Thomas Hariot, A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, directed to the
investors, farmers, and well-wishers of the project of colonizing and planting there. Imprinted at London in 1588.
Hariot was part of a group sent by Sir Walter Raleigh to establish the first English colony in the New World. He spent a year on Roanoke Island, 1585-1586.
Most of the members of the party fitfully searched around for gold, and complained "because they could not find in Virginia any English cities, or fine houses, or their accustomed dainty food, or any soft beds of down or feathers." But Hariot, who would be recognised in later years as a preeminent scientist, took accurate stock of the land and its bounties, and is reputed to have carried back with him on Sir Francis Drake's ship two strange plants: tobacco, and the potato.
The piece quoted above is part of a compendium of "commodities" he wrote to help maintain interest in Raleigh's doomed attempts to make money out of his expeditions to the New World-- the English explorations then were very much commercial ventures.
After Hariot's return to England, he met and became great friends with Raleigh, and was his main contact with the outside world during the 13 years Raleigh spent in the Tower of London (where he grew his own tobacco).
Raleigh was beheaded in 1618, and reportedly had a pipeful just before going to the gallows.
Hariot suffered terribly from a "cancerous ulcer of the nose" from 1615 till his death 6 years later in 1621 at the age of 61. [Juraj Korbler says Hariot had "cancer of the lip" in "Thomas Harriot (1560-1621), fumeur de pipe, victime du cancer?" Gesnerus 9 (1952): 52-54]
1590: LITERATURE: Spenser's Fairie Queen: earliest poetical allusion to
tobacco in English literature.
Belphoebe includes tobacco with other medicinal herbs gathered to heal Timais (Book III, Canto VI, 32).
Into the woods thenceforth in haste shee went, To seeke for hearties that mote him remedy; For she of hearties had great intendiment, Taught of the Nymphe which from her infancy Her nourced had in trew nobility: There, whether yet divine Tobacco were, Or Panachea, or Polygony, She fownd, and brought it to her patient deare Who al this while lay bleding out his hart-blood scare.
1595: ENGLAND: The first book in the English language devoted to the subject of tobacco is published
The first book in the English language devoted to the subject of tobacco was anonymously published in 1595, by Anthony Chute. It has the simple title "Tabacco," and contains an illustration of an Englishman smoking a clay pipe. In this little work for laymen, the author