Writing accurately about the 1600’s has proven to be a serious challenge, especially since I’m focusing on the lives of common people.
What were the “common” attitudes about sex, alcohol, witchcraft, smoking, marriage, death, and a host of other issues?
It’s fairly easy to find out what James I thought of smoking, since he wrote his “Counterblaste to Tobacco” in 1604.
For James, smoking was “a custom loathesome to the eye, hatefull to the nose, harmfull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomlesse.”
Nevertheless, the “reeking gallants” of the day displayed such fashionable tricks as “The Ring” and “The Gulp”.
Alfred Dunhill, in The Gentle Art of Smoking, notes that the first men who brought tobacco to England from Virginia in 1586 popularized the practice of “drinking” tobacco.
It’s exciting to find details which bring a story alive, and the more I look, the more I find. In a wine bar in Stralsund, one of my characters drinks tobacco and suffers in the way one might expect. The question is, should he live or die?