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NARCOTIC ARTS AND SUPERSTITIONS.
Among the native products of the American continent, there is none which so strikingly distinguishes it as the tobacco-plant, and the purposes to which its leaf is applied; for even could it be proved that the use of it as a narcotic, and the practice of smoking its burning leaf, had originated independently in the Old World, the sacred institution of the peace-pipe must still remain the peculiar characteristic of the Red Indian of America. Its name—derived by some from the Haitian tambaku, and by others from Tabaco, a province of Yucatan, where the Spaniards are affirmed to have first met with it,—appears to have been the native term for the pipe, and not for the plant, which was variously called kohiba, petun, qutschartai, tippdivoc, apooke, and indeed had a different name from almost every ancient and modern tribe and nation. The tabaco, or implement originally used by the Indians of Hispaniola for inhaling the smoke of the kohiba, or tobacco-plant, is described by Oviedo as a hollow, forked cane like the letter Y, the double ends of which were inserted in the nostrils, while the single end was applied to the burning leaves
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of the herb. This, however, was a peculiar insular custom, and a mere local name, though since brought into such universal use as the designation of the plant; while the pipe, which plays so prominent a part among the traces of the most ancient arts and rites of the continent, is now common to every quarter of the globe. Nothing, indeed, more clearly proves the antiquity and universality of the use of tobacco throughout the whole continent of America, than the totally distinct and diverse names by which it is designated in the various languages of the Indian tribes.
So far as we can now infer from the evidence furnished by native arts and relics connected with the use of the tobacco-plant, it seems to have been as familiar to most of the ancient tribes of the North-west, and the aborigines of the Canadian forests, as to those of the American tropics, of which the Nicotiana tabacum is believed to be a native. No such remarkable depositories indeed have been found to the north of the great chain of lakes as those disclosed to the explorers of the tumuli of "Mound City," in the Scioto Valley; but even now the tobacco-pipe monopolizes the ingenious art of many of the wild forest-tribes of the continent, and some of their most curious legends and superstitions are connected with the favourite national implement. Among them it retains the dignity of a timehonoured institution, the sacredness of which still survives with much of its ancient force; and to this accordingly the student of America's primeval antiquities is justified in turning, as an important link connecting the present with that ancient past. When referring to the miniature sculptures procured from the mounds of the Ohio and Scioto valleys, Messrs. Squier and Davis remark :—" From the appearance of these relics it is fairly inferable that among the Mound-Builders,