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Lancashire ; so that with the exception of to tote for to carry, which, as Dr. Webster remarks, was introduced by the negroes into the southern states, we do not know whether a single word or expression supposed to be peculiar to the United States, may be found, which cannot be traced to Great Britain or Ireland. In the volume on Insect Architecture, issued by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, we notice the word sparse, which, till then, we had supposed to be of American formation; and a late writer in Blackwood's Magazine says, that the NewEngland word tarnation, is current in the county of Suffolk in old England. The probability of its being introduced into Massachusetts from that part of England, is confirmed by the great number of towns in Massachusetts bearing the same names as towns in the counties of Suffolk and Essex, and by the correspondence remarked by travellers between the dialects of the two districts. Every one may have observed, that the NewEnglanders,—many even of the educated amongst them,-pronounce the participle been, as if written ben; and this peculiarity, we are assured, is prevalent in the part of England just mentioned.
1.-66 Counterblaste to Tobacco." By KING JAMES I. of Eng
land. Works, fol. from 214 to 222. 2.-A Dissertation on the Use and Abuse of Tobacco. By
The Rev. ADAM CLARKE. pp. 32. October : 1798. 3.- Observations upon the influence of the habitual use of
Tobacco upon Health, Morals, and Property. By BENJA
MIN Rush, M. D. Essays. p. 263 to 274. 1798. 4.-Notices relative to Tobacco. By Dr. A. T. THOMson. Ap
pendix (Note B) to Mrs. A. T. Thomson's Life of Si Walter Ralegh. pp. 24: 1830.
The annals of literature furnish abundant examples of authors, who, through wantonness, whimsicality, a desire to say something, where many could say nothing, and few could say much, or from some other impulse, (for which it were now unprofitable to search,) have adopted themes either insignificant in themselves, or repugnant to truth ; subjects barren, or improbable, or laborious, or palpably absurd. Thus Homer has celebrated the battle of the Frogs and Mice ; Virgil sung of Bees ; Polycrates commended Tyranny ; Phavorinus sets forth the praises of Injustice; and Cardan pronounced the eulogy of Nero.
The Golden Ass of Apuleius is well known ; Henry Cornelius Agrippa has employed his wit and learning on an elaborate “Digression in praise of the Asse." Other authors have discovered virtues and excellencies in this animal, though the generality of mankind have agreed in supposing it possessed nothing remarkable but dulness and obstinacy. Lucian exercised his genius on a fly; and Erasmus has dignified Folly in his Encomium Moriæ, which, for the sake of the pun, he inscribed to Sir Thomas More. The subject of Michael Psellus is a Gnat; Antonius Majoragius took for his theme Clay ; Julius Scaliger wrote concerning a Goose ; Janus Dousa on a Shadow; and Heinsius (horresco referens) eulogized a Louse. This last animal elicited some fine moral verses from Burns; Libanus thought the Ox worthy of his pen; and Sextus Empiricus selected the faithful Dog. Addison composed the Battle of the Pigmies and Cranes; Rochester versified about Nothing; and Johannes Passeratius made a Latin poem on the same subject, which is quoted at full length by Dr. Johnson at the end of his Life of Rochester. The Jeffreidos were written to commemorate the perils to which Sir Jeoffrey Hudson was exposed; Sir William Jones thought Chess worthy of the epopee; and at the foot of this list of egregious triflers, we place Dr. Raphael Thorius, who wrote a much and often praised Latin poem on the Virtues of Tobacco.
Now, to most of our readers, this last theme would seem to offer fewer inducements to the poet's pen than any of those thus enumerated; and genius could scarcely have selected one, which seemed less ennobling in itself, or rather, which at once presented such palpable discouragements, from the coarse associations connected with it, and the cureless vulgarity and nauseousness with which the whole subject appears to be invested. In opposition to so many obstacles and dissuasives, this great man yielded to the impulse of his muse, and obtained an immortality to which no other action of his life would have entitled him. It is with unaffected regret that we are compelled to state, that, to procure a sight of this celebrated poem, we have ransacked our libraries without the least success. How painful is the reflection, that perhaps this work has never yet reached the United States ! What a reproach to our republic, that a poem whose object was to celebrate the virtues of the most incomparable of all our native plants, should be totally unknown in that new world, with whose discovery it was nearly contemporaneous! But perhaps our Jeremiad may be premature; for in some obscure corner in Virginia, (the garden of this weed,) a copy of the poem may at this very moment exist, like unobtrusive merit, disregarded and despised. For the honour of our country, we hope this may prove true; since it may lessen the odium VOL. IX.-NO. 17.
with which men habitually load poor republics, a name which has long been the by-word and synonime of ingratitude.
We are fully aware of the contemptuous manner in which Doctor Clarke speaks of this production, and its English translation by the Rev. W. Berwick, declaring them to be of equal merit, and that they scarce deserve to be mentioned.” But to the merit of this work we have testimony infinitely higher than the opinion of the Reverend Doctor. Thus, Howell, in his inimitable Familiar Letters," a book which cannot be too highly commended, or too often read, says, “if you desire to read with pleasure all the virtues of this modern herb, you must read Dr. Thorius's Potologis, an accurate peece, couched in a strenuous heroic verse, and continuing its strength from first to last; insomuch that for the bignes it may be compared to any piece of antiquity, and in my opinion is beyond Βατραχομυομαχια Or Γαλεωμυομαχια.' The learned Mr. Bayle speaks of the same production in very commendatory language.t Bayle tells an excellent story of Thorius, which, as it illustrates the character of the great tobacco poet, deserves to be read. He was extremely fond of his glass of wine, and had, beside, that hydrophobic distaste, which has been imagined essential to the true poet. Being one day seated at the dinner table, in company with the celebrated Peireskius, in the festivity of the occasion, he was urging the latter to quaff off a bumper of wine, and after the most importunate intreaties, Peireskius at last agreed to do it upon one condition, which was, that Thorius should immediately afterwards drink a bumper himself. No condition could be more acceptable, no penalty more easy ; but what was the surprise and horror of Thorius, when his turn came, to find that he was called upon to drink a bumper, not of wine, but of water !-which insipid and unaccustomed beverage, after sundry efforts and awry faces, he contrived to get down, amidst peals of laughter from his hilarious and learned friends.
We classed Thorius's poem among the extravagant vagaries of genius; but the more we reflect upon the subject matter of this poem, the more the conviction fastens upon our minds, that it is by no means a trivial or undignified topic; that considered in what light it may, tobacco must be regarded as the most astonishing of the productions of nature, since, although unsightly, offensive, and, perhaps, in every way pernicious, it has, in the short period of about three centuries, subdued not one particular nation, but the whole world, Christian
den it; popes have anathematized it; and physicians have warned against it. Even ministers of the gospel have lifted up their voices, and thundered their denunciations from the pulpit ; but all has been in vain ; its use has increased, is increasing, and will increase, as long as the earth continues to yield this miraculous vegetable to the unnatural appetite of man.
That what is persecuted should thrive the more in consequence of persecution, can excite no surprise in any one at all skilled in the history of human nature ; but this is altogether inadequate to account for that preternatural eagerness with which men seek after this wonderful plant. In fact, there appears to be some occult charm connected with it—some invisible spirit, which, be it angel, or be it devil, has never yet been, and perhaps never will be, satisfactorily explained. To those who have never revelled in this habit, and consequently can neither comprehend its nature or strength, the hyperbolical language which most authors use when they speak of tobacco, must appear, in an eminent degree, burlesque and overstrained. “ Tobacco," says the Anatomist of Melancholy, “divine, rare, superexcellent tobacco, which goes far beyond all their panaceas, potable gold, and philosophers' stones, a soveraign remedy to all diseases-A good vomit, I confess, a vertuous herb, if it be well qualified, opportunely taken, and medicinally used; but as it is commonly abused by most men, which take it as tinkers do ale, 't is a plague, a mischief, a violent purger of goods, lands, and health ; hellish, devilish, and damned tobacco; the ruine and overthrow of body and soul.”* So in his valedictory to tobacco, Mr. Lamb is not less extravagant and contradictory. The health of the poet it appears had suffered seriously from the immoderate use of tobacco, which had been in consequence interdicted by his physician. Compelled to surrender his favourite enjoyment, he vents his feelings in a very spirited “ Farewell to Tobacco," which exhibits a singular mixture of opposite sentiments, and of violent struggles between his propensity to the habit and his acquiescence in the necessity which severs him from it, together with feeble attempts to curse that, without which, life to the unhappy poet seemed scarcely endurable.
Stinking'st of the stinking kind,
Blisters on the tongue would hurt you ,
'Twas but in a sort I blamed thee,
None e'er prospered who defamed thee.” But tobacco has had enemies of exalted station, whose persecution has been uniform, and whose hatred has been unmixed. Such was James the First of England, who is not less remarkable for his sagacity in discovering the gunpowder plot, and having supported the divine right of kings, than for having written a “Counterblaste to Tobacco."* But let the king speak for himself :
“ Tobacco,” says he, “is the lively image and pattern of hell, for it hath, by allusion, all the parts and vices of the world whereby hell may be gained ; to wit. 1. It is a smoke ; so are all the vanities of this world. 2. It delighteth them that take it ; so do all the pleasures of the world delight the men of the world. 3. It maketh men drunken and light in the head ; so do all the vanities of the world, men are drunkards therewith. 4. He that taketh tobacco can not leave it; it doth bewitch bim ; even so the pleasures of the world make men loath to leave them ; they are for the most part enchanted with them. And, farther, be. sides all this, it is like hell in the very substance of it, for it is a stinking loathsome thing, and so is hell.”
The mythological fable which existed among the Indians as to the manner in which this plant was first bestowed upon mankind, is extremely whimsical, somewhat discreditable, and withal of such a nature as to preclude the propriety of our introducing it in this place to the acquaintance of our readers. But writers are not wanting who have carried the original of tobacco into the Grecian fabulous ages, and attributed to Bacchus the glory of having discovered and disclosed to mortals its virtues. Thorius, as Dr. Clarke tells us, very ominously ascribes the discovery and first use of this herb to Bacchus, Silenus, and the Satyrs, (drunkenness, gluttony, and lust,) and yet, continues the Doctor, with a sneer, this poem was written in praise of it. Mr. Lamb, in the poem before quoted, has the same thought, and he farther adds a belief, that the tobacco plant was the true Indian conquest for which the jolly god has been so celebrated. He moreover intimates, that the Thyrsus of that deity was afterwards ornamented with leaves of tobacco, instead of ivy. Even the name of the plant has been derived from Bacchus. This is particularly mentioned by Mr. Joseph Sylvester, quoted by Dr. Clarke, who wrote a poem on tobacco which he inscribed to Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. The title of this tirade is very quaint, viz. “Tobacco battered, and the Pipes shattered (about their Ears who idly idolize so base and barbarous a Weed; or at least-wise overlove so loathsome a Vanity) by a Volley of holy Shot from Mount IIelicon.”