LAWRENCE, Anthony, and Beale, John

LAWRENCE, Anthony, and Beale, John Nurseries, orchards, profitable gardens, and vineyards encouraged, the present obstructions removed.

London, printed for Henry Brome at the Gun in St. Pauls Church-Yard, 1677


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. [ii], 28. Roman letter, some Black. Title within box rule, floriated woodcut initial, small woodcut in text. Light age yellowing. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in modern tan pigskin over thin boards, covers bordered with a single blind rule, title and author blind stamped on upper cover, with blind fleuron above.

Exceptionally rare first edition of these two most interesting letters addressed to Henry Oldenburg, secretary to the royal society, concerning the improvement of nurseries, gardens and orchards, including vines, in Britain. Lawrence, in the first letter states that Cambridge horticulturists should study the methods of other countries in order to improve their own production, remarking on the recent gains made in Oxfordshire as a result of Mr Austens books on horticulture, which he proceeds to list. He also remarks that the promotion of nurseries, one for each region, would be for the general good, and would promote wealth throughout the kingdom. The second letter, by John Beale, also concerns the use of fruit for making alcohols using sugar, but mostly concerns the planting of vines in England. It suggests that the best place to start to improve vines would be by importing them from the best wine growing areas in Europe, France, Germany and Italy. (It also refers to Spanish and wines from Smyrnia). Remarkably he also suggests looking at native vines grown in America.“And since trade and navigation hath enlarged our Correspondence so far, we should send to the other side of the World for some variety of the best grapes in America, The Canada-grape is in some esteem here. But what is that alone to the infinite variety of better vines, even in New England, which cultivate themselves without mans aid; of better yet in Virginia and Carolina. I must also name Barbados, Jamaica, &c.” He then discusses, in a remarkable passage, the wholesale exchange of seeds and plants between England and America. “But what trifles are these, in comparison of those Trees, Fruits, Vines, and Herbs, I must say, noble, enlivening, restorative and invigorating Pot-herbs, which may be even in our American Plantations, and easily obtained for us, or, at least, their Seeds, for trial. Besides what Mr. Josseline hath written, I have seen such a wonderful Catalogue of all these kinds, from New England alone, by a very intelligent person, that it forced me to cry out, ‘O, how lazy have we been for a whole Age! One said, It was but a step or two, and a gentle swing from Whitehall-stairs to Barbadoes, or to Jamaica. Barbados the fairest Garden that ever was yet in the world; … One ingenious Nursery-man in each of the English Colonies, corresponding with ingenious Seedmen in Lombard-street, and in Bristol, and in all our chief Port-Towns, (to try all the Seeds we could send them, and to return back to their native soyl the Seeds of all our Vegetables which prospered in any of their soyls, and we doing the like to them,) by many returns upon trials, again and again, here and there, would make the work short, and wonderful, and (doubtless) exceeding profitable, and shew us more than any of our Botanic Writers ever dreamt of.”

A most interesting and important work, Extremely rare: According to ABPC no copies have appeared at auction in at least past last thirty years.

ESTC R11301. Wing L651. Henrey 225. Not in Sabin, Oberlé, Simon, Vicaire or Biting.
Stock Number: L2578 Category: Tag:

In stock