Amazing articles on just about every subject...


Of The Cedar, Juniper, Cypress, Savine, Thuya &c.

( Originally Published Late 1800's )



1. But now after all the beautiful and stately trees, clad in perpetual verdure, Quid tibi odarato referam sudantia ligno ?

Should I forget the cedar ? which grows in all extreams; in the moist Barbadoes, the hot Bermudas, (I speak of those trees so denominated) the cold New England, even where the snows lie, as I am told, almost half the Year ; for so it does on the mountains of Libanus, from whence I have received cones and seeds of those few remaining trees : why then should they not thrive in old England, I know not, save for want of industry and trial.

They grow in the bogs of America, and in the mountains of Asia ; so as there is, it seems, no place or clime which affrights it ; and I have frequently rais'd them from their seeds and berries, of which we have the very best in the world from the Summer-Islands, though now almost exhausted by the unaccountable negligence of the planters ; as are likewise those of M. Libanus, by the wandring and barbarous Arabs. The cedars we have from Jamaica, are a spurious sort and of so porous a contexture, that wine will sink into it: On the contrary, that of Carolina so firm and close, that barrels, and other vessels, preserve the strongest spirits in vigour : The New England cedar is a lofty grower, and prospers into excellent timber, which being sawn into planks, make delicate floors : They shingle their houses also with it, and generally employ it in all their buildings : Why have we no more of it brought us, to raise, plant, and convert to the same uses ? There is the oxycedrus of Lycia, which the architect Vitruvius describes, to have its leaf like cypress ; but the right Phoenician resembles more the juniper, bearing a cone not so pointed as the other, as we shall come to shew.

After these, I shall not here descend to the inferior kinds, which some call dwarfs, and common juniper-like shrubs, fitter to head the borders of coronary gardners, and to be shorn. There is yet another of the North-America, lighter than cork it self, of a fragrant scent, which is its only virtue. In short,

After all these exotics brought from our plantations, answering to the name of cedar, I should esteem that of the Vermuda, little inferior, if not superior, to the noblest Libanon, and next, that of Carolina for its many uses, and lasting.

Having spoken of their several species, we come now to the culture, best rais'd from the seeds, since it would be difficult to receive any store from abroad: To begin with that of M. Libanus ; Those which seem of the greatest antiquity, are indeed majestical, extending the boughs and branches, with their cones sursum spectantia, as by most we are told ; though a late traveller found otherwise, and depending, like other coniferous trees ; the sturdy arms, though in smaller sprigs, grow in time so weighty, as often to bend the very stem, and main shaft, whilst that which is most remarkable, is the structure of the cones and seeds receptacles, tack'd and rang'd between the branch-leaves, in such order, as nothing appears more curious and artificial, and at a little distance, exceedingly beautiful: These cones have the bases rounder, shorter, or rather thicker, and with blunter points, the whole circum-zon'd, as it were, with pretty broad thick scales, which adhere together in exact series to the very top and summit, where they are somewhat smaller ; but the entire lorication smoother couch'd than those of the fir-kind : Within these repositories under the scales, nestle the small nutting seeds, or rather kernels, of a pear-shape, though somewhat bigger ; which how nourish'd and furnish'd from the central style, with their other integuments, is admirably describ'd by Mr. Ray, as that of the stalk of the clogs, thicker and longer, and so firmly knit to them, that it requires considerable force to part them from the branch, without splitting the arm it self. We have said nothing concerning the leaf of this tree, which much resembles those of the larix, but some-what longer and closer set, erect and perpetually green, which those of the larch are not; but hanging down, drop-off, and desert the tree in Winter.

The seeds drop out of the cones as other fir, pine-kernels and nuts do, when the air, sun, or moisture open and unglue the scales, which naturally it else does not in those of the cedar till the second year ; but which after all the preparations of burying in holes made in the earth and sand (in which they are apter to rot) may more safely be done, by exposing the clogs discreetly to the sun, or before the soft and gentle fire, or I think, best of all, by soaking them in warm-water : The cones (thus discharged) the gaping seeds, together with the rest of the skeleton, adhere a long while to the branches, which not seldom hang on above two years ; as we likewise find in those of other resinous trees, though falling sooner.

The lachrymce, gum, and other transudations, serving more for unguents and the chyrurgeon's box, than for other medicaments, in which we find Pliny has little faith : But that which is more remarkable, is the virtue of the famous timber of this noble tree, being proof against all putrefaction of human and other bodies, above all other ingredients and compositions of embalmers ; and that by a pretty contra-diction, giving life as it were to the dead, and destroying the worms which are living ; and as it does where any goods are kept in chests and presses of the wood, excepting woollen-cloth and furs, which 'tis observ'd they corrupt. In the mean time, touching the manner of these operations, as it concerns the preservation of the dead, see more where we speak of cypress, &c. The effects being ascrib'd to the extream bitterness of the resinous juices, whilst the odor is most grateful : The worthy Mr. Ray mentions the powder and sawdust of cedar to be one of the greatest secrets us'd by our pollinctors and mountebanks, who pretend to this embalming mystery ; and indeed, that the dust and very chips are exitial to moths and worms, daily experience shews us ; tho' none in mine, than the dry'd leaves and stalks of Marum-Syriacum, familiarly planted in our gardens. What therefore the late traveller Dampier speaks of cedar, which he has seen worm-eaten, could neither be that of Libanus or Bermudas, but haply of Barba-dos, Jamaica, or some other species : note, that the cedar is of so dry a nature, that it does not well endure to be fastened with nails, from which it usually shrinks, and therefore pins of the same wood are better. Whatever other property this noble tree is deservedly famous for, it is said to yield an oyl, which above all other, best preserves the monuments of the learned, books and writings ; whence cedro dignus became one of the highest eulogies : But whether that of the ingenius poet, refers not to the colour rather, which was usually red, and perhaps temper'd with this bitter oyl (as some conjecture) let our antiquaries determine : The horns and knobs at the ends of the rolling-staves, on which those sheets of parchment, &c. (before the invention of printing, and compacted covers now in use) as at present our maps and geographical charts (peeping out a little beyond the volume) were likely colour'd with this rutilant mixture.

Touching the diternity of this material, 'tis recorded, that in the temple of Apollo Utica, there was found timber of near two thousand years old ; and at Sagunti in Spain, a beam in a certain oratory consecrated to Diana, which has been brought to Zant, two centuries before the destruction of Troy : That great Sesostris King of Egypt had built a vessel of cedar of 280 cubits, all over gilded without and within : And the Goddess in the famous Ephesine temple, was said to be of this material also, as was most of the timber-work of that glorious structure :

Thou ghas to the idol roi, AcotrErovg mention'd in the Acts, (when the mob rose up against the apostle) some will have to be of ebony, others of a vine-tree, the most unlikely of all the rest fit for the carver. The sittim mention'd in Holy Writ, is thought to have been a kind of cedar of which most precious utensils were formed.

As to the magnitude of cedar-trees : We read or divers whose bodies eight or nine persons could not embrace, (as we shall shew hereafter) not here to let pass what Josephus relates Solomon planted in Judea, who doubtless try'd many experiments of this nature, none being more kingly than of planting for posterity: I do not speak of those growing on the mountains of Libanon, in the northern and colder tracts of Syria ; or what store those forests of them then afforded

But, as we are inform'd by that curious traveller' Ranwolsius, (since confirm'd also by the virtuoso, Monconys) there were not remaining above twenty five of those stately trees, and since they were there, but sixteen of that small number, as the ingenious Mr. Mandevill reports in his journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem : There was yet, he says, abundance of young trees, and a single old one of prodigious size, twelve yards and six inches in the girth ; I sup-pose the same describ'd by the late traveller Bruyn, who speaking of the shadow of this umbragious tree, alludes to that of Hosea, Cap. xrv. Ver. 5. which 'tis not improbable might be one of those yet remaining, where that heroick prince employ'd fourscore thousand hewers at work, for the materials of one only temple, and the palace he built in the city ; a pregnant instance what time, negligence and war will bring to ruin. But to return to what is said of their present number, Le Bruyn (whom just now we mention'd) makes them 35 or 36, for he could not exactly tell, and pretends (like our Stonedge on Salisbury Plain) none could ever yet agree of their number.

In short, upon reflection of what we have hitherto concerning the universal waste and destruction of timber trees, (where due regard is not taken to propagate and supply them) whole countries have suffer'd, as well as particular provinces : Thus the Apennines are stripp'd of their goodly pine and fir-trees (which formerly the naturalist commends those mountains for) to that degree, as to render not only the city of Florence, but Rome her self so expos'd to the nipping Tramontan's (for so they call the northern winds) that almost nothing which is rare and curious, will thrive without hyemation and art ; so as even thro' the most of those parts of Italy, on this side the Kingdom of Naples, flank'd by the Alpestral Hills, (clad as they perpetually are with snow) they are fain to house, and retire their orange, citron, and other delicate and tender plants, as we do in England. There remains yet one mountain among the Appennines, cover'd and crown'd with cypress ; whereof some are of considerable stature : Nor is all this indeed so great a wonder, if we find the entire species of some trees totally lost in countries, as if there never had been any such planted or growing in them : Be this applied to fir and pine, and several other trees, for want of culture, several accidents in the soil, air, &c. which we daily find produces strange alterations in our woods ; the beech almost constantly succeeding the oak, to our great disadvantage ; whilst we neglect new seminations. Herodotus speaking of the palms, (plentifully growing about Delos) says the whole species was utterly lost : More I might add on this subject ; but having perhaps been too long on these remarks, and long enough on cold M. Libanus, I pass to,

1. juniper ; let it not seem unduly plac'd, if after such gyants, we bring that humble shrub (such as abound with us being so reckon'd) to claim affinity to the tallest cedar; since were not ours continually cropp'd, but maintain'd in single stems, we might perhaps see some of them rise to competent trees; fit for many curious works, tables, cabinets, coffers, inlaying, floors, carvings, &c. we have of some of these trees so large, as to have made beams and rafters for a certain temple in Spain, dedicated to Diana ; nor need we question their being fit for other buildings ; celebrated for its emulating the cedar, tho' not in stature, yet in its lastingness : And such, I think, the learned Dr. Sloane mentions growing in Jamaica, little inferior to the Vermu das.

2. Of juniper, we have three or four sorts, male, female, dwarf ; whereof one is much taller, and more fit for improvement. The wood is yellow, and being cut in March, sweet as cedar, whereof it is accounted a spurious kind ; all of them difficult to remove with success ; nor prosper, they being shaded at all, or over-drip'd : The Swedish juniper (now so frequent in our new modish gardens, and shorn into pyramids) is but a taller and somewhat brighter sort of the vulgar.

3. I have rais'd them abundantly of their seeds (neither watering, nor dunging the soil) which in two months will peep, and being govern'd like the cypress, apt for all the employments of that beautiful tree : To make it grow tall, prune, and cleanse it to the very stem ; the male best. The discreet loosening of the earth about the roots also, makes it strangely to prevent your expectations, by suddenly spreading into a bush fit for a thousand pretty employments ; for coming to be much unlike that which grows wild, and is subject to the treading and cropping of cattle, &c. it may be form'd into most beautiful and useful hedges : My late brother having formerly cut out of one only tree, an arbour capable for three to sit in, it was at my last measuring seven foot square, and eleven in height ; and would certainly have been of a much greater altitude, and farther spreading, had it not continually been kept shorn : But what is most considerable, is, the little time since it was planted, being then hardly ten years, and then it was brought out of the common a slender bush, of about two foot high : But I have experimented a proportionable improvement in my own garden, where I do mingle them with cypress, and they would perfectly become their stations, where they might enjoy the sun, and may very properly be set where cypress does not so well thrive ; namely, in such gardens and courts as are open to the eddy-winds, which indeed a little discolours our junipers when they blow easterly to-wards the Spring, but they constantly recover again ; and besides, the shrub is tonsile, and may be shorn into any form. I wonder Virgil should condemn its shadow. Jumperi gravir umbra I suspect him misreported.

In the mean time, botanists are not fully agreed to what species many noble and stately trees, passing under the names of cedar, are to be reckon'd ; and therefore (for I cannot but mention those of the Vermuda again in this place) being so beautiful, tall, thick-set with evergreen-leaves, like the juniper, with berries indeed much larger, and may also be propagated by layers : Affording a timber close, ruddy for the most part ; easy to work, and yielding excellent flooring, fit for wainscot, and all curious cabinet-works ; keeping its agreeable odor and fragrancy longer than the rest : There is also made a pleasant and wholsome drink of the seeds, as they do of our common juniper ; of which hereafter. Nearest the Bermuda juniper, comes the Virginia, both yet exceeded by that of Carolina, for the perfections already mention'd, speaking of cedar, not forgetting the Oxy-Cedrus, which is reputed a sort of juniper : The berries so abounding on our uncultivated bushes, and barren heaths, always pregnant, annually ripen, tho' not all at a time ; some sticking longer, so as there will be black, green, and gray, succeeding one another.

4. And these afford (besides a tolerable pepper) one of the most universal remedies in the world, to our crazy forester : the berries swallow'd only, instantly appease the wind-collic, and in decoction most soveraign against an inveterate cough : They are of rare effect, being steeped in beer ; and in some northern countries, they use a decoction of the berries, as we do coffee and tea. The water is a most singular specifique against the gravel in the reins ; but all is comprehended in the virtue of the theriacle, or electuary, which I have often made for my poor neighbours, and may well be term'd the forester's panacea against the stone, rheum, pthysic, dropsie, jaundies, inward imposthumes ; nay, palsie, gout, and plague it self, taken like Venice-treacle. Of the extractedoyl (with that of nuts) is made an excellent good varnish for pictures, wood-work, and to preserve polish'd iron from the rust The gum is good to rub on parchment or paper, to make it bear ink, and the coals, which are made of the wood, endure the longest of any ; so as live embers have been found after a year's being cover'd in the ashes : See St. Hierom ad Fa, iolam, upon that expression, Piaf. 120. V. 4. If it arrive to full growth, spits and spoons, imparting a grateful relish, and very wholesome, where they are us'd, are made of this wood, being well dried and season'd. And the very chips render a wholesome perfume within doors, as well as the dusty blossoms in Spring without, and excellent within to correct the air, and expel infection ; for which purpose the wood should be cut about May, and the rasures well dried.

5. And since we now mention pepper, it is by the most prudent and princely care of his late Majesty, Char. II. that I am assur'd of a late solemn Act of Council, enjoyning the preserving of that incomparable spice, which comes to us from Jamaica under that denomination ; though in truth it be a mixture of so many aromatics in one, that it might as well have been call'd cinamon, nutmeg or mace, and all-spice, to every of which it seems something allied : And that there is not only prohibited the destruction of these trees (for it seems some prodigals us'd to cut them down, for the more easie gathering) but order taken likewise for their propagation, and that assays, and samples be from time to time sent over, what other fruits, trees, gums, and vegetables may there be found, and which I prognostick will at last also incite the planters there, to think of procuring cinamon, cloves, and nutmeg-trees indeed, from the East-Indies, and what other useful curiosities do not approach our northern Bear, (and that are yet incicurabiles amongst us) and to plant them in Jamaica, and other of the Western Islands, as a more safe and frugal expedient to humble our emulous neighbours ; since there is nothing in their situation, or defect of nature's benignity, which ought in the least to discourage us : And what if some of the trees of those countries (especially such as aspire to be timber, and may be of improvement amongst us) were more frequently brought to us likewise here in England ; since we daily find how many rare exotics, and strangers, with little care, become endenizon'd, and so contented to live amongst us, as may be seen in the platanus, Constantinople-chesnut, the greater glandiferous ilex, cork, mix vesicaria (which is an hard wood, fit for the turner, &c.) the styrax, bead-tree, the famous lotus, Virginian acacia, guaiacum Patavinum, paliurus, cypress, pines, fir, and sundry others, which grow already in our gardens, expos'd to the weather ; and so doubt-less would many more : So judiciously observ'd is that of the learned author of the history of the Royal Society, part. 3. sect. 28, ' That whatever attempts of this nature have succeeded, they have redounded to the great advantage of the undertakers. The orange of China being of late brought into Portugal, has drawn a great revenue every year from London alone. The vine of the Rhene, taking root in the Canaries, has produc'd a far more delicious juice, and has made the rocks, and sun-burnt ashes of those islands, one of the richest spots of ground in the world. And I will also instance in that which is now in a good forwardness : Virginia has already given silk for the cloathing of our King ; and it may happen hereafter, to give cloaths to a great part of Europe, and a vast treasure to our Kings: luxury, (which has to our vast charges, excluded all the ornaments of timber, &c. to give place to hangings, embroideries, and foreign leather) shall be put out of countenance, we may hope to see a new face of things, for the encouragement of planters (the more immediate work of God's hands) and the natural, wholesome, and ancient use of timber, for the more lasting occasions, and furniture of our dwellings

And though I do not speak all this for the sake of joyn'd-stools, benches, cup-boards, massy tables, and gigantic bed-steads, (the hospitable utensils of our fore-fathers) yet I would be glad to encourage the carpenter, and the joyner, and rejoice to see, that their work and skill do daily improve ; and that by the example and application of his Majesty's Universities, and Royal Society, the restoration and improvement of shipping, mathematical, and mechanical arts, the use of timber grows daily in more reputation. And it were well if great persons might only be indulg'd to inrich, and adorn their palaces with tapestry, damask, velvet, and Persian furniture ; whilst by some wholesome sumptuary laws, the universal excess of those costly and luxurious moveables, were prohibited meaner men, for divers politic considerations and reasons, which it were easie to produce ; but by a less influence than severer laws, it will be very difficult, if not altogether impossible, to recover our selves from a softness and vanity, which will in time not only effeminate, but undo the nation.

6. Cupressus, the cypress-tree is either the Sative, or garden-tree, the most pyramidal and beautiful ; or that which is call'd the male, (though somewhat preposterously) which bears the small cones, but is of a more extravagant shape : Should we reason only from our common experience, even the cypress-tree was, but within a few years past, reputed so tender, and nice a plant, that it was cultivated with the greatest care, and to be found only amongst the curious ; whereas we see it now, in every garden, rising to as goodly a bulk and stature, as most which you shall find even in Italy it self; for such I remember to have once seen in his late Majesty's gardens at Theobalds, before that princely seat was demolish'd. I say, if we did argue from this topic, methinks it should rather encourage our country-men to add yet to their plantations, other foreign and useful trees, and not in the least deter them, because many of them are not as yet become endenizon'd amongst us : But of this I have said enough, and yet cannot but still repeat it.

7. We may read that the peach was at first ac-counted so tender, and delicate a tree, as that it was believ'd to thrive only in Persia ; and even in the days of Galen, it grew no nearer than Egypt, of all the Roman provinces, but was not seen in the city, till about thirty years before Pliny's time ; whereas, there is now hardly a more common, and universal in Europe : Thus likewise, the Avellana from Pontus in Asia ; thence into Greece, and so Italy, to the city of Abellino in Campania.

I might affirm the same of our Damasco plum, quince, medlar, fig, and most ordinary pears, as well as of several other peregrine trees, fruit-bearers, and others; for even the very damask-rose it self, (as my Lord Bacon tells us, Cent. 2. exp. 659.) is little more than an hundred years old in England: Methinks this should be of wonderful incitement. It was 68o years after the foundation of Rome, e'er Italy had tasted a cherry of their own, which being then brought thither ' out of Pontus (as the above-mention'd filberts were) did after 120 years, travel ad ultimo: Britannos.

8. We had our first myrtils out of Greece, and cypress from Crete, which was yet a meer stranger in Italy, as Pliny reports, and most difficult to be raised ; which made Cato to write more concerning the culture of it, than of any other tree : Notwithstanding, we have in this country of ours, no less than three sorts, which are all of them easily propagated, and prosper very well, if they are rightly ordered ; and therefore I shall not omit to disclose one secret, as well to confute a popular error, as for the instruct-ion of our gardeners.

9. The tradition is, that the cypress (being a symbol of mortality, ferales & invisas, they should say of the contrary) is never to be cut, for fear of killing it. This makes them to impale, and wind them about, like so many Egyptian mummies ; by which means, the inward parts of the tree being heated, for want of air and refreshment, it never arrives to any perfect-ion, but is exceedingly troublesome, and chargeable to maintain ; whereas indeed, there is not a more tonsile and governable plant in nature ; for the cypress may be cut to the very roots, and yet spring afresh, as it does constantly in Candy, if not yielding suckers (as Bellonius affirms,) I rather think produced by the seeds, which the mother-trees shed at the motion of the stem in the felling : And this we find was the husbandry in the Isle of AEnaria, where they us'd to fell it for coppice : For the cypress being rais'd from the nursery of seeds sown in September (or rather March,) and within two years after transplanted, should at two years standing more, have the master-stem of the middle shaft cut off some hand-breadth below the summit ; the sides, and smaller sprigs shorn into a conique, or pyramidal form, and so kept clipt from April to September, as oft as there is occasion ; and by this regiment, they will grow furnish'd to the foot, and become the most beautiful trees in the world, without binding or stake ; still remembring to abate the middle stem, and to bring up the collateral branches in its stead, to what altitude you please ; but when I speak of short'ning the middle shoot, I do not intend the dwarfing of it, and therefore it must be done discreetly, so as it may not over-hastily advance, till the foot thereof be perfectly furnished : But there is likewise another, no less commendable expedient, to dress this tree with all the former advantages ; if sparing the shaft altogether, you diligently cut away all the forked branches, reserving only such as radiate directly from the body, which being shorn, and clipt in due season, will render the tree very beautiful ; and though more subject to obey the shaking winds, yet the natural spring of it, does immediately redress it, without the least discomposure; and this is a secret worth the learning of gardeners, who subject themselves to the trouble of stakes and binding, which is very inconvenient. Thus likewise may you form them into hedges, topiary works, limits and boundary, metas imitata cupressus ; or by sowing the seeds in a shallow furrow, and plucking up the supernumeraries, where they come too close and thick : For in this work, it will suffice to leave them within a foot of each other ; and when they are risen about a yard in height, (which may be to the half of your palisado) cut off their tops, as you are taught, and keep the sides clipp'd, that they ascend but by degrees, and thicken at the bottom as they climb, Thus, they will present you (in half a dozen or eight years) with incomparable hedges ; because they are perpetually green, able to resist the winds better than most which I know, the holly only excepted, which indeed has no peer.

10. For, when I say winds, I mean their fiercest gusts, not their cold : For though it be said, brumque illaesa cupressus, and that indeed no frost impeaches them (for they grow even on the snowy tops of Ida,) yet our cruel eastern winds do sometimes mortally invade them which have been late clipp'd, seldom the untouch'd or that were dressed in the Spring only : The effects of March and April winds (in the Year 1663, and 1665) accompanied with cruel frosts, and cold blasts, for the space of more than two months, night and day, did not amongst near a thousand cypresses (growing in my garden) kill above three or four, which for being very late cut to the quick (that is, the latter end of October) were raw of their wounds, took cold, and gangreen'd ; some few others which were a little smitten towards the tops, might have escaped all their blemishes, had my gardener capp'd them but with a wisp of hay or straw, as in my absence I commanded. As for the frost of those winters (than which I believe there was never known a more cruel and deadly piercing since England had a name) it did not touch a cypress of mine, till it join'd forces with that destructive wind : Therefore for caution, clip not your cypresses late in Autumn, and cloath them (if young) against these winds ; for the frosts they only discolour them, but seldom, or never hurt them, as by long experience I have found ; nor altogether despair of the resurrection of a cypress, subverted by the wind ; for some have redress'd themselves ; and one (as Ziphilinus mentions) that rose the very next day ; which happening about the reign of the emperor Vespasian, was esteem'd an happy omen : But of such accidents, more hereafter.

11. If you affect to see your cypress in standard, and grow wild, (which may in time come to be of a large substance, fit for the most immortal of timber, and indeed are the least obnoxious to the rigours of our Winters, provided you never clip or disbranch them) plant of the reputed male-sort ; it is a tree which will prosper wonderfully ; and where the ground is hot and gravelly, though (as we said) he be nothing so beautiful ; and it is of this, that the Venetians make their greatest profit.

12. I have already shew'd how this tree is to be rais'd from the seed ; but there was another method amongst the Ancients, who (as I told you) were wont to make great plantations of them for their timber ; I have practis'd it my self, and therefore describe it.

13. If you receive your seed in the roundish small nuts, which use to be gather'd thrice a year, (but seldom ripening with us) expose them to the sun till they gape, or near a gentle fire, or put them in warm water, (as was directed in those of cedar) by which means the seeds will be easily shaken out ; for if you have them open before, they do not yield you half their crop : About the beginning of April (or before, if the weather be showery) prepare an even bed, which being made of fine earth, clap down with your spade, as gardeners do for purselain seed (of old they roll'd it with some stone, or cylinder) ; upon this strew your seeds pretty thick ; then sift over them some more mould, somewhat better than half an inch in height : Keep them duly watered after sunset, unless the season do it for you ; and after one year's growth, (for they will be an inch high in little more than two months) you may transplant them where you please : If in the nursery, set them at a foot or r 8 inches distance in even lines, kept watered and moist, 'till they are well rooted, and fit to be remov'd. In watering them, I give you this caution (which may also serve you for most tender and delicate seeds) that you bedew them rather with a broom, or spergitory, than hazard the beating them out with the common watering-pot ; and when they are well come up, be but sparing of water : Be sure likewise that you cleanse them when the weeds are very young and tender, lest instead of purging, you quite eradicate your cypress : We have spoken of watering, and indeed whilst young, if well follow'd, they will make a prodigious advance. When that long and incomparable walk of cypress at Frascati near Rome, was first planted, they drew a small stream (and indeed irrigare is properly thus, aquam inducere riguirs (i. e.) in small gutters and rills) by the foot of it, (as the water there is in abundance tractable) and made it (as I was credibly inform'd) arrive to seven or eight foot height in one year ; (which does not agree with the epithet, lenta cupressus) ; but with us, we may not be too prodigal ; since, being once well taken, they thrive best in our sandy, light and warmest grounds, whence Cardan says, juxta aquas arescit ; meaning in low and moorish places, stiff and cold earth, &c. where they never thrive.

There is also a Virginian cypress, of an enormous height, beautiful and very spreading, the branches and leaves large and regular, with the clogs resembling the cypress ; and though the timber be somewhat course and cross-grain'd, 'tis when polish'd, very agreeable ; as I can shew in a very large table, made out of the planks of a spurr only ; and had experience of its lastingness, tho' expos'd both to the air and weather.

14. What the uses of this timber are, for chests, and other utensils, harps, and divers other musical instruments (it being a very sonorous wood, and there-fore employ'd for organ-pipes, as heretofore for supporters of vines, poles, rails, and planks, (resisting the worm, moth, and all putrefaction to eternity) the Venetians sufficiently understood ; who did every twenty year, and oftner (the Romans every thirteen) make a considerable revenue of it out of Candy : And certainly, a very gainful commodity it was, when the fell of a cupressetum, was heretofore reputed a good daughters portion, and the plantation it self call'd dos filiae. But there was in Candy a vast wood of these trees, belonging to the Republique, by malice, or accident (or perhaps by solar heat, as were many woods 74 years after, even here in England) set on fire, which wino 1400, burning for seven years continually, before it could be quite extinguish'd, fed so long a space by the unctuous nature of the timber, of which there were to be seen at Venice planks of above four foot in breadth ; and formerly the valves of St. Peter's church at Rome, were fram'd of this material, which lasted from the great Constantine, to Pope Eugenius the Fourth's time, eleven hundred years ; and then were found as fresh, and entire as if they had been new : But this Pope would needs change them for gates of brass, which were cast by the famous Antonio Philarete ; not in my opinion so venerable, as those of cypress. It was in coffins of this material, that Thucydides tells us, the Athenians us'd to bury their heroes, and the mummy-chests brought with those condited bodies out of Egypt, are many of them of this material, which 'tis probable may have lain in those dry, and sandy crypta, many thousand years.

15. The timber of this wood was of infinite esteem with the Ancients : That lasting bridge built over the Euphrates by Semiramis, was made of this material ; and it is reported, Plato chose it to write his laws in, before brass it self, for the diuturnity of the matter

It is certain, that it never rifts or cleaves, but with great violence ; and the bitterness of its juice, preserves it from all worms and putrifaction. To this day those of Crete and Malta make use of it for their buildings ; because they have it in plenty, and there is nothing out-lasts it, or can be more beautiful, especially, than the root of the wilder sort, incomparable for its crisped undulations. Divers learned persons have conceiv'd the gopher mention'd in Holy Writ, Gen. 6. 14. (and of which the Ark was built) to have been no other than this KuirpuQQo, cupar, or caper, by the easie mutation of letters ; Aben Ezra names it a light wood apt to swim ; so does David Kimchi ; which rather seems to agree with fir or pine, and such as the Greeks call Xa rfrpywva quadrangular trees, about which criticks have made a deal of stir : But Isa. Vossius (on the Lxx. c. r 1.) hassufficiently made it out, that the timber of that de-nomination was of those sort of trees whose branches breaking out just opposite to one another at right angles, make it appear to have been fir, or some sort of wood whose arms grew in a uniform manner ; but surely this is not to be universally taken ; since we find yew, and divers other trees, brittle, heavy, and unapt for shipping, do often put forth in that order : The same learned author will have gopher to signifie only pitch, or bitumen, as much as if the text had said, make an ark of resinous timber. The Chaldee paraphrase translates it cedar, or as Junius and Tremellius, cedrelaten, a species between fir and cedar : Munster contends for the pine, and divers able divines endeavour to prove it cypress ; and besides, 'tis known, that in Crete they employ'd it for the same use in the largest contignations, and did formerly build ships of it : And Epiphanius Haeres, L I. tells us, some reliques of that ark (circa campos sennaar) lasted even to his days, and was judged to have been of cypress. Some indeed suppose that gopher was the name of a place, cupressis, as Elan quercuhus; and might possibly be that which Strabo calls Cupressetum, near Adiabene in Assyria : But for the reason of its long lasting, coffins (as noted) for the dead were made of it, and thence it first became to be diti sacra ; and the valves, or doors of the Ephesine temple were likewise of it, as we observ'd but now, were those of St. Peters at Rome : Works of cypress-wood, permanent ad diuturnitatem, says Vitruvius 1. 2. And the poet of the nerves, astringent and refrigerating, for the hernia, apply'd outwardly, or taken inwardly, for the dysentary, strangury, &c.

But to resume the disquisition, whether it be truly so proper for shipping, is controverted ; though we also find in Cassiodorus Var. 1. 5. ep. 16, Theodoric (writing to the Praetorio praefectus) caused store of it to be provided for that purpose ; and Plato (who we told you made laws, and titles to be engraven in it) nominates it, inter arbores vau,rir1os utiles 1. 4. leg. and so does Diodorus 1. 19. And as travellers observe, there is no other sort of timber more fit for shipping, though others think it too heavy : Aristobulus affirms that the Assyrians made all their vessels of it ; and indeed the Romans prais'd it, pitch'd with Arabian pitch : And so frequent was this tree about those parts of Assyria (where the Ark is conjectur'd to have been built) that those vast Armada's, which Alexander the Great caus'd to be equipp'd and set out from Babylon, consisted only of cypress, as we learn out of Arrian in Alex. 1. 7. and Strabo 1. 16. Plutar. Sympos. 1. 1, prob. 2. Vegetius 1. 14. C. 34, &c. Paulus Colomesius (in his I:fafeiiaea literaria cap. 24.) perstringes the most learned Is. Vossius, that in his vindiciae pro LXX. interp. he affirms cypress not fit for ships, as being none of the rfrpywvot : But besides what we have produced, Fuller, Bochartus, &c. Lilius Gyraldus (Lib. de navig. c. 4.) and divers others sufficiently evince it, and that the vessel built by Trajan was of that material, lasting uncorrupt near 1400 years, when it was afterwards found in a certain lake; if it were not rather (as I suspect) that which AEneas Silvius reports to have been discovered in his time, lying under water in the Numidian Lake, crusted over with a certain ferruginous mixture of earth and scales, as if it had been of iron ; but (as we have elsewhere noted) it was pronounced to be larix, and not cypress, employ'd by Tiberius : Finally (not to forget even the very chips of this precious wood, which give that flavour to muscadines, and other rich wines) I commend it for the improvement of the air, and a specific for the lungs, as sending forth most sweet, and aromatick emissions, whenever it is either clipp'd, or handled, and the chips or cones, being burnt, extinguish moths, and expels the gnats and flies, &c. not omitting the gum which it yields, not much inferior to the terebinthine or lentise.

We have often mention'd the virtue of these odoriferous woods, for the improvement of the air ; upon which I take occasion here to add, what I have (some years since) already 1 publish'd, concerning the melioration of it, in, and about this great and populous city, accidentally obnoxious to the effects of those nauseous vapours, exhaling from those many unclean places, and tainting that dismal cloud of sulphurous (if not arsenical) smoke, which we uncessantly breathe in. I know the late terrible conflagration, by the care and industry of the magistrate, in causing so many kennels, sinks, gutters, lay-stalls and other nuisances (receptacles of a stagnant filth) to be re-moved, must needs have exceedingly contributed to the purifying of the air ; as I am persuaded would appear upon a political observation in the bills of mortality : But what I yet cannot but deplore, is, that, (when that spacious area, was so long a rasa tabula) the church-yards had not been banish'd to the North-walls of the city, where a grated inclosure of competent breadth (for a mile in length) might have served for an universal coemetery, to all the parishes, distinguish'd by the like separations, and with ample walks of trees ; the walks adorn'd with monuments, inscriptions and titles apt for contemplation and memory of the defunct ; and that wise, and ancient law of the XII Tables restor'd and reviv'd : But concerning this, and hortulan buryings upon this and other weighty reasons, see cap. r. book Iv. Happy in the mean time, had it been for the further purgation of this august metropolis, had they there, (or did they yet) banish and proscribe those hellish vulcanos, disgorging from the brew-houses, sope and salt-boilers, chandlers, hat-makers, glass-houses, forges, lime-kilns, and other trades, using such quantities of sea-coals, one of whose funnels vomits more smoak than all the culinary and chamber-fires of a whole parish, as I have (with no small indignation) observed, at what time they usually put out their fires, on Saturday evening, and re-kindle on Sunday night, or Monday morning ; perniciously infecting the ambient air, with a black melancholy canopy, to the detriment of the most valuable moveables and furniture of the inhahitants, and the whole countrey about it. A bar of iron shall be more exeded and consum'd with rust in one year in this city, than in thrice-seven in the countrey : Why might it not therefore be worth a severe and publick edict, to remove these vulcanos and infernal houses of smoak to competent distance ; some down the river, others (which require conveniency of fresh-water) up the Thames, among the streams about Wandsworth, &c ? Their commodities and manufactures brought up to capacious wharfs, on the bank, or London side, to the increase of a thousand water-men and other labourers, of which we cannot have too many ?

Now to demonstrate that not only the amoval of these unsufferable nuisances would infinitely clarifie the air, and render it more wholsome, and to return to my subject of trees and plants ; the reputation they have had for contributing to the health of whole countries and cities, frequently occur in history : For instance, in the island of Cyprus, abounding with the trees of that name, and other resinous plants, curing ulcerated lungs, &c. Sardinia, melancholy and madness, replanted with true Anticyran hellebore, was famous ; whilst Thusus (especially in Summer) brought almost all the inhabitants to lunacy and distraction for want of it. And what the effects and benefit of such plantations have produc'd, is conspicuous in one of the most celebrated cities of the East, the famous Ispahan, clear'd of the pestilence, since the surrounding it with that beautiful platan, as I have already noted. To these add, the bay-tree, for abating all such infections ; of which see many famous instances in cap. vi. to which I refer. Not that there are no nociferous trees, as well as saniferous, which by removing the one, and planting other in their places, make sensible changes for the better. I give instance, when we speak of the yew ; and even that otherwise incomparably useful shrub, the elder.

Upon what therefore has been produc'd of expedients for the melioration of the air by plantations of proper trees ; I cannot but wish, that since these precious materials may now be had at such tolerable rates (as certainly they might from Cape-Florida, the Vermuda, or other parts of the West-Indies) ; I say,

I cannot but suggest that our more wealthy citizens of London, every day building and embellishing their dwellings, might be encourag'd to make use of it in their shops, at least for shelves, counters, chests, tables, and wainscot, &c. the fancerings (as they term it) and mouldings ; since beside the everlastingness of the wood, enemy to worms, and those other corruption we have named, it would likewise greatly cure and reform the malignancy and corrosiveness of the air.

Sabin, or, as we call it, savine, not for dignity to be nam'd with the former ; but for its being absolutely the best Succedaneum to cypress, (which the rigour of our climat is not so benign to) : If our gardners did only increase and cultivate it for the other's defects, and bring up nurseries of them for pyramids, and other tonsile and topiary works, they would oftner use it instead of cypress : As to its other quality, it has, indeed, an ill report, (as most other things have when not rightly apply'd,) whilst there is nothing more efficacious for the destruction of worms in little children, the juice being given in a spoonful of milk, dulcified with a little sugar, which brings them away in heaps ; as it does in horses and other cattel above all other remedies.

There is another berry-bearing savine in warmer climats, which also resembles the cypress, commonly taken for the Tarrentine cypress, so much celebrated by Cato, which grew to noble standards : But that, and the Melesian, worthy the culture, are rare with us, and indeed is as well supply'd by the more hardy, as well as the Swedish juniper, and other shrubs. The sabine is easily propagated by slips and cuttings sooner than by the seeds, though sometimes found in the small squamous seed-cases.

Tamaric, (growing to a considerable tree) for its aptness to be shorn and govern'd like the sabine and cypress, may be entertain'd, but not for its lasting verdure, which forsakes it in Winter, but soon again restores it. It was of old counted infelix, and under malediction, and therefore used to wreath, and be put on the heads of malefactors: But it has other excellent properties, in particular sovereign against the spleen, which as' Camden tells us was therefore brought first into England by Grindal Archbishop of Canterbury: They also made cans to drink, out of this wood.

Thuya by some call'd arbor vitae, (brought us from Canada,) is an hardy green all the Winter, (though a little tarnish'd in very sharp weather) rais'd to a tree of moderate stature, bearing a ragged leaf, not unlike the cypress, only somewhat flatter, and not so thick set and close : It bears small longish clogs and seeds, but takes much better by layers and slips, as those we have before mentioned, and may be kept into the same shapes, but most delights in the shade, where the roots running shallow, the stem needs support : The leaf being bruised between the fingers, emits a powerful scent not easily conquer'd, seeming to breathe something of a sanative unguent, and (as I am told) makes one of the best for the closure of green and fresh wounds : But that those curious utensils and works of the turners, bowls, boxes, cups, mortars, pestles, &c. are of this material (as is pretended) and pass under the name of lignum vitae, (or rather of some of the exotic, more close and ponderous wood) as Brasile, log-wood, &c. is a mistake : Upon recension therefore of these exotics, I cannot but encourage the more frequent raising the rest of those semper-vivents, especially such as are fittest for the shrubby parts, and furniture of our groves, mere gardens of pleasure, which none but the ever-green become. To these we might add (not for their verdure only) other more rare exotics, styrax arbor, and terebynth, noting by the way, that we have no true turpentine to be bought in our shops, but what is from the larch ; whilst apothecaries substitute that which extills from the fir-tree, instead of it : All of them minding me again of the great opportunities and encouragement we have of every day improving our stores with so many useful trees from the American plantations ; for which I have the suffrage of the often-cited Mr. Ray, who is certainly a very able judge : Might we not therefore attempt the more frequent locust, sassafras, &c. and that sort of elm, or sugar-tree, whose juice yields that sweet halymus latifolius, and several others for encouragement ?

14. I produce not these particulars, and other amena vireta already mentioned, as signifying any thing to timber, the main design of this treatise, (tho1 I read of some myrtils so tall, as to make spear-shafts) but to exemplifie in what may be farther added to ornament and pleasure, by a cheap and most agreeable industry.

Home | More Articles | Email: info@oldandsold.com