Just been reading The British Perfumer, Snuff-manufacturer, and Colourman's Guide; Being a Collection of Choice Receipts and Observations. By Charles Lillie. Published in 1740. Boy, can I pick real page turners.
The thing is it has started me thinking about the old SP saga. We have all read about Spanish Prize (Was my current favourite), Sheffield Pride nice but nonsense, SP being short for Spanish and Special Plain to name but a few.
What Mr Lillie writes in the 1730s and published in 1740 was Spanish and Plain but the words were never together. He tells of the Land-Officers plundering several thousand barrels of fine snuff from a disembarkation in the port of St. Mary and the adjacent villages and towns. This fine snuff came from factories from all over Spain and was very rarely sold by these officers and only at very high prices.
What interested me more was his description of the snuff captured a few days later at Vigo. The snuff plundered here was plain rough snuff waiting to be refined. This, as it had been captured at sea, went to the Sea-Officers and Sailors. There was so much captured that it went straight to market and sold for pennies per pound. Sea-Officers and Sailors did well out of it, so well that Sailors (or pretend sailors) would later fraudulently sell compound snuff, snuff made from the worst of the scraps from the numerous tobacco merchants, as smuggled snuff called Sea Prize. Could SP be Sea Prize? I have cross-referenced this with The Buccaneers 1817, The Statutes at large from Magna Carta Volume 9 1786 and volume 1 1822 all talk of Sea Prize.
However, I have also rather frustratingly found mention of Spanish Prize and Snuff in the same paragraph in, Journals of the house of commons. 1827. Still I think Sea Prize is looking pretty strong.