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work is, to instruct those who are not botanists, but who may wish to be informed on every topic in any way connected with the subject of planting. In the execution of this object he has agreeably relieved the ordinary dulness of mere technical details, by interspersing numerous anecdotes, and by accounts of the different uses to which each plant is put; and, in short, by explaining whatever may seem connected with the particular species which happens to be the subject of description. The point in which we consider Mr Loudon's undertaking to bear more directly on systematic botany, is where he has reduced several forms of trees, hitherto considered as distinct species, to the condition of varieties only. The systematic botanist, ever attentive to minute differences, acquires so nice a tact in detecting distinctions, that he is very apt to neglect resemblances ; and it often needs a greater practical acquaintance with living specimens than many botanists enjoy, to feel satisfied that the very distinct forms which are so easily discriminated by a multitude of characters, are, after all, no more than varieties of one species ; some of them, possibly, the offspring of one and the same individual. Mr Loudon's researches have eminently qualified him for forming a decided opinion with respect to the specific distinctions of trees and shrubs ;—forms of plants on which it is more difficult to obtain satisfactory evidence than on any other, owing to the length of time which must elapse before they arrive at full maturity.
Of the importance of such a work as the present we shall say but little ; our design being rather to speak of the manner in which it has been executed. Turning to the Sylva' of Evelyn, justly considered as the first person who gave a strong impulse to planting in this kingdom, we see at once the vast stride which has been made in introducing exotic trees and shrubs since his time. But the work of our author can hardly be compared with that of Evelyn. The latter was strenuously endeavouring to originate a love for planting amongst the landed proprietors of his day, who were, for the most part, utterly ignorant of all that related to the subject; whilst the former is here attempting to meet the demand for that higher information, which a more perfect and general acquaintance with the subject has long since created. Evelyn will always be read with delight, even where information on the craft of planting is not the immediate object of the reader. His happy illustrations of various passages in the classics- his quaint allusions—his fondness for his pursuit-all serve to confer on his work a charm which makes it generally interesting. But no one would take up Mr Loudon's work with the intention of reading it continuously. Still, it is every
where interspersed with numerous anecdotes and picturesque details, which, if not strictly accordant to its professed object, afford much interesting and valuable information.
Evelyn, in his honest zeal, commences with the following appeal to the patriotic feelings of his countrymen :- Since there i is nothing which seems more fatally to threaten a weakening, if not a dissolution, of the strength of this famous and flourishing nation, than the sensible and notorious decay of her wooden
walls, when, either through time, negligence, or other acci• dent, the present navy shall be worn out and impaired, it has · been a very worthy and seasonable advertisement in the honour• able the principal officers and commissioners, that they have • lately suggested to this illustrious society for the timely pre6 vention and redress of this intolerable defect. For it has not been the late increase of shipping alone, the multiplication of glass-works, iron furnaces, and the like, from whence this impolitic diminution of our timber has proceeded—but from the • disproportionate spreading of tillage, caused through that pro
digious havoc made by such as, lately professing themselves against root and branch (either to be reimbursed their holy . purchases, or for some other sordid respect), were tempted not • only to fell and cut down, but utterly to extirpate, demolish, • raze, as it were, all those many goodly woods and forests which
our more prudent ancestors left standing for the ornament and • service of their country. And this devastation has now be* come so epidemical, that unless some favourable expedient • offer itself, and may be seriously and speedily resolved upon
for a future store, one of the most glorious and considerable • bulwarks of this nation will, within a short time, be totally wanting to it.'
We are approaching the termination of a second century since this appeal was made, and whatever was its effect at the time, it would now fall powerless on the ears of most of our landed proprietors. The greater extension of commerce has so far facilitated the means of procuring timber from foreign countries, that we need not fear lest our wooden walls should decay from want of materials to repair or replace them. In the present day, in an age of peace, there are other feelings to which an appeal may be more appropriately made in favour of planting; and Mr Loudon has judiciously made his work useful-we may add, essential—to all who delight in ornamenting their estates by plantations of exotic trees and shrubs. When information has been drawn from such a variety of sources, it cannot be expected that it should be of equal value; and, indeed, we are repeatedly referred
to the opinions of different authors, which directly contradict each other. But Mr Loudon has done his utmost to put every disputed point fairly before his readers, together with the result of his own experience. In many cases, the present state of our know, ledge rather invites further discussion, and more extended experiment, than satisfies us that we ought to remain content with the information already acquired ; and we can hardly conceive a more fortunate position in this favoured country, than that of a landed proprietor with a taste and desire for improving our knowledge on the theory and practice of planting. By turning to the pages of this work, he may see exactly what has already been done, and what it may be most desirable to attempt, both in useful and ornamental planting. He is here warned on many points where inexperience might otherwise subject him to loss or deception; and he is directed not to procure the same species, under the several different names it may chance to bear in different nurserymen's catalogues. He is further directed to make trial of those varieties which are most likely to succeed in any particular soil or aspect. The accurate classification of plants depends upon the structure of their flowers; and in many trees these are very inconspicuous, and it requires the most skilful attention to discover them; but still, the general observer will find less difficulty in identifying the species of trees, than he would those of many herbaceous plants, by their aspect and habit alone.
The general contour, mode of branching, depth of shade, and other very obvious characters, enable him to decide, almost at a glance,
the name of a tree. This is encouraging to those who have not leisure or taste for the technical details of botany; and a person may even amuse himself during his rides in identifying the various trees and shrubs which are cultivated in the plantations and gardens of suburban districts. A knowledge of those timber-trees which are capable of growing in the open air, at least of such as exceed thirty feet in height, does not require any great sacrifice of time; for there are not more than twelve genera, and about thirty species, which are indigenous ; and possibly not more than 100 genera among the exotics. By far the greatest number of timber-trees, belong to warmer regions and tropical climates. Of trees below thirty feet, and of shrubs down to the small heath plants, there are, indeed, a vast number which can grow in Britain; the chief of these are subservient to purposes of ornament; and many also bear edible fruit; and all of course find their place in the . Arboretum Britannicum.'
Mr Loudon has divided his subject into three parts ; the first two are of a general nature; and the third, constituting the bulk of the work, contains the description and other particu
lar details of the several species. In the first part we are presented with a general outline of the history and geography of the trees and shrubs of temperate climates.'
There are very few particulars on record of the different trees, and those chiefly fruit-trees, which were cultivated by the ancients before the time of the Greeks. In the writings of Theophrastus, about 170 woody plants, chiefly Grecian, can be pretty accurately identified; and to these the Romans added a knowledge of a few from the colder parts of Europe. This latter people had plantations for useful and ornamental purposes, besides their orchards and vineyards for fruit-trees. Their supply of timber, however, was chiefly obtained from the indigenous forests. In discussing the history of our indigenous trees, Mr Loudon notices the divided opinion of botanists respecting the claims of several of those which are now common amongst us; but which may be supposed to have been originally introduced by the agency
It will be more convenient to defer our remarks on this subject until we come to speak of the third part of the work. The ligneous species indigenous to Great Britain amount to about 200, and these are included in seventy-one genera. But nearly 100 of them are willows, roses, or brambles, and many of them will probably one day be reduced to the character of varieties. We are indebted to the Romans for the introduction of many of our fruit-trees, as we should most probably have been for not a few ornamental trees and shrubs, if subsequent neglect had not deprived us of them. These were re-introduced, with many others, in later times, by the clergy, and planted about the monasteries and other religious establishments. It was not until the sixteenth century, during the reign of Henry VIII., that foreign trees appear to have been regularly planted for timber, fuel, and other economical purposes. Among the fruits and ornamental shrubs introduced during that century, there are only two recorded as being extra-European—the almond from Barbary, and the jasmine from the East Indies. During the seventeenth century, several American species were introduced. It was about the middle of that century that Botanic Gardens, both public and private, began to be established in England, and these, of course, contributed very essentially towards the introduction of woody plants. Upwards of 30 were introduced during that period. During the eighteenth century, the taste for planting foreign trees and shrubs widely extended itself among the wealthy landed proprietors ; and a host of amateurs, botanists, and commercial gardeners, concurred in enriching the British Arboretum. • During that portion of the nineteenth century which has now (1835) elapsed, the taste for foreign trees and shrubs has considerably increased among planters ; and the number of new species and varieties that has been introduced, is proportionally greater than at any former period.'-P. 117.
Taking the periods of the introduction of different species by centuries, Mr Loudon has given us the following table, as an approximation to the truth During the 16th century,
89 species. 17th
19th (first 30 years), 699 And it is probable that the number of foreign trees and shrubs in our Arboretums at the present time, are not less than 1400.
From the history of trees and shrubs indigenous to, and cultivated in Britain, the author proceeds to mention those of other countries situated in temperate climates, and furnishes us with interesting and valuable information on the actual state and possible increase of their several Arboretums.
• On comparing the lists which we have given of ligneons plants found in the different countries situated in temperate climates, which are not indigenous to Britain, with the catalogues of plants considered as already introduced into this country, it will be found that there are some names of species and varieties in the lists of almost every country, that are not in British catalogues, and consequently not yet introduced. Here, then, is an important use in giving these lists, because they point out to commercial gardeners, and to amateurs and travellers who are botanists, what trees and shrubs it is desirable to enquire after in other countries, and what they should endeavour, if possible, to introduce into their own. It would, however, be a very contracted view of the subject, to limit our views to the aggrandisement of the collections of trees and shrubs in Britain. The time for believing that the exclusive possession of any benefit contributes to the prosperity or happiness of nations, is gone by ; and the principles of free and universal exchange and intercourse, are found to constitute the surest foundations for the happiness of nations. This is so obviously true in matters of gardening and botany, that it cannot for a moment be doubted.'— P. 191.
The second part of Mr Loudon's work treats of the science of the study of trees.' An historical and geographical account of trees may be read and comprehended without any great knowledge of their specific differences; but, to be well acquainted with the individual objects themselves, something of a methodical arrangement is required for prosecuting the study of them. Mr Loudon here proposes to view them with the eye of the painter, of the botanist, and of the economist. Regarded pictorially, each is to be considered with respect to its form and expression,