laughed at his intemperancie."
It is a little curious, considering the devotion of latter-day men of letters to tobacco, that in their early days so many of the men who wrote on the subject attacked the social use of tobacco with violence and virulence. Perhaps, courtier-like, they followed the lead of the British Solomon, King James I. Their titles are characteristic of their style. A writer named Deacon published in 1616 a quarto entitled "Tobacco tortured in the filthy Fumes of Tobacco refined"; but Joshua Sylvester had easily surpassed this when he wrote his "Tobacco Battered and the Pipes Shattered about their Eares, that idely Idolize so base and barbarous a Weed, or at least overlove so loathsome a Vanity, by a Volley of Holy Shot Thundered from Mount Helicon," 1615. Controversialists of that period rejoiced in full-worded titles and in full-blooded praise or abuse.
Deacon, as the title of his book just quoted shows, was very fond of alliteration, and one sentence of his diatribe may be quoted. He warned his readers that tobacco-smoke was "very pernicious unto their bodies, too profluvious for many of their purses, and most pestiferous to the publike State." Much may be forgiven, however, to the introducer of so charming a term of abuse as "profluvious." Deacon's book takes the form of a dialogue, and after nearly 200 pages of argument, in which the unfortunate herb gets no mercy, one of the interlocutors, a trader in tobacco, is so convinced of the iniquity of his trade, and of his own parlous state if he continue therein, that he declares that the two hundred pounds' worth of this "beastly tobacco" which he owns, shall "presently packe to the fire," or else be sent "swimming down the Thames."
Many good folk would seem to have associated smoking with idling. In the rules of the Grammar School at Chigwell, Essex, which was founded in 1629, it is prescribed that "the Master must be a man of sound religion, neither a Papist nor a Puritan, of a grave behaviour, and sober and honest conversation, no tippler or haunter of alehouses, no puffer of tobacco." A worthy Derbyshire man named Campbell, in his will dated 20 October 1616, left all his household goods to his son, "on this condition that yf at any time hereafter, any of his brothers or sisters shall fynd him takeing of tobacco, that then he or she so fynding him, shall have the said goods"—a testamentary arrangement which suggests to the fancy some amusing strategic evasions and manoeuvres on the part of the conditional legatee and his watchful relations.
A converse view of smoking may be seen in Izaak Walton's "Life" of Sir Henry Wotton, who died in 1639. Walton says that Wotton obtained relief to some extent from asthma by leaving off smoking which he had practised "somewhat immoderately"—"as many thoughtful men do." The italics are mine.
Tobacco, as has been said, was praised as well as abused extravagantly. Much absurdity was written in glorification of the medicinal and therapeutic properties of tobacco, but a more sensible note was struck by some lauders of the weed. Marston wrote in 1607:
Musicke, tobacco, sacke and sleepe, The tide of sorrow backward keep.
An ingenious lover of his pipe declared ironically in the same year that he had found three bad qualities in tobacco, for it made a man a thief (which meant danger), a good fellow (which meant cost), and a niggard ("the name of which is hateful"). "It makes him a theefe," he continued "for he will steale it from his father; a good fellow, for he will give the smoake to a beggar; a niggard, for he will not part with his box to an Emperor!" A character in one of Chapman's plays, 1606, calls tobacco "the gentleman's saint and the soldier's idol." A little-known bard of 1630—Barten Holiday—wrote a poem of eight stanzas with chorus to each in praise of tobacco, in which he showed with a touch of burlesque that the herb was a musician, a lawyer, a physician, a traveller, a critic, an ignis fatuus, and a whiffler, i.e. a braggart. The first verse may suffice as a specimen:
Tobacco's a musician, And in a pipe delighteth, It descends in a close Through the organ of the nose With a relish that inviteth.
These are merely a few examples of both the praise and the abuse which were lavished upon tobacco at this early stage in the history of smoking. It would be easy to fill many pages with the like testimonials and denunciations, especially the latter, from writers of the early decades of the seventeenth century. Perhaps the most curious thing in connexion with the immense number of allusions to smoking in the literature of the period is that there is no mention whatever of tobacco or smoking in the plays of William Shakespeare. As Edmund Spenser, in the "Faerie Queene," speaks of
The soveraine weede, divine tobacco,
it may be presumed that he was a smoker.
CAVALIER AND ROUNDHEAD SMOKERS
"A custom lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomelesse."—JAMES I, A Counterblaste to Tobacco.
The social history of smoking from the point of view of fashion, during the period covered by this and the next two chapters may be summarized in a sentence. Through the middle of the seventeenth century smoking maintained its hold upon all classes of society, but in the later decades there are distinct signs that the habit was becoming less universal; and it seems pretty clear that by the time of Queen Anne, smoking, though still extensively practised in many classes of society, was to a considerable extent out of vogue among those most amenable to the dictates of Fashion.
It is certain that the armies of the Parliament were great smokers, for the finds of seventeenth-century pipes on the sites of their camps have been numerous. A considerable number of pipes of the Caroline period, with the usual small elongated bowls, were found in 1902 at Chichester, in the course of excavating the foundations of the Old Swan Inn, East Street, for building the present branch of the London and County Bank.
We know also that the Roundhead soldiers smoked in circumstances that did them no credit. In the account of the trial of Charles I, written by Dr. George Bates, principal physician to his Majesty, and to Charles II also, we read that when the sentence of the Court presided over by Bradshaw, condemning the King "to death by severing his Head from his Body," had been read, the soldiers treated the fallen monarch with great indignity and barbarity. They spat on his clothes as he passed by, and even in his face; and they "blew the smoak of Tobacco, a thing which they knew his Majesty hated, in his sacred mouth, throwing their broken Pipes in his way as he passed along."
Time brought its revenges. The dead Protector was not treated too respectfully by his soldiery. Evelyn, describing Cromwell's "superb funeral," says that the soldiers in the procession were "drinking and taking tobacco in the streets as they went."
Whether the use of tobacco prevailed as generally among the Cavalier forces is less certain; but as King Charles hated the weed, courtiers may have frowned upon its use. One distinguished cavalier, however, either smoked his pipe, or proposed to do so, on a historic occasion. In Markham's "Life of the Great Lord Fairfax" there is a lively account of how the Duke, then Marquis, of Newcastle, with his brother Charles Cavendish, drove in a coach and six to the field of Marston Moor on the afternoon before the battle. His Grace was in a very bad humour. "He applied to Rupert," says Markham, "for orders as to the disposal of his own most noble person, and was told that there would be no battle that night, and that he had better get into his coach and go to sleep, which he accordingly did." But the decision as to battle or no battle did not rest with Prince Rupert. Cromwell attacked the royal army with the most disastrous results to the King's cause. His Grace of Newcastle woke up, left his coach, and fought bravely, being, according to his Duchess, the last to ride off the fatal field, leaving his coach and six behind him.
So far Markham: but according to another account, when Rupert told him that there would be no battle, the Duke betook himself to his coach, "lit his pipe, and making himself very comfortable, fell asleep." The original authority, however, for the whole story is to be found in a paper of notes by Clarendon on the affairs of the North, preserved among his MSS. In this paper Clarendon writes: "The marq. asked the prince what he would do? His highness answered, 'Wee will charge them to-morrow morninge.' My lord asked him whether he were sure the enimy would not fall on them sooner? He answered, 'No'; and the marquisse thereupon going to his coach hard by, and callinge for a pype of tobacco, before he could take it the enimy charged, and instantly all the prince's horse were routed."
Gardiner evidently follows this account, for his version of the story is: "Newcastle strolled towards his coach to solace himself with a pipe. Before he had time to take a whiff, the battle had begun." The incident was made the subject of a picture by Ernest Crofts, A.R.A., which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1888. It shows the Duke leaning out of his carriage window, with his pipe in his hand.
Among the documents in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland there is a letter patent under the great seal of Charles I, in 1634, granted for the purpose of correcting the irregular sales and restraining the immoderate use of tobacco in Scotland. The letter states that tobacco was used on its first introduction as a medicine, but had since been so largely indulged in and was frequently of such bad quality, as not only to injure the health, but deprave the morals of the King's subjects. These were sentiments worthy of King James. Mr. Matthew Livingstone, who has calendared this document, says that the King therein proceeds, in order to prevent such injurious results of the use of tobacco, to appoint Sir James Leslie and Thomas Dalmahoy to enjoy for seven years the sole power of appointing licensed vendors of the commodity. These vendors, after due examination as to their fitness, were to be permitted, on payment of certain compositions and an annual rent in augmentation of the King's revenue, to sell tobacco in small quantities. The letter further directs that the licensees so appointed shall become bound to sell only sound tobacco—an admirable provision, if a trifle difficult to enforce—and to keep good order in their houses and shops. "The latter clause," adds Mr. Livingstone, "would almost suggest that the tobacco was to be sold for consumption on the premises,"—as I have no doubt it was—"and that the smokers were probably in the habit at their symposiums of using, even as they may still, I dare say, other indulgences not so soothing in their effects as the coveted weed"—a suggestion for which there seems little foundation in the clause to which Mr. Livingstone refers.
One inference at least may be fairly drawn, I think, from this document, and that is that smoking was very popular north as well as south of the Tweed.
Tobacco was certainly cheap in Scotland. The following entries are from a MS. account of household expenses kept by the minister of the parish of Eastwood, near Glasgow, the Rev. William Hamilton. They cover two months only and show that the minister was a furious smoker. The prices given are in Scots currency, the pound Scots being worth about twenty pence sterling:
It. to Andro Carnduff for 4 pund of Tobacco L1. 0. 0. It. to Robert Hamilton Chapman for Tobacco 0. 18. 0. It. 9 June to my wife to give for sax trenchers and tobacco 1. 13. 4. It. 10 June, The sd day for tobacco and stuffes 0. 14. 4. 28 June, It. for tobacco 0. 13. 9.
It may perhaps be interesting to compare with these prices, from which, apparently, it may be inferred that near Glasgow tobacco could be bought for some 5d. a pound, which seems incredibly cheap, the occasional expenditure upon tobacco of a worthy citizen of Exeter some few years earlier. Extracts from the "Financial Diary" of this good man, whose name was John Hayne, and who was an extensive dealer in serges and woollen goods generally, as well as in a smaller degree of cotton goods also, were printed some years ago, with copious annotations, by the late Dr. Brushfield.
In this "Diary," covering the years 1631-43, there are some forty entries concerning the purchase of what is always, save in one case, called "tobacka." These entries give valuable information as to the prices of the two chief kinds of tobacco. One was imported from Spanish America, which up to 1639 Hayne calls "Varinaes," and after that date "Spanish"; the other was imported from English colonies—chiefly from Virginia. The "Varinaes" kind, Dr. Brushfield suggests, was obtained from Varina, near the foot of the range of mountains forming the west boundary of Venezuela, and watered by a branch of the Orinoco River. Hayne also notes the purchase of "Tertudoes" tobacco, but what that may have been I cannot say. From the various entries relating respectively to Varinaes or Spanish tobacco, and to Virginia tobacco, it is clear that the former ranged in price from 8s. to 13s. per lb., while the latter was from 1s. 6d. to 4s. per lb. There is one entry of "perfumed Tobacka," 10 oz. of which were bought at the very high price of 15s. 6d.
The variations in price of both Spanish and Virginia tobacco were largely due to the frequent changes in the amount of the duty thereon. In 1604 King James I, newly come to the throne, and full of iconoclastic fervour against the weed, raised the duty to 6s. 8d. per lb. in addition to the original duty of 2d. On March 29, 1615, there was a grant to a licensed importer "of the late imposition of 2s. per lb. on tobacco"—which shows that there must have been considerable fluctuation between 1604 and 1615—while in September 1621 the duty stood at 9d. Through James's reign much dissatisfaction was expressed about the importation of Spanish tobacco, and the outcome of this may probably be seen in the proclamations issued by the King in his last two years forbidding "the importation, buying, or selling tobacco which was not of the proper growth of the colonies of Virginia and the Somers Islands." These proclamations were several times confirmed by Charles I, the latest being on January 8, 1631; but they do not seem to have had much effect.
Hayne's "Diary" contains one or two entries relating to smokers' requisites. In September 1639 he spent 2d. on a new spring to his "Tobacka tonges." These were the tongs used for lifting a live coal to light the pipe, to which I have referred on a previous page. On the last day of 1640 Hayne paid "Mr. Drakes man" 1s. 5d. for "6 doz: Tobacka-pipes."
From the various entries in the "Diary" relating to the purchase of tobacco, it seems clear that there was no shop in Exeter devoted specially or exclusively to the sale of the weed. Hayne bought his supplies from four of the leading goldsmiths of the city, who can be identified by the fact that he had dealings with them in their own special wares, also from two drapers, one grocer, and four other tradesmen (on a single occasion each) whose particular occupations are unknown.
But to turn from this worthy Exeter citizen to more famous names: I do not know of any good evidence as to whether or not Cromwell smoked, although he is said to have taken an occasional pipe while considering the offer of the crown, but John Milton certainly did. The account of how the blind poet passed his days, after his retirement from public office, was first told by his contemporary Richardson, and has since been repeated by all his biographers. His placid day ended early. The poet took his frugal supper at eight o'clock, and at nine, having smoked a pipe and drunk a glass of water, he went to bed. Apparently this modest allowance of a daily evening pipe was the extent of Milton's indulgence in tobacco. He knew nothing of what most smokers regard as the best pipe of the day—the after-breakfast pipe.
It is somewhat singular that the Puritans, who denounced most amusements and pleasures, and who frowned upon most of the occupations or diversions that make for gaiety and the enjoyment of life, did not, as Puritans, denounce the use of tobacco. One or two of their writers abused it roundly; but these were not representative of Puritan feeling on the subject. The explanation doubtless is that the practice of smoking was so very general and so much a matter of course among men of all ranks and of all opinions, that the mouths of Puritans were closed, so to speak, by their own pipes. A precisian, however, could take his tobacco with a difference. The seventeenth-century diarist, Abraham de la Pryme, says that he had heard of a Presbyterian minister who was so precise that "he would not as much as take a pipe of tobacco before that he had first sayed grace over it." George Wither, one of the most noteworthy of the poets who took the side of the Parliament, was confined in Newgate after the Restoration, and found comfort in his pipe.
Some of the Puritan colonists in America took a strong line on the subject. Under the famous "Blue Laws" of 1650 it was ordered by the General Court of Connecticut that no one under twenty-one was to smoke—"nor any other that hath not already accustomed himself to the use thereof." And no smoker could enjoy his pipe unless he obtained a doctor's certificate that tobacco would be "usefull for him, and allso that he hath received a lycense from the Courte for the same." But the unhappy smoker having passed the doctor and obtained his licence was still harassed by restrictions, for it was ordered that no man within the colony, after the publication of the order, should take any tobacco publicly "in the streett, highwayes, or any barn-yardes, or uppon training dayes, in any open places, under the penalty of six-pence for each offence against this order." The ingenuities of petty tyranny are ineffable. It is said that these "Blue Laws" are not authentic; but if they are not literally true, they are certainly well invented, for most of them can be paralleled and illustrated by laws and regulations of undoubted authenticity.
Mrs. Alice Morse Earle, in her interesting book, abounding in curious information, on "The Sabbath in Puritan New England," says that the use of tobacco "was absolutely forbidden under any circumstances on the Sabbath within two miles of the meeting-house, which (since at that date all the houses were clustered round the church-green) was equivalent to not smoking it at all on the Lord's Day, if the law were obeyed. But wicked backsliders existed, poor slaves of habit, who were in Duxbury fixed 10s. for each offence, and in Portsmouth, not only were fined, but to their shame be it told, set as jail-birds in the Portsmouth cage. In Sandwich and in Boston the fine for 'drinking tobacco in the meeting-house' was 5s. for each drink, which I take to mean chewing tobacco rather than smoking it; many men were fined for thus drinking, and solacing the weary hours, though doubtless they were as sly and kept themselves as unobserved as possible. Four Yarmouth men—old sea-dogs, perhaps, who loved their pipe—were in 1687 fined 4s. each for smoking tobacco around the end of the meeting-house. Silly, ostrich-brained Yarmouth men! to fancy to escape detection by hiding around the corner of the church; and to think that the tithing-man had no nose when he was so Argus-eyed."
On weekdays many New England Puritans probably smoked as their friends in old England did. A contemporary painting of a group of Puritan divines over the mantelpiece of Parson Lowell, of Newbury, shows them well provided with punch-bowl and drinking-cups, tobacco and pipes. One parson, the Rev. Mr. Bradstreet, of the First Church of Charlestown, was very unconventional in his attire. He seldom wore a coat, "but generally appeared in a plaid gown, and was always seen with a pipe in his mouth." John Eliot, the noble preacher and missionary to the Indians, warmly denounced both the wearing of wigs and the smoking of tobacco. But his denunciations were ineffectual in both matters—heads continued to be adorned with curls of foreign growth, and pipe-smoke continued to ascend.
In this country tobacco is said to have invaded even the House of Commons itself. Mr. J.H. Burn, in his "Descriptive Catalogue of London Tokens," writes: "About the middle of the seventeenth century it was ordered: That no member of the House do presume to smoke tobacco in the gallery or at the table of the House sitting as Committees." I do not know what the authority for this order may be, but there is no doubt that smoking was practised in the precincts of the House. In "Mercurius Pragmaticus," December 19-26, 1648, the writer says on December 20, speaking of the excluded members: "Col. Pride standing sentinell at the door, denyed entrance, and caused them to retreat into the Lobby where they used to drink ale and tobacco."
There is a curious entry in Thomas Burton's diary of the proceedings of Cromwell's Parliament, which suggests that there may then have been the luxury of a members' smoking-room. Burton was a member of the Parliaments of Oliver and Richard Cromwell from 1656 to 1659, and made a practice—for which historical students have been and are much his debtors—of taking notes of the debates as he sat in the House. Members sometimes objected to and protested against this note-taking, but Burton quietly went on using his pencil, and though his summaries of speeches are often difficult to follow, argument and sense suffering by compression, he has preserved much very valuable matter. Referring to a debate on January 7, 1656-57, on an attempt to go behind the previously passed Act of Oblivion, the diarist records that "Sir John Reynolds had numbered the House, and said at rising there were 220 at the least, besides tobacconists." This can only mean that there were at least 220 members actually present in the House when it rose, not counting the "tobacconists" or smokers, who were enjoying their pipes, not in the Chamber itself, but in some conveniently adjoining place, which may have been a room for the purpose, or may simply have been the lobby referred to above in the extract from "Mercurius Pragmaticus."
It seems likely that Richard Cromwell was a smoker. In 1689, long after he had retired into private life and had ample leisure for blowing clouds, he sent to a friend a "Boxe of Tobacco," which was described as "A.J. Bod (den's) ... best Virginnea." In a letter to his daughter Elizabeth, dated 21 January 1705, there is a reference to this same dealer, whom he describes as "Adam Bodden, Bacconist in George Yard, Lumber [Lombard] Street." The allusion is worth noting as a very early instance of the colloquial trick of abbreviation familiar in later days in such forms as "baccy" and "bacca" and their compounds.
SMOKING IN THE RESTORATION PERIOD
The Indian weed withered quite Green at noon, cut down at night, Shows thy decay— All flesh is hay: Thus think, then drink tobacco.
GEORGE WITHER (1588-1667).
The year 1660 that restored Charles II to his throne, restored a gaiety and brightness, not to say frivolity of tone, that had long been absent from English life. The following song in praise of tobacco, taken from a collection which was printed in 1660, is touched with the spirit of the time; though it is really founded on, and to no small extent taken from, some verses in praise of tobacco written by Samuel Rowlands in his "Knave of Clubs," 1611:
_To feed on flesh is gluttony, It maketh men fat like swine; But is not he a frugal man That on a leaf can dine?
He needs no linnen for to foul His fingers' ends to wipe, That has his kitchin in a box, And roast meat in a pipe.
The cause wherefore few rich men's sons Prove disputants in schools, Is that their fathers fed on flesh, And they begat fat fools.
This fulsome feeding cloggs the brain And doth the stomach choak But he's a brave spark that can dine With one light dish of smoak._
There is nothing to show that King Charles smoked, nor what his personal attitude towards tobacco may have been.
His Majesty was pleased, however, in a letter to Cambridge University, officially to condemn smoking by parsons, as at the same time he condemned the practice of wig-wearing and of sermon-reading by the clergy. But the royal frown was without effect. Wigs soon covered nearly every clerical head from the bench of bishops downwards; and it is very doubtful indeed whether a single parson put his pipe out.
Clouds were blown under archiepiscopal roofs. At Lambeth Palace one Sunday in February 1672 John Eachard, the author of the famous book or tract on "The Contempt of the Clergy," 1670, which Macaulay turned to such account, dined with Archbishop Sheldon. He sat at the lower end of the table between the archbishop's two chaplains; and when dinner was finished, Sheldon, we are told, retired to his withdrawing-room, while Eachard went with the chaplains and another convive to their lodgings "to drink and smoak."
If the restored king did not himself smoke, tobacco was far from unknown at the Palace of Whitehall. We get a curious glimpse of one aspect of life there in the picture which Lilly, the notorious astrologer, paints in his story of his arrest in January 1661. He was taken to Whitehall at night, and kept in a large room with some sixty other prisoners till daylight, when he was transferred to the guardroom, which, he says, "I thought to be hell; some therein were sleeping, others swearing, others smoaking tobacco. In the chimney of the room I believe there was two bushels of broken tobacco pipes, almost half one load of ashes." What would the king's grandfather, the author of the "Counterblaste," have said, could he have imagined such a spectacle within the palace walls?
General Monk, to whom Charles II owed so much, is said to have indulged in the unpleasant habit of chewing tobacco, and to have been imitated by others; but the practice can never have been common.
Tobacco was still the symbol of good-fellowship. Winstanley, who was an enemy of what he called "this Heathenish Weed," and who thought the "folly" of smoking might never have spread so much if stringent "means of prevention" had been exercised, yet had to declare in 1660 that "Tobacco it self is by few taken now as medicinal, it is grown a good-fellow, and fallen from a Physician to a Complement. 'He's no good-fellow that's without ... burnt Pipes, Tobacco, and his Tinder-Box.'"
At the time of the Restoration tobacco-boxes which were considered suitable to the occasion were made in large numbers. The outside of the lid bore a portrait of the Royal Martyr; within the lid was a picture of the restored king, His Majesty King Charles II; while on the inside of the bottom of the box was a representation of Oliver Cromwell leaning against a post, a gallows-tree over his head, and about his neck a halter tied to the tree, while beside him was pictured the devil, wide-mouthed. Another form of memorial tobacco-box is described in an advertisement in the London Gazette of September 15, 1687. This was a silver box which had either been "taken out of the Bull's Head Tavern, Cheapside, or left in a Hackney Coach." It was "ingraved on the Lid with a Coat of Arms, etc., and a Medal of Charles the First fastened to the inside of the Lid, and engraved on the inside 'to Jacob Smith it doth belong, at the Black Lyon in High Holborn, date August 1671.'"
Smokers of the period were often curious in tobacco-boxes. Mr. Richard Stapley, gentleman, of Twineham, Sussex, whose diary is full of curious information, was presented in 1691 by his friend Mr. John Hill with a "tobacco-box made of tortoise." Seven years earlier Stapley had sold to Hill his silver tobacco-box for 10s. in cash—the rest of the value of the box, he noted, "I freely forgave him for writing at our first commission for me, and for copying of answers and ye like in our law concerns; so yt I reckon I have as good as 30s. for my box: 5s. he gave me, and 5s. more he promised to pay me ... and I had his steel box with the bargain, and full of smoake." Apparently Mr. Hill's secretarial labours were valued at 20s. This same Sussex squire bought a pound of tobacco in December 1685 for 20d., which seems decidedly cheap, and in the following year a 5 lb. box for 7s. 6d.—which was cheaper still.