"The third way of taking it is the most used, and thus certainly it doth no hurt, neither know I why it may not be used as well in England as in other parts, both hot and cold; for where it is so much used, the most, if not all, as well in the Indias as in Spain, Italy, Flanders (which is a cold countrey), find that it agreeth well with them. True it is, it is used more in the Indias than in the European parts, because there the stomachs are more apt to faint than here, and a cup of chocolatte well confectioned comforts and strengthens the stomach. For myself I must say, I used it twelve years constantly, drinking one cup in the morning, another yet before dinner between nine or ten of the clock; another within an hour or two after dinner, and another between four and five in the afternoon; and when I was purposed to sit up late to study, I would take another cup about seven or eight at night, which would keep me waking till about midnight. And if by chance I did neglect any of these accustomed houres, I presently found my stomach fainty. And with this custome I lived twelve years in those parts healthy, without any obstructions, or oppilations, not knowing what either ague or feaver was."
M. Ferdinand Denis, in "La Legende du Cacahuatl," makes the following interesting statement in regard to the preparation of chocolate in ancient Mexico: "Torquemada, the learned historian, and Thomas Gage, the conscientious traveller, agree in telling us that hot chocolate was an invention of the Castilians. The first of these writers, who lived at the end of the sixteenth century, says so positively; in his time it had been used for only a few years.
"Would you know now what chocolate was when the learned Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma gave his receipt? I copy it for you here: " 'Take a hundred cacao kernels, two heads of Chili or long peppers, a handful of anise or orjevala, and two of mesachusil or vanilla, - or, instead, six Alexandria roses, powdered, - two drachms of cinnamon, a dozen almonds and as many hazelnuts, a half pound of white sugar, and annotto enough to color it, and you have the king of chocolates.'
"I must say a word concerning another substance allied to the chocolate, beloved of the Americans. I speak of atola, which has been handed down to us. There was the atola of dry and of green maize; the latter was served on elegant tables. Composed of maize in the milky stage, sweetened with the vegetable honey of the agave, sometimes, also, flavored with excellent vanilla, it had the appearance of blancmange. On this mixture was poured chocolate prepared cold. It can be understood how the most delicate palates could relish it. I say nothing here of the coarse mixtures of dry flour, or frisoles, which were mixed with the cacao; it was a vulgar food, endurable only by the common people.
"Not to leave too incomplete this sketch of various antiquities, often examined, but still obscure, I must touch upon the still less familiar subject of American ceramics, which will not be the least curious paragraph. The Mexicans had vases specially set apart for beverages of the most varied description, which were served at their festivals, from the ordinary pulque to the most delicate octli. There were among them, without doubt, chocolate pots of great value. The historian of King Tezozomoc leaver us no doubt on this subject. He names, it is true, a series of ornamented vases without making us acquainted with their special use; but he is much more explicit when he speaks of a cup, ready made by nature, but which the goldsmith's art had covered with the most elegant ornaments. Thanks to him, we know that cocoa was offered to distinguished personages in a tortoise shell, highly polished and ornamented with gold arabesques. And it was very probably in this manner that Fernando Cortez drank his first chocolate."
The Spaniards thus early acquired a knowledge of the fruit and of the manner of preparing it, which they kept secret for many years, selling it very profitably as chocollat to the wealthy and luxurious classes of Europe. But it was, as already stated, an expensive preparation, and did not come into use until long after the public coffee-houses of London were established.
Says Brillat-Savarin, in his famous "Physiologic du Gout," "Chocolate came over the mountains [from Spain to France] with Anne of Austria, daughter of Philip III., and Queen of Louis XIII. The Spanish monks also spread the knowledge of it by the presents they made to their brothers in France. The various ambassadors of Spain also contributed to bring it into fashion; and at the beginning of the Regency it was more universally in use than coffee, inasmuch as it was taken as an agreeable article of food, while coffee still passed only for a beverage of luxury and a curiosity. It is well known that Linnaeus called the fruit of the cocoa-tree theobroma 'food for the gods.' The cause of this emphatic qualification has been sought, and attributed by some to the fact that he was extravagantly fond of chocolate ; by others to his desire to please his confessor; and by others to his gallantry, a queen having first introduced it into France."
The Spanish ladies of the New World, it is said, carry their love for chocolate to such a degree that, not content with partaking of it several times a day, they have it sometimes carried after them to church. This favoring of the senses often drew upon them the censures of the bishop; but the Reverend Father Escobar, whose metaphysics were as subtle as his morality was accommodating, declared, formally, that a fast was not broken by chocolate prepared with water; thus wire-drawing, in favor of his penitents, the ancient adage: "Liquidum non frangit je Junium."
The earliest intimation of the introduction of cocoa into England is found in an announcement in the Public Advertiser of Tuesday, 16th June, 1657 (more than a hundred and thirty years after its introduction into Spain), stating that "in Bishops-gate street, in Queen's Head alley, at a Frenchman's house, is an excellent West India drink, called chocolate, to be sold, where you may have it ready at any time; and also unmade, at reasonable rates."
Two years later, in the Mercurius Po-liticus for June, 1659, it is stated that "Chocolate, an excellent West India drink, is sold in Queen's Head alley, in Bishops-gate street, by a Frenchman who did formerly sell it in Grace Church street, and Clement's Churchyard, being the first man who did sell it in England; and its virtues are highly extolled."
A book written in the time of Charles II., entitled "The Indian Nectar, or a Discourse concerning Chocolate, etc.," says the best kind can be purchased of one Mortimer, "an honest though poor man, living in East Smithfleld," for 6s. 8d. per pound, and commoner sorts for about half that price.
About the beginning of the eighteenth century chocolate had become an exceedingly fashionable beverage, and the cocoa-tree was a favorite sign and name for places of public refreshment. Cocoa and chocolate are frequently mentioned in contemporary literature; and among others Pope, in his "Rape of the Lock," alludes to it; the negligent spirit, fixed like Ixion, " In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow, And tremble at the sea that froths below."
Down to a late period (1832) the consumption of cocoa in England was confined within very narrow limits, owing to the oppressiveness of the duties with which it was loaded. The ruin of the cocoa plantations which once flourished in Jamaica was caused, says Mr. Bryan Edwards, the historian, by the heavy hand of ministerial exaction. In 1832 the duty on cocoa from a British possession was reduced from 6d. to 2d. per pound. The result was that the consumption which, during the three years ending in 1831, averaged only 440,578 pounds a year, shortly increased to an average of 2,072,335 pounds. The duty of 6d. per pound on foreign cocoa was continued some time longer; but in 1853 the duties were finally equalized and fixed at 1d. per pound, and on paste or chocolate at 2d. The duties on husks and shells were reduced to 2s. per cwt. in 1855.
It is stated, on what appears to be good authority,1 that the chocolate-mill erected on Neponset river, in the town of Dorchester, Mass, in 1765, was the first mill of that kind established in the British provinces of North America. It was connected with a saw-mill, operated by water-power, and was regarded as a somewhat doubtful experiment. Its establishment was due to the representations made by John Hannan, an Irish immigrant, who had learned the business of chocolate-making in England. The new industry prospered in a small way, and on the death of Hannan, in 1780, Dr. James Baker established the house which has continued the business without interruption from that day to this.
In the early days the crude cocoa was brought to the American market by the Massachusetts traders, who received it in exchange for the fish and other articles which they shipped to the West Indies and Central and South America ; and the direct connection with the producers, thus early established, has ever since been maintained.
In giving an account of the manufactures in Boston, in 1794, J. L. Bishop, in his "History of American Manufactures," says: "Chocolate had been long made from the large quantities of cocoa obtained in the West India trade, and had been greatly expedited by recent inventions. The chocolate-mill of Mr. Welsh, at the North End, could turn out 2,500 cwt. daily."
It is a curious fact that on the spot where the industry was first started, nearly a century and a quarter ago, the business has continued and attained the highest development. From the small beginning by Dr. Baker there has grown up one of the greatest establishments in the world, - the house of Walter Baker & Co., - an establishment which competes successfully for prizes in all the great industrial exhibitions of the world, whose influence is felt in the great commercial centres, and whose prosperity promotes the welfare of men who labor under a tropical sun in the cultivation of one of the choicest fruits of the earth.