Smoking was uncommon in sixteenth century England

[Smoking was uncommon in sixteenth century England. There is a story that a servant panicked and threw water on a tobacco-smoking Walter Raleigh, thinking he was on fire.]

Sir Francis Bacon (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) described tobacco:

“Tobacco comforteth the spirits, and discharged weariness, which it worketh partly by opening, but chiefly by the opiate virtue, which condenseth the spirits. It were good therefore to try the taking of fumes by pipes, as they do in tobacco, of other things; as well to dry and comfort, as for other intentions. I wish trial be made of the drying fume of rosemary, and lignum aloes, before mentioned, in pipe; and so of nutmeg, and folium indum, etc.”

The Works of Francis Bacon: Baron of Verulam, Viscount St. Albans, and Lord High Chancellor of England, Volume 2. Pasted from <>

[Nutmeg is a source of a psychoactive compound, but it’s not smoked, being oily. In Elizabethan times nutmeg was thought to be good against the plague. Folium indum may be cinnamon. Lignum aloe is presumably the aromatic resin, also known as agarwood, from now rare and endangered evergreen trees in southeast Asia. Like cinnamon, it is burned in incense.]

Around the turn of the 15th century, in Spain, one of Columbus’s former crewmen smoked in his home village:

‘Jerez picked up the tobacco smoking habit. When he returned to Europe in the Niña, he introduced the habit to his home town, Ayamonte. The smoke surrounding him frightened his neighbours: the Spanish Inquisition imprisoned him for his “sinful and infernal” habits, because “only Devil could give a man the power to exhale smoke from his mouth”. When he was released seven years later, smoking tobacco had caught on.’

Pasted from <>

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.