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Introducers Of Exotic Flowers, Fruits, Etc
by [?]

A calculating political economist will little sympathise with the peaceful triumphs of those active and generous spirits, who have thus propagated the truest wealth, and the most innocent luxuries of the people. The project of a new tax, or an additional consumption of ardent spirits, or an act of parliament to put a convenient stop to population by forbidding the banns of some happy couple, would be more congenial to their researches; and they would leave without regret the names of those whom we have held out to the grateful recollections of their country. The Romans, who, with all their errors, were at least patriots, entertained very different notions of these introducers into their country of exotic fruits and flowers. Sir William Temple has elegantly noticed the fact. “The great captains, and even consular men, who first brought them over, took pride in giving them their own names, by which they ran a great while in Rome, as in memory of some great service or pleasure they had done their country; so that not only laws and battles, but several sorts of apples and pears, were called Manlian and Claudian, Pompeyan and Tiberian, and by several other such noble names.” Pliny has paid his tribute of applause to Lucullus, for bringing cherry and nut-trees from Pontus into Italy. And we have several modern instances, where the name of the transplanter, or rearer, has been preserved in this sort of creation. Peter Collinson, the botanist, to “whom the English gardens are indebted for many new and curious species which he acquired by means of an extensive correspondence in America,” was highly gratified when Linnaeus baptized a plant with his name; and with great spirit asserts his honourable claim: “Something, I think, was due to me for the great number of plants and seeds I have annually procured from abroad, and you have been so good as to pay it, by giving me a species of eternity, botanically speaking; that is, a name as long as men and books endure.” Such is the true animating language of these patriotic enthusiasts!

Some lines at the close of Peacham’s Emblems give an idea of an English fruit-garden in 1612. He mentions that cherries were not long known,[2] and gives an origin to the name of filbert.

The Persian Peach, and fruitful Quince;[3]
And there the forward Almond grew,
With Cherries knowne no longer time since;
The Winter Warden, orchard’s pride;
The Philibert[4] that loves the vale,
And red queen apple,[5] so envide
Of school-boies, passing by the pale.

[Footnote 1:
Alexander Necham, abbot of Cirencester (born 1157, died 1217), has left us his idea of a “noble garden,” which should contain roses, lilies, sunflowers, violets, poppies, and the narcissus. A large variety of roses were introduced between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. The Provence rose is thought to have been introduced by Margaret of Anjou, wife to Henry VI. The periwinkle was common in mediaeval gardens, and so was the gilly-flower or clove-pink. The late Mr. Hudson Turner contributed an interesting paper on the state of horticulture in England in early times to the fifth volume of the “Archaeological Journal.” Among other things, he notes the contents of the Earl of Lincoln’s garden, in Holborn, from the bailiff’s account, in the twenty-fourth year of Edward I.–“We learn from this curious document that apples, pears, nuts, and cherries were produced in sufficient quantities, not only to supply the earl’s table, but also to yield a profit by their sale. The vegetables cultivated in this garden were beans, onions, garlic, leeks, and others.” Vines were also grown, and their cuttings sold. ]

[Footnote 2:
This is, however, an error. Mr. Turner, in the paper quoted, p. 154, says, “It may fairly be presumed that the cherry was well known at the period of the Conquest, and at every subsequent time. It is mentioned by Necham in the twelfth century, and was cultivated in the Earl of Lincoln’s garden in the thirteenth.” ]

[Footnote 3:
The quince comes from Sydon, a town of Crete, we are told by Le Grand, in his Vie privee des Francois, vol. i. p. 143; where may be found a list of the origin of most of our fruits. ]

[Footnote 4:
Peacham has here given a note. “The filbert, so named of Philibert, a king of France, who caused by arte sundry kinds to be brought forth: as did a gardener of Otranto in Italie by cloue-gilliflowers, and carnations of such colours as we now see them.” ]

[Footnote 5:
The queen-apple was probably thus distinguished in compliment to Elizabeth. In Moffet’s “Health’s Improvement,” I find an account of apples which are said to have been “graffed upon a mulberry-stock, and then wax thorough red as our queen-apples, called by Ruellius, Rubelliana, and Claudiana by Pliny.” I am told the race is not extinct; but though an apple of this description may yet be found, it seems to have sadly degenerated. ]