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Bibliotheca Curiosa.










A Covnter-Blaste To Tobacco.


by R.B.

_Anno_ 1604.

Transcriber's note: Footnotes moved to end of text.


As euery humane body _(deare Countrey men) how wholesome soeuer, be
notwithstanding subiect, or at least naturally inclined to some sorts of
diseases, or infirmities: so is there no Common-wealth, or
Body-politicke, how well gouerned, or peaceable soeuer it bee, that
lackes the owne popular errors, and naturally enclined corruptions: and
therefore is it no wonder, although this our Countrey and Common-wealth,
though peaceable, though wealthy, though long flourishing in both, be
amongst the rest, subiect to the owne naturall infirmities. We are of
all Nations the people most louing and most reuerently obedient to our
Prince, yet are wee (as time has often borne witnesse) too easie to be
seduced to make Rebellion, vpon very slight grounds. Our fortunate and
off prooued valour in warres abroad, our heartie and reuerent obedience
to our Princes at home, hath bred vs a long, and a thrice happy peace:
Our Peace hath bred wealth: And Peace and wealth hath brought foorth a
generall sluggishnesse, which makes vs wallow in all sorts of idle
delights, and soft delicacies, The first seedes of the subuersion of all
great Monarchies. Our Cleargie are become negligent and lazie, our
Nobilitie and Gentrie prodigall, and solde to their priuate delights,
Our Lawyers couetous, our Common-people prodigall and curious; and
generally all sorts of people more carefull for their priuate ends, then
for their mother the Common-wealth. For remedie whereof, it is the Kings
(as the proper Phisician of his Politicke-body) to purge it of all those
diseases, by Medicines meete for the same: as by a certaine milde, and
yet iust form of gouernment, to maintaine the Publicke quietnesse, and
preuent all occasions of Commotion: by the example of his owne Person
and Court, to make vs all ashamed of our sluggish delicacie, and to
stirre vs up to the practise againe of all honest exercises, and
Martiall shadowes of VVarre; As likewise by his, and his Courts
moderatenesse in Apparell, to make vs ashamed of our prodigalitie: By
his quicke admonitions and carefull overseeing of the Cleargie to waken
them vp againe, to be more diligent in their Offices: By the sharpe
triall, and seuere punishment of the partiall, couetous and bribing
Lawyers, to reforme their corruptions: And generally by the example of
his owne Person, and by the due execution of good Lawes, to reform and
abolish, piece and piece, these old and euill grounded abuses. For this
will not bee_ Opus vnius diei, _but as euery one of these diseases,
must from the_ King _receiue the owne cure proper for it, so are there
some sorts of abuses in Common-wealths, that though they be of so base
and contemptible a condition, as they are too low for the Law to looke
on, and too meane for a_ King _to interpone his authoritie, or bend his
eye vpon: yet are they corruptions, as well as the greatest of them. So
is an Ant an_ Animal, _as well as an Elephant: so is a VVrenne_ Auis,
_as well as a Swanne, and so is a small dint of the Toothake, a disease
as well as the fearefull Plague is. But for these base sorts of
corruption in Common-wealthes, not onely the_ King, _or any inferior
Magistrate, but_ Quilibet populo _may serve to be a Phisician, by
discouering and impugning the error, and by perswading reformation

_And surely in my opinion, there cannot be a more base, and yet hurtfull
corruption in a Countrey, then is the vile vse (or other abuse) of
taking_ Tobacco _in this Kingdome, which hath moued me, shortly to
discouer the abuses thereof in this following little Pamphlet._

_If any thinke it a light Argument, so it is but a toy that is bestowed
upon it. And since the Subiect is but of Smoke, I thinke the fume of an
idle braine, may serue for a sufficient battery against so fumous and
feeble an enemy. If my grounds be found true, it is all I looke for; but
if they cary the force of perswasion with them, it is all I can wish,
and more than I can expect. My onely care is, that you, my deare
Countrey-men, may rightly conceiue euen by this smallest trifle, of the
sinceritie of my meaning in great matters, never to spare any_
_paine that may tend to the_
_procuring of your weale_
_and prosperitie._


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
euerywhere, was first found out by some of the barbarous _Indians_, to
be a Preseruative, 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 Climate: 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 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 bene so long ciuill and wealthy in Peace,
famous and inuincible in Warre, fortunate 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_, slaves 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?[A]

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,[B] and the forme of the first introduction of it
amongst vs. It was neither brought in by King, great Conquerour, nor
learned Doctor of Phisicke.

With the report of a great discouery for a Conquest, some two or three
Sauage men, were brought in, together with this Sauage custome. But the
pitie is, the poore wilde barbarous men died, but that vile barbarous
custome is yet aliue,[C] yea in fresh vigor: 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 therefore 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.[D]

As for these deceitfull grounds, that haue specially mooued you to take
a good and great conceit thereof, I shall content myselfe 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, being 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 vse to them.

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