Tobacco


The white man learned the use of tobacco from the aborigines of America soon after the discovery, and the European colonists who flocked to America rapidly adopted the habit of smoking.

Las Casas was already compelled to admit that the Spaniards on Cuba who had contracted the habit could not be weaned from it.

Lescarbot applies a similar remark to the French of Canada. "Our Frenchmen who visited the savages are for the most part infatuated with this in-toxication of petun [tobacco], so much so that they cannot dispense with it, no more than with eating and drinking, and they spend good money on this, for the good petun which comes from Brazil sometimes costs a dollar (ecu) the pound."

John Hawkins observed in 1564 that the French in Florida used tobacco for the same purposes as the natives.

A. Thevet, who visited Brazil in 1555-56, noticed the Christians living there as "marvelously eager for this herb and per-fume."

Gabriel Soares de Souza (Noticia do Brazil, written in 1587), a Portuguese farmer, who lived in Brazil for seventeen years from about 1570, informs us that tobacco leaves were much esteemed by the
Indians, Negroes (whom he calls Mamelucos), and Portuguese, who "drank" the smoke by placing to-gether many leaves wrapped in a palm-leaf ; they used, accordingly, the cigar.

The unknown author of the "Treatise of Brazil," written in 1601 and pub-lished by Purchas, also describes the mode of cigar-smoking in Brazil and winds up by saying, "The women also doe drinke it, but they are such as are old and sickly, for it is verie medicinable unto them, especially for the cough, the head-ache, and the dis-ease of the stomacke, and hence come a great manie of the Portugals to drinke it, and have taken it for a vice or for idlenesse, imitating the Indians to spend daies and nights about it." The English colonists in Virginia did not hesi-tate to appropriate the aboriginal custom of pipe-smoking.

Thomas Hariot (A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, 1588) dwells with enthusiasm on the virtues of the herb, "which is sowed a part by it selfe and is called by the inhabitants 2,tppOwoc: In the West Indies it hath divers names, according to the severall places and countries where it groweth and is used : The Spaniards gene-rally call it Tobacco." He concludes, "We our selves during the time we were there used to suck it after their maner, as also since our returne, and have found manie rare and wonderful experiments of the vertues thereof ; of which the relation woulde require a volume by it selfe : the use of it by so manie of late, men and women of great calling as else, and some learned Phisitions also, is sufficient -wanes." "Suck-ing it after their maner" means pipe-smoking which Harlot himself describes as follows : "The leaves thereof being dried and brought into powder : they use to take the fume or smoke thereof by sucking it through pipes made of claie into their stomacke and heade."

The following passages show that the English settlers soon proceeded to make their own pipes.

George Waymouth, who visited Virginia in 1605, has the following notice : "They gave us the best welcome they could, spreading deere skins for us to sit on the ground by their fire, and gave us of their tobacco in our pipes, which was most excellent, and so generally commended of us all to be as good as any we ever tooke, being the simple leafe without any composition, very strong and of a pleasant sweete taste : they gave us some to carry to our captaine, whom they called our Bashabe, neither did they require any thing for it ; but we would receive nothing from them without remuneration."

George Percy, who visited southern Virginia in 1606, describes an entertainment given in his honor by the savages. "After we were well satisfied they gave us of their tabacco, which they tooke in a pipe made artificially of earth as ours are, but far bigger, with the bowle fashioned together with a piece of fine copper."

The four Atlantic states—England, France, Portugal, and Spain—received tobacco directly from America. The subject, as far as England is concerned, forms a chapter independent of the rest of Europe. In considering the history of tobacco in England, we must distinguish between the introduction of the tobacco plant or plants and the custom of smoking tobacco, for it seems that tobacco was known or even planted in England a number of years before smoking was practised. The two earliest English botanists, John Gerard (1597) and John Parkinson (1640) ,
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4 FIELD MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
are familiar with the two principal species, Nicotiana tabacum (in two varieties) and Nicotiana rustica, so that at the outset we should be justified in assuming at least two introductions. Such indeed are upheld by tradition.
Edmund Howes, in his continuation of John Stow's "Annales or Generall Chronicle of England" (1631, p. 1038), states,—
"Tobacco was first brought and made known in England by Sir Iohn Hawkins, about the yeare 1565, but not used by Englishmen in many yeeres after, though at this day commonly used by most men, and many women."
Hawkins returned from his second voyage to the West Indies on the 20th of September, 1565, and had become familiar with tobacco and smoking in Florida. John Sparke the Younger, who wrote the account of this voyage (published by Hakluyt in 1589), writes that Hawkins, ranging along the coast of Florida for fresh water in July, 1565, came upon the French settle-ment there under Laudoniere, and continues thus : "The Floridians when they travell have a kind of herbe dryed, which with a cane, and an earthen cup in the end, with fire, and the dried herbs put together, do sucke thoro the cane the smoke thereof, which smoke satisfieth ,their hunger, and therewith they live foure or five days without meat or drinke, and this all the Frenchmen used for this purpose : yet do they holde opinion withall, that it causeth water and fleame to void from their stomacks." This is the earliest English notice of tobacco. It would be amaz-ing if Hawkins and his companions should not have imitated this custom, and Hawkins may therefore have taken specimens of Nicotiana rustica and its seeds from Florida to England in 1565. It was from

INTRODUCTION OF TOBACCO INTO ENGLAND
Florida, as will be seen, that the plant was also intro-duced into Portugal and from Portugal into France. It must be borne in mind, however, that Howes' statement is not coeval with the event to which he refers, but was drafted sixty-five years afterwards. In Stow's "Annales" it is entirely absent. It is there-fore not consistent with the facts, as some authors have done, to attribute this and the data that follow below, contained in a book of 1631, to Stow, who died in 1606. Nor is Howes' assertion, as has been argued, corroborated by Taylor, the water-poet, who in a post-script to his versified Life of Thomas Parr says that tobacco was first brought into England in 1565 by Hawkins, adding, "It is a doubtful question whether the devil brought tobacco into England in a coach, for both appeared about the same time." Taylor's work was published in 1635, and his plea for Hawkins is simply copied from Howes. Nevertheless I am under the impression that Howes honestly reproduced a tra-dition which was current in the latter part of the sixteenth century and had come down to his own time. It is far less this tradition itself, however, than the total of the circumstantial evidence which compels us to pin our faith in Hawkins as the introducer of Nicotiana rustica; for this species was grown in England in the latter part of the sixteenth century, so that its presence in English soil must be accounted for in a reasonable manner. Dr. Brushfield, in 1898, formulated his opinion thus : "Tobacco was first im-ported into Europe about the year 1560, but not into England until a few years later. The first English-man to notice it was Sir J. Hawkins in 1565 ; whether, however, he brought any to this country is unknown, most probably he did, the other alternative being its importation from Spain." In this view the botanical side of the question is disregarded, and Spain cannot be called to the witness-stand, as the Spaniards were
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