I’m reading Arthur Quinn’s 1994 book,  A New World: An Epic of Colonial America  from the Founding of Jamestown to the Fall of Quebec.  In chapter 1, describing the role of tobacco in early Virginia Colonial times, Quinn notes King James’ opposition to the tobacco phenomenon that swept over England in that 200px-91704505_4b03ab00d3era. 

Here’s what King Jimmy wrote in a treatise entitled “Counter Blaste To Tobacco”:  “[Smoking is] a custom loathesome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless.”

The “black stinking fume thereof” are my favorite words in the quote.  Awesome diction, what a well-turned phrase!  

I dig King J’s title, too: Counter Blaste.  Yes, those old-timers had a way with words!   And, hey, this was the first government warning against the dangers of smoking!

By the way,  what to do with the proper adjective Stygian?  I confess, I had to look it up.  It’s synonym is, not surprisingly, hellish.

What a pity King James was unsuccessful in selling his judgment on the vile commodity to his own subjects and ensuing generations.

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