Lord Fopling smokes not--for his teeth afraid;

Sir Tawdry smokes not--for he wears brocade.


With the reign of Queen Anne tobacco had entered on a period, destined

to be of long duration, when smoking was to a very large extent under

a social ban. Pipe-smoking was unfashionable--that is to say, was not

practised by men of fashion, and was for the most part regarded as

"low" or provincial--from the time named until well into the reign of

Queen Victoria. The social taboo was by no means universal--some of

the exceptions will be noted in these pages--but speaking broadly, the

general, almost universal smoking of tobacco which had been

characteristic of the earlier decades of the seventeenth century did

not again prevail until within living memory.

Throughout the eighteenth century the use of tobacco for smoking was

largely confined to the middle and humbler classes of society. To

smoke was characteristic of the "cit," of the country squire, of the

clergy (especially of the country parsons), and of those of lower

social status. But at the same time it must be borne in mind that

then, as since, the dictates of fashion and the conventions of

society were little regarded by many artists and men of letters.

In the preceding chapter I quoted from Addison's diary of a retired

tradesman in the _Spectator_ of 1712. The periodical publications of a

generation or so later paid the great essayist the flattery of

imitation in this respect as in others. In the _Connoisseur_ of George

Colman and Bonnell Thornton, for instance, there is, in 1754, the

description of a citizen's Sunday. The good man, having sent his

family to church in the morning, goes off himself to Mother Redcap's,

a favourite tavern--suburban in those days--or house of call for City

tradesmen. There he smokes half a pipe and drinks a pint of ale. In

the evening at another tavern he smokes a pipe and drinks two pints of

cider, winding up the inane day at his club, where he smokes three

pipes before coming home at twelve to go to bed and sleep soundly.

The week-end habit was strong among London tradesmen in those days.

Another _Connoisseur_ paper of 1754 refers to the citizens'

country-boxes as dusty retreats, because they were always built in

close contiguity to the highway so that the inhabitants could watch

the traffic, in the absence of anything more sensible to do, where

"the want of London smoke is supplied by the smoke of Virginia

tobacco," and where "our chief citizens are accustomed to pass the end

and the beginning of every week." In the following year there is a

description of a visit to Vauxhall by a worthy citizen with his wife

and two daughters. After supper the poor man sadly laments that he

cannot have his pipe, because his wife, with social ambitions, deems

that it is "ungenteel to smoke, where any ladies are in company."

Again, in the _Connoisseur's_ rival, the _World_, founded and

conducted by Edward Moore, there is a letter, in the number dated

February 19, 1756, from a citizen who says: "I have the honour to be a

member of a certain club in this city, where it is a standing order,

That the paper called the _World_ be constantly brought upon the

table, with clean glasses, pipes and tobacco, every Thursday after


The country gentlemen of the time followed the hounds and enjoyed

rural sports of all kinds, drank ale, and smoked tobacco. They had

their smoking-rooms too. Walter Gale, schoolmaster at Mayfield,

Sussex, noted in his Journal under date March 26, 1751: "I went to Mr.

Baker's for the list of scholars, and found him alone in the

smoaking-room; he ordered a pint of mild beer for me, an extraordinary

thing." Gale himself was a regular smoker, and too fond of pints of


Fielding has immortalized the squire of the mid-eighteenth century in

his picture of that sporting, roaring, swearing, drinking, smoking,

affectionate, irascible, blundering, altogether extraordinary owner of

broad acres, Squire Western. We may shrewdly suspect that the portrait

of Western is somewhat over-coloured, and cannot fairly be taken as

typical; but there is sufficient evidence to show that in some

respects at least--in his enthusiasm for sport and love of ale and

tobacco--Western is representative of the country squires of his day.

In a _World_ of 1755 there is a description of a noisy, hearty,

drinking, devil-may-care country gentleman, in which it is said, "he

makes no scruple to take his pipe and pot at an alehouse with the very

dregs of the people." In a _Connoisseur_ of 1754 a fine gentleman

from London, making a visit in a country-house, is taking his

breakfast with the ladies in the afternoon, when they had their tea,

for, says he, "I should infallibly have perished, had I staied in the

hall, amidst the jargon of toasts and the fumes of tobacco." When

Horace Walpole was staying with his father at his Norfolk

country-seat, Houghton, in September 1737, Gray wrote to him from

Cambridge: "You are in a confusion of wine, and roaring, and hunting,

and tobacco, and, heaven be praised, you too can pretty well bear it."

But Gray had no objection to tobacco. He lived at Cambridge, and the

dons and residents there (as at Oxford), not to speak of the

undergraduates, were as partial to their pipes as the men who went out

from among them to become country parsons, and to share the country

squire's liking for tobacco. Gray wrote to Warton from Cambridge in

April 1749 saying: "Time will settle my conscience, time will

reconcile me to this languid companion (ennui); we shall smoke, we

shall tipple, we shall doze together"--a striking picture of

University life in the sleepy days of the eighteenth century. Gray's

testimony by no means stands alone. In November 1730 Roger North wrote

to his son Montague, then an undergraduate at Cambridge, saying: "I

would be loath you should confirm the scandal charged upon the

universities of learning chiefly to smoke and to drink."

At Oxford in early Georgian days a profound calm--so far as study was

concerned--appears to have prevailed. Little work was done, but much

tobacco was smoked. In 1733 a satire was published, violently

attacking the Fellows of various colleges. According to this satirist

the occupation of the Magdalen Fellow was to

_drink, look big,

Smoke much, think little, curse the freeborn Whig--_

from which it may not unreasonably be surmised that the author was a

Tory; and however little enthusiasm there may have been at Oxford in

those days for learning and study, there was plenty of life in

political animosities.

Another witness to the dons' love of tobacco is Thomas Warton. In his

"Progress of Discontent," written in 1746, he plaintively sang:

_Return, ye days when endless pleasure

I found in reading or in leisure!

When calm around the Common Room

I puff'd my daily pipe's perfume!

Rode for a stomach, and inspected,

At annual bottlings, corks selected:

And dined untax'd, untroubled, under

The portrait of our pious Founder!_

Warton and another Oxford smoker of some distinction--the Rev. William

Crowe, who was Public Orator from 1784 to 1829--are both said to have

been, like Prior, rather fond of frequenting the company of persons of

humble rank and little education, with whom they would drink their ale

and smoke their pipes.

Mr. A.D. Godley, in his "Oxford in the Eighteenth Century," gives an

excellent English version of the Latin original of one of the Christ

Church "Carmina Quadragesmalia," which affords much the same picture

of the daily life of an Oxford Fellow in the days when George I was

king. This good man lives strictly by rule, and each returning day--

_Ne'er swerves a hairbreadth from the same old way.

Always within the memory of men

He's risen at eight and gone to bed at ten:

The same old cat his College room partakes,

The same old scout his bed each morning makes:

On mutton roast he daily dines in state

(Whole flocks have perished to supply his plate),

Takes just one turn to catch the westering sun,

Then reads the paper, as he's always done;

Soon cracks in Common-room the same old jokes,

Drinking three glasses ere three pipes he smokes:--

And what he did while Charles our throne did fill

'Neath George's heir you'll find him doing still._

It seems to have been taken for granted that country parsons smoked.

Smoking was universal among their male parishioners from the squire to

the labourer (when he could afford it), so that it was only natural

that the parson, with little to do, and in those days not too much

inclination to do it, should be as fond of his pipe as the rest of the

world around him. In a _World_ of 1756 there is an account of a

country gentleman entertaining one evening the vicar of the parish,

and the host as a matter of course proceeds to order a bottle of wine

with pipes and tobacco to be placed on the table. The vicar forthwith

"filled his pipe, and drank very cordially to my friend," his host.

One cannot doubt that Laurence Sterne, that most remarkable of country

parsons, smoked. His "My Uncle Toby" is among the immortals, and Toby

without his pipe is unimaginable.

The most famous of country clergymen of the early Georgian period is,

of course, Fielding's lovable and immortal Parson Adams. Throughout

"Joseph Andrews" the parson smokes at every opportunity. At his first

appearance on the scene, in the inn kitchen, he calls for a pipe of

tobacco before taking his place at the fireside. The next morning,

when he fails to obtain a desired loan from the landlord, Adams,

extremely dejected at his disappointment, immediately applies to his

pipe, "his constant friend and comfort in his affliction," and leans

over the rails of the gallery overlooking the inn-yard, devoting

himself to meditation, "assisted by the inspiring fumes of tobacco."

Later on, in the parlour of the country Justice of the Peace, who

condemned his prisoners before he had taken the depositions of the

witnesses against them, and who, by the way, also lit his pipe while

his clerk performed this necessary duty, Adams, when his character has

been cleared, sits down with the company and takes a cheerful glass

and applies himself vigorously to smoking. A few hours later, when the

parson, Fanny, and their guide are driven by a storm of rain to take

shelter in a wayside ale-house, Adams "immediately procured himself a

good fire, a toast and ale, and a pipe, and began to smoke with great

content, utterly forgetting everything that had happened." In the same

inn, after Mrs. Slipslop has appeared and disappeared, Adams smokes

three pipes and takes "a comfortable nap in a great chair," so leaving

the lovers, Joseph and Fanny, to enjoy a delightful time together.

At another inn a country squire is discovered smoking his pipe by the

door and the parson promptly joins him. Again, he smokes before he

goes to bed, and before he breakfasts the next morning; and when he

goes into the inn garden with the host who is willing to trust him,

both host and parson light their pipes before beginning to gossip.

Farther on, when the hospitable Mr. Wilson takes the weary wayfarers

in, Parson Adams loses no time in filling himself with ale, as

Fielding puts it, and lighting his pipe. The menfolk--Wilson, Adams

and Joseph--have to spend the night seated round the fire, but

apparently Adams is the only one who seeks the solace of tobacco. It

is significant that Wilson, in telling the story of his dissipated

early life, classes smoking with "singing, holloaing, wrangling,

drinking, toasting," and other diversions of "jolly companions."

There is no mention of Parson Trulliber's pipe, but that pig-breeder

and lover can hardly have been a non-smoker. Both the other clerical

characters who appear in the book, the Roman Catholic priest who makes

an equivocal appearance in the eighth chapter of the third book, and

Parson Barnabas, who thinks that his own sermons are at least equal to

Tillotson's, smoke their pipes. The other smokers in "Joseph Andrews"

are the surgeon and the exciseman who, early in the story, are found

sitting in the inn kitchen with Parson Barnabas, "smoking their pipes

over some syderand"--the mysterious "cup" being a mixture of cider and

something spirituous--and Joseph's father, old Gaffer Andrews, who

appears at the end of the story, and complains bitterly that he wants

his pipe, not having had a whiff that morning.

Fielding himself smoked his pipe. When his play "The Wedding Day" was

produced by Garrick in 1743, various suggestions were made to the

author as to the excision of certain passages, and the modification of

one of the scenes. Garrick pressed for certain omissions, but--"No,

damn them," said Fielding, "if the scene is not a good one, let them

find that out"; and then, according to Murphy, he retired to the

green-room, where, during the progress of the play, he smoked his pipe

and drank champagne. Presently he heard the sound of hissing, and when

Garrick came in and explained that the audience had hissed the scene

he had wished to have modified, all Fielding said was: "Oh, damn them,

they _have_ found it out, have they!"

Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, the crafty old Jacobite who took part in the

rising of 1745 and who was executed on Tower Hill in 1747, was a

smoker. The pipe which he was reported to have smoked on the evening

before his execution, together with his snuff-box and a canvas

tobacco-bag, were for many years in the possession of the Society of

Cogers, the famous debating society of Fleet Street.

It has sometimes been said that Swift smoked; but this is a mistake.

He had a fancy for taking tobacco in a slightly different way from the

fashionable mode of taking snuff. He told Stella that he had left off

snuff altogether, and then in the very next sentence remarked that he

had "a noble roll of tobacco for grating, very good." And in a later

letter to Stella, May 24, 1711, he asked if she still snuffed, and

went on to say, in sentences that seem to contradict one another: "I

have left it off, and when anybody offers me their box, I take about a

tenth part of what I used to do, then just smell to it, and privately

fling the rest away. I keep to my tobacco still, as you say; but even

much less of that than formerly, only mornings and evenings, and very

seldom in the day." One might infer from this that he smoked, but this

Swift never did. His practice was to snuff up cut and dried tobacco,

which was sometimes just coloured with Spanish snuff. This he did all

his life, but as the mixture he took was not technically snuff, he

never owned that he took snuff.

Another cleric of the period, well known to fame, who took snuff but

also loved his pipe, was Samuel Wesley, rector of Epworth,

Lincolnshire, from 1697 to 1735. He not only smoked his pipe, but sang

its praises:

_In these raw mornings, when I'm freezing ripe,

What can compare with a tobacco-pipe?

Primed, cocked and toucht, 'twould better heat a man

Than ten Bath Faggots or Scotch warming-pan._

Samuel's greater son, John Wesley, did not share the parental love of

a pipe. He spoke of the use of tobacco as "an uncleanly and

unwholesome self-indulgence," and described snuffing as "a silly,

nasty, dirty custom."

The London clergy seem to have smoked at one time as a matter of

course at their gatherings at Sion College, their headquarters. An

entry in the records under date February 14, 1682, relating to a Court

Meeting, runs: "Paid Maddocks [the Messenger] for Attendinge and Pipes

6d." How long pipes continued to be concomitants of the meetings of

the College's General Court I cannot say; but smoking and the annual

dinners were long associated. At the anniversary feast in 1743 there

were two tables to provide for, the total number of guests being about

thirty, and two "corses" to each. The cost of the food, as Canon

Pearce tells us in his excellent and entertaining book on the College

and its Library, was L19 15s., or rather more than 13s. a head. The

bill for wines and tobacco amounted to five guineas, or about 3s. 6d.

a head, and for this modest sum the thirty convives enjoyed eleven

gallons of "Red Oporto," one of "White Lisbon," and three of

"Mountain," to the accompaniment of two pounds of tobacco (at 3s. 4d.

the pound) smoked in "half a groce of pipes" (at 1s.).

The examples and illustrations which have been given so far in this

chapter relate to tradesmen and merchants, country gentlemen and the

clergy. Other professional men smoked--we read in Fielding's "Amelia"

of a doctor who in the evening "smoked his pillow-pipe, as the phrase

is"--and among the rest of the people of equal or lower social

standing smoking was as generally practised as in the preceding

century. Handel, I may note, enjoyed his pipe. Dr. Burney, when a

schoolboy at Chester, was "extremely curious to see so extraordinary a

man," so when Handel went through that city in 1741 on his way to

Ireland, young Burney "watched him narrowly as long as he remained in

Chester," and among other things, had the felicity of seeing the great

man "smoke a pipe, over a dish of coffee, at the Exchange

Coffee-house," which was under the old Town Hall that stood opposite

the present King's School, and in front of the present Town Hall.

Gonzales, in his "Voyage to Great Britain," 1731, says that the use of

tobacco was "very universal, and indeed not improper for so moist a

climate." He tells us that though the taverns were very numerous yet

the ale-houses were much more so. These ale-houses were visited by the

inferior tradesmen, mechanics, journeymen, porters, coachmen, carmen,

servants, and others whose pockets were not equal to the price of a

glass of wine, which, apparently, was the more usual thing to call for

at a tavern, properly so called. In the ale-house men of the various

classes and occupations enumerated, says the traveller, would "sit

promiscuously in common dirty rooms, with large fires, and clouds of

tobacco, where one that is not used to them can scarce breathe or


The antiquary Hearne has left on record an account of a curious

smoking match held at Oxford in 1723. It began at two o'clock in the

afternoon of September 4 on a scaffold specially erected for the

purpose "over against the Theatre in Oxford ... just at Finmore's, an

alehouse." The conditions were that any one (man or woman) who could

smoke out three ounces of tobacco first, without drinking or going off

the stage, should have 12s. "Many tryed," continues Hearne, "and 'twas

thought that a journeyman taylour of St. Peter's in the East would

have been victor, he smoking faster than, and being many pipes before,

the rest: but at last he was so sick, that 'twas thought he would have

dyed; and an old man, that had been a souldier, and smoaked gently,

came off conqueror, smoaking the three ounces quite out, and he told

one (from whom I had it) that, after it, he smoaked 4 or 5 pipes the

same evening." The old soldier was a well-seasoned veteran.

Another foreign visitor to England, the Abbe Le Blanc, who was over

here about 1730, found English customs rather trying. "Even at table,"

he says, "where they serve desserts, they do but show them, and

presently take away everything, even to the tablecloth. By this the

English, whom politeness does not permit to tell the ladies their

company is troublesome, give them notice to retire.... The table is

immediately covered with mugs, bottles and glasses; and often with

pipes of tobacco. All things thus disposed, the ceremony of toasts


The frowns and remonstrances of Quarterly and Monthly Meetings of

Friends had not succeeded in putting the Quakers' pipes out. In a list

of sea stores put on board a vessel called by the un-Quaker-like name

of _The Charming Polly_, which brought a party of Friends across the

Atlantic from Philadelphia in 1756, we find "In Samuel Fothergill's

new chest ... Tobacco ... a Hamper ... a Barrel ... a box of pipes."

The provident Samuel was well found for a long voyage.

The non-smokers were the men of fashion and those who followed them in

preferring the snuff-box to the pipe. Sometimes, apparently, they

chewed. A _World_ of 1754 pokes fun at the "pretty" young men who

"take pains to appear manly. But alas! the methods they pursue, like

most mistaken applications, rather aggravate the calamity. Their

drinking and raking only makes them look like old maids. Their

swearing is almost as shocking as it would be in the other sex. Their

chewing tobacco not only offends, but makes us apprehensive at the

same time that the poor things will be sick," as they certainly well

deserved to be. To chew might be "manly," but it will be observed that

smoking is not mentioned. No reputation for manliness could be

achieved by even the affectation of a pipe. Similarly, in Bramston's

"Man of Taste," various fashionable tastes are described, but there is

no mention of tobacco.

In Townley's well-known two-act farce "High Life Below Stairs," 1759,

the servants take their masters' and mistresses' titles and ape their

ways. The menservants--the Dukes and Sir Harrys--offer one another

snuff. "Taste this snuff, Sir Harry," says the "Duke." "'Tis good

rappee," replies "Sir Harry." "Right Strasburgh, I assure you, and of

my own importing," says the knowing ducal valet. "The city people

adulterate it so confoundedly," he continues, "that I always import my

own snuff;" and in similar vein he goes on in imitation of his master,

the genuine Duke. These servants copy the talk and style (with a

difference) of their employers; but smoking is never mentioned. The

real Dukes and Sir Harrys took snuff with a grace, but they did not do

anything so low as to smoke, and their menservants faithfully aped

their preferences and their aversions.

Negative evidence of this kind is abundant; and positive statements of

the aversion of the beaux from smoking are not lacking. Dodsley's

"Collection" contains a satirical poem called "A Pipe of Tobacco,"

which was written in imitation of six different poets. The author was

Isaac Hawkins Browne, and the poets imitated were the Laureate Cibber,

Philips, Thomson, Young, Pope, and Swift. The first imitation is

called "A New Year's Ode," and contains three recitatives, three airs

and a chorus. One of the airs will suffice as a sample:

_Happy mortal! he who knows

Pleasure which a Pipe bestows;

Curling eddies climb the room

Wafting round a mild perfume._

Number two, which was intended as a burlesque of Philips's "Splendid

Shilling," is really pretty and must be given entire. It reveals

unsuspected beauties in the simple "churchwarden," or "yard of clay":

_Little tube of mighty pow'r,

Charmer of an idle hour,

Object of my warm desire,

Lip of wax, and eye of fire:

And thy snowy taper waist,

With my finger gently brac'd;

And thy pretty swelling crest,

With my little stopper prest,

And the sweetest bliss of blisses,

Breathing from thy balmy kisses.

Happy thrice, and thrice agen,

Happiest he of happy men;

Who when agen the night returns,

When agen the taper burns;

When agen the cricket's gay,

(Little cricket, full of play)

Can afford his tube to feed

With the fragrant Indian weed:

Pleasure for a nose divine,

Incense of the god of wine.

Happy thrice, and thrice agen,

Happiest he of happy men._

Imitations three and five praise the leaf in less happy strains,

though number five has a line worth noting for our purpose, in which

tobacco is spoken of as

_By ladies hated, hated by the beaux._

The sixth sinks to ribaldry. Number four contains evidence of the

distaste for smoking among the beaux in the lines:

_Coxcombs prefer the tickling sting of snuff;

Yet all their claim to wisdom is--a puff;

Lord Foplin smokes not--for his teeth afraid:

Sir Tawdry smokes not--for he wears brocade.

Ladies, when pipes are brought, affect to swoon;

They love no smoke, except the smoke of Town;

But courtiers hate the puffing tube--no matter,

Strange if they love the breath that cannot flatter!_

_Yet crowds remain, who still its worth proclaim,

While some for pleasure smoke, and some for Fame._

The satirist wrote truly that after all the fashionable abstainers had

been deducted, crowds remained, who smoked as heartily as their

predecessors of a century earlier. The populace was still on the side

of tobacco. This was well shown in 1732 when Sir Robert Walpole

proposed special excise duties on tobacco, and brought a Bill into

Parliament which would have given his excisemen powers of inquisition

which were much resented by the people generally. The controversy

produced a host of squibs and caricatures, most of which were directed

against the measure. The Bill was defeated in 1733, and great and

general were the rejoicings. When the news reached Derby on April 19

in that year, the dealers in tobacco caused all the bells in the Derby

churches to be rung, and we may be sure that this rather unusual

performance was highly popular. The withdrawal of the odious duty was

further celebrated by caricatures and "poetical" chants of triumph.

One of the leading opponents of the Bill had been a well-known puffing

tobacconist named Bradley, who was accustomed to describe his wares as

"the best in Christendom"; and when the Bill was defeated Bradley's

portrait was published for popular circulation, above these lines:

_Behold the man, who, when a gloomy band

Of vile excisemen threatened all the land,

Help'd to deliver from their harpy gripe

The cheerful bottle and the social pipe.

O rare Ben Bradley! may for this the bowl,

Still_ unexcised, _rejoice thy honest soul!

May still_ the best in Christendom _for this

Cleave to thy stopper, and compleat thy bliss!_

This print is now chiefly of interest because the plate was adorned

with a tiny etching by Hogarth, in which appear the figures of the

British Lion and Britannia, both with pipes in their mouths, Britannia

being seated on a cask of tobacco.

Hogarth was fond of introducing the pipe into his plates. In the

tail-piece to his works, which he prepared a few months before his

death, and which he called _The Bathos, or Manner of Sinking in

Sublime Paintings_, the end of everything is represented. Time

himself, supported against a broken column, is expiring, his scythe

falling from his grasp and a long clay pipe breaking in two as it

falls from his lips. This was issued in 1764--Hogarth's last published

work. In the plate which shows the execution of Thomas Idle, in the

"Industry and Idleness" series, Hogarth depicts the little hangman

smoking a short pipe as he sits on the top of the gallows, waiting for

his victim. The familiar plate of _A Modern Midnight Conversation_

shows a parson in surplice and wig smoking like a furnace while he

ladles punch from a bowl--probably meant for a portrait of the

notorious Orator Henley. Most of the other guests are also shown

smoking long clay pipes.

Hogarth's subscription ticket for the print of _Sigismunda_ was _Time

Smoking a Picture_ (1761). It represents an old man sitting on a

fragment of statuary and smoking a long pipe against a picture of a

landscape which stands upon an easel before him. Below, on his left,

is a large jar labelled "Varnish." The figure of Time is nude and has

large wings. Volumes of smoke are pouring against the surface of the

picture from both his mouth and the bowl of his long clay pipe. In

_The Stage-Coach, or Country Inn-yard_, is shown an old woman smoking

a pipe in the "basket" of the coach. The plate of _The Distrest Poet_

(1736) shows four books and three tobacco-pipes on a shelf. In the

second of the "Election" series--the _Canvassing for Votes_ (1755)--a

barber and a cobbler, seated at the table in the right-hand corner,

are both smoking long pipes. Apparently they are discussing the taking

of Portobello by Admiral Vernon in 1739 with only six ships; for the

barber is illustrating his talk by pointing with his twisted pipe-stem

to six fragments which he has broken from the stem and arranged on the

table in the shape of a crescent. In the frontispiece which Hogarth

drew in 1762 for Garrick's farce of "The Farmer's Return from London,"

the worthy farmer, seated in his great chair, holds out a large mug in

one hand to be filled with ale, while the other supports his long

pipe, which he is smoking with evident enjoyment.

Hogarth himself was a confirmed pipe-lover. When he and Thornhill and

their three companions set out from Gravesend for the final stage, up

the river, of their famous "Five Days Peregrination," we are told that

they hired a boat with clean straw, and laid in a bottle of wine,

pipes, tobacco, and light, and so came merrily up the river. The

arm-chair in which Hogarth was wont to sit and smoke is still

preserved in his house at Chiswick, which has been bought and

preserved as a memorial of the moralist-painter; and in the garden of

the house may still be seen the remains of the mulberry tree under

which Mr. Austin Dobson suggests that Hogarth and Fielding may have

sat and smoked their pipes together in the days when George was



Says the Pipe to the Snuff-box, I can't understand

What the ladies and gentlemen see in your face,

That you are in fashion all over the land,

And I am so much fallen into disgrace.

(From a letter to the Rev. John Newton, May 28, 1782.)

"Smoking has gone out," said Johnson in talk at St. Andrews, one day

in 1773. "To be sure," he continued, "it is a shocking thing, blowing

smoke out of our mouths into other people's mouths, eyes and noses,

and having the same thing done to us; yet I cannot account why a thing

which requires so little exertion, and yet preserves the mind from

total vacuity, should have gone out." Johnson did not trouble himself

to think of how much the vagaries of fashion account for stranger

vicissitudes in manners and customs than the rise and fall of the

smoking-habit; nor did he probably foresee how slowly but surely the

taste for smoking, even in the circles most influenced by fashion,

would revive. Boswell tells us that although the sage himself never

smoked, yet he had a high opinion of the practice as a sedative

influence; and Hawkins heard him say on one occasion that insanity had

grown more frequent since smoking had gone out of fashion, which

shows that even Johnson could fall a victim to the _post hoc propter

hoc_ fallacy.

More than one writer of recent days has absurdly misrepresented

Johnson as a smoker. The author of a book on tobacco published a few

years ago wrote--"Dr. Johnson smoked like a furnace"--a grotesquely

untrue statement--and "all his friends, Goldsmith, Reynolds, Garrick,

were his companions in tobacco-worship." Reynolds, we know--

_When they talk'd of their Raphaels, Corregios, and stuff,

He shifted his trumpet, and only took snuff._

Johnson and all his company took snuff, as every one in the

fashionable world, and a great many others outside that charmed

circle, did; but Johnson did not smoke, and I doubt whether any of the

others did.

There is ample evidence, apart from Johnson's dictum, that in the

latter part of the eighteenth century smoking had "gone out." In Mrs.

Climenson's "Passages from the Diaries of Mrs. Lybbe Powys," we hear

of a bundle of papers at Hardwick House, near Whitchurch, Oxon, which

bears the unvarnished title "Dick's Debts." This Dick was a Captain

Richard Powys who had a commission in the Guards, and died at the

early age of twenty-six in the year 1768. This list of debts, it

appears, gives "the most complete catalogue of the expenses of a dandy

of the Court of George II, consisting chiefly of swords, buckles,

lace, Valenciennes and point d'Espagne, gold and amber-headed canes,

tavern bills and chair hire." But in all the ample detail of Captain

Powys's list of extravagances there is nothing directly or indirectly

relating to smoking. The beaux of the time did not smoke.

In the whole sixteen volumes of Walpole's correspondence, as so

admirably edited by Mrs. Toynbee, there is scarcely a mention of

tobacco; and the same may be said of other collections of letters of

the same period--the Selwyn letters, the Delany correspondence, and so

on. Neither Walpole nor any member of the world in which he lived

would appear to have smoked. In Miss Burney's "Evelina," 1778, from

the beginning to the end of the book there is no mention whatever of

tobacco or of smoking. Apparently the vulgar Branghtons were not

vulgar enough to smoke. Such use of tobacco was considered low, and

was confined to the classes of society indicated in the preceding

chapter. One of the characters in Macklin's "Love a la Mode," 1760, is

described as "dull, dull as an alderman, after six pounds of turtle,

four bottles of port, and twelve pipes of tobacco."

A satirical print by Rowlandson contains _A Man of Fashion's Journal_,

dated May 1, 1802. The "man of fashion" rides and drinks, goes to the

play, gambles and bets, but his journal contains no reference to

smoking. Rowlandson himself smoked, and so did his brother

caricaturist, Gillray. Angelo says that they would sometimes meet at

such resorts of the "low" as the Bell, the Coal Hole, or the Coach and

Horses, and would enter into the common chat of the room, smoke and

drink together, and then "sometimes early, sometimes late, shake hands

at the door--look up at the stars, say it is a pretty night, and

depart, one for the Adelphi, the other to St. James's Street, each to

his bachelor's bed."

But outside the fashionable world pipes were still in full blast, and

in many places of resort the atmosphere was as beclouded with

tobacco-smoke as in earlier days. Grosley, in his "Tour to London,"

1765, says that there were regular clubs, which were held in

coffee-houses and taverns at fixed days and hours, when wine, beer,

tea, pipes and tobacco helped to amuse the company.

Angelo gives some lively pictures of scenes of this kind in the London

of about 1780. The Turk's Head, in Gerrard Street, was the

meeting-place for "a knot of worthies, principally 'Sons of St. Luke,'

or the children of Thespis, and mostly votaries of Bacchus," as the

old fencing-master, who loved a little "fine writing," describes them;

and here they sat, he says, "taking their punch and smoking, the

prevailing custom of the time." About the same time (_circa_ 1790) an

evening resort for purposes mostly vicious was the famous Dog and

Duck, in St. George's Fields. "The long room," says Angelo, "if I may

depend on my memory, was on the ground floor, and all the benches were

filled with motley groups, eating, drinking, and smoking." Angelo also

mentions the "Picnic Society," a celebrated resort of fashion at the

beginning of the nineteenth century, where the odour of tobacco never

penetrated. It afforded, he says in his fine way, "a sort of

antipodeal contrast to these smoking tavern clubs of the old city of

Trinobantes." The same writer speaks of a certain Monsieur Liviez whom

he met in Paris in 1772, who had been one of the first dancers at the

Italian Opera House, and _maitre de ballet_ at Drury Lane Theatre.

This gentleman was addicted to self-indulgence, loved good eating, and

good and ample drinking, and moreover kept "late hours, _a

l'Anglaise_, smoked his pipe, and drank oceans of punch."

Coleridge, in the "Biographia Literaria," gives an amusing account of

his own experience of an attempt to smoke in company with a party of

tradesmen. In 1795 he was travelling about the country endeavouring to

secure subscriptions to the periodical publication he had started

called _The Watchman_. At Birmingham one day he dined with a worthy

tradesman, who, after dinner, importuned him "to smoke a pipe with

him, and two or three other _illuminati_ of the same rank." The

remainder of the moving story must be told in Coleridge's own words.

"I objected," he says, "both because I was engaged to spend the

evening with a minister and his friends, and because I had never

smoked except once or twice in my life-time, and then it was herb

tobacco mixed with Oronooko. On the assurance, however, that the

tobacco was equally mild, and seeing too that it was of a yellow

colour,--not forgetting the lamentable difficulty I have always

experienced in saying, 'No,' and in abstaining from what the people

about me were doing,--I took half a pipe, filling the lower half of

the bole with salt. I was soon, however, compelled to resign it, in

consequence of a giddiness and distressful feeling in my eyes, which,

as I had drunk but a single glass of ale, must, I knew, have been the

effect of the tobacco. Soon after, deeming myself recovered, I sallied

forth to my engagement; but the walk and the fresh air brought on all

the symptoms again, and I had scarcely entered the minister's

drawing-room, and opened a small pacquet of letters, which he had

received from Bristol for me, ere I sank back on the sofa in a sort of

swoon rather than sleep. Fortunately I had found just time enough to

inform him of the confused state of my feelings, and of the occasion.

For here and thus I lay, my face like a wall that is white-washing,

deathly pale, and with the cold drops of perspiration running down it

from my forehead, while one after another there dropped in the

different gentlemen, who had been invited to meet, and spend the

evening with me, to the number of from fifteen to twenty. As the

poison of tobacco acts but for a short time, I at length awoke from

insensibility, and looked round on the party, my eyes dazzled by the

candles which had been lighted in the interim. By way of relieving my

embarrassment one of the gentlemen began the conversation with 'Have

you seen a paper to-day, Mr. Coleridge?' 'Sir,' I replied, rubbing my

eyes, 'I am far from convinced that a Christian is permitted to read

either newspapers or any other works of merely political and temporary

interest.' This remark, so ludicrously inapposite to, or rather,

incongruous with, the purpose for which I was known to have visited

Birmingham, and to assist me in which they were all met, produced an

involuntary and general burst of laughter; and seldom indeed have I

passed so many delightful hours as I enjoyed in that room from the

moment of that laugh till an early hour the next morning."

All's well that ends well; but one cannot help wondering what kind of

tobacco it was that the Birmingham tradesman used, a half pipeful of

which had such a deadly effect--but perhaps the effect was due to the

salt, not to the tobacco.

In the year after that which witnessed Coleridge's adventure, _i.e._

in 1796, a tobacco-box with a history was the subject of a legal

decision. This box, made of common horn and small enough to be

carried in the pocket, was bought for fourpence by an overseer of the

poor in the time of Queen Anne, and was presented by him in 1713 to

the Society of Past Overseers of the parish of St. Margaret,

Westminster. In 1720 the Society, in memory of the donor, ornamented

the lid with a silver rim; and at intervals thereafter additions were

made to an extraordinary extent to the box and its casings. Hogarth

engraved within the lid in 1746 a bust of the victor of Culloden.

Gradually the horn box was enshrined within one case after

another--usually silver lined with velvet--each case bearing inscribed

plates commemorating persons or events. A Past Overseer who detained

the box in 1793 had to give it back after three years of litigation. A

case of octagon shape records the triumph of Justice, and Lord

Chancellor Loughborough pronouncing his decree for the restitution of

the box on March 5, 1796. In later days many and various additions

have been made to the many coverings of the box, recording public

events of interest.

Notwithstanding the unfashionableness of tobacco, there were still

some noteworthy smokers to be found among the clergy. Dr. Sumner, head

master of Harrow, who died in 1771, was devoted to his pipe. The

greatest of clerical "tobacconists" of late eighteenth century and

early nineteenth century date was the once famous Dr. Parr. It was

from him that Dr. Sumner learned to smoke. When he and Parr got

together Sumner was in the habit of refilling his pipe again and again

in such a way as to be unobserved, at the same time begging Parr not

to depart till he had finished his pipe, in order that he might detain

him, we are told, in the evening as long as possible.

Parr was not a model smoker. He was brutally overbearing towards other

folk, and would accept no invitation except on the understanding that

he might smoke when and where he liked. It was his invariable

practice, wherever he might be visiting, to smoke a pipe as soon as he

had got out of bed. His biographer says--"The ladies were obliged to

bear his tobacco, or to give up his company; and at Hatton (1786-1825)

now and then he was the tyrant of the fireside." Parr was capable of

smoking twenty pipes in an evening, and described himself as "rolling

volcanic fumes of tobacco to the ceiling" while he worked at his desk.

At a dinner which was given at Trinity College, Cambridge, to the Duke

of Gloucester, as Chancellor of the University, when the cloth was

removed, Parr at once started his pipe and began, says one who was

present, "blowing a cloud into the faces of his neighbours, much to

their annoyance, and causing royalty to sneeze by the stimulating

stench of mundungus." It is surprising that people were willing to put

up with such bad manners as Parr was accustomed to exhibit; but his

reputation was then great, and he traded upon it.

Parr is said on one occasion to have called for a pipe after taking a

meal at a coaching-inn called the "Bush" at Bristol, when the waiter

told him that smoking was not allowed at the Bush. Parr persisted, but

the authorities at the inn were firm in their refusal to allow

anything so vulgar as smoking on their premises, whereupon Parr is

said to have exclaimed: "Why, man, I've smoked in the dining-room of

every nobleman in England. The Duchess of Devonshire said I could

smoke in every room in her house but her dressing-room, and here, in

this dirty public-house of Bristol you forbid smoking! Amazing! Bring

me my bill." The learned doctor exaggerated no doubt as regards the

facilities given him for smoking; for it was his overbearing way not

to ask for leave to smoke, but to smoke wherever he went, whether

invited to do so or not; but the story shows the prejudice against

smoking which was found in many places as a result of the attitude of

the fashionable world towards tobacco.

Johnstone, Parr's biographer, referring to his hero's failure to

obtain preferment to the Episcopal Bench about the year 1804,

says--"His pipe might be deemed in these fantastic days a degradation

at the table of the palace or the castle; but his noble hospitality,

combined with his habits of sobriety, whether tobacco fumigated his

table or not, would have filled his hall with the learned and the

good." A portrait of Parr hangs in the Combination Room in St. John's,

Cambridge. Originally it represented him faithfully with a long clay

between hand and mouth; but for some unknown reason the pipe has been

painted out.

A famous crony of Parr's, the learned Porson, was another devotee of

tobacco. In November 1789 Parr wrote to Dr. Burney: "The books may be

consulted, and Porson shall do it, and he will do it. I know his price

when he bargains with me; two bottles instead of one, six pipes

instead of two, burgundy instead of claret, liberty to sit till five

in the morning instead of sneaking into bed at one: these are his

terms:" and these few lines, it may be added, give a graphic picture

of Porson. According to Maltby, Porson once remarked that when smoking

began to go out of fashion, learning began to go out of fashion

also--which shows what nonsense a learned man could talk.

Another famous parson, the Rev. John Newton, was a smoker, and so was

Cowper's other clerical friend, that learned and able Dissenter, the

Rev. William Bull, whose whole mien and bearing were so dignified that

on two occasions he was mistaken for a bishop. Cowper appreciated

snuff, but did not care for smoking, and when he wrote to Unwin,

describing his new-made friend in terms of admiration, he

concluded--"Such a man is Mr. Bull. But--he smokes tobacco. Nothing is

perfection 'Nihil est ab omni parte beatum.'" Bull, however, was not

excessive in his smoking, for his daily allowance was but three pipes.

In his garden at Newport Pagnell, Bull showed Cowper a nook in which

he had placed a bench, where he said he found it very refreshing to

smoke his pipe and meditate. "Here he sits," wrote Cowper, "with his

back against one brick wall, and his nose against another, which must,

you know, be very refreshing, and greatly assist meditation."

Cowper's aversion from tobacco could not have been very strong, for he

encouraged his friend to smoke in the famous Summer House at Olney,

which was the poet's outdoor study. Bull smoked Orinoco tobacco, which

he carried in one of the tobacco-boxes, which in those days were much

more commonly used than pouches, and this box on one occasion he

accidentally left behind him at Olney. Cowper returned it to him with

the well-known rhymed epistle dated June 22, 1782, and beginning:

_If reading verse be your delight,

'Tis mine as much, or more, to write;

But what we would, so weak is man,

Lies oft remote from what we can._

He describes the box and its contents in lines which show not only

tolerance but appreciation of tobacco, from which it is not

unreasonable to infer that Cowper's first view of his friend's

smoking-habit as a drawback--as shown in his letter to Unwin, quoted

above--had been modified by neighbourhood and custom. It might have

been well for the poet himself if he had learned to smoke a social

pipe with his friend Bull. The appreciative lines run thus:

_This oval box well filled

With best tobacco, finely milled,

Beats all Anticyra's pretences

To disengage the encumbered senses.

O Nymph of transatlantic fame,

Where'er thine haunt, whate'er thy name,

Whether reposing on the side

Of Oronoco's spacious tide,

Or listening with delight not small

To Niagara's distant fall,

'Tis thine to cherish and to feed

The pungent nose-refreshing weed,

Which, whether pulverized it gain

A speedy passage to the brain,

Or whether, touched with fire, it rise

In circling eddies to the skies,

Does thought more quicken and refine

Than all the breath of all the Nine--

Forgive the bard, if bard he be,

Who once too wantonly made free,

To touch with a satiric wipe

That symbol of thy power, the pipe;

And so may smoke-inhaling Bull

Be always filling, never full._

The allusion in these verses to a "satiric wipe" refers to a passage

in the poem entitled "Conversation," which Cowper had written in the

previous year, 1781. In this passage tobacco is abused in terms which

Cowper clearly felt to need modification after his personal

intercourse with such a smoker as his friend Bull. In describing, in

"Conversation," the manner in which a story is sometimes told, the

poet says:

_The pipe, with solemn interposing puff,

Makes half a sentence at a time enough;

The dozing sages drop the drowsy strain,

Then pause and puff--and speak, and pause again.

Such often, like the tube they so admire,

Important triflers! have more smoke than fire._

Cowper then goes on to attack tobacco in lines which show how

unpopular smoking at that date was with ladies, and which have since

often been quoted by anti-tobacconists with grateful appreciation:

_Pernicious weed! whose scent the fair annoys,

Unfriendly to society's chief joys,

Thy worst effect is banishing for hours

The sex whose presence civilizes ours;

Thou art indeed the drug a gardener wants,

To poison vermin that infest his plants,

But are we so to wit and beauty blind,

As to despise the glory of our kind,

And show the softest minds and fairest forms

As little mercy as the grubs and worms?_

Notwithstanding this "satiric wipe," it is not likely that Cowper

would have had much sympathy with John Wesley, who, in his detestation

of what had been his father's solace at Epworth, forbade his preachers

either to smoke or to take snuff.

In the first two or three decades of the nineteenth century smoking

reached its nadir. No dandy smoked. If some witnesses may be believed

smoking had almost died out even at Oxford. Archdeacon Denison wrote

in his "Memories"--"When I went up to Oxford, 1823-24, there were two

things unknown in Christ Church, and I believe very generally in

Oxford--smoking and slang"; but one cannot help fancying that the

archdeacon's memory was not quite trustworthy. It is difficult to

imagine that there was ever a time when the slang of the day was not

current on the lips of young Oxford, or that so long as tobacco was

procurable it did not find its way into college rooms.

If smoking had died out at Oxford its decline must have been rapid.

When a certain young John James was an undergraduate of Queen's, 1778

to 1781, he and his correspondents spoke severely of the "miserable

condition of Fellows who (under the liberal pretence of educating

youth) spend half their lives in smoking tobacco and reading the

newspapers." About 1800 the older or more old-fashioned of the Fellows

at New College, "not liking the then newly introduced luxury of Turkey

carpets," says Mr. G.V. Cox, in his "Recollections of Oxford," 1868,

"often adjourned to smoke their pipe in a little room opposite to the

Senior Common-room, now appropriated to other uses, but then kept as a

smoking-room." A Mr. Rhodes, a one-time Fellow of Worcester College,

who was elected Esquire Bedel in Medicine and Arts in 1792, had a very

peculiar way of enjoying his tobacco. Mr. Cox says: "On one occasion,

when I had to call upon him, I found him drinking rum and water, and

enjoying (what he called his luxury) the fumes of tobacco, not through

a pipe or in the shape of a cigar, but _burnt in a dish!_"

Smoking had certainly not died out at Cambridge, even at the time when

Denison was at Oxford. According to the "Gradus ad Cantabrigium,"

1824, the Cambridge smart man's habit was to dine in the evening "at

his own rooms, or at those of a friend, and afterwards blows a cloud,

puffs at a segar, and drinks copiously." The spelling of "segar" shows

that cigars were then somewhat of a novelty.

When Tennyson was an undergraduate at Cambridge, 1828-30, he and his

companions all smoked. At the meetings of the "Apostles"--the little

group of friends which included the future Laureate--"much coffee was

drunk, much tobacco smoked." Dons smoked as well as undergraduates. At

Queens', the Combination-room in Tennyson's time had still a sanded

floor, and the "table was set handsomely forth with long

'churchwardens'"--as the poet told Palgrave when the two visited

Cambridge in 1859. George Pryme, in his "Autobiographic

Recollections," 1870, states that in 1800 "smoking was allowed in the

Trinity Combination-room after supper in the twelve days of Christmas,

when a few old men availed themselves of it," which looks as if

tobacco were not very popular just then at Trinity. With the wine,

pipes and the large silver tobacco-box were laid on the table. Porson,

when asked for an inscription for the box, suggested "+To bakcho+."

Pryme says that among the undergraduates, of whom he was one, tobacco

had no favour, and "an attempt of Mr. Ginkell, son of Lord Athlone ...

to introduce smoking at his own wine-parties failed, although he had

the prestige of being a hat-fellow-commoner."

No doubt smoking had its ups and downs at the Universities apart from

the set of the main current of fashion. We learn from the invaluable

Gunning that at Cambridge about 1786 smoking was going "out of fashion

among the junior members of our combination-rooms, except on the river

in the evening, when every man put a short pipe in his mouth." "I took

great pains," he adds, "to make myself master of this elegant

accomplishment, but I never succeeded, though I used to renew the

attempt with a perseverance worthy of a better cause." About the same

time Dr. Farmer was Master of Emmanuel and the Master was an

inveterate smoker. Gunning says that Emmanuel parlour under Farmer's

presidency was always open to those who loved pipes and tobacco and

cheerful conversation--a very natural collocation of tastes. Farmer's

silver tobacco-pipe is still preserved in his old college, while

Porson's japanned snuff-box is at Trinity.

Dr. Farmer was elected Master of Emmanuel in 1775. Years before he had

held the curacy of Swavesey, about nine miles out of Cambridge, where

he regularly performed the duty. After morning service it was his

custom to repair to the local public-house where he enjoyed a

mutton-chop and potatoes. Immediately after the removal of the cloth,

"Mr. Dobson (his churchwarden) and one or two of the principal

farmers, made their appearance, to whom he invariably said, 'I am

going to read prayers, but shall be back by the time you have made

the punch.' Occasionally another farmer accompanied him from church,

when pipes and tobacco"--with the punch--"were in requisition until 6

o'clock." The Sabbath afternoon thus satisfactorily concluded, Farmer

returned to college in Cambridge and took a nap, till at nine he went

to the parlour of the college where the Fellows usually assembled, and

pipes and tobacco concluded a well-spent day.

In the fashionable world the snuff-box was all-powerful. The Prince

Regent was devoted to snuff, but disdained tobacco. He had a "cellar

of snuff," which after his death was sold, said _John Bull_, August

15, 1830, "to a well-known purveyor, for L400." Lord Petersham, famous

among dandies, made a wonderful collection of snuffs and snuff-boxes,

and was curious in his choice of a box to carry. Gronow relates that

once when a light Sevres snuff-box which Lord Petersham was using, was

admired, the noble owner replied, with a gentle lisp--"Yes, it is a

nice summer box--but would certainly be inappropriate for winter

wear!" The well-known purveyor who bought the Prince Regent's cellar

of snuff, and who bought also Lord Petersham's stock, was the Fribourg

of Fribourg and Treyer, whose well-known old-fashioned shop at the top

of the Haymarket, with a bow-window on each side of the door, still

gives an eighteenth-century flavour to that thoroughfare. All the

dandies of the period were connoisseurs of snuff, and imitated the

royal mirror of fashion in their devotion to the scented powder. Young

Charles Stanhope wrote to his brother on November 5, 1812--"I have

learnt to take snuff among other fashionable acquirements, a custom

which, of course, you have learnt and will be able to keep me in

countenance." But no dandies or young men of fashion smoked. Tobacco,

save in the disguise of snuff, was tabooed.

Smoking was frowned upon, even in places where hitherto it had been

allowed. In 1812 the authorities of Sion College ordered "that Coffee

and Tea be provided in the Parlour for the Visitors and Incumbents,

and in the Court Room for the Curates and Lecturers; and that Pipes

and Tobacco be not allowed; and that no Wine be at any time carried

into the Court Room, nor any into the Hall after Coffee and Tea shall

have been ordered on that day."

The use of tobacco for smoking, as I have said, had reached its

nadir--in the fashionable world, that is to say--but the dawn follows

the darkest hour, and the revival of smoking was at hand, thanks to

the cigar.