Monday, May 15, 2017

Americans and Tobacco

From Shannon Selin:
Observing from the visitors’ gallery of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Trollope, like Hodgson, found it
really mortifying to see this splendid hall, fitted up in so stately and sumptuous a manner, filled with men sitting in the most unseemly attitudes, a large majority with their hats on, and nearly all spitting to an excess that decency forbids me to describe. (4)
Even at the White House, “[c]onversation, tea, ice, music, chewing tobacco, and excessive spitting afford[ed] employment for the evening,” according to Henry Bradshaw Fearon, who toured America in 1817-1818. To Fearon’s regret, the practice was not confined to the nation’s capital.
I disapprove most decidedly of the obsequious servility of many London shopkeepers, but I am not prepared to go the length of those in New York, who stand with their hats on, or sit or lie along their counters, smoking segars [cigars], and spitting in every direction, to a degree offensive to any man of decent feelings.
Fearon also complained about the taverns in Louisville, Kentucky, where “there is not a man who appears to have a single earthly object in view, except spitting and smoking segars.” (5) British farmer William Faux was equally “well pleased” to turn his back “on all the spitting, gouging, dirking, duelling, swearing, and staring of old Kentucky.” (6)

In Philadelphia, Scottish politician James Stuart lodged in a very good hotel, to which he would have returned, “but for the smoking and chewing of tobacco, which never ceased in the reading-rooms. The chewing and spitting were carried to such a height, that it was difficult to escape from their effects.” (7) (Read more.)

1 comment:

julygirl said...

I can't imagine such gross and filth next only to defecating in public. Nowadays if someone even coughs or hacks without covering their mouths they are considered rude. No wonder there were epidemics!