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this is the only food on which a whole family exists. Such, at least, is Dampier's statement; but accurate as he generally is, some exaggeration is surely manifest here. I have quoted thus far from the memoirs of Dampier, to show the style of writing, as well as the observing powers of the great buccaneer. Narrating in a period about two hundred years past, he writes on many subjects with a detail and accuracy truly astonishing. - - . . . . In those days, as well at the present time, the plantain and banana are often confounded as one and the same fruit. In reality the distinction is nearly as great as that between a pumpkin and a melon. And although belonging to the same botanical species, one is a delicious natural fruit while the other requires the culinary art to make it acceptable as a food. Manilla, on the island of Luzon, the capital city of the Phillippines, is in north latitude 14 deg. 36 min., and east longitude 120 deg. 52 min. Inhabited by about 300,000 people, it has long been the principal commercial port of the Spanish possessions in the Pacific. The exports of sugar are about 150,ooo tons per annum, with 50,000 tons of Manilla hemp and IOO,OOO,OOO cigars. In the manufacture of the latter, Io,000 women are employed, the factory covering a space of over six acres.
Nature, climate and locality have combined to make the islands of the Pacific favored lands for the extensive cultivation, preparation and export of toOf the plant itself, it may be claimed as the Micotiana Tabacum, indigenous to America, but cultivated now in nearly all parts of the world. Seeds of the plant were sent by Jean Nicot, in 1560, from Portugal, to Catherine de Medici. Nicot was the French ambassador in that country, from whom the plant receives its botanical name. Its first introduction into Europe from the new world may be dated from the beginning of the sixteenth century. Its first introduction into England by Sir Walter Raleigh, from Virginia, occurred about 1586. Hayden ascribes it to Sir John Hawkins in 1565, while many others grant it to Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake.
Baird, Humboldt, and many of the encyclopaedias, state its name to be derived from the Indian word tabacos, a name given by the Carribees to the pipe, in which they smoked the leaves of the plant. Baird says it is the common name of the species of herbaceous, rarely-shrubby plants, of the genus Micotiana, generally clothed with clammy hairs or down, and natives for the most part of the warmer portions of America, a few growing also in the East. The species which yields most of the tobacco of commerce, is the common Virginian or sweet-scented tobacco, extensively cultivated in the warmer portions of the United States.
The claim for its first uses among the Chinese, Mongols, and the East Indians, says Mr. McCulloch, is, however, a very doubtful proposition. It seems sufficiently established that the tobacco plant was first brought from Brazil to India about the year 1617, and it is most probable that it was thence carried to Siam, China, and other Eastern countries. The names given to it in all the languages of the East are obviously of European, or rather of American origin, a fact which seems completely to negative the idea of its being indigenous to the East.
Where properly cultivated, picked and cured, the best qualities of “Old Virginia” tobacco, for chewing or smoking, has no superior. That of Havana, for the manufacture of cigars alone, takes first place, but does not seem to have the requisite qualities that go to make either a palatable “fine cut” or “plug" chewing tobacco.