Imágenes de página

be will do no more than raise them to the standard of his own

[ocr errors]

and saiut.

On the subject of taste, which, by a peculiar felicity, is in this sugle instance capable of harmonizing with views of profit, we bore vet said little.' Evelyn had a true feeling of picturesque beauty; but

, living before the laws of landscape were known, except to painters, he admired justly, though without 'rules. Let the reader turn to the incomparable chapter in this work on the ' sacredness al use of standing groves,' where he will find, that in order to feel and describe the combinations of nature in these her most majestic works, it is not indispensable to talk, in the cant of a prosaan, of keeping and of tints, of foregrounds, offskips, and distance

. Evelyn's painting resembles the forest scene in “ As You Like It,' or the more rugged features of Milton's Garden of Eden, wild above rule or art.' But to the undisciplined taste of picturesque beauty, there is added to this chapter such i accumulation of learning, sacred and profane; such a devout zad boly feeling excited by the solemnity of ancient woods ; such a harmless and elegant superstition on this his favourite subject, 3 exalt the planter to the much higher characters of critic, poet

In short, the spirit of this chapter, and almost of the whole work, is that of his retired and tuneful friend Cowley, or of a later bard, who imitating, without knowing it, the sentiment and expression of Columella, exclaimed

'God made the country and man made the town.' la short, nothing can furnish a better antidote to the dry, scientific, didactic clearness with which physiological subjects are treated at present, or even to the formal and mechanical rules by which we are taught to avoid formality and mechanism in gardening, than this most feeling, desultory and enchanting work.

The truth is, that at a time when ornamental gardening was no better than architecture in trees and shrubs, there were always men of genius found to soar above that wretched taste;, and now, when artificial landscape had attained to its highest point of perfection by copying nature, when the earth-painter', as he has been not unhappily named, had begun to emulate Claud and Salvator in nature's own materials, a set of trading mannerists have arisen, who, without taste or discrimination to consult the genius of places, if they succeed at all, succeed in producing a monotonous uniformity of beauty which will tire their employers avd mankind. This, from the mere - fuga' of sameness, will in no long time be succeeded by some monstrous and fantastic taste, which in its turn, and in somne happier day, will once more give place to the supremacy of

truth and nature.

[blocks in formation]

The superlative merits of the writer, and the enchantment of the subject itself have left us little space, and less inclination to bestow much time on the editor or the present impression. To Dr. Hunter, however, considerable credit is due for the scientific arrangement of trees and shrubs which he has added, in their respective places, to the text, for the valuable hints which he has every where scattered on the modern improvements in sowing and planting, and above all, for the admirable portrait of his author by Bartolozzi

, which, under the lean and fallen features of age, exhibits all the intelligence and fire of youth. In the last edition, such is the state of the engravings, (perhaps unavoidably,) that the possessors of the earlier impressions may felicitate themselves on their good fortune.

On the subject of physiology, and the internal organization of plants, something has been added by Dr. Hunter, perhaps as much as was then understood--though the observations of Malpighi and Grew, at a much earlier period, were excellent. “Many things, however,' says the editor, yet remain to be discovered,' (p. 418,) and, in the last four years, experiment and observation appear to have completed the work.

On comparing Mr. Evelyn's unarranged enumeration of trees and shrubs cultivated among us in his time, with the few and unimportant additions to the catalogue of trees cultivated in England, which appear in the scientific arrangement of his editor, adapted to the close of the last century, it is impossible not to remark, that during a period of activity and improvement in every other department unequalled in any former age, the British sylva, as far as relates to the introduction of new species, appears to have been nearly at a stand. The cold regions of New England, of Russia and Norway, had, indeed, already added to the remains of our indigenous pine forests many varieties of that valuable tribe; while our immense acquirements on the torrid plains of Hindostan afforded no acquisitions but for the hothouse: the present reign, however, has opened a new southern continent, resembling in climate that of Constantinople, and abounding with varieties of trees and shrubs which would unquestionably bear the ordinary severities of an English winter. The southern shores of the Euxine had long before been explored by Clusius and Tournefort, and the fruit of their researches, and of some other early botanists, was not only the horse chesnut, at once a forest tree of the first magnitude, and a flowering shrub of the greatest beauty, but the laurel, and many other shrubs, unlike that great ornament of our winter walks, of the finest scent.

The climate of the great southern continent, at least that of our settlements upon it, we have already said, is nearly the same with


bat of Pontus. Thither we annually export whole cargoes of vice ad guilt, and thence, to purify our own air, we might import innumerable varieties of vegetable beauty; but, to the disgrace of a elegant and scientific age, the door is shut. The vigilance of our doganeri is equally directed to the detection of imports properly contraband, and to articles of no intrinsic value, but objects sometimes of pure curiosity and sometimes of great national utility. Restrictions so unprofitable, and so little in the contemplation of a liberal government, but connived at in the conduct of men habitually coarse and violent, are worthy only of a despotic sovereignty de of a barbarous age.

A27. V. A Journey through Persia, Armenia, and Asia Minor, tu Constantinople, in 1808 and 1809; in which is included some Account of the Proceedings of his Majesty's Mission under Sir Hurford Jones to the Court of the King of Persia. By James Morier, Esq. Secretary, 8c. London. 1812. A Geographical Memoir of the Persian Empire, accompanied by a "Map. By John Macdonald Kinneir, political Assistant to Brigadier General Sir J. Malcolm, in his Mission to the Court of Persia. London. 1813. THAT the Persian empire flourished in all the arts and luxuries

of the east, when the western world gave shelter, in its woods and wilds, to a few hordes of savagés, the most ancient and authentic records, both sacred and profane, afford unequivocal testanony; every where the Scriptures display a distinct and intimate knowledge of the local and political concerns of this empire; and the father of profane history details, with the exactness of local miormation, the principal transactions by which its sovereigns were distinguished.

By what particular tribe of people Persia was originally inhabited must remain a matter of conjecture; that they were of the Scythian or Tartar race is more than probable, as the Parsees or Guebres, undoubtedly the most ancient and the least mixed of the Persians, have few if any of the lineaments of the Hindoo countenance, whilst the remarkable Tartar eye and olive complexion are universally discoverable among this tribe. The modern Persians, however, can hardly be said to possess any peculiar national character; the original traits having been defaced by the various revolutions of the government, the frequent change of masters, and the introduction of new systems of morals and Without ascending higher than the third century of the Chris


tian era, beyond which indeed we have no regular and unbroken series of Persian annals, this unfortunate country will appear to have been governed and overrun alternately by the Turcomans, the Affghans, and more northern Tartars, on the one side, and by the Mahomedan Arabs on the other; it had before this period received, at various times, under its protection, the Christians of Egypt, Syria, and Armenia: it has never ceased to carry off by force, or procure by traffic, the beautiful girls of Georgia and Circassia, who have given birth to many of its kings and khans; and when, to all these, we add the populous colonies established in the country by the Greeks after the conquests of Alexander, one of which, that of Seleucia alone, is said to have contained 300 nobles, and 600,000 citizens, we shall find it as difficult to make out the pedigree of a modern Persian as of a 'true-born Englishman. The difference in this respect is very remarkable between the Persians and almost every other people of Asia, but particularly the Hindoos and Chinese, whose national contempt for foreign connection has preserved them, for ages, the same unvarying, unmixed race, through all the revolutions which their respective countries have undergone.

The boundaries and extent of the Persian empire have been as changeable as their national character. In the reign of Ardsbir, better known as Artaxerxes Babegan, who, about the 220th year of the Christian era, established the house of the Sassanides, it was circumscribed by the Araxes and Euphrates, the Oxus and Indus, the Caspian sea and the Persian gulph. At the present day it is not easy to assig» any precise boundary, nor to mark the extent over which the authority of the reigning monarch may be said to reach. To ibe northward the Russians for some years past have been pressing upon Persia, and to the eastward and westward its ancient limits are considerably narrowed by the Turks, the Tartars, and the Affghans: yet the pride of the king of kings' would have it understood that his power and extent of doininion are not inferior to those enjoyed by Ardshir.

Supposing, however, what may strictly be called Persia, though not all of it obedient to the sway of the present sovereign, to extend from the river Tigris on the west, to the Aroba on the eastern frontier of Hindostan; and from the kur and the Tidjen (on the east and west of the Caspian) to the Persian gulph and Indian ocean, it will form a parallelogram of about 1200 by 1000 miles, comprehending an area of 1,200,000 square miles: of this area one-third part at least consists of arid deserts, salt lakes, and marshes covered with jungle; and more than another third of naked mountains. "There is not in all the world (Chardin says) that country which hath more mountains and


brer rivers;' and he adds, that not one-twelfth part of it was eider inhabited or under any sort of cultivation.' Some of the suntains he describes of such a height, that their “tops and szomits are beyond the reach of the eye of man.' The principel ranges are ramifications of Caucasus and Taurus; but we are be aware that any traveller has ventured even to estimate the keght of any one point of these ranges. Few of them, except be in the provinces of Mazanderaun and Ghilan, on the south and south-west sides of the Caspian, produce any timber; but those branches of the Caucasian mountains are well clothed with cs, chesnut, acacia, walnut, sycamore, pines, cedars, poplars, al bany other kinds of trees, some of very large dimensions.

“There is not a single river,' continues Chardin, ó that can cant a boat into the heart of the kingdom, or serve to transport cazedities from one province to another. This is true; the Espárates and the Tigris, the Indus and the Oxus, were conakred in his time as the frontier rivers, but none of them enter Persia and those of the interior are either inconsiderable streams, ir such as, gradually diminishing from their sources, lose themselries, like those of Africa, in marshes or sandy deserts; of the batter

, the most celebrated is that which is usually called the Great Sit desert. It cuts through the very heart of the empire, “ being in len cth about 400 miles, and in breadth 250;' and if to this be ated the desert of Kerman, which may in fact be considered as a continuation of the former, its length will be extended to 750 miles. This dreary waste produces nothing but a few saline and puerulent plants, such as various species of atriplex, salsola, 38embryanthemum, &c. Of the Great Sandy desert of Mekran, ubere, according to Arrian, the beasts of burthen belonging to the zay of Alexander bad nearly been smothered, we cannot convey a better idea than Mr. Pottinger's description, as we find it in Mr.


* The great desert is estimated by Mr. Pottinger to extend from the tanks of the Heermund to the great range of mountains which sesurates the southern from the northern division of Mekran, a distance fi four cr four hundred and fifty miles, and from the town of Nooshky to that of Jask, a distance of rather more than two hundred miles. The sand of this desert is of a reddish colour, and so light that, when taken in the hand, the particles are scarcely palpable. It is raised by the wind into longitudinal waves which present, on the side towards the point from which the wind blows, a gradual slope from the base, but on the other side rise perpendicularly to the height of ten or twenty fret

, and at a distance have the appearance of a new brick wall. Mr. Pertinger had great difficulty in urging his camel over these waves, especially when it was necessary to ascend the perpendicular or Leeward side of them. They ascended the sloping side with more


« AnteriorContinuar »