Sylva, Vol. 1 (of 2) - Or A Discourse of Forest Trees
by John Evelyn
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9
Home - Random Browse

15. Pyracantha, both for its perpetual verdure, if the fences had not already challeng'd it, chap. 20. lib. I.

16. The lauro-cerasus on cherry-bay, which by the use we commonly put it to, seems as if it had been only destin'd for hedges, and to cover bare walls: Being planted upright, and kept to the standard, by cutting away the collateral branches, and maintaining one stem, will rise to a very considerable tree; and (for the first twenty years) resembling the most beautiful-headed orange, in shape and verdure, arrive in time to emulate even some of our lusty timber-trees; so as I dare pronounce the laurel to be one of the most proper and ornamental trees for walks and avenues, of any growing.

17. Pity it is they are so abus'd in the hedges, where the lower branches growing sticky and dry, by reason of their frequent and unseasonable cutting (with the genius of the tree, which is to spend much in wood) they never succeed, after the first six or seven years; but are to be new-planted again, or abated to the very roots for a fresh shoot, which is best, and soon would furnish the places. In a word; as to the pruning of evergreen-hedges, there is no small skill and address to be us'd, in forming and trimming them for beauty and stability; by leaving the lower parts next the ground broader (two foot were sufficient for the thickness of the tallest hedge) than the tops, gradually, so as not much to exceed a foot breadth at the upmost verge, (as architects diminish walls of stone and brick from the foundation) for they will else be apt to bend and swagg, especially laden with Winter-snows or ice; grow too thick, heat, wither, and foul within, dry and sticky especially; when it were more than time they were cut close to earth, for a fresh and verdant Spring; and this method is to be practis'd in all hedges whatsoever.

18. But would you yet improve the standard which I celebrate, to greater and more speedy exaltation? Bud your laurel on the black-cherry stock to what height you please: This I had from an ocular testimony, who was more than somewhat doubtful of such alliances; though something like it in Palladius speaks it not so impossible;

A cherry graft on laurel-stock does stain The virgin fruit in a deep double grain.{308:1}

19. They are rais'd of the seeds or berries with extraordinary facility, or propagated by layers, taleae, and cuttings, set about the latter end of August, or earlier at St. James-tide, where-ever there is shade and moisture. Besides that of the wood, the leaves of this laurel boil'd in milk, impart a very grateful tast of the almond; and of the berry (or cherries rather, of which poultrey generally feed on) is made a wine, to some not unpleasant: I find little concerning the uses of this tree; of the wood are said to be made the best plow-handles. Now that this rare tree was first brought from Civita Vecchia into England, by the Countess of Arundel, wife to that illustrious patron of arts and antiquities, Thomas Earl of Arundel and Surrey, Great Great Grand-Father to his Grace the present Duke of Norfolk, whom I left sick at Padoa, where he died; highly displeased at his grand-son Philip's putting on the friars-frock, tho' afterwards the purple, when Cardinal of Norfolk: After all, I cannot easily assent to the tradition, tho' I had it from a noble hand: I rather think it might first be brought out of some more northerly clime, the nature of the tree so delighting and flourishing in the shady and colder exposures, and abhorrence of heat.

To crown this chapter then, tho' in the last place, (for so finis coronat opus) we reserve the bay tree.

20. Bays, [laurus vulgaris]. The learned Isaac Vossius and etymologists are wonderfully curious, in their conjecture concerning its derivation; (a laude says Issidor,) and from the ingenious poet, we learn how it became sacred to Apollo, the patron of the wits, and ever since the meed of conquerors and heroic persons. But leaving fiction, we pass to the culture of this noble and fragrant tree, propagated both by their seeds, roots, suckers or layers: They (namely, the berries) should be gather'd dropping-ripe: Pliny has a particular process for the ordering of them, not to be rejected, which is to gather them in January, and spreading them till their sweat be over; then he puts them in dung and sows them: As for the steeping in wine, water does altogether as well, others wash the seeds from their mucilage, by breaking and bruising glutinous berries; then sow them in rich ground in March, by scores in a heap; and indeed so they will come up in clusters, but nothing so well, nor fit for transplantation, as where they are interr'd with a competent scattering, so as you would furrow pease: Both this way, and by setting them apart (which I most commend) I have rais'd multitudes, and that in the berries, kept in sand till the Spring, without any farther preparation; only for the first two years, they would be defended from the piercing winds, which frequently destroy them; and yet the scorching of their tender leaves ought not to make you despair, for many of them will recover beyond expectation; nay, tho' quite cut down, they repullulate and produce young suckers: Such as are rais'd of berries, may at 3 years growth be transplanted; which let alone too long, are difficult to take.

21. This aromatic tree greatly loves the mothers shade, (under which nothing else will prosper) yet thrives best in our hottest gravel, having once pass'd those first difficulties: Age, and culture about the roots, wonderfully augment its growth; so as I have seen trees near thirty foot high of them, and almost two foot diameter. They make walking-staves, strait, strong and light, for old gentlemen; and are fit also both for arbour and palisade-work, so the gardener understand when to prune and keep it from growing too woody. And here I cannot but take notice of those beautiful case-standards, which of late you have had out of Flanders, &c. with stems so even and upright; heads so round, full, and flourishing, as seem to exceed all the topiary ornaments of the garden; that one tree of them has been sold for more than twenty pounds; tho' now the mystery reveal'd, the price be much abated: And doubtless as good might be rais'd here, (without sending beyond-sea for them) were our gardeners as industrious to cultivate and shape them: Some there are, who imagine them of another species than our ordinary bay, but erroneously. I wonder we plant not whole groves of them, and abroad; they being hardy enough, grow upright, and would make a noble daphneon. The berries are emollient, soveraign in affections of the nerves, collics, gargarisms, baths, salves, and perfumes: Bay-leaves dryed in a fire-pan, and reduc'd to a fine powder, as much as will cover half a crown, being drank in wine, seldom fail of curing an ague. And some have us'd the leaves instead of cloves, imparting its relish in sauce, especially of fish; and the very dry sticks of the tree, strew'd over with a little powder or dust of sulphur, and vehemently rub'd against one another, will immediately take fire; as will likewise the wood of an old ivy; nay, without any intentive addition, by friction only.

21. Amongst other things, it has of old been observ'd that the bay is ominous of some funest accident, if that be so accounted which Suetonius (in Galba) affirms to have happen'd before the death of the monster Nero, when these trees generally wither'd to the very roots in a very mild winter: And much later, that in the year 1629, when at Padoa, preceding a great pestilence, almost all the bay-trees about that famous University grew sick and perish'd: Certo quasi praesagio (says my author) Apollinem musaque subsequenti anno urbe illa bonarum literarum domicilio excessuras. —But that this was extraordinary, we are told the emperor Claudius upon occasion of a raging pestilence, was by his physicians advis'd to remove his court to Laurentium, the aromatick emissions of that tree being in such reputation for clearing the air, and resisting contagion; upon which account I question not but Pliny (the nephew) was so frequently at his beloved Laurentium, so near the city. Besides, for their vertue against lightning, which Tiberius so exceedingly dreaded, that when it came with thunder, he would creep under his bed to avoid it, and shaded his head with the boughs. The story of the branch in the bill of the white-hen, let fall into the lap of Livia Drusilla, being planted, prosper'd so floridly, as made it reputed so sacred, as to use it for impaling the heads of the triumphing emperors, and to adorn the limina of the temples and royal palace of the great Pontiff; and thence call'd janitrices Caesarum:

Cum tandem apposita velantur limina lauro, Cingit & Augustas arbor opaca fores! Num quia perpetuos meruerunt ista triumphos?

As still at present in Rome and other cities, they use to trim up their churches and monastries on solemn festivals, when there is station and indulgences granted in honour of the saint or patron; as also on occasion of signal victories, and other joyful tidings; and those garlands made up with hobby-horse tinsel, make a glitterring show, and rattling noise when the air moves them.

With the leaves of laurel, they made up their dispatches and letters, laureis involutae, wrapt in bay-leaves, which they sent to the senate from the victorious general: The spears, lances and fasces, nay, tents and ships, &c. were all dress'd up with laurels; and in triumph every common-soldier carryed a sprig in their hand, as we may see in the ancient and best bass-relievo of the ancients, as of virtue to purge them from blood and slaughter. And now after all this, might one conjecture by a mere inspection of those several sculps, statues, and medals yet exstant, representing the heads of emperors, poets, &c. the wreaths and coronets seem to be compos'd of a more flexible and compliant species than the common bay, and more applicable to the brows, except where the ends and stalks of the tender branch were tyed together with a lemnisc or ribbon. And there be yet{313:1} who contend for the Alexandrian laurel, and the tinus as more ductile; but without any good evidence. Pliny I find says nothing of this question, naming only the Cyprian and Delphic; besides, the figure, colour of the rind and leaf, crackling in the fire, which it impugns, (as 'tis said it does lightning) gives plainly the honour of it to the common bay. We say nothing of its sacred use in the Gentile lustration, purgation, and several other attributes. To conclude;

From laurel{313:3} chew'd the Pythian priestess rose, Events of future actions to disclose. Laurel triumphant generals did wear, And laurel heralds in their hands did bear. Poets ambitious of unfading praise, Phoebus, the Muses all are crown'd with bays. And vertue to her sons the prize does name Symbol of glory, and immortal fame.{313:2}

I have now finish'd my planting: A word or two concerning their preservation, and the cure of their infirmities, expect in the following chapter.



Arbuteae crates, & mystica vannus Iacchi.

Georg. 1.


............Non ultima belli Arma puellaris; laqueos haec nectit amantum, Et venatricis disponit retia formae.

Couleii pl. l. 6.


Quam multa arboribus tribuuntur crimina falsa?


Hic ver perpetuum, atque alienis mensibus aestas.


.....Mala furta hominum densis mucronibus arcens Securum defendit inexpugnabilis hortum; Exornatque simul, toto spectabilis anno, Et numero, & viridi foliorum luce nitentum.

Couleii Pl. l. 6.


Inseritur lauro cerasus, partuque coacto Tingit adoptivus virginis ora pudor.

{313:1} Carol. Avanti not. in cornan. Bapt. Fiera.


Tu sacros Phoebi tripodas, tu sidera sentis, Et casus aperis rerum praesaga futuros. Te juvat armorum strepitus, clangorque tubarum; Perque acies medias, saevique pericula belli, Accendis bellantum animos; te Cynthius ipse, Te Musae, vatesque sacri optavere coronam: Ipsa suis virtus te spem proponit alumnis, Tantum servatus valuit pudor, & bona fama.


{313:3} Daphnephagi were such as after eating the leaves of the bay, became inspir'd.


Of the infirmities of trees, &c.

So many are the infirmities and sicknesses of trees, and indeed of the whole family of vegetables, that it were almost impossible to enumerate and make a just catalogue of them; and as difficult to such infallible cures and remedies as could be desired; the effects arising from so many, and such different causes: Whenever therefore our trees and plants fail and come short of the fruit and productions we expect of them, (if the fault be not in our want of care) it is certainly to be attributed to those infirmities, to which all elementary things are obnoxious, either from the nature of the things themselves, and in themselves, or from some outward injury, not only through their being unskilfully cultivated by men, and expos'd to hurtful beasts, but subject to be prey'd upon and ruin'd by the most minute and despicable insect, besides other casualties and accidents innumerable, according to the rustick rhyme,

The calf, the wind-shoc and the knot, The canker, scab, scurf, sap and rot,

affecting the several parts: These invade the roots; stony and rocky grounds, ivy, and all climbers, weeds, suckers, fern, wet, mice, moles, winds, &c. to these may be added siderations, pestiferous air, fogs, excessive heat, sulphurous and arsenic smoak, and vapours, and other plagues, tumours, distortions, lacrymations, tophi, gouts, carbuncles, ulcers, crudities, fungosities, gangreens, and an army more, whereof some are hardly discernable, yet enemies, which not foreseen, makes many a bargain of standing-wood (though seemingly fair) very costly ware: In a word, whatsoever is exitial to men, is so to trees; for the aversion of which, they had of old recourse to the robigalia and other Gentile ceremonies: but no longer abus'd by charmers and superstitious fopperies, we have in this chapter endeavoured to set down and prescribe the best and most approved remedies hitherto found out, as well natural as artificial.

And first, weeds are to be diligently pull'd up by hand after rain, whiles your seedlings are very young, and till they come to be able to kill them with shade, and over-dripping: And then are you for the obstinate, to use the haw, fork, and spade, to extirpate dog-grass, bear-bind, &c.

And here mentioning shade and dripping, though I cannot properly speak of them as infirmities of trees, they are certainly the causes of their unthriving till remov'd; such as that of the oak and mast-holme, wall-nut, pine and fir, &c. the thickness of the leaves intercepting the sun and rain; whilst that of other trees good, as the elm, and several other.

2. Suckers shall be duly eradicated, and with a sharp spade dexterously separated from the mother-roots, and transplanted in convenient places for propagation, as the season requires.

Here note, that fruit graffed upon suckers, are more dispos'd to produce suckers, than such as are propagated upon good stocks.

3. Fern, is best destroy'd by striking off the tops, as Tarquin did the heads of the poppies: This done with a good wand, or cudgel, at the decrease in the Spring, and now and then in Summer, kills it (as also it does nettles) in a year or two, (but most infallibly, by being eaten down at its spring, by Scotch-sheep) beyond the vulgar way of mowing, or burning, which rather encreases, than diminishes it.

4. Over-much wet is to be drain'd by trenches, where it infests the roots of such kinds as require drier ground: But if a drip do fret into the body of a tree by the head (which will certainly decay it) cutting first the place smooth, stop and cover it with loam and hay, or a cerecloth, till a new bark succeed. But not only the wet, which is to be diverted by trenching the ground, is exitial to many trees, but their repletion of too abundant nourishment; and therefore sometimes there may be as much occasion to use the lancet, as phlebotomy and venaesection to animals; especially if the hypothesis hold, of the superfluous moisture's descent into the roots, to be re-concocted; but where, in case it be more copious than{316:1} can be there elaborated, it turns to corruption, and sends up a tainted juice, which perverts the whole habit of the tree: In this exigence therefore, it were perhaps more counsellable to draw it out by a deep incision, and to depend upon a new supply, than upon confidence of correcting this evil quality, by other medications, to let it perish. Other causes of their sickness (not always taken notice of) proceed from too liberal refreshments and over-watering in dry and scorching seasons; especially in nurseries: The water should therefore be fitly qualify'd, neither brackish, bitter, stagnat, or putrid, sower, acrimonious, vitriolic, arenous and gravelly, churlish, harsh and lean; (I mention them promiscuously) and whatever vicious quality they are perceptibly tinctur'd and impregnate with, being by no means proper drink for plants: Wherefore a very critical examen of this so necessary an element (the very principle, as some think, and only nutriment of vegetables){317:1} is highly to be regarded, together with more than ordinary skill how to apply it: In order to which, the constitution and texture of plants and trees are philosophically to be consider'd; some affecting macerations with dung and other mixtures (which I should not much commend) others quite contrary, the quick and running spring, dangerous enough, and worse than snow-water, which is not in some cases to be rejected: Generally therefore that were to be chosen, which passing silently through ponds and other receptacles, exposed to the sun and air, nearest approaching to that of rain, dropping from the uberous cloud, is certainly the most natural and nursing: As to the quantity, some plants require plentiful watering, others, rather often, than all at once; all of them sucking it in by the root for the most part, which are their mouths, and carry it thence through all the canales, organs and members of the whole vegetable body, digested and qualified so as to maintain and supply their being and growth, for the producing of whatever they afford for the use of man, and other living creatures.

5. The bark-bound are to be released by drawing your knife rind-deep from the root, as far as you can conveniently, drawing your knife from the top downwards half-way, and at a small distance, from the bottom upwards, the other half; this, in more places, as the bulk of the stem requires; and if crooked, cut deep, and frequent in the ham; and if the gaping be much filling the rift with a little cow-dung; do this on each side, and at Spring, February or March: Also cutting off some branches is profitable; especially such as are blasted, or lightning-struck: If (as sometimes also) it proceed from the baking of the earth about the stem, lighten, and stir it.

6. The teredo, cossi, and other worms, lying between the body and the bark, (which it separates) poyson that passage to the great prejudice of some trees; but the holes being once found, they are to be taken out with a light incision, the wound covered with loam; or let the dry-part of the wood (bark and all) be cut: applying only a wash of piss and vinegar twice or thrice a week during a month: The best means to find out their quarters, is to follow the wood-pecker, and other birds, often pitching upon the stem (as you may observe them) and knocking with their bills, give notice that the tree is infected, at least, between the bark. But there are divers kinds of these xylophagoi of which the teredon or tarmes we have mentioned, will sometimes make such a noise in a tree, as to awaken a sleeping man: The more rugous are the cossi, of old had in deliciis amongst the epicures, who us'd to fatten them in flower; and this, (as Tertullian, and S. Hierom tells us) was the chief food of the hierophantae Cereris; as they are at this day a great regalo in Japan: In the mean time, experience has taught us, that millipedes wood-lice (to be plentifully found under old timber-logs, being dry'd and reduc'd to powder, and taken in drink) are an admirable specific against the jaundies, scorbut, &c. to purifie the blood, and clarifie the sight.

There is a pestilent green-worm which hides it self in the earth, and gets into pots and cases, eating our seedlings, and gnawing the very roots, which should be searched out: And now we mention roots, over-grown toads will sometimes nestle at the roots of trees, when they make a cavern, which they infect with a poysonous vapour, of which the leaves famish'd and flagging give notice, and the enemy dug out with the spade: But this chiefly concerns the gardners mural fruit-trees; though I question not but that even our forest-trees suffer by such pernicious vapours, rats, and other stinking vermine making their nests within them. But of all these, let our industrious planter, (especially the learned favourers of the most refined parts of horticulture) consult the Discourses and experiments of Sign. Fran. Redi, Malphigius, Levenhock, Swamerdam, &c. with our own learned Doctors, Lyster, Sloane, Hook, (and other sagacious naturalists) to shew, that none of these diseases and infirmities in plants proceed from any pure accidental, but real cause; flatus, venemous liquor, and infections: Which some, even of the minutest animals, are provided with instruments to pierce the very solid substances of trees and plants, and infuse their pestiferous taint; where likewise they leave their eggs, boaring those nestling places with a certain terebra, where we find those innumerable perforations which we call worm-eaten; the wider latebrae are made by erucae, caterpillars, ants, and bigger insects, raising morbid tumors and excrescences, and preying upon the fruit, as well as on the leaves, buds and flowers, so soon as their eggs are hatch'd, when they creep out of their little caverns in armies, like the Egyptian locusts, invading all that's green, and tender rudiments first, and then attacking the tougher and solider parts of vegetables: To those learned persons above, we may not forget the late worthy and pious Mr. Ray, where in the second part of his treatise, of the Wisdom of God in the Creation, we have a brief, but ingenious account of what concerns this subject, together with what is added about spontaneous productions of these despicable animals, to which I refer the curious.

Trees (especially fruit-bearers) are infested with the measels, by being burned and scorched with the sun in great droughts: To this commonly succeeds lousiness, which is cur'd by boring an hole into the principal root, and pouring in a quantity of brandy, stopping the orifice up with a pin of the same wood.

Crooked trees are reform'd by taking off or topping the praeponderers, whilst charg'd with leaves, or woody and hanging counterpoises.

Excorticated and bark-bared trees, may be preserved by nourishing up a shoot from the foot, or below the stripped place, and inserting it into a slit above the wounded part; to be done in the Spring, and secur'd from air, as you treat a graff: This I have out of the very industrious Mr. Cook, p. 48. But Dr. Merret brought us in this relation to the Royal Society, that making a square section of the rinds of ash, and sycomore (March 1664,) whereof three sides were cut, and one not, the success was, that the whole bark did unite, being bound with pack-thread, leaving only a scar: But being separated intirely from the tree, namely several parts of the bark, and at various depths, leaving on some part of the bark, others cut to the very wood it self, being tied on as the former, a new rind succeeded in their place; but what was cover'd over beyond the places of incision with diachylon plaister, and also bound as the rest, did within the space of three weeks, unite to the tree, tho' with some shriveling and scar: The same experiment try'd about Michaelmas, and in the Winter, came to nothing: Where some branches were decorticated quite round, without any union, a withering of the branch beyond the incision, ensu'd: Also a twig separated from a branch, with a sloping cut, and fastn'd to it again in the same posture, bound and cover'd with the former plaister, wither'd in three days time: Among other easie remedies, a cere-cloth of fresh-butter and hony, apply'd whilst the wound is green, (especially in Summer) and bound about with a thrum-rope of moist hay, and rubb'd with cow-dung has healed many: But for rare and more tender trees, after pruning, take purely refined tallow, mingled and well harden'd with a little loamy earth, and horse-dung newly made.

Dr. Plot speaks of an elm growing near the bowling-green at Magdalen-College, quite round disbark'd almost for a yard near the ground, which yet flourishes exceedingly; upon which he dilates into an accurate discourse, how it should possibly be; all trees being held to receive their nutrition between the wood and the bark, and to perish upon their separation; this tree being likewise hollow as a drum, and its outmost surface (where decorticated) dry, and dead. The solution of this phaenomenon (and to all appearance, from the verdant head) could not have been more philosophically resolv'd, than by the hypothesis there produc'd by the Doctor, who assures me, he was yet deliberating whether the tree being hollow, it might not possibly proceed from some other latent cause, as afterwards he discover'd when having obtain'd permission to open the body of it, he found another elm, letting down its stem all the length of this empty case, and striking root when it came to the earth, from whence it deriv'd nourishment, maintains a flourishing top, and has (till now) pass'd for a little miracle, as it still may do for a thing extraordinary, and rare enough; considering not only its passage, and how it should come there, unless haply some of the samera, or seed of the old tree (when pregnant) should have luckily fallen down within the hollow pipe, or (as might be conjectur'd) from some sucker springing of a juicy root: But the strange incorporating of the superior part of the bole, with the old hollow tree which embraces it, not by any perceptible roots, but as if it were but one body with it, whilst the rest of the vaginated stem touches no other part of the whole cavity, till it comes to the ground, is surprizing. This being besides very extraordinary, that a tree, which naturally grows taper as it approaches the top, should swell, and become bigger there than it is below. But this the Doctor will himself render a more minute account of in the next impression of that excellent piece of his; nor had I anticipated it on this occasion, but to let the world know (in the mean time) how ingenuously ready he is to acknowlege the mistake, as he has been successful in discovering it.

Deer, conies, and hares, by barking the trees in hard Winters, spoil very many tender plantations: Next to the utter destroying them, there is nothing better than to anoint that part which is within their reach, with stercus humanum, tempered with a little water, or urine, and lightly brushed on; this renewed after every great rain: But a cleanlier than this, and yet which conies, and even cattle most abhor, is to water, or sprinkle them with tanners liquor, viz. that, which they use for dressing their hides; or to wash with slak'd lime and water, altogether as expedient: Also to tye thumb-bands of hay and straw round them as far as they can reach.

8. Moss, (which is an adnascent plant) is to be rubb'd and scrap'd off with some fit instrument of wood, which may not excorticate the tree, or with a piece of hair-cloth after a sobbing rain; or by setting it on fire with a wisp of straw, about the end of December, if the season be dry, as they practise it in Stafford-shire; but the most infallible art of emuscation, is taking away the cause, (which is superfluous moisture in clayie and spewing grounds) by dressing with lime.

9. Ivy is destroy'd by digging up the roots and loosning its hold: And yet even ivy it self (the destruction of many fair trees) if very old, and where it has long invested its support, if taken off) does frequently kill the tree, by a too sudden exposure to the unaccustom'd cold: Of the roots of ivy (which with small industry may be made a beautiful standard) are made curiously polish'd, and fleck'd cups and boxes, and even tables of great value. Misselto, and other excrescences to be cut and broken off. But the fungi (which prognosticate a fault in the liver and entrails of trees, as we may call it) is remedied by abrasion, friction, interlucation and exposure to the sun.

10. The bodies of trees are visited with canker, hollowness, hornets, earwigs, snails, &c.

11. The wind-shock is a bruise, and shiver throughout the tree, though not constantly visible, yet leading the warp from smooth renting, caused by over-powerful winds, when young, and perhaps, by subtil lightnings, by which the strongest oaks (and other the most robust trees) are fain to submit, and will be twisted like a rope of hemp, and therefore of old not us'd to kindle the sacrifice. The same injury trees likewise often suffer by rigorous and piercing colds and frosts; such as in the year 1683, rived many stately timber-trees from head to foot; which as the weather grew milder, clos'd again, so as hardly to be discern'd; but were found at the felling miserably shatter'd, and good for little: The best prevention is shelter, choice of place for the plantation, frequent shreading, whilst they are yet in their youth. Wind-shaken is also discover'd by certain ribs, boils and swellings on the bark, beginning at the foot of the stem, and body of the tree, to the boughs. But against such frosts and fire from heaven there is no charm.

12. Cankers, of all other diseases the most pernicious, corroding and eating to the heart, and difficult to cure, whether (caused by some stroak, or galling, or by hot and burning land) are to be cut out to the quick, the scars emplastred with tar mingled with oyl, and over that, a thin spreading of loam; or else with clay and horse-dung; but best with hogs-dung alone, bound to it in a rag; or by laying wood-ashes, nettles, or fern to the roots, &c. You will know if the cure be effected, by the colour of the wounds growing fresh and green, and not reddish: But if the gangreen be within, it must be cured by nitrous, sulphureous and drying applications, and by no means, by any thing of an unctious nature, which is exitial to trees: Tar, as was said, only excepted, which I have experimentally known to preserve trees from the envenom'd teeth of goats, and other injuries; the entire stem smear'd over, without the least prejudice, to my no small admiration: But for over-hot and torrid land, you must sadden the mould about the root with pond-mud, and neats-dung; and by graffing fruit trees on stocks rais'd in the same mould, as being more homogeneous.

13. Hollowness, is contracted, when by reason of the ignorant, or careless lopping of a tree, the wet is suffer'd to fall perpendicularly upon a part, especially the head, or any other part or arms, in which the rain getting in, is conducted to the very heart of the stem and body of the tree, which it soon rots: In this case, if there be sufficient sound wood, cut it to the quick, and close to the body cap the hollow part with a tarpaulin, or fill it with good stiff loam, horse-dung and fine hay mingled, or with well-temper'd mortar, covering it with a piece of tarpaulin: This is one of the worst of evils, and to which the elm is most obnoxious. Old broken boughs, if very great, are to be cut off at some distance from the body, but the smaller, close.

14. Hornets and wasps, &c. by breeding in the hollowness of trees, not only infect them, but will peel them round to the very timber, as if cattle had unbark'd them, as I observed in some goodly ashes at Casioberry (near the garden of that late noble Lord, and lover of planting, the Earl of Essex), and are therefore to be destroy'd, by stopping up their entrances with tar and goose-dung, or by conveying the fumes of brimstome into their cells: Cantharides attack the ash above all other bobs of the betle kind: Chafers, &c. are to be shaken down and crush'd, and when they come in armies, (as sometimes in extraordinary droughts) they are to be driven away or destroy'd with smoaks; which also kills gnats and flies of all sorts: Note, that the rose-bug never, or very seldom, attacks any other tree, whilst that sweet bush is in flower: Whole fields have been freed from worms by the reek and smoak of ox-dung wrapt in mungy straw, well soak'd with strong lie.

15. Earwigs and snails do seldom infest forest-trees, but those which are fruit-bearers; and are destroy'd by setting boards or tiles against the walls, or the placing of neat-hoofs, or any hollow thing upon small stakes; also by enticing them into sweet waters, and by picking the snails off betimes in the morning, and rainy evenings; I advise you visit your cypress-trees on the first rains in April; you shall sometimes find them cover'd with young snails no bigger than small pease: Lastly, branches, buds and leaves extreamly suffer from the blasts, jaundies, and catterpillars, locusts, rooks, &c. Note, that you should visit the boards, tiles and hoofs which you set for the retreat of those insects, &c. in the heat of the day, to shake them out, and kill them.

16. The blasted parts of trees (and so should gum) be cut away to the quick; and to prevent it, smoak them in suspicious weather, by burning moist straw with the wind, or rather the dry and superfluous cuttings of aromatic plants, such as rosemary, lavender, juniper, bays, &c. I use to whip and chastise my cypresses with a wand, after their winter-burnings, till all the mortified and scorch'd parts fly-off in dust, as long almost as any will fall, and observe that they recover and spring the better. Mice, moles and pismires cause the jaundies in trees, known by the discolour of the leaves and buds.

17. The moles do much hurt, by making hollow passages, which grow musty, but they may be taken in traps, and kill'd, as every woodman knows: It is certain that they are driven from their haunts by garlick for a time, and other heady smells, buried in their passages.

18. Mice, rats, with traps, or by sinking some vessel almost level with the surface of the ground, the vessel half full of water, upon which let there be strew'd some hulls, or chaff of oats; also with bane, powder of orpiment in milk, and aconites mix'd with butter: Cop'ras or green-glass broken with honey: Morsels of sponge chopp'd small and fry'd in lard, &c. are very fit baits to destroy these nimble creatures, which else soon will ruin a semination of nuts, acorns and other kernels in a night or two, and rob the largest beds of a nursery, carrying them away by thousands to their cavernous magazines, to serve them all the Winter: I have been told, that hop-branches stuck about trees, preserve them from these theivish creatures.

19. Destroy pismires with scalding water, and disturbing their hills, or rubbing the stem with cow-dung, or a decoction of tithymale, washing the infested parts; and this will insinuate, and chase them quite out of the chinks and crevices, without prejudice to the tree, and is a good prevention of other infirmities; also by laying soot, sea-coal, or saw-dust, or refuse tobacco where they haunt, often renew'd, especially after rain; for becoming moist, the dust and powder harden, and then they march over it.

20. Caterpillars, by cutting off their webs from the twigs before the end of February, and burning them; the sooner the better: If they be already hatched, wash them off with water, in which some of the caterpillars themselves, and garlick have been bruis'd, or the juice of rue, decoctions of colloquintida, hemp-seed, worm-wood, tobacca, wall-nut-shells, when green, with the leaves of sage, urine and ashes, and the like aspersions. Take of two or three of the ingredients, of each an handful in two pails of water; make them boil in it half an hour, then strain the liquor, and sprinkle it on the trees infected with caterpillars, the black-flea, &c. in two or three times it will clear them, and should be us'd about the time of blossoming. Another, is to choak and dry them with smoak of galbanum, shoo-soals, hair; and some affirm that planting the pionie near them, is a certain remedy; but there is no remedy so facile, as the burning them off with small wisps of dry straw, which in a moment rids you.

21. Rooks do in time, by pinching off the buds and tops of trees for their nests, cause many trees and groves to decay: Their dung propagates nettles and choaks young seedlings: They are to be shot, and their nests demolish'd. The bullfinch and titmouse also eat off and spoil the buds of fruit-trees; prevented by clappers, or caught in the wyre mouse-trap with teeth, and baited with a piece of rusty bacon, also with lime-twigs. But if cattle break in before the time, conclamatum est, especially goats, whose mouths and breath is poison to trees; they never thrive well after; and Varro affirms, if they but lick the olive-tree, they become immediately barren. And now we have mention'd barrenness, we do not reckon trees to be sterile, which do not yield a fruitful burden constantly every year (as juniper and some annotines do) no more than of pregnant women: Whilst that is to be accounted a fruitful tree which yields its product every second or third year, as the oak and most forresters do; no more may we conclude that any tree or vegetable are destitute of seeds, because we see them not so perspicuously with our naked eyes, by reason of their exility, as with the nicest examination of the microscope.

22. Another touch at the winds; for though they cannot properly be said to be infirmities of trees; yet they are amongst the principal causes that render trees infirm. I know no surer protection against them, than (as we said) to shelter and stake them whilst they are young, till they have well establish'd roots; and with this caution, that in case any goodly trees (which you would desire especially to preserve and redress) chance to be prostrated by some impetuous and extraordinary storm; you be not over-hasty to carry him away, or despair of him; (nor is it of any ominous concern at all, but the contrary) fausti ominis, as Pliny says; and gives many illustrious instances: And as to other strange and unusual events following the accidental subversion of trees; concerning omens; and that some are portentous, others fortunate, of which see{329:1} Pierius, speaking of a garden of the Duke of Tuscany, belonging to a palace of his at Rome, a little before the death of Pope Leo; and before this, about the time of our country-man, Pope Adrian the IVth. First then, let me perswade you to pole him close, and so let him lie some time; for by this means, many vast trees have rais'd themselves by the vigour only of the remaining roots, without any other assistance; so as people have pronounc'd it miraculous, as I could tell you by several instances, besides what Theophrastus relates, l. 5. c. 19. of that huge platanus, which rose in one night in his observation; which puts me in mind of what I remember the very learned critic Palmerius affirms of an oak, subverted by a late tempest near Breda, (where this old soldier militated under Prince Maurice, at the town when besieg'd by the famous Marq. Spinola) which tree, after it had lain prostrate about 2 months, (the side-branches par'd off) rose up of it self, and flourish'd as well as ever. Which event was thought so extraordinary, that the people reserved sprigs and boughs of it, as sacred reliques; and this he affirms to have seen himself. I take the more notice of these accidents, that none who have trees blown down, where it may cause a deform'd gap in some avenue near their seats, may not altogether despair of their resurrection, with patience and timely freeing them. And the like to this I find happen'd in more than one tree near Bononia in Italy, anno 1657. when of late a turbulent gust had almost quite eradicated a very large tract of huge poplars, belonging to the Marchioness Elephantucca Spada, that universally erected themselves again, after they were beheaded, as they lay even prostrate.{330:1} What says the naturalist? Prostratas restitui plerumque, & quadam terrae cicatrice reviviscere, vulgare est: 'Tis familiar (says Pliny) in the platanus, which are very obnoxious to the winds, by reason of the thickness of their branches, which being cut off and discharged, restore themselves. This also frequently happens in wall-nuts, olive-trees, and several others, as he affirms, l. 16. c. 31. But we have farther instances than these, and so very lately as that dreadful storm happening 26 Nov. 1703, when after so many thousand oaks, and other timber-trees were quite subverted, a most famous and monstrous, oak growing at Epping in Essex, (blown down) raised it self, and withstood that hurricane. These (amongst many others) are the infirmities to which forest-trees are subject, whilst they are standing; and when they are fell'd, to the worm; especially if cut before the sap be perfectly at rest: But to prevent or cure it in the timber, I commend this secret as the most approv'd.

23. Let common yellow sulphur be put into a cucurbit-glass, upon which pour so much of the strongest aqua-fortis, as may cover it three fingers deep: distil this to dryness, which is done by two or three rectifications: Let the sulphur remaining in the bottom (being of a blackish or sad-red colour) be laid on a marble, or put into a glass, where it will easily dissolve into oil: With this, anoint what is either infected, or to be preserved of timber. It is a great and excellent arcanum for tinging the wood with no unpleasant colour, by no art to be washed out; and such a preservative of all manner of woods; nay, of many other things; as ropes, cables, fishing-nets, masts of ships, &c. that it defends them from putrefaction, either in waters under or above the earth, in the snow, ice, air, Winter or Summer, &c. It were superfluous to describe the process of the aqua-fortis; It shall be sufficient to let you know, that our common coperas makes this aqua-fortis well enough for our purpose, being drawn over by a retort: And for sulphur, the Island of St. Christophers yields enough, (which hardly needs any refining) to furnish the whole world. This secret (for the curious) I thought fit not to omit; though a more compendious, three or four anointings with linseed-oyl, has prov'd very effectual: It was experimented in a wall-nut-table, where it destroy'd millions of worms immediately, and is to be practis'd for tables, tubes, mathematical-instruments, boxes, bed-steads, chairs, rarities, &c. Oyl of wall-nuts will doubtless do the same, is sweeter, and a better varnish; but above all, is commended oyl of cedar, or that of juniper; whilst oyl of spike does the cure as effectual as any.

But after all these sweeping plagues and destructions inflicted on trees, (braving all humane remedies) such frosts as not many years{332:1} since hap'ned, left such marks of their deadly effects, not sparing the goodliest and most flourishing trees, timber, and other of the stoutest kind; as some ages will hardly repair: Nay, 'twas observ'd, that the oak in particular (counted the most valiant and sturdy of the whole forest) was more prejudic'd with this excessive cold, and the drowth of the year ensuing, than any of the most nice and tender constitution: Always here excepting (as to a universal strages) the hurricane of Sept. 1703, which begins the epocha of the calamities, which have since follow'd, not only by the late tempest about August{332:2} last, but by that surprizing blast, accompany'd doubtless with a fiery spirit, which smote the most flourishing foresters and fruit trees, burning their buds and leaves to dust and powder, not sparing the very fruit. This being done in a moment, must be look'd upon as a plague not to be prevented: In the mean time, that the malignity proceed no farther, it may be advisable to cut, and top the summities of such tender mural trees, rare shrubs, &c. as have most suffer'd, and are within reach, rubbing off the scorchings in order to new spring.

There was in my remembrance, certain prayers, litanies and collects, solemnly us'd by the parish-minister in the field, at the limits of their perambulations on the Rogation-days; from an ancient and laudable custom of above 1000 years, introduc'd by Avitus the pious bishop of Vienna, in a great dearth, unseasonable weather, and other calamities, (however in tract of time abus'd by many gross superstitions and insignificant rites, in imitation of the pagan robigalia) upon which days, (about the Ascension, and beginning of Spring especially) prayers were made, as well deprecatory of epidemical evils, (amongst which blasts and smut of corn were none of the least) as supplications for propitious seasons, and blessings on the fruits of the earth. Whether there was any peculiar Office, (besides those for Ember-weeks) appointed, I do not know: But the pious and learned bishop of Winchester, [Andrews] has in his Devotions, left us a prayer so apposite and comprehensive for these emergencies, that I cannot forbear the recital.

Remember, O Lord, to renew the year with thy goodness, and the season with a promising temper: For the eyes of all wait upon thee, O Lord: Thou givest them meat; thou openest thy hand, and fillest all things living with thy bounty. Vouchsafe therefore, O Lord, the blessings of the heavens, and the dews from above: The blessings of the springs, and the deep from beneath: The returns of the sun, the conjunctions of the moon: The benefit of the rising mountains, and the lasting hills: The fullness of the earth, and all that breed therein.

A fruitful season, Temperate air, Plenty of corn, Abundance of fruits, Health of body, and Peaceable times, Good, and wise government, Prudent counsels, Just laws, Righteous judgments, Loyal obedience, Due execution of justice, Sufficient store for life, Happy births, Good, and fair plenty, Breeding and institution of children:

That our sons may grow up as the young plants, and our daughters may be as the polished corners of the Temple: That our garners may be full and plenteous with all manner of store: That our sheep may bring forth thousands: That our oxen may be strong to labour: That there be no decay; no leading into captivity; no complaining in our streets: But that every man may sit under his own vine, and under his own fig-tree, in thankfulness to thee; sobriety and charity to his neighbour; and in whatsoever other estate, thou wilt have him, therewith to be contented: And this for Jesus Christ his sake, to whom be glory for ever, Amen.

24. Thus hitherto I have spoken of trees, their kinds, and propagation in particular; with such prescriptions for the cure and healing their infirmities, as from long and late experience have been found most effectual. Now a word or two concerning the laws relating to forest-trees, casting such other accidental lessons into a few aphorisms, as could not well be more regularly inserted.

Lastly, I shall conclude with some more serious observations, in reference to the main design and project of this discourse, as it concerns the improvement of the royal forests, and other timber-trees, for the honour, security, and benefit of the whole kingdom; with an historical account of standing-groves, which will be the subject of the next books.


{316:1} See Cap. 3 lib. 3 sect. 25.

{317:1} See Cap. 2 Book 1.

{329:1} Hierog. l. 50.

{330:1} See cap. 4. lib. 2. of a cypress.

{332:1} 1683.

{332:2} 1705.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *


The spelling and punctuation in the original are idiosyncratic and inconsistent. A few clear typographical errors have been corrected, and are noted below.

Citations have not been checked for correctness; errors that came to the transcriber's attention are noted below. Citation references do not always follow a standard format.

Modern conventions are not used for parentheses (). In particular, nested parentheses are opened many times, but closed only once, or vice versa.

The arabic numeral 1 and the roman numeral I are indistinguishable in the original. It has not always been possible to tell unambiguously which was meant.

Many footnote markers are midway between two words in the original. They have been left like that in this transcription. The markers for many footnotes giving the source of poetry quotations are at the beginning of the relevant quotation in the original. They have been moved to the end of the quotation for ease of presentation.


Table of Contents

"Holly, Pyracinth," changed to "Holly, Pyracanth," on page vi

Volume II (books III and IV), whose contents are listed on page vii, is not included in this etext.

Introduction Sec.I

"Newton in mathamatical" changed to "Newton in mathematical" on page ix

"Secretary of the Admirality" changed to "Secretary of the Admiralty" on page xv

Introduction Sec.III

"he was bled of the physican" changed to "he was bled of the physician" on page xxvii

Introduction Sec.V

"these numerous parishes),' " changed to "these numerous parishes'), " on page xxxix

"commerial work controlled by the Council of Plantations" changed to "commercial work controlled by the Council of Plantations" on page xlv

Introduction Sec.VI

"In May 1904" changed to "In May 1694" on page li

"During the course of his long and distinguised life" changed to "During the course of his long and distinguished life" on page liii.

Introduction Sec.VIII

"Quarterly Review aricles was connected" changed to "Quarterly Review articles was connected" on page lxv

"a royal proclamamation" changed to "a royal proclamation" on page lxvi

Title page of 4th edition

"Richard Cbiswell in St. Paul's Churchyard" changed to "Richard Chiswell in St. Paul's Churchyard" on page lxxiii

To the King

"Monarchs of this Nation, since" changed to "Monarchs of this Nation, since" on page lxxv

Footnotes lxxx:2 and lxxx:3

In the original, the marker for footnote 2 on page lxxx was by "not the Majesty of a Consul", but the text of footnote 3 clearly belongs to this marker. It has been assumed that footnote 2 actually belongs to the latin quotation ending "nec ullius acuminis Rusticationem."

Footnote lxxxiii:1

The marker for this footnote is missing in the original. The footnote refers to the latin quotation ending "neque Discipulos cognovi."

To the Reader

"their scatter'd Phoenomena" changed to "their scatter'd Phaenomena" on page lxxxviii

"Ptolemoean Hypotheses" changed to "Ptolemaean Hypotheses" on page lxxxix

"on which to lay the stress,;" changed to "on which to lay the stress;" on page lxxxix

"Parts thoughout this Discourse" changed to "Parts throughout this Discourse" on page xcviii

The Garden

Stanza beginning "Where does the Wisdom and the Power Divine" was numbered 6 in the original on page cxiv. This has been corrected to 9, as it comes between 8 and 10.

Book I

Chapter I Sec.1

"I have long since publih'd an ample account" changed to "I have long since publish'd an ample account" on page 1

Footnote 9:1

"Fumefugium" changed to "Fumifugium"

Chapter II Sec.1

"Columella, 1. 3. c. 5." changed to "Columella, l. 3. c. 5." on page 12

Footnote 14:1

The latin quotation starting "Proinde nemus sparsa" is not marked as a footnote in the original, but clearly belongs to footnote marker 1 on page 14.

Chapter II Sec.2 "which washes and drives away the mould" changed to "(which washes and drives away the mould" on page 15

Chapter II Sec.7

"noble person has affur'd me" changed to "noble person has assur'd me" on page 23

Chapter II Sec.9

"And these terroe-filii, are" changed to "And these terrae-filii, are" on page 28

"The glandiferoe, oaks and ilex's yield acorns" changed to "The glandiferae, oaks and ilex's yield acorns" on page 29

oe ligatures changed to ae on page 29 in "are the nuciferae, &c. to the coniferae, resiniferae, squammiferae, &c. belong the whole tribe of cedars, firs, pines, &c. apples, pears, quinces, and several other edulae fruits; peaches, abricots, plums, &c. are reduc'd to the pomiferae: The bacciferae, are such as produce kernels, sorbs, cherries, holley, bays, laurell, yew, juniper, elder, &c. and all the berry-bearers. The genistae in general, and such as bear their seeds in cods, come under the tribe of siliquosae:"

"are such at bed their seeds" changed to "are such as bed their seeds" on page 30

Chapter III Sec.4

"pleion gymnazomeua deudra oterea" changed to "pleion gymnazomena deudra oterea" on page 37.

Footnote 41:2

There are two markers for footnote 1 on page 41. The second marker is clearly intended to mark footnote 2.

Chapter III Sec.7

The citation in Footnote 42:1 is to book 1 of the Georgics, but the quotation in question is actually from book 2.

Footnote 62:1

There is no marker for this footnote in the original. It has been assumed that it belongs to "all those other forms that philosophers have enumerated."

Chapter VI Sec.2

"none to be deceived," changed to "none to be deceived." on page 84

Chapter IX Sec.2

"It is certain, that the mensae nucinoe" changed to "It is certain, that the mensae nucinae" on page 104.

Chapter XIII Sec.1

"diapherousi de te mrrphe te hole" changed to "diapherousi de te morphe te hole" on page 122

Chapter XIII Sec.2

"thus it will becone (of all other)" changed to "thus it will become (of all other)" on page 123

Footnote 127:1

"Couleii, 1. 6, Pl" changed to "Couleii, l. 6, Pl."

Chapter XIV Sec.1

"in abudance by every set or slip" changed to "in abundance by every set or slip" on page 128

Chapter XIV Sec.8

oe ligatures changed to ae on page 133 in "Vitruvius l. de Materia Caedenda, reckons it among the building-timbers, quae maxime in aedificiis sunt idoneae."

Footnote 142:2

There is no marker for this footnote in the original. It has been assumed that it belongs to "one who has lately publish'd an account of Sweden."

Footnote 144:1

oe ligatures changed to ae in "Aditus novus ad occultas sympathiae & antipathiae causas inveniendas, per principia philosophiae naturalis"

Chapter XVII Sec.10

"friend of mine affur'd me" changed to "friend of mine assur'd me" on page 154

Footnote 177:2

"Coulcii" changed to "Couleii"

Book II

Footnote 243:1

"others ligna undulata" changed to "others ligna undulata."

Chapter II Sec.12

"10. pine, 11, oak," changed to "10. pine, 11. oak," on page 244

Chapter IV Sec.1

"Thoug has to the idol" changed to "Though as to the idol" on page 258

Chapter IV Sec.14

"plantation it self call'd dos filioe" changed to "plantation it self call'd dos filiae" on page 273

Footnote 276:1

There is no marker for this footnote in the original. It has been assumed that it belongs to "though others think it too heavy."

Footnote 296:1

"Couleii pl. 1. 6." changed to "Couleii pl. l. 6."

Chapter VI Sec.8

"Holmes-Dale never won; ne never shall" changed to "Holmes-Dale never won; he never shall" on page 301

Chapter VII Sec.2

"with - sharp spade dexterously separated from the mothera roots" changed to "with a sharp spade dexterously separated from the mother-roots" on page 315

Chapter VII Sec.6

"in great drougths" changed to "in great droughts" on page 320

Chapter VII Sec.18

"amost level with the surface of the ground" changed to "almost level with the surface of the ground" on page 327


Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9
Home - Random Browse