Contrataque al Tabaco

That the manifolde abuses of this vile custome of Tobacco taking, may the better be espied, it is fit, that first you enter into consideration both of the first originall thereof, and likewise of the reasons of the first entry thereof into this Countrey. For certainely as such customes, that haue their first institution either from a godly, necessary, or honorable ground, and are first brought in, by the meanes of some worthy, vertuous, and great Personage, are euer, and most iustly, holden in great and reuerent estimation and account, by all wise, vertuous, and temperate spirits: So should it by the contrary, iustly bring a great disgrace into that sort of customes, which hauing their originall from base corruption and barbarity, doe in like sort, make their first entry into a Countrey, by an inconsiderate and childish affectation of Noueltie, as is the true case of the first inuention of Tobacco taking, and of the first entry thereof among vs. For Tobacco being a common herbe, which (though vnder diuers names) growes almost euery where, was first found out by some of the barbarous Indians, to be a Preseruatiue, or Antidot against the Pockes, a filthy disease, whereunto these barbarous people are (as all men know) very much subiect, what through the vncleanly and adust constitution of their bodies, and what through the intemperate heate of their Climat: so that as from them was first brought into Christendome, that most detestable disease, so from them likewise was brought this vse of Tobacco, as a stinking and vnsauorie Antidot, for so corrupted and execrable a Maladie, the stinking Suffumigation whereof they yet vse against that disease, making so one canker or venime to eate out another.

And now good Countrey men let vs (I pray you) consider, what honour or policie can mooue vs to imitate the barbarous and beastly maners of the wilde, godlesse, and slauish Indians, especially in so vile and stinking a custome? Shall wee that disdaine to imitate the maners of our neighbour France (hauing the stile of the first Christian Kingdom) and that cannot endure the spirit of the Spaniards (their King being now comparable in largenes of Dominions, to the great Emperor of Turkie) Shall wee, I say, that haue beene so long ciuill and wealthy in Peace, famous and inuincible in Warre, fortunaate in both, we that haue bene euer able to aide any of our neighbours (but neuer deafed any of their eares with any of our supplications for assistance) shall we, I say, without blushing, abase our selues so farre, as to imitate these beastly Indians, slaues to the Spaniards, refuse to the world, and as yet aliens from the holy Couenant of God? Why doe we not as well imitate them in walking naked as they doe? in preferring glasses, feathers, and such toyes, to golde and precious stones, as they do? yea why do we not denie God and adore the Deuill, as they doe?

Now to the corrupted basenesse of the first vse of this Tobacco, doeth very well agree the foolish and groundlesse first entry thereof into this Kingdome. It is not so long since the first entry of this abuse amongst vs here, as this present age cannot yet very well remember, both the first Author, and the forme of the first intoduction of it amongst vs. It was neither brought in by King, great Conqueror, nor learned Doctor of Physicke.

With the report of a great discouery for a Conquest, some two or three Sauage men, were brought in, together with the Sauage custome. But the pitie is, the poore wilde barbarous men died, but that vile barbarous custome is yet aliue, yea in fresh vigour: so as it seemes a miracle to me, how a custome springing from so vile a ground, and brought in by a father so generally hated, should be welcomed vpon so slender a warrant. For if they that first put it in practise heere, had remembred for what respect it was vsed by them from whence it came, I am sure they would haue bene loath, to haue taken so farre the imputation of that disease vpon them as they did, by vsing the cure thereof. For Sanis non est opus medico, and counter-poisons are neuer vsed, but where poyson is thought to precede.

But since it is true, that diuers customes slightly grounded, and with no better warrant entred in a Commonwealth, may yet in the vse of them thereafter, prooue both necessary and profitable; it is therefore next to be examined, if there be not a full Sympathie and true Proportion, betweene the base ground and foolish entrie, and the loathsome, and hurtfull vse of this stinking Antidote.

I am now therefor heartily to pray you to consider, first vpon what false and erroneous grounds you haue first built the generall good liking thereof; and next, what sinnes towards God, and foolish vanities before the world you commit, in the detestable vse of it.

As for these deceitfull grounds, that haue specially mooued you to take a good and great conceit thereof, I shall content my selfe to examine here onely foure of the principals of them; two founded vpon the Theoricke of a deceiuable apparance of Reason, and two of them vpon the mistaken Practicke of generall Experience.

First, it is thought by you a sure Aphorisme in the Physickes, That the braines of all men, beeing naturally colde and wet, all dry and hote things should be good for them; of which nature this stinking suffumigation is, and therefore of good use to them. Of this Argument, both the Proposition and Assumption are false, and so the Conclusion cannot but be voyd of it selfe. For as to the Proposition, That because the braines are colde and moist, therefore things that are hote and drie are best for them, it is an inept consequence: For man beeing compounded of the foure Complexions, (whose fathers are the foure Elements) although there be a mixture of them all in the parts of his body, yet must the diuers parts of our Microcosme or little world within our selues, be diuersly more inclined, some to one, some to another complexion, according to the diuersitie of their vses, that of these discords a perfect harmonie may bee made vp for the maintenance of the whole body.

The application then of a thing of a contrary nature, to any of these parts, is to interrupt them of their due function, and by consequence hurtfull to the health of the whole body. As if a man, because the Liuer is hote (as the fountaine of blood) and as it were an ouen to the stomacke, would therfore apply and weare close vpon his Liuer and stomacke a cake of lead; he might within a very short time (I hope) be susteined very good cheape at an Ordinarie, beside the cleering of his conscience from that deadly sinne of gluttonie. And as if, because the Heart is full of vitall spirits, and in perpetuall motion, a man would therefore lay a heauy pound stone on his breast, for staying and holding downe that wanton palpitation, I doubt not but his breast would be more bruised with the weight thereof, then the heart would be comforted with such a disagreeable and contrarious cure. And euen so is it with the Braines. For if a man, because the Braines are colde and humide, would therefore vse inwardly by smells, or outwardly by application, things of hot and drie qualitie, all the gaine that he could make thereof, would onely be to put himselfe in great forwardnesse for running mad, by ouer-watching himselfe, the coldnesse and moistnesse of our braine beeing the onely ordinarie meanes that procure our sleepe and rest. Indeed I do not denie, but when it falls out that any of these, or any part of our bodie growes to be distempered, and to tend to an extremitie, beyond the compasse of Natures temperate mixture, that in that case cures of contrary qualities, to the intemperate inclination of that part, being wisely prepared and discreetely ministered, may be both necessarie and helpefull for strengthening and assisting Nature in the expulsion of her enemies: for this is the true definition of all profitable Physicke.

But first these Cures ought not to bee vsed, but where there is neede of them, the contrarie whereof, is daily practised in this generall vse of Tobacco by all sorts and complexions of people.

And next, I deny the Minor of this argument, as I haue already said, in regard that this Tobacco, is not simply of a dry and hot qualitie; but rather hath a certaine venemous facultie with the heate thereof, which makes it haue an Antipathie against nature, as by the hatefull smell thereof doeth well appeare. For the Nose being the proper Organ and conuoy of the sense of smelling to the braines, which are the onely fountaine of that sense, doeth euer serue vs for an infallible witnesse, whether that Odour which we smell, be healthfull or hurtfull to the braine (except when it fals out that the sense it selfe is corrupted and abused through some infirmitie, and distemper in the braine.) And that the suffumigation thereof cannot haue a drying qualitie, it needes no further probation, then that it is a smoake, all smoake and vapour, being of it selfe humide, as drawing neere to the nature of the ayre, and easie to be resolued againe into water, whereof there needes no other proofe but the Meteors, which being bred of nothing else but of the vapours and exhalations sucked vp by the Sunne out of the earth, the Sea, and waters yet are the same smoakie vapours turned, and transformed into Raynes, Snowes, Deawes, hoare Frostes, and such like waterie Meteors, as by the contrarie the raynie cloudes are often transformed and euaporated in blustering winds.

The second Argument grounded on a show of reason is, That this filthie smoake, aswell through the heat and strength thereof, as by a naturall force and qualitie, is able and fit to purge both the head and stomacke of Rhewmes and distillations, as experience teacheth, by the spitting and auoyding fleame, immeadiately after the taking of it. But the fallacie of this Argument may easily appeare, by my late preceding description of the Meteors. For euen as the smoakie vapours sucked vp by the Sunne, and staied in the lowest and colde Region of the ayre, are there contracted into cloudes and turned into raine and such other watery Meteors: So this stinking smoake being sucked vp by the Nose, and imprisoned in the colde and moyst braines, is by their colde and wett facultie, turned and cast foorth againe in waterie distillations, and so are you made free and purged of nothing, but that wherewith you willfully burdened your selues: and therefore are you no wiser intaking Tobacco for purging you of distillations, then if for preuenting the Cholike you would take all kinde of windie meates and drinkes, and for preuenting of the Stone, you would take all kinde of meates and drinkes that would breede grauell in the Kidneyes, and then when you were forced to auoyde much winde out of your stomacke, and much grauell in your Vrine, that you should attribute the thanke thereof to such nourishments as bred those within you, that behoued either to be expelled by the force of Nature, or you to haue burst at the broad side, as the Prouerbe is.

As for the other two reasons founded vpon experience, the first of which is, That the whole people would not haue taken as generall a good liking thereof, if they had not by experience found it verie soueraigne and good for them: For answere thereunto how easily the mindes of any people, wherewith God hath replenished this world, may be drawen to the foolish affectation of any noueltie, I leaue it to the discreet iudgement of any man that is reasonable.

Doe we not dayly see, that a man can no sooner bring ouer from beyond the Seas any new forme of apparell, but that hee can not bee thought a man of spirit, that would not presently imitate the same? And so from hand to hand it spreades, till it be practised by all, not for any commoditie that is in it, but only because it is come to be the fashion. For such is the force of that naturall Selfe-loue in euery one of vs, and such is the corruption of enuie bred in the brest of euerie one, as we cannot be content vnlesse we imitate euery thing that our fellowes doe, and so prooue our selues capable of euery thing whereof they are capable, like Apes, counterfeiting the manners of others, to our owne destruction. For let one or two of the greatest Masters of Mathematickes in any of the two famous Vniuersities, but constantly affirme any cleare day, that they see some strange apparition in the skies: they will I warrant you be seconded by the greatest part of the Students in that profession: So loath will they be, to bee thought inferiour to their fellowes, either in depth of knowledge or sherpnesse of sight: And therefore the generall good liking and imbracing of this foolish custome, doeth but onely proceede from that affectation of noueltie, and popular errour, whereof I haue already spoken.

The other argument drawen from a mistaken experience, is but the more particular probation of this generall, because it is alleaged to be found true by proofe, that by the taking of Tobacco diuers and very many doe finde themselues cured of diuers diseases as on the other part, no man euer receiued harme thereby. In this argument there is first a great mistaking and next a monstrous absurditie. For is it not a very great mistaking, to take Non causam pro causa, as they say in the Logickes? because peraduenture when a sicke man hath had his disease at the height, he hath at that instant taken Tobacco, and afterward his disease taking the naturall course of declining, and consequently the patient of recouering his health, O then the Tobacco forsooth, was the worker of that miracle. Beside that, it is a thing well knowen to all Physicians, that the apprehension and conceit of the patient hath by wakening and vniting the vitall spirits, and so strengthening nature, a great power and vertue, to cure diuers diseases[.] For an euident proofe of mistaking in the like case, I pray you what foolish boy, what sillie wench, what olde doting wife, or ignorant countrey clowne, is not a Phisician for the toothache, for the cholicke, and diuers such common diseases? Yea, will not euery man you meete withal, teach you a sundry cure for the same, and sweare by that meane either himselfe, or some of his neerest kinsmen and friends was cured? And yet I hope no man is so foolish as to beleeue them. And al these toyes do only proceed from the mistaking Non causam pro causa, as as I haue already sayd, and so if a man chance to recouer one of any disease, after he hath taken Tobacco,that must haue the thankes of all. But by the contrary, if a man smoke himselfe to death with it (and many haue done) O then some other disease must beare the blame for that fault. So doe olde harlots thanke their harlotrie for their many yeeres, that custome being healthfull (say they) ad purgandos Renes, but neuer haue minde how many die of the Pockes in the flower of their youth. And so doe olde drunkards thinke they prolong their dayes, by their swinelike diet, but neuer remember howe many die drowned in drinke before they be halfe olde.

And what greater absurditie can there bee, then to say that one cure shall serue for diuers, nay, contrarious sortes of diseases? It is an vndoubted ground among all Physicians, that there is almost no sort either of nourishment or medicine, that hath not some thing in it disagreeable to some part of mans bodie, because, as I haue already sayd, the nature of the temperature of euery part, is so different from another, that according to the olde prouerbe, That which is good for the head, is euill for the necke and the shoulders. For euen as a strong enemie, that inuades a towne or fortresse, although in his siege thereof, he do belaie and compasse it round about, yet he makes his breach and entrie, at some one or few special parts thereof, which hee hath tried and found to bee weakest and least able to resist; so sickenesse doth make her particular assault, vpon such part or parts of our bodie, as are weakest and easist to be ouercome by that sort of disease, which then doth assaile vs, although all the rest of the body by Sympathie feele it selfe, to be as it were belaied, and besieged by the affliction of that speciall part, the griefe and smart thereof being by the sence of feeling dispersed through all the rest of our members. And therefore the skillful Phisician presses by such cures, to purge and strengthen that part which is afllicted, as are only fit for that sort of disease, and doe best agree with the nature of that infirme part; which being abused to a disease of another nature, would prooue as hurtfull for the one, as helpfull for the other. Yea, not only will a skilfull and warie Phisician bee carefull to vse no cure but that which is fit for that sort of disease, but he wil also consider all other circumstances, and make the remedies sutable thereunto: as the temperature of the clime where the Patient is, the constitution of the Planets, the time of the Moone, the season of the yere, the age and complexion of the Patient, and the present state of his body, in strength or weakenesse. For one cure must not euer be vsed for the self-same disease, but according to the varying of any of the foresaid circumstances, that sort of remedie must be vsed which is fittest for the same. Whear by the contrarie in this case, such is the miraculous omnipotencie of our strong tasted Tobacco, as it cures all sorts of dieases (which neuer any drugge could do before) in all persons, and at all times. It cures all maner of distillations, either in the head or stomacke (if you beleeue their Axiomes) although in very deede it doe both corrupt the braine, and by causing pure quicke digestion, fill the stomacke full of crudities. It cures the Gowt in the feet, and (which is miraculous) in that very instant when the smoke thereof, as light, flies vp into the head, the vertue thereof, as heauie, runs downe to the little toe. It helpes all sorts of Agues. It makes a man sober that was drunke. It refreshes a weary man, and yet makes a man hungry. Being taken when they goe to bed, it makes one sleepe soundly, and yet being taken when a man is sleepie and drowsie, it will, as they say, awake his braine, and quicken his vnderstanding. As for curing of the Pockes, it serues for that vse but among the pockie Indian slaues. Here in England it is refined, and will not deigne to cure heere any other then cleanly and gentlemanly diseases. O omnipotent power of Tobacco!  And if it could by the smoke thereof chace out deuils, as the smoke of Tobias fish did (which I am sure could smel no stronglier) it would serue for a precious Relicke, both for the superstitious Priests, and the insolent Puritanes, to cast out deuils withall.

Admitting, then, and not confessing that the vse thereof were healthfull for some sortes of diseases; should it be vsed for all sicknesses? should it be vsed by all men? should it be vsed at al times? yea should it be vsed by able, yong, strong, healthful men? Medicine hath that vertue, that it neuer leaueth a man in that state wherin it findeth him: it makes a sicke man whole, but a whole man sicke. And as Medicine helps nature being taken at times of necessitie, so being euer and continually vsed, it doth but weaken, wearie, and weare nature. What speake I of Medicine? Nay let a man euery houre of the day, or as oft as many in this countrey vse to take Tobacco,let a man I say, but take as oft the best sorts of nourishments in meate and drinke that can bee deuised, hee shall with the continuall vse thereof weaken both his head and his stomacke: all his members shall become feeble, his spirits dull, and in the end, as a 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 vnsauorie smoke, as now they are not able to forbeare the same, no more then 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 venomous, 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 tupissimus) but by custome is piece and piece allured, while in the ende, a drunkard will haue as great a thirst to bee drunke, as a sober man to quench his thirst with a draught 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 your selues in both? In your persons hauing by this continuall vile custome brought your selues to this shameful imbecilitie, that you are not able to ride or walke the iourney of a Iewes Sabboth, but you must haue a reekie cole brought you from the next poore house to kindle your Tobacco with? whereas 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 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. To take a custome in any thing that cannot 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 find 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 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 Masters 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 cleanelinesse, 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 filthy 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 kitchin 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 greatTobacco takers, that after their death were opened. And not onely meate time, but no other time nor action is exempted from the publike 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 aswell as the rest of the people) and partly, to be as one that was content to eate Garlicke (which hee 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) is accounted peeuish and no good company, euen as they doe with tippling 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 Gods 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 wholesomenesse thereof, as the venime of putrifaction is contrary to the vertue Preseruative.

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 extremitie, 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 your selues both in persons and goods, and raking 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 bottomlesse.