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XLV. On the Growth of Cedars in England.
Hardwicke House, Feb. 16, 1779.' AMONG the slighter devastations occasioned by the last new-year's hurricane, I cannot, as an admirer of natural productions, but lament with particular regret the destruction of perhaps the finest cedar in England. This superb tree, una, nemus, stood close on the north side of Hendon Place*, the elegant residence of Mr. Aislabie, eight miles from London. From the gardener's information, and my own admeasurements, some of its dimensions had been these. The height 70 feet; the diameter of the horizontal extent of the branches, upon an average, 100; the circumference of the trunk, 7 feet above the ground, 16; 12 feet above the ground, 20. At this latter height it began to branch; and its limbs, about 10 in number, were from 6 to 12 feet in circumference. Its roots had not spread wide 'nor deep; and the soil that had suited it so well, is a strong clay, upon rather an elevated situation. T'radition ascribes the planting of this tree to Queen Elizabeth herself: yet the vigour of its trunk, and the full verdure of its branches (besides a reason which I shall presently adduce), make me doubt, whether we are to allow it so great an age. However that be, its appearance shews that it had not arrived at maturity, and might have stood, perhaps have thriven, for centuries to come. The gardener made 50l. of the cones the year before last, but Jast
year only 12). The great size, and apparent increasing vigour of this tree, excited my curiosity to inquire into the age and size of some of its brethren; and to collect what particulars I could towards the English history of this noblest of our exotics.
The Rev. Mr. Lightfoot, of Uxbridge, upon whose accu
* Hendon Place was in Norden's time the seat of “ Sir Edward Herbert, Knt. where is often resident Sir John Fortescue, Knt. one of her Majesty's priry council, when he taketh the air in the country.” Sir Edward died 1594, and his eldest son William was created Lord Powis, 5 C. I. and dying 1655, was buried in Hendon church. On the death of their lineal descendant the late Marquis of Powis, 1747-8, this valuable estate was sold by auction by the late Mr. Langford, 1756, in three several sales, viz. the manor, the demesne lauds, and the tythes. This house was purchased by Robert Snow, Esq. banker, of London, who is the present proprietor. He pulled down the old house (where was a spacious gallery), and erected the present mansion, which was lately in the occupation of the Earl of Northampton, and now of Mr, Aislabie.
racy, as well as friendship, I can depend, has sent me the following dimensions of one at Hillingdon, in his neighbourhood. The perpendicular height is 53 feet; the diameter of the horizontal extent of the branches from east to west, 36; from north to south, 89; the circumference of the trunk close to the ground, 15); 33 feet above the ground, 13); 7 feet above the ground, 12); 12 feet above the ground, 14 feet 8 inches, 13) just under the branches, 15 feet 8 inches. It has two principal branches; one of which is bifid 1foot above its origin: before it divides, it measures in circumference 12 feet, after its division, one of its forks measures 83, the other 7 feet 10 inches. The other primary branch åt its origin measures 10 feet; and, soon dividing, throws out two secondary ones, each 5: The proprietor of this tree says he can with much certainty determine its age to be 116 years.
The largest of those àt Chelsea, measured last month, is in height 85 feet; the horizontal extent of its branches is about 80; the circumference of its trunk close to the ground 18); at 2 feet above the ground, 15; at 10 feet, 16; at about 1 yard higher it begins to 'branch. These trees, Mr. Miller says, were; as he was credibly informed, planted in 1683, about 3 feet high. The soil is a lean hungry sand mixed with gravel, with about two feet surface.
In the garden of the old palace at Enfield, is a cedar of Libanus, of the following dimensions, taken by Mr. Thomas Liley, an ingenious schoolmaster there, at the desire of
my friend Mr. Gough, who was so obliging as to communicate them to me:
Fourth Girt 14 6 Large árm that branches out near the top, 3 feet 9 inches; several boughs, in girt 3 feet 5 inches; and the boughs extend from the body from 28 to 45 feet. The contents of the body, exclusive of the boughs, is about 103 cubical feet. This tree is known to hiave been planted by Dr. Uveďale, who kept a flourishing school in this house at the time of the great plague 1665, and was a great florist. Eight feet of the top were broken off by the high wind of 1703. Tradition says this tree was brought hither immediately from Mount Libanus in a portmanteau. The first lime-trees planted VOL. II.
Girt at top
in England found their way over in the same conveyance*.
Several other cedars of considerable size are scattered about in different parts of the kingdom.
I find not, with exactness, when, or by whom, the cedar was first introduced into England. Turner, one of our earliest herbarists, where he treats “ of the pyne tree, and other of that kynde,” says nothing of it. Gerard, published by Jolinson in 1636, mentions it not as growing here; and Parkinson, in his Theatrum Botanicum, 1640, speaking of the Cedrus magna conifera Libani, says, “ The branches, some say, all grow upright, but others, strait out.” Evelyn, whose discourse on forest trees was delivered in the Royal Society in 1662, observing that cedars throve in cold climates, adds,
Why then should they not thrive in Old England? I know not, save for want of industry and trial.”
Hitherto, I think, it is pretty plain the cedar was unknown among us: and it appears probable, that we are indebted to the last mentioned gentleman for its introduction into England; for he informs us in the same paragraph from which I made the above quotation, that he had received cones and seeds from the few trees remaining on the mountains of Libanus.
Something better than 20 years afterwards, we find, among Mr. Ray's Philosophical Letters, the following curious one addressed to him from Sir Hans Sloane:
“ London, March 7, 1684-5. “ I was the other day at Chelsea, and find that the artifices used by Mr. Watts have been very effectual for the preservation of his plants; insomuch that this severe enough winter has scarce killed any of his fine plants. One thing I much wonder, to see the Cedrus montis Libani, the inhabitant of a very different climate, should thrive so well, as without pot or greenhouse, to be able to propagate itself by layers this spring. Seeds sown last autumn, have as yet thriven well, and are like to hold out: the main artifice I used to them has been, to keep them from the winds, which seem to give a great additional force to cold to destroy the tender plants.”
This is the first notice that has occurred to me of the cul..
* Harris's Kent, p. 92.
tivation of the cedar among us. Perhaps the trce that propagated itself by layers in 1684, might be from the seed received by Mr. Evelyn; and the reputed age of that at Hillingdon agrees
with the time of that importation; supposing that importation was made about the time of the delivery of the Discourse on Forest Trees: nor probablý, notwithstanding tradition, is that at Hendon to be referred to a higher date. Why Sir Hans should wonder at the cedar thriving so well in the open air at Chelsea, I know not; for, though it be found in the warmer climates, it is known to be a native of the snowy mountains of Libanus, and consequently not likely to be destroyed by the inclemency of an English winter. But, I believe, we generally treat exotics, upon their first arrival among us, with more tenderness than they require. Perhaps the fear of losing them may be one reason; perhaps, too, they may be gradually habituated to endure a degree of cold which at first would have proved fatal to them. Upon the first introduction of the tea-tree, it was either kept in our green-houses, or, if planted in the open ground, matted or otherwise sheltered in the winter; we now find such care unnecessary. I have had one, at a degree N. of London; thrive and blossom for some years, in the open air; without the slightest protection, in the severest winter.
That this little memoir may not appear to terminate in mere curiosity, I think it warrants me in recommending the cultivation of the cedar for common use; as it is well known to be a very valuable material in the hand of the joiner and cabinet-maker. Mr. Miller observed their quick growth at Chelsea, in a poor gravelly soil: those at Hendon, Hillingdon, and Enfield, shew that they thrive as well in a very different one. Those planted by the oid Duke of Argyle, at Whitton, have made the happiest progress; and I am assured that a roomi has been wainscotted with their timber. · If these slight notes should induce any better informed person to throw more light on this subject, it would afford entertainment to many, as well as to,
Yours, &c. 1779, March
XLVI. Harmless Nature of Hedge-Hogs.
Aug. 17, 1779. A COUNTRY churchwarden wants to be informed, whether the law hath set a price on the head of a hedge-hog, and whether it bath inclination and the power to milk the cow.
As to the first part of this inquiry, your correspondent may rest assured, that no such law is now in being, or ever did exist: for to what purpose should mankind be roused to persecute, even with circumstances of barbarity, a poor, harmless, inoffensive creature, slow and patient, incapable to offend, or to do the least injury to any part of the animal creation, except devouring worms, snails, and other such creatures, on which it feeds, together with the berries of hawthorns and brambles, and other wild berries? Perhaps the appearance it makes may have disgusted some unthinking people, being guarded by nature against all common dangers, by prickles, and a power of rolling itself round in them when apprehensive of an enemy, by means of a strong membrane or muscle, something like a foot-ball
. As to the power and inclination of milking a cow, I may venture to say, that such a notion is one of the most absurd and silliest of all vulgar errors. Had providence intended the hedge-hog should have been vested with such a power, it would have been properly enabled to have carried that power into execution, by endowing it with a mouth large enough to receive the pap of the cow, and without giving any uneasiness to the cow during the operation of sucking: but, instead thereof, the head of the hedge-hog terminates in a snout like that of a common hog, the mouth is small, armed with sharp and short teeth, utterly improper for suction, and which must destroy the very supposal of such a power; and from thence we may safely conclude the hedgebog cannot have any inclination to milk a cow. The hedgehog lives in the bottoms of hedges and among furze or whins; it collects moss, dry leaves, and grass, wherewith to make a warm bed. I remember formerly, that a roasted hedgehog and fried mice were reckoned good in the chin-cough, or hooping-cough.