A Kind Word to Lads
Original Author: "Uncle Toby",Undated 9855, Harry Puffer in his best estate. The Dandy with his Ninepenny Havana.,University of Virginia Special Collections,Thursday
Created: January 15
Medium: Broadside

A Kind Word to Lads, on Tobacco.

A nineteenth-century broadside warns young boys of the dangers of smoking, which include illness and death. The handbill also claims that tobacco can be responsible for "inducing a dangerous precocity, developing the passions, softening the bones, and injuring the spinal marrow and whole nervous fluid." This "kind word to lads" is credited to "Uncle Toby," a beloved fictional character in Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, a best-selling novel published in nine volumes between 1759 and 1767.

This anti-tobacco sheet is included in the collection of John Hartwell Cocke's papers at the University of Virginia. Cocke, a Fluvanna County plantation owner and reformer, opposed the cultivation and use of tobacco. He circulated anti-tobacco tracts in Virginia and distributed medals to boys who promised never to indulge in the substance.

Citation: John Hartwell Cocke Papers, 1725–1931, Accession #640. Special Collections, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.