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without which every advantage of soil and climate and skill will be thrown away, the knowledge thus acquired will be more valuable than all the results of formal instruction; it will be topical and experimental.
In the later editions of the Sylva, which at intervals, longer or shorter, was under the author's hands, during a period of more than forty years, it is pleasing to observe the impulse which the first publication had given to the national taste. Charles the Second, as became his station, set the example of patriotic planting, and the royal forests were replenished with saplings which, at an interval of an hundred and twenty years, were destined to assert the naval supremacy of our country against the fleets of Spain and France, during the American war. Far other we fear have been the effects of those well intended efforts, which, at a much later period, have been made to replenish the royal forests.
Δρυος παρέσης πας ανηρ ξυλευελαι is but too true of the depredations which, from the absence of due inspection, have been committed on that noble tree, from the acorn, which, when sown, is abandoned by unprincipled workmen to the hogs, to the aged trunk, of which a moiety, under the description of root and stub, is seized by the ranger.
The truth is that woods always succeed best, for a season at least, on small estates-in other words, under the hand and eye of the owner. A winter's residence in London has, within our observation, been the destruction of an extensive and promising plantation; but," on the other hand, the pressure of the present times, which bears with peculiar hardship on all owners of small landed estates, added to the necessity of frequent alienations, always preceded by the untimely sacrifice of wood, and the impossibility of providing for families without the same work of premature destruction, combine in limiting the race of full grown oaks to estates above the necessary operation of these galling exigences. On the contrary, if, with the mismanagement which takes place on large estates, few saplings survive, the probability is that those few will become so many giants.
The editor* of this elegant work was a man of different character from the author, whose innocent quackeries will now excite a smile in the “ experienced housekeeper,' and whose habits, though elegant, were simple and abstemious. We must, however, do Dr. Hunter the justice to say that his re-publication of the Sylva revived the ardour which the first edition had excited, and while forests were laid prostrate to protect our shores from the insults of the enemy, the nobility and gentry began once more
* See bis Culina famulatrix Alcdicinæ.
to sow the seeds of future navies, while, in the language of his poetical friend, the surface of the country became
• One ample theatre of sylvan grace.' Before this period, the spirit of planting, whether for the purpose of ornament or profit, was almost confined to the great: if a private gentlemen, in the century preceding, planted an hedgerow of an hundred oaks, it was recorded, for the benefit of posterity, in his darv; meanwhile the nursery trade was in few hands, and, as the demands were small, the profits were enormous. The dealers, noreover, encouraged the planting of tall trees, on which, while their own labour had been multiplied for lucrative purposes, the tress of the future plantation was always precarious. But the lepublication of the Sylva opened the eyes of land owners by teaching them that the seeds of trees would grow in private semimaries, that there was no mystery in managing a nursery; and that a plant of six inches and one of as many feet, placed in equal circumstances, side by side, would, in seven years, almost invert their relatise heights.
In this national and patriotic work, however, the great Scottish mobility took and have maintained the precedence. Nothing in South Britain equals the extent and magnificence of those artificial forests which these lords of whole provinces have spread over their wild domains. A little before this period, the introduction of the larch formed a new epoch in the history of planting. That bardy native of Dauphignè and the Appemines had been introduced among us, as a tender exotic, in the reign of Charles the First, but. was afterwards neglected; and though the astonishing success of a few individual plants might have directed, much earlier, the attention of our countrymen to its worth, it was little before the era aluded to that it began to be cultivated to any great extent.
But a lice, which, in fifty years, will produce a beam equal to an oak of more than twice that duration, while, in contradiction to every other example, the durability and hardness of the wood are in no degree affected by the rapidity of its growth, a tree which, if the oak should fail, would build pavies, and if the forests of Livonia or Norway or Canada were exhausted, would build cities, is an acquisition to this island almost without a parallel. In the present state of our relations with foreign countries, and even with our own colonies, it is impossible to contemplate, without exultation, acquirements which contribute in so important a degree to render us Independent on importation. But there are fashions in all pursuits, and every stimulus is, in its own nature, temporary. It becomes us, therefore, by calling the attention of our wealthy countrymen to D 2
the re-publication before us, as well as by independent encouragements, to keep alive that good spirit which has already gone forth. When Evelyn directed his contemporaries to the elegant and patriotic employment of planting, he had to wean them from the boisterous pleasures of the chase, and the consequent excesses of the table. In our humble effort to awaken men of moderate fortune to the profits and the pleasures of the same occupation, the first difficulty to be encountered is a 'winter in London. Evelyn himself wrote what he quaintly styled a fumifugium, and the following observations may perhaps be permitted to operate in the same salutary direction. First, then, longevity has been, above every other description of men, the lot of great planters.
* And now,' says our amiable author, “it is observed that planters are often blessed with health and old age. According to the Prophet Isaiah, “ The days of a tree are the days of my people.” Hæc scripsi octogenarius, and shall, if God protract my years and continue my health, be continually planting, till it shall please him to transplant me into those glorious regions above, planted with perennial groves and trees bearing immortal fruit.'
But the map of pleasure will say, a mere vegetable existence in the country, however prolonged, is no better than a Bios aßios, a life not worth the living. And if indeed this mode of existence were mere rustic vacuity, if it were inconsistent with literary occupation, with domestic enjoyment, with active usefulness in those stations of authority which await every country gentleman resident on his own estate, we should certainly be of the same opinion; but in fact it is only incousistent with absence, with dissipation, with waste, with vice. Then, again, the return of the planter's income among the labouring peasantry of his estate, the influence of his constant superintendance and example on their morals, and the habits of cheerful submission which they always acquire by working under the eye of a master, are considerations to which no benevolent mind can be indifferent. And for himself, let him believe, till he has tried the experiment and been disappointed, that every clod which is turned up in his presence will breathe health into his nostrils, that in planting he will find the only occupation in which hope and gratification uniformly go hand in hand; the one never sated, the other never extinguished. It affords to the mind, the gentlest and most soothing engagement, and to the body a species of exercise produced by every variety of posture, every flexure of joint and Timb, and such as no uniform motion can ever attain. If in this class of society, a young man on entering upon his estate, were systematically to apply but ten acres annually to this most useful work, it would furnish himself with employment for life, and his
Founger children with portions after his decease. But, in spite of the reclamations of his gardener, who is feed by the nurserymen, he must begin with the seed-bed: he is otherwise not the natural father of his future family. Transplantation next succeeds, which from every principle of present economy, as well a future advantage, ought to be early. Then follows a long progressive work of thinning, pruning, and lopping, all which demand a skilful, and, if possible, a master's hand.
Erasmus was laughed at by the elder Scaliger for having conceived (and, perhaps, he was the first modern who conceived) the idea that plants were afflicted with a certain degree of sensation. This imagination, which seems to have received some countenance of late, must, for the sake of his feelings, be discarded by the planter; otherwise, in every act of necessary discipline upon his plants be will appear to be performing a surgical operation on his children: for the knife, the chissel and the saw must all be used in succession, though with more or less reserve, according to the following analogies.
Glandiferous trees, of which the seeds are few and bulky, have also few and perpendicular roots, with broad deciduous leaves, and are apt to extravagate into a waste of vegetation in their side branches. To compensate for this native defect, all these are patient of the knife. On the contrary, the whole. pine tribe, of which the seeds are diminutive as those of herbaceous plants, have roots oumerous in proportion, more capable therefore of transplantation; but because they have little hold on the ground, they are filled, instead of leaves, with a kind of spines, on which the winds have limle effect. These never waste themselves in side branches, and to them, therefore, excepting with respect to dead branches, the knife, not being necessary, is injurious. In all cases, early planting is highly expedient, adeo in teneris consuescere multum
To animate still farther the youthful planter by the prospect of no remote por chimerical protit from his labours, a single poplar of eighteen years growth has been sold for four pounds; and a single acre planted, according to the circumstances of the soil, with that valuable aquatic, or the equally valuable larch, will, in favourable situations, and in no longer a period than twenty years, yield a produce worth ten times the fee simple of the land. Very different are these views of the subject from those of our great but gloomy moralist, who reminds the Scottish planters, for their consolation, that' there is a frightful interval between the seed and the timber. He that calculates (he continues) the growth of trees has the unwelcome remembrance of the shortness of life
driven hard upon him. He knows that he is doing what will never benefit himself, and when he rejoices to see the stem rise, is disposed to repine that another shall cut it down.'* Dr. Johnson was not a father,—and what if that “ other’ should be a beloved son?
With respect to the oak, indeed, hope must for the most part be the planter's reward ; and were Quarles himself to seek for an emblem of the highest disinterestedness, or the grossest folly, he might light upon a man of fourscore dropping the acorns of this ornament and strength of future centuries. Yet we have seen men short of threescore
years and ten reposing under the shade of oaks sown by themselves, which had attained to seven feet in circumference. From the seed-bed therefore to the perfection of some, and to the hopeful and rapid increase of others among his old contemporary trees' are the probable limits of the planter's life. But in the multiplied and delightful occupations of this long period, he will find that a tincture of other knowledge than experience alone can confer, is necessary to accomplish bim in his own department. He will be assailed in the outset by tenptations from interested persons to a wasteful profusion of plants. He ought, therefore, to be acquainted with the mensuration of surfaces, lest he should ignorantly be led to conceive that the difference in the number of his seedlings between planting at the distances of three, four, or five feet, is merely as those numbers. He should also, for similar purposes of economy, be acquainted with the geometrical relations þetween areas and their different outlines.
At a more advanced period of his progress, when the peculiar appetite of old age begins to operate in shortsighted templations to immediate gain, he should acquaint himself with the mensuration of solids, and should be able to counteract the plea of interest upon interest, by actual admeasurements and practical demonstrations from year to year, that his woods, if spared, are uviformly increasing in a ratio which far outstrips the operations of indolent and sedentary avarice. To fortify himself in this species of abstinence, he will study the bistory and progress of woods, as detailed in this volume, with a wide compass of inquiry and information; and that he may not be discouraged by the comparatively trifling emoluments which are there represented as having accrued to the planter or his posterity after a lapse of many years, and from woods of considerable extent, he will do well to remember that the price of oak has nearly quadrupled within the last thirty years; and that by adding a cypher to estimates relating to the time of Charles the First,
Journey to the Western Islands, p. 325.