Captain Robert Knox of the East India Company, 1642-1720

Publication Year: 
1689

Image retrieved from wikipedia.org on October 2nd, 2013.

In 1689, it was from him that Robert Hooke, Secretary of the Royal Society, learnt of the existence of 'ganga', 'a strange intoxicating herb like hemp', of which Knox gave him seeds and on which Hooke addressed the Society that December. This was the first English report of ' Indian hemp' or cannabis.

Text retrived from collections.rmg.co.uk on October 2nd, 2013.

One of the leading men of this era was Robert Hooke (1635-1703), a natural philosopher and architect whose diverse achievements included creating the balance spring used in pocket watches and, as the author of the landmark book Micrographia, coined the word cell for biological organisms. But this was also the age of the polymath, and among the many papers that Dr. Hooke presented to his colleagues in the Royal Society was one on his experiments with a plant newly arrived in England from the East Indies, that, when properly administered, seemed to possess some very exciting qualities:

"An Account of the Plant, call'd Bangue, before the Royal Society, Dec. 18. 1689.
It is a certain Plant which grows very common in India...and the Use thereof (tho' the Effects are very strange, and at first hearing, frightful enough) is very general and frequent...'Tis call'd, by the Moors, Gange...The Dose of it is about as much as may fill a common Tobacco-Pipe, the Leaves and Seeds being diced first, and pretty finely powdered. This Powder being chewed and swallowed, or washed down, by a small Cup of Water, doth, in a short Time, quite take away the Memory & Understanding; so that the Patient understands not, nor remembereth any Thing that he seeth, heareth, or doth, in that Extasie, but becomes, as it were, a mere Natural, being unable to speak a Word of Sense; yet is he very merry, and laughs, and sings, and speaks Words without any Coherence, not knowing what he saith or doth; yet is he not giddy, or drunk, but walks and dances and sheweth many odd Tricks; after a little Time he falls asleep, and sleepeth very soundly and quietly; and when he wakes, he finds himself mightily refresh'd, and exceeding hungry...The Plant is so like to Hemp, in all its Parts, both Seed, Leaves, Stalk, and Flower, that it may be said to be Indian Hemp...."
- From The Philosophical Experiments and Observations of the late Eminent Dr. Robert Hooke, London, 1726 [full text].

Text retrieved from twonerdyhistorygirls.blogspot.ca on October 5th, 2013.

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