James I Condemns the Sin and Use of Tobacco

James I Condemns the Sin and Use of Tobacco

Book:  The Workes of the Most High and Mighty Prince James I  (1616)

By:   James I


That the manifold 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 have their first institution either from a godly, necessary, or honourable ground, and are first brought in, by the meanes of some worthy, vertuous, and great Personage, are ever, and mostly justly, holden in great and reverent estimation and account, by all wise, virtuous, and temperate spirits: So should it by the contrary, justly bring a great disgrace into that sort of customes, which having their originall from base corruption and barbaritie, doe in like sort, make their first entry into a Countrey, by an inconsiderate and childish affectation of Noveltie, as is the trew case of the first invention of Tobacco taking, and of the first entry thereof among us. For Tobacco being a common herbe, which (though under divers names) growes almost every where, was first found out by some of the barbarous Indians, to be a Preservative or Antidote against the Pocks, a filthy disease, wherunto these barbarous people are (as all men know) very much subject, what through the uncleanely 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 use of Tobacco, as a stinking and unsavourie Antidote, for so corrupted and execrable a maladie, the stinking suffumigation whereof they yet use against that disease, making so one canker or venime to eate out another.

And now good Countrey-men, let us (I pray you) consider, what honour or policy can moove us to imitate the barbarous and bestly maners of the wilde, godlesse, and slavish Indians, especially in so vile and stinking a custome? Continue reading