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About Smoking

When My Wife Is Asleep And All The House Is Still
Perhaps the heading of this paper will deceive some read...

My First Cigar
It was not in my chambers, but three hundred miles furth...

The Ghost Of Christmas Eve
A few years ago, as some may remember, a startling ghost...

My Pipes
In a select company of scoffers my brier was known as the M...

Gilray's Flower-pot
I charge Gilray's unreasonableness to his ignoble passion f...

Pettigrew's Dream
My dream (said Pettigrew) contrasts sadly with those of my ...

How Heroes Smoke
On a tiger-skin from the ice-clad regions of the sunless no...

Smoking Unfashionable: Later Georgian Days
Says the Pipe to the Snuff-box, I can't understand ...

Smoking By Women
Ladies, when pipes are brought, affect to swoon; The...

Jimmy's Dream
I see before me (said Jimmy, savagely) a court, where I, Ja...

English-grown Tobacco
Pettigrew asked me to come to his house one evening and tes...

My Smoking-table
Had it not been for a bootblack at Charing Cross I shoul...

The Romance Of A Pipe-cleaner
We continued to visit the _Arcadia_, though only one at ...

Primus To His Uncle
Though we all pretended to be glad when Primus went, we ...

Vanity All Is Vanity
...

Page Six |
stimulus. Alcohol, ever true to its companion, steps in and su...

Primus
Primus is my brother's eldest son, and he once spent his Ea...

Preface
This is the first attempt to write the history of smoking i...

Smoking In The Twentieth Century
Sweet when the morn is grey; Sweet, when they've cle...

Marriot
I have hinted that Marriot was our sentimental member. H...



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:

Maii, 1651

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.





Next: Smoking In The Restoration Period

Previous: Abuse And Praise Of Tobacco



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