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About Smoking

Not The Arcadia
Those who do not know the Arcadia may have a mixture tha...

Vanity All Is Vanity
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Jimmy
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A Covnter-blaste To Tobacco
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House-boat Arcadia
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Scrymgeour
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Arcadians At Bay
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My Pipes
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Marriot
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When My Wife Is Asleep And All The House Is Still
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The Romance Of A Pipe-cleaner
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The Murder In The Inn
Sometimes I think it is all a dream, and that I did not rea...



Smoking Under King William Iii And Queen Anne








Hail! social pipe--thou foe of care,
Companion of my elbow-chair;
As forth thy curling fumes arise,
They seem an evening sacrifice--
An offering to my Maker's praise,
For all His benefits and grace.

SIR SAMUEL GARTH (1660-1718).


After King William III was settled on the throne the sum of L600,000
was paid to the Dutch from the English exchequer for money advanced in
connexion with his Majesty's expedition, and this amount was paid off
by tobacco duties. Granger long ago remarked that most of the eminent
divines and bishops of the day contributed very practically to the
payment of this revolutionary debt by their large consumption of
tobacco. He mentions Isaac Barrow, Dr. Barlow of Lincoln, who was as
regular in smoking tobacco as at his meals, and had a high opinion of
its virtues, Dr. Aldrich, and other celebrated persons who flourished
about this time, and gave much into that practice. One of the best
known of these celebrated persons was Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of
Salisbury from 1689, and historian of his own times. He had the
reputation of being an inveterate smoker, and was caricatured with a
long clay stuck through the brim of the shovel hat, on the breadth of
which King William once made remark. The bishop replied that the hat
was of a shape suited to his dignity, whereupon the King caustically
said, I hope that the hat won't turn your head.

Thackeray pictures Dryden as sitting in his great chair at Will's
Coffee-house, Russell Street, Covent Garden, tobacco-pipe in hand; but
there is no evidence that Dryden smoked. The snuff-box was his symbol
of authority. Budding wits thought themselves highly distinguished if
they could obtain the honour of being allowed to take a pinch from it.
Of Dr. Aldrich, who was Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and who wrote a
curious Catch not more difficult to sing than diverting to hear, to
be sung by four men smoaking their pipes, an anecdote has often been
related, which illustrates his devotion to the weed. A bet was made by
one undergraduate and taken by another, that at whatever time, however
early, the Dean might be visited in his own den, he would be found
smoking. As soon as the bet had been made the Dean was visited. The
pair explained the reason for their call, when Aldrich, who must have
been a good-tempered man, said, Your friend has lost: I am not
smoking, only filling my pipe.

John Philips, the author of Cyder and the Splendid Shilling, was
an undergraduate at Christ Church, during Aldrich's term of office,
and no doubt learned to smoke in an atmosphere so favourable to
tobacco. In his Splendid Shilling, which dates from about 1700,
Philips says of the happy man with a shilling in his pocket:

_Meanwhile, he smokes, and laughs at merry tale,
Or Pun ambiguous or Conundrum quaint._

But the poor shillingless wretch can only

_doze at home
In garret vile, and with a warming puff
Regale chill'd fingers; or from tube as black
As winter-chimney, or well-polish'd jet,
Exhale Mundungus, ill-perfuming scent._

The miserable creature, though without a shilling, yet possessed a
well-coloured clay.

It is significant that the writer of a life of Philips, which was
prefixed to an edition of his poems which was published in 1762, after
mentioning that smoking was common at Oxford in the days of Aldrich,
says apologetically, It is no wonder therefore that he [Philips] fell
in with the general taste ... he has descended to sing its praises in
more than one place. By 1762, as we shall see, smoking was quite
unfashionable, and consequently it was necessary to explain how it was
that a poet could descend so low as to sing the praises of tobacco.

Other well-known men of the late seventeenth century were
tobacconists in the old sense of the word. Sir Isaac Newton is said
to have smoked immoderately; and a familiar anecdote represents him as
using for the purposes of a tobacco-stopper, in a fit of
absent-mindedness, the little finger of a lady sitting beside him,
whom he admired, but the truth of this legend is open to doubt. Thomas
Hobbes, who lived to be ninety (1588-1679), was accustomed to dine at
11 o'clock, after which he smoked a pipe and then lay down and took a
nap of about half an hour. No doubt he would have attributed the
length of his days to the regularity of his habits. Izaak Walton, who
also lived to be ninety, as the lover of the placid and contemplative
life deserved to do, loved his pipe, though he seldom mentions smoking
in the Compleat Angler. Sir Samuel Garth, poet and physician, once
known to fame as the author of The Dispensary, was another
pipe-lover, as is shown by his verses quoted at the head of this
chapter. Dudley, the fourth Lord North, began to smoke in 1657, and,
says Dr. Jessopp, the habit grew upon him, the frequent entries for
pipes and tobacco showing that he became more and more addicted to
this indulgence. Probably it afforded him some solace in the dreadful
malady from which he suffered so long.

Even the staid Quakers smoked. George Fox's position in regard to
tobacco was curious. He did not smoke himself; but on one occasion he
was offered a pipe by a jesting youth who thought thereby to shock so
saintly a person. Fox says in his Journal, I lookt upon him to bee
a forwarde bolde lad: and tobacco I did not take: butt ... I saw hee
had a flashy empty notion of religion: soe I took his pipe and putt it
to my mouth and gave it to him again to stoppe him lest his rude
tongue should say I had not unity with ye creation. The incident is
curious, but testifies to Fox's tolerance and breadth of outlook.

Many of his followers smoked, sometimes apparently to such an extent
as to cause scandal among their brethren. The following is an entry in
the minutes of the Friends' Monthly Meeting at Hardshaw, Lancashire:
14th of 4th mo. 1691. It being considered that the too frequent use
of smoking Tobacco is inconsistent with friends holy profession, it is
desired that such as have occasion to make use thereof take it
privately, neither too publicly in their own houses, nor by the
highways, streets, or in alehouses or elsewhere, tending to the
abetting the common excess. Another Lancashire Monthly Meeting,
Penketh, under date 18th 8th mo. 1691 suggested that Friends were
not to smoke during their labour or occupation, but to leave their
work and take it privately--a suggestion which clearly proceeded from
non-smokers. The smug propriety of these recommendations to enjoy a
smoke in private is delightful.

At the Quarterly Meeting of Aberdeen Friends in 1692 a weighty paper
containing several heads of solid advyces and Counsells to friends
sent by Irish Quakers, was read. These counsels abound with amusingly
prim suggestions. Among them is the warning to take heed of being
overcome with strong drink or tobacco, which many by custome are
brought into bondag to the creature. The Aberdeen Friends themselves
a little later were greatly concerned at the increasing indulgence in
superfluous apparell and in vain recreations among the young ones;
and in 1698 they issued a paper dealing in great detail with matters
of dress and deportment. Among a hundred other things treated with
minutest particularity, the desire is expressed that all Idle and
needless Smoaking of Tobacco be forborn.

William Penn did not like tobacco and was often annoyed by it in
America. Clarkson, his biographer, relates that on one occasion Penn
called to see some old friends at Burlington, who had been smoking,
but who, in consideration for his feelings, had put their pipes away.
Penn smelt the tobacco, and noticing that the pipes were concealed,
said, Well, friends, I am glad that you are at last ashamed of your
old practice. Not entirely so, replied one of the company, but we
preferred laying down our pipes to the danger of offending a weaker
brother.

Many of the tobacco-boxes used in the latter part of the seventeenth
century were imported from Holland. They were long or oval and were
usually made of brass. They can be easily identified by their engraved
subjects and Dutch inscriptions. An example in the Colchester Museum
is made of copper and brass, with embossed designs and inscriptions,
representing commerce, &c., on the base and lid. It has engraved on
the sides the name and address of its owner--Barnabas Barker,
Wyvenhoe, Essex. The similar boxes later made in England usually had
embossed ornamentation.

The local authorities in our eastern counties seem to have had some
curious ideas of their own as to where tobacco should or should not be
smoked. In a previous chapter we have seen that at Norwich, ale-house
keepers were fined for permitting smoking in their houses. At
Methwold, Suffolk, the folk improved upon this. The court-books of the
manor of Methwold contain the following entry made at a court held on
October 4, 1695: We agree that any person that is taken smoakeinge
tobacco in the street shall forfitt one shillinge for every time so
taken, and itt shall be lawfull for the petty constabbles to distrane
for the same for to be putt to the uses abovesaid [_i.e._ to the use
of the town]. Wee present Nicholas Baker for smoakeinge in the
street, and doe amerce him 1s. The same rule is repeated at courts
held in the years 1696 and 1699, but no other fine is mentioned at any
subsequent courts. The good folk at Methwold may have been adepts at
petty tyranny, but such an absurd regulation must soon have become a
dead letter. While we are in the eastern counties we may note that in
1694 there died at Ely an apothecary named Henry Crofts, who owned,
among some other unusual items in his inventory, casks of brandy and
tobacco, which shows that even at that date, when regular
tobacconists' shops for the sale of tobacco had long been common, the
old business connexion between apothecaries and tobacco still
occasionally existed.

The clay pipes called aldermen, with longer stems than their
predecessors, tipped with glaze, came into use towards the end of the
seventeenth century. They must not be confused with the much longer
churchwarden or yard of clay which was not in vogue till the early
years of the nineteenth century.

Towards the close of the seventeenth century signs may be detected of
some waning in the universal popularity of tobacco. There are hints of
change in the records of City and other companies. Tobacco had always
figured prominently in the provision for trade feasts. In 1651 the
Chester Company of Barbers, Surgeons, Wax and Tallow Chandlers--a
remarkably comprehensive organization--paid for Sack beere and
Tobacco at the Talbot on St. Luke's Day, October 18, on the occasion
of a dinner given to the Company by one Richard Walker; and similar
expenditure was common among both London and provincial Companies.
The court-books of the Skinners Company of London show that in
preparation for their annual Election Dinner in 1694, the cook
appeared before the court and produced a bill of fare which, with some
alterations, was agreed to. The butler then appeared and undertook to
provide knives, salt, pepper-pots, glasses, sauces, &c., and
everything needfull for L7. and if he gives content then to have L8.
he provides all things but pipes, Tobacco, candles and beer--which
apparently fell to the lot of some other caterer.

But so early as 1655 there is a sign of change of custom--a change,
that is, in the direction of restricting and limiting the hitherto
unbounded freedom granted to the use of tobacco. The London Society of
Apothecaries on August 15, 1655, held a meeting for the election of a
Master and an Upper Warden; and from the minutes of this meeting we
learn that by general consent it was forbidden henceforward to smoke
in the Court Room while dining or sitting, under penalty of half a
crown.

The more fashionable folk of the Restoration Era and later began to
leave off if not to disdain the smoking-habit. Up to about 1700
smoking had been permitted in the public rooms at Bath, but when Nash
then took charge, tobacco was banished. Public or at least fashionable
taste had begun to change, and Nash correctly interpreted and led it.
Sorbiere, who has been quoted in the previous chapter, remarked in
1663 that People of Quality did not use tobacco so much as others;
and towards the end of the century and in Queen Anne's time the
tendency was for tobacco to go out of fashion. This did not much
affect its general use; but the tendency--with exceptions, no
doubt--was to restrict the use of tobacco to the clergy, to country
squires, to merchants and tradesmen and to the humbler ranks of
society--to limit it, in short, to the middle and lower classes of the
social commonwealth as then organized. In the extraordinary record of
inanity which Addison printed as the diary of a citizen in the
_Spectator_ of March 4, 1712, the devotion of the worthy retired
tradesman to tobacco is emphasized. This is the kind of thing: Monday
... Hours 10, 11 and 12 Smoaked three Pipes of Virginia ... one
o'clock in the afternoon, chid Ralph for mislaying my Tobacco-Box....
Wednesday ... From One to Two Smoaked a Pipe and a half.... Friday ...
From Four to Six. Went to the Coffee-house. Met Mr. Nisby there.
Smoaked several Pipes.

There was indeed no diminution of tobacco-smoke in the coffee-houses.
A visitor from abroad, Mr. Muralt, a Swiss gentleman, writing about
1696, said that character could be well studied at the coffee-houses.
He was probably not a smoker himself, for he goes on to say that in
other respects the coffee-houses are loathsome, full of smoke like a
guardroom, and as much crowded. He further observed that it was
common to see the clergy of London in coffee-houses and even in
taverns, with pipes in their mouths. A native witness of about the
same date, Ned Ward, writes sneeringly in his London Spy, 1699, of
the interior of the coffee-house. He saw some going, some coming,
some scribbling, some talking, some drinking, some smoking, others
jingling; and the whole room stinking of tobacco, like a Dutch scoot,
or a boatswain's cabin.... We each of us stuck in our mouths a pipe of
sotweed, and now began to look about us. Ward's contemporary, Tom
Brown, took a different tone: he wrote of Tobacco, Cole and the
Protestant Religion, the three great blessings of life!--as strange a
jumble as one could wish for.

Even children seem to have smoked sometimes in the coffee-houses.
Ralph Thoresby, the Leeds antiquary, tells a strange story. He
declares that, one evening which he spent with his brother at
Garraway's Coffee-house, February 20, 1702, he was surprised to see
his brother's sickly child of three years old fill its pipe of
tobacco and smoke it as _audfarandly_ as a man of three score; after
that a second and a third pipe without the least concern, as it is
said to have done above a year ago. A child of two years of age
smoking three pipes in succession is a picture a little difficult to
accept as true. As this is the only reference to tobacco in the whole
of his Diary, it is not likely that Thoresby was himself a smoker.

At the coffee-house entrance was the bar presided over by the
predecessors of the modern barmaids--grumbled at in a _Spectator_ as
idols, who there received homage from their admirers, and who paid
more attention to customers who flirted with them than to more
sober-minded visitors. They are described by Tom Brown as a charming
Phillis or two, who invited you by their amorous glances into their
smoaky territories. Admission cost little. There you might see--

_Grave wits, who, spending farthings four,
Sit, smoke, and warm themselves an hour._

The allusions in the _Spectator_ to smoking in the coffee-houses are
frequent. Sometimes, says Addison, in his title character in the
first number of the paper, sometimes I smoak a pipe at Child's and
whilst I seem attentive to nothing but the _Post-man_, over-hear the
conversation of every table in the room. And here is a vignette of
coffee-house life in 1714 from No. 568 of the _Spectator_: I was
yesterday in a coffee-house not far from the Royal Exchange, where I
observed three persons in close conference over a pipe of tobacco;
upon which, having filled one for my own use, I lighted it at the
little wax candle that stood before them; and after having thrown in
two or three whiffs amongst them, sat down and made one of the
company. I need not tell my reader, that lighting a man's pipe at the
same candle is looked upon among brother-smoakers as an overture to
conversation and friendship. From the very beginning smoking has
induced and fostered a spirit of comradeship.

Sir Roger de Coverley, as a typical country squire, was naturally a
smoker. He presented his friend the Spectator, the silent gentleman,
with a tobacco-stopper made by Will Wimble, telling him that Will had
been busy all the early part of the winter in turning great quantities
of them, and had made a present of one to every gentleman in the
county who had good principles and smoked. When Sir Roger was driving
in a hackney-coach he called upon the coachman to stop, and when the
man came to the window asked him if he smoked. While Sir Roger's
companion was wondering what this would end in, the knight bid his
Jehu to stop by the way at any good Tobacconist's, and take in a Roll
of their best Virginia. And when he visited Squire's near Gray's Inn
Gate, his first act was to call for a clean pipe, a paper of tobacco,
a dish of coffee, a newspaper and a wax candle; and all the boys in
the coffee-room ran to serve him. The wax candle was of course a
convenience in matchless days for pipe-lighting. The paper of
tobacco was the equivalent of what is now vulgarly called a screw
of tobacco.

The practice of selling tobacco in small paper packets was common, and
moralists naturally had something to say about the fate of an author's
work, when the leaves of his books found their ultimate use as
wrappers for the weed. For as no mortal author, says Addison, in
the ordinary fate and vicissitude of things, knows to what use his
works may, some time or other, be applied, a man may often meet with
very celebrated names in a paper of tobacco. I have lighted my pipe
more than once with the writings of a prelate.

Addison and Steele smoked, and so did Prior, who seems to have had a
weakness at times for low company. After spending an evening with
Oxford, Bolingbroke, Pope and Swift, it is recorded that he would go
and smoke a pipe, and drink a bottle of ale, with a common soldier
and his wife, in Long Acre, before he went to bed. Some of Prior's
poems, as Thackeray caustically remarks, smack not a little of the
conversation of his Long Acre friends. Pope for awhile attended the
symposium at Button's coffee-house, where Addison was the centre of
the coterie--he describes himself as sitting with them till two in the
morning over punch and Burgundy amid the fumes of tobacco--but such a
way of life did not suit his sickly constitution, and he soon
withdrew. It is not likely that he smoked.

The attractions and the atmosphere of provincial coffee-houses were
much the same as those of the London resorts. A German gentleman who
visited Cambridge in July and August 1710 remarked that in the Greeks'
coffee-house in that town, in the morning and after 3 o'clock in the
afternoon, you could meet the chief professors and doctors, who read
the papers over a cup of coffee and a pipe of tobacco. One of the
learned doctors took the German visitor to the weekly meeting of a
Music Club in one of the colleges. Here were assembled bachelors,
masters and doctors of music of the University--no professionals were
employed--who performed vocal and instrumental music to their mutual
gratification, though, apparently, not to the satisfaction of the
visitor, who records his opinion that the music was very poor. It
lasted, he says, till 11 P.M., there was besides smoking and
drinking of wine, though we did not do much of either. At 11 the
reckoning was called for, and each person paid 2s.

There was clearly no prejudice against smoking at Cambridge. Abraham
de la Pryme notes in his diary for the year 1694 that when it was
rumoured in May of that year that a certain house opposite one of the
colleges was haunted, strange noises being heard in it, several
scholars of the college said, Come, fetch us a good pitcher of ale,
and tobacco and pipes, and wee'l sit up and see this spirit. The ale
was duly provided, the pipes were lit, and the courageous smokers
spent the night in the house, sitting singing and drinking there till
morning, but, alas! they neither saw nor heard anything.

Smoking was still popular also at Oxford. A. D'Anvers, in her
Academia; or the Humours of Oxford, 1691, speaks, indeed, of
undergraduates who, when they could not get tobacco, did much as the
parson of Thornton is reputed to have done, as already related in
Chapter II, _i.e._ they condescended to smoke fragments of mats. With
this may be compared the macaronic lines:

_At si_
Mundungus _desit: tum non_ funcare _recusant_
Brown-Paper _tosta, vel quod fit arundine_ bed-mat.

Tobacco, in Queen Anne's time, still maintained its hold over large
classes of the people, and was still dominant in most places of public
resort; but there were signs of change in various directions as we
have seen, and smoking had to a large extent ceased to be fashionable.
Pepys has very few allusions to tobacco; Evelyn fewer still. There is
little evidence as to whether or not the gallants of the Restoration
Court smoked; but considering the foppery of their attire and manners,
it seems almost certain that tobacco was not in favour among them. The
beaux with their full wigs--they carried combs of ivory or
tortoiseshell in their pockets with which they publicly combed their
flowing locks--their dandy canes and scented, laced handkerchiefs,
were not the men to enjoy the flavour of tobacco in a pipe. They were
still tobacco-worshippers; but they did not smoke. The Indian weed
retained its empire over the men (and women) of fashion by changing
its form. The beaux were the devotees of snuff. The deftly handled
pinch pleasantly titillated their nerves, and the dexterous use of the
snuff-box, moreover, could also serve the purposes of vanity by
displaying the beautiful whiteness of the hand, and the splendour of
the rings upon the fingers. The curled darlings of the late
seventeenth century and the pretty fellows of Queen Anne's time did
not forswear tobacco, but they abjured smoking. Snuff-taking was
universal in the fashionable world among both men and women; and the
development of this habit made smoking unfashionable.





Next: Smoking Unfashionable: Early Georgian Days

Previous: Smoking In The Restoration Period



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