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THE MONTHLY REVIEW, ... For JA NU A RY, 1774..
ART. I. A complete Body of Planting and Gardening. Containing the
Natural Hittory, Culture, and Management, of Deciduous and Evergreen Foreit Trees, with practical Directions for raising and improving Woods, Nurseries, Seminaries, and Plantations; and the Method of propagating and improving the various kinds of deciduous and evergreen Shrubs and Trees, proper for Ornament and Shade. Also Instructions for laying out and disposing of Pleasure and Flower Gardens ; including the Culture of Prize Flowers, Perennials, Annuals, Biennials, &c. Likewise plain and familiar Rules for the Management of the Kitchen Garden ; comprehend.
jog the newest and best Methods of raising all its different Produc, tions. To which is added, the Manner of planting and cultivating
Fruit Gardens and Orchards. The Whole forming a complete History of Timber Trees, whether raised in Forests, Plantations, or Nurseries ; as well as a general System of the present Practice of Flower, Fruit, and Kitchen Gardens. By the Rev. William
Hanbury, A, M. Rector of Church-Langton in Leicestershte. · Folio. 2 Vols. 41. 4 s. Dilly. N VERY person who has heard of Mr. Hanbury's extraor
U dinary plantations at Church-Langton, and of his close cultivation of them ever since the year 1753, will conclude that the exteosive experience of near 20 years, built, 100, on the exe perience of former writers, must be very sufficient to recommend a system of planting and gardening from this Gentleman's pen. • The possession of knowledge, however, and an happy talent of communicating knowledge, are qualificacions seldom united in the fame person; nor is it altogether easy to determine from which of them, separately, a reader would chuse to accept, with preference, a treatise upon any subject. From the one we may receive even Mie Information with much fatisfaction ; while any improvement extracted from the other, is obtained with law bour, and perhaps, too, even with diszufl. : Vol. L. B
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- The language of botany, in whatever form, is not very inze viting to general readers, and though it does not appear fulceptible of any advantages beyond perspicuity and brevity, yet where these are wanting, even the professed botanist (though no poet) may be allowed to knit his brows. Method, indeed, is of much more importance than style, in a body of gardening; yet when a clergyman, who must, in course, be supposed a man of letters, becomes our instructor, we expect good language ; free, at least, from that obscurity, or unnecessary verbusity, into which uneducated writers are apt to fall. · We are sorry, however, to observe, that the merit of this work is rather derived from the tiller of ground, than from the cultivator of learning. Defects of this kind, might pass unnoticed in an ELLIS; but they can hardly be excused in an HANBURY.
We do not expect that a censure of this kind will be very cordially received by Mr. H. himself; but, furely, he who passes so confident, so harsh, and so indiscriminate a censure on all writers who have gone before him in the same walk, can never object to the unreserved expression of our real opinion of his performance. The second paragraph in his preface is conceived in the following emphatic terms :
Numbers of books have been written within these few years on different parts of planting, botany, or gardening; all of which are extremely defective, cheir plan of execution being both unnatural and absurd.'
Dr. Johnson brewdly observes, in the preface to his edition of Shakespeare, that great part of the labour of every writer, is only the destruction of those that went before him ;' and that o the first care of the builder of a new system, is to demolith the fabrics which are standing. Where a new builder determines to erect an edifice on pre-occupied ground, he muft undoubtedly overturn whatever stands in his way, without distinction; and then he has nothing to do but to begin bis intended foundation, and convert the old materials and rubbish to his own'use. This is exactly the conduct which Mr. Hanbury has adopred. Proposing to write a voluminous body of gardening, it was first necessary to prejudice the Public against every thing lately done of that kind, as the productions of fools, or madmen. This he attempts to effect in a very summary manner, by such confident assertions as that above quoted. The proofs are next to be attended to.
We entirely agree with Mr. Hanbury, that “ to treat the plants as they stand arranged in the different classes of the science, is certainly a good method for a treatise solely on botany, but should by no means be adopted in a book on gardening, where the unlearned but useful gardener would be puzzled to find out the forts for his purpose, among the hard names,
titles, claffes, and technical terms of the science.' Having cone demned the botanical arrangement of the articles, in a treatise of practical gardening, he proceeds to censure a writer who has treated them according to the seasons, as they rise in the course of the year; a method not ill calculated however for uns learned gardeners. But it is the alphabetical form which Mr. Hanbury chiefly aims to discredit, for a reason not very difficult to discover. . Another performance, says he, has appeared under the form of a dictionarys though nothing can be more injudia cious than to compose a book of this nature dictionary wie: for to arrange the various genera, so widely different in their natures, in an alphabetical order, is very bad; but to continue all the species, of what kind soever, under their respective genera, must be still worse. One species of a genus may, pera haps, be an annual, the next a perennial, a third a tree, and the fourth an useful esculent for the table: this perbaps may require the heat of a stove; that perhaps be bardy enough for the coldest situations; while another may demand the moderate protection of a green-house, or thrive very well abroad under a warm wall.'
All these objections may be admitted, and yet the alphabeti. cal arrangement, nevertheless, remain the clearest both to the intelligent and the ignorant ; having, as in Miller's Dictionary, the work above alluded to, an English index of popular names, referring to the botanical denominations under which the artis cles may be found : fome trouble is undoubtedly caused by this double fearch, but it will daily decrease in proportion as the reader improves io bis knowledge of botanical arrangement; which he will insensibly do by consulting the articles. To this indeed might be added, a green-houfe index, and an hoi-house index, for the ready turning to articles in the dictionary, which require thofe kinds of forced cultivation, with indexes of other kinds for particular purposes. Thus the whole botanical system being digefted under one alphabet, no person with the assistance of such proper indexes, could be at a loss for any thing, if he knows what he is seeking for, either in botanical Latin or conia mon Englifh.
It remains now to examine how far Mr. Hanbury's plan is calculated to guard against the objections which he has made to the plans of other writers.
The whole fubje&t is divided into fix books; and the distria bution is as follows: Book I. After an introdu&tion to batany, according to the
Linnæan fyftem, this firft book treats of the culture of forest trees, under the subdivisions of deciduous, aquacic, and evera green.
Book II. Principles for design in gardening, for the manage
ment of the seminary and nursery, and for grafting, budding, • layering, &c. culture of hardy, deciduous, foreign trees and • shrubs, proper for the wilderness, hardy evergreen trees and • thrubs, and climbers.... Book III. Treats of perennial flowers, under the fubdivisions
of prize flowers, and hardy flowers in general. This con·cludes the first volume. Book IV. Of annuals and biennials in general ; the green
house, and green-house plants, stove, and stove plants. Book V. Of the kitchen garden in general, the dodrine of
hot beds, &c. with the management of low sorts of fruit. Book VI. The culture and management of orchards, fruit
trees, and fruit.
Notwithstanding Mr. Hanbury found so much confusion in the dictionary form, and notwithstanding this digeft may appear so unexceptionable to the Author, yet these six divifions, with their subdivisions, under each of which the articles are ranged in separate alphabets, as so many small dictionaries, actually perplex the unity of the subject, and introduce more confufion than they were contrived to avoid. In a professed body of planting and gardening, why are useful grain, edible roots, flowers merely for right, useless or noxious weeds, all to be as. sociated together, under the classes of perennial, and annual FLOWERS? When this jumble occurs under an improved arrangement, why not accept Miller's jumble, with the advantage of having the whole under one alphabet ? Duck's meat, for instance, though intitled to a place among aquatic plants, in a treatise of botany, or an herbal, has surely no business in a treatise of planting and gardening, under the class of perennial fiawirs, where no instructions are given for cultivating them, and where no one wilhes for the knowledge. As litile propriety is observed in ranking a species of the parsnep in the same depariment, among flowers! The several kinds of marjo. ram, are scattered about under the classes, Perennial flowers, Annual flowers, Green-boufe plants, and the Kitchen-garden. Anemonies are divided into two chapters, under Prize Auwers, and Perennial flowers; the arbutus, or strawberry tree, is a title to be found under the divisions of Evergreen trees, and again under Perennial powers; and the pine apple, with its cultivation, will be seen under the class of stove plants, and in the Kitchen gare den, among the low fruits. Walnut trees appear three times, firit as timber trees, secondly as ornamental trees for. Thade, and thirdly as fruit trees. Thus articles are multiplied, to prevent confusion; though so many chapters under the fame head ticles, in different divisions of the work, muft confuse and milead 3
every every reader who has not the botanical distinctions at his fingers ends; when he has, he will prefer collecting all the spee cies under their proper genera,
If Mr. Hanbury's method and disposition, in his work, is not so clear as might be expected after his liberal and repeated charges of absurdity heaped upon other horticultural writers, in his preface, his language and style have as little claim to the Critic's approbation. For this the very title may be appealed to; and (not to repeat here, what we have frequently observed, of the effrontery of those authors who dare to recommend their own productions as compleat) a more confused, long-winded enumeration of particulars, extended by and, with, also, including, likewise, comprehending, and other copulatives, is seldom seen: a farther specimen, or two may be given, to fhew that this censure is noc ill founded. : The chapter upon the vifcum or misseltoe, begins in the following rambling inelegant manner : • The misselioe is a very extraordinary plant, growing from the fides and branches of other trees, inttead of the earth, out of which our noble colleclion springs. This occasions a fingula-' rity beyond expression, and is by many thought very d:lightful and fine. In those countries where the miffeltoe is rarely found, it is much admired, and is to most people a very desirable plant; and even where it abounds in the hedges and woods, they have a peculiar regard for it, and seldom fail to procure some of it in the winter, by which a part of the house is distinguished.' Again, the first chapter that mentions the anemone, introduces it in the following pompoully obscure terms: • Inferior in beauty to none, though, perhaps the least cultivated of any of the seven capital thed Aowers, is the wind Aower ; for which no other reason can be assigned than the inattention it has mostly met with, perhaps in the great regard and over-care of the other forts; and which if taken off, and the nature of the Aower duly weighed, reason would direct us to thew it more respect than it has hitherto met with; for its charms in its variety of colours are transcendant, and its composition is of such a nature as to form (if the phrase may be allowed) a conscious beauty. There is a certain freedom or ease in this fower, that is not common; they blow with those truly admired Aowers the ranunculi at all their times; but the proportions required to establish a compleat Aower of that kind, give it rather a ftiff formal look.. Nothing of this is to be found in the anemone ; and without defaming the preceding Aowers, for that turn in those is perfection, the anemone shews itself without that stiff look in its varieties of all colours (yellow excepted) large and double, in all its natural luxuriance and ease, waving with every wind its petals of so delicate a nature, lo soft and sufceptible 26 to be affected by every breath of air, opening and . B 3