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  • 1758: LEGISLATION: Virginia Assembly passes wildly unpopular "Two Penny Act,"

forbidding payment in percentage of tobacco crop to some public officials, such as the Anglican clergy. The crop was small at this period, making tobacco a seller's market. The law mandating a regular salary for these officials severely cut the clergy's real income.

  • 1759: GEORGE WASHINGTON, having gained 17,000 acres of farmland and 286 slaves

from his new wife, MARTHA DANDRIDGE CUSTIS (these added to his own 30 slaves), harvests his first tobacco crop. The British market is unimpressed with its quality, and by 1761, Washington is deeply in debt.

  • 1760: BUSINESS: Pierre Lorillard establishes a "manufactory" in New York City for

processing pipe tobacco, cigars, and snuff. P. Lorillard is the oldest tobacco company in the US.

  • 1761: SCIENCE: ENGLAND: Physician John Hill publishes "Cautions against the

Immoderate Use of Snuff" -- perhaps the first clinical study of tobacco effects. Hill warns snuff users they are vulnerable to cancers of the nose.

  • 1761: SCIENCE: ENGLAND: Dr. Percival Pott notes incidence of cancer of the scrotum

among chimneysweeps, theorizing a connection between cancer and exposure to soot.

  • 1762: General Israel Putnam introduces cigar-smoking to the US. After a British campaign in

Cuba, "Old Put" returns with three donkey-loads of Havana cigars; introduces the customers of his Connecticut brewery and tavern to cigar smoking (BD)

  • 1763: Patrick Henry argues a tobacco case, the "Parson's Cause."The clergy had been paid in

tobacco until a late 1750s Virginia law which decreed they should be paid in currency at the fixed rate of 2 cent/lb. When tobacco began selling for 6 cents/lb, the clergy protested, and the law was vetoed by the Crown. The old Virginia law was still sometimes adhered to, however, and some clergy sued their parishes. Henry defended one such parish (Hanover County) in court. He berated England's interference in domestic matters, and convinced the jury to give the plaintiff/clergyman only one penny in damages.

  • 1769: Captain James Cook arrives, smoking a pipe. Thought a demon, the natives dowse him

with water.

  • 1770s: UK: Glasgow is Britain's main tobacco port.

  • 1770: Demuth Tobacco shop, the oldest tobacco shop in the nation is established by

Christopher Demuth at 114 E. King St., Lancaster, PA.

  • 1771-12-17: REGULATION: FRANCE: French official is condemned to be hanged for

admitting foreign tobacco into the country.

  • 1776: AMERICAN REVOLUTION Along "Tobacco Coast" (the Chesapeake), the

Revolutionary War was variously known as "The Tobacco War." Growers had found themselves perpetually in debt to British merchants; by 1776, growers owed the mercantile houses millions of pounds. British tobacco taxes are a further grievance. Tobacco helps finance the Revolution by serving as collateral for the loan Benjamin Franklin won from France--the security was 5 million pounds of Virginia tobacco. George Washington once appealed to his countrymen for aid to the army: "If you can't send money, send tobacco." During the war, it was tobacco exports that the fledgling government used to build up credits abroad. And, when the war was over, Americans turned to tobacco taxes to help repay the revolutionary war debt.

  • 1779: Pope Benedict XII opens a tobacco factory

  • 1780-1781: VIRGINIA: "TOBACCO WAR" waged by Lord Cornwallis to destroy basis of

America's credit abroad (ATS)

  • 1781: Thomas Jefferson suggests tobacco cultivation in the "western country on the

Mississippi." (ATS)


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