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(Fit? J§. H. Hill library 

North (Earoltna S>tate Umtinrsttu, 




S01911590 Q 





VOL. I. 











VOL. I. 






It is not without feelings of anxiety and 
apprehension, that the Author commits his 
second Work, on the vegetable gifts of Na- 
ture, to the public. 

Their indulgence to his labours in the 
vineyard, has emboldened him to venture on 
a more extensive field ; he therefore now 
offers his Treatise on " Cultivated Vege- 
tables," in a similar shape, with a hope of 
similar reception. Considering, however, the 
almost infinite variety of plants which are 
cultivated for use or pleasure, the Author 
has thought it expedient to select those 
familiar plants which seem entitled to the 
most general attention. He has also intro- 
duced some species of vegetables that are 
not strictly cultivated, but whose services 
and singular properties render them worthy 
of notice. 


He has avoided the technical terms of 
Botany as much as the subject would pos- 
sibly allow ; keeping in mind the advice of 
an ancient poet, who says, 

'A/uadiarepov <j>pdaop icai aatyiarzpov. 

" Speak with less shew of learning, so it be with 
more perspicuity." 

And the extracts from medical works have, 
on the same principle, been as much sim- 
plified as the nature of the subject would 
properly admit. 

In giving the medicinal qualities of the 
plants, the Author's intention is to make 
their various properties known, in order that 
the prescriptions of the physician may not be 
counteracted by the effects of an improper 
vegetable diet ; not to induce the inexperi- 
enced to tamper with their constitutions, 
by means of the powerful juices of physical 
herbs, which are not more beneficial when 
skilfully applied, than they are baneful when 
administered unseasonably by the ignorant. 



In dedicating this " History 
of Cultivated Vegetables" to Your 
Majesty, the Author is sensible that the 
condescension of the Sovereign, in accept- 
ing so humble a tribute, will be far more 
conspicuous than the ability of the Subject 
by whom it is offered. 

However deficient the Writer may be in 
the graces of style, he is not without a due 
sense of the advantages with which a high 
state of Cultivation has blessed these king- 
doms. Under the liberal Patronage of Your 
Majesty, and your Illustrious Predecessor, 
the Arts of Agriculture and Horticulture 
have advanced towards perfection with a 
rapidity unparalleled in the history of any 
other nation, ancient or modern. 


The benign influence of these two arts is 
indiscriminately enjoyed by all ranks ; for 
while they supply the wealthy with all the 
luxuries of more genial climes, they afford 
to the humbler sons of industry and labour 
a diversified banquet, which in ancient times 
even kings could not procure. These arts 
have banished famine from the land, blessed 
the poor with plenty, beautified the country, 

" Made Albion smile, 

One ample theatre of sylvan grace. 1 ' 

That Your Majesty may long enjoy 
these blessings, with which bounteous Na- 
ture has rewarded the skill and industry of 
your Subjects, and enriched your dominions, 
is the fervent prayer of, 

Your Majesty's 
Most faithful subject and servant, 

Henry Phillips. 

Queen s House, Baysivater, 
Dec. 24, 1821- 


Author could give. He has been more par- 
ticularly desirous to introduce cheerful (but 
at the same time, he trusts, inoffensive) anec- 
dote, with a hope of leading by an agreeable 
road to a knowledge of Plants, and love of 
Natural Philosophy : and more particularly 
to render his work attractive to the younger 
part of his readers, whom he intreats not to 
abandon Virgil, when they bid adieu to their 
tutors, but to remember those lines of his 
Georgics : 

" Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas, 
Atque metus omnes et inexorabile fatum 
Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari ! 
Fortunatus et ille, Deos qui novit agrestes, 
Panaque, Silvanumque senem, Nymphasque sorores! 

Thus translated by Dryden ; 

" Happy the man, who, studying Nature's laws, 
Through known effects, can trace the secret cause, 
His mind possessing in a quiet state, 
Fearless of fortune, and resign'd to fate. 
And happy too is he who decks the bowers 
Of Sylvans, and adores the rural powers." 


The most experienced medical practitioner 
will admit, that he must often rely on the 
assistance of the nurse and the cook for 
the perfect re-establishment of his patient. 
Cooling medicine will afford little relief to the 
fevered invalid who is supplied with astrin- 
gent diet ; nor will stimulating cordials in- 
vigorate the body, while it is relaxed by 
attenuating aliment. 

The Author is aware, that modern prac- 
tice has long since disregarded the high 
encomiums bestowed on certain vegetables 
by the ancients ; but he considers the antique 
physic-gardens an object of no less interest 
than antique orchards; and as the modern 
sons of Ceres and Pomona have improved 
their art, by reviving and adopting some 
of the ancient practices, (particularly that 
of cutting corn before it is perfectly ripe, 
which was so strenuously recommended by 
Pliny nearly eighteen hundred years ago,) the 
disciples of Esculapius may, in like manner, 
discover some valuable matter among the 


neglected or disregarded receipts of th< 
ancient world. Should the present work 
contribute to such a result, the Author will 
then have effected all the benefit he could 

It is hoped that the learned Reader will 
not deem the Author intrusive or pedantic 
in giving a slight biographical sketch of the 
ancient writers he has quoted; as such me- 
moirs may not always be familiar to those 
who may be disposed to turn over his leaves, 
nor is it to be expected that the farmer or 
the gardener is fully acquainted with ancient 
physicians; or that those whose occupations 
confine them to cities, should have acquired 
a perfect knowledge of the lives of the agri- 
culturists of antiquity. 

Selections from those poets who seem to 
have made this part of Nature's works their 
peculiar province, have been interspersed, 
from a desire to clothe information in an 
amusing garb ; and sometimes as the only 
confirmation of ancient customs, which the 

4 -.v »'• ' l v ? '• > "I 



" To me be Nature's volume broad display'd ; 
And to peruse its all instructing page 
My sole delight." 

It would be a difficult question to decide, 
whether the study of the natural history of 
Plants be more agreeable to the mind, or 
beneficial to the body. The importance of 
this pursuit must be deeply felt by the re- 
flecting mind ; indeed it has advantages over 
every other science. The study of Natural 
History, and particularly of Botany, calms 
the mind, and quiets the passions; whereas 
Historical research produces unpleasant re- 
flections, and in tracing the fate of kingdoms 
or individuals our feelings are often as much 
distressed as our minds are amused. Other 
branches of philosophy too often disgust us 

VOL. I. B 


with the world, whereas the wonders of Na- 
ture display the power of the Almighty in 
the most agreeable and tranquil manner. 

" Go, mark the matchless workings of the Power 
That shuts within the seed the future flower ; 
Bids these in elegance of form excel, 
In colour these, and those delight the smell ; 
Sends Nature forth, the daughter of the skies, 
To dance on earth and charm all human eyes." 


Ray says, " No knowledge can be more 
pleasant to the soul than Natural History : 
none so satisfying, or that doth so feed the 
mind. The treasures of Nature are inex- 
haustible : there is enough for the most inde- 
fatigable industry, the happiest opportunities, 
the most prolix and undisturbed vacancies/' 

The vegetable world presents an almost 
infinite variety of objects, calculated not only 
to supply our numerous wants, but to gratify 
the senses, to delight the most refined taste, 
and to elevate the mind to the God of 

" Thus the men 

Whom Nature's work can charm, with God himself 
Hold converse, grow familiar day by day 
With his conceptions ; sit upon his plan, 
And form to his the relish of their souls." 

Ak en side's Pleasures of' Imagination* 


The charms of Nature have ever enchanted 
the sensitive soul of the poet, and inspired 
his verse. Courtier says, in his " Pleasures of 

" Though yet no cynic, still I must prefer 
The works of Nature to the whims of Art : 
Those speak their God — these oft from God deter; 
Those to the soul true health and peace impart, 
These oft pervert the head, and oft corrupt the heart." 

Blackmore also invites us to this study : 


Your contemplation further yet pursue ; 
The wondrous world of vegetables view ! 
See various trees their various fruits produce, 
Some for delightful taste, and some for use. 
See sprouting plants enrich the plain and wood, 
For physic some, and some design'd for food. 
See fragrant flowers, with different colours dyed, 
On smiling meads unfold their gaudy pride." 

And Thomson must have induced many 
an admiring reader to a contemplation of 
the wonders and wisdom of the Almighty 
Maker ; — who, 

— " when young Spring protrudes the bursting gems, 
Marks the first bud, and sucks the healthful gale 
Into his freshen'd soul ; her genial hours 
He fully enjoys ; and not a beauty blows, 
And not an opening blossom breathes in vain." 



Natural philosophy has never been intro- 
duced with success into any country until its 
inhabitants had made considerable progress 
in other arts. The Assyrians, Chaldaeans, 
and Egyptians, had attained great proficiency 
in this science long before the existence of 
either the Greeks or Romans, who did not 
encourage it until they had learnt the art of 
war, and had in great measure become civi- 
lized by the very nations they had con- 

In this kingdom, Lord Bacon was the first 
who cultivated natural philosophy ; and it is 
from his torch that many excellent lights 
have since been kindled. 

In the primitive times, when men were 
driven either by war, or a wandering disposi- 
tion, to form colonies in distant countries, 
they lived upon such fruits as sprang out of 
the earth without art or cultivation. At 
Argos they fed chiefly on pears, at Athens 
on figs, in Arcadia on acorns; but, as their 
numbers increased, it became necessary for 
them to cultivate vegetables for the subsist- 
ence of themselves and their cattle ; and we 
find that in those early days the labours of 
the agriculturists were so duly appreciated, 
that the persons of the husbandmen and the 


shepherds were held sacred even by the 
enemies of their country. 

Herodotus informs us, that one of the 
greatest princes of the East, Xerxes, when he 
led his army into Greece, gave strict orders 
to his soldiers not to annoy the husbandmen. 
Among the Indians, it was held unlawful to 
take these men in war, or to devastate their 

Cultivated vegetables afford the principal 
part of our subsistence ; for without the aid 
of cultivation our numerous flocks and herds 
could not be supported; and it is from the 
same source that we derive every comfort and 
luxury that we enjoy. They furnish our 
wine, our oil, and our ale ; as well as the 
greater portion of our garments and furni- 
ture; they are the natural medicine of all 
animals, as well as the principal one for man. 
A medical writer of eminence says, " Vege- 
table food is not only necessary to secure 
health, but long life. In infancy and youth 
we should be confined to it mostly ; in man- 
hood, and decay of life, use animal ; and 
near the end, vegetable again." 

I am persuaded, says Dr. Veitch, that it 
will be invariably found true, that those who 
are living on animal food, are more impetu- 



ous in temper, than those who live on vege- 
table aliment." The same author says, "The 
influence of diet is of the most vital im- 
portance in the prevention and cure of in- 
sanity. Those living on animal food pre- 
sent great fulness of the vessels on the sur- 
face of the body, which is not confined to 
the visible and external frame, but will be 
felt in the brain and membranes of those 
who are afflicted with, or who have a ten- 
dency to this disease. 

It is to vegetable productions, that com- 
merce owes its support. They form our 
ships, cordage, and sails ; and it is for vegeta- 
ble rarities, principally, that we cross the 
seas, and explore every clime from the equa- 
tor to the poles. 

The unlettered countryman examines ve- 
getation with delight and instruction, The 
peasant, who is an attentive observer of Na- 
ture, substitutes the pimpernel and the chick- 
weed, for a weather-glass ; finding, when 
these flowers fully expand, that no rain 
will fall for some hours. The husbandman 
finds also a barometer in the trefoil, which 
always contracts its leaves at the approach 
of a storm. The shepherd, when he sees 
the thistle-down agitated without an ap- 


pearance of wind, 

" And shakes the forest-leaf without a breath," 

drives his flock to shelter, and cries, Heaven 
protect yon vessel from the approaching 
tempest ! Then 

" chaffwith eddy winds is whirl'd around, 

And dancing leaves are lifted from the ground ; 
And floating feathers on the waters play." 


The philosophical student of Nature not 
only accounts for these phenomena, but 
sees as far as man can ken into the wonders 
of vegetation. 

" But the hidden ways 

Of Nature wouldst thou know? how first she frames 
All things in miniature ? thy specular orb 
Apply to well-dissected kernels ; lo ! 
Strange forms arise, in each a little plant 
Unfolds its boughs : observe the slender threads 
Of first-beginning trees, their roots, their leaves, 
In narrow seeds described ; thou 'It wondering say, 
An inmate orchard every apple boasts !" 

Philips's Cider. 

We shall often have to remark in this 
work, how much the atmosphere of this 
country has been improved by the attention 
paid to agricultural pursuits ; and that the 
high state of cultivation now attained, has in 
a great measure banished the ague, and 
other pests of life, from our shores ; while 

' 9 

we learn with regret, that the once purer air 
of Italy is become almost pestilential in the 
vicinity of Rome, from the want of proper 
attention to the draining and cultivation 
of the fields. 

Gardens have ever been esteemed as afford- 
ing the purest of human pleasures, and the 
greatest refreshment to the spirits of man; 
and as these rural delights greatly promote 
sedateness and quietness of mind, while they 
afford the advantages of air and exercise, they 
must tend to the establishment of health 
and the prolongation of life. We notice 
with great satisfaction, that the lives of the 
ancient as well as of the more modern herb- 
alists, have generally extended to an ad- 
vanced age ; and that some of them have 
even pursued their tranquil course without 
indisposition through life. 

A knowledge of plants will prevent many 
of those ills, for the relief of which, mineral 
aid is often sought in vain. We have found 
the perfume of flowers and shrubs in the 
garden, not only refresh the sense, but in- 
spire cheerfulness and good humour in those 
who walk, and create appetite in those who 
join in the labour, whether to turn the earth, 
or to prop the drooping flower. For where is 


the man who can forbear to join 

" the general smile 

Of Nature ? Can fierce passions vex his soul, 

While every gale is peace, and every grove 

Is melody?" 


" Where every breeze shall medicine every wound." 


Rapin says, 

" Thrice happy they who these delights pursue ; 
For whether they their plants in order view, 
Or overladen boughs with props relieve, 
Or if to foreign fruits new names they give, 
If they the taste of every plum explore, 
To eat at second course, what would they more? 
What greater happiness can be desired, 
Than what by these diversions is acquired ?" 

The Chinese have no school for the study 
of physic ; but they make use of simples 
and roots, and are generally well experi- 
enced in the knowledge of the several vir- 
tues of all the herbs growing in their coun- 
try ; and which every master of a family 
teaches his servant. Lewis and Clark, and 
other travellers up the Mississipi, observe, 
that the native Americans always carried 
with them roots and herbs, of which they 
had discovered the use. 

The predilection of the ancient Syrians 
for gardening gave rise to the proverb of the 


Greeks, " Many worts and pot-herbs in 

The Greeks had physic-gardens in the 
time of Theophrastus ; and Pliny often men- 
tions the medicinal herb-gardens of the Ro- 

We meet with no English work on plants 
prior to the sixteenth- century. In 1552, 
all books on geography and astronomy in 
England were ordered to be destroyed, as 
being, it was supposed, infected with magic. 
It is very probable, that works on the virtues 
of herbs underwent the same fate ; as witch- 
craft was thought to be assisted by various 
plants. The Babylonians had their magical 
observations in gathering certain herbs; and 
the Latin poets inform us, how superstitious 
the Romans were on this head. 

" These poisonous plants, for magic use design'd, 
(The noblest and the best of all the baneful kind) 
Old Mceris brought me from the Pontic strand, 
And cull'd the mischief of a bounteous land. 
Smear'd with these powerful juices, on the plain 
He howls a wolf among the hungry train : 
And oft the mighty necromancer boasts, 
With these, to call from tombs the stalking ghost, 
And from the roots to tear the standing corn, 
Which, whirl'd aloft, to distant fields is borne : 

Such is the strength of spells/' 




" In a large caldron now the medicine boils, 
Compounded of her late collected spoils, 
Blending into the mash the various powers 
Of wonder-working juices, roots, and flowers." 


Our immortal bard, availing himself of the 
credulity of the age, makes the weird sisters, 
in their incantations, employ 

" Root of hemlock, digg'd i' the dark ; 

Liver of blaspheming Jew : 

Gall of goat, and slips of yew." 



The English surgeons and apothecaries 
began to attend to the cultivation of medi- 
cinal herbs in the time of Henry the Eighth. 
Gerard, the father of English herbalists, had 
the principal garden of those days, attached 
to his house in Holborn, and which we think 
was in existence as late as 1659 ; for on the 
7th of June in that year, Evelyn mentions in 
his Diary, that he " went to see the founda- 
tion laying for a street and buildings in 
Hatton Garden, designed for a little towne, 
lately an ample garden." 

Gerard mentions several private herb-gar- 
dens in 1597, but does not notice any public 
establishment for the encouragement of his 
art. We therefore presume, that Oxford 
has to boast of the earliest public physic- 


garden in this country, which appears to 
have been planted about the year 1640, 
when Parkinson first published his work on 
plants; as in a letter written to that author 
by Thomas Clayton, his Majesty's professor 
of physic at Oxford, to compliment him on 
his " Herculean botanical labours" he says, 
" Oxford and England are happy in the 
formation of a specious illustrious physicke- 
garden, compleatly beautifully walled and 
gated, now in levelling, and planting, with 
the charges and expences of thousands, by 
the many ways Honourable Earl of Danby, 
the furnishing and enriching whereof, and of 
many a glorious Tempe, with all useful de- 
lightfull plants, will be the better expedited 
by your painfull, happy, satisfying worke." 

We may infer how little the art of garden- 
ing was understood in this country at that 
period, when we find the garden at Oxford 
was put under the direction of a German, 
who continued to hold that situation in the 
time of Evelyn, as appears by his Diary : 
" 24 Oct. 1664, I went to the Physic-garden 
at Oxford, vvhere were two large locust-trees, 
as many platana*, and some rare plants, under 

# We presume this was the Plantain tree, Musa. 


the culture of old Bobart." — " Jacob Bobart 
was a German, and was appointed the first 
keeper of the Physic-garden at Oxford." 

A botanic garden was planted at Padua 
in 1533, and one at Presburg in 1564. At 
the present time there are twenty-three bo- 
tanic gardens in the Austrian monarchy. 
France has two noble establishments for the 
encouragement of this art ; and Amsterdam 
may boast, not only of having enriched Eu- 
rope, but the West Indies also, with plants 
from her public garden ; while Sweden may 
justly pride herself on giving the world a 

Evelyn, whose Sylva has immortalized his 
name, notices in his Diary, June 10, 1658, 
" I went to see the medical garden at West- 
minster, well stored with plants, under Mor- 
gan, a skilful botanist." This remark has 
given rise to a supposition, that it was the 
garden belonging to the Apothecaries of Lon- 
don, prior to its being removed to Chelsea ; 
but this was not the case, as Coles mentions 
it as a private garden, in his Paradise of 
Plants, published in 1657, where (in chapter 
8) he says, " some plants grow only in the 
gardens of herbarists, as in Mr. Morgan's 
garden at Westminster." 



We find no authentic account of a public 
physic-garden in the vicinity of London, 
before the year 1673, although it appears in 
the minute-books of the Society of London, 
(June 21, 1674) that several members pro- 
posed to build a wall round Chelsea Garden, 
at their own expense, with the assistance of 
such subscriptions as they might be able to 
procure ; provided the Court of Assistants 
would agree to pay two pounds every year 
for ever, to each of the six Herborizings : 
which proposal was accepted. The pro- 
prietors of the Laboratory Stock gave fifty 
pounds towards the building of this wall, on 
the condition that they were to be allowed a 
piece of ground in the garden for Herbs. 

Evelyn observes, in his Diary, 7th August, 
168.5, " I went to see Mr. Wats, keeper of 
the Apothecaries Garden of Simples at 
Chelsea, where there is a collection of innu- 
merable rarities of that sort, particularly, be- 
sides rare annuals, the tree bearing Jesuits 
bark, which had done such wonders in quar- 
tan agues. What was very ingenious, was 
the subterranean heate, conveyed by a stove 
under the conservatory, all vaulted with brick, 
so as he has the doores and windowes open 
in the hardest frost, secluding only the snow." 


We conclude, that this was the first green- 
house heated by artificial means, in this 
country ; as Mr. Evelyn had visited most 
gardens in England, as well as in France and 
Italy, without noticing green-houses before. 

Sir Hans Sloane was a great friend to the 
Chelsea Garden establishment, and by the 
deed of conveyance of the land from this great 
man, it will be seen how anxious he was for 
its prosperity ; a clause is inserted which runs 
thus: " That the Master, Warden, and So- 
ciety of Apothecaries shall render yearly to 
the President, Council, and Fellows of the 
Royal Society of London, fifty specimens of 
distinct plants, well dried and preserved, which 
grew in their garden the same year, with 
their names or reputed names ; and those 
presented in each year to be specifically diffe- 
rent from every former year, until the num- 
ber of two thousand shall have been deli- 
vered." This part of the covenant has long 
since been much more than fulfilled. 

In the same year that this conveyance was 
signed (1722), Mr. Philip Miller was appoint- 
ed gardener to the establishment, which of- 
fice he filled with great honour to himself 
and benefit to his country for the long space 
of forty-eight years. He had not been in 


that situation more than two years when he 
published his Gardener's Dictionary, in two 
volumes octavo, but which is not generally 
noticed by his biographers, although we deem 
it the germ and embryo from whence, in 
1781, sprang his folio volume, which has since 
swelled into four large folios, and has been 
translated into the Dutch, German, and 
French languages. 

Sir Joseph Banks, who was a liberal bene- 
factor to this garden, commenced his botani- 
cal studies, it is said, under the tuition of the 
venerable compiler of the Gardener's Dic- 
tionary. Sir Joseph presented to the Chel- 
sea Botanic Garden more than five hundred 
different kinds of seeds, which he had col- 
lected in his voyage round the globe. Th 


services w T hich this great naturalist has ren- 
dered his country are unparalleled, and will 
be remembered by posterity with gratitude, 
as long as these kingdoms are blessed with 

It is said that the finest and most interest- 
ing collection of hardy herbaceous plants that 
this country could ever boast of, has been 
formed by the care and knowledge of Mr. 
William Anderson, the present gardener of 
the Apothecaries' Botanic Garden at Chelsea, 


who was recommended to that situation by 
the late Sir Joseph Banks in the year 1814. 
Aiton and Forsyth were transplanted from 
Chelsea Garden to Royal grounds. The 
former is succeeded by his son in the care of 
the King's gardens, particularly that of the 
exotic garden of Kew, which perhaps con- 
tains the finest collection of plants ever con- 
gregated in any one spot on the globe. 

This exotic garden, although now so su- 
perbly furnished with vegetable rarities, is of 
no great antiquity, having, we are told, been 
first established in the year 1760, by the 
Princess Dowager of Wales ; but from an old 
verse in the Gentleman's Magazine for the 
year 1732, dated June 2, we find the garden 
was of some celebrity at that time. 

" The King and the Queen, the weather being fine, 
On Saturday last went to Richmond to dine ; 
His Royal Highness that day was to view 
His gardens and house, repairing at Kew." 

Evelyn writes in his Diary, Aug. 27, 1678, 
" I went to my worthy friend Sir Henry Ca- 
pel (at Kew), brother to the Earle of Essex: 
it is an old timber-house ; but his garden has 
the choicest fruit of any plantation in Eng- 
land, as he is the most industrious and under- 
standing in it." 

vol. i. e 


The present Royal Family being greatly 
attached to the study of Botany, his late Ma- 
jesty bestowed much attention on the garden 
at Kew, and had the satisfaction of seeing the 
example which he set, followed with such ar- 
dour by his subjects, that not less than 6756 
rare exotic plants were introduced into these 
kingdoms during his reign, and exotic beau- 
ties are now seen blended with our natural 
verdure in every corner of the island. The 
bad taste in laying out our gardens, which 
was originally brought from France, no longer 
exists ; and we are happy to observe, that 
the disguising of Nature and the frivolous 
formality in gardening is fast declining where 
it first took birth, as English gardeners are 
now in great demand in the vicinity of Paris. 
History furnishes no instance where a coun- 
try has so rapidly improved in the arts of 
agriculture and horticulture as Great Britain, 
under the protection of George the Third, of 
whom justice and gratitude compel us to say, 
" He made the land to flow with milk and 

It is within the memory of the author, that 
Mr. Scrace first sowed wheat on the Downs 
near the Race-stand at Brighton, for which, 
and the building of barns on these supposed 


sterile hills, he was thought to have lost his 
reason ; but the following harvest turned the 
ridicule of his neighbours into admiration and 
imitation, and these uncultivated tracts soon 
became a waving ocean of corn, which has 
made the Southdown farmer the pride and 
envy of the people. 

The example given by one of the best of 
Kings, and the attention shewn to agricul- 
tural pursuits by an enlightened Nation, will, 
we trust, never be forgotten, as no treasure 
can be so valuable as that which protects us 
from famine and pestilence. 

Sterne says, " I am convinced there would 
be more attentive observers of Nature, if, for 
example, the spider spun threads of gold, if 
the lobster contained pearls, or if the flowers 
of the field made old people young." 

Reason tells us, that a well-tilled garden 
produces us more real luxuries, than mines 
of gold or oceans of pearls could afford us ; 
and experience teaches us, that although we 
are not made young by the virtue of plants, 
we may prevent premature old age by a 
knowledge of herbs. 

We now offer our Literary Herbage, with 
a hope that most readers will gather some 
little store for the table, although the famili- 
es 2 


arity of the plants here presented, may, in 
some degree, detract from the novelty ex- 
pected in every new garden that is laid open 
to the public. The Author has endeavoured 
to plant his beds amusingly, as an induce- 
ment to lead those into the study of plants, 
who have not yet entered on that delightful 
pursuit ; and although his parterres may not 
present that science which the learning of the 
present day demands, he flatters himself that 
no weed will be found so obnoxious as to 
offend the most refined delicacy. 





Natural order ', Flosculosce. A genus of the 
Syngenesia Polygamia JEqualis class. 

The generic name is said to be derived from 
the word cinis, because, according to Colu- 
mella, land for artichokes should be manured 
with ashes. Parkinson says, it is so called 
from the ash colour of its leaves. 

This vegetable now bears the same name 
in all the European languages, with very 
little variation. It is nearly allied to the 
curduus or common thistle, and is said by 
Pliny* to have been more esteemed, and to 
have obtained a higher price, than any other 
garden herb. He was ashamed to rank this 

* Book 19, chap. 8. 


vegetable amongst the choice plants of the 
garden, being in fact no other than the this- 
tle. He states, that the thistles about Car- 
thage the Great, and Corduba especially, 
cost the Romans, annually, six thousand 
thousand sesterces ; and concludes by cen- 
suring the vanity and prodigality of his coun- 
trymen, in serving up such things at table as 
the very asses and other beasts refuse, for 
fear of pricking their lips. We find in the 
fourth chapter of the same book, that the 
commoners of Rome were prohibited, by an 
arbitrary law, from eating artichokes. The 
same author says, artichokes are preserved 
in vinegar, and in honey, and seasoned also 
with the costly root of the lazerwort plant, 
and cumin ; by which means they were to 
be had every day in the year. 

The juice of the artichoke, pressed out 
before it blossoms, was used by the ancients 
to restore the hair of the head, even when it 
was quite bald. They also ate the root of 
this plant (as well as that of the thistle) sod- 
dened in water, to enable them to drink to 
excess, as it excited a desire for liquor. It 
was supposed to strengthen the stomach, 
and was reported by Chaereas the Athenian, 
and Glaucias, to cause mothers to be blessed 


with male children, as well as to sweeten the 
breath of those who chewed it. Columella 
notices the same quality in the artichoke, 
but intimates that it injures the voice. 

" Let the prickly artichoke 

Be planted, which to Bacchus, when he drinks, 
Is grateful ; not to Phoebus, when he sings." 

Both the Greeks and Romans appear to 
have procured /this plant from the coast of 
Africa about Carthage, as also from Sicily. 

From Italy it was brought to this country, 
during the reign of Henry the Eighth, about 
the year 1548 ; and, by reason of the great 
moisture of our climate, and the attention 
which was paid to its cultivation, it soon be- 
came so much improved in size and flavour, 
that the Italians sent for plants from Eng- 
land, deeming them to be of another kind, 
but they soon returned to their natural size, 
when restored to that country. 

Gerard has left us correct representations 
of both the French and the Globe varieties, 
but makes no mention of their country or 
their introduction ; we may therefore con- 
clude, that they were become common in 

The Globe kind, being a plant infinitely 
more tender than the French artichoke, was 


nearly lost in the severe winter of 1739-40, 
previously to which time it was almost the 
only kind cultivated, on account of its great 
superiority ; but our gardeners supplying 
themselves on that occasion with plants 
from Guernsey, where the French kind is cul- 
tivated, this variety again found its way into 
our gardens; but was only retained until the 
Globe artichoke could again be reared, when 
the French species was no longer cultivated. 

The artichoke affords a pleasant, whole- 
some, and nourishing food ; Arbuthnot says, 
" it contains a rich, nutritious, stimulating 
juice." The Italians and French eat the 
heads raw, with vinegar, salt, oil, and pep- 
per ; but they are considered to be hard of 
digestion in a raw state, and are, therefore, 
generally preferred after having been boiled. 
In this state they are sold in the streets of 
Paris, and form a standing dish at a French 

The Germans and French eat not only the 
heads, but also the young stalks boiled, sea- 
soned with butter and vinegar. 

Artichokes are usually sent to our tables, 
when whole, boiled in water ; but they are 
much preferable when boiled in oil or butter. 
The artichoke bottoms are generally admired 


when served up either plain, ragou'd, fricas- 
seed, fried, or pickled. Coles recommends 
artichoke bottoms baked in a pie after being 
boiled, as a restorative and strengthener of 
the stomach. Artichoke bottoms are dried 
in the sun for winter use ; but the whole ar- 
tichoke may be preserved for a considerable 
time, if covered with fresh sand. Young 
artichokes are pickled whole. 

The stalks blanched like celery, and pre- 
served in honey, are said to be an excellent 
pectoral : the roots are considered aperient, 
cleansing, and diuretic ; and are recommended 
in the jaundice, for which disorder the com- 
mon leaves, boiled in white- wine whey, or 
the juice of the leaves, are also considered 
salutary. We have known many persons 
greatly relieved from the bile, by drinking 
sherry wine, in which the common leaves and 
cut stalks of this plant had been steeped. 

Lord Bacon observes, that no other herb 
has double leaves ; one belonging to the 
stalk, the other to the fruit or seed. 

The field-mouse is a great destroyer of the 
roots of these plants ; and it is a good pre- 
servative of them to plant beets round the 
beds of artichokes ; as the roots of the beet, 
being still more agreeable to the taste of 


these little animals than those of the arti- 
choke, preserve the latter from these de- 

The French artichoke, Cinara scolymus, 
grows wild in the fields of Italy, where it 
often attains the height of a man. 

The bottoms of the Cotton-thistle, Onopor- 
dum acanthium, are often eaten as artichokes. 



Natural order, Sarmentacece. The genus of 
Asparagus is allied to Convallaria. In 
botany it stands in the Hexandria Mono- 
gynia class. 

This plant takes its name from the Greek 
word AffTrapa-yoc, signifying a young shoot 
before it unfolds its leaves. Gerard says, 
" it is called in English Sperage, and likewise 
Asparagus, after the Latin name, because 
asparagi, or the springes heereof, are pre- 
pared before all other plants ; for the word 
asparagus doth properly signify the first 
spring or sprout of euery plant, especially 
when it be tender." 

It is evidently a native of this country, 
for the same author observes, that " the 
manured or garden asparagus comes up of 
the size of the largest swan's quill ;" he 
adds, "it is the same as the wild, but, like 
other vegetables, was made larger by culti- 
vation." — " Our garden asparagus groweth 


wild in Essex, in a meadowe adioining to 
a myll beyond a village called Thorp, and 
also at Singleton, not farre from Carbie, and in 
the meadowes neereMoulton in Lincolnshire: 
likewise it groweth in great plenty neere 
vnto Harwich, at a place called Landam- 
erlading." Miller was of opinion, that the 
common asparagus which is cultivated for 
the use of the table, might probably have 
been brought by culture to its present per- 
fection, from the wild sort, which grows na- 
turally in Lincolnshire, where the shoots are 
no larger than straws. It is well known how 
much the asparagus is improved in size since 
Gerard's time (1597) ; and it might be still 
farther improved, if our gardeners were to 
import roots of this plant from the borders 
of the Euphrates, where it grows to an extra- 
ordinary thickness. 

The colony of the Joxides in Caria had a 
singular custom respecting asparagus, which, 
according to ancient tradition, owed its ori- 
gin to the following story : — Perigone, hav- 
ing been pursued by Theseus, threw herself 
into a place thickly filled with asparagus and 
reeds ; and prostrating herself, made a vow, 
that if these plants would hide her from 
Theseus, she would never pull or burn them. 


The lover's voice, however, succeeding in 
drawing his fair-one from her hiding-place, 
she surrendered to the intreaties of Theseus, 
and her descendants ever afterwards forbade 
the burning of asparagus. 

This vegetable first came into use as a 
food, about two hundred years before Christ, 
in the time of the elder Cato ; and its quali- 
ties were probably discovered by this distin- 
guished agriculturist, as it was the last vege- 
table written upon by him. He mentions no 
other method of raising this plant than by 
seed ; and recommends sheep's dung for the 
beds, in preference to any other manure. 
This author was of opinion, that asparagus 
beds would only continue productive for 
nine years. 

Suetonius informs us, in his Life of Augus- 
tus, that that Emperor was very partial to 
asparagus ; and Erasmus tells us the same in 
his Adagia. 

Pliny states*, that asparagus, which for- 
merly grew 7 wild, so that every man might 
gather it, was in his time carefully cherished 
in gardens, particularly at Ravenna, where 
the cultivated asparagus was so fair and 

* Book 19, chap. 4. 


large, that three heads would weigh a pound, 
and were sold for an As, (about three-far- 
things.) He afterwards says, "of all garden 
herbs asparagus is (by report) the best to be 
eaten, and agrees well with the stomach."* 
The wild asparagus was called Corruda and 
Lybicum, and by the Athenians, Horminium. 

It was said by the ancients, that, if a per- 
son anointed himself with a liniment made 
of asparagus and oil, the bees would not ap- 
proach or sting him. 

Asparagus is said to promote appetite, but 
affords little nourishment. Dr. James recom- 
mends it to be eaten at the beginning of dinner, 
when, he tells us, it is grateful to the stomach. 
If eaten before dinner, it refreshes and opens 
the liver, spleen, and kidneys, and puts the 
body in an agreeable state. Asparagus is 
considered to be of admirable service to those 
afflicted with the gravel, or who are scorbutic 
or dropsical. It is also of singular efficacy in 
disorders of the eyes ; but is hurtful to such 
as labour under the gout, or have weak sto- 

The roots are more diuretic than the 
sprouts, because they have more of the salt, 

* Book 20, chap. 10. 


from whence they derive that quality, than 
any of the parts growing above ground, which 
cannot imbibe it so copiously as the root 
itself receives it from the earth. And this 
may pass for a reason why most roots are 
more endowed with this property than their 
plants. The root of asparagus is one of 
those called the five opening roots : it is also 
of some use as a pectoral; and makes a chief 
ingredient in the syrup of marsh-mallows, 
given as a remedy for the stone. It is good 
in all compositions intended to cleanse the 
viscera, especially where obstructions threaten 
the jaundice and dropsy. This vegetable is 
also salutary in many disorders of the breast, as 
operating by urine, which is generally of ser- 
vice in such cases.* 

If the root is put upon a tooth that aches 
violently, it causes it to come out without 
pain, according to Ant. Mizald, and others. -f- 

M. Roliquet has, it is said, discovered a 
new vegetable principle in asparagus : it is a 
triple salt of lime and ammonia, of which the 
acid is unknown. This chemist and M. 
Vauquelin have found a substance in the juice 
of this vegetable, analogous to manna. 

# Galen, Hoffman, James, 8cc. 

t Mizald, cent. 7. Memorab. A ph. 34. Schenck, Obs. 
Med. L. 1 . 


In Queen Elizabeth's time asparagus was 
eaten, says Gerard, " sodden in flesh-broth, 
or boiled in faire water, and seasoned with 
oile, vinegar, salt, and pepper, then serued at 
mens tables for a sallade." 

At the present time it is principally served 
to table on a toast, or ragou'd. It makes an 
excellent soup, and the small sprue-grass 
forms a part of most of our spring pottages. 
It is often cut small and sent to table as a 
substitute for green peas. 

The flowers of asparagus are found, on a 
strict examination, to be dioecious, although 
arranged by Linnaeus, and other botanists, as 
hermaphrodite. Those which bear berries 
have abortive stamina, and those which have 
perfect stamina are destitute of pistils, or 
have only such as are abortive. The male 
plants throw up a far greater quantity of 
shoots than the female, although not quite 
equal to them in size. 

In making new beds, the males only should 
be selected, which may be easily done by not 
planting them from the seed-beds until they 
have flowered. When the plants are one 
year old, transplant them into other beds, at 
six inches distance ; let them remain there 
until they flower, which will be, with respect 


to most of them, in the second year ; put a 
small stick to each male plant to mark them, 
and pull up the females, unless it is preferred 
to make a separate plantation of them, to 
prove the truth of the experiment. 

Asparagus is now obtained by the attentive 
gardener at all seasons of the year, and the 
same plants are made to give two crops in 
the year by the following method : towards 
the end of July, especially if it be rainy 
weather, cut down the stalks of the plants, 
fork up the beds, and rake them. If it be 
dry, water them with the drainings of a 
dunghill, or with water wherein horse or cow- 
dung has been steeped; leave the beds rather 
flat instead of the usual round shape, in order 
that they may retain all the moisture. In 
ten or fourteen days the asparagus will begin 
to appear : if the weather is dry, continue to 
water the beds two or three times a week. 
By this method you may cut asparagus till 
about the end of September, at which time 
the produce of the hot-beds will be ready ; 
so that, with five or six hot-beds during the 
winter, you may have a regular succession of 
this agreeable vegetable for every month of 
the year. 

It may be observed that by cutting the 

VOL. J. D 


beds twice a year, you exhaust them ; to 
obviate this, succeeding beds should be 
prepared. We are, however, of opinion 
that asparagus beds do not become worn out, 
or unproductive, so soon as is generally 
imagined ; as some of the finest asparagus 
we have met with in this country, the author 
recollects to have been cut from a bed at 
Westburton, in Sussex, which he was then 
told had abundantly supplied Mr. Upperton's 
family for more than seventy years. 

In Jamaica, and other West India islands, 
they cut asparagus in twelve months after the 
seeds are sown. 



Natural order, Coronarice. A genus of the 
Hexandria Monogi/nia class. 

Asphodelus, is derived from a, and cr^aAAw, 
subplanto, (nro&Xov, from airoSoq ashes : aspho- 
dels being anciently planted with mallows on 

The asphodel root was to the ancient 
Greeks and Romans, what the potatoe now 
is to us, a bread plant, the value of which 
cannot be too highly estimated. It has long 
since given way to its successors in favour ; 
and if now permitted to blossom, it is seen 
only in obscure corners of gardens, in which it 
perhaps was formerly the principal plant. 

So universally has the Virginian plant su- 
perseded that of Troas, that we no longer 
consider the asphodel as an article of food ; 
and were it not for the occasional appearance 
of the Hastula regia, King's spear, in our par- 

* Ray. 
d 2 



terres, this plant which nourished the an- 
cients, and the verses in which it is cele- 
brated by the poets, would have been equally 

The origin of this vegetable is traced in 
fabulous history to that memorable apple, 
which Discord threw into the assembly of the 
gods who attended the nuptials of Peleus 
and Thetis, as a prize for the fairest of the 
goddesses. The decision of Paris in favour 
of Venus is said to have offended Juno and 
Minerva so highly, that they endeavoured to 
break the beavitiful crook which Pan had given 
to the shepherd of Ida, but which was saved 
by its turning into the blossom of a yellow as- 
phodel, so much resembling a royal sceptre. 

From this fable we conclude, that the 
ancients considered the asphodel a native of 
Mount Ida; and as modern botanists agree 
that the plant is indigenous to that neigh- 
bourhood, we will not dispute whether it 
first sprang up in the valley or on the hill, 
but will turn to the instructive pages of 
Pliny, who calls it one of the most sovereign 
and renowned herbs that the world pro- 
duces ; and says, that the roots boiled with 
husked barley are certainly the most restora- 
tive diet that can be taken by consumptive 


persons, or those whose lungs are affected. 
He adds, that no bread is so wholesome as 
that which is made of these roots and the 
flour of grain mixed together. The same 
author tells us, that the roots of the asphodel 
were generally roasted under the embers, 
and then eaten with salt and oil ; but when 
mashed with figs, they were thought a most 
excellent dish. Hesiod, the first poet who 
wrote on agriculture, mentions the latter 
method as the only way to dress asphodels. 
Homer has also noticed this plant. The as- 
phodel appears to have been highly esteemed 
by Pythagoras, who has been styled by an- 
cient authors the prince of philosophers. 
He lived upon the purest and most innocent 
food, and was so averse to the shedding of 
blood, that it is said, when he made offerings 
at the temples of the gods, it was of animals 
made of wax : he forbade his disciples to 
eat flesh. Theophrastus particularly de- 
scribes the asphodel and its virtues ; and 
Mago, the celebrated Carthaginian writer on 
husbandry, gave minute directions for its cul- 
tivation. Dionysius also wrote on this vege- 
table, one species of which he considered the 
male, and the other the female plant. Pliny 
tells us that these plants were so productive, 


that it was not uncommon to see eighty bulbs 
or roots clustered together. The seed of this 
vegetable was also eaten when parched or 
fried, and it was generally planted by the 
Roman husbandmen before the gates of their 
farms, with the superstitious idea that it 
would preserve the place from charms and 
sorceries. According to the fiction of Lucian, 
asphodels are eaten by the ghosts of the 
condemned in the infernal regions. Among 
the physicians of ancient celebrity who wrote 
on this plant, Nicander recommends it as an 
antidote against the poison of serpents and 
scorpions, if either the seeds or roots be 
drunk in wine ; and asserts, that by laying 
the plant under the pillow, these and other 
reptiles will be kept from the bed : this was 
a most important discovery for the armies, 
who were obliged to sleep in fields abounding 
with creatures whose bite or sting was deadly. 
Dioscorides and iEtius prescribed the wine 
in which asphodel roots were boiled as an 
excellent diuretic. Galen says, the roots 
burnt to ashes and mixed with the fat of 
ducks, are the best remedy for alopecy, and 
that it will recover the hair that has fallen 
off by that disease. Xenocrates affirmed, 
that a decoction of the root in vinegar was 


a cure for the ring-worm, &c. We are 
informed, that Chrysermus the physician 
boiled the root in wine, and by it cured the 
swellings of the kernels behind the ears ; 
and that Sophocles used it, both boiled and 
raw, with good success against the gout. 
Simnus esteemed it the best diuretic drink 
for the gravel, when boiled in wine. Hippo- 
crates prescribed the seeds of the asphodel 
against the hardness of the spleen, and the 
flux which proceeds from that cause. He 
also applied the root, pounded, as a liniment 
for horses, or dogs, &c. afflicted with the 
mange ; which, it is said, would both effect 
a cure, and restore the hair. 

The ancients used a liniment made of the 
leaves, for wounds occasioned by serpents, 
and other venomous creatures ; and the juice 
of the root, mixed with oil, was applied to 
burns and scalds, &c. Immense tracts of 
land in Apulia are covered with asphodel, 
and it is said to afford good nourishment to 
sheep.* The onion-leaved asphodel grows 
also in the natural state, both in Spain and 
the South of France. 

Dodoens, who nourished at the coin- 

# Symonds in Young's Annals. 


mencement of the sixteenth century, highly 
extols the virtues of the asphodel for most 
of the before-mentioned maladies ; and adds, 
that a dram weight of the root, when boiled 
and taken in wine, relieves the pains of the 
side, the cough, the shrinkings of the sinews, 
the cramp, &c. 

Gerard has given us a description of six 
species of asphodel, which he cultivated in 
his garden, prior to 1597 ; one of which he 
states to be a native of England ; but as 
more modern botanists do not acknowledge 
it to be indigenous to this country, we shall 
give his own words : " The Lancashire as- 
phodill groweth in moist and marishy places 
neere vnto the towne of Lancaster in the 
moorish grounds there, as also neere vnto 
Maudsley and Martone, two villages not far 
from thence ; where it was found by a wor- 
shipfull and learned gentleman, a diligent 
searcher of simples, and feruent louer of 
plants, Master Thomas Hesket, who brought 
the plants vnto me for the increase of my 
garden. I received some plants thereof like- 
wise from Master Thomas Edwards, apothe- 
carie in Excester, learned and skilfull in his 
profession, as also in the knowledge of plants, 
unto whom I rest bounden for this plant, 


which he found at the foote of a hill in the 
west part of England, called Bagshot hill, 
neere vnto a village of the same name." 

This species of asphodel has a yellow blos- 
som, and was thence called the King's spear. 
Gerard tells us, that the juice of the aspho- 
del root cleanses and takes away the white 
morphew, if the face be first rubbed with a 
coarse linen cloth, and then anointed with it. 
He adds, that " it is not yet found out if the 
Lancaster asphodil is of use either in nourish- 
ment or medicine." Ray says, this species is 
a native of Sicily, where he found it growing. 

The asphodel is said to be useful in driving 
away rats and mice, which have so great an 
antipathy to this plant, that, if their holes be 
stopped up with it, they will die rather than 
pass it ; and it is said, that if a house be 
smoked with this root, it also banishes mice, 
or proves a poison to them. 

If the root is put into the water which 
swine drink, it prevents their being affected 
with a pestilential leprosy, or if they have 
taken the disorder, it restores them to health. 
It also produces the same effect, if they are 
frequently washed with such a water.* 

# Florentinus. 


The vinegar in which the root has been 
boiled, if used for washing the body, cures 
scorbutic eruptions. Some roast the roots 
in hot ashes, and rub their faces and hands 
with them, in order to remove all blotches, 
and purify the skin. 

This plant will thrive in any soil, if planted 
about three inches deep ; it is principally 
raised by dividing the roots, as the cultiva- 
tion by seed is more tedious. It blossoms 
best in a damp soil, or when it is well 



Natural order, Verticillata. A genus of the 
Didynamia Gymnospermia class. 

The Greeks called this plant nAiaaotyvWov 
r) fieX'KpvXXovy melissophyllum, or melipayllum, id 
est, apum folium, that is bee's leaf, from the 
fondness these insects shew for this herb. 
It is called melissa, from r^Xi, honey, because 
bees gather much honey from its flowers. 
It has also been called apiastrum, from apes, 
a bee, on the same account ; and it is still 
the custom to rub the hives with balm and 
sugar, or honey, previously to taking a swarm ; 
a practice which certainly appears to have 
the effect of attaching the colony to its new 
settlement. Pliny notices this method of 
securing the bees in his time, and says, that 
where there is plenty of balm in the garden, 
there is no fear of the swarms straying ; he 
tells us also, that it is a good remedy for the 
sting of bees and wasps, &c. and enumerates 


a long list of complaints for which it was 
then considered an effectual medicine. 

Virgil says, that bees which have strayed 
may be brought back by the juice of this 

" When you the swarms 'scaped from the hives descry, 
Like a dark cloud blown through the summer sky, 
Swimming the boundless ocean of the air, 
They still to pools and leafy bowers repair : 
There juice of balm and woodbine sprinkle round, 
Strike jingling brass and tinkling cymbals sound ; 
The loved perfume will sudden rest inspire, 
And they, as usual, to their hives retire. 


Gerard says, " Bawme is much sowen in 
gardens, and oftentimes it groweth of itself 
in woods and mountaines, and other wilde 
places." From this we should have been 
inclined to consider it a native plant ; but 
that we have never met with it growing 
wild. Regnault, and after him Aiton, tell 
us, that it is a native of the South of Europe, 
and was first cultivated in this country 
about the year 1573. We have now eight 
species of balm, two of which are indige- 
nous to England, viz. the common Calamint, 
Melissa calamintha, and the lesser Calamint, 

The old English herbals, as well as those 

BALM. 45 

of the ancients, are copious on the supposed 
virtues of this plant, but of which modern 
practice takes little notice. It is, however, 
much esteemed by the common people of 
this country, who take it in the manner of 
tea, and it is thought to be good in disorders 
of the head and stomach, as also in hypo- 
chondriac and hysteric complaints. 

The infusion of this plant is better when 
made from the green herb, than when dried, 
which is contrary to the general rule in re- 
gard to other plants. 

Without being misled by the high en- 
comiums which our herbalists have bestowed 
on balm, we think it is not duly appreciated 
at present. 

Hoffman contrived a process for obtaining 
the virtues of this plant, which affords its 
principles better than any other, and gives 
two medicines to the physician, unknown 
before, but of great value. He took a large 
quantity of the leaves of balm, fresh picked 
from the stalks, and filling a glass vessel more 
than half full with them, fixing the stopple 
carefully in, he put the vessel into a dunghill, 
where he let it remain three months. At the 
end of this time he took it out, and found the 
whole reduced to a kind of poultice. This 



being distilled in a retort, yielded first an 
empyreumatic liquor, but afterwards, when 
the fire was increased, a black and stinking 
oil came over, in form of thin lamina, spread- 
ing itself over the surface of the liquor. 
There remained at the bottom of the retort, 
a black and burnt mass, resembling a coal, 
which, being thrown on burning charcoal, 
had very much the smell of the common 

In this first distillation, no volatile salt ap- 
peared; but the empyreumatic liquor being 
examined, was found very sharp and acrid 
on the tongue, and of a sharp and pungent 
smell. Spirit of vitriol being mixed with it, 
it afforded no effervescence ; but on the mix- 
ing it with spirit of hartshorn, spirit of urine, 
or the like, a small ebullition was always pro- 
duced, though it lasted but a few moments. 

This liquor, rectified by a second distilla- 
tion, affords the volatile salt of balm, which is 
a fine white and pellucid substance, adhering 
to the neck of the glass in form of fine 
white and striated crystal ; and a yellow 
aethereal oil, of a very penetrating smell, 
and sharp taste, becomes separated by the 
same rectification. These are both found to 
be very powerful medicines, the salt as a 

BALM. 47 

sudorific, and the oil as a high cordial, a 
carminative, and a deobstruent. 

In France, the women bruise the young 
shoots of balm, and make them into cakes 
with sugar, eggs, and rose-water, which 
they give to the mother in child-birth, as 
a strengthener. It has also been thought 
beneficial to those who are troubled with 
the palpitation of the heart. 



Natural order > Gramma. A genus of the 
Triandria Digynia class. 

The generic name seems either horridum, 
from horres, on account of its long awns or 
beards ; or, as it was anciently written for- 
deum, rather from 4>epj3w, to feed or nourish, 
whence ^opj3^ and forbea, and changing the 
b into d, for deum* The name is, however, 
derived by Junius from the Hebrew *n. 

Barley is evidently a native of a warmer 
climate than Britain, for in this moist atmo- 
sphere it is observed to degenerate, when 
either neglected or left to a poor soil. Dr. 
Plott speaks of barley and rye growing in the 
same ear alternately. 

We have the best authority for its having 
been cultivated in Syria so long back as 3132 
years ; therefore that part of the world may 
be fairly fixed as its native soil. 

# Vossius. 


" Ruth gleaned in the field until even, and 
beat out that she had gleaned ; and it was 
about an ephah of barley." 

— " So she kept fast by the maidens of 
Boaz, to glean unto the end of barley harvest, 
and of wheat harvest." 

— " Behold he winnoweth barley to-night 
in the threshing-floor." * 

In the seventh chapter of the second book 
of Kings, we learn what proportion barley 
bore in price to wheaten flour in Samaria, 
about 892 years b. c. 

" To-morrow, about this time, shall a mea- 
sure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two 
measures of barley for a shekel." 

We have also very early accounts of this 
corn having been cultivated in Egypt; and it 
is supposed to have been used before any 
other sort of grain. 

Artemidorus says, it was the first food which 
the gods imparted to mankind -f . Pliny says, 
" In Chalica (an island belonging to the 
Rhodians) there is one place so fruitful, that 
the barley, which was sown in proper time, 
is mowed and committed to the ground a se- 
cond time, which is ready to cut again with 
the other corn." 

* Ruth, 1312 r. c. f Plut. Marcello, Livius, lib. 27. 

VOL. I. E 


" The russet field rose high with waving grain ; 
With bended sickles stand the reaper train. 
Here stretch'd in ranks the levell'd swarths are found, 
Sheaves heap'd on sheaves here thicken up the ground. 
With sweeping stroke the mowers strew the lands ; 
The gatherers follow, and collect in bands ; 
And last the children, in whose arms are borne 
(Too short to gripe them) the brown sheaves of corn. 
The rustic monarch of the field descries, 
With silent glee, the heaps around him rise. 
A ready banquet on the turf is laid ; 
Beneath an ample oak's extended shade 
The victim ox the sturdy youth prepare ; 
The reapers' due repast, the women's care." 

Pope's Homer. 

Barley (husked), says Pliny, was the most 
ancient food in old times, as will appear by 
the ordinary custom of the Athenians, accord- 
ing to the testimony of Menander, as also 
by the sirname given to sword-fencers, who 
from their allowance or pension of barley 
were called H or dear it, barleymen.* This 
naturalist farther observes, that of all grains 
barley is the softest, and least subject to ca- 
sualties, and produces fruit speedily and pro- 

The meal so highly commended by the 
Greeks, was prepared from barley in the fol- 


lowing manner. It was steeped in water, 

# Book xviii. chap. 7. 


and then dried for one night; the succeeding 
day it was parched or fried, and afterwards 
ground in a mill, or pounded in a mortar ; 
the meal was then mixed with coriander and 
other seeds, with a small portion of salt : 
when intended to keep, it was put into new 
earthen vessels. 

It was not until after the Romans had 
learnt to cultivate wheat, and to make bread, 
that they gave barley to their cattle. They 
made barley-meal into balls, which they put 
down the throats of their horses and asses, 
after the manner of fattening fowls ; which 
was said to make them strong and lusty. 

Barley continued to be the food of the 
poor, who were not able to procure better 
provision ; and in the Roman camp, as Ve- 
getius has informed us, soldiers who had 
been guilty of any offence, were fed with bar- 
ley, instead of bread corn.* 

An example may also be found in the second 
Punic war, when the cohorts who lost their 
standards had an allowance of barley assigned 
by Marcellus. And Augustus Caesar com- 
monly punished the cohorts which gave 
ground to the enemy, by a decimation, and 
by allowing them no provision but barley, f 

* De Re Militari, lib. i. cap. 13. + Sueton. chap. 24. 

e 2 


We find that the Romans obtained barley 
from Egypt and other parts of Africa, and 
Spain. It was also grown in France, as Colu- 
mella calls one variety of barley Galaticum. 
There are no means of ascertaining whether 
barley was cultivated in Britain, when the 
Romans first discovered this country ; but as 
Caesar found corn growing on the coast of 
Kent, it is probable that this species of grain 
had been obtained from Gaul. It might 
have been introduced by the Phoenicians in 
exchange for British tin. The Romans 
knew perfectly well that corn was as easily 
obtained in cold as in warm climes ; and it 
is remarked by Pliny, as a phenomenon, that 
extreme heat and cold have the same effect 
in producing corn. Thracia is, he says, ex- 
ceedingly cold, and thereby plentiful in corn : 
Egypt and other parts of Africa are hot, 
and yet abound in corn, although not so 

We know from good authorities, that the 
Romans soon procured corn in England, and 
were even enabled to send it thence to 

It is not within the limits of this work to 
go into the detail of the cultivation of corn, 
which has been so properly attended to by 


the Agricultural Society, and so ably dilated 
on by various writers; but we must not omit 
an important observation that was made by 
Pliny, and which seems worthy of being 
attended to : That barley yields the better 
groats if it be taken whilst it is somewhat 
green, rather than when it has arrived at its 
full ripeness. 

" Lo, how the arable with bailey grain 

Stands thick, o'er-shadow'd, to the thirsty hind 
Transporting prospect ! Philips's Cider. 

The invention of malt-liquor appears to 
have originated from the attention which an 
eastern monarch paid to the health of his 
army, as both Hippocrates and Xenophon 
inform us, that Cyrus, having called his sol- 
diers together, exhorted them to drink water 
wherein parched barley had been steeped, 
which they called Maza. In all probability 
this was to counteract the bad effects of im- 
pure water in warm climates, as Pliny* states, 
that if water be nitrous, brackish, and bitter, 
by putting fried barley-meal into it, it will in 
less than two hours be purified and sweet, 
and that it may then be drunk with safety ; 
and this, says he, is the reason that barley- 
meal is generally put in bags and strainers 


* Book xx iv. c. 1. 


through which we pass our wines, that they 
may be refined and drawn the sooner. This 
information may be serviceable to nautical 
men, and to those who travel in tropical 

In the retreat of the ten thousand, Xeno- 
phon thus describes the beer which he found 
in some Armenian villages : " Beer (literally 
barley-wine) in jars, in which the malt or bar- 
ley itself was in them up to the brim, and with 
it reeds, some large and others small, without 
joints. These, when any one w r as dry, he 
was to take into his mouth and suck. The 
liquor was very strong, when unmixed with 
water, and exceeding pleasant to those who 
were accustomed to it." 

Diodorus Siculus tells us, that Osiris, that 
is, the Egyptian Bacchus, was the inventor of 
malt-liquor, as a relief to those countries 
where vines did not succeed, which is the 
reason assigned by Herodotus for the Egyp- 
tians using it. This was also the liquor 
used in France, till the time of the Emperor 
Probus, when vines were first planted there. 
Pliny says, they called it Cervisia, a word 
probably derived from Cervoise, which among 
the ancient Gauls signified beer *. 

# Spelman. 


Tacitus mentions a sort of beer in use 
among the ancient Germans, made of barley 
or of wheat. 

The fertility of the Egyptian soil in grain, 
and its unfitness for the vine, induced the 
people of that country to make a sort of 
wine or ale from barley, which was drunk 
by those who could not afford to purchase 
the juice of grapes.* 

The principal use of barley in this country, 
is for making beer; a beverage too well known, 
from the peasant to the monarch, to require 
any eulogium on its agreeable and salutary 
qualities : we shall, therefore, only observe, 
that it is an European beverage of greater 
antiquity than wine. It was drunk in Italy, 
Spain, and in France, before they had learnt 
the cultivation of the vine, or the making of 

Ovid notices a sweet drink used by pea- 
sants, which was made by boiling roasted 
barley-meal in water. 

" The Goddess knocking at the little door, 
'Twas open'd by a woman, old and poor, 
\fy ho, when she bes^d for water, oave her ale 
Brew'd long, but well preserved from being stale." 

The word ale is from the Saxon eale ; 

* Conf. Athenocus, sub finem lib. 1 . Arbuthnot. 



and beer is a word derived from the Welsh 

Pope says of beer, as a satire on Welsted : 

" Flow, Welsted ! flow, like thine inspirer beer, 
Though stale, not ripe ; though thin, yet never clear; 
So sweetly mawkish, and so smoothly dull ; 
Heady, not strong; and flowing, though not full. " 

For some years past the brewing of porter 
has nearly superseded that of ale in the me- 
tropolis; but from whence this modern word 
is derived, we are unable to conclude ; unless 
it is so called after that useful body of men 
who are its principal consumers. 

The extent to which porter-brewing is 
carried, in London, may be conceived by 
the dreadful accident which happened at the 
brewhouses of Mr. Henry Meux, in the parish 
of St. Giles. In the month of October 1814, 
one of the large porter-vats by some accident 
burst, when, from its enormous bulk, the por- 
ter rushed with such an impetuous current, 
that the adjoining streets resembled rivers 
that had burst their banks, and the surround- 
ing houses were so instantly filled with this 
liquor, that the inhabitants, who had no means 
of escape, were drowned as they sat at break- 
fast. The vat was nearlv 100 feet in circum- 

BARLEY. * 57 

ferjnce, 36 feet over, 22£ feet in height, and 
contained 3556 barrels, or 128,016 gallons, 
and caused the death of eight persons by its 

It is generally a custom with brewers 
to give entertainments in these immense vats 
when first built, and before being used ; large 
parties are often entertained in them with a 
dinner or a ball ; and it has a curious effect to 
look down on the party thus situated, which 
gives the idea of the Lilliputians having pos- 
sessed themselves of the casks of the people 
of Brobdignag. 

Wine made from malt, when kept to a pro- 
per age, has as good a body, and a flavour 
nearly as agreeable, as the generality of 
Madeira wines. 

The wort of malt is an excellent antiscor- 
butic. Barley was used by the ancients for 
many medicinal purposes. Galen, in his book 
of the Faculties of Simples, says barley is not 
so heating as wheat, and that it has a little abs- 
tersive, or cleansing quality. The ladies, in 
old times, mixed the meal of this corn with 
honey and vinegar, to take away freckles and 
other spots on the flesh. 

Dr. James says, barley, however prepared, 


never heats the body, but moistens or dries, 
according to its various ways of preparation. 
Thus, when it is boiled, as in a ptisan, it mois- 
tens ; when it is torrified, as in polenta, it 
dries. Barley differs from wheat, as it ge- 
nerates a mild and detergent juice, whereas 
that of wheat is thick and viscid, and some- 
what of an obstruent quality. 

There are various ways of preparing bar- 
ley, either as simple or medicinal aliment. A 
cataplasm made of barley-flour and butter, is 
an anodyne remedy against all kinds of pain. 
The polenta of barley, says Sim.Paulli, boiled 
in vinegar, and strained through a linen cloth, 
frequently mitigates the intolerable pain of 
the teeth, being used as a collution, or, rather, 
held for some time in the mouth. 

Pearl barley and French barley are only 
barley freed from the husk by a mill ; the 
distinction between the two being, that the 
pearl barley is reduced to the size of small- 
shot, all but the very heart of the grain being 
ground away. 

Barley-water is a decoction of either of 
these, and is reputed soft and lubricating ; a 
very useful drink in many disorders, and is 
recommended to be taken with nitre in low 


fevers. Its use is of great antiquity, as Hip- 
pocrates wrote a whole book on the merits of 
gruel made of barley. 

The French or Scotch barley is principally 
used to thicken broth and soup. 



Natural order, Verticillata, A genus of the 
Didynamia Gymnospermia class. 

Fabulous history informs us that this plant 
originated from the death of Ocimus, who 
first ordained the combats in honour of Pallas, 
and being killed by Cyclodemas, a famous 
gladiator, was immediately metamorphosed 
into the plant which bears his name. 

The Greeks, who seldom gave names to 
plants without an appropriate meaning, called 
it axifjLQV ab wkvs, quia cito crescit, from the 
speedy springing of the seed, which is usually 
within three or four days, if the weather be 
hot and dry. It was also called Basilicum, 
from Bac-itevs, rex, a king, from which the 
English name is derived, and whence also it 
is styled a royal plant. 

The difficulty of overcoming superstitious 
prejudices is fully exemplified in this fra- 
grant herb. It was an opinion among the 
ancients, that if basil was pounded and put 

BASIL. 61 

under a stone, it would breed serpents ; from 
this notion its use was decried ; — and when it 
was transplanted into our climate, which was 
found too cold for serpents, these reptiles 
degenerated into worms and maggots, which, 
we are told, this vegetable will engender, if 
it be only chewed, and put into the sun. 

Basil was condemned by Chrysippus, more 
than two hundred years b. c. as being hurtful 
to the stomach, a suppressor of urine, an 
enemy to the sight, and a robber of the wits. 
Diodorus added, that the eating of this plant 
caused cutaneous insects ; and the Africans 
were persuaded that no person could survive 
if he were stung by a scorpion on the same 
day that he had eaten basil. 

We notice the story told by Hollerus of 
this plant, to shew how far superstition and 
credulity carried the ill effects of basil. He 
relates, that an Italian by frequent smelling 
this herb, bred a scorpion in his brain. 

Notwithstanding these impressions were 
so much against reason, and the decided 
opinion of the Roman physicians as to the 
beneficial qualities of the plant, it never be- 
came a favourite in medicine, and has been 
but little used for culinary purposes, although 
Philistis, Plistonicus, and others, extolled its 


virtues, and recommended its use, as strongly 
as it had been formerly condemned.* 

Galen says, basil was eaten by many per- 
sons in his time, being corrected with oil 
and vinegar, and that it was esteemed ser- 
viceable to women, to dry up their milk. 

The Romans sowed the seeds of this plant 
with maledictions and ill words, believing 
that the more it was cursed, the better it 
would prosper ; and when they wished for a 
crop, they trod it down with their feet, and 
prayed to the gods that it might not vege- 

Lord Bacon says, in his Natural History, 
" It is strange which is reported, that basil 
too much exposed to the sun, doth turn into 
wild thyme : although these two herbs seem 
to have small affinity ; but basil is almost 
the only pot-herb, that hath fat and succulent 
leaves ; which oiliness if it be drawn forth 
by the sun, it is likely it will make a very 
great change. "j 

Gerard describes six species of basil in his 
Herbal, that were cultivated in England 
prior to 1597 ; and he agrees with Simeon 

* Plin. book xx. chap. 12 and 13. 

t Pliny. % Century 6. 

BASIL. 63 

Zethy, that " the smell of this plant is good 
for the heart and for the head : that the 
seede cureth the infirmities of the heart, 
taketh away sorrowfulnesse which commeth 
of melancholie, and maketh a man merrie 
and glad." 

Basil leaves a grateful smell when stroked 
with the hand ; and it was said that the hand 
of a fair lady made it thrive. Farmers who 
had learnt to compliment in the reigns of 
Queen Mary and Elizabeth, planted it in 
pots to offer to their landladies, or others 
who visited the farm. It is thus noticed by 
Tusser : 

" Fine Basil desireth it may be hir lot 

to grow as a gilleflower, trim in a pot : 
That ladies and gentils, for whom you do serve, 
may help her as needeth, poore life to preserue." 

Schroder, and other medical writers of 
latter days, give it the virtue of cleansing the 
lungs of phlegm. 

It is used as an ingredient in the aqua 
bryonies composita, or hysteric water. 

Aiton mentions thirteen species of basil, 
now cultivated in this country, the earliest 
of which was in 1548. It is a native of the 
South of Europe, as well as the East Indies, 



and some parts of Africa ; and is found also, 
growing naturally, in Persia. 

The French are now so partial to the 
flavour and qualities of this plant, that its 
leaves enter into the composition of almost 
all their soups and sauces. 



Natural order, Papilionacece. A genus of the 
Diadelphia Decandria class. 

The Bean was called in Greek Kvapos, 
by the Falisci, a people of Hetruria (now 
Tuscany), Haba ; whence the name Faba 
seems to be taken. Martinius derives the 
word from Ww, to feed; as if it were Paba; 
Isidorus from pdyta, to eat. 

The flowers of this pulse, which are of the 
butterfly kind, emit a most agreeable per- 

" Long let us walk 

Where the breeze blows from yon extended field 
Of blossom'd beans. Arabia cannot boast 
A fuller gale of joy than liberal thence 
Breathes through the sense, and takes the ravish'd soul." 


Of all the pulse kind, this held the first 
rank in ancient times. We find the Athe- 
nians used beans sodden, in their feasts de- 
dicated to Apollo; and the Romans presented 

VOL. I. F 



beans as an oblation in their solemn sacrifice 
called Fabaria, a festival held in honour of 
Carna, wife of Janus. Pliny informs us, that 
they offered cakes made of bean meal unto 
certain gods and goddesses, in these ancient 
rites and ceremonies. Lempriere states, 
that bacon was added to the beans in the 
offerings to Carna, not so much to gratify 
the palate of the goddess, as to represent the 
simplicity of their ancestors. 

One of the most noble and powerful fa- 
milies of Rome derived the name of Fabii 
from some of their ancestors having culti- 
vated the bean called Faba. 

The meal of beans is the heaviest made 
from pulse, and was called in Latin lomentum. 
This was mingled with frumentic corn, whole, 
and so eaten by the ancients; but they 
sometimes, by way of having a dainty, bruised 
it first : it was considered a strong food, and 
was generally eaten with gruel or pottage. 
It was thought to dull the senses and under- 
standing, and to cause troublesome dreams. 
Pythagoras expressly forbade beans to be 
eaten by his disciples, because he supposed 
them to have been produced from the same 
putrid matter from which, at the creation of 
the world, man was formed. The Romans at 

BEAN. 67 

one time believed, that the souls of such 
as were departed, resided in beans ; there- 
fore they were eaten at funerals and obse- 
quies of the dead. 

Varro relates, that the great priests or 
sacrificers, called Flamines, abstained from 
beans on this account, as also from a suppo- 
sition that certain letters or characters were 
to be seen in the flowers, that indicated 
heaviness and signs of death. Clemens 
Alexandrinus attributes the abstinence from 
beans to the opinion that they occasioned 
sterility ; which is confirmed by Theophras- 
tus, who extends the effects even to the 
plants. Cicero suggests another reason for 
this abstinence, viz. that beans are great 
enemies to tranquillity of mind ; for which 
reason Amphiaraus is said to have abstained 
from them, even before Pythagoras, that he 
might enjoy a clearer divination by his 

The Egyptian priests held it a crime to 
look at beans, judging the very sight un- 
clean. The Flamen Dialis was not per- 
mitted even to mention the name. Lucian 
introduces a philosopher in hell saying, that 
to eat beans, and to eat our father's head, 

were equal crimes. 




The ancients made use of beans in gather- 
ing the votes of the people, and for electing 
the magistrates. A white bean signified ab- 
solution, and a black one condemnation. 
From this practice, we imagine, was derived 
the plan of black-balling obnoxious persons. 

The Roman husbandmen had a religious 
ceremony respecting this pulse, somewhat 
remarkable ; when they sowed corn of any 
kind, they took care to bring some beans 
from the field, for good luck's sake, super- 
stitiously thinking that by such means their 
corn would return home again to them ; 
these beans were then called Refrince or 
Re/erina. The Romans carried their super- 
stition even farther, for they thought that 
beans mixed with goods offered for sale at 
the ports, would infallibly bring good luck 
to the seller. 

Columella notices them in his time as 
food for the peasants only : — 

" And herbs they mix with beans for vulgar fare." 

Pliny states that the sowing of beans 
is equal to manure for land, and enriches 
it exceedingly ; and that in the vicinity of 
Macedonia and Thessaly, the custom was 
to plough them into the ground just as 
they began to bloom. This author adds, 

BEAN. 69 

that beans grew spontaneously in most places 
without sowing ; particularly in certain 
islands lying within the northern ocean ; 
from whence they have derived the name 
of FabaricB. They grew wild also throughout 
Mauritania (now Morocco) in Africa ; but 
these Pliny characterizes as so hard and 
tough, that they could not be boiled tender. 
From Mazagan (a settlement of the Por- 
tuguese, on the coast of Morocco), we have 
obtained the bean so called, and it is by far 
the best sort for an early crop. It may 
be observed of seeds in general, that those 
brought from warm climates will fruit 
earlier than those of cold countries. It 
must therefore be desirable to have the 
seeds constantly renewed at intervals of a 
few years, since the bean will naturally be- 
come a later variety, as it grows accustomed 
to the soil and climate of this kingdom. 

Gerard states, that the garden bean is 
the same in all respects as the field bean, 
the one having been improved only by the 
fertility of the soil : — we perfectly coincide 
in this opinion, as the ancient authors men- 
tion but one kind of the bean called Faba. 
Virgil says, that if beans are soaked in lees, 
or dregs of oil and nitre, before they are 


planted, they will produce seeds of a far 
greater size. Other ancient authors state, 
that if they are steeped for three days in 
water mixed with urine, they grow more ra- 
pidly, and the seed will be larger. 

Beans were used medicinally by the an- 
cients : when bruised and boiled with garlic 
they were said to cure coughs that were 
thought past other remedy. 

The meal or flour of beans, called lomentwn 
by the Romans, was a celebrated cosmetic 
with the ladies, in former times, as it was 
thought to possess the virtue of smoothing 
the skin and taking away wrinkles. 

Beans are now T seldom, if ever, used as food, 
in this improved country, in their dried state ; 
but when sent to table young, they are gene- 
rally admired and esteemed a proper vegeta- 
ble with bacon. 

The ancients, with Dodonseus, Casp. Hoff- 
man, and others of the moderns, tell us that 
beans are flatulent, and the greener they are, 
the more flatulent, and consequently the 
more difficult of concoction : " However we," 
says Ray, "do not find this to be true, though 
we frequently feed upon beans in the sum- 
mer : nor do we approve of the opinion of 
Dodonaeus, who prefers the old and dry 

BEAN. 71 

beans before the green ones, because he 
thinks them less flatulent ; but with Tragus, 
leave them to our horses : nor do I see why 
they should not fatten men as well as swine, 
and other animals." 

Dr. Mundy, in his Treatise on Foods, says, 
that he knew a peasant, who in a great dearth 
of provisions fed his children with nothing 
but boiled beans ; and yet you would hardly 
see boys of a better colour or habit of body ; 
which proves, that dry beans afford a copious 
nutriment, when the stomach is once accus- 
tomed to bear them. 

Dodonaeus says, that beans, with their 
skins, or husks, are neither slow, nor very 
quick, in passing through the body ; but 
that without their husks they are binding. 
We agree in this opinion, knowing that in 
wheat, the flour, separated from the bran, 
binds the more powerfully, and that the 
bran is detersive, and promotes the passage 
of the flour : hence brown bread is the 
most wholesome, particularly to persons 
of feverish habits. Dr. James says, " we are of 
opinion, with Tragus, that the young beans are 
wholesome aliment, and generate good juice." 

The prevailing opinion is, that beans are 
a flatulent and coarse food, better suited to 


the laborious, than the sedentary class of 
society. Mr. Boyle has several experiments 
of beans, treated pneumatically, to shew the 
great plenty of air they afford, on which 
their flatulency depends. The expansion of 
a bean, says this author, is found so consider- 
able in growing, that it is capable of raising a 
plug clogged with an hundred pounds 

The green pods boiled, after the beans are 
taken out, is a dish that many people prefer 
to the beans ; they should be served with 
parsley and butter. The young leaves of 
beans, boiled in broth, are esteemed highly 

The varieties of beans recommended are, 
the early Aldridge, early Mazagan, dwarf fan > 
green Genoa, sword, long-podded, and the 
white-blossomed Windsor. 

We have found it an excellent plan, in 
procuring late beans, to cut down the stalks 
after the crop is gathered for the kitchen ; 
they then soon sprout up again, and, if 
showery weather succeeds, yield a better 
supply than is obtained by late planting. In 
the summer of 1820, the author had some 
Windsor beans so much blighted, that they 
produced but little more than the original 

BEAN. 73 

seed; but when cut down, they yielded an 
excellent crop in the month of November. 

This species of pulse is extremely prolific 
when planted in suitable soil. A single He- 
ligoland horse-bean, planted in the garden 
of Beaulieu poor-house, in the year 1821, 
produced 126 pods, which contained 399 
good beans fit for seed ; and had the plant 
not been blown down by the wind in the 
midst of its bloom, there is reason to sup- 
pose it would have produced nearly double 
the quantity. 

Field beans are cultivated exclusively for 

Beans make one of the finest of all baits 
for fish, if prepared in the following manner : 
Steep them in warm water for about six hours; 
then boil them in river-water in a new earthen 
pot, glazed in the inside ; when about half 
boiled, to a quart of beans add two ounces 
of honey, and about a grain of musk ; after 
which let them boil for a short time. Select 
a clear part of the water, and throw in a few 
of these beans early in the morning, and 
again at evening, for two or three days, 
which will draw the fish together, and they 
may be taken in a casting net in great 


The ashes of bean-stalks make good and 
clear glass. 


A leguminous plant. In Botany it is ar- 
ranged in the same class and order as the 
bean Faba. 

This pulse is generally, but improperly 
called French bean, for the old French name 
of this pulse, Fives de Home, evidently 
proves it not to have been a native of France. 
We also find, that it was called the Roman 
bean in our language, about the time of 
Queen Elizabeth. Gerard gives it also the 
name of Sperage bean, and says it is called 
Faselles, or long peason. The Dutch at that 
time (1596) called them Turcks-boonen, viz. 
Turk's bean. From thence, but more parti- 
cularly from the account of the great Roman 
naturalist, we may conclude this excellent 
and wholesome vegetable is a native of the 
eastern extremity of Europe, or that part of 
Asia now belonging to the Turks ; for Pliny 
in the 7th chapter of his 18th book, men- 
tions these beans, and says, those of Sesama 

BEAN. 75 

and Iris are red, resembling blood. He 
also in his 12th chapter of the same book 
calls them Phaseoli, and says the pod is to be 
eaten with the seed : from this laconic notice 
we may assume that they were but little 
esteemed at that time in Italy, where lupines 
were then so much admired as food. 

The French name of Haricot for this pulse 
originated from their being much used by 
their cooks in the composition of a dish so 

The English name of Kidney-bean was 
given on account of the seed being somewhat 
of a kidney shape. 

We conceive it probable, that these beans 
were first introduced to this country from 
the Netherlands about the year 1509, when 
gardening first began to be attended to in 
England ; the white Dutch kidney-bean 
having been the earliest sort known in this 

Gerard mentions a considerable variety that 
was cultivated in England in his time, and says, 
" The fruit and pods of kidney-beans boyled 
togither before they be ripe, and buttered, 
and so eaten with their pods, are exceeding 
delicate meate, and do not ingender winde as 
the other pulse doe." This medical herba- 


list adds, " they are gently laxative, and in- 
gender good bloode." 

The dwarf-beans are the most generally 
cultivated at present, as the running varieties 
require tall sticks, which add considerably to 
the expense , of cultivation. But of all the 
varieties none exceed the scarlet runners in 
point of agreeable flavour and tenderness ; 
they are also the most productive, and afford 
a succession of pods until checked by the 
frost. It is rather remarkable, that although 
this variety has been cultivated in England 
since 1633, yet there still exists a prejudice 
against these beans ; some, on account of 
their size, consider them old. The author re- 
members their being planted in many parts 
of the country, merely as an ornament to 
cover walls and to form arbours, without an 
idea of cooking the pods for the table. 

The French carried this prejudice to an 
extent equal to the superstition of the an- 
cients respecting the bean, Faba. Some years 
back a lady of our acquaintance took some 
seeds of the scarlet runners to Jamaica, and 
by planting them in her garden on the moun- 
tains, they were brought to tolerable perfec- 
tion ; but her gardener, who was an old 

BEAN. 77 

Frenchman, would not by any persuasion 
allow them to be eaten, on account of the 
scarlet or blood colour of the blossom. The 
family thought it more prudent to deprive 
themselves of the promised delicacy than to 
lose a valuable servant, whose superstition 
prohibited him from serving a master who 
could eat a vegetable producing (as he styled 
it) a bloody flower. 

The dwarf kidney-bean being easily forced 
in a hot-bed, and growing freely in the house, 
now forms an important and profitable article 
to the market-gardener, and enables the ve- 
getable epicurean to indulge his appetite 
with these beans nearly throughout the whole 
year. It is one of the least hurtful luxuries 
of the table ; and nothing adds more to the 
elegant arrangement of a dinner than early 
and rare vegetables. 

Kidney-beans are preserved in salt for 
winter-use, and the young pods of the scarlet 
runners make an excellent pickle. 

The white kind are used in the ripe and 
dry state by foreign cooks in their haricots, 
particularly in the neighbourhood of Rome, 
where its cultivation forms an important ar- 
ticle, the seed affording great part of their 


Lent food, in the shape of haricot, fageoli, 
and caravansas. 

The seed of the large kidney-bean, five 
haricot, sliced and stewed in milk, is a fre- 
quent dish at the farm-houses in Flanders. 



Natural order, Holorai. A genus of the 
Pentandria Digynia class. 

It takes its name from the shape of its 
seed vessel, which, when it swells with seed, 
has the form of the letter so called in the 
Greek alphabet. 

It appears to be a native of Sicily, as the 
Greeks, according to Pliny, had as well as 
the black, a white beet, which also they 
called Sicilian beet. 

The Grecians held this root in great esteem, 
as it was their custom to offer it, on silver, to 
Apollo in his temple at Delphos. They used 
also to cut the leaves in preference to lettuce, 
and observed the method of laying a small 
weight on the plant, to make it cabbage. 

Pliny says, of all garden herbs, beets are 
the lightest roots; that they are eaten (as 
well as the leaves) with lentils and beans, 
and the best way to eat them is with mustard, 


&c, to give a taste to their dull flatness. 
The seed, says this author, has a strange and 
wonderful quality above the rest, for it will 
not all come up in one year, but some in the 
first, others in the second, and the rest in 
the third year. 

The Roman physicians held the roots more 
hurtful than the leaves. 

The beet was first cultivated in this 
country in the year 1548, a period when 
many valuable plants were introduced, to 
gratify a luxurious monarch. Cicla, the white 
variety, was brought to England from Portu- 
gal, in 1570. It is observed, that the larger 
the roots grow, the more tender they will be; 
and the deeper their colour, the more they 
are esteemed. The roots of the beet are 
either baked or boiled, and eaten with salad; 
they also make an agreeable pickle. They 
are said, however, to be prejudicial to the 
stomach, and to afford little nourishment. 
The juice both of the roots and leaves is 
said to be a powerful errhine, occasioning a 
copious discharge of mucus, and thereby 
greatly relieving the head-ache. 

From the roots of this plant, sugar has 
been extracted; by boiling them when taken j 
out of the earth, slicing them when cold, 

BEET. 81 

and afterwards pressing out the juice, which 
is filtered, evaporated, and the sugar procured 
by crystallization. The process at length, 
may be found in the New Annual Register 
for 1800, and in the 18th volume of the 
Transactions of the Society for the Encou- 
ragement of Arts, &c. in London. 

The most successful manufacturer of sugar 
from the beet-root was M. Achard of Berlin, 
who pursued the process altogether in a large 
way, and so satisfactorily, that a reward was 
bestowed upon him by the Prussian govern- 
ment for his elaborate experiments. It was 
expected that this process would enable 
Europe to supply itself with sugar from its 
own soil, and to be no longer dependent on 
the West Indies ; but this project was for 
many years relinquished, until necessity com- 
pelled the French to renew it, when Napo- 
leon adopted the policy of prohibiting the 
importation of all colonial produce. The 
French government then gave large premiums 
to the greatest growers of beet, and encou- 
raged the making sugar from this root, and 
in which they succeeded so far as to obtain a 
good sugar; but it was done at an expense 
that could only insure its duration so long as 

VOL. I. G 


his power could prevent the introduction of 
foreign sugar, which could be sold at more 
moderate prices. 

The beet is one of the five emollient herbs, 
but the root is more frequently used to gar- 
nish dishes, than for any medicinal purpose. 



Natural order, Asperifolice. A genus of the 
Pentandria Monogynia class. 

The name is derived from cor and ago, on 
account of its supposed cordial qualities. 

According to Pliny, the ancient Romans 
called it Buglossus, from the Greek EuyAwo-aos, 
because the leaf is like an ox-tongue. It 
was also called Euphrosynon ; for when put 
into a cup of wine, it made those who 
drank of it merry. 

It is said to have been originally brought 
from Aleppo ; but it grows so freely in this 
country, that many authors deem it an indi- 
genous plant. Parkinson states, that it 
grew in Kent. 

The whole herb is succulent and very 
mucilaginous, having a peculiarly faint smell 
when bruised. Its flowers are of the number 
of the four cordial ones of the shops, and it 
has been recommended as a medicine of great 
efficacy in malignant and pestilential fevers, 

G Z 


and against the bite of poisonous animals. 
It has always been esteemed as an excellent 
cooling cordial in all febrile cases ; and may 
be justly regarded as a proper simple to be 
used in an over-heated state of the blood : it 
is generally administered in decoctions and 
infusions with other cooling medicines. 

Coles, and M. Valmont Bomare, say, these 
flowers have no virtue when dry, therefore it 
is better, in the winter, to use the roots, 
which, being fresh, possess all the qualities 
of the blossoms. 

Water distilled from both the leaves and 
flowers of this plant, has been formerly kept 
in the shops, as well as a conserve of the 
blossoms ; but these are very little regarded in 
modern practice, especially in England, where 
most diseases (says Brown) proceed rather 
from inaction and the viscidity of the juices. 

By the experiments of M. Margraaf, in 
1747, it appears, that the juice of this plant 
affords a true nitre. The clarified juice of 
borage evaporated by a water-bath, in a con- 
sistency of thick honey, becomes saponaceous, 
and will dissolve in part in spirit of wine. 
The juice of the borage, distilled at a naked 
fire, bloats itself out considerably, and yields 
an insipid phlegm, which is soon followed by 


an alkaline volatile spirit, very penetrating, and 
then an empyreumatic, fetid, and heavy oil ; 
there remains a very light coal, which is re- 
duced with some difficulty into ashes. These 
give an alkali, such as the most part of vege- 
tables furnish : the coal itself, before the 
incineration, furnishes a great deal of nitre, 
some little marine salt, and an alkaline salt 
of a deliquescent nature. M. Bucquet says, 
it is clear, that of all these principles, the 
juice of the borage contains only the phlegm, 
the oily part, the nitre, the marine salt, the 
fixed alkali, and the earthy part. As to the 
volatile alkali, it is the produce of the fire, 
which has formed it at the expense of the 
fixed alkali, and of the oil ; because this pro- 
duce, though very volatile, only passes after 
the phlegm, and when the decomposition is 
already advanced ; for, operate how you may 
to separate the salts contained in the borage, 
you will never find volatile alkali. 
' This plant divides thick and vulgar hu- 
mours, attenuates the blood, re-establishes 
secretions, and excretions, and is useful in all 
illnesses where it is essential to avoid hot 
remedies ; as in pleurisy, peripneumony, &c. 
It is esteemed diuretic, emollient, and ex- 



Lord Bacon observes, that "the leaf of 
the borage hath an excellent spirit, to re- 
press the fuliginous vapour of dusky melan- 
choly, and so to cure madness : But never- 
theless, if the leaf be infused long, it yieldeth 
forth but a raw substance, of no virtue ; but 
if the borage stay a small time, and be often 
changed with fresh, it will make a sovereign 
drink for melancholy passions." 

There is an old verse on this plant, which 

" Ego Borago gaudia semper ago/' 

which has been thus paraphrased : 

" I Borage bring courage." 

Gerard informs us, that in Queen Eliza- 
beth's time, both the leaves and flowers of 
this plant were eaten in salad, " to exhila- 
rate and make the mind glad." There is, says 
he, also many things made of them ; " vsed 
euerywhere for the comfort of the heart, for 
the driuing away of sorrowe, and increasing 
the joie of the mind. Sirrupe made of 
the flowers of borage, comforteth the heart, 
purgeth melancholie, quieteth the phrenticke 
or lunaticke person. The leaves eaten raw 
do ingender good bloode, and when boiled 
in honey and water, they cure hoarseness." 


With all the advantages which this herb 
is said to possess, it is now nearly neglected, 
and but seldom used in England either in 
salads or as a pot-herb ; it is principally cul- 
tivated in our gardens to make cool tankards, 
which are a pleasant and wholesome summer 



Natural order, Miscellanece. A genus of the 
Monozcia Polyandria class. 

The ancient name of this plant cannot 
be fixed with any degree of certainty ; but 
it is thought by the best etymological 
herbalists, that we have been able to consult, 
that it is the plant which the Greeks 
called UifjoriveM, and that it is likewise 
the Sideritis Secunda of Dioscorides. It has 
been called in Latin, Pimpinella, Pempinula, 
and Peponella, from the likeness of the 
scent to that of melons or pompions ; while 
others give the same name to some species 
of saxifrage. Old medical writers called it 
Sorbastrella and Sanguinaria, but mostly 
Sanguisorba, quod sanguineos fluxus sistat, 
as it was supposed to stop fluxes of blood. 
Some of the ancient botanists called it 
Bipinella or Bipenida, from the leaves being 
placed opposite each other like wings. 

The origin of the English name must be 


left to conjecture ; the oblong spike of 
its flowers forms, in some degree, a miniature 
resemblance of the bur of the dock ; and from 
thence it may probably have been derived. 

The common burnet, Poteriwn Sanguisorba, 
is an indigenous perennial plant of England, 
and is found growing on chalky lands and 
heathy commons. We find it was cultivated 
in our gardens as long back as we can trace 
any other herb or vegetable with certainty. 
Gerard says, " it is pleasant to be eaten in 
sallads, in which it is thought to make the 
heart merry and glad, as also being put into 
wine, to which it yeeldeth a certaine grace in 
the drinking." 

Our forefathers seem to have been as 
anxious to have herbs added to their wine, 
as the present generation are desirous to 
obtain it pure. 

Coles says, (in 1657,) " Burnet is a friend 
to the heart, liver, and other principall parts 
of a man's body : two or three of the stalks 
with leaves put into a cup of wine, espe- 
cially French wine, as all know, give a won- 
derful fine relish to it, and besides is a great 
means to quicken the spirits, refresh the 
heart, and make it merry, driving away 
melancholy.' ' 


It is still accounted cordial and sudorific, 
and on that account is often put into cool 

We have now several species and many 
varieties of burnet in our botanical gardens; 
but it is seldom used for culinary purposes. 



Natural order, Cruciferce. A genus of the 
Tetr adynamia Siliquosa class. 

Theophrastus and the earlier Greek au- 
thors called this vegetable 'Pctqxzvo?, Raphanus, 
from the seed bearing a resemblance to that of 
the radish. It was named by later writers 
Kfa//tCtf, and attice, Kopx^n, or Koja//,£A>?, as 
it was thought to injure the eye-sight, which 
is signified by Columella in these words, oculis 
inimica Coramble ; but he afterwards contra- 
dicts himself, and states that it is good for 
dim eyes. 

The Roman name, Brassica, came, as is 
supposed, from prceseco, because it was cut off 
from the stalk : it was also called Caulis in 
Latin, on account of the goodness of its stalks, 
and from which the English name Cole, Col- 
wort, or Colewort, is derived. The word Cab- 
bage, by which all the varieties of this plant 
are now improperly called, means the firm 
head or ball that is formed by the leaves turn- 


ing close over each other; from that circum- 
stance we say the cole has cabbaged, the lettuce 
has cabbaged, or the tailor has cabbaged. 

" Your tailor, instead of shreds, cabbages 
whole yards of cloth*." 

From thence arose the cant word applied 
to tailors, who formerly worked at the private 
houses of their customers, where they were 
often accused of cabbaging; which means the 
rolling up pieces of cloth, instead of the list 
and shreds, which they claim as their due. 

The Greeks held the cabbage in great 
esteem, and their fables deduce its origin 
from the father of their gods; for they inform 
us, that Jupiter labouring to explain two ora- 
cles which contradicted each other, perspired, 
and from this divine perspiration the cole- 
wort sprang. 

The inference to be drawn from this fable 
is, that they considered it a plant which had 
been brought to its state of perfection by 
cultivation and the sweat of the brow. 

The most ancient Greek authors mention 
three kinds of cole, the crisped or ruffed, 
which they called Selinas or Selinoides, from its 

# Arbuthnot's History of John Bull. 


resemblance to parsley; the second was called 
Lea, and the third Corambe *. 

This vegetable was so highly regarded by 
the ancients, that Chrysippus and Dieuches, 
two physicians, each wrote books on the pro- 
perties of this plant, as well as Pythagoras 
and Cato, the latter of whom in later times 
amply set forth the praises of this pot-herb. 

It is related, that the ancient Romans, 
having expelled physicians out of their terri- 
tories, preserved their health for six hundred 
years, and soothed their infirmities by using 
and applying this vegetable as their only me- 
dicine in every disease. 

The verse of Columella informs us that he 
considered it a universal pot-herb. 

u That herb, which o'er the whole terrestrial globe 
Doth flourish, and in great abundance yields 
To low plebeian, and the haughty king, 
In winter, cabbage ; and green sprouts in spring/' 

Pliny, in speaking of the spring sprouts of 
cole, says, " Pleasant and sweet as these crops 
were thought by other men, yet Apicius (that 
notable glutton) loathed them, and by his 
example Drusus Caesar held them in no 

# Plin. book xx. c. 19. 


esteem, but thought them a base and homely 
food; for which nice and dainty tooth of his," 
says this author, " he was well checked and 
stented by his father, Tiberius the emperor. 
I dwell long on this vegetable," says Pliny, 
" because it is in so great request in the 
kitchen and among our riotous gluttons." 

We find that the Greeks as well as the 
Romans esteemed it good to be eaten raw, to 
prevent the effects of excessive indulgence 
in wine : it was also thought to clear the 
brains of the intoxicated, and make them 

It is observed by Pliny, that as coleworts 
may be cut at all times of the year for our 
use, so may they be sown and set all the year 
through ; and yet, says this author, the most 
appropriate season is after the autumnal equi- 
nox. He adds, after the first cutting, they 
yield abundance of delicate tops ; so there is 
no herb in that regard so productive, until, 
in the end, its own fertility produces its death. 
We learn from this naturalist their manner of 
cultivating them, as well as from whence the 
Romans obtained these useful plants. Many 
of the ancients, when they transplanted coles, 
put sea-weeds under the roots, or else nitre 
powdered, as much as they could take up 


with three fingers, imagining that they would 
the sooner come to maturity ; others threw 
trefoil and nitre mixed upon the leaves for 
the same purpose \ it was also thought to 
make them boil green. 

Cabbage will not, at the present day, 
bring a price to enable the grow T er to use 
nitre; but we have often been surprised that 
sea- weed should not have been more used on 
the coast as a garden manure, when the ad- 
vantage of the saline particles is so generally 

The ancients manured their land with 
asses dung, where they intended to plant coles. 
" If you would have very fine coleworts, 
both for sweet taste and for great cabbage," 
observes Pliny, " first let the seed be sown in 
ground thoroughly digged more than once 
or twice, and well manured ; secondly, you 
must cut off the tender spring and young 
stalks that seem to put out far from the 
ground, and such as run too high ; thirdly, you 
must raise mould or manure up to them, so 
that there may be no more above the ground 
than the very top :" these kinds of coles, he 
says, are justly called Tritiana, for the three- 
fold care about them. "There are," continues 
he, " many kinds of coleworts in Rome, such 


as that of Cumes, which bears leaves spread- 
ing flat along the ground, and opening in 
the head ; those of Aricia are tall, and send 
forth numerous buds. The colewort Pompe- 
ianum, so called from the town Pompeii, 
also grows high, and sends out many tender 
sprouts." The coles of Bruzze, or Calabria, 
like the winter best, and are nourished by 
the hard season ; their leaves are described 
as being very large, their stalks small, and 
their taste acrid. The Sabellian coles, with 
curled and ruffed leaves, are mentioned as 
having a small stem, which supports heads 
of a wonderful size: these were reputed the 

" It is not long," says the same author, 
" since we have procured a kind of cabbage- 
cole from the vale of Aricia with an exceed- 
ingly great head and an infinite number of 
leaves, which gather round and close toge- 
ther." These he calls Lacuturres, from the 
place whence they came ; he adds, there are 
some coles, which stretch out into a round 
shape, others extend in breadth, and are 
very full of fleshy brawns ; some are described 
as bearing a head twelve inches thick, and 
yet it was observed, that none put forth more 
tender buds than these. It was noticed that 


all the varieties eat sweeter for being touched 
with the frost. With all the veneration 
we have for the great naturalist of Rome, 
we cannot agree with him when he states, 
that the seeds of a very old cabbage will 
produce turnips, and that the seeds also of 
an old turnip will produce coleworts.* The 
Romans were not aware that plants so 
nearly affined would mix their species by 
impregnation, and produce mongrel plants. 
This was unfortunately not known in England 
until it had ruined and broke the heart of 
poor Ball, the Brentford gardener ; for which 
see Pomarium Britannicum.-jf 

We find that the Romans planted the 
sprouts as well as the young plants. Colu- 
mella tells us that the latter should be re- 
moved when they have attained six leaves. 
The ancients often steeped them in oil and 
salt before they put them over the fire to 
boil; and it was observed by them, that if 
any brass pot or kettle was ever so much 
furred, and however hard to get off, if a 
cabbage was boiled in it, the fur would peel 
from the sides without difficulty. 

It is also related that a physician, having 

# Book xix. chap. 10. t P. 373. 



a mess of coleworts upon his table before 
him, and being suddenly sent for to visit a 
patient, he covered, at his departure, his 
dish with another, and found it at his return 
bedewed with moisture : observing from this 
circumstance, that the extraction of humidi- 
ty was very easy, he bent his study so far 
that way, as to give being to the art of dis- 

The ancients were firmly persuaded that 
there was a sympathy in plants, as well as in 
animals. "The vine, says one of their authors, 
by a secret antipathy in nature, especially 
avoids the cabbage, if it has room to decline 
from it ; but in case it cannot shift away, it 
dies for very grief." Pliny* says, the cole- 
worts and the vine have so mortal a hatred 
to each other, that if a vine stand near a 
colewort, it will be sensibly perceived that 
the vine shrinks away from it ; and yet this 
wort, which causes the vine thus to retire 
and die, if it chance to grow near origan, 
margiram, or cyclamen sowbread, will soon 
wither and die in its turn. The cause is 
evident, for where two plants are neighboured 
that require the same juices to support them, 

# Book xxiv. chap. 1. 


the weaker must give way to the one that 
has the greater power to suck up the nutri- 
tious moisture. 

Ancient authors have handed down to us 
the various uses, which they made of this 
plant in medicine, some of which we notice 
as a matter of curiosity, more than with a view 
of recommending these experiments. 

The Greeks, as well as the Romans, used 
the juice of coleworts with honey as an eye- 
salve; they also made a liniment of this 
plant, which was used to assuage the swellings 
of the glands, as also for the hard swellings of 
women's breasts. A liniment was also made 
of cabbage and brimstone, which was used 
to bring bruises to their natural colour, or 
prevent their turning black. 

Philistian recommended the juice with 
goats' milk, salt, and honey, for the cramp, 
or stiff necks. 

Apollodorus says, that either the seed or 
the juice of this plant, taken in drink, is a 
good remedy for those who have eaten 
poisonous mushrooms. 

Hippocrates recommended this vegetable 
to mothers who were nurses. 

Cato advises coleworts to be stamped 
raw with vinegar, honey, rue, mint, and the 

H 2 


roots of laser, as a cure for the head-ache, 
and many other complaints, not even omit- 
ting the gout. 

Erasistratus, and all his school, resounded 
again (says Pliny) with the praises of cole- 
wort, and averred, that there was nothing in 
the world better for the stomach, and nothing 
more wholesome for the sinews ; they, there- 
fore, prescribed it for the palsy, and all 
tremblings of the limbs, and those that retch 
up blood. 

It was observed by the ancients, that this 
vegetable was light of digestion, and that it 
clarified all the senses, when ordinarily eaten. 

Gerard is the oldest English author who 
has written fully on this useful vegetable ; 
he mentions the white cabbage cole, the red 
cabbage cole, the curled garden cole: the 
Savoie cole is, he says, numbered among the 
headed coleworts or cabbages : he notices the 
curdled Savoy, but says the " Swolen cole- 
wort of all others is the strangest, and which 
I received from a worshipfull marchant of 
London, Master Nicholas Lete, who brought 
the seed out of France ; who is greatly in 
love with rare and faire flowers and plants; 
for which he doth carefully send into Syria, 
having a servant there at Alepo, and in many 


other countries ; for the which myself and 
likewise the whole lande are much bound 
vnto." The same author says, " Rape cole 
is another variety ; they were called in Latin 
Caulo-rapum and Rapo-caulis, participating of 
two plants, the coleworts and turnips, from 
whence they derive their name. They grow 
in Italy, Spain, and some places in Germanie, 
from whence I have received seeds for my 
garden." " They must," says he, " be care- 
fully set and sowen as musk melons and 

This variety has now become one of our 
hardiest field plants. 

The principal cabbages now cultivated in 
this country are, the early Battersea, early 
Dwarf, early York, imperial Penton, Sugar- 
loaf, Drum-head, red Dutch, purple Turnip, 
Savoy, green Savoy, and yellow Savoy. The 
German cabbage is grown to so great a size 
in Holland, that a single head often weighs 
forty pounds, and remains perfectly sweet 
and tender. 


This plant was first called Cole florie and 
Colieflorie, and is said to have been derived 


from caulis a stalk, and fero to bear. Gerard 
says, " The white cabbage is best next to 
the cole flourey ; yet Cato doth chiefly com- 
mend the russed cole, but he knew neither 
the whites, nor the cole flourey, for if he 
had, his censure had been otherwise." But 
we find it noticed by the Roman herbalist of 
later days, who observes, that of all kinds of 
coleworts, the sweetest and pleasantest to 
the taste is the cole florie, although of no 
value in medicine, and unwholesome, as 
being hard of digestion, and an enemy to 
the kidneys. 

Pierre Pompes says, cauliflower " comes to 
us in Paris, by way of Marseilles, from the 
Isle of Cyprus, which is the only place I know 
of where it seeds." From this account it 
would appear, that cauliflowers were not 
much cultivated in France in 1694, when his 
work was published ; and the French have 
at present no distinct name for this vegetable, 
but call it Choufleur, viz. cabbage flower. 

Cauliflowers are now cultivated in this 
country with such care and success, that they 
exceed, in goodness and magnitude, all in 
Europe. Our gardeners furnish us with an 
early and a late variety, both of which are 
much esteemed at table, either plain boiled 

CABUAGE. 1()3 

and served with meat, or when dressed with 
sauce after the French fashion. It also makes 
a favourite pickle. 


This plant appears to \)e an accidental 
mixture of the common cabbage and the 
cauliflower ; and it is said, that it grows in no 
part of the world to such perfection, as in 
the neighbourhood of Portsmouth. Our va- 
rieties of this vegetable are, the Cape, early 
purple, late purple, early white, late white, 
and the Siberian. Brocoli occupies a large 
space in the garden, where it requires near a 
year to perfect its heads ; but repays us for 
the time and space by its early arrival in the 


" Now let sea cabbage also come, 

Though, to the eyes a foe, it blunts the sight." 


Kale, or agreeably to our oldest writers, 
Sea Colewort, is an excellent vegetable, indi- 
genous to our southern shores. 


Valmount Bomare, calls it Chou Marin 
sauvage d'Angleterre. 

Gerard observes, in his Herbal, that 
" The sea colewort groweth naturally vpon 
the bayche and brimmes of the sea, where 
there is no earth to be seene, but sand and 
rowling pebble stones. I found it growing 
between Whystable and the Isle of Thanet, 
neere the brincke of the sea ; and in many 
places neare to Colchester, and elsewhere by 
the sea-side/' 

It is often found, at the present time, 
growing out of the crevices of our highest 
cliffs, and this is observed to be the most 
delicate ; but it is only procured with the 
greatest danger, by boys who let themselves 
down by means of a rope, which is lowered 
or shifted by others standing on the top, the 
very sight of which makes the most indif- 
ferent observer tremble, while it excites the 
wonder of others, that so great a risk should 
be ventured for so small a reward as a dish 
of this marine vegetable. 

Sea kale is now cultivated in all good 
gardens, and forms a profitable article with 
market-gardeners ; as, when forced, it meets 
a ready sale, and bears a high price in the 


It appears, that the Romans had not at- 
tempted to raise this vegetable in their gar- 
dens in the time of Pliny, who calls it Hal- 
myridia, and says it grows only on the sea- 
coast. He observes, provision is made of them 
to serve in long voyages at sea, for as soon as 
they are cut up, they are put into barrels 
where oil has lately been kept, and then 
stopped up close, that no air come to them. 

The different opinions as to the qualities 
of cabbage in general, are as various as the 
authors are numerous ; we notice these con- 
tradictory opinions without falling into the 
enthusiasm of one party, or the prejudice of 
others, as experience teaches us, that the 
same vegetable diet which affords medicine 
to one constitution, may be venomous to an- 
other, and that to preserve our health, we 
should change our diet with our habits, as 
we change our garments with the seasons. 

All the species of cabbage are now gene- 
rally supposed to be hard of digestion, to 
afford little nourishment, and to produce 
flatulencies. They tend strongly to putre- 
faction, and run into this state sooner than 
almost any other vegetable ; when putrefied, 
their smell is likewise the most offensive, 


greatly resembling that of putrid animal sub- 
stance. They are now out of use as medi- 
cine, although so much recommended by 
ancient writers. Etmuller says, they have 
much nitre in their composition, which makes 
them diuretic. The authors of the Schola 
Salernitana make them of very different qua- 
lities ; and will have them both to astringe 
and relax the bowels ; and say also, they 
prevent the intoxication occasioned by spi- 
ritous liquors. 

Bartholine extols cabbage in these words : 
" The common cabbage of the country peo- 
ple is justly preferable to other pot-herbs, 
since, both raw and boiled, it is possessed of 
such salutary qualities, as to prevent occasion 
for the medicines used in the shops. For 
this reason, when a certain foreign physician 
came into Denmark with a design to settle, 
and saw the gardens of the country people 
so well stocked with cabbage, he, with good 
reason, prognosticated small encouragement 
for himself in that part of the world. It 
keeps the stomach in an easy and soluble 
state ; and a decoction of the tops of its ten- 
der shoots discharges such an incredible 
quantity of bile and phlegm, that no medi- 
cine proves a quicker, a safer, or a more effi- 


cacious purge, hellebore and scammony not 

Hoffman says, the common red cabbage is 
evidently possessed of a medical quality ; 
and abounds with a juice, which, by its ni- 
trous, sweet, emollient, laxative, aperitive, 
attenuating, and stimulating qualities, pro- 
motes those excretions which are absolutely 
necessary to the preservation of health. For 
this, it is not only a preservative against 
diseases, especially of the chronical kind, but 
also contributes very considerably to their 

The juice of cabbage is of such a nature, 
says Dr. James, as not only to afford a suffi- 
cient supply of nourishment to the body, 
but also to correct the acrid salts of the 
juices, allay the acrimony of the blood, 
cleanse the intestines, and scour the kidneys. 
For this reason cabbage is highly salutary 
in disorders of the breast, if baked in a close 
vessel in an oven, adding sugar or honey to 
it, after it is taken out ; for by this means 
it will, in the space of half an hour, become 
a jelly, or thick juice, which, used as a lamba- 
tive, is of singular efficacy in dry coughs, &c. 

# Lib. de Medicina Danorum Domest. Dissert. 1. 



A decoction of cabbage, with an addition 
of raisins, was formerly much used by preach- 
ers and pleaders, in hoarseness, and defects 
of voice, arising from too long speaking. 

The juice of cabbage is said to be a lax- 
ative, and the substance an astringent: hence 
the proverb in the school of Salerno : 

" Jus caulis solvit, cujus substantia stringit." 

The Dutch and the Germans make great 
use of cabbage; and in Berne, there is scarcely 
an inhabitant who does not eat of it at least 
once every day. 

In this country it is brought to table plain 
boiled, or stewed with beef, also fried with 
beef, and it is one of the vegetables that 
form our spring soup. Force meagre cabbage 
is an excellent dish, and both the red and 
the white make a good pickle. 

Dr. R. James says, cabbage is agreeable 
to the stomach, if it be eaten slightly boiled; 
for after thorough boiling it binds, and much 
more so if twice boiled. We cannot here 
pass over the advice of Bruyerinus, respect- 
ing the preparing cabbage for the table. " I 
must," says he, " expose an error, which is 
no less common than pernicious, in preparing 
cabbage. Most people, in consequence of 


the ignorance of their cooks, eat it after it 
has been long boiled, a circumstance which 
does not a little diminish both its grateful 
taste and salutary qualities. But I observe, 
that those who have a more polite and ele- 
gant turn, order their cabbage to be slightly 
boiled, put into dishes, and seasoned with 
salt and oil; by which method they assume a 
beautiful green colour, become grateful to 
the taste, and proper for keeping the body 
soluble. This circumstance ought not to be 
forgot by those who are lovers of cabbage." 

The ancients boiled their cabbage with 
nitre, which rendered it at once more grate- 
ful to the palate, and more agreeable to the 

The summer cabbage is said to be more 
acrimonious and hurtful to the stomach, 
than that which is eaten in the winter. 
The use of this vegetable in food has been 
affirmed by some authors, to be good for 
dulness of sight, and tremblings of the 

Simon Pauli tells us, that he knew a young 
girl, who, in the space of fourteen days, had 
an incredible number of warts taken off one 
of her hands, by anointing them with the 
juice of cabbage, which was allowed to dry 
on them. 


From the nature of the organization of 
these plants, and the diversity of powers 
they possess, to receive nourishment in 
the superabundance which high cultivation 
affords them, they undergo more rapid 
changes than most plants ; this is particularly 
observable in the species called cauliflower, 
which often in a few days branches from the 
principal stalk, with such force and numbers, 
as to form a solid head of snowy tender 
buds, which are afterwards forced to a consi- 
derable height before the blossoms open. 

In the Economicfal Journal of France, the 
following method of guarding cabbages from 
the depradation of caterpillars, is stated to 
be infallible; and may, perhaps, be equally 
serviceable against those which infect other 

Sow a belt of hemp-seed round the borders 
of the ground where the cabbages are planted, 
and although the neighbourhood be infected 
with caterpillars, the space inclosed by the 
hemp will be perfectly free, and not one 
of these vermin will approach it. 

We have known brocoli preserved from 
the injury of the severest winters, by being 
taken out of the ground late in the autumn, 
and replanted in a slanting direction. This 
experiment was made in the year 1819, with 


such success, that they all flowered in the fol- 
lowing spring, although there was scarcely a 
single head out in all the extensive planta- 
tions at Fulham, that survived the incle- 
mency of that winter. 



Natural order, Putaminece. A genus of the 
Polyandria Monogynia class. 

This shrub, or bush, the flower-buds of 
which, when pickled, form such an agreeable 
sauce to our boiled mutton, is not a native of 
Europe, being originally brought out of 
Egypt. Theophrastus, who wrote about 300 
years before the birth of Christ, was of an 
opinion, that the caper bush was of so wild 
a nature as not to bear cultivation. Pliny, 
in after-ages, entertained the same idea re- 
specting the citrus tree, and says it will not 
live out of its native country. The Roman 
naturalist as little thought that his native 
valleys would be covered with the fragrant 
orange, as the Lesbian philosopher expected 
the ruins of the temples would be overrun by 
the trailings of the caper bush. This plant 
seems to have sprung from a dry sandy soil ; 
and since its migration into Europe has fixed 

CAPERS. 1 13 

itself in old walls and the fissures of rocks, 
generally taking a horizontal direction. 

Pliny directs the seeds to be sown in san- 
dy ground, and that a bank of stone- work 
should be raised for it to spread on : he says, 
those who eat capers daily, need not fear the 
palsy or the spleen. The Romans used the 
root, when bruised, to take off the marks of 
the leprosy, and to remove glandular swell- 
ings ; the seeds pounded in vinegar were an 
esteemed remedy for the tooth-ache. Pliny 
cautions his countrymen to beware how they 
eat foreign capers, excepting those of Egypt, 
as he says those of Arabia are poisonous, 
that the African capers are hurtful to the 
gums, and those which are grown in Apulia 
cause sickness, and injure the stomach.* 

Dodoens says, the capers that grow in 
Africa, Arabia, Libya, and other hot coun- 
tries, are apt to cause ulcers in the mouth, 
and that they consume and eat away the 
flesh even to the bone ; but, he adds, those of 
Spain and Italy are not so strong, and when 
brought to us preserved in salt and water, 
being washed and eaten with vinegar, are 
both meat and medicine, as they create 

# Book xiii. c. 23, book xix. c. 8, and book xx. c, 15. 

VOL. 1. ] 


appetite, although they give but little nou- 

Capers appear to have been eaten in 
greater abundance in the time of Queen 
Elizabeth than at present. Gerard says, 
" They are eaten boiled, (the salt first 
washed off,) with oile and vinegar, as other 
sallads be, and somtimes are boiled with 
meate." This author adds, " In these our 
daies diuers vse to cherish the caper, and to 
set it in dry and stony places : myselfe, at 
the impression heereof, planted some seedes 
in the brick wals of my garden, which as 
yet (1597) doe spring and growe greene ; 
the successe I expect." 

In the garden of Camden House, at Ken- 
sington, there was a remarkable fine caper 
tree, which had endured the open air of this 
climate for the greater part of a century, 
and, though not within the reach of any ar- 
tificial heat, produced flowers and fruit every 
year. This has been termed a real curiosity, 
and should induce the inhabitants of the 
warmer parts of Devonshire, Sussex, and 
Kent, to cultivate the caper bush, where they 
have chalk-pits, cliffs, or old walls. 

As the caper sauce is more familiar to us 
at our tables, than the plant is in our gar- 

CAPERS. 115 

dens, it may be remarked, that it is not a 
capsule or seed, which is pickled ; but the 
bud of the flower just before it is ready to 
blossom, when the branches are stripped of 
their buds and leaves, and afterwards sepa- 
rated by passing through a sieve, when they 
are dried in the shade, and then pickled 
either in salt or vinegar, and brought to us 
in barrels, principally from Italy and Toulon. 
The small Majorca capers that are brought 
in a salt pickle are esteemed by many per- 
sons. Capers are considered an aperient 
that excites appetite, and assists digestion ; 
and they sometimes enter into compositions 
for diseases of the spleen and liver. 

Benivenius, De Abditis Morborum Causis, 
chap. 105, informs us, that he cured a patient, 
labouring under disorders of the spleen, only 
by the use of capers, ordering him to drink 
forge-water for a year ; after he had been 
harassed with this distemper for seven years, 
consulted many physicians, and tried many 
remedies to no purpose. " Externally," says 
Ettmuller, " the pickle of capers is applied 
to the side, under the left hypochondrium, 
with linen cloths, or a sponge, for discussing 
swellings of the spleen. If to this mustard- 
seed is added, that the vinegar may be im- 



pregnated with its volatile salt, it is an excel- 
lent remedy in disorders of the spleen." 

The austere bitterish taste of capers suf- 
ficiently convinces us of their astringent and 
corroborating virtues ; and if we consider 
the qualities they derive from the vinegar 
and salt, we may easily conceive, that they 
are of a resolvent and inciding nature : for 
this reason, they are recommended as pickles 
with food, in order to strengthen a languid 
appetite ; and are principally beneficial to 
those whose stomachs abound with gross 
pituitous humours, or who have weak sto- 
machs, and want a due appetite. They are 
also good for obstructions of the viscera, espe- 
cially those of the spleen; for the palsy, and 
convulsions arising from a superfluity of 
peccant humours. They are also highly re- 
commended in long and chronical fevers. * 

Laurentius Joubert recommends them in 
the plague, seasoned with salt, gently boiled 
in water, and eaten with vinegar ; " for," says 
he, " they excite an appetite, and open ob- 
structions, if there are any in the body." For 
this reason they ought not only to be allowed 
in pestilential cases, but also recommended 
because they resist putrefaction. 

* Prosp. Alpin. Hist. Nat. 

CAPERS. 117 

According to Simeon Sethi, " Capers are 
possessed of different qualities ; such as bit- 
terness, by which they absterge, cleanse, 
and incide ; acridness, by which they heat, 
dissipate, and attenuate; and acidity, by 
which they inspissate, and prove astringent." 

We have procured four new species of this 
plant from the West Indies ; but, as these na- 
turally require the stove, we can only expect 
from them the gratification of our curiosity, 
in a sight of the living plants of the west- 
ern world. 



Natural order, Litridce. A genus of the 
Pentandria Monogynia class. 

The generic name of this plant is derived 
from a Greek word, signifying to bite, on 
account of the biting heat of its fruit ; some 
take it from capsa, a chest. 

This herbaceous plant was brought to 
Europe by the Spaniards, and we have ac- 
counts of its being cultivated in this country 
as early as the reign of Edward the Sixth, 
although it seldom ripens its pods with us 
unaided by artificial heat ; for plants, like 
men, have 

" constitutions fitted for that spot 

Where Providence, all wise, has fiVd their lot." 

There are many varieties of the capsicum 
in hot countries, where Nature has sported 
so much in the form of the fruit, that it is 
almost endless to trace the shapes and 
figures which the different kinds assume. 
They are principally distinguished by the 


size, colour, or shape of the pods, which 
are hollow, and divided into two or three 
cells, containing kidney-shaped, round, or 
beaked smooth seeds. 

From the rich and varied colour of the 
fruit, this plant is cultivated among our 
ornamental housed exotics ; but it is also 
grown in considerable quantities by the 
market gardeners for the supply of London, 
where it is much used in pickles, seasonings, 
and made-dishes, as both the capsula and 
seeds of the whole tribe are full of a warm 
acrid oil, the heat of which being im- 
parted to the stomach is thought to pro- 
mote digestion, assist the tonic motion of 
the bowels, invigorate the blood, and correct 
the flatulency of vegetable aliments. 

" Capsicum has all the virtues of the Ori- 
ental spices, without producing those com- 
plaints of the head which they often oc- 
casion. In food it prevents flatulency from 
being caused by vegetables ; but its abuse 
occasions visceral obstructions, especially of 
the liver. In dropsical complaints, or others 
where chalybeates are prescribed, a minute 
portion of powdered capsicum is an excel- 
lent addition. In lethargic affections, this 
warm and active stimulant might be of ser- 


vice. In tropical fevers, a coma and deli- 
rium are common attendants, and in such 
cases, cataplasms of capsicum have a speedy 
and happy effect ; they redden the parts, 
but seldom blister unless kept too long. 
In ophthalmia, from relaxation of the mem- 
branes and coats of the eyes, the diluted 
juice of the capsicum is a sovereign remedy ; 
and I have often witnessed its virtues in 
many obstinate cases of this sort. In some 
parts of South America, the Indians prick 
the loins and bellies of hectic patients, with 
thorns dipped in the juice of capsicum. 

Of late, capsicum has been successfully 
used in particular cases of the yellow fever. 
It settles the stomach, abates bilious vomit- 
ings, and even milcena, the morbus niger 
of Hippocrates, or black vomit, has been 
cured by it. The form it is given in is either 
the green pepper, or the genuine powder 
capsicum. Three parts of the green bonnet 
pepper, and two parts crumbs of bread, 
made into a large pill, and given every two 
hours or oftener, till the stomach is settled. 
Or, three grains genuine powder Cayenne 
pepper, made into a firm pill, and completely 
coated with white wafer, to be given as above. 
This medicine has been given to patients in 


the end of the yellow fever, when debility 
and extreme weakness had taken place, and 
with the happiest effect. It warms and sti- 
mulates the stomach, brings on a genial 
warmth and diaphoresis, and assists greatly 
in giving a favourable turn to this disorder."* 

In recent pleuritic stitches, a poultice of 
bruised pepper applied to the place affected, 
frequently changed, removes the complaint ; 
and the berries bruised and mixed with lard, 
are recommended to be rubbed on paralytic 

The following receipt is the famous pepper 
medicine for the cure of malignant influenza 
and sore throats ; which has been found 
highly efficacious, and is recommended as a 
powerful diaphoretic, stimulant, and anti- 

Take two table spoonfuls of small red 
pepper, or three of common Cayenne pepper, 
add two of fine salt, and beat them into a 
paste ; add half a pint of boiling water, 
strain off the liquor when cold, and add to it 
half a pint of very sharp vinegar. Give a 
table spoonful every half hour as a dose for 
an adult, and so in proportion for younger 

* Wright. 


patients. Perhaps this medicine might merit 
a trial in the yellow fever.* 

The general mode of preparing Cayenne 
pepper is by gathering the bird peppers 
when ripe, drying them in the sun, powder- 
ing and mixing them with salt, which, when 
well dried, is put into close corked bottles, 
for the purpose of excluding the air, which 
disposes the salt to liquefy, and therefore is 
thought by some an improper ingredient in 
the composition. This is sometimes called 
Cayenne butter, and is in general esteem for 
the excellent relish it gives to different 

The mixture called Man-dram is made 
from these peppers, in the following manner, 
and seldom fails to provoke the most languid 
appetite : the ingredients are, sliced cucum- 
bers, eschalots or onions cut very small, a 
little lime-juice and Madeira wine, with a few 
pods of bird or bonnet pepper well mashed 
and mixed with the liquor. 

For the purpose of pickling, the bell and 
goat kinds are considered the best : they are 
to be gathered before they arrive at their full 
size, while their skin is tender : they are to 

* Lunan. 


be slit down on one side, and the seeds taken 
out, after which they should be soaked in 
salt and water for twenty -four hours, and the 
water changed at the end of the first twelve 
hours. When they are taken out of this, 
they should be drained, put into bottles or 
jars, and boiled vinegar, after being allowed 
to cool, poured upon them in sufficient 
quantity to cover them. The vessels should 
then be closely stopped for a few weeks, 
They are esteemed the wholesomest pickle 
in the world. The pepper vinegar, with 
barley water and honey, is a good mouth or 
throat gargle. 

The following is a receipt for making what 
is called Cayenne pepper pot : " Take the 
ripe bird peppers, dry them well in the sun, 
then put them into an earthen or stone pot, 
mixing flour between every stratum of pods, 
and put them into an oven after the baking 
of bread, that they may be thoroughly dried : 
after which they must be well cleansed from 
the flour ; and if any stalks remain adhering 
to the pods, they should be taken off, and 
the pods reduced to a fine powder : to every 
ounce of this add a pound of wheat flour, 
and as much leaven as is sufficient for the 
quantity intended. After this has been pro- 


perly mixed and wrought, it should be made 
into small cakes, and baked in the same 
manner as common cakes of the same size : 
then cut them into small parts, and bake 
them again, that they may be as dry and hard 
as biscuit ; which being powdered and sifted, 
is to be kept for use." This is prodigiously 
hot and acrimonious, and by some recom- 
mended as a medicine for flatulencies. If the 
ripe pods of capsicum are thrown into the fire, 
they will raise strong and noisome vapours, 
which occasion vehement sneezing, coughing, 
and often vomiting in those near the place, 
or in the room where they are burned. Some 
persons have mixed the powder of the pods 
with snuff, to give to others for diversion : 
but where the quantity is considerable, there 
may be danger in using it; for it will occa- 
sion such violent fits of sneezing as may 
break the blood-vessels of the head. 

A small quantity of the capsicum powder 
has sometimes given almost immediate relief 
in the tooth-ache, when arising from a carious 
cause : it is to be applied to the part affected 
by introducing it into the cavity of the carious 

Capsicum Peppers. — These are all much 
of the same nature. The large hollow sort, 


called bell pepper, picked while green, is 
an excellent relishing pickle or sauce for 
meat ; the other small red peppers, when ripe, 
taken and dried in the sun, and then ground 
with salt and pepper, close stopped in a bottle, 
are an excellent relisher to sauces for fish or 
flesh, and commonly called Cayenne butter. 
All these sorts of pepper are of a much more 
burning nature than white or black pepper. 
Some punish their slaves by putting the juice 
of these peppers into their eyes, which is 
an unspeakable pain for a little while ; and 
yet it is said that some Indians will put it 
into their eyes before they go to strike fish, 
to make them see clear.* 

Near St. Michael de Sopa, in the vale of 
Aricia, they cultivate the agi, that is, Guinea 
pepper ; where there are several farms which 
have no other product but this pepper. 
The Spaniards of Peru are so generally ad- 
dicted to that sort of spice, that they can 
dress no meat without it, though it is so 
very hot, that it can only be endured by 
those who are well used to it.-f 

* Lunan. t Barham, p. 30. 



Natural order, Umbellatce. A genus of the 
Pentandria Digynia class. 

Modern botanists pronounce this plant to 
be a native of Britain, and from its growing 
so freely in our island we might have claimed 
it as indigenous to our soil, but the origin of 
its name, and the positive manner in which 
Pliny mentions from whence it sprang, refute 
this opinion. 

Pliny says, " The caraway is a stranger, 
and it is named from its native soil, Caria:" 
the same author states, that the second in 
quality came from Phrygia, — both countries 
in Asia Minor.* He says, it will grow in 
most places, and that its seed is in great de- 
mand in the kitchen for culinary purposes. 
Dioscorides, who wrote on medicinal herbs 
in the time of Antony, to whom he was phy- 
sician, states likewise that it is called Carum, 

* Pliny, book xix. chap. 8. 


from the seed having been first brought from 
Caria ; and from the Latin the other Euro- 
pean names seem to have been derived. The 
Italians call it Caro, the Spanish Caravea, 
the French Carvi, the English Caruwaie, now 
corrupted to Caraway. As it was used by 
the Romans as a domestic spice, they, in all 
probability, were the first who sowed it in 
the British soil. Gerard takes no notice of 
its growing wild in England, but says, it 
grows abundantly in Germany and Bohemia, 
in fat and fruitful fields. The people of 
these countries are naturally fond of hot 
spicy food, and therefore make great use of 
this wholesome seed in bread, comfits, con- 
fections, &c. &c. Ray says, this plant grows 
wild in several places of Lincolnshire and 
Yorkshire, but we presume that it is the re- 
mains of former cultivation. 

It is one of the greater hot seeds, and is 
esteemed stomachic, carminative, and diu- 
retic ; it dispels wind, and strengthens diges- 
tion ; is good for the dizziness in the head, 
and weakness of sight. Our distillers use it 
in forming a cordial spirit. When young, it 
is an excellent salad herb. 

The seed-cake formed one of the rural 
entertainments that the old English farmers 


made to reward their servants, at the end of 
wheat-sowing, and which Tusser mentions 
next to the festival of harvest-home : 

'*. Wife, sometime this week, if the weather hold cleer, 
an end of wheat-sowing we make for this yeere : 
Remember thou, therefore, though I do it not, 
the seed-cake, the pastries, and furmenty-pot." 

We regret to find, that refinement has so 
far crept into the farm-houses, as to banish 
this feast, and in many instances, even the 
harvest-supper. We cannot see these old 
customs abolished, which time has almost 
made sacred, without feelings of regret ; and 
we are satisfied, that the master loses none 
of his importance by joining in these annual 
feasts and rustic sports, but, on the contrary, 
attaches his servants to the interests of his 
family, and keeps them from the habit of fre- 
quenting public ale-houses ; therefore, every 
good subject, who is solicitous for the pros- 
perity of the farmer and happiness of the 
husbandman, will be glad to see Thomson's 
festive descriptions realized : 


Nor wanting is the brown October, drawn, 
Mature and perfect, from his dark retreat 
Of thirty years;" ■ 


" Nor wanting; is 

the smoking sirloin stretch'd immense 

From side to side ; in which, with desperate knife, 
They deep incision make, and talk the while 
Of England's glory, ne'er to be defaced." 


The Romans held their rural festivities 
with religious mirth, and which had great ana- 
logy to the customs of old English farmers. 

" But, first of all, Immortal Powers adore, 
With annual rites great Ceres' aid implore, 
With joy her altars on the grass restore. 

•& ^t- ^fc ^- ~y- ~v- «v- 

*7t* "71* TT VK* "W* "«* "7^ 

Then you and all your village neighbours join, 
And offer honey, mix'd with milk and wine, 
To Ceres' name ; in solemn pomp lead thrice 
Around the fields the destined sacrifice. 
With all your rural train in chorus sing, 
And to your homes with vows the goddess bring : 
Nor is it lawful to unload the ground, 
Till you perform those rites with joyful sound, 
And dancing, sing her praise, with oaken garlands crown'd." 

Vihgil, Georgics, book i. 

This elegant poet tells us, at the end of 
the second book of the Georgics, that the 
ancient farmers entered into the holyday 
sports of their domestics. 

" When harmless holydays inspire, 

He and his friends, around a cheerful fire, 

Upon the grass their careless limbs recline, 

To Bacchus quaff, and pour out sprightly wine ; 

VOL. I. K 


Then with a prize provokes his shepherds' art, 

To see who best can throw the winged dart ; 

Or else, with moist'ning oil their joints prepares, 

And for the wrestling prize the brawny shoulders bares. " 

The root of the cultivated caraway is of a 
pleasant sweet taste, and was formerly pre- 
ferred by many persons to parsnips, having 
the faculty of warming and comforting a cold 
weak stomach. We cannot account for the 
cause of its having fallen so entirely into 
neglect, but from the great variety of new 
favourites, with which modern gardens are 



A genus of the Tentandria Digynia class. 
It is a biennial plant, belonging to the nu- 
merous Umbellated family . 

Actvxos, Dioscor. Daucus, Plin. from dcctoa, 
as some think, on account of its hot taste. 

The wild carrot, Daucus Carota, is indi- 
genous to our soil, the seed of which, it is 
said, when sown in manured ground, will pro- 
duce good roots the second or third year ; 
but Miller tells us that he could not suc- 
ceed in obtaining good carrots from the seed 
of the Daucus Carota. 

The best kind of carrots appear to have 
been natives of Candia, where, according to 
Pliny, the finest and most esteemed carrots 
were to be found ; and the next to them 
in Achaia.* This author observes, that in 
whatever country they grow, the best are 
produced in sound dry ground ; that wild 
carrots are to be found in most countries, 
but never in a poor hungry soil. 

# Book xxv. c. 9. 
K 2 


Theophrastus states, in the ninth book of 
his History of Plants, that carrots grow in 
Arcadia, but that the best are found in 

Petronius Diodotus reckoned four kinds of 
this root, but there is reason to think he in- 
cluded the parsnip with them. 

The ancients used the seed both of the 
wild and the cultivated carrot, as an internal 
medicine against the bite of serpents ; they 
also gave it to animals that had been stung 
by them ; a dram weight in wine was 
thought a sufficient dose. 

Gerard calls these plants Daucus Cretensis 
verus, or Candie carrots, and says, " that the 
true Daucus of Dioscorides does not grow 
in Candia only, but is found vpon the 
mountains of Germanie, and vpon the hils 
and rocks of Iura, about Geneua, from 
whence it hath been sent and conueied by 
one friendly herbarist unto another, into 
sundrie regions." This author describes 
the Pastinaca sativa temdfolia, yellow or 
garden carrot, which, he says, " are so wen 
in the field and in gardens, where other 
pot-herbs are : they require a loose and well- 
manured soil." He adds, " that in his time, 
the yellow carrot was most commonly boiled 


to be eaten with fat meat, but that he did 
not esteem it to be a very nourishing food." 

By later authors, carrots are said to have 
been introduced into this country by the 
Flemings, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, 
and that they were first sown about Sand- 
wich in Kent. 

We now cultivate many varieties, so as to 
suit various soils, and to supply the kitchen 
regularly at all seasons of the year. 

The early red horn carrot is the forward - 
est sort in ripening, and best adapted for 
forcing. The white carrot, or carotte 
blanche, of the French, is but little known 
in our markets, and seldom grown, excepting 
by those families who are fond of French 
dishes, as it is much used in their pottage, 
and is certainly a very delicate root, but 
is best adapted for summer and autumnal 
use, as it does not keep so well through 
the winter as the common carrot. 

The French consider the carotte violette, 
purple carrot, to be the sweetest of all the 
kinds ; but it is generally found to run to 
seed the year it is sown. 

The garden carrot delights in a warm 
sandy or light soil, which should be dug- 
deep, that the roots may better run down ; 


for if they meet with any obstruction, they 
grow forked. Carrots should not be sown 
on land that has been much dunged the same 
year, as it causes them to be worm-eaten, 
but when they are sown on fresh ground 
well prepared, a heavy crop may be ex- 

The seeds should be sown on a calm day, 
as, from their light and feathery nature, it is 
impossible to sow them regularly when the 
air is agitated : it is also a good practice to 
mix the seeds with sand, in order that they 
may not adhere together in sowing. 

Mr. Billing, an ingenious farmer in Nor- 
folk, obtained from twenty acres and a half, 
510 loads of carrots, which he found equal 
in use and effect to a thousand load of tur- 
nips, or 300 loads of hay. Some of them 
measured two feet in length and from twelve 
to fourteen inches round. Cows, sheep, hogs, 
and horses, become fond of this food; and as 
they are greatly nourished by them, its cul- 
ture may be worthy the attention of those 
farmers whose lands are suitable to its 

Four pounds of carrot-seed is considered 
enough to sow an acre of land. 


Martyn says, " It is greatly to be wished, 
that the culture of this root was extended to 
every part of England, where the soil is pro- 
per for the purpose ; for there is scarce any 
root yet known which more deserves it, be- 
ing a very hearty good food for most sorts of 
animals. One acre of carrots, if well planted, 
will fatten a greater number of sheep or bul- 
locks, than three acres of turnips, and the 
flesh of these animals will be firmer and 
better tasted. I have known these roots 
cultivated for feeding deer in parks, which 
has proved of excellent use in hard winters, 
when there has been a scarcity of other food ; 
at which times great numbers of deer have 
perished for want, and those which have 
escaped, have been so much reduced, as not 
to recover their flesh the following summer ; 
whereas, those fed with carrots have been 
kept in good condition all the winter, and, 
upon the growth of the grass in the spring, 
have been fat early in the season, which is 
an advantage, where the grass is generally 
backward in its growth. 

" There is also an advantage in the culti- 
vation of this root over that of the turnip, 
because the crop is not so liable to fail ; for 


as the carrots are sown in the spring, the 
plants generally come up well: whereas tur- 
nips are frequently destroyed by the flies at 
their first coming up, and in dry autumns 
they are attacked by caterpillars, which in 
a short time devour whole fields." 

Carrots are generally served to table with 
boiled meats : they make an excellent soup, 
and form an agreeable pudding. In some 
parts of the country they are sent to table 
with fish of every description. 

Dr. James says, carrots are one of the 
most considerable culinary roots ; that they 
strengthen and fatten the body, and are a 
very proper food for consumptive persons. 
They are somewhat flatulent, but are 
thought to render the body soluble, and to 
contribute to the cure of a cough. 

In the Historia Plant arum, ascribed to 
Boerhaave, we read that this root is much 
celebrated for its virtues against the stone, 
and nephritic disorders. 

The seeds of wild carrots are esteemed 
one of the most powerful diuretics we are 
acquainted with, of our own growth. They 
are given in disorders of the breast and 
lungs, in pleurisies, in stranguries, and in 

CARROT. 137 

the stone and gravel. Helmont informs us, 
that he knew a gentleman who was seized 
with a fit of the stone every fifteen days, 
freed from the attacks of his disorder for 
several years, by means of an infusion of car- 
rot-seed in clear malt liquor. An infusion of 
them in white wine is excellent in hysteri- 
cal complaints. 

The roots of the garden carrots are now 
much used as a poultice for running can- 
cers, &c. 

Sugar is found in this root, but in less 
quantities than in the parsnip, or the beet. 
A very good spirit may be distilled from 
carrots. An acre of these roots, allowing 
the produce to be twenty tons, will produce 
240 gallons of spirits, which is considerably 
more than can be obtained from five quarters 
of barley.* 

Parkinson tells us that the gentlewomen 
of former days, decorated their hats or heads 
with the leaves of the wild carrot, which in 
autumn are exceedingly beautiful. This 
would rather shew the simplicity of our an- 
cestors than their want of taste ; as we have 

* Hornby in Young's Annals. 


seen ladies' dresses trimmed with the curled 
leaves of the garden parsley, and which were 
not more admired for their novelty than for 
the elegance they displayed. 

Flowers may be cut out of large carrots 
that closely resemble ranunculuses, without 
the least aid of colouring. 



Natural order, Compositce discoides. A genus 
of the Si/ngenesia Poiygamia superflua class. 

This herb is the Avftepis of Dioscorides, 
and the Av^e/mov of Theophrastus. It was 
called Leucanthemis, and Leucanthemus, from 
the whiteness of the double blossom : others 
named it Eranthemon, because it flourished 
so early in the spring ; and on account of its 
savour resembling an apple, it was called 
Chamxmelon, from which the English name 
is derived. 

Ancient story informs us, that this plant 
took its generic name from Athemis, a virgin 
shepherdess, who kept her flock near Cuma, 
and not far from the cave where one of the 
Sibyls delivered her oracles. Athemis fre- 
quently assisted at these ceremonies, and 
being present when the fate of lovers was 
to be decided, was so frightened by Arphor- 
les bursting abruptly into the cave to know 
his doom, that she died on the spot, and was 


instantly changed into a plant bearing flow- 
ers, which received her name.* 

It is a curious circumstance, that the first 
person who appears to have praised and re- 
commended this herb in medicine, lived to a 
very advanced age without ever knowing a 
day's illness. Asclepiades pledged himself 
to cease to act as a physician if he should 
ever be known to be sick. Mithridates, king 
of Pontus, entertained so high an opinion of 
his skill, that he sent ambassadors to him with 
great offers of reward to tempt him to reside 
at his court, but which proposal was rejected 
by the Bithynian, who gave the preference 
to Rome ; where he became the founder of 
a sect in physic which bore his name.-f* 

The ancient physicians considered the 
flowers and leaves of the chamomile as a 
diuretic which was salutary in cases of stone 
and gravel. They made them into trochischs 
or lozenges, which were for spasmodic dis- 
orders, as well as for the jaundice and com- 
plaints of the liver, and they pounded the 
leaves with the roots and flowers as a remedy 
against the sting of serpents and other rep- 
tiles. The Romans preserved the dried 

# Liger. f Plin. b. vii. c. 37, and b. xxii. c 21. 


flowers, as well as the leaves, both for medi- 
cine and for winter garlands. 

The common single chamomiles are es- 
teemed in medicine as being more effective 
than the double flowers, having a greater 
quantity of the yellow thrum, in which lies 
the strength of the flower, although the lat- 
ter blossoms are generally brought to market 
in preference. The leaves of the plant are 
commended before the blossoms, as a diges- 
tive, laxative, emollient, and diuretic medi- 
cine. The flowers are given in infusion as a 
gentle emetic; they are also used in emol- 
lient decoctions, to assuage pain. 

Dr. R. James says, " Chamomile is a plant 
of many virtues, being stomachic, hepa- 
tic, nervine, emollient, and carminative; it 
strengthens the stomach and bowels, helps 
the cholic, jaundice, and stone, &c. It is 
good against quartan and other agues. Out- 
wardly, it is used in fomentations for inflam- 
mations and tumours ; applied hot to the 
sides, it helps the pains thereof." 

The powder of dried chamomile-flowers 
was used in the time of Dioscorides to cure 
intermitting fevers : Riverius prescribed it 
on the same occasion. Morton, and Dr. Eli- 
sha Coysh, both affirm, that they have cured 


fevers with chamomile flowers reduced to 
fine powder ; and it is still a common febri- 
fuge with the Scotch and Irish. 

It is said that no simple in the Materia 
Medico, is possessed of a quality more friend- 
ly and beneficial to the intestines than cha- 
momile flowers. 

Boerhaave says, " The essential oil of 
chamomile, made into pills with a bit of 
bread, and given two hours before meals, 
after fasting a considerable time, is a certain 
cure for worms." 

Gerard informs us that chamomile flowers 
were formerly used in the bath to rarify the 
skin, open the pores, and produce perspira- 
tion; " and were," says he, " planted in gar- 
dens both for pleasure and profit." The 
double-blossomed variety makes a pretty 
edging for the borders of cottage gardens. 
• The Hortus Kewensis notices twenty va- 
rieties as known to the English gardeners, 
one-fourth of which are native plants ; and 
the kind most esteemed for medical purposes 
is found abundantly on many of our com- 

It is said, that a stone taken out of the hu- 
man body, on being wrapped in chamomile, 
will in a short time dissolve. Hence, says 


Coles, it is evidently an excellent remedy for 
that complaint, if the syrup or decoction of 
the flowers be taken in a morning, fasting. 

This plant is remarkable for beginning to 
flower at the top of the branches, whereas 
others that do not open all at one time, begin 
at the bottom ; and the flowers, which are 
composed of white petals set in a yellow 
disk, yield by distillation a fine sky-blue oil. 



Natural order, Umbettatce. A genus of the 
Pentandria Digynia class. 

The Greeks called this herb Xa^'puAAo*/, 
Cheer ephyllum, either from its numerous 
leaves, or, as most old herbalists suppose, 
from the cheerfulness, or joy and gladness, 
which, they affirm, the leaves of this plant 
produced in those who ate them. The 
Latins followed the same word, with little 
variation, as Columella calls it ChcErophyllum. 
Most of the European languages seem to 
have derived the name of this vegetable 
from the same source ; the Dutch calling it 
Kervell, the Germans Korffol, the Italians 
Cerefoglio, the French du Cerfeuil, and by 
our oldest botanists it is written Cheruill. 

The garden chervil, Scandix cerefolium, is 
said to be a native of the Austrian Nether- 
lands. Aiton ranks it among: the indigenous 
plants of England ; Gerard takes no notice 
of its country, but says, " The common cher- 


uill groweth in gardens with other pot- 
herbs : it prospereth in a ground that is 
dunged and something moist." He adds, 
" The great sweet cheruill groweth in my 
garden, and in the gardens of other men 
who haue been diligent in these matters." 

Parkinson says, " It is sown in gardens to 
serve as a sallet herbe : the other (Cerefolium 
sylvestre) groweth wilde in their vineyards 
and orchards beyond sea, and in many of 
the meadowes of our owne land, and by the 
hedge-sides, as also on heathes." 

The ancients held this herb in the highest 
esteem. Pliny tells us, that the Syrians, 
who were great gardeners, cultivated it as a 
food, that they ate it both boiled and raw, 
and that they considered it capable of eradi- 
cating most chronical distempers. 

This was evidently the species called 
Venus's comb, Scandix pecten, or what was 
formerly called Shepherd's needle, as Pliny 
observes, that it was often called Gingidium, 
viz. tooth-pick chervil. 

The garden chervil is a small annual 
plant, with winged leaves ; when young, 
somewhat resembling parsley, but as it runs 
to seed it bears more the appearance of hem- 
lock. This herb is grateful to the palate, 

VOL. I. 


and is much cultivated by the French and 
Dutch, who are so fond of it, that they have 
hardly a soup or salad but the leaves of 
chervil make part of the composition ; and it 
certainly is often found a more agreeable 
and mild addition to seasonings, than the 
parsley which is so universally used by the 
English cooks. We have found a small 
quantity of this herb an improvement to a 
lettuce salad, as its moderately warm qua- 
lity in some degree qualifies the coolness of 
the latter plant. It is said to be aperient 
and diuretic. 

The herbalists of ancient days are lavish 
in the praise of this vegetable ; both Dio- 
scorides and Galen thought it good for the 
stomach, and serviceable in complaints of 
the liver, &c. 

Chervil should be sown early in the 
spring, and it will be found to scatter its 
seed for the autumnal crop, without further 
trouble than keeping it from weeds. 

The roots of this plant were formerly 
eaten. Gerard says, " I do vse to eate them 
with oile and vinegar, being first boiled, 
which is very good for old people that are 
dull and without courage: it reioiceth and 
comforteth the heart, and increaseth their; 



Natural order, Holoracea. A genus of the 
Enneandria Monogynia class. 

Cinnamomum or Cinnamum, among the 
Latins, is the same with the KiwocfJLov and 
KivctfjLov, or KivvdfJLoofjLov, of the Greeks. This 
last name is derived from KiwafjLov and a/z^oy, 
or from the Hebrew word D*p or j— Dp which 
signifies a cane or reed, and the a^^ov of 
the Greeks. 

This tree, the spicy bark of which was 
so much esteemed by the ancients, on ac- 
count of the sweet odour it afforded in their 
solemn sacrifices, and is now so justly re- 
garded for its astringent quality in medicine, 
is a species of the laurel, Laurus, and a na- 
tive of the East Indies ; the cinnamon being 
principally confined to the Island of Ceylon, 
whence it might justly be styled the Ceylon 

It seems natural to man to covet things 

difficult to obtain, and to estimate their 



value more by their rarity than their qua- 
lity ; this desire appears to form a necessary 
part of our constitution, wisely ordained to 
stimulate industry and promote communi- 

The spices of the torrid zone had found 
their way into the land of Canaan at a very 
early period, at least 1728 years before the 
birth of Christ, as we read in the time of 
Jacob, that they were become an article 
of commerce. The Ishmaelitish merchants 
were going into Egypt with their camels 
laden with spicery, when Joseph was sold by 
his brethren.* 

Moses made the holy anointing oil of pure 
myrrh, sweet cinnamon, cassia, and sweet 
calamus. *j- 

Spice appears to have been highly es- 
teemed by the Hebrews in the time of 
Solomon. The Queen of Sheba, in her visit 
to that monarch, carried a present of spices, 
gold, and precious stones ; " besides that 
he had of the merchantmen, and of the 
traffic of the spice merchants, and of all the 
kings of Arabia, and of the governors of 
the country." % Solomon notices this spice as 

* Gen. c.xxxvii. v. 25. t Exodus, c. xxxvi. v. 23. 
J 1 Kings, c. x. v. 15. 


a luxurious perfume ; "I have perfumed 
my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon."* 

From the great distance the Eastern mer- 
chants had to travel over desert sands, and 
the dangers they had to surmount, together 
with the duties they were obliged to pay 
at certain cities, the price of cinnamon was 
much enhanced ; and the fabulous stories 
told of this aromatic drug appear to have 
been invented for the purpose of exciting 
wonder, and adding to its rarity. The coun- 
try from whence cinnamon came, also, ap- 
pears to have been concealed in great mys- 
tery, as well as the spice itself, even in the 
time of Herodotus, who relates that it fell 
from the nests of the phoenix, and other 
fowls which fed on venison, and built on 
trees situated on the highest rocks, in the 
country where Bacchus was nourished. It is 
farther related, that the cinnamon was ob- 
tained from these nests, by beating them 
down with arrows headed with lead. 

The cassia was said to be brought from 
a country surrounded with marshes, and 
guarded by terrible bats, armed with dread- 
ful talons, and accompanied by flying dragons. 

# Prov. c. vii. 


Pliny tells us, that the cinnamon grew in 
that part of /Ethiopia now called Abyssinia, 
and that the sale of it was confined to the 
King of the Gebanites, by whom it was 
taxed and then sold in open market to the 
merchants at a price fixed by that sovereign. 
" In old times," says Pliny, " it sold for one 
thousand denarii per pound, but it afterwards 
rose to one thousand five hundred denarii, 
owing to the forest of cinnamon being burnt 
down by the wrath of the Troglodites, their 
barbarous neighbours." This proves that the 
cinnamon tree was not anciently confined to 
Asia, much less to the Island of Ceylon. 
The same author informs us that the /Ethio- 
pians bought up all the cinnamon of their 
neighbours, and transported it to other coun- 
tries, in small punts or boats, without either 
helm, rudder, or sail, and only one man to a 
boat. They chose the dead of the winter for 
the voyage, when the south-east winds blew, 
and on which alone their safe arrival must 
have depended, as these winds drove them 
through the Gulfs. They doubled the point 
of Argest, and coasted along to the port of 
Ocila, the principal town of the Gebanites. 
It took them five years to make one voyage 
and to return. This will naturally account 


for the high price of cinnamon in Syria, as 
well as in Europe. Added to this, one third 
of the cinnamon was annually burnt, as an 
offering to the sun, by these idolatrous peo- 
ple, who, before they commenced barking 
the branches of the cinnamon-trees, made 
great offerings of oxen, goats, and rams, to 
their god Assabinus, (the Jupiter of the 
Arabians,) who was considered the patron of 
these trees. It was contrary to their reli- 
gion to commence stripping the cinnamon 
either before sun-rising, or to continue it 
after his setting. When this harvest finished, 
the bark was divided by their priest into 
three lots, one of which remained on the 
spot until it became so dry as to be set in 
flames by the sun, and so consumed. 

The Emperor Vespasian, in all probability, 
first observed the high regard paid to cinna- 
mon by the inhabitants of Palestine, in their 
places of worship, and which he seems to 
have imitated at Rome ; for on his return 
from the former country, he dedicated to the 
Goddess of Peace, in one of the temples of 
the Capitol, garlands and chaplets of cinna- 
mon, inclosed in polished gold. 

In the temple built on Mount Palatine, 
by the Empress Augusta, in honour of Au- 


gustus Caesar, her husband, was placed a 
root of the cinnamon-tree, of great weight, 
set in a cup of gold, which yielded, yearly, 
several drops of sap, that congealed into a 
gum. This I have seen, says Pliny, and it 
remained in the same situation until the 
temple was consumed by fire. 

The Ceylonese draw from the roots of these 
trees, a liquor, which, as it hardens, becomes 
a true camphor. This anecdote, therefore, 
confirms the opinion, that the cinnamon now 
in use is the same as that of the ancients, 
although some authors state, that the cinna- 
mon so highly extolled by the Israelites, is 
now unknown. We agree, that the tree 
which anciently grew in Ethiopia, might 
have been of a more fragrant quality than 
that produced in Ceylon. 

The species of camphor obtained from the 
root of the cinnamon-tree is called Baros by 
the Indians, and is considered by far the best 
for medical purposes ; and in some parts it 
is gathered and kept only for the use of the 
kings, who use it as a cordial medicine, it 
being esteemed of a singular and uncommon 

Nievhoff, who accompanied the embassy 
which the Dutch made to China in the year 


16*55-6, tells us, that there are great quanti- 
ties of cinnamon-trees in the province of 
Quangsi, particularly near the city of Cin- 
chew. He says, these trees differ in no re- 
spect from those of Ceylon, excepting that 
the scent is stronger, and the flavour hotter. 
He adds, that these cinnamon-trees are 
about the size of orange-trees, and have 
many long straight branches, whose leaves 
have some analogy to those of the laurel. 
This tree bears a white well-scented flower, 
followed by a fruit of the size of an acorn, 
but which is not much regarded except by 
the birds. A kind of pigeon that feeds on 
this fruit, is the chief agent in propagating 
these trees in Ceylon; for, in carrying the 
fruit to a distance to its young, it often drops 
it in various places, where it takes root. 

NievhofF says, it is the nature of these 
trees to renew their bark in about three years, 
when they may be peeled a second time; but 
it appears to be the present practice in Cey- 
lon to cut the trees down to the root as 
soon as they are barked, and from the trunk 
new shoots spring up, which in five or six 
years become trees fit for barking. When the 
cinnamon is freshly taken from the tree, it is 
flat, and has little taste, smell, or colour ; but 


it twists or convolves, as it dries, into the 
form of a hollow stick or cane, and by thus 
exhaling its superfluous humidity, it ac- 
quires a sweet brisk smell, and a sharp pun- 
gent taste. Some of the trees produce a 
blossom as red as scarlet; and Seba tells us, 
that he has found them with a blue flower. 

The blossoms of the cinnamon are small, 
and generally white; they grow in large 
bunches at the extremity of the branches ; 
their perfume is something like that of the 
lily of the valley. The leaf is longer and nar- 
rower than that of the common bay-tree; the 
body grows to twenty or thirty feet in height. 

The fruit or berries are said to be an 
excellent carminative. When boiled in water, 
they yield an oil, which, as it cools, hardens, 
and becomes as white and firm as tallow, and 
is called cinnamon wax, of which they made 
candles, that were only allowed to be burnt 
in the king's palace. 

When the Dutch possessed Ceylon, they 
were so jealous of these trees, which afforded 
them such a valuable article of commerce, 
that the fruit and young plants were forbid- 
den, by an order of the States, to be sent 
from thence, lest other powers should avail 


themselves of the advantages derived from 
them. They destroyed all the cinnamon 
trees about the kingdom of Cochin, and 
thus for a long time kept the whole of this 
aromatic spice in their own hands, and ex- 
clusively supplied all Europe, in the same 
manner as the eastern nations were anciently 
served by the Gebanites. 

Cinnamon is now understood to be that 
which comes only from Ceylon; that brought 
from Java, Sumatra, and Malabar, being 
considered cassia. NievhofF says, these trees 
grow in such abundance in Ceylon, that it 
would more than supply all the world, if 
the inhabitants of that island were not some- 
times to burn whole woods. 

We presume, likewise, that cinnamon is 
much less in demand now than in ancient 
times, when it was so much used at the altars 
and the funeral piles, as well as by those 
nations which embalmed their dead. 

Bauhine writes, in the sixteenth century, 
" that the powder called the Pulvis Ducis 
is used by many, which consists of cinnamon 
and sugar; and is of so grateful a taste, 
that, with an addition of wine, it is used as a 
sauce in the entertainments of grandees, 


whose luxury is (says he) grown to such an 
exorbitant height, that they use the most 
delicious medicines as common aliments." 

The best cinnamon is of a bright brown 
colour, of a brisk agreeable taste. Its quali- 
ties are to heat and to dry, to fortify the spi- 
rits, and to help digestion ; but its principal 
use in medicine is as an astringent, with which 
intention it is prescribed in diarrhoeas, and 
weaknesses of the stomach. It is much used 
for adding a grateful and agreeable taste to 
various kinds of aliments, principally by boil- 
ing it among them. Bauhine expressly af- 
firms, that whatever virtues the ancients as- 
cribed to their Cinnamomum and Cassia, justly 
belong to our cinnamon, since it is of an 
aromatic, stimulating, and corroborating qua- 
lity. Hence it is classed among the stoma- 
chics and uterine medicines, and affords sin- 
gular relief to women afflicted with a loss of 
strength, or a lax state of the fibres. In a 
word, whatever can be said of the use or abuse 
of aromatics, may be justly applied to cinna- 
mon ; for, according to Boerhaave, in his 
Chim. vol. i. cinnamon, the most excellent of 
all other aromatics, is possessed of the same 
common virtues with them, though in a 
higher degree. 


Its taste is exquisitely grateful, and its 
smell so highly fragrant, that it diffuses itself 
not only over all the island of Ceylon, but 
also, when the winds blow from the land, over 
a large tract of the ocean ; so that, according 
to Jurgen Anderstn, quoted by Dexbachius, 
" the sailors are sensible of the smell of cin- 
namon at six or eight miles distance from the 

Cinnamon mixed with honey, and used as 
an ointment, is said to remove freckles and 
other cutaneous blemishes of the face. 

An oil is extracted from this bark, called 
the essence of cinnamon, which is an excel- 
lent cardiac. The Chinese, as well as the 
islanders of Ceylon, distil from the green 
bark and flowers of this tree, a liquor similar 
to our cinnamon water, which is applied to 
several useful purposes. 

The cinnamon-tree was first cultivated in 
this country in the year 1768. 



Natural order, Malvacece, or Columniferce. 
A genus of the Monadelphia Polyandria 

We are not able to discover on what ac- 
count the Greeks named this plant Hvhov and 
Too-aiTiov, Xylum and Gossipium. Serapio calls 
it Coto, from whence we seem to have derived 
the English word Cotton. 

There are six distinct species of this plant 
now discovered; the most common and im- 
portant of which is the Xylon herbaceum, or 
herby cotton. The vegetable floss is formed 
in the interior of the blossom of the plant, 
and surrounds and intermixes with the seeds, 
when the petals decay. 

The cotton down, which is of a nature be- 
tween wool, silk, and flax, now forms a 
principal branch of a tree that is happily 
cultivated in this country; and lest it should 
be forgotten, that Commerce is not an indi- 
genous plant of England, we will venture to 

COTTON. 159 

remind the reader, that it is an exotic of the 
most tender nature, that requires the con- 
tinual care and attention of man to ensure 
its growth. 

There has seldom been more than one 
large plant known to exist in an age: this, 
when destroyed, gives rise to its cultivation 
in some distant part of the globe, where its 
blossoms beautify, and its fruit enriches the 
country that nourishes it. Commerce is a 
native of no particular country, and only 
thrives in a soil that is manured by honour, 
equity, and justice. The wisest monarchs 
have nourished it, and the best servants of 
thrones have protected it. The Kings of 
Tyre planted it by the water, and it made 
their city a great nation, and their merchant- 
men, princes. " By thy great wisdom and 
thy traffic, hast thou increased thy riches."* 

Solomon obtained a branch of this plant 
from Tyre, through which he made himself 
the richest monarch of the universe, and his 
little kingdom the admiration of the world. 
Alexander sowed its seed in the city to 
which he gave his own name, and Constan- 
tine transplanted it into Constantinople. Ed- 
ward the First planted it on the banks of the 

# Ezekiel. 


Thames about the year 1296. It was then a 
small plant cultivated only by the Hamburgh 
Company. Elizabeth lived to see it blos- 
som through the nourishment which her en- 
lightened mind procured, not only from the 
original soil of the Levant, but from the east- 
ern and the newly discovered western world, 
as well as from the north. The succeeding 
reigns have enjoyed the fruit, except when 
it has been blighted by intestine troubles, or 
cankered by monopoly ; a disease that stints 
the growth, and nourishes caterpillars. 

But, to leave allegory and ideal plants, we 
travel into the land of Ham, from whence 
the Gossipium plant originated. It is sup- 
posed that anciently it grew only in Upper 
Egypt ; but on this we cannot decide so po- 
sitively as we can affirm that the Egyptians 
were the people who first made cloth from 
cotton wool. 

The Israelites, who must have learnt the 
art while in bondage, in all probability were 
the first who cultivated this plant in the land 
of Canaan. 

From Arabia it would naturally travel 
towards China, through all the countries that 
lie below the 40th degree of north latitude; 
but, as a species of the cotton plant has 

COTTON. 101 

been found in the same latitude in America, 
it confirms the opinion that most plants 
spring spontaneously within a given distance 
of the Poles, and that their varieties originate 
from the nature of the soil, or accidental im- 
pregnation from plants of a similar species. 

The Phoenicians, who were the fathers of 
trade, and the Greeks, who were the sons of 
art, would, from their intercourse with Egypt, 
transplant the Gossypiurn to their own isles. 

Pliny says, in his Natural History*, that in 
the higher parts of Egypt, towards Arabia, 
there grows a shrub or bush that produces 
cotton, which is called by some Gossypiurn, 
and by others Xylon. He says, the plant is 
small, and bears a fruit resembling the bearded 
nut or filbert, out of the inner shell or husk 
of which the downy cotton breaks forth, 
which is easily spun, and is superior, for 
whiteness and softness, to any flax in the 
world. Of this cotton, he adds, the Egyptian 
priests of old times delighted to have their 
sacred robes made. This cloth was called 
Xylina. The same author informs usf, that 
in an island in the Persian gulf, there were 
cotton-trees that produced fruit as large 

# Book xix. c. 1. f Book xii. c. 10 8c 11. 

VOL. I. M 


as quinces, which opened when ripe, and 
were full of down, from which was made fine 
and costly cloth like linen ; and that in an 
island in the same gulf, called Tylos, there 
was another kind of cotton tree, called Gossam- 
pines, that was very productive. Theophras- 
tus also mentions these trees # , which we 
presume to be the Arbor turn, or tree cotton, 
and which seem also the same that Virgil 
notices : 

" Or Ethiopian forests, bearing wool, 

Or leaves from whence the Seres fleeces pull." 

This species is a perennial plant or shrub, 
and was cultivated as a curiosity in this 
country as long back as 1694. 

Nievhoff, who was in China in the year 
1655, says, cotton grows in great abundance 
in that country, and was then one of the 
principal articles of its trade. The seeds 
had been introduced into that empire about 
500 years previously. Siam produces the 
most beautiful cotton ; hose and other arti- 
cles, manufactured from this down, exceeding 
even silk for lustre and beauty. The seed 
of this silky cotton has been sown in the 
Antilles, where the plants flourish, and yield 
this delicate floss in abundance. 

* Book iv. c. 9. 

COTTON. 1()3 

The Turks have long had possession of 
that part of the Eastern world from whence 
the common cotton springs. They cultivate 
this annual plant in the neighbourhood of 
Damascus and Jerusalem, as also in the Isle 
of Cyprus. It is likewise cultivated in Can- 
dia, Lemnos, Malta, Sicily, and Naples. This 
variety of the cotton plant is sown in the 
spring, on land that has been ploughed 
and prepared for the purpose; and is cut 
down when ripe, in the same manner as 
our harvest. The seed of the cotton is 
about the size of that of tares, and of rather 
a clammy nature, which causes it to adhere 
to the downy substance with which it is 
mixed, and from which it is separated by 
the little machines, which discharge the seed 
on one side, and the cotton on the other. 
Smyrna alone has furnished us with 10,000 
bales of cotton wool per annum. This coun- 
try formerly took great quantities of cotton- 
yarn from the Turks ; but our manufactories 
are now so complete, that even the spinning 
is done by machinery, which enables us to 
get it turned into thread, both more regu- 
larly and cheaper than the indolence of 
the Turks can furnish it ; but we still import 
some cotton-yarn from the Mahometans, 

M 2 


which, being drawn from the distaff, has great 
advantage over the yarn which is spun by 
machinery for making candle-wicks, par- 
ticularly those of sperm and wax, as the 
fine threads being drawn straighter, are not 
so liable to spring out in burning, which 
causes the candles made of other cotton to 
gutter and burn irregularly. 

It appears that we had made some pro- 
gress in the manufactory of cotton in Queen 
Elizabeth's reign, as Gerard observes in his 
History of Plants, " To speake of the com- 
modities of the wool of this plant, it were 
superfluous ; common experience, and the 
daily vse and benefit we receive by it, doth 
shew ; so that it were impertinent to our 
history, to speake of the making of fustian, 
bombasies, and many other things that are 
made of the wooll thereof." 

This author appears to have been the first 
who attempted to cultivate the Gossipium 
plant in England, for he says that, " it grow- 
eth about Tripolis and Alepo in Syria, from 
whence the factor of a worshipful merchant 
in London, Master Nicholas Lete, did send j 
vnto his said master diuers pounds weight ' 
of the seede, whereof some were committed ! 

COTTON. 165 

to the earth at the impression hereof: the 
success we leave to the Lord. Notwith- 
standing, my selfe, three yeares past, did 
sowe of the seedes, which did grow very 
frankly, but perished before it came to per- 
fection, by reason of the colde frostes that 
overtooke it in the time of flo wring." 

The cotton manufactory alone has raised 
Manchester from an humble town to a place 
of the first importance. It has for near 
two centuries been increasing in size and 
in trade; and the perfection to which ovir 
machinery and the industry of the people 
have arrived, within these last fifty years, 
has multiplied the inhabitants, and increased 
the trade from the supply of its neighbour- 
hood with a few domestic articles, to fur- 
nishing the most distant countries, as well as 
the most sumptuous courts, with its useful 
and elegant productions. 

Calico, or cotton cloth, is now generally 
become a substitute for linen cloth through- 
out the kingdom, not only for the finer parts 
of female dress, but even for domestic pur- 
poses, where strength and durability are re- 
quired. Calico is so called from Callicut, 
a city on the coast of Malabar, being the 


first place at which the Portuguese landed 
when they discovered the Indian trade. The 
Spaniards still call it C allien. 

The demand for printed calicoes becoming 
common, induced some persons to attempt 
the art in London, about the year 1676; and 
in 1722, an act was passed to promote the 
consumption of our own manufactures, which 
prohibited the use of foreign calicoes, that 
were either dyed or printed, to be used as 
apparel or furniture, under a penalty of five 
pounds to the informer for every offence ; 
and drapers selling such calico, forfeited 
twenty pounds.* The effect of this act was 
this : it drove the calico printers to imitate 
the India chintzes, by printing Irish and 
Scotch linens ; which was continued until 
the making of cloth from cotton was estab- 
lished in England. 

The manufacture of calicoes and muslins 
of every description, with that of velvets, fus- 
tians, counterpanes, &c. is now carried on to 
such an extent, and brought to such perfec- 
tion, that it is supposed that the neighbour- 
hood of Manchester could supply the whole 


7 Geo. I. Stat. i. cap. 7. 

COTTON. 167 

world with these goods ; which, instead of 
being imported from the East, are at present 
shipped for the Indies in great quantities. By 
the aid of our machinery we also produce 
from cotton, lace of so even a fabric, and at 
prices so infinitely below what it can be made 
for in linen thread, that it has in a great 
measure superseded the use of real lace. 

Manchester, being the centre and heart of 
the cotton-trade, has either given birth to, or 
attracted genius from all quarters of the nation, 
to assist in the necessary operations for form- 
ing fabrics as numerous as their embellishing 
colours are various, in which the arts of the 
engineer, the mechanic, and the artist, as well 
as the spinner, the weaver, the bleacher, the 
dyer, the stainer, and the chemist, are all 
called into action. 

This vegetable wool, that employs so great 
a portion of our population, is imported in a 
raw useless state, and is advantageously ex- 
ported, after being stamped with British art 
and industry. 

The following account of a pound weight 
of unmanufactured cotton strikingly evinces 
the importance of the trade and employ af- 
forded by this vegetable : " The cotton-wool 


eame from the East Indies to London ; from 
London it went to Manchester, where it was 
manufactured into yarn ; from Manchester it 
was sent to Paisley, where it was woven ; it 
was then sent to Ayrshire, where it was tam- 
boured ; it came back to Paisley, and was 
there veined; afterwards it was sent to Dum- 
barton, where it was hand-sewed, and again 
brought to Paisley ; whence it was sent to 
Renfrew to be bleached, and was returned to 
Paisley ; whence it went to Glasgow and was 
finished; and from Glasgow was sent per 
coach to London. The time occupied in 
bringing this article to market was three 
years, from its being packed in India till it ar- 
rived in cloth at the merchant's warehouse in 
London : it must have been conveyed 5000 
miles by sea, and about 920 by land; and con- 
tributed to support not less than 150 people, 
by which the value had been increased 2000 
per cent."* 

So wide and so beneficially is the influence 
of the cotton-trade spread, that, to the know- 
ledge of the author of this work, one indivi- 
dual in the metropolis pays annually from 
ten to twelve thousand pounds for the article 

* Monthly Magazine. 

COTTON. 169 

of silver-gilt wire, which he prepares lor the 
manufacturers of Paisley, to be woven in the 
corner of each demy of muslin, in imitation 
of the Indian custom. 

The cotton-wool is not only used for ge- 
nuine articles, but is employed to adulterate, 
or as a substitute for silk; and even many of 
our linen cloths have a considerable portion 
of cotton in their composition. 

Cotton cloth, like that of linen, when de- 
cayed, is transformed into paper for printing. 

The seed of the cotton-plant intoxicates 
parrots. Old medical authors mention the 
seeds as being a good remedy against coughs, 
and of a singularly stimulating quality. 

Leewenhoek accounts for cotton producing 
inflammation, when applied to wounds in lieu 
of linen, by a discovery which he made in 
examining the cotton with a microscope. 
The fibres were found to have two flat sides, 
whence he concludes that each of its minute 
parts must have two acute angles or edges ; 
which acute edges being not only thinner 
and more subtle than the globules, whereof 
the fleshy filaments consist, but also more 
firm and stiff than any of the globulous flesh, 
it follows that, upon the application of cot- 
ton to a wound, its edges must not only 


hurt and wound the globules of the flesh, but 
also cut incessantly the new matter brought 
to them to produce new flesh ; and that with 
more ease, as this matter, not having attained 
the firmness and consistence of flesh, is the 
less able to resist its attacks ; whereas the 
linen ordinarily used in wounds, being com- 
posed of little round parts, very close to each 
other, forms large masses, and is thus inca- 
pable of hurting the globular parts of the 



Natural order, Umbellatce. Bulbocastanum. A 
genus of the Pentandria Digynia class. 

There are two species of this plant indi- 
genous to our soil, although they are now as 
little known to the English, as the Arachis 
of South America. 

The general inclosures, and the high state 
of the cultivation of our country, have made 
many of our wild plants as rare as exotics. 

They have changed their English name 
almost with every British herbist, and have 
been nearly as often latinized ; but we do not 
find that any attempt has been made in this 
country to change their nature by cultivation. 

In addition to the names above, they are 
called Kipper nuts, Earth Chesnuts, and Pig 

" I with my long nails will dig thee pig-nuts. v * 

Turner mentions them in his " Compleat 

* Caliban, in the Tempest. 


Herbal' as growing in Richmond heath, and 
in Coome parke. They are soon after noticed 
by Gerard, who says, "These herbes do growe 
in pastures and corne fleldes almost euery 
where : there is a field adjoining to Highgate, 
on the right side of the middle of the village, 
couered ouer with the same ; and likewise in 
the next flelde vnto the conduit heads by 
Maribone, neer the way that leadeth to 
Paddington by London, and in diuers other 
places." He adds, " these roots be eaten 
rawe, or rosted in the embers." 

Dodoens, who was physician to Charles 
the Fifth, of celebrated memory, mentions in 
his Herbal, that there is great store of these 
earth-nuts in some places in England ; he 
says also, that they grow in Holland and in 
Zealand, particularly by the river Zoom near 
Barrow, in Brabant. This author informs us 
that they were cultivated at Brabant, in the 
gardens of the herbalist ; and that they were 
boiled in many parts of Holland and Zealand, 
and eaten with meat as turnips or parsnips : 
they are, says this physician, as nutritious as 
the latter roots, but harder of digestion than 
the turnip. Both this author and Gerard 
mention earth-nuts as an excellent diuretic, 
and good for the bladder and kidneys. The 


seeds of the plant are more powerful as a 
medicine than the roots. 

They are to be found in considerable 
quantities at Henfleld in Sussex, growing in 
a poor sandy soil, which produced broom 
spontaneously ; particularly in July and Au- 
gust when they are in blossom : the flowers 
are like those of parsley or fennel, but smaller, 
and seldom exceeding a foot in height ; the 
leaves are something between those two 
plants ; being less thready than the fennel, 
and not so connected as the parsley. The 
root is about the size of a Barcelona nut, and 
in appearance like the Jerusalem artichoke ; 
the taste very similar to the chesnut, but 
more oily. 

The American ground-nut, or Pindars, 
Arachis, is of the order of Papilionacece, and 
of the Diadelphia Decandria class. 

The manner in which this nut is propa- 
gated is very singular : as the flowers fall off, 
the young pods are forced into the ground 
by a natural motion of the stalk, where they 
are entirely buried, and the pods are not to 
be discovered without digging for them. 
They are, says Lunan, very agreeable nuts, 
and deserve to be more generally cultivated 


than they are ; when roasted, ground, and 
boiled, they make a good substitute for cho- 
colate. This author says, in his Hortus 
Jamaicensis, that he first saw them growing 
in a negro's plantation, who affirmed, that 
they grew in great plenty in his country ; 
these nuts have been cultivated in Jamaica, 
where they prosper, and are called Gub-a-gubs 
by the slaves. 

They are of the size, colour, and shape 
of a filbert, are covered over in the ground 
with a thin cistus or skin, which contains two 
or three of them, and many of the cistuses, 
with their nuts or kernels, are to be found 
growing to the roots of one plant. When 
they are ripe and fit to dig up, the cistus 
that contains them is dry, like a withered 
leaf, which is taken off, and leaves a kernel 
reddish without side, and very white within, 
tasting like an almond, and accounted by 
some as good as a pistachio ; they are very 
nourishing, and accounted provocatives. It 
is said, that if eaten in quantities, these nuts 
cause the head-ache. Lunan contradicts this 
assertion, and says he never knew any such ef- 
fect produced, even in those who chiefly lived 
upon them ; for masters of ships often feed 
negroes with them all their voyage ; and that 


he had often eaten of them plentifully, and 
with pleasure, and never found that effect. 
They may be eaten raw, roasted, or boiled. 
The oil drawn from them by expression is as 
good as oil of almonds ; and the nut beaten 
and applied as a poultice, takes away the 
sting of scorpions, wasps, or bees. 

These plants were first brought from 
Africa to the West India islands. In south- 
ern climates vast crops of these nuts are 
said to be produced from light, sandy, and 
indifferent soils. 

Dr. Brownrigg, of North Carolina, trans- 
mitted some account of the value of these 
nuts to the Royal Society. From a quantity 
of them, first bruised, and put into canvass 
bags, he expressed a pure, clear, well-tasted 
oil, useful for the same purposes as the oil of 
olive or almonds. 

From specimens, both of the seeds and oil, 
produced before the Society, it appeared, 
that neither of them were subject to turn 
rancid by keeping. The oil, in particular, 
which had been sent from Carolina eight 
months before, without any extraordinary 
care, and had undergone the heat of the 
summer, remained perfectly sweet and good. 

A bushel of them yielded (in Carolina), 


without heat, one gallon of oil ; and with 
heat, a much larger quantity, but of inferior 
quality. It has been justly supposed, that? 
from a successful prosecution of this manu- 
facture, the Colonies may not only be able 
to supply their own consumption, in lieu of 
the olive oil annually imported from Europe, 
but even make it a considerable article of 



Natural order, Luridce. A genus of the 
Pentandria Monogynia class. 

This plant is a species of Solatium, or 
night-shade, of which there are at least 
sixty-six species. It is a native of the East 
Indies, and has acquired its present English 
name from the shape and appearance of its 
fruit, which is attached to the stem, and set 
in a cornered cup similar to the berry of 
the potatoe ; those that are white, perfectly 
resemble an egg, from the size of that of a 
pigeon to a swan's. Some of the varieties 
bear fruit of a purple or violet colour, others 
variegated. These vegetable eggs have one 
cell filled with compressed roundish seeds. 

They were formerly called Mala insana, 
viz. mad or raging apples, from the resem- 
blance they were supposed to bear to the 
male mandrake of Theophrastus, which is 
stated to have caused madness; whereas, in 
reality, they cause no ill, nor excite any syr.ip- 

VOL. I. N 


toms of madness, but are used by the Italians, 
Spaniards, and French, in their sauces and 
sweetmeats. In these countries, as well as 
in Barbary, they are planted in the kitchen- 
garden, and are often boiled with fat flesh, 
to which they add scraped cheese ; and they 
are preserved through the winter, either in 
honey, vinegar, or salt pickle. When the 
fruit is just ripe, they eat it dressed with 
spices, &c. It is thought to be the Bdingel 
of the Portuguese, the Tongu of Angola, and 
the Macumba of Congo. This plant has 
been supposed to induce a sopor and mad- 
ness, whence it takes its name.* 

There are several varieties of them culti- 
vated in the gardens of the West Indies, and 
one kind, called Badinjan or Banjham, often 
produces fruit in that climate weighing 
from seven to ten pounds each. Lunan says, 
in his Hortus Jamaicensis, " I planted, about 
twenty years ago, half an acre of ground with 
them, on which my slaves fed, and were well 
pleased with the food ; they eat something 
like a squash, but better than any of the 
pumpkin kind." He adds, " they are boiled 
or fried ; but the best way is to parboil them, 
taking off their outer skin, which is somewhat 

# Hist. Plant, adscript. Boerhaave. 


bitter, and then fry them in oil or butter; 
they are also sliced and pickled for a few 
hours, and then boiled green, or served in the 
same manner as mashed turnips ; either way," 
says Lunan, " they are an agreeable food, and 
accounted to be aphrodisiac, and to cure 
sterility : when boiled with wine and pepper, 
they taste like artichokes." A lady who has 
many years resided in Jamaica, favoured the 
author with the following receipt for dress- 
ing vegetable eggs : — The inside, after being 
scooped out, to be fried either in oil or but- 
ter, and the outside to be boiled whole, and 
when drained, to be filled with the fried 
parts, and sent to table apparently whole, 
as a dish of eggs. She informed him, that 
when dressed in the common way, they 
should be cut into slices, and soaked in salt 
and water for a few hours, to extract the 
bitter taste. 

The French make great use of the purple 
variety of this egg-shaped fruit, which they 
call Aubergine, and which is as common as 
the love-apple in the vegetable markets of 
Paris. Their favourite method of dressing 
them, is by taking out the seeds with a scoop, 
filling the cavity with sweet herbs, and then 
frying them whole. 


In England, the egg plant is principally 
cultivated for its singular and curious appear- 
ance, few families even knowing that they 
are proper for aliment, excepting those who 
have resided on the Continent, or who have 
studied the natural history of plants. They 
are rarely brought into the London markets, 
and then so eagerly secured by foreign cooks, 
that they are seldom seen exposed for sale. 

The manner of propagating them, in this 
country, is to sow the seeds in March, upon 
a moderately hot bed ; and when the plants 
are come up, they are to be thinned by 
planting them in another hot-bed, at four 
inches asunder, watering, and shading them 
till they have taken root. They must after- 
wards have as much air as the season will 
allow, and in May they should be trans- 
planted into a warm border, at about two 
feet from each other. About the middle of 
July the fruit will appear, when they require 
watering to enlarge the eggs, which ripen 
about the end of August.* 

It is not exactly known at what period 
this plant was first cultivated in England, 
but certainly it was previous to 1596, as 

* Miller. 

EGG PLANT. 1 8 1 

Gerard says, in the first edition of his Herbal, 
" This plant groweth in Egypt almost euery- 
where, in sandie fieldes, euen of itselfe, 
bringing foorth fruite of the bigness of a 
great cucumber. We haue had the same in 
our London gardens, where it hath borne 
flowers, but the winter approaching before 
the time of ripening, it perished ; notwith- 
standing it came to beare fruite of the bigness 
of a goose egge, one extraordinarie tempe- 
rate yeere, as I did see in the garden of a 
worshipfull merchant, Master Haruie, in 
Lime-street, but neuer to full ripeness." 
" It is better," continues this author, " to 
haue this plante in the garden, for your 
pleasure, and the rarenesse thereof, than for 
any virtue or good qualities yet known. I 
rather wish Englishmen to content them- 
selues with the meate and sauce of our own 
countrey, than with fruite and sauce eaten 
with such perill : for, doubtless, these apples 
have a mischeeuous quality ; the use thereof 
is vtterly to be forsaken." 

With this caution, we cannot be surprised 
that the Melongena should have been in our 
gardens for two hundred and twenty years 
without reaching our tables. 



Natural order, Umbellatce. A genus of the 
Pentandria Digynia class. Linnaus has 
joined this genus to Anethum or DHL 

" Sylvanus comes with rustic honours crown'd, 
Fennel and lilies do his brows surround." 


Foeniculum, Metpa&fpv, seems to be derived 
from f allium, hay ; because, when withered 
and dried like hay, it was formerly preserved 
in like manner against winter. Others think 
it was so called because when sown it returns 
the seed magno cum fanore, with vast in- 
terest. Marathrum, Ma'paS^or, is by some 
derived from ^.aja/Vo^a/, to wither, because, 
when dry and withered, it was much used in 
seasoning a great variety of things. 

The French writers on herbs state, that this 
plant was originally brought from Syria ; but 
the English botanists consider it a native of 
this country. 

FENNEL. 183 

It seems fond of the sea side, and is found 
growing in a natural state at Feversham in 
Kent. It may also be seen growing wild in 
great abundance on the banks of the river 
Adur, near the Sussex Pad, between Brigh- 
ton and Worthing : this wild fennel is pre- 
cisely the same as that of the garden. The 
sweet fennel, Faniculum dulce, probably is the 
kind alluded to by the naturalists of France 
as coming from Syria and the Azores : this 
variety soon degenerates in our soil into the 
common fennel, which justifies the supposi- 
tion, that the common fennel may not be an 
aboriginal of England, but that it is more 
probably changed from the seed anciently 
sown in this country. 

The Italians consider the sweet kind of 
fennel to be a native of the Azores islands. 
It has long been cultivated in Italy as a salad 
herb, under the title of Finochia; but the 
English in general have not yet acquired a 
relish for it ; although it eats very tender 
and crisp, when earthed up as celery, which 
should be done at least fourteen days before 
it is used. 

We procure the seed from Italy, which 
should be done annually. The first crop 


may be sown in March, in a light rich earth, 
the second in April, and continued until 
July, with the same management as celery. 

The common fennel is now but little used 
for culinary purposes, except as a sauce for 
mackarel. The French epicures keep their 
fish in the leaves of fennel, to make them 
firm. It is also used in France in water- 
suche, and all fish soups. 

The whole of the plant is good in soup or 
broth. It was formerly the practice to boil 
fennel with all fish, and it never would have 
been discontinued, had its virtues been more 
generally known; for it consumes the phleg- 
matic humour, in which most fish abound, 
and which greatly annoys many persons who 
are fond of boiled fish. Our fishmongers 
should at all times have a plentiful supply of 
this hardy and wholesome herb, every part 
of which agrees with the stomach. 

It is one of the five opening roots : it is 
recommended in broth to cleanse the blood, 
and remove obstructions of the liver, and to 
clear and improve the complexion after the 
jaundice, and other sickness. 

The seed is one of the greater carmina- 
tive seeds; and, boiled in barley- water, is good 

FENNEL. 185 

for nurses, as it is said to increase milk and 
make it more wholesome for the child— a virtue 
attributed also to the leaves. The seeds are 
also recommended for those who are troubled 
with shortness of breath, and wheezzing, oc- 
casioned by stoppage of the lungs. Its 
leaves in decoction strengthen the sight ; its 
juice, taken fasting, is said to cure intermit- 
tent fevers. It is a sudorific and carmina- 
tive, facilitates digestion when chewed ; and 
is a specific in malignant putrid fevers. 

There is a simple water made from the 
leaves, and an essential oil from the seed and 
leaves. Neumann says, " The oil obtained 
from the leaves on the upper part of the 
plant is much finer, lighter, and more subtle, 
than the oil obtained from the lower leaves. 
The former oil swims on water, and the latter 
sinks. There is also a strong water, or kind 
of brandy, made of the seeds of fennel, called 
fennel water. 

Snakes and serpents delight in fennel, and 
seem to eat it medicinally before they cast off 
their old skins. Pliny says, the ancient phy- 
sicians observed that the serpents, having 
wounded the fennel stalk, cleared their eyes 
with the juice, and whereby they learnt that 


this herb hath the singular property of cleans- 
ing our sight, and taking away the film or 
web from our eyes : he adds, that the only 
time to obtain the juice is when the stalk is 
nearly full grown : it was administered with 

Induced by these observations, the author 
planted fennel on a bank in his shrubbery, 
where he had frequently seen snakes ; but for 
want of that time and caution, which it re- 
quires to watch these reptiles, he has never 
seen them bite this herb, but has often found 
the stalks not only wounded, but eaten near- 
ly half through, either by these, or some 
other animals. 

The Romans drank the seeds of fennel in 
wine, as a remedy for the sting of scorpions 
or serpents. They considered this vegetable 
as a sovereign remedy for the liver. The 
root boiled in wine was esteemed for the drop- 
sy, as were the seeds for the stone and gravel. 

Petridtus, in his work entitled Ophiaca, 
Mycton, in his treatise named Rhizotomu- 
mena, and Nicander, maintain, that there is 
not a better counterpoison against the venom 
of serpents than wild fennel. 

In putrid fevers, attended with a malig- 

FENNEL. 187 

nity, we shall hardly find a plant more aperi- 
tive and discussive, by means of sweat, than 
fennel ; whence nothing can be more proper 
in the small-pox and measles, than a decoc- 
tion of the herb, or its seeds or roots*. Ray 
says, fennel is excellent for preventing abor- 

Joannes Crats, physician to the Emperor 
of Germany, says, he saw a monk, who was 
cured by his tutor, in nine days, of a cata- 
ract, by only applying the roots of fennel, 
boiled in wine, with the decoction, to the 

It is also said, that the steam of the de- 
coction of fennel is an excellent cleanser 
for the eyes, and that it strengthens the 

Boerhaave says, that this root agrees in 
taste, smell, and medicinal quality, with the 
celebrated ginseng of the Chinese; from 
which, however, it appears to differ very 

Pliny states, that fennel was cultivated as 
a garden herb by the Romans, and that it 
was so much used in the kitchen, that there 
were few meats seasoned, or vinegar sauces 

* Sim. PauW. 


served-up, without it. That the bakers 
used it to give a pleasant taste to their 
bread, by placing it under their loaves, when 
they were put into the oven. A good house- 
wife, says this excellent author, will go into 
her herb garden, instead of a spice-shop, for 
her seasonings, and thus preserve the health 
of her family, by saving her purse. 



Natural order, Grecinales. A genus of the 
Pentandria Pentagynia class. 

The Greeks called this vegetable Alvov, 
and the Latins had no other name for it than 
Linum, both in its growing state and when 
prepared for the spinner ; hence the Italians 
and Spaniards have derived the word Lino ; 
and the French, Lin. The ancient Britons 
called it Lyne from the same source. The 
word Flax is derived from the Saxon Fleax\ or 
Flex; but we still term it Linseed and Linen 
cloth, although when speaking of the plant 
we call it Flax. 

We know twenty-two species of linum, 
four of which are said to be indigenous to 
our soil. 

The flax is scarcely superior in appearance 
to the common grass ; yet on no other vege- 
table has the ingenuity of man been so ex- 
tensively employed, or exerted with such 


Without the aid of flax, this island might 
have remained unknown and unpeopled. Its 
assistance enabled the European sailor to 
discover a new world, and people to whom 
we must have remained strangers but for the 
fibres of this herb, and from whose territories 
we have since enriched our isle with the 
most useful roots, the most luxurious fruits, 
and ornamental plants. It was with flax that 
we first made wings to our vessels, with 
which we travelled with the swiftness of the 
eagle, and extended our commerce to the 
most distant parts of the globe. 

Daedalus is said to have been the inventor 
of sails for ships, by which he fled from Crete, 
to escape from the revenge of the incensed 
Minos, who had condemned him to be con- 
fined in the labyrinth which he had con- 
structed. Daedalus arrived safe in Sicily, 
where he was hospitably received by Cocalus, 
king of that island. From this circumstance 
the ancient allegory states, that he made 
himself wings. This was at least 1350 years 
before Christ ; and we find that sails were 
certainly used before Homers time, who says 

the winds aloud 

one wmus aiuuu 

Howl o'er the niasts, and sing through every shroud.' 


At that period the use of hemp was not dis- 

Flax is a slender plant, that seldom exceeds 
two feet and a half in height. From its 
fibrous bark we procure the comfort of linen, 
and the beauty of lace ; its very rags are 
manufactured into the most exquisite of all 
our luxuries, viz. the paper that enables 
distant friends to hold converse, and commu- 
nicates the wisdom of the learned of every 
age and language. 

How the fibrous qualities of this plant 
were first discovered, it is beyond the powers 
of research to ascertain ; probably the ear- 
liest use of this pliable plant was to twist 
into bands for the purpose of attaching pro- 
ductive vines to unfruitful trees. Thus 
Milton describes the employment of our first 
parents : 

" or they led the vine 

To wed her elm ; she 'spoused, about him twines 

Her marriageable arms, and with her brings 

Her dower, adopted clusters, to adorn 

His barren leaves." 

Book 5. 

As man multiplied, the necessity of en- 
snaring wild animals and securing domes- 
tic ones, would naturally call his attention 
to the formation of a cord ; and when once a 


band was formed of the whole plant, it would 
easily be discovered that the fibres were the 
part that afforded the strength. 

When New Holland was first discovered, 
it was observed that the natives, who sub- 
sisted principally on fish, had invented a 
kind of net made of the fibres of flax, by in- 
serting the loops into each other without a 
knot ; yet these people had not the least idea 
of forming a covering, even to protect them- 
selves from the inclemency of the weather, 
and were so barbarously ignorant as not to 
have the least knowledge of the art of culti- 
vating plants or fruits of any description. 

The making and use of linen cloth ap- 
pears to have been invented previously to 
the Deluge, as we read that Noah slept in 
a tent.* 

Egypt, which appears to be the country 
that Ham, the second son of Noah, resorted 
to, from its being called in Scripture, the 
Land of Ham, soon became the garden of 
the East, and the seat of arts. 

" Israel also came into Egypt, and Jacob 
sojourned in the Land of Ham."-f* 

Ham is supposed to have led a pastoral 
life, but his son Misraim, who is mentioned 

# Gen. c. ix. v. 21 f Psalm cv. v. 23. 

FLAX, OR LINE. 1}).) 

in profane history by the appellation of 
Men£s, assumed the style of king, and built 
the town of Memphis. His wife Lsis, whom 
some suppose to be the same as Io, is said to 
have taught the art of agriculture, and em- 
ployed herself diligently in cultivating the 
earth, for which she was deified, and the 
worship of lsis became universal in Egypt. 
The priests of this goddess were clothed 
in linen garments. 

About 300 years after the flood, Abram 
and his family went into Egypt to avoid the 
famine ; and on their return the following 
year, the book of Genesis notices, that Lot, 
the nephew of Abram, had flocks and herds, 
and tents. 

Pharaoh arrayed Joseph in vestures of fine 
linen ; and when Moses called down the 
plague of hail upon Egypt, it destroyed the 

" And the flax and the barley was smitten ; 
for the barley was in the ear, and the flax 
was boiled."* 

That the art of weaving had attained a 
wonderful perfection in Egypt in those days, 
we learn both from profane and sacred 

* Exodus, c. ix. 31 . 
vol. i. o 


The Israelites appear to have carried the 
art with them when they were delivered 
from bondage ; for they were commanded 
in the wilderness to make offerings for the 
tabernacle, of " blue, and purple, and scarlet, 
and fine linen, and goats' hair." 

" Thou shalt make the tabernacle with 
ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, 
and purple, and scarlet ; with cherubims of 
cunning work shalt thou make them."* 

In the 28th chapter of the same book, we 
have a description of the holy garments for 
Aaron, which were of fine linen. " And thou 
shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and 
thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and 
thou shalt make the girdle of needle-work." 

" And all the women that were wise- 
hearted did spin with their hands, and 
brought that which they had spun, both of 
blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of 
fine linen. And all the women, whose 
heart stirred them up in wisdom, spun goats' 

Egypt continued to be celebrated as the 
country of flax and linen in the days of 
Solomon, whose merchants traded thither 

* Exod. chap. xxvi. 1. f Exod. chap. xxxv. 25, 26. 


nearly a thousand years after the time that 
Abram visited that land. 

" And Solomon had horses brought out 
of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king's mer- 
chants received linen yarn at a price." * 

" I have decked my bed with coverings of 
tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen 
of Egypt."*f* 

The prophet Isaiah notices this manufac- 
ture of the Egyptians, about 250 years 
later than Solomon. This prophet menaces 
Egypt with a drought of so terrible a kind, 
that it should interrupt every kind of labour. 

" Moreover, they that work in fine flax, 
they that weave net-works, shall be con- 
founded, j" 

Ezekiel the prophet, in his description of 
the riches and the merchandize of Tyre, 
speaks of the productions of Egypt, about 
150 years after Isaiah. 

" Fine linen with broidered work from 
Egypt, was that which thou spreadedst 
forth to be thy sail.§" 

From the Egyptian linen, the principal 
garments of the priests of the heathens, 
as well as those of the Israelites, were formed. 

* 1 Kings, chap. x. 28. f Proverbs, chap. vii. 16. 

X Isaiah, chap. xix. 9. § Ezekiel, chap, xxvii. 7. 

o 2 


The Eastern kings and princes were also 
habited in linen, therefore flax formed a con- 
siderable branch of the trade of Egypt ; and 
their method of making fine linen, was 
carried to such a wonderful perfection, that 
the threads which were drawn out of them 
were almost imperceptible to the keenest 
eye. Pliny states, that some of the thread 
made from flax was finer and more even, 
if possible, than the web of a spider, and 
yet so strong, that it would give a sound 
nearly as loud as a lute-string. This author 
states in the first chapter of his nineteenth 
book, that he had seen an Egyptian net 
made of so fine a thread, that, notwithstand- 
ing every cord in the mesh was made of 
150 threads twisted, yet it could be drawn 
through the ring of a finger. "I have known," 
says this writer, " one man who could carry 
about as many of these nets, as would encom- 
pass a whole forest." He adds, that Julius 
Lupus, who was governor of Egypt, pos- 
sessed one of these nets ; but that the most J 
extraordinary net-work was that which was ; 
shewn in the temple of Minerva, in the Isle 
of Rhodes ; every thread of which was twisted '' 
365 times double, agreeably to the number 
of days in the year. This singularly curious ; 


piece of workmanship had formerly belonged 
to Amasis, who from a common soldier be- 
came King of Egypt, about 526 years before 
the Christian aera. 

The author has now in his possession a 
piece of linen cloth, which was woven in 
Egypt as long back as the Trojan war. It 
will naturally be surmised, that it is a part 
of the envelope of a mummy. In comparing 
this cloth to that of our linen of the same 
fineness, and examining them through a 
microscope, it is observed, that the warp of 
the ancient linen is not so close as that of 
the present make, but that the woof is 
pressed much closer : it would consequently 
be more durable, wear softer, and be less 
susceptible of soil, than modern linen 

The Athenians, who were an Egyptian 
colony from Sais, followed the custom of 
their ancestors, by applying themselves to 
raising flax for linen cloth : they therefore 
worshiped Minerva, who was also styled 
Ergatis, or the workwoman, for her excel- 
lency in spinning and weaving ; and who 
is supposed to be no other than the Egyp- 
tian Isis ; for the Egyptians, to remind the 
people of the importance of their linen 


manufactory, exposed in their festivals an 
image, bearing in its right hand the beam 
or instrument round which the weavers rolled 
the warp of their cloth. This image was 
called Minerva, from Manevra, a weaver's 
loom. The name of Athene, that is also 
given to this goddess, is the very word de- 
noting in Egypt the flaxen thread used in 
their looms. Near this figure, which was 
intended to warn the inhabitants of the ap- 
proach of the weaving or winter season, they 
placed another of an insect, whose industry 
is supposed to have given rise to this art, 
and to which they gave the name of Arachne, 
(from arach, to make linen cloth) to denote 
its application. All these emblems, trans- 
planted to Greece, were by the genius of a 
people fond of the marvellous, converted 
into real objects, and indeed afforded ample 
room for the imagination of their poets to 
invent the fable of the transformation of 
Arachne into a spider. Ovid, who has set this 
story in a beautiful light, says, Arachne was 

" One at the loom so exquisitely skill'd, 
That to the goddess she refused to yield. 
Low was her birth, and small her native town, 
She from her art alone obtained renown. 

t£ $F ^p ^ 9r ^ ^ 

FLAX, OR LINE. l. ( )J) 

" Oft to admire the niceness of her skill, 

The nymphs would quit their fountain, shade, or hill." 

After Minerva had accepted the challenge 
of Arachne, the poet thus elegantly describes 
their work : 

" Straight to their posts appointed both repair, 
And fix their threaded looms with equal care : 
Around the solid beam the web is tied, 
While hollow canes the parting warp divide ; 
Through which with nimble flight the shuttles play, 
And for the woof prepare a ready way ; 
The woof and warp unite, press'd by the toothy slay. 

Thus both, their mantles button'd to their breast, 
Their skilful fingers ply with willing haste, 
And work'd with pleasure : while they cheer the eye 
With glowing purple of the Tyrian dye : 
Or, justly intermixing shades with light, 
Their colouring insensibly unite. 
As when a shower transpierced with sunny rays 
Its mighty arch along the heaven displays ; 
From whence a thousand different colours rise, 
Whose fine transition cheats the clearest eyes : 
So like the intermingled shading seems, 
And only differs in the last extremes. 
Then threads of gold both artfully dispose, 
And, as each part in just proportion rose, 
Some antique fable in their work disclose." 

The Greeks made a linen of so fine a 
fabric, from the flax which they cultivated 
near Elis, (now Belvedere,) that it sold by 
weight, at the price of gold. This is the 


flax which Pliny calls Byssus, and from which 
a kind of lawn or tiffany was made. The 
same author says, a flax is now found out 
which will not consume in the fire ; this he 
calls living flax, and says, he saw at a great 
feast, all the table-cloths, napkins, and 
towels, thrown into the fire, which received 
a cleanness and lustre from the flames, which 
no water could have given it. This kind of 
cloth was used at the royal obsequies and 
funerals, to wrap round the corpse as a 
shroud or sheet, in order to preserve the 
ashes of the body from mixing with those of 
the wood of the funeral pile. Pliny adds, 
that this flax grew in the deserts of India, 
where the country is parched and burnt with 
the sun : he says, it is difficult to be found, 
and as hard to be woven, being in short fibres. 
In its natural state, the colour was reddish, 
but by burning it became bright : it was 
esteemed as precious as oriental pearls. It 
does not appear by this account, that the 
Romans were acquainted with its being a 
mineral substance. 

The art of making this fossil linen is nearly 
lost, although John Baptist Porta, the inven- 
tor of the camera-obscura, assures us, that in 
his time (from 1445 to 1515) the spinning of 


asbestos was a thing known to every body 
at Venice ; and it is said to be still in use by 
the Princes of Tartary, in burning their dead. 

A handkerchief made of this substance, 
which Dr. Plot judges to be of a nature be- 
tween stone and earth, was long since pre- 
sented to the Royal Society of London. 
This has given several proofs of its resisting 
fire ; and when taken out red hot, it did 
not burn a piece of white paper, on which it 
was laid. 

The asbestos is found in the island of An- 
glesey in Wales, and in Aberdeenshire in 
Scotland, in some parts of France, in Tar- 
tary, Siberia, and several other places ; and 
were there a demand for this incombustible 
cloth, or a price given equal to the trouble of 
manufacturing it, we should soon recover the 
art, and have it on sale in the shops of our 

But to return to flaxen linen : by looking 
back into history we shall find, that it was 
used for other purposes than garments at a 
very early period ; for the stupendous tem- 
ples of the heathens, and the courts of their 
palaces in ancient times, were open buildings 
surrounded with massive columns, and orna- 
mented with gigantic statues of their gods, 


and colossal figures of their inferior deities. 
In these immense courts not only the inha- 
bitants of a whole city, but often an entire 
kingdom assembled, to celebrate a festival, 
or to obey the mandate of their sovereign. 
As the art of weaving became more known, 
these gorgeous edifices were occasionally 
hung with rich curtains of linen cloth, to 
shade and protect the guest from the sun or 
weather. The first chapter of the book of 
Esther describes the feast which King Aha- 
suerus gave in the third year of his reign 
to all the princes and servants of the 127 
provinces over which he reigned, from Ethi- 
opia to India. This feast lasted 180 days, 
at the expiration of which he feasted all 
the people that were in Shusham, "both 
great and small," for seven days, " in the 
court of the garden of the king's palace," 
where were white, green, and blue hangings, 
fastened with cords of fine linen and purple, 
to silver rings and pillars of marble. 

The Romans appear to have derived this 
idea from the Egyptians, as Lentulus Spin- 
ther was the first who caused the great am- 
phitheatre at Rome to be covered with fine 
curtains. This was about the period when 
Antony was in Egypt ; and Pliny observes, 


that the sails of the ship in which Antony 
and Cleopatra came to Actium, were dyed 

Julius Caesar caused the Forum at Rome 
to be covered with fine curtains ; as also 
the whole of the principal street called 
Sacra, from his own dwelling to the cliff 1 of 
the Capitol. This sumptuous sight, says 
Pliny, was beheld with great wonder and 

Marcellus, during his iEdileship, upon the 
calends (or first) of August, caused the Ro- 
man Forum to be hung and canopied with 
curtains, that those who came to plead at 
the bar might stand under shade. " What a 
change," says Pliny, " since the days of Cato 
the Censor, who advised that the said Forum 
should be paved over with caltrops, to keep 
away the lawyers and busy pleaders." 

Nero caused the amphitheatre to be co- 
vered with curtains of a sky-blue, spangled 
with stars. 

We now see the rustics of our own country 
enjoying their pipe and their ale beneath the 
linen canopy in a rural fair, as proud of their 
liberty as the Eastern monarchs were of their 
temples, or the Romans of their dictatorship. 


" 'Tis liberty that crowns Britannia's isle, 
And makes her barren rocks and her bleak mountains 
smile," Addison. 

Spain was celebrated for her manufactory 
of linen as early as the birth of Christ. The 
Spaniards were the inventors of fine Cyprus 
or clear lawn, which was made from the flax 
of Arragon and Catalonia. France then pro- 
duced a flax from which sails were made : 
Holland and Flanders produced linen cloth 
at the same period. The Germans of those 
days carried on the spinning and weaving of 
linen in vaults and caves under ground, which 
was also the practice of the people of Lom- 
bardy in the time of Pliny.* 

The fine muslins of the East Indies were 
also made by persons kept under ground, 
who were never allowed to see the light. 
Children were entombed from their infancy 
in these dark abodes, in order to gratify the 
vanity of the wealthy with a finer thread 
than could be drawn by the eye that was 
blessed with the sight of day. Our East 
India Company has suppressed this subterra- 
neous weaving. The art is now happily lost, 
and no Christian can wish its revival. 

Linen was not worn by the Hebrews, 

* Book xix. c. 1. 


Greeks, or Romans, as any part of their or- 
dinary dress : their under-tunics were made 
of fine wool or hair ; and hence arose the 
occasion for frequent bathing. It has been 
observed that the introduction of linen shirts 
has been found to lessen the prevalence of 

The Emperor Alexander Severus, who was 
murdered in the year 235 a. d. was the first 
person who wore a linen shirt : but the gene- 
ral use of so necessary a garment did not 
become common till long after him. 

The making of linen cloth in England was 
probably introduced by the Romans, who 
certainly cultivated flax in this country. 

Before Britain had become so great a com- 
mercial nation, each town or village had its 
weaver, and every good housewife was ex- 
pected to furnish her family with linen 
of her own spinning. The farmers' daughters 
were early instructed in this art, and their 
female domestics filled up all their vacant 
hours at the distaff or wheel. Tusser, in his 
advice to the farmer, for. May, says, 

" Good flax and good hemp, for to haue of liir owne, 
In May a good huswife wil see it be sown : 
And afterward trim it, to serue at a need, 
The fimble to spin, and the carle for his seed." 


In the same author's directions for July, he 


" Now pluck up thy flax, for thy maidens to spin, 
First see it dried, and timely got in." 

Flax has for many ages employed and en- 
riched the French nation. Their city of 
Cambray first manufactured that beautiful 
linen called from thence Cambric, for pur- 
chase of which, England for many years con- 
tributed not less than 200,000/. per annum. 

In the reign of George the Second several 
salutary laws were enacted to prevent this 
great loss of our wealth; and an Act passed 
in the 4th of George the Third, c. 26, to regu- 
late the cambric manufactory, not long be- 
fore introduced into Winchelsea in Sussex, 
but which soon failed, and was abolished. 
Laws have been made to prevent the selling 
and wearing of French cambrics and lawns 
in England, but which have only established 
their fame as being superior to our own. 

The fine fibres of this plant have also af- 
forded the French, as well as the Flemings, 
a valuable article for commerce in their lace 
of Brussels, Valenciennes, Lisle, Mechlin, 
Normandy, &c. Our legislators have laid 
heavy fines and duties to prevent the impor- 
tation of this article of luxury, but with 


little success, for while it is admitted at 
court, it will naturally be seen in private 
society. Flax is not known in China. 

From the seeds of this vegetable is drawn 
linseed oil, so useful to our house painters 
and other artists. 

"Whether their hand strike out some free design, 
Where life awakes, and dawns at every line, 
Or blend in beauteous tints the colour'd mass, 
And from the canvass call the mimic face." Pope. 

The seeds are esteemed an excellent 
emollient and anodyne: they are used exter- 
nally in cataplasms, to assuage the pain of in- 
flamed humours : internally, a slight infusion 
of linseed, by way of tea, is recommended in 
coughs as an excellent pectoral, and of great 
service in pleurisies, nephritic complaints, 
and suppressions of urine. Cold-drawn lin- 
seed oil is of great service in all diseases of 
the breast and lungs, as pleurisies, peripneu- 
monies, coughs, asthmas, and consumptions. 
It likewise helps in the colic and stone.* 

In pleuritic pains, says Raygerusf, I have 
often experienced linseed oil to be the most 
successful medicine I could prescribe ; for it 
immediately facilitated respiration, and pro- 
moted spitting. In haemoptoe, also, I ex- 

* James. t Germ. An. 6 & 7. 


hibited the same oil with the desired suc- 
cess ; for, by its balsamatic and emplastic 
virtue, it consolidates the affected parts. 

The oil, boiled with honey, clears the face 
and skin of spots, and all cutaneous ble- 

Linseed oil consists of parts so subtile, 
that it cannot be kept in earthen vessels, 
without transudation. 

The lint made from linen rags has ever 
been in great use in surgical cases, from its 
softness, smoothness, and flexibility ; where- 
as that made from cotton can never be used 
about wounds, on account of its denticulated 
parts, which dispose to inflammation.-f 

Formerly the seed of the flax was occasion- 
ally used with corn to make bread, but it 
was considered hard of digestion, and hurt- 
ful to the stomach. In a scarcity of corn 
which happened in Zeland in the sixteenth 
century, the inhabitants of Middleburgh 
had recourse to linseed, which they made 
into cakes, and which caused the death of 
many of the citizens who ate of it ; causing 
dreadful swellings of the body and face. 

* Hist. Plant, ascript. Boerhaave. 

t Seethe cause of this under the article Cotton, p. 169. 


Pliny informs us, that the peasants in Lom- 
bardy and Piedmont had formerly used as 
food, a sweet kind of bread or cakes made 
from this seed, but which in his time was 
only used in their sacrifices to the gods. 

The quantity of linseed annually im- 
ported into these kingdoms, was, in the year 
1780, estimated to be not less than 240,000 

There is an act of parliament now in force, 
which forbids the steeping of flax in rivers 
or any waters where cattle are accustomed 
to drink, as it is found to communicate a 
poison destructive to the cattle which drink 
of it, and to the fish in such waters. 

VOL. I. 



Natural order, Scitamitiece, and of the Mon- 
andria Monogynia class. 

Zingiber, by the Greeks called X"SyiQeo, 
took its name from the Indian word Zengebil. 

This acrid spicy-rooted plant is a native 
of the East Indies. It grows naturally on the 
coast of Malabar, in Bengal, and at Ceylon; 
the Indians call it ZingibeL 

It appears also to be indigenous to China, 
where it grows wild, and is cultivated to a 
great extent, particularly in the environs of 
Gingi, from whence, in all probability, it 
derived its name of Ginger. 

This plant was introduced into New Spain 
by a person named Francisco de Mendoza ; 
from whence, most probably, it was carried to 
the West India Islands, where it now grows 
(particularly in Jamaica) so plentifully, even 
in a wild state, as to induce a belief that it 
was indigenous to the soil. Since its intro- 

GINGER. 211 

duction to Jamaica, says Lunan, it has be- 
come an article of considerable export ; for 
which purpose it has been generally culti- 

It is calculated that the quantity of this 
root consumed in Europe, is about one mil- 
lion of pounds annually. 

Ginger was known in England in Queen 
Elizabeth's reign, as Gerard says; " Our 
men which sacked Domingo in the Indies, 
digged vp ginger there in sundry places 
wilde." This author adds, ■? Ginger groweth 
in Spaine, in the Canarie Hands, and the 
Azores. Ginger," he continues, " is most 
impatient of these our northern regions, as 
myselfe haue found by proofe; for that there 
haue been brought vnto me at seuerall times, 
sundry plants thereof, fresh, greene, and 
full of iuice, as well from the West Indies, 
as from Barbarie and other places, which 
haue sprouted and budded foorth greene 
leaues in my garden in the heate of somer ; 
but as soone as it hath bin but touched with 
the first sharp blast of winter, it hath pre- 
sently perished both blade and roote." 

It appears to have been known in London 
about the year 1566 or 7, and was evidently 
introduced by the Dutch ; as Gerard states, 



that about 30 years or more before he pub- 
lished his account (1597), " an honest and 
expert apothecarie William Dries, to satisfie 
my desire, sent me from Antwerpe to Lon- 
don, the picture of ginger, bicause I was 
not ignorant, that there had been oft ginger 
rootes brought, green, new, and full of iuice, 
from the Indies to Antwerpe: and further, 
that the same had budded and growne in the 
said Dries' garden." 

The following manner of preparing it in 
Jamaica is extracted from Longs History: 

" It is propagated by the smaller pieces, 
prongs, or protuberances of the root* each of 
which throws up two different stems : the 
first bears the leaves, and rises to the height 
sometimes of three feet or upwards ; but its 
usual growth seldom exceeds eighteen inches. 
It thrives best in a rich cool soil ; and there- 
fore what has been recently cleared from 
wood, is well adapted to the culture of it, 
more especially as it is supposed to be a 
great impoverisher of land. In such a soil 
it grows so luxuriantly, that a hand, or a 
large-spreading root, will weigh near a 
pound. It is however remarked, that what 
is produced from a clayey tenacious soil, 
shrinks less in scalding; while such as is raised 

GINGER. 213 

in richer black moulds, loses considerably in 
that operation. The land intended for the 
cultivation of it, is first well cleansed with the 
hoe, then slightly trenched, and planted 
about the month of March or April. It ob- 
tains its full height, and flowers about August 
or September, and fades about the close of 
the year. When the stalk is entirely wi- 
thered, the roots are in the proper state for 
digging. This is generally performed in 
the month of January and February. After 
being dug, they are picked, cleansed, and 
gradually seethed or scalded in boiling water ; 
they are then spread out, and exposed every 
day to the sun till sufficiently dried ; and 
after being divided into parcels of about one 
hundred each, they are packed up in bags 
for the market : this is called the black gin- 
ger. The manner of scalding the roots is as 
follows : a large pot or copper is fixed in the 
field, or some convenient place, which is kept 
full of boiling water ; the picked ginger, being 
divided into small parcels, is laid in baskets, 
and plunged alternately in the water, where 
it is suffered to stay for the space of ten or 
fifteen minutes ; it is then spread on a plat- 
form for drying; but care is taken, during the 
process, to change the water as soon as it 


becomes much impregnated with the juice of 
the root. 

" The white sort differs but little from the 
black roots. The difference arises wholly 
from the methods of curing them. The white 
is never scalded ; but instead of this easy 
process, they are picked, scraped, and wash- 
ed, one at a time, and then dried ; all which 
requires too much pains and time for any 
real advantage to be gained in the properties ; 
though, being made more agreeable to the 
eye, the price of the white is much higher at 

" When roots are intended for sugar-pre- 
serve, they are dug while tender and full of 
juice ; the stems at this time rarely exceed 
five or six inches in height ; the root is care- 
fully picked, washed, and afterwards scalded 
till it is sufficiently tender ; it is then put 
in cold water, and peeled and scraped gra- 
dually. This operation may last three or 
four days, during which it is commonly kept 
in water, and the water frequently shifted, as 
well for cleanliness as to extract more of the 
native acrimony. After this preparation it is 
laid in unglazed jars, and covered with a thin 
syrup, which in two or three days is shifted, 
and a richer put in : this is sorftetimes again 

GINGER. 215 

removed for a third, or fourth; but more than 
three are seldom requisite. The shifted sy- 
rups are not lost ; for, in Jamaica, they are di- 
luted with water, and fermented into a plea- 
sant liquor, called cool drink, with some mix- 
ture of the chaw-stick, lignum vitce, and sugar. 

" This root, however, either in its natural 
state or candied, is esteemed a good remedy 
against the cholic, loosenesses of the belly, and 
windy disorders. It strengthens the stomach, 
Kelps digestion, and is often added as a cor- 
rector to purges ; its use in culinary prepara- 
tions is well known." * 

The roots of ginger appear to be much less 
liable to heat the constitution than might be 
expected from its penetrating warmth and 
pungency of taste. It gives out the whole of 
its virtue to rectified spirit, and great part of 
it to water. The spiritous tincture, inspis- 
sated, yields a fiery extract, smelling mode- 
rately of the ginger. A syrup made from an 
infusion of three or four ounces of the root, 
in three pints of boiling water, is kept in the 
shops. The cases in which ginger is more 
immediately serviceable, are flatulent cholics, 
debility and laxity of the system, and in tor- 

# Long, p. 700. 



pid and phlegmatic constitutions, to excite a 
brisker action of the vessels. 

A limpid red transparent oil, swimming 
on water, is by simple distillation, got out of 
these roots, agreeing in smell and taste with 
ginger, only more mild. Dr. Wright says, 
that ginger is good in baths and fomenta- 
tions ; in complaints of the viscera, pleurisies, 
and obstinate continued fevers. Infused in 
rum or wine, with filings of steel, it is also 
said to be useful in obstructions. 

Ginger tea has been recommended in 
gouty cases. The mode of making it is by 
pounding the dried roots in a mortar. Begin 
with a heaped tea-spoonful, taken in boiled 
milk, either for supper or breakfast ; the 
quantity may be increased to two, or even 
three drachms. These directions were given 
by Dr. Wright, to whom Sir Joseph Banks 
gave the following account of its effects 
upon himself, in 1784 : "I have taken two 
tea-spoonfuls heaped up of ginger powdered, 
in a pint of milk, boiled with bread and 
sweetened with sugar, for breakfast, for more 
than a year past. The weight of the ginger 
is between two and three drachms. At first, 
this quantity is difficult to swallow, if the 
ginger is good. I was guided in the quantity 

GINGER. 217 

by the effect it had on my stomach ; if it 
made me hiccup, the dose was too large. I 
found occasionally, that it produced ardor 
urince ; but this went off without any ill con- 
sequences whatever. I have not yet found 
it necessary to increase the dose ; but I use 
rather a coarser powder than I did at first 
which mixes more easily with the milk, and 
probably produces rather more effect than 
the fine." 

" The late Lord Rivers took ginger in 
large doses, for more than thirty years, and 
at eighty was an upright and healthy old man. 

" I have, since I used the ginger, had one 
fit of the gout ; but it was confined entirely 
to my extremities, and never assailed either 
my head, my loins, or my stomach, and lasted 
only seventeen or eighteen days ; but the 
last fit I had before I took the ginger, 
affected my head, my stomach, and my loins, 
and lasted, with intervals, from the end of 
October to January."* 

The roots preserved or candied are an ex- 
cellent stomachic, and comforting ; boiled in 
wine, with a little cummin seed, ginger eases 
the pain of the stomach, and causes sweat ; 

* Sinclair's Code of Health, vol. i. page 233. 


outwardly applied, mixed with cocoa-nut oil, 
draws out poisons in wounds ; and rubbed 
upon the stomach, comforts it, and eases 
pains arising from a cold cause.* 

The Indians, as well as the Chinese, eat 
the root when green by way of salad, chop- 
ping it small, and mixing it with herbs. Well 
made ginger-bread is both agreeable and 
wholesome, and many excellent receipts may 
be found for making it, in the Domestic 
Cookery, and other receipt-books, as well as 
for making ginger-beer and ginger-wine — 
drinks which have lately been very properly 
introduced for the warm season of the year. 

Green ginger, preserved with sugar, is 
proper for old persons, and those of cold 
and phlegmatic constitutions, especially when 
it is new ; it is also good for viscid phlegm in 
the lungs.-f* 

Ginger is good for the stomach, thorax, 
and the other viscera; restores lost appetite, 
and resists the putrefaction and malignity of 
the humours, j 

Ginger absterges and dissipates infrac- 
tions of the stomach and lungs, by consum- 
ing the superfluous humours, and comforts 

# Barham, p. 63. f James. % Dale; 

GINGER. 219 

and strengthens the brain and memory : it is 
also of service in dulness of sight, proceed- 
ing from humidity. 

" This root," says Dr. 11. James, " as well as 
pepper, is more used in culinary than medi- 
cinal preparations ; because, among all spices, 
these two have very much of an acrimonious, 
and but little of an aromatic quality." Galen 
infers, that ginger is not of so fine parts as 
pepper, because its heat, though equally 
strong, is not so soon felt, but lasts longer ; 
hence, he concludes ginger to be of a grosser 
and more humid or aqueous substance. 



Natural order, Scabridce. A genus of the 
Diozcia Peniandria class. 

The Latin name of this plant is the same 
as the Greek KavvacCis, from KclvclGqi, because 
it prospers best near watery places. 

That this fibrous plant is indigenous to 
most of the European countries, as well as 
to Asia Minor, we have the authority of an- 
cient authors, in opposition to the statements 
of some of our modern botanists, that it is a 
native plant of India only. Some of our 
Encyclopaedias state, that the ancients used 
hemp only medicinally. Pliny is cited as 
their authority. In his 19th book, chap- 
ter 9- however, he informs us that hemp is 
equally good for making cordage ; that the 
best for the purpose of making nets, and 
snares for wild beasts, was grown in Alabanda; 
and that the second in quality grew near 
Mylasium, both towns of Caria. 

HEMP. c 2'2 1 

As a Phoenician colony settled there, it is 
probable that these people, so celebrated for 
their achievements in navigation, were the 
first who discovered the use of hemp in form- 
ing cables and tackle for their ships. They 
were in ancient times what the Britons are at 
present. Isaiah calls their country " the 
merchant city, the mart of nations, whose 
merchants are princes, whose traffickers are 
the honourables of the earth." 

Pliny states, that the hemp which grew in 
some parts of Italy, and near Rosea in the 
Sabines' country, grew as high as shrubs ; 
that it originally grew there in the very 
woods, without even sowing. It appears by 
the account of this author, that the Romans 
gathered the seed before the stalks, as lie 
says the seed should be sown in February, 
and that the thicker it is sown, the finer the 
hemp grows. When the seed ripened in the 
autumn, it was rubbed out and dried in the 
sun, the wind, or in smoke, and the stalks 
were not plucked out of the earth, until after 
the vintage. " It is then," continues he, 
" the work of the husbandman to peel and 
cleanse it, which these people do in the 
evening by candle-light." It appears to have 
been diligently sorted ; as this great observer 


of natural productions says, the worst part 
of hemp is next to the bark or rind ; the 
principal part, and that of the best quality, 
was called Mesa. 

Although we do not produce lawn or lace 
from the fibres of hemp, yet it is a plant of 
great importance to Britons, as it forms the 
sails and tackle of our vessels, from the huge 
cable of a ship of war, to the more humble, 
but not less profitable net of the herring- 

The sails and cordage of a first-rate man- 
of-war, require 180,000 pounds of rough 
hemp for their construction ; and it is said to 
average five acres of land to produce a ton 
of hemp : thus one of those monstrous towers 
of human ingenuity, that 

'* Stems the vast main, and bears tremendous war 
To distant nations, or with sovereign sway 
Awes the divided world to peace and love/' 

consumes a year's produce of 424 acres of 
land to furnish its necessary tackle. 

From this calculation it will be seen that 
Great Britain could not furnish itself with 
a sufficient quantity of hemp of her own 
growth to supply the immense demands of 
our shipping. 

HEMP. 223 

In the year 1763, we imported 11,000 tons 
from Russia ; and Sir John Sinclair informs 
us, that in the year 1785, the quantity ex- 
ported from St. Petersburg, in British ships, 
amounted to 17,695 tons, which would be 
the produce of 88,475 acres of land. In the 
year 1788, we imported from Russia 58,464 
tons, the produce of nearly 300,000 acres, 
which at 20/. per ton, would net the Rus- 
sians 1,269,280/. In the year 1783, France 
consumed 200,000 tons of hemp, of which 
more than one third was imported. 

An act strongly demonstrating the folly 
of laying prohibitions on articles of com- 
merce, (which often strengthens those whom 
it intends to disable,) was committed by the 
Russians, in the year 1718, when they en- 
tered into a combination with the Swedes 
to deprive England of naval stores ; and 
would suffer none to be exported out of 
their own dominions, but in their own ships, 
and at their own exorbitant prices ; which 
instead of ruining our trade and navigation, 
turned our attention to our colonies, and 
induced us to procure from North America 
not only a sufficient supply for the use of 
Great Britain, but a large surplus for ex- 


Our government, fully aware of the im- 
portant uses of hemp, has made several 
salutary laws, to render its culture an object 
of attention. In the year 1787, a bounty of 
three pence per stone, was allowed on all 
hemp raised in England, and duties have 
been laid on all that is imported. 

China is celebrated for its abundance of 
hemp, particularly in the province of Xensi ; 
but flax is not known to grow in that empire. 
The excellence of the Chinese hemp was 
noticed by Nievhoff, who attended the em- 
bassy which the Dutch East India Company, 
sent to Pekin in 1655 and 6. From this em- 
bassy more information is obtained on the 
policy and natural history of China, than 
from any accounts since published of our 
own embassies : whether this is owing to the 
limited observation of our naturalists, or 
to the jealous restrictions of the Chinese, 
we cannot decide. 

The late Mr. Elliot sent some seeds of 
the Chinese hemp to Mr. Fitzgerald, vice- 
president of the Society for Encouragement 
of Arts : which being sown, produced plants 
fourteen feet high, and nearly seven inches 
in circumference. This induced Mr. Fitz- 
gerald to apply to the Directors of the India 

HEMP. 225 

Company, to obtain some of the seeds 
from China, which were procured in 1785; 
but few of the plants ripened their seed 
in this country. Dr. Hinton made a more 
successful trial of raising the Chinese hemp 
in 1787, which produced one-third more 
of marketable hemp than the best English 
hemp was ever known to yield on the same 
quantity of ground. Few of the hemp-seeds 
will vegetate if two years old; to this cir- 
cumstance may be attributed the failure 
of many attempts to raise this new variety 
of hemp. 

The English hemp is much superior in 
strength to that which grows in any other 
country. Suffolk is the principal county 
where hemp is grown and manufactured ; 
this is seldom or ever used for cordage. The 
cloth made from this hemp is more durable 
than the flaxen linen, as well as warmer ; 
and has the advantage of becoming whiter 
by age and use than that made from flax, 
which will not maintain its bleached white- 

We import a considerable quantity of 
sheeting from Russia, which has this great 
advantage over our own hempen cloth, that, 
being drawn from the distaff* the fibres are 

VOL. 1. Q 


longer and less crossed than those in the 
thread made by machinery. 

Tusser gave this valuable hint to the far- 
mers in Queen Mary's time : 

" Where plots full of nettels be noisom to eie, 

sow thereupon hemp-seed, and nettels wil die." 

We cannot but observe, that with all the 
improvements in the cultivation of this coun- 
try since the days of that author, there are 
still to be seen many wide hedgerows that 
are the nursery of thistles and other impo- 
verishing weeds, which might turn to good 
account if sown with hemp, particularly if 
they were allowed to be planted by the poor 
cottagers, either with this valuable vegetable 
or the more necessary root of the potatoe. 
These poor parishioners would then have an 
interest in keeping off depredators, and in 
protecting the fences instead of destroying 
them ; their leisure would be spent in their 
own little territory instead of the ale-house, 
and their children would acquire early habits 
of industry in tilling a plot for themselves. 

It is observed by the Rev. Thomas Rad- 
cliff, in his Report on the Agriculture of 
Eastern and Western Flanders, " that each 
day-labourer has, in most cases, a small quan- 

HEMP. 227 

tity of land, from a rood to half an acre, for 
his own cultivation." He adds, " Their com- 
fortable supply of linen is remarkable ; there 
are few of the labouring classes without many 
changes. In riding with a landed proprietor 
through a part of the country in which his 
property was situated, a neat cottage pre- 
sented itself : the clipped hedge which sur- 
rounded the garden, covered with linen, very 
white, suggested an inquiry, ' whether it did 
not belong to a washerwoman ?' The answer 
was, that it was occupied by a labourer and 
his family, and that the linen was all their 
own. In common times a beggar is scarcely 
to be seen, except in the towns, and but few 

Every circumstance that is connected with 
the comforts of the lower classes, and every 
device that can be invented to keep them 
from receiving parochial relief, should be 
adopted ; for when once they have become 
familiar to this aid, their natural pride for- 
sakes them, and few are the instances of their 
ever endeavouring to become independent of* 
the agriculturist, on whom they now weigh so 
heavily as to endanger the prosperity of their 

Frugality disappears the moment the la- 

y 2 


bourer cannot obtain a living on his own per- 
sonal exertions; and to economize, when they 
once use the public purse, seems against the 
nature of their mortified spirit. 

Hemp is said to possess a property which 
renders it almost invaluable to the farmer as 
well as the gardener : viz. that of driving 
away all insects that feed upon other vege- 
tables. It is a common practice in many 
parts of the Continent to sow a belt of hemp 
round their gardens, or any particular spot 
where they wish to preserve their crops from 
the mischievous attacks of flies or caterpil- 
lars. We would wish this experiment to be 
frequently made in turnip fields ; for, should 
it succeed in protecting those crops from the 
ravages of flies, as well as the cabbages from 
the caterpillar, it would accomplish a most 
desirable end. 

It is presumed that Tusser made his ob- 
servation, that, where nettles will grow, hemp 
will thrive and destroy the nettle, from the 
opinion of the ancients as to assimilated 
juices, an opinion really not deserving the 
contempt it is generally treated with by plan- 
ters. Plants requiring the same nourish- 
ment never thrive in neighbourhood, and the 
hemp is nearly allied to the nettle ; from the 

HEMP. !!{) 

latter plant a tolerably good linen may be 

It will generally be observed, that nettles 
occupy a good soil, which might be advan- 
tageously metamorphosed into plots and 
banks of hemp. 

A Sussex manufacturer, who wrote on this 
article in the Annals of Agriculture, informs 
us, that hemp may be raised for many years 
successively on the same ground, provided it 
be well manured. The quantity of seed re- 
quired to sow an acre of ground, varies from 
nine to twelve pecks, according to the nature 
of the soil ; the quality of the hemp also 
differs with the soil. The common height 
of the plant is from five to six feet. Mr. 
Arthur Young informs us, that in his tour 
through Catalonia in Spain, he saw extraor- 
dinary crops of hemp, where the land was 
well watered, and that these plants were 
seven feet high. The hemp that is culti- 
vated near Bischwiller, in Alsace, is often 
more than twelve feet high, and upwards of 
three inches in circumference. 

From the class in which this plant is ar- 
ranged in botany, it will be observed, that 
the same seeds produce both male and fe- 
male plants promiscuously : this is one of 



the secrets, in the work of Nature, which 
cannot be accounted for. The Date has the 
same peculiar quality ; for, when we plant 
the kernel of this fruit, it is uncertain whe- 
ther the offspring will be a male or female 

The flowers of the fruitful hemp are her- 
maphrodital, and, like the lofty palm tree, or 
some of the lowly strawberry plants, produce 
abortive seed, without the aid of the farina 
of the barren plant. It is a curious misap- 
pellation of the cultivators of hemp, who call 
the fruitful plants male, and those that are 
barren female; we are more surprised that 
botanical writers should fall into the error, 
or, rather, copy this blunder from one work 
into another for so many ages, without cor- 
recting a mistake that inverts the order of 

The unfruitful plants are forwarder than 
the fruitful ones by a month : this is ascer- 
tained by the fading of the blossoms, the 
falling of the farina fecundans, and the stalks 
becoming of a yellowish cast. These plants 
should be drawn out and worked, if possible, 
while green, the hemp being then finer than 
that which is previously dried. The Abb6 
Bralle, in a Treatise upon the Culture and 

HEMP. 231 

Management of Hemp, directs, that little 
paths should be made lengthways through 
the fields, at about seven feet distance from 
each other, to allow a passage for the person 
who pulls up the unfruitful hemp from 
among the other, which requires to stand 
more than a month after the barren plants 
to ripen its seed. The fibres of the hemp 
are prepared for spinning, by a similar pro- 
cess to that of preparing flax. The beating 
of hemp, which was formerly performed by 
hand, is now done by a water-mill, which 
raises heavy beaters, and only requires the 
assistance of a boy to keep it turned. This 
laborious work was formerly imposed as a 
punishment for vice, in the houses of correc- 
tion. Hogarth has noticed this circumstance 
in one of his celebrated pictures. 

It is a duty incumbent on society, not to 
allow hempen rags, or even old ropes, to be 
destroyed. They are carefully sorted by the 
paper-maker, the finest being reserved for 
the purposes of literature and correspon- 
dence, while inferior sorts are selected for 
the various purposes of packages and paper- 

The seed of hemp, being boiled in milk 
till it cracks, is accounted good for old 


coughs, and a specific for the jaundice.* 
Dodoens says, that, in his day, the hemp- 
seed, stamped and taken in white wine, was 
highly commended as a remedy for the jaun- 
dice and complaints of the liver. 

The juice of the green plant, instilled into 
the ears, mitigates the pains therein. -f* 

Coles, in his excellent History of Plants, 
notices the virtues of hemp thus laconically : 
" By this cordage ships are guided, bells are 
rung, beds are corded, and rogues are kept 
in awe." 

* Miller's Bot. Off. f Dioscorides, lib. iii. cap. 165. 



Natural order, Scabridce. A genus of the 
Dicecia Pentandria class. 

" Lo, on auxiliary poles, the hops 
Ascending spiral, ranged in meet array." 

Phillips's Cider. 

The generic name of this plant is derived 
from humus, moist earth or ground, because 
the plant thrives best in such soil, but this 
word is of modern origin, as is the Greek 
word (ipuov, and fipvwvioc, Bryonia, Bryony, 
from the form of the leaves and running of 
the branches, which somewhat resemble this 
latter plant. It seems to have been un- 
known to the ancient Greeks, as it is unno- 
ticed by their authors ; and Pliny is the first 
of the Romans who makes mention of this 
plant. He calls it Lupulus Salictarius, as is 
supposed, from its climbing upon sallows and 
other trees. This author informs us, that the 
ancients made no use of the flowers, except- 
ing to ornament their gardens; but that the 


Romans in his time ate the young tops as 
a vegetable, which are, says he, more palata- 
ble than nutritious. 

Lobel called this plant Vitis Septentriona- 
lium, the Vine of the northern regions, be- 
cause we put hops in our malt drink. 

The hop, of which there is but one species 
discovered, is an indigenous plant of this 
country, although it is generally stated to 
have been first brought to this kingdom 
from the Netherlands, in the year 1524. It 
is probable that the Dutch gardeners, who 
came to England in the reign of Henry the 
Eighth, might have brought over some hop- 
plants, with other roots and seeds, and that 
we availed ourselves of their manner of cul- 
tivating this bitter herb. From them, it ap- 
pears, we also derived the name, which, in 
High Dutch, is Hopffen ; and Hoppe, Hop, 
and Hopcruyt in Dutch. 

The first English treatise written express- 
ly on the culture of hops, was by Reynolde 
Scot, printed in 1574, in 63 pages, black 
letter, entitled, " A perfite platforme of a 
Hoppe Garden." He complains that * the 
Flemmings envie our practice herin, who 
altogither tende their owne profite, seeking 
to impownde us in the ignorance of our com- 

hop. 235 

nodities, to cramme us with the wares and 
ruites of their countrie, and to doe anye 
hing that myght put impediment to this 
mrpose, dazeling us with the discommenda- 
ion of our soyle, obscuring and falsifying 
he order of this mysterie, sending us into 
^launders as farre as Poppering, for that 
diich we may flnde at home in our own 

Tusser, who resided in Essex during the 
eigns of Henry the Eighth and his three 
:hildren, has left us a faithful account of the 
nanner of treating the hop in his day ; his 
rerse for the month of June, says 

f Whom fansie perswadeth, among other crops, 
to have for his spending, sufficient of hops : 
Must willingly follow, of choises to choose, 
such lessons approued, or skilful do vse. 

Ground grauellie, sandie, and mixed with claie, 
is naughty for hops, any manner of waie : 

Or if it be mingled with rubbish and stone, 
for driness and barrenness, let it alone. 

Choose soile for the hop, of the rottenest mould, 
well doonged and wrought, as a garden plot should : 

Not far from the water, (but not ouerflowne) 
this lesson well noted, is meet to be knowne. 

The sun in the south, or else southlie and west, 
is joy to the hop, as welcommed ghest : 

But wind in the north, or else northerly east, 
to hop is as ill, as a fray in a feast. 


Meet plot for a hopyard, once found as is told, 
make thereof account, as of jewel of gold : 

Now dig it and leave it, the sun for to burne, 
and afterwards fense it, to serue for that turne. 

The hop for his profit, I thus do exalt, 

it strengthened drinke, and fauoureth malt : 

And being wel breued, long kep it will last, 
and drawing abide, if ye draw not too fast. 

For January. 

If hopyard or orchard, ye mind for to haue, 
for hop poles and crotches, in lopping go saue : 

Which husbandly saued, may serve at a push, 
and stop by so hauing, two gapes with a bush. 

Remember thy hopyard, if season be drie, 
Now dig it and weed it, and so let it lie : 

More fennie the laier, the better his lust, 

more apt to bear hops, when it crumbles like dust. 

For March. 

In March at the furthest, drie season or wet, 
hop roots so wel chosen, let skilful go set : 

The goeler and yonger, the better I loue, 

wel gutted and pared, the better they proue. 

Some laieth them crossewise, along in the ground, 
as high as the knee, they do couer up round : 

Some pricke vp a sticke, in the midst of the same, 
that little round hillocke,the better to frame. 

Some maketh a hollowness halfe a foot deepe, 
with fower sets in it, set slantwise asleepe : 

One foote from another, in order to lie, 
and thereon a hillocke, as round as a pie. 

hop. 237 

Fiue foot from another, ech hillocke would stand 
as straight as a leuelled line with the hand : 

Let euery hillocke be fower foot wide, 
the better to come to on euery side. 

By willowes that groweth, thy hopyard without, 
and also by hedges, thy meadowes about ; 

Good hop hath a pleasure to climb and to spread, 
if sunne may haue passage, to comfort hirhead. 

For the month of April the same author 

Get into thy hopyard, with plentie of poles, 

amongst the same hillocks, diuide them by doles : 

Three poles to a hillocke (I pass not how long) 
shall yield thee more profit, set deeply and strong. 

For May. 

Get into thy hopyard, for now it is time 

to teach Robin hop on his pole how to clime : 

To follow the sunne, as his property is, 

and weed him and trim him, if aught go amis. 

For August. 

If hops do look brownish, then are ye too slow, 
if longer ye suffer those hops for to grow : 

Now sooner ye gather, more profit is found, 
if weather be fair, and dew off the ground. 

Not breake off, but cut off, from hop the hop string, 
leaue growing a little, again for the spring: 

Whose hil about pared, and therewith new clad, 
shal nourish more sets, against March to be had. 


Hop hillock discharged of euery let, 

see then without breaking each pole ye out get : 

Which being intangled aboue in the tops, 
go carrie to such as are plucking of hops. 

Take soutage or hair (that covers the kel) 

set like to a manger, and fastened wel : 
With poles vpon crotches, as hie as the brest, 

for sauing and riddance, is husbandry best. 

Some skilfullie drieth their hops on a kel, 
and some on a soller, of turning them wel ; 

Kel dried wil abide foul weather and faire, 
where drying and lying in loft doo despaire. 

Some close them vp drie, in a hogshead or fat, 
yet canuas or soutage, is better than that: 

By drying and laying, they quickly be spilt, 

thus much haue I shewed, do now as thow wilt. 

Gerard, who wrote on this plant in 1596, 
says, " It ioyeth in a fat and fruitful ground : 
it prospereth the better by manuring. The 
flowers of hops are gathered in August and 
September, and reserued to be vsed in beere. 
The manifold virtues in hops do manifestly 
argue the holsomnesse of beere above ale ; 
for the hops rather make it phisicall drinke 
to keepe the body in health, than an ordina- 
rie drinke for the quenching of our thirst." 
He adds, " The flowers are vsed to season 
beere or ale with, and overmany do cause 
bitterness thereof, and are ill for the head. 

hop. 239 

The flowers make bread light, and the lunipe 
to be sooner and easilier leuened, if the meal 
be tempored with liquor, wherein they 
haue beene boiled. The buds or first sprouts 
which come foorth in the spring, are vsed to 
be eaten in sallads, yet are they more tooth- 
some than nourishing." 

The earliest writer who speaks fully on 
this plant, is D. Rembert Dodoens, professor 
at Leyden, and physician to Charles the 
Fifth, who, when he had resigned his Impe- 
rial honours, endeavoured to quiet his mind 
by cultivating his garden, in the monastery 
of St. Juste, on the borders of Castile. 
Dodoens's Herbal mentions the two varieties 
of hops; " the wild hedge hop, and the 
manured, the bells or bunches (flowers) of 
which, when ripe, have a very strong smell, 
and are collected by the brewers of ale and 
beer, who keep them together, to give a good 
relish and pleasant taste to their drink. The 
cultivated hop, he says, is planted in gar- 
dens and places fit for the purpose, where 
it windeth itself about poles ; the wild hop 
groweth in fields, and in herb gardens, as 
its tender shoots, before they produce leaves, 
are eaten in salads, and are a good and whole- 
some meat." This physician says, "the tie- 


coction of hops, when drunk, opens the 
stoppings of the Ever, the spleen or milt, 
and purgeth the blood from all corrupt 
humours, principally by urine ; it is therefore 
good for those of gross scorbutic habits." 
He adds, " that the young shoots, eaten as 
salad in the month of March, have the same 
virtues, and that the juice of hops is a great 
purifier of the blood." 

Haller, from Isidorus, says, that the first 
experiment of putting hops into beer, was 
made in Italy. It does not appear that they 
were used by the English, in the composition 
of malt liquor, until after Henry the Eighth's 
expedition against Tournay, about the year 
1524. We therefore conclude, that the art 
was learnt during that enterprise. In the 
following reign, hops are first mentioned in 
our statute book, viz. in the year 1552 (5 
and 6 Edward the Sixth, cap. 5.), and by an 
Act of Parliament of 1603, the first year of 
James the First (cap. 18), it appears, that 
hops were then produced in considerable 
quantity in England. But this vegetable- 
bitter has been subject to caprice, as well as 
other plants ; for, an opinion prevailing that 
hops possessed deleterious qualities, the City 
of London petitioned Parliament, to prevent 

hop. c 241 

their being put into beer.* The use of them 
was, therefore, forbidden bv an Act of Parlia- 
ment, in the reign of James the First. This 
act was little attended to, and, never having 
been repealed, is strongly contrasted by the 
Act 9 Anne, cap. 12, which inflicts a penalty 
of twenty pounds on all brewers who shall 
use any other bitter than that of hops in 
their malt liquors ; and to prevent their being 
adulterated by giving them scent or colour 
by drugs, an Act was passed in the 6th of 
George the Third, which makes it a forfeiture 
of five pounds per hundred weight to use 
this deception ; and by the same act, the ma- 
liciously cutting hop-bines growing on poles 
in any plantation is made felony, without 
benefit of clergy. 

The hop is the only native plant that is 
under the control of the Excise. By 9 Anne, 
cap. 12, a duty of one penny per pound was 
laid on all hops growing in Great Britain and 

* Walter Blith says, in his third edition of " English 
Improver Improved" (1653), " It is not many years since 
the famous city of London petitioned the Parliament of 
England against two anusancies, and these were Newcastle 
coals, in regard of their stench, &c. and hops, in regard 
they would spoil the taste of drink, and endanger the 

VOL. I. R 


made fit for use ; and all hop-grounds were 
required to be entered, on pain of forty shil- 
lings per acre. In the same act an additional 
duty of three-pence per pound was laid on 
all hops imported, over and above other 
duties ; and hops landed before entry and 
payment of duty, or without warrant for 
landing, are, by that act, to be forfeited and 
burnt ; the ship also to be confiscated, and 
the person concerned in importing or landing, 
to forfeit five pounds a hundred weight. 

Hartlib, in his Complete Husbandman, 
(1659,) says, " that in Queen Elizabeth's 
time we had hopps from the Low Countries, 
and that the Frenchman, who writes the 
Treasure Politick, saith, that it's one of the 
great deficiencies of England, that hopps will 
not grow, whereas now it is known that they 
are the best in the world." However, we 
find that they were imported, occasionally, 
as late as the year 1695 ; for 510 cwt. were 
then brought from Flanders and Holland.* 

Coles notices, in his Paradise of Plants, 
(1657,) " That hops grow in great plenty in 
Kent and Essex, where there be men of good 
worth, whose estates consist in hop-grounds." 

* Hought. 2. 458. 

hop. t } 4;3 

Lord Bacon says, " The planting of hop- 
yards is profitable for the planters, and con- 
sequently for the kingdom." Mortimer ob- 
serves, that in Kent they plant their hop- 
gardens with apple-trees and cherry-trees 

The grower of hops is obliged to keep 
scales and weights for the use of the Excise ; 
and to remove them before being weighed, 
subjects him to severe penalties : they must 
also be packed in bags called pockets, and 
the weight, with the planter's name and 
abode, marked on them, with the date of the 
year in which the hops were grown : to alter 
or obliterate this mark, subjects the offender 
to a fine of ten pounds : by application to 
the Excise, they are allowed to be packed in 
casks under the same regulation. 

The cultivation of hops in this country is 
nearly confined to the southern counties, of 
which Kent is the principal ; although the 
hops of Farnham in Surrey, bring the highest 
price in the market, and next to them the 
Sussex hops are generally esteemed ; the 
former owe their superiority solely to the ex- 
cellent mode of picking, and not to any phy- 
sical advantages. The Worcester hops are 
the mildest, and possess the peculiar pro- 

R 2 


perty of bringing beer to maturity before 
any other. 

Hops seem the most uncertain and preca- 
rious crop on which the husbandman bestows 
his labour. The expense of planting and 
manuring, added to that of the poles, the 
gathering, and drying, is so considerable, 
that the planter is only repaid by those oc- 
casionally abundant crops which favourable 
seasons produce. An extraordinarily good 
crop returns to the planter about 100/. per 
acre, of which must be deducted on the 
average 50/. per acre for expense ; but when 
the uncertainty of a crop, and the many 
combinations that are required to produce so 
good a one, are considered, it seldom happens 
that the hop-planter is richer than his neigh- 
bour, notwithstanding these brilliant returns, 
that too often delude the unwary and un- 
thinking speculator. 

The plants are often injured by the 
frost in the spring, and they are also sub- 
ject to various other casualties. A kind of 
mildew or blight, producing flies, frequently 
destroys the fairest promise of this plant, 
and from the height of the poles and the 
sail they carry, a high wind occasions great 
havock in the hop-gardens. We are not 

hop. 245 

aware of the experiment having been made 
of keeping them closer to the ground in the 
manner of a vineyard, or by espaliers; but 
by some observations which the author has 
made on a few plants which he cultivated 
for ornament, the flowers were found larger 
and more abundant on the vines that were 
trained horizontally, than on those which 
climbed to a greater height ; and we notice, 
that in all other fruits those nearest the 
earth ripen the first, and the hop can obtain 
no more sun at twenty feet from the ground 
than it would at six feet. If the poles were 
placed sloping, with horizontal and perpendi- 
cular props, the vine could still extend itself 
without being so subject to tempest. The 
position of these ranges of trellis poles could 
be so fixed as to admit the sun and air more 
freely ; the tying and gathering would be 
more easily accomplished; and it is a cu- 
rious circumstance in the natural history of 
this plant, that the vine always takes one 
direction in winding itself round its pole, re- 
gularly ascending from the right hand to the 
left : this, in trellis work, would avoid confu- 
sion or crossing of vines, which is injurious to 
all plants. 

To describe the present manner of culti- 


vating, gathering, drying and bagging of hops, 
would be repeating what may be found in every 
Encyclopedia, and work on agriculture, with- 
out adding entertainment or information. 

The hop plantations in Sussex have in- 
creased from about 5400 to 9500 acres 
within these last fourteen years, as appears 
by a statement from the Board of Excise, 
which was ordered by the House of Com- 
mons to be printed in May, 1821. 

In a country where malt-liquor forms the 
general beverage of the greater portion of its 
inhabitants, it becomes a matter of no small 
importance to know, that the hop contains 
an aperient, and diuretic bitter, which makes 
our beer more salubrious, whilst its balsamic 
flavour makes it more agreeable, and com- 
bines with these advantages, that of pre- 
serving the liquor by its agreeably odorifer- 
ous principle, which prevents the necessary 
fermentation from going beyond due bounds. 

" The ale," (says Parkinson in his Thea- 
trical Botanicum, published in 1640,) " which 
our forefathers were accustomed only to 
drink, being a kind of thicker drink than 
beere, is now almost quite left off to be 
made, the use of hoppes, to be put therein 
altering the quality thereof, to be much more 

hop. 247 

healthful, or rather physicall, to preserve the 
body from the repletion of grosse humors, 
which the ale engendered." 

Ground Ivy, called Alehoof or Tun-hoof, 
Glechoma hederacea, was generally used for 
preserving beer, before the use of hops was 

Horehound and wormwood, &c. &c. have 
been used as a succedaneum, when hops 
have been dear. 

Some authors recommend hops against 
the stone ; others doubt their utility in that 
complaint ; but it has been remarked, that 
since hops have been more generally used, 
fewer persons labour under that malady. 

It is said that the perfume of hops is so 
salutary, that when put between the outer 
cover and the pillow, they will procure sleep 
to those who are in delirious fevers. 

The decoction of the flowers and syrups 
thereof, are thought good against pestilential 
fevers ; juleps and apozems are also pre- 
pared with hops for hypochondriacal and hys- 
terical affections. 

" The hop," says Dr. James, " is bitter, 
detersive, and gives no tincture of red to blue 
paper. By the chemical analysis, a little 
acid, a great deal of volatile concrete salt. 


and oil, are obtained from it ; which shews 
it to contain some sal-ammoniac, mixed with 
some sulphur and earth. 

In Sweden, they make a strong cloth 
from the fibres of the hop-vine, after it has 
been dressed like flax. The Society for en- 
couraging Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce 
in London, offered premiums, in 1760, for 
cloth made from hop-stalks. In the year 
following Mr. Cooksey produced specimens. 
In 1791, Mr. John Locket, of Donnington, 
near Newbury, in Berkshire, had the premium 
adjudged to him for cloth made from these 

In the months of March and April, while 
the buds are tender, the country people dress 
them as asparagus ; they are an agreeable ve- 
getable, and esteemed good to purify the 
blood in the scurvy, and most cutaneous 



Natural order, Verticillatce. A genus of the 
Didynamia Gymnospermia class. 

" If the prophet had bid thee do some great 
thing, wouldest thou not have done it ? how 
much rather then, when he saith to thee, 
Wash, and be clean ? " 

Naaman felt the justice of his servant's 
rebuke, bathed, and recovered his flesh. 

Horehound has been recommended to us 
by medical writers of all ages and countries, 
as a safe and simple remedy for complaints as 
dangerous to our existence as the leprosy 
was to the Syrian captain' s. Like him we 
answer, that we have skilful physicians, and 
drugs collected from the most distant quarters 
of the globe ; shall we not apply to them for 
cure, rather than to an herb that bears affinity 
to the nettle ? 

This medicinal plant is indigenous to most 
parts of Europe, as well as to Britain ; and, 
like many other herbs, the nearer it grows 


towards the south, the more powerful is its 
scent. The English name having no resem- 
blance to that of any other language, induces 
us to conclude that it was called hore, or 
hoar, from the white frosty-like appearance 
of the leaves, and hound, from its likeness to 
the herb now called hound' s-tongue, the 
smell of which approaches so near to that of 
a kennel of hounds. 

Miller mentions fifteen species of the white 
horehound. Aiton notices eleven in the 
Hortus Kewensis, that are cultivated in this 
country, all of which are European plants. 
The leaves of the common white horehound 
are considered to be attenuant and resolvent, 
and are celebrated for the relief they give in 
moist asthmas, and in most disorders of the 
breast and lungs, of which a thick and vis- 
cous matter is the cause. They are also of 
great service in cachexies, and chronical dis- 
orders, proceeding from a viscidity of the 
fluids, and obstructions of the viscera. When 
taken in infusion, a handful of fresh leaves, 
or half a handful of dried ones, is considered 
a dose. A dram of the dried leaves pow- 
dered, and two or three ounces of the ex- 
pressed juice, have each the like effect. 
Lozenges made of the juice of this herb and 


sugar, are esteemed good for colds that 
affect the chest. 

Among the ancient physicians who recom- 
mended this herb, Castor directs an equal 
portion of the juice of the white horehound 
and honey, to be warmed in an egg-shell, 
and used as an injection, not only to break 
imposthumes, but to cleanse and heal them. 
The same author prescribed a liniment made 
of lard and horehound stamped, as a cure for 
the bite of a mad dog, and for scrophulous 

Pliny informs us, in the twenty-second 
chapter of his twentieth book, that the 
Roman physicians thought horehound one of 
the most valuable herbs used in medicine. 
The leaves and seeds were pounded together 
as a cure for the sting of serpents, pains of 
the breast or sides, for old coughs, and com- 
plaints of the lungs. No medicine was con- 
sidered more efficacious in these complaints, 
than the juice of horehound and fennel boiled 
into a syrup with honey, to be taken fasting. 
Stamped with vinegar, it was esteemed a cure 
for the ring-worm. The juice was thought 
to clear the eyesight, and mitigate the 
jaundice ; and for all kinds of poison, says this 
Roman author, few herbs are so effectual as 


horehound ; for without any addition, it 
cleanses the stomach and breast, and brings 
off all impurities. Dodoens recommends it 
for most of these complaints, and says, that 
the juice mixed with honey and wine is good 
to clear the sight, if the eyes be washed with 
it ; and that the juice drawn up the nostrils 
clears the eyes of the yellow hue occasioned 
by the jaundice. This physician particularly 
commends it for ulcerated lungs, and spitting 
of blood ; but cautions those not to use it 
whose bladder or kidneys are affected. In 
addition to these remarks, Gerard adds, that 
the syrup made of the green leaves and sugar 
is an excellent remedy against the wheezings 
of the lungs, and for old coughs ; and that it 
was particularly recommended by the London 
College of Physicians in his time. 

Dr. James observes, that this plant is hot 
and dry, pectoral, and good to free the lungs 
from hot viscid phlegm, and thereby to help 
old coughs, especially in cold moist constitu- 
tions ; the juice being made into a syrup, with 
sugar or honey, it opens obstructions of the 
liver and spleen, and is very serviceable 
against the dropsy, jaundice, &c. ; and few 
herbs go beyond it in relieving the diseases 
incidental to the female sex. 


The leaves of the white horehound uive 
no tincture of red to blue paper : they are 
very bitter, and have a penetrating smell. 
The bitter natural salt of the earth, composed 
of marine salt, sal-ammoniac, and nitre, seems 
to be united in this plant, with a considerable 
quantity of sulphur, phlegm, and terrestrial 
parts. This plant, by the chemical analysis, 
yields a great deal of acid phlegm, oil, and 
earth ; a little urinous spirit; some concreted, 
volatile, and fixed salt, and a little lixivium. 

Thus it is no wonder that the white hore- 
hound is a great dissolvent, and a good ape- 
ritive ; and excellent for those who have the 
asthma or jaundice. 



Natural order, Siliquosce. A genus of the 
Tetr adynamia Siliculosa class. 

This plant was called Raphanus rusticanus 
by the old herbalists ; but it will be observed 
that it is of a distinct family from the Radish, 
and has therefore been placed in the order 
of plants to which it belongs. It is a native 
of this country, and has long been cultivated 
in our gardens, as we learn from Gerard, who 
says, " Horse-radish for the most part grow- 
eth, and is planted in gardens, yet haue I 
found it wilde in sundrie places, as at 
Namptwich in Cheshire, in a place called the 
Milne eye, and also at a small village neere 
London, called Hogsdon, in the field next 
vnto a farm-house leading to Kingsland, 
where my verie good friend Master Bredwell, 
practitioner in phisick, a learned and diligent 
sercher of symples, and Master William 
Martin, one of the fellowship of Barbers and 
Chirurgians, my deere and louing friende, in 


company with him, found it, and gaue me 
knowledge of the place where it flourishes to 
this day." It was then called Mountain- 
Radish and Great Raifort, as well as Horse- 
radish. In the North of England it was 
called Red Cole. 

Gerard adds, " Horse radish stamped, with 
a little vinegar put thereto, is commonly 
vsed among the Germanes for sauce to eat 
fish with, and such like meates, as we do 
mustard ; but this kinde of sauce doth heate 
the stomacke better, and causeth better 
digestion than mustard." From this account 
it appears, that horse-radish had not found 
its way to the English table in 1597, but was 
planted for its efficacy in medicine, of which 
Gerard and other old writers give ample 

In 1657, Coles observes, " The root is 
commonly used among the Germans, and 
sometimes by gentlemen with us also, for 
sauce to eat fish with, and other meats, as 
mustard is, and so it heateth the stomach 
more, and causes better digestion than mus- 
tard." This author adds, " Of all things 
that are given to children for the worms, 
horse reddish is not the least effectual!, for it 
killeth and expelleth them." 


When this plant is calcined, very little or 
no salts can be extracted from the ashes, 
these being naturally volatile.* " The ex- 
pressed juice, being suffered to putrefy, 
affords an alcaline volatile salt, which is 
the reason why it is so beneficial in the arid 
scurvy. In the other kind of scurvy, it is 
very pernicious ; in which case I have known 
it to procure a rupture in the liver. But 
where there is a defect of heat, and a cold- 
ness and viscidity of the juices, it is very 
proper. In a scurvy attended with a hot 
fever and a putridness, it would destroy the 
patient.^- " 

Fernel, who was physician to Henry the 
Second of France, discovered in the juice of 
this root, a vomit of the safest kind, and a 
friend to the stomach. We learn from more 
modern physicians, that if it be infused in 
w T ater, and a portion of the infusion be taken 
with a large draught of warm water, it rea- 
dily proves emetic, and may either be em- 
ployed to excite vomiting, or to assist the 
operation of emetics. 

Horse radish root has a quick pungent 
smell, and a penetrating acrid taste ; it 

# James. f Boerh. Hist. Plant, p. 419. 


nevertheless contains in certain vessels a 
sweet juice, which sometimes exudes on the 
surface. By drying, it loses all its acrimony, 
becoming first sweetish, and then almost 
insipid: if kept in a cool place in sand, it 
retains its qualities for a considerable time. 
Its medicinal effects are, to stimulate the 
solids, attenuate the juices, and promote the 
fluid secretions. It seems to extend its 
action through the whole habit, and to affect 
the minutest glands. It scours the cutaneous 
glands, and breaks through such little stop- 
pages there, as occasion deformities, and all 
the symptoms of the scurvy. This root is 
also powerfully diuretic, but most so when 
joined with acids. Its great activity and 
warmth also make it good in all such nervous 
cases as arise from cold and viscid juices ; and 
induce heaviness of the senses, or inaptitude 
to motion ; in the same manner as mustard 
and all such stimuli. 

Sydenham, who has been called the father 
of physic among the moderns, recommends 
it likewise in dropsies, particularly those 
which follow intermitting fevers. It is also 
extolled in cases of the stone. Thomas 
Bartholin affirms, that the juice of horse- 
radish dissolved a calculus, or stony con- 

VOL. I. S 


cretion, that was taken out of a human 


Both water and rectified spirits extract the 
virtues of this root, by infusion, and imbibe 
the whole taste and pungency of the plant. 

Boerhaave, who was so justly celebrated 
through Europe as professor of physic and 
botany, says it is one of those plants whose 
virtues are the least equivocal: its aperient, 
antiscorbutic, and resolvent qualities purify 
the blood, agree with colds, and above all, 
cure dry hard coughs, and the extinction 
of the voice. 

Dr. Cullen says, " The root externally ap- 
plied readily inflames the skin, and proves a 
rubifacient that may be employed with ad- 
vantage in palsy and rheumatism ; and if its 
application be long continued, it produces 

The German authors give many examples 
of its being an excellent remedy, as well in- 
ternally as for the exterior, in cases of the 
dropsy and rheumatism. 

One drachm of the root, fresh scraped 
down, is enough for four ounces of water, 
to be infused in a close vessel for two 
hours, and made into a syrup, with double 


its weight of sugar ; a tea-spoonful of which 
swallowed leisurely, or at least repeated 
two or three times, has often been found 
very suddenly effectual in relieving hoarse- 

This volatile root, when received into the 
stomach, both creates appetite, and assists 
digestion ; and is therefore properly em- 
ployed as a condiment with animal food. 

M. Haller, a Swiss physician, informs us, 
that in Sweden they cultivate the Chinese 
horse-radish, from which they draw abundance 
of oil. Horse-radish scraped and infused in 
cold milk, makes one of the best and safest 

Horse-radish possesses the same peculiar 
property of propagating itself as the ginger ; 
for a small piece of the root, if buried in the 
earth, will form a new root and a perfect plant, 
which produces seed. In vain do we look 
into the pores of this root, to discover by 
what wonderful means Nature has endowed 
it with this gift ; and we may justly exclaim 
with David, "Such knowledge is too won- 
derful for me ; it is high, I cannot attain 
unto it/' 

It loves a moist deep soil; and we see 

s 2 



many acres of ground on the borders of 
the Thames, east of London, covered with 
this plant, which brings a price in the me- 
tropolitan market that rewards the culti- 
vator for the time it requires to mature the 




Natural arder, Succulent ce. A genus of the 
Dodecandria Dodecagynia class. 

It is often called Sengreen, from the old 
herbalists having mistaken this plant and the 
stone-crop, for a species of the sengreen or 
Saxifraga grandulata; or because the Greeks 
comprised all these plants under the name of 
'Ai'£w«y, on account of their being always fresh 
and green. 

Nature, whose slightest works cannot be 
viewed without instruction, has given a lesson 
in this plant, worthy of the deepest reflection. 
It teaches us, by selecting the bare rock and 
the sloping roofs of houses, as situations fa- 
vourable to the growth of this vegetable, not 
to repine at our lot, or complain of the 
soil in which we are thrown ; for the house- 
leek gathers its nourishment where other 
plants would find none, and maintains the 
cooling qualities of its pulpy leaves on the 
burning tiles of our buildings. The lesson 


is as applicable to the agriculturist as to the 
moralist. It tells him to seek vegetation 
suitable to his soil, rather than complain of 
the earth he cannot change. The heavy 
clay that produces such excellent wheat, 
would yield a watery potatoe, a root more 
delicious when grown in sandy ground, where 
bread corn would fail of coming to perfection 
for want of nourishment. 

" Find out the nature of the mould with care, 
And what is proper for each soil to bear." 

Virgil's Georgics. 

From the prevailing indifference with re- 
spect to the virtues of those plants that do 
not immediately contribute to the gratifica- 
tion of our appetite, it might be supposed, 
that our infirmities and diseases had left us ; 
or, that having let out our bodies to surgeons 
on repairing leases, we were no longer at 
liberty to extract a thorn, or assuage pains 
given by the sting of a wasp, without com- 
mitting a trespass. 

Liberal minds will remunerate the stu- 
dents in physic for their skill, and not for 
their medicines ; for the least costly of the 
latter, with good advice, will often remove 
serious maladies. 

The houseleek forms a domestic external 


remedy for many troublesome complaints, be- 
neath the attention of physicians, whose time 
is required in dangerous disorders ; and, as 
every cottager who has a cover for his head, 
has a bed for this plant, he ought to know, that 
after it is once planted in mud, strong earth, 
or cow dung, and placed on a wall, or the 
shelving of his dwelling, it will thrive without 
farther trouble. It will increase rapidly by 
offsets, each of which forms a kind of green 
rose, and throws out, at maturity, a stem re- 
sembling a palm-tree in miniature, from the 
summit of which spring star-shaped flowers, 
worthy the inspection of either the florist or 
the botanist. 

The houseleek is cooling and restringent, 
and, though not often given inwardly, is com- 
mended by some as good to quench thirst 
in fevers, when mixed with posset drink, as 
also for heat and sharpness of urine. Exter- 
nally, it is useful against burns and scalds, 
St. Anthony's fire, and the shingles.* 

It is an excellent remedy for chapped 
hands, or scrofulous eruptions, and is the 
safest cosmetic, for removing sun-burns, that 
our fair countrywomen can use. 

* Miller's Bot. Off. 


Dodoens recommends the expressed juice 
to be dropped into the eye, as good against 
inflammation ; or the leaf to be peeled and 
laid on that organ. He says also that it re- 
lieves the pains of the gout when brought 
on by hot humours. Gerard says, " The 
iuice of housleeke taketh away cornes from 
the toes and feete, if they be washed and 
bathed therewith euery day and night, as it 
were implaistered with the skin of the same 
housleeke, which certainly taketh them away 
without incision or such like, as hath beene 
experimented by my very good friend M. 
Nicholas Belson, a man painfull and curious 
in searching forth the secrets of Nature." 

It is customary, with us, among the com- 
mon sort, says Schroder, to give the ex- 
pressed juice of houseleek and sugar, in 
fevers, and hot diseases. 

Dr. Tancred Robinson says, he has known 
it exhibited with good success in fevers, and 
especially in those of the erysipetalous and 
hectic kinds ; for this plant abounds with a 
medicinal alcaline salt. 

Tragus states, that linen cloths moistened 
with the juice or distilled water, and applied 
to inflammations in any part of the body, 


and especially in phrensies, are of extra- 
ordinary service; as they are, also, in inflam- 
mations and redness of the eyes. 

The leaves of the houseleek, stripped of 
their outer membrane, and put into pure 
water, or rose-water, and every now and then 
applied to the tongue, when dry or chapped, 
in fevers, and renewed frequently, are re- 
markably lenient and serviceable in such a 


This plant being analysed, yields a good 
deal of acid and earth, and a very little con- 
crete volatile salt. It probably contains a 
salt resembling alum, mixed with a little 
sal-ammoniac; for the juice of this plant 
evaporated to one half emits an urinous 
smell. For foundered horses, nothing is 
better than to make them drink a pint of 
the juice of this plant. *f* 

Lewis gives the following chemical de- 
scription of this species of sempervivum : 
" The leaves of houseleek, of no remarkable 
smell, discover to the taste a mild, subacid 
austerity ; their expressed juice, of a pale 
yellowish hue when filtered, yields on inspis- 

* Raii. Hist. Plant. 
t Martyn's Tournefort. 


sation a deep yellow, tenacious, mucilaginous 
mass, considerably acidulous and acerb : from 
whence it may be presumed, that this herb 
has some claim to the refrigerant and restrin- 
gent virtues that have been ascribed to it. 

It is observable that the filtered juice, on 
the addition of an equal quantity of rectified 
spirit of wine, forms a light white coagulum, 
like cream of fine pomatum, of a weak but 
penetrating taste. This, freed from the fluid 
part, and exposed to the air, almost totally 
exhales. From this experiment it is con- 
cluded by some, that houseleek contains a 
volatile alkaline salt; but the juice coagu- 
lates also with fixed alkalis. Acids produce 
no coagulation." 

The Romans took great pleasure in the 
houseleek, and planted it in vases which were 
set before the windows of their houses. It 
was called Buphthalmon, Zoophthalmon, and 
Stergethron, being considered one of the love 
medicines. It was also named Hypogesan, 
from its growing under the eaves of dwell- 
ings ; and it was often called Ambrosia, Ame- 
rimnos, and Sedum. 

The juice of the leaves was used by the 
ancients for all humours and inflammations of 
the eyes, as also to bathe the temples for the 

HOUSELEEK. f 2()'( 

head-ache, and to draw off inflammation oc- 
casioned by the bite of venomous spiders. 
It was likewise said to be an effectual antidote 
against the deadly poison of wolfs-bane or 

Its use is also recommended by Pliny for 
the red gout, erysipelas, and scrofulous swell- 
ings ; and it was thought to procure sleep 
to those who were in restless fevers, being 
placed in black cloth and put under the 
pillow of the patient. It was also thought 
that those who carried houseleek on their 
persons, were never molested by the terrible 
sting of the poisonous scorpions. 

Dioscorides and Galen direct the applica- 
tion of the juice with vinegar, instead of an 
epithem, to an erysipelas, which no physi- 
cian, says Caspar Hoffman, in our times, 
would venture to prescribe. 

This hardy plant is erroneously stated to 
be a native of Britain only. It is doubtful 
whether it is even an aboriginal of our soil ; 
and from the early mention of it by the Greek 
and Roman herbalists, we consider it, as well 
as the tree houseleek, to be indigenous to the 
Greek islands. 

# Plin. book xxv. chap. 13. 


Aiton mentions twelve species of the Sem- 
pervivum as being cultivated by the curious 
in this country. 

The Dutch cultivate the yellow stone-crop 
Seclum reflemm, which they mix amongst their 
salads. It has a subastringent taste. 



Natural order, Verticillatce. A genus of the 
Didynamia Gymnospermia class. 

Hyssop bears nearly the same name in 
most of the European languages, and is de- 
rived from the Hebrew ItfK Ezeb, signify- 
ing a holy herb, or herb for purifying holy 

When the Passover was instituted, Moses 
commanded the Israelites to take a bunch of 
hyssop, and dip it in the blood of a lamb, 
and to sprinkle the lintel and the door-posts, 
after which none were to pass out until the 

It was also used by the priest at the cleans- 
ing of persons afflicted with leprosy, as well 
as for purifying the house of the Icpcivj- 

David also mentions this herb in the 

* Exodus, chap. xii. verse 22. 
t Leviticus, c. xiv. 4, 49 and 52. 


beautiful prayer he made after being rebuked 
by Nathan's parable : " Purge me with hys- 
sop, and I shall be clean."* 

St. John informs us, that at the crucifix- 
ion of our Saviour, " there was set a vessel 
full of vinegar : and they filled a spunge 
with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and 
put it to his mouth/'-t' 

From these customs of the Hebrews we 
may conclude, that hyssop grew naturally 
both in Egypt and in Syria. 

Some authors have surmised, that the hys- 
sop of scripture is the shrub we call Winter 
Savory ; but Pliny has not only described the 
savory distinctly, but he says also, that the 
best hyssop grows on Mount Taurus in 
Cilicia, and next to that is the hyssop of 
Pamphylia, both in Asia Minor. It grew also 
in Smyrna. 

This author says, it is an herb not 
friendly to the stomach. The Romans used 
it with figs as a purgative, and with honey as 
an emetic ; and a plaster was formed of it 
for the sting of serpents. 

Pliny gives the following simple receipt, 
as an excellent drink to discharge the chest 

* Psalm li. 7. f Chap. xix. 29. 

HYSSOP. 271 

of phlegm: five sprigs of hyssop, two Bprigs 
of rue, boiled with three figs.* 

Aiton notices three species of hyssop, and 
four varieties of the common sort, the earli- 
est of which was cultivated in this country in 
1548. The same author mentions four spe- 
cies of hedge hyssop, Gratiola, all of which 
are exotics ; but Gerard informs us, that he 
found the broad-leafed hedge hyssop grow- 
ing wild as early as the year 1590 ; and as it 
was upon an interesting occasion to the citi- 
zens of London, I shall give his own words. 

" It groweth in moist places. I found it 
growing vpon the bog or marrish ground, at 
the further end of Hampsteed Heath, and vpon 
the same heath towards London, neere vnto 
the head of the springs that were digged for 
water to be conueied to London, 1590, at- 
tempted by that careful citizen, Sir John Hart, 
Knight, Lord Maior of the Citie of London: 
at which time myselfe was in his lordship' s 
company, and viewing for my pleasure the 
same goodly springs. I found the said plant 
not heretofore remembered." The same au- 
thor says, he " experimented this herb," and 
found it a powerful purgative." 

# Book xxvi. c. (5. 


Dodoens wrote much on the medicinal 
virtues of hyssop, and says, " the decoction 
of this plant with figs, rue, and honey, boiled 
together, is good for the complaints of the 
chest, shortness of breath, and hard dry 
coughs. He recommends it to be given 
to children with figs to destroy worms, as 
also to be used as a gargle to break tumours 
in the mouth and throat. He states also, 
that hyssop boiled in vinegar, and held in 
the mouth, eases the tooth-ache ; and that 
the decoction removes congealed blood oc- 
casioned by bruises, and takes off the black 
or blue marks. 

Later authors have greatly commended 
it in cases of bruises from falls, blows, &c, 
either by way of cataplasm, or only a little 
bundle of the plant put into a linen rag, and 
applied to the part. Ray gives an account 
from Mr. Boyle, of a violent contusion of 
the thigh, from a kick of a horse, which was 
happily cured by this herb, boiled and ap- 
plied as a cataplasm. He tells us, the vio- 
lent pain was almost instantly removed, and 
the very mark and blackness taken off in a 
few hours. 

The leaves and flowers are of a warm 
pungent taste, and of an agreeable aromatic 

HYSSOP. 275 

smell : therefore, the tops and blossoms are 
sometimes reduced to powder, and used with 
cold salad herbs, having a comforting and 
strengthening virtue; they are salutary against 
melancholy and phlegm. Besides the gene- 
ral virtues of aromatics, hyssop is greatly 
recommended in humoral asthmas, coughs, 
and other disorders of the breast and lungs; 
and is said to promote expectoration. The 
leaves infused in the manner of tea and 
sweetened with sugar or honey, have been 
found good in diseases of the breast and 
lungs, being of a detergent, attenuant, ex- 
pectorant, and corroborant quality. 

This exotic may be raised either by seed 
or cuttings. It thrives best in a poor dry 
soil, and will also bear the severities of win- 
ter much better in such soil, than where its 
pores are filled with moisture in a richer 

The hedge hyssop is said to be good in 
dropsical cases, but it is so powerful a medi- 
cine, and its operations are so violent, that it 
can only be given to persons of robust consti- 
tutions, although it is rendered more mild by 
being boiled in milk. 

M. Geoffroy, a French physician, who 
studied in England about the end of the 17Ui 

VOL. I. T 


century, says, a purgative of powerful virtues 
may be extracted from the Gratiola in a dry 
state, which operates in a small dose, and 
without any disagreeable taste. 

Dr. James says, hyssop is healing, opening, 
and attenuating ; good to cleanse the lungs 
of tartarous humours, and helpful against 
coughs, asthmas, difficulty of breathing, and 
cold distempers of the lungs ; it is also reck- 
oned a cephalic, and good for diseases of 
the head and nerves. 

Of the efficacy of hyssop, in sugillations 
of the eyes, we learn an instance from Rio- 
lanus the elder : I found by experience," 
says that physician, " the truth of what Ar- 
chigenes affirms, in Galen, which is, that if 
the tops of hyssop be tied up in a cloth, and 
boiled in water, and the cloth afterwards ap- 
plied warm to the livid eye, the blood will 
be attracted by the hyssop to such a degree, 
as to stain the linen. Upon this authority 
I have, several times, prescribed a decoction 
of hyssop against sugillations, even of the 
eyes ; only, instead of water, I sometimes 
ordered the bag to be boiled in wine ; and, 
directing the application of it, somewhat 
warm, to the eye-lids, when the patient went 

HYSSOP. 275 

to bed, his eyes being shut, the lividness 
was removed as well as I could wish.* 

Hyssop, in surgery, has its use in heating 
and ripening, &c. The vapour removes 
ringing in the ears, when introduced into 

* Simon Paulli. 

T 2 



Natural order, Papilionacece. A genus of 
the Diadelphia Decandria class. 

Before we describe this plant, which the 
ingenuity of man has made important, rather 
by adding to our luxury, than from any real 
use or addition to our comfort, it may not 
be irrelevant to the subject to notice what 
gave rise to this artificial want. 

Instinct, which directs the ox to the pas- , 
ture, the bee to the flower, and the bird to 
the seed, would first instruct man to satisfy 
and provide for the necessary nourishment of 
his frame : when wants were supplied, com- 
forts would next be sought. The protection 
of the body from the sun, or the inclemency 
of the weather, would form the second con- 
sideration ; and as the human species in- 
creased, some mark of distinction would be 
called for, to bestow on objects of reverence, 
love, or power. 

indigo. 277 

This love of distinction and ornament 
seems inherent in our nature, since we find 
that barbarians who had neither learnt to cul- 
tivate the fruits of the earth, nor to raise 
themselves a shelter from the weather, would 
adorn their naked bodies by staining them of 
various colours, and often render themselves 
conspicuous by painful operations. 

Pliny says, the women of Britain, both 
wives and virgins, went without clothing to 
the feasts and sacrifices, except that they 
coloured their bodies with an herb which 
they got from Gaul. This ancient custom 
had nearly been revived in the present cen- 
tury ; but the modesty and good taste of the 
British fair soon discarded a fashion so re- 
pugnant to the character of the English 

The eastern part of the world, where man 
was first created, gave birth also to the arts. 
The Scriptures as well as the writings of the 
Heathens, inform us, that the art of dyeing 
was invented on the coast of Syria. 

The city of Sidon is supposed to have been 
so called after the eldest son of Canaan. 
The patriarch Jacob mentions this city as 
being on the coast ; " Zebulun shall dwell 
at the haven of the sea ; and he shall be for 


an haven of ships : and his border shall be 
unto Zidon." # 

Tyre, which was called the daughter of 
Sidon, was built on an island near the coast. 
These cities were inhabited by the Phoeni- 
cians, whose kingdom was small, and soil 
sterile ; Nature had, however, favoured them 
with commodious harbours; and the forest of 
Lebanon being within their territories, fur- 
nished them with timber for constructing 
vessels. " They have made all thy shipboards 
of fir trees of Senir : they have taken cedars 
from Lebanon to make masts for thee."-j~ 
With these natural advantages, and the want 
of those necessaries of subsistence which 
their own barren soil would not supply, they 
turned their attention to commerce, for 
which their situation was peculiarly favour- 
able. Intercourse with mankind naturally 
opens and extends the mind. From trading 
in articles of necessity, those of luxury would 
follow. From these art would spring, and 
manufactories arise. 

Idmon, the father of Arachne, is said to 
have been the inventor of dyeing, and it 
is related, that the discovery of the purple 

# Gen. chap. xlix. 3. f Ezek. chap, xxvii. 5. 

INDIGO. '27^ 

dye was owing to a dog, which, having 
caught one of the purple fishes among the 
rocks, in eating it, stained his mouth and 
beard with the precious liquor; the hue thus 
acquired, struck the fancy of a Tyrian nymph 
so strongly, that she refused her lover Her- 
cule sany favours till he had brought her a 
mantle of the same colour. 

The dye of Tyre became celebrated in all 
nations ; and this city appears to have kept 
the art within its own walls for many ages. 
It was esteemed as precious as pure gold, 
and seldom used but by kings and princes, 
or in the vestures of the priests. Private 
persons were forbidden by the laws of most 
countries to wear the least scrap of it. 

The hangings of the Tabernacle were made 
of blue, and purple, and scarlet ; the holy 
garments of Aaron were also ornamented 
with these colours. 

" King Solomon made himself a chariot of 
the wood of Lebanon, he made the pillars 
thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, 
the covering of purple." 

Ezekiel mentions the purple dye among 
the rich merchandize of Tyre. " Syria was 
thy merchant by reason of the multitude of 
the wares of thy making : they occupied in 


thy fairs with emeralds, purple, and broidered 
work, and fine linen, and coral, and agate." * 

That purple and scarlet were only used by 
sovereigns and rulers, we learn by the words 
of Belshazzar king of Babylon, when he ad- 
dressed the prophet Daniel. " If thou canst 
read the writing, and make known to me the 
interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed 
with scarlet (or purple), and have a chain of 
gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third 
ruler in the kingdom-f." Again we read in 
the tenth chapter of the 1st book of Macca- 
bees, that when Jonathan's accusers saw that 
he was honoured and clothed in purple, they 
fled all away." 

The soldiers, when they mocked Christ, 
put on him a purple robe. 

" I find in the ancient chronicles," says 
Pliny X, " that purple has been worn in Rome 
from its first foundation. However," says this 
author, " king Romulus only wore it in his 
royal garment, or mantle of majesty. Tullus 
Hostilius was the first Roman king who put 
on the long purple robe, and the cassock 
bordered with scarlet." Cornelius Nepos 

* Chap, xxvii. 16. t f Chap. v. v. 16. 

J Book ix. 39. 

INDIGO. 281 

says, a pound of the Tyrian purple could 
not be bought for less than 1000 denarii, 
(31/. os.) He says, " that when P. Lentulus 
Spinther was vEdile, he wore in the chair a 
long embroidered robe, for which he was 
both blamed and checked, but now-a-days it 
is thought nothing to hang our dining-cham- 
bers with this purple dye, as well as to carpet 
our floors, our cushions, and our cupboards, 
with this double-dyed purple of Tyre." 

The Tyrians obtained this fine colour from 
shell-fishes called Purpura, and those taken 
from the deepest water produced the finest 
purple. These were therefore called Pela- 
gice (fish of the deep sea). These fish have 
a tongue of about a finger in length, of so 
hard and sharp a nature, that they pierce 
through the shell of other fish, and thus 
draw their nourishment from their victim. 
From this observation the Phoenicians in- 
vented a method of catching them, both 
simple and curious. They procured cockles, 
which were kept dry until they were 
nearly exhausted, and then put into small 
nets and let down to the bottom of the water. 
Here they naturally would open, to revive, 
and receive the benefit of their element, 
which being perceived by the purples, they 


darted their tongues into the cockles, who, 
feeling the intrusion, instantly closed their 
shells, and by this means their enemies were 
drawn up by their tongues.* 

The beautiful dye of the ancients was a 
liquid contained in a small white vein in the 
mouth and throat of the purpura. 

This fish was principally taken in the 
spring of the year, as at that time it was 
found to possses this precious liquid in the 
greatest perfection. The veins were laid in 
salt, and then boiled with much nicety for 
ten days before the colour was perfect. It 
gave a scarlet or a purple dye, according to 
the state of boiling, or in all probability by 
some slight addition. These colours were 
both called the Tyrian dye, which accounts 
for the different term used by the Evan- 
gelists; St. Matthew writes, that the soldiers, 
when they stripped Christ, put on a scarlet 
robe, whereas St. Mark and St. John men- 
tion a purple robe. 

Till the time of Alexander the Great, we 
find no other sort of dye than purple, blue, 
and scarlet. It was under the successors of 

* It is to be regretted that a similar trap has not been 
invented for the reptile slanderer, whose cutting tongue 
often injures the fairest reputation. 

indigo. 283 

that monarch, that the Greeks applied them- 
selves to the forming of other colours, and 
which in all probability they learned in their 
excursions into India, where yellow is consi- 
dered the oldest colour known in dyeing. 

It required three hundred of the purple 
fishes to dye one pound of wool, and as they 
cast up this valuable stain if suffered to die, 
we cannot be surprised at the high price the 
Tyrian colour bore. Thus was derived that 
glorious purple, so full of state and majesty, 
that the Roman lictors, with their rods, hal- 
berds, and axes, made way for. These little 
fish were drawn from the bottom of the sea 
by their tongues, to make distinction between 
a knight and a counsellor of state, to give 
splendour to the victorious generals in their 
triumphs, and to add reverence to the priest 
when offering sacrifice. 

" The Gauls," says Pliny, " were the first 
who invented the means of counterfeiting 
the purple and scarlet of Tyre, and all other 
colours, by the means of vegetable juice." 
The modern French, are celebrated for many 
colours in dyeing, in which they excel all 

The English being now, like the Phoeni- 
cians of old, a commercial people, with few 


natural productions in their country that are 
not to be found in other parts of the world, 
have followed the course of the sons of 
Canaan : 

" For stormy seas they quit the pleasing plain, 
Plant woods in waves, and dwell amidst the main." 


The Phoenicians, by planting colonies in 
various parts of the Mediterranean, were 
able to collect all the rarities of the then 
known world to their city, and thus rendered 
Tyre " the mart of nations ;" and as long as 
the justice and good policy of our nation 
cherish its colonial children with the care 
of a fond parent, so long will Britons be 
the envy of nations, and their indigo be as 
profitable as the purple of Tyre. 

The art of extracting this blue dye from 
the indigo plant was discovered by the na- 
tives of the East Indies; and its first intro- 
duction to Europe was at a time when in- 
genuity had carried luxury to the highest 
pitch at Rome. Pliny, who died in the 
year 79 a.d. says*, " It is not long since they 
began to bring from India a blue colour, from 
thence called Indico, which sells from seven- 

# Book xxxiii. chap. 13. 

INDIGO. 285 

teen to twenty denarii the pound, and an- 
swers well for painters to form shadows from 
lights in their works." In the sixth chapter 
of his 35th book, he says, Indico is one of 
the colours which the masters deliver to the 
painter by weight and measure, on account 
of its costliness ; and although it is so much 
esteemed, it is only a slimy mud, cleaving to 
the foam that is gathered about canes and 
reeds : it looks black while pounding, but, 
when dissolved, it produces a lovely colour, 
between purple and azure. 

It appears from this account, that the In- 
dians had not then manufactured indigo, but 
that it was formed by the plants falling into 
water, where the colour, being discharged by 
fermentation, clung to the canes and reeds as 

We should find that there are but few 
arts which do not owe their discovery to 
simple causes, could we trace their origin. 

" Thy art of building from the bee receive ; 

Learn of the mole to plough, the worm to weave. 

Learn of the little nautilus to sail, 

Spread the thin oar, and catch the driving gale." 

The finest indigo is brought from Java ; 
it is likewise made on the coast of Coroman- 


del, Pondicherry, Agra, &c. &c. Pompet 
says, the Indians of the village of Sarquesse, 
near Amadabar, use only the leaves of the 
indigo, and throw away the plant and 
branches ; this may be one of the causes 
why their indigo is so superior to that of the 
western world. 

The seed of indigo, which is small, and in 
appearance like coarse gunpowder, is sown 
in drills at a distance of about a foot from 
each other. It soon makes its appearance, 
and is, when young, hardly to be distin- 
guished from lucern grass ; but when come 
to maturity, it has more the appearance of 
fern. It generally grows to the height of 
two feet in about eight weeks, when it be- 
gins to blossom. The flowers are like those 
of the pea, and of a reddish colour, but des- 
titute of smell. The pistil changes into 
a long crooked pod, resembling a sickle, 
wherein the seed is contained. The leaves 
are ranged in pairs around the stalk, ending 
in a single lobe, and are of an oval form, of a 
dark brownish green on the upper side, and 
of silver-grey beneath. These leaves are 
covered with a fine farina or meal when the 
plant is in blossom, at which time it is cut 
with pruning knives, and carried with care, 

INDIGO. 287 

lest the powder should be shaken off, on 
which the beauty and value of the indigo de- 
pend. The cutting is repeated in about six 
weeks, and is performed a third time if the 
weather is favourable. The plant is suffered 
to remain two years in the ground, when it is 
found to have exhausted the juices necessary 
for its nourishment. It is a plant that re- 
quires to be kept quite free from weeds and 
worms, on which account it employs about 
twenty-five negroes to manage a plantation 
of fifty acres, allowing them time to provide 
their own necessary subsistence. Good land 
will yield from sixty to seventy pounds weight 
of indigo per acre; at a medium the produce 
is about fifty pounds. 

The indigo plantation is as subject to ca- 
sualties as that of rice or other crops. Some- 
times the plant becomes dry, and is destroyed 
by an insect that frequents this herb. At 
other times, the whole of the leaves, which 
are the valuable part of the plant, are de- 
voured in the space of twenty-four hours by 
caterpillars. This has given rise to the say- 
ing, " that the indigo planter goes to bed 
rich, and rises in the morning totally ruined. 

In Carolina the wild native indigo is found 
to answer the best, on account of its hardi- 


ness, the ease with which it may be cul- 
tivated, and the quantity of its produce, 
although it is not esteemed of the finest 

As this vegetable dye is in demand, from 
the imperial robe to the peasant's stocking, 
and forms alike the delicate white of the 
muslin dress, and the dark blue of the gar- 
dener's apron, we shall enter into the process 
of making this colour, so much in request in 
our manufactures, from the carpet to the 
crape in wool, and in like proportion in silk, 
flax, and hemp, following the two latter even 
into paper. 

The apparatus for indigo works, though 
large, are not very expensive ; the whole con- 
sisting of a pump, vats, and tubs. As soon 
as the plant is cut, it is put into a steeping 
vat of about twelve feet long and four deep, 
to the height of about fourteen inches. The 
vessel is then filled with water, and the plants 
left to macerate about twelve or fourteen 
hours, when they undergo a fermentation, 
and begin to rise and grow sensibly warm. 
Spars of wood are then laid across, to prevent 
the indigo from rising too much, and a mark 
is set to denote the highest pitch of its ascent. 
In about twenty-four hours, the fermentation 

INDIGO. 289 

having attained its due pitch, and beginning 
to abate, the operator lets off the liquor by 
a cock into another vat, called the beater, the 
mortar, or the pounding-tub. The gross 
matter is taken for manure, and the steeping- 
vat cleansed for the reception of fresh plants, 
as long as the harvest continues. 

The liquor that has run into the beating- 
tub is found strongly impregnated with a 
very subtile earth, which alone constitutes 
the blue substance required. To separate 
this from the useless salt of the plant, which 
makes it float on the surface, the liquor is 
agitated by incessant beating with bottomless 
buckets full of holes and fixed to long han- 
dles, until it heats, froths, and rises above the 
rim of the vessel which contains it. To allay 
this violent fermentation, oil is thrown in, 
which instantly causes it to subside. This 
part of the process requires the greatest pre- 
caution, for if the agitation be discontinued 
too soon, the part that is used in dyeing, not 
being sufficiently separated from the salt, 
would be lost. If, on the contrary, the dye 
were to be agitated too long after the com- 
plete separation, the parts would be brought 
together again and form a new combination; 
and the salt re-acting on the dregs would ex- 

VOL. I. U 


cite a second fermentation, that would alter 
the dye, spoil its colour, and make what is 
called burnt indigo. 

To prevent these accidents, a close atten- 
tion is paid to the least alteration the dye 
undergoes, by taking up some of the liquor 
in a glass from time to time. When it is 
perceived that the blue particles collect by 
separating from the rest of the liquor, they 
leave off shaking the buckets, and pour lime- 
water into it, and gently stir the whole. The 
blue dregs precipitate to the bottom of the 
tub, where they are left to settle till the wa- 
ter is quite clear, when it is let off by taps 
or holes one below the other, until nothing 
remains at the bottom but the blue dregs, 
which are then put into coarse linen bags : 
these are hung up until the moisture is en- 
tirely drained off. To complete the drying, 
this muddy substance is worked upon boards 
of some porous wood, with a wooden spatula, 
and it is frequently exposed to the morning 
and evening sun, though but for a short time 
only, and then being put into boxes or frames, 
is again exposed to the sun, in the same cau- 
tious manner, until it is made fit for market. 

It is much to be regretted, that no sooner 
has one man learnt to manufacture a useful 

INDIGO. 291 

article, than others employ their ingenuity 
to adulterate it, or substitute for it some 
base imitation. Indigo had no sooner found 
its way into Rome, than spurious drugs were 
coloured and substituted ; and, although 
they were ingenious, we deem it better to 
avoid the mention, and make known the 
most simple means of detecting frauds when 
practised in indigo. The best is of a dark 
blue inclining to violet, bright and sparkling 
when broken, and will float on water. It 
may be tried by dissolving a little in a glass 
of water, when, if pure, it will mix equally 
with the liquor ; but if otherwise, will sepa- 
rate, and fall to the bottom. Indigo may 
also be tried in fire, where it will burn en- 
tirely away if good, but the adulterations 
remain unconsumed. Mr. Wynne says in 
his History of the British Empire in Ame- 
rica, " Perhaps in no branch of manufacture 
can so large a profit be made upon so mode- 
rate a capital, as in that of indigo ; nor can 
the manufacture be carried on in any country 
with greater advantages than in Carolina, 
where the climate is healthy, provisions plen- 
tiful and cheap, and every thing necessary 
for the purpose procured with the greatest 



The indigo plant has been cultivated in 
our green-houses since 1731, and many va- 
rieties have been introduced since that pe- 
riod, by the curious in exotic plants. 

Hellot suspects that such a blue faecula 
as is procured from indigo and woad, is 
procurable from many other vegetables. He 
supposes the natural greens of vegetables 
to be compounded of blue and yellow, and 
that blue is oftentimes the most perma- 
nent, so as to remain entire after the pu- 
trefaction or destruction of the yellow. The 
theory is specious, and perhaps, on trial, [ 
may be found just; at all events it is well 
to give this idea to the world. 

Probably, blue has been selected as the 
most appropriate colour for the dress of our 
brave sailors, from its having been anciently 
used as the symbol of the sea, for which 
reason the combatants who performed in the 
NaumachicB, at the Circensian games at Rome, 
were clad in blue ; and those who had dis- 
tinguished themselves by any notable exploit : u 
at sea, were rewarded with a blue ensign. |tk 

Notwithstanding the Dyers' Company of , r 
London was incorporated so long back as the i v 
reign of Henry the Sixth, yet the dyeing and 
dressing of woollen cloths was very imper- 


indigo. 293 

fectly understood in England, in the year 
1608 ; before which period, they were sent 
white into Holland, where they were dyed and 
dressed, and from thence brought back for 
sale. In that year, Sir William Cockrayne, 
an alderman of London, obtained a patent 
for dyeing and dressing cloths at home ; but 
great confusion arising from this grant, it was 
revoked in 1615. But in 1667, workmen came 
over from the Netherlands, under whose 
direction the art was brought to a consider- 
able degree of perfection ; but there is even 
at the present time great room for improve- 
ment in our dyeing, many of our colours 
being inferior to those of our Continental 

The Romans used indigo to assuage swell- 
ings and inflammations, and to dry tumours. 

In the Hortus Indus Malabaricus, it is 
stated, that a decoction of the indigo root 
is an excellent remedy in nephritic colics. 

Some physicians recommend indigo in the 
quantity of *a dram, while others condemn 
the practice, and look on it as a poison. The 
internal use of indigo is prohibited by law in 



A genus of the Syngenesia Folygamia fras- 

tranea class. 

The Jerusalem Artichoke, is a tuberous 
rooted species of the Helianthus, Sunflower, 
or Turnsol ; the Italians called it Girasol, 
which we have ignorantly corrupted into 

Pelleterius calls it Heliotr opium Indicum 
tuberosum. Parkinson, in whose time these 
plants were first introduced, mentions them 
under the title Bat tat as de Canada, the French 
Battatas, or Hierusalem Artichokes. Coles 
also, whose work was printed only 40 years 
after they were known in this country, calls 
them the Potatoes of Canada; but we are in- 
formed in Martyn's edition of Miller, " that 
they were so called because the French 
brought them first out of Canada into these 
parts ; not that Canada is their original 


country, for they are unquestionably the pro- 
duce of a hot climate, being natives of Brazil." 

This root, which is more agreeable than 
profitable, was first planted in England 
during the reign of James the First, as we 
are informed that in the year 1617, Mr. John 
Goody er received two small roots from Mr. 
Franquevill of London, no bigger than hen's 
eggs ; the one he planted, and the other he 
gave to a friend. His own brought him a 
peck of roots, wherewith he stored Hamp- 
shire. This note is dated the 17th of Octo- 
ber, 1621 ; and it is added that he had them 
upon their first arrival into England.* 

If this were the era of the first introduc- 
tion of the Jerusalem artichoke, it seems 
surprising, even allowing for the facility with 
which it is increased, that so soon as the year 
1629, or even earlier, it should have become 
so common in London, that even the most 
vulgar began to despise it : whereas when 
first received among us, it was, as Parkinson 
says, a dainty for a queen. They were for- 
merly baked in pies, with marrow, dates, 
ginger, raisins, sack, &c. ; but the too fre- 
quent use, especially being so plentiful and 

* Miller. 


cheap, hath, says Parkinson (in 1629), rather 
bred a loathing than a liking of them. 

Coles observes in his History of Plants, 
that " The potatoes of Canada, called by 
ignorant people Jerusalem artichokes, were 
of great account when they were first received 
amongst us; but by reason of their great 
increase they are become common, and con- 
sequently despicable, especially by those 
which think nothing good unless it be dear; 
but if any one please to put them into boil- 
ing water, they will quickly become tender, 
so that, being peeled, sliced, and stewed with 
butter, and a little wine, they will be as 
pleasant as the bottom of an artichoke." 

These roots seem to have been disesteemed 
from their ventosity, and watery qualities ; 
but when properly cooked, and eaten with 
moderation, they may be considered as safe 
as most other vegetables. The root near- 
ly resembles the flavour of the artichoke 
bottom, on which account they are as im- 
properly called Artichokes, as they are ab- 
surdly named Jerusalem. 

This vegetable is propagated by planting 
out the smaller roots, or pieces of the larger 
which have buds to them, in the manner of 
potatoes. The stem grows to a considerable 


height, having all the appearance of the sun- 
flower, excepting that they do not blossom 
in this temperate climate. The root spreads 
immoderately, multiplies very quickly, and is 
with difficulty cleared out of land where it 
is once planted. The Jerusalem artichoke is 
thought greatly to impoverish the earth. 





Natural order, Verticillatce. A genus of the 
Didynamia Gymnospermia class. 

Lavender is called "Ndofos, Nardus, in 
Greek, from Naarda, a city of Syria, near 
the Euphrates, and Nctp£oL<?<£%vs, quasi Nardi 
Spica, which was the general name of the 
Indian sort : also Nardus Indica, to put a 
distinction between that and the Celtic and 
mountain spikenard, -f 

The plant takes its name a lavando, from 
washing or bathing, because it was used in 
baths, on account of its fragrancy; or because 
all the species were ingredients in lyes, for the 
purpose of giving a sweet smell to linen ; or 
entered the composition of the best Lavacra, 
or washes for the face, in order to render it 
shining and fragrant. It is also called Spica, 

* Todd's Edit, of Johnson's Diet. Hill, Mat. Med. 
t Lobel. Cole. 


spike; because, among all the verticillated 
plants, this alone bears a spike. Many call 
it Nard ; and, perhaps, this is the true nard 
of the ancients.* 

This shrub, which is the pride both of our 
aromatic gardens and of our perfumers' 
shops, is a native of Languedoc, some parts 
of Spain, Hungary, and Austria ; but the 
most odoriferous lavender grew anciently 
about the city Eporrhedia, and was so much 
esteemed at the time when our Saviour was 
upon earth, that it was sought after with the 
greatest avidity and brought a revenue to 
that city equal to a mine of the most precious 
metal, f* 

St. Mark mentions it as a thing of great 
value ; for when Christ was in Bethany, 
" in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat 
at meat, there came a woman, having an ala- 
baster box of ointment of spikenard, very 
precious : and she brake the box, and poured 
it on his head." They who were present 
observed that " it might have been sold for 
more than three hundred pence." J 

Pliny, who flourished a little after this 

* Historia Plantarum, ascribed to Boerhaave. 
t Plin. book xxi. chap. 7. 
J Chap. xiv. ver. 3 to 5. 


period, has described the lavender plant un- 
der the name of Nardus. The blossom he 
notices as forming a spike, and says there is 
a spurious kind of nard, which is often sold 
for the true spikenard. In the same chapter 
he states that the most costly and precious 
ointment was made from the aromatic leaves 
of the nardus, and that the spikes (blossoms) 
sold for 100 Roman denarii, (3/. 2s. 6d.) 
a pound. 

This exact naturalist has described the 
varieties so minutely, that it cannot be mis- 
taken for any other plant. " The Romans/' 
says he, " esteem the leaves of the nardus 
that is brought from Syria as the best; next 
to that the Gallic lavender or nardus is in 
estimation/' He also notices the spikenard 
of Candia, and of India ; but he does not 
even hint that the latter plant was used as 
a perfume. What especially confirms this 
opinion is, that Pliny, after having described 
the same ointment mentioned by the Evan- 
gelists, which he directs to be kept in pots 
or vessels of alabaster, observes that the 
flowers or spikes of the plant being laid in 
wardrobes give a most agreeable perfume to 
the garments. 

Lavender, or Nardus, was likewise called 


Asarum by the Romans, on account of its 
not being used in garlands or chaplets : the 
leaves, says Pliny, were too small and brittle 
to be woven into coronets. 

It has often been asserted, that the spike- 
nard ointment of the ancients was made from 
the root of the Valeriana Jatamansi, which is 
found growing only in India ; but this seems 
highly improbable, as the scent of this root 
differs very widely from our idea of agreeable 
perfumes ; and we may presume, that the 
opinions of the Romans at the commence- 
ment of the Christian era, with respect to 
odours, were similar to our own ; as we find, 
besides the spikenard, they extracted their 
favourite odours from roses, myrtle, violets, 
marjoram, lilies, orris-root, and jonquils, &c, 
to which they often added sweet spices and 
aromatic gums. 

The late Sir William Jones was of opinion, 
that this celebrated ointment was procured 
from the root of the Valerian of Nepal ; and 
on this authority, Mr. Lambert tells us in his 
illustration of the genus Cinchona, that the 
Valeriana Jatamansi " is identical with the 
spikenard of the ancients :" notwithstanding 
the doubts expressed by Dr. Francis Hamil- 
ton, in his account of Nepal, where he says. 


" As there can be no disputing about taste, 
I cannot take upon myself to say how far the 
encomiums bestowed on the spikenard are 
applicable to the Valerian ; all I can say is, 
that if this root was the spikenard of the 
Roman ladies, their lovers must have had a 
very different taste from the youth of modern 

The wild lavender, which grows so abun- 
dantly in the south of France, is known to 
be the bastard nard of the ancients. P. Po- 
met, who was superintendant of the Mate- 
ria Medica in the King s Gardens at Paris, in 
1694, says, " Nous faisons venir, de plus, de 
Languedoc et de la Provence, l'huile d'as- 
pic, qui est tir6 des fleurs et des petites 
feiiilles d'une plante que les Botanistes ap- 
pellent Spica, she Lavendulamus, vel Nardus 
Italica, a ut Tseudo-nardus, qui signifie Aspic, 
ou Lavande male, ou Nard dTtalie, ou 
Nard batard." 

The antiquity of the use of odoriferous gums 
and perfumes, in the eastern nations, defies 
our researches into its origin ; but it was the 
opinion of ancient writers, that they were 
first brought out of Elam, the country now 
called Persia, and formed one of the earliest 
articles of commerce with the Egyptians. 


These people appear to have set great value 
on aromatic drugs, which, on account of the 
damp fogs arising from the Nile, they could 
not obtain in so high a degree of perfection 
from their native plants. The Ishmaelitish 
merchants to whom Joseph was sold, were 
going into Egypt with their camels laden 
with " spices, and balm, and myrrh." * The 
Israelites would, of course, become acquaint- 
ed with the use of these luxuries during their 
bondage in Egypt ; and particularly Moses, 
from his having been bred up in Pharaohs 
court. Among the offerings which the children 
of Israel made for the Tabernacle, were spices 
for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, •f In 
the 30th chapter of Exodus, we learn that 
Moses was commanded to make the holy 
anointing oil, and a perfume of various aroma- 
tic gums and vegetables, after the manner of 
the apothecaries." 

" Why need I name the sweet balsamic oil, 

Which weeps from shrubs in Juda's fertile soil T 


This precious balm, so often mentioned in 
Scripture, was drawn from shrubs which 
grew only in two places in Judea. These 

# Gen. c. xliii. v. 11. t Exodus, c. xxv. v. G. 


were afterwards inclosed as parks or gar- 
dens, and most religiously kept for the Kings 
of Israel. The largest of these enclosures 
contained about twenty acres : and both of 
them were said to produce but seven gallons 
of this valuable aromatic sap, in the most 
favourable year. When fresh, it was of a 
pale colour, and of the consistency of oil, 
but, by keeping, it was converted into a red- 
dish gum, clear and transparent. It was ob- 
tained by making incisions in the shrubs; but 
the most valuable was that which oozed 
from the natural cracks in the bark. From 
the pruning of the shrubs and leaves was 
procured an inferior kind of balm. 

When Alexander was in Judea, (332 years 
b. c.) he limited the quantity of balm that 
was to be taken from both these gardens, to 
one spoonful per day. 

Pompey boasted of having borne one of 
these shrubs in his triumph ; and the Empe- 
rors Vespasian, both father and son, brought 
one of these balm-trees to Rome, where it 
was publicly exhibited. 

At the sacking and destruction of Jerusa- 
lem, the Jews endeavoured to destroy these 
sacred shrubs, in order to prevent their fall- 
ing into the hands of the heathens ; but the 


Romans wishing to preserve them, a most 
bloody battle ensued. The trees were pre- 
served, indeed, but for the worshippers of 
idols, though the Temple fell without being 
polluted by heathen sacrifices. 

These celebrated shrubs, and their bal- 
samic liquor, were then placed under the 
protection of the Roman empire. They are 
now doomed to shed their tears for the gra- 
tification of the Grand Signior's seraglio 
only ; for even the balsam that so rarely 
leaves Constantinople, in the shape of pre- 
sents from the great men of the Porte, is 
merely an extract from the prunings of the 

The cultivation of these shrubs is now ex- 
clusively in the hands of the Turkish Sove- 
reign ; and is esteemed so precious as to form 
a special part of his revenue. 

Le Sieur Pierre Pomet, in his Histoire 
G Sner ale des Drogues, 16'94, tells us, that the 
Grand Signior had some of these shrubs 
transplanted into his garden at Grand Cairo, 
where they were so strictly guarded by the 
Janizaries, that his friend could not by any 
stratagem obtain a sight of the trees, except- 
ing from the height of the wall. From the 
drawing and description which this author 

VOL. I. 


has furnished us with, the leaves of this shrub 
are made to resemble those of rue, and the 
white blossoms are of a star-like form, from 
the centre of which grows a berry, pointed 
at the extremity, containing a kernel or seed. 
This author tells us, that Madame de Ville- 
favin,had possessed herself of fourteen ounces 
of this precious balm, which he saw, and that 
it was of a bright gold colour, had the per- 
fume of the citron, and was of a firm con- 

" Indus alone can swarthy ebon boast, 
As fragrant incense the Sabsean coast." 


The sweet incense, or frankincense, which 
was also used both in the worship of the true 
God, and on the altars of the profane tem- 
ples, was a produce of Arabia Felix, and was 
drawn from trees in a manner similar to the 

Pliny informs us, that, when Alexander 
was but a child, he threw incense on the altar 
so unsparingly at a sacrifice, that Leonidas, 
his tutor, slightly checked him with this re- 
proof, " Sire ! you should throw incense in 
that manner, when you have conquered the 

# Livre vii. chap. 44. 


country where it grows." The rebuke seem- 
ed to have made deep impression on the 
mind of the young prince, for when he had 
conquered Arabia, he sent a ship laden witli 
incense to Leonidas, with a charge to his 
tutor to bestow it largely on the gods when 
he sacrificed. 

The incense trees grew only in that part 
of Arabia that was inhabited by the Sabaeans, 
and so strict were their laws respecting them, 
that no persons were permitted even to see 
the trees, excepting those who had the charge 
of them. The valley where they grew was 
surrounded by mountains, and was situated 
about eight days journey from Sabota (now 
Sanaa) the capital, whither the incense was 
conveyed on camels ; and it was forbidden, 
on pain of death, to enter the city with this 
drug, except at one particular gate, where 
the priests took a tenth part for their god 
Sabis, and no person could either buy or sell 
it until this duty was discharged. The Ge- 
banites were the only people allowed to 
carry it out of the country. They also paid 
a toll to their sovereign. It was taxed again 
at Gaza, and by the time that the kings, the 
priests, the secretaries, the wardens of the 
temples, and the various officers, had levied 



contributions on this drug, but little was left 
to pay the great charge of bringing it to the 
coast ; "and here," says Pliny, "the publicans 
and officers of the customs belonging to the 
empire must have a fleece, which raises it to 
so high a price in Rome."* 

At the time when this frankincense was 
taken to Alexandria, to be tried, refined, and 
made up for sale, the workmen were naked, 
excepting short trowsers, which were sowed 
up and sealed, to prevent the possibility of 
their concealing any portion of this valuable 
drug. Their heads were fixed in a mask or 
caul, lest they should secrete the smallest 
portion either in their mouths or ears. They 
were not even suffered to depart after all 
these precautions, till they were examined 
when quite uncovered. 

Perfumes were evidently known to the 
Greeks in the time of Homer, who seems 
quite at home at the toilet, for, in decorating 
Juno for her Imperial husband, he says 


Swift to her bright apartment she repairs, 
Sacred to dress, and Beauty's pleasing cares : 

$fc $F TT $fc *W* W -Tf* 

Here first she bathes ; and round her body pours 
Soft oils of fragrance, and ambrosial showers : 

* Book xiv. c. 12. 


The winds perfumed, the balmy gale convey 

Through heaven, through earth, and all th' aerial way ; 

Spirit divine ! whose exhalation greets 

The sense of gods with more than mortal sweets." 

lli<ul, 14/// book. 

The Greeks appear to have learnt the 
more common use of perfumes from the Per- 
sians ; for when Alexander took the camp of 
Darius, he found among the royal treasures 
a great quantity of rich perfumes and costly 
ointments. From Greece this effeminate 
practice was carried to Rome, where its abuse 
became so excessive, that Nero, that com- 
pound of folly and vice, had his feet anointed 
with the most expensive odours ; and he is 
said to have burnt more incense at the 
funeral pile of his wife Poppa?a than the 
whole of Arabia produced in a year. 

" I cannot ascertain," says Pliny, " when 
this enormity first entered Rome ; but it ap- 
pears upon record, that after the subduing 
Antiochus, and the conquest of Asia, P. Liei- 
nius Crassus, and L. Julius Caesar, the Cen- 
sors, published an edict, prohibiting the sale 
of foreign ointments in Rome. But in these 
days, it has entered into our very camps, and 
the old standards and ensigns and eagles are 
anointed and perfumed, as if it were to re- 
ward them for conquering the world. Men 


are now so wanton and delicate, that not- 
withstanding they are besmeared in every 
part of their bodies with odorous ointments, 
yet they cannot take their wine unless it be 
spiced and aromatized with balms : so as 
they get sweet smells, they care not for the 
bitter taste, or the treasure they expend." 

When L. Plotius was banished, and pro- 
claimed an outlaw, by a decree of the trium- 
viri, (Antony, Lepidus, and Octavius,) he 
would have escaped, being closely hid in a 
cave at Salernum, but was discovered by the 
smell of the precious ointment on his person. 

As we digress to please, we hope for par- 
don, and return to lavender, under the name 
which it appears to have borne with the 
prince of the Latin poets, who, in describing 
a situation for the hive, says, 

" Hsec circum Casia virides, et olentia late 
Serpilla, et graviter spirantis copia thymbrae." 

Virgil's Georgics, book. 

" The verdant lavender must there abound, 
There savory shed its pleasant sweets around ; 
There buds of purple violets should bloom, 
And fragrant thyme the ambient air perfume. 


Theophrastus, in earlier days, seems to 
have mentioned this plant under the title of 
Cneorus Albus. 


D. Rembert Dodoens, who wrote his Her- 
bal in the time of Henry the Eighth, says, 
"the English call it Spike, and Lavender ;" 

which is also a proof that it was then culti- 
vated in this country. 

Gerard notices six varieties that were cul- 
tivated in our gardens as early as the reign 
of Elizabeth : one of these species, the cut- 
leaved, (multifield, ) he says is called in Eng- 
lish, Cassidonia, which seems to be derived 
from the Casiae of Virgil. 

It does not appear that the English were 
addicted to the use of perfumes in the time of 
Henry the Eighth, or in the reign of Elizabeth ; 
but both Dodoens and Gerard recommend 
those who have the palsy or apoplexy to wash 
themselves with lavender-water, or anoint 
their limbs with the oil made from its flowers ; 
though the latter author condemns the prac- 
tice of " unskilful apothecaries and foolish 
women," who give this and other hot com- 
positions inwardly to all constitutions and for 
all diseases. Conserves of lavender were 
much used in the time of Gerard for various 

It is far from our intention to condemn 
the moderate use of perfumes, as it would 
be extremely hard to debar those who reside 


in crowded cities from partaking of the 
sweets of nature; but we would recommend 
the old practice of laying clean linen in la- 
vender, in preference to throwing the extract 
of it on dirty clothes. 

Lavender is in a very eminent degree ce- 
phalic and nervine, and may be safely em- 
ployed to sweeten the air of sick rooms, 
when the state of the patient, or the atmo- 
sphere, will not admit of purer circulation. 
It is the chief of all the cephalic plants, be- 
ing very comfortable and reviving, under 
faintings and languishments of the brain and 
heart; whence it is very proper in lethargies, 
apoplexy, palsy, and epilepsy. Lavender, 
given in a phrensy proceeding from an in- 
flammation, infallibly destroys the patient ; 
but it is good for vertiginous old persons, 
and distempers owing to dulness, and want 
of spirits.* 

The spirit of lavender is still esteemed in 
palsies, vertigoes, lethargies, tremours, &c. 
The oil is particularly celebrated for destroy- 
ing the pediculi mguinales, and other cuta- 
neous insects. Geoffroy says, if soft spungy 
paper, dipped in the oil, be applied at night 

# Dr. R. James. 


to the parts affected, the insects will certainly 
be found dead in the morning. 

Lord Bacon says, sweet odours contribute 
to health by refreshing the spirits, and caus- 
ing cheerfulness. This should induce us to 
plant lavender more abundantly in our gar- 
dens and shrubberies, where its bluish leaves 
form a pleasing variety, and its aromatic 
spikes give an agreeable odour. We would 
wish to see this fragrant shrub occupying 
many banks in parks and plantations, where 
the common passenger might imbibe good 
humour from this reviving plant. It is easily 
propagated either by seeds, cuttings, or slips; 
and as the shrub gets older, the flowers be- 
come more fragrant, on the same principle 
that the fruit of an old tree is the most deli- 
cious, or the wine made from old vines, the 
richest and most agreeable. 

The lavender blossom has given name to 
a colour, that is the gayest worn by our fair 
young quakers, who are as attractive in their 
neatness, as the Egyptian Queen in her robes 
of Tyrian dye. 

It is as luxurious as it is ingenious to 
have our desserts brought to table on a ser- 
vice of lavender spikes, and it is equally 
pleasing to see young females thus embellish- 


ing those rooms of which they are the greatest 

There are lavender gardens of consider- 
able extent in the neighbourhood of London, 
and the lavender-water of British distillation 
is now generally preferred to that of France. 

The oil made of this plant is called oil 
of spike; but the shops generally make it with 
turpentine, impregnated with the flowers ; 
and the turpentine has indeed the smell, but 
not all the virtues of the flowers commu- 
nicated to it. The true oil of spike should 
be made only of the flowers with water.* 

* James. 



Natural order, Compositce. A genus of the 
Syngenesia Polygamia /Equalis class. 

The Latins gave this plant the name of 
Lactuca from Lac, on account of the milky 
juice with which it abounds. The French, 
for the same reason, call it Laitue ; the Eng- 
lish name Lettuce is a corruption of either 
the Latin or French word, and in all proba- 
bility originated from the former, as several 
of our old authors spell it Lectuce. 

That this vegetable was in early times es- 
teemed of the first rank among pot-herbs and 
salads, we learn from an anecdote related 
by Herodotus, and which also proves that 
lettuces were served in their natural state at 
the royal tables of the Persian kings at least 
550 years before the Christian era. Cam- 
byses, son of Cyrus the Great, had his brother 
Smerdis killed from mere suspicion, and, con- 
trary to the laws, married his sister : this 
princess being at table with Cambyses, she 


stripped a headed lettuce of its leaves ; when, 
the king observing that the plant was not so 
beautiful as when it had all its leaves, " It is 
the same with our family," replied the prin- 
cess, " since you have cut off a precious shoot." 
This indiscreet allusion cost her her own life. 
Pliny tells us, that the ancient Romans 
knew but one kind of lettuce, which was a 
black variety, that yielded a great quantity 
of milky juice which caused sleep, therefore 
it was called Lactuca. 

It is reported, adds this author, that An- 
tonius Musa, a physician, cured the emperor 
Augustus Caesar of a dangerous disease by 
means of the lettuce. Other authors notice 
that Augustus was eased of the violence of 
his disease by the use of this plant ; which 
circumstance seems to have brought the let- 
tuce into esteem at Rome ; as Pliny says, 
after that time there was no doubt about 
eating them, and men began to devise means 
of growing them at all seasons of the year, 
and even preserving them, for they were used 
in pottage as well as in salads. 
Columella notices the qualities of this plant, 

" And now let lettuce, with its healthful sleep, 
Make haste, which of a tedious long disease 
The painful loathings cures." 

LETTUCE. .il/ 

Athenaeus and Constantino Caesar sav, 
that the Pythagoreans called this plant the 
Eunuch ; and the ancients fabled, that after 
the death of Adonis, Venus lay upon a bed 
of lettuce ; which evidently shews that they 
were acquainted with the cooling and opiate 
nature of this vegetable, which is still thought 
more salutary for those whose religious pro- 
fession enjoins them a life of celibacy, than 
for settlers in new colonies. 

We learn also from Pliny, that the Greek 
lettuce was a variety that grew both high and 
large, and that the Romans, in his day, culti- 
vated the purple lettuce with a large root 
that was called Cceciliana. They had likewise 
the Egyptian, Cilician, and Cappadocian 
lettuce, besides the A sty Us, or the chaste 
lettuce, which, he says, was often called 
Eunuchion, because it was thought less favour- 
able to Venus than other plants. This natu- 
ralist adds, they were all considered cooling, 
therefore eaten principally in the summer. 
Great pains were used to make them cab- 
bage: they were earthed up with sea-sand, 
to blanch them and give them heart. The 
white lettuce was noticed, in that mild cli- 
mate, to be the least able to endure cold. 

The Romans esteemed this vegetable as a 


clearer of the senses. They were anciently 
eaten at the conclusion of their supper; but 
in the time of Domitian, they changed this 
order, and served them with the first entries 
at their feasts. 

Martial notices this change in his verse. 

" Claudere quae coenas Lactuca solebat avorum, 
Die mihi, cur nostras inchoat ilia dapes V 

The wild lettuce as well as the cultivated, 
was used medicinally by the Romans ; and 
Palladius, a Greek physician, notices their 
culture in his treatise on fevers. 

We find no attempt made to cultivate the 
lettuce in this country, until the fourth year 
of Queen Elizabeth's reign, 1562 ; but in 
1597, Gerard gives us an account of eight 
kinds of lettuce, that were then cultivated 
in England. He says, * Lettuce maketh a 
pleasant sallade, being eaten rawe with 
vinegar, oil, and a little salt : but if it be 
boiled, it is sooner digested, and nourisheth 
more." He adds, " It is served in these 
daies, and in these countries, at the begin- 
ning of supper, and eaten first before any 
other meat ; but notwithstanding, it may now 
and then be eaten at both those times to the 
health of the bodie : for being taken before 

LETTUCE. 31<) 

meate, it doth many times stir vp appetite : 
and eaten after supper, it keepeth away 
drunkenness which cometh by the wine; and 
that is by reason that it staieth the vapors 
from rising vp into the head." He says, 
" Lettuce cooleth a hot stomake, called the 
heart-burning," &c. &c. 

We now cultivate, in the neighbourhood 
of London, thirty varieties of this plant, all 
of which are esteemed in salads. Some of 
them are natives of Egypt ; others have 
been procured from Aleppo, Cos, Holland, 
Marseilles, Silesia, Savoy, South America, 
Sweden, Italy, Hungary, Germany, and the 
East Indies ; the latter can only be grown 
in a hot-house. 

It should be remarked, that none are so 
good to boil or stew, or to thicken soup, hodge- 
podge, &c, as the Roman or cabbage lettuce. 

The young leaves of garden lettuce are 
emollient, cooling, and in some small degree 
laxative and aperient, easy of digestion but of 
little nourishment ; salubrious in hot bilious 
indispositions, but less proper in cold phleg- 
matic temperaments. In some cases they 
tend to promote sleep, by virtue of their re- 
frigerating and demulcient quality.* 

* Lewis. 


Galen says, " In the decline of age, which 
is naturally wakeful, I suffered very much 
by want of sleep ; for which disorder, I used 
in the evening to eat a lettuce, which was 
my sovereign and only remedy. Many boil 
this tender herb in water, before it produces 
stalks ; as I myself now do, since my teeth 
begin to fail me." 

Dr. Aston tells us, that the milk of the 
common garden lettuce is hypnotic, while 
the root of the plant is cooling, diluent, and 

This plant is cooling, and causes an incli- 
nation to sleep, upon which account it pro- 
cures ease in pains, both taken inwardly, and 
externally applied. 

Schroder was of opinion, that it afforded 
considerable nourishment, and much in- 
creases milk when eaten by nurses. 

The Historia Plant arum states that no 
herb more powerfully resolves, and brings 
away the black bile. 

Lettuces are said to render the chyle easily 
condited; and are recommended to young 
people on account of their cooling nature. 

M. Bourgeois observes, that the different 
kinds of lettuce, although very good for per- 
sons of strong stomach and good digestion, 


are very injurious to cold weak stomachs, as 
they pass undigested ; they disagree very 
much with hypochondriac persons, and fe- 
males who are troubled with hysterics. 

Turned lettuce, when dried and put on 
the fire or on hot coals, sparkles like nitre. 

Young lettuce may be raised in forty-eight 
hours, by first steeping the seed in brandy, 
and then sowing it in a hot-house. 

The seeds of this plant are of an emollient 


This plant is a species of succory, and is 
arranged under the same class and order as 
the lettuce. 

Modern botanical writers state, that the 
common garden endive is a native of the 
East Indies, without noticing what the an- 
cient European authors have said of it. 

Ovid mentions it in his tale of Philemon 
and Baucis : 

A garden salad was the third supply, 
Of endive, radishes, and succory." 

Columella thus notices this vegetable, 

" And endives, which the blunted palate please." 

VOL. I. Y 


This plant was eaten both as a pot-herb 
and a salad by the Romans. Pliny notices it 
in the 8th chapter of his 20th book, and in- 
forms us that the endive, or garden succory, 
furnishes many effectual properties in medi- 
cine ; that the juice of this plant, mingled 
with rose-oil and vinegar, was used to allay 
pains in the head; and that when mixed with 
wine it was thought good for complaints of 
the liver. 

Some of our writers (says this author) name 
the wild endive A mbubeia ; and in Egypt 
they call wild endive dehor him, and the cul- 
tivated, Seris. 

Horace notices this plant under the name 
of Cicorea. 

" Me pascunt olivae, 

Me Cicorea, levesque malvse."* 

It is one of the plants with which the magi- 
cians, in credulous ages, used to endeavour to 
impose on their too easily seduced believers. 
They affirmed, that if persons anointed their 
bodies all over with the juice of this herb 
mixed with oil, it would make them appear, 
not only so amiable that they would win the 
good will and favour of all men, but that 

* Lib. i. Ode 31. 


they would easily obtain whatever they set 
their hearts upon. We can match this cre- 
dulity in modern times, by that of the disci- 
ples of Johanna Southcot. 

The garden-endive appears to have been 
first cultivated in England in the reign of 
Edward the Sixth, 1548; but the wild endive 
or succory, Intubus, being indigenous to the 
soil, was sown in all probability at a much 
earlier period, both as a pot-herb and as a 
salad, as Old Gerard informs us, that " the 
leaves of these wilde herbes are boiled in 
pottage or broths for sicke and feeble persons 
that haue hot, weake, and feeble stomacks, 
to strengthen the same." This early and ex- 
cellent English herbalist notices that the 
wild endives " do growe wilde in sundry 
places in Englande, vpon wilde and vntilled 
barren grounds, especially in chalkie and 
stonie places." He also gives an account of 
the manner by which the garden-endive was 
preserved for winter use in the time of Queen 

" Endiue being sown in July, it remaineth 
till winter, at which time it is taken vp by the 
rootes, and laide in the sunne or aire for the 
space of two houres ; then will the leaues be 
tough, and easily endure to be wrapped vpon 

Y 2 


an heape, and buried in the earth with the 
rootes vpwards, where no earth can get within 
it, which, if it did, would cause rottenness ; 
the which, so couered, may be taken vp at 
times conuenient, and vsed in sallades all the 
winter, as in London and other places is to be 
seene ; and then it is called white endiue." 
He adds, " these herbes eaten in sallades or 
otherwise, especially the white endiue, doth 
comfort the weake and feeble stomacke, and 
cooleth and refresheth the stomacke ouer- 
much heated." 

Galen, who wrote in the second century, 
mentions this plant as an excellent medicine 
for a heated liver. Many of the Romans at- 
tributed the astonishing cures performed by 
that physician to magic, and thought that 
he had obtained all his knowledge by en- 
chantment. Galen, however, confessed him- 
self indebted for his medical knowledge to 
the writings of Hippocrates, which had then 
been preserved 550 years : this should be 
an inducement for us rather to learn the 
opinions of the ancients, than to condemn 
them unknown. 

Endive is now cultivated in this country 
more as a winter and spring salad than for 
any other purpose; although it is excellent 


in pottage and soups. Modern physicians 
begin to discountenance the use of raw ve- 
getables, and reason tells us, that too free a 
use of salads in the winter season cannot be 
beneficial to the generality of constitutions 
in this country ; yet we find our late adven- 
turers to the North found it desirable to grow 
green salads in their ships, for the benefit of 
the sick, when they were within a few de- 
grees of the North Pole. 

We now cultivate eight varieties of endive. 


This despised vegetable, although an ex- 
cellent salad herb, belongs to the family of 
the succory and endive, and is botanically 
arranged under the same order and class as 
the lettuce. 

We find the Romans named most plants 
from their similarity to some well-known ob- 
ject, or in allusion to some virtue which they 
were supposed to possess; on examining the 
leaves of the dandelion, they will be found 
cut or jagged, like the teeth of a lion, and 
which is expressed by the name Leontodon. 
The French name this plant Dent de Lyon, 
from Dens Leonis, lion's tooth, from which 



the English name of Dandelion is a corrup- 
tion. The French eat the stalks and tender 
leaves of this plant with bread and butter. 

Children that eat of the dandelion in the 
evening experience its diuretic effects in the 
night ; from which cause, other European 
nations, as well as the English, have bes- 
towed on it a more vulgar name. Notwith- 
standing this uninviting appellation, we have 
always found it desirable to have some plants 
taken from the pastures or road sides, and 
planted in our garden to blanch for the 
spring, as it is then an agreeable herb to mix 
with other salads, and may be procured when 
lettuce or endive are not easily obtained. 

We are told that when a swarm of locusts 
had destroyed the harvest in the island of 
Minorca, many of the inhabitants subsisted 
upon this plant, without any ill effect. 

Goats are fond of the dandelion, and swine 
devour it greedily ; sheep and cows are not 
fond of it, and horses refuse it. Small birds 
hunt for the seed, which they seem to relish. 

Boerhaave greatly recommended the use 
of this vegetable in most chronical dis- 
tempers, and held it capable of resolving all 
kinds of coagulations, and the most obstinate 


obstructions of the viscera, if it were duly 

The dandelion is cooling and aperitive, 
and a diuretic that is good to cleanse the 
kidneys and bladder. It is boiled in posset 
drink, and frequently used in all kinds of 

Parkinson recommends a decoction of the 
leaves and roots in wine or broth for a con- 
sumption, or any ill habit of body. The 
leaves, as they get old, are very bitter, and 
give a faint tincture of red to blue paper ; 
the roots give it much deeper : they are 
bitter, styptic, and detersive. Tragus pre- 
scribed the water of this herb in internal 
inflammations; and Barbette advised the juice 
to be taken for the same complaint. 

# James. 



Natural order, Composite. A genus of the 
Syngenesia Polygamic/, Necessaria class. 

The generic name of Calendula is thought 
to have originated from its having been ob- 
served to flower most about the calends of 
every month. 

" Fair is the Marygold, for pottage meet." Gay. 

The common Marigold, or Calendula offi- 
cinalis, is a native of the south of Europe, and 
is said to have been cultivated in this country 
prior to 1573. Dodoens, whose Herbal was 
written previous to this date, says the Eng- 
lish call them Marigolds and Ruds : he ob- 
serves, they grow in every garden where they 
have once been sown, as they yearly spring 
up from the fallen seed. 

We have often seen this plant in situations 
that have called to mind those lines of 

u Where once the garden smiled, 

And still where many a garden flower grows wild.' 


Gerard describes several species and va- 
rieties of marigolds that were grown in our 
gardens previously to 1597 ; and the species 
now alluded to, Calendula sativa, he says, 
was so much used in Holland, that " the 
yellow leaves of the flowers are dried and 
kept throughout Dutchland against winter, to 
put into broths, in phisicall potions, and for 
diuers other purposes, in such quantities, that 
in some grocers or sellers of spices houses 
are to be found barrels filled with them, and 
retailed by the pennie, more or lesse, in so 
much that no broths are well made without 
dried marigolds." 

Most of the old physicians recommend the 
conserves made with the leaves of this flower 
and sugar, to be taken as a preventive against 
the plague or other pestilential diseases. 
They also state that these preparations cure 
the palpitation of the heart. Marigold tea 
was one of the domestic medicines given in 
agues, and often with success. We cannot 
avoid noticing how much less frequent this 
disorder has become within these last twenty- 
five years ; and we attribute it principally to 
the improved state of the cultivation of our 
lands. The rapid advance in price of every 
agricultural production at the commencement 


of the war occasioned by the French Revolu- 
tion, induced the farmers to drain their lands 
where formerly waters were suffered to con- 
gregate and become stagnated, and where 
vegetable matter would naturally putrefy and 
corrupt the air. In justice to the age we 
live in, it must be remarked that the lower 
orders of the country people were never 
better , fed or clothed than during the late 
war, notwithstanding the high price provi- 
sions bore, which circumstance also proved 
a powerful defence against this autumnal 

The ancient authors make but slight men- 
tion of the marigold ; Columella notices it in 
his 10th book, under the name of Calthce. 

" Candida Leucoia et flaventia lumina Calthae." 

Stock gilliflowers exceeding white, 

And marygolds most yellow bright. Gerard. 

Virgil notices the flower in the second 
Eclogue of his Bucolicks. 

" Cassia and Dill are added to the store, 
With cowslips, marigolds, and many more 
In order wove, a garland to complete, 
Adorn'd with every flower and every sweet." 

Gay, in his burlesque Pastorals, gives this 
riddle : 


" What flower is that which bears the Virgin's mum , 

The richest metal joined with the same?" 

The flowers of the common marigold are 
thought to be aperient and attenuating, as 
well as cardiac, alexipharmac, and sudorific ; 
they are greatly esteemed in uterine obstruc- 
tions, and the jaundice, as also for throwing 
out the small pox and measles. The leaves of 
the plant are said to be antiscorbutic, and are 
of a stimulating and aperient nature. The 
young leaves were formerly eaten as a salad, 
and they are said to be a proper food for 
those that have any scorbutic taint in their 

The leaves of the plant appear to be 
of greater virtue than the flowers : their ex- 
pressed juice has been given, in doses of two 
or three ounces or more, as an aperient; and 
is said to loosen the stomach, and promote 
the natural secretions in general.* 

The petals are of an aromatic smell, and 
when chewed, exert a penetrating and almost 
burning acrimony : hence they derive their 
sudorific virtues; in which, says Dr. James, 
they are scarce inferior to saffron itself. For 
this reason, the flowers of the marigold have 
merited a place among the catalogue of alexi- 

* Lewis. 


pharmacs ; and, according to Schulzius, in 
his Prcelectiones, have had uncommon ef- 
ficacy ascribed to them by some very cele- 
brated physicians, in the cure of malignant 
and pestilential fevers. Velschius informs 
us, that upon the breaking out of a pestilen- 
tial fever, Le Fevre prescribed the juice of 
the marigold, to be taken in white wine as a 
vehicle ; by which most of the patients who 
used it recovered ; and that this same medi- 
cine was the celebrated arcanum of Veslin- 
gius.* Ray says, " The flowers may pro- 
perly be prescribed wherever stimulating 
medicines are necessary ; and by reason of 
their resolvent and aperient qualities, they 
are used in decoctions for the cure of the 

This plant has been called Verrucaria, on 
account of its efficacy in extirpating warts. 
Some have called it Solsequia, or Solsequium, 
and Sponsa Soils ; because its flower opens 
at the rising, and shuts at the setting of the 

It was an old practice with dairy-women, 
to churn the petals of the marigold with 
their cream, to give their butter a yellow 

* Eph. N. C. D. 1. a. 4. 


Natural order, Gramina. A genus of the 
Triandria Digynia class. 

It is supposed to have derived the name 
of Milium from mille, a thousand, because of 
its numerous seeds. 

" To every land great Nature hath assign'd 
A certain lot, which laws eternal bind." 

Virgil, Georg. book i. 

The Ethiopians inhabiting that part of 
Africa now called Abyssinia, knew no other 
bread or gruel than that which was made 
from millet or barley ; yet they were com- 
plimented by Homer, who styled them the 
favourite of the gods, and the justest of men ; 
and it is a singular fact, that their country 
has never been invaded by a foreign enemy. 

Millet is alss a native grain of Tartary, 
and, when mixed with mares milk or horses 
blood, (which was obtained by opening a vein 
in the leg of this useful animal,) it formed the 


principal food of those savage Sarmatians 
whose hordes destroyed the Roman empire, 
and whose barbarism nearly extinguished 
civilization in Europe. 

This grain was cultivated in Italy in the 
time of Columella, who mentions it as grow- 
ing abundantly in Campania. Virgil also 
notices it in his Georgics : 

" Sow beans and cinquefoil in a mellow soil, 
And millet, springing from your annual toil." 

Pliny notices, that the inhabitants of Cam- 
pania very much esteemed their millet, with 
which they made a white pottage or gruel, 
and also bread of a savoury and sweet taste. 
This author says, no good husbandman will 
sow millet in his vineyard, or among fruit- 
trees, as it destroys the very heart of the 

The variety producing a black seed is not 
a native of France, as stated in the Hortus 
Kewensis, and other botanical works ; as 
Pliny tells us*, that it was first brought out 
of India into Italy, about ten years before he 
wrote his Natural History. He observes, 
that it was the most fruitful of all grain, as 

* Book xviii. chap. 7. 

MILLET. 335 

one seed would give an increase of three sex- 
tans or quarts, if sown in a moist soil. 

Millet was used by the Romans in all cases 
where hot fomentations were applied ; as it 
retains the heat longer than any other grain. 
The meal of this seed, mixed with tar, was 
esteemed a good plaster for those who had 
been stung by serpents, or pricked by the 

That Italy was not free from the most ab- 
surd superstition, even in the most enlight- 
ened days of the Roman empire, we have an 
instance in the manner of their cultivating 
millet. Sparrows and other small birds are 
apt to make great havock in fields of millet ; 
to prevent which the Roman farmers carried 
a toad round the field after it was sown and 
before it was harrowed. The reptile was 
then put in an earthen pot, and buried in the 
middle of the field. This, they were as- 
sured, would protect the roots from the 
worm, and the seed from birds. The toad 
was always dug up before the millet was cut, 
the neglect of which, they believed, would 
cause the seed to be bitter.* 

Botanists name five species of this grain. 

* Pliny, book xviii. chap. 17. 


Those described are varieties of the pani- 
cum, or common millet. We are principally 
supplied from India, although it is sometimes 
sown in this country for feeding of poultry. 
Puddings made from this seed are much ad- 
mired by many persons, and esteemed a pro- 
per diet for the nursery. The seed should 
be sown in April, on a warm dry soil. 

Millet is diuretic and astringent ; the seeds 
are said to be of extraordinary service in dis- 
eases of the lungs, and exulce rations of the 
kidneys : made into a cataplasm, they are 
anodyne and resolvent/ 

According to Miller, it is cooling, drying, 
and binding, and not easily digested ; a strong 
decoction of it with figs and raisins, mixed 
with wine, and drunk warm in bed, is a very 
good sudorific. 

Among the Italians, says C.Bauhine, loaves 
are made of millet, which are yellow, and 
eaten hot by many, not out of necessity, but 
for their sweetness ; but when this bread is 
grown hard, it is quite black. Of the fine 
flour of millet the Italians make cakes also, 
which must be eaten as soon as dressed, or 
else they become glutinous, and unpleasant 
to the taste. 

# Hist. Plant, adscript. Boerhaave. 



Natural order, Verticillatce. A genus of the 
Didynamia Gymno&permia class. 

This plant is a native of Cyprus and 
Candia, and is found also in Italy, Spain, 
and Portugal. From the latter country the 
English first obtained the seed of the sweet 
or knotted marjoram, in the year 1573. The 
Candia marjoram, Dictamnus, had been in- 
troduced in 1551 : this species of origanum 
is the Dittany of Crete, so much celebrated 
by the ancient poets. It is the plant which 
Venus is said to have brought for the cure of 
her son iEneas. 

" A branch of healing dittany she brought, 
Which in the Cretan fields with care she sought, 
(Rough is the stem, which woolly leaves Burround; 
The leaves with flowers, the flowers with purple 

Well known to wounded goats ; a sure relief 
To draw the pointed steel, and ease the <j;nef." 

Virgil, Mn . book x i i . 

VOL. 1. Z 


We are told that the use of this plant was 
taught to man by the harts ; for that, when 
these animals were wounded with arrows, 
they ate plentifully of dittany, which had 
the effect of discharging the darts out again. 
The ancient traditionary tale on this plant 
shews how far the sycophants of kings would 
formerly venture. The flatterers of Cinyras, 
King of Cyprus, to please his humour, and 
console him for the death of his son Amara- 
cus, assured him that this youth, while car- 
rying a box of fragrant ointment through the 
fields of herbs, by accident spilt it on this 
shrub, which from thence received its excel- 
lent savour. The prince mourning for the 
loss of his ointment, the Gods in conside- 
ration of his parentage and merit, changed 
him into that herb, which was from that time 
called, after his name, Amaracus. 

Catullus, in the epithalamium of Julia and 
Manlius, notices this plant : 

" Cinge tempora floribus 
Suave olentis Amaraci." 

Bind your brows with the flowers of sweet- 
smelling marjoram. 

Majorana, the sweet or knotted marjoram, 
the leaves or tops of which have a pleasant 


smell, and a moderately warm aromatic bit- 
terish taste, is mixed in food, not onlv to 
make it more savoury, but to assist digestion 
and correct flatulencies. 

This plant is accounted cephalic, and use- 
ful in nervous complaints. In its recent state, 
we are told, it has been successfully applied 
to schirrous tumours of the breast.* 

M. Bourgeois says, it is a specific for 
apoplexia and paralysis, the infusion being 
taken in the form of tea; and it is em- 
ployed in wine to foment paralysed limbs, 
which it strengthens. 

Hartman assures us, that it restores the 
sense of smelling, when lost. It is also re- 
commended for sneezing disorders. 

There is no plant more celebrated by Hip- 
pocrates, than Origanum: he recommends it 
in diseases which require heating, dissolving, 
and stimulating; whence it is beneficial in 
exulcerations of the lungs, being boiled in 
wine, and then sweetened with honey, and 
drunk hot. Thus prepared, it is said to be a 
good medicine for expectorating phlegm. It 
was also esteemed for diseases of the kidneys ; 
for it is aperient, dissolvent, and balsamic. 

* Woodville. 



A tea of the leaves is effectual in the asth- 
ma, violent coughs, and indigestion ; and, in 
baths, the leaves are used for the hysteric 
passions, chlorosis, and palsy. Origanum 
provokes sweat, and is proper in soporous, 
hysteric, and catarrhous disorders.* 

The sweet marjoram yields a considerable 
quantity of essential oil, which, when long 
kept, assumes a solid form, and was formerly 
much esteemed for anointing stiff joints, for 
the palsy, &c. 

In the time of Queen Elizabeth, the leaves 
were much used in broths and meats, as well 
as in wafer cakes, ointments, &c. 

Gerard says, the leaves boiled in water, 
and the decoction drunk, is good for those 
who are breeding dropsy. 

Miller enumerates thirteen species, and 
Linnaeus eleven. The Hortus Kewensis 
mentions ten kinds of marjoram, one variety 
of which, Vulgare, is a native of this country, 
and is often found growing wild on our 
chalky hills, and in gravelly soils. 

The sweet marjoram seldom ripens its seed 
in England. 

The pot-marjoram, Onitcs, is a native of 

* Hist. Plant. 


Sicily; it grows plentifully in Syracuse 1 , and 
also in some parts of Greece; it was first 
cultivated in Britain in 1759. It lias the 
same qualities as the common varieties, but 
is more woody. 



Natural order, Verticillatce. A genus of the 
Didynamia Gymnospermia class. 

The Greeks called this herb Mivftv, and 
the ancient poets tell us it was so named 
from one of Plutus's minions, whom he 
turned into this plant. 

Miller enumerates eighteen species of mint, 
two thirds, at least, of which are natives of 
this country. 

The use of this refreshing herb did not 
escape the notice of the ancients. Man 
would naturally be induced to seek reviving 
and stimulating plants for the sick and feeble; 
and we are told that balm and mint were 
among the earliest medicines thus selected. 
We may conclude that those simples were 
more efficacious when the body was less ac- 
customed to the luxurious and complicated 
diet which art has introduced, and which 
has made it necessary for the students of 
medicine to extend their research for more 

MINT. 343 

powerful remedies. We are informed, thai 

a boy who was found in a forest, where his 
diet must have been very simple and his 
exercise strong, had a most acute sense of 
smell, by which he could distinguish all herbs 
and plants ; but this delicacy soon wore off 
when he lived and fed like other men. 

It appears by Ovid's story of Baucis and 
Philemon, that rustics perfumed or scoured 
their tables with this herb before serving 
their suppers. 

" Then rubb'd it o'er with newly gather'd mint, 
A wholesome herb, that breathed a grateful scent." 

Pliny says, " You will not see a husband- 
man's board in the country, but all the meats 
from one end to the other, are seasoned witli 
mint. As for the garden mint," says this 
author, " the very smell of it alone recovers 
and refreshes the spirits, as the taste stirs up 
the appetite for meat, which is the cause 4 that 
it is so general in our acid sauces, wherein 
we are accustomed to dip our meat." 

The Romans were well acquainted witli 
its medicinal virtues, as the same writer in- 
forms us, that mint being put into milk would 
keep it from turning sour, or curdling; and 
for this reason, he says, "those \n!h> gene- 


rally drink milk, take mint with it, for fear it 
should coagulate or curdle in their stomachs. 

The most useful kind of garden-mint is the 
Viridis (green), commonly called spear-mint, 
on account of its leaf being narrower, and 
more like a spike or spear, than the other 
varieties. M. Valmont Bomare, calls it Eng- 
lish mint, and says it originally grew in this 
country only. 

The leaves and tops of spear-mint are used 
in spring salads, as also in acid sauce with 
roasted lamb, &c. It is boiled with green 
peas, and generally used in pea soup on ac- 
count of its carminative quality : it has the 
virtue also of being a warm stomachic. In 
loss of appetite, nausea, and continual retch- 
ing, there are few simples of equal efficacy 
to this. In colic pains, to which children 
are subject, this plant is found of great ser- 
vice: it likewise proves beneficial in many 
hysteric cases. For some purposes, such as 
languors, &c. an infusion of the dried herb 
is better than the green, or extract prepared 
with rectified spirits : the former possesses 
the whole virtues of the mint ; the essential 
oil and distilled water contain only the 
aromatic part ; the expressed juice, only the 

mint. 345 

astringency and bitterness, together with the 
mucilaginous substance common to all vege- 

It should be cut for drying, just when it is 
in flower, and on a fine day ; for, if cut in 
damp weather, the leaves will turn black. 
It should be tied in small bunches, and 
dried in a shady place out of the wind; but, 
to retain its natural virtues more effectually, 
it has been found better to place the mint 
in a screen, and to dry it quickly before a 
fire, so that it may be powdered, and im- 
mediately put into glass bottles and kept 
well stopped. Parsley, thyme, sage, and 
other herbs, retain their full fragrance when 
thus prepared, and are by this mode secured 
from dust, and always ready to the hand of 
the cook. 

A conserve made of mint is grateful, and 
the distilled waters, both simple andspiritous, 
are much esteemed. The juice of spear-mint 
drunk in vinegar, often stops the hiccup. 
Lewis observes, what has before been noticed 
by Pliny, that mint prevents the coagulation 
of milk, and hence is recommended in milk 
diets. When dry, and digested in rectified 
spirits of wine, it gives out a tincture which 


appears by day-light of a fine dark green, but 
by candle-light of a bright red colour; a 
small quantity is green by day-light or can- 
dle-light ; a large quantity seems imper- 
vious to day-light, but when held between 
the eye and the candle, or between the eye 
and the sun, it appears red. If put into a 
flat bottle, it appears green sideways ; but 
when viewed edgeways, red. 

According to Turner, the smell of mint 
corroborates the brain, and not only pre- 
serves, but also increases the memory. 


This species of mint is also indigenous to 
Britain, and is said by the French botanists 
to have been found only in this country. The 
peppermint has a smooth purple stalk, and 
cannot be mistaken, from its penetrating 
smell, and more pungent glowing taste ; sink- 
ing, as it were, on the tongue, which is fol- 
lowed by a sensation of coldness that is very 
agreeable. It is still much cultivated, for 
medicinal purposes, as well as for distillation. 
A cordial is made from this plant, much ad- 
mired by country people. 

MINT. 41 

This mint is esteemed by some to be an 
excellent remedy for the stone and gravel ; 
which seems to be very probable, for, be- 
sides its heat and biting, it has also a very 
discernible nitrous taste.* 

Its stomachic, antispasmodic, and carmi- 
native qualities render it useful in flatulent 
colics, hysteric affections, retchings, and other 
dyspeptic symptoms, in which it acts as a 
cordial, often affording immediate relief. 
The essence of peppermint was formerly 
thought an elegant medicine. 

Bergamot mint, Odorata, is only cultivated 
for pleasure. 

The mint, Mentha aquatica, growing in 
watery places, is said to relieve the head-ache, 
if the leaves are applied to the forehead ; as 
also the sting of bees and wasps. Mints of 
all kinds are thought destructive to worms. 
It is a common practice to rub the inside of 
bee-hives with mint and honey, or sugar, be- 
fore the swarm is covered with it, as it is 
supposed to attach them to the new hive. 

* Miller, Bot. Off. 



This favourite mint of the ancients was 
called by the Greeks rxv%pr 9 and BAw^wr, 
from jSArf^w, balatus, either because the heat 
of the plant caused sheep and goats to bleat 
when they ate of it, or, according to Pena, 
from its virtue in expelling thick phlegm 
from the lungs. 

This plant was formerly called Pudding- 
grass, from the old custom of using it in 
hogs puddings ; it was also named Run by the 
ground, and Lurk in ditch, from its creeping 
nature, and loving a damp soil : it is gene- 
rally found in the neighbourhood of holes 
and ponds, on damp or swampy commons, 
where the soil is more inclined to clay than 

Gerard says, it grew in great abundance on 
a common near London, called Miles-end, 
from whence it was brought to market in 
great abundance, in the time of Queen Eliza- 
beth. We have not been able to discover 
by what accident this native mint or aquatic 
thyme was called Pennyroyal ; it was pre- 
viously called Puliall royall. 

MINT. 349 


Coles notices six varieties of* the penny- 
royal ; but Miller enumerates only three. 

Its qualities are nearly the same as those 
of other mints, except that, being milder, it 
is not so efficacious. It has been greatly 
recommended in dropsies, jaundice, and other 
chronic distempers. 

Pliny tells us, that several physicians met 
in his chamber to consult on the virtues of 
this herb, and that they all agreed, that a 
chaplet of pennyroyal was, without compari- 
son, far better for the giddiness and swim- 
ming of the head than one of roses ; and 
that they were of opinion, that if a garland 
of pennyroyal were worn, it would not only 
ease the head from pain, but that it would 
preserve the brain from disorders, which are 
brought on by either heat or cold. 

Xenocrates relates, that pennyroyal wrap- 
ped in wool, was given to those to smell who 
had the ague, and that it was put under the 
coverings of the beds of those who suffered 
under that disease. 

Dodona?us informs us, that this herb, when 
fresh and in blossom, will, by its perfume, 
keep flies out of a room. The same author 
states, that when necessity obliges us to 
drink corrupt, stinking, or saltish water, wo 


may improve it, by throwing into the water 
either fresh or dried pennyroyal. 

Coles makes the same remark; and Gerard 
says, " if this herb be dried, and taken to sea, 
it will purify corrupt water without hurting 
those who drink of it." He adds that, " pen- 
nie royall taken with honie, cleanseth the 
lungs, and cleareth the breast from all grosse 
and thick humours." 

This plant, which is very bitter, acrid, and 
of a penetrating smell, gives a deep tincture 
of red to blue paper ; so that, it is probable, 
it contains a volatile, aromatic, and oily salt, 
loaded with acid : whereas, in the artificial, 
volatile, oily salt, this acid is detained by 
the salt of tartar. Thus this plant is aperient, 
hysteric, and good for the diseases of the 
stomach and breast ; since it expels those 
glutinous sordes which fill part of the bron- 
chia, and vesicles of the lungs, especially if it 
is boiled with honey and aloes ; for then it 
purges, and procures expectoration.* 

# Dioscorides, James. 



Linn^us arranged these species of vege- 
tables in the twenty-fourth class of his arti- 
ficial System, under the name of Crijpto- 
gamia, which signifies concealed marriage >s ; 
and it was intended to comprehend all those 
plants whose fructification is concealed, or 
at least too minute to be observed by the 
naked eye. 

In the Linnsean system mosses are divided 
into nine genera: viz. Lijcopodium, Porella, 
Sphagnum, Phascinn, Polytricum, Mnium, Hyp- 
?iu?n, Fo?itinalis, and Buxbaumia. As we now 
reckon more than 360 species of mosses and 
liverworts, the greater part of which are na- 
tives of Britain, their particular description 
must be reserved for a separate volume; but, 
as many of the mosses are deserving of more 
general notice than they have hitherto ob- 
tained, we trust that the few pages we shall 


offer on this subject will not be thought irre- 
levant in a history of cultivated vegetables. 

Mosses, in general, were originally thought 
imperfect plants, until the year 1719, when 
the seed of some of the varieties was disco- 
vered; and in 1741 this circumstance was 
made more extensively known amongst bota- 
nists by Dillen Linnaeus. 

The generic name Muscus is a word that 
signifies an herb composed of hairs or threads 
instead of leaves. 

" Each moss, 

Each shell, each crawling insect, holds a rank 
Important in the plan of Him who formM 
This scale of beings ; holds a rank, which lost 
Would break the chain, and leave a gap 
That Nature's self would rue !" 

The superficial observer of the works of Na- 
ture may pass this species of plants without 
even knowing that they are as perfectly 
formed as the roses of the garden, or the 
more majestic oaks of the forest. 

The mosses have roots, flowers, and seeds, 
like other plants. M. Valmont Bomare says, 
some think mosses are to vegetables, what 
flies are to animals, and that the word 
Mousse in French was derived from the Latin 
word Musca for fly, which in French is 

moss. 353 

Mouche. The English name Moss, we con- 
clude, is a corruption of the French word 
Mousse, as we find that it was formerly 
spelt Mosse. 

Mosses seem to require little othei nutri- 
ment than a moist atmosphere, and are so 
tenacious of life, that they will revive and 
vegetate on receiving moisture, although in 
appearance quite dead through being dried 
by heat. They generally seek situations that 
are shaded from the sun ; and although mi- 
nute, they are extremely beautiful, and many 
of them of so hardy a nature, that they both 
blossom and seed during the winter months, 
when the sap of most other plants is retired 
or congealed, in which state their vegetation 
rests, awaiting the reviving and powerful 
influence of the sun, again to draw it bub- 
bling forth, and as it forces through the pores 
of branch and bud, it forms its leaves and 
flowers, which human art cannot imitate, or 
the mind of man contemplate without ac- 
knowledging it to be the work of Him, 

" Who only does great wonders. " 

Mosses, although diminutive, grow rapidly: 
for nothing in nature is allowed to remain 
stationary, idle, or useless; nor is there any 

VOL. I. 2 A 


thing wanting to complete the mighty de- 
sign, for however inconsiderable the agents 
may appear to us, they are in the hands of 
Divine Providence irresistible ; and those 
things which we may think superfluous, are 
still necessary and consistent with the great 
and harmonious scheme. 

Philosophers tell us, that the mighty moun- 
tains, whose adamantine sides have bid defi- 
ance to ages, have at last been rent by the aid 
of the smallest moss; and without its assistance 
the ash, the cedar, the juniper, the palm, or 
even the thistle, could have found no crevice 
for their seeds. Rocks of all kinds, when 
exposed to the air, are soon covered with a 
velvet kind of moss, which imbibes the moist 
atmosphere, and collects the passing dust, 
until it has raised its little feathers, like a 
miniature forest of pines, out of the earth of 
its own collecting : this receives the seeds of 
a larger species of lichen, that usurps the 
soil of the first occupier, and drives it farther 
upwards. The second variety collects more 
rapidly both soil and moisture, until its curl- 
ing leaves, entangle and cherish the seeds of 
other plants, which by their more vigorous 
growth destroy their nurse for their own 
nourishment : these in their turn receive the 

MOSS. .;:>;> 

seed of other plants or shrubs, each of which 
strives for mastery. Thus the* moss creeps 
onwards, the lichen follows, the thistle, the 
bramble, and the creepers succeed, until 
every crevice is lost in vegetation ; and their 
decay alone enables more powerful plants to 
succeed, until the seed of the ash, and even 
the acorn, find a receptacle in the rock, where 
the germ sends forth its fibres, running be- 
neath decayed and living plants, and, finding 
crevices, forces its thready roots into every 
vein. There it sucks and swells, until it be- 
comes so powerful that it exercises dominion 
over the fossil world ; for by the aid of the 
winds it dislodges large rocks, and manures 
the hollows with their crumbling stones. 
Among these, fresh seeds are lodged, until 
the whole becomes a towering forest. Thus 
every thing shews infinity of power, conduct- 
ed by infinite wisdom and goodness in Him, 
" who maketh the grass to grow upon the 
mountains, and herbs for the use of men. "* 

Of the early use of moss, Ovid has made 
mention in his silver age : 

" Houses then were caves, or homely sheds, 

With twinino- osier fenced, and moss their beds." 

* Psalm cxlvii. 8. 
2 a 2 


The northern inhabitants still make couches 
and beds of one kind of moss, which Dillen 
calls Sphagnoji ; and the variety which he 
names FontinaUs antipyretica, they use in 
their hearths to prevent accidents, as, being 
antipyretic, it will neither burn nor commu- 
nicate fire. 

The common moss, Muscus terrestris vul- 
garis, which is generally found in shady lawns, 
or woods, and in other humid soils, is said 
to be astringent, and excellent for stopping 
haemorrhages. Gerard says, this moss made 
into powder is good to stop the bleeding 
of fresh wounds, and also conduces to the 
cure of cuts, &c. J. Bauhin states, that the 
empirics learnt this art from the bears, who, 
when wounded, stop the blood by rolling 
themselves in this moss. 

It is used by the ship-builders in France, to 
calk their vessels ; and by all nurserymen, 
to preserve the roots of trees and plants 
which they transport from one place to 
another, as it keeps them moist. It is also 
used in pleasure-grounds, to form rustic ar- 
bours, as it effectually excludes both the 
heat and the wind. 

The moss called Wolf's Foot, Pes Lupi, 
or Lycopodion, is very beautiful, producing 

MOSS. S&) 

flowers like the catkins of the hazel-tree. 
This species, according to Hieronymus 'Tra- 
gus, is diuretic, and good for the stone, which 
it dissolves and discharges. 

The Arabian physicians rank mosses and 
lichens among their cordial medicines, to 
strengthen the stomach, and to allay vomits. 

In Lapland, one species of moss or lichen 
constitutes the sole winter subsistence of that 
useful animal the rein-deer, and which is 
thus noticed by Mrs. Rowden : 

" On Lapland's breast by stormy tempests toss'd, 
'Mid night's drear winter and eternal frost, 
Soon as the llhen-deer moss erects her head, 
The modest emblem of her snowy bed ! 
Fleet as the wind, the hardy Rhen-deer bounds 
Across the dreary waste and frozen grounds ; 
Crops with vermilion lips the icy flower, 
Or sips, from crystal cups, the fleecy shower." 

In Iceland the inhabitants use it for food : 
they collect a quantity of lichen, which is 
then chopped small, and boiled in three or 
four successive portions of water to take off 
its natural bitterness. It is then boiled lor 
an hour or two in milk ; when cold it becomes 
a jelly, which, being eaten with cream or 
milk, makes a very palatable and wholesome 


The English name of this species of vege- 
table, Liverwort, evinces the good opinion 
our ancestors entertained of the lichens 
virtue in all complaints of the liver. It 
however, went entirely out of use until a few 
years back, when it was again introduced 
from Iceland, and was so generally recom- 
mended by the faculty, that, during the 
height of this medicinal fashion, Iceland- 
moss became an article of considerable com- 
merce ; and we are told, that vast quantities 
of lichen were brought from the mountains 
of Wales and Scotland, and sold in the me- 
tropolis for the more northerly production ; 
but the deception appears only to have af- 
fected the purchaser in regard to price, as its 
properties are nearly the same. It is said to 
strengthen the lungs and create appetite, and 
is recommended particularly after the hoop- 
ing-cough. It was formerly given in inflam- 
matory fevers, &c. The ancients recommend- 
ed it as a remedy against lassitude, and used 
it in baths and ointments. The grey ground 
lichen was thought effectual against the bite 
of a mad dog. It makes the basis of the 
pulvis antilyssus, and it is the principal in- 
gredient in Dr. Mead's receipt for the bite of 
mad dogs. In the west of England it was 

moss. 359 

formerly used as a drink lor those who had 
cancers, of which it was thought to assist 
the cure. This species of moss was at one 
time called Cheese-renning, from its pro- 
perty of coagulating or curdling fresh milk; 
and by a dry distillation it yields a manifest 

As mosses have in some degree regained 
their ancient celebrity, we shall briefly state 
what notices of their virtues appear in the 
old writers. 

Muscus arbor ens, or Lichen arbor urn, is the 
kind which is found growing on trees, and 
which Gerard and other old medical writers 
call Liverwoort and Lungwoort, either from 
its figure, or, as already remarked, from the 
use then made of it in medicine. Gerard 
says this " lungwoort is much commended of 
the learned phisitions of our time against the 
diseases of the lungs, especially for the in- 
flammations and ulcers of the same, being 
brought into powder, and drunk with water." 

M. Bourgeois informs us, that this kind of 
moss growing; on the oak is a good remedy 
for the hooping-cough, when powdered; from 
twenty to thirty grains to be given, according 
to age. Dioscorides affirms, that it staunches 
bleeding, removes all inflammation, and cures 


the ringworm. Taken internally, he says, it is 
a remedy for the jaundice ; even that which 
is occasioned by the inflammation of the liver. 

Lord Bacon mentions a sweet moss that 
grew upon apple-trees, and which, he says, 
bore a high price in the shops of the per- 
fumers. As we do not meet with it in the 
herbals of his day, we conclude that the 
learned chancellor copied the account from 
Pliny, with whose works he seems to have 
been perfectly acquainted, and to have made 
ample use of them in his Natural History. 
Pliny notices the sweet moss *, and says the 
best is found in the province of Cyrene,* the 
next in Cyprus, the third in Phoenicia : it 
grows also, says this author, in Egypt and in 
Gaul. It was used by the Roman ladies in 
their baths. When stamped with juniper, 
and drunk in wine, it was esteemed good in 
dropsical complaints. *f 

The species of moss called by Tournefort, 
Muscus squamosas abietiformis, of which Dillen 
gives the figure under the name of Selago, 
is a purgative and an emetic as violent as the 
hellebore. The greatest part of mosses are 
relaxing, destroy worms, and promote perspi- 

* Book xii, c.23. t Book xxiv. c. 6. 

MOSS. 361 

There is a kind of lichen which L'Obeliua 
entitles Muscus pyxidatos, and to which Ge- 

rard gave the English name of Cup or Chalice 
moss, on account of the little cup-like leaves 
which it produces. It is found in dry, gravelly, 
and barren banks, of a yellowish white : this 
was formerly given to children for the chin- 

There is a great number of aquatic mosses, 
all of which, as well as the marine moss, have 
their various uses in medicine. The spe- 
cies called Sea oak, Quercus marinus, is used 
with success to assuage scrofulous swellings : 
it is found on most parts of the coast, but 
particularly in the neighbourhood of Wor- 
thing, where immense banks of it are washed 
on shore in the autumn. It may be known 
by the little bladders on its leaves, which are 
similar to the blight on oak leaves ; and from 
thence, we surmise, its name originated. 
Laver bread is a sort of food made of the sea 
liver-wort, or oister, green Ulvce ; it is much 
used in Glamorgan and other parts of Wales, 
from whence it is often sent to London in 
earthen pots. It is gently opening, and an- 



Natural order, Hepaticai. Limwus has ar- 
ranged it in his artificial system, Cryptogamia. 

The generic name of this class of vegeta- 
bles, Fungus, is derived from ^iroyyoQ, on ac- 
count of its spungy nature. The English 
word Mushroom is in all probability a cor- 
ruption of Mousseron, the French name of a 
variety of the Fungus, called Champignon. 

" Tis but apart we see, and not a whole." 


The Mushroom tribe has, therefore, afforded 
a wide field for speculation to the na- 
turalists of every age, who have disputed 
whether it consists of perfect or imperfect 

Vegetable nature appears in such a diver- 
sity of habits, and propagates its species in 
such a variety of forms, that we can neither 
view them, nor inquire into their nature, with- 
out being impressed with the most sublime 


sentiments of the wisdom displayed in cre- 

This class of plants, which the botanists 
rank as the lowest order of vegetables, has 
been supposed to assimilate more closely 
to the animal creation than any other class 
of the vegetable world. 

The ingenious authoress of Sketches of the 
Physiology of Vegetable Life, observes, "The 
Fungi resemble animals in some of their 
species, in growing vigorously without light ; 
as is shewn by those found in dark cellars, 
and by the truffle, which lives and vegetates 
under ground." She adds, " The animal fla- 
vour of the esculent mushroom, and the 
odour of any kind of Fungus, when burned, 
resembling that of burning feathers, added 
to the putrefaction to which the whole tribe 
are subject, and the scent emitted by them 
in that state, do not exclude them from the 
vegetable kind, but afford additional analo- 
gical evidence of the affinity between the 
two kingdoms." 

We have still much to learn on the subject 
of these singular species of plants, which, 
although they bear so close an analogy to 
animal life, are evidently vegetables, and pro- 
duce seed, by which they have been propa- 


gated ; but this does not disprove their being 
produced likewise by putrefaction, of which 
we have continual instances, and in situations 
where mushroom seed or dust could not 
reach. The embryo plants are discovered 
under the form of a white mouldy, fibrous 
substance, called spawn, and which is caused 
by certain particles in particular kinds of 
dung being excluded from light and air. 
The mouldiness on stale wine or beer, as also 
on bread and other moist substances, as well 
as on liquids kept in an open vessel that is ex- 
cluded from free air, appears like mushrooms, 
when viewed through a microscope. The 
dust of this mould will communicate itself 
rapidly to other substances within its reach \ 
thus appearing, like the mushroom, to owe 
its origin both to seed and to putrefaction. 

In 1729, Micheli first announced his dis- 
covery, that different kinds of mushrooms 
had flowers and seeds ; and this having been 
confirmed in 1753 by M. Gleditsch, and in 
1755 by M. Battarra, they have therefore 
divided them into two classes, one of which 
they suppose to have only seed, the other 
both flowers and seed. The author has never 
been able to discover what to him would 
satisfactorily prove the flowers of this curious 


plant ; and concludes that what others haw 
taken for the blossoms, are only the organs 
of fructification, as he deems the whole 
mushroom to be but one flower : for though 
all plants vary in their shape and number of 
leaves or stalks, &c, yet the blossoms of 
each species are always regularly the same, 
even in the most minute parts, unless by 
some accident they become imperfect ; flower 
buds are always observed to come out of the 
earth, or out of the stalks of plants, closed 
with a thin film, or by the petals folding so 
closely and exactly over each other that the 
moist air is perfectly excluded, until the 
stigma and stamina have acquired their 
proper size, when the petals or blossoms un- 
fold themselves, that the pollen may be ri- 
pened by the sun or air, and the impregna- 
tion may take place ; after which the petals 
fall off, or the flower gradually decays. 

The mushroom always comes out of the 
earth as a bud, which closely protects the 
interior with a thin skin (the veil), until it 
has reached its size and the state proper for 
fructification ; when it expands precisely in 
the same manner as other flowers, the interior 
of which uniformly exhibits the same regular 
arrangement of laminae, or gills, which seem 


to be intended for the purpose of separating 
the channels of seed : for we find nothing 
superfluous in nature,— each part necessarily 
combines to form the whole ; nor is there any 
thing wanting to complete the admirable 
formation of vegetables, which by their pecu- 
liar actions produce such modifications and 
substances as must lead us to say, with 

" Tis surely God, 

Whose unremitting energy pervades, 
Adjusts, sustains, and agitates the whole; 
He ceaseless works alone ; and yet alone 
Seems not to work, with such perfection framed 
Is this complex, stupendous scheme of things." 

Having given our opinion of the mushroom, 
rather to induce a stricter scrutiny of its 
formation, than to shew a desire of deviating 
from other writers, we conclude it will be 
somewhat interesting to ascertain the opi- 
nions of the ancients with respect to this 
curious vegetable ; for, notwithstanding their 
fondness for mushrooms, they had not dis- 
covered the art of propagating them. 

Pliny says, mushrooms were thought one 
of the wonders of nature, that they should 
live and grow without a root, or even small 
strings to fix them to the earth, and that 

mushroom. ;]67 

they should escape from the soil without the 
appearance of any chink or crevice from 
whence they spring. He deemed them an 
imperfection of the earth, and that they came 
neither by setting nor sowing. 

In superstitious days, the Fungus tribe 
was imagined to be the work of fairies, 

" You demy puppets, that 

By moonshine do the green sward ringlets make, 

Whereof the ewe not bites ; and you, whose pastime 

Is to make midnight mushrooms." 


Mrs. Rowden makes the same allusion : 

" In-wrought with varied hues from Fancy's loom, 
The fairies rear their temporary dome ; 
Beneath the fretted roof, in secret state, 
The mimic tribe on Agarica wait." 

In the eighth chapter of the sixteenth book 
of Pliny's Natural History, he says, the last 
device of our epicures to sharpen their appe- 
tites and tempt them to eat inordinately, is 
the cooking of mushrooms; and in the twenty- 
third chapter of his twenty-second book he 
adds, there are some dainty wantons of such 
fine taste, and who study their appetite to 
such an excess, that they dress mushrooms 
with their own hands, that they may feed on 


the odour during the time they are handling 
and preparing this food, with their fine amber 
knives, and silver vessels about them. He 
also observes, that mushrooms are eaten with 
some danger, although they have so delicate 
and pleasant a taste. This food was brought 
into discredit by Agrippina, who poisoned 
her husband, the Emperor Tiberius Clau- 
dius, by the aid of this vegetable. 

It is related by Pliny*, that a whole house- 
hold in Rome died by eating mushrooms ; 
and, in another instance, all the company at 
a feast, who ate at the same table, perished 
by this poisonous vegetable ; also, that An- 
naeus Serenus, captain of Nero's guard, with 
several other officers, died from eating of this 
dish at one dinner. 

Horace *f notices mushrooms as a dange- 
rous food : 

" Pratensibus optima fungis 

Natura est : aliis male creditur." 

and which is thus translated by an old herb- 
alist : 

" The meadow mushrooms are in kind the best : 
It is but ill-trusting to any of the rest." 

None but the peasants who gather them, 

* Book xxii. chap. 23. + Lib. ii. Sat. 4. 


says Pliny, can tell the true kind, however 
curious they may be. The Roman naturalist 
then proceeds to describe the safe kind, as 
distinguished from the dangerous, with this 
preface : " Although I dislike the indulgence 
of such hazardous gluttony, yet will I endea- 
vour to guard them against the poisonous 
kind, which may be known by their mouldy 
hue, their leaden and wan colour within, as 
also by their edges being of a pale yellow. 
The true mushrooms," he adds, " when they 
first appear have a kind of thin skin, which 
covers them as the yolk of an egg is covered 
with the white, and these," he says, " are a 
good food, but even these are safest when 
stewed with animal food." 

The ancients used various antidotes against 
the venom of mushrooms : some took leeks 
to counteract the poison ; others recom- 
mended the eating of pears or radishes, or 
drinking perry, when they suspected danger- 
ous mushrooms to have been eaten. Apol- 
lodorus prescribed the juice or seed of cab- 
bage to be taken. Nicander recommended 
the seed of nettles ; others chewed rue, or 
took mustard-seed. Lily roots, or myrtle 
leaves, pounded and drunk in wine, were also 
esteemed good in this case. 

VOL i. 2 b 


Our own herbalist Gerard's condemnation 
of mushrooms is curious : he says, " Many 
wantons, that dwell neere the sea, and have 
fish at will, are very desirous, for change of 
diet, to feede vpon the birds of the moun- 
taines ; and such as dwell vpon the hills or 
champion grounds, do long after sea-fish ; 
many that haue plenty of both, doe hunger 
after the earthie excrescences, called mush- 
rooms : fewe of them are good to be eaten, 
and most of them do suffocate and strangle 
the eater. Therefore I giue my simple aud- 
uice vnto those that loue such strange and 
newe fangled meates, to beware of licking 
honie among thornes, least the sweetness of 
the one do not counteruaile the sharpness 
and pricking of the other/' This author 
says, the best mushrooms grow on mountains 
and hilly places. 

According to Lord Bacon, mushrooms 
" have two strange properties : the one, that 
they yield so delicious a meate ; the other, 
that they come up so hastily, as in a night, 
and yet are unsown ; and, therefore, such as 
are upstarts in state are called in reproach 
mushrooms. We find," says he, " that mush- 
rooms cause the accident which we call 
Incubus, or the mare in the stomach; and 


therefore, the surfeit of them may suffocate 
and empoyson, and this sheweth that they 
are windy, and that their windiness is gross 
and swelling, not sharp and griping." 

Mushrooms are now cultivated in mo-t 
parts of Europe, as a delicious food ; but in 
no country is the cultivation so general as in 
England, where they are now to be procured 
at all seasons of the year ; and little or no 
apprehension is now entertained Respecting 
their dangerous qualities, since they have 
become the care of our gardeners. 

Mr. Bradley states, that he has seen a 
hundred kinds of mushrooms in England, 
besides those small ones which arise from 
the mouldiness of liquors, &c. It is, there- 
fore, as absurd to condemn all mushrooms as 
poisonous, as it would be to abstain from car- 
rots, parsnips, and celery, because the roots 
of some other umbellated plants, such as 
the water-hemlock, the drop wort, &c. are 
known to be venomous. 

We have never heard of any persons hay- 
ing suffered from eating cultivated mush- 
rooms, although they are in such general use 
in London and so much demanded in the 
markets ; while in Paris, where they have 
few but what are gathered in the fields, there 

2 b 2 


are continually accounts of deaths caused by 
these vegetables. 

So much are mushrooms now in request, 
that we cannot content ourselves with mush- 
room beds only, but we have mushroom 
houses also. The author, on referring to his 
diary of November the fourteenth, finds a 
memorandum that would have puzzled our 

"While gathering a mushroom, the ladder 
slipped and I was precipitated to the ground, 
but without injury." 

The mushrooms in the house alluded to, 
were growing on beds supported one over the 
other by broad shelves of elm planks, with 
a deep ledge to keep up the earth; but from 
the necessary fermentation of the manure, 
the planks are liable to rot, therefore, where 
durability is required, large flag-stones should 
be substituted, and supported by iron props 
or brackets. Should stone be found too cool 
for the spawn, any slight boards that are not 
painted may be laid on it. As light is not 
necessary for the growth of this high-fla- 
voured vegetable, almost every country-seat 
may furnish an outhouse for the purpose of 
obtaining mushrooms at all seasons, and of a 
safe quality. 

mushroom. ;37 3 

The author has observed that the upper 
shelves in his Majesty's mushroom-house at 
Kensington were equally or more productive 
than those below: thus by good arrangement 
a small shed, or even a closet, may be made 
sufficient for the supply of a moderate family. 
As mice will destroy the spawn or young 
mushrooms, either traps must be set, or in- 
gress allowed to their purring enemy. 

In the neighbourhood of London expe- 
rienced mushroom-men go about at the pro- 
per season, collecting vast quantities of spawn 
for the supply of seedsmen, who sell it by 
the bushel, the price varying according to the 
favourableness of the weather when it is 
collected. Since mushrooms have been so 
much grown on hot-beds, and more minutely 
attended to, the plant has been found so 
perfect that it can either be raised by seed 
or propagated by roots, the several fila- 
ments at the root producing tubercles in 
the manner of potatoes, from each of which 
will arise new roots and a new plant or 

The following simple and easy method is 
recommended for trying the quality of field- 
mushrooms : take an onion, and strip the 
outer skin, and boil it with them; if it re- 


mains white, they are good, but if it becomes 
blue or black, there are certainly dangerous 
ones among them. Where the symptoms of 
poison have already taken place, the medical 
assistant recommends an emetic, drinking 
plentifully of warm water, and when the con- 
tents of the stomach are brought off, to have 
recourse to strong cordials, such as ginger- 
tea and brandy, with laudanum, or cayenne 
pepper made into pills. 

Barham describes the symptoms to be, that 
soon after they are eaten, a hiccup seizes the 
patient, then a cold or chilling all over the 
body, attended with tremblings, and at last 
convulsions and death. 

The most venomous sort is one that rises 
out of the earth about six inches high, round- 
ing and hollow like a bladder, red as scarlet, 
full of holes like fine wrought net-work ; 
which is most probably the Clathrus cancella- 
tus. There is one kind of these mushrooms, 
that is said to kill the very flies that settle 
on them. According to Mr. Haller, says M. 
Valmont Bomare, the Russians eat even the 
mushrooms that the French consider the 
most dangerous, and which they use to kill 
flies ; if this be possible, we conclude they 


have some method of extracting the venomous 
particles of the plant, unless, like Mithridates 
of old, they have become so accustomed to 
poison, that it loses its effect on their consti- 
tutions, as the Turks take opium with in- 

We have not heard that the morel, a kind 
of mushroom, has yet been cultivated, al- 
though it is said to be good for creating 
an appetite, is accounted restorative, and 
is much used in sauces and ragouts. The 
following accounts of extraordinary mush- 
rooms, which we meet with in the works of 
respectable authors, may perhaps subject 
them to the imputation of credulity. 

Matthiolus mentions mushrooms which 
weighed thirty pounds each. Fer. Imperatus 
tells us, he saw some which weighed above 
one hundred pounds a-piece. The Journal 
des Sf avans furnishes us with an account of 
some growing on the frontiers of Hungary, 
which made a full cart load. 

A mushroom of the very best quality was 
lately gathered in the neighbourhood of Brigg, 
in Lincolnshire, which measured three feet 
four inches in circumference ; girth of the 
stalk, five inches and a half; it was two in- 
ches in thickness, and weighed twenty-nine 


ounces. Six others were gathered at the 
same time near the above, averaging about 
two feet in circumference. 

Chambers relates, that some years ago, an 
extraordinary mushroom grew upon an old 
piece of timber in a blacksmith's cellar in the 
Haymarket, and attained the height of twelve 
inches or more, and when cut down, appear- 
ed again at the same time the next year, and 
so for several succeeding years. In the year 
1692, M. Tournefort found such an one 
growing on an old beam in the abbey at St. 
Germain's : the smell was like that of others 
of the same kind. An infusion from part of it 
turned an infusion of turnsol to a bright red; 
so that it evidently abounded in acids. This 
seed must have been brought by some acci- 
dent to these situations, unless the fungi 
originated in the decaying timber. Lord 
Bacon says, " It is reported, that the bark 
of white or red poplar (which may be classed 
amongst the moist est trees), cut small and 
cast into furrows well dunged, will cause the 
ground to put forth mushrooms, at all sea- 
sons of the year, fit to be eaten; some add to 
the mixture leaven-bread, resolved in water. 
It is also reported, that if a hilly field, where 
the stubble is standing, be set on fire, in the 


showery season it will put forth great store of 

The Laplanders have a way of using the 
common toadstools, as the Chinese do moxa, 
to cure pains : they collect the large fungi 
which they find on the bark of beech and 
other large trees, and dry them for use. 
Whenever they have pains in their limbs, they 
bruise some of this dried matter, and pulling 
it to pieces, they lay a small heap near the 
part where the pain is situated, and set it 
on fire ; in burning away it blisters up the 
part, and the water discharged by this means 
generally carries off the pain. It is a rude 
practice, but said to be very effectual, where 
the patient takes it in time, and has resolution 
to stand the burning to a necessary degree. 



Natural order, Siliquosce. A genus of the 
Tetr adynamia Siliquosa class. 

In Greek this plant was called Na7ru, by 
Aristophanes and others that use the Attic 
dialect, but more commonly Xwnm, Sinapi, 
on vivei vus cotols, because it injures the eyes. 

It was formerly called Senvie in English. 
Egypt, that claims the honour of giving birth 
to both Ceres and iEsculapius, was the bed 
from whence the best mustard first sprang, 
where, according to the opinion of the 
heathen mythologist, it was nursed by the 
goddess of seeds, and its qualities made 
known to man by the god of medicine. We 
will not enter into mythological dispute whe- 
ther iEsculapius was the inventor of physic, 
or whether he only perfected that part of the 
art which relates to the regimen of the sick. 
The brute creation are taught by instinct to 
physic themselves by eating certain herbs. 
From this observation, in all probability, the 


use of mustard-seed became known to man 
through iEsculapius, for the eating of so bit- 
ing and penetrating a seed in food must have 
required long habit to have made it familiar 
and agreeable. 

Mustard seems to have been cultivated in 
Syria when Christ was upon earth, as he 
mentions it in parable as being the least seed 
which was sown in the field, " but when it is 
grown it is the greatest among herbs."* 

The Romans made great use of mustard- 
seed in medicine, and they thought it one of 
the best of remedies for the complaints of the 
stomach and the lungs. From the milky 
juice of the plant they formed a gum that was 
used for the tooth-ache, and the oil which 
they drew from the seed was used with olive 
oil after the bath, by those who had stiffness 
occasioned by cold. 

The ancients ate the young plants stewed, 
and the leaves of the older plants were used 
boiled as other pot-herbs. Pliny informs us 
that it grew in Italy without sowing, but that 
the most esteemed mustard-seed was brought 
from Egypt. The Romans cultivated three 
varieties in this author's time.-f 

* Matt. c. xiii. v. 31. and Mark c. iv. v. 31. 
t Bookxix. c. 8. and book xx. c.22. 


Of the fifteen species of this plant that 
have been discovered, one third are natives 
of Britain. 

Tusser notices the cultivation of mustard- 
seed in Queen Mary's time. His direction 
for February says, 

" Where banks be amended, and newly vp cast, 
Sowe mustard-seed, after a shower be past." 

The same author says, in his hints for August, 

" Maids mustard-seed gather, for being too ripe ; 
And weather it wel, yer ye give it a stripe : 
Then dress it and lay it in soller vp sweet, 
Least foistiness make it for table vnmeet." 

Gerard informs us, that the garden-mus- 
tard, which produces the whitest seed, was 
not become common in Elizabeth's reign ; 
but that he had distributed the seed into dif- 
ferent parts of England to make it known. 
Mustard was not manufactured in his day, 
but was brought to table whole, or bruised in 
vinegar. Gerard says, " the seede of mus- 
tard pounded with vinegar, is an excellent 
sauce, good to be eaten with any grosse 
meates, either fish or flesh, because it doth 
helpe digestion, warmeth the stomacke, and 
provoketh appetite." 

Coles observes, in 1657, " In Glocester- 
shire about Teuxbury, they grind it, and 


make it up into balls, which are brought to 
London and other remote places, as being the 
best that the world affords." 

Mustard-seed is one of the strongest pun- 
gent, stimulating, diuretic medicines, that 
operate without exciting much heat. By its 
acrimony and pungency it stimulates the 
solids and attenuates viscid juices ; and hence 
stands deservedly recommended for exciting 
appetite, assisting digestion, promoting the 
fluid secretions, and for the other purposes 
of the acrid plants called antiscorbutic. 

This seed has often been given, unbruised, 
with good success to those afflicted with pa- 
ralytic, cachectic, and serous disorders ; and 
its powder is also applied externally to sti- 
mulate benumbed and paralytic limbs or 
parts affected with rheumatic pains : it is 
generally used with a few bread crumbs and 
pounded garlic, made into a cataplasm with 

The flower of mustard curdles boiled milk, 
and gives all its pungency to the whey. 

Dale, after Schroder, observes, that mus- 
tard heats and dries, incides, attenuates, and 

We agree with Boerhaave, says Dr. James, 
that mustard, and other acrid vegetables, 


prove excellent medicines, when prudently 
given, in distempers attended with an indo- 
lent, watery, or cold phlegmatic humour, no 
way saline, where acrid humours are lodged 
in the f st passages ; where the bile is slug- 
gish, and where no alkaline, foetid, or oily 
putrid matter is lodged; but the body re- 
mains cold, torpid, and swelled all over ; as 
on the other hand, mustard proves hurtful 
where the body is hot and feverish, the bile 
sharp, the juices putrid, the parts inflamed, 
or wasted ; or where the putrid scurvy 

Mustard-seed, by chemical analysis, gives 
a much greater indication of an acrid than 
of an acid salt ; but it affords a considerable 
quantity of oil, very little fixed salt simply 
saline, a great deal of earth, a little urinous 
spirit, and no volatile concrete salt. 

When mustard is calcined, it leaves very 
little salt in the ashes, because the salt is vo- 
latile, and flies off in the calcination.* 

On the whole, mustard may be considered 
a wholesome condiment, when taken in mo- 
deration and with due consideration of the 
state of the body ; but we are too apt, gene- 
rally, to accustom ourselves to the same re- 

# James. 


gimen, without consulting our respective 
constitutions. Buchan remarks, that the cure 
of many diseases may be effected by diet 
alone, and although its effects are not al- 
ways so quick as those of medicine, they are 
generally more lasting. 

The young and green mustard plants, 
which are so readily and easily reared in the 
spring, are perhaps the most beneficial, as 
well as the most agreeable addition to our 
salads. On this account various ways have 
been invented to grow it expeditiously, all of 
which are too simple and well known to re- 
quire explanation here.