Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

EXTRACTS AND RECOLLECTIONS

OF

TWO LECTURES

ON THE

EVIL EFFECTS ARISING FROM THE USE OF

TOBACCO

IN ITS VARIOUS FORMS,

GIVEN IN THE

MANCHESTER MECHANICS' INSTITUTION,

By CHAS. CLAY, M.D. LOND. &c.

PICCADILLY, MANCHESTER.

"GOOD COUNSEL IS ABOVE ALL PRIC E."

COLLECTED AND ARRANGED BY

ANDREW HAMILTON.

PRINTED BY ELLERBY AND CHEETHAM, OLDHAM STREET.

1842.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

In consequence of the great interest excited by the Lectures given by DR. CLAY, of Manchester, on the evil effects arising from the use of Tobacco, I felt desirous that they should not be lost to the public, having been eye-witness of great good effected by them. My notes and recollections of them were extensive, and I thought a small pamphlet would be fully appreciated by the public. I therefore waited on Dr. Clay to solicit him either to publish the Lectures him. self, or allow me to make use of my notes for that purpose. His time, however, was too fully occupied in attending to professional duties to attend to it; but in order to forward my views he kindly lent me the short notes from which he lectured to assist me. I am therefore enabled to give more of this valuable information than I at first anticipated, still it is but a brief sketch of the original. In order that it might not extend too far, the greater part of the second lecture on opium eating is omitted, but which may come before the public at some future opportunity, if this, my first effort, meet with the support I hope for.

A. HAMILTON.

THE HISTORY OF TOBACCO,

AND ITS PERNICIOUS EFFECTS ON THE HUMAN SYSTEM.

mm

If it be at all justifiable to attack any custom or habit that can be proved bigbly pernicious to society, there needs not the slightest apology for introducing the following remarks, as they are written in the hope of subduing some of the most disgusting, injurious, and useless appendages to society, which are often misnamed “luxuries,”-I mean smoking, chewing tobacco, and taking snuff. These practices are of so filthy and disgusting a nature, and attended by so many evils, producing such fearful results to man, not only in a physical, but a moral point of view, that it remains one of the most intricate problems, how such practices can ever be tolerated amongst a thinking people, much less become popular to an extent so inconceivable, as to be justly considered a national evil, and of so alarming a nature, that it calls for the exertion of every man, who has the welfare of his fellow-being at heart, to exert every means, towards suppressing objects so vitally injurious.

The immense revenue derived from the consumption of the materials producing consequences so bad, is unfortunately a barrier too powerful to lead one to expect any very extensive reformation ; for, whilst there are but one or two humble engines at work shewing tbeir evils, there are thousands of interested individuals preaching up their supposed virtues, reckless of the consequences to society, and desirous only of the profits arising therefrom. It is a circumstance of serious consideration, that any government should be upheld by revenues, raised on the principles of depreciating the comforts, undermining the constitutions, and inculcating the most pernicious habits of its subjects ; but, as this applies itself to many other luxuries, independently of those now alluded to more particularly, any further comment on that subject would be unnecessary, and I sball proceed forthwith, to the consideration of the articles I have already mentioned, and shall endeavour to shew the nature, use, and abuse of each. The first to which I shall direct the attention of the reader is

[ocr errors]

almost every person knows to be an article manufactured from a narcotic plant (Nicotiana) cultivated to a very considerable extent in North America, Peru, West Indies, (Cuba) Asiatic Turkey, China, and the Phillipine Islands, from whence our supplies are chiefly derived, though it is evident, from many experiments, that the plant grows perfectly well in our own climate, where it is not allowed to be cultivated. There is, I believe, in existence, a law in England imposing a penalty of forty shillings for every rod of ground planted with it, and in the Harleian Miscellany, there is a very singular reprint of a little tract of 1682, quarto, on the “ History of Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, and Tobacco,”_by this we learn, that it then grew in great plenty in Gloucestershire, Devonshire, Yorkshire, and some of the western counties; and that his Majesty sent, every year, a troop of horse to destroy it, lest the trade of our American plantations should be ruined, which is the real motive of its not being allowed to be cultivated at home, though, if it were actually needed, or had any virtues worthy of notice to encourage its growth, it would be difficult to shew why it should not be grown in our own islands

* The discovery of America enabled many adventurers to return home laden with the products of the new continent, some of inestimable value to the human race, of which the potarve is one that has tended more to the happiness and comfort of a great mass of the community thali the most brilliant discoveries of the philosopher. Tobacco, another of its products, has been variously estimated. The impetus which commerce received, however, by transf: ring these from the New to the Old World has been considerable, and in that respect has benefitted a numerous class of adventurers and trading speculators-whether the objects introduced were productive of good or evil to society remains to be shewn.

-nevertheless, it is quite as well that it is not, and would be much better if its cultivation was discouraged elsewhere. Were its effects on mankind better understood, and more seriously considered, the world would be more guarded in its use, and, perhaps, its abuse would receive a check sufficient to retard its cultivation, and thus far benefit society, by lessen• the evil, if not eradicating it.

The leaves of the Nicotiana (of which there are about thirty species, all possessing nearly the same properties) have a strong disagreeable smell, and a very acrid burning taste. They give out their acrid matter both to water and spirits ; the watery infusion is of a yellow, or brown colour; when digested in spirits, it is of a deep green. The several sorts of tobacco brought into this country, are stronger in taste than that of our own growth, and the extracts made from them are more fiery, but less in quantity. Two species are held in particular repute, the Nicotiana Tabacum, and Nicotiana Rustica. The name of tobacco appears to have been derived from the word tobago, the name of a pipe used in Virginia, but more probably from Tobago one of the West India islands,-from whence it was first obtained by M. Nicot; hence the botanical name given to the plant is Nicotiana. From this the tobacco of commerce is, or ought to be, manufactured. †

ITS INTRODUCTION INTO EUROPE. *

This ridiculous and disgraceful luxury, as has been stated, was first noticed by M. Nicot, but Hermandez Toledo, a Spanish gentleman, introduced it into Spain and Portugal. From thence, by the French Ambassador, it found its way to Paris, where it was used by Catherine de Medicis in the form of powder. This woman, notorious for her instigation of the massacre of the protestants on St. Bartholomew's day, may be considered the first snuff-taker. In the tract connected with the Harleian Miscellany, before alluded to, it states the Irish as being the first in the British Isles that powdered their tobacco leaves, and used it in the form

+ The natives of the American continent called it petun; and the islanders called it yoli.

* Tobacco bas engaged the attention of Kings, Legislators, Philosophers, Poets, Moralists, and Physicians. It has been lauded with the most lavish encomiums; it has been anathematised with the most bitter hatred; it has been cherished as a luxury and interdicted as a most deadly poison. It produces in some fleeting moments of pleasurable sensation, in others the most deadly nauseating effects.

of snuff. From the fact of Catherine, queen of France, using it so early, it got the name of Herba Reginæ, or Queen's Herb, in many parts of Europe. It then came under the patronage of Cardinal Santa Crocé, the pope's nuncio, who, returning from his embassy at the Spanish and Portuguese courts, carried the plant to his own country, and thus acquired a fame little inferior to that which, at another period, he had won by piously bringing a portion of the real cross from the holy land. It was received with general enthusiasm in the papal states, and scarcely less favourably in England, into which it was introduced, as is generally supposed, by the unfortunate Sir Walter Raleigh, in 1584. And there is now a public house at Islington, called the “ Pied Bull," in which the distinguished knight lived, which is said to have been the scene of a whimsical mistake. Sir Walter was enjoying, in his room, a quiet pipe ; his servant entering, saw volumes of smoke surrounding his master, who, in the language of Virgil,

“Faucibus ingentem fumum, mirabile dictu

Evomit, involvitque domum caligne cæca.” The domestic, ignorant of the cause, and alarmed at seeing him, as he supposed, on fire, rushed from the room to return for the purpose of overwhelming the lover of smoking with buckets full of water. A very ingenious and learned writer on this subject, to whose essays in the old “ Medical and Physical Journal,” for the year 1810 I must refer you, seems to imply, that King James sacrificed Sir Walter Raleigh for his love of the herb, which the King thoroughly detested, and which, he believed, depraved the morals of his people. The gallant knight seems to have indulged in his favourite habit to the last; for our old herbalist, Parkinson, tells us, when talking of the Nicotiana Rustica,_" This kind, although it be not thought so strong or sweet for such as take it by the pipe, yet have I known Sir Walter Raleigh, when he was a prisoner in the Tower, make choice of this sort to make good tobacco, of which he knew so rightly to cure, as they call it, that it was held almost as good as that which came from the Indies, and fully as good as any other made in England.” It is, however, more than probable some other person was the real introducer, and that Sir Walter was its first patron in England. Ralph Lane, who returned to England with Sir Francis Drake, has the credit of being its first introducer in 1560, whilst the earliest evidence of Sir Walter Raleigh's using it was in 1584,—sixteen years after its real introduction. Tobacco, however, was supposed to be introduced into England about the year 1565. In 1570, Lobelius tells us it was cultivited in England ; and Clusius says that “the English, on their return from Virginia, brought tobacco pipes made of clay; and, since that time, the use of drinking tobacco hath so much prevailed all England over, especially amongst the courtiers, that they have caused many such pipes to be made to drink tobacco with.” By “ Baker's Chronicle," we learn that it was not brought until 1586, being the twenty-eighth year of Queen Elizabeth, and he ascribes its introduction to Ralph Lane. This, however, appears to be incorrect, from the information gathered from the botanical works of the day. It appears, however, that the smoking of tobacco must have been a common custom in China, even before the dis

« AnteriorContinuar »