Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Benjamin Franklin's Books on Landscape, Garden, & Farm

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Pennsylvania printer, author, inventor, ambassador, scientist, statesman, abolitionist. Signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, a founder of the Library Company of Philadelphia and of the first fire department in Pennsylvania, among many other accomplishments.

Benjamin Franklin by David Martin (Scot artist, 1737-1797)  1766

Franklin's extensive library is documented in Edwin Wolf 2nd and Kevin J. Hayes, The Library of Benjamin Franklin. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society and Library Company of Philadelphia, 2006. 

Title: An heroic epistle to Sir William Chambers, knight ... author of a late Dissertation on oriental gardening. Enriched with explanatory notes, chiefly extracted from that elaborate performance
Author: William Mason
Info: London, J. Almon, 1773. 11th ed.

Title: The gardeners dictionary. Containing, the methods of cultivating and improving the kitchen, fruit and flower garden, as also, the physick garden, wilderness, conservatory, and vineyard; according to the practice of the most experienced gardeners of the present age
Author: Philip Miller

Title: A treatise on cyder-making, founded on long practice and experience; with a catalogue of cyder-apples of character, in Herefordshire and Devonshire, their different qualities and applications in making either mellow or rough cyder; and the whole process of cyder-making throughout. With instructions for meliorating cyder, preservatives, and remedies for preventing and curing the diseases incident to cyder. To which is prefixed, A dissertation on cyder and cyder-fruit
Author: Hugh Stafford
Info: London, E. Cave, 1753.

Title: Stowe, the gardens of the Right Honourable Richard Lord Viscount Cobham : address'd to Mr. Pope
Author: Gilbert West
Info: London : Printed for W. Russel, 1756.

Title: The universal gardener and botanist or, a general dictionary of gardening and botany. Exhibiting in botanical arrangement, according to the Linnæan system, every tree, shrub, and herbaceous plant
Author: John Abercrombie
Other authors: Thomas Mawe (Contributor)
Info: London : printed for G. Robinson; and T. Cadell, 1778.

Title: A new and complete system of practical husbandry containing all that experience has proved to be most useful in farming, either in the old or new method; with a comparative view of both; and whatever is beneficial to the husbandman, or conducive to the ornament and improvement of the country gentleman's estate
Authors: John Mills
Info: London : printed for R. Baldwin, W. Johnston, S. Crowder, T. Longman, J. Coote [and 3 others in London], 1762-65.

Title: The complete English farmer, or a practical system of husbandry founded upon natural, certain, and obvious principles : in which is comprized a general view of the whole art of agriculture, exhibiting the different effects of cultivating land according to the usage of the old and new husbandry ...
Author: David Henry
Info: London : printed for F. Newberry, 1771.

Title: The farmer's director or, a compendium of English husbandry. Concisely describing the management of land, and cultivating the several kinds of corn and pulse. Of grasses and plants for the food of cattle, and their several feeding qualities. Of meadows and pastures, and a new system of applying the grass-lands of a farm. With various improvements interspersed through the work. Also an appendix. Containing general observations and directions on various subjects of husbandry. ...
Author: Thomas Bowden
Info: London : printed for Richardson and Urquhart, at the Royal Exchange, MDCCLXXVI. [1776]

For more Legacy Libraries go to Library Thing.

Monday, July 29, 2013

1764 Honey Suckles - Virginian John Randolph's 1727-1784 Treatise on Gardening 1764

A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

Honey Suckles

Honey Suckles, Caprifolium, because the Goats eat the tender plants. The red is the Italian, the pale, English; roots or cuttings will produce it. They may be removed in bloom for the sake of a prospect, and replaced when out of bloom.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Virginian Landon Carter's 1710-1778 Books on Landscape, Garden, & Farm

Sabine Hall Home of Landon Carter

Landon Carter (1710-1778), was a planter from Virginia, best known for his account of colonial life leading up the American War of Independence, The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter.  Carter also wrote 4 political pamphlets & nearly 50 newspaper essays.  He was the son of Robert "King" Carter of Corotoman, Lancaster County, Va. and his wife, Elizabeth Landon Willis Carter. He was educated in England, built Sabine Hall in the 1740s, served in the local vestry, & commanded the militia.

After 3 failed attempts, Carter was elected to the House of Burgesses in 1752, & was rewarded with powerful committee appointments. He publicly defended the House in published pamphlets & newspaper essays until he was defeated in his bid for reelection in 1768. The first to raise the alarm in Virginia over the Stamp Act, Carter was chair of the Richmond County Committee (1774–1776) and a wholehearted supporter of independence during the American Revolution (1775–1783). He died at Sabine Hall in 1778.

The list for his library books is based on 1) title pages of the libraries of Landon Carter and Robert Wormeley Carter at Sabine Hall, Richmond County, Virginia photographed by Colonial Williamsburg with the permission of the Rev. Dabney Wellford, Sabine Hall, September 9, 1958 and 2) Curtis, Carol Edith. "The Library of Landon Carter of Sabine Hall, 1710-1788." Master's Thesis, College of William and Mary, 1981. Many of these books are now owned by the University of Virginia Libraries.

Landon Carter's Books on Landscape, Garden, & Farm

Title: The New Gardener's Dictionary
Author: John Dicks
Info: London. Printed for G. Keith, J. Johnson; J. Almon; and Blyth and Beevor 1771.

Title: Memoirs of Agriculture, and other Oeconomical Arts
Author: Robert Dossie
Info: London. Printed for J. Nourse 1768, 1771

Title: The Experimental Husbandman and Gardener
Author: George Andreas Agricola
Info: London. Printed for W. Mears and F. Clay 1726.

Title: Farriery improved: or, A compleat treatise upon the art of farriery
Author: Henry Bracken
Info: Dublin. G. Ewing 1737

Title: The Art of Hatching and Bringing up Domestick Fowls of all Kinds, At any Time of the Year
Author: Rene Antoine Ferchault De Reamur
Info: London. Printed for C. Davis 1750.

Title: The Compleat Surveyor: Containing the whole Art of Surveying of Land, by the Plain Table, Theodolite, Circumferentor, and Peractor
Author: Leybourn William
Info: London. Printed by R. W. Leybourn for E. Brewster and G. Sawbridge 1653.

Title: The Culture of Silk, or, an Essay on its rational Practice and Improvement
Author:Samuel Pullein
Info: London. Printed for A. Millar 1758.

 "The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter of Sabine Hall, 1752-1778" was edited by Jack P. Greene & published by the Virginia Historical Society in 1965.

For more Legacy Libraries go to Library Thing.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

1764 Melon - Virginian John Randolph's 1727-1784 Treatise on Gardening 1764

A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.


Melon,from Mala, Apple, because ofitsfragrancy. There are but three sorts of Melons that Miller says are worth cultivating, the Portugal or pocket Melon, which is small and round, the Cantaleupe Melon, and the Zatta Melon; the green fleshed Melon, and the netted wrought Melon, he does not esteem, though I have found them very delicious in this country. There is a rough, knotty Melon, called the Diarbekr, from a province belonging to the Turkish empire in Asia, which is reckoned the most exquisite of all Melons, which have been brought to great perfection here, and which are not taken notice of by Miller, probably because it has been brought into England since the publication of his dictionary, unless it is the Zatta Melon. The Portugal Melon has been called by the name of king Charles' Melon, because he used to carry one in his pocket, and also Dormer's Melon, because brought from Portugal by a general of that name. The Cantaleupe originally came from Armenia, on the confines of Persia, but took its name from Cantaleupe, a province about six miles from Rome, where they produce the best. It is known all over Europe, by the simple name of the Cantaleupe Melon, and agrees with all stomachs and palates. The Zatta Melon is greatly esteemed in Florence, Italy, &c. It is small, deep furrowed, rough and warted, and compressed at the ends. Melons should never grow near one another, if of different sorts, or by any means near Gourds, Cucumbers, &c. because the farina of one will impregnate the other, spoil the relish of the fruit, and make them degenerate. , Melon seed should not be sown before three years old, and though they will grow at ten or twelve years, yet they should not be propagated after six years. The early Melon is of little value; the middle of June is early enough. In order to have a proper succession, the seed should be sown at least at two different seasons, about the middle of February if seasonable weather, if not, the latter end. The second sowing should be in March, and the third in May, which last will yield a crop in August, and last until October. The early sowings should be covered with oil paper, in preference to glasses. The culture of Melons and planting theui out, is the same with cucumbers, to which we refer. The compost used by the Dutch and German gardeners, for Melons, is of hazel loam, one third part, of the scouring of ditches, ponds, &c. the same, and a third part of rotten dung, all mixed together, and mellowed by being frequently turned over, and kept twelve months. But Miller prefers two thirds of fresh gentle loam and one third of rotten neats' dung, kept together a year, and often turned. It will take about fifteen good wheelbarrows of dung to a light. Melons of all sorts, but particularly the Cantaleupe, should be planted out as soon as the third or rough leaf appears. These seeds do well to be sown on the upper side of a Cucumber bed. One plant is enough for a light. Watering is very requisite, but in much smaller quantities than Cucumbers, and the water should be laid on at a distance from the stems. When the plant has four leaves, the top of the plant should be pinched off, in order to force out the lateral branches. It must not be cut or bruised ; that wounds the plant, and takes a considerable time to heal. The roots of Melons extend a great way, and often perish after the fruit is set, for want of room, wherefore Miller advises that your beds be twelve feet, and when your frames are filled with vine, to raise it so as to let the vines run under them. When the lateral branches, or, as the gardeners call them, runners, have two or three joints, their tops should be also pinched off, and when your fruit is set, examine the vine and pull all off, except one to a runner, leaving at most about eight to a vine, and pinch off the end of the runner about three joints from the fruit; notwithstanding these are pinched off, there will new runners appear; these should be also taken away. If the ground is not too wet and moist, the lower the plants are the better, and if you plant in a bed, let your trenches be extended in length about three feet and a half wide, and your plants should not be less than five feet asunder, to prevent their vines intermixing. If there are several beds, they should be eight feet asunder, and the spaces between filled up for the benefit of the roots with rotten dung. They ought to be covered in all hard rains. The frames should not be too heavy. Many use laths in imitation of covered wagons; your fruit should be turned twice a week for the advantage of the sun, and if lodged on a board or piece of tile, it will be better; once a week watering will be sufficient. The sign of fruit's maturity is the cracking near the foot stalk; and smelling fragrantly. The Cantaleupe never changes colour, until too ripe. Gather your fruit in a morning before the sun has warmed it, but if gathered after, put it into cold water or ice, and keep those got in the morning in the coolest place; a few hours' delay in gathering will spoil the fruit, wherefore they ought to be overlooked twice a day. Take your seeds from the richest flavoured] fruit, with the pulp, in which it must lie three days before washed out, and save only the heavy seed....that which will sink in water.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

John Adams' Books on Landscape, Garden, & Farm

John Adams (1735-1826), Massachusetts lawyer, diplomat, and statesman. Defender of the British soldiers tried after the Boston Massacre, delegate to the first and second Continental Congresses, signer of the Declaration of Independence, ambassador to the Netherlands and to England, drafter of the Massachusetts Constitution, first vice president and second president of the United States of America.

John Adams by John Trumbull (detail), 1793.

"I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine." - 12 May 1780

Most extant books from John Adams's library are currently housed at the Boston Public Library.  Deposited with the Boston Public Library in 1894, the John Adams Library includes over 2,700 volumes collected by the second president during his lifetime (1735-1826) as well as hundreds of additional books later donated by his family members (NB: Books printed after Adams’s death and added to the collection posthumously are not included in Adams's LT catalog). The first published list of Adams's complete deeded library was printed in 1823 in Deeds and other Documents Relating to the Several Pieces of Land, and to the Library Presented to the Town of Quincy by President Adams. This catalog included all volumes bequeathed by Adams in 1822, listing his total gift at 2,756 volumes.

One of the greatest private collections of its day, the Adams Library remains one of the largest original early American libraries still intact. This remarkable original collection of 3,510 books spans the fields of classics, literature, history, politics, government, philosophy, religion, law, science, mathematics, medicine, agriculture, language and linguistics, economics, and travel.

John Adams Books on Landscape, Garden, and Farm

The British fruit-gardener : and art of pruning : comprising, the most approved methods of planting and raising ...

Address of Jonathan Allen, Esq. president of the Berkshire Agricultural Society : delivered before the Berkshire ... John Adams Library copy inscribed on t.p.: 'His Esq. John Adams Quincy Mass.'

An essay on the natural history of Guiana, in South America : containing a description of many curious productions ...

General view of the agriculture in the county of Somerset : with observations on the means of its ...
Essays and notes on husbandry and rural affairs Agriculture,  8vo (Listed in Deeds as "Essays and Notes on Husbandry and Rural Affairs, by Bordley." )

The American museum, or Universal magazine : containing essays on agriculture, commerce, manufactures, politics, ... 8vo Vols 12

Advice to shepherds and owners of flocks, on the care and management of sheep : ... Agriculture, English, 8vo Bookplate on inside back cover: Th: Bradlee, 2d. Book binder, no. 7, Congress Street, Boston.

General view of the agriculture of the county of Northampton : with observations on the means of its improvement

A practical treatise of husbandry : wherein are contained, many useful and valuable experiments and observations ...

Communications to the Board of Agriculture : on subjects relative to the husbandry, and internal improvements ...

A treatise of fruit-trees  John Adams' signature on title page: "John Adams."

Additional appendix to the outlines of the fifteenth chapter of the proposed general report from the Board of ... Agriculture  Comprises six numbered reports, by George Fordyce, William Cullen, John Ingen-Housz, James Headrick, Dr. Guthrie and Richard Crawshay.

 A system of vegetables : according to their classes, orders, genera, species, with their characters and differences  8vo Includes: 'An alphabetical catalogue of English and Scotch names of plants' with a separate t.p. dated 1784

The 'botanical society at Lichfield' consisted of 3 members only: Erasmus Darwin, Brooke (later Sir Brooke) Boothby, and John Jackson"

The gardeners kalendar : directing what works are necessary to be performed every month in the kitchen, fruit, and ... 8vo John Adams' signature on title page: "John Adams."

Observations on the different breeds of sheep and the state of sheep farming in the southern districts of Scotland

The experienced farmer : an entire new work, in which the whole system of agriculture, husbandry, and breeding of ...8vo Inscribed on pasted-in plate on inside front cover:

Natural history of the slug worm Inscribed on preliminary leaf: "Adams Library 1799 ..." Vols 1 & 2

General view of the agriculture of the county of Stafford : with observations on the means of its improvement  4to

Arator : being a series of agricultural essays, practical & political: in sixty-one numbers  John Adams' signature (blotted) on title page: "J. Adams."

 Horse-hoeing husbandry : or, An essay on the principles of vegetation and tillage. Designed to introduce a new method .. 8vo John Adams' signature on title page: "John Adams." Inscribed on first leaf: "85/"

Social Info General view of the agriculture in the county of Essex : with observations on the means of its improvement  8vo

Letters from His Excellency George Washington, president of the United States of America, to Sir John Sinclair, ... Inscribed on half t.p.: “For his Excellency John Adams- President of the United States of America with Sir John Sinclar’s compliments and as a mark of his esteem and regard. 5 June 1800.”

The American gazetteer : exhibiting, in alphabetical order, a much more full and accurate account, ...… by Jedidiah Morse   "Read chiefly in the merican Gazeteers, which are a very valuable Magazine of american Knowledge." (Adams' Diary, 10 November 1766)

For more Legacy Libraries go to Library Thing.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

1836 Artist Thomas Cole on the American Eden disappearing in man's progress

Thomas Cole - 'Essay on American Scenery'
American Monthly Magazine 1 (January 1836)

1825 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) Landscape

I. Introduction

The essay, which is here offered, is a mere sketch of an almost illimitable subject--American Scenery; and in selecting the theme the writer placed more confidence in its overflowing richness, than in his own capacity for treating it in a manner worthy of its vastness and importance.

It is a subject that to every American ought to be of surpassing interest; for, whether he beholds the Hudson mingling waters with the Atlantic--explores the central wilds of this vast continent, or stands on the margin of the distant Oregon, he is still in the midst of American scenery--it is his own land; its beauty, its magnificence, its sublimity--all are his; and how undeserving of such a birthright, if he can turn towards it an unobserving eye, an unaffected heart!

Before entering into the proposed subject, in which I shall treat more particularly of the scenery of the Northern and Eastern States, I shall be excused for saying a few words on the advantages of cultivating a taste for scenery, and for exclaiming against the apathy with which the beauties of external nature are regarded by the great mass, even of our refined community.

1827 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848 View in the White Mountains

1. The Contemplation of Scenery as a Source of Delight and Improvement

It is generally admitted that the liberal arts tend to soften our manners; but they do more--they carry with them the power to mend our hearts.

Poetry and Painting sublime and purify thought, by grasping the past, the present, and the future--they give the mind a foretaste of its immortality, and thus prepare it for performing an exalted part amid the realities of life. And rural nature is full of the same quickening spirit--it is, in fact, the exhaustless mine from which the poet and the painter have brought such wondrous treasures--an unfailing fountain of intellectual enjoyment, where all may drink, and be awakened to a deeper feeling of the works of genius, and a keener perception of the beauty of our existence. For those whose days are all consumed in the low pursuits of avarice, or the gaudy frivolities of fashion, unobservant of nature's loveliness, are unconscious of the harmony of creation--

Heaven's roof to them Is but a painted ceiling hung with lamps; No more--that lights them to their purposes-- They wander 'loose about;' they nothing see, Themselves except, and creatures like themselves, Short lived, short sighted.

What to them is the page of the poet where he describes or personifies the skies, the mountains, or the streams, if those objects themselves have never awakened observation or excited pleasure? What to them is the wild Salvator Rosa, or the aerial Claude Lorrain?

There is in the human mind an almost inseparable connection between the beautiful and the good, so that if we contemplate the one the other seems present; and an excellent author has said, "it is difficult to look at any objects with pleasure--unless where it arises from brutal and tumultuous emotions--without feeling that disposition of mind which tends towards kindness and benevolence; and surely, whatever creates such a disposition, by increasing our pleasures and enjoyments, cannot be too much cultivated."

It would seem unnecessary to those who can see and feel, for me to expatiate on the loveliness of verdant fields, the sublimity of lofty mountains, or the varied magnificence of the sky; but that the number of those who seek enjoyment in such sources is comparatively small. From the indifference with which the multitude regard the beauties of nature, it might be inferred that she had been unnecessarily lavish in adorning this world for beings who take no pleasure in its adornment. Who in grovelling pursuits forget their glorious heritage. Why was the earth made so beautiful, or the sun so clad in glory at his rising and setting, when all might be unrobed of beauty without affecting the insensate multitude, so they can be "lighted to their purposes?"

It has not been in vain--the good, the enlightened of all ages and nations, have found pleasure and consolation in the beauty of the rural earth. Prophets of old retired into the solitudes of nature to wait the inspiration of heaven. It was on Mount Horeb that Elijah witnessed the mighty wind, the earthquake, and the fire; and heard the "still small voice"--that voice is YET heard among the mountains! St. John preached in the desert;--the wilderness is YET a fitting place to speak of God. The solitary Anchorites of Syria and Egypt, though ignorant that the busy world is man's noblest sphere of usefulness, well knew how congenial to religious musings are the pathless solitudes.

He who looks on nature with a "loving eye," cannot move from his dwelling without the salutation of beauty; even in the city the deep blue sky and the drifting clouds appeal to him. And if to escape its turmoil--if only to obtain a free horizon, land and water in the play of light and shadow yields delight--let him be transported to those favored regions, where the features of the earth are more varied, or yet add the sunset, that wreath of glory daily bound around the world, and he, indeed, drinks from pleasure's purest cup. The delight such a man experiences is not merely sensual, or selfish, that passes with the occasion leaving no trace behind; but in gazing on the pure creations of the Almighty, he feels a calm religious tone steal through his mind, and when he has turned to mingle with his fellow men, the chords which have been struck in that sweet communion cease not to vibrate.

In what has been said I have alluded to wild and uncultivated scenery; but the cultivated must not be forgotten, for it is still more important to man in his social capacity--necessarily bringing him in contact with the cultured; it encompasses our homes, and, though devoid of the stern sublimity of the wild, its quieter spirit steals tenderly into our bosoms mingled with a thousand domestic affections and heart-touching associations--human hands have wrought, and human deeds hallowed all around.

And it is here that taste, which is the perception of the beautiful, and the knowledge of the principles on which nature works, can be applied, and our dwelling-places made fitting for refined and intellectual beings.

1827 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) Sunny Morning on the Hudson River

2. The Advantages of Cultivating a Taste for Scenery

If, then, it is indeed true that the contemplation of scenery can be so abundant a source of delight and improvement, a taste for it is certainly worthy of particular cultivation; for the capacity for enjoyment increases with the knowledge of the true means of obtaining it.

In this age, when a meager utilitarianism seems ready to absorb every feeling and sentiment, and what is sometimes called improvement in its march makes us fear that the bright and tender flowers of the imagination shall all be crushed beneath its iron tramp, it would be well to cultivate the oasis that yet remains to us, and thus preserve the germs of a future and a purer system. And now, when the sway of fashion is extending widely over society--poisoning the healthful streams of true refinement, and turning men from the love of simplicity and beauty, to a senseless idolatry of their own follies--to lead them gently into the pleasant paths of Taste would be an object worthy of the highest efforts of genius and benevolence. The spirit of our society is to contrive but not to enjoy--toiling to produce more toil-accumulating in order to aggrandize. The pleasures of the imagination, among which the love of scenery holds a conspicuous place, will alone temper the harshness of such a state; and, like the atmosphere that softens the most rugged forms of the landscape, cast a veil of tender beauty over the asperities of life.

Did our limits permit I would endeavor more fully to show how necessary to the complete appreciation of the Fine Arts is the study of scenery, and how conducive to our happiness and well-being is that study and those arts; but I must now proceed to the proposed subject of this essay--American Scenery!

1827 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) The Clove Catskills

II. The Elements of American Scenery

There are those who through ignorance or prejudice strive to maintain that American scenery possesses little that is interesting or truly beautiful--that it is rude without picturesqueness, and monotonous without sublimity--that being destitute of those vestiges of antiquity, whose associations so strongly affect the mind, it may not be compared with European scenery. But from whom do these opinions come? From those who have read of European scenery, of Grecian mountains, and Italian skies, and never troubled themselves to look at their own; and from those travelled ones whose eyes were never opened to the beauties of nature until they beheld foreign lands, and when those lands faded from the sight were again closed and forever; disdaining to destroy their trans-atlantic impressions by the observation of the less fashionable and unfamed American scenery. Let such persons shut themselves up in their narrow shell of prejudice--I hope they are few,--and the community increasing in intelligence, will know better how to appreciate the treasures of their own country.

I am by no means desirous of lessening in your estimation the glorious scenes of the old world--that ground which has been the great theater of human events--those mountains, woods, and streams, made sacred in our minds by heroic deeds and immortal song--over which time and genius have suspended an imperishable halo. No! But I would have it remembered that nature has shed over this land beauty and magnificence, and although the character of its scenery may differ from the old world's, yet inferiority must not therefore be inferred; for though American scenery is destitute of many of those circumstances that give value to the European, still it has features, and glorious ones, unknown to Europe.

1830 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) Morning Mist Rising Plymouth New Hampshire

1. Wildness

A very few generations have passed away since this vast tract of the American continent, now the United States, rested in the shadow of primeval forests, whose gloom was peopled by savage beasts, and scarcely less savage men; or lay in those wide grassy plains called prairies--

The Gardens of the Desert, these The unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful.

And, although an enlightened and increasing people have broken in upon the solitude, and with activity and power wrought changes that seem magical, yet the most distinctive, and perhaps the most impressive, characteristic of American scenery is its wildness.

It is the most distinctive, because in civilized Europe the primitive features of scenery have long since been destroyed or modified--the extensive forests that once overshadowed a great part of it have been felled--rugged mountains have been smoothed, and impetuous rivers turned from their courses to accommodate the tastes and necessities of a dense population--the once tangled wood is now a grassy lawn; the turbulent brook a navigable stream--crags that could not be removed have been crowned with towers, and the rudest valleys tamed by the plough.

And to this cultivated state our western world is fast approaching; but nature is still predominant, and there are those who regret that with the improvements of cultivation the sublimity of the wilderness should pass away: for those scenes of solitude from which the hand of nature has never been lifted, affect the mind with a more deep toned emotion than aught which the hand of man has touched. Amid them the consequent associations are of God the creator--they are his undefiled works, and the mind is cast into the contemplation of eternal things.

1836 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) The Course of Empire the Acadian or Pastoral State

2. Mountains

As mountains are the most conspicuous objects in landscape, they will take the precedence in what I may say on the elements of American scenery.

It is true that in the eastern part of this continent there are no mountains that vie in altitude with the snow-crowned Alps--that the Alleghanies and the Catskills are in no point higher than five thousand feet; but this is no inconsiderable height; Snowdon in Wales, and Ben-Nevis in Scotland, are not more lofty; and in New Hampshire, which has been called the Switzerland of the United States, the White Mountains almost pierce the region of perpetual snow. The Alleghanies are in general heavy in form; but the Catskills, although not broken into abrupt angles like the most picturesque mountains of Italy, have varied, undulating, and exceedingly beautiful outlines--they heave from the valley of the Hudson like the subsiding billows of the ocean after a storm.

American mountains are generally clothed to the summit by dense forests, while those of Europe are mostly bare, or merely tinted by grass or heath. It may be that the mountains of Europe are on this account more picturesque in form, and there is a grandeur in their nakedness; but in the gorgeous garb of the American mountains there is more than an equivalent; and when the woods "have put their glory on," as an American poet has beautifully said, the purple heath and yellow furze of Europe's mountains are in comparison but as the faint secondary rainbow to the primal one.

But in the mountains of New Hampshire there is a union of the picturesque, the sublime, and the magnificent; there the bare peaks of granite, broken and desolate, cradle the clouds; while the vallies and broad bases of the mountains rest under the shadow of noble and varied forests; and the traveller who passes the Sandwich range on his way to the White Mountains, of which it is a spur, cannot but acknowledge, that although in some regions of the globe nature has wrought on a more stupendous scale, yet she has nowhere so completely married together grandeur and loveliness--there he sees the sublime melting into the beautiful, the savage tempered by the magnificent.

1836 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) The Course of Empire The Savage State

3. Water

I will now speak of another component of scenery, without which every landscape is defective--it is water. Like the eye in the human countenance, it is a most expressive feature: in the unrippled lake, which mirrors all surrounding objects, we have the expression of tranquillity and peace--in the rapid stream, the headlong cataract, that of turbulence and impetuosity.

1836 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) The Oxbow The Connecticut River near Northampton

a. Lakes

In this great element of scenery, what land is so rich? I would not speak of the Great Lakes, which are in fact inland seas--possessing some of the attributes of the ocean, though destitute of its sublimity; but of those smaller lakes, such as Lake George, Champlain, Winnipisiogee, Otsego, Seneca, and a hundred others, that stud like gems the bosom of this country. There is one delightful quality in nearly all these lakes--the purity and transparency of the water. In speaking of scenery it might seem unnecessary to mention this; but independent of the pleasure that we all have in beholding pure water, it is a circumstance which contributes greatly to the beauty of landscape; for the reflections of surrounding objects, trees, mountains, sky, are most perfect in the clearest water; and the most perfect is the most beautiful.

I would rather persuade you to visit the "Holy Lake," the beautiful "Horican," than attempt to describe its scenery--to behold you rambling on its storied shores, where its southern expanse is spread, begernmed with isles of emerald, and curtained by green receding hills--or to see you gliding over its bosom, where the steep and rugged mountains approach from either side, shadowing with black precipices the innumerable islets--some of which bearing a solitary tree, others a group of two or three, or a "goodly company," seem to have been sprinkled over the smiling deep in Nature's frolic hour. These scenes are classic--History and Genius have hallowed them. War's shrill clarion once waked the echoes from these now silent hills--the pen of a living master has portrayed them in the pages of romance--and they are worthy of the admiration of the enlightened and the graphic hand of Genius.

Though differing from Lake George, Winnipisiogee resembles it in multitudinous and uncounted islands. Its mountains do not stoop to the water's edge, but through varied screens of forest may be seen ascending the sky softened by the blue haze of distance--on the one hand rise the Gunstock Mountains; on the other the dark Ossipees, while above and far beyond, rear the "cloud capt" peaks of the Sandwich and White Mountains.

I will not fatigue with a vain attempt to describe the lakes that I have named; but would turn your attention to those exquisitely beautiful lakes that are so numerous in the Northern States, and particularly in New Hampshire. In character they are truly and peculiarly American. I know nothing in Europe which they resemble; the famous lakes of Albano and Nemi, and the small and exceedingly picturesque lakes of Great Britain may be compared in size, but are dissimilar in almost every other respect. Embosomed in the primitive forest, and sometimes overshadowed by huge mountains, they are the chosen places of tranquillity; and when the deer issues from the surrounding woods to drink the cool waters, he beholds his own image as in a polished mirror,--the flight of the eagle can be seen in the lower sky; and if a leaf falls, the circling undulations chase each other to the shores unvexed by contending tides.

There are two lakes of this description, situated in a wild mountain gorge called the Franconia Notch, in New Hampshire. They lie within a few hundred feet of each other, but are remarkable as having no communication--one being the source of the wild Amonoosuck, the other of the Pemigiwasset. Shut in by stupendous mountains which rest on crags that tower more than a thousand feet above the water, whose rugged brows and shadowy breaks are clothed by dark and tangled woods, they have such an aspect of deep seclusion, of utter and unbroken solitude, that, when standing on their brink a lonely traveller, I was overwhelmed with an emotion of the sublime, such as I have rarely felt. It was not that the jagged precipices were lofty, that the encircling woods were of the dimmest shade, or that the waters were profoundly deep; but that over all, rocks, wood, and water, brooded the spirit of repose, and the silent energy of nature stirred the soul to its inmost depths.

I would not be understood that these lakes are always tranquil; but that tranquillity is their great characteristic. There are times when they take a far different expression; but in scenes like these the richest chords are those struck by the gentler hand of nature.

1837 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) View on the Catskill Early Autumn

b. Waterfalls

And now I must turn to another of the beautifiers of the earth--the Waterfall; which in the same object at once presents to the mind the beautiful, but apparently incongruous idea, of fixedness and motion--a single existence in which we perceive unceasing change and everlasting duration. The waterfall may be called the voice of the landscape, for, unlike the rocks and woods which utter sounds as the passive instruments played on by the elements, the waterfall strikes its own chords, and rocks and mountains re-echo in rich unison. And this is a land abounding in cataracts; in these Northern States where shall we turn and not find them? Have we not Kaaterskill, Trenton, the Flume, the Genesee, stupendous Niagara, and a hundred others named and nameless ones, whose exceeding beauty must be acknowledged when the hand of taste shall point them out?

In the Kaaterskill we have a stream, diminutive indeed, but throwing itself headlong over a fearful precipice into a deep gorge of the densely wooded mountains--and possessing a singular feature in the vast arched cave that extends beneath and behind the cataract. At Trenton there is a chain of waterfalls of remarkable beauty, where the foaming waters, shadowed by steep cliffs, break over rocks of architectural formation, and tangled and picturesque trees mantle abrupt precipices, which it would be easy to imagine crumbling and "time disparting towers."

And Niagara! that wonder of the world!--where the sublime and beautiful are bound together in an indissoluble chain. In gazing on it we feel as though a great void had been filled in our minds--our conceptions expand--we become a part of what we behold! At our feet the floods of a thousand rivers are poured out--the contents of vast inland seas. In its volume we conceive immensity; in its course, everlasting duration; in its impetuosity, uncontrollable power. These are the elements of its sublimity. Its beauty is garlanded around in the varied hues of the water, in the spray that ascends the sky, and in that unrivalled bow which forms a complete cincture round the unresting floods.

1838 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) Schroon Mountain Adirondacks after a Storm

c. Rivers

The river scenery of the United States is a rich and boundless theme. The Hudson for natural magnificence is unsurpassed. What can be more beautiful than the lake-like expanses of Tapaan and Haverstraw, as seen from the rich orchards of the surrounding hills? hills that have a legend, which has been so sweetly and admirably told that it shall not perish but with the language of the land. What can be more imposing than the precipitous Highlands; whose dark foundations have been rent to make a passage for the deep-flowing river? And, ascending still, where can be found scenes more enchanting? The lofty Catskills stand afar off-the green hills gently rising from the flood, recede like steps by which we may ascend to a great temple, whose pillars are those everlasting hills, and whose dome is the blue boundless vault of heaven.

The Rhine has its castled crags, its vine-clad hills, and ancient villages; the Hudson has its wooded mountains, its rugged precipices, its green undulating shores--a natural majesty, and an unbounded capacity for improvement by art. Its shores are not besprinkled with venerated ruins, or the palaces of princes; but there are flourishing towns, and neat villas, and the hand of taste has already been at work. Without any great stretch of the imagination we may anticipate the time when the ample waters shall reflect temple, and tower, and dome, in every variety of picturesqueness and magnificence.

In the Connecticut we behold a river that differs widely from the Hudson. Its sources are amid the wild mountains of New Hampshire; but it soon breaks into a luxuriant valley, and flows for more than a hundred miles, sometimes beneath the shadow of wooded hills, and sometimes glancing through the green expanse of elm-besprinkled meadows. Whether we see it at Haverhill, Northampton, or Hartford, it still possesses that gentle aspect; and the imagination can scarcely conceive Arcadian vales more lovely or more peaceful than the valley of the Connecticut--its villages are rural places where trees overspread every dwelling, and the fields upon its margin have the richest verdure.

Nor ought the Ohio, the Susqueharmah, the Potomac, with their tributaries, and a thousand others, be omitted in the rich list of the American rivers--they are a glorious brotherhood; but volumes would be insufficient for their description.

1839 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) A View of the Mountain Pass called the Notch of the White Mountains Crawford Notch

4. Forests

In the Forest scenery of the United States we have that which occupies the greatest space, and is not the least remarkable; being primitive, it differs widely from the European. In the American forest we find trees in every stage of vegetable life and decay--the slender sapling rises in the shadow of the lofty tree, and the giant in his prime stands by the hoary patriarch of the wood--on the ground lie prostrate decaying ranks that once waved their verdant heads in the sun and wind. These are circumstances productive of great variety and picturesqueness--green umbrageous masses--lofty and scathed trunks--contorted branches thrust athwart the sky--the mouldering dead below, shrouded in moss of every hue and texture, from richer combinations than can be found in the trimmed and planted grove. It is true that the thinned and cultivated wood offers less obstruction to the feet, and the trees throw out their branches more horizontally, and are consequently more umbrageous when taken singly; but the true lover of the picturesque is seldom fatigued--and trees that grow widely apart are often heavy in form, and resemble each other too much for picturesqueness. Trees are like men, differing widely in character; in sheltered spots, or under the influence of culture, they show few contrasting points; peculiarities are pruned and trained away, until there is a general resemblance. But in exposed situations, wild and uncultivated, battling with the elements and with one another for the possession of a morsel of soil, or a favoring rock to which they may cling--they exhibit striking peculiarities, and sometimes grand originality.

For variety, the American forest is unrivalled: in some districts are found oaks, elms, birches, beeches, planes, pines, hemlocks, and many other kinds of trees, commingled--clothing the hills with every tint of green, and every variety of light and shade.

There is a peculiarity observable in some mountainous regions, where trees of a genus band together--there often may be seen a mountain whose foot is clothed with deciduous trees, while on its brow is a sable crown of pines; and sometimes belts of dark green encircle a mountain horizontally, or are stretched in well-defined lines from the summit to the base. The nature of the soil, or the courses of rivulets, are the causes of this variety;--and it is a beautiful instance of the exhaustlessness of nature; often where we should expect unvarying monotony, we behold a charming diversity. Time will not permit me to speak of the American forest trees individually; but I must notice the elm, that paragon of beauty and shade; the maple, with its rainbow hues; and the hemlock, the sublime of trees, which rises from the gloom of the forest like a dark and ivy-mantled tower.

There is one season when the American forest surpasses all the world in gorgeousness--that is the autumnal;--then every hill and dale is riant in the luxury of color--every hue is there, from the liveliest green to deepest purple from the most golden yellow to the intensest crimson. The artist looks despairingly upon the glowing landscape, and in the old world his truest imitations of the American forest, at this season, are called falsely bright, and scenes in Fairy Land.

1843 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) River in the Catskills

5. Sky

The sky will next demand our attention. The soul of all scenery, in it are the fountains of light, and shade, and color. Whatever expression the sky takes, the features of the landscape are affected in unison, whether it be the serenity of the summer's blue, or the dark tumult of the storm. It is the sky that makes the earth so lovely at sunrise, and so splendid at sunset. In the one it breathes over the earth the crystal-like ether, in the other liquid gold. The climate of a great part of the United States is subject to great vicissitudes, and we complain; but nature offers a compensation. These very vicissitudes are the abundant sources of beauty--as we have the temperature of every clime, so have we the skies--we have the blue unsearchable depths of the northern sky--we have the upheaped thunder-clouds of the Torrid Zone, fraught with gorgeousness and sublimity--we have the silver haze of England, and the golden atmosphere of Italy. And if he who has travelled and observed the skies of other climes will spend a few months on the banks of the Hudson, he must be constrained to acknowledge that for variety and magnificence American skies are unsurpassed. Italian skies have been lauded by every tongue, and sung by every poet, and who will deny their wonderful beauty? At sunset the serene arch is filled with alchemy that transmutes mountains, and streams, and temples, into living gold.

But the American summer never passes without many sunsets that might vie with the Italian, and many still more gorgeous--that seem peculiar to this clime.

Look at the heavens when the thunder shower has passed, and the sun stoops behind the western mountains--there the low purple clouds hang in festoons around the steeps--in the higher heaven are crimson bands interwoven with feathers of gold, fit for the wings of angels--and still above is spread that interminable field of ether, whose color is too beautiful to have a name.

It is not in the summer only that American skies are beautiful; for the winter evening often comes robed in purple and gold, and in the westering sun the iced groves glitter as beneath a shower of diamonds--and through the twilight heaven innumerable stars shine with a purer light than summer ever knows.

1845 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) The Hunter Return

III. The Want of Associations

I will now venture a few remarks on what has been considered a grand defect in American scenery--the want of associations, such as arise amid the scenes of the old world.

We have many a spot as umbrageous as Vallombrosa, and as picturesque as the solitudes of Vaucluse; but Milton and Petrarch have not hallowed them by their footsteps and immortal verse. He who stands on Mont Albano and looks down on ancient Rome, has his mind peopled with the gigantic associations of the storied past; but he who stands on the mounds of the West, the most venerable remains of American antiquity, may experience the emotion of the sublime, but it is the sublimity of a shoreless ocean un-islanded by the recorded deeds of man.

Yet American scenes are not destitute of historical and legendary associations--the great struggle for freedom has sanctified many a spot, and many a mountain, stream, and rock has its legend, worthy of poet's pen or the painter's pencil. But American associations are not so much of the past as of the present and the future. Seated on a pleasant knoll, look down into the bosom of that secluded valley, begin with wooded hills--through those enamelled meadows and wide waving fields of grain, a silver stream winds lingeringly along--here, seeking the green shade of trees--there, glancing in the sunshine: on its banks are rural dwellings shaded by elms and garlanded by flowers--from yonder dark mass of foliage the village spire beams like a star. You see no ruined tower to tell of outrage--no gorgeous temple to speak of ostentation; but freedom's offspring--peace, security, and happiness, dwell there, the spirits of the scene. On the margin of that gentle river the village girls may ramble unmolested--and the glad school-boy, with hook and line, pass his bright holiday--those neat dwellings, unpretending to magnificence, are the abodes of plenty, virtue, and refinement. And in looking over the yet uncultivated scene, the mind's eye may see far into futurity. Where the wolf roams, the plough shall glisten; on the gray crag shall rise temple and tower--mighty deeds shall be done in the now pathless wilderness; and poets yet unborn shall sanctify the soil.

1846 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) A Rocky Glenn

IV. Conclusion

1. The Destruction of Beautiful Landscapes

It was my intention to attempt a description of several districts remarkable for their picturesqueness and truly American character; but I fear to trespass longer on your time and patience. Yet I cannot but express my sorrow that the beauty of such landscapes are quickly passing away--the ravages of the axe are daily increasing--the most noble scenes are made desolate, and oftentimes with a wantonness and barbarism scarcely credible in a civilized nation. The wayside is becoming shadeless, and another generation will behold spots, now rife with beauty, desecrated by what is called improvement; which, as yet, generally destroys Nature's beauty without substituting that of Art. This is a regret rather than a complaint; such is the road society has to travel; it may lead to refinement in the end, but the traveller who sees the place of rest close at hand, dislikes the road that has so many unnecessary windings.

1847 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) Genesee Scenery

2. We Are Still in Eden

I will now conclude, in the hope that, though feebly urged, the importance of cultivating a taste for scenery will not be forgotten. Nature has spread for us a rich and delightful banquet. Shall we turn from it? We are still in Eden; the wall that shuts us out of the garden is our own ignorance and folly. We should not allow the poet's words to be applicable to us--

Deep in rich pasture do thy flocks complain? Not so; but to their master is denied To share the sweet serene.

May we at times turn from the ordinary pursuits of life to the pure enjoyment of rural nature; which is in the soul like a fountain of cool waters to the way-worn traveller; and let us

Learn The laws by which the Eternal doth sublime And sanctify his works, that we may see The hidden glory veiled from vulgar eyes.

1847 Thomas Cole (American artist, 1801-1848) Indian Pass Tahawus

The exchange of garden books in British colonial America

Many gentlemen gardeners ordered their design & planting instruction books, as well as seeds, plants, and even their gardeners from England. Despite wide discrepancies in both soil & climate among the colonies themselves and certainly between these "new" lands & mother England, gardeners up & down the Atlantic depended on English garden publications until well after the Revolution.

The British garden books that dominated the American market until the early 19th century, however inadequate & misleading their planting instructions, are valuable tools for reconstructing not only plant materials recommended but also methods used in designing & laying out 18th century gardens for both pleasure and food.

Catalogues of the circulating libraries that blossomed near the Atlantic after the Revolution are one important source in revealing gardening books used during this period. Other documents sometimes mentioning gardening books are letters, inventories, newspaper advertisements, diaries, and broadsides.

Some extant private book collections from the period remain in colonial libraries such as Thomas Jefferson's. Among the surviving libraries are those of the Ridgely family at Hampton in Baltimore County and the books of Charles Carroll the Barrister (1723-1783), housed at his home Mount Clare in Baltimore City.

An examination of the books read by colonial gardeners may help explain their tenacious refusal to let go of the formal garden concepts of the "ancients" -- like the geometric terraces found at both Hampton and Mount Clare--and accept the natural grounds revolution of their English contemporaries.

The surviving letters of 18th century Marylanders such as Henry Callister and Charles Carroll the Barrister often mention gardening books. Henry Callister (1716-1765) spent several years in a Liverpool counting house, before his employers sent him to oversee their store at Oxford on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Evidence of the frequent exchange of books among gardening readers on the Eastern Shore is found scattered throughout Callister's letterbooks.

The Eastern Shore tobacco factor Callister owned the 2 volume collection of Figures of the most beautiful, useful, and uncommon plants described in the Gardeners Dictionary. It had been printed for the author; and sold by J. Rivington in London, from 1755-1760. The illustrator was Philip Miller (1691-1771), one of the most important English horticultural figures of the 18th century.

Philip Miller, Plate CCXX. Ricinus. from Figures of the most beautiful, useful, and uncommon plants described in the Gardeners Dictionary

An acquaintance heard that Callister had the collection and knowing that Maryland's Governor Horatio Sharpe owned the Miller Gardener's Dictionary mentioned to him that Callister might sell the illustrations.

Callister wrote the Governor, offering him the watercolor plates for 15 pounds Maryland currency, which he declared was his actual cost, "Barclay favored me with the intimation of your Excellencies willingness to take off my hands Miller's Cuts. I have accordingly packed them up and deliver'd them to him. You will find inclosed an account of the nett prime cost. As your excellency is possessed of the Dictionary in folio, in which Mr. Millers Design was to adapt those cuts, they will be curious illustrations of his subject. But I have reason to think this was not his motive; your beneficence is seen in your laying hold of the occasion to ease me of a burthersome article' for the piece is indeed costly, and your taste seems to run rather on improvements in agriculture than mere entertainment in botany and natural history. For this I sincerely thank your Excellency."

The Governor did buy the books written and illustrated by Philip Miller, son of a Scotsman who served as a gardener in Kent before becoming a market gardener near Deptford.

Miller's Gardener's Dictionary was the backbone of most American garden libraries. It dealt with all aspects of gardening from kitchen gardens growing fruits, herbs, and vegetables to pleasure gardens. Virginians George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned copies as did many other Chesapeake gentry. The complete title surveys the scope of the work: The gardeners dictionary: containing the methods of cultivating and improving the kitchen, fruit, and flower garden. As also, the physick garden, wilderness, conservatory and vineyard... Interspers'd with the history of the plants, the characters of each genus, and the names of all particular species, in Latin and English; and an explanation of all the terms used in botany and gardening, etc. It was first published in London in 1731 and revised in many editions over the coming years.

Even Benjamin Franklin, not known to be a gardener, wrote to his wife Deborah Franklin, 27 May 1757: "In my Room, on the Folio Shelf, between the Clock and our Bed Chamber, and not far from the Clock, stands a Folio call'd the Gardener's Dictionary, by P. Miller ... Deliver ... to Mr. (James) Parker"

Frontis Piece from Philip Miller's Gardener's Dictionary. 1731

A copy of Miller's Gardener's Dictionary still exists in the library at Mount Clare in Baltimore City, home of Charles Carroll the Barrister, son of Dr. Charles Carroll (1691-1755). Dr. Carroll came to the colony about 1715 to practice medicine. He became a planter, ship-builder, land speculator, and part-owner of a large iron business. Like many other Maryland planters, the elder Carroll ordered his books directly from England, where he sent his son Charles to be educated. Charles Carroll the Barrister returned to Maryland a few months before his father died. One of the first things the Barrister did after his father's death was to pay debts his father owed a London bookseller.

In 1760, as the son began to plan his new country house near Baltimore, he ordered a copy of Miller's Gardener's Dictionary. By 1766, Charles Carroll the Barrister was ordering his seeds from his British factors by noting specific seed types directly from the English gardening books on his shelves. The Barrister's letters referred to Miller's treatise frequently using it to describe varieties of peach and apricot trees he wished to plant in his garden. He wrote, "The Nursery Man may Look into Millars Gardeners Dictionary where he will See the Names of Each."


Monday, July 15, 2013

1797 Isaac Weld records Native Americans using gourds

When Issac Weld toured North America at the end of the 18th-century, he recorded Indians using gourds in some of their rituals and ceremonies. (Travels through the States of North America, 1797): “Of Indian dances in Canada: the two others marked time equally with the drum, with kettles formed or dried squashes or gourds filled with pease.”

Saturday, July 13, 2013

1764 Mullin - Virginian John Randolph's 1727-1784 Treatise on Gardening 1764

A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.


Mullin, Verbascum. The seed should be sown in August, in drills, about six inches asunder, and in the spring transplanted in a warm light situation.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Virginian John Baylor III 1705-1772 Books on Landscape, Garden, & Farm

Colonel John Baylor III (1705-1772), Virginia landowner & one of the wealthiest men & largest landowners of pre-Revolutionary Virginia.  Grandson of a planter who traded profitably in several Tidewater counties, & son of a slave-dealer, planter & burgess from Gloucester & then King & Queen counties, John Baylor III (1705–1772) was third-generation Virginia aristocracy. Baylor was sent to England to be educated at Putney Grammar School, Middlesex, & at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge.

Unknown Artist. John Baylor, c. 1722

After returning to Virginia from England in 1726, Baylor built a plantation house, Newmarket, in Caroline County (named for the English race track). Baylor began racing & breeding horses at his home Newmarket by late in the 1730s—remnants of his racing track are still visible there—& he imported expensive thoroughbreds from Britain by the early 1740s. Baylor's stud operation was legendary throughout the Chesapeake Bay region, & gentry-turfmen such as George Washington & John Tayloe II sent their prized mares to Newmarket to breed with Baylor's thoroughbreds. By the mid-1750s & concentrated instead on importing & breeding.  In 1764, he paid 1,000 guineas for the racehorse Fearnought, the highest price anyone in colonial America ever paid for a horse. Thomas Jefferson proudly noted in his farm journal that his favorite mount, Caractacus, was the grand sire (grandson) of Fearnought. (While serving as governor, Jefferson famously fled a contingent of British soldiers sent to capture him at Monticello astride Caractacus).

Baylor married Frances Lucy Walker (1728-1783), & the 2 had 8 children who survived. Baylor served as a church warden & vestryman from 1752-1761, & sat in the House of Burgesses from 1742-1752 & 1756-1765. He was also a justice of the peace for Caroline County.  Baylor died leaving a vast estate, but also significant debts, which passed (along with Baylor's library), to his son John Baylor IV.

Most of the farm books in Baylor's library are about horses.  Works & other information included in Baylor's LT catalog are from several sources, including the inventory of his library (a transcript of which is preserved in the proceedings of a later court case, Daingerfield v. Rootes); his letterbooks, 1749-65, in the Baylor Family Papers at the Virginia Historical Society; & the daybooks of the Virginia Gazette, 1750-52 & 1764-66.  Col. Baylor also purchased many books in Virginia and through his British factors for the education of his children, & in pursuit of his horse-racing/breeding interests.

John Baylor III Books on Landscape, Garden, & Farm

Title: The Virginia almanack for the year of our Lord God 1765. ... By Theophilus Wreg. philom. Info: Williamsburg [Va.] : Printed and sold by Joseph Royle, and Co, [1764]

Title: The architecture of M. Vitruvius. Pollio: translated from the original Latin, by W. Newton, architect Author: Vitruvius Pollio Other authors: William Newton (Translator) Info: London : printed by William Griffin, and John Clark, and published by J. Dodsley, 1771.

Title: [Treatise on Tobacco] Author: Buckner Stith Info: [Williamsburg, Virginia Gazette, 1764.]

Title: The complete farmer or, a general dictionary of husbandry, in all its branches; containing the various methods of cultivating and improving every species of land, ... Authors: Society of Gentlemen

Title: A new and complete system of practical husbandry containing all that experience has proved to be most useful in farming, either in the old or new method, with a comparative view of both, and whatever is beneficial to the husbandman, or conducive to the ornament and improvement of the country gentleman's estate Author: John Mills Info: London : Printed for R. Baldwin [ and 7 others], 1762-1765.

Title: A new treatise on the diseases of horses: wherein what is necessary to the knowledge of a horse, the cure of his diseases, and other matters relating to that subject, are fully discussed for many years practice and experience; with the cheapest and most efficacious remedies Author W. Gibson Info: London, A. Millar, 1751.

Title: The modern husbandman complete in eight volumes : containing I. The practice of farming, as it is now carried on by the most experienced farmers in the several counties of England ... necessary for all landlords and tenants of either ploughed, grass, or wood grounds Author William Ellis Info: London : Printed for D. Browne ... [et al.], 1750.

Title: A practical treatise of husbandry wherein are contained, many useful and valuable experiments and observations in the new husbandry
Authors: Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau, John Mills (Translator) Info: London : Printed for C. Hitch [and 8 others], 1762.

Title: Farriery improved or, a compleat treatise upon the art of farriery. Together with many necessary and useful observations and remarks concerning the choice and management of horses. ...
Author Henry Bracken Info: London : printed for W. Johnston; and A. Shuckburgh, 1763.

Title: The gentleman's farriery or, a practical treatise on the diseases of horses: wherein ... M. La Fosse's method of trepanning glandered horses is particularly considered and improved: also a new method of nicking horses is recommended; ... To which is added an appendix, ...
Author: John Bartlet
Info: London : printed for J. Nourse; S. Crowder, L. Hawes, W. Clark and R. Collins, and M. Richardson; and J. Pote at Eton, 1764.

Title: A new system of agriculture or, a plain, easy, and demonstrative method of speedily growing rich: proving, by undeniable arguments, that every land owner, in England, may advance his estate to a double value, in the space of one year's time
Author Edward Weston
Info: London : printed for A. Millar, 1755. [A Dublin edition was printed the same year]

Title: The gentleman's farriery or, a practical treatise on the diseases of horses: wherein ... M. La Fosse's method of trepanning glandered horses is particularly considered and improved: also a new method of nicking horses is recommended; ... To which is added an appendix, ...
Author John Bartlet Info: London : printed for J. Nourse; S. Crowder, L. Hawes, W. Clark and R. Collins, and M. Richardson; and J. Pote at Eton, 1764.

Title: Farriery improved or, a compleat treatise upon the art of farriery. Together with many necessary and useful observations and remarks concerning the choice and management of horses. ...
Author Henry Bracken Info: London : printed for W. Johnston; and A. Shuckburgh, 1763.

Title: An historical list of all horse-matches run ...
Author John Cheny

Title: A new treatise on the diseases of horses: wherein what is necessary to the knowledge of a horse, the cure of his diseases, and other matters relating to that subject, are fully discussed for many years practice and experience; with the cheapest and most efficacious remedies
Author W. Gibson Info: London, A. Millar, 1751.

Title: An historical list of horse-matches run. And of plates and prizes, run for in Great Britain
Author Reginald Heber Info: London, 1752-1769.

Title: The art of farriery both in theory and practice containing the causes, symptoms, and cure of all diseases incident to horses. With anatomical descriptions, illustrated with cuts, ...
Author John Reeves Info: London : printed for J. Newbery; and B. Collins, in Salisbury, 1758.

Title: The sportsman’s dictionary: or, the country gentleman’s companion, in all rural recreations: With full and particular Instructions for Hawking, Hunting, Fowling, Setting, Fishing, Racing, Riding, Cocking
The titles & information included in this library are drawn from Thomas Katheder, The Baylors of Newmarket: The Decline and Fall of a Virginia Planter Family. Bloomingon, Ind., & New York: iUniverse, 2009. The book is an in-depth & excellent analysis of the Baylor library.
Katheder, T. M. John Baylor III (1705–1772). (2012, January 18). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from

For more Legacy Libraries go to Library Thing.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Chinese Influence on Early American Gardens

Chinese Garden Architecture & Design

By the 1760s, colonial British Americans were becoming restless with their limited choices in an expanding world. (And then, of course, there was that taxation problem.) Britain controlled what they could import & what they could manufacture. And, yet, they knew of the world beyond the limits imposed by the mother country.

Voltaire, although he had never been there, fancied China to be a diest philosopher's paradise. The colonials were banned from direct contact with goods from China by the British East India Company, but they could see Chinese designs in porcelain, textiles, wallpapers & pattern books and on trips abroad. They longed to show that they, too, had a larger view of an Enlightenment world filled with cross-cultural inspiration.

Books displaying Chinese designs, such as Matthais Lock & Henry Copland's 1752 New Book of Ornaments; Thomas Chippendale's 1754 Gentleman and Cabinet-maker's Director; William Chambers' 1757 Designs for Chinese Building, Furniture, Dresses, Machines, and Utensils; and Thomas Johnson's 1762 New Book of Ornaments, were widely circulated in the British American colonies. By 1774, the first American furniture book with Chinese designs appeared, The Carpenter's Rules of Work, in the Town of Boston.

From 1755-1758, London-trained indentured servant architect & carver William Buckland (1734-1774) was installing Chinese detailing in George Mason's home Gunston Hall at Mason Neck in Fairfax County, Virginia. Buckland & his chief carver, William Bernard Sears, were creating Chinese-style chairs for the house. Gunston Hall was filled with Chinese fretwork & moldings on the fireplace, doorways, & windows. Originally Buckland had been hired on a 4 year indenture to create a Chippendale parlor "in the Chinese taste" for George Mason's brother Thomson.

Hannah Callender wrote in her diary in 1762, of William Peters' Belmont near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, "We left the garden for a wood cut into vistas. In the midst is a Chinese temple for a summer house. One avenue gives a fine prospect of the city...Another avenue looks to the obelisk."

1772. William Paca of Annapolis painted by Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827).

Young Annapolis attorney William Paca (1740-1799) had traveled to England in 1761, to further his legal training abroad. Shortly after his return, he married wealthy Philadelphian Ann Mary Chew in 1763, & began to plan their Annapolis home & gardens, which he began building in 1765.

1772. Detail of Chinese Bridge in painting of William Paca by Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827).

William Buckland is credited with designing his garden, which was dominated by geometric terraces that fell to a small naturalized wilderness garden boasting a pond, a Chinese-style bridge, & a classical pavilion.

Chinese bridge in restored gardens at William Paca home in Annapolis, Maryland.

In 1768, New York City's public pleasure garden Ranelagh offered a musical concert & fireworks featuring "Three Chinese Fountains, with Italian Candles, and a garandole."
Maryland newspaper advertisements offered fancy wooden paling constructed "emulating Chinese designs" for sale in the Chesapeake region by the late 1760s.

Mayor Samuel Powel (1738-1793) of Philadelphia redecorated his house after returning from 7-year-long Grand Tour of Europe in 1769. Young gentlemen of means often deferred the start of a career for the opportunity to broaden their knowledge & language skills on a Grand Tour. Among those he met on his continental travels were the Pope & Voltaire. Upon his return, Powel redesigned his garden & hung Chinese-style wallpaper in the parlor. Powel's cousin, financier Robert Morris (1734-1806) soon ordered Chinese wallpaper from Europe for his Philadelphia home.

Although he never built them, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) looked to William Chamber's book, when he was contemplating building 2 Chinese pagoda garden pavilions at Monticello in Virginia in 1771.

Soon after the Treaty of Paris ended the war & ended the British East India Company's monopoly over the China trade in the colonies, America sent the vessel the Empress of China from the port in New York to China on George Washington's birthday in 1784.

Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1786, "the Chinese are an enlightened people, the most anciently civilized of any existing, and their arts are ancient, a presumption in their favour."
A former employee of the Dutch East India Company, who frequently traveled to China, settled in America in 1784, Andreas Everardu van Braam Houckgeest (1739-1801). He was known as van Braam. In 1796, he built "China's Retreat" at Croydon, near Philadelphia, featurning sliding windows & a cupola with Chinese fretwork balustrade.

Visitor Moreau de Saint Mery wrote that "the furniture, ornaments, everything at Mr. van Braam's reminds us of China. It is even impossible to avoid fancying ourselves in China while surrounded at once by living Chinese (servants) and by representations of their manners, their usages, their monuments, and their arts."

Catharina van Braam (1746-1799) & her daughter Francoise.

In van Braam's home hung a Chinese portrait of his wife & daughter clad in classical costumes & seated in a garden. But the garden was not Chinese. On a 1794 trip to Guangzhou, China, van Bramm commissioned the reverse glass painting, for which Chinese artists used engraved versions of paintings by, among others, the German painter Angelika Kaufmann (1741-1807). The subjects’ faces often were copied from miniatures; but for the rest, the paintings were direct imitations of European originals. The portrait of Catharina & Françoise is based on a 1773 Kaufmann painting of Lady Rushout & her daughter Anne, from a stipple engraving made by Thomas Burke (1749-1815) in 1784. Burke’s engraving apparently made its way to Guangzhou.

After only 2 years of living at his Philadelphia new mansion, van Braam sold it to a Captain Walter Sims in 1798. Captain Sims was also enamored of Chinese culture & ornament; so he, too, enjoyed the exotic atmosphere of the mansion. His only change was to rename it "China Hall."

In 1798, a newspaper advertisement offering for sale a small plot of land in New York City noted that, "A Chinese Temple, placed on one or two inviting spots, would render the appearance at once romantic and delightful."

These depictions of Chinese gardens during the period give a glimpse into the inspiration for Chinese designs in colonial America & the new republic.

Engravings of the Yuan Ming-Yuan Summer Palaces and Gardens of the Chinese Emperor Ch'ien Lung. by Giuseppe Castiglione. (Published 1786)

Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766) was an Italian Jesuit brother serving in China as a painter at the court of the Emperor. Castiglione was sent there as a missionary, arriving in China in 1715, and remaining until his death in 1766.

As a youth, Castiglione learned to paint from Carlo Cornara & Andrea Pozzo, a member of the Society of Jesus at Trento. In 1707, at the age of 19, Castiglione formally entered the Society and traveled to Genoa for further training. By this time, his skill as a painter was recognized, & he was invited to do wall paintings at Jesuit churches. At the age of 27, he received instructions to go to China, completing wall paintings in Jesuit churches in Portugal & Macao along the way.

While in China, Castiglione took the name Lang Shining. In addition to his court duties, he was also in charge of designing the Western-Style Palaces in the imperial gardens of the Old Summer Palace.

He practiced his art & his religion as court painter to 3 Emperors during the last Chinese Quing dynasty for 51 years. He introduced the ideas from his Italian Renaissance training of perspective, anatomical accuracy, and depicting 3 dimensional objects by using light & shade to Chinese art. He also absorbed Chinese artistic techniques into his own works.

Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766). 1786 Xushuilou dongmian, east façade of Reservoir.

Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766). 1786 Xieqiqu beimian, north façade of Palace of the Delights of Harmony.

Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766). 1786 Xianfashanmen zhengmian, façade of gate leading to Hill of Perspective.

Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766). 1786 Wanhuazhen huayuan, the Maze.

Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766). 1786 Haiyantang dongmian, east façade of Palace of Calm Seas.

Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766). 1786 Dashuifa nanmian, Great Waters, south side.