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Though the tempest of temptation
All His blessed grain shall know.
Father, when Thine angel, reapers
Come to reap Thy precious storeWhen Thy call awakes the sleepers Given back from sea and shoreSafe within the golden garner
Gather us for evermore! Amen.
ENGLISH BOTANY AND BOTANISTS.
BY A COUNTRY VICAR.
WHEN Professor Thomas Martyn was editing his great workgreat in more senses than one-his edition of Miller's Gardener's Dictionary, one of his correspondents, the Rev. George Ashby, called his attention to the value of collecting the vulgar and trivial names of English plants from the oldest writers. This is undoubtedly an interesting point to botanists, and I do not think that it has been sufficiently attended to. Our scientific friends are too apt to underrate antiquarianism. To me there is something charming in hearing an out-of-the-way name for a common plant, probably a mere provincial nomenclature, as it indicates some traditionary lore. Just so doubtless did Professor Martyn feel, for-writing to his friend Mr. Ashby--he says, "I thank you much for your hint about Lyte, whom I have looked over, and find fertile in English names. I wish he and others, instead of coining new names, had collected the few that were actually in use in different counties. For want of knowing these, we cannot yet talk intelligibly to peasants and farmers." And then he adds, "For book-names we have a connected chain, from the Grete Herball by Treveris, in 1516, to our time; through Turner, in 1551 and 1568; Lobel, in 1570; Lyte, in 1578; Gerard, in 1597; Lobel, in 1605; Parkinson's Paradisus, 1629; Johnson's Gerard, in 1636; Parkinson's Theatrum, 1640; Ray, from 1660 to 1696; the third edition of his Synopsis, 1724; Hudson, 1762; Withering, 1786; &c., &c. Have you looked over all these?" It has been my wish, in these papers, to point out to the lovers of this charming science those early sources of information and pleasure with which probably they had not been acquainted. Botany as a science was undoubtedly comparatively unknown to all the writers above mentioned (Lobel excepted) previously to Ray, but their grand old books, so full of curious, ay, and valuable information, are indispensable to the real student. Our present paper, then, will commence with the name of one whose works are still held in great estimation by
all lovers of botany, but of whose biography we seem singularly destitute of details.
was born, according to Dr. Pulteney, in 1567. "I regret," adds the worthy doctor, "that I am not able to supply a more ample account of this laborious man, whose learning and abilities appear to me not to have been justly appreciated." I share in Dr. Pulteney's regret, as Parkinson's works are so interesting to me that I long to know more about their author. Pulteney can only inform us-and no subsequent writer seems to have added to his information-that he was an apothecary, and lived in London, that he was contemporary with GERARD and LOBEL in their latter years, and survived JOHNSON several years. Both Lobel and Johnson speak of him as a man of eminence in his profession, and as possessed of a garden well-stored with rarities. He seems to have risen to such note as to be appointed apothecary to King James, and in the title of his "Theatrum Botanicum "he is styled "Botanicus Regius Primarius" to King Charles I. Dr. Pulteney is unable to tell us the date of his death, but as his "Theatrum Botanicum," or Herbal, was published in 1640, and he appears to have been living at the time, he must then have attained his seventy-third year, as there is a print of him prefixed to his "Paradisus" (printed in 1629) in the sixtysecond year of his age. As far as I can ascertain, Parkinson left no other works than those above mentioned, his "Paradisus Terrestris" and his "Theatrum Botanicum," or Herbal. The "Paradisus" is an exceedingly interesting work, though coming more immediately under the province of gardening or horticulture than botany. As Dr. Pulteney has given the title in full, it may not be uninteresting to the reader of these pages to follow his example. "Paradisi in sole Paradisus Terrestris; or, a Garden of all sorts of pleasant flowers which our English ayre will permit to be nursed up; with a Kitchen-garden of all manner of herbs, roots, and fruits, for meat and sause, used with us; and an Orchard of all sorte of fruite-bearing trees and shrubbes fit for our land; together with the right ordering, planting, and preserving of them, and their uses and vertues. Collected by John Parkinson, Apothecary of London." Folio, 1629. There was a second edition published after the author's death, corrected and enlarged, in 1656. The wood-cuts seem to have been engraved purposely for the work. Dr. Pulteney has made.
strange mistake in saying that the book is dedicated to Queen Elizabeth, but it is obvious that he had forgotten the name of Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles I. The book is inscribed to "the Queen" simply. Parkinson's "Paradisus," while more particularly interesting to the lover of gardening, as indicating the state of the art at the time he wrote-and the reader would be astonished to find the knowledge of flowers displayed,—is, of course, not to be overlooked by the botanist. Pulteney calls it "a valuable curiosity, as exhibiting the most complete view of the extent of the English garden at the beginning of the seventeenth century." "Garden flowers are divided into 134 chapters; kitchen plants into sixty-three; and fruit-trees and shrubs into. twenty-four; and a corollary of twenty-two species." The mode of arrangement is similar to that of Gerard. Though Parkinson's was the completest of early books on gardening, there had been several writers on the subject before him. Dr. Pulteney calls attention to the famous lawyer, Anthony Fitzherbert, whose "Booke of Husbandrie" was printed first in 1534, the earliest work on agriculture. "One of the earliest," says he, "if not the first en gardening, is Thomas Hill, whose 'Profytable Art of Gardening' was printed in 1574. The next was 'The New Orchard and Garden," by William Lawson, in 1597. In 1600 Sir Hugh Platt, the author of many other useful tracts, put forth his 'Garden of Eden,' a book of great merit in its time. All these passed through numerous editions, and the last preserved credit to the end of the century." To those who would wish to know the varieties of flowers, vegetables, and fruits, existing in the early part of the seventeenth century, Parkinson's "Paradisus" is invaluable. His great work, however, was his "Theatrum Botanicum, or Theatre of Plants, or an Herbal of a large extent," &c., &c., published in a very thick folio, 1640. This was the labour of his life, and not published till he had arrived at a very advanced period. "It is manifest," says Dr. Pulteney, "even from a cursory view of it, that it is a work of much more originality than that of Gerard; and it contains abundantly more matter than the last edition of that author with all Johnson's augmentations." "The heterogeneous classification," to use the worthy doctor's words, "which seems to be founded on that of Dodoens, sometimes on the medicinal qualities, sometimes on the habit and on the place of growth, shows the small advances that had been made towards any truly scientific distribution. On the contrary, Gerard, Johnson, and Parkinson
had rather gone back by not sufficiently pursuing the example of Lobel." It would be impossible within the limits of these papers to give a detailed criticism on this laborious work, but the botanist may be reminded that the discrimination of species from each other or from varieties, must not be expected in these early writers. "Almost every botanist was then a florist too." Pulteney says that Parkinson's early attachment to the flower garden is visible throughout the "Theatre of Plants." Nevertheless it is a great work. It is known that Parkinson had obtained some of Lobel's posthumous writings, and by the aid of these, and the assistance of his correspondents, he was enabled to greatly enlarge the catalogue of British plants, and introduce many hitherto unknown exotics. Johnson in his "Gerard" had described about 2,850 plants, whilst Parkinson has nearly 3,800. These accumulations render the "Theatrum Botanicum" the most copious book on the subject in the English language. By his references to them, Ray has raised the names of Gerard and Parkinson to classical eminence in English botany, according to Pulteney's opinion, in which I readily acquiesce. Their great works, with all their imperfections, may be considered as digests of the botany of the age in the English tongue. It may be added that Gerard and Johnson had procured their wood-cuts from abroad, as we have before shown; Parkinson, however, seems to have had his cut anew (though copied from the same figures), and they are inferior in execution, and-as it would seem-in number. Nevertheless I advise all true lovers of botany to secure, whenever they can, copies of the two works of John Parkinson. In Parkinson's pages will be found the names of many lovers of the science, in various parts of the country, who assisted him by their contributions to the general stock.
It may be mentioned here that Parkinson's "Theatrum" was the last botanical work of any importance which was illustrated by wood-cuts, and consequently Dr. Pulteney avails himself of the opportunity for giving us a very interesting chapter on the history of "wooden-cuts," from their earliest use (in botany) in 1478, down to the publication of Parkinson's book. But though this may form a pleasing episode in Pulteney's work, it would hardly fall in with the design of these papers, which was to give a brief outline of the progress of botany, or—if I may so say-its story in our own country. We shall therefore endeavour to carry on the thread of the narrative with as little interruption as possible.