following some of your conversation last week regarding Sir Walter Raleigh V John Hawkins and their link with tobacco being brought into England, Eileen - our Director of Tobacco Control has sent me the following information that you may find of interest;
"I noticed there were posts today blaming Walter Ralegh for bringing tobacco to England, someone later correctly blames John Hawkins. I wondered if your forum might be interested in this…..its part of a presentation I did about tobacco.
I included it because I was bemused by his comments about the axe that would behead him and thought it could also be applied to tobacco. Then saw what was engraved on his tobacco box."
In 1563, John Hawkins brought the first slaves from Africa to both the Caribbean Isles and Lower Americas
1595 he died of dysentery on a voyage to the West Indies
Sir Walter Raleigh was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth and was the one who popularised tobacco smoking at Court
James I of England and VI of Scotland, disliked Raleigh, and in 1603 he was accused of plotting against the king and sentenced to death. This was reduced to life imprisonment and Raleigh spent the next 12 years in the Tower of London, where he wrote the first volume of his 'History of the World' (1614).
In 1616, Raleigh was released to lead a second expedition to search for El Dorado. The expedition was a failure, and Raleigh also defied the king's instructions by attacking the Spanish. On his return to England, the death sentence was reinstated and Raleigh's execution took place on 29 October 1618 in the Old Palace Yard at the Palace of Westminster
After he was allowed to see the axe that would behead him, he mused: "This is a sharp Medicine, but it is a Physician for all diseases and miseries.”
He left a small tobacco box, found in his cell shortly after his execution. Engraved upon the box was a Latin inscription: Comes meus fuit illo miserrimo tempo (It was my companion at that most miserable time)