|Welcome to the book Letters on Tobacco, for American Lads; or, Uncle Toby's Anti-Tobacco Advice To His Nephew Billy Bruce (1860), by Rev. George Trask. To go to the "Table of Contents" immediately, click here.
Tobacco pushers and their accessories conceal the breadth of tobacco effects, the enormity of the tobacco holocaust, and the long record of documentation.
The concealment process is called the "tobacco taboo." Other pertinent words are "censorship" and "disinformation."
Here is the text by Rev. George Trask (1798-1875) of an early exposé (1860) of tobacco dangers. It cites facts you don't normally ever see, due to the "tobacco taboo."
The phrase "tobacco taboo" is the term for the pro-tobacco censorship policy—to not report most facts about tobacco.
As you will see, information about the tobacco danger was already being circulated in 1860, 104 years before the famous 1964 Surgeon General Report. Be prepared.
Letters on Tobacco, for American Lads;
Uncle Toby's Anti-Tobacco Advice
To His Nephew Billy Bruce
by Rev. George Trask
(Fitchburg, Mass: Trask Pub, 1860)
I secure no Copyright on this little Book, or on any of my Anti-Tobacco productions. They all assail an evil both near and remote, and as wide as the world. Hence I ask EDITORS, BOOK-MAKERS, and all DOERS OF GOOD, to use anything I publish against this popular abomination, with perfect freedom. FREELY RECEIVE, FREELY GIVE. Speed the truth—let it fly—the [human] RACE needs it!
Fitchburg, Mass., 1860.
A Word From Uncle Toby
This little book, which I dedicate to my nephew, BILLY BRUCE, may fall into some of your hands; if so, a word from the author will not be amiss.
The popular weed tobacco, on which it treats, is a vegetable poison; it ranks with arsenic, prussic acid, and poisons of a deadly nature. It is [erroneously believed in 1860 to be] useful sometimes as a medicine; it is used sometimes to kill snakes, moths, bugs, lice, and all sorts of vermin, and it is a pity its natural use should be so far perverted as to kill dear boys and men.
It is generally conceded [in 1860] that when used in fashionable forms, it does well men no good, but often much harm. The origin of the custom had nothing to do with civilization, but sprang from the grossest heathenism.
That was a sad hour  when polished Europeans caught its use of [from] naked savages on our continent; for the hand on the dial-plate of civilisation turned backward a great way.
I am no stranger to the power of this weed on myself. I shall write as one redeemed from bondage.
Owing to the tenacious power of the habit, it is not to be expected that many who are advanced in life will give it up. But in the name of Patriotism, in the name of Religion, and all which is lovely and of good report [Philippians 4:8], I call on you, my dear lads, to stand clear of a habit which turns freemen into slaves [addicts].
Stand clear of a yoke ten times more galling than the yoke of [King] George the Third, which your grandsires broke.
With respect to the language employed in this book, I ought to say, it was not written for infants on the one hand, nor for hoary-headed philosophers on the other; but for my worthy nephew, Billy Bruce, who, in point of years, is on the green side of twelve, but on the dry side of fifteen in point of information and good sense.
I must not dwell, however, upon my own authorship in this matter, for I suspect that others will think, as I do, that the value of the volume lies in the destructive weed will stand some chance to be read with profit and pleasure.
Young friends, you may see men who will laugh at an anti-tobacco book for boys but such men have not a father's heart. Tobaceo is the Napoleon, the
lion of the times. No narcotic, no pagan god on the plains of India, no Pope, no prince, no autocrat, has half its power, or wields a scepte over half as many slaves.
Read this little book, my lads; especially read these letters of love from distinguished men. Disdain slavery; create no artificial appetites; be free; be natural; for, in the language of Jeremy Taylor, "he who has the fewest wants is the most like God."
TOBACCO is the twin demon of Alcohol. Very many of our young men and boys are ruined by its power. Tlie evil is coming upon the nation like a flood.
Twenty thousand of our fellow-citizens, say physicians, are killed by it annually. The nation, it is believed, pay about $40,000,000, and the church about $5,000,000, in its yearly consumption.
I have been a victim to the seductive power of this vile poison, and personal experience of sorrows inflicted bids me do what I can to draw attention to its mischievous doings. Thus moved, I publish this little book. It is intended for juvenile libraries, and schools of every kind. I claim for it but one excellence, which is that it is
adapted to youth, for whom it was designed. It aims to forestall iniquity, to nip the evil in the bud, and I am happy to believe that with thousands of youth it has achieved its end, having proved "the ounce of prevention" in an eminent sense. In view of its adaptation to emergencies far and near, I cannot but wish it had universal circulation.
[British King] George the Third, though our [Revolutionary era] fathers branded him a tyrant, had some clever streaks. In the exuberance of his good wishes on some occasion, he said, "I wish every poor man in my kingdom had a chicken in his pot."
I am not a king,—I am simple-hearted Uncle Toby,—but I wish that every boy in the land had my little book; for it would do him good.
Said the late Amos Lawrence, of Boston,
to the fact that I never used rum or tobacco."
As this book, with appropriate medals, was being distributed among lads at a picnic, a venerable clergyman exclaimed,
"There, there, let that work go on among boys, and it
will destroy all the devil's seed corn."
A missionary, Rev. Mr. Goodell, endowed with goodness and age, who has travelled up and aud down our States, as he left our shores, to return to a distant continent, observed:
increasing use of tobacco among young men and boys."
I well know, however, that, in defiance of thrilling admonitions and frightful expenditures, men of superficial minds will continue to sport over this evil, as the madman fiddled when Rome was in flames. But, thank God, the time is coming when Christians and patriots will wake to manly action, which shall redeem nations from bondage to this nauseous, poisonous abomination. God of our fathers, King of kings, hasten the time!
Jesse Shute with His Lemon and First Cigar,
My Dear Billy:
The use of Tobacco, in either of the fashionable forms, is unnatural, or against nature. I mean, it is disagreeable, sickening, and at war with all our natural tastes. When you partake of milk, honey, meats, and bread, or the apple, peach, pear, and the like, they are pleasant; for, by a kind law of adaptation, they are fitted to your wants, and hence meet a cordial reception.
How is it with tobacco? On its first approaches, as all know, nature becomes indignant, and bids it stand afar off; and if pressed upon it, all its powers rise against the enemy, and cry, "I will spew thee out of my mouth."
Not one in a thousand has a natural love for this popular weed. In well-nigh every case, when first used, there is a terrible struggle between the victim and his foe. There is a whipping process, self-inflicted [as per pusher fraud].
If any tobacco-user tells you, my Billy, that it never hurt him, ask him if he was not hurt when he made war on his whole nature, and flogged himself into the condition of a slave.
The world is full of testimony on this point. Says Washington Irving [1783-1859],
This testimony is true in letter and in spirit. Every natural instinct abhors it. All the five senses, sooner or later, show that they have been deceived and abused by its witchery, and had been far better off if they had never come under its fatal power.
Perhaps, dear Billy, you will say you meet with men who use the weed, and seem happy in so doing, whether it does or does not agree with nature. To this I answer, some use alcohol, some use opium, and some use arsenic, and live a while; by changing the order of things, and forming a second nature, they continue a few years, perhaps, under this cruel process of abuse.
But is it wise to turn creator, get up a second nature, and trample on the work of God within us? Is it wise to eat fire, swallow knives, and torment our bodies, because others do?
Let me tell a story about Jesse Shute, which will illustrate my meaning. I was once standing on a wharf in New London, waiting for a
boat to fire up, bound to New York. Whilst there, my eye was arrested by a group of boys gathered around a sugar-box. The most of them were busy in facing their first steps in laying aside the boy and putting on the man. Some were smoking, some were chewing, and some were doing their best to perfect the smaller ones in this fine art or genteel accomplishment!
It was on this occasion I saw Jesse Shute trying his first cigar. He was a thin, graceful, elegant boy, with a countenance expressive of fine sensibilities and a fine mind; in fact, he had that rich and delicate structure upon which tobacco plays almost with the fury of lightning in doing mischief.
The initiatory process went hard with young Jesss. He had a lemon in one hand and a cheroot in the other; and he used them scientifically, I assure you.
He used them in turn. Now the little fellow would swell, pout, puff, puff, puff, and being overcome by the precious fumes, his eye would roll in its socket, his limbs give way, and down he would fall, as drunk as a toper. But his remedy was at hand: his lemon was an antidote to sickness. He greedily put it to his mouth, and drew upon it with the enthusiasm of a young calf! This neutralized the nausea; and this being done, amidst the cheers and huz-
zas of his playmates, he would "up and at it again." And being made sick and well, drunk and sober, some half a dozen times, by his cigar and lemon, I came to the conclusion that he was a child of peculiar promise, bent on being a dandy quite early, a great smoker, as Nimrod was a great hunter. [Genesis 10:9].
By this time I presume little Jesse struts and shows off in full bloom; is quite a connoisseur in the cigar science, and talks about good, better, best, of a hundred varieties or more. I dare say he wags his head according to rule, perfumes the streets and saloons of New London with what Horace Greely calls a profane stench; and, though he was a mere boy then, I presume, were I to call him a boy now, he would say as another little fellow once said when I asked him to step aside and let me pass: "Sir, don't call me a boy; I have used cigars these three years!"
I must not fatigue you, Billy; but, rely upon it, to use tobacco is no more natural than to swallow lightning, inhale asafoetida, or live in fire. Hence you must never use it. You are well now, and neither this nor any other narcotic can make you better. If chewers, smokers, or venders entice thee, do not consent [Proverb 1:10]; say to them, as Omiah, a youth from Otaheite, said to a great Englishman who offered him his
snuff-box: "I thank you, my Lord; my nose is not hungry."
That is exactly the thing; Omiah's nose was not hungry! Neither is yours or mine, in snuffing such fragrance. And if our American lads had the independence of this young pagan, so many of them would not become sickly dupes to this artificial appetite; but, living in harmony with their real nature, in harmony with the voice of God within and around,
And walk with nature; and her paths are peace."
Stinkingest of the stinking kind,
The two lines I have quoted are from the works of Mr. [Charles] Lamb [1775-1834], a writer whose pithy poetry you have sometimes read to me. He used this fascinating weed himself, was injured by it, and wrote a farewell to its fatal filthy power, sufficient to make the ears of a tobacco-user tingle.
Its use is an impure habit. I mean, it is uncleanly and excessively filthy. I have heard it said that there are one thousand tons of tobacco every year squirted over the face of this fair creation. For the exact truth of this remark I must not vouch; but if it is half true, I might say with the prophet, that shameful spitting is on all our glory!
You may use it in any form, and it comes pretty much to the same thing: dirt! dirt! dirt! Use it as a snuff, and, as it has been
said, "it makes a dust-pan of the nose!" And if this is among its legitimate uses, then has there not been a mistake in the hang of the nose? Should it not have been placed upside down, in order to prevent a waste of this precious dust?
Use it as a cigar, and, as it is an essential poison, it lodges in the tissues of the system, perfumes and discolors it, giving it a hue resembling that of an Egyptian mummy. This form, moreover, turns your dwelling into a smoke-house, and, to the annoyance of others, loads the surrounding air with a poisonous stench.
And here I cannot but say that had your Maker designed you for a steam engine, his wisdom, it seems to me, might have furnished you with a funnel-like apparatus, through which your smoky eruptions might take an upward outlet, and not lodge upon your neighbors to their annoyance.
Use it as a quid (rather the Yankee form), and the results are equally ungrateful. It causes your mouth to look like a sepulchre of corruption, soils your lip and chin, blackens your teeth, pollutes your breath, and makes it like that of a dragon. I have sometimes pitied a poor quid as it entered the mouth of some horrid chewer, and then, when I have seen
what nastiness it made there, I have pitied the mouth.
I have known persons of refinement, when on beds of sickness, decline the approaches of the physician, because his person was fumigated by cigars.
I have heard the owners of hotels say they would willingly be taxed, year by year, a hundred dollars or more, could they be freed from tobacco filth, which thoroughly permeated or pervaded their houses.
I have heard conductors of cars say that the victims of tobacco gave them far more annoyance than the victims of alcohol. They have actually stopped trains to sand floors and put cars in a state of decency. [Ed. Note: See travelers' rights cases]
I have known the doors of churches to be shut against the most humane causes ever plead, because tobacco would be there to soil the house of God; and trouble self-respecting and cleanly families.
" Sir," said an eloquent temperance lecturer, "tobacco has spit me and my cause out of the churches!"
Still the devotées of the weed, while carrying on this stroke of business, whilst insulting earth and skies with impurity, coolly assure us that this is a concern of their own, and beg that we may not intermeddle with their joys!
This is cool, indeed, gentlemen! How long, we beg to know, have you had the exclusive right to poison the common air, and impair the happiness of your neighbors in cars, hotels, and houses of God? When and where did you acquire this right? You have as good a right to throw ratsbane into my well, or place a dead horse on the sidewalk,—just as good!
No, gentlemen, this will not do. I say to you, in the words of a lady of wit, if you must distil the wine of tobacco in your ivory distillery, then furnish yourself with a public spittoon of ample dimensions, place it in some public square, and around that let all that chew the cud muster and look each other in the face, and spit and spit from morning to evening, if you must, to your full satisfaction; but do not walk at large spitting and drooling on the body politic.
If you must smoke, we pray that this baconing process may come under some restrictions. I have heard of a city clergyman, now on the tour of Europe for health, who has attained some notoriety in the cigar line; the part that lacketh in theology, in the estimation of some, is compensated by the fact that he is an accomplished smoker, and can talk elegantly, well-nigh hy the hour, about dew-drop tobacco, the genuine Havana, and the like.
His wife, who is quite a termagant, sets her face like a flint against the popular weed, and gives her dearest but little comfort. When he enters upon the sublime business of smoking, she throws a towel around his neck, serving to protect his shirt-bosom from fire and ashes, and serving also to remind him of his days of infancy in the nursery.*
Her cruelty stops not here. In order to protect her rich parlors and gorgeous trimmings from the smoky, floating poison, she makes him an exile, drives him to the attic, and tells him, if he must have a smoke-house, it shall be in the attic; if he must baconize his body, the process shall be there.
I am actuated by sheer kindness towards this generation of smokers. I wish that ways and means might be devised for their good and that of the public.
Uncle Toby, in his wisdom, however, can recommend nothing more suitable than a free use of the towel and attic, not only for the puffing sons of Levi (I mean the clergy), but for all who indulge in the much-lauded accomplishment of smoking.
But, my dear Billy, we must not trifle about a matter so grave. Hence, I say, I wish you to
be a perfect gentleman and a perfect Christian. But how can you be the one or the other, should you become the victim of this filthy weed?
Can one who makes his throat an open sepulchre [Psalms 5:11 and 13:3; Romans 3:13], his bosom a Vesuvius, emitting fire and smoke on those around him, be a Christian or a gentleman in the best sense? Can one who makes his mouth a distillery of poisonous saliva,—a saliva which blackens his teeth, his gums, his lips, and runs down his chin like Niagara Falla,—be such? Does such a man answer to the idea of an exemplary Christian? Does he present his body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, unto his Maker? [Romans 12:1].
Billy, what if little Kate, that you love so fondly, poisoned her system, polluted her breath, and soiled her lips, with such filthy juices? Would this give endearment to her childish kiss? Would this add to the fragrance of the sweet dew of her lips?
What if girls as well as boys should throw off the restraints of decency, and practise this vulgarity; and say in language similar to that trio of loafers,
Jim puffs, Sam snuffs, and I chaws"?
What should we think of mothers and sisters drenched in such uncleanliness? Could we love and admire them as we now do?
My dear boy, I beg you to understand that there is a connection between purity of body and purity of soul; that cleanliness, in the language of Whitfield, is next to godliness; that a pure heart in a pure body are things
highly valued by your Maker. In the language of an old poet I would say:
That all may gladly board thee as a flower."
III. Siamese Twins; or Rum and Tobacco
My Dear Billy:
In point of affinity and close connection, I call tobacco and rum Siamese Twins. They live în endearing friendship, they nestle in each other's bosom. If Satan ever had twin sons,
these are the two scoundrels, I assure you. I wish you to put a few questions to the devourers of tobacco, who, you say, are all about you, and who glory in their shame [Philippians 3:19]. They are these:
Do you know of one drunkard that does not use tobacco? Do you know of one reformed drunkard who has apostatized [relapsed], whose apostacy [relapse] may not, in part, be attributed to tobacco? Do you know of one drunkard who did not use tobacco previously to becoming an inebriate on alcohol?
Now, whatever answers you may obtain, my Billy, rely upon it, you will find the intimacy [cause and effect relationship] of the two as endearing [well-established] as pssible. In some sense, the one leads to the other, the one is indispensable to the other; and, like two accompliahed gamblers, bent on swindling their victims, they play into each other's hands, and steadily maintain a copartnership of villany.
The use of tobacco is among the deadly foes of temperance. It is the nature of this weed to goad [injure] the system onward [severely], and urge it beyond its natural strength, so that prostration or debility [and pain] is the natural result. When the victim is in this overdone [injured] state, and depression weighs down his soul, no hand will elevate him like that of strong drink.
In other words, this pernicious weed brings
on sickness and miserable lassitude, and ardent spirit [alcohol] is wonderfully adapted to remove all this, and impart a temporary [superficial] relief; and because such is its action on the victim of the weed, its aid is often called in; and he who began his career on one of these narcotics, stands a very fair chance to end it on the other.
Such is the united influence of the stimulant and narcotic qualities of tobacco, that thc thirst [and pain] it occasions [causes] is not to be allayed by ordinary drinks, but wine, ale and brandy must be taken to satisfy this unnatural demand. Hence, the use of it has, in numberless instances, been the precursor of the whiskey-jug and brandy-bottle, which together have plunged their victims into the depths of woe.
I wish to guard you, my nephew, against the bad examples around you. Therefore I tell you plainly that Deacon Janes, Major Gibbs, Ensign Babbet, and Parson Giles, &c., &c., who have talked loud and long against alcohol, but are this day the dupes [addicts] of tobacco, are, in my opinion, but half converted to temperance principles. Shun, my Billy, O, shun the bad example which even these good men set before you! Let them be no stumbling-blocks in your way. There are fathers, also, that abhor intemperance, but are notoriously intemperate on the tobacco score. How they can expect to raise
up boys who shall escape the toper's doom, I cannot divine [figure out]. Say and do what they may, their example seems fatal, completely so. Many of their sons are already sallow, stupid and sickly on cigars; and when the poison shall have shattered their nerves more and more,--shall have created a craving, gnawing appetite [pain], that shall clamor aloud for strong drink, stronger and stronger,—then it will be seen that the fair boy, now puffing his cheroot in the saloon, or in his father's face, has become a bloated drunkard, pouring blasphemy upon the Maine Law, and upon all law which crosses his burming desires for the cup of death.
John Hawkins says that in all his travels he never saw but one drunkard who did not use tobacco. Your Uncle Toby, my dear boy, never saw even one.
The venerable Doctor Beecher has somewhere said, I am told, that of all the young men who now use this narcotic, and shall continue so to do, it is fair, it is moderate to predict that one to four or five of the number must die a drunkard.
Thoughts like these, my dear fellow, argue dubiously for the temperance cause. If these two narcotics go hand in hand, and the one so often prepares the way for the othcr, then the coming hosts of inebriates threaten to be fear-
fukly great [large in voting numbers]. The young men who are mighty [addicted] to chew and smoke form a great army [population base],—the greatest ever marshalled on our continent,—and it is mournful to think that the mark of the beast is already upon them, and a shadow, even the shadow of death, precedes them.
I have spoken of intemperance [alcoholism] as springing from the use of tobacco. I might speak in stronger terms. The use of tobacco itself, in multitudes of cases, produces intoxication. The Patagonians get drunk day by day on tobacco. People in the Sandwich Islands have been excluded from the church for getting drunk on tobacco. In my opinion, tobacco-users pretty generally use just enough to carry them to the point of intoxication. They dare not use more under the given circumetances; if they did, they would be on the bed or in the ditch, unfit for business—"all seas over."
You have heard much, my dear Billy, of delirium tremens, and supposed that its horrors could only result from the use of alcohol. This [belief] is a mistake. Cases, I think, are rather clearly made out, both in books and in actual life, in which the disease, in its fiendish and fearful horrors, resulted from the use of tobacco. Yes, though men smile and jest about the custom [of tobacco use], there is often something tragical and mournful, be assured, in the matter.
I can mention men, considered otherwise temperate,—yes, men who are supposed to grace the ranks of temperance,—who have been horrified, and horrified others, by those fiendish horrors of body and soul which mark delirium tremens, and nothing else. I add, in conclusion, if temperance men sometimes act a ridiculous part,—denounce one narcotic and get intoxicated on another, strain at a gnat [Matthew 23:24] and swallow tobacco,—may you my dear fellow, and your comrades, come upon the stage [life] in better shape, and adorn your professions by a consistent life.
|'TIS BUT A DROP.
"'T is but a drop," the father said,
And gave it to his son;
But little did he think a work
Of death was then begun.
The drop that lured him when the babe
Scarce lisped his father's name,
Planted a fatal appetite
Deep in his infant frame.
"'T is but a drop," the comrades cried,
James Tenney Killed by The First Quid,
or, Tobacco A Murderer
I told you the other day that tobacco injured the health and shortened life. It would be strange if it did not, because it is a poison—a very active poison; and this you will find everywhere confirmed by men of science and sense.
Two drops of the oil of tobacco, says Dr. [Reuben D.] Mussey [Health], were sufficient to destroy life in cats in three or four minutes.
Two drops, on the tongue of a red squirrel, destroyed life in one minute.
A Hottentot placed the end of his pipe to the mouth of a snake. The effect was instantaneous: with a momentary, convulsive motion, the snake untwisted itself, and never stirred again.
"I have known an empiric," says Dr. Eberle, "destroy in less than twenty minutes the life of a charming little boy, by an immoderate injection of tobacco."
People at the Sandwich Islands, we are told, carry smoking so far, that they sometimes fall down senseless, and suddenly die.
|Ed. Note: Tobacco is notoriously linked to causing SIDS, meaning the killing of new borns, just as tobacco is notoriously linked to killing unborns. (The term for such killings is "abortion" or "miscarriage").|
The Salem papers say, in so many words, that James Barry, twelve years old, was killed by smoking cigars.
Whilst I am now writing, a lady assures me that a little child, in the town of L—, picked up a quid and put it into its mouth, thinking it a raisin (a quid that the hired man had thrown upon the floor), and died of the poison during the day.
There is no end, my Billy, in stating authorities, or in stating fatal occurrences, in illustrating the point I have in view.
Doctors at home and abroad, in great numbers, agree in saying that tobacco is extremely hurtful, and sometimes fatal to life. German physicians tell us, that of the deaths in Germany of young men from the age of eighteen to twenty-five, more than half are from tobacco! Smoking burns up their flesh and blood!
Dr. [Amos] Twitchell, a physician of eminence, who had given this subject much attention, believed and stated that tobacco lay at the foundation of a vast amount of disease, and, of course, a vast amount of medical practice.
He often assigned tobacco as the cause of dyspepsia, debility, depression, epilepsy, apo-
And now, my dear boy, if you wish for health and happiness, and a good old age, have nothing to do with this fashionable dirt. If sinners entice thee, do not consent. [Proverbs 1:10]. You are well; keep well, and do not make yourself a miserable invalid, as your Uncle Toby did, by forming a habit at war with common sense, aud everything lovely and of good report. [Philippians 4:8].
The Young Midshipman Who Wept When His Tobacco
Was Taken away; or, Power of the Habit
I have already told you how hard it is to learn to use tobacco [pp 13-18]; I must now tell you how hard it is to give it up. Dr. Paley has somewhere said that a man [person] will never forget the day of his conversion; if your Uncle Toby be allowed to speak from a bitter personal experience, he might say, a man [person] is strongly prone never to forget the time he began to use tobacco, nor the time he renounced it. Both the one and the other form a crisis in his history, actually affecting both his character [details] and happiness [details]. Men [people] may jest and smile about the matter, as they do about the introduction of sin in Eden [Genesis 3:1-6]; still the habit is a giant, that binds them in chains not easily broken; they are captives, and some know it.
The strength of the habit is in proportion, in the first place, to the power of the poison; and, in the second place, to the amount of damage it has done to the system. If you, my Billy, can
You are on the sea of life, Billy. Many an enemy will try to board you. Like a noble sailor, nail your flag to the mast, and cry, “Victory or death!”
James Dixey, The Boy Who Was Made A Maniac by
Using Tobacco; or, Tobacco and Insanity.
MY DEAR BILLY:
At the close of some public meeting, I heard a venerable teacher, who had taught school
“I have been a close observer of the habits of scholars [students], and have noticed that those who used tobacco were very much afflicted by its power. I have considered it a great disturber. Those who used it, other things being equal, were less certain, or more unequal, in their studies and recitations. They moreover seemed to be less amiable, for the poison maddened their nerves and minds, and rendered them the very worst scholars [students] in school to govern.”
There is many a woman, who, by the use of snuff, has made herself [been made by pushers] a raving maniac [brain damaged], and is now in some hospital for the insane.
There is many a man who once had a noble mind, who, by the use of the quid, or pipe, is now little better than an idiot or fool [Alzheimer's]; and even boys of your tender age have sometimes been fearfully injured in similar ways.
|Ed. Note: Thomas Edison said likewise in 1914.|
God has given you a mind, my Billy, too beautiful, too promising, to be thus sacrificed. The mournful injuries of which I here speak
I will try to explain this; but, in order to do it, I must tell you a little about the nervous system—this wonderful portion of the human body.
The nerves are the most delicate part of God's workmanship. They resemble fine thread, fine twine, aud run in every direction, from head to foot, like gossamer-work, filigree, or wire work, and enter and cover every portion of your body, within and without, which is accessible to pleasure or pain.
The nerves have their origin [central processing] in the brain; there is their starting-point [processing/analysis point], and from thence they pass all through the body, to the tip of the finger or the toe, and make a perfect [thorough] conveyance of sensations, from point to point, all over you.
Now the nerves not only have their origin [processing] in the brain, but the mind seems to make that its particular seat or dwelling-place; or the brain seems to be the head-quarters of the nerves and mind alike; hence their mutual influence and dependence upon each other; and hence the sympathy [interaction, communication] between them is so perfect [precise], that, if you touch the one, you touch the other also.
Cut your nnger, for example, or if by accident you should cut through your nail, how
|Doth rest securely with the dead,
To wait his everlasting doom.
When, at the last and awful day,
A Farm Thrown Away; or,
The Great Cost of Tobacco.
MY DEAR BILLY:
It is well for the common peace that the great and frightful tax [expense] paid for tobacco is self-imposed [pusher caused]. If the devourers of [addicts to] this poison were obliged [forced by law] to devour it, and pay for it, there would be dust and uproar [revolt], I assure you! The reasons for using it [tobacco] are so flimsy, the habit so filthy, and the expense so enormous, that no foreign despot could thus lord it over men [people], however great or mighty.
It is not my wish to enter largely into the dollar and cent aspect of this subject, for it is the cheapest aspect, however forcibly it may strike the worshippers [idolaters] of Mammon. [Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:9, 11, 13].
Purity, health, sanity, freedom, self-respect, and composure of mind,—all of which are [adversely] affected hy this narcotic,—are of more consequence than money, in the view of all honorable and good men [people].
Still, as mountains of money are swept away
You, or any youth, my Billy, can amuse yourself by making estimates of the expense of tobacco for an individual, or a community, for a year, or given number of years.
I stepped into a school, a little while since [ago], and, for the amusement and edification of the lads, set them at work on expenses for cigars. The following estimates, made purposely very low, are the results of their few minutes' ciphering:
A lad at fifteen years of age begins [due to pusher targeting] the [allegedly] fashionable custom of puffing; he puffs one a day, with a slight increase of the dose till he reaches fifty, if he live so long; and the sum he pays, perhaps not half the sum total, is [at 1860 prices], as you see, one thousand three hundred and eighty-three dollars, and thirty-five cents.
|From||15||y'rs to||18 —||1||cigar||per||day,||at||2||cts. each —||$21.90
I stepped into a school of misses [for girls], on the same errand; told them I should not think so highly
A lad begins operations [tobacco use] at ten years of age, and, on a scale still more reduccd, he squanders [at 1860 prices] one thousand five hundred and fifty-five dollars, and thirty-nine cents, by the time he rcaches fifty.
|From||10||years to||12 —||1||cigar||per||week,||at||2||cts. each —||$2.08
This, however, my Billy, does not tell half the story. The waste of time, day by day, in the use of the poison; the waste of time in sickness and debility, brought on by its use, the waste of money on medicine and medical attendants, and nameless incidentals, make out a bill, in a multitude of cases double, more than double, the sums here stated.
|Ed. Note: See current cost analyses.|
When young men get really into the matter, they spend twelve, twenty, and even thirty cents
Fires by Pipes and Cigars
A group of boys, on the Sabbath, struck up their matches for a "smoke," in the midst of shavings, between two unfinished buildings. A fire started up, and, before it was checked, it carried down a fine square of buildings, at an immense loss to the owners. What was done about it? Nothing! — why should there be? Respectable men, pious men, smoke. Fires are common, and great sinners must be handled before we meddle with little ones.
I saw a man standing on the border of a four-acre wood-lot burnt as black as your hat. “Sir,” said I, “how came this a smouldering ruin?” “Sabbath-breakers,” was the reply. “Sabbath-breakers were here yesterday, amidst these dry leaves, with cigars and pipes! That tells the story, sir.”—“Prosecute them,” I remarked. With an air of derision he ex-
A church in Chicago, which cost some thirty thousand dollars, was laid in ashes by the same cause [tobacco]. A carpenter went upon the roof with his pipe, and, in an hour after he came down, the upper portion of the noble edifice was wrapt in flames, beyond control.
The great fire in North and Clark streets, Boston, was caused by a cigar.
One much wiser than Uncle Toby has exclaimed: “Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” [James 3:5].
DISTRESSING OCCURRENCE.—On Monday evening a female was standing at the bar at Vauxhall Gardens, talking to a gentleman, when some one standing near threw down a lighted piece of paper on the ground. She stepped back, and her dress, a light gauze, caught fire, and completely enveloped her in flames. The bystanders immediately rushed to her assistance, and the flames were subdued.
DREADFUL ACCIDENT By FIRE.—A most frightful accident occurred to a fine young woman, named Georgiana Collins, residing in York-road, Lambeth, under the following circumstances: It appears that the unfortunate sufferer was walking home, when she accidentally placed her foot on a fusee match, and set her muslim dress on fire. The flames mounted high in the air, and the woman was severely if not fatally burned.
DESTRUCTIVE FIRE IN NORTHUMBEHLAND.—A destructive fire occurred on Friday upon one of the Duke of Northumberland's farms, at Snab Leases, near Alnwich. Thirteen corn-stacks, and a hay and straw stack, were nearly all destroyed, as well as the barn, stables, aud other out-offices. The fire was occasioned by a laborer dropping some tobacco from his pipe among the straw.
|Ed. Note: See more tobacco-caused fires background.|
The Juvenile Rogues at the Westborough School;
Or, CRIME and TOBACCO.
MY DEAR BILLY:
Documents relating to the State Reform School at Westborough [Massachusetts] now lie before me. I see that of the whole number of young criminals now collected in this establishment, 290 had used tobacco before going there. This I think an instructive fact, which, with other facts, the same in kind, lead me to believe that
|The undersigned, having visited many prisons, both in this country [U.S.A.] and the Old World [Europe], writes to bear his testimony against the use of tobacco. In visiting criminals, he has, with scarcely an exception, found them addicted to intemperance and tobacco. The latter he has found the most difficult to eradicate. He therefore wishes all success to the noble efforts of the Rev. Mr. Trask, and, unsolicited, gives him this kind word.|
I have thought of the matter a good deal; and, in my opinion, tobacco is very much of a demoralizer. It sadly affects morals and manners. I have conversed with a great many gentlemen of sense and worth, about the use of this weed, and I wait to see the first man who says there is anything of Christianity or civilization, anything refining, or ennobling, or gentlemanly, in the practice.
There is something instructive in the origin of this habit. From whence does it spring? Does it come from seats of wisdom and learning, from the walks of refinement and purity? Do religion and philosophy bow, and bestow smiles upon the votaries of the weed? O, no; its origin was barbarous, heathenish, savage! What degradation was that, when
As you pass along the sidewalks, in many of our cities, you are often assailed by the strong stench of tobacco, pouring out of doors and windows; your eye is arrested by the full-sized statue of an Indian, armed with bow, arrows, tomahawk, and all. The savage stands there with a bunch of cigars, or a stock of tobacco,
to salute Christians as they pass, and he seems to say, in taunting words:
|"You have poisoned my race by rum—I have poisoned your race by tobacco; the red man has had his revenge!"|
Now I think this savage, standing at the doors of tobacconists, perfectly in keeping with the
If you ask, my Billy, how does the use of this weed demoralize and lead to crime,—I answer that it does this in many ways.
It leads to a waste of time. Very much of this invaluable is thrown away upon this lust, in taverns, shops, and common resorts.
It leads to a waste of money. Many millions are squandered upon it, year by year, which are needed to enlighten and bless our suffering race.
It leads to a selfish state of heart [abulia]. Its victim will commonly enjoy his idol, however offensive it may be to others; and, I speak advisedly when I say, there is not so selfish a habit that deforms human character, or is so annoying to the walks of life. It is the quintessence of selfishness.
It leads to places of the deepest infamy, where slander, blasphemy and broils have a constant gala day, where the songs of the drunkard seldom die away; where things lovely and of good report [Philippians 4:8] have no abiding place.
I should be glad to ask some devotée to tobacco, who glories in his shame, a few questions. This is a specimen:
|a dram-shop, where is there a gambling-house, where is there a den of robbery, where is there a place of filth and vermin, above ground, or beneath, where tobacco does not make its lodgment, and have its will and way?|
Brethren," said Dr. Strong, of Hartford, many years ago, "it has been charged that I said every democrat is a horse-thief; I never did. What I did say was, only, that every
Now, I do not say that every lover [smoker, chewer] of tobacco is a blackleg or a villain, but I do say, show me one blackleg [criminal], from Dan to Beersheba, who does not use the weed, and I will show you a sea-serpent!
Ah, my Billy, tobacco has to do with the vileist of the vile; it is a member of a vile group or family, each member of which is little better than an imp of perdition; therefore, keep your distance; do not marry one member, lest you be saddled with the expenses of the whole pack.
There is, moreover, in the fumes of the cigar, or pipe, an opium-like, soothing efficacy,
well fitted to banish remorse from the bosom of a savage sporting over a bloody scalp, or a pirate dancing upon his blood-stained deck; and, if I mistake not, its aid is often called in to execute mournful and horrid offenses [by eliminating empathy for victims], or to allay remorse in view of deeds of blood [crimes].
It is notorious that alcohol has frequently been used for such purposes; and I am of opinion that tobacco is now made to answer this same end [abulia-effect] still more frequently than its great rival.
|Ed. Note: Dr. Hippolyte Depierris, Physiologie Sociale: Le Tabac, Qui Contient Le Plus Violent des Poisons (Paris: Dentu, 1876) explained the concept in exhaustive detail, tracking data back to 1839
Leo Tolstoy, 1890, gave an example of this.
The editor of the Chenango Telegraph, in giving an account of the execution of George Dennison, says, that, while standing upon the fatal drop, and during the exhortation of the clergyman, the prisoner asked in a whisper for
I will state but one more case [of smoker crime of that era]. It is that of the late Professor Webster. In this, I make no wanton use of the exceptionable habits of that eminent criminal; I merely refer to facts made public by public journals and otherwise.
During the imprisonment and trial of Dr. Webster, very much was said of his censurable habits. Each day made its peculiar disclosures.
We were told of his high living, and of his cards and wines; but, as his execution drew near, his cigar-box came more into notoriety, and seemed rather to eclipse what had gone before. We were made familiar with the very
I should judge, from the tidings we had from that unhappy cell, that no comforter was more potent or soothing than that found in the cigar-box. Its aid was invoked by day and by night. In the silence of midnight, when deep sleep falleth upon man, even then, the soothing power of this narcotic was in requisition, perhaps to dispel [cause] fearful visions, and furnish the soul with a quietus [abulia].
At last the fatal morning of execution comes! The soul of Professor Webster is about to enter eternity, and stand before a Divine Judge! It is a busy scene. Much is made to pass before us. We are told of the scaffold, of greedy and rude spectators, of the movements of the officers of justice, of the solemn duties of the chaplain, of the appearance of tho prisoner, and of the last courtesies that passed between him and those around him; but on this memorable morning we are informed, I think, that this mysterious narcotic acts its part,—that even here is a theatre for the ruling passion strong in death! Alas! alas! poor human nature. Did a conscience, which sought composure from a cigar-box in time, lean upon the same comforter on the brink of eternity?
|Ed. Note: For more by Rev. Trask on tobacco's link to crime, see p 115, infra.|
I fear, my dear Billy, that I am taxing your patience unduly, in thus dwelling upon this point; and therefore I merely say that I believe tobacco degrades those who use it, in many ways, scars the conscience, hardens the heart, involves in crime, and destroys the soul.
Never, my dear fellow, never sear your conscience; never murder its sensibilities. Let all the moral emotion you have, touching right and wrong, live, glow, and bear sway in your soul, uninjured by such poisons as tobacco, opium, and alcohol.
Great men and good men, I well know, have used it, and, to some extent, use it still; yet nine to ten will tell you that Uncle Toby is pretty much in the right, and will advise you not to use it. They will tell you that, had they never touched it, they should have been more healthy, more happy; that they abhor the habit, and should have better reasons for self-respect, had they never come under its bondage, for they really are ashamed of their chains.
A Small Leak Sinks a Great Ship;
or, The Soul and Tobacco.
The use of tobacco violates the laws of life, or impairs the life principle in man. I have pointed out a few ways in which it impairs the body and mind; as I close, I must touch on the injury it does the soul,—the more important portion of our nature.
It does this directly and indirectly. There is fellowship and sympathy running through the whole of our structure. The different parts are bound to each other, they flourish, suffer, rejoice and weep together; and you may rely
Friend: Take this card to your Sabbath-school, or any school; in a few kind werds explain it; give each youth of suitable age a chance to sign it; and, when signed, you have laid the foundation of a Band of Hope, to be thoroughly organized as soon as convenient.
By this labor of love, you will probably do much for rising [future] generations, the church and nation, in behalf of Temperance. SAVE THE YOUTH, AND YOU SAVE ALL!.
>>Each youth who signs the pledge has a card for himself, and, if true to his vows, it can be certified by some responsible man, and the card used as a letter of recommendation.
Art 1. This Association shall be called the BAND OF HOPE.
Art. 2. The object of the Association is to encourage the young to abstain from Intoxicating Liquors, Tobacco and Profanity; and those who sign the Constitution agree thus to abstain.
Art. 4. The officers shall consist of a President, three Vice Presidents, a Secretary, and Treasurer, who shall hold office three months. The officers may be either males or females.
Art. 4. Any one may join this Band of Hope, by signing the Constitution and Pledge, and paying five cents into the treasury.
Art. 5. Adults may become honorary members by paying not less than twenty five cents into the treasury, if proposed by a member of the band.
Art. 6. The meetings shall be held at such time and place as the officers shall direct, and shall be opened with the reading of Scripture or prayer.
Art. 7. The general management of this Band of Hope shall be under the control of a Superintendent.
Art. 8. The following Pledge shall be used, and the members shall repeat it in concert at each meeting:
Art. 9. The Constitution may be altered, at any regular meeting, by a vote of two-thirds of the members present.
My Little Friend:
Tobacco is one of the nasty things that no wise person should ever think of putting in his mouth. The taste is very unpleasant. That is one of God's ways of saying to us,
"I did not make it for you to eat or smoke."
It is very hurtful
Hold up your mouth, sir! O, I must be more revential! You are the old man who lectures me every day upon my habits—who advises me to avoid all evil, deny myself distilled liqnor, and follow the cross. Now open your mouth. You should have thirty good white fronts and molars: there are ouly about nineteen, stained and black. You chew tobacco like a beast! Do not preach to me about relinquishing my little partialities [habits], while you [set a bad example] keep your mouth in this odious condition. Your breath is awful!
Tobacco-users are always unjust towards others. They pollute the atmosphere which other men [people] desire to breathe, and have a [legal] right to breathe, in its purity. A smoker or chewer may have a right to a limited circle of the atmosphere around his own person [Ed. Note: not so, see "consent" law], but he has no right to stench the air for a rod [long distance] around him and half a mile behind him. He has no right to attempt a geographical reproduction of lake and river by the artificial pools and streams [smoke plumes] he makes in the steamboat and the car [public transportation].
|Ed. Note: See similar analyses by
A tobacco-user is the common enemy of decency and good taste. His mouth and teeth, which should be the cleanest, he makes the foulest part of him. When one sees a plug of nasty, coarse, liver-colored tobacco, he pities the mouth it is destined to enter; but when one sees the mouth, he pities the tobacco!
TOBACCO AND CRIME AMONG ENGLISH BOYS.
It was said by Lord [Henry] Palmerston [1784-1865], at an agricultural dinner at Romsey, “The first step in the downward course of the farm laborer begins at the tobacco-shop; from thence he goes to the public-house [saloon].”
Mr. Thomas Wright says, “Seventeen out of twenty cases of criminal offenses, in Manchester and Salford jails, are in connection with smoking and drinking; the former generally preceeding the latter.” Of smoking boys in the streets the same authority says, “I almost invariably find them afterwards in prison.”
|Ed. Note: For background, see data on the
Dr. Buckle, of Romsey, says, “I and my brother [fellow] magisitrates have recently traced nine cases out of ten of juvenile criminality either to stealing tobacco, or money with which to buy it.” Of his own page [employee] he added, “After repeated unsuccessful efforts to reclaim him from the habit of smoking, by which I had long been annoyed, I gave him notice to quit my service [notice of discharge]; and one day, in my absence, he took a purse from my desk, which contained twenty-one sovereigns.”
|Ed. Note: See background on not hiring smokers in the first place.|
The rock goat of Africa, Billy, has a bad character; he is a lustful, impure creature. I have heard it said that his nature is so debased that he will eat Tobacco leaves as greedily as an ox eats clover, and receive no injury!
|Ed. Note: Others citing
rock goats' tobacco use:
Benjamin Lane (1845)
Meta Lander (1882)
But see Dr. Alcott's denial.
For the truth of this I will not vouch; but sometimes, when I have seen a dirty fellow, with his hands in his pocket, his skin the color of a seared leaf of Tobacco, moping by, with a long goatee projecting from his chin, and a long-nine from his mouth, I have said to myself, that is a goatish fellow, let him alone, for, as the goat prevails in his nature, Tobacco will not injure him!—Some men and some boys have but little in them which is noble; hence they can't be injured very much by Rum, Opium, Tobacco, or anything else, because there is not much to injure. The prettiest boys and the noblest men are injured the most by this poison; and when men or boys tell you that they are not injured by it, they stand low, I assure you, in point of brains, because Tobacco, Billy, will injure evorybody but a fool or a goat.
Why, Billy, a toad can't bear Tobacco. I threw a stub of a cigar the other day, when in the garden, to a large ugly toad. He was unmindful of the dignity of a toad for the moment,—he grabbed it like an old chewer, and swallowed it in a trice! I watched him some time. He wallowed over and over, swelled, panted, and at length threw up his accounts, and made a "clean breast of it [vomited]." In short, he behaved very much as a young urchin behaves with his first quid or cigar.
|Ed. Note: First Use Examples:
Dr. Jackson (1826)
Dr. Woods, supra
Dr. Thorn (1845)
Dr. Titus Coan (1850)
Dr. Dio Lewis (1882)
Dr. Schroff (1882)
Higley & Frech (1916)
Other Books on Tobacco Effects
Dr. Benjamin Rush (1798)
William A. Alcott, M.D. (1836)
by Rev. Benjamin Lane (1845)
by Dr. John Lizars, M.D. (1859)