Snuff legend and lore brings us a dastardly tale of Jesuits’ Snuff…
Scented snuffs were sometimes made to conceal poison.
In 1712, the Duc de Noailles presented the Dauphiness of France with a box of Spanish snuff, a luxury in which she delighted. It was charged with poison, which she inhaled; and five days after receiving the gift she died, complaining of sharp pain in the temples.
This excited much attention, and great fear prevailed of “accepting a pinch” on the one hand and offering it on the other. It became a general belief that such poisoned snuff was used in Spain, and by Spanish emissaries, to clear away political opponents, and that the Jesuits also adopted it for the purpose of secretly poisoning their enemies.
Hence it was termed “Jesuits’ Snuff”, and a great dread of it was felt for a considerable time.
Another instance of the fatal use of snuff is to be found in an anecdote of the Duc de Bourbon, grandson of the great Conde.
He took Santeuil the poet to a great entertainment, compelled him to drink a large quantity of champagne, and ultimately poured his snuff-box, filled with Spanish snuff into the poet’s wine.
This produced a violent fever, of which Santeuil died, amid excruciating agonies, within fourteen hours.
The above account of Jesuits’ Snuff has been taken from Tobacco Talk & Smokers’ Gossip.