Earl J. Hamilton (essay date 1976)
SOURCE: “What the New World Gave the Economy of the Old,” in First Images of America: The Impact of the New World on the Old, University of California Press, 1976, pp. 861-65.
[In the following excerpt, Hamilton examines the changing medical and social attitudes to tobacco from the sixteenth century through the eighteenth century and claims that tobacco was “the very worst gift of the New World to the Old.”]
There can be no doubt as to the American origin of tobacco, for it was cultivated in almost every place discovered, explored, or settled from Brazil to Canada; and it was shared with the intruders, whom the Indians gladly taught how to smoke it. Europeans...
(The entire section is 2408 words.)