King of England James I.

A Counter-Blaste to Tobacco online

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drowsie lazie belly-god, he shall euanish in a Lethargie.

And from this weaknesse it proceeds, that many in this kingdome haue had
such a continuall vse of taking this vnsauerie smoke, as now they are
not able to forbeare the same, no more than an olde drunkard can abide
to be long sober, without falling into an vncurable weakenesse and euill
constitution: for their continuall custome hath made to them, _habitum,
alteram naturam_: so to those that from their birth haue bene
continually nourished vpon poison and things venemous, wholesome meates
are onely poisonable.

Thus hauing, as I truste, sufficiently answered the most principall
arguments that are vsed in defence of this vile custome, it rests onely
to informe you what sinnes and vanities you commit in the filthie abuse
thereof. First are you not guiltie of sinnefull and shamefull lust?
(for lust may bee as well in any of the senses as in feeling) that
although you bee troubled with no disease, but in perfect health, yet
can you neither be merry at an Ordinarie, nor lasciuious in the Stewes,
if you lacke _Tobacco_ to prouoke your appetite to any of those sorts of
recreation, lusting after it as the children of Israel did in the
wildernesse after Quailes? Secondly it is, as you vse or rather abuse
it, a branche of the sinne of drunkennesse, which is the roote of all
sinnes: for as the onely delight that drunkards take in wine is in the
strength of the taste, and the force of the fume thereof that mounts vp
to the braine: for no drunkards loue any weake, or sweete drinke: so are
not those (I meane the strong heate and the fume), the onely qualities
that make _Tobacco_ so delectable to all the louers of it? And as no man
likes strong headie drinke the first day (because _nemo repente fit
turpissimus_), but by custome is piece and piece allured, while in the
ende, a drunkard will haue as great a thirst with a draught as when hee
hath need of it: So is not this the very case of all the great takers of
_Tobacco_? which therefore they themselues do attribute to a bewitching
qualitie in it. Thirdly, is it not the greatest sinne of all, that you
the people of all sortes of this Kingdome, who are created and ordeined
by God to bestowe both your persons and goods for the maintenance both
of the honour and safetie of your King and Commonwealth, should disable
yourselves in both? In your persons hauing by this continuall vile
custome brought yourselues to this shameful imbecilitie, that you are
not able to ride or walke the journey of a Jewes Sabboth, but you must
haue a reekie cole brought you from the next poore house to kindle your
_Tobacco_ with? where as he cannot be thought able for any seruice in
the warres, that cannot endure oftentimes the want of meate, drinke, and
sleepe, much more then must hee endure the want of _Tobacco_. In the
times of the many glorious and victorious battailes fought by this
nation, there was no word of _Tobacco_. But now if it were time of
warres, and that you were to make some sudden _Caualcado_[H] vpon your
enemies, if any of you should seeke leisure to stay behinde his fellowe
for taking of _Tobacco_, for my part I should neuer bee sorie for any
euill chance that might befall him.[I] To take a custome in any thing
that bee left againe, is most harmefull to the people of any land.
_Mollicies_ and delicacie were the wracke and ouerthrow, first of the
Persian, and next of the Romane Empire. And this very custome of taking
_Tobacco_ (whereof our present purpose is), is euen at this day
accounted so effeminate among the Indians themselues, as in the market
they will offer no price for a slaue to be sold, whome they finde to be
a great _Tobacco_ taker.

Now how you are by this custome disabled in your goods, let the gentry
of this land beare witnesse, some of them bestowing three, some foure
hundred pounds a yeere[J] vpon this precious stinke, which I am sure
might be bestowed vpon many farre better vses. I read indeede of a
knauish Courtier, who for abusing the fauour of the Emperour _Alexander
Seuerus_ his master by taking bribes to intercede, for sundry persons in
his master's eare (for whom he neuer once opened his mouth) was iustly
choked with smoke, with this doome, _Fumo pereat, qui fumum vendidit_:
but of so many smoke-buyers, as are at this present in this kingdome, I
neuer read nor heard.

And for the vanities committed in this filthie custome, is it not both
great vanitie and vncleanenesse, that at the table, a place of respect,
of cleanlinesse, of modestie, men should not be ashamed, to sit tossing
of _Tobacco pipes_, and puffing of the smoke of _Tobacco_ one to
another, making the filthie smoke and stinke thereof, to exhale athwart
the dishes, and infect the aire, when very often, men that abhorre it
are at their repast? Surely Smoke becomes a kitchin far better then a
Dining chamber, and yet it makes a kitchen also oftentimes in the inward
parts of men, soiling and infecting them, with an vnctuous and oily
kinde of Soote, as hath bene found in some great _Tobacco_ takers, that
after their death were opened. And not onely meate time, but no other
time nor action is exempted from the publicke vse of this vnciuill
tricke: so as if the wiues of _Diepe_ list to contest with this nation
for good maners their worst maners would in all reason be found at least
not so dishonest (as ours are) in this point. The publike vse whereof,
at all times, and in all places, hath now so farre preuailed, as diuers
men very sound both in iudgement, and complexion, haue bene at last
forced to take it also without desire, partly because they were ashamed
to seeme singular (like the two Philosophers that were forced to duck
themselues in that raine water, and so become fooles as well as the rest
of the people) and partly, to be as one that was content to eate
Garlicke (which he did not loue) that he might not be troubled with the
smell of it, in the breath of his fellowes. And is it not a great
vanitie, that a man cannot heartily welcome his friend now, but straight
they must bee in hand with _Tobacco_? No it is become in place of a
cure, a point of good fellowship, and he that will refuse to take a pipe
of _Tobacco_ among his fellowes, (though by his own election he would
rather feele the sauour of a Sinke[K]) is accounted peeuish and no good
company, euen as they doe with tippeling in the cold Easterne Countries.
Yea the Mistresse cannot in a more manerly kinde, entertaine her
seruant, then by giuing him out of her faire hand a pipe of _Tobacco_.
But herein is not onely a great vanitie, but a great contempt of God's
good giftes, that the sweetenesse of mans breath, being a good gift of
God, should be willfully corrupted by this stinking smoke, wherein I
must confesse, it hath too strong a vertue: and so that which is an
ornament of nature, and can neither by any artifice be at the first
acquired, nor once lost, be recouered againe, shall be filthily
corrupted with an incurable stinke, which vile qualitie is as directly
contrary to that wrong opinion which is holden of the wholesomnesse
thereof, as the venime of putrifaction is contrary to the vertue

Moreouer, which is a great iniquitie, and against all humanitie, the
husband shall not bee ashamed, to reduce thereby his delicate,
wholesome, and cleane complexioned wife, to that extremetie, that either
shee must also corrupt her sweete breath therewith, or else resolue to
liue in a perpetuall stinking torment.

Haue you not reason then to bee ashamed, and to forbeare this filthie
noueltie, so basely grounded, so foolishly receiued and so grossely
mistaken in the right vse thereof? In your abuse thereof sinning
against God, harming yourselues both in persons and goods, and taking
also thereby the markes and notes of vanitie vpon you: by the custome
thereof making your selues to be wondered at by all forraine ciuil
Nations, and by all strangers that come among you, to be scorned and
contemned. A custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose,
harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke
stinking fume thereof, neerest
resembling the horrible Stigian
smoke of the pit that is



[Footnote A: This argument is merely that because an inferior race has
made a discovery, a superior one would be debasing itself by making use
of it.]

[Footnote B: By Sir Walter Raleigh, one of the greatest and most learned
men of the age, whose head the author cut off, partly influenced, no
doubt, by his detestation of tobacco. Smokers may therefore look upon
the author of the "History of the World" as the first martyr in their

[Footnote C: A centenarian has recently died, the papers relate, who,
till within a few days of his death, was in perfect health, having been
a constant smoker, but was unfortunately induced by his friends to give
up the habit, from which moment he rapidly sank. Probably these
barbarians were affected in the same manner.]

[Footnote D: Had the royal pedant ever heard of locking the stable door
after the horse has been stolen?]

[Footnote E: The previous arguments can of course have no weight in our
day, but this tendency to imitate others is as true now as then.
Evidently, if the Darwinian theory holds good, a matter of three
centuries is not sufficient to cause any perceptible diminution in the
strength of original instinct inherited from the ape.]

[Footnote F: Time has taken upon itself to upset this argument; for
though the novelty may certainly be said to have worn off, the habit
itself is more firmly rooted than ever.]

[Footnote G: This shows that so late as the 17th century the influence
of the planets on the body was an article of firm belief, even amongst
the learned. The following recipes may be of interest to the reader.
They are taken from a manuscript volume which belonged to and was
probably written by Sir John Floyer, physician to King Charles II., who
practised at Lichfield, in the Cathedral library of which city the
volume now is: - "An antidote to ye plague: take a cock chicken and pull
off ye feathers from ye tayle till ye rump bee bare; you hold ye bare of
ye same upon ye sore, and ye chicken will gape and labour for life, and
in ye end will dye. Then take another and do ye like, and so another
still as they dye, till one lives, for then ye venome is drawne out. The
last chicken will live and ye patient will mend very speedily."

"Madness in a dog: 'Pega, Tega, Sega, Docemena Mega.' These words
written, and ye paper rowl'd up and given to a dog, or anything that is
mad, cure him."]

[Footnote H: Or Camisado. A night attack on horseback, wherein the
attacking party put their shirts on over their armour, in order to
recognise each other in the darkness. Charles II. attempted a Camisado
at Worcester, which did not succeed, owing to treachery.]

[Footnote I: Our royal author would no doubt have been astonished to see
English officers smoking on the field of battle, which I am told is now
a common occurrence.]

[Footnote J: It was not dreamt of in James's philosophy, that the price
of tobacco might fall to 5s. 6d. and less a pound.]

[Footnote K: They still say in Scotland, "To feel a smell."]


Online LibraryKing of England James IA Counter-Blaste to Tobacco → online text (page 2 of 2)