Posted by Captain Everett on February 22, 1998 at 00:31:59:
In response to Smoking pipes & cheroots and snorting snuff, written by P. Bingham on February 21, 1998 at 15:45:18
] [Smoking]...not common in the Regency....it would have been more fashionable for the socially elite to take snuff....
] Also, as far as smoking, this would depend on how accessible tobacco was and I believe that tobacco was expensive as it had to be imported. Tobacco was not cultivated (or rather, companies were not making tobacco products) in England until the 1820's I believe. I can get back to you on that I have a book that covers that part quite well.
Brett-James in Life in Wellington's Army wrote that, in the Pennisula at least, tobacco was portable, inexpensive and constantly on sale. (I cannot speak for the situation in the UK.) However, the War of 1812, and the tightening British blockade of the American coast did lead to severe shortages after 1813. I have the figures for American exports of tobacco, among other products, and there was a drastic drop. This forced the use of Brazillian tobacco which remained available, but was regarded as "villanous stuff." Matching what P. Bingham mentioned, references to the use of snuff is limited to officers.
Tobacco does not appear to have been that expensive in Upper Canada. Eric Hounsome in Toronto in 1810 gives a priced of $1/lb. for tobacco. That at a time when unskilled workers could make $1 and skilled $2 per day. During the War, a New York dollar was usually set at 4s-6d Halifax. (Currency in U.C, at this time gets very confusing: Halifax Pounds, Pounds Sterling, New York dollars and shillings [sic] were used, often simultaneously, with NYC favoured for bookkeeping; plus the occasional Spanish Dollar, etc. poppng up.) In the Ontario Archives is an account of a U.C. militia Captain; he gives a price of 2/6 for a half-pound in 1814. This would make it 5s per pound. Compared to other prices it does not seem too extreme. An article by Pearl Wilson on consumer prices in Upper Canada gives a table showing that a pound of sugar was valued at 1s in 1811, and 3s in 1815, dropping off to 1s-9d in 1816 [wartime inflation]. Green tea in the time periods: 8s, 1/4/-, and 7s. I'm not a smoker, but it would seem a pound, or half-pound would make quite a few pipefulls.
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