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The Natural History of Chocolate Being a Distinct and Particular Account of the Cocoa-Tree, its Growth and Culture, and the Preparation, Excellent Properties, and Medicinal Vertues of its Fruit   By:

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Spelling is inconsistent and has been neither modernised nor corrected.

In the original, footnotes are marked with lower case letters, numbers, or asterisks. In this transcription, the asterisks have been replaced by the number of the page on which the footnote appears.

Contractions (such as atq; for atque) have not been expanded.



A Distinct and Particular Account of the COCOA TREE, its Growth and Culture, and the Preparation, Excellent Properties, and Medicinal Vertues of its Fruit.

Wherein the Errors of those who have wrote upon this Subject are discover'd; the Best Way of Making CHOCOLATE is explain'd; and several Uncommon MEDICINES drawn from it, are communicated.

Translated from the last EDITION of the French , By R. BROOKES, M. D.



Printed for J. ROBERTS, near the Oxford Arms in Warwick Lane . M DCC.XXX.


If the Merit of a Natural History depends upon the Truth of the Facts which are brought to support it, then an unprejudiced Eye Witness is more proper to write it, than any other Person; and I dare even flatter myself, that this will not be disagreeable to the Publick notwithstanding its Resemblance to the particular Treatises of Colmenero [1], Dufour [2], and several others who have wrote upon the same Subject. Upon examination, so great a Difference will appear, that no one can justly accuse me of having borrow'd any thing from these Writers.

This small Treatise is nothing but the Substance and Result of the Observations that I made in the American Islands , during the fifteen Years which I was obliged to stay there, upon the account of his Majesty's Service. The great Trade they drive there in Chocolate , excited my Curiosity to examine more strictly than ordinary into its Origin, Culture, Properties, and Uses. I was not a little surprized when I every day discover'd, as to the Nature of the Plant, and the Customs of the Country, a great Number of Facts contrary to the Ideas, and Prejudices, for which the Writers on this Subject have given room.

For this reason, I resolved to examine every thing myself, and to represent nothing but as it really was in Nature, to advance nothing but what I had experienced, and even to doubt of the Experiments themselves, till I had repeated them with the utmost Exactness. Without these Precautions, there can be no great Dependance on the greatest Part of the Facts, which are produced by those who write upon any Historical Matter from Memorandums; which, from the Nature of the Subject, they cannot fully comprehend.

As for my Reasonings upon the Nature, Vertues, and Uses of Chocolate, perhaps they may be suspected by some People, because they relate to an Art which I do not profess; but let that be as it will, the Facts upon which they are founded are certain, and every one is at liberty to make what other Inferences they like best.

As there are several Names of Plants, and Terms of Art used in those Countries, which I have been obliged to make use of, and which it was necessary to explain somewhat at large, that they might be rightly understood; rather than make frequent Digressions, and interrupt the Discourse, I have thought fit to number these Terms, and to explain them at the End of this Treatise: the Reader must therefore look forward for those Remarks under their particular Numbers.


[1] De Chocolatâ Indâ.

[2] Du Thé, du Caffe, & du Chocolat.


The First PART.

Chap. I. The Description of the Cocao Tree . Pag. 2

Chap. II. Of the Choice and Disposition of the Place to plant a Nursery. 10

Chap. III. Of the Method of Planting a Nursery, and of its Cultivation, till the Fruit comes to Maturity. 16

Chap... Continue reading book >>

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