Preface





This is the first attempt to write the history of smoking in this

country from the social point of view. There have been many books

written about tobacco--F.W. Fairholt's History of Tobacco, 1859, and

the Tobacco (1857) of Andrew Steinmetz, are still valuable

authorities--but hitherto no one has told the story of the

fluctuations of fashion in respect of the practice of smoking.



Much that is fully and well treated in such a work as Fairholt's

History is ignored in the following pages. I have tried to confine

myself strictly to the changes in the attitude of society towards

smoking, and to such historical and social sidelights as serve to

illuminate that theme.



The tobacco-pipe was popular among every section of society in this

country in an amazingly short space of time after smoking was first

practised for pleasure, and retained its ascendancy for no

inconsiderable period. Signs of decline are to be observed during the

latter part of the seventeenth century; and in the course of its

successor smoking fell more and more under the ban of fashion. Early

in the nineteenth century tobacco-smoking had reached its nadir from

the social point of view. Then came the introduction of the cigar and

the revival of smoking in the circles from which it had long been

almost entirely absent. The practice was hedged about and obstructed

by a host of restrictions and conventions, but as the nineteenth

century advanced the triumphant progress of tobacco became more and

more marked. The introduction of the cigarette completed what the

cigar had begun; barriers and prejudices crumbled and disappeared with

increasing rapidity; until at the present day tobacco-smoking in

England--by pipe or cigar or cigarette--is more general, more

continuous, and more free from conventional restrictions than at any

period since the early days of its triumph in the first decades of the

seventeenth century.



The tracing and recording of this social history of the smoking-habit,

touching as it does so many interesting points and details of domestic

manners and customs, has been a task of peculiar pleasure. To me it

has been a labour of love; but no one can be more conscious of the

many imperfections of these pages than I am.



I should like to add that I am indebted to Mr. Vernon Rendall, editor

of _The Athenaeum_, for a number of valuable references and

suggestions.





Pettigrew's Dream Primus facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Feedback